Out of a desire to synthesize some of the Top Five lists floating around out there—as abundant as they are helpful—I have compiled my own list of the top five reasons to avoid everything in life.
1. Don’t eat or drink anything!
New studies show that almond flour gives us AIDS, soy contributes to ADD, and wheat will kill us stone-dead in a single bite. Beef is lousy, laden with hormones and, come to think of it, so is tap water. Beans will bloat us, and rice will make us fat.
If we absolutely must eat, say the experts, eat naturally fallen fruit dried in pure sunshine. If we must drink, limit it to Hawaiian rainwater collected in an organic glass blown by an enlightened individual. Most experts, however, urge that eating and drinking should be avoided when at all possible.
2. Don’t breathe the air around you!
Linked to myriad health concerns, from lung cancer and emphysema to eczema and bulimia, experts attest that the air we breath is just barely better than getting down on your knees and sucking on the tailpipe of a ’57 Chevy.
If we must breath, experts agree, sip 100 percent pure oxygen sparingly from tanks made of young cedar planks. This particular wood has been shown to have properties that actually make pure air better for us and better tasting. If we run out of oxygen, acceptable substitutes include collecting the exhaled-breath of an angel and recycling the hot air expelled from our own anus.
3. Don’t associate with people!
In a recent study, other people have been shown to be the single most significant source of unpleasantness in life. From unhappiness to outright hostility, experts observed people causing each other a whole host of negative emotions including stress and shame in recent controlled experiments.
The data is straightforward: from mother to best-friend, avoid associating with others if we wish to be happy in life.
4. Don’t do yoga!
According to a recent survey, yoga will wreck our necks, backs, shoulders, wrists, hips, spine and something called the “ischial tuberosity.” New research also suggests that yoga will ruin our love lives, personal lives, work lives and after-lives.
Yoga has been shown to make us skinnier and fatter, as well as stronger and weaker. While no conclusive studies yet exist that link yoga to the premature graying of our pony-tails, I can personally attest to this unfortunate, unintended consequence of my personal practice.
5. Don’t do anything anyone else tells you to!
Listen, life ain’t out to get you—it ends the same way for all of us. Take some responsibility. Stop letting lists tell us what we “should” and “shouldn’t” do, and stop letting fear dictate what we eat for dinner or who we fuck afterwards.
Don’t do anything anyone else tells us to…especially an article online, especially the newest and greatest fad, and especially, for god’s sakes, the words of an expert-lunatic like me.
As a yoga teacher and an Outlaw, and as a particularly dude-like dude doing yoga, I’m often asked how I got into yoga in the first place.
My standby answer is of course, a girl.
But it might be fun to tell a bit more of my story than that.
I returned to the United States In 2002 after spending several years abroad. I spent most of my time in Nepal and East Timor learning how to shit while squatting over a hole in the ground, and running the small non-profit I founded. We succeeded in completing a few very special youth projects with my volunteers’ best efforts and perhaps in spite of me.
Perpetually under-experienced, I’ve always had a knack for leveraging my enthusiasm and hard work into opportunity.
Some might call this a talent for weaseling my way into places that I don’t belong. I see it as an expression of enthusiasm.
Whichever way you look at it, I had made it to the tiny, oil-rich nation of East Timor. Half of a war-torn island tucked in tight within the Indonesian archipelago, East Timor sits equidistant from Bali and Darwin, Australia and takes up an inordinately large space on the international stage.
In my time there I became something of a youth specialist and special confidant to the then Prime Minister—and Nobel Peace Prize winner—Jose Ramos Horta.
The day I left the country, Jose was shot in the back three times at his oceanside home.
The night before, I stood in that same driveway, hugging a man I affectionately called “Tio”. A man who loaned me motorbikes and pestered me about setting him up with the beautiful, young female volunteers of my organization.
Don’t get me started on how much pussy a Peace Prize will get you.
A man who I had come to care for deeply was wrestling to stay alive. He eventually recovered, but the person I was then did not. The incident affected me deeply and challenged me to take a look at my own family and my own country in a way that I never had.
For a handful of reasons, I moved back to Colorado, cultivated fallow relationships and started growing marijuana in my basement with my 18-year-old little brother.
