I was born on February 22, 1968. I was reborn on January 24, 1986, and yet again on
April 1, 2004, and September 26, 2013. Yet, I am sure I will be reborn again in this lifetime. A rebirth comes from a complete paradigm shift. It is truly when the world you live in, the operating principles that guide you, change entirely. This can be initiated by external circumstances. But in order to be reborn, one must renew their inner constitution.

The first 18 years of my life I suffered. I never knew a comfort in my own skin. I never experienced an ounce of content. I was swept up in what others thought or felt about me. I wanted to alter my state daily. I knew everything and I wanted to die. My first rebirth came as I walked into Drug Rehab, January 24, 1986. Thirty days later, with a lifetime of work ahead of me, I was reborn. I wanted to live. I knew nothing. I was concerned about what I thought about, not what others thought. I was content with a conversation, a smile, a meal, and a good night’s sleep. I felt, for the first time, real and genuine. I wanted to be in the state I was in.

Ever so humble

Rebirth is possible. In fact it’s probable, if and only, when you want to exercise your true greatness. I am not talking about talent. Talent, in many cases, is not only an obstacle to find your greatness, but it kills. I am talking about your godliness. That is simply the magic in you. The incredible power that we, as humans, possess. These days, days are spent chasing mundane dreams by humanity. I see people, including myself, achieving goals and fulfilling dreams, only to find they still are not full!

Become born again! Make a total shift. Know that you don’t know! Surrender. No more chasing and racing through life. Cease and release the need to control, to look “good”, to pretend, or to hide. Be real! Do the work you know you need to do and learn what you don’t know! All of this may sound overwhelming, but it all starts with one powerful choice. Choose to really live and choose to get help in doing so. You want to see a different world? You will the moment there is a different you.

We are travelers, seekers, fighters and lovers. But all in all, we are humans. Come be human with us.



What should I get my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary, I asked my lady? “Duh, Goobi (term of endearment), get your ass there and spend some time with them”, she answered. Rina was right. The best gift a child can give their parents is spending time with them.

My trip is a surprise. On the plane ride to Florida my excitement builds, as I write down some thoughts that are running through my mind on what it takes to stay with someone 50 years.

I have spent the better part of 30 years studying relationships, and of course, have had a variety of them myself. I would love to tell you that my marriage is together, but it’s not.  What has come together is the understanding of what we all need to know about holding a “until death do us part” vow.

The list I have compiled was forged from the space of upholding the pledge of “until death do us part”. Everything else in the marital contract, in some form, and at sometime, will most likely not only be broken, but shattered. Are you ready? If so, check out some of the reasons these incredible marriages have lasted!

1. Forgiveness is the only action a couple needs to perfect. Since neither person in the relationship is perfect, imperfections will show up in many forms. None of which will be fun, necessarily, for either person, and for some, those imperfections may seemly be intolerable. Forgiveness is the cornerstone to any successful relationship, especially a marriage, in making it last a lifetime. Everything has to be forgivable to make things liveable!  Mark Twain says “Forgiveness is the fragrance a violet sheds on the heel that crushes it”. Think about that! Live it! Then you will find it easy and freeing to forgive.

2. Two Lanes: There are only two lanes on the marital highway. One is staying married.  The other one is leaving! You have to choose the staying married lane over and over again. That has to be more important than anything else that happens in the marriage. There is a glory and a story that one can only have by staying in it. There are so many chapters to the story and you have to be steadfast on finishing your book. There will be many tragedies and triumphs throughout your story. There will be times of despondency, as well as, emotional, physical and financial bankruptcy. There will be births, deaths, laughs, and celebrations. All the while, you need to keep choosing to stay in that lane. Those that leave may find incredible loves, but they will never know if their choice was a good one, because they left before the story was over. No one who leaves will ever find out what it would have been like to stay. It’s a huge commitment! Staying is huge! It may end with one or both parties not being entirely happy. However, if either one truly understands the value of holding that space for decades, then, that in itself is an experience that cannot be matched by any other in this world.

3. Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear! Need I say more? Of course there may be fear, but fear never overtakes either one of you. Fear never dictates decisions. In short, it never wins the war.  Some battles yes, but not the war.


4. Loyalty and Stubbornness: These qualities came straight from the horse’s mouth. When I  asked my father how did you two manage to stay together for 50 years? My father responded, “I am too loyal to leave and Marlene is too stubborn”. After reflecting on that statement and what my father truly meant, it made perfect sense. I call it L.A.F., which stands for loyalty, allegiance, faithfulness. All of these words can be found in the other words’ definitions. They are one in same. One could substitute them for leniency, affection and friendship. Point being is that you have to have many laughs and hold the principles of L.A.F.

5. Never say Never: I have seen marriages explode because one or both parties unintelligently have created a deep seeded belief of what should never be acceptable. I am not suggesting I know your moral compass. I am stating that “I would never stay with someone who cheated on me” along with other such statements, are guarantees that a marriage will not last. In a long term relationship, you have to take things as they come. You have to be willing to see through many different lenses, and have an in depth understanding of the human condition. By saying, “I do” forever, you cannot say “but I won’t put up with this shit…”

I tip my hat to all who have somehow, someway, held their marriages together. Few realize that the relationship they dream of, is just that; a dream. Reality is a long lasting marriage with many nightmares. There is no fantasy. The fantasy is thinking it will be anything less than the most difficult thing you will do in life. However, the more difficult it is, the more gratifying the work will be. The reward from staying in a marriage is not just what the couple feels, but the gift of wholeness that they give to their families, their friends and their community. In a fragmented world with so much divisiveness, married couples give us unity. The more unions that stay intact, the more unions that will be created.

Thanks to all who make it their life’s commitment to grow a successful marriage.



Some years ago when I was just a teen, my friends and I were at my parents’ house while they were out of town. Although the party was definitely rich with people and playthings, we decided that we wanted to take the show on the road. There were two vehicles in the garage ready to take us anywhere we wanted to go, except for one thing… my parents took the keys with them so I could not use their cars. I remember staring at the cars thinking, “what good are they without the keys, they can’t move”.

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Years later I came across a similar and a much more global issue, New Year’s Resolutions.  They cannot get you very far without knowing what are the keys to success.  A few weeks into the New Year, many find they are slipping back into old patterns, even after swearing to themselves, family and friends, that things are going to change.

Here are 3 steps to help you uphold your New Year’s Resolutions:

1. I Can’t, We Can:  We all must realize that a resolution comes from an understanding that something must change.  Although it may have been just discovered, there is a history with whatever it is you are wanting to resolve.  If you were able to make that change, you would not be reading this and you certainly would not have made it a resolution. Nothing in this world is done alone.  I would not be writing this blog without my iPad. Someone built the chair I am sitting in and the desk I am typing at. Whatever you are looking to start or stop, learn or unlearn, will not be accomplished without help.  Ask for help!  Be willing to become an expert on whatever it is you are trying to do or not to do. You will need a village of friends, family, experts, support groups, as well as intensive study.  You may even need to plant yourself in a conducive environment for your change, for an extended period of time.  Point being, you must be ready to do whatever it takes.  All change takes a lot of help and education. Remember, only you can do it, but you cannot do it alone!

2. The world does not need to change, you do.  One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in pursuit of their own change is blaming people, places and things for change being difficult.  Yes, the environment can make things easier or harder, but in the end as a human, you are designed to rise above environmental influences.  You must not waste a moment trying to change others, or wishing things to be different.  You must use that energy on yourself!  If you put the amount of time looking outside yourself, into looking at yourself, all will be well. No one completes us and no one defeats us, but us!  Look around the world.  Do your research and you will find an unrelenting law: “You are the architect of your own fortune and misfortune.” – (A. Parthasarathy).  It is you that has choice.  It is you who has taken yourself out of and into everything you have experienced. Know deeply that no matter what is happening around you, you are responsible for what is going on within you!  You are fully responsible for your New Year’s Resolutions.  You chose them and now it’s up to you to deliver.  Refer back to Step One now and get help.

