What is Yoga 308

Life is a constant struggle of balancing our body on both a physical and emotional side. Through yoga I have learned several life lessons. Yoga 308 is a goal I set for myself to do at least 60 minutes of yoga for 6 days a week for the next year. I invite anyone to join me on this adventure as I blog about some of my daily experiences. This is not intended to show that I have found peace and tranquility, but rather give my honest feelings of my journey. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 268 - Marketing my Ego

Today I went to the Dharma Level 2 class with Kelly Senn at Orlando Power Yoga. 

I have talked a lot about ego this week.  I have been in a battle with myself between ego and intentions.  I have a mind that likes to take an idea and take it to the next level.  I have trouble just staying content with something.  This is very good in the business world.  However it gets tiring in everyday life. 

The intention in Yoga308 has been to get all the thoughts out of my head and start to organize them.  I have used them to see some sort of growth on an emotional level.  To help figure out my daily thoughts.  I wanted to document it so I can go back and see if I had changed.

For the last 11 years I have worked as an online marketer.  Last week I started to experiment and see what type of marketing I could do for yoga308.  It felt weird.  As if I was doing something wrong.  I have always looked at the number of people visiting the site, the comments left, and other site stats.  I have been so fixed on numbers from my current online marketing job, that I started to have the same obsession with yoga308.

I started to think of ways on how to build this site.  I wanted to build the site and make money through marketing that I can then use to give back to the community.   I really like the idea, but it is feeding into my ego.  Why do I need readers?  Why do I need more readers?  How many readers is enough?  What are my original intentions. 

I am dropping the marketing idea and again stopping the posts on Facebook and Google.  I just want to write.

Yoga308 was actually an idea that stemmed due to me doing yoga.   My brain took yoga to the next step.  It is a continuous battle that my ego cannot be content.  Part of me feels like the whole yoga308 is just a build up for my ego.  The other part knows how much it has already helped me.  It is actually a struggle I am having right today.

All this said.  Without this blog, I would not have come to this conclusion.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 267 - The Story to Success

Today I went to a Mysore Ashtanga class with Maureen Hanusek at the Yoga Shala.  The Mysore class is always the hardest class for me to get motivated to go.  Right around when I do my 3rd sun salutation my motivation kicks in and I start doing one of my favorite types of yoga.  I always feel the most satisfied after I am done with a Mysore Ashtanga class.

Last night, I was watching the recap of the NFL draft on ESPN (I am a big football fan).  I am noticing more and more how even sports news needs to make everyone look like a hero.  They went into several back stories of some of the new players, and how they overcame so much to become a success and drafted into the NFL.  It seems that a lot of us have this same idea that we need some type of story in order to be something.  That's why we fall in love with the idea and love watching it on the news.

What if we didn't have to have this story.  What if our story was something like this.  "He woke up everyday, ate food, went to the bathroom, and went to bed."  We all do this.  We all have this in common.  Now what if I put a spin on it.  "He overcame his lack of sleep and conquered getting out of bed.  Then he spent hours making the perfect meal with so many lovely smelling spices.  His digestion was perfect due to this great meal he prepared, so he was able move his bowels without any problems.  Due to his great success he was able to fall asleep without a worry in the world."  Which person is better?

Why do we need a story to make someone a good or successful person.  Do we need to list all of our accomplishments in order to show that we are good?  Do we need to accomplish things to make sure we have this story?  I have a drive as a person, but I no longer have a drive to prove that I am good person.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day 266 - Balancing Compassion with the Ego

Wow 266 days into yoga308.  Time really has flown by.  I decided to practice the Ashtanga series on my own at home this morning.  It was a good relief from the studio, and I could stop and focus on me.  Kind of a check in with where I felt I was in my practice.  My hips are still sore from pushing myself so much last week.  It is a good soreness though.

Life is a constant struggle to stay balanced.  One area that has been on the forefront of my mind is balancing compassion with the ego.  It does not sound like these two would come hand and hand, but let me explain.  In order to show compassion towards other living beings you must also find compassion inside yourself.  Forgive yourself for postures you cannot get into, mistakes you make, people you hurt.  You must also find areas where you are not harming yourself on both a physical and emotional level.

There are some people in my life that I do not want to make a connection or I have had to cut out of my life because I feel as if it would be harmful to my self's well being.  I have tried to build relationships in the past with certain personalty types, and have found myself hurt or broken.  I recognize a certain personality who's mindset is more of "how can I take advantage of people" rather then "how can that individual exchange ideas about life with me or be equal with me."  I guess someone who's ego is in their way of them living a compassionate life.

I question my lack of compassion when I do not want to be part of this person's life.  I do not want to try to help this person.  Is this just feeding my ego?  Is this leading me down a wrong path?  I start to think about if someone stood outside my house and said "I am going to stab you with this knife."  Should I let this person inside my home?  Am I not showing compassion if I slam the door in their face?  If someone was to mentally abuse me should I also shut the door in their face?  If I slammed the door on everyone who came to my house then I feel like I would have a big ego and I would be lacking compassion.  There has to be a balance in all of this.

I know that the people I currently shut the door on are people who are cutting into a wound that is not yet healed.  It happens very rarely, but I will run into these people.  I am accepting the fact that I am showing compassion to myself by not letting these people in my life.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 265 - Just be today

Today was a nice relaxing day off of yoga.  Looking back in some of my blogs I find some of my more emotional days are when I take a day off of yoga.  These days were from the past.  I am feeling more level these days.  I feel like I should search for something bad or horrible so I have something interesting to blog about today.

These are the days I just take it all in.  There is a big part of me that does search on days like this.  I did not do this today.  If I feel stable I search for something that may go wrong.  I search for something I should do to make sure I stay stable.  Instead of staying in the present I look future to things that may be wrong.

I am beginning to realize that these are things that I do.  I am getting really good at just letting those thoughts be, and letting my life be. 

Let's drop these thoughts today.  Be happy with who you are, where you are, and who you are becoming.  Live you life today, and drop the worry.  Just be today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 264 - Need Yin Yoga in Orlando

Today I went to Yin Yoga class with Steve Rubin at Full Circle Yoga.  My body is way run down.  I have been working on these muscles that I learned to engage in Thailand.  I probably have been overdoing it so this Yin yoga class was perfect for me.

When I returned from Thailand there have been several people tell me that I look lighter, brighter, or I lost weight.  I actually feel that way.  I feel very light, even, and balanced.

I realize how important balance is in my life.  The bad parts of life make the good parts so much better.  The physical side of my yoga practice battles the mental side.  Work balances out my fun.

I am finding so much more gratitude in life.  I somehow made a switch in my life, where I started to fill my heart more with gratitude and giving.  The more I fill my heart with these positive aspects the less room I have for fear, worry, or hatred.  I really think it might be that easy.  There are only so many hours in the day to focus on things.  You should face your negative aspects in life, but when you do replace them with gratitude and giving.

I still am getting really sleepy at night.  This is another night where I feel overwhelmed with sleepiness. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 263 - You are already a successful person.

