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Baptiste Advanced Art of Assisting

I had the honor of being on the faculty for this awesome Baptiste Program held at Soul Yoga and Wellness in Santa Rosa, CA. As yoga teachers our ability to "listen" to a student is a key component to assisting the student to higher levels of yoga practice. A great yoga class is partially predicated upon the conversation between student and teacher. When a class has 50 people or more for example, how does the conversation take place? This is the art of teaching. It is possible to assist a student to greater or lesser depth in a pose as a teaching tool to speak through that student to the rest of the class. The trick is to ascertain trends specific to that class in asanas and give tools in the moment that make an immediate difference. This is very challenging to do. Folks will think a teacher is multitasking. But really what is happening is as a teacher gains years of experience teaching and practicing  yoga sequences flow takes over and becomes second nature.  The teacher can focus less on the mechanics as that part of the brain is on autopilot,  and direct attention toward the art of listening and giving tools. This is what it means to move toward mastery. 

How our mind perceives our body actually has a physical effect on the body. The mind is plastic and so is the body. Yoga helps to constantly reshape toward optimal functioning and it is our job as teachers to remind students constantly to clear the baffles so the mind and body communicates effectively. Most of the time we are not aware of what our mind perceives of our body unless of course we place our attention on the body. This is the yogic practices of dharana (focus, concentration) and dhyana (maintaining a focus, meditation). Teachers are constantly directing students to tune back in to breath as a pathway to body awareness. Also called drishti. 

Learning to assist creates flow in a class adding to the experience and hopefully inspires students to keep coming back to the practice. As teachers we become more intimate with our students and this will speed up students capacity for deeper practice. Below is some notes taken by one of the students during the workshop. It just gives you a sense on the types of things a Baptiste Program would focus on. Although this is targeted toward assisting the whole is the goal in Baptiste and thus the Baptiste Methodology is always front and center. 

Actions of Artful Assisting

  1. Attune to the student ( energy, breath, assist, appropriate for level of practice)
  2. Assist from your True North Alignment
  3. Align center to center
  4. Enter and exit with ease
  5. Be clear and purposeful
  6. Create flow
  7. Assist from the ground up

Types of Touch

Skin- Fingertips to indicate attention and direction. Impacts form.

Bone- C-shape hands to grasp and move bones. Impacts alignment.

Muscle- Palm with steady pressure. Impact action.

Body Mechanics

  1. Feet/Legs: Setting a strong foundation, knees straight and not hyper-extended, Internal-external rotation of femur as needed for the purpose of the pose.
  2. Hips- Neutral and balanced, round lower back for backbends, “hollow out” low back for forward fold
  3. Supine- Flexion, extension and rotation; ascension, and extension before rotation
  4. Arms- Shoulder integration with external rotation of humerus, shoulder blades pulled in towards spine, upper arm bones back.

Watch outs

  1. Do not pull shoulders back in upward facing dog
  2. Do not press shoulders down in down dog
  3. Do not pull on hands to open shoulders
  4. Do not pull hips up in bridge or wheel
  5. Do not press hips down in hip opening 
  6. Do not press Thoracic spine down in forward folds 
  7. Do not press feet down in inversions
  8. Do not press hips toward head in deaf man’s pose or plow
  9. Do not increase twist in supine twist
  10. Do not force anything

Types of Adv. Assisting

  • 3 point Assist
  • Prop Assist
  • Partner Yoga Assist
  • Thai Massage (muscle compression/ Joint traction)
  • Transition Assist (enable movement to advance pose)

PICS!

While workshops appear to be serious business, we have tons and tons of fun.

While workshops appear to be serious business, we have tons and tons of fun.

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Christian, Nick, Suzie, Lisa and Todd. THE TEAM!

Christian, Nick, Suzie, Lisa and Todd. THE TEAM!

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Filmed a Class/Christian Allaire

Hey Yoga Tribe,

I set up my little Canon GX7 Mark 11 and filmed about 30 minutes of one of my last classes that I taught at Frequency Yoga San Rafael, CA. I intended to film the entire class but I think the camera may have heated up and shut itself down. However, this particular class was really memorable with terrific energy and students that have attending my class for years. Please consider subscribing to my Youtube channel by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Yogi C

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Yoga Journal LIVE! Event

On January 14th I had an inspiring experience teaching at the YJL conference in San Francisco. The event was held a the a Hyatt Regency along the San Francisco water front. It was pretty crazy to walk in and see my head on a poster board. First time for everything! 

