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Category: 21-Day Yoga Challenge (Page 2 of 3)

21 Day Yoga Challenge: Day 11 (Acro Yoga at Overton Park)

My love. Acro Yoga Sunday at Overton Park today 5pm.

Acro Yoga
The class consisted of a very clever Vinyasa sequence as warm-up, focusing most notably on hip openers (for bases) and tuck jumps (for flyers). In Acro Yoga, the base lays on *ers back with ers feet in the air. The flyer then leans into the base in different positions and is physically elevated into the air. It’s such a healthy way to connect with someone sensually (not sexually) and to have fun while doing it.

I’m writing this blog post two days after, so let’s recall my levels…

P  – 7
M – 3
E – 7

Mentally I had a difficult time being in the present moment, focused on the task at hand. I navigated it by helping others, which was positive. Emotionally I felt rejected but was able to be present with that emotion, so I’ll say 7. Physically this daily yoga is doing positive things for my physical health and well being.

Dating
I told Dark Princess about the Acro date. Total transparency in dating feels weird at first if you’re not used to it, but it opens a very clear dimension of honesty and accountability. I wish my date could have made it to Acro, but she had to work, and I felt pretty lonely for much of the class. I’ve been practicing Acro for a year now, so I helped some newbies into the basic poses. It was a relief to think outside myself and invest my time there into helping someone learn the ropes, instead of stewing in the discomforting feeling of rejection. There were old parts of me that wanted to take it personally, but I keep reminding myself that it’s not a rejection of self, just plans.

I’m still feeling out my connection with this other person too. Dark Princess and I have a compelling bodily attraction to each other, and we connect mentally on topics of spiritual growth and business ideas, so conversation is usually fluid between us, and if it isn’t, we just have fun making out and playing!

This other person feels quite different. With this other person I feel safe revealing some deep parts of myself that I keep hidden. We spoke over the phone for almost an hour after I got back from Acro. I haven’t kissed her yet, and I’m curious to know if that’s the direction that our connection will go, but I’m open to wherever it goes, organically. All I know at this point is that I feel safe around her and want to get to spend more time with her.

Toxic Shame
If you’ve read more of my blog, you know that I am a survivor of toxic shame. Toxic shame happens when core parts of your being are shamed for simply existing. For me, it looked like my family and community shaming parts of myself that didn’t conform to the standards of society; namely behavior, dress, and confident sexuality.

Part of dating healthily, for me, means rewiring old, dysfunctional ideas of dating and expression in favor of new, highly-functional ones.

Before about a month ago I hadn’t dated (as in actively seeking partners) for about a year now. When I got back into the flow recently, I realized that I had many outdated models of how it was “supposed” to work. Part of my new approach is to question these beliefs. As I began to debunk my toxic shame around dating and sexuality, I began to realize that I was operating under the default of monogamy. In the past, I’ve committed to monogamy with a partner because I thought that was the only way to sex (a model of reality that I now considered outdated). I love sex, but in the past I’ve been ashamed to admit that I wanted it out of any given dating situation. I know that I hurt some people through my ignorance and I feel remorse, but I also forgive myself now because I didn’t have the experience or understanding of a different way. Toxic shame is blinding. Now that I understand it, I can live healthy, confidently, and honestly.

Challenges
What are my biggest challenges with this? Part of me wants to space out – check out. I’ve been bisexual all of my life with little or no support and understanding until quite recently, so I became a professional at checking out. Through out my adolescence into early adult hood I used weed, alcohol, music, fantasy, pornography, and food to medicate uncomfortable feelings (mostly toxic shame). As a bisexual person, sometimes it feels energetically depleting to show up as myself. Sometimes it feels like a waste of energy to try to explain myself to someone who doesn’t have a place for someone like me in their worldview. My challenge is to flow with my organic self-expression and attract people into my life that love and understand me, and to not worry about the connections that don’t work out. How do I do that? I get to be and become a loving and understanding person. Practically, this looks like taking time to make new connections, get numbers, and make plans.

Ongoing Experiment
Daily Yoga is changing my body. A year of weight lifting gave me big muscles, but increased daily yoga is making me leaner. I am a spirit in a body, and I define myself by my self, not just my body. I’m finding that I want to embrace my physical beauty more, including changes in style and how I present myself to the world.

I live on the border of Orange Mound, which is an African-American part of Memphis with a rich history, and I have always appreciated the urban style of dress I see here. I like how much of it is not gender specific. I’m not sure if I’m non-gender binary or what; I’m just taking time to connect with how I feel in the moment and move from the NOW moment.

