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30 and Learning…

The journey continues

A Conversation with Self

Something inside me feels compelled to come out today. There is a sort of restlessness about this day that I can’t seem to understand. On such days I find writing to be the best therapy. It’s like having a conversation with myself, trying to understand what all the fuss is about.

I find it ironic that exactly two years ago, on this very day, I started a new chapter of life. This chapter has been, by far, the most enriching phase of my life, and the most eventful one too. I’m not going to spend any time looking back, it’s not like me. I’m quite good at moving on actually! I like to look ahead. Two years later, I’m once again standing at crossroads of life about to start something new. Maybe that is the source of my restlessness, this new beginning.

Fear. That’s probably it. I’m at a cusp and the anticipation is getting to me. It’s like that moment on a roller coaster ride when the ascent is over and you can see the fall ahead. I know it’s going to be fun, I’m looking forward to it but all sorts of chemicals are firing in my brain and making me nervous. I want a hand to hold on to but I look around and I see no one. I seeks friends to drown out this feeling but the moment everyone is gone and I’m left alone it comes back. So what’s the solution?

I already know the answer actually. It came to me during my meditation last evening. The voice inside me said that I must finally come clean with my father about my hopes and dreams. It will not be an easy conversation but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. I’ve been hanging out here at the top for far too long. I need to face this fall so the fun can actually begin.

Does this knowledge make me feel any better right now? No, it doesn’t. The anxiety, anticipation, restlessness, it’s all still there. I only know what to do about it eventually, not right now. Right now I t’s natural to seek safety and comfort but I know all too well that in the end we must all walk our path alone. This desire for comfort once again takes me back to two years ago, to that evening when I last saw my playboy (haven’t thought about him in a long time). His embrace used to be my safe place back then. A part of me wants that place again, not him just the place, to prepare myself. But I’m a different person now and I can find that place in my own heart, I just have to dig deep. That is what I can do right now.

Now that makes me feel better…

 

When Life Calls

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I’ve been taking a lot of time to think lately. I’ve been going inward and taking stock of life thus far and beyond. I no longer believe in coincidences. It was the same me that once said that “things don’t happen for a reason; things happen and we make our reasons to justify them”. Since I wrote these exact words over a year ago, I have undergone many changes, emotionally and spiritually. I have moved, and since the day I got back to India something inside me knew that I was here for a reason, like this was all a grand scheme. And today, more than ever, I can feel that I am exactly where I need to be – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. All of me is present here in this moment and there is nowhere else I’d rather be. And surprisingly, I wouldn’t choose any other path to get here either.

Earlier today, I was embroiled in an emotionally charged discussion with my mother about myfuture” (as if we have any control over it). She said to me, “what’s the point of getting educated in the US if you want to end up teaching yoga in India!”. I did not respond. Not because I didn’t have an answer. Au contraire, I knew the exact answer. But I don’t think she is ready for it. However, this is my personal space and I must respond here.

Everything that I am today, every fiber of my being, mortal and immortal, is a consequence of my life journey thus far. Every person that I have come in contact with has shaped my personality in some way. And by shaping I don’t mean influence or manipulation of any kind. When I meet someone I instictively like or dislike, it makes me question that sentiment. And in trying to decipher that reaction, I discover something new about my own self. Sometimes I like what I discover and I work on enhancing it. Other times I don’t, and I work to fix it. So people don’t change people, but they certainly hold up a mirror to us so we can see ourselves in a new light. What we make of the reflection is up to us because only we can change ourselves. And I have used every opportunity life has afforded me to change myself for the better, or at least so I think. If I didn’t travel the path that I did and saw these reflections along the way, I wouldn’t be what I am today, and I wouldn’t trade my today’s self for anything in this world.

I have walked a long, sometimes extremely arduous road, to find my one true love – myself. I don’t say that with any trace of narcissism or arrogance. I say it with utmost humility and gratitude. In order for me to be able to love others fully and honestly, I must first love myself. And in order to love myself, I must first know and accept myself. This life, through all its highs and lows, especially the lows, has helped me fine tune my character. It has helped me acknowledge my shortcomings and forgive myself for them. It has helped me recognize my strengths and use them as a foundation for everything else. I don’t pretend to be anything or anyone else, and I certainly don’t try to conform to any moulds. I am who I am and I embrace it. So now that there is no “void” to fill, I can genuinely love others instead of using them as crutches to make up for my own weaknesses. I am complete and that is a consequence of my journey, the exact journey that I took; it couldn’t have been anything else or I wouldn’t be complete.