We had a great attendance for the free class, about 60 people or so. I'm super grateful to my 3 assistants from Baptiste Yoga San Francisco and all the super from my home studio in the city. 

Here are some pictures from the event. Christian Allaire Yoga is thriving!

 

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Christian Allaire Yoga. Veteran Turned Yoga

Christian Allaire Yoga. Veteran Turned Yoga

Yoga Teacher Brittany Lamb from Baptiste Yoga SF

Bo Billi Yoga Teacher Baptiste Yoga San Francisco

Christian Allaire Yoga. Veteran Turned Yogi

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Lululemon Ambassador Photoshoot

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Lululemon Ambassador Photoshoot

Last week I had such a terrific time shooting in San Francisco with pro photographer Ian Tuttle for my ambassadorship. What an honor to be selected as a Lululemon Ambassador based out of the Corte Madera California store. What is a Lulu Ambassador? From the website here is the explanation "Our athlete programs support a community of driven athletes and inspirational people who harness their passion to elevate their communities."

I've always been a fan of Lululemon. While studying for my MBA I did  a couple of projects studying the company, its ethos, the controversy with shear clothing and the issues with Chip Wilson. None of issues left me feeling freaked out about the company. The company you will notice has not popped up on every corner like Starbucks. You'll notice they are managing there growth well. This takes courage, especially in light of all the companies that are trying to take there market share. The list is long. In any event.....I love the Lulu Manifesto below.

Below are pictures taken while were taking pictures. Thank you to the team at the Lululemon store in Corte Madera. Leaders Jessie Whalen and Patty Prislin have to so great to me. They really do support their ambassadors.

Kindly,

Christian Allaire

VETERAN TURNED YOGI

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Volt Planner/Life at the Next Level

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Volt Planner/Life at the Next Level

I have a real fetish with Goal Setting/Life Planning. I've done it for years and years. I had my first training in the topic when the captain of my ship in 1994 (thank you Mike Mohn) took the entire crew of 16 to the Franklin Quest (soon to be Franklin Covey) day long seminar in Honolulu using the Franklin planning system. It brought me back to when I was a child watching my dad use his Daytimer  and if my memories serves, since I expressed such interest in his Daytimer he bought me one!

I wanted to show you the tools I've been using with success at achieving goals, tracking outcomes and thinking ahead. Success is always visualized prior to achievement. The prepared warrior wins in the mind first then on the field of battle type thing. 

I also point to two books that recently (past 4 years) has inspired me immensely. Mark Divine's Way of the SEAL and Unbeatable Mind. Contained within these two books and his associated trainings are the keys to unlocking greatness. Mark calls it Self-Mastery. I like that. 

I recently had the Volt Planner pop-up on my Facebook feed. After some investigation it appears to be really juicy. So much so I plunked down the $40 + $6.95 in shipping for the 2017 version. I hope it delivers. You can check out the youtube video above. Just remember that anything in slow-motion makes things a little more ominous.....like your future closing in on you! Partially what sold me is they had the temerity to film a left hander using the notebook.

The reason the Volt Planner is important to me is I've exclusively shifted to an all cloud based system from Asana which is SO POWERFUL. Above is the screen shot of my Annual Focus Plan template created by Mark Divine. I also use his temples that are similar for a month & weekly focus plan all derived from the annual focus plan. I've always thought that going back to basics is important in life. Whenever I have to hand write something it is painful. This skill is atrophying. I also believe the act of writing versus typing to be powerful. Furthermore the amount of time I spend on the computer I think has now become damaging. This is why this Volt Planner seems to be worth the stretch. I hope I can use both cloud based and paper based system together to help me grow.

I have the honor of being chosen as a Lululemon Ambassador recently. So very cool and inspiring on so many fronts. But this is not the subject at hand. One of the things so compelling to me about Lululemon is they provide tools and hire people who are motivated to use said tools to meet their goals. This is how they do business. As an ambassador they offered up some of the things they are afforded. One of them is this template above for achieving some BHAG's. 