I went to Dharma Yoga Level 3 at Orlando Power Yoga.  I really have been feeling good since I have gotten back from my trip in Thailand.  I feel as if I have activated new muscles that I have never used before.  I feel much more fit, stronger, and more balanced.

Emotionally I am in a very level and in a happy place right now.  I have had a few people ask me if I was sad yesterday because of my blog.  I am the complete opposite.  I am very happy.  The post yesterday was more about an idea that my thoughts can snag me and lead me towards a sad and depressing place.  I have come to a place in my life where I can recognize these thoughts and excuse them as things in the past.  I was just reflecting on how easy it is for me to use things inside my head and let them lead me into a sad, depressed, or even a happy state.  Today though I am not extremely happy or extremely sad.  I just am.

I am extremely grateful for all my friends and family in my life.  I also have found a sense of gratitude that I am a self sustaining being who is emotionally stable.  I love and admire people, but realize that I am a happy individual in the absense of others.  I can create joy in most situations.

We look so hard at our external environment.  We start defining success as the the amount of money we raise, the number of children we have, the size of our house, the number of friends we have on Facebook.  This is an endless search.  Once you get $100 you need $1,000.  Once you get 100 Facebook friends you need 500.  I have had fallen into all of these traps.  We blame others for our lack of happiness or lack of fulfillment in our life, or we continue to say I will be happy once I receive something.  We continue to guide ourselves further and further from our true self.  We become reliant on others or things to control our emotions.  I know people so blinded by this sense of the external search.  Talking to them would be pointless.  They would not understand.  This is not my path.

I am not saying sell all your belongings and move into a cardboard box, but chances are you have everything to make you happy.  It is as simple as practicing dropping that need and desire for more.  Not for the sake to build your ego, but rather because you do not need it to find the happiness.  Dropping $100 on a new pair of shoes?  Why not give it to some guy on the street?   Chances are your 50th pair of shoes is not as important as the 1 pair they have on their feet.

I am looking deeper inside my soul to find out more of who I am and how I can give back to the universe. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 262 - The Thought Worms

Today I originally planned on going to a Mysore class.   My body is pretty sore from pushing myself over the last two days.  My hips are extremely sore from pushing in a twist.  I have been thinking about the Yin and the Yang and decided I needed more of a gentle relaxing class.  So I ended up doing a nice meditative practice at home.

I was thinking abut how our thoughts catch our attention and we can be taken away from the present moment.  I started to compare this to a fish out of water.  Imagine you are a fish swimming in a lake.  You see so many tasty things to eat in the water.  Imagine you come across a worm with a hook on it.  The worm seems so inviting and interesting.  When you bite into the worm the hook dives deep inside of you and pulls you out of the water.  You can no longer breathe and you forget what it is like to be swimming back in your lake.

Now imagine you are thrown back into the water and you begin to heal.  You come across another worm.  You look at the worm with distrust and fear.  But not all worms have hooks in them.  How can you take the chance and once again taste the delicious worm?  How can you ensure that the worm will not grab onto you again and take you out of your lake?  You can choose not to take the chance, or you can swim around it all day carefully inspecting it.  You can also never learn anything in the first place and just chomp into any worm.

Now imagine that your fish is your conscience , and the worms are your thoughts.  There are several thought worms inside your head.  Many of these worms we choose to ignore or let pass on by.  Perhaps one of these thought worms has hooked you , yanked you out of your lake, and caused you to stop being.  All you can think of is how this thought worm tricked you.  How you wish you could breathe again, and be comfortable back in you lake (head).

Now you are thrown back into your lake where you once again try to find your original comfort. You are again surrounded by all these thought worms.  However, now all of them appear to have hooks in them.  How can you trust these worms are not going to harm you?  How can you find comfort in your lake.

You have the option to tuck them deep inside and fear them your entire life.  You can look heavily into every worm and inspect every angle to make sure there is no hook.  You have the option to ignore the fear and bite into every worm without learning anything from the past. 

The important thing to remember is your thoughts are just floating in your head. Some will hook you and drag you into a place where you may not want to be.  All they are, though are thoughts.  The best news is you are not a fish.  You have hands that give you the ability to take the worm and take it off the hook.  Then it is only you who decides if you want to hold on to the worm or throw it back into your lake.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 261 - Yin and Yang Balance

Today I went to the Dharma Level 2 class at Orlando Power Yoga.  It is a nice break from the Ashtanga that I have been diving deep into over the last 3 weeks.

The issue of pushing myself versus easing into a posture is surfacing back into my head today.  There are several types of yoga, and several different types of teachings.  If I was to choose to do a Mysore Ashtanga yoga class 6 days a week I would be pushed to my limit everyday.  In Mysore, I am actually being adjusted into a position deeper then my body is ready for.  If I was to do a gentle Yin yoga class 6 days a week I am settling and allowing my body to slowly fall into the pose.  They are two different theories, and two different approaches towards achieving the same goal.

I think a lot of us (me included) believe that pushing myself to the limit is the best way to work out the physical body.  I need that sore feeling in order to feel accomplished.  That if I continue to push myself to my limit I am moving in a forward direction.

After being in Thailand and practicing Mysore yoga for the last 2 weeks my body feels great, and I feel as if I have been moving deeper into my practice then I have before.  My concern though is I am not being gentle enough to my body and it will lead to injury in the future.  If I was to only do Yin yoga I do not feel as if I am pushing my body to the limit.  I am not finding that limit where I can find my breath and breathe through the posture.

Luckily in life there is the concept of the Yin and the Yang.  The belief shows that both these are needed in order to bring about a good balance in my life.  The Yang (Ashtanga)  keeps me motivated and moving forward, but the Yin Yoga practice grounds me and relaxes my mind.  The Ashtanga (Yang) is very draining on my body, while the Yin restores my body.  I am going to work on keeping this balance in my practice.

I found myself a bit irritated today.  Marianne suggested that it might be the fact I did not drink coffee today.  I am subsituting coffee with tea for the next month in hopes to rid myself of my coffee / caffeine addiction.  I am allowing 2 days a week to drink coffee.  I will keep you posted.  I still have been doing really good on the no meat or chicken diet.  Only had beef once in the last two months.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 260 - Fear of yoga

Today I found a Mysore Class at the Yoga Shala in Orando.  This was a new studio and class for me.  It was lead by Maureen Hanusek.  It was a great class.

Yoga is a lifestyle.  You can participate in yoga both on and off the mat.  There are many teachings that it brings to your life.  Religions fear it because it brings self awareness and self guidance.  They feel as if it steers people away from practicing what they deem proper ways to pray towards god.  In reality yoga enhances your religious belief.  There is no time during yoga where we pray to Jesus, God, Buddha, or Allah.  It is a spiritual uplifting and powerful practice that enhances your beliefs structure.

If you believe in Jesus you leave with a stronger belief of Jesus.  If you are Buddhist you embrace the teachings of the Buddha.  If you are Atheist you will stay a nonbeliever.  If you are in fact a believer in god, yoga will bring you closer to god.

