Dear Mark: Flexibility vs. Mobility, Orange Skin, and Radioactive Matcha

I’m going to keep today’s question and answer session rather brief. I’ll be covering three topics: flexibility and mobility; carotenoderma, or the orange-ing of the skin following ingestion of carotenoid-containing foods; and whether matcha green tea from Japan poses any threat due to radioactive contamination. For the first, I discuss whether it’s flexibility or mobility we want. Second, I explore whether getting orange skin from eating lots of carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash is something to worry about. And finally, I talk about drinking matcha from Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear event.

Dear Mark,

How important is flexibility in achieving real fitness? Most of the yoga teachers I’ve seen are flexible, lean and strong. They’re probably fitter in many ways than people who lift heavy and sprint and many of them only practice yoga for fitness.

I find I’ve gained strength, agility and speed after going primal last April, but I’m pretty stiff and I’m trying to change that as I feel pretty out of shape in my yoga class, while I feel supreme in most of my other fitness classes.

Are you flexible?



Rather than what most people think of when they say “flexibility” – the ability to hold ridiculously contrived poses and lengthen the muscles beyond the point of practical use – I favor optimizing one’s mobility. Mobility is essentially the ability to move freely, easily, and safely, but we can break that up into subcategories.

General mobility describes the ability to safely, freely, and easily move through space-time. It’s walking without a cane or walker. It’s using the stairs, instead of the elevator or escalator. It’s pointing to a place off in the distance and being able to go to there. It’s the kind of mobility that the elderly are most concerned with and everyone else usually takes for granted (until it’s too late, of course). It’s why I walk so dang much.

Local, or joint mobility describes the ability to safely, freely, and easily move your body parts in concert through their full ranges of motion. If you’re lifting heavy things, playing sports, and generally leading an active life, this kind of mobility is crucial – and it goes a lot quicker from disuse or misuse than general mobility. Say you’re at the farmers’ market and you want to pick the best head of cabbage, but they’re all scattered on the bottom section of the display. It’s better to be able to sit in a full squat to make your pick, rather than awkwardly bend over and hold your spine in flexion for minutes at a time. Imagine you’re going for a PR on a deadlift. The better your hip mobility, the better (and safer) your starting position and ability to generate power while maintaining a neutral spine. You don’t want to fight with your body. You don’t want stiff muscles enveloped in tight fascia rubbing up against more stiff muscles in even tighter fascia. Movement should be easy, smooth. When you struggle against your own kinetics because of poor mobility, you lose strength, lose positioning, and put yourself in danger.

Mobility is active and practical. Flexibility, at least the way most people approach it, is static.

Check out my series on joint mobility and be sure to spend some time on Kelly Starrett’s Mobility WOD blog. (And come to PrimalCon! Kelly will be there offering his wealth of knowledge and expertise to all who attend.) Doing so won’t just improve your yoga. It’ll also improve your strength, agility, and speed.


I love orange fleshed foods including carrots, sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkin. However, my usual intake of 1-4 servings a day gives my skin a slight orange hue. I’m all right with the color, as long as it doesn’t turn into a Jersey Shore orange, but could this beta-carotene/vitamin A skin tinting be doing anything detrimental under the surface? How much is too much?



Sounds like you’ve got a case of carotenoderma. In and of itself, it’s nothing to worry about. It won’t cause any harm and it’s not doing anything detrimental under the skin. However, there are two kinds of carotenoderma: primary and secondary. Primary carotenoderma is caused by “excessive” ingestion of carotenoid-containing foods, like the ones you mentioned eating. Secondary carotenoderma is caused by underlying diseases or genetic conditions that impair the conversion of carotenoids to retinol. In secondary carotenoderma, a person could eat normal amounts of carrots, sweet potatoes, or squash and they’d still develop orange skin.

Most cases are primary, and it sounds like yours fits that description. Four daily servings are more than most eat. I wouldn’t necessarily stop, since those are all healthy foods, but you might try limiting your intake to 1 serving a day, or even every other day. If you’re suffering from poor conversion, a single serving a day should still cause orange skin. If it does, you might make up the difference with animal sources of retinol. Things like liver and egg yolks (which you should already be eating) are the best sources around. Of course, eating plenty of liver and egg yolks means your body will likely be replete in retinol, thus reducing the conversion of beta-carotene to retinol. So it goes both ways.

