Health Coaching - Yogic Lifestyle and Functional Medicine

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I've been a yoga teacher since 2002 (in the Integral Yoga tradition of Swami Satchidananda), a certified yoga therapist since 2005 (Structural Yoga Therapy), and a Thai Massage and neuromuscular therapist since 2006. I am also currently enrolled (2021) as a health coach-in-training with the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.

I've been fortunate to work with tens of thousands of people, including elite and Olympic athletes in Boston and San Diego.

I can help with:

  • Chronic pain and tension, neuromuscular pain and dysfunction
  • Achieving health goals (exercise, diet, lifestyle)
  • Joint and spine mobility and stability 
  • Stress reduction
  • Athletic performance
  • Enhancing the quality of life and longevity.

Latest Top of Mind ... Bubbling Up from the Heart

November 25, 2021 - Thanksgiving

Program Your Own Mind ... or else.

We may think we have control of our thoughts and our choices.

But where do our thoughts and choices come from?

From our culture - the news, the stories, teachers, preachers, and scientists.   

The choices are not yours. They come from those other sources. 

The only way to have freedom of choice and therefore free will is to step outside of all conditioning and programming that is not your own.

The mind works by repetition and memory. What you see and hear the most is what you remember and what you believe. Even if you do not believe something, after hearing it a few dozen times, it will start to resonate as "truth." Your subconscious mind will accept it. 

In other words, if you do not consciously choose what you see and hear, your mind is conditioned and programmed without your knowing. Advertising and political campaigns are built around this unsuspecting feature of our subconscious mind. 

One way or another, the mind runs on various programs and conditioned circuits.

In a sense, we operate like computer programs, running down familiar paths - neuropathways. 

If you wish to have free will, you must program your own mind on purpose. Otherwise, it will be done for you. 

To be kind, 

To show compassion, 

To hear something without criticism, 

To see someone without judgement, 

To be selfless in your actions, 

Is to practice the highest form of Yoga. 

Yet, this practice doesn't just happen. It must be deliberately chosen.

Every day, in the morning (ideally upon waking), whether it is part of your prayer or meditation, you can choose to program your mind to be more compassionate on this very day, to be less reactive and less judgemental, and to make an effort to do something selfless. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


May 2021

A Parrot in a Loop (a meditative insight)

The mind is like a parrot – it repeats what it hears.

Repetition is how we learn. It is how we build the neuropathways of skills and habits.  

Our mind is also very loopy. Think about your day. We follow a lot of routines. Our thought patterns are extremely similar day to day, thinking the same thoughts over and over, repeating the same words and phrases over and over.

“What needs to be done today?” - This is a phrase we say to ourselves daily.

“I like this, I don’t like that. This is nice/great/cool. This is OK/terrible/boring.” And on and on. Same words, same phrases, all day.

When you hear a word out of the ordinary, like “heliotrope” or “permutation” or “ambrosia”, it jumps out because it is not part of your everyday speech. Those new words we tend to notice, and … guess what else… repeat, of course. “Heliotrope… heliotrope… I like it … I don’t like.” And on and on. That’s how we put those interesting words in the loop.

The mind is “a parrot in a loop.”

This basically means two main things:

1. The mind can be subtly conditioned or trained, enticed by “interesting words”, and thereby duped. This in turn means that we should not take our mind’s chatter seriously. It’s a parrot after all.

2. It’s not original. Originality is a rare quality for the mind. In fact, original ideas usually arise when we get our minds to stop – when we get out of the loop.


January 2021

Conflicting streams of information come to us all day every day.
There are so many agendas acting upon our choices. 
Whom do you trust? 
How do we know what is truth, and what is "fake news?"
In today's world, any scientific study can be paid-for and slanted in anyone's favor. 

The issue here is not with trying to sort out all the information. That is quite impossible. 
The mind gets overwhelmed. 
The mind gets easily conditioned and swayed this way or that way. 
 
If the information is filtered through the mind, there is no way of knowing the truth. As we say in yoga, the mind gets "scattered, distorted, and confused." 

