Musings from Sharkbucks Café….

Hi Bloggers,

After finishing Neil Young’s autobiography I got myself down to the library and picked up two books: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff With Your Family (which is a bit of an irony based on my current ‘family’ situation), and The Urban Monk.

Ok, so I cracked open the Urban Monk and have been inhaling its earthy goodness. So there’s a Doctor, and he gets into eastern philosophy and medicine, and does some spiritual retreats and stuff… Ok, I’ve only read a few chapters but already I can tell that it’s having and impact.

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It ties in well with the doco that I watched recently called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. I’m sure I blogged about that one but basically an Aussie bloke gets into juice fasting and only consumes the juice of fruit and vegies for 60 days, and loses a ton of weight, and goes off his meds due to better health.

Well, Urban Monk follows a much stricter discipline in that its not a juice fast, its a guide to modern living. This doctor has been treating people for what I would call a fucked up modern way of life. 

Just think about it readers, a lot of us eat shit, don’t exercise, work too many hours, try to do to much, feel guilty when we can’t get it all done, are totally addicted to technology (sorry WP), aren’t sleeping well, are in debt beyond a reasonable ability to pay it all back in a short time, and well, a bunch of other shit. No wonder we would be masking it all with addictions, therapy and medications. Life has gotten so far from the basics that its little wonder we are anxious, stressed, overweight, and often hate the jobs that pay for the entire shit show. 

So what’s the good doctor’s prescription? So far, this is what I have picked up:

  • Reduce your caffeine.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Get a good nights sleep.
  • Clean up your diet, stop eating all the processed shit.
  • Exercise. Do weights.
  • Do yoga.
  • Allow yourself the opportunity to rest. Properly. Including relaxing vacation.
  • Meditate. Connect with the breath.

 

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If you are looking at this in the grocery store you are in the right section. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank F… it’s Sunday!

Hey Bloggers. Sunday. Ahhh. Had a short-ish sleep in. Hopped up, mess around a bit and headed down for a workout. As I entered my usual gym this morning I noticed the Halloween display on the entrance area. Spooky spider webs and yellow caution tape. As I was leaving I noticed some scary ghosts (the ghosts of my past??? yikes!). I’m pretty sure they were plastic sheets with balloons inflated in them and hung up with string. Close one! IMG_6377 (2)

So my gym experience this morning? Pretty good I would say. No really urgent things to do, apart from clean up the house a bit.

There was the usual assortment of regulars there – the fit couple that always work out together. He wears his hat on backwards and lifts pretty full on. He’s a grunter, and that’s ok! His GF is fit looking. They are always seen together which is nice.

I ran into one of the regulars when putting my bag in the locker. I said Hi, what are you working out etc? He was on leg day. I told him I was doing chest and shoulders. There were some other regulars in there, and some I hadn’t seen before. It was generally pretty quiet which I like.

The TV’s were off. Normally they are showing business news network or Sportsnet. Today they just had that little speaker icon that floats around the screen. I settled in for my workout. I was feeling somewhat inspired by watching part of Generation Iron on Netflix. IMG_6355 (2)

My first exercise was dumbbell bench press. I did 10 reps with 80 lbs then went to 5 sets of 5 for 100 lbs. After that it was incline dumbbell press, 5 x 5 at 70 lbs. Then I did lat raises, 3 x 10 at 30 lbs, and bent over lat raises, 3 x 10 at 20 lbs. Finished off with lying leg raises. sets of 20, 15, 10.

It was a good workout. Got it done easy enough. Some days you feel strong and able and some days the weights are heavier. It’s just the way it goes.

I retreated upstairs to the yoga room. I settled in for some meditation. It was fairly superficial, truth be told. I’d like to say it was deep and spiritual. I sat on a cushion and took about 10 mins to just settle. I was really feeling ok, and reflected on how for many times in the past 2 years, the meditation has been a rock that I have clung to – almost as if, in a personal crisis, or series of crises, it was all I had to stay sane. On this occasion, I was just feeling generally pretty good, and that’s ok!

Namaste.

 

 

The importance of hot yoga 2 – feeding the spiritual side.