Secondary carotenoderma could also hint at some other underlying health issues. Take a look at your thyroid function and liver health, as hypothyroid patients convert less beta-carotene to retinol and the conversion occurs in the liver.

Would there be any concern of radiation from matcha green tea that comes from Japan? I drink it almost daily.


There have been reports of contaminated Japanese green tea, and last year the Japanese government even banned the use and sale of tea from four prefectures because they tested above government limits for radioactive contaminants: Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Kanagawa. Note from this map, however, that both Kanagawa and Ibaraki showed elevated levels of radioactive contamination and that all four prefectures are located near Fukushima. Clearly and intuitively, the closer the prefecture to Fukushima, the greater the risk of contamination. From what I was able to find, most matcha in Japan is actually grown and produced in more distant prefectures, like Kyoto, where the city of Uji is well-known for matcha tea production, or Aichi, which according to both this source and this source has passed the radiation tests. Consult the maps and search for matcha green tea from prefectures that either tested low in radiation or are located far from Fukushima.

Since we know that drinking matcha tea results in greater absorption of green tea antioxidants and amino acids than simply drinking tea made from green tea leaves, I imagine you’d also be absorbing more of the bad stuff (if any is present). You might consider switching to regular green tea leaves for awhile to allay any remaining concerns.

That’s it for this week, folks. I told you it was a short but sweet one. Keep the questions coming in and be sure to leave a comment! Thanks for reading.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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70 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Flexibility vs. Mobility, Orange Skin, and Radioactive Matcha”

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  1. I have had questions myself about radiation contamination – I love matcha and have been drinking it for years. The decision I made was to continue drinking my matcha, but just not as often. I have a bowl every few days, alternating with other types of tea. There don’t seem to be any clear answers, so I am just going to proceed with caution – that means not giving up this fabulous beverage completely!

    1. What brand do you buy and where do you buy it from? I’ve never tasted matcha green tea in my life but have known about it for a few years. It seems to be a lot more expensive compared to all other green teas. Is it worth the extra cost?

    2. Much of Japan’s green tea production comes out of Shizuoka prefecture(between Tokyo and Nagoya for those unfamiliar with Japan). This area was essentially unaffected by any radition contamination, and tea from this particular area should be safe.

  2. “Rather than what most people think of when they say “flexibility” – the ability to hold ridiculously contrived poses and lengthen the muscles beyond the point of practical use – I favor optimizing one’s mobility”

    LOL. Well said!

  3. I lift heavy things, run sprints like if a macairodus tiger is chasing me once a week and move at a slow pace in my bike one hour a day on my daily commute to work. I have the incredible luck of having at work weekly classes of yoga and pilates and I enjoy them to the fullest. If you do these classes and you do them with the proper technique you get the most benefit. If you do the class slouching and with poor technique, you can be years and have little improvement.

  4. Dr. Stuart McGill, who is probably the world leader in spine research has pointed out several yoga poses that can be detrimental to your spine.

    1. I don’t think yoga is useless, but like any other activity, there’s the potential for injury. I’ve over-stretched in a hot yoga class and pulled a muscle from it. Just don’t go any further in a yoga stretch / pose than you’re VERY comfortable with.

      1. I am one of those really non flexible guys that have played sports and lifted weights my whole life and have hardly stretch the past few years. After starting to get pains at work I decide to take up Yoga. I started taking Hot Yoga 2 months ago. In the past month I took about 22 classes. I’m glad to report I’m not sore after class and I have not injured anything, I can not do any crazy contortions but I’m certainly more limber and comfortable in my day to day routine. I really feel like Yoga and Weightlifting are very similar in that sure you can push yourself past a limit and you will get hurt. There’s is not question that your body has a limit and you need to respect that. Most people can feel that limit and mostly it is your own EGO that will get you hurt. Not Yoga, not weightlifting, not running. I think if you hurt yourself in Yoga you probably have a bad relationship with your body or you pushed yourself past your limit. Yoga didn’t do it. You did. I hurt myself at the gym a few times and it’s usually because my ego couldn’t handle the lady next to me deadlifting twice what I was working out with. I’m mature now and I accept my limits.