It’s like the famous Schrodinger’s cat experiment, and the principle of quantum physics where the observer shapes that which is being observed. When I’m with Dark Princess, she appreciates my masculinity and I feel more masculine. When I’m with my current other woman, she creates space for me to open up and reveal more of my feminine side.
This is a very interesting time for me, because I’m having to embrace fully my decision to operate from a place of not knowing: not knowing what the future holds, not knowing who I am becoming. My guiding principle is love, and the point of contact with being and becoming in my heart. (Being and Becoming are ancient philosophical ideas, traceable to Greek philosophers Plato and others, as well as apparent in Huna teachings. Do you know of another instance? Comment!)

I like it though – it’s exciting. I envision a Tim with an open heart, surrounded by loving people, confident, actively involved in creative pursuits that teach the youth positive self-regard and application of their creative assets to building a better future.

Hmm….these posts are becoming more and more like journal entries. I’m considering making new posts that are more list-oriented for easy use. If you’re still with me, thanks for reading through this vulnerable self-exploration! I hope that you can use these ideas in your own self-explorations.

May you be and become your truest, most vibrant self!

*Note: I use the archaic non-gender specific personal pronoun “er and ers” to designate he/she and his/hers.

21 Day Yoga Challenge: Day 10 (Surprise Easy Flow)

I stumbled into Elements today, hot, sweaty, and confused. There must have been forty people in class today, packed in tightly, leaving little room for personal space. Why are there so many people here today? Was I in the right place?

Reverently removing my shoes I scanned the  class. I had made plans to meet a “lovely woman” there (who now prefers to be referred to as “dark princess”). We met eyes and she waved me over to a yoga mat and blanket, neatly laid out beside her.

Excellent way to start a Saturday!

The teacher was sweet and seemed to be having a really great time (I wish I could remember her name!) She really embraced her punny sense of humor as she guided the expansive mass of tightly packed students through foundational stretches and hip openers.

Although I was expecting a more power-vinyasa type class, this class was fun, stretchy, and really quite easy. I’ve spent all week biking, working out, and doing some intense yoga classes, so I feel fine how I spent my hour of yoga time today.

Levels:
P – 7 (abs awake!)
M – 9
E – 7
S – 5


Supplement


Interesting point: on the advice of a friend of mine who studies neuroscience, I’ve been taking 500mg of L-Tyrosine between meals for mental clarity. She says it is essentially dopamine, which, from what I understand, feels really good.

Combining 500 mg of L-Tyrosine with a double shot latte has arranged my mental faculties in such a way that I feel calm, confident, and quick at the same time. I’m really enjoying the dual stimulation.

Research has shown that L-Tyrosine increases cognition, working memory, and subjective-well being, as well as decreasing stress levels. (disclaimer – I’m not a doctor, dammit!)

Conclusion

Right, as this is the conclusion, I should do some concluding. Overall, I am glad I went to the class; happy to have biked there; grateful for my connection with the dark princess; and creatively stimulated by life, supplements, yoga, love, and evolutionary psychology.

If you’re reading this, please let me know what you think! I’m not just doing this for myself, although blogging is extremely helpful for measuring personal progress. My wish is that you can learn and grow and evolve by reading this post, may it be for the highest good.

Bene Dictus.

 

 

21 Day Yoga Challenge: Day 8 (Kundalini Yoga)

(Full disclosure: I offer Reiki sessions and certifications out of Delta Groove Yoga)

Noon-dalini at Delta Groove Yoga.

I gave a Reiki session at 10am, which went well, then ducked out to get some juice at Juice Bar on Cooper and Peabody. Juice Bar is looking like a very cool spot to meet like-minded people, if you’re into health, yoga, and general juiciness. There I saw Nikki, who works at Delta Groove Yoga, getting some tasty juice! After talking for a bit she invited me to the Noondalini class. I was picking up some juice for my friend Diana, who also works at Delta Groove Yoga, so I agreed. I hadn’t been to a Kundalini Yoga class in several months at this point, so I felt a twinge of apprehension.

About 5 minutes into the class I thought “What have I gotten myself into?!”

But it wasn’t bad. In fact, I had 2+ moments of thinking “I feel physically wonderful!”.
Olivia Lomax, owner and teacher, has a way of encouraging you to keep going exactly at the moment when you feel like stopping. Its uncanny, and downright masterful.

Kundalini Yoga uses chanting, breath of fire, and lots of locks (bandhas) to contain the powerful energy that is generated. I found Kundalini yoga about 5 years ago through Give Yoga off of Mendenhall (now Broadway Pizza). It is an interesting branch of yoga definitely worth exploring. I think what initially attracted me to Kundalini yoga  was its emphasis on the spiritual nature of yoga. Whereas Vinyasa seems to focus mostly on the physical body, kundalini focuses on other levels of being; the astral, energetic, spiritual, etc. Because Reiki deals with these energies, this type of experience is easily accessible for me. If you want to experience the more mystical aspects of yoga, choose Kundalini. It’s simply the fastest Yoga route to mystical experiences.

