Monthly Archives: August 2017

21 Days of Nothing Challenge

The “21 Days of Nothing Challenge” is my invitation for you to join me in daily meditation for 21 days STRAIGHT beginning September 1st!

“If you want to change, the first thing you need to change is your mind” – Chris

Why “21 Days of Nothing”?  Most of us are already overloaded with busy-ness, or doing-ness.  I’m inviting you to set aside a few minutes, daily, over the course of 21 days to do absolutely nothing – just sit and meditate.  And while meditation is doing nothing, or as I like to put it, “being no body, going no where”, it is actually one of the most powerful things you can do to make a positive impact on your life.

Here are just a few proven benefits of meditation:

  • Lowers resting heart rate
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Boosts ability to maintain high levels of mental acuity for sustained periods of time
  • More easily tap into the “flow state”
  • Increases concentration skills which are vital for peak performance in day-to-day activities, workout and sports performance, and other work related tasks
  • Enhances creativity
  • Improves oxygen exchange in the lungs
  • Reduces stress and cortisol levels that are associated with stress. Cortisol has been linked to acceleration of the aging process, weight gain, immune system suppression, and increases in blood pressure
  • Improves sleep patterns and deeper levels of relaxation
  • Helps to ward off “anxiety attacks”
  • Quells symptoms associated with PMS
  • Enhances immunological function
  • Boosts feelings of well-being, happiness, joy, self confidence and personal empowerment
  • Facilitates fat loss

While these are all excellent reasons to meditate, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having no expectations on your meditation practice and to remind you that this is not a means to an end, rather a lifelong practice to cultivate your personal and spiritual fitness.

Who can benefit from the “21 Days of Nothing Challenge”?

The short answer?  “Everyone”!  This challenge is ideal for anyone interested in learning to meditate – from new meditators looking for proper guidance as well as experienced meditation practitioners lacking consistency or who could use some guidance and support.

What do I get when I sign up?

Those doing the challenge will get:

  • My new “Yoga for Meditation” video.  I share with you a short yoga sequence you can perform on a regular basis to help your body open, relax, and sit in meditation more comfortably.
  • A nine page PDF that offers my insights and instructions for meditation which also answers many questions people have when it comes to meditation.
  • Access to a private Facebook page to connect and interact with others doing the 21 day challenge as well as myself, an experienced meditation teacher and guide.
  • 21 days of assigned meditation sessions.
  • Tools, mindfulness practices, and ongoing support.
  • A daily practice the will serve you for a lifetime!

When does the challenge begin?

Day 1 of the 21 Days of Nothing Challenge is September 1st!

“Rules” of the challenge:

While there really aren’t “rules” in meditation, nor this challenge, there are certainly guidelines which will ensure you have the most positive experience during the 21 days of the challenge.  Here is what I ask:

  • The most important guideline is that you MUST meditate, as assigned, for 21 days IN A ROW.  This means if you miss a day of assigned meditation, you start over at Day 1.  Yes, even if you miss Day 20, you start over again at Day 1.  Here’s why.  In order to develop a consistent and sustainable practice, you MUST develop the discipline and dedication of sitting for at least 21 days without missing a session.  There is a “cumulative training effect” which occurs after 21 days of daily meditation.  As such, I require that if you miss a session, you start again at Day 1.  Just trust me and know you will be glad you did and understand, for yourself, why I require this.  Don’t worry, the program is not hard to follow and I offer plenty of tips and strategies to ensure you complete the 21 day challenge. 
  • If you are on social media, I ask that you post you are doing the challenge, along with the hashtag “#21daysofnothing”.  And I encourage you to post throughout the program, using the same hashtag, as this lets others know you are involved with the challenge.  Doing so helps keep you accountable among your social media following.  Nothing beats group support when making a lifestyle change.  Additionally, you might inspire others to join in the challenge.
  • Tell others around that you are doing the challenge as well!
  • If you are on Facebook, join our private group, “21 Days of Nothing Challenge”.  Do this for the same reasons above as well as to gain the support and feedback from others doing the challenge.  Plus, I’ll be in the private group and can offer guidance.

How is this challenge different than free apps I can get on my smartphone or other programs out there?

The style of meditation we will explore during the “21 Days of Nothing Challenge”, is what I have practiced and taught for over 20 years.  It is the most basic and stripped down approach to meditation that there is, yet it is surprisingly unparalleled in its ability to quiet the chatter of the mind and in helping us regain control of our thoughts. Thus, this style of meditation truly reflects the essence and intention of challenge.