      2. I’ve taken yoga for a while at a studio near me. Every class, the teachers make a point to say to the students to not over exert yourself, go to your own limit, and this is not an ego trip. Yes, they can do great flexible moves but also provide the students with in between poses and positioning for those not able to reach the full flexibility.

        ALSO! Yoga is not only for flexibility, but engagement of the muscles. This is where the strength comes in that you can gain from yoga. Just like Mark’s intro to fitness videos, he is doing a lot of yoga poses too in there- where there is engagement of the core muscles and rest of the body. This is key. If you are not engaging your legs in front-forward-bend, then you are wasting your time. A simple move like that can give you great benefits in your legs and core while resting the top of your body after some intense downward-facing-dogs.

  5. My legs thanked me when I gave up the “feel the burn, dude!” type of static stretching. I don’t miss it one bit.

    1. Then you have no idea what Yoga is if you are equating it to ‘feel the burn’!

      A good teacher would never expect anyone to hold positions in extreme; yoga is much more than flexibility, in many ways that’s the least of what yoga is. Properly taught it is about being in touch of with your body and its energy systems and is very useful for stress management and many emotional/mental dysfunctions.

      It is NOT an extreme stretching class … and if your class is like that a) it isn’t yoga in the true sense and b) stop going!

  6. I have great hip mobility. My problem is my knees. I had a severe injury (lifted my end of a 380 lb rotor an inch off the deck using my legs, not my back). I have changed the way I walk and climb to compensate. I’ve lost 42 lbs so far and would like to move more. Just not sure how without reinjuring the joints.

  7. I dont know why you dismiss yoga so much, i think being strong in many poses holds a lot of value. of course there are extreme yogis who do some over the top stretches and poses but where does the “practical use” line get drawn? how can lifting 3 times your body weight, which you promote heavily with “lifting heavy things” be more practical in this world then doing some yoga? don’t get me wrong i love lifting heavy thing, and consider myself a powerlifting enthusiast but i don’t think that you should dismiss yoga as much as you do. it can really help a lot of people relieve stress and get in great shape and is very enjoyable. ive found it to be supremely beneficial in achieving any of my athletic goals.

    1. I don’t think Mark is really dissing yoga… It seems as if he is saying that it is not necessary if you lift heavy things, sprint once a week or so and just move a lot and sit as least as possible…

      1. Yoga is an ancient mental, spiritual, and physical discipline. There is physical evidence of yogic postures dating back to the 3rd millennium BC – aka “prehistorical”. When a person refers to these postures as “ridiculously contrived” – IMO – yeah, that’s “dissing”.

        1. Yes I think Mark’s stance sounds slightly defensive to me.
          I really think yoga is a form of lifting heavy, using your body weight to hold positions.
          mobility i think can go hand in hand with yoga. walking, and yoga is a great combination, throw in some sprints and you have a winner.
          not to mention, yoga bodies are fab!

    2. Agreed. Some people take their yoga way too far. In an article in New York Times Magazine last month, Glenn Black told of watching a yogi pop out three ribs with an extreme pose. That’s too far.

      I do yoga five days a week. I stick to basic poses and excellent form. I do what makes me feel good, and leave my ego and competition with others out of it.

      Yoga and swearing off grains have done my arthritis a world of good!

      1. You might be interested in “Yoga for Arthritis”,(2008), Loren Fishman, MD, and Ellen Saltonstall. ISBN 978-0-393-33058-8.

        “..definitive medical yoga program for the management and prevention of arthritis.”

      2. I read that article too! Great piece. I attend a yoga class once a week and like you, I leave the attitude and competitive nature at the door to the yoga studio, and I always have a GREAT class.

    3. Yep exactly! I think everybody forgets that yoga is about so much more than just the poses. The asana’s are there to get you to a point of meditation. And as we all know cortisol is the enemy and meditation is an effective tool in reducing cortisol levels. I also really object to the use of the word “contrived” when talking about a health system that has been in use for thousands of years. Grokasana!

  8. Check out Flowfit by Scott Sonnon. It’s a functional mobility program that is a spinoff of his Tactfit program he uses to train elite military forces around the world. YouTube has many videos if you want to check it out.