One of our challenges is to plan for a future but live in the moment. The best tool for living in the moment derives from yoga + meditation, always come back to your breath.

Kindly,

Christian 

Update: The Volt Arrived today with this cool little note in it.

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Baptiste Yoga San Francisco

I am such a huge fan of the Baptiste Methodology. I recently completed Baptiste Level 2 and will now pursue in earnest my Baptiste Certification. 

Jen and Sean Silvera Own the Partnership Studio Baptiste Yoga San Francisco in the city. They have nurtured me and allowed me to pick up two classes at the studio. This studio and the people who practice and teach are truly a tribe. I couldn't be more enthusiastic about this place, this time and the opportunities to serve via the practice of yoga.

I constantly keep my schedule fresh and up to date on this websites schedule page. Would love to see you all on the mat!

http://christianallaireyoga.com/when-where/#new-page

Kindly,

Christian

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VYP Fundraiser Big Hit

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VYP Fundraiser Big Hit

On Sunday November 13th we held the donations based Veterans Yoga Project yoga class. It was a smash hit! We don't have all the financial data in quite yet. However I think we'll hit close to 9k. Our goal was a smooth 10k. Please enjoy some of the photo's below.

Thank you thank you!

Kindly,

Christian

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Need a Cleanse? 6 Benefits of Detoxing Your Body

THIS IS A GUEST POST CRAFTED BY TRAVIS WHITE. CHECK HIM @ http://learnfit.org/

You’ve probably heard of detox diets and detox drinks, but is a detox something you should be doing? Detoxing is the process of ridding your body of unwanted substances and toxins, which is usually achieved by fasting or consuming specific types of foods and beverages specially designed for helping to flush such toxins from the body, or some combination of these approaches.

Detoxing should be done carefully, and if you have a chronic health condition, always discuss detoxing with your healthcare provider first. The process can be incredibly beneficial for your health and well-being; here are just a few of the benefits you can reap from a detox.

Energy Boost

If you’re feeling tired, fatigued, and sluggish by mid-day, the right detox can restore your energy and vigor. Focusing on removing toxins from the lymphatic system with herbs and other methods clears out your lymph nodes so they’re better able to filter the unwanted substances out of your system that contribute to fatigue and illness.

Stress Management

Foods like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and refined foods can contribute to adrenal fatigue, which leaves you feeling sluggish and tired, as well as more susceptible to stress. A detox can rid your body of these substances, giving your adrenal glands a healthy reboot so they can do their job – helping your mind deal with everyday stress without getting overwhelmed.

Better Sleep

A lack of quality sleep leads to all sorts of undesirable effects, such as irritability, mood swings, mid-day slumps, and even illness. Your body might attempt to compensate for a sleep deficiency by craving certain foods – sugary or processed foods, for instance – which in turn adds more toxins to your body that can make it harder get quality sleep. A detox breaks this vicious cycle, ridding your body of the substances that are contributing to insomnia. When you’re better able to rest, you’ll have more energy and stronger immunity.

Weight Loss

A detox can result in the loss of a few pounds immediately by eliminating water weight caused by bloating and other factors. You should never use a detox program continuously in order to facilitate rapid weight loss. However, a detox can be beneficial for resetting your body’s systems to kick-start a weight loss program and initiate long-term healthy nutrition choices.

Better Focus and Concentration

By reducing the effects of adrenal fatigue and brain fog that comes from sleep deprivation and lack of energy, a detox can drastically improve your ability to focus and concentrate. When you have the energy and the attention to laser-focus on the task at hand, you’ll be more effective in every area of your life.

Improved Skin

A detox can leave you with smoother, clearer skin by removing toxins that contribute to oily skin, wrinkles, and a dry or dull texture that takes the glow from your skin. If you suffer from acne, a detox can offer dramatic improvements, but like most acne treatments, it may get worse before it gets better.

There are hundreds of different detox programs, recipes for detox beverages, and food recommendations for different types of detoxes that focus on specific physiological systems. Depending on your goals, you can design a custom detox regimen that cleanses your body of unwanted toxins and leaves you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. Once your cleanse is over, don’t let bad habits throw you off course. Implement a healthy diet and frequent exercise so that you can continue the benefits of your cleanse.