3. Work: Now it’s time to do the work. You will make mistakes.  You will relapse.  You will struggle.  New Year’s Resolutions can be set-ups for failure simply because change takes time and an unswerving commitment.  They do not go far on impulse.  Working on changing is change itself.  Understand what you are really trying to do and be realistic with the results.  Many of us have a nasty habit of unrealistic expectations, which come from a lack of understanding or education on what our resolutions entail.  I hear every year from countless people wanting to stop drinking or, of course, wanting to change their eating habits. These kinds of changes do not just happen and if they do, they will not last. You must educate yourself on the subject. Changing habits, arresting addictions are big time ventures that take incredible amounts of time and energy to see them through. They can involve job and relationship changes and much, much more.  Resolutions such as watching less TV involve a bigger “picture”;  with a deeper, underlying issue.  One of your resolutions may have to be to transform your relationship with self-work. Without a healthy relationship, working on yourself will quickly become strenuous, and stressful. Once in that state, the mind is looking for relief and guess where that relief comes from?? Yep, the very thing you were trying to give up, the mind will find a new habit that you will one day need to stop!  Learn to love the struggle, the challenge of change and you will set yourself free. These are the bare essentials for making good on your NYR. In most cases resolutions are truly about taking a personal inventory.  Once that inventory is taken, we are left with a deeper awareness on how we wish to improve ourselves.  There is no creature alive that can live and love like a human being.  You have won the “creature lotto”.  However, in order to open the treasure, you have dig deep within yourself to unlock it. The keys to unlocking your treasure are essential.

Sacred fire

I have designed a 10 day program, Eric Paskel Life and Teacher Training to do just that. Learn more about this dynamic program.  Once you jump on the road of transformation, the need for resolutions is no longer there, because every day you are already doing the work.  Here’s to your greatness!




SolitudeWho does not want an “easy path” to enlightenment; a “minute meditation”; a “quickie” to take the stress away? We are all down for that! Yet, is it really possible? Can I hear a “hell yeah”?

Here is all you have to do: Click your heels together three times and say “I wish I was home. I wish I was home”. It’s what the great Oz told Dorothy to do in the story, The Wizard of Oz, and it worked!

Meditation, as it was described by those that perfected themselves as human beings, cannot be accomplished in one minute. In fact, it’s not the first step in our quest for peace. It is the last step. However, if you are looking for a smile rather than a frown, a laugh rather than a cry, or a thank you, rather than a f*** you, here is what you can do…

– Have a go-to word or phrase that sums up who you want to be, how you want to feel, and ultimately the attitude and energy that you wish to exude every day. This “mantra” needs to be repeated both out loud and silently throughout the day. The most important times to do this are as soon as you wake up in the morning, and right before you go to bed at night. Do not be stingy with this. Repeat your “mantra”, even when you are not feeling it, throughout the day.

– The Manic Meditation: We have been exposed to only a small piece of what meditation looks like. It is a mere shadow of what is described in the ancient yoga scriptures. Therefore, allow me to use the name as the title for its “catchiness”, not what its operating definition or intent is supposed to be.

We think meditation should look and feel a certain way, such as sitting in a cross-legged position silently with our eyes closed. This type of meditation is impossible for many and is not helpful for those who are a bit more expressive.

The Manic Mediation is just as it sounds. Take a few minutes to go nuts! Yes, you have to be nuts! Seriously, scream, yell, swear, dance, hit the floor, jump up and down. Having a controlled breakdown helps to prevent having an actual one.

– Breathe! Even taking a Xanax is no match for the soothing, grooving qualities our own breath has to offer. It does take a little more effort than swallowing a pill, but not much more.