It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Our product was prized, and if you can remember back to the few years before marijuana was legalized in Colorado, then you might remember our brand. Remember “Mile High Thunder-Fuck”?
Yeah, that was ours (and a couple other guys who might rather not be mentioned.)
The stories of those days have their own relative merit and may one day fill their own volume. But for now, suffice it to say that this period of relative criminality, piggy-backed on my dedicated volunteerism, illuminated within me distinct forces of “good” and “bad”, each as deep-seated and entrenched as the other.
I forged my values and broke the law at once. I broke my word countless times and restored it for the last time, I hope. I was hurt, and I hurt others in return.
I know about truth because I know the price of lies—not because I know the Sanskrit word for it. I have robbed and been robbed and I know about integrity because I know what it’s like to have none—not because I can quote Patanjali.
Outlaw Yoga and the practices and principles that inform it come from my own, personal experiments with life. I teach from no other place than this.
I’m not an enlightened being.
I’m a sinner. I’m an Outlaw who has learned a few things along the way. I have my own host of demons and devils, challenges and opportunities, as well as a whole heap of first-hand experience in battling them. I encourage you to engage in your own personal experiments with this practice—with equal parts dedication, compassion, drive and detachment.
Yoga dared me to live my life like each moment was a choice.
Each choice we make is a chance to remake ourselves, and rewrite our reality as we deem fit.
Yoga empowered me to reclaim the authorship of my life, and I offer you the same imperative. We made this mess. But it’s nothing that can’t be cleaned up by the strongest people in the room: Us.
This article is an excerpt from Justin’s book “Outlaw Protocol: how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal.” Get your copy HERE
I saw my dad a few months ago for the first time in 11 years.
Before that it had been 13 years.
We spent most of our time silent, using our tongues less than our ears—turns out you can’t catch up on 35 years.
The day passed in a very manly—and pleasant—Midwestern way. We lifted weights, shot pistols, ate burgers and talked about women. Women meaning my sisters (his estranged daughters), our lovers and my mother.
At one point, late in the day, he plucked a picture from a secret hiding spot tucked behind a framed copy of the Lord’s prayer (God grant me the grace to accept that which I cannot change and all that shit…). He handed me a bent and worn photograph of a radiant redhead, and he arched his eyebrows when I said, “Who’s this?”, in a way that said, you know.
In my hands was an image of my mother, all of 20 years old and—if I dare say so—pretty damn well put together (fit for a magazine cover, really).
I handed it back and he buried it away ignoring the objection of his current partner. I shuddered at an unpleasant reflection—a window into the past if not a projection into the future.
Later that night, I burned dozens of love letters never sent.
There was a time when I wrote one a day hoping that they might make the one that got away more to me than a fond memory. That evening, while the letters curled and burned—turned from paper to ash—I indulged in a memory for each, an intentional morsel from the past.
Each of them representative of a time we laughed or a time we cried—that time we tried colonics, or her struggle with my love affair with the chronic—and I let them, and her, go. Stopping to acknowledge—taking time to know—that our time together had helped to propel us both to grow into better, brighter people, that without the pain of our parting we would still be stagnant, stuck lingering and wondering.
If our paths ever cross again, we will have become brand new people and will have to learn about each other all over again…whether that does or does not happen (stranger things have), nothing can erase the memory that persists, nothing will erode the love for her that resists time, new partners and new love in kind, not an unrequited period nor an unquiet mind.
Somewhere in the ashes of the letters I’d burned I learned that sometimes loving someone means being willing to do anything to get them back, and sometimes it means being unselfish enough to do nothing.to allow someone the space to be happy, to give someone the grace to be free.
These days, my dad and I stay in touch. In fact just the other day, he asked me to pass along a message to my mother on Thanksgiving day—a few words meant to say I love you to his one that got away.
“Tell her love lasts forever,” he asked me in a voicemail.
I did them both a favor and swallowed my tongue—for perhaps the first time in my life—choosing to shut my mouth in order to be a better son. Their love, and perhaps mine, like those burning pages—a smoldering love obscured but perhaps better served lost to the ages where for some reason only fond memories remain, fantasies. Stories whose pages are blissfully free of heartache and pain.
