Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to Craft a Soul Nourishing New Year’s Resolution (The Do’s and Don’ts)

How to Craft a Soul Nourishing New Year’s Resolution
(The Do’s and Don’ts)

Crafting a soul nourishing and sustaining New Year’s Resolution is an ancient art. In fact, New Year’s Resolutions have been around in some form or another since the Babylonians.  As an art form, the New Year’s Resolution has had many years to evolve to a place of accessibility for all. The art form is ready for you and your success. Below is a list of guiding Dos and Don'ts. First, clear a space (see Then, the definition. 

A New Year’s Resolution is a promise to yourself to engage in some form of self-improvement during the New Year.

Breaking that down:

      (a)  Promise: promise (according to Mariam-Webster): a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future, an indication of future success or improvement, a reason to expect that something will happen in the future;

      (b) Engage: to pledge oneself, promise, to make a guarantee;

      (c)  Self-improvement: improvement of one’s condition through one’s owns efforts;

      (d)  Condition: the circumstances affecting the way in which people live or work, esp. with regard to their well-being (

To craft your soul nourishing New Years Resolution you must-- make (engage in) a promise to yourself in order to improve your own well-being. How do you do this?

There is A LOT of research on how to improve your own well-being. According to research it is very likely that as you improve your well-being, you will be doing a lot of good for others. If you dig into the research articles you will see that well-being has a ton to do with gratitude, giving, generosity, health, and love. So here we go!

1. Do: Build a larger framework for your resolution.

Everything from a yoga asana (pose) to a home is strongest when built within a solid framework, a solid foundation. For resolutions, it can be very helpful to begin by seeing yourself 5 years down the road. Take your age right now and add 5 years (your age + 5 = X). See yourself at X. What are you doing? Who are you with? What is the weather? What is around you? How do you feel? Set this vision. Get out a journal or a piece of paper and put your vision on paper. Write a paragraph describing your 5 years from now self (X). Create a collage of X.

Remember, you will be 5 years older in 5 years anyway. So don’t let fear of aging stop you. It is happening. So what kind of 5 years older form of you (X) do you want to be? Doing nothing, holding on to your same patterns is also a plan. Know that. If that is what you want, perfect. If not, make a plan. From this plan, build your goals and then your New Year’s Resolution.

2. Don’t: Work from an anti-dream, anti-goal, or anti-vision.

Work from what you want to create not what you want to avoid. If you want prosperity, say that. If you want sobriety, say that. If you want contentment, say that. Work from what will be manifested and not what you want to avoid.

It is always good to have a sense of what you want to avoid (e.g., debt, addiction, alcoholism, etc..). However, to be effective you want to work from a place of creation. For example, as you work toward presence and sobriety, as result you are not drunk and dissociated. On the other hand, if you say, “I will not be anything like my Father,” you are still beholden to the mold. It’s mirror image, still the mold. Create your own vision, something new (I know there are some who say to do this [e.g., work from an anti-vision]. You can if you if you’d like. It won’t be as powerful, creative, or positive).

You might need to clear a space for your New Year's Resolution- see this post

3. Do: Envision yourself as healthy and strong.

Healthy is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful.

We are completely inundated with media messages telling us that we need to be smaller, thinner, leaner, and-all-that. New Year’s Resolutions and visions based on being smaller or closer to an idealized media image-- backfire. Don’t do it.

Consider the Health At Any Size Movement. Here is an excerpt from their web-page.

Let’s face facts. We’ve lost the war on obesity. Fighting fat hasn’t made the fat go away. And being thinner, even if we knew how to successfully accomplish it, will not necessarily make us healthier or happier. The war on obesity has taken its toll. Extensive “collateral damage” has resulted: Food and body preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, discrimination, poor health... Few of us are at peace with our bodies, whether because we’re fat or because we fear becoming fat. Health at Every Size is the new peace movement. Very simply, it acknowledges that good health can best be realized independent from considerations of size. It supports people—of all sizes—in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviors.” An excerpt from Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD.

4. Don’t: Base your New Year’s Resolutions on deprivation, restriction, and withholding from yourself. It backfires too.

A good example is dieting. Dieting won’t get you where you want to be. Here is one of the many reviews: Long-term Effects of Dieting: Is Weight Loss Related to Health? A. Janet Tomiyama, Britt Ahlstrom, & Traci Mann (2013)- reference below.

Worse yet, in the restriction and deprivation you will feel like you are restricted and deprived. Humans hate this. We fight against it. We rebel. And guess what happens by January 15th? Yes, you will have completely ditched all restriction-based resolutions and will be knee deep in your anti-vision.

