THE PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT:
The experience of “Human-Hero” meteorically altered the course of my sense of equilibrium and equality and hurtled me towards an identity that helps me take on the world in new, movement-filled ways.

THE BIG READ:
To Inclusivity and Beyond: How to move yourself to find yourself.

Whether to live, play, work or save, we all move for different reasons and, when we do, we want to do so with efficiency (even on a treadmill). How to do it? The good thing for many of us is that fitness crusaders are everywhere. However, some of the most interesting stories about working out (in the gym or life) don’t come with Instagram posts, brand ambassadorships, fancy diets or celebrity followers. Their origin is in a humanistic mindset. Human behaviors which at their core want to just help rather than just save. Parker Hurley knows this well. Underpinning a basic premise of physiology and psychology: We’re all wired for movement. 

“Rock bottom has built more heroes than privilege,” (Anonymous).

Three years ago, I was a diversity in distress, caught between an existential crisis of illness and an identity, which left a paralyzing ‘me versus me’ mentality to dominate my headspace. When I was recovering from my life pursuits (promotions, material things, and love), I spent a lot of time musing and wondering: Who am I? How am I managing that responsibility? What does my physical or digital environment say about what I value? Do I have the right tools and resources? How do prescribed DNA sequences, pre-existing conditions, and postures – both personal and professional – affect my ability to make better moves? Where do I fit? It’s a foe I’ve never encountered: an isolated future. We all look up to heroes during transient moments to help us rise above the hustle and bustle of the everyday and epic to connect to something better, but can I train myself to be happy? I needed a hero.

Devotees of Parker Hurley’s movement exploration, stretching out from the fitness epicenter that is Miami, rally behind what he calls “Human-Hero” as well as abandon the conceit that they don’t or need to belong. It is a human-led transformation of what I call a “wholly” unique trinity – the all-over, all-in(clusive), all-open transcendent experience with limitless mental (mind), physical (body), and emotional (soul) opportunities. It takes the capabilities of all of our muscles to be human. These are the fundamental parts and poses that form the foundations of more complex postures, positions and places in life. 

My brush with Parker, happened a few months ago, as I first scrolled upon him on Instagram between a Mr. Turk advertisement and a Warrior II yoga pose. He embodies a modern super human-hero born out of artistic and human compulsion. And that’s who he is. He’s a human-hero. A hero defined by his weaknesses as much as his strengths. His mobility is his superpower. He says things with his movements that I mumble with words. Capturing fun, yoga, martial arts, calisthenics, and a spirit of instinctual animal movements for a lifestyle with clarity and connection —and he’s doing it focusing on technique, variation, volume, intensity, environment and, yes, inclusion and diversity which most fitness counterparts tend to overlook. 

Self-healing is a collaborative act. No matter the race, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, origin, occupation or socioeconomic status, the greatest superpower of all is: the collective movement with others (inclusion), to help you fight-or-flight beyond the former versions of ourselves. A commonplace and a core tenet without extremists, without winners or losers, without judgment, without prejudice, without injustice. The result engenders a space where we accept each of our differences. We approach things with head and heart center, and with a very poseable identity being the highlight. Nature - the outdoors, gyms, yoga classes, and even inclusive spaces usually don’t give a damn who you are. Which is why I was wantful to find room within the conventional realm for the super-powered minority mutants, the outsiders, and “fit”-ness crusaders who haven’t been displaced by success or sculpted by decades of symbolism. The ones who are fractious, imperfect and at odds with mainstream society, contorting their identities, and never getting a chance to belong. And that’s what I did. I found a necessary reset to a more inclusive territory.

When I met Parker in-person, beyond that bright art deco horizon and searing heat of South Beach, in June 2017, he was bench-pressed to superhero-like physique, radiating with introverted charisma, and relaxed into the earth. Yes, he’s larger than life (voted People Magazine’s Sexiest Model in 2014), a yoga instructor, and also at the same time immensely relatable with his sidekick dog, Yaya. He has human motivations. Two essential human elements about Parker is his sincerity and conviction for what he does. His mission: to share what he has learned (the good, bad and the ugly), make other people adjust and align themselves somewhere in society and help them flex their upper-human-hero strength. In that, being nothing but human, he is fueling movements of humanness in a personal and powerful way. Parker, is hypeful, at least, about Human-Hero’s potential to launch a new wave of individuals with that kind of sincerity.

Does it work? Yes. Credit to Parker, for the band of human-heroes he created – united in moving to feel our weight, gripping to our physical-defying shields (our bodies) wherever we are in our arc to be indestructibly “fit.” There was not one atom, cell, bone, muscle or memory of myself that did not move and merge with the marvel of Human-Hero.

And yet, the words “human” and “hero” still have the power to elicit feelings of trepidation, especially in first-timers. It’s clear upon training with Parker that this is a preconception he is keen to overturn as he too considers himself a human-hero in practice seeking connectivity. You’ll work and move until your skin callouses over a hundred times. You’ll sweat-soak the small and big stuff, and your muscles will ache the next day. That feeling? Fucking satisfying. You’ll gorilla walk, or pose with cobra-like imagination. You’ll stand with eyes wide shut. You’ll rebrand how you stand, walk, eat, drink, share, think, and, probably at some point, how you fuck. Given these obvious real-world resonances of ritualistic exercise, as Parker points out: Human-Hero is a movement that takes on a troubling past or present reality, “Human-Zero,” in a meaningful and productive way.

That’s what freedom of movement or anything otherwise should be, right? An awe-inspiring escape and exploration from life’s shit happenings, accelerations, and expectations of others as much as personal satisfaction and divine enlightenment. The momentum of any continuous movement, low or high-intensity, has the possibility to be profoundly meditative. Two years ago, I didn't feel much like a superhero when someone else had to help me walk across a room. Then again, I was one of those guys whose belief and ability never extended outside a physical gym. Fast-forward to 2017, I am getting an interactive assessment, a fresh perspective and forward-moving actions based on what is best for me and my structured progression. It’s less about building a person around a standard set of workouts and more about letting the person’s movement determine the course of the workouts. And as a bonus, I got to see more of the city and culture of Miami than any static gym would ever provide. 

The experience of “Human-Hero” meteorically altered the course of my sense of equilibrium and equality and hurtled me towards an identity that helps me take on the world in new, movement-filled ways.

Ultimately, he taught me how to play the role of a form-fitting hero. If Parker Hurley can drive a human-led transformation of an able-bodied, black, gay, millennial man wearing his lurid spandex-clad diversity on the outside into a human-hero, imagine what he can do for humanity. To still a culture and realign our stance downward into one single, simple, child-like pose. There’s a lot to be gained from people and places that have human-hero levels of inclusion to match their human-hero levels of movements —the kind that flows and extends beyond the big-budget, protein shaking, work out saviors that rule the land of vanity. An extension of our mindset, motion, and emotion are critical. Even if initially, those limitations mean you can’t bend down or extend a hand much further than your ego or inner circle. The good news: There’s always hope for tomorrow.

Those of us, that move with Parker, are continually influenced by his transformative experience. I think no matter our identity or position, we are all left reassured about our place in the world. We’re our own character – thriving in the legacy of others – with our own wants, needs, dreams, and superpowers. There are more of us. I would say Parker Hurley is my superhero. However, he’s led me to realize that in the end, I’m my human-hero.

Chris Clermont, 2017