DYLAN WERNER - WHAT IS YOGA? - How A Marine Firefighter Became a World Renowned Yogi

movement is an exploration of self. It’s understanding who you are. Stop moving, you start dying. We are so far out and distractions we’re so far away from what truth is we’re scared of really understanding ourselves. Yoga is the journey that brings us to the present moment that confronts you with who you are. And there’s nothing to hide behind. Everything could be a tool towards yoga, playing with your kids walking through nature. It’s the intention that guides you to be here to cultivate awareness. I’ve always been a mover. I’ve done physical stuff my entire life, but I’ve never done it with the intention to understand who I am. I was trying to prove to myself that I was good enough.

And what I realized is I have nothing to prove.

We’re programmed

to have this sense of wanting more as soon as we get something,

if we live our lives like that. We’re never going to be satisfying.

In yoga, it’s a balance of the idea of santosha, which is contentment and toughness, which is your desire to give your best. When you learn to be content with who you are, and at the same time, give your best you’ll find peace. Find what your meaning is. Your purpose is simply to share that because if you found something that was so important to you, that means so much to you, why would you not want to share that?

The world is changing.

Inspiration is everywhere.

It has never been so easy to connect, share, and bring people together.

We’re learning from others and finding the best ourselves,

challenging our beliefs,

sharing our vulnerability,

overcoming our fears,

transforming ourselves so we can transform the world.

How far can we go?

This is real. I am Brian rose. My guest today is

your yoga is everywhere these days. We see classes on every corner. But what is yoga? Is it a movement practice? Is it a mental practice? There’s a massive debate on and that’s why I was really excited to speak with Dylan Warner this week, which is known as one of the leading Yogi’s in the world. He’s got massive following on Instagram known for these really strong movements and hand balancing and he says that Yoga is Really union and he had an incredible journey of finding this practice. He started off as a Marine, he became a firefighter. But he never found peace until he found this yogic practice. So I was really happy to talk to him. He’s got an incredible journey really deep, really controlled with his consciousness. And he has a radical view about what Yoga is. And he says, You know what, you don’t have to agree with me because I’m doing this for me, ultimately, to find out what my mean is in life. So sit back and enjoy this incredible conversation with Dylan Werner. This is London real I am Brian rose. My guest today is Dylan Werner, the former US Marine Corps firefighter and wrestler turn world famous yoga instructor. After finishing your tour in Iraq, you spent eight years as a paramedic and firefighter in California. Then you found yoga through martial arts and later realized you wanted to dedicate your life to the practice. Today you’ve given more than 400 workshops in over 60 countries, taught at some of the world’s most prestigious yoga studios, and have a massive following on social media. Dylan, welcome to London. Real

Thank you for having me.

Great to have you here. You know, we got a lot of cool things to discuss. I thought I’d kick it off by talking about human movement because if you look at London real for the last six or seven years, you know, I’ve had this journey with some pretty cool movers out there. And, you know, whether it was Dorian Yates, who kind of had me do yoga for the first time, you know, four years ago and then you know, poor tau with movements and people like Elliott Hulse saying the body is the mind like, I’ve kind of got an education that this body is not just part of the equation. And I was just wondering about your journey with movement. You know, and did you have people that kind of showed you the way


movement is an exploration of self it’s, it’s understanding who you are. I think what brought me into yoga because I’ve always been a mover when I was five years old, I started lifting weights. I someone gifted me this whole Cogan hulkamania workout thing and it had like these three pound weights and it’s workout poster and I would sit down My room because I had kind of like a sad childhood as an only child and also the oldest date but that’s a whole nother weird story but okay set so

weird family dynamic yeah

weird weird family dynamics growing up so I spent a lot of time by myself and in that time I found kind of fitness and I was into that and

and this was your own thing like your family didn’t have a fitness history No,

my my. My dad wasn’t into fitness my mom wasn’t no one in my family’s ever done fitness.

This is pre internet.