If you just want to look sexy, stick to Vinyasa. It works!

If you want to look sexy, be relaxed, and have mystical experiences, do the 21-Day Yoga Challenge with me and have a balanced mixture of Vinyasa, Yin, and Kundalini Yoga!

Plus, you can help patronize my three favorite midtown Yoga Studios:
Elements Yoga Lounge, Midtown Yoga, and Delta Groove Yoga.

Levels?

P – 7
M – 7

E – 7
S – 21!

Remember: on a scale of 1-10, rate how you feel in the following categories: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual.

Over the last several days of the Yoga Challenge I’ve determined that rating myself on spiritual connection is superfluous. Spirituality is eternal. There is never a time when I am not connected to spirit. There are times, however, when I feel disconnected regardless. This is an illusion. Even writing about this right now seems counter-intuitive.

The gift to self is being able to recognize more and more when I feel disconnected (checking in with my emotions).

By the way, I’m listening to www.psytube.at, Forest channel. Psytrance. One of my loves!

That’s it for now, off to hit up some homies to hang out on a Friday night in Memphis. L’Chiam!

21-Day Yoga Challenge Day 7 (Orbital Resonance, AKA “Getting My Ducks in a Row”, and Dating)

I’ve played music all my life, with many fantastic musicians. One of them, Daniel McKee, bass player of the STAX-signed group Southern Avenue used to use the phrase “Ducks in a row” all the time. I played in several projects with him, including Jazz-Funk exploration K.D. Pickles, and the second incarnation of my childhood Jam-band Copper Possum. It was through him that I learned the importance of having one’s ducks in a row.

Here’s why: having one’s ducks in a row is an important thing for a musician, because over the course of a gig the ducks usually fly off in random, infinite corkscrews of total inter-dimensional musical ecstasy. It is up to the musician, therefore, to herd the flock of ducks back into some manageable compendium.

Recently the phrase has come up in several conversations, so let’s explore a little, shall we?

Orbital Resonance and Ducks

So what is orbital resonance, and what does it have to do with ducks?

Orbital resonance has to do with the effect that two orbiting bodies have on each other as they pass in close proximity. If the moons of Saturn, for example, get close to each other in their orbital path around the planet, they exhibit an attraction. (For a more scientific definition, click here)

I use orbital resonance in personal development as a way of more easily conceptualizing an interesting phenomenon of growth. I believe that one of the biggest traps of personal development is either/or thinking. 

The Trap of Either/Or Thinking
In personal development, either/or thinking can lead to stagnation. It is the paradigm that, in pursuing any goal or transformation, you either are or you ain’t.

Take, for example, the goal of having an awesome dating life (a personal goal of mine).
I fell into the trap for many years of thinking that I either had an awesome dating life or I didn’t. This trap of either/or thinking was difficult to get out of when things weren’t so hot with the ladies et al. As someone who was used to the feeling of depression (who also lacked, at the time, the skills required to pull myself out of the rut of said depression), whenever I thought about my goal of having an awesome dating life I would look at my situation first, and base my further decisions off the reality of my current situation.

In other words, I would look at the lack of dating in my life at the time and base my vision of possible futures on my current reality.

Big mistake. Common mistake! In fact, I would venture an assumption that most people do this: let our current reality limit our future. It keeps us safe and comfortable! But the thing is, that’s not what we’re here for! We are here to grow. Growth is a natural part of being human.

But I started getting dates. How did this happen? A couple factors have helped.

1) I started talking honestly with my friends who were having dating success, approaching them from a state of honest asking and receiving advice. I didn’t let my insecurity at the time overshadow my ability to take in information and advice. I let the ideas process. Because I grew up expressly not allowed to date anyone, the baseline paradigm that I had to work through was that dating – expressing interest – cuddling – innocent sex play – was wrong. Surrounding myself with people who expressed the exact opposite idea help me to better embody the reality I wanted.

2) Seek expert advice. I read several blogpost about the approach to dating that seems most ethical, fun, and conscious, what I would call conscious polyamory. I’ve been able to express interest in potential partners, set up dates, be totally honest and transparent  about how I’m dating other people, and if the desire to deepen the connection is mutual, pursue it further. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I hadn’t read successful accounts of implementing this dating model.

3) I believe in orbital resonance. I started thinking of dates, connections, relationship as circular phenomenon, not linear phenomenon. An example of linear dating is date, date, date, sex, dates, committing to monogamy, co-habitation, engagement, marriage. There is nothing wrong with this. I just don’t want to impose a linear path to my dating because it feels restricting at this time in my life. I’m exploring what I want freely and openly.