  9. The Japan radiation issue scares the bejesus out of me.

    Unfortunately green tea is the crack of teas for me and I can’t face giving it up. Thanks for the info, it seems I’ll have to do some sleuthing on the origins of my favourite addiction. This is a scary world we’re living in.

  10. I have to agree with Jake… As an outdoor enthusiast, rock climbing, skiing, and mountain biking take up the majority of my free time. All of these activities have been improved by my practice of yoga. If you look past the intense contortions of advanced yogis, you can realize that yoga is in most cases an hour long challenging body-weight workout. You are required to hold difficult positions (in a comfortable manner ie no “feel the burn”) and you hold them for as long as you can. Along with the strengthening effect of the poses is focus on balance and focus on your sought after mobility. A successful yogi moves flawlessly from one pose to the next without a waiver in balance. You also focus on the body and breath which carry through to every activity throughout the day. You become aware of where your body is in space. I have come out of numerous situations where I should have gotten hurt but didn’t, that I attribute specifically to the fact the my muscles have strength through their entire range of motion. I gained this strength through yoga training. Nothing has improved more than my rock climbing… So I can say “look at that peak! I’m going to the top…” start hiking and climbing, and there I am. I wouldn’t dismiss yoga, because I see a lot of strength benefits that the regular gym enthusiast is missing out on.

    1. +1
      any good teacher will make sure to emphasize doing what YOUR body can do- and that each day is different. Balance is extremely important, and the focus that you learn transfers to other tasks, too.
      of course, relaxation and calmness cant be ignored, since reducing stress is, to me, one of the best parts of yoga.

      1. Yes, I still remember what one yoga instructor said to me: honor where you are today. That is something that has stuck to me for years–in many aspects of my life.

    2. well said brad i also have a love for the great outdoors and my rock climbing abilities vastly improve when i do yoga on a regular basis

  11. I blew 500 bucks this weekend buying new pants and slim fit shirts! BOO-YAH!

    “Mobile, Agile, Hostile!” – Remember the Titans

  12. I enjoy yoga and find when I do a series (4-6) of Sun Salutations and a few other positions as part of my warm up I am less tight and have less muscle pain after a work out. I usually hold a pose for 2-4 breaths before moving on to the next, which gives me time to relax into the pose and, for me, get the full benefit of each pose.

  13. I love yoga. I consider it a body weight workout. My favorite dvd at the moment is Jillian Michael’s yoga, she makes it an even better body weight workout. Plus in terms of flexibility I always wish I could touch my toes and the only time I could do that was when I was doing yoga regularly.

    1. Please try out Rodney Yee. Jillian Michael is like crazy work-out woman and not relaxing at all (wrong yoga vibes)! hee hee
      I love Rodney’s pace, and he has beginner levels through advanced. His intermediate DVD is a killer for me- so fast is one series, and the other is focused on strength. So you get cardio and strength every other day!

  14. I heartily second that there is a difference between flexibility and mobility, and the latter is so important to your overall performance. I have been working very long and hard to overcome tightness and movement restriction in my hips and core. The more ive worked out the tissue, the easier and more efficient walking, running, lifting, dancing–hell even moving around my kitchen grabbing pots and pans–has become. I still wouldnt call myself “flexible” but my re/gained mobility makes me feel like a different person.

    1. Let me add that yoga–especially yoga that uses props and modified poses–has been integral in this recovery. I consider yoga as much physical therapy as a strength workout and I only go to classes where the instructor has a similar sort of approach.

      Ive been to some yoga classes where its all about forcing yourself into the poses and its obvious the instructor knows more about chakras than structural anatomy. I dont go back to those.

      1. Good approach – IMO – to choosing your yoga instruction.

        I agree that “forced poses” in the pursuit of hyper flexibility (over extension) have little to do with true flexibility – and in fact can produce injuries that can limit both flexibility and mobility.

        However, true flexibility equates with range of motion and range of motion is integral to mobility. Thus, flexibility and mobility naturally co-incide – just as much as strength and mobility co-incide.

  15. I am THRILLED to see the flexibility/mobility question here today!

    I tweaked my shoulder at the gym and sought a chiro’s help. This chiro treats the local ballet but he thinks flexibility is overrated. I don’t want to be able to do the splits, but I do want to have good mobility. And yet this chiro has been way down on Kelly Starrett-style stretches, saying I’ll just hurt myself more.

