2015 was a big, powerful year for myself and as a result for many of my students and private clients alike. I’m not saying that to brag but to highlight the main theme of “The Big Yogi”;
Inspire, Move and Transform. My perspective and teachings revolve around the principal of filling yourself up first in order to be of greater value and service to the community and the world. The power to make change starts with the ability to inspire yourself to move towards transformation. You have got to get clear on who you want to be and how you want your life to be, then you can take this energy and purpose outward and share it. This blog represents my takeaways and personal experience with these principals and teachings over the past year and is in the first person for this reason. I offer myself as a tool for you to reflect on your own big takeaways from 2015.
1) Pain is more mental than it is physical
I’m not talking about breaking my arm or pulling a hamstring during a yoga class, I’m talking about long-term and/or chronic pain. I’ve had a hip injury for over 15 years, a blessing and curse I received from a car accident when I was 18. The pain I feel in my hip is now, as a result, loaded with years of emotional pain, resistance and attachment. Attachment? Why the heck would I be attached to pain? Because it has become part of my story, part of who I am. My teacher says it’s been there so long that “it’s now paying rent”. During a yoga training this year my pain disappeared for the first time in as long as I can remember. It was during an intense practice when my teacher invited us to melt away our pain through our own inner heat and through releasing our attachment to the pain as a result. It was instant, it was intense, it was enlightening. I hurt because I resist the pain in my body, I hurt because I blame my body for its limitations, I hurt because I chose to continue hurting. Whatever I look for, I find. If I look for pain, I find it. If I look for where I feel good in my body, if I can accept my pain, that is what I experience. My hip pain has recently returned which now tells me I am again looking for and resisting it. With this new knowingness my real work begins.
2) Be nutritionally agnostic
Yup, I officially have no stance on nutrition. I resonate with the Paleo diet, but not the cult-like movement and obsession with bacon behind it. I also resonate with eating cheeseburgers and burritos but eat more veggies than most Vegans! I’m over eating to fit into a mold, I’m more interested in eating to be healthy and that changes depending on how I feel and what I need in the moment. Labels and diets simply get in the way. At the end of the day, the rules that we create around eating can create more confusion, polarity and judgement as a result. Put it this way; if popular food knowledge was correct than 2/3 of the American population wouldn’t be overweight or obese. I also find that following rules and diets can get in the way of social interactions and even happiness. Nobody likes the person who shows up for dinner and can’t eat anything that was prepared or can’t go out for drinks to socialize and have some fun. In 2016, I think I’ll identify as a Paleo eating Vegan with a weekly regiment of pizza and beer supplements. Who’s with me?
3) Be the one who gives and receives love
Man, this one hit me like a ton of bricks this year. I’ve spent the last five years silently in the backseat of my own life. I have focused so much on serving others through yoga and wellness that I forgot to be an active player in my own life. I’ve learned how to nurture others needs beyond anything I could have ever imagined, but in the process I forgot how to be nurtured. I forgot how to ask for help and how to actually accept it. I forgot how to let someone else take care of me and not feel weak or needy about. I’ve realized that it is healthy, even crucial to ask for help and to admit that we need others to thrive. Life and health is about balance, give and take. Be the nurturer and the nurtured, be the one who loves and the one who is loved in return.
4) Manifest cool shit
Oh yeah, this one is my favorite. I looked around at my life some point in the past year or two and realized that it lacked vibrancy. My teacher even went as far to look me in the face and in front of 15 people say: “You’ve been practicing yoga so much that you are now too calm and your life is boring and stale.” My apartment had no pictures, no dinner table and no partner to share it with. I hated the color of my car and was tired of not having enough money to actually enjoy living in San Francisco. So, I took a step back and realized that my external world was bland because that’s exactly how my internal world looked. This lit a fire under my ass and got me to ask myself some big questions about what I wanted. Here’s what I wanted and as a result created:
1) Six-figured income
2) Full yoga classes and private coaching practice
3) My own wellness and training space
3) An apartment with pictures on the wall and a dinner table with chairs!
4) A new car with leather seats.
5) For my brother to move home from Taiwan because I needed him back in my life.
6) More love. (Two weeks later I met my amazing girlfriend)
Manifest whatever you want! Write it down then ask yourself why you don’t have it. I realized I didn’t have the things I wanted because I was in my own way.
5) Drop the picture of how things “should be”
Let it go. Let go of how your life, your career, your role and even how your happiness should be. I don’t particularly like being a yoga teacher because I don’t like the labels that come with it. I’m just a dude who wants to live a big and meaningful life. I want to wake up everyday and inspire people to be happier and healthier, as a result I just happen to be a yoga teacher. It is just a tool for me to fulfill my purpose on this planet . I eat meat, drink coffee and alcohol, I swear a lot (mostly on purpose), I lift weights, I don’t practice yoga “every damn day”, I meditate, I make bad decisions and can even be a jerk sometimes. Crap, while I’m on a roll, I even like the occasional trip to the strip club. I’m me and I’m jumping of the path because I’m tired of how it “should be”. Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop teaching and pedaling health and wellness anytime soon, I’m just dropping another layer getting in the way of who I am and who I want to be.
Those are my takeaways for 2015. What are yours? Id love to hear them.
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