Category Archives: Fitness

Online Yoga Classes Now Happening!

My new online yoga classes are now LIVE! Join in on a great class of deep breathing, deep movements and deep inspiration.

After years of travel I have finally committed to a weekly schedule for live online yoga classes. Teaching is my passion and being real with our process and potential is something I like to bring forth in my teaching.

These online yoga classes are only about 1 hour and 15. They go by fast because I bring you deep into a meditative state. Out of the hundreds of yoga postures available we focus on basic foundation poses that bring monumental results. Each class may only focus on about five or six postures starting with a good 10-15 minutes of breathing.

These online yoga classes are perfect for beginners and intermediate practitioners. Advanced practitioners will also have a good time restructuring their foundations.

For a great time, log into my class here.    Classes are free for the first month. Then only about $1.30 per class after that.  It’s a great way to be connected yet have your personal space to practice. Get strong and get deep. 

 As we grow I invite guest yoga teachers to join us.

Your monthly subscription will also include special event classes.

Please check out my introduction video HERE.

Join us this Thursday for a FREE class. 7 PM PDT.

Blessings

~Douglas

Constructing Yoga Postures Properly

Yoga postures (asana) provides a lifetime of healthy physical movement when performed with proper construction.

A Yoga posture, or asana, is a guide for strengthening the body’s ability to move, function and heal. Yoga postures are in perpetual motion. The motion, however, is usually microscopic. At a neuromuscular level, the motion is muscle tissue, heart rate, and bone in constant adjustment and alignment. There is never a static moment. This is the way asana reconstructs our body. A “picture” of a yoga posture is like a snapshot of motion in time.

Viewing a photo of a yoga posture and creating it, is like photographing an automobile and labeling it “how to build a car.” To put it another way, viewing a yoga pose and attempting to replicate it is not as easy as it seems.  What the photo shows is a result of something that has gone through a construction process. There are many details involved in the process. There’s more than meets the eye. Therefore, construction without proper instruction can create a less than beneficial experience, whether building a car or a yoga asana.

The quality is in the construction

The quality of the construction of a yoga posture is where the quality of your results lie.  “How to build an automobile” would show detailed instructions of every aspect of the process. It would take into consideration, details related to durability, functionality and style. The same goes for yoga asana.  There are many details in the process. Details can be microscopic. Details that can only be discovered and experienced by the creator, you!

The power and magic of yoga posture is in the details of how to construct it. If you are constructing it with poor quality parts, the longevity or benefits will not be as noticeable.  So a photo of a yoga posture is only a veneer of what’s underneath. You can put a Mercedes emblem on a K-car but it won’t change the quality. This is to say that the picture is not the experience. Similar to a Hollywood movie where the store front is only a prop. There’s nothing behind it.

OR

I have a  video here,  to share more about this concept.

Many people today get fooled on how difficult certain physical feats can be. They’ll watch a video and see how easy the person makes it look. However, we all know there’s more to the process than meets the eye. Like Olympic champions, there’s a process far deeper than the race itself.  It’s like the “People are awesome VS Fail Army” videos.

Actors can pretend to be superheros and dancers can pretend to be yogis.  However it’s important to remember yoga is about the details of construction, not snapshots in time.

How to build your car

In the scope of yoga posture, this phrase is important to remember: “Yoga is not about standing on your head. It’s about standing on your own two feet.”

To be able to stand tall is a monumental feat. Knowing how your feet are placed and how your muscles support your posture is a profound step in knowing how to build an asana. When standing, feel all edges of your feet embracing the earth. Allow your toes to spread open to support your stance. When bending forward, allow the spine to lengthen throughout the entire movement.

There are little elements in each posture that make big differences. Little adjustments in alignment can make for a more painful process, but bring the benefits that might have been missed. I can make a slight adjustment to a student’s pose that may take months for them to perfect.  Without knowledge of the adjustment, they would build a poor quality structure.

YOGA asana proper alignment

Example:

A young woman in class is comfortable sitting on her heels with her toes pointed outward and her buttocks on the floor. This sitting posture created a lateral twist of the knee and excluded the alignment for stretching the foot.  I gave her the task of keeping her foot in-line with her leg in order to sit over the feet and help open up the muscle and tendon tissue in the top of the foot. Therefore it allowed stretching the flexors of the foot. This was painful experience for her, but eventually she created greater ROM (range of motion) in her flexion and extension of the foot.

As you build your masterpiece, think of structural alignment. Play with your movements and expand your capabilities. In doing so, you will progress much smoother with greater confidence.

Where are the instructions?

While it’s nice to have a great guru by your side, sometimes all you need is your mat. Each pose has attributes to its design you must follow.  Therefore, attend a class with a knowledgeable instructor or attend my Online Classes opening this spring. Until then, get a good book like my favorite, Total Yoga.

A book can describe alignment in detail. This can be better for comprehension than trying to listen to an instructor. Remember, each posture reconstructs your body for maximum movement and function. The key to success is performing the asana correctly.

Remember to cultivate mindfulness of alignment while you practice. The practice of Iyengar Yoga, BKS Iyengar, is known for its detail of alignment.

How does your body react? When in a pose, stay long enough to look at your posture. How is your breathing? Are you relaxed or stressed? Is your heart rate even? Are you engaging the posture enough to warm the body?