    I was offended on K-Star’s behalf, but I nevertheless have been looking all over the net for info on this. Sooo glad to see this question addressed today!

    And if anyone has some feedback on Muscle Activation Therapy (my chiro’s school of thought) I’d be grateful. I’m seriously wondering if he’s a quack (because, hey–he dissed kStar!) but I’m out of my depth here.

    I have been looking for

  16. As a yoga teacher for 15 years now, I have to say that we really do focus on mobility. I would say this is true of those of us who are looking to balance strength and flexibility — which increases mobility and agility.

    The process is systematic and progressive. Over time, a person not only becomes more flexible, but stronger. When flexibility is taught from the point of strength, then you have increased range of motion, mobility.

    I also love the mobility WOD project. I’ve gotten my teachers-in-training onto it as well, as it is a very accessible way of understanding how the body works together — not in isolating elements as is often taught in weight training as well as in yoga.

    1. Yes. Increased range of motion is integral to mobility and increased range of motion is exactly what Yoga produces.

  17. I only ever took kundalini yoga, and the instructor made a point of never pushing us beyond what we were comfortable doing. It seemed to me that kundalini had a long tradition behind it, and that there was a parallel between yoga with tradition and cooking with tradition: some yoga being taught is sort of like, well, cooking with margarine and using lots of sugar and grains. What I mean is that I cringe whenever I see DVDs of “aerobic yoga” or “yoga for weight loss,” or stuff like that. Our instructor spent a serious chunk of time with us just teaching us how to BREATHE. The asanas had specific purposes, and often times they were meant not to push the body but rather mind through the body. We’d do some movements to waken our senses, then get rid of tension, then do through guided meditation with minds clear. I never wound up in some asinine pretzel pose, but always felt very focused afterwards. I’m not sure what all the traditional kinds of yoga are, but definitely avoid trendy kinds of yoga.

  18. I agree with Mark’s take on mobility – for the moment setting aside the question of flexibility. We do tend to take so much for granted where mobility is concerned – until we are getting up in years, or unless we’ve had an injury that reduced our mobility significantly. As a 75 yo friend of mine (who practices the same type of Pilates that I do – also under the direction of a PT) likes to say, I want to be able to get myself up from the toilet without assistance no matter how old I may become.

    I also agree with the folks here who feel that Yoga is a whole body/body weight exercise. Yoga naturally strengthens the core, through demands on stability, just like the PB fitness exercises do.

    As some of us just mentioned about the “Russian Baby Maker” squat – that squat has been “heard of” and practiced by Yoga practitioners. And, btw, wouldn’t some folks – mostly men – consider the RBM squat (see the photo): “the ability to hold ridiculously contrived poses and lengthen the muscles beyond the point of practical use “?

    Not a surprise that RBM has a Yogic counterpart, given that ancient cultures around the world, including Hindi, use a flat foot, stable squat in their everyday lives. In fact, the Western ball of the foot balancing squat reflects the Western use of shoes with heels (by both genders) making a flat foot squat feel unnatural or too demanding.

    I also agree that some aspects of Yoga can be extreme and possibly impractical for the average Western individual. As the number of Western Yoga practitioners rises, so, too, do the number of injuries. There is absolutely a need for proper technique and a competent teacher, especially for any forms beyond the basic physical postures.

    While I no longer consider myself a yogini, I do acknowledge the contribution of Yoga to Pilates – I follow the Stotts Method mat program. One of the first Pilates exercises that I was given by my teacher/PT was an adaptation of the Hatha Yoga posture “Bridge”, for example.

    Once again, I don’t see why the practice of Yoga (or Pilates) and PB Fitness goals need to be mutually exclusive.

  19. I agree with Mark 100% on the mobility vs. flexibility argument. Some great resources are Steve Maxwell (has a whole DVD collection on the subject, or at his website a 20 minute instant download) or Scott Sonnon and his Intu Flow program. Want to marry the mobility/flexibility world even more, check out some of Sonnon’s prasara yoga stuff.

