Who is in Charge?

I am reposting this article with permission from My Life Yoga blog on the ego and our illusion of reality, enjoy!

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Pettry amzanig huh?

The above paragraph illustrates that we do not read by assembling letters into words from left to right. Instead we use forecasting to predict what a jumble of letters means. This allows us to read fast and correct for errors.

The key idea here is that forecasting is central to how we function. This is not limited to just reading but pretty much everything we do. The central aspect of forecasting is that it needs a model. A model is an idea of how something works. Once the model is in place we can input a limited number of details and simulate the rest. When we read the words in the first paragraph we are able to simulate the words in the original sentence through the model of English Language in our head. Somebody who is not a native English speaker may find it hard to read the first paragraph because the English model in his head may not be very good.

When sight is restored to somebody who has been blind since birth, he does not immediately begin to “see”. All he sees is fuzzy formless light. It may take months, if not years before normal seeing commences. This is because the person has no model for vision. Only once this is built can normal sight work. When we look around the room we do not scan every part of the room starting with the top left corner zigzagging down. Instead we take in the details of a few spots and simulate the rest using our in-built model for sight.

So here are some details of the models in our head:

1. Our models may not be perfect but they work.
2. Our models may work but they are not complete.

Some philosophers have suggested that since our perception of reality is based on simulation of imperfect models that all reality that we perceive is merely illusory. This may be not be an appropriate way of interpreting this discussion. The models in our head are pretty good because they work and reliably allow us to navigate the world.

However, we must not go to the other extreme. Just because these models work, in the current context, we must not assume that these model represent reality completely. These models are just good enough for our species to survive and get by. For example we do not see in the ultra-violet or infrared spectrum. We are completely oblivious to that portion of reality. In fact the model of reality in our head is like the tip of the iceberg. What we know and perceive is vastly undermined by what we are ignorant and oblivious of. For example, who knows how a whale percieves the world?

Similar to the models of the external world we also have a model of our internal selves. This model of ourselves is termed as an ego. Just like we think that the model of external reality is complete we are fooled into believing that we are our egos.

Our ego is not our complete self. It is at best a very incomplete model of ourselves in our head. The journey of yoga is a journey into a deeper dive into ourselves. It is a journey of discovery of that portion of us that lies beyond the ego. In fact the root of most of our problems lies in the subtle belief that we are our ego and the interest of our ego and our deeper selves is the same. We spend every moment of our conscious experience as captives of our ego-identity. We think, emote, and act on behalf of our ego, little knowing that we are spending our lives at the service of a wrong master.

The journey of discovery of our identity beyond our ego is not an easy one but it may be the most important journey we may undertake. After all who wants to spend a lifetime as a slave of something only to realize that it was all in vain?

Yoga Inspiration ~ Surfing Gravity With The Gravity Cowboy

Surfing gravity never looked so effortless! This video is of Yogis Anonymous yoga teacher Brock Cahill ride the wave of gravity in this short yoga demo video.

He glides into several variations of handstand, floats into planche’, cruises into dwi pada koundinyasana, and then breezes into navasana!

My Least Favorite Thing My Yoga Teacher Does Poll

You voted on what you think the The Worse Yoga Offense by your fellow yogis are . Not surprisingly bad body odour came out on top! Followed by people letting their cell phone ring during yoga and leaving loudly while you are trying to get your relaxation on in savasana.
So, in all fairness I thought I’d put myself and other teachers in the hot seat to hear what you had to say…..

Yoga Video: Tips For Doing Handstand Away From The Wall

How to do Handstand Away From the Wall by Engaging Your Core!

Hi Yogis, Are you having a tough time doing handstand away from the security of the wall?

Do you have a tough time engaging your core upside down?

Don’t worry, you are not alone!

A lot of us bendy folk have über flexible lower backs and it can slow us down in our endeavors to balance in handstand away from the wall.

Never fear!

Here is a Handstand trick for engaging your core!

In this two-minute video I will explain how pulling one knee to your chest after your lift off helps to immediately engage your core muscles and help you balance.

