When We Were Kings

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Forgive me for a moment for sounding overdramatic, but I believe that the average person in the western world severely lacks perspective. And to be honest lately it’s been bothering me more and more. It started a few months back when I was on vacation. We stayed in a luxurious room with a whirlpool tub so big that I could barely sit upright without risking sliding to the bottom, a King sized bed, room service from a host of nearby restaurants, personal robes, and endless in-room entertainment options. The biggest problem I faced that weekend was figuring out where to eat. No joke. And truthfully, that weekend wasn’t that much different from my daily life. My problems simply aren’t problems, not really. But my lifestyle is by no means out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s likely a bit austere compared to the decadence of even your average modern person living in the western world. We live like kings. Better than kings, actually. Your average king hardly had the access you and I take for granted to the myriad of culinary delectables and libations that we can have at a moments notice. And even the most decadent of castles in the Middle Ages contained what most would consider a severe shortage of comfortable places to sit and would appear all but void of entertainment options Yet as a culture we are collectively more depressed, stressed-out, medicated, and inebriated than at any other time in human history, and in constant search… [Continue Reading]

Quadrana

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Practicing mindfulness is a trend that has been circulating in recent years in an attempt to offset the stress and anxiety caused by today’s fast-paced and chaotic world. Kids, jobs, computers, and cell-phones are just some of the things in life constantly pulling our awareness away from what is happening right in front of us, robbing us of enjoying the present moment. It certainly seems that the more ubiquitous technology becomes the less still our minds are. My mind was once so disorganized and chaotic that it would wander off and start thinking about something else before I could finish even a single page of a book! I would reach the bottom of the page and realize I had absolutely no recollection of what I had just read. Thankfully, I found yoga. Before embarking on the path of Adamantine® Yoga, I was a devout practitioner of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Similar to Adamantine Yoga, the sequences are traditionally taught individually yet students still convene to practice together in a group format, allowing practitioners to immerse their full attention in their practice without the distractions that are inherent to the modern group-led yoga class. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga outlined its method to bring about focus and present-moment awareness in a concept called Tristana. Tristana used three aspects of the practice to do this: posture, breathing, and gazepoints. Similarly, Adamantine Yoga has these three tools embedded into the practice, with the addition of one more, counting. Using four methods of concentration simultaneously completely saturates… [Continue Reading]

Evolve or Die

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“If I would’ve asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford One might imagine that the process of evolution that occurs within any complex system happens gradually over a long period of time. Surprisingly this has little support in evolutionary biology. Most species exhibit little change for most of their geological history, and when significant change does occur, it happens rapidly and in isolated areas. Often times these changes prove to be valuable adaptations without which the species wouldn’t have survived. Evolution isn’t a choice; it’s an imperative. We either evolve or die. Modern yoga, as a systematic methodology of transforming the human body as a means of seeking Self-realization, has been in a period of stasis for decades. The innovations that have occurred are nestled so safely within the boundaries of the current industry standard as to hardly qualify as innovations at all. To most people this does not appear to be a problem. With millions of yoga practitioners world-wide the current model would seem to be effective. But while it may be highly functional as a means of inviting people into the practice, the standard of teaching yoga in a group-led setting is an evolutionary dead-end. In the absence of radical change yoga is fated to become the exercise fad most people assume that it is, and in the great tradition of similar fads like Jazzercise and Tae-Bo the present day obsession with group-led yoga classes will eventually be seen as just… [Continue Reading]

Don’t Ignore, but Don’t Attach

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Ultimately we all share the same fate. There are no survivors on this Earth, and in the end these beautiful bodies we are given are but temporary vessels. Why then should we devote ourselves daily to the pursuit of perfecting such an ephemeral vehicle as this? The answer is simple: our physical bodies are but the exteriorization of our spirit. The easiest, most elegant means of developing your whole self is also the most accessible. Movement as a means of personal transformation is within the grasp of virtually every human being, and it is perhaps the single most powerful tool we have available. All too often the physical body is ignored. This is a big mistake, or at the very least a missed opportunity. I can’t imagine living my life without my practice, and I am confident that I would be a very different person if I hadn’t encountered yoga. But yoga practitioners make mistakes, too. Most often they attach significance to the physical changes that inevitably occur as a result of consistent practice. But in truth, it doesn’t matter if you ever put your leg behind your head or hold the perfect handstand. The spiritually transformative power of yoga can be evoked through even the simplest of postures. It may surprise you, but the use of physical postures was considered a dangerous path in traditional yoga. The reason wasn’t because of the risk of injury but in the risk of greater attachment. Yoga seeks to reveal that part of… [Continue Reading]

The Myth of Core Strength

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The biggest struggle I have always faced in my personal yoga practice is strength. Upper body strength, leg strength, back strength, core strength, you name it, I didn’t have it. When I first started yoga, I could not do a single push-up even with my knees on the ground! I can still remember the day that I first successfully bent my elbows ninety degrees to lower my chest half-way to the ground before rolling over my toes into Upward Facing Dog. I kept doing it over and over again because I couldn’t believe it actually happened. It seemed like a fluke. After years of dedicated practice, my strength slowly began to improve, but I still struggled with transitions that I thought were based around core strength such as jumping through, jumping back, and handstands. In an attempt to build core strength, I would do all sorts of crunches and other ab exercises. In the end these movements awarded me little if any improvement in these aspects of my practice, and they simultaneously worked against my back bending ability. About four years ago, an unexpected bit of bad luck landed me very ill, but also abruptly accelerated these areas of my practice and gave me the realization that abs of steel are not what is required for those elusive transitions like jumping through. A stomach bug had been going around, and I was sick for an entire week. The profuse vomiting only lasted about two days, but I was extremely nauseous… [Continue Reading]