Your Four-Minute Mile

By Events, How To, Motivation, News, Students, Teachers No Comments

In April 1954, it was said that it was impossible to run a mile in under four minutes. Scientists and doctors said that the human body could not physically achieve such a feat; it would be too much stress on the body, and one would die trying. And so formed a public consensus that it could not be done.

 

To this day, there have been 20,000 athletes who have done just that, running 5280 feet in less than four minutes. What changed?

 

May 6th, 1954. Meet Roger Bannister, Englishman. He sharpens his racing spikes and rubs them with graphite, waiting for the wind to calm, waiting to run his race. At 6pm, the race begins. 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds later, it is over. Rodger Bannister has crossed the finish line, becoming the first athlete to break the four minute barrier.

It was hardly a matter of physical training that set him apart. His biggest difference was in his mindset, not scared of the professionals that said he couldn’t. He knew that possibilities are limitless, and that thoughts become beliefs. He believed in himself, put his mind to it, and achieved.

4523364539_ec693d269a

Photo Credit: addedentry

 

Just to prove how powerful the mind is, let’s look at Bannister’s second record: the record for holding a record for the shortest amount of time. In just 42 days, John Landly completed a 3:57.9 mile. Roger got the ball rolling, and pushed the world to believe that the sub-4 minute mile is completely possible.

 

Looking at this athletic feat in a broader sense, we find that the common denominator of success is mindset.

 

My coach always put it like this. Calling us into a huddle, he would instruct one of us to try to pick up the volleyball. When the ball was easily lifted into the air, he would pick it up and set it back on the floor, instructing again that we must try to pick up the ball; that there is a huge difference between attempt and success. You cannot aim for mediocrity, your eye must always be on the prize.

 

That prize is worth it, and its journey is unique to everyone. Your four minute mile is far from impossible, if you just start with your mind.

Photo Credit: The World According to Marty

Photo Credit: The World According to Marty

 

“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win” – Roger Bannister

 

Falling For Real Change – How to Get Things Done

By How To, Motivation, Students, Teachers No Comments

I know I’m not alone here, but my favorite part of living in New England has always been the change of seasons.  I love that just when we get used to (or sick of) one way of life, that’s exactly when Mother Nature switches things up on us.

Changes that are beyond our control cause us to be reactive, to adapt, and we usually manage quite well.  So why is it that changes that we have the luxury of initiating ourselves are so hard for us to embrace?  If we know, or have heard, that a certain exercise might benefit us tremendously, why is it so hard to make time to try it?  If we want something, like more energy, or weight loss, why is it so hard to do what it takes to get it?  If we need to save money, why is it so difficult to resist buying things we don’t really need?  When we understand logically that a behavior is harmful and we want to quit, why is it so difficult to stop?

There are many answers to these questions, and theories as to why we have a hard time breaking old habits and forming new ones, but I think much of accomplishing real change boils down to how we think, and talk, about what we really want, and how we plan to get it.   Real, sustainable change comes from setting clear goals that are actionable, measurable and realistic.self-deceit

Day in and day out I hear people tell me that they “want to be in better shape.”  When I ask what that means, 99% of the time I get a blank stare.  When asked to define “better shape” most people have given it little or no actual thought.  I ask them to redefine their goals by talking only about real tangible things like “well, I’d like to walk up the stairs from the T and not be out of breath,” or “I’d like to be able to run a mile” or “I think I should be able to touch my toes.”

If you would like to “get in shape” that’s great, but it’s not an action, and it’s not an actionable goal.  You do not walk outside and “do shape.”  That’s unfortunately not how life works.  You walk, run, bike, stretch or otherwise move to “get in shape” but you have to know what that means for you, you have to think about it.

Consider this: If “being in shape” means being able to touch your toes, then how will you make that happen?  Will you wake up one day and it just do it? Not likely, will you seek out exercises that are known to increase flexibility and try them, now that’s a good idea, but how often will you go, and how will you know if you’ve made progress? Do you wish to touch your toes by tomorrow, or by winter?