Take a seat or stand. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Close your eyes. Breathe in through the nose and out through the nose. Focus on filling the belly (like you ate too much) on the inhale and emptying the belly on the exhale. Try to not push anything away or to hold anything in. Do not worry about what you are thinking, just breathe! After ten or so breaths, which is about a minute at the most, you will already feel different. This is 20 minutes less than the time it takes for a Xanax to kick in.

Our troubadour

Meditation is ultimately not something you just do. There are prerequisites. Meditation does not calm the mind. One needs a calm mind to meditate! However, it is a “state” of mind. It is the effect of making good choices. Choices that support who you are and who you wish to be. Choices that are consistent with your own morals and ethics. Choices that support health and well being for all of humanity.

The above exercises are quick, easy, and yet so powerful. The Buddha said “you will struggle on the path of enlightenment not because it’s too difficult, but because it’s so simple you won’t believe it can work”.

If you want to know the true benefit of meditation you must off load desires, withdraw from your senses, and learn to concentrate by taking the three fold path of Karma, Bhakti and Gnana yoga. This is a mammoth undertaking and there are no short cuts. However, there are many different starting points. Begin by starting to practice my simple program and you will be well on your way.



They say honesty is the best policy… “They”, however, do not tell you how to put your truth into action. After eleven years of being in a business relationship that, in so many ways shaped and made my life, I had to walk away. I could no longer allow all the pleasures I received nor the fear that held me in it, to keep me involved with people and a vision that was in no way in line with who I am, what I want to represent and why I want to put it out there.

It was time to take the kind of action that many of us choose not to take because of fearing the unknown. Self doubt and attachment stand as impenetrable armor imprisoning us to the point, which ultimately is unhealthy. We come up with a million and one reasons to stay in something that is killing us. We shudder at the idea of parting with anyone or anything that brings us comfort, even if the pleasure comes at a great cost. Our minds are so convincing that we believe lies and do not believe the truth. It is only when we break the chains that bind us, that we can receive a clear vision of the illusion/delusion that holds us captive.

Are you strong enough to walk away from something that feeds your desires, terrifies you to leave, knowing it is not right for you? If so, stop reading this now. If not, here are three steps to making the move that will truly “move” you.

Listening intently to our Guru

The First Step is knowing your enemy. Science tells us that external stimuli (the world) is experienced differently by all of us. No two minds think or perceive exactly alike. Therefore, when you or I say “this person bothers me” or “this political view point is senseless”, we are being foolish. The same person who bothers you may be soothing to someone else. The political view that you believe to be senseless may be sensible to others.

Therefore, we can say; no one can defeat us and no one can complete us, but us! The enemy is your own mind. It can make a heaven into a hell, or a hell into heaven. Unless you have control over it, it will control you. Its nature is to spin! Once you know that it’s You that is the problem, you are half way to the solution! The only thing you can change is you. When you embrace this, you are ready for Step Two.

The Second Step is crushing the lies. Everyone of us who are in the position of needing to change, but being stuck, has one huge common denominator and that is; we have an incredible love affair with the lies we tell ourselves. Some of mine are: I’ll be alone; I can’t start over; I won’t make enough; I can’t live without that; there isn’t enough time, money, people, interest, help; I’m to old, too young; I don’t know how to do that. My favorite excuse is: everyone will find out that I’m really worthless! 

I am sure you have some special ones of your own.  Write them down and then we will crush them! These lies die as soon as we hold them up to the light. The light is sharing them with others. You will see for yourself immediately that, in many cases, the only one that believes this nonsense is you!  For example: I had a nasty habit of telling myself “I couldn’t finish anything”.  I told others about this.  A few friends pointed out dozens of different and very meaningful things I have completed and the lie was crushed.  All lies can be crushed by fact-finding.  The only way a lie can be held up is through secrets and emotion.