However, there is a way to know the truth.
We have a build-in truth censor or sensor. An inner guide. A teacher of the Truth.  
It is called the Heart.
 
I don't mean the physical beating heart, although that is also a powerful electomagentic force. I mean the Heart Center, the inner knower that by-passes the mind. 

When you connect to your Heart Center, the truth is experienced directly as a "it-just-feels-right" kind of feeling.
Anything that doesn't have integrity or wholeness is experienced as a "hole" or a "drain." 

How to connect to this Inner Knower - the Heart? 
Become present to the sensations in your heart. 
Breathe in and out from the area of your heart. 
Bring your mental energy (thinking, analizing, critisizing) down from your head to your heart. Imagine the busy buzzing energy of the mind flowing like streams down toward the heart. 
Bring your inner gaze to the area of your heart. 
Knowing the Truth is not a mental thing.
It just feels right. 


December 2020

So many people are concerned about the future today. What's happening? What's the best thing to do? How is this going to end? 

Yogic wisdom may not have all the answers, but it certainly provides clear answers to timeless questions.

Allow me to philosophize for a bit. 

First, it helps to zoom out and get a broader perspective. A much much broader perspective. 
And that is: Who are we? and What is the purpose of life? 

In Vedanta (the philosophy of Yoga), each one of us is a manifestation of Brahman
Brahman is Consciousness in its purest form.
Cosmic Consciousness, or Universal Consciousness, it is also known by many names in different religions. 

Brahman is inexplicable, incomprehensible, untouchable by the mind = we cannot understand it, because our mind is too limited, too scattered, and too impure. 

Yoga masters say that we are Brahman. Each one of us. 
Brahman in Sanskrit means "that which expands.

As such, Brahman chooses to expand = to come into existence, or manifest, in an infinite variety of ways. It does so when it manifests as you.
You are unique and unlike any other human being, or any being for that matter, that has ever existed. 

But Brahman is a lot more than human beings. It is the world, the space, and all the universes that exist or have the potential to exist. It is this world with all of our cultures and our differences, our values and stories, our troubles and sufferings, and our current world situation. It is simply Brahman that has decided to manifest in this unique way. 

What would you do if you were God? 
You'd try this and that. Over lifetimes and eons. Try everything. Try every possible scenario of existence. With love and pain, peace and war, beauty and darkness. How about a global pandemic?
 
So what is the purpose of life? 
As far as Brahman is concerned, it is to expand, to burgeon, to spring forth, to manifest in as many ways as infinitely possible. 

As an individual human being, conscious of yourself as separate from others, you may have a different idea of your own purpose of life. Yet, your purpose is completely unique (even if you do not think so), and it is yours alone to manifest. Now, in this moment, in the midst of a global pandemic. There is no wrong action that you can possibly take. Whatever you choose to do in this moment in history is perfect because it is one way that has never been done, and that is precisely the point.


September 2020

Here's a story from my book of yoga stories that may brighten your outlook.  

There once was a farmer who owned a horse and had one son. One day, his horse ran away. The neighbors came to express their concern: "Oh, that's too bad. How are you going to work the fields now?" 
The farmer replied: "Good thing, bad thing, who knows?"
In a few days, his horse came back and brought another horse with her. Now, the neighbors were glad: "Oh, how lucky! Now you can do twice as much work as before!" 
The farmer replied: "Good thing, bad thing, who knows?" 
The next day, the farmer's son fell off the new horse and broke his leg. The neighbors came again: "Now that he is incapacitated, he cannot help you around. That's too bad." 
The farmer replied: "Good thing, bad thing, who knows?" 
Soon, the news came that a war broke out, and all the young men in the country were required to join the army. The villagers were sad because they knew that many of their young men would not return. The farmer's son, however, could not be drafted because of his broken leg. His neighbors were envious: "How lucky! You get to keep your only son." 
The farmer replied: "Good thing, bad thing, who knows?" 


The story illustrates ancient wisdom to reserve judgement, practice non-attachment to outcomes, and remain in the present moment to avoid stress and worry.