Love doesn’t have to be returned to be real, and it doesn’t have to be reciprocated now, for years, or ever in order for you to feel it…forever.
OUTLAWS we are stoked to announce that the
OUTLAW Yoga Studio is now OPEN!
Join us for FREE classes in December!
Sneak Preview Classes are:
Monday - 5:30pm, Tuesday - 12pm, Wednesday - 7pm, Thursday - 6am, Thursday - 5:30pm, Friday - 9am, and Friday 5:30pm!
The studio is located at 2950 Main Street in Littleton Colorado.
I created a practice called OUTLAW Yoga, and wrote a book called OUTLAW Protocol – how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal.
Then the other day someone asked me what it “means to be an outlaw” and I didn't have an answer for them.
(I don't pretend to be the sharpest tool in the shed.)
What does it mean to be an outlaw?
Fuck, I don't know...
It's sort of like obscenity or integrity – you know it when you see it. I don't know what being an outlaw means for you, but I think for most it starts with responsibility...reclaiming the unique responsibility for your thoughts, words, and deeds.
For me it starts with discipline and ends in integrity, and lies in the crafting of a unique path that suits me and me alone.
Then walking it.
An outlaw is part nomad and part renegade...they're part romantic too because they believe that no matter how deep is their sleep, man will wake up, rise up and overcome whatever hurdle that's placed in their path, that when belief and work are present what could be has a chance to become what is.
The outlaw is a workhorse.
They know that nothing happens without work and that laws make us lazy – obedience is all that's required to do what's lawful. An outlaw knows that it takes real discipline to do what's right, and that it starts within.
The outlaw has a voice.
There's an inherent rejection inside of the mind of any outlaw, a voice that shouts against that of the small self and everyone else's small self combined – the collective voice of preprogrammed doubt and internally generated shame.
A voice that says, “I know best...at least for me”.
There's power in walking this outlaw path, a path that, because it comes from within, can't help but produce an authenticity born of integrity and belief, a belief before all else, in oneself.
This outlaw voice is alive in each and every man and woman ever born on this planet but it gets dulled over time by environmental factors beyond our control (public school, pollutants, etc.). It's drugged through the years by chance and by choice until, in time – and in most – it becomes faint, quiet or silent.
But in the outlaw, this voice is present and loud and it rages creating conflict and confusion within. At least until its power can be recognized, prioritized, and multiplied.
Anyone can be powerful, but an outlaw empowers.
Being an outlaw doesn't have anything to do with being a criminal. You're not an outlaw because you break the law, especially if the law you break hurts someone else – even causes them undue stress or shits on their day (incidentally the only good reason not to run red lights or rob banks, if you ask me).
Real justice must be more than personal, it must be transferable and include an aspect of empathy even and especially for the inlaw – the person on the other side of the gun. The oppressor suffers as much or more as those they oppress, even if they feel less pain.
Outlaws are accepting.
I don't know what being an outlaw looks like to you, but I know what it looks like for me. And that's good enough for me...
And maybe that's what it could mean to you – being alright with whatever the hell being an outlaw means to you?
In your story it might mean being a great stepmom who trusts her instincts instead of wanting to be temporarily popular to a teenage kid? Or being a graffiti artist who paints beautiful, consciousness-raising, protest-themed murals? Or maybe it means not paying your income taxes, or being a yoga teacher, or being bisexual?
F*ck, I don't know.
But I do know that silencing the inner outlaw, the voice that shouts “Stand up” for too long will kill you from the inside, out. Whatever your inner outlaw is saying, listen to it. Encourage it. Help it get louder and prouder and do whatever you can to empower it to sing from whatever platform it requires.
But don't let me or anyone else tell you what words to say. Everyone's got their own story going in which we're all just supporting characters. And what kind of main character would you be if you let a supporting character tell you how to play your unique role?
At the end of the day, maybe being an outlaw can be as simple as not have anything to prove to anyone but yourself?
What does it mean to be an outlaw?
F*ck it, I don't know...
You tell me.
I recognized recently that marijuana has become something of a crutch for me…
I'm sometimes a pretty happy guy. I've also been-- as of lately-- A sad and at times a mad. I am not immune to life's ups and downs, it's round and round. My mind, like yours, and Robin Williams… fills my brain with nonsense and compels me to act from a place that is less then integrity, one that-- ultimately-- is not me.