Think about something you have been trying to accomplish and apply the steps below:

  1. Figure out what you really want to do in simple actionable words.
  2. Set a time frame, when do you wish to be able to do this by?
  3. Break your goal down into individual actions that you can measure.
  4. Work hard and track your progress, consider sharing your goal and progress with others.  Studies have shown that people with strong support networks have more success meeting goals and sustaining change.
  5. Celebrate – reward yourself for progress at each step along the way, but with something unrelated to your goal.  If you are trying to give up soda now is not the time to have one because you have gone a week without.  Reward yourself with something healthy and unrelated, like new music, a Broga class, a new item of clothing, or a beer with a friend (unless of course beer is what you are trying to change!)
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://brogayoga.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JenJasmin.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jennifer Jasmin, R.D. is a nutritionist and freelance writer living in Watertown, Massachusetts. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College, and a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics from Simmons College. In her work, Jen strives to help people find balance between real nutrition facts, and realistic health and fitness goals. Her background also includes over 15 years working in the food service industry, which adds to her unique perspective on eating well. She shares her insights, personal cooking lessons, and recipe ideas on her blog at: www.skeletonsinmykitchen.com. In addition to writing, Jen shares her passion about healthy eating in casual, approachable nutrition seminars and workshops in both corporate and community settings. To Jen, the journey to wellness is incredibly personal, and should be approached in a way that is individual, actionable and unpretentious. [/author_info] [/author]

Vegetarian meat?

By Events, Featured, Uncategorized 2 Comments

While we know there is not one perfect way to eat, the paleolithic diet is becoming more prominent throughout the health and fitness world. While this type of eating is very plant based, we know that its basic outline includes good sources of animal protein. Those that follow this mindset may find the benefits in the B12, zinc, magnesium, iron, and vitamin D (among others) found in such high quantities in meat, but perhaps do not see the ethical or very political side of the meat industry.

 

Andras Forgacs has proposed a solution. Or, the answer, depending on how you see it.

Image Courtesy of James Duncan Davidson

 

In his TED talk found here, Forgacs explains the idea of biofabrication, where cells can be used to grow biological products, like tissue. This process started with the desire to 3D print human organs, and has since been successful in culturing and planting skin, ears, windpipes, blood vessels, and bone into the human body. He was then asked, why not meat?

 

As he explains in his talk, the biofabrication of meat would be a humane and sustainable way of feeding the world.  Currently, livestock uses 33 percent of our ice free land, 8 percent of our global water, and 18 percent of our greenhouse gases, not to mention the mindless slaughter of
“complex and sentient animals” that are so much more than just raw materials, Andres continues. Growing the meat would be similar to that of brewing beer. The cells would be sourced from the animals, and grown in meat breweries, in which he presents the idea of “touring this facility, learning about how the leather or meat is cultured, seeing the process from beginning to end, and even trying some”. With studies measuring the net lifecycle impact of the cultured meat show that it requires 99 percent less land, 96 percent less water, and 96 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. Along with a clean conscience, the biofabrication of meat is nothing from perfect.

What if this was grown in a lab?
Image Courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk

 

Not so fast.

 

Ever since World War II, we have moved into the industrial side of agriculture. War making industries needed somewhere to sell their products, so they made tanks into tractors and poison gases into pesticides. We began to turn to monocultures and genetic engineering, making wheat, rice, and corn that were resistant to disease and caused the death of any pest that dared a taste. Knowledge of farming, like knowing crop rotation and cover cropping was irrelevant, as the fertilizer NPK became popular, because all our produce needs to be beautiful and lush are the elements nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

 

But we now see the effect of efficiency; we see that plants need over 21 elements to thrive, providing us with the proper nutrition. Honeybees are disappearing, unable to find pollen from the weeds that no longer grow. As crops are scarcely grown seasonally, mother birds struggle getting past the thick stalks of corn to the soil and finding earthworms for their hungry chicks in the spring. Allergies and food sensitivities are on the rise, and studies have been pointing to the way that the DNA of many common crops today has been manipulated and crossed with countless species that were never supposed to mate. Animals are being injected with antibiotics before they are even sick, given growth hormones to produce more meat. Small towns that used to center around their family farms have turned been abandoned, run out by huge businesses like Monsanto.

