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.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 330 - What if there was no fear in our life?

I did yoga at home today.

I have been on a kick lately of looking at ways to drop our fears.  Our fears are our biggest blocks from allowing us to truly live our life.  There are obvious fears like a fear of snakes or a fear of doing a double back flip on a snowboard.  These fears are obvious how we can confront them.  There are other sometimes not so obvious fears in our lives.  Maybe it's a fear to express an emotion, a few to tell someone the truth, or the fear of upsetting someone.

Some of these fears we do not even know we have.  We have lived our entire life with these fears so they may not even appear to us as a fear.  We may even find some comfort in these fears.

I know people that I used to look at and think they have no fear.  They do things like walk right up to a girl and ask them out, drink without a care in their life, or drive a car at high speeds.  What we do not see is the underlining fears.  The fear of commitment, the fear of living a healthy and good life, or the fear of others thinking they were soft.  We all have fears.  I am realizing more everyday that it is important to face our fears.  The less fears we have in our life the more room we have for other emotions.

What if we had no fear in our life?  Then what?  This is when your morals come in.  If you are an asshole when you feared life, when you drop all of these fears you will still be an asshole.  However, when we drop these fears and make room for new emotions you can become whoever you want.  You can make this slow switch towards someone you inspire to be.

I would like to someday be blessed to find enlightenment.  The reality though is I have sooooo much work to go through.  It will not happen in this life time.  Luckily I believe in reincarnation so I have so much time ahead of me.  I am becoming more accepting of who I am, where I have come from, and where I am going.  I will continue to face my fears and make more room in my heart.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 329 - Party of five

Back in the 90's I watched a show called "Party of Five."  I was addicted to watching the Salinger family come across disaster after disaster every week.  I would watch as 60 minutes would pass and they would always some how solve their problem and make light out of that weeks disaster.  It started off a heart warming show that made me feel like we could overcome anything.  It was on for 6 seasons, and the amount of crap that happened to this family just became ridiculous. 

The episode that came to my mind today is when Bailey Salinger went from a straight edge good guy to a raging alcoholic who was a drunk clown at a children's party.  I remember laughing when we was drunk dressed up as a clown telling his family that he has given up because it is hereditary and he is has no control.  He was born to be a drunk.  The following week he was back to a normal individual ready to take on the world.

Our society is engraved with quick fixes.  We never want to go through the work.  Look at the commercials on TV.   Discover weight loss in 5 days, take a pill to help you sleep, or hire a lawyer because you are a victim.  We are being sold everyday that the rest of the world is why we are not happy.  We can use the external world to fix our issues and find happiness.  We never put the blame on our self.  God forbid we are wrong.

We justify our lives as the correct and healthy way.  We want something to fix our issues for us while we can continue on with our normal behavior.  We excuse our unhealthy behaviors as something that is beyond our control.  Genes made me this way, my kids and wife give me no time for myself, I do not have any money, or I spend my entire day working.  Are you Bailey Salinger?  Are you the drunk clown with no control over your life?  Are you expecting there to be a commercial break and then everything will be fixed in 60 minutes?

What is holding you back?  What are your excuses?  Stop with the excuses.  Take on the excuses.  Facing these excuses will put you on the path you are meant to be on.  Now is the time.  Let's shift towards a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 328 - Find the time to take care of you

I went to Yin Yoga with Steve Rubin at Orlando Power Yoga.  I felt really relaxed after I left the class.  We held the pigeon posture for 5 minutes on each side today.  I think that there is a connection between doing hip opening postures and feeling a complete high when I leave a yin class.

There are times when we may shift ourselves out of balance.  There are times when we find ourselves only taking care of others and not who we are.  There is the other side of the balance beam where we become selfish and ignore the outside world.  My goal throughout yoga308 has been to find 90 minutes a day where I am focusing on only myself.   I was brought up by wonderful parents who have taught us to be generous and give my time to others.  This type of personality has made me a very happy person.  However I did not spend enough time in my past looking inside and who I am.  This shift of balance made me frustrated and irritable.  For me personally it is important to keep this in check.

Over this last year with yoga308 I was able to make this shift to the other side.  There is a lot that I have done that has made me feel selfish.  Looking back though I realize this was not the case.  The feeling of doing something for myself made me feel as if I was doing something wrong.  The feeling that I should devote my entire life providing for others was stuck in my head.  This thought of providing has always been a lot of my motivation in life.  I never felt really comfortable with other providing for me, but there was also the urge there to have someone take care of me.

After 328 days of yoga I still feel wonderful giving and providing for others, but I have learned to appreciate the excellent times where I do take care of myself.  The days where I shut off the world and go do what I want to do.  I still do not expect the world to take care of me, and go out to experience the world with an open heart.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 327 - Regaining my balance and loving who I am

I went to Full Circle Yoga for a Hot Flow Class with Kristen Schneider.   The class was good as always, and I was able to keep my balance.  Last week I was loosing my balance in every posture.  This week it's back.  I feel really good today.

Some times the only way to move forward is to lose your balance.  When we fall down we get a chance to regroup and decide if we want to try the posture again.  We can give up and say we are not good at it, or we can practice until we get our balance back.  Life is really pretty cool in that way.

Today I got down to the root of who I am.  Looking at who I am makes me really happy.  I am not trying to build my ego, but I like the path that I am on.  I am on a a continuous growth and I have good moral values.  It is hard to look out at this world and see some of the people in it.  I am not saying I am better then others, but I will never understand a lot in this world.  Why people devalue other people and animals.  Why some people always put money and themselves above others,  Why people harm themselves in order to get through life.  Why people are stuck on external happiness and not looking into why they are not happy inside.  Then there are some things I will never understand like murder or rape.