In my yoga practitice I have become a much more healthy individual.  I am eating better and with more compassion.  I am finding ways to give back to the community.  I weigh the same as I did in High School.  My emotions are more balanced.  I am able to surround myself with good people who think like me.  The benefits that come with yoga keep coming and coming.  Every religion or non religion would look at these as positive characteristic improvements towards any individual.

Religiously, I would call myself a Buddhist.  I keep my mind and heart open to all religions, but this is the religion that I hold closest to me.  In practicing yoga I have not grown my Buddhist belief.  In fact while writing this I realize how much I would like to dive deeper into my religion.  This however is done outside my yoga practice.  My yoga has helped me realize such things as compassion towards others, gratitude towards life, and the ability to deal with stress.  Again, these characteristics would help me become a better Buddhist.  It would also help me become a better Catholic, Jew, or Muslim.

Some people fear the chants that are done at the beginning of the class.  When I first started yoga I refused to participate in chanting.  I did not understand what the foreign language meant.  I did not want to say things in which I had no idea what was coming out of my mouth.  For all I knew I could have been chanting "I worship the devil!"  So I refused.  As I looked further into the chanting, I realized that it is mostly giving thanks to the teachers that taught yoga before our time.  The chant of Om is harmonious way to connect the body with the rest of the people in the room and the universe.  It actually makes me feel really good when I do it.  The word Namaste is as simple as hello and goodbye.  It is a simple word stating that we acknowledge that we are all connected in this universe.

Yoga is such a beneficial thing on all levels... Body, mind, and soul.  It brings you closer to who you really are.  If you fear change and you fear yoga, then you probably will not attend a class.  In reality it is still teaching you how fearful you are as a person.  Do not fear the things that are different, but rather embrace them and look to learn from them.  It will bring more gratitude into your life.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Day 259 - Need more Ashtanga

I am warn out again.  I woke up at 7:00 a.m. and went to Orlando Power Yoga for a little Power Yoga with Greg Duke.  I have been doing Ashtanga yoga for so long that it was nice to get out of the routine and do something that feels less strict and just plain fun.  Greg puts a nice and fun vibe out into the class.

I really do appreciate the Ashtanga series.  However, it is nice to get away from the seriousness of the Ashtanga classes and go to a Power class to just have a good time.  I feel like I am going on a little mini vacation from Ashtanga when I go to these practices.

I realize that I need more and more of the Ashtanga series if I am going to improve my practice.  This is where I learn and grow the most.  I improve on a multiple levels.  Not only is my body getting one of the best workouts, I am also looking deeper inside myself.  I am finding more of connection between body, mind, and soul.  It is my favorite type of yoga.
I do not think I am ready to go all in on one type of practice.  Ideally, I should concentrate on one lineage of yoga.   I would probably see the best improvement with my practice if I was to do Ashtanga 6 times a week.  Right now I like to get out of my routine and go to other yoga types to take a break from the Ashtanga routine.  I am going to look into putting at least 4 days a week of Ashtanga practice into my life.  Eventually I want to try to do an entire month of Ashatanga practice.

Although I am tired, I feel very settled and am not worried about much of anything.  Life feels good this weekend.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day 258 - Path to a Healthy Life

I am feeling the full effects of jet lag.  I got knocked out this afternoon and slept for about 2 hours.  I am glad I have been blogging.  It will give me a reminder next time I go out to Asia.  The irregular sleep has made my energy levels all out of whack.  I was good this morning and afternoon.  Then boom, I fell asleep.  I still needed to do yoga, so I did a gentle yoga.  Very simple, and very easy stretching.  I honestly was having trouble doing even the gentle yoga today.  Hopefully, I  will get back into the main groove again tomorrow.

We are all on different paths in life.  I have met a lot of great people over the last year.  I feel that these people are all growing towards a better life full of peace, love, and happiness.  I have learned we all have our "faults" or something we are working on.  We will always have this constant struggle to keep our lives in balance and working towards this good life.   Our entire life will consist of trying to better our life.  With this in mind we can find a gentleness and understanding inside everyone we meet.  If we drop our ego and stay humble, we can admit we have faults we are working on.  We accept our imperfetions, and continue to grow as an individual. 

I know that coffee is bad for me.  I am working on cutting this out of my life eventually. The fact that I drink coffee does not mean I am a bad or unhealthy person.  I have been looking at trying to change my life to a healthy lifestyle, but also understand it is ongoing battle.  When I stop coffee, there will be something else that will make me even healthier.

It is important to surround yourself with people that encourage your pursuit to a healthier life.  Some people will lead you towards an unhealthier life.  Some people will look at your healthy changes and point out areas where you are unhealthy.  They will look at your pursuit for changing as a threat towards their life of respect or power.  They will point out your other faults or your other unhealthy habits (as if they have none).  They will try to make themselves feel better or more important.  Their own insecurities start to surface, and they start to point out their own unhealthy habits.

Find people that are glad you are on a path towards a healthier life.  Respect people and their path that they are on.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day 257 - Getting Back in the Swing of Things

I did not make it to any yoga last night.  So I had to take my third non scheduled day off.  My segment from Dallas to Orlando got canceled and I was delayed getting home.  It is funny how I feel like I need to have a good excuse to tell everyone when I miss a day.  I feel like this is something I need to become a lot more forgiving, on and I plan to have a lot less rules once my year goal is up.  One way to become less demanding on myself is to say I am able to miss days every once in awhile.  I realize this, but also made a promise to myself for the next year.  So for now I am going to stick to the rules.

I am super tired from the flight.  I had to get a new drivers license today since I left my wallet in Thailand.  That took two hours.  I also came home to a flat tire on my truck so I needed to take care of that too.  I finally got to yoga at 8:00 tonight, and my body is drained and tired from jet lag and the lack of proper sleep.  I did get a hour of most the Ashtanga primary series in. 

I am about to fall asleep and still need to eat dinner so I am cutting today pretty short.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 256 - Still Flying with Gratitude

I am still on my way back to Orlando.  Right now I am somewhere in a giant tube with wings over the seas of the Pacific.  I am still on this kick of gratitude.  I am pretty tired, but extremely grateful.

I have had so many conversations with people stating what they are missing in their life.  Things like "I would do yoga if I had more time / money."  "If I could get this new job..."  "If I moved to California..."  So many of our lives (mine included) are geared towards what we do not have.

I spent the last 11 mornings meditating.  Part of the meditation was to focus on what it was we were grateful for.  It helped open up so much inside of me.  I of course brought up the usual thoughts of my family, friends, and my happy dog.  The one thing that I continued to go back to was how I was thankful to be able to sit and meditate in this moment.  It was easy to do out next to the ocean with a cool breeze, but what I have noticed is I have brought this gratitude with me.

As I sit on this plane I am grateful that I am able to sit here.  I am grateful for the technology that made it possible to take aluminum and make it fly across oceans.  I am grateful that a stewardess is feeding me.  I am grateful that there is food in front of me.  I am grateful for the music I am listening to while typing out my thoughts on a computer flying over the Pacific.  I am grateful for path that has put me here.

