Here in Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles there are several ‘secret stairways’ tucked into the hills which I have gotten into the habit of climbing as a part of my fitness routine.
These long, stone stairways were built back in 1923 when the ‘Hollywoodland’ neighborhood was first created by housing developers. It is the portion of Beachwood Canyon set back into the hills just under the “HOLLYWOOD” sign.
In fact, the “HOLLYWOOD” sign originally said HOLLYWOODLAND – it was an advertisement for the fancy new development that was being built for the silent film stars of the day.
In 1949 the “LAND” portion was taken down – when the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce began a contract with the City of Los Angeles Parks Department to refurbish the sign and wanted to remove associations with the housing development.
But the homes those developers built were whimsical and enchanted – with many castle-like elements such as towers and battlements.
It’s a delight to walk the neighborhood amongst these old gems.
The ‘secret stairs’ were created so that residents could quickly make their way down to the village center, instead of having to meander along winding streets.
These old stone stairways are between 140-180 steps each and are often hard to locate.
Engulfed in tropical vegetation, nestled between private homes, it really does feel like you’ve chanced upon a secret passage when you find one.
And once you do – whoa! Get ready to feel the burn, baby!
I love these stairs because they meet my personal qualifications for “fitness” – all fitness activities I engage in must be compelling and delightful.
Furthermore, I enjoy the regular challenge of taking those stairs and noticing how fit I feel – it’s a litmus test for my embodiment practice.
-Can I steadily engage my glutes and lower abdomen as I go up?
-Can I maintain my posture and keep my head level?
-Am I able to move at a steady pace – not slowing toward the top?
-Is recovery after taking the stairs easy or do I feel strange aches and pains later on?
It’s adventures like these, out in the world, where the rubber meets the road with your body conditioning practices.
Personally, I am entirely unwilling to damage my body in the name of adventures. But I’m also unwilling to sacrifice adventure!
So the only answer is to keep up the body conditioning practices – stretch, strength, breath – that keep me fit for all the ways I want to go out and play.
Yes, I want this for myself. But I especially love being a part of it happening for others.
Example: here’s a pic of my aunt Susan on a trip to Colorado last month when she turned 63.
Look at this woman! She was doing many-mile hikes deep into the Colorado wilderness.
Upon her return she reported remarkable endurance and confidence in her body. Plus, after those hikes she wasn’t riddled with soreness. She felt great!
THIS IS WHY WE PRACTICE!
Susan has been committed to taking care of her amazing bod for as long as I’ve known her.
And this year she’s been a rockin’ regular member of my EMBODIED program – doing the refined strengthening, smart stretching, and self-massage on therapy balls several times per week.
It all adds up! It adds up to freedom to go out there and LIVE.
And it makes me SO HAPPY to get to contribute to her joy of exploring the mountains and forests of this amazing earth.
Which brings me to a question: Are you out there adventuring and exploring the way you want to? Or is lack of trust in your body holding you back?
If you feel held back, today is the perfect day to start taking small steps toward change…
Cheers to adventures far and near!
PS. Join my embodiment program HERE to get your first week free.