The 7 Steps to Fixing Everything About Yourself

My screen is filled with all sorts of 3 step, 5 step, 7 step (even a 31 step) list of things you should/shouldn’t do articles and blog posts. Feeling inspired, I decided to write one of my own.

Some rights reserved by birgerking

Some rights reserved by birgerking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 7 Steps to Fixing Everything That is Wrong with You

 

  1. Read every 3-12 (or more) step blog looking to for any problem you didn’t know you had

Subscribe to every email list you can find. There are recommendations for all sorts of things you didn’t even know were wrong with you. I recently learned my Paleo-Vegan diet might one day kill me.

  1. Always assume you need to be fixed (for the best way, see number 1 above)

After all, if your life isn’t perfect, with the perfect mate, perfect skin, perfect make up, perfect pet, then you are obviously deficient in some way and it will likely kill you soon, or give you some horrible disease that can only be kept under control with medications that have side effects which include blindness, eye color change, loss of limbs and/or explosive heart syndrome.

  1. Chase every new super food, diet, cleanse, program, or whatever to work smarter not harder

Mother Nature is wrong. The only way to stay healthy and at your perfect weight without exercise, portion control or real food, is to cleanse, diet and gorge on super foods. Ideally all at the same time.

  1. Work on ‘improving’ yourself in as many ways as possible, all at once

With so many obvious flaws, and a limited life span thanks to a reckless diet and not enough super foods, you need to get started right away on fixing those flaws. And not one at a time, that’s going to take far too long. Jump in (unless your current medicinal side effects include brittle bone disease, then walk in) and start fixing everything all at once.

  1. Find the app for that

There is an app for pretty much everything out there. If you haven’t installed an app (or 2 or 3 or 10) to start diagnosing and fixing your problems; what’re you waiting for? You aren’t going to live forever.

  1. Take every self-help class you can from every self-proclaimed guru you can find

After all, they said they’re enlightened (better, fixed, whatever) and why would they lie? What the latest guru says contradicts the last one? Well, that last one was obviously a quack, and you need to go find someone else to tell you what’s wrong with you and for a mere $5000 payable in 12 easy installments, put you on the path to their next course..oh yeah, and on the path to fixing you.

  1. Run over anyone who gets in the way of your journey to being a better person

Whether this is verbally, physically or emotionally, don’t let anyone get in the way of you improving yourself. And anyone who tries isn’t really there for you and needs to be exiled out of your life. After all, who are these people to tell you that you aren’t broken? Family? Friends? What do they know? Show them the latest blog post on why avocados make the best under arm deodorant; they need to be educated or cut loose!

 

Follow these steps without fail, and I will guarantee absolutely nothing. I’m not saying some of the stuff out there isn’t good. Quite the opposite, some of it is great; thought provoking, insightful and inspiring. However, I also believe that we as the readers need to filter all the advice and lists through our own actual needs to support our own individual journey. Change is a very personal thing. I understand the benefits of coconut oil in cooking and other things; but I can’t stand the smell or taste of the stuff. So there really isn’t a need for me to read about how good it is for me. I’m still not going to use it.

 

In my experience, these lists are typically short and not very detailed, nor are they meant to be. I believe that they offer ideas to get the reader thinking so that we, the readers, can go and explore new ideas. Some (coconut oil for example) may never go any further. But others might set your world on end and start you down a path you hadn’t seen.

Image courtesy of pyrat_wesly.

Image courtesy of pyrat_wesly.

 

 

 

It’s still a good piece of advice to not judge a book by its cover. In this age of instant information and self-proclaimed knowledge, sometimes the content of the book (or blog post) shouldn’t be taken at face value either.

Yoga Postures for Men: Camel

 

Camel (Ustrasana) is a posture I like a lot. The posture itself requires strength, stability and control. However it’s one of those postures that gets queued almost exclusively in the feminine. Some of the most common include open your heart, spread your joy and open yourself to your inner goddess.  Instead I like to queue this as a way to strengthen the abs, back and legs and stretch the shoulders and chest.  As someone who sits in front of a computer all day, I really like the stretch.

 

Why this posture is especially good for men.

 

Strength building

  • Legs
  • Back
  • Abs
  • Glutes

Stretching and Expanding

  • Chest
  • Lungs
  • Abs
  • Shoulders
  • Spine

Stimulates and Regulates

  • Circulatory System
  • Adrenals
  • Kidneys
  • Balances Metabolism
  • Energizes the mind and relieves stress

 

Start kneeling (place a blanket under your knees if that is more comfortable).  Lengthen through the crown of the head and the tail bone in opposite directions.

Yoga -5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engage the abs in and up and place the hands into the small of the back for support. Inhale and lengthen to move the head backwards and the chest up towards the sky.  While this does open the chest, I like the extra support for my lower back that comes from slightly squeezing the shoulder blades together.  In addition to supporting my back, this is great for opening and loosening the shoulders.  If you type all day like I do, or just have burly shoulders (not really me), this can give quite the head-rush as blood vessels open in the shoulder and neck leading to the brain.Yoga -14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a block inside each foot and place one hand at a time on the blocks. Again inhale and lengthen the spine while opening the chest to the sky. If it is comfortable, move the hands to the heels or ankles and push the hips forward.  Again, the key here is to lengthen through the back and not to compress it by trying to bend all the way back on day one.  Yoga -21

 

Finally, if it’s comfortable, let the head gently roll back fully opening the chest.  There aren’t too many opportunities to stretch across the chest and shoulders.  Breathing into the belly here helps keep the abs engaged to keep pressure off the lower back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To come out of the posture, begin by first lengthening through the spine and engaging the abs even more. Next place the palms in the lower back for support and lift through the head to come back up right slowly.  The first few times I did this, I came out too quickly and ended up a bit dizzy.  If that happens, just sit with it until the dizziness subsides.

