BTW, due to some Google weirdness this page is #1 for Bill Engval, who , apparently drinks the same barefoot awesome juice that I do. Here is a link to his blog & his amazing barefoot walk through the grand canyon. I present my third podcast: Seven Surefire Signs You’re a Barefoot Runner.
Sak Yant is an Ancient magical practice of tattooing Sacred Geometry, using Buddhist,Brahman and Animist imagery and magical incantations (Kata), written in Khom (Ancient script used to write Pali Sanskrit).
Sak means “to tap [tattoo]”, and yant, derived from the Sanskrit word yantra, means “sacred geometrical design.”
Sak yant designs are normally tattooed by wicha (magic) practitioners and Buddhist monks, traditionally with a long bamboo stick sharpened to a point (called a mai sak) or alternatively with a long metal spike (called a khem sak).
What does it have to do with barefooting?
If the monk who does the tattoo works alone, he uses his barefeet to stretch the skin. This video shoes the foot stretch action.
A shod person wouldn’t be able to create such mystical tattoos. His or her feet are much too weak and inflexible to accomplish such magical feats ; ).
Yes, I’m fully aware of the sanitary implications of such practice. There is, however, evidence that hand poked tattoos heal faster than the ones done with coil, rotary, or nuema machines. The manual tapping causes less trauma to the skin; a tattoo machine runs fast and hard. In fact, most liners run around 110-120 cycles/hits per second. A hand poke tattoo is much slower, which means fewer holes and less impact.
My wife and I hiked to Indian Beach at Ecola State Park. I, of course, took off my sandals and walked bare. I got the usual stares from people who passed us by.
When there’s nothing between you and the trail, you automatically slow down and savor each step. I was cautiously walking over packed dirt and hard hard sharp pebbles when a group of teenagers blasted past me. They were hiking at a furious rate and seemed to in a hurry to get to the beach. I looked at their Marshmellow shoes and watched as they blindly rushed over the rough terrain that was slowing my pace. The whole trail must have felt the same to them. All one rubber bounce. No texture, no temperature, no sensation of wet or dry. What’s the point? You can walk fast anywhere.
Hiking is more than just a stomping over rocks and dirt. It’s about connecting and experiencing the place. Don’t let the Trail Pass You By: Tread Bare.
Everyone knows, or should know, that I’m NOT a reptilian humanoid. Here are five and half things about you me you probably didn’t know. By the time you finish reading this post, you may wish you still didn’t know them, especially the one about the parasites.
I am an Oregon State Licensed Tattoo Artist.
I have a gift (or curse) for annoying people I love. Sort of like this song.
What makes me think it’s a gift is catchy quality of my irritation.
I have designed and illustrated a few books for a small, literary press. I also write bad poetry and fiction on occasion. I’m working on my first YA novel. I don’t have a title yet, but it will be better than my first novel title, “Satanic Holiday”. God, I can’t believe I thought that was an edgy title. It’s terrible.
I have an ALA accredited Masters of Library Science Degree from SJSU. I even served as an Adjunct Faculty Member at Tacoma Community College and Spokane Falls Community College. Most of my Spokane students absolutely hated me. They tore into me for my faculty review. OMG, it was brutal, I couldn’t stop laughing when I read it. But the department head didn’t care. She had me come back to teach.
I absolutely hate seafood, which is why I married someone who enjoys it.
5 & 1/2. I had a weird hobby: I used to collect and repeatedly listen to MLM pitch tapes as a form of entertainment. Most of my collection focused on holistic health, but a I had a few stock forex ones too. The holistic ones were much more interesting. Quack cures abounded in Dead Doctors Don’t Lie (Doc Wallock is top-rate salesman and speaker.) But my favorite MLM tape was about parasites. It was called something like “Are You Clear of Parasites?” It featured audio testimonials of people talking about their eliminations.The line I remember is, “I called my wife over to the washroom and said, ‘Oh, honey, you gotta see this; you just won’t believe it!'” (I think, by now, you know how that poor woman must have felt.)
A long necklace with an amulet or weight will help track your stride. If it smacks your nose or causes temporary blindness, your stride is off. The necklace should not bounce around.