Enjoy this quick video on how to move away from the security of the wall while handstanding and out into the center of the room.

I promise if you continue to practice what you learn in this video it will have you floating and flying with confidence!

Happy Handstanding Yogis!

4 Hormones That Cause Belly Fat : How To Lose Abdominal Fat And Get Skinny

4 Hormones That Make Your Belly Fat : How To Lose Abdominal Fat And Get Skinny

We already discussed the 3 Hormones That Make You Skinny And How To Make Them Work For You. Now for the bad news. Here are the 4 Hormones that make you fat! They are Insulin, Estrogen, Leptin, and Cortisol.

Belly Fat Hormone #1. Insulin

Insulin spikes make you fat. If you are feeling starved that pretty much means your insulin has already spiked and the next thing you put into your mouth will now get stored as fat. Refined carbs and sugar are the worst offenders sending blood sugar sky-rocketing. These types of carbs raise endorphins in the brain like a drug, but the high is short-lived.

What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:

  • Avoid simple or high glycemic carbohydrates. (Potatoes, pasta, bread, candy, soda, juice, refined anything ect.)
  • If you must have your “fix” try to make it around 150 calories and under 5 grams of sugar per serving so as not to spike your blood sugar.

Belly Fat Hormone #2. Estrogen

Too much estrogen causes weight gain, cellulite, cancer and makes you feel soft and spongy.

What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:

  • Avoid Processed foods
  • Eat high fiber (25-30 grams per day)
  • Avoid too much caffeine
  • Avoid too much alcohol (Impedes livers ability to metabolize estrogen)
  • Stay away from plastics! (If you are using plastic make sure it is BPA FREE, otherwise get rid of it!)
  • Soy products increase estrogen so limit your consumption.
Belly Fat Hormone #3. Leptin
When you have adequate levels of Leptin in your body it tells your body to stop eating. When it is low it causes you to store fat.
What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:
  • Avoid MSG
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat slowly
  • Eat Fish
  • Get more zinc (Poultry and seafood are high in zinc)
Belly Fat Hormone #4. Cortisol
Cortisol is the stress hormone and just as nasty as it sounds. As if you didn’t have enough problems, this lil’ guy will make you store fat around your middle like a spare tire.
What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:
  • Cultivate a sense of humor
  • Practice yoga
  • Take long deep diaphragmatic breaths
  • Get more sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Meditate
  • Remove yourself from upsetting  situations when possible until you calm down.
  • Maintain close bonds with family and  friends
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Limit your exposure to violent TV shows and movies
  • Eat white beans, citrus fruits, and black tea.
  • Take magnesium and Vitamin C

Yoga Inspiration ~ Reach Your Heart Forward

Yoga Teacher Marysia Weiss in Handstand to Planche’!

“Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk”

~ Dalia Lama

“Reach your heart forward!” This is the mantra for getting into Planche’ from Handstand.

In yoga, as in life you will not get much out of something if you don’t put your whole heart into it. You can’t just dip a nervous toe into the ocean of yoga and expect enlightenment, peace and joy to wash over like a tsunami of zen.

Rather, these things are hard won victories paid for by many sweat-soaked hours in Warrior 2 and various other means of yogic torture. (oh did I say torture? I meant bliss…of course..)

Likewise putting your heart out there usually means risking it being hurt or worse metaphorically  speaking when it comes to matters of the heart.

Of all the difficult things you will learn in life and in yoga one of the hardest is letting your heart lead the way, risking it, or being vulnerable. The great conundrum, is how can I give it all, yet still stand in my strength?

This is the work of Handstand to Planche’,…talk about putting your heart into something, and “out there ” while maintaing your strength. It is a wonderful thing when yoga and life mirror each other. Hope this inspires you lovers and yogis to do the same.

Put your whole heart into whatever t is you are seeking. Planche’ your heart out past what feels safe. If you are waiting for the right moment, stop waiting, that perfect moment never arrives.You have to go for it!  All the while maintain your core values, your dignity and your strength.

“You’ve been walking the oceans edge holding up your robes to keep them dry. You must dive deeper under, a thousand times deeper!”

~ Rumi