This this is Yeah, this is pre Cogan, inspired the whole Cogan and at the time, I didn’t even really know who Hulk Hogan was. I was born in 1980. So it’s kind of that that WWF before its WWE, right, you know, that was like a popular thing. And so I had these weights and I was always small, it’s always the smallest one. And so I wanted to be big, right? And so I started start out, working out on my own and I got into wrestling. really young. And I think wrestling really helped me understand my body, and how to move and how to move other people as well, which, surprisingly, has helped me a lot as a yoga teacher, because Yoga is about creating connections. And we are, we are so interconnected in ourselves. So this is like an idea called bio tensegrity, where everything in the body is under tension and compression. But we’re so interconnected that whatever I do in my body, if I move my hand like this, it affects my entire body. But if I reach out and grab your hand, whatever I do, affects your entire body right introduces

all these new degrees of freedom. So

Fie, so I understood this first as a wrestler, and I know you do, you do BJJ Yeah. And so you understand like how you move someone else, you could adjust their weight and submit them however you want. But when I took this into yoga, it was more like how can I create space by establishing a connection that is one rather than two and when you’re a really good mover of your own body become a good move? have other people’s bodies. And so this is kind of like my first understanding of really moving. And then from there, I just I did lots of stuff I was growing up in Southern California, I was into snowboarding, and wakeboarding and started rock climbing at a really young age and rock climbing is what I did for a long time before I even got into yoga.

And yoga was one of those things that introduced me.

Or sorry, rock climbing is one of those things that made me want to do yoga more. Because the yoga practice helped my rock climbing.

It did

in the beginning, and then eventually yoga took over because there is something more than just movement, or at least for my entire life, everything. There’s something missing. I’ve always been a mover but yet there’s something missing. And I explored kind of everything like I tried to always, how can I just be the better was not the only thing I wanted to do. And I have All these goals wanted to be a firefighter. So, paramedic and I know I wanted to be hero, I think like, oh, like I just wanted to be bigger than what I was always

kind of like Hulk Hogan

kinda like Hulk Hogan. Yeah, I didn’t think you’d come back to that so much. But yeah,

it’s interesting to hear that you said that kind of wrestling, which is obviously in martial art combat with another human being. And I guess you probably did freestyle wrestling in high school, or you moved to Greco Roman

quickly. So I did collegiate in high school, okay, and freestyle, a little bit in high school. And then after high school when I joined the Marine Corps, I was on the arm wrestling team, and that’s when I got into Greco so it was mostly Greco and a little bit of freestyle training. And that was the majority of my rink or career, except for the little bit of time I spent iraq but most of my time in the Marine Corps was spent wrestling,

like Wow, so I wrestled one year in high school at Torrey Pines High School. And before that, I was like the skinniest geekiest science kid and I went to the Torrey Pines High School, which was like the Beverly Hills 90210 of, of San Diego and my dad lived there. And I transferred in my junior year and there was only one kid in class that no one else wanted to talk to. And I talked to him and he said, Brian, let’s go wrestling. So in the course of two months, I went from the skinny kid to like this bigger kid. And I got put through some of the most strenuous thing, I didn’t even comprehend what it was like to be in a wrestling room. And we weren’t even a top school. But it taught me a lot about exertion, about control about pain thresholds, but I only did it one year, but it was something I really value. But it’s weird. Most people would probably think how could that ever apply to yoga and I want to talk about yoga. But most people see that as kind of a singular activity but you saying it’s not necessarily a single activity and you can learn something from that martial arts part?

Yeah, it was more what I with the wrestling or martial arts are moving somebody else that comes into teaching yoga and assisting other people because when you Somebody’s into into a pose, you’re essentially creating space for them to go deeper the space for them to explore. And you create this connection, this this unity or this oneness, which is really what I think we all have have a different opinion of what Yoga is. Just Just like most things, we define things with words and to define anything with a word you you have to create some sort of boundaries around it. You’d be like a scientist person you understand that to to understand something, you break something down, you create its limitations. Most things we understand it by the opposite we only understand light by darkness or darkness by light, hot by cold I can. There’s a beautiful saying that I love that a blind person will never know darkness. And it’s really helped to teach me perspective. Because without light, how can someone know darkness so we define things like this and everyone’s He’s trying to define what Yoga is. But the second that you draw a line in the sand, he create a division. There’s two sides. So Yoga means union, it means connection. It’s so to put yoga into a box, by that very nature with language, which we use to understand things immediately. makes it so we can’t understand what it is.

