Yoga is the only thing, besides breathing and sleeping, that I’ve done consistently for almost 20 years. My first class with Bryan Kest in Santa Monica 2 decades ago was incredibly challenging, rewarding, and revitalizing, all at the same time. It felt like a physical, spiritual, emotional and mental cleanse all in one session. I couldn’t believe how weak I felt, how much I was sweating and my inability to handle my own body weight. After all, I played Lacrosse in high school and college. I went to the gym, worked out on a regular basis, and ran the occasional 10k. Why was I unable to support my own body weight? It was truly mind blowing, but opened a doorway that has paved a way for an incredible life. It didn’t start out that way and it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound.
First, you have to be up for the adventure. If you’ve never been to a yoga class, you’re definitely in for some excitement. Every teacher brings their own unique touch and hopefully leads you to a deeper connection with yourself. You might be sore for a few days after, but it’s that good kind of soreness. I was told once to imagine yourself in a car covered in mud. Then imagine turning on the windshield wipers and discovering a whole world outside (and inside)! That’s the yoga practice. You begin to feel your body and mind open like never before.
The principle of learning how to deal with a difficult situation gracefully is one of the paramount principles in the yoga practice. After a few years of only practicing yoga, I was “suckered” into running the San Diego Rock n’ Roll marathon. I trained for about 5 or 6 weeks and ran it in 4 hours and 35 minutes. The time didn’t matter, I was doing something I never thought I would. In fact, I always believed marathons were for olympians and professional runners. A guy like me could never run a marathon, yet there I was, dealing with a difficult situation and breathing through it. It was a 26.2 mile yoga pose and one of the most euphoric moments of accomplishment I’ve ever experienced.
After realizing I could do that, the world was my oyster. What else was there in the world that I could do? This led me to more marathons, triathlons, mountain bike racing, and multi-day adventure races. I vowed not to be limited by my mind. I loved my yoga practice, I loved my endurance and I loved the adventure behind it all. This led me to start my company Adventure Yoga Retreats. The company organizes retreats around the world where we practice yoga, visit amazing locations and immerse ourselves in local culture. Your path will be completely different, but it’s imperative you find it.
My plan for happiness and longevity is simple. Find those things that challenge you, move toward them, conquer them (and if it doesn’t work the first time, go after it again), create a new you, be proud, and then go share it to the world! This is how to create lasting change. See you on the path!
Photo Credit: TeddyMcDonald.com