A Moment with ... Tony Riddle

A Moment with ... Tony Riddle

You all know that at Ancient + Brave, we love inspirational folk, and when the amazing Tony Riddell was completing his recent barefoot challenge, we knew we had to throw him some questions, get the answers and share with the tribe!
Tony's passion for a natural lifestyle, which came about as a way to recharge, reboot and re-educate on the importance of re-aligning ourselves with Nature for emotional, spiritiual and physical health, knows no boundaries, and if you have't already listened to his podcast, The Natural Life-Stylist then do give it a go once you have finished this insight into Tony's Brave thoughts ....

What's the most challenging thing you've done?

Most recently, I ran the length of the UK from Land’s End to John O’Groats barefoot - almost 900miles in 30 days, which equates to roughly 34 marathons a day. It was all in aid of raising awareness for the environment and supporting six organisations - Rainforest Alliance, Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Client Earth, Surfers Against Sewage & Care International. The idea was to highlight the importance of connecting with our environment and the natural world, and to demonstrate the incredible possibilities of our human physicality. 

Every day of this profound experience threw up challenges, but in particular, day 26 of 30 with 120 miles to go, my left ankle blew up and I couldn’t hinge at the joint - walking and running became unbearable and I was in the pain cave. I was determined to complete the mission but 120 miles was a bit far to be crawling on hands and feet. I had my daughter Lola’s voice in my head saying “you’re not going to quit are you papa?”. I made the decision to take a day out to entice my mind and physiology back out of the pain cave and used all the tools I had - breathe, mobility, ice - to get back in the game.

Determined to make up the miles and still finish on Day 30, I embarked on 46 and 57 mile days consecutively, running the last few miles with my family by my side.

This year, I’ll be embarking on a new barefoot adventure - “The Three Bares”. Completing the three peaks challenge Mount Snowden (Wales), Scafell Pike (England) and Ben Nevis (Scotland) in nine days, transported between each peak on my bare soles. 485 miles in total. Follow updates via The Natural Lifestylist on Instagram

What goes through your mind when you need to be brave?

We are a species intended to be wild, connected and empowered.  Our ancestors traversed millions of years of intricate, phenomenal evolution to become strong, competent, courageous beings. Which means we are the descendants of some pretty incredible ancestors.  Its in our genes, it’s in our DNA, it’s the narrative of your evolution to be an awe inspiring human. Let’s do this!

Do you have a ritual physically or mentally that you practice every day?

I’m a father of four so I try and get up before the tribe wakes. Most days start with - 

  1. waking up in an air purifier room
  2. 20mins of mindful mobility
  3. 100 cycles of nasal breath
  4. Sit and set wonderful intentions
  5. Prep a green smoothie
  6. Get into nature - a barefoot trot to the Hampstead ponds for some breath and cold immersion

Breathwork, movement, play and cold immersion are all modalities in which we can tune into the frequency of our internal natural worlds without even needed to step a foot into nature. 

What's the one thing you really must do to be at your best?

Create the appropriate sleep habits and habitat to reach deep nourishing anabolic sleep. Sleep is fundamentally important to regaining and maintaining natural health, absolutely.  But it is, in fact, the quality of our sleep habits and habitats that dictate its positive effects on our health, not the number of hours we clock up in the land of nod.  When I first started on my own Re-wilding Tony journey I was as obsessed with sleep as everyone else was with getting enough of it. Then I came to realise it is not about the act of sleep, inherently. Just getting in the hours isn’t enough.

Now that I understand the wild science behind sleep and how it has worked in nature for hundreds of thousands of years I can prescribe more than just extra hours of sleep to enable people to truly thrive. I discovered what happens when we remove the environmental toxins that disrupt our sleep cycles and block true, anabolic sleep, even when we’re getting in our 8 hours. And this is revolutionary; game-changing stuff for us time-poor, tech-driven, stressed out urbanites.

Describe what 'self-care' means to you ...

To me, being a natural lifestylist, it’s all about looking to the natural world and the natural beings of the world to find ways of living that are more in sync with our human biology. That’s not so scary, is it? It’s not about becoming Captain Fantastic, it’s about designing simple ways of living that create greater health and wellbeing for future generations and for our planet. In essence, it’s disconnecting from our ‘ego-­system’ and reconnecting to our ecosystem. 

 On February 15th, I’ll be hosting a Move, Breathe, Chill Workshop with Artur Paulins. The 4hr collaborative workshop will help raise your urbanite game by learning and connecting with ways of living that are more in sync with our human biology. So we can start thriving not just surviving.

For more insights and information do visit www.Tonyriddle.com - and if you head along to the workshop, we'd love to know how you found it ....