The Enlightenment Complex: 5 Ways to Get Enlightened Faster!

You have to give it all up,” my new teacher reiterates many times during a story he tells me about waking up.

Labels. Limitations. Attachments. Expectations. Fears. Doubts. Judgments. Desires.

They are all obstacles to enlightenment. They are all obstacles to freedom.

I do not resist his word because I know that it is true. Not because he says so. But because I Know so.

The path to enlightenment is a trap.

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Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

The Carrot and the Cow

A few years ago, I learned a powerful lesson on a peculiar date with a particular woman.

The woman was into wellness. A little too into wellness.

It felt extreme when she requested that I pick her up at the gym. But that proved mild compared with her interpretation of a dinner date.

When she got into my car, I invited her participation in selecting a restaurant. She responded that she had brought her dinner with her.

Seriously?

Seriously. Read more

Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Yoga and Weightlifting: Drop the Dogma and Just MOVE!

I get a lot of flak for being into yoga and weightlifting.

Yogis tell me that weightlifting hinders one’s practice because it is aggressive and decreases flexibility. Other teachers scoff at me for not being a “purist.” Students assume that I teach power yoga because I wear athletic clothing, work as a personal trainer and own a gym.

On the other hand, weightlifters tell me that yoga is for women. Men decline to train with me because they say that a yogi could not push them as hard. Other trainers agree that I attract mainly female clients because I am also a yoga teacher.

I used to believe them. Not only did I separate yoga and weightlifting, but I also ranked them. I stopped lifting weights for several years because I deemed it less sacred than my yoga practice. I even argued with my father that yoga was better than weightlifting.

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Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Release Your Past Through Yoga

Yoga poses are intoxicating. The shapes are mesmerizing to witness. They even can be fun to achieve.

The physical attractiveness of the practice lures us to it, especially here in the West. That yoga also can act as exercise makes it even more appealing. This combination makes it perfect for our time.

As a result, the poses have become the focus of the practice, even though this was not the case historically. My guess is that yoga is meeting us where we are to draw more practitioners to it.

This is compassionate of yoga. Not because its poses can give you a strong core, flexible hamstrings, or the ability to do awesome party tricks. But because they can release tension and pain that your body stores from the past.Read more

Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

You Are Not Your Pain.

Americans are in pain. I see it on so many faces and hear it in so many voices.

No one has the monopoly on it. No one is marginalized by it. Most Americans are desperate for pain management.

It does not matter what form pain comes in – physical, mental or spiritual. Pain is pain. The suffering of each of us is real.

But does it have to be?

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Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

The Path to the Perfect Body and Why You Don’t Want It

I recently found a picture of myself from three years ago. I could not believe how ripped I was! Muscles everywhere, almost glistening in the light.

At the time, I was laser-focused on my diet, weightlifting program and yoga practice. I was enslaved to my body’s form – obsessed with how it looked and what it could do. I was in physical pain from exercising so much. If I missed a session, I got a workout in guilt.

My body looked better than it ever has. But I could not see or appreciate it. I thought that my body was not in that good of shape.

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Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

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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Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Yoga’s Just Not That Into You

#yogaeverydamnday #yogasjustnotthatintoyou

In the Western world, many of us have created an abusive relationship – with yoga.

In our typical aggressive form, we have taken something from another culture, molded it to fit ours and distorted it with dogma. We have belittled and brainwashed it.

We have divorced yoga from its original identity so that it succumbs to our desires for self-improvement and self-gain. We have employed money and technology to control its interactions with the outside world.

Others of us have developed a different dysfunctional relationship with yoga. We have become stalkers.

We obsess over the appearance and frequency of our practice. We strive to impress it with flawless shapes and enticing apparel. We drop in before sunrise with no makeup on and wake yoga up in the middle of the night when sleep escapes our neurotic minds.

We cling to yoga as if we have lost our own identities. It is all we think, talk and post about. We must practice it #everydamnday and count how many people “like” and “love” us for it.

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Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

“You Have the Most Popular Classes Here?!”

After taking my Wednesday night athletic conditioning class at my gym in San Francisco, an inquisitive new student asked me: Are your classes always this big?

I smiled and let her know that it was the most popular class at the space. Shocked, she shot back: You have the most popular classes here?!

She seemed to be insinuating that I was not that great of a trainer. I awkwardly laughed it off and shrugged my shoulders in similar disbelief. Because she was right.

I am a good trainer, but I am by no means a great trainer. My class is the most popular somewhat because I am the owner. But, mostly, it is because I focus on building connection and community.

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Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

The Yoga of Connection

Last month, we learned that yoga is about the relationship between your self and your Self. Once you master this relationship on your mat, the next step is to show it off to the world.

This relationship is not about isolation. It is about integration.

The Self is the aspect of ourselves that connects to everything and everyone. It is your friend who is the life of the party. The one whose buzz rocks a room. The one who can talk to a wall – and hear the wall talk back. The one whom you have to drag off the dance floor at sunrise.

Yes, polish your self on your mat first so that you can be a good wingman. But then, let your innately social Self radiate outward.Read more

Nick Palladino teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.