Natural Movement in an UnNatural World

– The MOVEMENT Movement with Steven Sashen Episode 123 with Kyle Koch

Kyle Koch is a former IT software technician turned nature nerd. He has been facilitating transformative experiences in nature for almost a decade: inspiring youth and adults to connect to their gifts through exploration, play, and curiosity. Kyle is always expanding his practice through the study and application of functional neurology concepts, traditional strength training, martial arts (Systema), and meditation and breathing (Wim Hof Method). When not teaching or facilitating, you can find Kyle exploring ways to deepen his connection with himself, others, and the Earth.

Listen to this episode of The MOVEMENT Movement with Kyle Koch about using natural movement in an unnatural world.

Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:

– How some may argue people aren’t equipped to live in the world we live in.

– How we are “human do-ers” instead of human beings, and how that affects us.

– Why you have to lose your mind to come to your senses.

– How convenience is the killer and the kind of our modern-day world.

– How the idea that are ancestors were always working and on the move is false.

Connect with Kyle:

Guest Contact Info

Instagram
@trottingsparrow

Facebook
facebook.com/FreeBodyMovements
LinkedIn
linkedin.com/kyle-koch-45227a191

 

Links Mentioned:
trottingsparrow.com

 

 

Connect with Steven:

Website

Xeroshoes.com

Jointhemovementmovement.com

Twitter
@XeroShoes

Instagram
@xeroshoes

Facebook
facebook.com/xeroshoes

Steven Sashen:

Living a natural life in a non-natural world can be a challenge. Many people would say that we’re not even equipped to live in the modern world we’re living in. And so what do we do about that? Well, we’re going to take a look at that in today’s episode of The MOVEMENT Movement, the podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body, typically starting feet first because those things are your foundation after all. We break down the propaganda, the mythology, sometimes the flat out lies you’ve been told about what it takes to run, walk, hike, play, do yoga, CrossFit, or whatever is you like to do with your body. And to do it enjoyably, and effectively, and efficiently. And did I mention enjoyably? I know I did. It’s a trick question.

 

Because look, if you’re not having a good time, do something different till you are, because you’re not going to keep it up anyway if you’re not enjoying it. I am Steven Sashen, your host of The MOVEMENT Movement podcast, also the co-founder and CEO of Xero Shoes. And we call it The MOVEMENT Movement because we are creating a movement that involves you. I’ll tell you how, it’s free, no big deal, about natural movement, letting your body do what bodies are supposed to do. And the way you become part of that is really easy. Go to our website, go to jointhemovementmovement.com. You don’t need to do anything to join. There’s no payments, there’s no nothing. That’s just a website that I got.

 

But that’s where you can find previous episodes of the podcast. You can interact with us in various ways, and find all the places you can find us on Facebook, and YouTube, and Instagram, et cetera. Of course the podcast is available wherever you find podcasts. And that covers it. So with that said… Wait, I’m trying to think if there’s anything else. Oh no, it’s really, really simple. If you want to be part of the tribe, just subscribe. Hit the thumbs up, or the like, or leave a comment, or a review, you know how to do it. It’s really, really simple. All right. So let’s dive in. Kyle, do me a favor, can you introduce yourself, tell people who you are, and what you do, and why you think you may be here.

Kyle Koch:

For sure. My name is Kyle Koch. I am an online personal trainer. I’m a nature connection guide. And my most favorite thing is I facilitate transformative experience outdoors around community play and movement.

Steven Sashen:

And first, that is some very impressive facial hair for people who are not watching, for people who are they’ve already come to that conclusion. So how long did that take? Because I’m sitting here on a couple of days and frankly if I had remembered we were going to have this chat, I would’ve shaved. So I can’t do what you did, so I’m always curious.

Kyle Koch:

I’m almost a year in. Typically, it falls off every spring.

Steven Sashen:

With a weed eater, or just you molt, or just disappears because it starts to get warm.

Kyle Koch:

The birds start picking at it when they’re trying to build their nest. It’s got to start some fires. It works its way into the world.

Steven Sashen:

Got it. So before we dive into what we teased at the top of this thing, can you say a little bit about where you are, what you’re doing, how you discovered the natural, not only just natural movement, but bringing natural things back into people’s lives. What’s your story? Is the better way I could have asked that.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. I’ve been told I have an interesting story because right now I’m living off grid in Northern Minnesota, and I’m in the middle of the woods, literally, on a 40 acre property that my girlfriend owns. But I started out as a IT technician in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, living in a penthouse apartment, enjoying a lot of modernity, and technology, partying, drinking, all of the things that the city had as to offer. And I was dissatisfied. I didn’t have deep meaning or belonging in my life until I went to a nine month survival school out in Washington. And I learned how to track. I learned medicinal edible plans. How to be in communication with the living world around us, and all the ways that humans have been doing for, I don’t know, like ever. And then I was transformed deeply, and ever since then, I’ve been on a quest to understand what happened to me, and how did nature facilitate that?

