A few things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving

Gratitude, or reflecting on things we are thankful for, can greatly improve well being and life satisfaction.  People who practice gratitude are more likely to sleep better, be kinder, experience more positive emotions, and have better immune systems.  This holiday season I look back at my personal “life-highlight reel” of things I am thankful for in life.

 

I am grateful for my health

I have been awash in naturally occurring high levels of androgenic hormones my whole life. This gave me a super long run as an athlete that allowed me to perform and train at excruciatingly intense levels, while being able to recover from the  workouts. Now at 43, this is the first year of my life where I am consciously dialing it back. I train in a calibrated and structured approach aimed at living a long healthy life. I’ve already set all of my personal records. I am at peace with benching less, shorter runs, and not binding in Mari D.  Every single day I wake up in a divine instrument. My body is proportioned in strength, endurance, flexibility and neurological balance. While a lot of this is the result of training since age 13, without interruption, I recognize the role of luck (staying relatively injury free), winning the genetic lottery (awesome parents), and having great guides (mentors) who lit the path of knowledge for me.  

 

I almost lost my life in 2014 with a battle against a parasite I contacted in Peru, while traveling. With a great team of doctors, the C.D.C behind me, and an experimental drug, I killed the parasite and am the owner of a healing story. To wake up in a functionally strong, agile, healthy body every day is something that makes the sun shine in my heart.  Thank you God.

I am thankful for the practice of solitude

I’m so lucky to have a lifestyle that allows the opportunity for silent retreat.  A part of each year is dedicated to moving away from society, to practice reflection and silence. Time in solitude accelerates my knowledge in the form of direct experience.  My learning in solitude is somatic, occurring deep within the body mind system and felt on very subtle levels. The experience is much more than an intellectual exercise from a book.  I have done structured experiments all over the world, including several big journeys to India, and got a lot out of a month well spent deep in the Amazon jungle. In solitude I found the teacher inside of my heart.  The intuitive light switch is now “permanently on”, allowing me to trust myself, and provides an inner confidence in manhood, that I did not have as a kid. Solitude is not an easy practice, but always worthwhile.

I am fortunate to have loved, lost, and loved again.  

I have a lot of experience in the romance department, and have learned that it represents only a small slice of a deeper, eternal love, found inside of ourselves. The love I teach, write and lecture about is the bliss of the self. It is merging the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness.  It’s very different from what we see portrayed in most Hollywood movies. I now know for sure, that there is not a woman on the face of the planet that “completes me” or “is my other half”. I’ve reached a point in my experience where I’m somehow free of the need for approval from “the other”. It’s liberating, frees up a ton of psychic energy, and creates space for new forms of love between partners to develop!  Now when I meet a dynamic woman, I give her time to wow me, I don’t get knocked off my feet from the beginning. Falling into things now seems irresponsible. I allow people to prove themselves over time before we make strong agreements together. Just like my yoga practice, slowly slowly is the way I now choose to approach romantic love. I am grateful to all the women who entered my life to illuminate the mind and heart, bringing me to a more pure perception.  

I am grateful to have seen poverty and luxury, up close, in one lifetime

My family left a third world country to move to America, and I grew up to become a celebrity trainer to billionaires.  The full range of human experience has been laid bare before me. It’s interesting to eat from a shack on the side of the road while motorcycling through India and also fly on a private jet with the New York Yankees. It’s wild to watch people go to bed at night with hungry bellies and walk the red carpet of every Martin Scorsese film premiere over the last 15 years. One day I’m munching street food and the next I can be at a five star restaurant.  All of these extreme situations showed me that when you pull back the curtain, all people want are the same things: peace of mind, good rest, more time with their families and a chance to explore their hobbies. However, there are different obstacles for people to overcome so they can be free.

I am glad to have the parents I chose for this lifetime

There is an old saying “the older you become, the wiser your parents seem to be.” As a kid I wanted my parents to treat me the way my friends were treated by their parents, with total acceptance, and very fewer rules. I came up in a house with strict codes of behavior, had lots of chores and felt the pressure to be academically successful. My Dad was not gentle, but rather intentionally tough, to prepare us for the competitive world. Now, looking back, I know my parents rocked it. I more than had my needs met, and by the time I got to college, I was a hardcore independent, chasing down my dreams and making them real. All of my successes can be traced back to the good old fashioned discipline I received from Mom and Dad.  