The concept of orbital resonance is an interesting one when applied to dating. For example, am I envisioning my dates and potential partners as planets, with me as the center? Yes. Yes I am. But I am not opposed to orbiting around someone else’s center of gravity. So perhaps this metaphor could be extended to include a sort of spiraling dance. If you think about it, the sun is not a fixed point in the sky anyways – it, and our entire solar system, is spiraling through the universe at an incredible pace. In such a way, I am not the center of the universe, yet I can still enjoy benefiting those I love with a gravitational pull, enjoying mutual orbital resonance.

Questions?

What are your questions about this dating model? It seems quite comfortable for me because I’ve had a lot of time to get used to the idea. Putting it into practice is a constant challenge initially, but it’s grown me s00000 much. Honesty, integrity, transparency, fun, play;  these are my guiding principles.

What is your approach? Unless you choose, someone else will choose for you. I believe that monogamy is fantastic if it is a conscious choice. It also happens to be a widespread societal default which many people, myself included, participate in without thinking.

I just want to make my choices conscious. I want my entire life to be a choice of happiness, joy, creativity, fulfillment, connection, and spiritual ecstasy. I want to live every moment of my life as if I’d chosen it. This means if something is wack, I leave or change it. If something is great, I perpetuate it!

The Yoga Aspect
Ok! I’ve gotten through the crux of my blog ideas today without even talking about yoga! This is, after all, the 21-Day Yoga Challenge.

I’ve completed 7 days of the 21-day yoga challenge. I’m 1/3 of the way there. Sometimes it’s frustrating to commit to a practice that may seem repetitive or tough especially if there’s something else you’d rather be doing (like hanging out with a gorgeous woman!)

What I’ve found, especially after 7 days, is that I feel like I’ve completed some sort of a circuit. I’ve let my commitment to the yoga practice change me.

P – 8
M – 7
E – 7
S – 10

As you can see, my physical, mental, emotional, and energetic (spiritual) metrics are all up! I can definitely thank commitment to regular yoga for these metrics. It’s not like this all the time, but this is my highest overall rating thus far. After only a week, I’m super grateful for this transformation!!!

I did Sloan Lusk’s class at Elements again this morning (9am – woo hoo!).
She went a little easier on us compared to last week’s class. I ended up feeling refreshed and energized. I also got to speak with her some after class – such a cool and present woman. Her adjustments were out of this world.

This transformation may simply be a point of orbital resonance though. I may have some down days over the next week. It’s normal. I promise not to cling to these results, but simply to enjoy them as they linger.

My intention is to embrace each sector of orbit as if I had chosen it.

Moving forward, I look forward to experiencing the higher harmonic of each sector of orbital resonance. What I mean by this is simply to compare one week to another, as a way of measuring progress.

But “experiencing the higher harmonic of each sector of orbital resonance” sounds way cooler.

until next time, much love errrbody!

 

 

 

 

 

21 Day Yoga Challenge: Day 9 (Procrastination)

Damn. Damn it. I am procrastinating. My yoga class is in 10 minutes and I’m starting my blog post. I’ll only get about 3 minutes worth of info out right now. I’m also eating sugar and drinking coffee. I am tremulous.

Hopefully my hour of upcoming yoga will help chill me out. It’s 3:50 pm, and I slept in until 10:40am today.

Why? Because I charged myself up last night to get some music production work done after midnight, which took out until 2:00am. Then, I took an hour to cool my creative jets, deep breathing and imagining all my creative energy grounding into the earth.

>I got some good work done, but because of my scheduling choices, I missed my beloved morning yoga. Comparing yesterday (Day 6) with today (Day 7) I can say definitively that I prefer the hour of yoga to occur in the morning. Ok, I need to get to my class.

UPDATE: Now out of Yoga, feeling better. I got some biking in, but am noticing how different the dynamic of biking around is compared to driving. Because it’s nearly 100 degrees heat index here in Memphis TN, I get hella sweaty. I love being able to bike places though, so maybe I’ll try out a bikrim class, bring a change of clothes, and shower afterwards. The only thing is that Bikrim classes are either super early, or right in the middle of the day!

Lawd.

Let’s get a level check:

P – 7
M – 5
E – 5
S – 3

My physical levels are good – I feel adequately healthy. Mentally, a bit unfocused, and a little dazed. It seems like the changes that I feel occurring in the very core of my being are propelling a disorienting haze around my entire self. This is an example of cognitive dissonance. The most notable cognitive dissonance that I am experiencing is that which occurs at the very moment when I question the toxic shame paradigms with direct action to the contrary. Such as expressing interest in someone attractive, or expressing myself or asserting myself or being seen. Toxic shame creates an inflexible paradigm where one is ashamed of being seen, of being themselves. The more and more I choose to show up as myself the more the old, ineffective paradigm comes into question. It’s like an old, dead tooth that needs to break off the gums for the new one to come in. The two cannot exist in the same space, thus we get cognitive dissonance.

