Do you think that you have more potential than you’re living up to?
How will you harness your potential to create the very best you? I recommend using the teachings of Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his legendary book ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’.
Dr. Maltz created the original science of self-improvement and success, so who better to turn to when you’re ready to take your life to another level. His teachings have stood the test of time.
Take the following and make a change for the better:
1) Use Your Imagination
If you thought that imaginations were only valued in preschool, think again. One of the key points in ‘The New Psycho-Cybernetics’ is the technique of using your imagination to reprogram and manage your self-image.
You may have been exposed to self-improvement strategies that tell you to ‘act as if’ or to ‘fake it till you make it.’ Those typically don’t work because your self-image is still the same.
According to Dr. Maltz, your self-image is the key to changing your actions and habits. If you want to lose 50 pounds, you first have to think of yourself as someone 50 pounds lighter.
Spend time in your imagination. See yourself 50 pounds lighter. Experience a day in your life at this slimmed down size. Imagine everything down to the smallest detail.
According to Dr. Maltz, this imagination time will begin to change your self-image to that of a person 50 pounds lighter, and your actions and habits will fall into place.
2) Reject Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts will undoubtedly arise as you use your imagination to see your ideal self. “I’m not really going to lose 50 pounds.” “I’ve tried losing weight before and it never works. I’m always going to be overweight.” “This imagination stuff is bogus. It won’t work for me.”
Dr. Maltz says that the instant you receive a negative thought simply dismiss it. Don’t spend any time on it at all.
The quicker that you dismiss negative thoughts, the less impact they will have on your self-image. Also you’ll find that fewer and fewer negative thoughts arise once you get into the habit of dismissal.
3) Be Nostalgic For The Future
It’s so easy to be nostalgic for the past, especially when you only remember the good stuff. But what good does it do for you to wish for things that are long gone?
Dr. Maltz recommends developing nostalgia for the future.
In your imagination you’ve already lost the 50 pounds, so start pining for the future! Your self-image will lock onto that picture and your nostalgic feelings will fuel the fire.
4) I’m The Kind Of Person That…
What kind of person are you?
If getting fit is something you’d like to do this year, then call or email to set up a consultation. I’m the kind of person who LOVES to see clients like you achieve their goals!
If you could live a longer, healthier life by taking a small pill each day, you'd do it wouldn't you? You’d be crazy not to! With this fact in mind, the incredible growth of dietary supplements makes sense. It's estimated one out of every three Americans currently takes some sort of nutritional supplement each day. According to government statistics, more than $11 billion is spent each year on vitamins and minerals in the U.S. alone!
This extreme interest in health and nutrition is, unfortunately, fueled by false advertisement. The Internet, television, and product labels make claims not backed by science, fooling millions and reaping a sizable paycheck. And in America, supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the same way that foods are, not as if they are medications. This means supplement manufacturers aren't required to back their claims by science.
In your quest for fitness, don't be fooled by these three myths surrounding the use of nutritional supplements.
Myth #1: “More Is Better”
If vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and herbs are good for you and available over the counter, they must be safe to take in high doses, right? Science has proven otherwise. You feel a cold coming on so you pop the vitamin C pills and lozenges to ward it off, but too much of certain vitamins and minerals can be dangerous. For example, when you overdose on vitamin C, your body loses its ability to absorb copper; too much phosphorous and your body can't absorb enough calcium; vitamins A, D, and K can build up to toxic levels when large doses are taken; too much vitamin A will put you at risk for osteoporosis; vitamin E may increase your risk of stroke; and iron your risk of heart disease. And you thought those supplements came with no risks.
When choosing a multivitamin and other supplement, look for ones that contain no more than 100 percent of each ingredient and be careful of combining a multivitamin with another vitamin supplement.
Myth #2: “A Supplement Will Make Up for My Unhealthy Diet”
Hate vegetables? Drink too much caffeine? Like to skip breakfast? Well, be wary of relying solely on supplements to make up for your nutritional deficiencies. Your body is better able to absorb nutrients from real food, so supplements should only be taken as icing on your healthy cake. Besides, relying on supplements to fill in nutritional gaps can put you at risk for the overdosing dangers mentioned above.
With a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, you’ve got little room for the need of supplements. Eating a healthy well-rounded diet will also provide millions of phytonutrients unavailable in supplement form. It also helps your supplements be more effective when you do take them, as supplements are made less effective when taken on an empty stomach.