Steven Sashen:

So, first things first, if I were going to be living off grid, and being as minimalist as possible, I would’ve picked somewhere warmer.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. This land has actually been in my girlfriend’s family for almost 60 years so we’re the third generation to take over and to be stewards of this land. So that ultimately is what led us here. We didn’t really pick it, it picked us in some ways.

Steven Sashen:

And when you say what happened to you, do you mean what happened to you as in the global you of humans that went from being more connected to the world that they’re in, to being disconnected? Or are you personally from that shift from IT pro, and having all of those modern things to what you’re doing now? Which one are you referring to, or both?

Kyle Koch:

A little bit of both. I was changed in a way that I didn’t even know. A problem was solved that I didn’t know that I had. So I didn’t realize the extent of my disconnection until I actually got connected.

Steven Sashen:

So, what was the thing that inspired you to go on a nine-month program of being… And I want to hear more about exactly what you did too. But what was the thing. Because I’m always interested when someone is thinking about natural movement. When they’re looking into minimalist footwear, for example, what’s that first thing that made them be curious. Because at first they probably didn’t believe this was a legit thing or believe it was real. And then something made them curious first, and that’s what then leads you into researching and discovering, et cetera. So what was that thing that was going on that got you curious, and then led you to this nine month program?

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. It was a combination of two things. One, I realized if I didn’t have a computer and/or an internet connection, I didn’t have a lot of useful human skills. If the power was out, my skillset was minimal. And that led me to survival TV shows, and then eventually I did a weekend course. And in that weekend course I made fire from sticks. Rubbing sticks together. I blew them into flames, and I realized the deep well of potential that was hidden inside of me. Like I took sticks from the woods and I turned them into fire. I was like, “Wow, I am so capable. What else can I do?”

Steven Sashen:

Well, you know that many, many, many thousands of years ago, that was what IT pros did. So you’re still an IT guy, just different technology.

Kyle Koch:

Exactly. Call it primitive technology.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I like to say back then people would say… Now people say, “Hey, that’s not rocket science.” Back then they would say, “Yeah. That’s not rock science.”

Kyle Koch:

Exactly.

Steven Sashen:

So then nine months, I mean what the hell? I can only imagine. I’m having a flashback to when I was in Thailand in 1989, and I went out, my first day on this one island and spent the whole day out swimming, and hanging out, and having a great time. And then the next day I was sunburned like crazy. And there was literally nothing I could do other than sit under a tree for a couple of days and wait till it healed enough that I could move without being in pain. And it took me four days to just unwind enough to be able to just sit there. So I can’t even guess what… I mean can you talk about just the mental transition that occurred from leaving a IT job, penthouse, et cetera? I mean you had an idea of what you were getting into, but you didn’t know what you were getting into.

Kyle Koch:

I had no idea what I was getting into. Even the idea that I had did not even come close to what actually happened. And it’s like you said, we live in a world of doing. We are human doers instead of human beings. And we live a lot from our mind. And we have this saying like, “Lose your mind and come to your senses.” And when you come to your senses you realize that so much is happening around you. There’s this idea of sit spot. It’s you go to a spot and you sit and you observe, and that’ll teach you everything you need to know about the world. And what you find is modern forms of TV. There’s a whole drama going on outside. Things are living, dying, being murdered, hunted, chased. So much is happening. If you just tune in, the same way you’re flipping through Netflix, the world is a book that you can learn to read, but we aren’t interested anymore for some reason.

Steven Sashen:

People have said to me sometimes they look at ancient civilizations and go, “I can’t believe they figured out fill in the blank.” And I go, “Well, they didn’t have anything else to do other than spend generations observing. Like what the stars were doing, or what happened.” Now, that doesn’t mean they got the right answer every time by any stretch of the imagination. But this idea that either they were better, or that we are smarter or dumber, either way. But to your point, there’s different things to put your attention on when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, or out in the middle of somewhere that people here in the modern world call nowhere. That once you start paying attention, there’s a lot going on. Can you give me any… I mean can you give me any specifics of things that were revelatory discoveries, or something that just made you go ooh and ah?

Kyle Koch:

I mean the amount of food that is around you in any given environment is ridiculous.

Steven Sashen:

Like?

Kyle Koch:

Like all your greens, berries, nut, seeds, and then not to mention animals. I both have lived in the woods, deep off grid in a tent for 200 days at a time, and I’ve lived in downtown Seattle. And I’ll tell you that there is actually more abundance in the city than there is in the nature. It’s concentrated. There is so many birds, and predators, and food sources in your neighborhood as there are in the greater wild world, they’re just a little bit more spread out.