So many times I get caught up on the past and the "mistakes" I have made.  I become harsh on myself.  I also worry about these mistakes and fear repeating them in the future.  I do not stop and give gratitude for these "mistakes".  Without these "mistakes" I would not learn how to grow into the person I am today

There is only so much room in my body to take on thoughts and emotions.  If I do not take on these emotions and thoughts they continue to store in my body.  As I continue to do the asanas (postures) in my yoga practice I am releasing more and more emotions.  My ultimate goal is to let emotions and thoughts move freely through my body.  I do not have to beat myself for mistakes in the past.  I do not have to fear the future.  I can sit and find something to be grateful for in that situation.

My body is feeling the lack of yoga.  I am hoping when I get home to stay awake and do some gentle stretching.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 255 - Flying back home

I am on a giant adventure of airport madness today.    I am currently writing from Hong Kong.  My adventure started on a flight from Koh Samui to Bangkok.  Then Bangkok to Hong Kong.  Next I am off to Tokyo.  Then Dallas.  Finally its a nice trip to Orlando.  Probably over 32 hours of travel.

It is strange yet some what relaxing to be surrounded by languages I do not understand.  I am starting to pick up on the different dialects.  I can hear the distinct difference between Japanese, Chinese, and Thai.  It is strange because I cannot understand it, but I also kind of enjoy not understanding what people are saying.  I do not feel the negative energy as much when people get upset.   I do not even know if they are upset half the time.  In general I sense more of a happiness around these countries.

Being in Samhita Yoga retreat gave me a look on the positive side of life.  Everyone there was in a great mood, on vacation, relaxing, and upbeat yoga people.  There were a couple people who were complaining quite a bit.  I just steered away from them.

I was also in a very zen meditative state a lot of the time.  I feel like I was able to take that and apply it to the outside world.  I feel more and more like I am just watching television.  There are a lot of people running around here at the airport.  I am trying to keep this peace from Samahita and see how long it stays in my heart.

When I got on the plane to come home I became a bit overwhelmed with emotions.  I started to feel a bit depressed and sad.  Bad moments from my past began to come in my mind.  As they came up I thanked them for helping me become who I am today and exhaled them out.  I then shifted to the other side of things, where I felt EXTREMELY grateful for my life.  I was almost in tears I was so filled with positive joy, love, and gratefulness.  I was grateful for everything that has come into my mind, both good and bad.  I felt really really good about my current path in life.  I was ecstatic about the trip to Thailand, and was grateful that I have once again found yoga in my life. 

Life has been very good for me.  Life seems really in perspective today.  I want to give more to others when I return back to Orlando.  I have a few ideas that I am planning on doing when I get back, but I tend to keep the giving gestures to myself.  I encourage everyone to somehow give back to their community.

I am taking the day off from yoga because I am traveling.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 254 - Last Day at Samahita Yoga Thailand

I feel like I have learned so much here at Samahita Yoga Thailand.  I am grateful for all the teacher that I had on this vacation.  I learned so much from the instructors, fellow students from around the world, taxi drivers, and locals.  Pictures can not express the many philosophical conversations I had along with the jokes, games, and laughing.  It is an amazing feeling here. 

I was wondering what if everyone that I met in Samahita actually lived here.  Would we all be completely different.  Would our relaxed, chill, and curious attitude switch back to our normal every day emotions.  What are the people here like when they get back to the everyday grind? 

Being here allows anyone to drop their everyday personality and be whoever they want.  You in essence can present yourself to anyone here however you wish.  No one knows you here.  I was thinking that I am a happy person deep inside.  I have no need to present myself as anyone except for who I am.  I talk about any aspect of my life, but I also want to hear the many stories from everyone who has come here.  What brought them to yoga?  What brought them this retreat?  What is their home life like?  It is such a learning experience.  It makes me happy.

I dove into Mysore practice pretty deeply here.  I only had one day that I did not partake in a Mysore class.  I feel pretty accomplished in my search for a more accepting and gentle side of my practice.  I discovered how I can still move in a forward and positive direction without pushing myself. 

The yoga retreat was filled with a great mix of people from people trying yoga for the first time to people who have been at this for over 30 years.  It was a great place to work on the ego.  I could easily say I am better then the beginners or worst then the masters, but this is a big part of yoga.  There is no better or worst, there is only me.  I am the one living in this moment.  I am the one that has to accept my body, breath, and mind.  I am the one on my personal journey.  Finding the gentle side means allowing myself to be me in this current moment.

I highly recommend Samahita yoga retreat as a vacation spot.  There has been vacations where I feel like I need a vacation afterwards.  Samahita is a great opportunity to see the world and also take care of yourself.  Yoga is beneficial anywhere in the world.  You can grow in yoga whether you practice in your bedroom or across the world.  If you are looking to get away on a restful vacation, this is a great place to do that while concentrating on your yoga practice.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 253 - Relase the emotions

Headstands around the World (Sounds like a good charity)

The sun is back out here in Samahita Thailand.  After taking my 7:30 mediation class and 8:00 Mysore class I took a walk back up to a Buddhist temple within walking distance on the beach.  This time I went with a small group so I could get the tour and find out a bit of information about the temple.  Since the sun was out, I managed to lay around the pool and ocean and soak in some Vitamin D.  My time here is coming to an end.  It was exactly the type of trip that I was looking for.  Lots of great people, healthy food, lots of relaxing, and lots of good yoga.

This morning during the Mysore class Rachel mentioned I was probably storing emotions in my hamstrings.  I have been doing pretty intense stretching and massage during the last 10 days.  So although I am on an island filled with relaxation there were still emotions being stirred around inside of me.  There were a lot of positive emotions that were churned out from my past, but also some negative ones.  I realized that hatred is still new to my heart, and that the hatred and betrayal I felt from marriage and divorce were still coming out of me.  It was actually a soothing experience as I realize that these feelings are now much more diminished and I say goodbye to them as they enter and exit my mind.  This was my past.  This was the structure that built me into what I am today.  It is what brought me to the now. 

As I twist and stretch my body during yoga, I release the emotions from the past.  I am put onto trial to see if my brain gets stuck in the past or will worry about the future.  Good or bad the past is done.  I can never predict the future.  So the only place to be is the Now.  As "negative" experiences come unlocked I have a choice to fear them and lock them back up into my body.  I can also say goodbye to them and thank them as they have helped me grow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day 252 - It's not the end result of the pose

It is raining here again in Thailand.  This morning I was back to my yoga routine here at Samahita.  30 minutes of meditation, a Mysore class, and a Restorative class at night. 

The instructors here at Samahita Yoga retreat are excellent.  I have learned a lot from them, and feel like I have the tools to grow over the next few months.  I think it is important to have someone who can guide me, put my postures into proper alignment, and keep me moving in a positive direction.

Rachel Grey has been one of the main instructors working with me here.  I have been working on my gentle side, and she said something today that made me recapture more of this focus.  "Do not worry about the end results of the pose."  At one point I was trying so hard to capture a bind that I stopped breathing. 