Unlike other forms of meditation which may over simplify meditation, incorporate mantras, chanting, visualizations, complex techniques, music/sounds, astral traveling, or attempts to switch off the mind, the form of meditation I share requires nothing more than sitting down and paying attention to your breath and your posture.

Some forms of meditation hold promises of bliss, a happier life, abundance, peace, prosperity, cosmic experiences, or even “enlightenment.” In reality, none of these external conditions or rewards are relevant to true meditation. In fact, my experience with meditation has taught me that anything beyond sitting still and paying attention to your breath is just another construct of your mind, or entertainment for the ego-mind and has little to do with impacting the negative tendencies of your mind.  We get plenty entertainment for the ego-mind each waking moment. When you meditate, do so with the intent of just being present and mindful. Oh, and I guess there is one rule I have with meditation –

No expectations!

Having expectations on your meditation during the challenge is sort of like starting a weight loss program and weighing every day and expecting to see instant results.  Meditation and training the mind takes time.  Rather than having expectations during the challenge, just do the practice, as assigned, and trust the process.

How much does it cost to enter the challenge?

The “entry fee” for the 21 day challenge is only $21.  Yep, for just a dollar a day, you will get everything included, along with the tools you need to establish a life-time meditation practice and the opportunity to transform your mind… and your life!

Questions?  Just let me know.  Shoot me an email at: cchrisroche@gmail.com.

Ready to join the challenge?  Click the button below and I’ll forward you the starter kit which includes my nine page eBook which will explain all you need to know along with a video tutorial on the practice we will use beginning September 1st.


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Free Content Friday!!

FREE DOWNLOAD!!!  “Elegance in Difficulty”, A Mindful, Slow Flow Power Yoga Practice – audio file.   Recorded live, August 11th, 2017 at Cityoga.  Also available, along with other downloads, by clicking the “Online Store” tab, or HERE.

“Elegance in Difficulty” was a lesson instilled in me by my primary Teacher, Steve Ilg, and has proven to be the best thing I could have ever embraced, both in my Practice and in my life.

In this Practice, you are encouraged to remain mindful of your body and your breath as we “slow flow” through various standing sequences.  This is a challenging, no frills and no “circus poses” session, just basic, solid yoga asana… oh, with the exception of one option to venture into Bird of Paradise 😉

It is an honor to Serve my Students and I am grateful to everyone who supports my work and chooses to Study with me.  As a “Thank You!”, I am offering this download free of charge!  As I say at the end of all my classes, “May this Practice benefit you abundantly and all those around you.  And, may all beings be happy, healthy, and free… Namaste.”  Approximately 75 minutes.  Appropriate for all levels of practitioners with some yoga experience.  

Get My Free Download

To Rock Out, Or To Not Rock Out – That is the Question

Below is a blog article I posted back in March of 2008 that I thought I would share again.  Why?  Because a couple months ago I made the same not-so-great choice and had the same results.  Considering I wrote this nine years ago, I think it speaks to how somethings, for me, remain a constant Truth.  May this benefit you in some way as well.

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Me, “Making choices with outcomes that suck…” Yes, I occasionally do that. And, nothing like getting called out by one of your “Students”. I sent this picture to Aimee to show off my new hat. She, in turn, asked what the hell was I doing wearing earbuds during a run. Guilty as charged.

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Namaste All,

I did something the other day that I have not done in a looooong time – I went running outside, no, not that, I’ve been back to consistent outdoor running since last fall; rather I went running outside… while wearing my iPod. Now, I realize that many of you may plug in while working out in the gym, on the “dreadmill”, or even when you are outside running and it’s your God-given right to do so. It’s just that for me, I’ve considered it a “sin” against all things Spiritual-Fitness and have not transgressed in over 10 years. Okay, maybe the occasional CD player in the fanny-pack-at-the-gym that I did in the late 90’s, other than that, I cannot remember a time where I was plugged in during a workout, let alone while running outside. So, if you will indulge me, here is my “field report”.

In two words, IT SUCKED! And believe me, it won’t happen again unless I take on a total and complete “screw-it-all” attitude. I will admit that my pace was a tad bit faster for the first 2 miles, yet after that there was no difference in terms of physical performance. I will also admit that I can see why so many people plug-in during workouts; added motivation, something to entertain you during the workout, something to take your mind off the fact that your body is not too happy that you are running outside in sub-20 degree weather (colder than that with the wind chill) and that certain body parts may actually freeze and fall off if you do not stop this insanity.