 

Key points when doing camel include lengthening instead of bending in the back (especially the lower back) and lengthen the neck to not pinch it by letting it flop when fully opening the chest.

 

One other important note on this posture, don’t rush it. We sit so much all the time; in front of computers, video games, televisions, etc. that the lower back eventually becomes a solid mass and loses its flexibility. Camel is a great posture for countering that, but if done too deeply too quickly, it can lead to injury. Much like the camel crossing the dessert, slow and steady with this posture.

 

Yoga Postures for Men; Chatarunga

When I first started yoga I did a lot of Vinyasa flow type yoga. Inevitably there is a series where I start in Down Dog and move through Plank – Chatarunga – Up Dog back to Down Dog. It wasn’t until I went through my yoga teacher training that I began to understand that Chatarunga was an actual posture separate from Up Dog.

 

In taking the time to break down the posture, I came to understand why it is often rushed through in most yoga classes; it’s a challenging posture. By challenging, I mean mentally as well as physically.

 

The first thing to understand is that Chatarunga is not a push-up. I love push-ups, but the physical alignment is a little different and the tempo and breathing are (typically) different. This change in tempo (much slower in theory) and the precision of the posture can increase the resistance to this posture.

 

Yoga (1 of 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first step is to start in a good plank. Shoulders over the wrist, long back, extending through the crown of the head and the heels in opposite directions and engage the abs.

 

Yoga (2 of 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

You want to avoid moving straight down like a push up or “dropping” down as I have been queued on multiple occasions.  You also want to avoid any drooping or mountain butt posture.

 

Yoga (6 of 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead shift your body forward so the shoulders move slightly past the palms.

 

Yoga (4 of 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coordinating your breath, exhale and slowly lower your body toward the ground. Stop lowering when your triceps become parallel to the ground (avoid the chest bump on the mat).

 

Yoga (5 of 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inhale and slow push back up to plank or push back to downward dog.

 

Yoga (2 of 6)

 

 

 

 

 

Slowing this posture down and recognizing it as a posture of its own is the first step to discovering a fantastically challenging, dynamic and versatile pose. As you play with this asana, you’ll find it fits into a great many places in a flow and the challenges it offers and the work it does to help the body and mind make it irresistible.

 

If you would like to share your experiences, I encourage you to leave comments here.

 

 

The Gift of Presence

This post was inspired by a conversation with my wife. We were discussing a presentation she had recently attended and how so many people who paid to be there spent much of their time focused on cell phones or tablets and not on the presenter. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been just as guilty as anyone when it comes to digi-distraction. Most notably when I’m sitting in a meeting and the topic isn’t one that requires my attention. I pop my phone out, check email, text, play a game. Periodically I check back in on the conversation to make sure I haven’t missed anything too important and the meeting eventually ends. I hope someone was taking notes….

Some rights reserved by moonhouse

Some rights reserved by moonhouse

 

I started thinking about the differences in quality of connection; when I’m digi-distracted, and when I’m fully conscious and present. It struck me at just how out of step this was for me in my life. When I am with my family and when I’m teaching, I make it a point to be completely present with and for them. It allows me to tune into the students better, challenge and support them as they need. From a student’s perspective, when I have a teacher that is fully present, I have felt the entire class is all about and for, just me.

 

We have rules in our home around disconnecting from the television, tablets, computers, phones, etc. During meal time (with an occasional exception for movie Friday), the television is either off or on a music channel (and not visible from the table anyway). All other electronics are in another room entirely. We use the meal time moratorium to talk about our day, the good, the bad, the whatever. Sometimes it’s a silent staring contest (breakfast as we aren’t really morning people). No matter how it turns out, we give each other undivided attention for that meal.

 

When teaching Tae Kwon Do, it’s easier because wearing a phone or carrying some other device and looking at it while sparring is just asking to get kicked. In yoga, texting while doing a handstand offers more challenge than most students want to tackle. Outside of class I’m intrigued to see how quickly the phone/tablet pulls people back into distraction. Families who take class together and work as a team, step off the mats and snap back into their own distracted, disengaged worlds.tkd kick

 

 

 

 

 

 

This may sound like nothing, but think about the last time you actually stopped everything so you could pay attention to someone. And think back to the last time someone focused all of their attention on you and the impact that left. In our totally connected world where access, communication and distraction are a tap or buzz away, conscious communication isn’t so easy to find, and I think we suffer for it.

Some rights reserved by trix0r

Some rights reserved by trix0r

 

One way to do this with friends is during a meal, take the cell phones and place them face down on the table off to one side. For those who like a little competition, you can even institute rules around it. First one to reach for their phone, pays for everyone’s meal, or at least the drinks. Whether you put the punitive measures around it or not, be ready to bask in the focused, quality attention that is suddenly available between friends and family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t already, I encourage you to choose a time where your family or your friends disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with each other; no digi-distractions.

Some rights reserved by JonDissed

Some rights reserved by JonDissed