There is this nonsense idea that the posture makes the yogi.  That if we are to get to the high levels of yoga postures that we will reach true enlightenment.  I also fall into this trap.  The postures only help.  The breath is where the true answers are at. Some days I fight, push, and demand to get into a certain posture.  Other days I find the gentle rhythm and breathe into the posture.  Some days I am stiff, other days I feel great.  Some postures are not comfortable, while others make me feel strong.  The postures are what test your mind.  They help bring the connection between body, soul, and mind.

Can I stay grounded, breathe, and live in the moment?  Can I continue to move into a forward, positive, and healthy direction without pushing too hard.  Can I leave my ego aside and just accept and be happy that my body is what it is right now?  Can I stop thinking of the past and the future and just live in the moment of the breath and the posture?

If I was to somehow transform my body today and I can suddenly do the highest possible level of yoga am I done?  Do I win?  The truth is there is no end result of the postures.  There is always the next step.  It is like life, a constant struggle to keep a constant balance.  The more we can live in the moment, the more we can breathe through our emotions, the more we can accept who we are, we come closer to peace in the heart.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 251 - Goings and Comings

Happy Thai New Year.  Today was my day off from yoga.  It also was really rainy and windy today.  So when the electricity went out there was little for all of us to do.  The first group was all leaving so it was sad to say goodbye to the new friends I had made.  There were a lot of good people on this trip and memories I will remember.

A lot of the time in Samahita has been spent talking with people from all over the world.  I have found some of my fondest memories from my past involved when a big group of international people unite in places like these yoga retreats, hostiles, or when I lived in an international apartment.  Most of the time people are relaxed, on vacation, and drop the differences we may have.  It is fun to hear the different stories from different cultures, but bottom line we all have the same basic needs.  We all search for love, peace, happiness, and we all suffer human emotions.  I love when I experience these connections.

The food here is vegetarian, with egg, and fish.  There is no meat, chicken, and the food is really eel prepared.  There a lot of choices in juices, coconuts, and other fruit concoctions.  There is no alcohol, or smoking aloud on the premise, which brings people down to their real state. 

I feel as if this storm is bringing in a change in me.  It is a weird emotional state today.  There is a part of me that really feels like being alone.  There is a part of me that wants to hang out with people.  There is a part of that would like to be back with my dog, friends, and family.  There is a part of me that wants to explore the island.

A smaller group of people arrived today.  The place seems really quiet, and it is strange to start again with the hello's and where are you from.  The power has been out for more then 12 hours, probably because of the holiday.  The night is pretty dark, and the rain sounds really nice.  I am going to embrace this time where I have no electricity, little people, and not much to do.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 250 - Lose my demanding ego

Had to take a picture of this poor lady doing a Thai massage on me.  She is trying to lift me up on her knees to massage while I am in a back bend.  I am twice her size and she did not quite get it. Some of these women can pull this off though, and it feels great.   The Thai massages here run about $10.  They are a great counter to the Ashtanga yoga practice.

This morning I again woke up in Thailand and participated in the 7:30 meditation followed by a 8:00 Mysore class.  The yogis who gets into higher level postures were again practicing next to me.  Yesterday I talked a lot about staying humble and not creating levels between people.  Writing this helped me realize that my ego is stopping me from finding the gentle side of my yoga practice.  There have been a good amount of people here that have gotten injured.  Why?  A lot of the reason is they are pushing themselves.  They have yet to find the gentle side inside of them.

Instead of accepting who and where I am, I am pushing myself to the next level.  The excitement level is real high for me here.  I am being corrected by my instructors who I then want to show I am respecing their instructions.  I want to show that I am doing a good job.  When they are next to me watching me I want to show that I can do the posture correctly.   Meanwhile I am practicing next to people who can get into asanas I dream of doing.  So this makes my mind put a higher demand on my body.  My mind says I can do better, while my body wants to get a massage.

Instead of just being in the moment and being who I am, I stress out my muscles and shake.  I bend further then I can in a forward bend, I start to shake, and start to loose my proper posture.  I start to have a sloppy practice to try to push where I want to go.  A sloppy practice will lead to injury.  I beleive the best way is to practice these asanas with correct techniques even if it means you do not look like a yoga bad ass.

I am pretty sure I have been failing with staying gentle here in Thailand.  I am relaxing outside of my morning practice.  I am being a humble person, but I am letting my ego demand I do better.  Loosing the ego that I NEED to be in the higher levels of yoga is my first real step to becoming a true yogi.  It is amazing how our minds work the same on the mat as they do off the mat.

Tonight is the last day for about 40 people who are in the workshop group here at the Samahita yoga retreat.  I met a lot of good people, a lot of new friends I hope to see on another retreat someday.  Tomorrow a new group of people come in.

One last fun fact.  I managed to leave my wallet in the taxi.  I lost my ATM, credit card, drivers license, and some cash.  I should have no problem getting home, but it definitely puts a nice challenge and twist to a relaxing retreat.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day 249 - Keep Humble

I am currently writing while the power is out.  A storm blew a tree into a transformer and it blew.  I am not sure when the power will restore, but Thailand is pretty hot without any A/C.   This morning I attended another 7:30 meditation followed by another Mysore class.   Today I did yoga next to a high level yogi.  He was very impressive with his practice.  He was doing the third or fourth series in Ashtanga (crazy legs behind the head stuff).  I felt pretty lucky to be in his presence, but it got me thinking a lot about ego today.

There are so many steps of yoga.  We are all on different paths.  I am excited of the progress that I have made on and off the mat.  I am excited that I will continue to progress in my practice.  Some people may progress really fast through the asanas (postures), while others may take a lifetime to get into the asana.  At what point do you become a "good" yogi?  At what point do you become a "great" yogi.  If this is true are there "bad" yogis?

I have seen some people put levels on the ability to do yoga.  They use where they are in their asanas or their knowledge in yoga to raise themselves into a higher level in yoga.  They create a hierarchy in themselves that allows them to feel more important then another person.  There is no hierarchy in yoga.  There is only personal growth.  There is no better teacher that can teach you this then yourself.

I am finding that I have a good understanding of humbleness in this world.  I probably do have a lot of things I could brag about or use to make myself feel important.  I could tell several accomplishments and make me feel like I am a higher being then the person I am talking to.  I want to find a connection with the people I am talking to.  I want them to know that we are all working on something, we are all growing, and we all have something to learn from one another.

I have had people in my life that use their accomplishments in their life to put themselves above other people.  They tend to command rather then give.  They tend to expect the world should be listening to them rather then them listening to the world.  These type of personalities have hurt me in the past.  When I sense this from someone I typically let them continue to try to command their world while I live in mine.  The good ones have followers and people that listen to their accomplishments and knowledge.  I try to keep the knowledge inside me that they are growing too.