But the more you can stay in a place of cognitive dissonance, respectfully, fully embracing the paradoxical identity of existing in both states at the same time, the more we can sort of suspend time and make a choice,. We can slow down our experience like Neo in the Matrix picking bullets out of thin air. We can suspend our disbeleif in ourselves and make a more conscious choice. I choose to show up in the world as myself, as the entirety of myself, limitless, crystalized by choice.

Dealing with Cognitive Dissonance

So how am I dealing with this? Honestly. Honestly, honestly, I can’t legally say here, but I may or may not be allegedly using cannabis, and coffee. Really, I know there are other ways of dealing with it. Cannabis after midnight as creative catalyst could theoretically keep someone up until 3am, which would, in turn lead them to sleep in quite late, missing their beloved morning yoga.

Other ways of dealing with Cognitive Dissonance
You don’t. It is there, and you must accept it, if it is. I feel that it is far more productive, though, to outline the best ways not to deal with cognitive dissonance.

1) Do not deny it
2) Understand that how you feel now is temporary.
3) Trust that it will pass.
4) If you need, fall into one of your habitual self-comforting routines (it may or may not be cannabis, or coffee)

Once you get back to a place where you feel a baseline level of familiarity – comfort – equilibrium – then it’s time to start building new energy. Imagine what life will be like as the new you. Feel with your heart, and let your heart speak to you. You are amazing – a child of divinity, and you have every right to break out of your self-limiting beliefs.

I don’t want to get preachy without backing up what I preach with hard evidence, so I’ll leave it at that.

I’m not really trying to prove anything here, other than the fact that daily yoga is beneficial.

Other than that, I hope that my honesty and clarity is beneficial for you. Let me know what you think, if there is anything yo’d like to see, and tell me something interesting about yourself.

Best,

Tim

 

21-Day Yoga Challenge: Day 5 (Qi-Gong) and Day 6 (Elements)

I’m smiling right now. It’s because I’ve already had a moment of feeling really freaking good today. Maybe it was the coffee…

Ultimately, I am becoming increasingly aware of the use of caffeine in my daily routine, and how it effects my energy levels. An Ayurvedic practitioner once told me that coffee first thing in the morning doesn’t fly in the Ayurvedic lifestyle. I don’t know enough about Ayurveda to comment one way or another, but I do know that caffeine is a powerful influencer in the body’s energy.

Day 5
Day 5 was labor day, yet another lazy day. I’ve extrapolated that I really, really prefer to get my hour of yoga out of the way first thing in the day. I found this out because I, yet again, finished up my hour of yoga at about 12:15am.

Before that, however, I was treated to an impromptu 30 minutes of Qi Gong, led by Kundalini Yoga Teacher Josh Sellars. I counted it as a yoga time, because the benefits are similar; including deep breathing, moving meditation, and focused awareness.

After the class, I felt physically wonderful (P=8).

Can sex play count towards my yoga challenge?

Later that day I got to spend time with a lovely woman who is also into yoga. The flirtations were such that it was implied that sex play can count towards my 21-day yoga challenge. After some “consideration”, I figured that now I would like to keep the two separate. I’m still working through toxic shame surrounding my sexuality, and so I think it’s beneficial for me to create a boundary (however illusory) between the two, and let whatever happens happen organically, taking care of my yoga time on my own time.

I’ve dabbled in Taoist, Yogic, and Egyptian sexual tantra, so I’d consider allowing additional studies into the subjects count towards my yoga time. But the word “studies” feels too clinical, and my new frame is “Tim having fun”, not “Tim clinically studying the path of orgasmic energy”. Wait, that actually really fun…

Day 6

Amazing. Elements Vinyasa class with Shelley was really great. Shelley arranged the class in such a way that I got a good workout, great stretches, increased awareness through the breath, and (my favorite) a good amount of Savasana. This is my favorite Vinyasa class so far!

I decided to drive to class (because I slept in so late I wouldn’t have made it in time if I had biked!) and I’m glad I did. These Vinyasa classes make me so sweaty, and I wouldn’t have felt right popping into a coffee shop to write my blog post after a bike ride from the studio (like I did on Day 1).

I was able to drive back to my house, shower, make some coffee, and get to writing by about 11am. I felt more efficient with my time. Efficiency is important to me.

Here are my levels today:
P – 8
M – 5
E – 7
S – 0-7

I felt disconnected from spirit last night, which was scary. But during yoga this AM I was able to slice through the Maya with the knife of awareness and realize that it’s OK to feel off or disconnected sometimes. This realization, and subsequent digestion of the experience, allowed me to process my emotions at a faster pace – which is one of the metrics I’ve been looking to increase. Emotionally that’s why I’m at a 7. I don’t actually feel particularly wonderful at this very moment, but because my processing is up, it’s a huge win for me. And a testament to the power of regular yoga.