Now that you have revealed the enemy and crushed the lies, you are ready for Step Three:  Dynamic Action. “DA” is simple in design to understand, yet very difficult to execute. “DA” is acting without motives! It’s living your obligatory duties in life; just as the sun rises and falls every day; like the rose emits its fragrance.  The rose does not say ”you were not nice to me, so I am not sharing my fragrance with you”. Here is the 411; “DA” is 100% selfless.  When you mix selfishness into it, the action becomes deluded and we begin to become fatigued, agitated, excited, disappointment, etc.  More selfishness equates to increased energy drainage until ultimately we get stuck! “DA”, however, empowers us.  It lightens the load, relieves the stress, and frees us. The secret lies in your intentions. If you serve yourself, you will get caught up in relationships and jobs that will not serve you! If your aim is to rise above your own desires, there will be nothing more the world can offer you.  Nothing in the world that can terrorize you.  You will be out of this world; the world that you keep wanting to change!

You will not need luck to accomplish this task.  What is required is hard work, a good support team, lots of patience and more importantly, a desire to keep on learning! 

For more information, email me  Many of these thoughts and teachings are interpretations from my teacher, Swami Parthasarathy.  His many books and great teachings can be found at



Eric Paskel & Rina Jakubowicz on Feb 13, 2015

india flowers

As we sit here on a bus in India on our way to hear a lecture about “When is Enough Enough?” from our teacher Swami A. Parthasarathy, we reflect how we have gotten to this place together.


Two strangers who happen to be in the same elevator at a Yoga Journal Conference in Hollywood, Florida over a year ago have now joined together in their own spiritual journeys to walk alongside one another.

Part of this “spiritual” walk includes our first trip to India together, which we booked during the dates of February 1 to 15. Neither one of us thought that the trip would fall during Valentine’s Day. We placed our emphasis on a common, higher ideal for ourselves; we knew we needed to see our guru and the time was now.

When we were asked by elephant journal to write our first joint article about what we were doing for Valentine’s Day we chuckled because Valentine’s Day isn’t important to us but we knew we had to do it; not for PR but for RP (Right Purpose). We hope that after reading this, you may have a difference outlook as to what this holiday means to you.

Valentine’s Day can be important, not necessarily to exchange dinners, jewelry, flowers or the like, but to remind ourselves what love is and what it means to give it.

The philosophy of Vedanta explains that true love is neither preferential nor personal; it’s selfless and universal. According to the teachings, when we love correctly, we assess and accept ourselves along with others. This allows us to begin to see ourselves in all creatures, which is called identification. Therefore, our Valentine’s Day gift to each other is making ourselves better people every day, while learning how to love with these definitions in mind and all the while respecting each other’s struggles and natural ways.

These Vedanta teachings are what have helped us create our short yet powerful relationship together. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it thus far.

On this Valentine’s Day, we are at an ashram, sleeping in separate beds in a small room, waking up at 5:00 a.m. to study, wearing the same uniforms, eating the same foods and unable to display public forms of affection due to respecting the Indian customs.

To us, that makes every day romantic, sexy, and a beautiful expression of love because we are engaged not to each other but to discovering something more profound…our true Self.




Authors: Eric Paskel & Rina Jakubowicz

Editor: Cat Beekmans

Photos: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr  

Rachel Thompson/



A relationship like no other!

As I sit here and begin to write down on paper what I am “passionate about that is accessible”, I smile knowing, that for most, what proceeds this sentence will only be accessible in theory and not in practice.  Many teachers will only relate to the emptiness that comes from not having this in their lives, even when we serve in this role every day.

 A teacher is defined as “a person who teaches or instructs, especially as a profession”. That is the absolute worst, heartless definition the dictionary has ever produced!

 For me a teacher means: life, direction, discipline, accountability, intimacy, transparency, and surrender. It means I have someone who loves me unconditionally (even my dogs don’t; they love me because I take care of them), who has no agenda, no motives in being with me, other than to help.

 A teacher preaches what he practices and never practices what he preaches. That is to say a teacher lives the way he speaks or at least my teacher does… A great orator has talent.  He can deliver a message that is moving, magical, and these people are easy to find in the world. A great teacher, however, does not have to say a thing and his greatness is felt.  He embodies all wisdom in his actions and these people are nearly impossible to find.