Myth #3: “I Can Trust the Claims of Supplement Labels”
Many supplement containers describe the health benefits their ingredients aim to provide. These range from increased vitality to improved disease immunity. Great as these claims may sound, they are not backed up by significant, proper research. They are, however, great marketing tools that will pull you in and trick you right out of your money.
It isn’t surprising that the claims of supplements aren’t proven by anything other than anecdotal evidence. Recently, independent research found that 30 percent of products labeled as multivitamins do not include the ingredients in the amounts listed on the labels and occasionally contain dangerous ingredients.
If you haven’t yet become one of my valued clients then now is the time! I’d like to show you how a consistent, challenging exercise program will dramatically transform your body – once and for all!
You wake up each morning with every intention of eating “good” today.
You’ll skip the drive thru line on your way to work. You’ll refuse to get fast food with co-workers at lunch. You’ll boycott the vending machine in the mid-afternoon. And you won’t even think about having dessert after dinner.
But then your cravings kick in…
Your friend drops by with a big fluffy muffin and a latte for breakfast. A group of co-workers invite you to that greasy spoon down the street for lunch. Cake is passed around at the mid-afternoon staff meeting. And after dinner your honey surprises you with a bowl of your favorite ice cream.
You tell yourself that tomorrow will be different.
Tomorrow you won’t give in to food cravings.
But then tomorrow comes with its own special circumstances, and cravings get the best of you once again.
Why Do Food Cravings Always Win?
Let’s face it, we live in a world where food temptations are everywhere…which leads to cravings, which leads to eating things that you shouldn’t, which leads to pounds gained. Again. And again. And again. Until you’re so fed up with your body that you don’t even know where to begin to get yourself back on track.
Stores display the most tantalizing junk food items right where you could easily reach them. TV commercials for greasy, fattening foods portray them so scrumptiously that you literally salivate. Sugary snack items have full-page, glossy pictures in your favorite magazines. And as if all of these weren’t enough, the people in your daily life are another (constant) source of food temptation.
To make matters worse, you’ve been conditioned since childhood to have a positive association with the act of indulging in your cravings. You use food as a reward. You use food as a source of emotional comfort. You use food as a way to relieve stress. And quickly these associations and uses of food become habit. A habit that’s not easily broken.
New Technique to End Food Cravings
Food cravings don’t need to have the upper hand on you anymore. Here’s how you can fight back using your most powerful asset: your brain.
Remember that your mind is an amazing thing. Once your mind is made up about something it’s nearly impossible to change it.
Try This Powerful Mind Exercise: Imagine that you are peacefully floating down a river on a raft. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you are having a fun, relaxing time. You feel wonderful about the river because it’s making you feel happy.
Now change perspectives for a moment. You’re now in a plane flying over the river and the raft. Instantly our eye is drawn to an enormous rocky waterfall. Then you look back to the person floating on the raft, having a wonderful time, headed straight for the treacherous falls.
With this new perspective of the river, do you think that you’d agree to get on a raft and take your chances floating toward the falls? Laughable, right? You’ve seen the hidden danger of the river. You know it leads to pain and suffering.
Now your negative association (watery death) with the river has replaced your initial positive association (relaxing fun).
This is the key to overcoming food temptations and putting an end to food cravings: building negative associations in place of existing positive ones. I’ll break this process down for you in two steps:
Step One: Create a STRONG Negative Association with Unhealthy Food
You may not have realized it, but up until this point you’ve placed unhealthy, fattening foods on a pedestal in your mind. As long as the wrong foods are on that pedestal you’ll continue to give into your cravings and will continue to gain fat.
Take the wrong food off that pedestal by listing off everything negative about them…
✓ These foods make you unhealthy.
✓ These foods cause weight gain.
✓ These foods drain your energy.
✓ These foods kill your confidence.
✓ These foods lessen your quality of life.
✓ These foods damage your love life.
Every time that you feel tempted to eat an unhealthy food, focus on your list of negatives. Kick the junk off the pedestal and put something healthy in its place.
Step Two: Create a STRONG Positive Association with Wholesome Foods
Now that your mental food pedestal has been cleared, put truly wholesome food items on it. Juicy fresh fruit, crispy vegetables and savory lean meats are the place to start.
List off the things that you love about healthy food...