 

So that was a big revelatory moment of like, everything that I need has been and always will be provided by the world. Whether you get it from a grocery store, or your landscaping, or the woods. The same things are there.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a guy who… I don’t know if he still does it. I lived in New York city 30 years ago. And there was a guy who used to do tours at Central Park that were all edible tours. It was all showing how you could get all the food to you need just by walking through Central Park, if you knew where to find it.

Kyle Koch:

Exactly. And a lot of that food is more nutritious. The nutritional content, density, and bio availability in those foods is way higher than anything you’re going to find at the supermarket. And a lot of people are like, “But what about the toxins?” I’m like, “Your food is sprayed with toxins. Whether you harvest it yourself or you buy it from somebody like, at least if you get it you know, or have a better what’s in it or on it.”

Steven Sashen:

So, I keep coming back to your nine-month trip because, again, I can only imagine that A, just what the transition was during that, and then more of the transition coming back. But also I can only imagine there was at least a couple of like holy crap stories that are the highlights of that trip.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. I mean there’s so many. Some of those moments are following animal tracks, all the way until the point until you get to see that animal. Tracking has been described to me as our first language. If you want to eat, you find out that these animal tracks look like this, and they eventually lead to the animal, and along the way you’ll find out if the animal is running, walking. If that animal has eaten during that day, if that animal is sick, healthy. So much can be brought forth from the tracks. And you are not thinking about your bills. You’re not thinking about your to-do list. You are so engrossed in the moment, and so embodied, and caught up in the story of this being that everything else just falls away, and you find your place in the world. And then when you get to see that animal, and that animal doesn’t run, is not scared, is not concerned. That animal sees you as the animal that you are, you realize you truly and deeply, and have always belonged to this world despite the plastic bubble we’ve created to separate ourselves.

Steven Sashen:

We have several Xero Shoes customers who’ve talked about running trails and accidentally sneaking up on an animal because they were running so quietly. And the animal is more shocked than they are, but often doesn’t run away because it’s like, “How the hell did you do that?”

 

That’s amazing. There’s an old joke about this of two hunters. These two dumb hunters who are out. And one of them goes, “I think these are deer tracks.” The other goes, “I’m pretty sure they’re bear tracks.” And they get into a big argument of deer tracks versus bear tracks and while they’re arguing they get hit by the train.

Kyle Koch:

Totally. A lot of times when you’re tracking, you’re self-focused on the tracks you could get to look up and see the animal exactly right there.

Steven Sashen:

So again, pardon me for just harping on this. I’ll tell you why I’m doing this. Because I’ve done a bunch of long meditation courses. And it’s been very interesting watching what changes in my mind as I’m going through the course, as I’m spending this time where I’m spending 16 hours a day watching my breathing for example. And then the transition from there back into my normal life. So I’m pushing you because I imagine, again, there’s something in there in both ends going in or out, whichever the way you think of it, and then coming back that I’m hoping that it’s not just me who’s got idea in my head that there’s something there that would be interesting to hear about.

Kyle Koch:

So, a lot of it was looking back

Steven Sashen:

How long ago was this?

Kyle Koch:

This was in 2011, 2012. So, a lot of it was my emergence. I had this transition. I became happy, healthy, connected, movement rich lifestyle. And I was realizing in the… We learn a lot about survival skills. Food, water shelter, the things that keep you alive and happy. And a lot of people are like, “Oh, fire is the most important survival skill. No, no, no. Being able to procure water. No, no, no. You got to be able to hunt. No. You got to be able to build a shelter.” And I’m like, “Movement is the most important survival skill. Your ability to move is what is going to allow you to do any of those things.” And so I got really curious about movement because as a former IT guy, I had shortened hip flexors. I can’t sit in a resting squat.

 

I want to do flips and run like a coyote through the forest. I couldn’t do it. So I actually had to really start looking into training. And as I started to go down that road, I realized that biohacking, all this exercise workout, I was doing all of that just by living in relationship with the world around me. I was doing movement, I was lifting, I was carrying, I was forest bathing, I was getting infrared light from the fire. I was grounding. And I was picking up free radical electrons. I was inhaling all these phytochemicals from the sky. All of these things that people… Like meditation. I got into meditation a lot later, but I realized sitting in the forest not thinking, I’m meditating. When I’m following those tracks, I’m in a deep state of meditation.

 

That all these things that people separate, if you just go out on a wander through the woods, you’re doing the healthiest things you could do. Natural killer cells increased by 50% after spending three days outside. Seeing the color green lowers your cortisol. I realized after the fact that like, we are putting a lot of science on things that don’t really need it. Science is just proving that, yeah, living in the relationship with the world is the best thing you could do.

