The more I achieved, the more I altered my lifestyle.
I had no interest in Yoga over a year ago. I tried the stretching practice in 2010, as a part of a P90x workout. All I remember saying is, “this shit is hard.” I never thought of trying it again, but life has a way of switching things up on us.
At the top of 2017, I was looking for ways to supplement my running and wasn’t a big fan of going to the gym. My Facebook friend, Raven, whom I met in person for the first time months prior was a yoga enthusiast and instructor himself. Inspired by his Instagram posts of he in advanced poses, I thought I’d give it another try.
I reached out to Raven to ask him if he knew of any quality clips on YouTube I could use to try it out again. He told me there were tons but thought it would be better if I worked with an instructor. I wasn’t looking for another monthly bill, so I gunned for doing it alone; he understood and offered me a free class to show me the basics if I changed my mind. As you can imagine, the online approach went terribly. The teacher in the video moved too quickly, and I couldn’t ask critical questions. I decided to take Raven up on his offer.
Raven was living in Baltimore at this time, so we decided to have our session via Skype. I used the airplay feature on my computer to play the course on my living room television. With no mat in my possession, Raven walked me through the basics of yoga flows. I enjoyed his approach and his desire to share all the knowledge he could with his students. Founding his method, in which he calls “Ravolutionary Yoga,” the meditation was like nothing I’d experienced before. By the end of the class, I decided I wanted to move forward with additional sessions. The following week, I purchased a yoga mat at Marshall’s and was ready to begin this new journey.
Now an official student, Raven gave me goals and things to work on in between classes. I learned more about my breathing, relaxing my shoulders, and trusting my wrists. I felt terrific after courses, and it had a similar feeling to getting a deep tissue massage. I looked forward to flowing every week.
After a few weeks of yoga practice, I was determined to get better. I practiced during the week but also needed to make other adjustments. First on my checklist was drinking more water. To get the most out my workouts and overall wellbeing, I consumed well over 100 ounces of water per day. To up the ante, I also decided to pay attention to my eating habits. I needed to reduce junk foods and up my vegetables, grains, and proteins. These changes significantly assisted in my progress. The more I achieved, the more I altered my lifestyle.
In 2016, I challenged myself to eat a vegan diet for a month. While the duration was testing, the benefits were amazing. I decided to give it another try on a long-term scale. With previous experience under my belt, I instantly cut out meat and dairy. My meals included colorful vegetables, grains, rice, and substitutes of meats and cheeses.
Cooking became a fun activity as I explored different textures, tastes, and seasonings. I loved recreating favorite dishes, that would otherwise use animal products, and making them plant-based. I’ve made nachos, spicy kale wraps, buffalo cauliflower, soy stir-fry, and much more. This time around, it doesn’t feel forced or even a sacrifice. In due time, my body composition was evolving, and the results were quickly noticeable.
In a conversation with a college athlete, he mentioned he couldn’t wait to eat at 1 pm that day. I inquired why he was depriving himself of eating, and he explained that he practiced intermittent fasting. He went on to tell that he ate all his calories in a fixed window of time, daily. I was super intrigued, so I did my research by reading articles online and watching videos on YouTube.
Intermittent fasting (I.F.) is a system where you place your body in a fasted state for an extended period a few times per week. I.F. forces your body to use your fat stores for fuel and thus encouraging weight loss with lean muscle mass. I eat under a 16:8 schedule, I consume all of my calories from 12-8pm and fast for 16 hours into the next day. This technique felt like the ultimate cheat code of weight loss and muscle gain.
I eventually loss 30+ pounds from my frame and felt terrific. Yoga was the catalyst for all the changes I made last year. I am now a champion for Yoga, Veganism, and Intermittent Fasting. While I’m undoubtedly unique in implementing all three practices, I know it’s not for everyone. I’d recommend trying just one and reaping the individual benefits. If you are looking for challenging workout, definitely look into hitting the mats for yoga. If you want to switch up your eating, think about cutting your meat and dairy consumption. The reduction of inflammation alone is enough to change your mind. If you want to target and burn some excess fat, give intermittent fasting a try.
My ultimate goal is to have a high quality of life. I'm pushing for longevity and few visits to the doctor. I'm glad the Universe has aligned me with an approach that works for me, and I hope that you can find something that will assist in living your best life.