Align with your reflection

A mirror can help you discover alignment. Is your foot straight? Are your arms straight? Are your knees bent, locked, etc? After awhile you can feel the alignment from within and will need the mirror less and less. So you will begin to feel the pose more clearly.

A yoga mirror can help align what you feel about your posture and how it really is.

Yoga is a method of exercises to strengthen all aspects of our lives. It’s not a sporting event or race. Yoga can prevent injury and enhance your physical performance.  Yoga is the “practice.” Remember the reason for the asana is the time to strengthen the body, mind and spirit.

Yoga Asana building space
Create an inspirational yoga workspace.

For more instruction, please attend my online yoga classes beginning this spring. In doing so, you will receive much clarity of the process of health and rehabilitation.

Learn more in my post about Mindfulness in Yoga.

Blessings on your journey!

Elenture Full-Zip Exercise Yoga Mat Carry Bag with Multi-Functional Storage Pockets (Stripe)

 

 

Healing Back Pain-Yoga

Easy does it when healing back pain.

Back injuries and back pain can become a daunting task for recovery. Our spinal column is used in every movement of the body. The center of our core fitness is the back, especially the lower back.  This is why lower back pain is the leading cause of disability and why yoga is a good choice for recovery.

Back pain affects everything we do. Caring for the back requires a good attitude and a little understanding about the philosophy of healing.  With it, the recovery process will achieve maximum potential for healing and reducing back pain.

Common Back injuries and rehabilitation

My Personal experience with back pain and injury.

The strength of my teaching comes from my experience in healing injuries more than ability to perform advanced poses. Back injury is something I an very familiar with.

Early 2012  a mishap of coordination at a trampoline facility left me seriously injured. I was out of sync with the bounce and found myself with the force of my body weight on my spine without support.  Back rehabilitation is my career. Twenty years of practicing sports medicine myotherapy clearly defined the experience as not good.

I didn’t know how bad it actually was (it felt like a pulled muscle), so after a little stretching, I kept bouncing. Later that day I knew the injury was serious and was going to need long-term recovery.  Not the best scenario for someone about to leave for a year of travel.

Even more emotionally compelling for me is that my back-bends were strong and I was excited to begin practicing more advanced bends in my practice.

Core strength and flexibility of the spine
Back bend in Thailand one year earlier
Strong flexible spine yoga
Bridge back-bend Thailand one year earlier

I left for Asia and began the process of healing.

Waking up with severe back pain for months was the norm. I didn’t say much about it to my love and kept a positive mind that pain is just part of the process of healing.  The recovery took over a year before I could even think about a back bend, and another six months before I could actually do one, a little one.

Taking it easy with back injuries. First few months of rest and easy movement.

Even today I can get sore and stiff in the area but within two years I was back to my yoga practice 80% and the best part…no surgery or drugs!

Core strength and flexibility of the spine
Practicing yoga with back injury. Six months later. Keeping stress off the spine. Advanced practice

Most people get scared and wont attempt to heal themselves.

Injuring yourself can be scary, and if you don’t have a good understanding of how the body works, running to the doctor seems to be the only option. Most people wont attempt natural healing, this in part is due to the limited thinking of our western medical model of rehabilitation. The model hasn’t proven itself to be advocates of natural healing.

Yes, science believes a wound can heal, and  say the liver can heal, but unless it can be quantified, it doesn’t exist.  So other methods of treatment are recommended. It’s not wrong and it’s not right. Its simply the model of western thinking. Healing occurs naturally. We don’t have to think about, but we have to believe.

In this modern-day, we’ve discovered profound numbers of people who heal themselves in all areas of their body.  From heart malfunctions to bone structure, natural healing methods understood in many cultures around the planet such as Chilel Chi Gong, acupuncture and mind control are being used more and more. Yoga has been used as prevention and injury repair for thousands of years. In yoga we learn to be mindful and affirmative with our healing process.

Most people with sever back injury end up with surgery or long-term disability because the pain keeps them from doing what needs to be done, exercise. The problem then become worse and leads to other disabilities.

Since the back is the center of all movement, when the center of movement is in pain, all movement is compromised. Exercise is difficult if not impossible, especially the abdominal muscles, where it’s needed the most.

Here is a good process for strengthening the back,  with, or without surgery.

1. Rest.

After an injury, the body needs time to assess itself and get to work on the issue. Our body has a natural healing process and the initial resting phase is important for a good recovery. Rest may be lying flat for week or a few days. Either way your body will let you know what it can or cannot do. The determining factor is pain. Sharp pain is the no-can-do message. Discomfort and pain are normal but sharp pain is a clear signal to take it easy.

2. Diet.

Your body needs help. Certain nutrients help heal. Other eating behaviors hinder the process. There are some common healing herbs listen in my Health Insights page. Essentially, you need to offer all your energy to healing. Eating heavy, hard to digest meals, steals energy from the healing process. Alcohol, (although usually desired when in pain) can hinder healing as smoking, fried foods and sugar.

In natural healing we say “The prevention is the cure.” In other words,  the protocol to prevent disease is the same to heal disease. Fasting, juicing, vegan diet,  should all be considered for decreasing stress while increasing energy to heal.  However…

The determining factor in your fate is…

Attitude and belief.

