Fearless•Yoga is a training resource for anyone interested in becoming the best possible version of themselves. Not in a mystical sense of gaining enlightenment or spiritual attainment, but in a practical sense of being better today than yesterday, and being one step closer to your personal goals. This is the samurai concept of kaizen, or continual improvement.
The aspects of life that this guide seeks to improve are simple. Become physically fit enough to do anything that you want to do. Become mentally focused to unlock creativity, increase productivity and banish the soul-crushing effects of stress. And, quite uniquely, provide the quiet confidence that you can handle any challenge – up to and including life-threatening physical violence.
The goal of Fearless•Yoga is to empower you to fulfill your purpose on the planet. Empowerment means to enliven your body, mind and spirit by becoming fit, focused and fearless. A second, special mission of Fearless•Yoga is to specifically empower those whose light is diminished by abuse, domestic violence, bullying or oppression.
Too many of us live far below our potential. Despite access to the best nutrition and healthcare in human history, most of us are overweight, out of shape, and suffering from an array of aches, pains, digestive problems and sleeping disorders. In every waking moment our attention is being hooked by phone calls and email and competing messages from TV, radio and the web. We're forced to multi-task just to stay ahead of the chaos, then find ourselves unable to quiet our brains when it comes time to sleep. And threading its way through our daily lives is the uncomfortable realization that we're simply not SAFE.
Everywhere we turn, we're immersed in a non-stop media gratification of violence in TV shows, music, movies and video games. Modern society glorifies it on an unprecedented level, packaging it as "news" and "entertainment." Despite all of our social and technological progress, too much of what we watch, listen to and play revolves around bloodshed and the pain of others. Yet somehow we act shocked and dismayed that media violence seeps over into real life. Every day we're reminded that killers walk our streets, predators stalk our neighborhoods, and terrorists could be lurking in any airport queue.
Our bodies are hard-wired to deal with fear stress by bracing for an attack that could come at any second, or panic reactions that would allow us to flee in a split second. Our stomaches tighten into knots and our nerves begin to fray. When we live in this constant state of fear or anxiety, we shouldn't be surprised that our bodies and minds are worn down from the stress.
But this situation has a set of simple and elegant solutions which we will explore throughout this guide.
Fearless•Yoga presents a balanced blend of practical knowledge, physical conditioning, stress control and self-defense techniques. It is designed holistically to give you a solid foundation for reaching your full, human potential. Fearless•Yoga is primarily based on Ashtanga Yoga and Rakshana Mallavidya, but also draws from such diverse disciplines as Aikido, Taijiquan (or Tai Chi Ch'uan), Wing Chun Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and research from modern sports medicine and performance science.
The Fearless•Yoga Concept
Many people have pre-defined ideas about what yoga and martial arts are all about. Based on magazine covers, yoga is for young women who weigh less than 100 pounds and have the flexibility of circus performers. Some people think of martial arts as perfect rows of students in white gis performing precision katas in the air. Others expect the brutal and bloody world of Mixed Martial Arts that they see in Ultimate Fighting Championship matches. The concept behind Fearless•Yoga is very different, and if you will indulge me for a moment I will illustrate with an analogy.
I have a teenage daughter who is just now starting to drive. Before she heads off alone with the car, I try to make sure three important things are covered.
ONE: I want to make sure there is gas in the tank, air in the tires, the windshield is clean and that everything is working the way its supposed to. In other words, I want the car to be MECHANICALLY SOUND.
TWO: I want to make sure that she is "in the moment" and fully awake. I don't want her distracted from the task at hand, sleepy or emotionally upset. I want to make sure that she is AWARE and ALERT.
THREE: I want to make sure she knows exactly where she's going and how to get there, has clear directions or a map, and also knows exactly what to do in case of an emergency. She has the means to call for help and has the tools to fix the most common problems. She is CONFIDENT and UNAFRAID.
At the risk of sounding like Zen and the Art of Auto Maintenance, these same three principles can be applied to human beings in our everyday lives. Let's talk specifically about you.
I think Cody Lundin expressed this idea beautifully: “You are on the planet for a purpose, for a mission only you can fulfill. Keeping your body alive and in the best health that you can is your sacred duty in order to more effectively serve life using whatever gift it is that you radiate.”
Whatever your purpose is on this planet, and whatever you're heading out into the world to do, before you go I want to make sure of three things:
ONE: Your body is "mechanically sound." You are strong, flexible, pain-free and have the capacity to do whatever you want to do. You are FIT.
TWO: Your mind is "aware and alert." You have the ability to be fully in the moment, and able to concentrate on the important tasks in your life. You are able to separate signal from noise and make smart decisions under pressure. You can set purposeful goals and then achieve them. You are FOCUSED.
THREE: You are "confident and unafraid." You know what to do in the event of an emergency. You can defend yourself against predators, criminals and all forms of violent assault. You do not let the evil that is in the world put you into a cage of worry and dread. Every one of God's creations was given the means to defend themselves, whether by fang or by claw. Even roses have thorns. You are a human being with the dual gift of intellect and manipulation. You are FEARLESS.
To reach your full potential you need all three elements. To be FIT, FOCUSED and FEARLESS you have to eat healthy, exercise, get quality rest and train diligently so that you can react with instant and appropriate reactions.
This guide will walk you step-by-step through the process. It may sound overwhelming, but we will break everything into easy-to-understand and easy-to-use modules. But understand, this will not be easy. It will take effort. It will take determination. It will take dedication. But the end result will be transformational.
The Fearless•Yoga methodology is designed around maximizing your ability to recognize, select and act effectively. To do this, we break the training into three distinct phases that work together to build safe reflexes.