Category Archives: Yoga

less is more

“Less is More.”  Have you heard that before?  My first “reaction” to hearing this quote was ….’Sure it is,” ingrained with a sarcastic and dismissing tone.  Then I started to “get it.”  Type 1 diabetes has certainly been a big challenge in my life.  It’s been kinda like a two edged sword, in that, to really get over the hump and take full response-ability for “it” and to “it I had to directly experience the Truth and Lessons of “Less is More.”  The quote personifies a universal Truth of The Reality we find ourselves in this whacky world of ours.  It represents the duality that is weaved in everything and everyone.  The duality of Light and Dark; Positive and Negative; Right and Wrong;  Good and Evil; Up and down;  Hot and Cold;  On and Off.  Yin and Yang.  The Buddha taught that nothing can arise without its polar opposite.  If one is lucky, the wisdom gleaned in inquiring into the nature and law of duality is that, since one cannot exist without the other it is futile to engage in a battle that makes something more good or less evil,  NO!  Perhaps, the objective of the game (an I do believe it is a game) is more about finding balance and equanimity instead of quick and unconscious reactions based on liking, wanting, desiring, not liking, not wanting and not desiring….no matter….what emotion we have attached to our reactions whether it be anger, jealousy, pride, unworthiness or the opponent’s favorite elixir………a sense of entitlement.  

I’ve been “living with” T1D for over 42 years now.  I thought I would have figured out how to cure myself by now or died.  Neither of the two have happened which leaves me in a bit of a pickle because I didn’t plan this far ahead.  However, I have come close and I have not veered from the path to a cure.  About 17 years ago I had an opportunity to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.  I had some money saved.  I was in between jobs.  My girlfriend and yoga partner was an acupuncturist, cranial sacral therapist, Chinese Herb specialist and Macrobiotic chef.  Talk about hitting the jackpot!  I had been “practicing” Bikram yoga for a few years and running 3.3 miles per day.  I was getting regular “treatments” of acupuncture, massage, cranial therapy.  I had not gone on the pump yet and was getting A1C’s in the 8’s..  For about 3 months we really stepped it up.  I was waking up at 6am,,,going to a 7am Bikram class, coming home and eating a great breakfast, perhaps throw some needles in to balance the yang energy that the Bikram class creates.  Go for the 3.3 mile run.  Sit out by the pool (I was in South Florida),  Get ready for the 4pm Bikram class.  Had to drink lots of water.  Get home at 6pm and make a great dinner with some wine and a beer or two.  Studied some new metaphysical “maps of the territory” that I was being introduced like yoga, meditation, Integral Theory (Ken Wilber), Spiral Dynamics, Kabbalah, and more…..We worked at this pace for about 3 months.  I had reduced my Daily Dose of Insulin by 50% and had many occasions where I could forego an injection that I normally needed.  My A1C dropped to low 6’s.  

I eventually went on the pump and achieved even more flexibility and control.  But life happens and things change and I find myself in upstate NY praying for the sun to shine and the rain to stop and the temperature to get into the 50’s.  I’ve gained a little weight, not working out enough, eating like crap and feeling my agoraphobia kicking into overdrive.  I am ready for another “push.”;; Another “push.”  I am planning an escape from NY back to Florida.  It is complicated because of all the issues that arise in life,…..health insurance, finances, friends, family, obligations, logistics…..

So, you might be asking……Where is the less is more lesson?  Less is more taught me the secret to the path of healing leading to a cure.  The secret in a word is – RESTRICTION.  When I woke up at 6am and was tired and not wanting to go and sweat for 90 minutes in a stinky yoga room I restricted that reaction and the feelings associated with it and got up and went.  When we react blindly without restriction we create what is called in Sanskrit – Sankhara.  When we react we create energy pathways like ruts of least resistance.  Overtime these ruts become deeper and the energy can pass through with more ease and more abundantly.  These ruts create toxicity and dis-ease throughout the physical, mental and emotional bodies.  There is only one way to heal Sankhara.  It is to starve them by restriction of the normal reactions that create and sustain them.  

The three months I engaged in actions that were proactive in nature instead of reactive in nature.  I not only stopped feeding the old “ruts of reactivity” I created new ones that were both different and healthier for someone with T1D.  I know that the three months that I really pushed it changed my life and is one of the reasons I am still here today.  I figure the minimum requirement would be a 21 day push.  There is some research to back that.  