It is really a scary place out there.  We all believe that our values are the correct way to look at life.  When we loose our balance we are able to stop and check our true morals and values.  We are able to check inside and see who we truly are.  We stop and regain our focus.  Then we can try to balance it all out again.  The scary place begins to look like a wonderful place when you regain this balance.  You begin to understand that the negative aspects in life are just a check to see if you can maintain your balance and keep your focus on who you are and want to be.  Life begins to become beutiful. 

When you fall out of balance it is as simple as looking inside and finding it again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 326 - Keep unlocking the love in your heart

Today I did yoga in my home.  I like doing yoga at home.  It gives me a good chance to do the things that I want to work on.  I want to open my chest and heart more, so I do a lot of postures that work on this.  I used to do a lot of yoga postures that I enjoyed doing, but now I do the ones that I find more difficult to do.  Home is a perfect place to work on these postures.  These are the postures that I need to do.  These are the areas where my body is locked, and most likely holding onto some stored emotions.  What better place to work on something then at home.  This is also a great place to work on focus and discipline.  It is an easy place to get distracted by things like the phone or a crying puppy.

Our hearts are filled with ideas, opportunities, and love.  We are here to unlock our possibilities and find out who we truly are.  Yoga at home is a perfect place to start.  You begin to find and face your fears.  Maybe you are afraid of going into a yoga studio.  So you start to work on your postures at home.  Eventually you realize there is nothing to fear when you go into a yoga studio.  In the yoga studio everyone is constantly working on something.  There are no levels.  Next you get to work on your ego in the studio.  You get to start to learn things like pushing yourself, not comparing yourself, being gentle with yourself, looking inside, ignoring your external environment.  And this is just the beginning.

Like I said, our hearts are filled with ideas, opportunities, and love.  Unrolling the mat and sitting on it is a great way to start to unlock these thoughts.

I have been talking the last couple days about how we perceive the world.  Some things are thrown at us that we cannot control.  Some things are completely unexpected.  Some things we can never explain.  Some things we initially see as a sad and negative event.  These are our challenges in life.  This is when we need to unroll the mat.  We need to take in what happened.  We breathe in these negative events and we breathe out our new opportunity.  Each breath we take is a new opportunity.  Do not let life get you down.  Keep unlocking the love in your heart, and keep life simple.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 325 - Shift the level state of mind to the positive

My current version of peacock

I went back to Orlando Power Yoga today for a Dharma level 2 class with Kelly Senn.  It was a great class.

I was still thinking about how we perceive things in our lives.  Yesterday I talked about how we sometime perceive the positive and our internal mind can turn it into a negative situation.  Today I was thinking about when we are level headed.  If you think about our minds are pretty level headed most of our day (excluding dramatic experiences).  When our mind is at a level state what does our internal mind do?

Our past can harnesses our minds in many ways.  When we are at a level state we might find more comfort in our negative situations.  This is something we might have been accustomed to.  It might be our norm to search out drama or a crazy situation to talk or gossip about.  We also have a choice to take our level state and switch on the positive.  As I said yesterday I am not saying to ignore the situation when your emotions are already in a positive or negative state.  I am talking about when you are grounded and at a level state of mind.
One way to stop ourselves from thinking of our fears, worries, and things the bring us down, is to stop and list what we are grateful for.

I am grateful for my life.  
I am grateful to be living in the same town where my family lives. 
I am grateful for all the friends in my life.  
I am grateful for having Marianne in my life.  
I love my job and company, and am grateful for everyone who works with me.  
I am grateful for the travels I have made and continue to make. 
I am grateful for my black lab Orion who is always by my side.  
I love painting.  I love yoga.  I love gardening. 
I am grateful to feeling healthy, and feeling like I am eating right. 
I am grateful for being sober and all of my sober friends.  
I am grateful for "Living" a life sober, and not hiding in the dark.
I am thankful for close friends that have been around forever

Instead of asking "what do I need to do in my life."  Start asking, "What am I grateful for."

We all have something.  Today, What are you grateful for?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 324 - Keep your perspective of the world in your reality

Tonight I went to a hot yoga class with Kelly Senn at Orlando Power Yoga.  It felt really hot in class today, and I got tired pretty quick.  The class was jammed pack with about 60 - 70 people.  I have not been in such a busy class for awhile, so it felt good to have a big class tonight.

How do you look at the world in the moment right now?  It is amazing how we can be in similar situations and have a complete different outlook with life.  We can wake up in the morning and see the day as disgusting, or we can see the day as an opportunity.  Ultimately it is up to our internal self to decide how we perceive the world.

I do not believe our goal is to perceive the world as genuine peaceful, good, and wonderful place?   I believe this is a great dream, but not our reality.  I think our goal should be to perceive the world how it is.  If it bad we should see the bad part.  If it is good we should see the good.

Our problems and frustrations are when we start to have feuding inside our internal mind.  So if we are in a positive situation our internal mind can still be stuck in some negative past and thus making the positive situation and turning it into a negative situation.  It is so easy to say we will not do this. We still have these internal conversation that fight inside our head trying to change the reality of the situation. 

How do we keep the reality perspective from falling into the illusions of our internal mind?  We have to stay in "the now."  Yoga and mediation can help keep us focused and balanced.  The negative situations do not have to keep our mind stuck in this negative world.  We can keep our balance and experience the good and the bad as it flows through our life.

This is all such a simple thing to write down on paper.  Not so easy to keep this balance.  It really does blow my mind though how we can get stuck in our lives.  It is up to us to keep life simple.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 323 - Slow down and take the healthy path

Its amazing the thought processes that go through our mind.  I wonder about how much of my life is still trying to find the same type of high that I once found in drugs.  If you think about it pretty much anything can be considered trying to escape reality.  Do we do things to experience life or do we do things to escape life?

