I never claim to be enlightened: I have had enlightening moments and recognize them. In fact I believe enlightenment happens on a daily basis; in effect it’s another part of the Yogic journey. There may even be certain degrees of enlightenment: not that I could ever imagine any benchmarks. That’s really the extent of my knowledge of enlightenment. Continue reading
Answer: It’s an inside job.
Question: What is Sex?
If I read one more article that dumbs down the benefits of a yoga practice for guys to meeting someone to date or hook up with, I’m going to puke. Peep this…a yoga practice cleans out the clutter in your life—physical, emotional and mental. The benefits to your sex life are secondary. There is nothing you need to improve. No blue pill. No row boats or side-by-side bathtubs. Just you getting to know you.
As a healing therapy yoga has proven beneficial for a wide range of physical conditions, but when misaligned postures and hyper-extended stretches push the body beyond its limits the practice hurts more than it helps. It is important to note that when taught by an instructor with a sound understanding of anatomy and physiology asanas are considered to be some of the safest and most gentle of exercises. In the vast practice known as yoga, which includes many different styles both old and new, there is plenty of room for anatomical error.
How did I go from being a 5’10”, 285-lb borderline pre-diabetic, to 5’11″ (Yes, I grew an inch!), and, as of this writing, 259 lbs, looking a feeling better than I ever have in my life? In a nutshell, I embraced yoga and plant-based eating.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the expression “Control your breath, control your life” or some variation of that. I can’t count that any more than I can count the number of times I’ve overheard a teacher reminding students to breathe during a Yoga practice – I’m guilty of that as well.
Teacher Training provided a basic understanding of the concept of proper breathing. Many books, and a class or two later I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I now consider breathing more-or-less an art-form. When you consider there are four main pranayama practices covered in a 200 Hr TT course: Deergha Swaasam (3 part breath), Ujjayi (victorious breath), Kapaalabhaati (breath of fire or skull-shining), and Naadhi Suddhi (alternate nostril breathing) that’s quite a bit of information.
All four have their place in a pranayama practice: without question.
Yoga practice of asana’s, cuddling, affection, physical attention, sensuality, sexuality and emotionality – mentality – spirituality are all tied in to touch on many levels. It always surprises me and never surprises me when, as a massage therapist and with over 20 years of experience, I learn of people not ever having had a session or even liking to be touched. As an extreme abuse survivor, with 15 years of direct trauma on all levels inflicted on me in my youth, post trauma it took an additional almost 10 years for me to be able to be completely open to and receptive of touch. (So rape survivors, incest survivors, neglect survivors and/or physical abuse survivors…trust me I get it!) I would still and have always massaged because it’s my souls purpose and joy to do so. I love to share the deeper love that is rooted inside of me, that has been unharmed and untainted by the past, and people have always felt good through my touch but to be on the receiving end was always difficult, until it wasn’t. It was easier to give because that’s all I’ve ever done, even when things were taken from me. Giving was easier because there’s a control aspect to it that we are unaware of sometimes. Receiving makes it less in our control on some level, however subtle it may be, exposing us to vulnerabilities we may not yet be prepared for. As part of my healing and recovery process, grace would have it that a lot of my healing came through others hands on work with me, without which I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if at all and if it weren’t for the many healers that have crossed my path.
So, for almost 12 years I only practiced yoga for exercise. I do live an active life, and have mostly had jobs that require an amount of labor, so yoga has not been the only thing to keep me moving. However, when faced with the idea of lifting weights, or adding in a regular “cardio” session, I always turned it down. After all, “yoga is all I need” or so I thought. Lifting body weight, and doing vinyasa flow (including Ashtanga Primary Series) seemed to cover those bases, 3-4 yoga classes per week gave me plenty of activity to increase and maintain flexibility, as well as maintain a healthy body. But I did tend to have about a 10 pound weight swing every 2 years or so, and each year, it seemed like it was becoming more and more challenging to ‘right the ship’. So on my 39th birthday, I thought it was time to do something different, and try something new. What would it be like to add in some weight and/or resistance training on a regular basis? Would I lose flexibility? Would my binds become less available because of increased muscle mass? Wasn’t yoga “enough”? It was time to try and see. After all, one of the reasons us yoga teachers want others to practice is to increase performance in other physical activities! As a yoga teacher, I would surely benefit by having some personal evidence to back this up.
Eastern medicine such as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine) suggest that cleansing during the transitions of seasons is crucial. Ayurveda points out that the windows of transition, the natural progression from one season to another is September (from summer to fall), January (from winter to spring) and May (from spring to summer.) If you’re not able to do all 3 then at least the spring time is the best time. Continue reading
A visual study/exploration of the body in motion with a focus on yoga poses.
Our goal for this piece was to create a realistic representation of radiological (x-ray) imaging.
Instead of just creating a still image, however, we wanted to combine the beautiful moves of yoga with this new visual approach to bring the full human skeleton to life.
Technical challenges included aspects such as achieving proper bone densities and representing actual bone marrow inside each individual bone.
via Hybrid Medical
Every guy practicing yoga today has had a first day of yoga practice. It’s what happens after the first day that helps your story unfold. You have multiple options for incorporating yoga into your lifestyle.
Don’t be fooled or bullied into doing a part of yoga that isn’t right for you. Just because you are focused on your breathing (Pranayama) or meditation (Dhyana) more that asanas (poses) that doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. It’s your path not the person trying to tell you that you are wrong.
Fasting during this weather/this time of year is not ideal according to Ayurveda. It’s like walking into the middle of the woods while it’s snowing and all of your clothing is quickly removed. Similarly, during the thick of winter the digestive fire must be maintained and the nervous system must be balanced, but isn’t done so when food relative to the season is taken out of or prevented from going into the body. There are modifications made according to constitution which shouldn’t be taken lightly and should be understood accordingly, based on Ayurvedic practices.
I’ve lived my life based on the notion of keeping things “real”. In other words, working with what I’ve got from where I’m at. Little did I know that that kind of thinking is actually Yogic in nature: never knew I was a philosophy kinda guy. I also have this tendency to tell it like it is, call a spade a spade: I think you get the picture.
Since I began my Yoga practice I’ve noted a few things here and there out in the Yoga world; specifically, things that come into play when I’m on my own mat in a self-practice or leading a class.
Without labeling things that give rise to the Ego, here’s a topic that really hit home in a class recently and I figured I’d share it here.