Awareness Is Everything (Off The Mat)

Awareness Is Everything (Off The Mat)


I’m really excited to be writing another edition of Off the Mat, especially because it’s been so long since I wrote the last one. Last week I had the rare opportunity to take a week long vacation, one in which I taught [almost] zero yoga classes. (I ended up teaching two.)

During that time off, I was almost completely disconnected from my phone, did a maximum of 1 hour of work per day, and spent a lot of time walking, sitting, and doing nothing.

I did, however happen to finish one book. The book was F*ck Your Feelings, written by my friend, Ryan Munsey. And one of the topics he covered is the one I want to talk about today.

Awareness. It’s the first step of almost anything. Awareness allows you to:

  • understand what you’re doing, thinking, or your current situation
  • to examine the motives, thoughts, and beliefs behind what you’re doing
  • to CHANGE what you are doing, to improve every aspect of what you do.

Being more aware is an EXTREMELY easy way to improve our habits, to be more effective during the day, and to ultimately get more done so we can be more fulfilled, and feel better about ourselves.

Here are some specific examples of practicing awareness in my own life from the last couple of weeks:

  • Noticing how my hand flies to my smartphone whenever I feel the slightest tinge of boredom.
  • Opening up a new browser and navigating to a social media website instead of finishing the job at hand.
  • Recognizing I’m being complacent in my yoga practice and not pushing myself beyond what’s easy.

In each of these cases, there’s an easy way to improve myself:

  • Instead of reaching for my phone because I’m bored, I focus on breathing. Relax your shoulders. Take deep breaths. Do nothing. Calm yourself.
  • Instead of opening up a new browser, I ask myself why I’m distracting myself. Do I need a break? Do I just need to push a little harder?
  • Recognizing that I am being complacent, I ask myself if right now is a good time to push harder. Is the point of the workout restorative? How did I sleep last night? Do I have other workouts today?

But none of this critical thinking happens without first being AWARE.
So I’m giving you a challenge for this week. Here it is:

Your “challenge” this week:

  1. Think of situations in which practicing awareness will improve your performance.
  2. Whenever you think about awareness, apply awareness to the current task at hand. What can you do to be better? Is this habit something you should be doing? What should you be doing instead?

I hope you find this useful.

And now for what’s going on in my life this week!

Fitness focus: Resistance Training
Last week I started lifting weights again. My rib has finally healed, and in order to get my body lacrosse-ready (and also to add back some lost muscle) I’ll be adding about 90 minutes of resistance training to my weekly routine. My goal with this isn’t too exhaust my body with a full 60-minute weights session each day, but to break it up into 20-30 minute chunks instead.

Music I’m listening to: 17 – MK
This song is just really catchy.

Product I’m enjoying: F*ck Your Feelings
Great book from an awesome dude. If you’re interested in self-development in any capacity, Ryan is a great guy to learn from.

Book I’m reading: Influence
A classic I probably should have read 3 years ago. Better late than never! So far, so good. It’s denser than I had assumed, but still easy to understand.

Personal Struggle: Focusing on long-term projects.
For me there is always something happening RIGHT NOW with Man Flow Yoga, so it’s tough for me to work on projects that are more long-term. The funny thing is that I understand the relative lack of importance in the the short-term projects, but commit to them anyways. Hm.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Off the Mat! Thank you for reading.

If you liked this email and want to read more like it, click the button below to sign up for my Off the Mat with Dean newsletter.

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It’s a chance for you to see me putting into action the practices and habits that I’m asking you to do for yourself, to show you that what I’m talking about in my emails, blogs, and on social media is exactly the same stuff that I’m doing on a daily basis in my own life.

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