When you’re waking up in pain everyday it’s hard to believe that pain is okay and things are getting better. The process of healing can be long, so get through it with this simple yet profound phrase:

” Whatever I am going through at this moment is part of the process for my healing and regeneration.”

It’s a good idea to believe in the natural and profound ability to heal. Visualize and feel yourself as whole and strong. With the power of vision, you create. Think of your most beautiful self. Affirm to yourself the fun things you enjoy. Find ways to be grateful.  Find ways to enjoy your human experience and drive from that power.

Here is a powerful audio meditation I created for my healing. Find time to relax and absorb the words in this Healing Affirmations Audio Meditation.

4. Ease into movement.

You must strengthen those abdominal muscles.

The ultimate strong core is being able to perform leg-lifts and navasana or boat pose fairly easily.  However, with an injured back, this is impossible because the spine must be firm and stable.

Leg-lifts for strong core and spine
Leg lifts for core strength and reduction of back pain

yoga posture strong core

In order to begin to support the spine we have to strengthen the abs, but abdominal strengthening exercise can be painful for the back. It’s a catch 22! Overall, you have to guide yourself and your body into what it is you want to do. If we limit our movements due to pain, then we limit our healing. We want to be easy, but we don’t want pain to control us. We must learn to work through it.

Healing Potential is unlimited

 

How to Exercise the Core when Injured

The action of the abdominal and back muscles is to keep the spine erect but also assist in movement, front, back and side to side.

A strong core is key to pain-free movement
How our spine moves

Depending on where and how severe the pain will determine your position for exercise. If you cannot make it to the floor, then you may have to start in a chair or in bed.

Recover from BACK PAIN
Simple movement to introduce core strength

Simply holding yourself upright and firming your abdominal muscles or bringing a knee to the chest is a good start. As you progress, you will be able to begin basic movements.

The key in all of this is to know what your spine is capable of and working to get as much potential out of your recovery without further injury.

Once you’re able to get to the floor, basic movement of core compression can be introduced. It can begin with basic knee bends and progress to knees-to-chest and eventually gentle leg-lifts and hip-lifts.

Yoga for reduction of back pain
Knees to chest can help alleviate back pain
Basic stabalizing exercise for low back pain
Basic exercise to begin core strength

Do enough exercise to program your recovery without stress. In other words, communicate with your spine and assist it through recovery but be gentle and don’t force it.  Allow your healing to happen naturally. Many times this means recovering from emotional issues as well.

As we know, the prevention is the cure. This goes for exercising as well. Here is a good list of back exercises. Once your strength improves and pain decreases you will find more and more ability.

Take it easy, but keep going. You are in control of your healing.

 

 

Yoga for spine strength and flexibility
Strong spine Maui 2016
Hip opening and good balance
Two years after injury Xcalak Mexico Caribbean

~YogaDoug

 

Yoga improves balance and coordination
Maui 2015 Baby Beach North Shore

 

 

 

Cardiovascular Fitness with No-impact Yoga

No-impact yoga exercise provides cardiovascular fitness.

When folks speak of “cardio exercise” they usually refer to treadmills, stair-stepping, running, or attending an aerobics class. Many have been programmed to believe this is how we develop cardiovascular fitness. Yoga is cast off as for stretching or meditation. However, cardiovascular fitness can be developed in some healthy No-impact alternative ways.

The truth of cardiovascular exercise is having capable supply of oxygen in the blood. Understanding this can help  develop  cardiovascular strength using low or no impact exercise. We can even develop cardiovascular strength without moving at all!

Read on…..

Developing cardiovasular strength, low impact health yoga
Camelback hiking with YogaDoug,

I was living in old town Scottsdale, Arizona, the quaint little center of Scottsdale with the original buildings from the cowboy era.  Just a short distance from where I lived was Camelback Mountain, a small, but tall mountain in the middle of metropolitan Phoenix famous for hikers and runners. I enjoyed the steep uphill cardiovascular exercise it provided. An average hiker can make it to the peak in 45 minutes to an hour. The fastest time on record is 27 minutes by a local woman. The climb is strenuous and the decent can be dangerous bouncing from boulder to boulder.

My times were above-average, and I had record times on the decent. I could fly down that mountain in 14 minutes. I loved bouncing from boulder to boulder, but the impact slowly took its toll on my already challenged knees. After several months of this strenuous and challenging exercise my knees began to hurt…. a lot. So I stopped.Low impact exercise esier on the joints, yoga for health

I resorted to only practicing yoga.

I went back to Bikram yoga and stayed away from any running and other fast-moving exercise altogether. For months I refrained from any traditional cardiovascular exercise, only Bikram yoga. This series are simple static poses that help rebuild connective tissue and increase blood flow.

Bikram Yoga, low impactexercise, yoga for cardiovascular strength

I practiced these postures with great determination and power. Never did I learn so much about using my breath to get through the strain of holding postures for up to 60 seconds. I felt very strong, but was concerned I was losing my cardiovascular fitness.

