Monthly Mix Tape

New MOOD by Onnit

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Arc

Someone asked "Can yoga help with that?" and I said yes.
Then a couple days later, another conversation came up and I said "you know, you should give a slow flow some opportunity..."
Then about a week later, another young guy asked "think yoga could help with that?" and I said yes.
Then I'm sitting my back yard, enjoying some fire and I start receiving a text...

You're a personal trainer, right?
          Yes
So you tell people how they should exercise, what they should do and such?
          Along with a few other things, but yes
Ok, so when you're training someone, what is the ideal body image?
          It's all up to the client.  Whatever their goals are, thats what we work for and everyone is different.
Ok, what would you guide them against?  Like if someone wants to look like a certain person of a magazine that is all skinny and crap, do you help them get there?
          Against?  Want to make sure I'm reading your question correctly.  (in my head I'm thinking, so much for a relaxing fire)
Yes, like if they wanted to be unnaturally skinny, would you help them achieve that or would you guide them against the idea?
          Ok... I would work w them and slowly start introducing yoga and balanced nutrtiion plan, emphasis on balance and overall body health.  Introducing yoga and continuing would help them see a better plan.
And what if they dont believe in that?
          (I laughed to myself, she responded like yoga was a religion or faith to be believed in).  We chat... I work it in over time.  Yoga is more than a class.  Yoga theory is all around us and in my opinion, rooted in Buddhist philosophy.  Thats the stuff that is worked into talks and helps people find a way.

---

Its never really a non-topic.  After one of the above occasions, I followed up the conversation to be more direct.  I dont want them thinking I generically say "yoga," to everything they ask... but I do.  I explained why I say it in more detail.
Not to be judgy or an ass about it, but yoga in the US or at least the popular reach for it, has changed considerably.  It's been a long, long time since I found the class I was looking for.  A lot of yoga has turned into "workout yoga," which has its place and many benefits but the instructor is crucial.  I believe a yoga instructor must be grounded in Buddhist philosophy... (ironically, as I judge away.  But I dont need to be perfect. And thats the round and round we play).
When I followed up I explained that a focused yoga practice with an honest intention can take you to places you have not yet been.
(and they go "ho-ly shit, what is he talking about?)
When we were young, learning was all around us.  We were in school or experiencing new events and moments, learning valuable lessons every single day.  Lessons that helped, for better or worse, shape the character we portray during the week.
As our bodies grew older, age rises with birthdays and we transition into particular roles.  Roles that maybe we created.  Maybe your title is mom or boss or coach or accountant or landscaper, could be anything.  "you are a _____," and your identity is suddenly defined.
Ten internally we say "I'm supposed to be ______," and we can fill it in with any adjective.  Rich, smarter, skinnier, funnier, better looking, on and on.  And those adjectives are rooted in comparison.  We often compare ourselves to others or the story in our head of how its supposed to be.  As you probably know, I just turned 40 and 16 days later, my mother passed on from the effects of cancers, so you can imagine the little mind game thats been bouncing around.... especially if you actually know me.  By 40, I should've ______ by now.  make sense?   I think we all do it.
So then all these little head games alter our character.  The stress and anxiety, creates a troubled mindset and thoughts dont quite connect with clear vision.  As if static has been introduced to the picture.
And this is exactly what yoga can do.
Remove the static.  It removes that voice, that ego is what it really is, and replaces it with truth.  The youthful truth we lived inside of when we were 6.  Before anyone ever introduced what you're supposed to be.
Can yoga and meditation heal?  I believe so.  I am a very, very strong believer in the effects of the mind and what your mind can do to you physically and emotionally.  There are many studies that have shown the great benefits of meditation, and that's a large part of what yoga is, which is why the instructor is so crucial.  Harnessing the power of the mind can, like I said above, with an honest intention can take you to places you have not yet been, by uncovering whats always been covered.  Your true vision and voice.
And its hard, for many reasons, but worth it for one reason.
It's hard because in many ways, we're barely ahead of monkeys.  In many ways, we are still animals with wild minds and intense egos.  Its the flaw in humans.  We're not designed for perfection and this society, this world, is a playground that can be manipulated anyway the momentum likes.  Just look around.  Does culture look civilized?  Do we really appear advanced?  I think barely.  We have our primal urges and they control a good deal of how we think, feel and act.
But why its worth it.... to disconnect.  To unplug from the above.  What if your vision was washed and clean of comparisons?  What if you didnt think about your 401k or how much money you need to make this year?  What if you suddenly stopped caring about your abs or gap in your teeth.  What if the only thing thats important is right now and your interactions with other living beings and thats literally it.
There are many games in todays world and yoga can remove a great deal of the rules.
In yoga, you will start to hear yourself again and for the first time.  You will see the truth in our existence.
And dont misunderstand, we do have to operate here and now, so we cant go broke and move up on a mountain to meditate all day.  Health is important, but health all around.  Many people are only concerned with particular branches of their health.  Like financial health, social health, appearance health, while their minds, organs and souls are in constant battle, even if they rarely feel or hear it.  Thats the subconscious.  Thats the root of stress, pain and the uncomfortable feeling you cant seem to put your finger on.  You are out of balance.

What to do... buy a nice yoga mat and ignore the label on it.  Then buy a bottle of water and head into a yoga room for a class.  Dont look around the room, you're not prepared for that.  Why?  You'll judge your clothes, your body and wonder if you've made a mistake.  Just unroll your mat, take  sip of water and wait quietly for class to begin.  Just sit and breathe.  When class starts, dont judge yourself with "my _____ pose sucks," or "why cant i ____?"  Just be the version of you that happened to walk in today, and breathe.  Let your breath be the soundtrack, regardless of the pearl ja, er, I mean music thats playing.  Set an intention.  Something calming, a word to focus on, something your kindest coach would whisper in your ear during times of struggle.  "You're going to be fine... you got this... breathe, get a sip, lets get to it..."