Here is what I didn’t like: Added external motivation, divorcing me from internal/Higher connection for motivation. Being externally entertained, rather than being centered on the experience at hand. Having my mind distracted by music rather than paying attention to my body/mind.

Here is what else I didn’t like: When I Practice, be it Yoga, cycling, mowing the lawn, walking, sitting, or running, I Practice mindfulness and paying attention, something I learned from my primary Teacher, Steve Ilg. I pay attention to my body, my alignment, my breathing. I listen to the sounds around me, to the wind, to my breath, to my heartbeat, and to my body. I feel what is going on within my body, my surroundings, others around me and the connection/relationship which we share. I found that with my iPod in my ears, it was extremely difficult to maintain any connection whatsoever, other than to the music and temporary artificial high I was getting.

When I run, I can tell so much about what is going on by listening and being mindful. Is my breath deep, low, smooth and steady, or is it shallow, forced, and as off beat as my dancing skills? How about my foot strike upon the Earth, is it soft, even, and fluid, or is it heavy with my heels scuffing because I’m getting lazy? And not to mention that had I not looked over my shoulder before crossing an intersection (one which I had the right of way), I would have been mowed down my an SUV. Why? BECAUSE I COULDN’T HEAR IT APPROACHING! DUH?

For me there is no separation between practicing meditation, Yoga asana, strength training, or going for a run. In my experience, “it’s all Yoga”. And if one is truly intending to practice Yoga, one must be ever vigilant in their mindfulness and connection to ones Higher Self, and God, and I find it nearly impossible to do so when we are externally plugged in. So, I choose not to “rock out” when I practice, and for those of you accustomed (addicted?) or to plugging in, I challenge you to devote 30 days of going iPod free during your workouts, apply your Yoga and mindfulness and see for yourself the difference in the experience and be sure to share with me what you learn.  Until then, unplug, free your mind, and enjoy the ride.

Peace Out,

Chris

On Blogging and the Tao (Way) of Connection and Student Feedback

Happy Monday,

I started my first blog back in 2005 and over the years I’ve maintained multiple blogs – from my former Yoga studio and gyms to personal blogs and now this one.  It’s been an interesting journey.

For years, blogging and emailing were considered cutting edge modalities for connecting with my Students.  It provided a platform for me to share what I had to teach on a deeper level.  I used to blog… a lot… on a regular basis.  And it truly seemed that it helped foster connection with my Students, and helped my Students connect with one another as well.  We built community around a common interest and a shared experience.

These day?  With the advent of social media, YouTube “vlogs” and a whole host of other internet instant gratification outlets, I sensed that maintaining a blog was becoming a thing of the past.  To me, it felt like everyone wanted their information in bite sized snippets to be consumed in a matter of seconds, rather than taking the time to mindfully read a blog post.  I get it though.  The speed of life can be pretty fast and intense, if we let it… and sometimes I get caught up in that trip as well.  We can make time for a quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram.  Or we might sit through a YouTube video on someones social media – just make sure it’s three minutes or less, otherwise “ain’t nobody got time for that”!

The terrain of my life has been steep the last couple years (self chosen) and I often haven’t felt any interest in social media, let alone reading online articles.  It’s also a whole lot easier and faster for me to put something on the Facebooks or a post on Insta than it is for me to spend large chunks of time writing a blog post.  Thus, I have gone extended periods of time away from adding meaningful content.  Again, life speed at warp speed and trying (poorly) to change with the times – I’m not a fan and I know my Students truly aren’t a fan.  Let’s change that, shall we?  How about we make time… here… to really connect, to share, and to go deeper on our Journey.

As my own personal Practice deepens, I’m back to slowing my roll.  Sure, I’ll still dabble with social media, yet my focus is here.  Making time to regularly serve some fresh-baked content for all of you.  And not just fast-food content or bit-sized snippets that leave your brain craving more, like a bad sugar rush.  Rather, content that you can slow down to and feel a sense of satiety afterwards.  Something you can chew for a while, enjoy the layers and flavors that come through and maybe allow it to help nourish you along your Journey to health, fitness and well-being.