Brain - organic computer loaned to us at birth
Mind - social program forcibly loaded into brain since birth
Consciousness - the gift that is you before birth and beyond
Now here's where my marijuana use comes in. It, like physicality and meditation, can be a productive tool to quiet the mind in order to create space within which we can more consciously and productively rewire the brain. An effective weapon in the fight against the mind, marijuana can also -- again, just like our yoga practice -- become a crutch at times, or at best a shield against the onslaught of the mind in uncertain times.
In those times it remains a unique discipline, a bold choice on the part of any General, to recognize when one weapon has become dull -- or made you dull, as it were -- and to employ another.
Recognizing this in regards to my marijuana use I will be abstaining from ashing, pausing my passing, subtracting my smoking, and purposefully harshing my mellow for the next seven days.
God help us all…
I haven't been seven days sober in the last seven years. I wonder what it's even like…
You might wonder at which weapons are or are not serving you in your own unique fights? But no matter what you do, know that we're here for you, even when we're not near to you...
Know that you are not alone on this path.
On July 4th, I had the distinct pleasure to celebrate Independence Day as part of a team of talented teachers and musicians that came together at Wanderlust, Colorado, to help debut OUTLAW Yoga on the national yoga stage.
Contemporary power vinyasa, this practice sets devotion in motion—a movement towards a new way of practicing, a new way of being. Technically simple but physically challenging, it provides a platform for celebration, for presence, and for good old fashioned hard work and rock n’ roll in the yoga studio.
A liberating take on a familiar form, come as you are to leave stronger, more connected, with a little layer of luster that coming together in community leaves layered upon us to shine the way through the dark.
Set to live music, the experience has been called by one student, “The most fun you can have with your Lulu pants on.”
As we gathered halfway through class at Copper Mountain to empower each other into partner hand-stand, it occurred to me a few other things that are quite liberating even when performed with your Luon snugged securely around your waist:
5. Step on Someone Else’s Mat
Our society clings to an antiquated notion of personal space. There is even a law in my home state of Colorado, that say if you are on my property I can kill you if I feel threatened by you.
No bullshit, it is affectionately referred to as the “Make My Day Law.” For some time we witnessed a spate of killings—and draggings—of bodies onto lawns so homeowners could claim they felt threatened…
This world needs connection more than anything. In a community you are only as far removed as you want to be, in this class community comes first.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you: we will drag you off your mat if necessary.
4. Say Fuck
Don’t hold back. When we deny our inmost nature, it erupts in some other—often uglier—way.
Don’t want to sit deeper in Thunderbolt Pose (Utkatasana for you sansnobs)? Fuck it. Its just a form and forms are fleeting. Sit deeper, give more, celebrate and honor this moment, even if this moment seems to be a fuckin’ painful one.
Real change is seldom courteous.
You eat a burrito before class. You twist real deep. You need to fart. You hold it in…sound familiar?
Integrity starts from within, but you can’t connect to it because even as you are encouraged to “detoxify” your internal organs, you are preoccupied with clenching your sphincter for fear of letting loose the toxicity within.
Let it out.
The word “community” is tossed around a lot in the yoga studio, often in a very flimsy, non-substantive way. I like to make it really simple—your true community are the people who will forgive you for farting in class.
2. Go “Woo!”
You don’t have to be serious to be spiritual. Here is a recently overheard exchange in a yoga class in Des Moines, Iowa:
Student: I love coming to your class
Teacher: Oh yeah, why’s that?
Student: Because I like to go 'woo'!
1. Take it With You
By distilling the offering of yoga to its most essential parts, we can deliver a fun and, even more important,functional lesson. By offering students real tools to take with them when they leave the mat, we offer participants the chance to put the most accessible components of yoga into play in their daily lives. The practice made more practicable.
Each moment is a choice, and each choice is a chance to welcome in all of those great things you want, and to offer up all those valuable components of life and love that you already are.
But like all tools, you must wield it for it to work. Hammers don’t build homes, human hands do. We challenge you, to live this moment as if it were the only one, to take your practice off the mat and into the world.
