Cross Train For Hiking

5 Fun Ways to Cross Train For Hiking

Is it too rainy to hike? Inclement weather conditions can quickly turn a fun outing into a miserable and potentially dangerous excursion. If it’s too nasty out to hike, there are still plenty of ways to get your exercise.

1. Go To The Gym

Gyms provide plenty of options for specifically targeted exercise. You have the option to get your heart rate up with a cardio machine like a stationary bike, stair stepper, elliptical, or treadmill. You can lift free weights or use the weight machines. There are always people around to ask about cool new exercises too. Some gyms even have running tracks and courts for sports like basketball and tennis.

2. Take A Studio Class

Studio classes, like yoga, pilates, barre method, dance, karate, kalari and Zumba all give you an excellent workout. All of these classes build strength, flexibility, power, and endurance. Additionally, you are under the tutelage of a certified instructor who knows how to guide you through your exercise without injuring your body.

3. Home Workout Videos

There are tons of options for working out at home. From fad vidoes like T90X to simple at-home yoga classes, you are free to watch and participate in the privacy of your own home. This is the perfect option for those who want to get fit, but are self-conscious about working out near other people.

4. Office Workout

If you’re stuck in the office all day, walk or run up and down the stairs during your breaks. This is a great way to train for hiking as it mimics the mountain climbing aspect. Stairs also build strength and endurance, and with the floor levels being labeled, it is easy for you to gauge your progress and set your own goals.

5. Embrace The Weather

During some seasons, it may be just better to embrace the sports the are only possible during inclement weather. Investing in some warm, waterproof clothes, and a few ski or snowboard lessons is your ticket to fun during the winter. Additionally, the backcountry skiing culture incorporates hiking with your ski or snowboard, so that you can visit remote mountains and ride down them.

A Brief History of Kalari and its Contributions to Ayurveda

The origins of kalaripayattu come from both mythical and practical roots.

Pre-historic Animal Influence

Even before mankind was writing, our ancestors were watching fighting animals and mentally noting the differences in strength and style of confrontational tactics. Prehistoric man could then utilize some of the techniques he saw in nature. For example: the snake triumphs by turning easily and quickly in any direction and then rising up to strike. These types of movements, and other natural movements form animals such as a horse, boar, and peacock among others were mimicked in the human body during times of confrontation.

The Story of Parashurama

Sri Parashurama was the Sixth Avatar of Vishnu who left home to perform various acts of devotion to Lord Shiva, under the guidance of the sage Agastya. Sri Parashurama was so devout and austere that Lord Shiva gave him the artistic knowledge of weapons (shastravidya). The most famous weapon given to Parashurama by Shiva was an indestructible axe called Parashu, which was used to save the world from the advancing ocean. God Shiva deemed Parashurama as the worthiest warrior who would rid the world of all bad people, including the Haihaya-Kshatriyas for their prideful, sinful, irreligious and thus destructive, way of ruling. Parashurama liberated the Earth form felons, extremists, demons, and sexual deviants. When the Arabian Sea started advancing on the Malabar Coast, Parashurama threw his axe into the sea, causing it to regress and thus save the land. To protect the land he created, Parashurama taught 21 masters the martial art, in 42 kalaris throughout Kerala.

The Sagnam Age

From 400 BC to 600 AD, the war hero was the predominant spirit across Southern India. During these times, the greatest honor was to die a brave death on the battlefield. Around 700 AD the first Brahmins settled the Southern coast of Kerala. The ritualistic Brahmin contributed more of a religious note to the war hero ideal, thus further shaping the martial arts into the kalaripayattu we know today.

The 100 Years War

Around 800 – 844 AD, students had been learning martial, and other arts, from Brahmin institutions. Around this time, a defeated dynasty of Cheras made a comeback and came into rule. Throughout this 2nd Chera Dynasty, martial training was continued, and in fact necessary, to fend off the attacks of the other armies in Kerala at the time: the Cholas and Pandyas. By the end of the 11th Century, the Chera dynasty had disintegrated after a 100-years war with mainly the Cholas. This did not mean that kalaripayattu had died however.

The British

In 1795, the gun-toting British had succeeded in taking over Kerala and put a stop to any native practices, including Kalari. The art was still practiced, but it had to be in secret so as not to aggravate the oppressive punishments that came with British rule. By the mid 20th century, the Kerala was a state of Mother India, and Kalaripayattu could be practiced more openly. However, due to the indigenous destruction caused by the British for hundreds of years, much of the original knowledge was lost or altered, and it has been a struggle to put together the pieces.

The Dhanurveda

The Dhanurveda is an ancient text, which provides the sacred and practical knowledge of martial arts. The name translates specifically to “knowledge of the bow” but in fact contains a manual, which could be applied to all battle arts. Maharishi Vashishta, whose purpose was to provide the world with a way to eliminate sorrow, wrote this text. The Dhanurveda describes the specific types of training and practice, not only with the bow and arrow, but also with other weapons or no weapons. It also describes tactics for different types of warriors (those on horses, elephant, wrestlers, etc). Some of the highlights the Dhanurveda contains are ritual purification for weapons, techniques, lower body postures, and mental training devoted to fixing the mind with stable concentration on the single target he is to hit. All of these concepts and more are represented in the version of kalaripayattu that is practiced today. It is from the Dhanurveda where the concept of single point focus, or ekagrata emerges. This single point focus is the major tie between Kalari and what it has given Ayurveda.

Kalari and Ayurveda

Similarities

Both the arts/sciences of Kalari and Ayurveda come from Upavedas, which are the knowledge of arts and sciences (Kalari from the Dhanurveda; Ayurveda from the Atharvaveda). Both arts are paths to self-realization through long, drawn out, slow building processes of discipline, dedication and ritual. Kalari and Ayurveda both provide tools for physical health and a calm, stable, state of mind. Upon mastery of each of these sciences, one has meyu kannakuka, an innate response to his environment that is fluid and harmonious.

What Kalaripayattu Has Given Ayurveda

As a health system, the principal goal of Ayurveda is to harmonize ones life by balancing the doshas. Kalaripayattu provides a disciplined lifestyle and concrete practice that can accomplish just this. The exercise aspect of kalari serves to provide clear channels for vata to flow. The intense heat and movement of the exercise grants a path for pitta to release and evaporate, while the oil application of the massage nourishes the tissues and channels, bringing the balance full circle. The discipline required for kalari study, as well as the inherent qualities obtained by the regular practice, provide an escape for modern human beings from the epidemic of modern diseases of the blood, heart, and gut. The primary cause of these diseases is rooted in underlying mental tension (too much work, not enough spirituality, hedonistic overindulgence). The ekagrata principle of kalari from the Dhanurveda, serves to focus the outer eye so that the attention can turn to the inner eye, where the profound karmic changes can be made.