Steven Sashen:

You reminded me. I was on a panel discussion about 11 years ago about natural movement. And there was people who were all functional fitness, and instead of go to the gym, go out and climb a tree, et cetera. And finally I said, “You can’t fake.” What we’re talking about. These artificial versions, even going out and climbing trees, and just throwing rocks around is not the same as when we had to collect rocks to make a house, or walk back and forth to have enough water, or all those things. And I said, as a weird example, as a competitive sprinter, if I’m training, if I go out on a Sunday morning, and I hit the track, and I train as hard as I can, maybe I’m a little sore the next day.

 

But when I’m at a race and I warm up, and I run for eight seconds, or 13 seconds, I’m toast for a week. It’s a completely different thing because of all the adrenaline, and the hormonal stuff that’s going on for competing, which is more like hunting or being hunted than training. And no matter how much I try to fake it… Did you have a similar experience of just… Or I’ll say it this way, that doing those things for your actual life and survival, how is that different than what you think of what people are doing as, quote, biohackers, or doing functional fitness, et cetera.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. I think it’s really different. It’s supplements versus whole foods. Need equals results. I can quit at the gym, I can end my session early. There’s going to be food and hot water waiting for you. So you also have this idea of conservation of energy. And ultimately I have this idea that, that is the paradoxical demise of our current species.

Steven Sashen:

That is so interesting. I’m on it, but say more.

Kyle Koch:

Right. When you’re out in the forest, and you’re living, I’m not working out, I’m not doing sets and reps to get stronger, I’m doing sets and reps to meet my basic needs. If I’m progressively loading acorns into a basket. If I’m gathering firewood, carrying water. I’m doing all these things to meet my needs. But you know what the number one activity on any survival trip is?

Steven Sashen:

Not a clue.

Kyle Koch:

Napping. Because you hike, you’re like… So I used to help run a survival trip where we would… It was a seven day moving survival trip. We would be gathering resources, And then we would find a shady spot in the heat of the day, and we would sleep for an hour, and we’d wake up and we’d gather resources. And then we would take a nap, and then you’d build your shelter, make dinner, and go to bed. You need to conserve resources because they are not as readily available. But now we live in a world where we have that deep mindset of conservation of energy. Convenience is the killer slash king of our modern day world. But it’s not our fault. It’s natural.

Steven Sashen:

Right. Now Daniel Lieberman, who’s the guy who arguably really kicked off the whole barefoot running boom by doing research that was in nature about what happens whether you’re running in shoes or running barefoot. His latest book is called Exercised. And it’s one of the first points that he makes, is that we have this idea that our primitive ancestors were way more active than we are. And he comments they spent a lot of time just lying around napping, hanging out, chatting. There’s more fidgeting, there’s more activity in a way, but it’s not like they’re expending a lot more calories than anybody now. And to your point, it’s like, yeah, when resources are scarce, you’ve got to make sure you’re using them as best as possible. You’re not wasting your energy where you need more resources than you can accumulate. I love that. All right. So then I’m, again, dying to hear nine months, what was the transition back? What was it like coming home? My God.

Kyle Koch:

It was challenging. It took me probably five years of coming home once or twice a year to really become solid in myself. So I went home after three months. So I was there from September to November. I came home from Thanksgiving, boom, dropped down into Milwaukee downtown, going out to the bar with my friend. And it was kind of like stark because I wanted to share all these exciting things about nature, but nobody really cared. Like, “Whatever, Kyle is talking about birds again.” And so over time I found that the things that I was really passionate about were not valued in that space. At least if I presented them. If I would find people who would ask me, they would be super excited. So there was that challenge and that disconnect of like, “Wow, this is how disconnected. People do not give a shit about nature. It’s just in your way till you get to the thing that you’re going to.”

 

And I took years and years of coming back to really settle into who I am, and to realize the place that I was going was full of nature. So when I would go back to Milwaukee, I would find foxes in the middle of the neighborhood. I would find Cooper’s hawks hunting between the houses and the suburbs. I would find owls and nests in abandoned buildings. So I was starting to open me up to the idea that nature is everywhere. Whether you’re aware of it or not, things are happening. And that helped me deepen my sense of belonging that wherever I go, I’m in nature. A city is just a weird modified environment.

