Represent

david

I used to take a yoga class now and then from a teacher who was “real”. I mean, she wasn’t the type of yogi you see on magazine covers. In fact, maybe she didn’t look like what a yoga teacher looks like in your mind’s eye. And she is a great yogi.

It is unfortunate that we have these stereotypes in our minds of how people should be. We should accept people as they are. If they can perform and do their jobs, then that should be enough.

Or is it enough?

I was an Army Infantry Drill Instructor in a previous life. Our duty was to “Lead by Example”. So we put up an image that went far and above what is required of a normal soldier. No wonder the divorce rate is so high among the Drill Sergeant ranks. We spent half of our time grooming, exercising, asking for extra starch on our uniforms at the cleaners, and shining boots to look like mirrors every night. Actually, most of us used two uniforms a day and at least two sets of boots. If we got scuffed or dirty or sweaty, we’d change into a new uniform so we always looked “perfect”. We were toy soldiers who taught people to be like us. And it was impossible for them to keep up. But soldiers looked at us like infallible gods. We were what they were to strive to become. It can’t work any other way.

As a yoga teacher, I represent “yoga”. I represent my studio or gym where I teach. I hope that when people look at me, they’ll think “that’s what yoga can do for me”. They say “Practice what you teach, and teach what you Practice”. I have to live by example. I can’t preach about Ahimsa and then go off honking my horn and yelling at people who drive too slowly. Everything I do hopes to meet that standard. At least that’s what my Inner Drill Sergeant tells me.

I know we need to give ourselves grace. Humility has its merits too. I often share if I’m tired or tweaked a knee or something. When I am a student in a class among my peers, sometimes I’ll take child’s pose or the easier variation of a pose. I am human…maybe more than people know.

But I still strive to be the best yogi I can be. I want to be a shining example of what yoga can do. When people say its just for the stereotypical cover girl, I like to show it can be for beefy, older guys and real people like me. Though it is still important for me to project my brand. In many ways, I’m selling a product. I’m promoting a lifestyle. I feel responsible to my diet, to my svadhyaya (self-study), to my cross-training, and to my yoga practice. Maybe it will inspire others to commit to something special themselves.

Be the best YOU that you can be. It’s always good enough!

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Take a Rest Day

bubble-bath

To be honest, I am the worst offender ever. I pack every day with some-thing and if I have a few minutes free, I pack some more. I assume most of us are this way. The most obvious indicator is with my home life. If my girls aren’t happy, then I can’t possibly be happy (wife & two dogs). Even friends complain that I don’t have time for them. So over the past month, I’ve resolved to make changes, even if slowly.

My first step is to take a dedicated rest day. Frankly, its not easy to choose which day that will be. My spiritual side says it is on Sunday; an official Sabbath!! My schedule determines a lot from yoga teaching, training for a CrossFit competition, and getting ready for trail running races. So for now…Sunday it is!

It was AMAZING!!

I really needed a day like that. I’ve been going at it for so long. I didn’t plan anything for the day. Not only was it a physical relief, but it was huge mentally and spiritually. You know what, next Sunday I will have a few more options for myself as well, though I’m not “planning”. Just options. It will be a spa day. I’ll take a hot bubble bath, maybe two! Maybe I’ll go get a tan. Take a walk with my dogs. Perhaps I’ll go fishing. Maybe I’ll get a mani-pedi, since I’ve never done that. It will be a ME day!

Take time for yourself. Everyone will love you for it! Especially YOU!

Toward a safer home

So I recently became involved with the Nextdoor App that is specific to my neighborhood. There is a lot more going on than I could have imagined from loose dogs running around to turtle sandbox tops getting wedged who knows where. What is seriously concerning me is the reports of burglaries. I always called my neighborhood Pleasantville because nothing bad every seemed to happen. It is like Mayberry U.S.A.

First off, I never want to blame the victims

There are bad people in this world. If we had peace, we wouldn’t need to take precautions against predators and micreants.

But,…!!

I am exceedingly curious about the circumstances of the thefts. I am not aware of any crowbars taken to doors or smashing in of windows to gain entry. These have been petty crimes of opportunity. People leave their car doors unlocked and its easy to walk along and check if doors are open. And guess what, for some reason they also leave high value items and, most importantly, garage door openers in their unlocked vehicles. I’m thinking that is not a very smart move. Sometimes, I walk my dogs in the wee morning hours and see many garage doors open, likely overnight. Most of our garages have a side door and people sometimes leave those unlocked too. Its my feeling that if you can get into a garage, you’re going to get into the house. Even if you lock your door from garage into the house. There are tools in garages like crowbars and screwdrivers making it easy to get in without anybody seeing.

Regardless, we know there are bad people out there. But some people are quite frankly stupid. I’m sorry you were too naive to trust the human race. You have to watch out these days.

If you play with fire…

Don’t give them the key to your house and expect not to get burned. If most drunk driving accidents happen between Midnight and 3am, then don’t be out then. If you want to end up with knife wounds to your chest, then go to bars in the middle of the night and pick a fight. If you walk down a dark alley all alone, there is a much higher probability of something bad happening. Its like walking in mountain lion country with deer sausage wrapped around your neck.

People need to get smarter about their awareness and safety. Teach your family and kids how to be safe! And get off cell phones at times when you need to be safe.

A Daily Yoga Practice

rocket man

Can I admit something?

I don’t have a daily yoga practice. I lift weights, run, and do CrossFit on my own, which is what I’ve always done. But I’ve had the toughest time trying to do yoga on my own. Before becoming a yoga teacher, I would attend a lot of classes. And then I began to design my own classes for teaching while still attending a few classes. Then I got tired!! Really tired. I ended up only teaching classes. Every now and then I’d attend an Ashtanga or hot yoga class. But still no personal practice (other than taking Instagram selfies 🙂 ).

I just finished a 50 hour Rocket Yoga training. While I have skills to do deeper poses, I realize my lack of a personal practice made me suffer…a lot! Sure, I do tons of squats, burpees, pull-ups and such. That is what kept me in the game. But I need to practice yoga too.

Practice what you Teach. Teach what you Practice!

So as a measure of accountability, I’m telling my peeps here and now that I will have a daily practice. Rocket Yoga advocates a 6-day program beginning Sunday. My Sabbath will be Sunday, so I am shifting forward a day. Here it is:

Monday – Ashtanga Primary series (or Modified Primary Series, rocket-style)
Tuesday – Rocket 1 with focus on building strong legs
Wednesday – Rocket 2 focusing on backbends, upper body, and core
Thursday – Rocket 2 but with deeper backbend emphasis
Friday – Rocket 1 with a healing emphasis
Saturday – Rocket 3 “Happy Hour” which is a faster paced mix of 1 & 2
Sunday – day of rest and reflection

I plan to do this over my lunch hour. I hope to tell you of my progress soon! I’ll be a real Rocket Man before you know it. I’m changing things up to grow.

If you Always do the Same Things, you will Always get the Same Effect!