The meaning of Yoga, Sacred Savasana, how to live a full life, 17% of your time is going to be suffering, and more.
Guest: Jöhg Ananda
Jöhg Ananda has been described as a “Cultural Revolutionary” by Dr. Chris Ryan. He is a serial entrepreneur (Healthy Surprise, The Dirt Paleo Personal Care, Jambo Superfoods) and founder of Union Yoga. Jöhg has invented over 50 consumer products, including the subscription snack box category, several guided yoga kriyas and designed a factory.
Jöhg Ananda — the origins of his name
Jöhg was born Joseph. His spiritual name was gifted to him by one of his yoga guru’s, Siri Khalsa. The “G” in Jöhg’s name stands for grace, and “ananda” means divined bliss.
The meaning of Yoga
Yoga means yoke, or union in Sanskrit — union of the individual self with the universal self. The individual and universal selves could be thought of as: ying and yang, masculine and feminine, or observer and individual. Jöhg uses yoga to bring balance into his spiritual life. Yoga helps him get into a flow state, a.k.a. in the dao or in the moment.
Yoga poses were invented to get you breathing
In the west, yoga gained popularity through yogis showing off complex body poses on social media. However the original yoga practice focused on breathing only. The poses were later invented to keep people busy and engaged, so they could learn how to control their breath.
Jöhg developed and holds “Sacred Savasana” — a five-hour psychedelic yoga ceremony he tours across the nation. Jöhg spent the last 5 years developing Sacred Savasana as a sequence of yoga flow modalities that might help you get a revelation. Flow modalities come in different forms, including movement, chanting, getting in an isolation tank, gong playing, making love and other experiences that let you be in the moment or “connected to God.”
How to live a full life
People often say they want to live a happy, full life. But what does that really mean? Mike and Jöhg believe we all want “to feel.” When we are connected to our feelings and allow our feelings be expressed, we feel full and good. Unfortunately, modern society is not too kind to this idea of feeling.
From a young age, we are taught that “big boys don’t cry.” We are taught that dancing and singing is only for girls. We are taught not to feel. What happened to us is that some of ours feelings are suppressed while some are expressed at peak intensity. Our society enjoys high sugar energy drinks and loud beats. On social media, we see people ratcheting up their volume to get their signal through the noise.
Another component that confuses society is finding fulfillment from food. Eating makes you feel full and good, which could be similar to how you feel when you are in a flow state. But it’s the wrong kind of fulfillment– we can feel full in so many more ways than eating.
Overstimulation is throwing us out of balance
Technology enables us to get more done and make more money, but combined with our hard-work mindset and built-in FOMO, it’s created an overstimulated society. People expect to operate at full intensity at work, the gym and at home, and also be able to relax and fall asleep at night without down regulating. It’s essential to find a good balance of energy and relaxation.
Mike had suffered a physical injury rooted in overstimulation. He was pushing himself too much — he was “too much yang.” Mike learned how to breathe and down regulate from Jill Miller, founder of Yoga Tune Up Fitness, who taught him the importance of lower bandwidth sensory inputs.
“The answer was always: work harder.” — Mike Bledsoe
Take care of yourself = Increase your output
There is a positive trend [at least in California, but I think globally], where business owners and managers recognize the power of self-care. When we put time into taking care of our mind and body by going on a walk, working out, relaxing, doing yoga, etc., we not only increase our well-being, but also our effectiveness.
Taking care of yourself comes in many forms. Ranging from running, yoga, pilates, weightlifting, crossfit, sauna, cold plunges, isolation tanks, etc. The trick is to find the balance of what works for you.
17% of your time is going to be suffering
Everybody experiences suffering at some point, and suffering comes in different forms. For example, you can experience suffering during a yoga session, holding a static position while doing breath-of-fire for a few minutes. You could also experience suffering sharp back pain as a result of stiffness and lack of movement.
Once you understand you’re going to suffer, you can tap into suffering smartly. Suffering smartly is when you choose to suffer during yoga or a workout class vs. suffer from eating bad foods or lack of exercise. Jöhg likes to suffer smartly doing sauna sessions, cold plunges and breath work.
“You can make suffering an ally as opposed to this thing that just happens to you.” — Jöhg Ananda
What’s most fascinating is that fulfillment comes from suffering. Doing undesirable tasks (like eating your greens or getting your sweat on, for some) makes you feel great. On the other hand, too much comfort makes us feel sick. Modern society experiences very little physical discomfort. We have thermostats for when we’re hot or cold. Most of us have access to an abundance of food, a Walgreens on every corner and a comfy mattress to sleep on at night. Ironically, abundance of physical comfort created mental discomfort in our society.
How to say “No” in modern society
You’ve probably heard about the power of “No” by now. However, though we set goals for ourselves to say “No,” we tend to say “Yes” a lot. We do this when people perceive our rejection of their offering as an insult, when we don’t want to disappoint someone, and just out of habit. We know saying “No” results in a more meaningful life, but how do we achieve in modern society?
Start by checking your email less often. Mike was inspired to check his email less frequently by The 4-Hour Workweek. He went from checking his email twice a day, to once a day, to checking his email once a week! ?
How does Mike do it? Mike conditioned people to communicate with him on his terms. People close to Mike know to text him if there’s something urgent or email him if there’s something important but not urgent. And he only answers scheduled phone calls. This less disruptive structure allows Mike to be more present and stay focused on his tasks.
Online project management tools
Both Jöhg and Mike are able to get stuff done without checking their email frequently thanks to sophisticated project management tools. Mike frequently checks his Asana account to stay up-to-date with his team and Jöhg pays most of his attention to Slack communications. They both constructed their life where important communications happen through these project management apps and texting, which leaves only unsolicited messages in their email inbox.