Steven Sashen:

The last time I was in New York city, I spent about an hour in Washington Square Park among a whole lot of hubbub, a lot of activity. But I spent the whole hour looking up because there was a peregrine falcon just circling overhead for an hour. And I was the only person who noticed, and it was awesome.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. And you’ll see the pigeons will tell you where the peregrine falcons are, the crows and the jays will tell you that… Bird language is really one of these deep, deep skills that a lot of people aren’t even aware of that concentric ring is happening around you.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a thing out here in Colorado. There’s a lot of prairie dogs. And for people who don’t know prairie dogs, think cuter meerkats, is the best way I can say it. And what people don’t know, prairie dogs have a language as well. And what’s really entertaining about prairie dogs, they know who people are. So they have different things they say depending on whether they recognize you or not. Or sometimes they just recognize a cyclist versus a runner, but oftentimes they know who you are, and they respond. And it’s very entertaining. I remember riding my bike once by a prairie dog field, and this one baby, just really, really young just came up to check me out. I mean stood six inches away just to check me out. And then I came back next day and it’s like, “Hey, you again.” It was super, super fun. And it’s painful that people are having to figure out how to deal with their economic goals of like, “I want to build a house where these prairie dogs are.” And prairie dogs, it’s a tricky one.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. And that’s a big part of the modern dilemma, is we want to cut down a forest that’s full of food to grow corn. So, I’ve been into acorn harvesting, and acorns are incredibly abundant. They are hundreds of kinds of… Not hundred, maybe. There’s at least 15 different kinds of acorn here in Minnesota. And they’re abundant. They’re so widespread, and they can basically replace your almond flour. Gluten free. They’re sweet. They have all these nutritional benefits. And they’re also… Most of the food people eat is not even native to North America.

 

And we cut down huge slots of forests, full of food that is just waiting to be harvested to grow food that’s not from here, that’s not as good for you. I really like the idea of permaculture. That was a big thing taught at the school, tending a landscape because people have been living on this planet for a long time. Like John Meir, I think it was, he went to California for the first time and was like, “Look at this pristine environment has been completely untouched by humans.” And then he found out like, wow, native peoples have been tending to that environment for at least 3,000 years.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. What’s the word for that? Crap, I can’t find the word for that sense of self-importance when you don’t realize that, “Oh no, no. You’re the one who’s new here.” That’s a good one. So I want to back up to the movement thing, not surprisingly because we are on The MOVEMENT Movement podcast. And so you are taking people out, and helping them experience some of what you experience, obviously not to the same extent. But can we talk about just the… Wherever you want to take, the whole phenomenon that you’re discovering when you’re working with people, and then moving out in nature.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. So it’s very multifaceted. So this idea of natural movement is put on a pedestal, that we all want to move naturally. Well, a lot of us are compromised because of lifestyles that we lived with chairs, and soft beds, and all the things. So actually using a strength and conditioning perspective is really helpful using a modern gym to give you the strength and mobility to actually move naturally. So that’s one idea we can start to bridge these worlds. That’s what I feel like my gift is. So in my online training world, people want to do natural movement, but they can’t. So let’s do strength training to give you the skills to move naturally so you can do that more.

Steven Sashen:

So, what are some of the examples of things that people would do in a gym that would be helpful for them if they’re out in nature?

Kyle Koch:

Split squats. That’s like the biggest one, split squats, sled pulls and pushes. And yeah, basically anything, but those are my go-to. Because your knees and your hips are really important because, guess what? The Earth is not flat. In fact, it’s quite hilly, and is soft and undulating, and there’s rocks, and there’s logs, and there’s water. There’s all these dynamic surfaces that we need to move over under, through, and around. So being able to move up and down. Like an exercise that I give people is simply just get all the way down to the ground, and all the way back up, and do that as many different ways as you can. And that’s it because no path is ever the same.

Steven Sashen:

I want to emphasize on split squats, or sled pulls and pushes. That one of the things that I find I like about those because I love both of those exercises is that they’re not bilateral. They’re using one leg at a time effectively. And there’s all these exercises that we do, whether we’re doing regular squats, or dead lifting, or bench pressing where we’re using both sides of our body in a way that we would pretty much never do in the, quote, real world. And ironically, if you don’t do them in a gym, they’re better as well. I mean there’s just a lot of benefits for not limiting your range of motion, or limiting the way you have to move if it’s not the range of motion, the path of motion with things that are bilateral, or constrained in some other way.

Kyle Koch:

I mean constantly lunging. If you’re out foraging for berries, and you gathered all the berries that are close to you. Now you have to get the berries that are far from you. You are now starting to lunge, and you’re getting into all of these quote unquote bad form movements. If I’m reaching up and over, or down and under to get these things, I’m not a robot trying to keep my spine straight, and to not put my knee over my toe, and not doing these specific things. Yeah. It’s a dynamic environment so I really believe in training out of alignment, training in as deep of a range as you can go into so that you can be as prepared as possible for what’s getting thrown at you.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I like prepared as possible because, again, it’s very different when you’re doing it for your survival versus when, “Hey, I just did my half hour at the gym, and now I’m going home.” And also I imagine… I think about this with sprinting training where you want to do a lot of strengthening work, but as you get into this season of competing you tend to lose certain muscle mass in certain places because it’s not efficient to have that extra mass when you’re running. I imagine there’s a similar thing when you do the strength training in the gym, but then you get out into nature. I imagine there’s a pruning, or a tweaking, or a changing of just what you did there doesn’t quite apply. So some sticks around, some tweaks, some changes, some goes away. Am I off base on that?