Here is all I ask from you:

  • When you read content on this site, please do so mindfully.  Before you read, slow down and take a deep cleansing breath.  Adjust so that your posture is elegant.  If you are in a rush or sitting in traffic, save it to read later.
  • Engage with me and others by leaving comments and maybe even comment on others comments!
  • Share with others!  Feel free to share the link on your own outlets and social media.

May this blog and website provide you with an oasis from the monkey mind of social media and the rat race world.  Because, remember, even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.

Some Student feedback from my last blog post, “My Practice, My Anchor”.  Thank you to all who have taken the time to offer your comments and emails:

“Love it Chris! I look forward to our practice every Friday. And, I am beginning to use what I have learned from you, to incorporate into a daily practice. Not completely there yet, but am determined to do so. Thanks!”

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“Good article….as always, acceptance is the key.”

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“Always love your blog posts 😊”

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“Chris, thank you for your thoughtful writing. As I travel to Colorado tomorrow to spend time with my ailing/aging parents, I will keep this intention in mind……….. with an open heart.  I hope to practice with you soon.”

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“I am mindful and grateful to you, Chris, for introducing yoga and mindfulness into my life. It was many years ago but I think of you fondly! Namaste dear brother!”

My Practice, My Anchor

Anchor

Main Entry: an·chor

Function: noun

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English ancre, from Old English ancor, from Latin anchora, from Greek ankyra; akin to Old English anga hook — more at angle

Date: before 12th century

1 : a device usually of metal attached to a ship or boat by a cable and cast overboard to hold it in a particular place by means of a fluke that digs into the bottom 2 : a reliable or principal support : mainstay 3 : something that serves to hold an object firmly 4 : an object shaped like a ship’s anchor 5 : an anchorman or anchorwoman 6 : the member of a team (as a relay team) that competes last 7 : a large business (as a department store) that attracts customers and other businesses to a shopping center or mall 8 : a fixed object (as a tree or a piton) to which a climber’s rope is secured

(definition from www.m-w.com)

So lately I’ve been dealing with some personal “stuff” and some stress; yet who isn’t or who isn’t? My philosophy is this: “It isn’t what happens in your life that matters, it’s how you respond to it that matters.”

As a “householder”, which each of you reading this would fall into this category, stress is a fact of life: bills, relationships, cars breaking down, friend/family illness, jobs, traffic, and so forth. Each of these elements work to create the potential for stress that we experience.  Whittle down the amount of stuff and relationships you have in your life, or become a renunciate/monk and instantly you shed an enormous amount of potential difficulty in your life. Of course, if you dump all the external stress, now you get to the nitty-gritty, fun stuff that is within and you REALLY have to start dealing with all your shit — yet, that is another post for another time.

When it comes to navigating through these life challenges, I am forever grateful for my Practice, and though not attached to it (for one day it too will be gone), I do find it to be a consistent anchor in my life which never fails to help me “hold fast” (as we used to say in the Coast Guard) in times of difficulty. As difficulty arises, if I am willing to embrace it with calmness and meet it with equal intensity in my workouts, my yoga, my meditation, and a steadfast willingness to let go, I always find a new level of awareness, peace, joy and contentment in my life.

I consider life challenges and the ebb and flow of stress to be strength training for my spirit. In the Iron Temple (gym) there is a well-known principle known as the “SAID” principle, or “Specific Adaptation to an Implied Demand”. In short this principle states that if you train, your body adapts to the demand by getting stronger, cultivating more endurance, becoming more powerful, etc. Conversely, if you sit on the couch eating chips and watching t.v., your body adapts by metabolizing lean tissue which it no longer needs, stores calories as fat, decreases ones flexibility, and so forth. Such it is with the challenges we face in life. We can choose to sit on the couch of life, hide or run from our challenges, and as a result become softer, weaker, less flexible, and more fear-full. Or, we can accept the experience for what it is, attend to our Practice, engage with the challenge, navigate through it and thus cultivate a spirit of strength, courage, equanimity, and true spiritual fitness.

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One of my anchor tattoos. This one carries a deep meaning for me.

If you feel like you are drifting about in your life or are being heavily influenced by “circumstances” or feeling overloaded with stress and seeing its effects on your body, mind, spirit, consider if you are relying on your anchor, your Practice. All I know is that without my anchor, I’d be lost at sea with countless other souls (okay, so now I’m hearing the song “Message in a Bottle”, by the Police…).

Peace,

Chris

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