5.  Do: Set your sights on a practice that enhances well-being.  

Here are many, many ideas. Choose one or more and set intentions to practice any one or more of these things often.

      a.     Embodied practices: yoga, running, Tae Kwon Do, etc.
      b.     Meditation (go here for a great app- I love this one)
      c.      Travel
      d.     Communing with nature (e.g., hiking, bird watching)
      e.     Commitment to a cause (e.g., the Africa Yoga Project)
      f.      Religious practice 
     g.     Artwork (e.g., draw, take photographs, make mala beads)
     h.     Music- listen, practice, create
     i.      Writing- poetry, blogging, journaling, etc..
     j.       Family and friend time
     k.  Set an amazing world changing goal with specifics
     l.      Etc…

6. Don’t: Choose something because you feel like you should.

Don’t choose the thing you think people will like, approve of, or admire. Pick the thing that makes you excited, the thing you want for you, the thing that makes you feel a feeling all around your heart when you think of it (see [k] above). You were brought to this world for a reason. We need you to manifest the reason for your soul. It will set you on fire. Do that thing.

"If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Siena

Note: There may be a few small goals you should address first. It's okay, and maybe even good, to start small-- engage in small accomplishable steps (e.g., eating vegetables twice a day, hydrating each day). These smaller goals are the foundational work for larger dreams. Create the foundation first. 

7.   Do: Find a Partner

On August 14, 2009 my sister and I decided that we needed a stronger commitment to daily exercise in our lives. As I write, we are on day 1598 of exercise. We text each other every AM and let each other know our plans. A quick text- done- instant support.

8. Don’t: Set standards so high and so pure that a human being can’t be successful.

Weave in struggle. Make promises you CAN keep. Remember my sister and me made a commitment to daily exercise? Well, in the making of our commitment contract we wove in human error. There is room for missteps and life that allows us to pursue this goal and be successful. Here they are.

      (a)  Each week you get a skip day
      (b)  Every six months you can burn two skip days a week
      (c)  You need only do something physical for 30 minutes and that counts

Given our contract we are nearing 2014 with complete, 100% success.

9.   Do: Write it down or get an app

Make it yours, own it, and write it down. There are lots of ways to do this. You can use an old-fashioned pen and paper. You can keep a log on your computer, or a blog on the Internet. I put mine in the front cover of my daily planner and on my iPhone- there are apps…. Click here for an application guide to goal setting apps:

“Goal setting involves establishing a plan and creating steps to help you achieve what once was just a dream. Two vital parts of achieving your goals are motivation and habit building. Thankfully there are some apps that will help you create some healthy new habits that will move your life in the right direction to help you achieve your goals. We compare the best ones in this AppGuide.”

10.  Don’t: Automatically Keep your New Year’s Resolution a secret or tell everybody

As an impulse or mindless action, neither of those is a good idea. Your New Year’s Resolution is yours. It is yours to share or keep for as long as you’d like. Choose thoughtfully, mindfully. If you share, choose to share with those who will empower you. Sometimes it helps to hold it close to your heart. I like to do this. I set goals and sometimes-- I don’t tell anyone. It is between me and me (and me and God). After I have accomplished my goal, sometimes I tell my husband or a friend. Sometimes I don’t tell anyone.  This is one of those things that varies person to person. As much as I like to keep things to myself, other people do better when they share their goals. Share goals only with people who will let it be yours. No matter which you choose, make sure it stays your goal and your commitment.

11. Do: Mix great effort with great rest.

Make sure you have built restoration and recovery time into your plans. I say this over and over in my yoga classes, “With great effort, take great rest!” You can Google, study, and research any great man or woman and you will see that sustained effort was paired with support and periods of restoration. I have taught the History of Psychology for many years at the University at Buffalo. What I have noticed is that longevity and impact, without tragedy, was paired with a restorative life. The moral of the story, if you want to do great things and have a great life, match great effort with great rest.

12. Don’t: Make your goals someone else’s job.

It is so easy to tell a bunch of people, your partner, a best friend what you want to do and then make it their problem to monitor you, remind you, and inspire you. You are giving your success away and people find this annoying (unless they are co-dependent and even then they should not be doing it). It’s your resolution, your job, and your success when you get there. And trust me, it feels amazing to set, work for, and accomplish a goal. 