Kyle Koch:

No. Are you familiar with Mick Dodge? He’s like the barefoot sensei. He had a show on Nat Geo. So, he’s a good friend. A guy that I work with, raced. And his motto is like, as you start to feel into your feet, your body will adjust to the appropriate weight. He was a big, strong guy, he was a power lifter. And he lost all his weight as he started to live in this nature based environment. A good metaphor is your body is a car, and your brain is the car driver. Race car, race car driver. Even though, I mean, obviously they’re the same, there’s no separation, but for the metaphor’s sake, we’re going to go with it.

 

So, no matter how good you are at driving your car, if you have a flat tire, it doesn’t matter. That could be a bum knee, a hurt shoulder, a broken toe, whatever it is. It doesn’t matter how good you are moving the vehicle. So we want to fix up, and upgrade, and take care of this thing. But we also want to learn how to use this thing. And I find that just giving people permission, and that natural movement and perspective really helps them learn how this thing works. “Oh wow, I’m actually way better than I think I am mostly because I don’t do anything outside of the box.” Right?

 

Well, you have this idea too that a body builder is driving around a Ferrari in downtown traffic. Rush hour traffic. You have this super-fast car, looks good, but you don’t really get to do anything with it. And then you see a lot of parkour athletes, they’re driving geo metros off road. [inaudible 00:35:44] and flips. They wrecking those things. Those guys are constantly injured. What I want to design is like a 2017 Subaru Forester. I want it to look good but I want it to be able to navigate through all the environments. For me, it’s about connection and meaning. And I get the most meaningful experiences when I can explore with my body and be in relationship with the environment, whether that’s climbing a tree foraging for food, or just doing flips on the beach.

 

I want that sense of freedom, and that sense of connection. And it takes walking in both worlds. It takes gym, it takes grocery store, it takes height, it takes bare footing, it takes barefoot shoes. I’m trying to… For me, I’ve been on this mission of, again, of bridging the world. Like biohacking is taking all the best things about nature, and making technology out of them. Stand in front of an infrared light, do a sauna, binaural beats, supplements. And then you have the net, I’m living only off the food that I grow, and hunt, and whatever.

 

And I think there’s so much missing in this middle area. And that’s why I loved Xero Shoes. Shoes are a tool. And I have shoes that are your classic thick soled, pointy shoes. Because when I’m taking big drops, and I’m doing precisions to rails at height, I’m not messing around. I want that. But I’m not wearing it every day that it’s constricting my foot. I have my Xero sandals when I’m just out in the woods, and I have my Xero 360s when I’m doing mid-level parkour. My goal is to take the best of these modern inventions, these modern technologies, and my experience in being in relationship with the world. And I want to bridge them, and make it accessible to as many people as possible because it’s really, really easy.

Steven Sashen:

I love that you said that because so many people, all they want to do is demonize the, quote, modern world and in a way that isn’t helpful because it’s not like you can escape it. I mean, yeah, you can, but that would be a freakish weird thing. It’s not accessible to more people. And to your point, coming back to the point you made a couple times of finding all this natural stuff in the middle of a city, in the middle of wherever you are, is something that most people don’t think about. And I’m hoping that it’s making people who are listening to this or watching this ponder, what can I find? What can I pay attention to? I mean, God, I just had the craziest flashback.

 

My wife and I used to rent a townhouse that was on open space. So it was nothing but just grassland until the Rocky Mountains. And one day I’m sitting out with a friend doing a very wonderfully modern thing. We were having a beer. And then we see a seven-foot-long bull-snake come out of the grass. And it was heading towards a bush that I knew there was lots of little bunnies in that bush. And suddenly the mama rabbit shows up, and we went, “What the hell’s going to happen here. This snake is going to kill this rabbit, and then get all the bunnies.” And the rabbit took down the snake. And then I got on YouTube, thank to modern technology, and typed in rabbit versus snake, and found a whole bunch of videos of what looked like what I had just seen.

 

In Colorado, you can’t get too far from nature Even in the middle of the city. You’ve got mountain lions who come way farther into the city than people know. Bears who do the same thing. Of course, there’s deer everywhere. There’s elk sometimes and moose, and of course snakes and whatever. I mean the opportunity is much greater than when I lived in New York city, for example. But I’m also realizing how little I take advantage of that, or how little I go out to try to explore the stuff that I don’t see because it falls in my lap. And it makes me want to do that. And I just love this idea you have of bridging these two worlds. Can you think of any other ways for people who find this interesting that you are helping people recognize that, or start to do that. Other than obviously doing the things you have online and your courses, et cetera, and where going to talk about that. But just to give them a taste of something.

