By the time you’re 10 years old your subconscious has formed and thereafter differentiates between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. For example, if you grew up with a mother or father who was a big drinker or smoked cigarettes, then your subconscious considers these activities (or bad habits) as acceptable behaviors. Behaviors that are more easily adopted by you because they’re acceptable to you. Thus, if you experienced or witnessed domestic violence in your youth – like more than 10 million children do in the United States every year – then domestic violence has permeated your subconscious and has become acceptable. Not good. Actually, it’s pretty pathetic that a child unknowingly accepts domestic violence at no fault of their own. It’s also pretty pathetic that a child has to identify the concept of LOVE with such traumatic visual and emotional experiences. And it’s horrible on the child’s mother (or father in some cases), to experience the physical, mental and emotional poison of domestic violence. Poison because domestic violence permeates a victim’s body, mind and spirit, oftentimes causing irreparable damage. Damage to the victim’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
That’s why my charity, The Boulevard Zen Foundation, is striving to bring the benefits of yoga to women and children survivors of domestic violence – everywhere. To help rebuild their SELF, because yoga is all about the SELF, and to teach these women and children how to respect their minds and bodies with the amazing physical and lifestyle benefits of yoga. Our compassionate and well-trained teachers also lead by example and serve as a living testament to how anyone can better themselves with the help of yoga.
Over the past year I have personally taught more than 100 women and children living in domestic violence shelters. I know that look in their eyes that says “I’m not good enough” and “I can’t do it”. A look that I’ll always counter with, “Yes, you can do it, and yes, you can believe in yourself”. Because I do and I know they can. Be well, believe & achieve! – R
The other day I met a bodybuilder who said he tried yoga and hated it because it made him “feel uncomfortable”. I responded with just one word, “exactly”. Simple put, yoga demands you to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
If you ever tried yoga and immediately began to fidget and squirm your way out of your first downward facing dog, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Because the physical practice of yoga (the asanas), put your body into challenging positions that will QUIET your MIND and get rid of all that mind chatter. Of course we know what mind chatter is, right? It’s that inner conversation you’re having with yourself about anything and everything that’s going through your mind. Including the discomfort you’re experiencing in a particular pose – including the simplest of down dogs.
When the ancient yogi’s practiced 6,000+ years ago, yoga was embraced as a culture that included the art of positioning their bodies into asanas (poses) for long periods of time to cleanse themselves and to reach a higher enlightenment, aka, nirvana. Yoga was revered as a lifestyle seeking union with the Supreme. Yoga also enabled it’s male practitioners – since women weren’t allowed to practice – to quiet their bodies and their minds while focusing on one particular object for an extended period of time. No matter the feelings of discomfort. Today most people think yoga is either just stretching and meditation, or some kind of body-twisting exercise that’s really good for you but really hard to do. And the really hard to do part usually has something to do with not wanting to endure discomfort – for any period of time.
So if you’re anything like our bodybuilder friend and don’t like feeling uncomfortable, keep your yoga workouts short and sweet with just 5 minutes a day. Soon you’ll get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, and you’ll truly begin to experience the benefits of yoga. And always remember that pain is bad and discomfort is good. So enjoy some good discomfort with our upcoming FAT BURN AMERICA TOUR: 100 Cities in 100 Days, Hollywood Walk of Fame Preview! – R
The Boulevard Zen Foundation teaches the benefits of yoga to women and children living in domestic violence shelters. That’s why we’re going on the FAT BURN AMERICA TOUR: 100 CITIES in 100 DAYS, to inspire Everyone to workout with us Everyday for 100 straight days at historic sites in all 50 states! And to help The Boulevard Zen Foundation raise funds to teach women and children survivors of domestic violence, Everywhere.
And you don’t have to take a yoga class to get these benefits. Keep it simple and practice a little each day. And here’s me teaching the women and children living at the domestic violence shelter in San Diego. Enjoy and don’t forget to get your workout in! – Rich
We’ll soon begin a 30,000 journey across America visiting all 50 states – 100 Cities in 100 Days – to raise money for my charity, The Boulevard Zen Foundation. We teach yoga to women and children living in domestic violence shelters. Ambitious? Yes. For a great cause? Yes. Impossible? Certainly not! I expect it to be life changing. For all of us, as well as all of you because we intend to EDUCATE, INSPIRE, EMPOWER and ENTERTAIN you with cool, trivia-filled workout videos from historical sites everywhere.