 

Thank you Travis!

 

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A Gratitude Practice

Here's to another 50 Years!

 

One of my yoga students did a terrific beautiful thing to pay it forward. On Christine's 50th Birthday she came to my 5pm class and paid for everyone that showed up. It brought Christine and everyone such joy. The energy that would created was palpable!

Thank you Christine!

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2016 Goal Setting Tools. What is Your Sankalpa?

To set a powerful direction moving into 2016 you must understand what your "Why" is. In yogic language a persons "Why" is their "dharma". Dharma is becoming who you were mean't to be. It is your deepest heart's desire. It takes real commitment, a real focus on excavation of your being to uncover what your soul's intention is. As Mark Divine wrote "Bottom line: If you lack an underlying commitment to self-mastery and growth, even the best theory won't help you lead yourself or a team to success." In other words rock solid practice precedes the bubbling up of your Why.

I think it is prudent to mention that the future will find favor for those prepared in mind, body and spirit. It's simply harder to knock someone out when they train toward a future state. This is really important because it turns out we humans have evolved for an internal negative state for survivals sake. The onslaught of negative news and stressors of modern day reenforce that which is natural creating a bias resulting in imbalance. We counter this by practicing positivity. 

In order to peel back your layers discovering your Why or figuring out how to fulfIll your Dharma you must learn about the practice of sankalpa. Sankalpa can be translated into resolve. The "practice starts from the premise that you already are who you need to be to fulfill your life's dharma" (Mcgonigal). The yogic tradition provides this sankalpa method to help peel back the yogic onion to drill right into your heart center to figure out what your true heart's desire is. Sankalpa is a call to action, it is motivation and a bias for action. Your sankalpa could be a mantra stating your motivation or resolve. To discover your Why you won't be surprised to hear the process requires you to sit in sacred silence. You need to tune out to tune into your internal state. The Zen tradition calls this practice "polishing the mirror." Think of the mind as a mirror, the tendency to think negative thoughts clouds up the mirror obscuring your Why. You polish the mirror by tamping down our animalistic bias for negativity in sacred silence by witnessing our thoughts and redirecting them toward a more positive outlook. The mirror starts to clear and over time our Dharma begins to appear.  Then you connect your sankalpa to your Why to advance forward. When you sit long enough it will start to become clearer which goals will need to be stated and worked on. 

This shouldn't be a news flash. When goals are written down, stated clearly and connected to your Why, connected to your resolve (sankalpa) they become a truly powerful force. In my own experience I come up with so many goals that it becomes stressful and I lose my front-sight focus or drishti.  Discipline must be part of the mix in terms of goal selecting. Learning to chunk down goals is a function of understanding your Why. Alway's tether your goals to your Why and be able to explain why you're taking a specific course of action. As you become more advanced in self-mastery you naturally become systematic in approaching goal setting.

The more challenging the issue the smaller your goals should become. Your goals must make sense for your life circumstances or business vision/mission and connected to your Why or Dharma. I subscribe to the SMART goals school. 

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Realistic

Timebound or Timely.

 

Once you settle on your SMART goals you can begin to sift through and figure out what your high-value targets are and whether an adequate mission plan can be built out. 

The following are some tools developed by the military to help figure out optimum courses of action. Please note the following flow AFTER you've determined your SMART goals.

1. The FITS Process:

Fit-Does the goal/task seem to be in congruence? Is it a good fit for your family or team? Is it worth the effort? Good ROI?

Importance-Where is this in relation to your broader strategic direction? If you carry this goal/task out and are successful what impact will it have on you?

Timing-Are you ready? If in business, how will your competitors react? Are you to late or to early to the party?

Simplicity- Does this align with the KISS principle? How will this impact your team or family?

For larger scale goal planning use the following strategic planning tool.

SMEAC works essentially like the FITS process. However FITS is designed for much more rapid execution. SMEAC is more geared toward an 12-18 month time horizon.

"Countless studies have revealed that the human brain is instinctively a goal-seeking organism. It is beyond debate that establishing goals and embedding them in the subconscious mind results in a more focused, determined and persistent individual" (Tucker).

