Don’t Confuse Yoga with a Workout, Yogify Your Workout: My Experiments in Embodied Integration

If you know me as a yoga teacher or a bodyworker you've probably caught on by now that I'm also enraptured by the world of conscious strength training and see these three arenas as different expressions of the same essence with the underlying thread of reclaiming the inherent joy of living in a body.

Modern technology, despite its mind-blowing gifts, has devolved the human body to a less-than-functional, chronically tight vehicle for productivity that we feel dissociated from, preferring to live in our head. Inspired to reclaim the primal bodies of our ancestors, who moved on the earth organically in harmony with gravity, with the seasons and with the world around them, I've been reading about and practicing primal movement, high intensity interval training and restorative exercise and filtering it all through the lens of a yogi, a bodyworker, a spiritual practitioner invested in living a conscious life and a modern human interested in cultivating abundance in time, meaningful relationships, creative expression, financial freedom, and purpose.

As always, I'm nerding out hard for hours every single day, devouring books on the neuroscience of movement, paleo fitness and myofascial efficiency as a side dish to my books on tantric buddhist philosophy and shamanic practice. In addition to playing on my mat and on my TRX, I’m sprinting around the Oakland Hills, climbing trees and picking up boulders (and, of course, rolling around on the floor with my tennis balls and foam rollers).

Welcome to my world…it’s intense here.

The more I've embraced yoga as a physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetically transformative lifestyle, the more I've stopped demeaning it by confusing it with a workout (despite the increased strength, muscular balance, the sweat, the sensation of empowerment and the delicious booty that are often lovely side effects).

Since I've stopped confusing yoga with a workout, I've been yogifying my workouts, meaning I've been wedding my playful, self-imposed booty kicking with conscious breathwork (pranayama), meditation, intention, big picture goal-setting, positive affirmation and dedication to the benefit of others. And, of course, I bring my inner postural alignment nerd to every play session (once you feel how amazing it is to move in harmony with gravity, why would you want to do anything else?).

And, guess what- this marriage feels good. I mean, REALLY, REALLY good.  

I’m not just stronger and more energized with less physical tension but I’m feeling more effective at my work, more connected to my larger purpose in this world, more in harmony with the seasons and the cycles of nature, more in touch with a deep sense of joy that’s irrelevant to the daily fluctuations of the circumstances of my life.

For years I’ve been ‘frankensteining’ my yoga, my workouts and every other mind-body wellness practice I can get my hands on, experimenting on myself in order to ultimately bring this work to my students and clients. I’m now headed towards the culminating phase of a long process of training in the transformative modalities of primal movement, restorative exercise and neurological reprogramming and thinking through how I can most effectively offer this work in the form of mindful bootcamps and one-on-one strength and purpose coaching. Stay tuned…

Here's a sneak peek inside my brainstorming brain. I'd love your feedback!