 

With all the efficiency of industry, we have gained quantity, but lost so much quality. While not much is known yet about the culturing of meat, the history that humans have with attempting to manipulate and improve nature is not outstanding. We seem to overestimate the simplicity of the abundance that the earth has to offer. We don’t just need the protein of meat, or the carbs of wheat. Food is so much more than micro and macronutrients, offering vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, polyphenols, antioxidants, and so much more that we cannot even begin to understand. The production of meat (and food in general) does not, and should not, be linear. Look back to your 3rd grade food chain: the sun feeds the grass which feed the cow which feeds the human, the waste of all of these are decomposed and made into nutritious humus that plants are able to absorb and start the cycle all over again. Livestock do not have to be this ticking time bomb of disease, but of course if they are injected with toxins, then they will be toxic.

 

Image Courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk

Image Courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk

While this does not directly correlate with the biofabrication of meat, it is proof that our disconnection from nature is incredibly damaging. Instead of further stressing this relationship, we should move towards engaging with our food and supporting the local farms that can provide us with high quality meat and produce that have based their energy in the sun and soil, and are able to bring eating back full circle.

 

However, culturing meat could be the future. What do you think?

Ca-Ching! Food Production vs. Consumption and Your Money

By Featured, How To, Motivation, News, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized No Comments

A finance book I read, The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco, had a very simple but true concept: If you want to get in ‘the fastlane’, you need to be a producer, not a consumer.  When you produce things you make money, and when you consume things, you lose money.  The author’s point is that if you create a business where you sell goods/services you will create more wealth for yourself, whereas people who just shop and spend their money will get poorer.  When it comes to food, this is a double whammy for the vast majority. Not only do people pay for someone else to grow their food, many pay for their food to be prepared either in the form of restaurants, pre-packaged meals, or other processed foods. If you have a diet-related illness, you are a consumer of medical treatments and that would be a triple whammy, but that’s another story…

How often do you make your own food?  If you eat at home rather than a restaurant, how much did you really make?  Do you make your own spaghetti sauce, or do you buy that in a jar? Do peeledtomatoesyou bake your own cookies?  Make your own mustard?  I know what you’re thinking, who makes their own mustard?  (Here’s a homemade mustard recipe). It’s just a given that people will buy certain things because their lives are busy (because you’re creating wealth for your employer most likely).  But as the theory goes, the more you consume vs. produce, the more you will lose.  So going to a restaurant is the biggest expense. So big, that it’s already been written about, like those articles about how buying coffee every morning wastes hundreds of dollars.  Next, is buying pre-made foods.  Are frozen dinners what came to mind?  What about ketchup and BBQ sauce? Deli meat? Pasta sauce? Is there any prepared food that is so taken for granted that it doesn’t even seem like you could produce it yourself?  In some cases it might not seem worth it (maybe aging wine into vinegar is more a of a science project).  But in most cases, I can attest it IS worth it.  Not just with cash, but with taste.  But the focus on this article is the aspect of finance.

We hear how divorced we are about where our food is from. We eat it without knowing how it was made or how far it traveled.  With food, the balance of producing for ourselves to being a giant consumer doesn’t seem like it can go farther.  Now we don’t grow our own food, so we buy it.  And we sink deeper in the consumer role by not preparing our own food because we go to restaurants or buy processed food.  If you want, you can buy certain candy and cookies in bite sized pieces, so companies even do some of the work of eating it for you!  How much more on the production side can we give up? I think it is not only critical to our health, but finances that the balance shifts back to being a producer.