After six months, my knees felt great and I had a real urge to climb that mountain! I was a bit afraid that I lost the cardiovascular strength I created in my months of running.

yoga for exciting low impact cardiovascular health.
Tired of high impact exercise

The sweaty, heart pumping exercise of Bikram yoga is the most intense exercise I’ve ever done and continues to be the exercise I default to when I know my body needs rehabilitation, but I felt it was different from the running that traditional American exercise scientists say is what’s needed for cardiovascular fitness.

So early one morning I was fired up, feeling good and full of energy. I wanted to get outdoors and climb. The cross-trainer shoes were dusted off and I fitted myself for the climb. That morning I was expecting to do my best and just have fun.

I got there early enough to find a parking spot, consumed a little more water, tightened my laces and headed for the trail head. My energy was so high I began the flatter portion at the beginning of the trail with a  jog. That jog, however, just naturally became faster…..and faster. When the incline increased and the boulders came into the picture, my speed increased with it! I was feeling natural at a faster pace more than ever before!  In fact, as the hike went on I never slowed down.  I ended up sprinting three quarters of the way up the mountain, a feat I never even came close to before. My heart was under control and I felt stronger than ever.

personal power, cardiovascular strength yoga

Here I was, an avid yoga practitioner, but I was still a newbie to the deep learning experience of yoga. By not running and only practicing the compression and static postures associated with Bikram Yoga, I come to understand the reality of “aerobic” exercise. The key to strong aerobic capacity is the ability to increase the capacity for oxygen in the blood.  Strong breath with heart pumping energy is the key. What I found out is you don’t need the fast-paced high impact sports to do this. In fact, Bikram yoga brought my heart and breath rate up higher than any other form of exercise I’ve practiced, second to motocross of course.  I brought myself to the edge in every posture. It was Vo2 max to the max.

Today, the one thing I do regularly is deep breathing exercise.

Deep breathing, in its own right, raises the heart rate. I have found even today, if I keep up with my breathwork, I can lift heavy weight and maintain an easy heart rate even if I’ve been away from exercise for several months.  I also see how people put extreme stress on their heart by not having the capacity to bring oxygen into the blood. The heart must pump harder to get what little oxygen there is in the blood to the muscles.

Yoga for cardiovascular strength and joint health
Inspirational yoga

It’s common sense. If you want to increase oxygen/blood capacity, practice breathing more. To increase the heart rate, it can be as simple as standing on one leg.  Try standing perfectly still on one leg for sixty seconds without wobbling and tell me how that goes.

“The bottom line is that the intensity at which you perform an activity determines if it’s aerobic or anaerobic.” –MedicineNet.com

The other powerful component to the Bikram series is its compression effect.

Many yoga poses compress the body. They compress the skeletal muscles as well as the internal organs. This compression affect flushes the muscle by squeezing them. Mr. Bikram refers to this as “wringing out that dirty dish rag.” You wring it out and allow fresh oxygenated blood to rush in when you release the compression.  In doing this you are purifying the system and charging the body’s regeneration factor.

Yoga for joint health , cardiovasular power
Bikram Champion yoga rehabilitation specialist
yoga for well being health and personal strength
Be joyful and praise your light

So, between heart pumping, holding your body weight postures, powerful breathing, compression and stretches, you know there is way more to the asanas of yoga than meets the eye. You can build your cardiovascular power without ever running again…. and if you want the outdoors, just practice in your favorite nature spot. You don’t need a mat or any props. Learn to use your body the way the original yogis had shown us. The best thing of all is that the more you practice, the healthier your joints become because we all know what the common results of high impact exercise is (long term injury) and we all want to avoid that. Check out my Natural Health Insights page for more.

Discover an old science and new understanding of our body as a self-contained module for all your health and healing needs.

~YogaDoug

Positive Attitude cures Everything

Every generation discovers more truth about the healing powers of the mind.

By now we know the mind is everything.  A  positive attitude improves the likelihood of healing. The placebo effect is enough to make anyone realize that the only boundaries in front of us are the ones we lay before ourselves in our mind.

What we think, we achieve.

Is it easy? How does it work?  Can I do it? These are questions many will ask when discovering the possibility of self healing,  or any decision to become great. There are some interesting twists to this you will find quite satisfying.

Have we yet determined why some humans can abuse their body to extremes, eat the worst foods, smoke, etc. and live long lives, while others who do everything to achieve “perfect health” die of disease?

YOga, Positive attitude attributes
Positive Attitude for longevity

We eventually come up with the same answer… attitude. It’s an answer even modern science has confirmed.

Using Keith Richards as an example isn’t to show a life of extreme but rather how the right attitude can balance everything out. Keith Richards has been one to use every type of drug, but he also knew his limit and not to use more and more to get higher and higher. He treated his body like a temple.

It goes like this. Mind creates cells. Cells create body. Mind becomes the cells of our body. Any thought of disease whether fear of, or avoidance of, will program the cells for disease. People who work to avoid disease have a greater chance of attracting disease than those who simply do what they feel without thinking about it. Now isn’t that a rub!?

It’s a simple quantum understanding.

Can we just think ourselves healthy?…YES!….and no. Because it’s best not to “think” about it. It’s deeper than just thinking. Thinking hovers a veneer of disbelief, as If you’re trying to convince yourself.