Yeah, I think it was Terence McKenna that said, I don’t know who discovered water, but it certainly wasn’t a fish. And I think his point was, is that, you know, sometimes we’re in this reality, and we don’t know we’re in there. And we’re trying to define things. He also said that, after you come back from, say, a plant medicine ceremony, which I’ve had a few people try to ask you what happened, language cannot even begin to explain what happened. So we’re really limited by our language. Exactly. Um, some say it’s like, you know, a prison in some way, because all these words have these different meanings. You know, it’s funny because I was just with Sadhguru. And he said, exactly, Do what you just said, when you define yoga, I said Yoga means union, everything in your experience becomes one all existence is just one energy. And it’s interesting that you just said the exact same thing. And a lot of people want to know what it is. And a lot of people have different versions of what it is right?

But the thing about truth and while you you constantly hear the same thing over and over from different people set in different ways, because truth is, there’s only one truth. It’s apparent, it’s self apparent. And when you when you realize what it is, that’s the only thing you want in your life and you move after that. There really is only one truth. So in yoga, the word for truth is sought, and sought means unchanging. Well, if we know that the universal truth of nature is that everything is changing, everything in the universe is continuously moving through growth or decay. Nothing is ever seen the same like in mathematics, we have things that are constants, but If I were to take something if if you go to Greenwich and in us, and you look at like what a foot is, or a meter like, or even where Greenwich is, it’s not even where it was when they when they made Greenwich Mean Time. You know, it’s it’s moved quite quite a bit because everything is continuously changing. And so how can something be true if we if our definition of truth is that which does not change, because if it’s true, then it’s always true. It always was true, it always will be true. And if everything is changing, and there’s not one thing in the physical world that we know, that is unchanging, then that means nothing is true, except for one thing, which is the present moment. The present moment is this window that we have that has been here since. I mean time, time is only a way that we understand the present moment. It’s actually an illusion yogas Yogi’s call this Maya Maya means no Not as it appears, you know, loot like a magician doing a trick. It’s not what it seems to be. And we spend so much time thinking about time, the future in the past, which time when we when we think about time we never think about time is now as president that’s, that’s true. That’s actually what we’re seeing. And so for us to be true is for us to be here to be present, to actually be in this moment to live our life in this moment without the stories that we create the projections of ourselves in the future, the ideas of ourselves in the past or the stories that we bring from the past. All these things bring us out of the actual reality which is now and all the truths that you understand about life, the truths that are unchanging, you understand them in the present. And so when you talk to people that are that are seeking for the truth, for spirit for spirituality, this idea of what spirituality is, you don’t like that word. It’s not that I I don’t like that word. It’s like we define everything. So, and we have different definitions of what spirituality is, if you I looked it up in the dictionary because I think I wrote a blog or post or something I wrote, mind and body connection, because that’s what Yoga is when you talk about movement. And what brought me into yoga was understanding that my mind is not different than my body. And it’s not different than my spirit. But spirit is is such a an interesting word that’s defined in so many different ways. If you’re religious, it’s your soul. It’s this thing that is also unchanging, that moves on to heaven or whatever hell or it’s something separate from you though, right? Generally the way that that spirit in that way is thought of the body is different than the spirit. But the way that I think about spirit is nature. And there’s three types nature we have inner nature, which is our spirit, and our self. We have outer nature, which is what we’re continuously moving away from, which is why we can’t understand what it is to be here because we are so far out In distractions we’re so far away from what truth is. We are distracting ourselves because we’re scared of the third nature which is true nature which is the unity of all things and really understanding ourselves as not separate from everybody else. It’s the removal of ego

and for you yoga was the way to first feel that

the first way to feel it was jumping out of planes. Okay,


I accomplished everything that I thought I wanted to in life. I put out goals and I think I saw a TED talk with you talking about that like getting all the things that you want and I think anybody that goes out and sets goals and then accomplishes them realizes that this isn’t it. This isn’t the way there’s there’s nothing in goals

because goals, learning goals, or did the goals also pull you along the journey.