The days of drinking in a bar started with experiencing life.  At some point that experience became my reality.  It was the "social" thing to do.  In college we would go to parties and bars every weekend.  There was not much depth to it, other then different people meeting in different places.  If you look at it with an outside perspective we were putting chemicals in our body that altered our emotions.  After awhile these altered emotions were just the norm for us.  I think we all know deep down inside though that waking up with a hangover cannot be good for us.  Altering our state of being is a hinder to our true being.

After I quit the drugs and alcohol I had to deal with the real me.  I jumped into other things that made me excited, but nothing gave me that same feeling.  I wonder if I still expect that if I do enough yoga that one day I will boost my endorphins so much that I can feel that ultimate high again.

I believe that there is a path that can continue an ever growing boost of positive feeling.  The thing is that boost is not instantaneous.  It is going to take me a lifetime (or two) to reach this state.

After eating raw for a week, I kept asking myself "Do I feel healthy?  Do I feel good?"  The truth is I did not feel any different.  What did happen though was once I got off the raw diet I was super excited and grateful to eat again.  I went to a Thai restaurant one night, then sushi, followed by Pizza.  Yesterday I ate a lot at a party.  After four straight days of indulging I could feel it.  I did not feel as good as I did while I was eating the raw diet.

I do not think there is this instant shift any more where I stop and say "OH my God I am healthy!!!"  It is a slow and gradual shift towards feeling good about life together in your body, mind, and soul.  The best part of this high is that you will not feel the hangover.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 322 - Back in Check

Today is my day off from yoga.  This week seems to be about balance and focus.  I really have felt a shift in both of these this week.  Looking back at the beginning of yoga308 this shift used to make me frustrated and led towards depression.

Last night I indulged in some of the other things I am excited to get focused on.  I ordered some pizza, did some painting, and watched Food Inc.  This morning I continued to just let things go.  I played some video games, walked the dog, and decided to write my blog so I can have the rest of the day to do what I want.

The truth is, I have focus and balance.  I have been focused on yoga and yoga308 for the last 322 days.  I want to do other things, and I do.

I am very excited for what lies ahead, but I also feel very grounded today.  I did some of the things that I have been meaning to do.  I have regained my balance and focus.  I am excited that I have so many things on my plate.  I am excited that one of my frustrations is being excited about so many things.

Sometimes we all loose our focus.  Sometimes we all loose our balance.  How do we regain it, and how quickly can we regain it?  Do we allow it to fall into frustration, depression, or anger?  Is frustration just part of our balance in the first place?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 321 - Finding the new focus

Today I went to a yin yoga class with Kristen Schneider at Full Circle Yoga.  I know I seem to say this every Friday, but I love yin yoga.  It makes me feel so relaxed.  Friday is always a great day to do yin yoga and wind down my week.

I was reading the above quote today.  It is such a simple premiss, but how easy it is for us to forget.  My main focus over the last year has been on work, travel, yoga, and blogging.  As this year ends I feel my focus shifting.  I have a few other projects I am excited with, and I am finding it harder to keep my focus on my original main focus.  I want to find this intense concentration on one thing again.

My excitement level on new projects makes it harder to keep this original focus.  Today for instance I spent some time painting.  It helped ease my mind and regain the focus on my original projects.  I feel extremely grateful to be excited about so many different things in life.  One of my biggest issues is to keep my focus on one project.  I have learned a lot of focus through yoga, but want to try to apply this more when I am off the mat.

Maybe I will take a day to focus on only one project.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 320 - Loosing my balance

Today I went to Full Circle for a hot flow class with Kristen Schneider.  It was a great class.  We started off practicing handstands.  I liked the class because it took me to my edge.  I was really tired by the time we were all done.

Today was strange.  In class I had no balance.  Any balance poses I tried to get into I was falling out of it pretty quick.  I wrote it off as an off day, but I thought about why I might be off today.  I do feel much more grounded today.  I feel like today was a dramatic shift in my balance.  I am back eating my regular diet of non raw food.  I cleaned my house today.  I focused on focusing on me.  I feel like I have been way focused in my job, friends, and family.  Trying to make it all balance, and putting some of my thoughts and projects on my back burner.

I feel very focused today, doing what I want to do.  Maybe this great shift in focus actually has made me off balance. 

I am really excited to be winding the yoga308 project up.  I still love yoga, but honestly I feel like a lot of these days I am stretching for things to blog about.  I really want to spend my time painting lately, but have not had the time.  I am thinking when yoga308 comes to an end I will shift my time back over to painting again.  I will still blog when I feel like it, but I do not feel it necessary to do this every day.

The only reason I feel like I should continue is because my readers may be sad to see me go.   I am keeping to my original mission throughout all of this. Blogging for myself and keeping track of my changing emotions and thoughts.  I feel like there is so much more to be doing.  This experience has been great, but my path is to use what I have learned and continue on to my next adventure.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 319 - Chasing the yoga dragon

Today I went to Full Circle yoga for a nice Flow class.

Yesterday was my last day for my week on my raw diet.  Overall it was a good experience.  I did not loose or gain a pound.  I do not feel a bit different, but overall I learned quite a lot about myself.  I feel like I can discipline myself to a point where I can control what I consume into my body.  I learned that I could live this way if I really desired.  I learned that I do want to continue on what I believe is a healthy way to live.  The fact that I went to the healthy side of the extreme makes me happy that I am so far away from the other side of the extreme.  I have really learned a lot and encourage anyone to try to eat raw.  It points and keeps you on a good path.

I was thinking a lot of my addictive personality.  When I say this word everyone immediately thinks of drugs and alcohol.  There is so much more to my addictive personality then drugs and alcohol.  My personality trait still shows up without the drinking.  I go to yoga 6 days a week,  I run marathons,  I travel too much, I blog daily, ect.  My personality trait is still there doing healthy things rather then unhealthy things.