Reflective Street Paint is your Friend
The Oregon roads are mean and rough; almost like taking belt sander to your feet. Luckily, even the cruelest roads have a secret soft spot: the painted line that marks bike paths. It’s an excellent surface to run on, smooth and best of all it’s white, which means it lets you see most debris and stays cool in the heat.
Be a Boy-scout or Girl-scout Bring a First Aid Foot Care Kit for Longer Runs
Always be Prepared. A good kit should include alcohol or first aid wipes to clean cuts and abrasions, tweezers to pick out glass, pebbles, or thorns, adhesive bandages to cover cuts, scrapes, and the freaky blood blisters that blossom on long runs, and a mobile phone.
Run in the Middle of Low Traffic, Residential Roads (NOT in high traffic areas–duh) or on the Flat Sidewalk.
The asphalt is smoother and there is less debris. The roads in Oregon are beveled convexly to prevent flooding. Not only are they magnets for sharp metal, glass, and bolts and nails, but they also alter your stride, causing excessive wear on the side of one foot.
Run through Stiff Mud
Dude, mud is freaking awesome to run through. I love it. Feels great between your toes, but you can also use mud to check your stride. Find some flat, stiff mud, the consistency of clay; it should be stiff enough to record your footprint. Run across a patch of mud. If you see a deep hole toward the front of the print, you’re putting way too much pressure on your toes. I bet your calves and Achilles ache hard. Don’t try to tip toe land. Just let your foot land naturally.
Solve Math Problems or Mind Puzzles
Some people over think their stride. They get all caught up in technique and form; instead of just running and trusting their body. A good way to “forget your stride” is attempt to solve math problems while you run. The cognitive load will let your body’s natural rhythms take over locomotion. And you get a good brain workout, which is important.
Skip, Jump, and Dance
Yes, people already think you’re crazy for running without shoes. Embracing the weirdness can prevent repetitive strain injuries, which over stress bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. A skip, jump, or pirouette will vary the movement and will make you laugh. Who cares what other people think? They’re not out running barefoot. Varying the terrain you run on can also help. Grass and trails offer a variety of surfaces.
Run in Place or do Jumping Jacks Before Cold Runs
There’s no doubt that running on icy roads will numb your feet. But if you warm up before you go out, they will stay warm all the way through. Personally, I don’t like to run when my feet go numb–something is wrong. On cold days, I run on the treadmill to get warmed up, then go outside for my run. Usually, my hands are colder than my feet when I do that. It’s not a good idea to run with numb feet, you can seriously injure yourself.
Have a Come Back Ready
Unfortunately, some people are close minded idiots. They will hurl all sorts of insults or questions at the lively barefoot runner. It’s a good idea to have a come back. I learned this when riding a unicycle, “Where’s the other wheel?” people would ask. I had two stock responses: the funny one and the get lost one. The funny one, “Never buy anything from HalfOff.com”; the get lost one, “Real Men/Women only need one wheel.” For barefoot running, I usually just say, “Shoes are over-rated” or “Shoes are for weak feet.” That usually shuts up the person. Or I just ignore them.
Chia Seed Gel is super easy to make. Just add three parts water to one part Chia Seed. The gel has NO flavor. Really, it tastes just like water, but it’s packed full barefoot nutrients: EFAs, fiber, protein, and since it holds a lot of water, it keeps you hydrated. If you want something a little different, you can make Valen Longfeather’s Chiacolate pudding. Substitute Chocolate Soymilk for water. Now you have a tasty chocolate flavored health food that you can make in minutes.
Studies have shown that smiling lifts your mood, even when you’re a upset. There’s some sort of neural connection between smiling and happiness. I’m sure there’s an evolutionary explanation–something about bearing your teeth, adrenaline, and mating. But I’m not an evolutionary Biologist. I’m a wild barefoot runner. If I were and evolutionary biologist, I would specialize in crypto zoology. All of my scientist friends would laugh at me UNTIL they watched me running barefoot in a pack with a Bigfoot, a Chupacabra, and a reptilian humanoid, then they would be totally astonished and afraid of me. I would not strike them down or organize a cryptozoolical uprising. I would, however, make them take off their shoes and do science barefoot. They would give me a plaque and money. They would want to worship me, but I would not let them. I would tell them to smile more. They would say, “The scientific reason for smiling and happiness is…”