I am looking for a way to get back to Florida and lead others in what I did 17 years ago. I believe this approach and experience to be of value not only to T1D’s but parents and siblings and medical professionals.  I also see it being of tremendous value to those with Type 2 and those who have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.  What is needed in those cases is, for sure, a change in lifestyle.  A 21 day immersion of yoga, meditation, body treatments like acupuncture, massage, cranial sacral therapy, bio-feedback, running/walking, great food, sunshine, ocean, beach, party, and some metaphysical map study.  

I’ve beta tested the “training” with others.  They were not diabetic.  One was dealing with addiction.  This kind of training is ideal for addiction.  Here is a link to his review of the training.    Namaste….

https://www.choicetimes.com/category/client-reviews/

Dream

I have a dream.

I’m in my 43rd year of living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).  

My new endo told me that I will get some kind of medal from the Joslin Institute when I reach 50.  Really.  Who cares?  They get a chip after 30 days in AA, NA, GA and SA.

17 years ago I made a “push”. I was 39 yrs old, broke, in debt up the wazoo, out of shape, not taking care of myself…..I figured if I did not make a change I wouldn’t make it to 42.  Over a 2 year period I started inquiring into several “things”, like…… writing, reading, yoga, meditation, running, acupuncture, massage, eating well, cranial sacral therapy, and more.  It was slow at first. Then stuff began happening.  I got a job, I was getting in shape, feeling better about myself.  Life changed.  I got out of debt, started making good money, got in shape, blood sugars starting coming down/better control, I was happier.  

During this time I had a three month period of time where I took off from work and really connected with my current “edge” and began to “push” against it.  I reduced insulin requirement up to 50%, at times.  I mean long period of times (week or so).   Since that time the roller coaster reached the top and started its’ descent.  What goes up is going to come down.  It’s a long story and I will spare the details, for now.  It can be summed up as this. I went from A1C’s in the 9’s, broke, in debt, depressed, feeling hopeless and helpless, not working out, addicted to things I need not be addicted to…..I went from this to In top physical shape; I could run 5 miles under 50 minutes.  I could do 2 Bikram yoga classes in one day.  My weight was ideal.  I felt strong.  I made enough money to buy a cool condo in Boca Raton, Fl within walking distance of my Bikram Yoga Studio.  It was a 5 minute drive to the beach.  I had a lot of free time.  Things were good.  

I got on the pump and I changed my attitude about testing my blood sugars.  I wanted to know.  I tested 10-15 times a day and loved the flexibility of the pump.  With the combination of getting in super physical shape and having the pump, I got my A1C’s in the low 6’s. I ate anything I wanted.  I wanted to eat good.  

I have often compared managing blood sugar as a type 1 to flying a plane.  The physical plane itself is the physical body.  I had transformed my physical body into a stealth fighter jet.  It wanted. It needed good fuel in the food I was eating.  I needed to inject insulin but the insulin seemed to be working better.  I needed less.  I was personally experiencing one of the most profound yoga principles;  “LESS IS MORE.”  I was getting this at so many levels.

My dream is to share this experience with others who are challenged by type 1 diabetes.  Whether that be the person with diabetes, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a healthcare worker (that includes you doctors).

This is how I want to share it.  I want to “host” an intensive retreat like program where I demonstrate and guide others into an inquiry of what I did, how to do it and why.  It is an immersive training which will be based on the principles of yoga and Natural Law Principles.  I have a support “team” in place right now.  It includes a CDE, an acupuncturist and cranial sacral therapist, a Bio-feedback specialist, a massage therapist, a life coach and a few yoga teachers including one who is a Bikram Certified Teacher.  

Each day will consist of:

*2  yoga classes/day

*Meditation

*Walking

*1-2 hours classroom meeting discussing many topics including yoga principles and applying to diabetes management, spiritual     metaphysical “map” inquiries.

*Great     Food.   Will, of course, accommodate for vegetarian.

*Some     form of body/mind work.  Could be acupuncture, light therapy,     massage, cranial sacral therapy, bio-feedback, life coaching….and     a few more.      

*There will also be a few opportunities to do a few other things like go to the beach or an excursion to Captiva or Sanibel Island.

I visualize the retreat being in South Florida around the Fort Myers area.  I want it to happen in November of 2019.  I want to keep this initial one small (8-12 participants).  And my dream doesn’t end there……..

In a way, this is my new five year plan.  I’m turning 57 in 2 weeks. Still here.  No complications (knock on wood).  I think that what I did 17 years ago is a huge factor in why I am still here.  I’ve come to realize that it is best done in “spurts.”  Interval like. And an intensive retreat where we are focusing on where our edge is and working on expanding can be a profound “spurt.”  It’s kinda of like intuitively knowing to do a combo bolus.  The body wants to receive it in spurts some short and some a bit longer. At least, this is my experience.