There’s there’s there’s nothing in goals because goals are always going to be in the future. And so therefore they’re never in reality. And once they become to reality, you realize that they’re no longer a distraction. And so you get there and you feel like I need another distraction. Right? Okay. You know, so yeah, there’s, I have goals, but my goals are, they’re a little bit different. My goal is to be my best self every day.

Because we we have two choices we grow or we die.

That that is the change that the universe is telling us. You’re either growing or you’re dying, and nobody wants to die. And so we need to continue to stress ourselves to challenge ourselves because all growth happens through stress and challenge. It’s how how life emerges.

It’s a weird dichotomy, isn’t it?

It is it is a weird dichotomy. But if you want it interesting challenge

implies almost a goal because I want to do this thing. But we want to also not be goal oriented

in yoga. It’s a balance of the idea of santosha which is contentment, and Thomas, which is your desire to give you your Best. So when you learn those two things, when you learn to be content with who you are, and at the same time, give your best you’ll find peace,

right? And is that something that’s never attainable, attainable for a brief moment, something to dream about or something that Yogi’s can do.

It’s an interesting thing that you said attainable, because that has the idea that there’s something to attain.

And that’s as soon as you think that you’ll never get there.

But if we want both of those things at the same time,

that’s the other one want. Want. You know, the Buddha said, the root of all suffering is wanting what you don’t have or not wanting what you do have.

Okay, so But if I go to practice, and I’m thinking, you know, you just mentioned these two brackets, it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s hard to identify them and not want them right.

It’s, it’s not the desire to it. It’s more like a drive just to give when you give something you don’t want anything in return. Now when you’re when you’re truly giving, we’ve become a society of takers. We treat everything as resource nice nature is a resource. And so we, we just take from it, and we don’t give to it. And we think that this is that something to obtain obtaining is is taking, you know, we’re getting something from it. And then we carry that on to the relationships we have with other people, with our friends and our family, our loved ones, and we take from them, like they have something to give to us. And we define this as love. And we think that it’s other people’s jobs to make us happy. And really all it is, is attachment. There’s no connection there. When you start giving, and and stop taking stop trying to obtain something, then you start being and that and that’s really what what Yoga is. And that’s what truth is, it’s about being you don’t have to do anything. It’s It’s simple. And yes, there is there is that like, I don’t want to die. And I want to grow and in that and I’m subject to this is everybody. I don’t Wanna die? I know I will. I’m more okay with it now than I ever had been.

But that now, yoga also looks like a physical practice. And when I go watch people doing the physical practice, they’re trying to do certain things. So, by definition, I do have these kind of micro goals. Now, I can go in there with a giving mentality of you just said those two things again, where I’m going to do my best and be satisfied kind of thing,

right? Well, the

defining yoga again, so everything that I say about yoga will slightly be untrue, in a sense, but it kind of helps us to understand


is not something that you do, it’s not something you obtain. It’s not something to go to it is a state of being it’s actually it’s you realizing the truth. It’s a word that describes it. And at its root from from Polly it means use or to yoke or to bring together There’s not two, there’s one. Everything else that we do that we call yoga are tools that we use to obtain. And it’s just like you use any kind of tools to build a house or bake a cake or paint a picture. It’s, it’s the tools that help us to bring us to that point, which ultimately is here. Yoga is the journey that brings us to the present moment where you’ve always been, but sometimes you’d have to go over there and you have to go over there. And you have to go over there to realize that you’ve been here the entire time. It’s how we understand things by the opposite, just like we need light to understand dark we need there to understand here.

Yes, and the tools themselves are some of these

physical practices because the mind and the body and the spirit or the nature are one, right and so we use the mind to understand the connection to the other two. we sit down and we meditate and we use sorry, we use the body to understand the mind and the spirit. We use the Mind we sit down and we meditate to understand the body and the tendencies of the body.

Let me ask you a question you, you wrestled, you know, and competitively, right? So you you know, and for people that don’t understand the wrestling room again, it’s it’s a very intense martial art I, and I’ve done Jiu Jitsu and Thai boxing and boxing, but wrestling. It’s probably one of the most intense of one person trying to break into the one spirit and it can be pretty all encompassing. You also climbed but you never had that mind body connection in those sports until you came to yoga, or did you?

