Yogi Selects: Frank Mitchell

Focus Focus Focus…. We are keeping the momentum going with Yogi Selects. This time were diving deep with Frank Mitchell. I follow Frank on IG and when he reached out I already had a few questions about scuba diving in mind so it was cool to get a chance to send him a questionnaire. Check out what Frank shared below.

When did you come across yoga and why did you continue to practice after your first experience? 

I came to a dedicated yoga practice about two years ago. I had decided at that time to change my lifestyle by giving up alcohol which for a long time had been erosive to my life and spiritual growth. I had always toyed with the idea of practicing yoga, but now the focus and calm it gave me became an indispensable element in my sobriety and therefore my growth and centeredness.

How imporant is diet in relation to your yoga practice?

I still gotta keep some vices so I have yet to do an overhaul of my diet. What I do notice is that I eat much more for fuel and nourishment now than for taste and my appetite corresponds to my practice. I will sometimes not eat a heavy meal for days and then all the sudden I am ravenous and eat alot in one sitting. I don’t know I think I still have a lot to learn there but I am interested in Ayurvedic and Ital philosophies of diet and health, so studying those to incorporate eventually. Slowly but surely.

When did you come across yoga and why did you continue to practice after you first experience? 

I came to a dedicated yoga practice about two years ago. I had decided at that time to change my lifestyle by giving up alcohol which for a long time had been erosive to my life and spiritual growth. I had always toyed with the idea of practicing yoga, but now the focus and calm it gave me became an indispensable element in my sobriety and therefore my growth and centeredness.

How important is diet in relation to your yoga practice?

I still gotta keep some vices so I have yet to do an overhaul of my diet. What I do notice is that I eat much more for fuel and nourishment now than for taste and my appetite corresponds to my practice. I will sometimes not eat a heavy meal for days and then all the sudden I am ravenous and eat alot in one sitting. I don’t know I think I still have a lot to learn there but I am interested in Ayurvedic and Ital philosophies of diet and health, so studying those to incorporate eventually. Slowly but surely.

In a society that seems to be run by technology can yoga help you reconnect to nature if so how? 

It’s a welcome break but again, my vices run deep and this too is an area for improvement. I do find that when my mind is racing because I’m not on my phone or at my computer, I can tap into the breathwork I’ve learned. Yoga for me isn’t always about asanas those just are the tools to get to a better place of breathing which in turn helps regulate my body and calm my mind.

Is music helpful to your yoga practice? 

Some mornings at home, I will put on some Fela in the mornings while I am doing my am stretching, that gets me pumped and feeling good and grounded. I love the rhythms and the timing and the call and response of his music. If I had to try and explain, I think to break it down, the long breath of the horn sections that repeat can be synced to my poses and my own breath. It’s hard to describe but it’s very spiritual especially early as the sun comes up. It’s a beautiful feeling

What connections do you see between meditation and drumming? 

I think everybody can drum and I don’t profess to be good, but rhythm and repetition are very important in practice and life. My main discipline is Bikram Yoga and in that discipline we do repetitions of the same 26 postures. It’s in that repetition that I find the meditation state, this semi-conscious state where my body goes on auto-pilot following the rhythm and I am caught up in that feeling. It frees up the mind to focus on whatever my meditation goals happens to be. Sometimes that’s thinking about problems and seeking clarity or sometimes that’s removing thought to otherwise seek clarity.

Scuba diving requires the use of breathing techniques similar to yoga and meditation. How has your practice helped your diving ?

Yes! It helped immensely.. I did my PADI certification this summer which was pretty grueling two days and about 8 hrs of diving. While submerged there so much to remember not the least of which is just to keep breathing. There were other students who became nervous and flustered underwater and they would always get disoriented and quickly come up the the surface. Again relying on the breath which even though it’s through the mouth (Yogis typically breath through the nose) you can relieve that feeling of anxiousness or even claustrophobia while underwater. It not only makes it more enjoyable, it makes it safer.

Do you feel the difference in Kemetic yoga style versus others? If so what would those differences be as well as similarities?

Kemetic yoga I feel has a subtleness that makes it gentler and in some ways more intuitive. I like that there’s emphasis on the breath and alignment of the spinal column. As with all forms of yoga there’s work to increase blood and oxygen circulation which is restorative but how Kemetic yoga differs is the emphasis on the geometrically progressive postures. Indian-based yoga has trikonasana (triangle pose) and Virabhadrasana (warrior pose) which are geometric but it’s the emphasis on the angles that mimic the ancient Kemetic hieroglyphs that really brings a heightened significance to the alignment. I find these with the emphasis on care and easing into postures very beneficial. It’s really a perfect form for people of all ages and particularly useful and accessible to communities of color who may not be as familiar with yogic philosophy.

Have you ever had any yoga related dreams or mystical meditation experiences? 

I have been reading The Amazing secrets of the Yogi by Charles Haanel where he talks about astral bodies and levitation. I have felt through breathing and some intense Bikram (hot) classes an outer body experience. It could have been exhaustion, it could have been my astral body leaving my physical one. I am not experienced enough to be sure. Haanel also talks about invisible forces of nature and the laws of attraction (thinking things into existence) I am a avid believer in such things.

Do you have anything else you would like to share with the readers of infocus247.com 

Please look me up if you’re ever in Chicago. I love talking about yogic philosophy and showing people the different studios, events, and spiritual sights  in town. Peace and Blessings.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s