Mentally, I feel more focused. I think it has to do with the sense of efficiency I felt at going straight from yoga into the shower, into my daily routine. This makes me really want to hit up some 5 or 6am classes! I’m not sure how I will do that if I’m staying up until 1-3am…

Getting up earlier is not my main focus. As stated in the first post,  my intention is simply to increase my metrics in all categories (Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). The emphasis of the yoga challenge is the process. I want to let the process change me.
I want to experience what it’s like to do an hour of yoga per day, as the man I am today. Why? Because I’ve never done it before! And I think it will help me to achieve all the increased metrics that I desire.

Conclusion

I am growing, changing, evolving, as humans do naturally. It is in my best interest, as a man who values growth and personal development (and self actualization), to do yoga everyday as a way of showing up in the world as my best self. I am beginning to see for myself the results. I am already more confident, clear, and decisive.

I truly look forward to the days of yoga ahead of me!

Until next time,
Much Love.

21 Day Yoga Challenge – Day 4 (Auras)

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Day 4 of the 21 day yoga challenge. Reflections: I didn’t do yoga today. I’m at the laundromat. If you want to skip to the YOGA, scroll down.

I did have a chance to confirm an aura question for a friend, however.

Friends ask me to look at their auras sometimes. It’s usually during or surrounding a time of significant change for them. Because I am blessed to spend time with them frequently, I know what their aura looks like usually, so when they ask me to contrast their “before” and “after”, it’s an easy task.

oops I forgot to give an ultra spiritual disclaimer!

I’ll just have to make the disclaimer here then: it’s about to get ultra-spiritual (it just did).

This is, after all, a personal development blog, and seeing auras is a valid way of taking in information. Personal growth and development ties into aura reading because when we truly spend time with sensing energy in consistent way – such as taking in colors surrounding the physical locus of a human being – we have the opportunity to learn a great deal from the process.

Some people may feel invaded at the thought of someone seeing their aura, but it’s really not invasive. If you are just being yourself, your aura really doesn’t even come into my conscious mind. I sense them, intuitively, but because I’ve seen them for many years now, I never think “Wow I can see your aura! It’s tangelo!” I just think “There’s my friend”, and I get to be with you in the present moment.

If, however, something feels really off, sometimes it can be invaluable to have someone who can see auras, whom you trust, mirror back to you your energetic state, thereby creating new cognitive information from which to learn.

The other side of the benefit of aura reading is that someone who can read your aura can often be more deeply empathic, because the source of the empathy is by feeling or sensing the energetic state of another human being.

The world of energy is really beautiful. I recommend pursuing its various capacity of studies if you want more beauty in your life. If you’d like to get an “edge” over people, you’re just going about it in the wrong way. Yes, it is absolutely possible to teach yourself to sense energy in new ways, whether it be emotional, visual, or otherwise. The genuine self-work that must be done in order to be the person who senses the world in this way is the way to do it.

We’re about to get deep.

Truthfully, the energy of having “an edge” over people comes from a competitive mindset, which will only get you so far in terms of understanding yourself as an awaken(ed/ing) being and truly sensing energy in a new way. Why? is there some problem with the competitive field in the future?

No. There isn’t. If you look at aura reading as a way of gaining an advantage over people, you’re missing out on all the beauty that it brings! But honestly, it’s a privilege and should be used to help people.

>So it’s 8:42pm right now, and I’m at the laundromats taking care of my clothes. I still haven’t done my yoga routine, so I’m gonna check in with my levels. Remember, over the next 21 days I will be taking a daily inventory of four categories (but it’s really 3):

1) Physical well being
2) Mental clarity (focus)
3) Emotional Equilibrium
4) Spiritual connection.

Spiritual connection is something that is felt, and after it is felt, it’s either off or on, in which both cases are correct. So, the metric itself is obsolete. But I’m having fun with it, so we’ll keep it!

Anyways, here are my numbers for today (Before Yoga)
P – 8
M – 2
E – 3.5
S – Pretty F’in Good.

If you read my the Rules blogpost, you’ll learn that P is the frequency of how often, in the course of the day, I thelt (thought-felt) truly, remarkably good in my body. I felt this way 3-4 times today. I started losing count, partially because I was just going with the flow of the lazy Sunday, enjoying the lessons that the universe is bringing to me. That’s one reason why the “P” metric is way up. The other one is because I started my take-off routine for my weight lifting again.(Ok – so my Sunday was lazy in that I had time freedom to do whatever I felt like doing – in this case, lifting weights). I’m incorporating weight lifting into my yoga routine to offset the amount of biking I’ll be doing to the classes at the yoga studios. My prediction is that this will help up all my metrics, most notably the E (emotional) spectrum because of the benefits that the endocrine glands derive (most notably testosterone production).