I see a lot of other addicts in this world (it is so much more common then what you think).   They do not pay attention to their behavior.  They are lost in the thing that they are addicted to.  Drugs is the easiest thing to relate to.  People cover up their true emotions by using.  They have a bad day at work so they "cheer" themselves up with a drug.  They have a great day at work so they "celebrate" with a drug (because they cannot celebrate without it).  It becomes justified because they are happy.

I see addicts in yoga doing the a similar thing.   They have a bad day at work, and they go to yoga to find salvation.  They look for yoga as if it will solve all their issues.  Yoga makes you feel good.  I used to feel a similar feeling when I used drugs.  Some people think that they can always stay in this constant good feeling.  I referred to it tonight as "chasing the yoga dragon." 

I see people that use yoga as a cover from their true self.  When they hit the mat they act like something that they are not.  They push down their issues and forget about them as they believe they are this new person.  They become addicted to this mask.

Yoga is a source to bring you to your true self.   You have to go to the mat with the honesty of who you are.  Do not pretend to be someone who you are not.  You are not the calm, enlightened being you pretend to be.  Allow your true feelings and emotions to come up.  Do not fear who you are.  You are a perfect being who is growing.

Stay honest and stay you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 318 - Keep internal and stay true to who you are

I went to Dharma yoga with Kelly Senn at Orlando Power yoga.  I have not done Dharma for a long time so it felt really good to get back into this practice today.

One of the main reasons I am started yoga308 was to help gather my thoughts.  Through writing these thoughts I am noticing that I have a challenge in front of me. There are a lot of things that I enjoy about yoga. It brings me 90 minutes of peace, relaxation, and is a good challenge for me.  However, the more I do the more I can find to complain.

It reminds me of when I lived in Steamboat Springs, CO and went  snowboarding for 7 years.  The first year was amazing.  I went for over 50 days.  As time went on I started to become more picky about my external conditions.  The snow had to be good, the amount of people on the mountain should be minimal, not too cold, but not too hot.  Instead of being grateful for what I enjoyed I started to find things that I did not enjoy.

The things that I love and enjoy, I can always find external things that make me not enjoy them as much.  Don't get me wrong I still love snowboarding and I still love yoga.  The things that really stop me from enjoying what I do is myself and my own mind.  I need to stop looking towards the external world stretching for reasons not to enjoy something/

The challenge I am noticing is to keep my internal self, peace, and relaxation steady as the external world moves around me.  This is not a new challenge it has always been here.  I think I am just noticing that I am getting better at this.

I am keeping what I find is good for me.  I am keeping the external world out of my mind and doing what I think is right both on and off the mat.  I will always be a student in yoga, and continue to learn from it.  Today's lesson is to let the external world's drama happen and not let it effect who I am and what I am doing.  I will remain honest, grateful, and try to find ways to give back to the world around me.  This is who I am.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 317 - I was emailed this yoga blog

I did go to yoga today.  Marianne emailed me this blog.  I felt like I had to share it with my readers. He is a bit of an a-hole, but he is honest (which I love). I laughed my ass off.  Enjoy...


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 316 - You are not alone in your yoga class

Happy Fathers day dad!!!  I am grateful for my father today.  He is still doing a lot of yoga, and his flexibility is improving quite a bit.  I am very grateful to have been brought up the by my parents, and very happy to be able to spend father's day with my dad.

This morning I went to Orlando Power Yoga and took a hot yoga class with Janelle Pochintesta.  I am feeling congested from what I think is allergies.  My eyes are itchy and my sinuses are feeling congested.  There are a few other people that I know that are feeling the same way, so I do not think it is the raw diet change.

There are a lot of us yogis that have come to yoga because we are trying to improve our ways of life.  Some people are looking for a physical change, while others are looking for emotional sanity.   We find rewards when we go to yoga.  We start to feel good both physically and emotionally.  We start to find comfort in this good feeling.

The more yoga I do, the better I feel.  When I got out of my marriage I left a commitment between two people.  I had to switch the commitment back to myself.  There are so many ways I could have choosen this new commitment to myself.  I could have gone to a bar and commited to forgetting my past through drinking.  I could have found a new person to treat me the same as my "x" and continue to forget about myself.  I chose to commit myself to yoga.  I am extremely happy for my choice.

The more people I meet through yoga the similar stories I hear.  Maybe it was a divorce, a loss of a close person, a physical accident, a bad relationship, or fed up with their family.  I have met so many people that have turned to yoga to help cope with their emotional or physical self.  Just knowing that there are similar people doing yoga around me makes yoga that much better. 

When you are sitting in silence in your yoga class.  When you are feeling sad, depressed, or alone.  Just know that there are so many other people around you who are, or have gone through something just like you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 315 - Healthy raw potluck

 Raw vegan chili

Today was my day off from yoga.  This was my fourth day in the raw vegan diet.  I had a potluck tonight with about 12 people.  Everyone made a raw recipe, and it was surprisingly awesome.   I made the chili shown above.  Before starting the raw diet I thought that it would be a lot of carrots and nuts. It sounded like it would be 7 days of hell.  The chili I made really tasted like chili. Other friends made things like sushi, lasagne, a tuna like salad, and some great desert.  This is the second day that I am really excited on what I ate for dinner.

Marianne mentioned to me on how much our lives have changed.  15 years ago I would have had a keg and a bag of pretzels, now I have people who are trying to be healthy.  We all have different thoughts and ideas about it, but we all have a strive to become healthy.  I like the group of people that I am around.

