Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude

I am seeing more and more people embrace gratitude and thankfulness as a way of life.  I feel that this principle should be integral to our Yoga journey toward balance and unity.  In the spirit of gratitude, I would like to take a moment to say “thank you.”  Thank you for visiting my blog, most especially if you also happen to read it.  Thank you for your comments and feedback both publicly and privately.  I value them greatly.  Thank you to all of my students: those who have been, those who are, and those who will be.  I learn from you as much as I teach you.  Thank you to all the other teachers out there for spreading enlightenment in our communities.  Of course, I mean teachers of all kinds when I say this.  Thank you to all those who have read, bought, and supported my book, Kundlini Rising. I wrote every word for YOU!  I hope my words inspire, comfort, lead, teach, heal, and up lift each of you.  Thank you to Kitsune Books for publishing my little book and believing it worthy of a second edition.

I cannot imagine a more perfect time to fill your soul with the attitude of gratitude than this lovely Summer Solstice.  What are you feeling grateful for today?  Whom would you like to thank?  I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on this.  If you should feel compelled to write it down or speak it out loud, I would consider that even better.  Maybe it will feel so good that you will do it again tomorrow and then each day that follows.  Share that feeling with those around you until we all live our lives filled with the joy of gratitude.  Namaste.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Update

The second edition of my book Kundalini Rising is on track for release by the end of this month...provided I manage to finish updating and expanding the index pronto.  I've added some new material and updated the old material, so you can look forward to an even better book in the second edition.  I did not do the index in the original volume, however, I've always felt it was excellent.  I was asked to expand it a bit, and of course, I want the index in the second edition to reflect the new material.  It is taking a lot more work than I anticipated.  Indexing is not my forte, but I am dedicated to giving my readers the best Yoga book that I can.  So don't hold your breath, Yoga fans!  Kundalini Rising will be out in its second edition before you know it.

Now, back to work on that index!  Namaste.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

To All A Good Night

This is not something we think about when we go to our gym, or our Yoga and Pilates studios, but it is an essential part of achieving and maintaining good health.  It is necessary for attaining peace in the body.  Do you get enough sleep?  Hey! Come back here! Yes, I’m talking to YOU!  Lack of sleep is a big issue in our society, and I feel we need to address it. 

Most sleep studies state that humans need 6 – 10 hours of sleep per 24 hour period to maintain normal mental and physical function.  That averages to 8 hours, but many people do not get their full 8 hours, nor do they have any idea if 8 is the proper number for themselves within that range.  There are a lot of things about sleep and sleep dysfunction that are still a mystery to modern science.  However, we do know that proper sleep helps maintain organ function—like that big organ in your head! I’m talking about your brain, of course.  Lack of sleep is associated with poor memory function, slowed reaction time, anxiety, irritability, and a myriad of other mental issues.  Sleep also helps regulate your endocrine system which controls blood sugar, blood pressure, hormone levels, and your ability to maintain a healthy weight.  That’s right!  Long term sleep deprivation plays a major role in making you overweight and sick!  There, I said it.

Most of us think we can “get by” on 5 or 6 hours nightly, but that’s just it: getting by is not good enough.  It undermines our health and wellbeing.  Be well instead.  The occasional short sleep cycle probably won’t have a long term effect on your health, however 1 or 2 hours skipped day after day can build up over time to create long term, chronic health problems.  Think of your sleep needs like a cell phone battery.  If you leave it on the charger until it is totally full, it lasts longer.  If you pull it off the charger before the battery is fully recharged, yes, you can use the phone, but over time the battery loses its ability to hold a charge, and then your phone dies more often.

I think far too many people disregard the importance of being fully rested.  I see this problem day after day with my students who are too tired to function, but unwilling to see lack of sleep as a real issue because they can “get by” on what they’re getting.  Figure out what you need to fit that extra hour of sleep into your schedule.  The improved waking function you experience will be worth the extra time you give.  Would you like to have inner peace?  Excellent!  I suggest you sleep on it.  Sweet dreams.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Willow and Oak

Students of Yoga generally fall into one of two body types: willow trees and oak trees.  The willow trees are either naturally flexible or have become exceptionally bendy as a result of dedicated training.  Oak trees are your very inflexible folk, who were born with a short, tight muscle structure, or have dedicated themselves to years of strength training without concern for flexibility training along the way.

There are some factors which influence your innate flexibility.  Some of them are out of your control, such as genetic factors, age, and how you have handled strength training and muscle building in the past.  Some factors you do have control over, such as how you handle strength training in the future.  It is true that some people are blessed with a naturally more flexible physical structure.  It is also true that muscles lose their elasticity as a person ages.  However, this does not mean that just because you were born with the genetic code of an oak tree that has already grown into an inflexible adult that you should give up or expect to become stiffer, tighter, and more gnarled as your life goes on.  You always have the choice to train your body for greater flexibility.  You can begin at any age or any fitness level and expect to experience success.

Oak trees should not compare themselves to willow trees.  They are not made of the same stuff.  Regardless of which you are, you should compare yourself only to yourself, and over time, you will be able to reach further and further.  One day you are looking in the mirror thinking, “I am an oak tree.  I was not made to bend,” and the next thing you know, you are looking in the mirror thinking, “Look at that beautiful willow tree! OH!  That’s me!” If you commit yourself to the practice and allow yourself the time you need, you can reach any goal.  Yoga is about the journey not the end result.  If you reach one goal, there will always be another beyond it, and that is a good thing.  Let a little pressure off yourself so that you can be part of your journey rather always distracted by wishing only for the goal.

Concerns about flexibility are some of the ones most commonly voiced among my students.  I will certainly touch on this subject frequently since my willows are always yearning for new ways to challenge their bendy nature, and my oaks are constantly bemoaning their inability to look like willows.  My continuing words of advice are first, Yoga is not a competition, and second, anyone can become more flexible without having to compromise strength or skeletal integrity.  It just takes practice.  Practice takes time.  Enjoy your time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mission Statement

As a fitness and wellness professional I find myself discussing many of the same subjects, issues, and concerns over and over with my clients, students, peers, and sometimes even strangers. I believe that everyone has a different journey to inner peace and fulfillment, but things that help one person often are helpful or enlightening for another.  Through this blog I hope to share some of those moments of enlightenment.  I also intend to share my knowledge and experience from more than a decade in the health industry to address information that people seem to be needing.  I plan to use this space to provide an expansion to the subjects covered in my book, Kundalini Rising.  Please join me in our mutual quest for joy, excellent health, illumination, and peace in the body.