Love the above statement. To make 2016 an awesome year I urge you all to take plenty of yoga or any other form of integrated training, sit in a calm state a couple of times daily, mentally centering on what you're supposed to accomplish. The above tools used consistently will lead to a more disciplined life and this means a happier life.

Kindly,

Christian

NOTE: Most of this information came from Mark Divine the author of The Way of the SEAL. The guy inspires me.

UPDATE: 1/9/206

I found this terrific article on the Asana Blog. Don't know what Asana Task Management software is? You are missing out. It's the best productivity tool I've ever come across....and it is free! Anyway the team at Asana wrote this piece that speaks to me as it is geared toward taking action. Goals are great and I get really enthusiastic about them, but action....action is what brings the goals to light. Click here for the blog piece.

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Pressing Forward with Yoga

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Pressing Forward with Yoga

I love the quote on the graphic because it harkens back to my favorite philosopher of all time, our good friend Aristotle. Aristotle was a practical man and did not take hard and fast positions on this or that. He backed into any particular situation by applying "the virtues." The Master Key (one of them anyway!) to life according to Aristotle is to apply the virtue of "deliberating well. " Virtuous people are introspective, self-critical, rational, and curious" (O'Toole). He never was hell bent on being a right fighter and telling us lesser brained what is the right thing to pursue. He asserted that the people who cultivated the habit of discernment, mindfullness or awareness would be led to what is right for themselves and this would lead to what is right. He believed that this consistent introspection would cause a person to act virtuously. He did categorize (Aristotle categorized everything) "the good" into socially prized "goods" and those that are "universally praised" goods. However, drilling down further into his philosophy is beyond the scope of this blog post. 

Yoga is an art and a science. By getting on the mat each day you're force into contemplation. When you feel lazy and don't want to pry yourself off the couch and into the yoga studio you start to think to about the consequences of not going. A brain battle begins. On the continuum of health (all or nothing)  you realize that to do nothing just about insures no immediate trauma. But over the long haul you recognize that the body will atrophy. The asana methodology is one of inquiry of the mind via the grounded stretching and strengthening of the physical body. Yoga is really about integrated training on a grand scale. We practice three actions over and over again: Soften, Flex, and Stretch. "The benefits of increased strength, range of motion, a sense of stable serenity appear because the body, mind, and emotions, are woven into the fabric of our world and our universe" (Clement). We are not separate on an energetic level from all that we see surrounding us. 

Sometimes to press forward with yoga means you need to back off. Yoga, like life is full of opposites, yin and yang. A beginner will feel all kinds of emotions and physical manifestations or sensations that can be disorienting or unfamiliar. The body has millions of sensors, our brain is the dashboard gauges that interprets the signals from the body as pain or intensity. Misalignment or injury will light up the dashboard gauge as pain. An intense stretch can be misinterpreted as pain, but this feeling may be something that needs to be held or leaned into. How do you understand Pain vs. Intensity? Go back to Aristotle and train toward the virtue of "deliberating well." Practice practice practice. If Aristotle were around today, he'd be pretty stoked on yoga I'm sure of it.

Kindly,

Christian

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My Survival Guide to "40 Days to Personal Revolution"

Jessie Cox and I will be leading the 40 Days to Personal Revolution program beginning on January 10th, 2016 at NOW: New Om World. This is a really powerful program based upon Baron Baptiste's book called 40 Days to Personal Revolution.

The following is a survival guide from the Baptiste Institute authored by Baron's staff. It's an excellent primer on the program!

"This program took off last year with thousands of yogis participating from all over the world. It created a sense of community in the online world that we hadn’t previously had and was the initial stepping stone to the rebirth of this blog. I love a good 40 Days - especially in January. It’s the perfect time of year to invest in yourself and make a positive step towards your health and happiness. After completing several 40 Day programs, some with great success and others with great challenge, I’ve put together a string of steps to successfully completing the "40 Days". Here you have it, my Survival Guide to 40 Days. Give it a read and then sign up here to join the fun. 