13Do: Make it concrete

Make your New Year’s Resolution concrete. Do not create broad open-ended New Year’s Resolutions like, “I will love others more” or “I will contribute to world peace.” These are good ideas AND they can also be concrete. For example, “I will love others more” might translate to, “I will call my dad and mom every Tuesday and Thursday to check in and tell them that I love them.” Also, “I will contribute to world peace” might translate to, “I will volunteer to teach yoga at the youth detention center one hour a week.” Those things are real, concrete.

Like my sister and I did with our exercise plan, we said exactly when it started (that day), how often (6 or more days a week), what (30 minutes or more of physical exercise including walking), and a monitoring system (text each other the workout each day).

These examples are so specific there is no question of whether happens or not. For my sister and I, sometimes we check on this or that asking if the other thinks that a particular thing counted. Usually we agree that it counts because it meets our basic criteria- 30 minutes of exercise. Please note, we excluded house-cleaning. That does not count- see how clear we are? That is how clear and concrete you need to be.

14.  Don’t: Base your goals or resolutions on resentment or  showing someone something.

I did this for a while. I fueled my achievement with anger. Anger is not a half-bad fuel. But it burns dirty. You are left with your achievements in your hands and black smoke everywhere. Goals built on “I will show you” lack the shine, the inner glow, and the love that you see in victories that come from the heart. Work on your anger, process it, and let it go. Then, build your dreams on something more beautiful than anger.

And this- You might need to clear a space for your New Year's Resolution- see this post

15. Do: It for love

Ah, this is the stuff. LOVE. Build your resolutions and goals on (a) what you love, (b) for love, and, (c) on love of life. Not only will this be more pure and light and beautiful. It will be full of joy and fun. Goals and resolutions built on passion and love…….well that is the stuff of dreams.

This is what I want for you. I want you to accomplish your dreams- one goal, one resolution at a time- from a place of love. So, DREAM ON!

Have fun with these. We get this one shot at life. Make it great. I am. 
Your soul will love you for it.

"If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Siena



The Yoga Bag


Long-term Effects of Dieting: Is Weight Loss Related to Health? A. Janet Tomiyama1, Britt Ahlstrom1, Traci Mann2,*;jsessionid=CC1FAF44A3FDD1965B4C69A1EE00684A.f02t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

“Success” in dieting interventions has traditionally been defined as weight loss. It is implicit in this definition that losing weight will lead to improved health, and yet, health outcomes are not routinely included in studies of diets. In this article, we evaluate whether weight loss improves health by reviewing health outcomes of long-term randomized controlled diet studies. We examine whether weight-loss diets lead to improved cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose and test whether the amount of weight lost is predictive of these health outcomes. Across all studies, there were minimal improvements in these health outcomes, and none of these correlated with weight change. A few positive effects emerged, however, for hypertension and diabetes medication use and diabetes and stroke incidence. We conclude by discussing factors that potentially confound the relationship between weight loss and health outcomes, such as increased exercise, healthier eating, and engagement with the health care system, and we provide suggestions for future research.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Three BIG STEPS to Being up to Amazing Things in your Life (Clearing a Space for a New Year’s Resolution)

Three BIG STEPS to Being up to Amazing Things in your Life
(Clearing a Space for a New Year’s Resolution)

The Three things:

1. Focusing on other’s people’s progress or lack thereof is not a good idea (for the most part, there are a few minor exceptions).

This is so true that there are lots of psychology quotes like this one:

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

2. The best way to make your life better and to grow is to focus on your own stuff.

True again. There are lots of psychology quotes like these:

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.”

“It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.”

3. Don’t do it for reward, recognition, or validation. Do it because it is for your own growth (the growth of your soul) and it is the right thing to do.

True.  “The journey is the reward” Steve Jobs

Zuri’s Story

Zuri has a lot on her mind. She worries. She worries about everything. She often worries so much that she even worries about being a worrier. Which upon worrying about that (how much she worries), Zuri realizes how crazy it is to worry about being a worrier—and so she worries about how crazy she might be—and then Zuri laughs.

Ugh, The Yoga Bag, it has so much wisdom and Zuri sometimes resents it. She resents the truth. The truth is that her struggles are not all that unique. She reads that for many thousands of years, perhaps even forever, people have struggled with the turnings of the mind (e.g., Sutras 1.4 and 1.5).

The stuff in The Yoga Bag about the Bhagavad Gita- that is right too. From what Zuri understands from my annotations, Arjuna, the finest archer and hero of the Gita, struggled with some of the same things that Zuri struggles with.