I want the initial retreat participants to be those who want to not only personally experience pushing their edge but also have a desire to help others with our condition.  T1D is like a yoga pose.  It is like walking on a high wire.  And it is like flying a plane.  So, my dream is that from this initial retreat we plan a second one and then some will qualify to lead their own retreat.  

I have so much more I want to say and if you are interested in it let me know or visit the link to my blog site where I have been writing about all of this for the last 10 years.  

I will write a future post called My Dream 2.  Where I can expand on some of this.  It’s awesome for me as well because I am creating something which provides me an opportunity to do this work more and more.  I have done it with others but not people with diabetes.   I have worked with a few people who were depressed and addicted.  There is a close parallel to these conditions and diabetes.  A few of these people wrote client reviews and I posted them in my blog section as well under Client Reviews.

Bikram Yoga class today

Went to the 4pm Bikram Yoga Class yesterday.  Needed a hard workout.  It’s been a long winter.  I hadn’t been in awhile.  Decided to go at 2:45pm.  Checked bg….106. Ate a lunch about an hour ago and still had quite a bit of insulin on board -5.32units.  Took my pump off.  Drank a bottle of water.  Need to hydrate.  Put a bottle of gatorade and 2 more bottles of water in the freezer.  I was not in an ideal situation to go to class.  I know I had over bolused a bit for lunch with that last bg reading.  Decided to hop in the shower.  I find it good to take a long hot shower before a Bikram class.  Got out of the shower.  Packed my 2 towels, gatorade, water, yoga mat, extra shirt and sweat pants to change in to after.  Ok it was 3:30pm and I had been disconnected for 45 minutes.  Tested again – 96.  Still had 3.1 units on board.  I was going low and it would be risky to go into a 90 minute Bikram class like this.  Decided to drink about 5 oz of Simply Lemonade.  I would drive down to the studio (10min drive) and I would test again before getting out of the car.  At that point I would decide whether to proceed or to bail and come back home.  I really needed the workout.  But there is a part in my brain that always says DO NOT GO INTO THAT HOT BOX OF A ROOM.  I got to the studio around 3:50pm.  Checked bg – 132.  2.4 units on board.  I had been disconnected for an hour.  I decided I would be ok because I had a gatorade if I happened to go low.  Before I go on a few stats and a little history:

My basal rate: .950 units per hour.  My I:C ratio: 11  MY IFC:  40  Medtronic 670 pump.

Age: 57.  Date of diagnosis November 1976.  Been practicing yoga for 20+ years.

Went to a month long 200hr yoga teacher training program to deepen my practice in 2006.  

A lot of my work utilizes yoga principles.  They seem to be universal.

Ok.  Enough of that.  The studio is on the third floor of a 3 story building in downtown Ithaca, NY.  The weather was cool but sunny.  One way to enter the studio is via the emergency stairs on the side of the building.  Very steep.  I took that route and upon entering I was breathing hard.  Boy am I out of shape.  Got set up in the room.  Bikram is in a heated room.  Ideal temp is 110 degrees and humid.  The class was packed. Must have been 33 people lined up in 3 lines staggering to ensure a view in the mirror. When it is crowded like this it usually gets pretty hot.  

If you have never done Bikram Yoga let me describe it a bit.  As I said, room is hot. There are 26 postures most done in 2 sets with a very brief rest in between.  You need a mat, 2 towels, a water and a gatorade if you are diabetic.  I bring my fanny pack in with all my stuff because I am obsessive compulsive about leaving my pump, keys, wallet in the car or in a locker room.  I know.  The heat can be an issue for the insulin. Something to be aware of.  I disconnect from the pump most of the time.  It was easier before I got on the pump, of course.  I had a Dexcom when they first came out about 10 years ago or so.  I hated it at that time for 3 reasons.  1.  It was another infusion site in my body and after so many years of injections and pump ports I really didn’t need another one.  2.  The receiver came off during Bikram classes.  The adhesive melted.  3.)  I had more lows on the Dexcom because of my Obsessive compulsiveness.  It drove me crazy.

So, the class starts and I really wanted to pee before it started but there was so many people in a line that I decided to forego.  It got hot fast.  I weighed myself before driving down.  185.5.  I knew I was going to lose some water weight.  I need to lose about 10 lbs to get to ideal weight.  What better way?  