1. Commit…and recommit…to the process. Let’s face it, our lives are busy. Between work, laundry, kids, friends, bills and having some fun in between, life can get pretty hectic. 40 Days is a big commitment but it comes with great rewards. There were days where my computer and ok fine, my couch, were calling me. That voice in my head would say “Come on Jenn, what’s one little day? Give yourself a break”. It can be tempting to drop meditation, to skip practice and in those moments of temptation, you have to come back to your commitment. If you give in to a moment of temptation, you have to be willing to recommit to the process and move forward.

 2. Get Organized. In any program I’ve successfully completed, organization is key. You are blocking out time in your day for meditation, yoga and journaling that might’ve been previously filled with other things. Set yourself up for success by scheduling things ahead of time. During the 40 Days program, I used my Sunday to sit down and map out my week. When can I practice for the week ahead? What time do I have to wake up every morning to fit my meditation in? Don’t leave your practice and your meditation up to chance. Schedule it into your days. Treat your classes like appointments and you just might find that honoring your commitment comes with a little more ease. 

3. Seek Connection. Doing a 40 Days program online is unique in that you are not sitting down face-to-face with a group of people for your meetings every week. That being said, there are so many awesome ways to connect with the global Baptiste community if you are willing to reach out and be a part of the online community. Share your progress and connect with other participants through InstagramTwitter andFacebook. Reach out to a friend and see if they want to participate in 40 Days with you. The more I surrounded myself with people who were going through the process with me, the more supported I felt in my journey.

 4. Drop your 'All or Nothing' mentality. Confession time. In the past, I’ve fallen off the meditation wagon around week two or three and then entirely written off the meditation part of the program. I approached it from an attitude of, oh well, I failed already so what difference does it make? I’ll just stick with the yoga. This is part of the process. You, like me, might have a slip up. You might skip practice. You might forget to meditate. You might stop journaling. And that's okay. The question is, when you fall, can you pick yourself back up? It’s never too late to recommit. Whether you slip up for a day, a week or more, you can always start fresh. There is so much power in beginning again.

 5. What’s your Why? This is an important question in our community and one that I always ask myself before 40 Days begins. Why am I participating? Why is this important to me? I invite you to do the same. Get crystal clear on why you want to participate. It will make it easier to turn down those tempting moments of battling the voice in your head telling you to drop meditation. It will make recommitting to the process the only choice when you know why you are engaged in the process to begin with. What’s your Why? Write it down and keep it somewhere visible to inspire you throughout 40 Days. There you have it. My 5 Steps to creating a powerful and successful 40 Days experience. Sign up here and join us on January 10th."

 
We will be having an info session in a google hangout on December 12th, and then a live info session on December 20th.
Would love to see you all join Jessie and I to make YOUR 2016 THE BEST YEAR EVER!
 
Kindly,
Christian
 

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Way of the SEAL Stand

I strive to follow the Stand.

WOS STAND

1. I know why I am doing what I am doing. I will not allow the winds of pain or pleasure to blow me off course from my stand, nor will I let the desires of others distract me from my purpose. I embrace risk, loss, and failure as necessary companions and teachers on my journey.

2. I will win in my mind before seeking to win in the arena. I am committed to self-mastery.

3. When faced with challenges, I embrace the suck, get the job done, and keep moving on to the next task. I know I am capable of 20 times more than I think I am.

4. I display integrity and authenticity in thought, word, and deed— alone, with teammates, and within the “systems” defining my life.

5. I never shy from hard leadership roles, yet I step back when it is someone else’s turn. I am not after power, glory, money, or fame— rather, the experience to lead and serve on my journey to self-mastery.

6. I am driven by my passions and my purpose, not a need for titles or accolades.

7. I go to the challenge and strive for self-control, desiring to forge my mental toughness so I can earn a Trident of respect every day.

8. I never quit in training or on an “op,” and I never leave a teammate behind.

9. I acknowledge and am open to my inner wisdom, ever seeking to expand my awareness; eradicate faulty thinking; and cultivate a strong mind, body, and spirit connection.

10. I strive to remain innovative, creative, and offense-oriented in my approach to all things. I don’t fear failure and I never shy from risk. I am always learning and growing.

11. I train realistically and aggressively, coming back to basics often. I take nothing for granted and work tirelessly to hone my skills for extraordinary results.

This stand was written by Mark Divine. It is powerful.

Kindly,

Christian Allaire

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