As I continue to work on a gentle heart, I want to stay humble as a yogi.  This is my ultimate goal.  More so then jumping into handstand.  I do not want to create levels.  I want to do yoga for 50 years and still talk to people as if I am a human.  I do not want to reach enlightenment unless it means I can look at every human being on an equal level.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day 248 - Forgiving the Should's

It is now day 5 here at Thailand Samahita yoga retreat.  Today was a New Moon which means no practice for a lot of Ashtanga yogi's.  They did however offer a couple classes for people who do not follow this.  I was able to do a Mysore class in the morning.  There were maybe a third of the people here that did some sort of yoga.

It was interesting how I could see some of myself in other people today.  The fact that they did not do yoga today (because of the new moon) made them feel as if they were doing something wrong.  They felt as if they Should be doing something (please see the previous blog "The Should's").  I realized that for many of the people here they have the same perfectionist attitude as I do.

I am very excited what I am learning here.  There are some postures that I feel like I can get into that maybe I felt like I couldn't do before this trip.  This excitement gives me a drive, and this drive is what makes me start with "the Should's."  I should try harder, I should be able to get into this posture, I should be like person in front of me.  I think my brain loves to search for the new excitements, but get's frustrated when I hit "the Should's. "  The thing in the middle is the drive.  The drive I am very good at.

I have switched and started to recognize when I start to hit "the should's" in my practice and in my life.  I now replace "the should's" with a forgiveness, a gentleness, or an acceptance.  I get excited if I get into a new posture, I accept that I am not in a certain posture, I forgive that I am not focused 100% of the time, and I find a gentle peace in my heart.  I continue with my excited drive, but in a forgiving manner.

Yesterday, I decided to take a break from the yoga restorative class.  I took the whole day and sat by the pool.  Instead of yoga I went and got a Thai massage on the beach.  If you have never had a Thai massage it is a massage where they almost bend you into yoga postures, but also massage out the areas of tension.  It ended up being a very relaxing day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 247 - Listen and Be Gentle

It is day 4 here at Samahita Retreat in Thailand.  I am loving what I am learning. When I leave the class I want to try some of the postures again.  This trip has changed my practice to make me feel like I am moving in a forward direction again.  I want to continue the Mysore style Ashtanga classes when I return back to Orlando.  Being here has shown me how sloppy I have gotten in my practice, and also a renewed excitement.

I have been concentrating a lot on not tensing my butt during a lot of postures, which in return gives me a new space to work with during things like upward dog and back bending.  I also have found a whole new muscle that I should be using during back bending.  Simple little modifications from an instructor is exactly what I needed.

I continue to talk about how I am looking to be more gentle with myself here in Thailand.  I have found this more challenging during practice when the instructor is watching you during the Mysore class.  She makes constant adjustments.  She told me once during my forward fold "Be Gentle,"  as I was forcing myself into the pose.  She also told me "Listen to what I am saying."

These have been two things that have been a life long challenge with me.  I am very demanding on myself, and I also feel like I should be able to accomplish the things in life on my own.  When given an option to do a project in school solo or with a group, I always choose solo.  Job reviews would always tell me I need to ask others to help me with my projects.  I know I can trust myself to get the job done, and have this self motivated drive that puts all the pressure onto myself.  If there is no one else working with me I only have myself to blame.  I have been disappointed by enough people in my life to know that if I want to do something I will need to figure it out myself.  This is how I have been for years, but also something I have been changing in the last few years.

For years I have been working in a lot of areas with the impression that I am here to serve the world, but at the same time I am somewhat closed off to the world serving me.  Everything in this world needs a good balance.  The world works in conjunction with each other.  We need the good as well as the bad.  We need the pain to learn the love.  I need to learn how to receive as well as give.

The importance of being gentle on myself is to allow my soul to be less demanding.  I need to listen to the world and other people to help me be here in this moment.  If I am stretching into my forward bend I do not need to force myself into it.  I need to find a gentle heart and know that I am where I need to be.  Allow the patience and the trust that as long as I continue to practice good things in this world I am moving forward.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 246 - Minor Adjustments

I am on day 3 here at Samahita yoga resort here in Thailand.  I have gotten over the jet lag and got a good 8 hours of sleep last night.  I woke up again for the 7:30 meditation class, followed by the 8:00 Mysore class.  Mysore yoga is the type of Ashtanga yoga where you go into the class, lay down your mat and go through the Ashtanga primary series on your own.  You have to know all the postures as it is not led by the instructor.  Instead the instructor walks around and makes proper adjustments to the students postures.  My class only had 1 other person in it, so the instructor was able to spend a lot of time with me.  FYI there is a led class available to help learn the Ashtanga primary series.

I feel like I learned so much in only 2 days.  I now know a better path on where I need to take my practice to get deeper into the postures.  I was really excited as the instructor put me in a couple postures I have never been able to get in to before.  I also was taught a lot of  little adjustments that actually made real sense on why I was not going deeper into certain postures.  These minor adjustments help out so much.  For instance, I know I still clinch my butt in a lot of postures.  I was actually shown (on me) how when I release my butt my lower back opens up, and I am able to start to go deeper into certain postures like back bending. 

These minor adjustments will take a long time to change.  I have to correct not only the technique I have been doing throughout my practice, but also the everyday living I put my body through.  Think how bad something like snowboarding is for yoga.  There is no balance,  all the strength is put into one leg,  and the shock to the system is immense.  These daily routines, even how we sit, walk, or eat will effect my yoga practice. 

After practice I ventured off down the beach and to a small Budhist temple.  I then walked up the road to a big Buddha stature overlooking the sea.  It was really cool experience as the whole park was pretty much empty except for me and the Buddha statues. 

I returned back for the 5:00 restorative class.  These gentle yoga postures helped to relieve some of the soreness from being tied into a pretzel in the morning Mysore class.

It is crazy that after 3 days I  am still meeting people from this very large group.  There are more people that have been coming and going.  Everyone of course is very relaxed and enjoying the weather, yoga, massages, and atmosphere.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 245 - Yoga Retreat People

It is day 2 at Samahita resort in Koh Samui, Thailand.  Today I was still recovering from jet lag.  I woke up a 3:00 a.m. and could not fall back to sleep.  This is normal, but it only gave me 4 hours of sleep to work with.  I decided to take a very relaxing day.  Yoga started at 7:30 a.m. with a nice led meditation class.  At 8:00 we were given two class options in which I took the Mysore class.   I felt a bit lucky because the Mysore group was only about 4 people, so I was given a lot of attention.  I learned so much about my postures in just this one practice.  I pretty much lounged around the pool, beach, and got a massage before going to the 5:00 restorative yoga class.

It is interesting to me the clicks that form on these yoga retreats.  There are about 50 - 60 people here all relaxing, visiting the sites, and doing yoga.  Some people click better with others.   It is strange that after only a couple days I feel like some of these people I will keep in touch with for a very long time.

I am beginning to see a common thread that I enjoy with people.  I have noticed at the few retreats that I have gone to that there are people that can let down their guard and relax.  I tend to click really nice with these people.  The majority of these people here have that personality.  The people I tend to steer away from are the type that keep up their mask.  These people tend to hide behind what they have accomplished to mask who they really are.  