Kyle Koch:

I mean you just gave the gold standard example. You can go on YouTube nature is metal, and see all these crazy, ridiculous things. And those are all happening in your backyard. And so your attention is your most valuable resource, and people don’t realize that. Your attention, as somebody who’s trying to sell things sometimes, I’m aware that people spend billions of dollars for a second, a millisecond of your attention. And that is how valuable it is. And you can direct your attention to anything, including the natural world. And that’s all you have to do. And so a practice we call sit spot, is you go outside and you sit, and you go to the same spot every day. It could be on your porch, on your balcony. The closer, the more convenient is, the more likely you go there.

 

The more that you go there, the more opportunities you must see cool, crazy things. And you can set up a camera, you can set up a trail camera to see things that are happening when you’re not there. There’s all these videos of people’s doorbell cameras, catching foxes and coming down the middle of the street. And yeah, come springtime like birds are killing other birds constantly. You can just sit in your backyard and watch it.

Steven Sashen:

I’m not doing birds killing other birds. But last night when I was driving home, I’m at this one intersection, I’m at a stoplight, and on every pole, and on every wire jammed in as tight as humanly possible nothing but birds. I mean I can’t be exaggerating to say there were thousands of them. And I seemed to be the only one who noticed. And they were just hanging out, not doing anything, no one was flying in, no one was flying out. They were all just sitting there. I don’t know what they were waiting for. But thousands of them. And literally it occurred to me, “Oh, spring is coming.”

Kyle Koch:

Do you have any sense of what kind of birds, or what color they were?

Steven Sashen:

They were tiny little black birds, and I’m literally pulling up a picture now to see if I can find it, or if there’s enough resolution to show it to you. No. It’s not high res enough. No, I don’t. And that’s one of those things I’m actually really bad at that. I don’t know things like bird species, or I’m not even good at trees, and that’s something that I want to get better at. No, I mean it’s like they look like that.

Kyle Koch:

Okay. Yeah. So, the cool thing is to start asking yourself these questions, right? Does this happen or has this been happening, and I’m noticing it? Or do I think because I’m noticing it, it’s not happened before.

Steven Sashen:

I’m working on the assumption that this happens regularly, and I just noticed it. I mean, I think I’ve noticed something akin to this before, but this is literally the first time I saw that many birds in that one spot. That was of freaky. I mean I definitely understand about bird migration, and I know we’re on a couple of paths, but that was… And I don’t think that those guys are sticking around here, I think they’re on the way somewhere. But to your point, I forgot about it when I got home, and now I want to go look it up and see who they are, where they’re going.

Kyle Koch:

So that’s a great example of your attention. So, one thing that happens is we teach people about birds, and we teach them about hawks, and they find out about red-tailed hawks. And it’s funny, people will be like, “What kind of hawk is that?” I’m like, “I don’t know, what color is its tail?” Like, “Oh, it has a red tail.” I’m like, “Yeah. It’s a red-tailed hawk.”

Steven Sashen:

Guess what? I had one of those hovering over me on Sunday for about 10 minutes, mostly because there was a big wind and it was just hanging out about 20 feet over my head. It was so much fun.

Kyle Koch:

So again, they’re the most common bird. People learn about this bird and then they see it everywhere and they’re like, “Kyle, there’s all these red-tailed hawks in my neighborhood. They were never there before. And all of a sudden they just showed up.” And it’s like, “No. They’ve been there the whole time. Your brain is constantly filtering out things that are not relevant information to you.” And that’s the detriment of nature disconnection. People don’t see nature as relevant so they literally don’t see it. And that’s why they’re missing out on all of the cool things. The snake and the rabbit, the bird drama. So much is happening, but people literally can’t see it because it does not register in their brain whether they physically see it or not. What’s the basketball example, they’re like, “Count how many passes.” And then a mascot runs across the thing.

Steven Sashen:

Here’s a perfect example of that you’ll love. Have you ever heard of muck diving? So, muck diving is scuba diving in places where people think there’s nothing going on. So it’s in between the reefs. It’s just where it looks like nothing but sand. So a former neighbor of ours, wanted to get into videography and heard about muck diving somehow. And so he set up a three foot square patch of sand in the middle of nowhere in the ocean, and would just go back there multiple times a day, every day and had a super, super good camera that was taking microscopic level pictures. Not microscopic, but really, really small… Pictures of really, really small things.