My town’s big box health food store sells one organic seedless cucumber for $3.99.  Not per pound, one cucumber is seriously four bucks.  A packet of organic seedless cucumber seeds costs cucumberless than one cucumber.  If you failed miserably at growing your own cucumbers so a vast majority of the seeds didn’t work, but you managed to grow one vine that produced one cucumber – you have recouped your costs and then some!  But you will probably fair much better than that.  Some of the other absurdly expensive food at that store include: $5.99/lb organic bell peppers, $4.99/lb organic heirloom tomatoes, and $3.99 for one small, gluten – free, vegan cupcake. You know how rip-off hamburgers have patties that are way smaller than the bun so they don’t go all the way to the edge?  Gluten- free, vegan cupcake artisans learned that trick so the inadequate frosting doesn’t go all the way to the edge.  We are just getting sucked dry as consumers and this can’t go on.

People complain diets are too expensive.  You aren’t buying subsidized wheat, soy, corn and other commodity crops anymore.  You’re buying produce, meat, or dairy that was not from animals fed commodity crops.  Since tax payers subsidize the commodity crops, you are partially a producer which is why it’s ‘cheaper’ at the grocery store (and I use the term loosely because there are other costs involved with the environment and health but that’s another story). So here you are as a consumer of food that you did not produce, and it’s apparent that your role as a consumer is leveraged against you.  Isn’t time to slow down with consuming and start producing?

One of the best things you can do is grow your own food.  Yes, there are a myriad of excuses from weather, to your living quarters.  You can grow something. Seriously, if you can dedicate 2 square feet inside with shelves, you can grow a decent amount.  According to the seed company Burpee, you can get a 25 to 1 ROI on starting a garden.  The National Garden Association disagrees; they state a 70 dollar investment results in 600 dollars of food.  The information I have seen when researching for this article does not go into better detail.  What you grow will impact your ROI.  You must account for many factors of growing produce.  Besides growing what you like, consider what is available.  If you can always get organic carrots for .99 per pound and you have limited space, skip growing carrots.  You should also consider the time for a yield.  Some plants take one month, like radishes.  Others plants take 3 months.  The longer you tie up your soil, the less you grow and the less money you will save.  None of those things were mentioned in the statistics I saw, so you may fair better if you grow smart.windowsillgarden

Another thing to do is prepare your own food.  Less restaurants, less 4 dollar cupcakes, and less frozen dinners.  I know, no time and no skill, right?  There are easy recipes out there, and plenty have little hands-on time. Roasted meat, pretty much anything braised, and most sauces are so easy!  Once you develop good knife skills, it takes longer for the pot to heat up than to chop an onion.  And if you don’t have good knife skills, you can buy pre-diced onions but that’ll cost you.  And that’s the point…

I’m not dogmatic about this – not everything is worth your time.  You might be extra busy from time to time and can’t do it all yourself.  But take a look at what you buy on a regular basis. Is everything produced for you? Is this a crutch because you aren’t developing the right kitchen skills or managing your time? Opening cans and pushing buttons on a microwave are not the best skills for a producer.  Be aware that despite the normalcy of buying processed food and not growing your own, you are still taking on a role: The role of a consumer.  And if you shift to more production, you will have more money.

What do you think? Have you tried growing your own food? How did it go?

The Health Benefits of Bacon and Butter

By News, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized No Comments

It’s most highly concentrated in coconut oil, and its health benefits are through the roof. However, its reputation is terribly negative, second only to that of trans fats. Can you guess what it is?

 

The answer: Saturated fat

 

Moving past the dogma of low fat, high carbohydrate fad, many of us now realize that low-fat just means high sugar, and high sugar equals more insulin, and more insulin leads to stored fat. You are likely familiar with the health benefits and necessity of unsaturated fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in cold water fish, but saturated fat also proves just as essential. But in what ways can butter, coconut oil, lard, and rib-eye steaks improve your health?

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

1. Lower cardiovascular risk

Saturated fat reduces the levels of lipoprotein (a), a substance found to be strongly correlated with the risk of heart disease. It also increases your level of HDL (good cholesterol).

 

2. Bone strength

The fat within these foods also contribute to bone strength, as your body cannot effectively incorporate calcium into your bones without it. For this reason, Mary Enig, Ph.D, recommends that 50 percent of your fats should be saturated.