I am going to make an effort to try to talk to everyone here.  I will make the effort to introduce myself and not expect others to introduce themselves.  

A typical greeting on retreats is "What's your name and where are you from."  Everyone has the common thread of yoga so of course this is an easy area of topic.  I would say for the most part that people are chilled and relaxed or may be a bit shy talking to each other because of the language gap.  There are some that came to get away from people so they tend to disappear.

I am beginning to realize that the reason I enjoy yoga so much is it is a thing where I do not have to have a demand on myself.  One of my goals here is to find more of a gentler side with me.  I see a few of the instructors practicing the third series (way advanced), and I want to push myself to get there.  Everyone I think would love to look like that doing yoga.  This is the best part for me.  It is a lifetime of practice.  I might get to the third series postures someday, but I want to get there in a slow and gentle manner.  Off the mat my personality is very self demanding.  I try to do a lot of things.  I do not want to become the type where my accomplishments mask who I am.  I want to do the opposite and share with the world exactly who I am.  Nothing to hide :)

I do not want to be around the people that I feel I must bow to their feet before talking, nor do I ever want to give that impression that people need to do that in front of me.  I see us all as equals learning to grow and improve our lives.  We do not have to hide behind a mask acting like we have grown or improved ourselves more then one another.  We are all on different paths and we all have different things to work on.  There is always a place to grow.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 244 - Samahita day 1

Life is pretty damn good.  I had a GREAT first day here in Koh Samui and the Samahita yoga retreat.  It is amazing I still have 11 more days here.  There are currently about 60 people from all over the world doing Ashtanga yoga.  People are from China, Singapore, Germany, France, Egypt, Switzerland, Finland, England, Japan, Australia, I can go on, but you get the point.  We all have yoga in common.   On top of that we are all Ashtanga lovers. 

There are so many good people here, and I am having such a great time.  Today was the traditional day off for this practice. There was still a lead light Hatha class and a Restorative practice.  These two classes were perfect because I have been traveling, and my body was quite stiff.

The place is perfect, and as you can see from the above picture it is ocean front.  The weather is gorgeous and the food is perfect for my current diet.  They serve vegetarian with fish and eggs.  This is exactly where I am at in my diet.  It is like the stars have alligned and dropped me in the place where I need to be.  I had an excellent first day.

At one point I had a surreal experience thinking to myself how crazy it was to be on the other side of the world meeting with such great people.

There is a lot of different personalities here so that is fun to watch.  There is no alcohol or smoking aloud on the premise so this makes the experience that much better for me because everyone is real.

I was able to take it easy and lounge around the pool all day.  I talked amongst everyone, and I found myself riding a scooter for the first time in my life.  It was the only way I was going to get to a coffee shop a few of us wanted to go, so I decided to just do it.  I am not a fan of motorcycles or scooters, but I went ahead and did anyway.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 243 - Changing

 I was back on a plane today.  Currently I am writing from Hong Kong on my way to Bangkok where I will catch a flight to the island of Koh Samui.  It was really hard to find a spot to do yoga today. It totaled another 20 hours of travel time today.  So today is my day off.  My body really needs some yoga.  It is yelling at me to give it a break.  Luckly, Koh Samui is home of Samahita yoga retreat center.  This is where I will be for until the 17th of April.  Koh Samui is an Ashtanga studio led by Paul Dallaghan.  I have heard nothing but good things about this Patabi Jois certified Ashtanga instructor and am really excited to get there.

This trip has given me a lot of courage, strength, and a new perspective, and it's only been 3 days.  One thought has been in my mind today.  It is how we often use the phrase "I want to change the world."  Life is ever changing, but why?  The world is filled with so many different cultures, religions, beliefs, and knowledge. 

I have a pretty solid belief system and ethics.  I am good at keeping what I believe inside my own house and heart.  The next step is to bring a women into my life who has the same solid ethics.  At this point we both need to make some changes to make sure we cover both of our learned ethics,  to be mindful of one another beliefs, and to hold on to what is really important to us.  The next step for most is to have children who we try to teach these ethics to.  These children are also taught by their peers, their teachers, and general society.  They starts to develop their own ethics.  This is where it begins.  A lot of people believe that they can change others to make them think like them.  Do it by threats, force, money, or power.  They have a need to have others follow their ethics.  This is where we start to loose our happiness and cause our frustrations.  We wonder why people are not acting like us.

We can only change what is inside of.  We cannot change other people without damage.  We start to think that power, knowledge, or money will give us the ability to tell others how to live.  We are taught to learn more in school, so you get a good job, which brings in money, and then you become happy.  While a good income is a necessity to live, people with money are often unhappy because they continue to look outward for their happiness.  Happiness is found in more money, more toys, more parties, more vacations.  These become masks covering who they really are.

We cannot force people to change, they have to want to change.  The change however needs to keep looking inside.  What is important to you?  What do you believe?  If people ask you questions about your ethics tell them, do not try to persuade them.  This is how we can learn and change from one another.  Believe we are all growing and learning from one another, but stick to your core ethics.

Some of your ethics will be with me my entire life.  "I will not kill anyone."  Simple enough.  Other's will change.  "I will not drink alcohol or do drugs."  Still others I am currently working on.  "I will show compassion to all living beings."  If you count all the sushi I ate yesterday I am pretty sure I was not showing compassion towards that living being.  My beliefs all come together in a main core of honesty, compassion, and love.

I also have noticed that a tight family and friends have trouble changing their ethics.  They are surrounded by them.  If one flies the chicken coop and travels around the world then he is introduced to so many other types of ethics.  I was lucky enough to fly the coop.  I have learned so much, but with that there is a cause of frustration.  What was once my way of ethics may now be something different because of what I have experienced.  My new ethics may not be how I was raised in my tight community.  How would out ethics change if we never left our home?

As I continue to pick up beliefs from this world I am finding that I am not here to change the world, but rather I am changing for the world.  I will continue to look inside.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 242 - Face your Fear and Enjoy the World

I am sending this blog out prior to departing to Thailand.  I am not sure I will have enough time during the travel.  It is going to be another late day.

Wow what a great day.  I went on an adventure and it turned out to be a blast.  I remember the first time I was coming to Japan. My biggest fear was to be trapped in a subway with a million people.  Being pushed into the car with no where to move.  I was also afraid of getting lost in a big city and not knowing the language.  I think it is partially about making a mistake, but subways make me nervous.  Except, I think I conquered my fear today.  I ventured on and off trains and went to maybe 6 different connection.  Most the cars were crowded along with most the places I went to.  I felt really good though.  I feel very peaceful here.  Again, I think it is me not getting worried about things that I really do not need to worry about.  If I was to get lost in Tokyo, I would find my way back.  People in Tokyo deal with these crowds everyday, I can deal with them for one.  Simple mind adjustments made my worries dissipate and aloud room in my brain to just be in the moment and have fun.