I did feel a little weak this afternoon.  I had not eaten a lot in the morning, and I was doing a lot of yard work outside.  I felt a little dizzy, but stopped and went in to eat something.  It is really important to continue to eat throughout this whole week.  When I do yoga I need to keep in mind that I am doing a detox, and I will probably not be able to be at my full potential.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 314 - Most satisfing meal ever

I am not feeling very centered today.  I feel as if I am running all over the place trying to accomplish everything.  I tried to sit and focus on yoga at my home for an hour, but my mind was racing with thoughts and ideas.  I am on day 3 of the vegan raw diet.  I am not feeling as hungry as I thought I would be, but I also am very agitated and unmotivated.  I am not sure the emotions are connected, but thought I would report my exact thoughts.

Doing this cleanse is much easier when you have other people doing it with you.  Marianne has done this before, and has guided us on how to do this in a healthy and more excited way.  Tonight we met at Cafe 118 in Winter Park, FL  Our friend Jon has also taken part in the raw diet.  He met us there with his girlfriend Jennie and one other couple.   I feel extremely stuffed.  It was the most satisfying meal I may have ever had.  After three days of nuts and berries this was the best thing I have had.

Honestly, I think if I walked in there without being on a raw diet I would not have had enjoyed it as much.  The knowledge though that they could take food in the raw and make things taste like lasagne, smores, and an apple cobbler... I was in heaven. 

When I deprive myself of something I become so much more satisfied with the simpler things in life.  This showed up tonight.  I stop the wants, needs, or desires.   I learn more gratitude.  These are lessons of compassion for the world and for my body.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 313 - Do not try to cover your negative emotions

Today I went to Orlando Power Yoga for a hot yoga class with Janelle Pochintesta.  Janelle has such a high impact and challenging class yet keeps me determined and relaxed at the same time.

Day two in my raw diet has honestly made me a little less motivated to do other things.  I do not think I am weaker, I just feel a little more stubborn.  It is probably because I gave up something and felt justified that I could be lazy in another way.  I do feel a little bit different.  I am not sure exactly how I feel, and cannot put it into exact words.  I will wait and see how I feel tomorrow, and maybe be able to talk about it a little more.

A lot of instructors push to put positive thoughts into our minds.  Breathe in the positive / Breathe out the negative.  I started to think a little more about this today.  I have always tried my best to think positively in this world.  Find something positive in every moment.

Today I was looking at this positive way of thinking as a cover.  We all want to feel love, joy, and happiness.  If it was up to us we would feel these "positive" emotions all the time.  This is not how the world is.  The world is filled with pain, suffering, and hurt.  We all want to minimize this "negative" part of our life.  We are scared and fear living in a world without our positive emotions.

When I am in yoga and breathing I allow any emotion to come up.  If anger comes up I do not try to tell myself to stop and think of something positive.   I allow that emotion to move through me.  If my postures are indeed releasing locked emotions inside my body,  the last thing I should try to do is cover it up with "positive" emotions.   If I am feeling this "negative" emotion it is my actual present emotion.  I should not force other emotions into my mind.

I try to surround myself with things that bring more positivity in my life.  I do not try to put out negativity into this world, and try to bring positivity to others lives.  However, I have to accept that my life will be filled with both positive and negative emotions.  I choose not to ignore any of these emotions, but rather embrace them and let them move through my mind, body, and soul.  Yoga is a great avenue to sit and start to connect with these emotions.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 312 - Raw vegan diet day 1

I am my biggest experiment.  If there is ever something I question the best way to figure it out is to experience it myself.  Fear, insecurity, and pain are the root of me not experiencing life.  If someone adds to my fear or pain I do not allow that person into my life.  If I am not able to experiment and experience my life something is not right.

For today's experiment I am taking on a raw vegan diet for one week.  I am doing this with Marianne and a group of friends so the whole experience will be more fun and a little easier.  Eating raw vegan food means I am not allowed to eat any foods that are cooked over the temperatures of 115 degrees (I have all seen 118 degrees, but at that point who cares to argue).   Of course there is no meat, chicken, fish, or eggs.  It is basically just nutts, fruits, and vegetables.  There is not a whole lot of options, but I am finding out there is a lot of recipes out there.

There is a science behind eating raw foods.  If you think about a seed that is supposed to grow.  If you cook that seed it will no longer have the ability to grow into a plant.  When we cook vegetables or fruit we are also cooking out all the nutrients and natural enzymes we look for in the plant.  By eating raw there is supposed to be an increase in energy, better sleep, and mental clarity.  I am not sure if any of this science is true, but I am willing to try.  This diet gives me an opportunity to dive a little deeper into the idea behind the vegan diet (something I believe in).  It also give me the opportunity to see what type of discipline I have over my needs and desires.

My latest experiment is only for a week, and I do not see any down side on trying this out.  I have people that have gone through this before, so I feel safe doing it.  I only see benefit that can come out of this.  If I fail, I can try again.  I will keep you posted on how it all goes.

I did yoga at home today.  It was a nice relaxing session.

Life is an experiment.  It is a constant trial and error process.  Find the experiments that better your way of life.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 311 - Forever changing and forever growing

Our life is filled with a world of opportunity.  Every day we are given an opportunity to grow from our previous day.  We have the ability to stop and be happy with who we are.  We have the ability to do things that lower our existence.  We have every moment of our life to decide whether to do go down any of these paths in life.  Why do we not always look for growing avenues.

Looking back at my life I see things that I would consider that I lowered my existence where I was not growing.  However, also looking back I look at these "lower" points of my life as opportunities to grow from.  I do not think that I would change my past one bit, but also am happy to have grown into who I am today.  Without the low points I would not have my high points.

Only you know what are considered growing opportunities for you.  This will also change throughout your life.  We can look back at our past and look how we have grown into who we are today.  Keep in mind that you probably thought you had grown from your previous past.  The point of this is there is always something to grow from.  Today look at the opportunities of how you might be able to grow in your life?