 

3. Liver cleanliness

A fatty liver is damaging to your health and can eventually lead to cirrhosis.  However, the saturated fat that you eat does not directly convert to fat in your liver. On the contrary, adding saturated fat into your diet encourages the liver cells to dump their fat content, additionally protecting the liver from the toxicity of alcohol. The liver’s key role in a healthy metabolism connects the consumption of saturated fat to fat loss.

 

4. Strong lungs

Saturated fatty acids make up 100 percent of your lung’s airspace coating, essential for the function of the lungs. The absence of these fats will lead to the collapse of these airspaces and breathing will become difficult. In fact, some researchers theorize that the rise in asthma is linked to the fact that children have replaced saturated fats with hydrogenated fats, which do not correctly support the structure of the lungs.

 

5. Brain building

Did you know that your brain is made largely of fat and cholesterol? EPA and DHA are still important, but the fat found in butter, coconut oil, lard, and meat is more so, as a majority of the fatty acids in your brain are saturated. Without the proper materials, it is impossible for your body to put together the best functioning brain.

 

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6. Fat loss

To get your metabolism cranking, eat more saturated fat! This type of fat directly signals the nerve signals that influence metabolism, leveling out the release of insulin and keeping fat storage to a minimum.

 

7. Strong immune system

The myristic and lauric acid in butter and coconut oil keep the immune system healthy, helping your white blood cells identify and destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi. To prove the wholesomeness of saturated fat, it may be important to note that human breast milk is rich in both myristic and lauric acid, killing germs and protecting the immune system of an infant, and is needed throughout the lifetime in order to keep an immune system alert and attentive against cancer development and infections.

 

Give saturated fat a chance. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you.

 

 

What’s simplest thing you can do to improve your health, happiness, and sanity?

By How To, Students, Teachers No Comments

Sleep. 

Since we were little, chances are that our parents have always bugged us about getting more sleep. From 7pm bedtimes to afternoon naps, they knew that getting their toddlers and children to sleep would result in their better overall mood, preventing crankiness and tantrums in the grocery store when refused a chocolate bar. However, resistance was usually strong, especially as we grew older; not wanting to miss out on what was happening after our parents sent us to bed.

This is perhaps the biggest reason that 60 percent of adults do not get enough sleep: we do not think it’s worth it. Why sleep when we have 30 more hours of work to do? Why sleep when we could go out partying and having fun with our friends? Why sleep and be judged for being lazy, and miss out on life?

The answer is simple. A lack of rest leads to a compromised conscious life. When we sleep, both our bodies and minds are rejuvenated, reducing chronic inflammation and reducing stress. Only during the late, deep stages of sleep can our bodies relax and prepare to grow and repair our tissue. Our memories replay and our thoughts consolidate, boosting our memory. It is here when hormones like ghrelin and leptin are released, which help us feel hunger and fullness. Because of this, an off balance of these hormones can lead to weight gain. Factoring into this that our late nights are often connected to unhealthy snacking, and it spells out disaster, and studies show that sleeping for only five hours a night increases your risk of being overweight by 73 percent.

These likely look way more appealing late at night.

These likely look way more appealing late at night.

However, just being scared of sleep deprivation isn’t enough. There’s a reason that most adults spend 7.5 hours in bed, but only 6.1 hours asleep. Here are a few techniques to fall asleep quickly and get a better nights rest.

 

 

1. Step away from the screen.

As loud as that latest episode of Breaking Bad is calling your name, it should wait. Researchers are finding that the artificial light from electronic devices lower levels of the hormone melatonin by an average of 22 percent, disrupting our internal clocks and messing with our natural sleep cycles. At least an hour before bed, stay away from all electronic screens.

2. Grab some almonds.

If you’re hungry, eat! However, shy away from high sugar or very processed foods, which will give you a short energy high and then a crash. Nuts are perfect bedtime snacks, the magnesium will help your muscles relax, and Omega 3s and healthy fats will digest slowly and keep your blood sugar levels stable.