✓ These foods make you healthy.
✓ These foods promote fat loss.
✓ These foods boost your energy.
✓ These foods build your confidence.
✓ These foods improve your quality of life.
✓ These foods enhance your love life.
I encourage you to immerse yourself into the world of healthy, wholesome foods. Browse the aisles of your local natural foods store. Stroll through a farmer’s market. Pack healthy snacks to bring to work. Clear your kitchen of junk.
Use the technique above consistently and you will soon find that healthy, wholesome foods are your favorite. And craving the wrong foods will be a thing of your past.
Call or email me today and I’ll get you started on a fitness program that will change your life and your body forever!
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, New Year’s resolutions are a good thing. If you struggle to believe that, it’s probably because of a history of failed resolutions. This year, however, you owe it to yourself to become the new person you want to be. Not in order to impress other people. You’re going to do it to remind yourself that yes, you can do whatever you put your mind to—you can become a better person.
Ready to get started on the road to a new you? Keep reading to find out what you’ve got to do this the year to make the new you happen!
Talk about It
After a few years of failed resolutions, you may want to keep your plans a secret. But don’t! If your family and friends don’t know what your goals are, you won’t have their support in your journey. They may scoff or snigger when they find out you have big plans for the coming year, but don’t let them get you down. Most likely, they’re jealous. So whether you want to be more committed to your gym routine, eat better, or be more patient with your kids, don’t keep your resolution for a new you to yourself!
Start with Pre-Tests
Next Monday may be when you’ve decided to really begin committing to your new self, but don’t wait that long. Start today with some pre-tests. Once a day, find a way to implement your new lifestyle into your routine. That may mean skipping dessert one night. Or maybe it’s letting your spouse have the remote control. Then again, it could be chewing on a carrot instead of going for a cigarette break when stressed. Whatever it is, scoring these small victories lets you know that you can indeed become the new person in the New Year that you desire.
There’s a reason New Year’s resolutions are the punch line for countless jokes. There are people, however, who beat the odds and stick with their resolutions. This time around, you’re going to be one of them. Not because you’re better than other people who can’t keep from overeating. And not because you’re smarter than people who don’t read a book every month (like you’re planning to do this year). The reason you’re going to succeed is because you want it, and nothing is going to stop you. When you expect success and realize it is possible—which it is—you’re prepared to do what it takes to find that success. Now go for it!
Go for the Right Goals
Before you set a resolution for a new you in the New Year, take stock of your life to determine what would give you the best bang for your resolution buck. Already spending more time than you’d like away from the family? Maybe you should resolve to work your way into a position at work that requires less travel. Thinking you need to lose more weight when all your friends think you’re exceptionally thin? Maybe you should work on adding muscle to your frame instead. Only when you have the right goals can your new you be the best you.
Have Some Fun
Sometimes, creating a new you can be tiring. After all, you’ve spent a lifetime creating the old you, and your old self will not leave without a fight. When your lifestyle changes feel like too much and you’re drooling for ice cream, jonesing for a smoke, or itching to ignore your family and stare at your phone, turn your focus to something fun. Grab a funny movie, go on a hike, hang out with friends—just do something you enjoy! When you’re done, your head will be cleared and you’ll again be ready to shed the old you in favor of the new you in the New Year!
I have just the exercise plan for you – one that will not only help you recover from your holiday indulgences, but will help keep you motivated and going strong in the future.
If you haven’t joined yet, now is the perfect time to start. Together we will get you focused on your goals with my results-driven method.
Simply call or email today to set up your first workout.
Talk to 10 people and you'll get 10 different opinions on the best way to get fit.
One will tell you to attend an aerobics class. Another will swear by jogging. Yet another will tell you that dance and biking worked for them.
The truth is that there's really only one effective way to get fit. Before I get into the details, it’s important that we agree on the definition of 'fit'.
Too often thin is mistaken for fit, and that's not what you should strive for.
When someone is thin, but has very little muscle tissue, they aren't truly fit.
Here’s why thin doesn’t equal fit:
Resistance training is when resistance is used to challenge your muscles in order to gain strength and endurance. You could do this with traditional weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, cable machines, sandbags, kettle bells or even just using your own body weight.