So to go back to what my mother said, my American education didn’t start and end at a university. My American education is ongoing, and will continue for the rest of my life. If I didn’t go there, I wouldn’t be here. My American education is the brickwork in my life’s foundation, it’ll always be there. I don’t know if I would’ve got the same experiences elsewhere. And yoga, well, I didn’t choose yoga, yoga chose me. I didn’t decide one day that I want to become a yoga teacher, then went on to take a course and practise. I was lost and meditation showed me the light inside my heart. Meditation led me to the physical practice and I practised for a long time without any formal training. Then one day I heard of teacher training happening in my own backyard, if you will. I took it because it was convenient, and because I was curious to learn the philosophy of yoga. Even at that time, I was the only one in my class who had no intentions of teaching anytime in the near future. But now it’s all I can think of. If that doesn’t seem destined then what does. And it’s not just teaching the superficial, “Bollywood yoga” as I like to call it, or the acrobatic yoga on the other extreme. I want to help people understand the essence of yoga, and live healthy, holistic lives. Quite simply, I want to share this wonderful gift that I’ve been given.

The thing with truth is, once you have seen it you cannot unsee it. I have seen my truth, my calling and it is simply a matter of time before I heed it.

Namaste

 

Anniversary Special

Anniversaries are special times. Not because they give us a reason to celebrate but because they make us think what it is that we are celebrating. They allow us to pause for a moment and look back at the road we have traveled to get to the milestone where we stand, and look ahead at the path yet to be traveled. And it is this journey, not the milestone, that we must celebrate. We will reach a new milestone with each passing year, and each new milestone will look much the same as all of the previous ones, but the road traversed will be remarkably different; the scenery along the way, the roadblocks that we overcame, and the people who walked a part of or the entire path with us will be different.

As I stand here today, looking at 30andLearning.com already few days into its second year, I celebrate every joy, every sorrow, every success, every failure, and every person who has helped grow and nurture it. I haven’t written in this one year, something that I intend to change going forward, and I haven’t created as much content as I would have liked to, but that does not mean that I didn’t work on myself behind the scenes. I have gone through some life-changing events, I have lost a lot of what I held dear, and I have come full circle to the place where I took my very first breath. Call me a romantic, but I see a reason behind this, like I am exactly where I am meant to be, and I feel fearless to go down the road ahead of me even though I can see nothing. It’s as if I have been reborn, and just like a child I am full of faith and wonder.

There are things I would like to share in the coming days but for now all I would say is that I feel like I may have finally found myself!

Much love,

P

 

 

 

From 30 and Learning Vlog

 

I can write volumes about the importance of a healthy digestive system. But suffice to say that a host of health problems start with the guy so it is really crucial we strive to maintain its health and heed the smallest sign we see.

I’ve having episodes of major sugar cravings, like eating dessert for meals kind of cravings. So I’ve decided to completely take out refined sugar from my diet and restore a healthy gut microbiome and hormonal balance.

I’ve never been opposed to eating a little dessert everyday, in fact, I’ve always done that myself, but I’ve never craved sugar this way before. So sorry ya scrumptious looking piece of cake over there, I know you’re looking at me and as much as I want you, I’m gonna have to say no! It’s not you, it’s me… actually, it’s the sugar 😤

Anyone care to join!?

Watch the video to see my ground rules, and a before photo!

From 30 and Learning Vlog – Pull ups CONQUERED!

From 30 and Learning Vlog – My Weightloss Journey | 3 Months 6 Kgs

 

Hi guys!

In this video I talk about my weight loss journey and mini transformation over the last three months. If you’d rather read then here is everything that I’ve covered in the video, and then some 🙂

In April, I started with a simple carb cycling plan where I was averaging to about 150 g of carbs per day in a week. That’s still high but considering that I was eating way more than that before, it was a good way for me to ease into a lower carb routine and shed significant water weight.
So the lesson learned here is that slowly introduce your body to new eating habits. Making drastic changes might throw off your digestion and hormonal balance, and it’s also more difficult to cope with emotionally. You can’t just wake up one morning and tell yourself that you’re never going to eat bread again!
Carb cycling is also good in this sense because you get to mix up low and high carb days.
All in all, first month was a success and things went as planned.

