JORDAN CIECIWA, MyToba.ca

This article is a big congratulations to Moksha Yoga and all their staff (especially Mika Rayter, for making sure I knew about the Yoga @ The Forks event). They put on an amazing day, all sorts of classes and amazing vendors. Any day that I can spend in the sunshine with Obby Khan and drink Green Carrot juice is an outstanding day. Being at the event gave me a little time to reflect.

Currently I lift weights and train hard for fun, I travel and explore to make memories, and I do yogaJC_YogaAtForks_200

Three years ago was the last time I trained in California with professionals in MMA.

Ten years ago was my last competitions in full-contact martial arts, just before starting a business.

Fifteen years ago, I was playing every sport and running wild in the country on dirt bikes.

Twenty-plus years ago I was in the Children’s Hospital hoping to one day leave and not go back.

When I turned 30, I still hadn’t done yoga. For that matter, when I turned 32, I still hadn’t done yoga. I’m now 33 years old and even though I stretched a lot as an athlete turned personal trainer and health expert, I’m glad I got started down the yoga path.

I’m a country kid at heart, and the reality of my life is that I am very relaxed no matter what. Frankly, having been in the hospital a lot as a young child has made me realize one very important thing. If it’s not going to kill you, it’s not really worth losing sleep over. With a clean bill of health for about 20 years, not much stresses me out. The things that do start getting to me always get taken care of with yoga.

I’m in the middle of a career transition. I had choices to make. Keep personal training and leave no time for workplace wellness seminars and writing, or start doing seminars and writing full-time and leave behind a solid paycheque from a decade of getting people results in fitness.

I chose to follow my passion. The recent change-over has me stressed most days, worrying I did the wrong thing, and feeling nervous about the future. It’s the same kind of worry I felt going into university instead of heading into the workforce (succeeded at that, and got to work with health and high-performance), it’s the same worry I felt starting my first gym (did that for a decade and helped change lives for the better) and now I feel it again as I jump into a media spokesperson role.

Running and lifting weights, being active, that helps with “burning off stress.” In my opinion, it helps reduce the symptoms of stress. That lets me have a clear head to start solving the real problems, and that’s fear. I find that fear really is what causes stress because it makes us over-think everything. It’s the “what ifs” that will kill you and kill a dream if you give in to them.

What I have found with the practice of yoga is that it unlocks a peacefulness. When you practice and learn to be calm and focus on taking deep breaths, your body naturally resets itself. It’s that meditation state that breathing and focusing on the stretch and where your body is at that moment that allows you to be really low-stress in life. There is nothing like coming out of a yoga class and realizing life is great. Sure I have uncertainties, but I’m healthy. There may be a few holes in my new plan to make Winnipeg into One Fit City, but I’m moving forward in life. I’m calm and excited to see my vision come to fruition. I’m passionate, excited and unstoppable. I attribute that to yoga, and the deep breathing and focus that comes with practising.

So thanks Moksha — your day of yoga inspired me to reflect. In that reflection I became grateful. In that gratitude I became empowered and sure that life is truly beautiful. That my friends is the power of practising yoga.

So lift weights, run, do yoga. Go make some memories and travel, be alive, and help me turn Winnipeg into One Fit City.