Mentally I’ve been lazy. Plain and simple (I’m appreciating the self-accountability that daily blogging is giving me – another reason I love operating a personal development blog!). I meditated for 10 minutes this afternoon in Gassho Meditation (a meditation of the Usui Reiki Tradition). Other than that, I watched 2 episodes of “Narcos”. No reading. No mentally stimulating puzzles or routines. NOTE TO SELF: Establish a daily mental stimulation habit.

Emotionally I’ve felt quite blocked, which is strange to me given the amount of open, unobstructed emotional exchange I’ve experienced over the weekend. It feels like the result of these exchanges is such that it is creating new emotions associated with new growth. I’ve indulged my laziness today in that I’ve distracted myself through TV as a way of not dealing with my emotions. (Again, appreciating the personal self-accountability with this very much).

Spiritually, the use of the word “spiritually” to describe spirituality is like using a telescope to look at the back of your own head, to paraphrase Alan Watts, an Englishman of the Zen Tradition. So, again, this spiritual metric is obsolete…(Edit: perhaps I could gauge it at how often during the day I feel connected with spirit, consciously. But in this case, it’s a measurement of conscious connection to spirit/source/God. So it’s more like a measurement of spiritual consciousness, not spirituality. This comes from the belief that everything is spiritual, and even when we feel disconnected or blocked, we are still spirit.)

Food is Fuel

Something that I’ve noticed in me – the deeper and deeper I get in touch with my body through yoga, over the past 4 days, the more I notice that my taste for food has changed. I’ve wanted more juice and vegan foods. I’ve been taking cream in my coffee (which I’ve wanted less of as well, but still consuming at the same 1-3 cups/day), but other than that I’ve mostly gravitated to vegan cuisine.

Small portions of organic meat have made their way into my diet, but other than that, it’s mostly been plant-based.

[UPDATE] Ok! I got my yoga in last night. Started at 12:15 am, ended around 1:15 am. It was a good flow, with a lot of core work. At the end of it I meditated for a while and concentrated on my breathing. This was my own flow, no video instruction.

THE BREATH IS SO IMPORTANT ohm my goodness. Please take time in your routine to really breathe all the air into your lungs. Accept your current state as if you had chosen it.

I sound like a yoga teacher.

>>>After late-night yoga, my levels were about the same, with 1 point increase in Emotional Equilibrium. I was able to cry as I watched a very moving video. It was about a transgender teen who was bullied in school, and, although I do not currently identify as transgender, I felt so much in terms of the struggle of dealing with bullying. My family bullied me when I was a child, as described in the deep dive section of this blog post on dysfunctional families, so much so that I started bullying kids in my class as a way of dealing with the damaging effects of bullying. It wasn’t helpful to do so, but I was 5-7 and didn’t know any better. Today I cried when I heard this story because this child was very, very happy – for being loved, for being cared for and understood. The child was bullied for being a girl born in a boy’s body, but the mother took the child out of public school, allowed her to take hormones, and she went through puberty as a girl. I think it hit me so deeply because that sort of love and encouragement to simply be yourself seems so magical to me – maybe because I never got it as a child.

Even as a man of 28 years now, I’ve lived my life up to this point as just a fractional expression of the entirety of me. Am I transitioning? Genders? No. I was born into a male body and feel comfortable in my body. But I do question the binary expression models of society. For example “Men are strong and women are beautiful” is a basic example of a binary gender roles. But I’m sure you know men who are beautiful and women who are strong, and these two qualities are simply not correlated to physical gender!

The gender discussion could go on and on, so I’m just going to share a few ideas here and let the rest evolve naturally.

These thoughts evolved out of a facebook conversation with a couple friends, referencing Judith Butler’s ideas:

“‘Butler perceives gender as being constructed through a set of acts that are said to be in compliance with dominant societal norms’… on the feminine gaze: ‘she proposed the idea of the feminine gaze as a way in which men choose to perform their masculinity by using women as the ones who force men into self-regulation.’….

It seems like this idea of the feminine gaze implies that masculinity exists as a result of being viewed by women. This also implies that gender exists in a state of both/and until it is viewed and “crystalized”, as in quantum physics light experiments. I would put forth that the individual can view one’s self and act as both the viewer and the viewed, which is a self-assertion of gender identity.

Also, that the individual can choose to exist in a state of suspended non-choosing, if they wish.

Furthermore, the individual can reject the gaze and gender paradigm that an unfavorable gazer implies/imposes.

These three ideas are new to me so I will be playing with them and really discovering more about what they mean to me. I invite you to try them on too, if you’d like.