So tonight I went to hot yoga. If you have been following me at all, you’ll know that I do this often enough. I got home from work, pulled my fav pair of lycra shorts (sans underwear, cause that’s how I roll), and a sleeveless lycra shirt. Pulled on some socks and runners, and grabbed the yoga mat and was out the door.

Today I went to a different gym – a 7 pm class. When I arrived there was a small line up. The 5.30 class had not yet finished. Soon enough it was time to go in and get set up on the mat. It was quite busy. Seems like everyone is doing yoga these days.

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OK, the hot yoga was not naked, this is just a gratuitous pic of me! 

 

My shirt comes off even before the class starts. I have my block, water bottle, and strap. There are two candles lit either side of the teachers mat, and there is a fragrance that I can’t put my finger on but I know its pleasant. Is that cinnamon mixed with something floral? I take a few moments before the class to sit cross legged and meditate.

Soon enough, class starts. Its normally always a meditation exercise to start. Its where we might set an intention, but to be honest I did not set an intention I was just really happy to be there, in that space, I made it. I got my day at work done, drove the 15 minutes, and got in to class in time.

As class started it felt like the heat was set on ‘tropical’ but nice. We made our way through the regular assortment of flows – plank, chattaranga, cobra pose, downward dog, hop forward, full fold, inhale half fold….

As the bodies in the small space began to warm up, so did the room. It went from ‘tropical’ to sweaty. We continued to move through various flows mixed with minor contortions of limbs that my body can only partly achieve. As the session wears on, my muscles shake in some poses (side plank, anyone?), and sweat runs off my body. I realise: its fucking hot in here! I sweated soooooo much. Really.

Its normally at this point my rational mind says something like “hey, you don’t do well in heat, this is probably going to make you feel ill, did you notice that, you were a bit wobbly coming out of tree pose, I think I might collapse if we keep going.” 

But this is where you need to give in to the yoga, to truly be in the moment, to defer any thoughts about not being able to get enough breaths, while your torso is twisted or you have your head somewhere between your knees.

And that, readers, is where the yoga gets spiritual. Your mind is slightly altered, you have to go with the flow, literally. You cannot hold on to your bullshit worries when you are in lizard pose, with sweat running down your back and off your forehead. 

Its like any profound human experience, it transcends words. I can’t tell you how it feels, other than intense, and challenging, and liberating. Ok maybe I can come up with a bunch of words but the overall experience is beyond words.

 

My Meditation, and the Truly Profound Human Experience

Tuesday Tip - Be still The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still.  #tuesdaytip #quote:

Hi Bloggers. I wanted to share a truly profound human experience I had this weekend. It was while I was staying with my good American Friends J Bird and J Dog. Two of the kindest hearts on the planet without a doubt.

We all went to the Y together, and did a pretty decent work out. I kicked J Bird’s arse in boot camp warm up, but don’t worry, this woman knows how to work it on the weights floor so she can hold her own there. After the boot camp warm up it was on to a bicep/tricep yady ya kind of workout and it was pretty good all round. They both work out like demons.

Silence:

So I wanted to do a group meditation thing with these two. I am used to meditating with J Bird on occasion, and with her I have felt generally calmer and more grounded than with anything before or after really. So we took a seat in a quiet corner and just sat in a tripod position – the three of us equi-spaced.

I guided them through mindful awareness of the space around us, and to their own breathing. It was very calm and relaxed. Soon after the initial guidance, we just sat and were all present, in that time and space. Maybe a 10 minute session or so.

Slowly, gently I felt a welling up of emotion. A very calm slow release. This was not vigorous emotional turmoil, it was the absolute acceptance of where I was in life. I felt a tear run from my right eye, and maybe some more came and soon enough it was running down to my jaw. Soon after my left eye was also crying a gentle tear so I now had two tear streaks down my cheeks. I made no effort to clean up or cover the raw gentle emotions I was feeling.

When I felt ready I opened my eyes, I wept. J Bird held me into her shoulder. She is my mother figure and lover and many things. J Dog  was supportive and put his big bear arms around us and I let out a minor torrent of emotion. It was wonderful. When I had composed a bit, we held each other’s hands each way and just let each other know that we were here for each other. It was a truly profound human experience.