If you are having fun with a positive attitude and enjoying yourself, there’s no need to say, I’m having fun. You just are. When you’re laughing and enjoy a sense of happiness in your life, you are creating healthy cells. We typically don’t “think” about laughing.

Natural play and positive attidude for life
Play and enjoy a blissful moment

That’s what makes being healthy so powerful. If developing the physical strength of your body is your happiness, you will follow the protocols of physical reality and manipulate your diet and routine to find the formula for your body’s unique profile for power. You don’t do it to prevent disease. You do it to explore the power within you. In that power lies so much wisdom.

Focused love for the physical experience

Thinking about exercise to prevent disease is an oxymoron. Don’t exercise because you’ve heard it prevents cancer. Instead, decide personally how connecting with your body through exercise will feel and the gratification will it bring into your life, generating new cells.

There’s a lot of money to be made off people’s fear. There are millions of women these days “running” for fear of breast cancer. Pink is the newest color for making lots of money.

All that we do should be created through a deep personal desire.

A positive attitude is a method of affirming the positive state in which you are creating yourself. Fear can get us to change direction but it’s never a good place to create from.

This is understood in the process of healing disease. Clearing the mind of thinking, and connecting with beliefs and feelings of your self provides a platform for reconditioning the cellular structure of your body. The vital energy of your body can be directed through your thoughts, but more importantly, are the real beliefs about your thoughts.

Healthy Cells created through attitude and belief

If you’re feeling helpless or sick, surrender 15 minutes for mental reconditioning. Relax breathe and talk to yourself as a hero.

Once we overcome limiting beliefs about ourselves we can then and only then move into a new reality for ourselves. We become free, free like a child in wonder. Feel the great self-love and appreciation for your unique expression of life. Be the one who owns responsibility for the creation of their health. These are all elements of the positive attitude. Think of positive /negative like a light switch. You’re either ON (positive) or OFF (negative).

Knowing the full control we have over our lives by way of attitude provides access to our maximum power. We can heal anything,

Here’s an interesting twist. You don’t have to be a happy type of person to receive these benefits. You don’t have to follow a guru, be a vegan or listen to uplifting music. It’s more about you and your experience of the world, void of what others think or believe about you.

Do happy cells create a healthy body. yes! but be happy within yourself and what you do. Grumpy was a character in Snow White right? For some people the act of grumpiness is their way of being natural and therefore relaxed within.

We could quickly become a society of walking, living, healing masters.

We simply have to drop our pre-programmed societal beliefs and be more of ourselves.   Kids know this. The best advice I could give a child is to ignore  our outdated human history and create a new today. There is no such thing as “junk” DNA, only untapped potential. Our scientific knowledge is so infantile. Those who put such faith in it are holding themselves down and getting old.

Create the environment to allow each other to feel safe for our individuality and personal power to shine. Together we can ignite an entirely new human experience. The power is within us naturally. Allow positive attitude to express who you are in your natural, relaxed and inspired state of being. We’re all developing great intuition to identify the energy/emotions of another, so hiding from who we are is no longer an option. It is an age of transparency. So let-go. Be who you are and create your dynamic healthy life.  Make it so.

Enjoy my 20 minute re-programing audio meditation for healing click here  

Check out more free videos on YogaDoug YouTube.

I love you.

Mindfulness for Greater Benefits within Yoga Postures

Mindfulness is a secret ingredient to achieving greater health benefits within yoga and other healing modalities.

To an experienced practitioner we understand that the yoga postures, even with their specific names, are only guides along a certain path. A yoga pose is not a finished product. The benefits are revealed during the process. The only thing we seek to obtain is to be 100% present within our body as we move through the yoga postures, opening, strengthening, lengthening, healing, restructuring. Learning to be present to how our body transforms, this is Mindfulness.  In any posture, there is always something more that can be transitioned through. Each and every yoga posture holds benefits that exceed our expectations.

yoga alignment and proper movement

What it is we are actually doing in “yoga.” What are the yoga postures all about?

yoga is great for skiers!

Think of yoga asanas, or postures, as a ski hill. We all go down the same hill. Some take the bunny slope and others take the steeper trails. The hill is the same.  This is why you see photos of people in Standing Bow Pulling Pose, some with their back stiff and straight and foot  barely over their hip and others with their back nicely curved and leg way up over their head. It’s the same pose just different levels, same beauty. The beauty is that both can have the same amount or lack of mindfulness.

beginners finding the beauty of yoga posturesAdvanced flexibility in yoga postures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits are the same no matter what level one practices at.

Every advanced posture starts with a basic move. Think of it like the ski hill,  learning to stand on your skis is the first step to conquering the hill. Standing on two feet without falling over must be mastered  before we practice standing on one leg. We think of it as mindfulness creating clarity for where we are in our endeavors.

Standing pose can be of great benefit in yoga

Yoga teachers won’t expect you to reach completion, but rather be conscious/ mindful of your movements. This is why all levels of practice benefit the same. Mindfulness keeps us in check.

Hatha Yoga.

