Wear pants if possible
We have been talking about trying new things and getting out of our comfort zone during this whole tour. Usually there are enough details to at least figure out what we were going to be getting into with the upcoming class, but not today. Today’s class “MovFit” would be taught by Shaun Sterling and his reminder message posted before class said, “Wear pants if possible, (yoga pants or any exercise pants will do) if you wear shorts some things will be modified.” Now that threw us for a loop since it was 90 degrees outside and figured it would not take long for the heat to rise as we worked out inside at his studio. With an open mind our crew showed up eager to find out what Shaun had in store for us. We walked into his place, Bodywize Athletic Development and as we looked around it looked like a training facility for top athletes with every piece of equipment you could imagine. Later we learned that we would not be using any of that heavy equipment and still would have an amazing workout.
We started the class with breath work which brought us all to the present moment. We know that breath work is the most important part of the practice. The better you breath and the more oxygen you inhale in to your body the less muscular fatigue you will experience. Breath cleanses your body during exercise almost like washing it from the inside out. It wasn't long after we started that we found out the reason for the long pants. We were going to be exploring movements in ways that were new to us, we would be embracing the ground. Taking our shoes and socks off to feel the earth beneath our feet...well in this case the gym mats, Shaun talked about the importance of grounding, connecting with the earth and the benefits of doing this daily. Following the mantra to embrace the ground Shaun led us through a series of interesting movements like walking lunges on our knees in which we rolled through to take the next step connected to the ground, rolling from our backs to our sides to our fronts using our legs as the initiator of each revolution, and even somersaulting (the SAFE way of course). We became intimate with ground for sure.
“Movement as nutrition for the body, mind, and spirit coupled with breath-work to seamlessly unite the three.” ~ Shaun Sterling
Shaun is a wealth of knowledge from a lifetime of dedicated learning. Class was a mix of qi gong, marital arts, yoga, and tai chi, incorporating poses and philosophies that would give us the benefits our bodies need. We would be embracing our strength through softness and grace . It's the yin and yang - maintaining softness with strength. The BAD crew at Bodywize practices weight training but it's balanced out with flexibility and softness so the body can maintain longevity throughout the years.
We finished up with a final relaxation, our bodies felt amazing, both shoulders and hips were open. We experienced a feeling of peace and groundedness and at the same time knowing we had a great workout without even touching one piece of equipment. Shaun took time after class to answer questions that students posed. When a teacher creates time to listen and share some of their knowledge, students are better able to implement the things that they learned into their lives. This is a sign of a great teacher and we felt we had that with Shaun Sterling.
4518 Renaissance Parkway
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
An interview with Shaun:
1. Tell us about your passion and why you decided to teach in the health and wellness arena?
My passion to teach in the health and wellness arena stems from developing an early connection to the path of mind body spirit mastery. It is my belief that we are all in the process of self actualization or realization and the most important purpose of life is to know thyself on every level imaginable. From the physical body to the mind to the spirit, my intention when I teach in the health and wellness arena is to allow people to learn more and more about those aspects of their being. For some it starts on the physical level for others on the mental level and for some on the level of feeling or spirit. My approach to teaching is to embrace all these unique and beautiful expressions of everyones unique selfs and provide an open space and an invitation to live their truth.
2. What would you say your "style" of teaching is?
This is a tough question to answer because my method varies depending on the learning characteristics of the individual. I do have a roadmap but the map has many paths and even detours. So if I had to define my "style" I'd say it's one that is rooted in the intuitive and yet grasps the necessity at times for a format and plan. No 2 people are ever the same, which to me is one of the beauties of this world. So for me my style can shift from free flow to strict movement practice to simple breath-work to harmonize and balance the physical, mental, and spiritual sides of health and wellness. For me there's no one way for everyone so my style and approach reflect the ability to change instantly when I truly listen to what each person is expressing in their movement, breath, and sometimes verbally. I aim to inspire mindful living on all levels of being.
3. What is your favorite modality of fitness and why?
Movement as nutrition for the body, mind, and spirit coupled with breath-work to seamlessly unite the three. This usually starts in learning how to breath and move the body softly, fluidly, and dynamically. Then this can evolve to developing strength, breaking barriers, and constantly evolving with the practice to keep the mind growing with the practice. So often people stay within one modality and develop great attributes there but then everything else in the beauty and expression of the human spirit becomes limited from such specialization. There is a time and a place for such work but embracing the freedom of learning more movement patterns, allows at least in my opinion more options for the spirit within each individual to express themselves honestly. Bruce Lee once said, "To me, ultimately, martial arts means honestly expressing yourself. Now, it is very difficult to do. It has always been very easy for me to put on a show and be cocky, and be flooded with a cocky feeling, and feel pretty cool and all that. I can make all kinds of phony things. Blinded by it. Or I can show some really fancy movement. But to experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that my friend, is very hard to do." Still to this day when he said this on camera there was something magical for me here. My modality tries to embrace this type of heist expression and allow others to do the same.
4. What are your philosophies on health?
My philosophies on health embrace living life fully and in a harmonious way. To me there's so much emphasis on the physical body and aesthetics but so much is missed when this is the goal. So for me health has several aspects that are not seen. From the food you eat, to the quality of sleep you get, to how you love and provide service to the world, to how you move both in your training and life, to the breaths you take in every moment, etc... Holistic health embraces essentially 4 main principles which could be expanded easily to more but for simplicity sake here are the simple 4. 1. Embrace healthy movement both within the body with proper breathing and in your physical expression such as your training, etc... 2. Embrace your happiness. Without first being happy yourself you simply cannot inspire happiness in others fully. This is a tough one for many because happiness is often times not views as an aspect of health. I like to say happy body, happy mind, happy spirit lead to a happy life. 3. Embrace your nutrition. Eat what sustains you optimally and this will allow you to be of more service to others because a sick person is not quite as useful as a healthy one. 4. Embrace silence daily. Whether this is done through a meditation practice, walk in the park, or just being mindful in every moment...silence is where the inner wisdom resides. Sleep is also part of this but does not embrace the beauty of conscious mindful silence when the mind stills and the spirit can roar.