    1. Thank you for these resources, Steve. I like your turn of phrase: “marry the mobility/flexibility world”. I don’t feel that these “worlds” can/should be isolated – and I don’t isolate them in my own practice.

  20. I love Mark and all of you apples, but I think yoga is underrated by this blog/forum. Yoga is a strength work out, but simply uses body weight. See how you feel in the last upper pushup or chaturanga pose of a 75-minute power yoga class – it’s a work out without question.

    I used to do the gym work outs where I felt totally depleted. I worked with a kettlebell trainer for a while and ended up with a stiff sore shoulder that plagued me for months. I was always trying to tone up or lose the last 5 lbs. Now I do yoga and pilates 6 days per week and eat a primal diet and I’ve never looked more toned or felt better. I’m actually at the lowest body fat I’ve ever been in my life after quitting the crazy weights and intervals I used to do religiously. Not to mention the best part – I look forward to my work outs instead of dreading them. Please don’t dismiss the great benefits of giving yourself a break!

    Also, I agree with several of the comments that yoga does emphasize mobility and not simply over-stretching. It should be a mind/body connection and you aren’t competing to make a pose work if it doesn’t! That’s why people get hurt – not listening to their bodies throughout class.

    As always, thanks for the perspective, Mark.

    1. Hanging from wooden beams with your shirt off to show off your ripped abs is not ‘ridiculously contrived’?

  21. That was something i was worried about too, as I get my tea from the local Asian market. It’s from Kyoto though.

  22. well Mark, I disagree with you about yoga. I have been practicing for quite a while and find that it’s been very helpful. I now can squat down and pick the right cabbage with ease and hip mobility has increased. But, I agree with walking..and I do a lot of it up hills and thru the canyons of NYC.

  23. I was happy to see that you really did your homework and came up with good information about what is happening here in Japan. Too much of the information is badly misinformed and outright false. Your understanding of where the places most affected by the radiation are located and where most of the tea is grown is very accurate.

    Most of the tea in Japan is grown from at or around the Mt. Fuji area in Shizuoka (150 km southwest of Tokyo) and further south. The reason why is that tea doesn’t do well in areas with high amounts of frost or very cold weather. The leaves are very sensitive to cold. That is why anything northeast of Tokyo, while certain areas certainly have tea plantations, there aren’t as many as in the south. The best tea in Japan comes from around the Shizuoka and Aichi areas, where it is quite warm. Very little tea comes from the Japan Sea side of the country… just too much snow and too cold. You have absolutely nothing to worry about, in terms of radiation, from teas grown in the prefectures like Shizuoka and Aichi and Kyoto southwest of Tokyo.

  24. just to add, living here in NZ, there are a lot of active people in my classes. All of them have limited mobility in some way.

    Many of these athletes do multiple sports — like triathlons or lifting plus running and some even do Primal. Others are into cross fit.

    They all have limitations in their range of motion that yoga helps them address in a prescribed and systematic way.

    While most of the Mobility WOD stuff is *excellent* and *I love it* — and as I said, turned my teachers in training onto it — it’s disjointed. My husband is probably doing 20 different exercises in a . . . hmm. . . “isolation” way.

    In a way, a buch of mobility movements without a cohesive structure, works in isolation — similar to trying to build up biceps through isolation moves, rather than looking at a move like the chin up and how it improves arm development.

    Yoga is much the same. It’s a prescribed system (and adaptable to any individual), and gently moves joints through their ranges of motions — including, btw the spine.

    This is just something that struck me in reading the comments.

  25. I’ve totally experienced that orange tinge thing!!! But i love my carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato. Now I just moderate my intake to avoid that ‘glow’. I’m not much of a matcha green tea drinker…in fact I just started drinking white tea…if you haven’t tried it yet I suggest you do. Very pleasant mild flavour and similar benefits to green tea!

  26. I agree that one of the most important things with Hatha Yoga is to avoid injury, and REALLY listen to your body. When people lift weights or, say, run or swim in strong currents – do any of those primal activities, they are alert in a different way than taught in yoga classes nowadays. Originally this was not so, because natural people living in simple societies were not so neurotic and likely to be out of sync,as they had to be active to survive, and yogis were already of advanced physical agility when accepted by a teacher. That said, I, as an ex-dancer and gymnast, cured myself of very serious illness and injury with yoga, pranayama breathing and meditation, all of which help re-learn pathways disrupted by disease or injury. Small,then heavier weights, walking, swimming,then hiking, running, climbing or other extreme activities are a natural.
    The Paleo direction need not preclude yoga or movement-therapy type exercises. I’ll bet paleolithic shamans had just such tricks up their furry, shell-decorated sleeves after a hunt went bad.