Consistent resistance training has the following side effects…
Top 9 Benefits to Resistance Training
1. To Build Muscle and Gain Strength: Don’t worry, ladies. This does NOT mean that you’re going to ‘bulk up’ or look too masculine. What will happen is that your arms, tummy and legs will become tighter, leaner and more defined.
2. To Lose Fat: When it comes to losing size, all that you want to see go is fat, not muscle. Strength training ensures that you maintain and grow those muscles and only lose fat.
3. To Build Strong Bones: The older we get, the more important our bone density is. A good strength training program is one of your best defenses when it comes to osteoporosis.
4. To Alleviate Anxiety, Stress and Depression: Sure there are plenty of pills out there that claim to give these benefits, but you and I both know that strength training is more wholesome and effective way. And besides, who really wants pharmaceutical side effects?
5. To Sleep Better: Here’s another pill you can stop taking once you start strength training. Study after study have proven that strength training improves sleep.
6. To Improve Chronic Back Pain: If you are one of the millions across the globe who suffer from back pain then you’ll love the benefit of lowered pain.
7. To Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Today diabetes is a huge threat. Minimize your risk by improving insulin sensitivity through regular, challenging strength training.
8. To Improve Good to Bad Cholesterol Ratio: Here is yet another pill that you could potentially stop taking while on a strength training routine. Blood pressure and heart health are of utmost concern, so why not give yourself the advantage of a strength training routine?
9. To Raise your Metabolism: This helps to reduce body fat and to keep that body fat off, even on the days that you aren’t able to exercise. Pretty awesome, right?
A solid resistance training routine will tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core, and will result in inches and pounds lost.
If you’re ready to begin your body transformation then feel free to reach out to me.
Call or email me today and we will get you started on the exercise program that will reshape your body once and for all!
…on your diet.
We live in society where food temptations are everywhere. Walk through a store and you’ll see the unhealthy food items displayed front and center. Turn on the TV and you’ll be assaulted with commercials for fattening foods. Open a magazine and you’ll notice glossy pin-ups of sugary snacks. Go down the street and you’ll have restaurant signs clamoring for your attention.
In addition to the abundance of tempting edibles, you also have deeply ingrained positive associations with indulging. You treat tempting food as a reward. You turn to tempting food for comfort. You rely on tempting food as stress relief. You allow tempting food to become a habit.
It’s Your Turn to Win
Temptation doesn’t need to have the upper hand on you anymore. It’s time to fight back using your most powerful asset: your brain.
Your mind is an amazing thing. Once it is made up about something it is nearly impossible to change it.
A Matter of Perspective
Imagine for a moment that you’re peacefully floating down a river in an inner tube. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and you are having a wonderful time. You feel great about the river because it is making you feel good.
Now imagine that you are in a plane flying over the river. Your eye is immediately drawn to an enormous rocky waterfall. You look up the river and just around the bend is a person floating in an inner tube, having a wonderful time, headed straight for the treacherous falls.
Do you think that after your plane ride you’d be happy to get an inner tube and float down the river? Of course you wouldn’t. You’ve seen that the river spells disaster.
You now have a negative association (watery death) with the river rather than your initial positive association (relaxing fun).
Overcoming temptation is all about building negative associations in place of existing positive ones. Use the 2 steps below to harness the power of your mind to become stronger than any temptation.
Step One: Create a Strong Negative Association with all the BAD STUFF
If cookies and chips and burgers are put on a pedestal in your mind as your favorite things to eat, then you will always eat unhealthy and will continue to gain weight. What do you dislike about tempting food?
Step Two: Create a Strong Positive Association with all the GOOD STUFF
Now that your mental pedestal has been cleared, put healthy food items on it. Juicy fresh fruit, crispy vegetables and savory lean meats are a great place to start. What do you love about healthy food?
Using the technique above, you will soon find that healthy food is your favorite food.
And cheating will become a thing of your past.
It takes a certain lifestyle to attain a fit, lean body…so what do fit people do in their “healthy lifestyle”?
Take a peek with the following 7 Habits of Highly Fit People…
Highly Fit Person Habit #1: They Don’t Buy Junk
Fit people know that if they keep junk food in the house they will eat it sooner or later. So they don’t buy any. Even buying junk food for your kids or spouse is not advised since 1) you’ll likely eat some of it eventually, and 2) your loved ones shouldn’t be eating that junk either. It’s called junk for a reason.