Your past is your past.  Some of you may have had a past where there was nothing but suffering and no growth.  Do not get stuck in this past.  Look for the opportunity to grow.  There is always a point to grow from, and that point is now.

Are you surrounded by people that encourage your growth or are they stunning your growth?  Are you in a relationship that you both encourage your growth or are you in a relationship where this growth is one sided.  Are you fulfilling someone's growth and ignoring your own?

As we continue to forever change we always need to look at opportunities to continue to grow.  There are moments in our life where we can drop our growth and help out our spouse, kids, parents, grandparents, friends, or complete strangers.  It is always a good thing to help others grow.  Do not drop it all for other growth though.  Today look at opportunities where YOU can grow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 310 - Our past thought could be guiding our future.

Today I went to Full Circle Yoga and took an Ashtanga class with Steve Rubin.  I was not really wanting to do yoga today.  I did not really push myself and kind of drifted through the class.  As I drifted through the class I felt myself go pretty deep into my postures.  I pretty much just let go of things and the postures began to open up for me.  I did not intend for these postures to open up, they just kind of did.

I am finding the more I let go of the demands I put on myself the deeper my practice becomes.   The deeper my practice becomes the more I begin to let go emotionally.  Today I did not have a lot of wonder on the thoughts that entered my head.  I did not ponder them, but rather noticed them.  I let them pass through my mind, stay as long as they wanted and then pass on through.

During savasana my thoughts went back into a cabin where my friend Jonathan took his life back in March 2011.  I was in his cabin where I saw the buoy knife that was stuck through a suicide note.  Jonathan carried the wait on his shoulders and could not take the unneeded pressures that he put upon himself to make this world a better place.  He was such a good soul.  It felt weird to go back into that cabin and in that situation where we first found out he had taken his own life.  His body is still missing.

As I wrote about earlier this week, it makes me wonder on why these thoughts pop up in my brain.  2011 gave me a lot to grieve over, but I feel like I have moved through most that I need to.  I always get surprised now when these things pop up.  Obviously my body and mind are still telling me that I need to process a bit more.

When I returned from yoga I found out my friend Dave and Kelly were off to the hospital to have their first little boy.  I began to connect the thought of the death of my friend with the birth of my friends child.  I am extremely happy for my friends new adventure with their little boy.  Maybe Jonathan gave me a quick hello to help me enjoy their birth that much more?

I believe that there are connections between our past thoughts and our present feelings, emotions, and thoughts.  We should not fear out past thoughts.  It is up to us to listen to these thoughts and emotions and let them help guide us through our current life. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day 309 - The uncomfortable or comfortable ways to connect my mind, body, and soul

During Missy's workshop yesterday she brought up a point about focus.  She was saying that the inversions that she does keeps her mind focused.   I agree with Missy that when we push ourselves to our limit and do things that scare us we have nothing left to focus on but that posture.  If I am up in a handstand I typically do not sit and think about what I am eating for dinner or what I am going to do after yoga.  It is focused on trying to keep myself up in a handstand.

There are so many different types of yoga, just like there are so many types of mind sets.  My mindset is really busy.  It has a hard time to settle down.  Series yoga like Ashtanga keep my body constantly flowing and my mind pretty centered.  During the 90 minutes of Ashtanga I do not have much time to think about external things because I am constantly flowing into the next posture. 

Other people might find it easier to shut off their mind when they sit and meditate.  There are definite times when I can do this.  Sitting and meditating is much harder for me to sit and focus.  When there are only 24 hours in our day I have to choose which way is best for me to try to connect my mind, body, and soul.  I have to choose my path in hopes to connect all of these.

Ashtanga might be my answer and my comfort level.  However, I feel like I am growing through Ashtanga.  There is definitely a personality trait that seems to come with people that practice Ashtanga.  Most of us probably follow the same pattern of having to busy ourselves to keep our mind focused.

Maybe my main focus should always be focusing on the things that make me uncomfortable.  I will never be growing if I stay in my comfort zone.  There are times that I need to think outside the box.  I need to focus more on why I cannot still my mind as easily while I am sitting still.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 308 of Blogging (not actually practicing yoga)

Hello from Miami beach.  I realized this a while back.  When I started to blog I started numbering the days, but continued to blog even on the days I was not doing yoga.  So technically this is my 308th day of blogging.  I still have about 60 more days before I do 308 yoga classes in a year.

Today I went to a Missy White inversions workshop.  This was the second time taking this workshop, but it is so good.  It teaches you a lot of different balancing postures as well as headstands, handstands, ect.  I enjoyed seeing how far I have come over the last couple of months since the last Missy White inversions workshop I did.

As I was in the workshop a memory popped in my head.  I honestly do not remember what the memory was, but it got me thinking of all the thoughts and memories that move through my head throughout my day.  Where do these memories and thoughts come from.  Some are crazy.  Today I was remined of a highway exit that I drove on in Texas last March.  There was nothing special about this road or exit, but still it popped in my head.  Why?  Was this memory somehow triggered from some other memory?  Today I was driving on a highway, but why would I choose to pull out a memory from that particular highway in Texas?  Again, nothing happened on the road, I was just driving. 

I started to think about the stored emotions I have in my body and how these are connected with my memories.  If I had an bad experience maybe it made me angry and so I locked it away for another day.  When I somehow triggered this memory (which I never dealt with) my emotions once again become angry.  I may be doing something completley different, but this stored emotion of anger shifts my mood and my current situation becomes angry.  If I do not face the old anger or the new anger I can store these again, until another day where one of these memories are triggered again.