Maybe is was all those balance postures in yoga, but I felt like if I was to fall down I know I will just get right back up and try again.  The world is awesome that way.  There is always room for second, third, and fourth chances.  If we fear making mistakes or failure then we miss out on a big part of life.  My fear would have kept me from such a beautiful day.  Today I went to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.  I then walked all around Shibuyoa city before making it to Maiji Jingu shrine. 

I loved the sounds and feeling I got while walking around the city.  It is so different here.  I realize how important it is to learn another language.  I tried Japanese before along with Norwegian, German, and now Spanish.    I would love to some day talk on a deeper level in a foreign language with people from another country.  I am currently working on my Spanish thinking this will be the most popular one.  It is very difficult for me to pick up another language (especially Japanese).  I am going to have to be really patient on this one. Maybe I will set a goal to have the basics in Spanish down by the time I am 40?

I am off to Thailand.  I have another long trip ahead of me.  Here are a couple more photos from the Sensoji Temple.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 241 or is it Day 242?

Good morning from Tokyo or is it night?  My time is really switched around today.  I was trying to figure out if I somehow missed posting a blog because it is actually morning on the 4th while Orlando is in the evening on the 3rd.  How did I miss a day?  I am pretty sure I am still on task and it will all even itself out when I return.

I was awake at 5:00 this morning.  Still think there is no fighting connection between your body and your mind?  When you come out here your mind says that it wants to sleep, but your body is so used to it's cycle that it refuses to sleep.  My body and mind are fighting right now.  I will let them while I write this blog :)

I was thinking about how to tell everyone about the flight here to Tokyo.  It really all comes down to my story or my words.  I think everyone should try to make it out here sometime in their life so I always sugar coat it.  I often think about how other's would tell the story of  24 hours of travel.  I would here things like "Oh my god the line was so long at customs."  "The plan got really shaky at times."  "It was soooooo long."  You can really feel the tired people on the plane and train.  Here is the story I am going with.  "It was a long trip, but I am so glad I am here."

I am glad to be back in Japan.  The travel may be long, but it is so cool here.  There is such a wild crazy movement here.  For one I cannot understand anyone, and I love to try to communicate with people here.  Everyone is very friendly, but also shy to speak any English.  When they talk to me though there is a big smile on everyone's face.  I love how little in-depth I talk to people.  Just buying a train ticket and where to catch the train can be a big challenge.  I wonder what would happen if I ask them the meaning of life.  When I was roaming the city looking for the hotel I asked an old man directions.  He pulled out a map.  We both squattedted down and he grunted some words I didn't understand, and I grunted some words he didn't understand, but he directed me to the hotel.

There are so many differences amongst us as people.  I find it strange that the people who can speak the same language often cannot communicate with each other.  I put so much time in my own thoughts, beliefs, and ideas yet I often shut down while communicating for the sake of other people.  It is simple evidence on how I can make myself so frustrated.  When the day consists 24 hours of only me getting from point A to point B, eating, and sleeping…there is not much more to think about.  If you are a person that worries that shows up on the plane.  "What if we miss our flight?"  "Did I forget something?"  There are no "shoulds" on the plane.  You just have to sit there and wait.  The worriers still find something to worry about.

Last night (this morning) I ventured outside the hotel in Shinjuku and loved the lights and restaurant choices I have.  I am still trying to stick to my diet of no meat, pork, or chicken while I am here, but will forgive myself if these are not followed.  Flying to Thailand tomorrow on Vegan day seems like it is going to be near impossible.  I am going to try to do the best I can.  Last night I went to a little sushi restaurant.   There is so many types of food here, but it is so hard not to eat just sushi when it is this good.

I looked for a yoga studio around town, but ultimately decided my body needed a gentle recovery session from being on the plane all day.  I woke up this morning with an hour session. I was so sore and it was great  to get some of the kinks out of my back from the "airplane seated asana" pose I did for so long. 

I am off for my day in Tokyo!!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 240 - Crammed Spaces

I am pretty sure I am taking my day off today.  Not much of a choice.  It is really difficult to find space for yoga while traveling.  It is even harder then you have to wake up for a 7:30 flight to Chicago followed by a 13 hour flight to Tokyo.  I will have about 20 hours of traveling time today.  I realize in these tight quarters I do not have a lot of space to roll out a mat and start busting out some postures.  I do also realize thought that there is space for breath.  After all this is one of the main focuses in yoga.  So since I have 13 hours to kill, I am going to try to devote one of these hours to breathing and meditation.   I will hold the posture of "airplane seated asana." and focus on my breath.  What a great place to try to find the calmness inside my mind.  It is easy to do in a yoga studio, but what about an airport?

I have done a lot of traveling in my time.  Traveling alone on these long trips make me realize the importance of "what is" versus "what should be."  Airports are filled with negative energy.  Family's who have missed their flights, airplane mishaps, no more pillows, and crammed spaces.  Let's face it there is nothing comfortable about flying.  In all my years of travel I have had my breaking points, but I have also found acceptance. 

This trip to Thailand I want to be looking into my gentler side.  Trying to be gentle on myself.  The travel day is a great place to do this.  Just like an uncomfortable yoga posture, I can go into the trip worrying about sitting in a tube for 13 hours.  Or I can breathe.  Things will get thrown my way.  Delayed flights, canceled flights, getting lost.  How will I handle that?  Comfort is not found on an island in Thailand.  Comfort is found in your heart.  I feel like I can handle the pressure that life throws my way.  I might break, but my breath will bring me right back to my comfort zone.  This is acceptance.

The biggest thing that gets to me is seeing others in pressure situations.  How much it upsets them, how much they become agitated and uncomfortable.  Watching this creates a domino effect.  Their energy is felt around the room.  Think about it, if you do not agree with how they are feeling, then you are probably becoming agitated with how they are behaving.  I feel this from others and I start feeling upset.  I have figured out a great solution to this problem.  Earphones.  Think of the yoga music in your studio and how it brings you to a state.  Try bringing your calming music to the airport.  No one else is there it is just you.  Now how do you feel?

Remember, if you are the one that is getting agitated, and upset over situations you are the one releasing the negative energy onto others.  Also remember, we all break.  Be gentle and forgiving when you do.

I have the personality where I want to fix the situation, but I have gone to accept that these situations in the airport are pretty much out of my control.  If you go to the airport paying high prices and do not expect to have long lines at security, canceled flights, and tired agitated people, don't fly.  Find your island in your heart, then search for it outside your heart.  The world wants to see you, and your loving heart.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 239 - Preparations

I am rushing to get to this blog tonight.  I need to wake up to drive to the airport at 4:30 tomorrow.  This trip out to Thailand I want to put some effort into finding more of a gentle side to my soul.  I push and push myself sometimes trying to get so much done.  I am very demanding on myself, and this vacation is a great opportunity to let it all go.

Today I did yoga at home.  It was a gentle yin like yoga that I was just taking a moment to be with myself before the big adventure.

I am off to sleep.  I hope to have a lot more time to write on the plane tomorrow.  In the mean time think of ways that you might be a little more gentle on yourself.  This subject will come up again.