In Gandhi’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita ( he writes,

“By reason of delusion, man takes wrong to be right. By reason of delusion was Arjuna led to make a difference between kinsman and non-kinsman. To body (non-Self) and Atman (Self) and shows that whilst bodies are impermanent and several, Atman is permanent and one. Effort is within man’s control, not the fruit thereof. All he has to do therefore, is to decide his course of conduct or duty on each occasion and persevere in it, unconcerned about the result. Fulfillment of one’s duty in the spirit of detachment or selflessness leads to freedom.”

Arjuna fought this temptation to judge and want results. Gandhi even struggled with these things. Zuri could not explain this away by saying that Arjuna and Gandhi had it easier than she did. Neither had it easy, Arjuna was in the midst of battle and Gandhi was fighting for human rights.

Curious, Zuri Googles Gandhi and reads ( She is amazed and inspired by all he has done and shocked to read that he was murdered. As she reads, she feels a strong sense of validation in her experience.

What Zuri is beginning to realize is that you must do the right thing and that will give you freedom. That is all there is. Only this-- YOU must do the right thing.

Back to point Number One:

1. Focusing on other’s people’s progress or lack thereof is not a good idea.

Nowhere in The Yoga Bag, the Sutras, or the Gita does it say you should track others (like her Mom and Eric, her brother) and make sure they are doing the right thing. They stress her out, yes. They would stress anyone out. But what Zuri is realizing is that she is spending 100% of her time and energy worrying about, judging, and being right about them.

Nowhere does it say you should sit and ruminate about others being wrong, or gossip (process- whatever you call it) with your friends about how you think this one or that one is doing and how you might do it better. It just doesn’t say that anywhere.

What Zuri is realizing is that it is not about controlling, being right, or in judgment. This is so hard, because she feels like her Mom is so very, very wrong in all she is doing. As I write, I must agree—it is wrong to get drunk, leave your children, gamble their food money away, and neglect or hurt those who need you most. Zuri’s Mom, Sherece, is so very, very wrong. It feels good to say that and think that. It feels good in some ways to judge others and be right. It feels really good.

But what does it do? What does it feed?

Zuri is starting to notice that it feeds the turning of her mind, the worry. She notices that it feeds her righteousness and not her being in right action. Zuri notices that it feeds her anger, her frustration, and it makes her…. it makes her… feel like doing things that aren't so great- like yelling at her little brother Rashan and it gives her headaches. It makes her tired.

She reads again what Gandhi said. She thinks, “I don’t need to make myself right. I don’t need to think of me and her and us as separate. I don’t need to judge and fight and hate. I need to set my heart and mind to intention and do my work, be with my friends and people I love. I need to be here and present and create joy in my life. I need to stop worrying and control what I can, my own actions.”

Ah, Number Two:

2. The best way to make your life better and to grow is to focus on your own stuff.

Zuri knows this will be a constant practice. She knows she is not alone. She has read my journaling and how I work on this. She has read how Gandhi and Arjuna worked on this.

She sets her intentions.

“I will catch myself when I am judging and needing to be right. These things do not make me happier or stronger. I will breathe and refocus my thoughts. I will think, ‘Effort is within my control. I can create what I need in my life.’”

Last, maybe the hardest, Zuri thinks about number three.

3. Don’t do it for reward, recognition, or validation. Do it because it is for your own growth (the growth of your soul) and it is the right thing to do.

Zuri wishes someone really saw her and how she tried. Her Aunt Jasmine saw her and now she is sick. Sometimes her teachers at school see her. Sometime Miss Amanda the yoga teacher sees her. She loves that. She get’s it though. If it is only for the recognition of others, it is shaky. They come and go and see and don’t see. Zuri wants her journey to be steadier than that.

She wants to make a difference in her own life and show her friends that being healthy, good in school, and sober is possible and maybe even fun. She knows that she is going to do something big in her life. She knows she is young and she is figuring out what it will be. She is up for the journey. If she was only going to do this when people see and when people tell her how great she is, hmmmm, there will be gaps and set-backs. She has to be for her own growth. She has to be in action because she wants to. As she thinks about this, she knows this is right.

I wish I could tell her that I see her. I wish I could tell her that I know how hard she tries and how much she is up against. It’s not only Zuri. There are so many kids like this. Unseen and trying so hard. Zuri, we see you.  

The Process

Do you want space in your life to do something great?

