Sitting: The New Smoking

Did you know that the average American worker now spends more time sitting each day than they do standing?  The effects are evident. 2/3 of our population is overweight or obese, stress and preventable diseases are at an all-time high and for the first time in U.S. history, our children face the chance of being less healthy than their previous generation.

Sitting has been called by some the new “smoking” and here’s why:

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No More Food To-Go

I recently discovered a new phenomenon in San Francisco: a seatless Starbucks.

In between appointments, I sought out Starbucks for 15 minutes to recharge. But there was nowhere to sit.

This was not because a swarm of entrepreneurs, remote employees and students had turned every table into a cubicle or library for the day. It was because there was no furniture.

It was your average-sized Starbucks. There was definitely room for tables and chairs. Yet there was none. It was kind of like standing in a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant.

Determined to not take my coffee to-go, I discovered a 2-foot-wide stoop underneath a window and squeezed my 6-foot-7-inch frame into this tiny box just above the floor.

I enjoyed 15 minutes of awkwardness and a weird stare from a businessman. Then, I got the message from the failure of furniture: You are not welcome here. Get your coffee and get the hell out.

Apparently having overstayed my welcome, I finished my coffee and fled.

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My American Dream: A Full-Circle Story of Realizing Success Without Stress, Part II

The person who I am today is a sum of my successes and failures. The past 10 years of my career have catapulted me to success, have plunged me into failure, and have lifted me to success once again. This is Part II of my story of expanding my relationship with yoga to expand the American dream and to expand my life. Read Part I and Part III.


From Failure to Freedom

My second superpower is my intuition. I do not analyze before I act. I just get a feeling – and go for it.

Within six months to a year of taking my first yoga class, I knew that I wanted to be a yoga teacher.

My practice had evolved from excruciating to emancipating. I remember forming triangle pose one class and thinking: “Huh. This is no longer miserable.” I developed flexibility, strength and body awareness. As I witnessed how quickly and deeply yoga was transforming me, I wanted to share it with others.
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My American Dream: A Full-Circle Story of Realizing Success Without Stress, Part I

The person who I am today is a sum of my accomplishments and mistakes. The past 10 years of my career have catapulted me to success, have plunged me into failure, and have lifted me to success once again. This is the first post in a three-part series that shares my story of redefining my relationship to stress using yogic principles to redefine the American dream and to redefine my life. Read Part II and Part III.


From “Success” to Stress

In early 2006, I found myself working my way up the corporate ladder. The only things on my mind were money and status. I had graduated from a top business school and was primed to become rich and powerful. I was also well on my way to becoming an asshole.

I have always known that I was born to be a leader. By my early 20s, I also had the car, the beach apartment, the clothes and the attitude to prove it. I felt as if I were on the path to achieving everything I had ever wanted.

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Get Your Back in the Game

This year’s blogs highlight the interconnection of all aspects of wellness. The more tools we have, the better our chances of creating the results we desire. We have learned this month that we can energize ourselves and can enhance our moods through the energy gains and drains activity or through backbends. We can also do so through exercise.

One energy source we typically overlook when exercising is our back. The back holds some of the largest muscles (latissimus dorsi, trapezius and erector spinae) in the body, yet they are also some of the most underused thanks to America’s favorite sport: sitting. Americans now spend more time sitting than they do sleeping. This weakens our back muscles, which destroys our postures.
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Be Selfish To Become Selfless

Last month, we learned how to create solid foundations for ourselves in yoga, exercise and nutrition. From this steady base, we can advance this month to building our energy. When we pour energy into stable containers, we can concentrate and direct it to effect the changes we want to see in our lives.

Let’s start with yoga. The practice in the West, on the exterior, can appear to be selfish and even narcissistic. Because it is. We focus predominantly on the physical qualities of yoga because of our obsession with the physical body, our desire to preserve the ego and the salability of sex. This self-obsession is fine. We are looking for something to attach to, to fill us, and to answer questions about ourselves.

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Squats Are For Mondays

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the importance of focusing on the feet and legs in your yoga practice. This week, we’ll learn how to do weighted squats in order to build a strong foundation for your exercise regimen.

Many yoga teachers shun weight lifting, and many weight lifters scoff at the idea of incorporating yoga into their exercise routine. I say everybody needs to relax and consider how different modalities can be beneficial regardless of their origins. If your goal is to hold Warrior II longer, then incorporate the squat to build leg strength. If you want to perform a full squat, then incorporate Warrior II to increase groin flexibility.
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Five Afflictions Destroying Your Happiness

Are you happy? Are you truly happy at the deepest level of your being? Sure, on a superficial level, happiness is relatively easy to achieve or at least to project outwardly, but on the inside it’s a whole different story.

Outward happiness can be achieved through a smile, purchasing a new possession, even a new relationship. What they all have one thing in common however, is that they are temporary. When I get what I want I’m happy. When I avoid what I don’t want I’m happy. When I’m in love I’m happy. But what happens when life doesn’t go how I want it to? I feel angst, I feel loss, I feel less than, I feel sadness. Today, I’ll talk about the “Kleshas” of the “five afflictions” responsible for causing suffering and ultimately, unhappiness.Read more

What is Meditation and Why The Hell Should I Do It?

What is meditation? It an old esoteric practice reserved for monks chanting in caves, atop a mountain- it’s weird, it’s something for hippies and is practiced for hours on end, right?

Well, not exactly, at least not anymore.  Meditation is actually quite normal, and has been practiced by the great leaders of the world; Jesus, Buddha, Ghandi and Russell Wilson (the Super-Bowl winning quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks).

I’m kidding about throwing Wilson into the mix with these others, but did so for a reason; meditation has become mainstream. It is now being practiced by yogis, home-makers and professional athletes alike. The reasons for one’s own practice may differ; from the search for enlightenment, to managing stress, to improved athletic/professional performance.

So what do these very different motivators all have in common? The quieting of the mind and the search for a clearer, sharper reality. If you’ve never meditated before, the concept of sitting still can be quite scary, so let’s get to the topics at hand and learn what mediation is and why the hell to do it.

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Stress Management: The Choice Is Yours.

More so than ever, many of us are experiencing constant stress. It’s a hot topic these days, as the research has shown that stress is literally killing us. Students are constantly coming to me asking for tips, techniques and ways to be unstressed, “just like myself.”

Firstly, the assumption that yoga teachers or experienced meditators don’t experience stress could not be farther from the truth.

I personally experience stress daily- from deadlines, to getting upset in traffic, to disagreeing with my roommate (I originally came to yoga to help with the stress I was experiencing from corporate sales). The main difference between a student and a teacher is that the teacher has learned how to manage stress and learned to notice when they are experiencing stress. It’s not like the tension isn’t there, it’s just seen and then regulated appropriately- and don’t forget, it’s is the teacher’s job to model how to be on the outside in order to help others create calmness on the inside. So do your best and try to not to compare yourself to how someone else “appears” to be on the outside. Let’s spend some time looking at what stress is, what causes it and how to help manage it.

 

Remember, learning to manage stress is a process which takes mental and physical training, and won’t “just happen.”

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