 

And just sat there with the camera in this little area. And then he sent his videos to some marine biologist and the guy says, “You just discovered 27 new species.” In the middle of where people think nothing exists. He had this one picture of an octopus. I mean not picture, video of an octopus. Amazing. And then I said, “I mean what was that like seeing that?” He goes, “Well, you have to keep in mind it was the size of my thumbnail.” It’s like, “What?” So again, you’re giving me all these great flashes and inspirations of what to do to go pay attention to things that I haven’t been paying attention to.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. I was just in Mexico and I had an upset stomach as one does when you’ve eaten a lot of tacos. And on the side of the road, I just stopped and I laid on this bench. And I looked at the ground and I saw a train of leaf cutter ants carrying leaves. And I would have never seen that. So again, there’s levels of life happening all around you, that is absolutely ridiculous, and all’s you have to do is pay attention.

Steven Sashen:

So, if people are inspired by this and they want to find out more about what you are doing so they can learn about how they can be paying attention differently, how they can be moving differently, how they can be living in the world. Not about trying to get rid of this one, or idolize that one, whichever one they’re getting rid of or idolizing. How would they do that? How do they find more about you, and what you’re doing?

Kyle Koch:

So, I have two projects going on. I’m just about to launch my retreat schedule. And that’s really the best way, is that in person, in-depth experience with other like-minded individuals that… You can only describe things so well, you can only verbally convey information, but when you have these ineffable experiences, that’s really where you get that deep, deep level of connection that cannot be conveyed in any other way. So in June, on June 17th, I’m running what I call the art of belonging. And that’s a workshop, a weekend workshop where you come out and you get to be immersed in the environment, and through play which check out Andrew Huberman’s podcast on the benefits of play. Because as an adult, you need to play, and in nature is the best place to play. Like when you were talking about your heart beating, well, when you play a sneaking and hiding game in the woods, you’ve never seen somebody dive into a bush so fast.

 

And so that’s the big thing that I do. And then the other thing that I do is I do online personal training. And that’s to help give you the tools and permission to have a body capable of going out into the wild world. I have a blueberry spot on top of a mountain in Washington that only the wolverines travel. And that has been my original motivation to be in shape enough. That’s my aging goal. I want to be capable enough to get to my blueberry spot in the mountains.

 

And so, whether you want to just be able to pick up your grandkid. Or I just trained, one of my clients, he just went fishing in Columbia for peacock bass. And he’s like, “Kyle, I got to be able to hike six days off trail, and I’m going to be on the river fly fishing all day.” I’m training people for adventure. So through my online personal training, I have a app, we do a combination of both natural movement to prepare you for those movement obstacles, and strength training to make sure you’re strong, and capable to be able to endure that type of adventure. And you can find me on Instagram, or trottingsparrow.com.

Steven Sashen:

So, wait, give me the URL again, or the IG again, so that people hear it again.

Kyle Koch:

Yeah. Instagram is @trotingsparrow, all one word. And the website is www.trotingsparrow.com.

Steven Sashen:

And of course, we’ll have that in the show notes, but I just wanted to make sure, or people could hear it if they need to hear it. And trotting sparrow, I love the… What’s the thing? Not an acronym. What’s the word I’m looking for? These seem like mutually exclusive ideas, an idea of trotting and sparrow, which is why I love that. Where did that come from?

Kyle Koch:

So, I was a wilderness therapy guide spending over 200 days in the woods helping facilitate youth through therapeutic experiences. And one of the kids was talking about rising phoenix is like, oh, coming to this program was like his rising phoenix. And I’m like, “I’m more like a trotting sparrow. I know that I’m destined to fly, but I’m okay with the path that I’m on.”

Steven Sashen:

Kyle, dude, this has been a total, total pleasure. And again, I just love, not only the things that it inspired me to remember, but just the inspiration for the things that I want to do now. And so I can’t thank you enough. I mean it’s kind of overwhelming. I’m thinking about… So in the space between our house, and we have a hot tub outside. The number of times I walk out and I’m going, “I wonder what those tracks are because there’s something that just walked by here, and now I got to find this stuff out.” I love learning new things, so this was super, super exciting.

 

So, thank you once again for being here. I can’t wait to hear what happens next. I can’t wait to hear from people who track you down, pun intended, and find out what their experience is like of merging modern and natural worlds. And so I’m going to sign off and just tell people it’s like… So can’t wait hear what you guys think. Share this, comment on this, like it, give it a thumbs up, hit the bell icon on YouTube if you’re watching there. And again, go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com to find out more, get previous episodes. If you have any questions or comments for me, if you have anyone who you think should be in this conversation, just drop me an email [email protected] I’m sure there was something else I’m forgetting. But most importantly just go out and have fun. Live life feet first.

 

 

 

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