3.  Drink some tea.

The warmth of the drink will calm and relax both your body and mind. Make sure you’re staying away from caffeine, instead brewing herbal teas like chamomile, sage, or valerian lemon balm. Herbal teas are theorized to have anti-anxiety and calming effects because of its flavonoid compound, apidenin.

 Tea_in_different_grade_of_fermentation

4. Increased sunlight exposure in the daytime.

Especially if you’ve been traveling, it helps to establish a routine, and get your body in time with the sun. Wake up at a reasonable time Increasing your daytime exposure to the sun will regulate the release of melatonin, both a hormone and a powerful antioxidant released when the retina senses the light is low and it is time to sleep.

5. Get comfortable.

This likely goes without saying, but falling asleep when you’re hot, stressed, and hungry is almost impossible. Create an environment that will promote your slumber. A cool, dark, and quiet room is best. Grab that handful of almonds, calm your internal stressors, and avoid staring at the clock, doing the constant math to find the hours of sleep you will get “if I fall asleep in the next five minutes…”

Thailand_06_-_54_tuckered_out_(2)

6. Exercise.

Getting active will help you fall asleep faster and more deeply, simply because you will be more tired. However, because exercise causes the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, causing the brain to go on alert, so it helps to keep the exercise to at least three hours before bed. However, a very mellow yoga or meditation practice right before bed will calm and relax your body. Just stay away from the chaturangas!

7. If you can’t sleep, nap.

Embrace your inner toddler. Instead of being tired and cranky for the rest of the day, take a nap in the morning or right after lunch, to avoid the deep and slow-wave sleep in the late afternoon caused by human circadian rhythms. The original 20 minute power nap has proven to be the most effective, improving muscle memory and clearing the brain of useless information, strengthening the long-term memory, and helping you remember your co-workers names.

 

Commit to sleeping more. You’ll look better, feel better, and be more productive.

As this baby proves, you can sleep anywhere.

Brogi of the Month – September, 2013

By Events, Featured, Interviews, Motivation, Teachers, Uncategorized No Comments

The Brogi of the Month Award goes out monthly(ish) in recognition of a person who, through action or word, makes things better for themselves and the people around them. In most instances, recipients will be acknowledged for great achievements in the health/fitness/nutrition – aka Broga – realm, but not always. The common denominator will almost always be an achievement that inspires. All those who receive the award will get a 10-class pass (or something of equivalent value). We love inspiring stories, so please feel free to email us nominations and a story any time.

The September, 2013 Brogi of the Month Award goes to a guy who has done something rather unique with his retirement, something we find really inspiring. Having reachedBill Williams an age and status at which many people might prefer to do LESS with their bodies, Bill Williams decided to do MORE. A short time after retiring from his successful fourth generation family business, Bill began training to become a personal trainer. Then he became a 200hr certified Yoga instructor. Then a TRX instructor. Then a Broga Instructor!

We are very excited to have Bill as part of our Broga® Yoga teaching community and so – as we hear – are the good people of Mexico, MO.  As you’ll see below, we aren’t the only people who think Bill rocks.

Check out this recent interview with Bill and feel free to drop him, or us, a note in the comments section.

If you don’t mind sharing, how old are you?
Bill: 64 years young! Age is only a number!

How did you first learn about Broga?
Bill: I believe I heard about Broga from a family member on the East Coast. I looked online to learn what Broga was about, and then I wanted to learn more.

What drew you to Broga? 
Bill: I was hesitant to take a Yoga class that was primarily women.  I reluctantly attended a Yoga class and recognized there is a great need for Yoga classes designed to attract men to attend.

In addition to teaching Broga, what else do you do currently?
Bill: I also teach Indoor Cycling, TRX Suspension Training, Group Fitness Classes and Personal Training.

Broga: Before getting involved in fitness, what did you do?
Bill: My career was a family business of commercial laundry and linen supply. I was a fourth generation President until passing the reins to a younger brother who operates the business today.