There is simply no relationship I have experienced to date (I am 46 years old) that is in any way comparable to the one I share with A. Parthasarathy aka My Beloved/Swamiji. There are no blessings, crystals given, mantras, mind-reading, fortune telling, none of that… There is no meditation, and there is absolutely nothing in this world I can give him, which in of itself is the most foreign, humbling teaching.  There is no money exchanged. In fact, the only exchange is one way; he gives and gives as I try to take and digest.

 My fatherhood was born out of my ego. My business was born out of my vanity. My teacher/student relationships were born out of my desire to burn away the ego and all its facets.

Einstein said “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” There are many fine examples in the world to emulate when it comes to our professions or what I call external living.

 But who do you know that has maintained the same mood for 87 years!!! Lives completely stress free? Has no desires or motives to gain or lose anything? Loves everyone whether a saint or a sinner? Harbors no fears or resentments? These are the traits of human perfection that are outlined throughout the yoga scriptures.  Many of us lecture about these qualities while never having lived them! I have found someone who lives them. It is just being in his presence that has taught me what little I can live with. It is in the bosom of love that he gives to all creatures that I have found an ounce of salvation.




Let’s begin by identifying an oxymoron: men and yoga!

Generally speaking, it’s like oil and water. But men that practice yoga are smart, period. As for those that don’t, well… let me to try to help you.

Let’s face it, we men do not like being vulnerable in front of each other, let alone the opposite sex! And going to a class filled with sweating, half-naked women, and then being asked to move our bodies in ways we never have, is a tall order.

So gentlemen believe me, I get it. But here’s what you’re missing…


If you don’t practice yoga but you consider yourself an intelligent person, did you know that “smarts” alone aren’t always enough? There is a fundamental difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing and wisdom is doing. Knowledge is sight and wisdom is insight.

Yoga teaches us how to convert a head full of information into a life filled with peace and prosperity, and that it’s not what we do in life that ultimately matters —  it’s how we do it!

Every man could use this lesson. The job does not make the man. The man makes the job.

Yoga teaches us there is no place for the ego if we want true peace in our lives. The ego only produces fear. Without fear, we are not concerned with what we will lose or never gain in this world. We are simply delighted to use our talents and resources to serve all of humanity.

A Navy Seal that recently attended my class said to me, “that was the toughest workout I’ve ever had in my life, even tougher than Seal training.” Yoga will prepare you for every sport and every activity. But nothing prepares you for yoga.

Clint Eastwood stated in one of his finest movies, Sudden Impact, that “a man’s got to know his limitations.” Clint’s a smart man and a serious meditator. Like Clint, yoga will teach you how to honor your limitations.

Yoga also makes us more comfortable in our skin and feel really good about ourselves. We learn to see ourselves through a different kind of mirror — an internal mirror. You can look good on the outside, but that does not mean you are going to feel good on the inside. But once we feel good from the inside-out, we are going to look really good as a result.

So guys, try to remember that yoga is not easy in any form, but it will make your life a whole lot easier. If you consider yourself a smart man, then get out there and try some yoga today!


This article was published in

A beautiful share from one of my first yoga students,  Lisa Chottiner.


“Do yoga,” said the infertility doctor. “You need to calm down to become pregnant.”

I was willing to do anything to have a baby. So I prepared my Type A overdrive for chanting, meditating, and levitating with a tiny man in a robe.

Instead, I found myself rocking poses to Cat Stevens, The Stones, and Jay-Z. My tattooed teacher seemed more suited to hang with Bret Michaels than the Dalai Lama.

This everyday guru, Eric Paskel, was the rock star of yoga. It wasn’t because of his killer good looks or his awesome playlist. It was because of his words. Eric was the first person to say he was full of sh**.

But he understood the human spirit and he had the power to express it in between calling out the poses.