I have probably been through over 2500 Bikram classes in the last 20 years.  This class was in the top 10 of being the hottest.  It was brutal.  One goal of doing a Bikram class is to face the situation whether it be the pose or the heat and stay with it.  You don’t want to leave the room unless absolutely necessary.  I have probably only had to walk out of Bikram class maybe 5 times total. At least 7 people left this class for different periods of time.  There were a few poses that I went into child’s pose as a break.  

Made it through.  Felt like I was going to boot a few times but I worked it out.  It was 6:10pm and I was ready to drive home.  Checked bg -124.  Insulin on board .32.  I re-connected and I intuitively knew I should probably bolus a unit or two but decided to wait until I got home.  Basal was running normal now.  Got home.  It was now 6:30 pm. I was approaching 48 hours with my infusion site.  Good time to change out.  Love when I can take it off and take a shower and then put a new one in.  Checked bg again before doing this.  157.  Bolused 1.25 units and peeled her off.  Got in the shower.  Put a new site in, primed it and bolused another unit because I was going to eat soon anyways.  Weighed myself.  181.5.  Lost 4 lbs.  Cooked up some left over Ribeye from dinner the other night with some toast and salad with chunky blue cheese dressing.  Put a beer in the freezer.  Nothing like a cold beer after that 90 minute torture chamber experience.  Got to be careful though.  Got to make sure I drink enough water and no more than a beer or 2.  Bolused for dinner.  It’s always a guess.  There was some left over bernaise sauce that has a lot of sugar in it.  And I had been disconnected for over 3 hours earlier.  And you know how that works.  Checked two hours after eating – 227.  Oops.  2.3 units on board.  The math says I should be ok but I know different.  Oh, I forgot to mention the mayo I put on the steak too.  I had a lot of fat grams working.  Bolused 2 units.  Increased basal to +20% for 2 hours.  Checked at 11pm, s hours later and 168 with 1.87 units on board.  I should be good to go.  Slept all night without waking up.  Woke up at 6:30am  BG -101.  My favorite number.  The number for the Arch Angel Michael!

The Path……

I’m tired.  I know….no one wants hear that from someone else.  It’s ok on this site because there is an “upfront agreement” that it’s appropriate to ‘vent’ or express hardship because we all share a similar challenge that few others can even begin to relate to.  I’m in my 43rd year since becoming aware that I “had” T1D.  I’m 56 years of age fast approaching 57.  . . .  Boy, could I tell you some stories……But that’s not the point of this post.  What is the point?  

I don’t have any complications other than the naturally prevalent and evolving Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  A few years ago I told my doctor that I was feeling increased anxiety and the blues.  He suggested I sit down and chat with someone.  I did.  After three sessions I got my diagnosis.  Now….I completed one year of graduate school in psychology so I was somewhat cognizant of the many possible psychiatric disorders that have been invented including the 10 personality disorders.  Yes, it was 1995 when I learned all about this stuff and, therefore, I was not completely up to date.  And the field of psychology has been, is and will probably continue to be in a state of constant “flux.”  Therefore, I was surprised to find out that I was diagnosed with a new personality disorder called “Adjustment Disorder.”  My first reaction was …. DUH.  Then I laughed.  I said to my “counselor:…”Of course, half sarcastically, it makes perfect sense!  How does one really adjust to T1D?  Because, to be honest, it’s a clusterfuck; an impossible task.  Yet, I am still here.

The therapist went on…..It is like “Cognitive Dissonance.”  I said, “Of course it is.” Then I said….”What do you suggest I do?”  All of this……The diabetes, the adjustment disorder, the cognitive dissonance, the left vs. the right, good and evil, Light and Dark, YIN and YANG…..is the duality of our lives.  

I am tired of this interplay between my physical body, and my maladjusted mind and injected insulin.  This dissonance.  This adjustment disorder.  This dysfunction.  This DIS-EASE.  Results in such UN-EASE at times.  It’s Exhausting.

What’s the point?  Is it just survival?  Because, at times, that is the way it is……Crawling to the fridge at 3am with a blood sugar of 28….downing a pint of lemonade and eating a bag of chips with french onion dip…disconnecting my pump because just the thought of more insulin dripping in is deeply alarming….passing out as the blood sugar begins to elevate….waking up at 7am with a mouth so dry I can’t talk….Headache. feel like I ran into a brick wall…check bg…412…..get out the syringes…pump it up!

You can do it Michael, says my family, friends and supporters.  Most don’t even know the battle, of course….and those that do …….know that I can do it…at times.  At times..I am just tired.  