In every yoga posture there are two forces at work, hence the meaning of Ha-tha, sun and moon. There is strength and  flexibility, the agonist and antagonist muscle reactions. One muscle contracts while another, or others in a muscle group, relax. Therefore each pose contains two reactive forces.

agonist antagonist muscle in yoga

Within the yoga poses is also the compression or tourniquet effect. Internal organs muscles and tissue are compressed and squeezed in many yoga postures. The idea is like squeezing and flushing as if ringing out a dirty towel. The compression forces fluid out, and on the release, allows fresh blood to come through. I’ve found these compression aspects to be of very high value in my practice.

low back pain releiver

No matter how in-depth or uncomfortable a yoga posture is, they all become the same when you approach them carefully with mindfulness. So think of mindfulness in yoga postures like  driving your car at night around a blind corner.  Going too fast can lead to collision with an unforeseen obstacle. Therefore the approach to each pose should be done with mindfulness.

Douglas King inspirational yoga teacher

The proverbial man in meditation IS the clear depiction of yoga.

One pointed focus is what becomes meditation.  It’s Inner focus and attention in the moment which provides insights leading to transformation.

I’ve taught beginners who are masters at mindfulness. I’ve also witnessed advanced practitioners become frustrated in their practice from expectation. This becomes our challenge. The path of mindfulness is like a blending of two worlds, of doing and not doing.

Any gymnast or dancer can do “poses” easy. Don’t let people with advanced body movements influence you. It is the process of the pose that defines your level of yoga understanding.

It takes practice….lots of it. By the way, that’s why we call it a yoga “practice.” Keep it up.

For a more in-depth look at this process, please attend one of my new ONLINE YOGA CLASSES  beginning in April! For my first students there will be a significant discount for joining.

Aloha

Coastline Complexity – Our Two Earth Worlds

Our coastline boasts great beauty, but can be something of a paradox.

Coastlines the merging of two worlds, water-world with land, the underworld with the over-world.

the ancient seas and our two worlds
Coastline Complexity

Where coastlines exist, humans find magic.  We ponder life, seek answers and appreciate nature’s magnificence.  While living most of my life within coastal cities, I have found the magnificence of the coastline carries some interesting oppositions. A coastline draws the wealthy to build homes and the homeless to find comfort.  The coastline is also where waste pushed into the sea is returned to  land. On the most isolated beaches we find tons of waste returned from the sea. On warm weather beaches, homeless and the destitute leave waste of their own.

Coastlinesare the dumping point for our misdeeds

All walks of life seek to retreat and vacation on coastlines. We swim in the water where it is safe,  safe from the wild deep and dangerous creatures, but it’s the crust, the outer edge, the dregs of earth’s ripple we swim.

The coastline can be like a kitchen blender stirring and breaking everything up into small pieces including body parts of those using the coastline as a sport. We find treasures and secret messages in bottles sent out to sea in hopes of reaching a magical outcome. Our fantasy with the coastline runs deep. Even the Sirens of Mythology used the coastline to attract and destroy those whom fall prey to the voice of the coastline creatures.

taming the oceans waves  Surfing the edge of our coastline

Coastlines are transition points.

Rogue waves consume land life.  Others leap from the mystery of life on the edge of seaside cliffs. There is a human drive to see and feel the coastlines beauty unaffected by the transitional boundary lines.

Rouge waves on our coastlines

We fall into the fantasy of white water.  As a child this white water was mingled with black tar which took hours to scrub off and fade away.   Many sprinkle the ashes of loved ones on the waters edge, as if the sea entitles them to merge with a stronger force, to spread throughout the planet and travel to distant worlds.

offering ashes of loved ones from our coastlines

On a Santa Monica beach, a rogue wave washed my infant body from the comfort of my mothers arms under our shaded beach blanket. When the wave retreated I was found lying in the arms of earths sandy berm.  To this day I get anxious when I’m away from the sea for too long.  Sometimes I feel my infant body replaced with the spirit of another,  a more watery being. Or did the feeling of our saline earth washing over my new skin possess me to never forget….

we are earths mystery

We are water creatures on land. We are the mystery.

In yoga we seek to always be in the mystery. Surrendering allows us to experience the now. Yoga asanas or postures become an intense experience with the attitude of surrender. We learn to be unknowing. We practice without expectation, for the wave of uncertainty looms in every moment. Seeking to be present allows the subtle energy of life show us who we are.

 Beach yoga, headstands on the coastline

 

Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

Need to Exercise?   Short on time?   Want to add more to your fitness routine?

Challenge yourself with this ancient fitness routine to boost your health and longevity.

For 30 days take the 15 minutes to do these rites everyday!

In the book “Secrets to the Fountain of Youth” a man shares his discovery of this longevity exercise. Traveling deep in the Himalayas, he found a tribe of Tibetan Priests  who shared their secrets of their longevity health. These Lamas looked far younger than their age and lived a very long time.

Do these rites diligently over 30 days and see for yourself how much strength and agility you create. Start slowly the first week with as many repetitions as you can, maybe only three or four.   Be sure to do the same amount of repetitions for each rite. Stay with it and increase the repetitions each week. Give yourself the chance to work up to the maximum of twenty one (21) repetitions of each rite.

Along with any longevity program, be aware of your eating habits and mental stress. Stress is the main factor in all disease therefore learning more about mindfulness will help. Eating more than one type of food at a time also creates stress within the body. Eat fewer combinations of food and utilize more herbs. Do not eat late. Learn to stop eating after 5 PM. Do not eat sugar in the evening and learn to eliminate sugar all together. Eat more good fats andreduce alcohol intake. For more dietary guidelines read my HEALTH INSIGHTS PAGE.