Rid your home of chips, cookies, candy, baked goods, pre-packaged snacks and anything else that belongs in a vending machine. Replace the above with fresh fruit, veggies, nuts and other healthy whole foods snacks.
Highly Fit Person Habit #2: They Have Priorities
Fit people make exercise a priority. Along with keeping a job, paying the bills and going to the doctor, exercise is an important part of their lives. What I’ve found is that fit people put exercise before leisure time. Sure, fit people enjoy leisure, but it is scheduled around their workout time.
Treat exercise time with the same importance that you would a business meeting or trip to the dentist.
Highly Fit Person Habit #3: They Stop When Full
Fit people stop eating when they feel full. Sound simple? It is, but how many times have you stuffed yourself simply to clear your plate? Or how many times have you eaten another piece of cake despite being stuffed?
The next time you feel full, take it as a sign to stop eating. Yes, even if your plate isn’t empty.
Highly Fit Person Habit #4: They Push Themselves
Not only do fit people make time to go to the gym, they challenge themselves during each workout. While it is easy to simply go through the motions while exercising, you’re cheating your body out of great results when you don’t push yourself. Exercise should make you sweat, make your muscles burn, and leave you with a feeling of accomplishment.
Find ways to make each workout more challenging. For competitive people, the best way to push yourself is to exercise with a friend of similar strength. Another great way to challenge yourself is to set small attainable goals. These goals could be to push heavier weight, to sprint longer, or to do cardio at a higher intensity setting.
Highly Fit Person Habit #5: They Don’t Eat and Watch
Fit people know that eating in front of the T.V. is mindless eating. When your attention is on your entertainment and not on your food, then you’ll be less tuned in to what and how much ends up in your mouth. Eating in front of the T.V. is also very habit forming. Ever notice how you crave munchies just as a reflex of sitting in front of the T.V.?
Eat before or after your entertainment and pay attention to what and how much goes into your mouth.
Highly Fit Person Habit #6: They Drink Water
Fit people drink lots of water. And not just in addition to other beverages, but instead of them. Water is their main drink, while other drinks are occasional treats. Calorie-filled drinks are one of the quickest ways to consume excess calories which quickly turn into fat.
Consider water your beverage of choice. Drink plenty of it each day and drink other beverages only a few times each week.
Highly Fit Person Habit #7: They Are Supported
Fit people don’t leave their motivation to chance. They know that if their personal trainer, boot camp instructor or workout partner is waiting for them, then they are less likely to skip a workout. It is so easy to hit snooze or to talk yourself out of the gym as soon as your behind hits the couch after work. Fit people take the option of skipping out of the equation.
Want instant support? Call or email me today to get started on your own customized fitness plan.
I hope that these habits have inspired you to make a change for the fitter in your own life.
If you already do some of these habits then congratulations – you are on your way to a better body. Make an effort to incorporate the rest of the habits to take your results to the next level.
If none, or very few, of these habits describe your lifestyle, then I’ve got good news – you now have 7 effective new habits to start that will get you some awesome results. Don’t try to tackle all 7 at once – pick one or two to add each week and gradually work up to all 7.
As always, you are welcome to call or email me with questions or to get started on your own customized fitness plan. I look forward to hearing from you.
So you took a break from your fitness routine this summer. You ate, you drank, you relaxed, and ate some more.
Well, now it’s time to face the music.
As you look in the mirror after a summer of less-than-healthy eating… Your body is puffy and bloated. Your joints are achy. Your clothes feel tight.
Maybe you are feeling that way right now.
Here’s how to get you back on the fitness fast track.
1) Find Your Focus
Summer happened. You ate things from the “never eat these” list, you drank more that you should have…but now it’s over.
Draw a line in the sand. You’re back now so the bad eating stops now.
If you’re serious about your fitness goals, then the past few weeks were the exception, and not the rule. Don’t beat yourself up for letting loose. Simply get back up, dust yourself off and get focused.
2) Get Hydrated
While summer days can take on many forms, the end result is most often dehydration and water retention. The only way to restore your balance is to get hydrated.
Your first priority in getting back on track is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Start with a tall glass of water in the morning, and carry a water bottle with you to sip throughout the day.
Don’t add any artificial sweeteners or stimulants to your water – these will sabotage your hydration efforts. For flavor, add sliced fresh fruit, herbs or vegetables to your water, just like at the spa.