Broga: Have you always been in good shape?
Bill: I would have to say that while I was generally in decent shape, but now, definitely the best shape of my life!

Broga: You were recently awarded TWO Inspiration Awards at the International IDEA Fitness Conference in L.A. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
Bill: I was, and still am, very honored to be chosen by Fitness class instructors, to receive the two Inspiration Medals. The class instructors would present the medals following the class to the person or persons whom they felt were the most inspiring to others.

Broga: What challenges do you see people your age having as they try to stay healthy? Any tricks or recommendations that you’d offer?
Bill: I think the most difficult decision for most is the time commitment. We have to make taking care of ourselves a top priority. If we don’t there are always many other things we could be doing with that time slot. I think it is important to first make the commitment, then decide what time frame we are willing to make our fitness training number one over all other choices.

BillandConnie

Bill Williams with personal training biz partner, Connie.

Broga: Any advice for people who are looking to fitness as a second career?
Bill: Find someone who you admire for what they do for the Fitness Industry. Learn what makes them successful, and perhaps ask for their help. Then take the trainings, and become certified and knowledgeable with the coursework you plan to instruct.

Brogi of the Month – July, 2013

By Featured, Interviews, Motivation, Students, Teachers One Comment

The Brogi of the Month Award goes out monthly (obviously) in recognition of a person who, through action or word, makes things better for themselves and the people around them. In most instances, recipients will be acknowledged for great achievements in the health/fitness/nutrition – aka Broga – realm, but not always. The common denominator will almost always be an achievement that inspires. All those who receive the award will get a 10-class pass (or something of equivalent value). We love inspiring stories, so please feel free to email us nominations and a story any time.

Our first Brogi of the Month is a guy that has inspired us …a lot. It has been a pleasure getting to know him and having him in our Somerville classes. He was very nervous for his first class, having never done anything “like this” before, but he kept coming back. His name is Mo Jarava and he’s lost nearly 70 lbs as a committed Broga student.

This past week was his 100th Broga class. Congratulations, Mo. We’re proud and honored to have you in this community.

Here’s a brief interview with Mo from a couple weeks back – i.e. just before his 100th class.

 

 

Broga: What do you do?
Mo: I’m a law enforcement officer with the federal government.  High pressure, and high demands.  I’ve been an officer for the past 18 years.  It’s something I’m used to but it doesn’t make it easier.

Broga: Is your job stressful?
Mo: Extremely.

Broga: Tell us a bit about how you found Broga and your expectations when you started.Mo
Mo: After a recent promotion, I began suffering from migraines.  I’ve always had a Type A personality, and migraines were a common occurrence for me but this was something different and much more intense.   After a battery of tests, one of which landed me in the ER, I was told “You need to relax”.   The last thing someone who is stressed needs to hear is “just relax”.   I ended up in therapy having electrical current run through my muscles to get me to unwind.  That’s when I knew I had to do something.   I saw an ad for Broga and started reading up on it.

I went on to the site and read about the course, the instructors, and the basic Broga mission statement.   I had my hesitations but decided to give it a try.

I wrote Adam and Robert an email and explained a little of my situation.   I was overweight, inflexible, and hadn’t done any fitness regime since years.  What I did have was the desire to improve, to find a balance in my life and find a way to calm my mind.  I wanted to participate but didn’t know if I could keep up and I didn’t want to hold the class back.   Adam wrote me back and told me Broga was the class for me.

Broga: How would you describe your level of fitness now compared to when you started Broga?
Mo: I’ve been practicing for over a year now.  I can totally see an improvement in my fitness level.  I think back to the third Broga class I took.  I almost gave up after that night.  My first two classes were tough but I was able to keep up.  That third class was intense.  I remember the thought “what fresh sadistic hell is this?!” going through my mind throughout the class.   I decided right then and there to give up.  I wasn’t ready for this level of intensity and this was just a beginner course.  After class, I was gearing up to go home; feeling defeated and like a failure.  Some of the other students in the class were milling about we began talking.  These were guys that were very fit and they were commenting on how the class had kicked their ass.   Ok.. so if the class was tough even for them, maybe it wasn’t just me.  I decided to come back the following week.   I remember Robert telling us we had already taken the first step, we showed up, we were there.  That meant a lot to me because I came so close to not going back.   The classes were still tough, and I still had my days where I dreaded hearing the words “forearm plank”.  But I kept with it.

