Joseph’s 10 Tips: #1 Moderation

Did y’all know that my yoga boyfriend, Joseph Encinia, is giving out his top 10 championship training tips over at USA Yoga? Follow USA Yoga on twitter to get them. I’ll be blogging about them each day for the next ten days. I will be one day behind. When I read the first tip last night, I thought we could all get a lot out of reading and discussing them. The first tip wasn’t specific to competitors. It IS relevant to competitors, and a great tip, but it is also generalizable to us all. Even if you don’t practice yoga at all, Joseph’s first tip has something to offer you. He’s that amazing.

So here’s Joseph’s tip #1:

Always practice moderation: Yogi is neither one who sleeps or eats too little or sleeps or eats to much. One should be in moderation with their training and practice and know when to give the body a rest.

I read that, of course, on the day I ate the gigantic burrito and tried to take class. So I was like, “Damn. I did not follow tip #1 at all today.” But I know this isn’t about being perfect. I read the tip as being mindful about what I do. I should be mindful about my daily habits in life. I should be mindful about my practice and the training I do outside of class. For me, being mindful means being in the present moment as best as any of us can do so with our monkey brains.

I was mindful for a second when faced with the gigantic burrito. I knew it was too big. I knew the cheese sauce was too much. I knew what to do about it, and I still didn’t do it. I practiced the opposite of moderation. I gave in to what felt good at the moment (but didn’t feel so good later) despite knowing it was a bad idea.

Ok, so this isn’t about being perfect. What matters now is that I can look back and reflect on the situation and be mindful about how I move forward from here. So I also take the tip as being mindful but also being reflective and those two things are constantly going on.

I also read the tip as saying it’s important to be aware of our bodies, how they work, and what they need. I knew after the competition was over that I needed to give my body a good month’s rest. First, my body told me it needed to rest by getting immediately sick. But mentally, my brain was not into doing more training. I needed time to rest physically, mentally, and emotionally. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you’re not a competitor, I think Joseph’s first tip has a lot to offer how we go about our daily lives and how we practice, whatever it is that we practice, in our daily lives. I could reword his tip and make it relevant to my job or running or whatever it is that you do. It’s not what you do that’s important here but how you do it and how you live within what it is you do or are moving towards.

How did Joseph’s first tip impact you?

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. teenieyogini
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 23:07:45

    I just took his class/workshop on Friday! Loved him! I think it is an extremely relevant tip! I am working hard to be mindful and put that very idea into practice, already!


  2. Penelope
    Jan 11, 2013 @ 10:21:04

    I have noticed that if I ignore tiredness/reduced performance/burnout, I pay for it by getting injured. The problem is I am always second guessing whether it is actual burnout or just laziness. And the food thing — I am always terrified about going into class too full, but I’ve gone too far in the other direction and that’s almost worse.

    Off topic a little, I have a question for you — how far out from competition did you start seriously training, and how much extra did you do (not counting taking advanced)? I would really appreciate the feedback. Thanks.


    • leighahall
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 12:46:57

      Last year, around January/February, I decided to do my 66-day challenge starting at the end of April. At the time, I was going about 3 days a week, and no one was even talking about competition. I decided to bump up the number of times a week I went (to 4-5 a week) to get used to it prior to the challenge.

      I was first introduced to the idea of competition during my challenge (so maybe in May or early June). We started advanced in June, and that was when I started to learn ways to do additional training before/after class. I traveled a lot in July. So I wasn’t very consistent with attending advanced or doing any additional training.

      The competition was at the beginning of November. So I would say I spent 4-5 months seriously training before the competition.

      The extra work that I did then does not look like the extra work I do now, but the amount of time I spend is about the same. I go to class 5-7 days a week year-round (barring vacations, and if there’s a studio in the area I will pop in once or twice, but I tend to take vacations in pretty remote areas). I show up 30 minutes before class starts and spend time doing extra work. Some people chose to stay after class, but I often need to leave after class. I think just finding a routine that generally works for you is key.

      Then I would spend 30-60 minutes doing additional work at home. So altogether, that’s 60-90 minutes of additional work per day outside of class and outside of advance. On days I took advanced I did not do any extra work. My advanced class WAS the extra work. I probably spend about 20 hours a week training when you factor everything in. It is a part-time job. Oh – and don’t forget to make time to lay on your nail mat and take a nice hot bath!!! I do think it’s important to take one day a week off. For me, that’s usually the day before advanced.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if there’s something else you want me to discuss. Happy to share.


  3. Penelope
    Jan 11, 2013 @ 17:12:00

    Thank you! Yes, this is very helpful. You’ve given me lots to think about. I’ve (pretty much) decided to take the plunge and compete this year. I may come dead last (don’t care) and I may never want to do it again, but I feel like I would regret it if I didn’t try. I enjoyed your perspective on competition, especially since you are planning to do it again, from which I infer that it was a positive experience for you. 🙂 I may have more questions in the future — I hope it’s okay if I ask you some occasionally!


    • leighahall
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 19:48:05

      Yeah Penelope! This is exactly what I thought when I agreed to compete last year. I wanted to try it out, and I wanted to do it entirely for myself. I also did not care if I came in dead last. There’s a good chance I did come in last, and certainly I placed in the lower quartile, but that is OK. I actually asked not to be told how I placed because: (a) it seriously didn’t matter and (b) I didn’t want to let my place distract me from my practice. I used the competition as a way to challenge myself mentally and physically. I grew from the experience.

      I think I would say I had a positive experience. I was sooooo terrified up on that stage! I was shaking so bad, and I have LOTS of public speaking experience. I could have given a talk to that room and had a great time. But standing in front of 100 people in a leotard doing yoga postures? Terrifing! It was good to be terrified though. As an academic, I work with students who have to learn to give public talks about their work. They are scared. I forget what that feels like. This experience helped me remember.

      Do it for yourself, and you will not be disappointed. And please feel free to ask questions anytime. Happy to share my experience.


  4. Joseph Encinia
    Jan 11, 2013 @ 18:58:11

    Hi Leigh! :*
    Moderation can be a big burrito and taking class. You ate the burrito (like I have tons of times before class in) and balanced it out with class. We should always be mindful of what we put into our bodies, but if it taste good… Go for it!
    The key to moderation is balance. Being in a healthy middle state… I find that when I’m to much one way its detrimental to my practice. To be healthy can be boring and to be unhealthy sucks! So enjoy that burrito or whatever it may be and keep up the practice 🙂
    See you again soon!!
    Joseph Encinia


    • leighahall
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 19:42:38

      Thanks for responding Joseph! I like your take on moderation. 🙂 I’m hoping to see you in Durham on Feb 10th. I can’t make it on the 9th. Trying to work things out to make it on the 10th. Hope to see you!


  5. Trackback: Retro Throwback: Joseph’s 10 Tips: #1 Moderation | My Bikram Yoga Life
  6. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 22:08:57

    Joseph’s 10 Tips: #1 Moderation #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


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