I always did, okay. And I think that’s why I’ve been a chaser of extreme sports. And I told you the first time I really really felt it understood it was skydiving, because Have you ever been skydiving twice? Yeah, intense. When you’re there and you’re jumping out of a plane. You’re present. Yeah. And you have no choice. There’s there’s nothing that you can do. Other than be present with what’s happening because it’s nothing that you’ve experienced before but it Imagine you do that 100 times, or 200 times or 1000 times or 10,000, whatever it is. It eventually will become mundane or routine or, you know, I would jump a lot. And in my job, I’d be thinking about my next job, or how quickly can I pack my pack? Or if I have enough time to make five or 10 jumps in that day, or whatever it is, that’s dangerous

to you, right?

Yeah. Yeah, and in a sense.

The only difference between yoga and wrestling and gymnastics or anything, is the intention behind it. Everything could be a tool towards yoga, playing with your kids, cooking a meal, walking through nature, sitting by a stream, all those things can bring you to here. It’s the intention that that guides you. It’s the intention that tells you to be here to cultivate awareness to relax to settle into what this is and that and that’s all Yoga is. It’s are the tools of yoga it’s an intention and essentially a pathway that you follow for that attention to find unity and connection,

knowing what you know now would you have jumped different wrestled different? If you had kind of thought it from a yogic perspective, you know,

everything I would have done in my life before now would have been better. And not only that, would I’ve been better at it, but how I would handle every situation would be better.

What do you mean by that?

is taking versus giving, it’s

when we project ourselves into a false reality, which means into who we were, or who we want to be. It takes us away from the truth, the more that we place ourselves in the middle as as we are, because everything that we know happens through our experience, so it’s really hard to remove yourself as the experience or two, you know we are everything is subjective. But subjectivity can never be truth can never be objectively true. And so how can you experience something that’s true and real and make choices that are real if you yourself aren’t seeing them as how they actually are. In yoga, it’s called Boston. In Boston, it literally means smear. Like if you were to smear paint on something or if you’re put on a pair of red glasses, everything that you see is red. So if you go to paint a picture, and you pull out your paints, and you start painting it or I don’t know if you’ve ever worked on your computer with the the flux thing so it turns the screen orange and then you try to edit I edit photos cuz I’m a photographer and then try to edit photos and not realize that your screens orange and then all then you look at it and you’re like, why am I color so messed up? You know, this is this is how we treat life. We treat life As how we see them, not how they are. And so, when you are mindful and aware, and you remove yourself from that you start seeing things as, as they are rather than how you are. And if you make decisions on how things how things are, then the results of those decisions, those mean that happens, the choices that you make you, you’ll actually get what you are set out for the intention that you put into it. But if you start, you know, it happens all the time with relationships that we have, if we get in a fight with someone that we love, or an interaction with a stranger or something, you only see things out you’re seeing them and a lot of times, it’s from the emotions and emotions are one of the worst bosses that we have because it alters our mind so much this modification or in yoga, it’s risky. It changes you so much. So once you learn to remove those emotions, or even understand that you have them and stop looking through them and you see things as they The choices that you make are,

it’s, it changes everything.

So you wish you’d made different choices.

I wish I would have made so many different choices, what

a lot of a lot of the choices that I wish I would have made different, it’s hard to look back and say, I wish I would have changed things because I am finally at a place where I’m happy with who I am. And so if I change those things, would I be who I am now, but also looking back from that if the things I think that I would have changed the most or how I’ve treated a lot of people in my life, because I’ve thought I was a victim. You know, when when you’re in a conflict and you think that you’re a victim, you’re seeing things as you are. So when I was a I don’t think I was going to talk about this but it’s it’s good to get in these these kinds of things. So when I was growing up as a young kid, I had a stepmother who was very cruel to me. She was a little Little bit physically abusive to me and and mentally abused me a lot. She had alcohol problems and everything else. And I spent my whole life until a few years ago feeling like I was abused. And in a victim from this because I only saw things first of all, as not who I am but a 510 to 13 year old boy. So that’s not that’s not me, that was somebody else my memories that I have from there might not even be real, right? Because we create so much if we go back to our past and we think things how things happen, that’s not how they happened. We have so many layers of glasses on top of that, that we see situations distorted and then we remember things through emotions and it’s the emotions were heightened and the scars are there. Nothing is true that you think happened,