The biggest challenge to these rites for beginners is the process by which toxins or metabolic waste are squeezed out of the system causing nausea or dizziness. This is exactly what the body needs and shows how purifying these rites are. Start slow and get through it. Health and longevity awaits!

HERE WE GO!

RITE number ONE

The first rite is a simple one. It is done for the express purpose of speeding up the vortexes. Spinning helps open the vortexes better than anything else. Spinning is also known to elevate consciousness and bring one into a heightened state of awareness. Children do it all the time when they’re playing.

Stand erect with arms outstretched, horizontal to the floor and begin to spin to the right.  At first, adults tend to get dizzy easy because they are not used to it and the energy centers spinning open creates a surge we are not used to. Once the body becomes used to spinning, it become quite an energizing experience. stay diligent.

Do what dancers do. Focus on a single point as you begin to spin then at your maximum twist turn quickly your head 180 degrees and focus on another single point as you spin.

Strong 15 minute fitness challenge SPINNING a Strong fitness challenge

RITE number TWO

Rite number two continues to open the vortexes.

Comfortably lie flat on your back. Place your hands along side your body and bring your chin to your chest. Raise your legs straight up and even a little more towards your head if you can, keeping your back flat on the floor. Do not bend the knees. With each repetition use a rhythmic breath. Do your best. You will get stronger as you go. You will amaze yourself.

RITE two of Strong 15 minute fitness challengeRITE two B Strong 15 minute fitness challenge

RITE number THREE

This rite should be practiced immediately after rite number two.

Kneel on the floor with your toes tucked under your feet.place your hands on your butt as if you were placing them in your back pockets.

Tuck the chin to the chest and them move it safely and swiftly back at the same time create more of an arch to the back and feel as if your heart is opening. Move back and forth chin to chest and then arching back. Find a rhythmic breath and keep going. You will find this very powerful.

RITE three Strong 15 minute fitness challenge RITE three B Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

RITE number FOUR

This rite may seem very difficult at first. Over time you will get the hang of it and find the tremendous benefits it produces.

Fist, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Place your hands on the floor along side your buttocks. Bring your chin to your chest. Now thrust your head back as you raise your body up off the floor as if to create it as a table.  As you come to the table position breathe deep and hold the breath for just a moment as you firm every muscle in the body. Come back to first position with your buttocks in the center of your hands and your chin to chest.

Do this with rhythmic breath and continue in an even flow the entire set of repetitions. You’ll see the benefits quickly.

RITE four Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge RITE four B Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

RITE number FIVE

Palms on the floor below your shoulders and toes tucked under. Drop your hips towards the floor and keep your shoulders down, ears pushed up away from your shoulders. Keep your neck long, chin up.

Now lift your hips to the sky and tuck your chin to your chest. Push your heels down to the floor and your hips back. This is a downward dog position. keep your back flat and your shoulders broad and open.

Continue back and forth using rhythmic breath.

This will create tremendous muscular strength. In time, this becomes a welcome finishing pose.

RITE five Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge RITE five B Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge RITE five C Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

Congratulations! I look forward to your comments!

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Falling Down and Getting Up Again

The desire for a good live, food, water and comfort is something on everyone’s mind. Sometimes we get so excited for life we wish to use our skills and achieve great things.  IN the process of achievement comes an even greater factor of circumstances which may hinder or create a pitfall in our process. After a while, we learn that these pitfalls are part of the process and our ability to overcome them is the real story of our lives.

Growing up a middle class family, I never felt I was missing anything. We always had Christmas presents. There was always food on the table. I could join sporting teams and given every opportunity the privileged 15% of people in the world get to experience.

Later in life, when I realized how privileged Americans were, I began to wonder what it must be like to be someone who wakes up to wonder if they would have food to eat, or where they might be sleeping. In our privileged culture we have the opportunity to experience such disparity by choice. That is, if a person over-extends themselves or entrepreneur experiences a venture collapse lifting oneself, or a family up from the bottom can be a traumatizing experience, but we still have the opportunity to do it again.

Anyone who’s trekked into the landscape of creating their own way, developing new ideas or companies, and mastering new ways of doing business will eventually encounter a roadblock, hit a wall, even experience complete destruction of well-thought-out plans. Every entrepreneur knows of the risks involved. It is often said, if you’re not ready to lose it all, you won’t have the strength to make it through. Those who’ve ever accomplished anything had to encounter pitfalls and failures. The failures, however, are not failures of self, but only lessons to direct the next step.

famous famous people whove overcome great obsticles

There are hundreds of examples. Here are a few you may or may not know:

~Soichiro Honda’s unique vision got him ostracized by the Japanese business community.

~R.H. Macy had a series of failed retail ventures throughout his early career.

~Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before founding a fried chicken empire.

~Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything”.

~After Harrison Ford’s first small movie role, an executive took him into his office and told him he’d never succeed in the movie business.

~Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.

~A young Henry Ford ruined his reputation with a couple of failed automobile businesses.

~While developing his vacuum, Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years.

