On this run through of Yogi Selects I took a scroll on Instagram to discover The.Brotha.That.Cooks. Being a brother that cooks myself, I knew I would get some home cooked quality answers. Check out the light dive below!
How do you stay rooted in your yoga practice to ensure lifelong progress?
I stay rooted in my yoga practice by staying realistic with myself and my expectations. I set goals in my head of certain poses that I want to have down, knowing full well that it will take me years to develop the strength and body awareness. My decision to get into yoga was mindful at its roots. I was a Division 1, Olympic Level swimmer before my transition, and even when it came as the choice to swim and not play football or basketball, I wanted to choose something that I could do throughout my lifetime and not destroy my body in the process. When it comes to the practice of yoga, I keep it first and foremost as an internal practice. The Asanas are secondary. I also follow the advice of more advanced yogis when it comes to what they say about the asanas. Listening to your body, not letting your ego get in the way when it comes to wanting to do a pose. On days that it doesn’t want to bend as far, or the handstands just aren’t being hit, it’s okay… just stay mindful of the breath
Did yoga effect your choice of what you decide to consume as food, if so why?
It was more so the other way around, I was becoming more mindful of what I was eating and then it led me towards yoga intuitively. I believe that when it comes to eating a plant-based diet as I follow it clears up the mind and naturally one will start to look for practices that are more holistic in nature and more about the relationship that you develop with you holistic self, not like most others that the relationship is carnal, how fast you go, how high you jump, how much you lift, what place you got in a competition. From being an athlete for most of my life, often you will find that the motivations behind great success come from the fear of being inadequate…based on a number.
What is the most logical thought you can think of pertaining to yoga as well as the most illogical?
Where do you find balance between the two?The most logical: Yoga is all about the connection between the mind, breath and body. The most illogical: The best yogis can do handstands and the most spiritual sit in full lotus I find balance between the two by staying in check with myself by listening to my body. I follow the advice of my yoga teachers and reflect on how I look to them for advice…to others my natural strength may lead some to think I’m a “better” yogi than them because of the asanas I can perform. I then look at myself and set goals towards having a practice where I stay aware of my breath for the entire hour and not pushing myself to advance an asana every class. It has led me to gleam more understanding of self and reality from my practices.
What was your perception of yourself before yoga and after?
I’ll take this question to be what my perception is before I practice yoga and then myself afterwards.Before I practice, I am often very busy in my mind, somewhat like a bees nest, focusing too much on the trivial matters of life jumping from one task to the next. Very shallow breathing.After I practice, I am more in the moment. Focused on the task at hand and not as worried about the artificial construct of time, but rather the quality of the work that I am performing
If the food you eat effects your mind state, how did you come to this observation?
I became most aware of this in August 2018 when I first ate raw vegan for 30 days. During that period, my skin was clearing up, I was forced to deal with some traumas of my past in my dream realities and I had more energy than ever before. I was eating as plant-based as I could before but eating Raw made me take a second look at the ingredients in my food. Also, during the holiday season I consciously chose to eat animal protein again with my family, so I could take note of the difference first-hand when I reverted. I noticed that I would often fall asleep right away, I was very groggy and lazy for about 48-72 hours after eating the animal protein. It makes me appreciate eating plant-based that much more because I have an accurate mental and physical record of the effects. I know by first-hand reflection that I am doing the best for my mind, body and by eating plant-based. Not just following an emotional trigger from an online post. Do best for yourself by trial and self-reflection.
Share your perspective/experience on conscious breathing.
The breath is the first thing that you do when you get here and the last thing you do when you leave. It plugs you into this reality. The nature of the thoughts is directly connected to the speed and the depth of the breath. Breath is everything. Think of it as your pulsating and changing the charge of the neurons in the air and space around and inside of you. Your breath is a step into programming your reality.
Do you think the expectations you have now will hold the same value toward the conclusion of your life time?
The aspects of me that are deeply programmed and more “hard wired” still have the ability to change through time, so for the most part I believe I will continue to grow and learn through my existence in this avatar.
Have you experienced any yoga related dreams or hard to explain meditation experiences?
For my meditations, I often get visuals of mandalas in a rhythmic pattern, feels like some signs of communication, but more feeling than hearing and navigating through the “music” or “bells”. I’m a, HBI student and I am thankful for the accurate knowledge and fluid format that they provide me along my path of spiritual development
When did you realize you would continue your yoga practice after starting?
I first learn of yoga when I was a child, I did it as a supplement to swimming because it helps open up the hips and maintain shoulder stability and strength. Besides that, I like the incorporation of the mind, body and breath. Swimming is very much the same way, because you breath opposite of when you are running, In through your mouth and out your nose. When you are pacing for distance the breathing rhythm is a large part of staying consistent. I also enjoy how you can simply do yoga by yourself and it takes up a small amount of space, you can do it anywhere and you can do it until the body dies. I consciously made a choice to chose habits that I could still do in my 100s (years of age)