Don’t forget to update me on your progress with your 21 day yoga challenge!

Until next time, be light.

21-Day Yoga Challenge: Day 3 “Yin FTW”

Wow.
WOW.

That was an incredible Yin yoga class at Midtown Yoga! Christy Washington, you take the cake! You are a wonderful restorative yoga teacher. So much shifted internally for me to day. If you’re reading this; thank you.

Yin – For those that don’t know, yin yoga is a restorative practice, focusing on relaxing the muscles through deep breathing and easy, generally static postures. It’s opposite – the Yang practice – is the more sweat-inducing of the two, dipping into cardio conditioning. The Vinyasa class that I took on day 1 is a Yang practice, and it perhaps seemed a bit “much” for me because most of my self-practice over the past year has been solely restorative Yin to balance out the Yang polarity of my muscle building weight routines.

Christy guided the class through simple, accessible postures accompanied by deep breathing.

It all shifted for me when I put the bolster behind my back for an assisted supine chest opener. I felt the muscles of my back release and tremble, like they were finally awake from an eon’s slumber. I was flooded with emotion, and the realization that much of my life my heart has been blocked – in the back – to truly receiving love! It’s a simple realization, with huge implications.

This is deep stuff! Allow me to shed some light. NOTE: I like to dive deep into self understanding, so fair warning, much of the rest of the post gets into archetypes and dysfunctional family information. If you’d rather skip to the Recap, just scroll down.

The Deep Dive

I made the (erroneous) assertion at a very young age that there was a lack of love. This is a natural assumption for a child in a dysfunctional family to have. My parents had their own issues to learn about, many of which happened to surface when they had kids (correlation?). In a dysfunctional family, the parents are often living out their own lessons and dramas that take most of their attention. As a result, the children often bear the brunt of the parents’ unresolved issues. If you’re in a dysfunctional family, or think you might have been at one point, congratulations. The first step is awareness. Once you are aware of a problem, you can work towards resolution.

In my case, my problem was I thought there was a lack of love. In a world where there is love all around (literally – everything is consciousness and consciousness is an aspect of love) –  believing you are not worthy of love because there ONCE was not enough in your world is ultimately just an expression of fear. In this case one would be looking through the shaded window of a past experience. But fear is an aspect of love. Anything you can possibly imagine is an aspect of love, because love knows no bounds. In this way, my childhood assertion that I wasn’t worthy of love was a gift (a behemoth of a gift, but a gift nonetheless), in that it has guided me – by diametric opposition – to the realization that I AM love, and that love is all around! There is nothing that isn’t love.

But for years, I didn’t know this. I tried to change myself. I tried to become less, or become more, because there was a belief in me that  I wasn’t already enough – that who I was wasn’t good enough.

What I realized today, as I was floating above my body in savasana, is that we are infinite miracles tapped into a source of infinite creativity – our creative self-expression. I realized, specifically, that I will unite all my loves together into one cohesive whole. These loves, once fragmented, now united, will become the entirety of me! What I mean by this is, all my different hobbies, projects – LOVES – will come together! I was disjointed, I was broken, I was struggling t0 make sense out of seemingly disparate identities. They will come together. I don’t think I can explain any further right now, honestly, because it’s so fresh. I want the lesson to sink in and assimilate before I explain further.

What I can only say is that I found my unique expression, and it rocks.

How did this happen?

I set the intention before the class to generate/manifest/pray-for increases in physical health, mental focus, emotional equilibrium, and spiritual connection. I finally had a moment – during one of the yin poses – where I heard my inner monologue state, clearly, as if I had nothing to do with it: “I feel amazing”. I saw myself say this – feel this – and I smiled. So physically, that’s a big increase. I predicted that I would have more moments like this, and it happened! Great results. Mentally, I was still a bit foggy, as I had to temporarily suspend mental functioning until I truly got the emotion out (through surrendering to it, and feeling it). Emotionally, I cried, and to me this is a good sign and a positive result. It’s in direct line with my intention to up my emotional equilibrium. Any time I feel what I’m feeling in the moment – without stuffing or distracting away from it – is a positive moment of self-growth for me.

Spiritually, I wasn’t very aware of the “spiritual dimension”, unless coming from the heart and opening up to deep healing and emotional release is a spiritual thing. (It is).

My results after the Yin class are as follows:
P – 7
M – 4
E – 7
S – ? or everything

So, overall, I’m all about this Yin practice. I think once a week will be fine, starting out. Who knows, I may want to increase that number.

Recap 
I’m very pleased with the last three days of the 21-Day Yoga Challenge. It appears that I’ve had a good balance of polarities: the “Yang” Vinyasa, the balanced easy flow, and the “Yin” restorative yoga. These polarities exist in all things, until they don’t.

 

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