It is more and more clear to me how important it is to deal with your emotions as they come up.  We all fear the negative emotions like anger, sadness, or loneliness.  We may mask these emotions through our crutches like alcohol, drugs, work, kids, exercise, ect.  We may never sit and let the feeling go through us.  All of our emotions are just that.  They are only "emotions."  We should not fear any of these emotions happy or sad.  We all wish for the "good" emotions, but become be uncomfortable with the "bad" emotions.  If we embrace the fact that we are human and allow all of these emotions to come up they will also come out.  Then when these memories surface, you can hadle the emotions that are attached and not let them effect who you are in the present.  You will be able to say things like, "I remember that, I was really sad."  It is all part of who we all are.

I am off to South Beach. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day 307 - Simple centering day

Today I took my practice back into my home.  It was a centering day where I sat and did a lot of meditating and gentle yin stretches.  I have had a lot on my plate lately.  I have had a lot of work, yoga, fun, new projects, and wanting to do things like paint, and find new adventures.  Some days I loose focus.  I always feel better when I sit and center.  Plan and work on new horizons.  Today was a day that got me back into the groove and out of yesterday's doldrums.

I wanted to share a video Marianne made of us in Spain.  It is a really good depiction of how much fun we had.  Enjoy :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 306 - Oh my god I drank a coffee

I went into Full Circle yoga today for a hot flow class with Kristen Schneider.  There is a tropical storm going through Florida right now and I woke up feeling really crabby.   Maybe it was the weather but I just really could not get out of the funk today.  I felt really weak and tired in class.  I also have had may legs feeling tired and achy most of the week.  My right hip feels like I may have pulled something. 

I am not sure why I was feeling down today, but I decided to treat myself to a frozen mocha milkshake.  If you do not remember I have given up coffee about 1 month ago.  I am not too concerned about the fact that I drank this tasty treat (it was really good and put a smile on my face).  My worry is more about dealing with my addictive personality.

I gave up drugs and alcohol 9 years ago, and know that I do not want to ever touch the stuff again.  There is a constant question in my mind that wonders if I am able to smoke a joint or drink one beer and then never do it again.  This I will never test.  However, I am feeling that I should be able to treat myself to one coffee and not go back to my old habits of constantly drinking coffee again.  I will keep you posted.

I recognize that we often go to the external world in a search for happiness.  The coffee that made me happy and got me out of the funk was really just a mask.  I never got to the root of why I was feeling down in the first place.  Maybe there is no explanation.  Maybe it was just something that was coming up because of previous feelings.  The more important thing for me is to deal with my emotions myself.  I do not want to ever rely on someone or something to make me happy.

Today I took a quick break from the world and drank a coffee. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 305 - Every yoga instructor gives us a lesson to learn

I practiced at home today.  It was gentle yin like postures mixed in with some handstand practice and headstands.  The last couple of days after I sit up from savasana (corpse pose) I have had some pretty vivid visions.  Yesterday it was of a bull with monkey's swinging from it's horns (please do not judge).  Today it was a straight line of butterflies flying towards a Buddha statue.  I have no idea what any of that means, just thought it was pretty neat to see.

I have been doing yoga so much, I feel like I have slowly become a yoga snob.  I have had so many yoga teachers over the last 305 days.   I have met some excellent instructors.  I have been introduced to some yoga greats like Dharma Mittra, Max Strom, and Beryl Bender Birch.  I have met instructors that were supposed to be greats, but I feel are just out for money.  I have met instructors that think their teaching abilities put them on a higher level then others.  I have been instructed by people who had done yoga for a total of 3 months.

I would love to be taught by Dharma Mittra 6 days a week, but I do not live in Manhattan,  Chances are if I did practice with Dharma six days a week I would find a way to get sick of it.  I know who the instructors are that I enjoy to be around.  I also know that the others that keep me out of my meditative focus.  Over the last couple months I have been changing my attitude towards instructors.

The truth is that each instructor is teaching me something.  Some at one point can become my external distraction rather then a meditative guide.  There is a point where I have to ask myself why.  Why do these instructors throw me off my game.  Most of them mean well.  I know that a lot of the time I feel like the postures I am being put in have no rime or reason.  Other times I feel like the instructor is trying so hard to say something positive and inspiring that they never shut up.

These are my yoga lessons.  Life is never the way we anticipate it to be.  There are so many challenges in this world.  How can I not loose my composure when a class is not going the way I like.  If it is not a posture I agree with can I continue on with my practice without thinking too much about this.  Can I blot out the nonstop inspirational instructor and keep my mind at ease.  Can I flow through any practice and find my internal self?

I know Ashatanga is my type of yoga, yet I go to other practices.  I can practice Ashtanga on my own at home.  This is where I am truly finding out who I am.  When I go into a new studio or class I now go into it with an open heart and find out what each one of these instructors are there to teach me.  Is it to learn a gentler side of myself, an understanding that the breath is the main focus in yoga, or a test to see if I can stay humble and at peace.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 304 - Choose positive words to put into this world

Today I went to Orlando Power Yoga and took a class with Greg Duke.  I love Greg's class.  He gives great adjustments and puts a relaxing spin while motivating me.  I was thinking about how many teachers I have had over the last 300 days.  I have come to a conclusion that each one has taught me something.  I am planning on writing more about this tomorrow.

Today I was thinking about how we focus on wanting the world to be a positive and peaceful world.  If we truly want this, how do we get there?  Think of all the words that come out of our mouth's.  I know people who the first thing that come out of their mouth in the morning is the "f" word.  They moan it, because they are not ready to wake up.  Others constantly talk on the phone complaining about what others do.  Others become jealous of the outside world and use negative words against themselves.   At times I curse, I complain, and gossip.  We all do this, but to what extent and why?

I started to think about the words that come out of my mouth, and when.  Every time I curse, complain, and gossip I am putting negativity out to this world.  I have stored up negativity inside myself.  I cannot hold things inside.  When stored negative emotions come up there are times it comes up in this manner.

