Why I’ve Never Felt Grateful Until Now

gratitude

Thanksgiving has never been a big deal for me personally. Celebrations centered around food simply weren’t a part of my family life growing up as my mom suffered from a life-long eating disorder. Besides, more often than not, I’ve found myself alone for the holidays. It’s not that I haven’t had the opportunities to gather with friends and family on Thanksgiving – I always do. It’s just that I’ve never felt the appeal of those situations. I’m an introvert at heart, and if I can avoid a social situation I will. Oh, and I don’t believe I’ve ever really experienced a connection with the true spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday – which from what I understand is gratitude. That’s just being honest. In the past I don’t think I’ve been a very grateful person and as I reflected on the quality of gratitude before sitting to write this post, I may have just figured out why. I think gratitude requires someone or something to be grateful to. And I think I’ve lived my whole life under the false pretenses that there is no power bigger than myself that’s looking out for me. But on closer examination, I’m starting to realize that I might be wrong. As a child I was raised strict Roman Catholic. As I grew in awareness the pre-packaged explanations of ultimate reality simply didn’t hold up. I don’t think I’m unique in this way. Many of us in the western world find ourselves as spiritual orphans of… [Continue Reading]

Special Announcement: New Studio!

adamantine gsp

This has been a exciting week! Ann and I made an offer on a home (our first) and I just signed the lease on a new studio space for Adamantine® Yoga. Things are changing fast. It was just a little over two years ago when we first moved to Des Moines, Iowa. We rented a large loft on the western edge of downtown, and thanks to a generous (and yoga-loving) building manager we began to offer Adamantine® Yoga Guided Self-Practice classes in our living room. Honestly, at first I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had just set aside my main source of income for the previous 5 years during which I had certified some 500 teachers in a freestyle approach to hatha yoga. I couldn’t teach something I didn’t believe in anymore. Not only had I discovered a better way for people to practice yoga, but I knew I had found a new business model that would allow for yoga teachers to make a sustainable income. However my yoga teacher training students didn’t seem to believe me. Who would? Everyone in the modern yoga industry seems reconciled to the idea that teaching yoga is a bad career choice. At one point when I was teaching a workshop called the “Business of Yoga,” one of my students actually raised their hand and made a simple, but challenging observation. “But that’s not how you make your living,” he said. And it wasn’t. I was selling yoga teacher trainings. I was already… [Continue Reading]

Movement as a Mirror of Your Whole Self

Ann_Handstand

I have been teaching yoga for nearly five years now, and fewer students than I would like seem to recognize the true purpose of a dedicated yoga practice. What I am referring to is the highly introspective experiences that a consistent daily practice offers. Yoga shows you a window into yourself, gifting you each morning with the opportunity to discover unknown facets of your personality in a way that daily life seldom offers. For this reason, your yoga practice functions as a mirror that allows you to view your whole self in earnest. The best example I can think of to illustrate this point is handstand. Most group yoga classes do not consistently challenge students to balance on their hands in this way, but Adamantine® Yoga asks the practitioner to transition through this challenging posture in nearly every sun salutation. I have watched many students be introduced to this aspect of the practice, and what sticks in my mind is not how good they are at it, but instead their reaction to being pushed outside of their comfort zone. The way each student approaches this part of the practice is very revealing, as it illuminates hidden aspects of their personality. I am always astonished to see how one student can flail their legs in the air before collapsing on their elbows, nearly face-planting to the floor, but then immediately move right into upward facing dog like nothing happened at all, while the student directly next to them can jump into… [Continue Reading]

Can’t Rush This

seated meditation

Oh, how I wish progress in yoga came quicker. But in the infamous words of MC Hammer, “You can’t rush this.” Well, that might not be exactly what he said, but if he practiced Adamantine® Yoga I’m sure he’d agree with the liberty I’m taking with his lyrics. There is simply no speedy way to undergo the radical personal transformation that comes with a consistent practice. Don’t get me wrong, you can expect to see dramatic physical changes over the first several months of introducing a systematic approach like Adamantine® Yoga. But then things start to slow down. Your previous yoga routine (or lack thereof) was likely incomplete, and the quick results are your body’s natural response to new movements. But eventually stubborn areas do reveal themselves. That’s when it’s time to examine potential lifestyle changes that will allow for your practice to once again move ahead. The Adamantine® Yoga sequence becomes a lens through which you view the success of the choices you make on what to eat, how much sleep you need, and the ways you cope with stress. It’s simple, really. Your practice reveals the areas of your life that aren’t working for you. As your postures become an index of the lifestyle choices you have made over the previous 24-48 hours, you begin to realize how subtle changes can make a big difference. But there’s a hidden danger in thinking that progress in your yoga practice can be reduced to just consistency and right lifestyle. It’s… [Continue Reading]

A Simple Sort of Spirituality

spirituality kindness

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” -The Dalai Lama The measure of your yoga practice lies not in the depth of your postures. It has nothing to do with your knowledge of Sanskrit, or your understanding of anatomy. You can travel to India, study with esteemed teachers, and spend hours daily in meditation, but you have accomplished nothing if you’re not kind to other people. Yoga can and should be a simple form of spirituality. By practicing postures, conscious breathing and meditation anyone can access a powerful means of revealing their best self. But all too often modern yoga practitioners get caught up in making the practice unnecessarily complex. Don’t mistake intelligence for enlightenment. There are teachers in the modern yoga industry that I would want on my team if I were ever to play a game of yoga trivial pursuit, but they are not usually the same people I would call on if I was asked to show an example of someone who truly embodies the qualities of an advanced yogi. One of the highest beings I have ever studied with had never practiced a single posture. He probably couldn’t have recognized the Bhagavad Gita from the Bible, and his idea of exercise was rearranging his living room furniture. But he was the only person I have ever met that I would consider an enlightened master. Wouldn’t it be a powerful message to the non-practicing public if the average yoga practitioner… [Continue Reading]