I am most grateful for having meaningful work

I knew early on that I was simply not cut for a 9 to 5 in an office, not in this lifetime. I’m a born people person, with a heart for influencing the world in a positive way.  At age 22 I decided to go my own way, and jump directly into my deepest interest, physical fitness. With a lot of study, devotion, great teachers, and patience I became a world- class healer.  It is a pleasure to wake up, knowing each day, if I focus and channel a clear energy, my work will make people feel good. It can connect them to their core. I’ve created triggers that allow me to put my life and my story to the side when I step into a teaching classroom. I know the potential healing power of spiritual practice and I always aim to share it in as direct and pure way as possible.  I love the global community that has come together around the enlightened teachings.

 

Metropolitan Mindfulness: Part I

Our cities are densely populated, draw ambitious people, and are characterized by intense competition.  Deadlines, long hours at work, and powerful computers that fit in the palm of our hands are beginning to boggle our minds.  It’s become the norm to look ahead and worry about what is to come, or glance over our shoulder at the past and wonder about what could have been.  The average person checks their Instagram feed 34 times per day! The present moment, the sensorial experience of the here and now, is like gold running through our fingers. It slips by, moment after moment, buried under layers of noise.  A personal mindfulness practice is becoming a necessary requirement for anyone wishing to maintain basic sanity in our fast paced and tech addicted society. Continue reading “Metropolitan Mindfulness: Part I”

5 Lessons Learned from Working with the New York Yankees

During the 2000 and 2001 MLB seasons I worked with the New York Yankees as a Massage Therapist and Assistant Trainer. I traveled with the team full-time and was part of the 2000 championship team, earning a World Series Ring for my contribution to our big win! I was 26 years old when I first joined the team, the youngest staff member in all of MLB at the time. I absorbed many valuable lessons, which reinforced my father’s teachings too. I’m continuously applying these core ideas to the journey and trials of my life, long after baseball.

Develop a Personal Work Ethic – Someone is Coming for Your Spot

Come spring training, Jorge Posada never assumed his job as our starting catcher was a given. He showed up each day ready to go to war with himself to bring out his best performance. He knew that hungry young kids were showing up to spring training year after year, eager to have a shot at the big leagues and earn a spot on the roster. Even though he was already a World Champion and team leader, Jorge never rested on his laurels.  He worked his tail off and practiced with determination. I saw firsthand, that one should never take anything for granted. He was an example of “staying hungry” and a guy who always “put in the work.” Jorge was a true leader, never allowing himself to slack and be outworked for his position.  He was willing to go the extra mile, by not allowing himself to get too comfortable.  Jorge had an incredible, impeccable personal work ethic that defined him as a man. He was always willing to sacrifice comfort to get the job done. Continue reading “5 Lessons Learned from Working with the New York Yankees”

11 Ways to Boost Your Immunity During Winter

New Yorkers share tight small spaces, like subway cars, city buses, yoga classes, and office space.  When winter arrives, germs spread quickly across the city.  I’ve grown to love living in an area with such a sharp change of seasons, where I can appreciate different types of atmosphere. Of the four seasons, winter is most challenging for my equatorial genes, so I always mount a game plan.  A few lifestyle choices and dietary adaptations go a long way. Here are some things to consider when you’re staring down cold and flu season.
Continue reading “11 Ways to Boost Your Immunity During Winter”

Sharing the Love on Valentine’s Day

Like the “runner’s high” yoga practice can connect us to “the bliss of the self.” It doesn’t happen every day, but when our concentration is good, and even breathing converges with conscious alignment, the inner body locks, and focused gazing, our senses stop pouring to the outer world. We invert the energy of our senses towards the vastness of inner space. Here we can experience a sense of wholeness, the feeling that we are complete as we are, and that there is nothing to add that will make us more perfect. Continue reading “Sharing the Love on Valentine’s Day”

Mindful Manhood: 5 Status Symbols Every Man Should Possess

            The world has shifted a great deal in a very short time. And our current politics continue to create challenges in the harmony between femininity and masculinity.  We are still stuck with the S.O.B- same old brain. Yes, the same old brain from 300 years ago at the pre-industrial revolution era,  and I would argue, the sob from as far back as 10,000 years ago.  It’s the same brain that sizes up others in relation to oneself, it’s the same ol’ brain that influences our mating behavior, and virtually every single choice we make, from what to eat to where we live. Men are in a peculiar time in history where a grounded understanding of self can be of great service globally.  Continue reading “Mindful Manhood: 5 Status Symbols Every Man Should Possess”