Note: I initially wrote these posts when I was getting my feet wet with this bloggin' stuff. If you're interested in my philosophy, read on. Otherwise don't feel guilty moving on to some other stuff that might feel a little less self-indulgent (ie more entertaining)
Inspiration #1: The Ouroboros of Personal Fitness and Yoga
I recently returned from Honolulu where I started my yoga and fitness career seven years ago. I hadn’t been back since I left in April 2015. I had a lot of epiphanies on this trip, amongst them realizing that
- Hawaii is the most amazing place in existence
- Aloha is real
- Doing yoga in the sun is something that I’ve missed greatly in the snowy dreariness of Colorado winters.
However, the main thing that cropped up for me was the realization that I expect too much from myself. I’m constantly in overdrive, trying to complete five tasks at once, and being positively un-yogic in my day-to-day displacement from the present moment.
I would assume you’re wondering why I would address this in a post titled ‘self-motivation.’ Let’s unpack this a little bit.
The difficulties that I have encountered in all parts of my professional life have involved trying to be as multifaceted as possible; in college I wouldn’t settle for one degree, so I opted for a dual degree with three minors; I didn’t want to settle for only being a personal trainer, so I became a yoga instructor, too, within the span of a year.
There are numerous examples (I’ll leave it here for now), and I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who does this on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that this approach tends to water down returns on learning by spreading my capabilities far too thin, and along with it making me into an irritable jerk.
Jack of all trades, master of none. As a result, I have been perennially all over the place, as anyone who knows me well can attest to.
This blog is intended to keep me engaged and focused on the focal point of my fitness endeavors: offering insights and analyzing the world of yoga and approachable movement and making those things accessible for people like me.
As I learn and grow I intend to share what I learn and ideally help you do the same; like an Ouroboros of yoga/fitness knowledge.
Anyway, back to the trip: the islands offer a very distinctive type of beauty that is inherent to Hawaii, and for this reason, you encounter a disproportionate number of new-agey weirdos there. However, there is obviously a basis for all the faux-spirituality. The islands affect you in unique ways…if you let them. The pace of life there is slower (despite what the locals will tell you about how it’s getting too busy). This lower tempo lifestyle combined with the natural sexiness of the landscape provides a setting in which you can take a few big breaths and STOP being such a goddamn multi-task monster all the time.
Granted I was there on vacation and I have only recently started to break this issue down in my day-to-day life. HOWEVER, this was a test to see whether I have actually started to learn to sit still sometimes.
What I’m getting at here is that this little Hawaii trip was something of a jumping off point for this blog. From this point forward I will discuss my approach to planning, writing and implementing a yogic lifestyle both physically and spiritually. I will experiment with yoga and meditation methodologies to develop my own practice and to find ways to make these things more efficient and practical for you as a follower and reader of this blog.
Motivation to motivate you to motivate me…make sense? How’s that for a snake eating its tail?
In short, I’ve had a scattershot attention span for most of my life, and getting and staying focused on one thing will hopefully enhance the lives of my readers, a la Tim Ferriss’ diligent hard work. Like I said, I’m not dictating a lifestyle, I’m learning and growing together with you and in building the momentum we can make Everyman Yoga a community of self-motivation instead of just hiding in our little boxes of anxiety all the time.
Inspiration #2: Education For Me And For You
My second reason relates directly to Reason #1: In order to stay motivated and accountable, I need to create content that will apply to You as my esteemed reader. Education about various topics will provide the focal point for this blog, and as I learn I will share it with You!
Suffice to say, If I didn’t already have some depth of knowledge I wouldn’t have the audacity to write a blog about yoga and fitness. However, I consider myself a life-long learner and I strive to continually broaden my knowledge of movement, yoga, nutrition and other things that I may find relative along the way.
I am a rigid believer that all things are intertwined in one way or another, not just related to yoga and fitness, but in a general sense across the whole swath of experience in being a human among humans. However, yoga and all of the movements and spiritual elements related to it can be infinitely divvied up into various categories, which allows for LOTS of content for discussion on this-here yoga blog.
Since this is intended to be a blog directed at literally EVERY man or woman, I will consistently be curious to see where I can grow and build knowledge so that I can share it with you. So I invite you to always feel free to reach out to me if there is something that you would like to learn or know more about.
These topics can involve anything yoga-related, including the history of yogic practice, breathing, and meditation, movement, and physiology or whatever other topics you have a sense of curiosity about. If I don’t know the answer to your question, I’ll go out of my way to learn about it to broaden my knowledge and to satiate your interest as well.
In a perfect world, EverymanYoga would be a community where together we can learn and grow to make yoga approachable for everyone.
Feel free to contact me directly via the contact boxes, or to write your comments in the box below. I will always do my best to get in contact with you as soon as possible.
Inspiration #3: Yoga Should Be For Everyone…Even Dudes.
Over time I’ve noticed that one of the primary roadblocks that I’ve encountered when mentioning or discussing yoga with noobs is that people—specifically men—tend to be wary (i.e. afraid) of what starting a yoga practice says about them as a person.
For this reason, you’ll find that the vast majority of the information about yoga to be found online proves to be reflective of the more effeminate elements of yoga which appeal to…well…females.