right? But something also did happen, but

something also did happen. But what What affects you now is if you get in a fight when you’re a kid, you don’t feel the pain from the fight. Later on, you feel the emotional response from the fight later on. But if I think back to when I was a kid and my stepmother who was around early 20s, not ready to be a mom, my mom had me when she was 19. My step mom was younger than my mom. And so back like that, and I actually see things as how she saw them and I remove myself as somebody that has to deal with this kid that she probably didn’t want to be a mom of her problems, everything and, and it wasn’t about me. And as soon as you realize that it’s not about you, then you no longer have to carry that role of being a victim. You no longer have to carry that, that this is something that I did. It’s just something that happened. There was a physical thing, but why am I carrying that emotional baggage with me? It’s like

You ever seen that show hoarders? Yeah.


I actually have I have a friend who who works on that show, as as a as a camera guy, okay. And I worked as a paramedic for a firefighter for eight years. So going into these houses of hoarders, it’s the craziest thing. It’s, it’s an absolute sickness. And it destroys people. It destroys who they are destroys their families, anybody that they come in contact with, and how you cure a hoarder is you throw away their shit.

That’s what they do. They go in there and they go, do you need this?

Yeah, I need that. You need this VCR box from 1980. You don’t even have the VCR anymore. But this is this you need this. And so systematically get teaching them to get rid of the things that they don’t need, the create space. What we don’t realize is that we’re all hoarders.

We’re carrying around Our past we’re carrying around all the garbage from you when you’re a little kid. I carry around the garbage from my my calls. I it’d be amazing if this guy’s watching it but I remember the third grade Trevor Jenkins called me Lord Wiener and, and that that like hurt me

because your last name or Wiener

Yeah, yeah and then it was dildo Wiener and you know it’s like name names hurt when you’re a little kid when you’re fragile and you don’t have an identity. Now it’s like you know, some called you name you don’t care because you don’t have any identity to that but when you’re a little kid and you’re trying to form that you got stuff sticks with you now it doesn’t stick with me. It doesn’t bother me if someone calls me a winner or what are any other names. You remember

Trevor Jenkins? I remember a great goalie named Trevor.

Oh, it’s such a great bully name. And I think he moved to San Diego. Yeah, words. But anyways,

so that’s some of the things you were hoarding?

No, I wasn’t really hoarding that. But I was hoarding a lot of stuff from my childhood for sure.

And you were able to see this through yoga.

Through yoga. Yeah, well, I mean, you It’s just a word to define understanding how things are. And it was when I understood how things are. You don’t have to be a yogi to do this, you could anybody can do this. But without the yoga practice, you probably wouldn’t have had this realization. Yoga was the route that I took.

Okay. But it wouldn’t have necessarily happened through skydiving, or mountain rock climb.

It didn’t for me.

Right. Right. Okay. So, yeah. And I think that’s,

you know, yoga is some people like to define themselves as Yogi’s because they like warrior too. I just, if you went 150 years ago, people weren’t doing warrior two. They weren’t doing any asanas. And there’s a lot of Yogi’s, you got to India, there’s everyone’s a yogi. No one does yoga. You know, it’s like so what, what we think explain that. I mean, we think Yoga is stretching and poses and, and whatever, but it’s, those are only just tools to do this.

And so if you understand

that where you’re going is here

And you understand that you want to see the truth that doesn’t matter what those tools are. I think meditation is one of the greatest tools that we could use yoga, the physical part is just a moving meditation through the body to understand the mind to understand presence. Nature is an even stronger one when you sit in nature because you look at nature nature is in itself in perfect harmony and balance in its natural state. And we are nature Alan Watts said, you know, we think that we came into this world, like we’re an alien or something separate something different from this planet. But we came out of this world like leaves from a tree and we really are that one and you know, the leaves on the leaves are the same as the tree the tree is the same as the leaf. It’s saying that the the drop of the water drop of water is the ocean or whatever that Yeah, you know, When we are able to see this connection and start to see ourselves as one then then it’s it’s all this pathway to

truth. And yet we’re the species that kind of engineers ourselves away from nature in so many ways and kind of cleverly pushes us to these other places.

