Archive for May, 2008.

BrickhouseBodymind TV Episode 4 – Spinal Rock ‘n’ Roll (developing the best flat-tummy exercise of all)

Written by Philip Walter on May 29 at 5:29 am.

Best Flat-Tummy Exercises Ever - Spinal Rock Tips.

Image coutesy of Becca Davis

Just in time for summer, one of the best flat-tummy core exercises I know – the spinal rock. In this episode I explain some tips for getting better results from the killer ab exercise, the spinal rock.

Special thanks go to Becca Davis for the production photos, Robert for his camera work, Signal Path for the intro music, and as always my wife for allowing me to spend time on this exhilarating diversion. Please let me know how you like the video content by commenting below, and don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail or rss so you don’t miss the next great recipe, article or video on integrating mind and body fitness.

Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms – poultry, dinner

Written by Philip Walter on May 24 at 12:30 am.

Another healthy recipe - Turkey Chili.

Here’s a tasty recipe my wife and I adapted last night. It’s cheap and relatively easy to make. It is also fairly modular in that it can fit into pretty much any meal plan. If you’re on a low-carb type plan, just add your favorite veggies to the side. We added spinach and (since we don’t mind a few whole-grain carbs) a package of Near East’s Roasted Pecan and Garlic Whole Grain Blend.

A couple notes here – 1) If you’re not so much into the vinegar taste, you could cut that with something sweet, like honey or maple syrup, or you could add a bit of your favorite stock; 2) At the end of simmering, you could also stir in a bit of flour to thicken the sauce. Try it for yourself and leave a comment below telling us how you liked it and if you did anything differently to adapt it to your tastes.


  • 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 1.25 lbs.), cut into halves
  • 1 14.5-oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine (we used a Copolla Shiraz)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, cut into rings
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Portabella Caps, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  • Season Chicken Breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in large pot.
  • Saute Onion, Garlic and Chicken Breast over med-hi heat until chicken is brown and onion is clear.
  • Add Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Herbs, S & P, Wine, and Vinegar, bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to med-lo and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Nutritional info for a fantastically healthy balsamic chicken recipe.

For a printable PDF version of this recipe, click here.

BrickhouseBodymind TV Episode 3 – In Praise of Asymmetry (the Sweeney Todd movements)

Written by Philip Walter on May 20 at 5:49 pm.

On Set at the Shooting of BrickhouseBodymind TV Episode 3

Photo courtesy of
rebecca davis

This episode is a video response to James’s recent comment about asymmetry as it relates to joint mobility programs. I want to thank James for his comment, and I also want to make clear that this drill as well as the one in Episode 1 come from Andrey Lappa’s Dance of Shiva system, not my own head. I only present these exercises to give you an idea of the types of movements I work with everyday to improve my long-term health. If you’re interested in detailed instructions of this extremely complex system, I strongly suggest picking up his DVD.

In this episode I demonstrate the power and challenge of asymmetry in the vertical arm movements of Lappa’s system. These movements work the arms through their entire range of motion – internal/external rotation of the humerus, pronation/supination of the forearm, flexion/extension of the elbow, and flexion/extension of the shoulder. As you work with these movements, be careful not to let your shoulders become tense and creep toward your ears. These movements should be fluid and free. Try also to activate the bandhas as you get more comfortable with the practice. Enjoy!

If you haven’t already, be sure and subscribe via e-mail or rss, so you don’t miss the next episode. Thanks a ton to Robert for the use of his garden and his nice camera work, and thank you for watching!

Tell Us Your Favorite Talk

Written by Philip Walter on May 14 at 2:20 pm.

Okay, so a lot has been happening.  I got sick, my precious 12-year-old golden retreiver, Grace died the middle of last week, and I have been assimilating some new training techniques.  Long story short, I’m still working on the mindfulness in your workout article.  However, I have the chance to watch a few more talks on, introduced in the last blog entry, and I thought it might be fun to share a couple of my favorites with you.  This is, of course, a two-way street, so I’d love for you guys to share your favorite talks in the comments below.  And the article on bringing more mindfulness to your workouts is coming soon, so stay tuned.

Rives on the significance of four in the morning.

Robert Full on animal movement and the perfect robotic foot.

Aubrey de Grey on the approaching reality of a modern-day Methuselah.

 Please point us to your favorites and join the discussion below.

Perspectives on the Brain – Introducing (and a little BrickhouseBodymind homework)

Written by Philip Walter on May 6 at 4:43 pm.

Integral perspectives on the brain.

Photo courtesy of

The purpose of this post is two-fold. 1) I want to introduce you guys to a terrific website at 2) I want to prime your minds with a bit of homework for an article coming later this week on making all elements of your life better through the cultivation of mindfulness.

Last week my dad turned me on to a website called It’s a fantastic resource for anyone interested in learning more about science, technology, art, design, business, culture, etc. The website’s subtitle is “Ideas worth spreading,” and it presents (completely free of charge) lectures on all aforementioned subjects by some very knowledgeable and compelling characters. The talke are generally around 20 minutes in length and are well worth the time.

So, homework assignment 1 – check out the following lecture from If the player below doesn’t work for you, just follow this direct link. It’s 18 minutes 44 seconds.

Okay, how do you feel now? I for one was very enthralled by this talk. I can tell you I had a visceral reaction to her pulling out the actual brain and spinal cord there. The idea that so much flimsy meat is what controls everything my body does is at the same time astounding and a little sickening. It’s hard to imagine that lumpy mass with its slinky tail, housed inside the bony structures of my body is what makes my human awareness with all its exquisite obsessions possible.

And this brings me to my point. The integral approach seeks to understand life from all available perspectives. This lecture you’ve just watched is a perfect example of the different perspectives on the human mind.

  • There is an external, scientific perspective illustrated by bringing out the physical brain. This makes a lot of people (myself included) a little uncomfortable precisely because it reduces the special-ness of the human being to so much squishy flesh. It reminds us how vulnerable we really are.
  • There is an internal, personal perspective, which is what she describes as she experiences the stroke. Notice too, that this perspective changes as she goes back and forth from right-brain euphoria to left-brain panic.
  • There is finally an internal, interpersonal perspective illustrated by the phone call she makes to her colleague in an attempt to get help. Because of her situation, they have a difficult time communicating and agreeing on what’s happening in her head, but there is finally a mutual understanding that she needs help.

Now for homework assignment 2 – check out this video of Ken Wilber manipulating his brainwaves by meditating while hooked up to an EKG machine. It’s 10 minutes 10 seconds.

This again drives home the concept of multiple perspectives. What I really want you all to get a handle on before my next article on mindfulness is that our internal, personal experiences are inextricably linked to external, physical correlates. This is the mind-body connection we’ve all heard about for so long. It’s for real. Furthermore, this also works the other way. Our physical state of being manifests in our mental/emotional state of being.

You truly are a bodymind unit.

Please comment below if you have thoughts on the videos in this post, or if you want to share your own experiences with the body-mind connection. And be sure to check back later this week for tips on bringing more mindfulness into your life.

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