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👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
I'm a yoga teacher in Portland, Oregon, and I've been teaching for the past eight years or so.
I took my first yoga class, not too long before I turned 40 -- I'm about to turn 49 now.
I dove deep into practice right away, even though I was relatively old when I started. It helped me a lot with a bunch of aches and pains I'd accumulated, including low back problems.
Also -- and this is sort of my take on "mindfulness" -- yoga made me much more aware of how my body moves, and lots of habits that were slowing me down, and I realized that my practice could help me age gracefully for a long time to come.
Otherwise, as far as fitness, I was a competitive swimmer and cyclist in high school, and as an adult I'd continued swimming and biking (working as a messenger in San Francisco for a couple of years, even) as well as lifting weights.
I've always been active and fit.
Teaching yoga is a surprising place for me to end up, but it's been fascinating and I love what I do.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
As far as a "typical" day of training goes, things are varied. I demonstrate what I teach with larger classes, so I need to be ready to move well and teach at the same time.
I practice yoga every day, for anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Much of my practice includes hand balancing -- I became fascinated with handstands early on with yoga, and I teach inversions to adults.
My favorite poses are handstands, sissy squats, and deep lunge stances.
I jump rope in more of a "sprinting" pace, and I bike all around Portland for transportation. That's about as far as I go with cardio.
I prefer doing my own thing, mostly, but I prefer training with other people around me.
I carry a jump rope, bicycle inner tube (for elastic band holds), a "peanut" to roll out tense spots, and a tripod for my phone.
Also, I have a set of gymnastic rings that I use because there's not a lot of upper body "pulling" with yoga and hand balancing, so that keeps my upper back and shoulders healthy.
Finally, I hike and swim occasionally.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I am VERY active, especially for my age. My "rest days" are still pretty active, relative to most people.
I'm very conscious of keeping myself healthy and fit for the long term, so I'm careful to lower the intensity or difficulty of what I do when necessary. That's a bigger challenge for me than figuring out how to "push harder."
The fact that I teach for a living makes me much more careful than I would probably be otherwise, because I have to be ready to teach, demonstrate, and move in front of other people.
I start every day with at least a light, 30 minute workout, but my schedule changes all the time, so that's pretty variable.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As to the future -- well, that's gotten INTERESTING since the quarantine. I've had to move my teaching online, which I'd been working on before, but now the gyms and studios have closed, so I've become very serious and focused on this.
It's a really BIG change. I feel like I'm handling it well, and I have a following and an email list of people who've been taking my classes for years, so things have been good for me so far.
Still, it's new and overwhelming and I need to work out where this is taking me. It's exciting and stressful at the same time.
If I could turn back time, I would've done more than just "exercise." More skill-based movement -- yoga, martial arts, acrobatics, capoeira, something like that.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I've avoided any major injuries since I started teaching and practicing yoga -- knock on wood -- and that is unusual, considering how much I practice.
Like I said before, though, I'm cautious. I practice yoga and movement as a skill, though. My focus is on controlling tension where I need to, and when my body's achey and tired, I just slow the movement down and maybe back off from more stressful positions.
I get lots of little injuries -- aches and pains and strains that last up to 4-6 weeks. Nothing recurring, though. I pay attention when things feel "off."
I normally sleep six hours at night.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I've changed my diet quite a bit over the years.
Three years ago, I tried the ketogenic diet as an experiment. I'd read that it might help with "mental alertness" and I wanted to keep my energy more even throughout the day, without too many highs and lows. It helped a lot that way.
After six months, I backed off from being strict with the ketogenic diet, but I've stuck to a diet that's very low in carbohydrates, but probably much higher in protein than a strict keto diet. That has worked well for me.
I don't really "cheat" too much. I've had a disciplined diet for about 20 years, so it's a habitual thing, not a will power thing.
Still, I'll nibble on stuff that I'd rarely eat, every now and again. Otherwise, I say "no thanks," try to eat before attending functions where I figure there won't be good options for me, and try not to make a big deal out of it.
My biggest problem is eating too much in one sitting, if I'm not careful. Eating a with a low-carb / high protein approach mutes most of my cravings.
I rarely drink alcohol -- maybe a glass of wine once a month.
As far as supplements, that changes a bit. I take creatine from Bulk Supplements, vitamin C and D, collagen, ashwagandha, magnesium, and a few other things.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Things that have inspired me include many of the people I meet in my classes, especially people who've cared for their bodies as they age.
I follow LOTS of people on Instagram who've inspired me -- Cameron Shayne, Carmen Aguilar, Farid Herrera, Yuri Marmerstein. Many others as well.
Lots of '70s funk and blue-eyed soul. Recent lofi/dance music.
Take care of your joints and let things (like skill building) take their time is one of the best advices I've received.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
My advice to people who want to improve themselves is to start in small steps. More of a habit psychology approach -- decide which direction you want to improve yourself toward, and take small steps in that direction every day.
Let the small steps become larger steps over time, but be consistent so that you become the person always moving and improving in the direction you've chosen.
Also, be honest to yourself and find the direction that suits you, rather than just something to impress other people.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I take clients both online and in person (though with the quarantine, everything's online right now). I am probably best suited for people who want to "age better" and who are willing to learn and work toward that for the long term.
Common questions from clients:
- How much do you exercise? -- Probably at least two hours.
- How do you learn hand balancing? -- By practicing at least a little bit, nearly every day.
For results, it depends. For specific mobility/rehab/workout issues, it's probably five sessions and then the client has enough of a basic direction to continue in a self-directed way.
For more complicated issues or overall fitness, or skill/inversion work, I have clients who've practiced with me for years. It really depends on the client.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
💬 Chris Davis quotes
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