~J.K. Rowling was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first “Harry Potter” novel.

(Business Insider online 2016)

These pitfalls are part of the process. Through my recent encounter with failure, I discovered the truth of what I’ve spoke about as a teacher. If one has access to water, the battle is half  solved. Having access to water and exercising is the foundation for a healthy life. Food can be found. In Hawaii, you can find many wild edible plants that are healthy and medicinal. Maintaining a healthy mind through it all is what keeps you going. It means letting go of attachment and expectations. Maintaining physical and mental health really is the primary force for living well. From there, one can use the strength to create anew.

I see many people with lots of “things” who can barely move and seem so uncomfortable in their body. In this fundamental knowing, I see the stark contrast of how we’ve created living in this material world. People who are fit and at their natural body weight do not need to each so much. It is the nutrient density of the food that determines the quantity. Wise ones know this. I eat a simple dish of dark greens and find fullness and vibrancy. If we as a species moved into this simple wisdom all our problems would be solved, but gluttony and external gratification have become the teaching methods of the young, so much so that there is a generation of people who know nothing else. It is also these attachments that puts stress on the one attempting to lay it on the line and risk it all for a new life.

Those who’ve been stripped of external things either move into wisdom or panic at the loss, and fall victim of ego control. Drugs, alcohol, complaining, and blaming will only continue the experience. A strong person can say, thank God I have the ability to make new choices, and I will start with the choice to appreciate my body and my ability to learn.

Hellen Keller quote

Helen Keller is one of my inspirational mentors. One of her many quotes: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

So if you find yourself in a state of deconstruction, read the stories of those who’ve been through it. Keep your head up. You’re not alone. There is a lot of deconstruction happening these days throughout the world. Cry when you need to. Let it out, then lift yourself up. Pray regularly and look for the signs. Perform a ritual to shed unwanted energy. Burn some sage around you and your home. Love yourself. This too shall pass.

Share the love.

Mahalo.

Motocross is Yoga

. Yoga is motocross.

Unlike other sports, motocross requires both balls.

Two wheels at high speed on rough terrain requires a strong commitment to what you wish to achieve and a focus that cannot be swayed. This is motocross.  The one pointed focus and mindfulness of motocross mimics the great teachings of yoga. We balance our passion and courage while open to profound new experiences and unimaginable achievement.

Journey with me into the similarity of yoga and motocross.

All I know is that when I was about eight years old I felt the excitement of speed beyond what my own two feet could go. With a little metal between my legs I could explore a new level of existence. Power, speed, altitude, free-falling and crashing were the new sensations.

Yoga helps prevent injury and speed recovery
It’s all part of it

What I learned quickly was how the physics of my body and a small rocket worked. Once I understood the physics behind it and how to use inertia to turn ideas into matter the fun remained endless. In Motocross it becomes a matter of physical fitness and physicsal fitness. Fitness and physics are WFO for 20 minutes at a time.

As we say on the street “Unlike other sports, motocross requires BOTH balls” … like your first Bikram yoga class.

Team desert moto II

Thought into matter.

Yes. Knowing the time vs speed ratio when traversing over dirt and rock at high-speed requires the ability to think about things before they happen. Knowing what I want to create, using the power, speed and terrain ahead of me, my body would automatically ignite the neuromuscular response to put the idea into form, like a high-speed stunt, jump or acrobatic.

All athletes know how to place the mind before matter. So if you ponder it, one can see how this can become the belief in all areas of life.

In the process of traversing with great speed over rough terrain is the understanding of overcoming obstacles.  I must see it ahead and pick the best course of action at that moment. Then I follow through with the action as I continue to look AHEAD.  Seeing the obstacle ahead and focusing on it as it approaches rather than looking beyond it will lead to the obstacle taking the power. In that lack of foresight comes the consequences of focusing on the problem rather than looking ahead. This usually leads to a crash or unsuitable experience of one kind or another.

team motocross sunsetClassic Team Yamaha MotocrossMotocross carving

Isn’t this everything in life? What we focus on approaches, takes over.  The extraordinary thing about it is to have focus but relax into it, like expecting and letting go at the same time.

Sage wisdom says be in the knowing. Knowing our place intuitively will reveal elements of what we are good at, and if we are in the right place at the right time. In other words, If I know intuitively I marvel when I’m on a motocross bike, it’s likely I will pursue it with passion. Other sports may not prove to be as exciting therefor less intuitive.

For it to become a knowing, there has to understanding from a higher perspective.What it is you came to do. It’s the natural sense one has about themselves, before others taint their view. Once you commit to that which excites your natural sense of wonder, then you can begin to become that, relax into being it, and become mindful of your experiences.

The expectation/relaxation factor plays a big part in motocross. If we expect too much we begin to put values on it. If we expect to win, but focus on the perfect start, then a poor start can put you mentally behind.  So being mentally and physically behind it becomes difficult to keep a winning focus.

Like life and practicing yoga, expectation and force can become detrimental to what should be natural, fun and easy.   Eventually we learn the formula. Know what you desire, be in the knowing of it and let the steps reveal themselves. We learn upon each step, the experience of becoming.

Stay in your foresight. Use your intuition to pick the line and relax into the magic.

WFO.

~Douglas