Notice how much time you spend evaluating the actions, or rightness of action, of others. It can be very easy to ruminate (think over and over and over again about something) on: (a) what other people are doing, (b) what you do not like about what they are doing, or (c) what you think is wrong about what they are doing. [Of course, there are times when we need to be mindful of the wrong actions of others (like an accountant stealing your life savings or a drunken friend grabbing the car keys to drive home). In these cases, yes, act and concern yourself.]

We waste our time when we spend it considering the gray areas of other peoples’ growth processes. We are not all on the same trajectory. We have our own growth curves, lessons to learn, battles to fight within, and struggles. Some of us are in synch, sure. But many of us are doing this at very different paces with very different struggles.

We all have the right to our own growth, learning, and success. We all have the right to do this at the pace our soul and the universe feel is the right pace.

There is an art to loving someone who is struggling. Sure, tell them when they are way out of bounds. You could say this, “I love you and lately I have noticed X, Y, and Z. Are you okay? Do you need anything?”

Another time to speak is of someone you love is in deep trouble. You can say, “I love you and I am very worried about X, Y, and Z. I am afraid you are getting yourself into some serious trouble. Are you okay? Do you need anything?” Like last blog post, Zuri and Eric are going to talk to their mom and they should.

For the rest of it. Let go and let God. Let your friends and your family grow and struggle at their own paces. Be of love and acceptance.

To be up to something big, focus on your stuff, your own growth.

Ask yourself this: Are more than 50% of my thoughts about someone else (or lots of someone elses) being wrong?

If you said yes, you would benefit greatly from a shift. Shift your thoughts to your goals, dreams, and what you want to be of creation of in this world. If you do this, you will experience a 1,000% increase in energy, lightness, and happiness.

Like Zuri, think about what you can do, want to do, and want to create. There is a freedom (like Gandhi said) in letting all of that go and focusing on your own efforts, your own journey.

Last, it is not about who notices, who tells you that you are great, and what rewards you get. It is about the journey. It is about what you are up to.

It is exactly this truth that Arjuna learned from Krishna, Gandhi manifested in his life, and Jesus illustrated in his life.

Focus on your good and your growth and not on reward, recognition or acknowledgement. The fruits, the benefits, the reward, may be far from coming (or may never come so long as you live) and that does not matter. It does not matter because that is not why we do things.

We make our choices because we are up to something bigger than rewards, validation, or acknowledgement. We are up to do what empowers, what is good, and what is right.

So here they are:

 Three BIG STEPS to Being up to Amazing Things in your Life
(Clearing a Space for a New Year’s Resolution)

1.    Catch yourself ruminating on others.
2.     Focus on your own stuff.
3.    Remember, the journey is the reward.

Next blog is about setting an awesome New Year’s Resolution. This should clear the space for something powerful. Get ready and get clear!



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What it Takes to be a 6 AM Yogi in Buffalo, NY or How to Address THE SLEEPER

What it Takes to be a 6 AM Yogi in Buffalo, NY or How to Address THE SLEEPER

This blog post is long overdue. I have been teaching 6 AM Yoga in Buffalo, NY for over 3 years. There is a tried and true group that seems to have some sort of genetic predisposition to be able to do this. It is sort of like being naturally good at yoga or dancing. Some people can just wake up and go to yoga at 6 AM. It is their nature.

This blog post is not for them. This post is for those of you who really want to be a 6 AM yogi in Buffalo, but are not sure how to do it.

Here is what it takes:

1.     You have to be in touch with your dark, lazy side—we will call this THE SLEEPER. Even if it does not show up in any other part of your life, if you try to get up for 6 AM yoga, the sleeper will arise from within and sabotage you in ways you never even dreamed of.

2.     A good alarm clock. You can use your iPhone or something like that. But it can’t be one of those chiming, soft, gentle alarm sounds. You have to choose carefully- Suggestions? Foghorn, fire alarm, crying baby- things like that.

3.     A second alarm clock that you keep FAR, FAR away from your bed. Same rules apply for alarm sounds. For added challenge, put it in a dresser drawer or just outside of the bedroom door. Be sure it is at least 10 to 12 feet away from your bed. Know yourself, be brutally honest, know the sleeper inside, and plan accordingly.

4.     A Keurig or other high quality coffee machine. It must work fast. There is no time for boiling water, etc..  The truth is, any-one-thing can be a set-back, the sleeper will arise, and you will end up back in bed. Later, when you wake up with one leg in your yoga pants and your yoga bra around your neck, you won’t know how you got there. The sleeper will have won this round.