It’s, it’s

when you can when you have to be confronted with yourself and that’s what the present moment does is it confronts you with who you are, and there’s nothing to hide behind. There’s there’s nothing to see things different. And so you have to face all those things. I remember you talking about fears, fears is you have a fear and that’s a calling card for you to walk into that. Well, most people are afraid to look at themselves in the mirror and most people are afraid to see who they really are to see inside their soul to be honest with themselves. But that’s what we need to do. And that’s when you see that that VCR box is useless and you’re able to throw that away. That all this stuff this past that you’ve been hoarding that you’ve been holding on to, it’s just garbage. yet you’ve occupied your life with it so much that you have no space for anything real

to take place.

In Buddhism, it’s always talking about empty. It’s about becoming empty, will empty is a process. You know, when you think like this glass here, as I drink it, I’m making it empty right now it’s full. It’s delicious, and it’s a drink more a bit, it’ll eventually become empty, but once it’s empty, it’s spacious. That means that there’s room to fill it with something well, if that was filled with urine. I’m not going to drink it. It’s, it’s, it’s full. It’s just garbage. I don’t want I don’t want what’s in there. For me to put something to make that vessel. We’re vessels containers, that whole nature to make that useful, I have to empty out what’s in there to fill it with what I want. But we are, we can’t do that because we don’t want to confront what that is because there’s honesty there.

And some of these practices of yoga can get us there. It gets a lot of people there. I mean, I’ve had my own experiences there where meditation didn’t do something that a physical practice sometimes associated with yoga would get me to write. Yeah, I see that you see that?

Well, I think what sees that I think what it is with the physical practice is it makes it easy for the mind to focus in and, and bring us to here there’s a sutra called yoga stare sukham asanam, which means the Asana has ease and effort. And we’re looking for this this sense of ease and we find it through the effort. It’s it’s that understanding light through darkness, when you put the body through a lot of effort For it actually makes it easy for the mind to be here. It’s why meditation is so hard because it’s so easy with the body. You’re just sitting there and so now the mind has nothing to, to latch on to has nothing to channel it, it’s free to explore. Meditation is a much harder practice and then physical osuna at least from from my experience being somebody that’s always loved movement and gone that way. So it was really the hard physical movement was the handstands and, and all those things that and the idea that I am supposed to be here, there is an intention behind it. Because I’ve done physical stuff my entire life, but I’ve never done it with the intention to understand who I am while doing it.

Let’s talk about

let’s talk about yoga, then, you know, because I mean, well, first of all, you were doing martial arts in like 2001. Then you got exposed to yoga for one of the first times, right, yeah. And that’s when you were like, Okay, this is something there’s something here

No, actually. So

I kind of say that was my first experience with yoga.

But I didn’t understand what yoga was then it was, you know, I was doing asanas and stretching and warrior twos and boat pose. And in boat pose, my Grandmaster would come by, and then he would, he was like five feet tall if that old Korean guy is late 70s, early 80s and he’ll kick me super hard in the stomach. He was an intense dude. super intense. I once saw him changing a light bulb on a ladder. And the it was on a on a mat, you know, and it gave way and he lost his balance. And he’s like, way up there, you know, 1215 feet and he just did a little roll, got up, and then climbed back, pick the ladder up, climb back up there, you know, I’ve never seen that anyway, so he brought us like, the sense of yoga that martial arts does of mindfulness and meditation and all that but Not in the way that not in the way that I understood. We all need. It’s like you you tell somebody something over and over and over. And then somebody else tells them that that person the same exact thing, and then they tell you Oh, I just figured it out. This person told me you’re like, that’s what I’ve been telling you forever. It’s, it’s sometimes we just need to hear it in a different way from somebody else. And because I wasn’t ready also for that I wasn’t ready. I was still just wanting to play in a rock band and do my thing and travel around and be a kid having fun. I wasn’t, I wasn’t ready to explore who I was yet. It wasn’t until later, which I didn’t even know I was ready to explore who I was yet. But I knew that something was missing in my life. I knew others. I knew that I was unhappy. And it was because I got everything that I wanted. Okay, and I think I needed to get everything that I wanted to realize how unhappy I was because I always thought that if I got everything that I want, I’ll be happy. If I get everything that I want, everything will be okay.