I believe firmly that this can be mitigated by eliminating some of the bullshit that tends to crop up around yoga as a physical and spiritual practice.
- You don’t need to be naturally super-flexible to do yoga
- You don’t need to memorize chants or read/speak Sanskrit to do yoga
- You don’t need to meditate for hours on end to see the benefits both physically and spiritually from your yoga practice
- …and you DEFINITELY don’t need to spend $100 on fucking yoga pants!!
Hopefully, you find the right emphasis in that last part. To date, my favorite dude-ism provided by a friend of mine as an excuse for bailing on a yoga class was that he didn’t have the right kind of “yoga shoes.” As for the other bits: they may help, but they are not required by any stretch of the imagination.
As I mentioned in previous posts, this blog is written for everyone, but my main focus is getting guys to stop being so freaked out about yoga. So instead of discussing the chakras or the merits of opening your ‘heart space’, perhaps we can discuss what muhla bandha means in a less convoluted way (hint: it means 'engaging your core' but more on that later…)
I want every guy who is wary of yoga to be able to confidently walk into the yoga room and not quiver in the corner because they don't know what the hell is going on.
Also, considering the phase ‘trimming the fat’ has a couple of more obvious meanings when applied to this post, I’ll also spend a significant amount of time breaking down basic yoga poses and other commonly used elements to help you understand how they apply to your life.
So as goal & reason #3, let's say that in learning together as discussed in the last post, we’ll also lift the veil on some of the things that make yoga inaccessible to the average person. This one is for anyone reading who has stepped into a yoga class and inadvertently wound up making energy balls with their hands or doing some other inaccessible and inexplicable thing.
Before writing this goal—and blog—off as a ‘dumbing down’ of spiritual yogic principles, I want to clarify one thing: I will apply learning and simplifying, combined with community growth and building of a meditative practice to help to enhance your scope of practice. I’ll share insights, resources and other elements regarding yogic meditation that make it more understandable and accessible to You as the common person.
Inspiration #4: Making Yoga, Meditation & Spirituality Approachable
I can’t help but think of the political wonks discussing the merits of a socialized public medicine plan when I think about meditation:
Like comprehensive medical care, meditation is something that should be accessible to every man woman and child walking the earth at any given moment. But the extensive backlog of religious weirdness has made meditation into something that the average person either doesn’t have the time or inclination for, or it’s just too fringe-y based on what it looks like through the lens of our day-to-day incessant planning, movement, and caffeine-fueled anxiety.
I’m not a meditation guru. In fact, this is the facet of my own practice that needs the most work. Fortunately, EverymanYoga is the self-motivating platform that is going to help us learn together while making meditation, yoga, and movement easier to understand and access.
The benefits of meditation are widely lauded as being deeply valuable on more or less every level of the human experience. Strangely, despite the current state of weirdness of our world, no one seems to ‘have the time’ to sit still for five to ten minutes a day and not freak out about things.
I’ve been following the building movement of people who are offering apps and various other modalities to provide meditation, breathing exercises for the masses, and EverymanYoga will not only provide an opportunity to share those resources with you but also share my meditation journey to provide some insight into how it’s helping me and how I apply these things to my day-to-day.activities.
At this point, I’d also like to note that I do not subscribe to any dogma or religious affiliation. In fact, I lean pretty distinctly toward the atheist end of the spectrum. I don't want to harp on that too much, but I want to set a clear standard here: while I wholeheartedly encourage everyone reading this blog to try meditation—whether through yoga, exercise, walking, music or whatever other modality that is available to you, I truly believe that you can have a strong spiritual practice without having to fall back on religion.
That being said, if you are a Muslim, Catholic or Flying Spaghetti Monster worshipper, more power to you. I want the things that I propose here to carry over to everyone reading regardless of your religious affiliations. This is a community and I aim to do my best to maintain that pretense.
Looks for posts tagged under meditation, spirituality, and yoga to see more about this stuff.
Inspiration #5: For Fun-- For Me And Hopefully For You As Well
I want this to be a fun yoga blog that is both entertaining to read and inspiring to write.
If you have gone out of your way to read this blog, you probably already have an interest in yoga, or perhaps you just stumbled through it at the behest of a friend or yoga teacher. If not, you might just be checking it out to see if yoga is something you might enjoy.
For this reason, I’ll include things here ranging not only from elements of yoga that I want to share with Everyman but also music that is inspiring my practice, my writing and my life. More than likely I’ll also include funny things that have taken place in my career as an instructor.
There will be a healthy dose of suggested movements that might be challenging or new to you, but I’ll also try to make the breakdown of poses simple and understandable for the average reader of these posts. I’m also eager to share other inspiration that I have stumbled across in my journey to (hopefully) enhance the lives of every reader.
As stated from the very beginning, EverymanYoga is and always will be a mildly flawed, highly humanistic work in progress. There might be some typos, and I will never, ever claim to know everything about yoga or anything else. I am growing and learning WITH YOU, and together we can take the limitations off of yoga to make it enjoyable. I am always open to feedback, and I look forward to interacting with you in as many ways as possible!
So there you have the five reasons that I created EverymanYoga. As mentioned previously, I highly encourage you to share your insights with me through comments or contact forms. Be on the lookout for new content regularly and I look forward to practicing with you.
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