3) Cleanse Your System
For your first few days getting back on track I need you to be extra picky about what you eat. Stick with only whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Whole, real foods will help to restore balance and block out cravings.
Don’t eat any packaged foods for the next few days. This means no snack foods, processed meat slices, dairy, baked goods or alcohol.
4) Get Some Rest
As relaxing as summer days are, most end with the feeling of exhaustion. Make catching up on sleep a priority over the next few days.
When your body is low on sleep, it becomes easier to make poor eating choices. You’re also less likely to get back into your workouts if you don’t give your body a chance to rest.
Aim for getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night.
5) Jump Back Into Your Exercise Routine
It’s time to sweat out all those indulgences. So lace up your shoes and put on your favorite gym clothes. When you start your first workout, ease in slowly. Take the time to warm up and stretch your muscles before powering up to a solid 30-minute routine.
I have just the exercise plan for you – one that will not only help you recover from your summer but will help keep you motivated and going strong in the future.
If you haven’t joined yet, now is the perfect time for you to start. Together we will get you to your goals with my results-driven method.
Simply call or email me today to set up your first workout.
There are many complex reasons that make fat loss a challenge, reasons that go deeper than simply calories-in versus calories-out.
I’m talking about the life issues that get in the way of your success.
Here are 5 things that block fitness results along with the solutions to unlock your best body.
1. You are crazy busy.
Let’s face it, you work too much, commit yourself to too much and don’t even get enough sleep most of the time. The fast-paced way you live leaves you exhausted, stressed and hungry for comfort food. You even begin to feel too busy to take care of your health.
It’s time to reprioritize. Let go of your perfectionist standards and remove a few commitments from your schedule so that you are able to cook healthy meals, exercise and get a good night’s sleep. Remind yourself that taking care of your health is not a luxury—it’s a necessity.
2. You don’t want to wait for the good stuff.
Just as you wish to avoid pain, you are also an expert in seeking out pleasure—namely food. This served the cavemen well, but these days it ends up as extra pounds around your waist and thighs.
There’s good news: extra calories are not your only option to stimulate the pleasure center of your brain. Find an activity or two that make you smile and indulge in those regularly.
3. You don’t want to be bothered.
It’s in your DNA to avoid pain and seek out pleasure. Unfortunately, this works against you when trying to get fit. In your mind, it’s painful (or at least uncomfortable) to deny yourself the tasty food that you crave and to exert yourself with exercise.
There’s a simple way to work around this obstacle: Find something painful about being out of shape to motivate yourself towards healthy eating and exercise. Focus on the negative impact your current shape has on your health, self-esteem and lifestyle. Convince yourself that the pain of being out of shape is much greater than the discomfort of losing the fat.
4. You don’t deserve it.
I don’t agree with it, but you sure act like you don’t deserve to live the good life in the body of your dreams. Take a moment to think back on all the times you have self-sabotaged your weight loss efforts. If you don’t believe deep down that you are worthy, then you’ll never give yourself a chance at a fit body.
I believe that you deserve to have a healthy body—and I urge you to dig deep down to uncover why you don’t. Once you conquer your feelings of unworthiness, getting on an exercise and healthy eating plan will be easy.
Take the time to take care of yourself. You DO deserve it.
5. You are afraid.
You’re afraid to start because you just might fail, and wouldn’t that be embarrassing? You’re also afraid to start because you just might succeed, and change makes you uncomfortable – even if it’s change in the right direction.
When you decide to get fit you will need to go through a bunch of changes:
I want to personally help overcome every obstacle standing between you and your ideal body. Call or email today to get started on a program that will change your life and body forever…in the best way!
Originally printed in the Springs Magazine May 2019
No internet. Forced quiet hours. Howling monkeys. Is inner peace even worth pursuing to a Costa Rican paradise?
by Warren Epstein
The first morning, we wake with a start to the roar of howler monkeys. My phone reads 4:22 a.m.
The howls, deep and resonant, sound like angry—or horny—velociraptors.
My wife and I huddle in our bed behind thin mosquito netting in an open-air cabin in the middle of a Costa Rican rainforest. We came here for inner peace. A yoga retreat. Ommmmmm. Seriously?
Neither Jane nor I were that into yoga, but when friends invited us on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, we thought, That’s just far enough from our comfort zones to sound exciting.