We challenge you to lead with love, to know that this practice will only go so far as you take it.
This moment, this choice is yours…we dare you to make it.
Originally appeared on ElephantJournal.com - http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/07/the-5-most-liberating-things-you-can-do-with-your-yoga-pants-on-justin-kaliszewski/
Via ElephantJournal.com - March 20, 2013
There’s been some snarky shit circulating in the Denver yoga scene these days.
From studio to Facebook, some of it even spilled onto the pages of elephant. Saints, sinners and yogis all crying out who is purer than whom…
Somewhere between a Queen Bee being bitten by a Ballerina or some such nonsense, an arrow got slung my way and I was indirectly accused of not being very “sattvic” because I like to party with some suds after a class from time to time. (Think Friar Tuck here.)
As an outlaw and a contemporary yogi, I hate to pass up an opportunity to throw fuel on the fire.
Now, I’ll admit that I had to look it up. Truth be told, I don’t have a fluency or even much of an affinity for all the fancy “sandscrpit” that’s spoken in more traditional classes. Turns out I was being accused of being impure, of spreading spiritual disease through the dissemination of beer following practice.
Whether you have been stung by a bee, or shown up by a ballerina, if you’re a popular teacher or just a studio owner who wishes they were, integrity means living one’s truth, not living someone’s truth.
Here’s my truth:
>> I like to drink beer.
>> I like to smoke weed.
>> And I like to eat pus… I mean, pork. I like to eat pork.
Does this make me any less “yogic”?
Such an interesting question to even ask… what if I do it all in a really mindful way?
I have hurt and been hurt—and I know about truth because I know the price of lies, not because I know the Sanskrit word for it. I have robbed and been robbed—and I know about integrity because I know what it’s like to have none, not because I can quote Patanjali.
I, for one, would rather celebrate spirit with a real sinner, than cry about forms with fake saints. Besides being much more fun, sinners grant us the grace of speaking from a place of Truth. A truth that is born of acceptance and forgiveness, not ideas and opinions.
I can’t stick my foot behind my head, but I know how to get my head out of my ass. And I may not be able to do all the fancy poses, but I know how to walk my talk. Not yours… not your neighbors’. Mine.
It’s your truth that matters. Not mine and damn sure not my Facebook friends’. We are yogis, not saints. In order to get over each other, let’s first get over ourselves.
It costs us nothing to consider.
And I am not without reason. I’ll consider that by serving beer at community yoga events that I’m not sattvic, if you’ll consider the role of sattva in contemporary life. Not as an antiquated notion of purity through ritual, but purity in intention. Consider how your actions, speech and thought, converge to elevate those around you.
Perhaps consider, while you’re at it, the good that’s not being done when we misuse a potentially powerful teaching tool like Facebook as nothing more than a forum for personal feuds.
Consider all of this, not enclosed within a cave of tradition, but within a contemporary yoga setting.
It’s not words like “fuck” or frosty glasses of beer that make us less sattvic. Sattva as a practice means to lead from within, from a purity of intention.
Who really suffers from the stubborn refusal to meet students and fellow human beings where they are, to guide them along the lines of their essential bias, instead of our own?
Let others stir the pot and talk themselves hoarse preaching to the converted, singing songs in the name of their own supposed state of purity. The rest of you, yogis, I challenge… to use Facebook—and indeed every tool at your moment to moment disposal, from beers to boobs—to lead.
To let your actions teach without words.
We'll supply the stickers, you supply the postage!
If you'd like your own Outlaw Yoga stickers, please send a self addressed, stamped envelope to: Outlaw Yoga, c/o Bresnan, PO Box 19582, Boulder CO 80308.
We will ship them out to you right away and you can show the world that you are an Outlaw!
Outlaw Yoga believes in service.
Because of that belief, we are proud to announce our partnership with Give Back Yoga Foundation - www.givebackyoga.org
For every item of gear sold, a donation will be made to the Give Back Yoga Foundation to support Yoga for Veterans and The Prison Yoga Project.
The power in the practice is for everyone and the impact of that power is profound on both our service veterans and those residing in prisons nationwide.
Thank you for supporting Outlaw Yoga and thank you for helping us to share the power.