5.     A special, warm place for your yoga clothes. You might even consider sleeping in them or keeping them under your covers and changing before you get out of bed. I know this sounds extreme. But in the winter, in Buffalo, the transition from pajamas to yoga clothes is a challenge you need to take very seriously. The sleeper lives here.

6.     This isn’t required, but I imagine it would be really helpful- heated floors-- through your whole house. I wish I knew how great that feels. I imagine it would be super helpful.

7.     A down winter coat that was designed for subzero temperatures and covers your whole body to your feet. Mine looks like a sleeping bag with arms sewed on it. Keep it only for yoga. It will eventually acquire its own scent and you can find it in the dark simply by smell. This can be very helpful in the pre-dawn yoga prep hour. No coat = 1 point for the sleeper.

8.     Do NOT keep your yoga mat in  the car. It will become so cold that it might shatter during the sudden change in temperatures when you bring it into the studio or when you try to unroll it. The 6 AM rookies often make this mistake thinking that keeping the mat in the car will save them time. It doesn’t and the shards of shattering mat pieces might even be dangerous. Fear of the cold yoga mat empowers the sleeper.

9.     A remote starter for your car. I wish I knew what this was like too. I think about this each morning as I scrape the snow and ice off my truck, crack open the frozen door, sit on the icey seat. I think about how nice it would be…. And I get…sleepy, very sleepy…..

10. You have to go to bed at a decent hour. I won’t be too specific because we all have our own internal biorhythms. The range is somewhere between 8-11 PM. Otherwise, you should seriously consider just staying up.

11. It would be a huge advantage to sleep at the yoga studio. I think about this sometimes when my alarm goes off at 5 AM. I think, “I wish I was magically at the yoga studio.” This would be pricey as you would need to buy or rent a building, create a studio, and then sleep in it. But, it would be super helpful.

12. Know that you will not be alone. Know that there are 20 to 30 other yogis that will be there honoring your efforts. Each one of us that stands tall, in the yoga studio at 6 AM taking our first deep ujiyi breaths, knows the brute strength and courage that each one of us brought forth to be there. With each steely-eyed, face-to-face acknowledgement, we practice in our knowing that we are among the strongest individuals in the world (That might be a touch hyperbolic- but it sort of feels like that).

13. Be mentally strong. You know in your heart of hearts that if you go to yoga at 6 AM: (a) you will be done and have the rest of the day for X, Y, and Z, (b) you will feel amazing, (c) you will have your intention of good will and love set for the day, (d) your heart will be open, and (e) you will likely contribute to world peace all day long. Even in this knowing, as you awaken, the sleeper will start to lie to you. He will say, “Just 5 more minutes. No. 10 more minutes of sleep. You can walk into class right after the sun salutations and still get all the benefits of the class. No, you could do a home practice a bit later. No wait, you can go to the 9:30 AM class, the noon class, the 4:30 PM class, the 6:00 PM class, the 7:30 PM class, or even tomorrow….. yeah…… tomorrow, perfect.” The sleeper is powerful and seductive. Be strong.

14. Have a prepared response for the sleeper. Something like this: “Sleeper, I love you, I really do. You are super seductive with your cuddly blanket and heat, and all that. But I promised 20 people that I would go to 6 AM yoga. I posted it on Facebook, instagram, tweeted it, and snap chatted it to hundreds of people. It is out there. I live my life to go to 6 Am yoga. I am strong. I am powerful. I can get out of this bed no matter what sweet, sleepy lines you throw at me. I. CAN. DO. THIS.” At that point, drop your feet to the floor, grab your yoga clothes, and get to the coffee machine.

With these 14 steps you can beat the sleeper and get to class. The sleeper can be tamed, maybe even wants to be tamed. You see, the sleeper hangs around with these other interesting characters and, truth be told, it is not a good crowd. He hangs around with the just-one-more-glass-of-wine girl, the I-can-afford-that-super-cute-shirt shopper, the gossiping-is-not-really-gossiping-it’s-processing-talker, and the my-life-would-be-perfect-if-I-had-an-in-ground-pool-evnier. That group is no good and the sleeper, the healthy side of the sleeper, wants us to get up for 6 AM yoga, and drink, shop, gossip, and envy less, AND be happy more. The sleeper wants to be used for good not evil, like for a sweet nap after a long run, or an afternoon cuddle with a loved one.

Yeah, you can save your sleeper from a life of crime and it’s simple. Come to 6 AM yoga (for how to do this, see all the steps above).


Catherine Cook-Cottone (6 AM Yoga Teacher)