Throughout the past year I’ve experienced a series of mini achievements.  I slowly starting to do some of the stuff I previously felt was impossible and improbable.  Poses that I once thought I’d never get into unless there was an intricate systems of pulleys and levers involved, now became a routine part of my practice.

Broga: Looking ahead over the next few years, what are your health and fitness goals?
Mo: Now that I know I have it in me to dedicate time to my health and fitness, I’ve taken more of a proactive approach to my well-being.  I’ve changed my diet, eating habits and behavior.   I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and am on the way to getting to a healthy weight and fitness level.  Once there, I hope to be able to maintain and keep improving.  I’m looking at expanding my exercise routine to include some gym time.  I’m attending Broga three times a week and am looking for something in between the class days.  I’m keeping tabs on the number of classes I attend, when I get to class 100, I am going to try my hand at the Broga 2 class.

Broga: How awesome was it when you were able to do Crow pose for the first time?
Mo: The first time Robert had us do Crow pose in class I actually laughed out loud and shook my head.  There was no way I was going to get my body to do that.  Robert looked at me and said “No?  Not happening?  It’s ok, you’ll get there.”  He taught me a modified version that would help me to eventually get there.  As the classes went on, that pose became a goal.  I would eventually do it.  Around class number 50 I was finally able to do Crow.  It wasn’t perfect, I only stayed up for a few breaths, but I did it.  It was amazing.  Something that had been so far off had finally come within reach.

Broga: What’s your favorite yoga pose?
Mo: I can’t say I have one favorite.  I like the balance poses like tree, warrior three, and side plank.  Humble warrior is awesome!  Every once in a while a new leg stretch or back stretch gets thrown into the mix and I just want to scream out thaaaaaaaaaaaaank you!!

Broga: What’s your least favorite yoga pose?
Mo: Still not a fan of forearm plank but I am able to do it now and stay up.  We just added a mountain climber exercise that is a bit vicious but I can definitely feel the impact and benefit.

Broga: What do you like most about Broga class?
Mo: In no particular order…

  1. You can go at your pace.  There is no race or competition.
  2. The instructors tailor the poses to your current level.  Be it adding a strap, changing the pose or other modifications, they teach you how to get the most out of each pose and flow at your own level.
  3. The music.  I’ve added a few of the songs to my playlists and have found I start subconsciously breathing deep and calming down when I hear them.
  4. It has become the highlight of my week where I can turn off everything else going on and just focus on my breath and the poses.
  5. Effort and Ease.   It’s become a mantra not only throughout class but in my daily world as well.

Broga: What do you like least about Broga class?
Mo: There isn’t anything I don’t like.  As the word is getting out and more people are discovering Broga, the classes are starting to fill up.   I have to make sure to get there early to get my spot in the back corner.  I’m very much a creature of habit and can be a little OCD.  I have my focal points for my drishti.

Broga: What would you tell someone who is unsure about trying Broga?
Mo: They need to give it a shot.  If they are looking for a way to better their health and improve their life, try it out.  They should talk to others in the class, I know I’m not the only one who has benefited from Broga.  They can come talk to me about it too,  I’m the one in the back corner.

Broga: If someone gave you $1 million dollars to help people get/stay in better health, what would you do with the money?
Mo: I think it comes down to education.  Educating people on how to make proper choices, and take care of themselves.  Helping them find whatever works for them.

Thanks for the inspiration, Mo! With your success, the words “Mo-tivation” and “Mo-bility” are taking on new meaning in the Broga world.

If you have any thoughts or questions about what it takes to make big, sustained changes in your life, please share them in the comments section below.

Click to access the login or register cheese