  27. Yoga is the bomb. Mentally and physically. It forces you to concentrate and keep the mind quiet. It is the best recovery routine I know.

  28. thumbs up for yoga !
    thumbs up for pilates!
    thumbs up for heavy lifting and sprinting and walking and….
    anyway run out of thumbs
    From personal experience and watching what ppl are up to in the gyms,parks,group classes I noticed that it is the competitiveness and comparison that becomes the sure invitation to injury/pain
    I love the funky stretches and balances and find them fun to practice;-)))))

  29. Hi everyone.

    I sell matcha as a side business. There have been growing concerns about radiation, fortunately they are quite unfounded.

    The University of Kyoto is evaluating a lot of the matcha coming from the South. Especially Uji near Kyoto, which is one of the absolutely most sublime regions for matcha plantations, is free from radiation. To be honest, with matcha, you COULD even drink matcha from Kagoshima and even Fukushima province without any damage, since the amounts necessary for consumption are incredibly low.

    But, to go sure if you are concerned, ask your reseller wether or not his plantation has received radiation testing. My wholesale plantation for example has undergone all scrutiny necessary to ensure safe matcha. This goes hand in hand with a copy of radiation testing for every batchs old.

    Your providers should be able to produce these(I have gotten them, for example) and show them to you if necessary.

    Best regards and stay primal,


  30. I agree with the commenters here who defend the place of yoga in a fitness regime. I hurt myself about 20 years ago in an accident involving my hip and back, and yoga was the only thing that has been able to get rid of the pain.

    I do yoga every other day at home. I do the Bikram series, which I think is very well thought out and not at all dangerous. There are no head or shoulder stands. I don’t heat the room: I just go slowly and wear warm clothes if it’s cold.

    I work hard in the summer growing vegetables by hand with no tools other than hand tools, and I can get very tight if I skip yoga; then my back starts to hurt. Yoga is a great exercise system for people who work very hard physically. If you think about it, it was developed at a time when almost everybody worked very hard physically, before there were machines to do everything. If I do yoga every other day, I am strong enough to do all the work I need to do in my garden, yet I don’t have any pain.

    Terry Gross interviewed a guy today who was talking about the history and science of yoga. I would recommend listening to that podcast if you are interested in yoga. Her guest took a very balanced view of it. He admitted that it was possible to hurt yourself doing yoga. I never have, though, I think because the Bikram series is very carefully sequenced to avoid injury.

  31. let’s be honest, flexibility is going to have an impact on mobility….

  32. Mark certainly phrased his words carefully when talking about yoga. He might’ve taken a little more thorough look. I think the point is finding a class that offers a good balance of flexibility and strength poses, and there are certainly better and worse versions of that out there.

    I’ve been partial to Bikram’s (hot) version, because I think it does a good job of not getting too tied up in flat out flexibility. It certainly helps that Bikram himself looks more cut and strong than long and limber.

    In any case, I find it as an incredibly good supplement, mainly to enhance my abilities for other things – running, climbing, etc.

  33. Mobility is defintely the holy grail of being healthy……as far as the musculosketal system is concerned.

    Strength is okay too 😉


  34. Love all the comments. Super helpful. With a background in yoga and frequent of K Starrett’s mobiltiywod, I am taking some beginner aerial classes, where there is a major focus on having splits and extremely open thoraic mobility. I can’t imagine obtaining these levels of openness through mobility exercises alone. Please disprove me if there is a way to get extreme ROM without static stretching (logging the minutes in splits).

    Also curious as to the optimal diet for mobility? Most online searches only come up with scammy vitamin ads. I’ve been primal for a couple months but always looking to maximize performance

  35. This web site is known as a stroll-by means of for the entire info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and you’ll positively discover it.

  36. thanks Mark, that article was really heplful, I am also a Matcha tea drinker. Thanks again. Love your posts