In May I decided to cut carbs even further, averaging 75 g of carbs per day in a week. I also mixed up my workouts at the gym, cutting out any sort of heavy lifting and relying only on interval style cardio.
Second month was a total failure. I had plateaued. There was no change on the scale or in the mirror.
The mistake as I later realized was not in reducing carbs or changing workout, not directly that is. While cycling my carbs, I was eating relatively high amount of protein per day, anywhere between 80-90 g per day. Since I had taken out lifting, I wasn’t breaking down and repairing muscle anymore. My muscles were getting stronger but they weren’t getting bigger and so all that excess protein that I was eating was simply getting converted to sugar!
That’s right, the body is equipped to break down protein into glucose and would much sooner do that than break down fat for energy.
So lesson learned was that eating high protein is only beneficial when doing some serious heavy lifting. For my lifestyle 50-60 g of protein was going to be just fine.

Finally, it was June and armed with this newfound wisdom, I decided to give ketosis a try! Low carb, high fat and moderate protein seemed like the right thing to do, and it was. I was already used to eating low carb from my carb cycling days so I had many go-to recipes which is my number one tip to anyone attempting the LCHF life. Don’t think you’ll figure it out along the way because the initial days are tough and if you can’t whip up a healthy and satisfying meal quickly, you’re likely to succumb to cravings.
My favorite breakfast to this day is an almond meal pancake made in generous butter or coconut oil, with a tablespoon of peanut butter. It is delicious and extremely satisfying.
Tip number two is be prepared to feel like crap for about 2 days after the first 4-5 days. I had headaches and felt no energy. I missed the gym and made sure to read anything and everything I could find on the internet about keto diet. IT HELPED BIG TIME! It gave me the motivation to keep going, in fact, it actually made me enjoy the misery knowing that it meant my body was learning to burn fat!
Eventually, I was back to normal and I had the energy to do fulfilling workouts at the gym. The one thing I did notice, which is a negative, is that I didn’t have enough strength to see progress in my pull up progressions because I had almost no muscle glycogen. Based on what I’ve read, it takes about 2-3 months to get fully keto-adapted so the depends on glycogen is gone but I’m not going to try it. As of July I’m back to eating a regular diet with moderate carbs, fats and protein.
Overall, I was satisfied with my keto results. I lost 2 kg in fat and I felt energetic.
There’s one instance I specifically want to share. I had eaten a high carb dinner one Saturday as part of my re-feed so I decided to do sprint intervals Sunday morning to exhaust my glycogen stores. So there I was in the park across from my house, doing sprint/walk intervals for close to an hour, and just as I was starting to feel like I had reached my limit I suddenly got this immense burst of energy and I kept going for another 20 minutes. I was still not exhausted by the time I was done but my right knee was busted so I had to stop.
I like to think that just as my muscle glycogen depleted to a certain level, my ketosis machinery kicked in and supplied me with endless source of energy. Ok, well not endless but you know what I mean 😉 Regardless, I thought that was pretty cool!

A note though… I didn’t do a strict keto diet because I was eating a serving of fruit each morning and I was eating loads of vegetables with each meal. I don’t condone extreme diets, and especially diets that deprive one of nutrients so I made that allowance and I’m still happy with the results. In my post-keto world I feel more energetic and efficient, and I’m still losing weight. I’m still far from my personal best in terms of appearance but I’m not in a rush to get there.

If you decide to give ketosis a try, or if you find this information useful, do leave me a comment. Would love to hear from a fellow fitness “student”, or even a teacher… we’re all about learning here 😀

From 30 and Learning Vlog

New mixed grip holds and a do-anywhere assisted pull up variation!

Stay fit 🙂

From 30 and Learning Vlog

Here is Part 2 of Conquer with Me, Handstand series.

In this part I want to focus on the back which is often times ignored. Some basic back bends, and then we’ll transition into a shoulder stand. It was only while editing this video that I realized how much more I had to go to get a proper shoulder stand. So although these one is properly is the easiest of all the “stands”, it is still sufficiently difficult, especially for the abs.

And speaking of abs, my new favorite exercise- stability ball Jack knives- are what we conclude with.

I hope you enjoy the video and give these moves a try!

Stay healthy!

From 30 and Learning Vlog

A quick look at my 8-week carb cycle experiment- things didn’t go as planned but at least I tried! So now I have started a new experiment- keto diet!

I’ll get into the details of why carb cycling stopped working for me, and whether keto diet helped me get to my target fat loss in a separate video. In this part, I had something more important to touch upon.

I’ve started a new series called “In Conversation with my Gym Buddies”. I will try to stagger uploads for this series and my regular videos as this series is mainly in Hindi! Since these are questions from people I know from my gym, I want to keep the discussions more personable 🙂

For those who enjoy a Hindi chit-chat, today we talk about fitness basics and weight loss.

Hope you enjoy! Subscribe on YouTube or follow this website to get timely notifications 😀

Stay healthy!

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