Here’s me teaching the women and children at the San Diego domestic violence shelter:
Here’s the Hollywood Sneak Peek Trailer for my Fat Burn America Tour. Enjoy! – R
It felt like a ghost-town when I walked into the gym this morning at 6am. I expected it to be light because of the holiday, but it was barren. And as I was making my way past the Chest machines, this older gentleman sat up tall and said to me, “I’ll glad you’re here.” Of course, right. Because when it comes to a daily fitness program, sometimes it helps to get a little boost from your compatriots. Let’s face it, honoring our Nation’s Independence deserves a day off from exercise, right? Wrong. That’s all the more reason to honor yourself and your freedom with a strong body – clear mind. So don’t let the Fourth of July festivities spoil your routine. Grab a fellow barbecuer and challenge yourself with today 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #95 – Dancer’s Pose. Enjoy – R
This goes out to all the Ladies living at the domestic violence shelter in San Diego where I taught a 2-hour yoga & lifestyle class last night. Because after teaching a 75 minute yoga class followed by a 45 discussion about embracing a positive mindset, a healthy diet, and most importantly, a daily fitness routine, I truly believe in each and every one of them. I know you’re reading this Ladies, so don’t forget to do your Peaceful Warriors, Temple Poses, Side Body Abs and Stretching, Chair Poses up against the Wall, and of course our favorite, Viparita Karani or Legs Up the Wall. Today and every day this week until I come back again next Thursday to “kick it up a notch”. Always remember to stay present with your thinking and live positively and happily, moment to moment. Because whether or not your past experiences have been negative or abusive, you never have to carry that energy with you. Let it go. And if it begins to creep into your mind and body, go outside and do some yoga and my fat burning workouts, or better yet, work on some balancing with that meditative breath I taught you – and remember to pick that point of focus and use all distractions to help you focus more. So respect yourself each and every day, especially during this long holiday weekend, and enjoy sculpting your thighs and butt today with my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #96 – Killer Squats II. Namaste – R
The other night I had dinner with Stephani Drapeau, my dear friend and co-star of my film, Boulevard Zen. We were discussing the concept of “freeing your mind and your soul” from anything that prevents you from evolving to a higher level. That is to say, letting go of the “ties that bind” you to past beliefs, or rather, disbeliefs about your dreams, your desires, and your life’s destiny. Because when you free your mind and your soul, you evolve to a much better and brighter place. A place where anything is possible if you truly believe it. So make a conscious effort to become Free Squared, especially when it comes to fat burning and a daily fitness routine. Because anyone and everyone has at least 5 minutes a day to respect themselves with a little exercise. So enjoy firming your Core & Abs with my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #97 – Side Plank. My best – R
I just read an LA Times editorial by Randy Lewis expressing his appreciation for the late Clarence Clemons. Similar to Randy, I’ve also been a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fan for more than 35 years now. And I agree with Randy that, “Clemons was there to express that which transcended mere language.” Because with the Boss and the Big Man, it was about reaching into your mind, body and soul to echo feelings and images, not just sounds. I still remember a bootleg version of Prove it All Nightfrom 1979 with the Boss’s heart-felt guitar riff and the Big Man’s incredible sax. ”The wondrous thing about Clemons was that everything he played, in solos or accompanying his bandmates, was astonishingly simple from a technical viewpoint.” Thanks for pointing that out Randy, especially to us non-sax people, because technical simplicity should also apply to your daily fitness program. So keep it simple and technically correct with today’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #98 – Elevator Squats. And thank you Clarence Clemons! RIP – R
Oftentimes we receive compliments from friends or people we recently met, and just let them slide off us without really absorbing their energy. That is to say, really taking compliments to heart and warming yourself with the admiration. Especially guys. We can easily prefer criticisms to compliments because of our male conditioning. But it’s OK for anyone to basque in the moment of the compliment. Like what happened to me this morning. I saw a friend in the gym I haven’t seen in a while who complimented me on my film, Boulevard Zen, and my 100 days of blogs when she went on about how she loved the film’s characters, and my “totally believable” girlfriend, and my “powerful blogs”, until she finally said, “And you know what Rich Tola, you got heart.” Now that made my day. And why shouldn’t it, right? So take note and absorb that positive energy. Take compliments to Heart! And enjoy firming your Core & Abs as we countdown with my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #99 – Core Power II. - R