Were you getting? Well it was like, Yeah, like, what were you getting like I want to be,

I want it to be successful. I wanted to have a job that paid my bills. I wanted to have more than what I needed. You know, I think that’s we think success is getting a little bit more than what you need. Yeah, so that was one of the things financially successful. I wanted to have a career that people admired and looked up to. So that’s why I became a firefighter. Everyone likes firefighters. I wanted to own a home, bought a house, I wanted a fancy car, I bought a ridiculous sports car. I wanted a beautiful girlfriend, I had a super hot girlfriend. And I had joy with all those things. Not saying that that that they weren’t good things and that there’s anything inherently wrong with any of that. But looking for those things and acquiring them just left a bigger hole. So this is a think You’ve all know Harare. In his book sapiens, he talks about the squirrel dilemma. Once there’s this was a squirrel that went out and gotten an acorn and then ate it and then felt satisfied, everlasting satisfied, satisfaction and then died. Because it didn’t have a desire to go out and get another one. We’re programmed to have this sense of wanting more as soon as we get something. And it’s inherent to who we are. And so if we, if we live our lives like that, we’re never going to be satisfied. We’re never we’re never going to be content. So I think I needed all those things to be like, Okay, this isn’t the way

so about 10 years later, you decided to go in?

Yeah, 10 years later, I was a firefighter had all those things. This is actually before the girlfriend so I was like trying to go to dance classes. To meet people or whatever, and then I was invited to yoga class I went to a yoga class. And two weeks before that, I I started to enhance that. So I went to a Cirque de Soleil show. Okay. And I saw these people doing handstands and like, That’s so cool. So I’m going back to my rock climbing gym and there’s like a little workout area and I started doing handstands in there. Okay, learn how to do handstands showed up to this this power yoga class. And the the, the owner of the studio was actually from my martial arts place. Yeah. So I knew who he was. We used I think we used to date sisters like he David wants to sorry, David another long, long time ago, but it was a comfortable space for me to walk into because at that time, no one was doing yoga or no men were doing yoga. Yeah, people forget, like 10 years ago, or even 20 years ago. There’s just not a thing there. There was a couple there’s a couple but it’s, you know, yoga was for girls still at that time. It’s It’s crazy how much it’s changed. But, so I went in there and doing handstands and it just it. It felt cool and it was a good workout. And then I met this girl that I dated for five years and and even then I still don’t think I understood what it was. It was as when I went and did a teacher training, which was shortly after that way too early for me to do teacher training, but I’m kind of an extreme person. So whatever I go after, I go after it as hard as hard as I can I put everything into it. Yeah, I was I was still just so goal oriented. I’m in the way that I put everything that I have into whatever I’m doing.

But I don’t do it expecting something out of it.

I have a question. I think one of the questions that was sent to me before coming on this show is what’s my goal in five years and No idea. I don’t have a goal in five years, I don’t want to set a goal for five years. When you when you start projecting into something that’s not real. And you put expectations into that whatever happens unless it falls in line that of that expectation that you want, this is going to leave you unhappy. And then when you get there, you’re going to realize that it’s not what was going to make you happy either.

So no more goals for you. But no more future goal future goals. Okay. Right. And so, you kept practicing, kept practicing, did your teacher training,

I did my teacher training and I think

there’s a pose in yoga called Tadasana, which means Mountain Pose. My teacher, he basically said he wanted me to find mountain posts and a handstand, which it wasn’t like Mountain poses just standing straight up with your arms at your side, it’s the most simple pose that you can do. But it’s what does it mean to be a mountain. You know, if you look at a mountain, there’s so much life that happens on the surface of it. And it’s surrounded by change, and everything is going on. But then at the core of it, it’s still it’s, it’s centered, it’s here, it’s present with all the life that’s happening. And when you could find that in something that’s difficult, like a handstand, then you start to understand a little bit more about what it’s about. And I think that was one of my first times of understanding presence, where that was my choice to be present. So I’ve been present many times, but I didn’t know I was present. I was just a thrill seeker before that, and I think we’re a lot of thrill seekers come from they, they they’re present. They don’t understand that that’s why it’s so enjoyable

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