The trip would be led by our mutual friend David Corder, who runs Perfect Fit Wellness Center in Falcon. He regularly takes groups to the prettiest places on the planet to practice their Angry Cat or Pissed Off Possum, or whatever you call those yoga poses. (Next trip Peru, http://www.perfectfitwc.com/yoga-retreats.html )
David is an alum of the traveling singing troupe Up With People, and he has retained that too-much-enthusiasm-to-be-contained-in-one-body thing. His high-pitched laugh sounds like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon.
We caught up with David and the rest of our yoga team after a long flight to San Jose, Costa Rica; a white-knuckle puddle-jumper flight to the Osa Peninsula; then a tooth-rattling drive to the resort, Blue Osa. (Costa Rica really should get a GoFundMe page for some road paving.)
If you’re into the tropical paradise thing, it doesn’t get much more paradisiacal than this: You can sit on the Adirondack chairs framed by coconut palms overlooking the beach, as squirrel monkeys chatter and toucans right out of a Fruit Loops commercial fly by.
The Blue Osa want guests to disconnect. I discovered they take this literally, turning off the internet in the morning. That would be a real problem for me, as I like to plug into all the national news first thing, so I have stuff to fume about all day.
There’s even a “silent time” rule here; you’re not supposed to talk before 7:30 a.m. This was tough. In fact, Beth, a soft-spoken staffer from NBC News, rebuked more than a couple of my hearty “good mornings!” with a finger to her lips.
“Oh, yeah, forgot,” I said, which earned me another stern look.
This was going to be a long week. Here’s the thing I learned about yoga retreats, and it may come as a bit of a shock. There’s actually the expectation that you’ll be doing yoga. David would ring a bell, and we were all expected to grab our mats and head for the yoga studio, yet another slice of paradise in the center of the resort compound: shiny natural wood floors, floor to ceiling open-air windows overlooking swaying palms and surf. Again, if you like that kind of thing...
There were about two dozen of us, mostly women, mostly from the Springs, sitting in a circle. David welcomed us and asked what we hoped to get out of the retreat. Most said something about peace of mind or greater self-awareness. I said, essentially, I was here for a vacation. More stern looks.
Then David walked us through the theme for the week, based on Aesop’s fable The Tortoise and the Hare. Interesting. I’ve always identified with the rabbit. Sure, he lost the race, but he ended up rested and well fed.
Still, I got what David was saying. The yoga, the idyllic setting and even the excursions he had planned were designed to put us in a different frame of mind, to slow down our racing thoughts. Not a problem for me. I had very few worries—except, maybe, some upcoming work deadlines, a strange sound the car had started making, that strange ache in my neck and shoulder, and did I leave on the Nespresso machine when we left? The neighbors would have called if the house burned down, right? And did anybody respond to my latest Facebook post? OK, my mind tends to race a bit. I’m from New York.
After yoga on those first few days, I tried to practice my meditation in one of the many idyllic shrines around the property. Focus on your breath. Breathe in. I think I heard a fly come in, and my breath is kind of shallow. Breathe out. Should it be that shallow?
It was hard to sit still that long. Fortunately, David had some activities planned to keep my must-do-stuff mind and body busy. We went on zip lines over the jungle canopy (getting in touch with our inner rabbit). We participated in a turtle rescue (getting in touch with our tortoise sides), which turned out to be much more emotional than I’d anticipated, watching those baby turtles waddle to the surf.
Every day, yoga became easier, less of a chore and more like what my body actually wanted to do. Meditation also got easier. Breathe in. Breathe out. Even the howler monkeys became less annoying.
I also felt a bond with the fabulous people who were on this journey with us. As we took turns jumping off a ledge into a jungle swimming hole, the cheers for one another was about more than the courage of the leap. It was about how far we’d all come.
On the last morning, I saw a group of my fellow yogis and heartily shouted “Good morning!” Of course, I received an admonishing finger to the lips. But I swear I saw less animosity there.
When we returned to the Springs after an exhilarating but exhausting week in paradise, I slept so well in my own bed. Strangely though, I jolted awake to the roar of howler monkeys. My wife had recorded them. She laughed her head off.
I closed my eyes, thought ommmmm, and then a very un-yogi thought came to mind: I will get her back. It’s what a hare would do, after all.
Thank you Warren, for the fun review and great memories!
Owner and Lead Personal Trainer at Perfect Fit Wellness Center.