Eric scraped souls.

He scraped mine.

After years of yoga classes, five failed IVFs, and a surrogate attempt that belongs on Dateline, Eric said, “wanting to have a child of your own is a selfish act when so many children need your love.”

I hated him.

He didn’t care what I thought. He spoke the truth.
Eventually, I knew it too.

So when the phone rang and the person on the other end said, “A baby girl was born.” I took a deep breath and was ready to welcome her home with less than 14 hours notice.

Three months later, the doctors said my baby girl was blind. I took another deep breath and knew this was a very special call to service.

My daughter is six years old. Each day brings new challenges, but also new joys.

It’s all because of the wisdom of my everyday guru.

Side bending

I have the privilege of being a yoga teacher. While 2 million people were hashtagging #yogaeverydamnday, I took 90 days to check out the “fitness” world. For you asana-goers, that means the G.Y.M. When I told my editor at Yoga Journal, she asked, “What did you find out?” Here it is, yoga community. Learn just what over-dosing on studio classes opened my eyes to. From abs to adrenaline, the gym’s got nothing on asana man.

SPINNING IS SOULLESS. Spinning. After spin class I was still “spun.” After 60 minutes of pedaling my ass off while listening to someone shouting, “Harder!” “Higher!” “Faster!” “Longer!” I felt like I was in bed with a partner I couldn’t please. Yes, the class worked out my legs and butt, but what about the other parts of my body? My core and arms were forlorn, neglected. Now it was the bad lover I was reminded of…

LESSON LEARNED: Spinning left me sweaty and searching for some spiritual takeaway.

CROSSED UP OR CROSSFIT? A big part of my adventure was spent taking cross-training or circuit-training classes; now called CrossFit, if you’re cool. Much like spinning, these total-body-toning teachers seemed focused on some false promises. Repeatedly, I heard that whatever I was doing in the moment would continue to burn calories when I wasn’t working out (HUH?). Apparently, the new thing is making the class duration a convenient 45 minutes but claiming that’s the optimal workout length?  Bull$#!! If you are athletic—or ADHD!—these classes can challenge and engage you. But I am both…so what was I missing?

LESSON LEARNED: I long for community. In yoga, there is a signature undercurrent of empathy: Come as you are, leave the negative behind, here’s the loving touch you didn’t find today.

KICKED AROUND. Kickboxing wasn’t new for me, but it had been a while since I punched and kicked my calories away. Let the record show that I think martial arts are powerful, beautiful and can be evolutionary for development. But this wasn’t the zen-inducing archery-esque class I was hoping for. Instead I wound up putting faces on the punching bags and reinforcing my own resentment toward a slim few.

LESSON LEARNED: This kind of blood-boiling bag-beating only leaves me exhausted mentally and emotionally.

BARRED. Barre, Shape, Sculpt classes by any variety of branded, creatively named moniker, left me feeling emotionally misshapen. Despite the need to go back to redefine my currently decent—by adult male and yoga standards—shape.

LESSON LEARNED: Sculpting my a$$ didn’t stop me from being an a$$. And none of it helped to shape a better life for me.



If you are looking to get a work out and work your issues out, there is still only one class for all of us. One-stop shopping for your mind, body and intellect? That’s a dynamic, button-pushing, badass yoga class, of course.

Want to get more out of your yoga? Here are some tips on how to get a meaty, deep, emotionally and physically challenging class that’s slightly less chaotic than cross-fit-sculpt fusion.

1. Find an instructor who isn’t there to be liked.

2. Try a few classes and pick the one that makes you feel like a better person when you walk out of the room.

Meditate on this: We have such limited time in the day, spend it on what’s most important to you. Being fit is up there, but is it worth sacrificing the calm, serenity and sweetness a yoga class provides? I’ll give up some tightness in my arms, so I’m not such a tight ass. I will most happily sacrifice burning a few more calories, so I can learn how to not burn myself out any longer.

LESSON LEARNED: Yoga still rocks.