So when is it OK to vent and release negativity out of ourselves and into the world?  When do we cross over from the venting and into the realm of just dumping more negativity into the world.  There are times when we just HAVE to vent, but there are a lot more times when we can probably start to try to choose our words before they come out of our mouths.  Some of these negative tones can become patterns that are then our only way to vent out our negative aspects in life.  There are other ways.  Tone down the negative vibe and put a positive spin on the negativity. 

Nothing has happened to bring this topic up, just a day where I was noticing things.  I am going to take a closer look at the words that come out of my mouth.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Day 303 - Looking and finding forgiveness in my heart

Today I went to an Ashtanga yoga class with Steve Rubin at Full Circle Yoga.

I have been blogging about bringing up and confronting the negative parts of my life.  I know ignoring these parts of my life will just fester inside of me and do more harm to my body and mind if not confronted.  Some pieces of my puzzle take longer then others.  2013 has been one of my most rewarding years, but I still have to accept that my life still festers on negative aspects.  These are not worries of my future or not enjoying my present.  They are built up from the past.

I have been dealing with forgiveness from my past.  Luckily, there is only about 2-5 people in this world that can throw my mind for a loop.  The thing is all these people stem off of each other.  There is a connection between all of them.  If I do not find forgiveness in these people chances are I will attract more of the same kind.  The problem is not found inside these people, but rather it is how I react towards these people.

The root of finding this forgiveness with these people is finding forgiveness in my marriage and my x-wife.  My first step was to find forgiveness in myself for ending a commitment that I thought was for life.  I then had to find forgiveness and acceptance in myself that I put myself in a harmful relationship.  I am working on forgiveness towards my x-wife.

I am what I am calling a real-world yogi.  I believe in a movement towards inner peace and enlightenment, but I am accetping that I am human and am not a constant peaceful being.  I am not here to pretend I am all peaceful being.  There was a lot of hatred in my heart from my marriage.  I am not going to sugar coat this.  I can be nice about it and say "I disagree,"  "I feel harmed," but the honest emotion is hatred.  At one point of the divorce process I had to stop talking to my "x." This was for my emotional health, but I had to figure out a way to work through my hatred and forgiveness without her.

As I worked through this hatred, more people with similar personalities of my "x" came creeping into my life.  The presence of these people would bring me back to my original emotions of hatred that existed in my marriage.  To me these are signs that I need to find forgiveness in my past, or it will repeat itself.   I do not allow the people with her similar personalty to be a part of my life.  They did however begin to allow me to find forgiveness through them.  I watch how there actions affectand cause pain towards others, but forgive them as a learning and growing being.  They do not need to be part of my life to help with forgiveness.  I have already learned these harmful lessons in my marriage and do not need to repeat them.

 This was the beginning of my forgiveness.  Am I ready to say I forgive my "x" wife.  Honestly...no.  If I said yes today it would be a lie.  It is in my practice, and in my heart.  The forgiveness is there, just not complete.  I have a lot of good people helping me with this.

After blogging about this I have to remind myself how grateful I am to be where I am today.  I am grateful to be out of that marriage, sober, around my family, my job, and my many adventures.  I am grateful to have met Marianne who has brought a lot of clarity in my life.  I am grateful to be back on my path.  I am grateful for my loving 10 year old black lab.  I am grateful to know that love is in my heart.  I am grateful for me.  These are words I say every day in my yoga practice.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 302 - Connecting the negative past to happiness.

Today I went to Good Vibrations yoga and took a "Flow and Let Go" class with Taylor Harkness.  This was the first time in the studio.  It was really spacious and a nice vibe.  Taylor put on a nice class.  I threw any expectations out the door for a traditional class, and just had a fun time.

This week I have been getting back to the basics and looking into what brings me happiness.  If we can get to the core of ourselves and concentrate on who we truly are, nothing else matters.  If we could block out all of our negative forces from entering our space we could live in a world of pure happiness and bliss.

The world will always have negative aspects.  We will always be presented with challenges.  We are the ones that decide if we let them in to our hearts or not.  Most of the things we end up letting in are due to things from our past that we are still holding onto.  The goal I see for me is to find a place where the external world flows through me without much of a disturbance.  Things happen, but I continue on my path of life.

If we have been living a life where we are engulfed in negativity, we cannot come to yoga and pretend to now live a peaceful and positive life.  I see people who do this.  They are not happy, but use yoga to pretend that everything is OK.

We can however use lessons we learn in yoga to begin to turn the corner and start living a positive life.  The past cannot be forgotten, it is still found in our mind, body, and soul.   Yoga teaches us how to begin to connect between the body, mind, and soul.  Twisting inside of yoga will bring up emotions.  These emotions will then have to be dealt with again.  If we face our past, and are at one with our past, then when the past comes up again we will be ready to deal with it.

The saying "history repeats itself" is true.  If we do not rid ourselves of the negativity of our past they will come back to haunt us.  If we deal with these negative aspects we are left with room to fill with what ever we want in our life.  We cannot pretend to be happy.  There are proper paths to get us there.  Yoga is a path that can help guide us to who we really are.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 301 - You are the ultimate reason for happiness

Today was my day off from yoga. 

I had a very productive day today.

Today I was thinking about how we all fall into a depressed state.  Lately, I have been on the side of being far away from depression.  I am not saying I never feel depressed,   I have been seeing others who are deep in their depression.

It may be easy for me to say, but we are ultimately the ones that control our emotional state.  We ultimately decide if we want to be happy or sad.  This blog is short because it really is that simple.  One day we all decide we no longer want to feel depressed.  We start to look at avenues to bring us out of our depression.

You are the only one that produces your emotions.   Decide how you want to feel today and keep that close to your heart.  Do not allow the external world to control your emotions for you.

You are in control.  You are not the victim.  You are the one that owns this day, this hour,  this moment.