What do I do now?  It does feel like I am in the season of “End Times.”  Kinda coincides with all that’s happening in our world.  Things are about to change.  It doesn’t look good or maybe it does?  Because you can’t have anything in this life without its polar opposite.

Here is my point……There has to be a blessing to this curse.  This sucks.  There must be a reason.  I know through my yoga practice and other studies of a TRUTH that keeps me going even though I am tired.  I know that “This too shall pass.”  I’ve been through a lot with diabetes.  Been low and been high.  It is more difficult for us to find the middle path than with someone with a normal physical body.  Or maybe not!  I believe that the blessing of diabetes is in the lesson it teaches us about the arising of the polar opposites…of the duality….of the interplay between yin and yang and the battle between Light and Dark.  

The Buddha would put it this way….”It is equanimity and awareness.  Like the wings of a bird.  Or the two wheels of a cart.  When practiced together they lead to liberation from suffering.  If either is weak or lacking, it is impossible to progress along the path.” 

Buckminster Fuller says….”Total Accountability and Total Feedback Constitute the minimum and only perpetual motion system.”

Kripalu yoga instructs.. ..”First Proper Alignment …Second..Find and explore your edge.”

While my physical body and mind grow weary….my heart and soul are beginning to awaken to the “hope” that there is more to this than surviving.  I won’t get religious.  But allow me to inject a spiritual perspective to inquire into if so inspired.  If easily triggered by this topic please stop reading here.

The Kabbalists……And btw, Kabbalah is not a religion.  It is more like a spiritual map or decoding program of the “spiritual world.  Trigger alert!!  Jesus was a Kabbalist.  Anyway, they would say that the purpose of life comes down to an understanding of The Creation Story itself and the “Why” behind it.  And, without expounding on those things at this time……We are here because of the need for, In Hebrew everyone…… TIKUNE.  TIKUNE, defined, means “Fixing” or “Rectification.”  What needs to be fixed?  What needs to be rectified?  The answer is our VESSEL TO RECEIVE THE LIGHT OF FULFILLMENT;  THE LIGHT OF THE CREATOR.  Why does it need to be fixed?  Well…that’s the questions isn’t it?  Kinda like Jeopardy.  

Again, I am not writing this to promote a faith or a dogmatic system of understanding our existence……There are many “maps” of the territory.  I have referenced several in this post already….Yoga, The Buddha, Chinese Medicine, Kabbalah.  Bucky Fuller …… But for a moment suspend your disbelief and consider Diabetes…….

We are missing the “key” that opens the “door” to the cells (vessels) of our body that permits glucose (energy, light) to flow. ….. It is said that the opponent always attacks through the immune system.   It must.  Why was our immune system comprised?  

Ok.  I will wrap up for now…..I feel a little better.  Thanks.

Now that’s a yoga pose ii

Now That is a Yoga Pose!

Understanding diabetes via inquiry of

fundamental yoga principles

Your Guide:

My name is Michael.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 14 in November of 1976.

Started practicing yoga in 1999.

Went to a 200 hour yoga teacher certification course in 2006.

Have attended 150 hours of advanced courses toward what is called the 500 hour certification.

Certified through The Kripalu Yoga Center in Massachusetts.

Over 5000 teaching hours.

Registered as a certified teacher (E-RYT) with the Yoga Alliance.

I have discovered a path of inquiry that can yield positive results for those of us affected by this condition. I believe this path of inquiry to be applicable and valuable to anyone afflicted by the dis-ease itself or anyone who is a parent, spouse, sibling, friend, co-worker, coach, teacher or medical professional.

Why would you want me as your guide?

  • I have lived and kept my physical body alive and health while living with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 47 years
  • I have never needed glucagon to come back from a low.
  • Never been in DKA from being high.
  • Never had to go to the hospital because of diabetes except when I was diagnosed. I got discharged on Thanksgiving Day. Ha.
  • No complications. Maybe a slight bit of OCD and I may have a slight case of a new Personality Disorder called Adjustment Disorder.
  • I know yoga and I am constantly studying, teaching and practicing it. It is a very comprehensive “map” of the nature of everything.
  • Most of my career has been in the areas of systems and procedures design, quality assurance and hiring and training sales people, customer service reps and managers…
  • I can point out signs and tracks along the path. What I mean by this is that I have discovered specific paths of inquiry that are fundamental to what we need to do to survive and maintain an acceptable level of health and balance.
  • I know what are the black diamond paths and which ones are the bunny runs.
  • I believe we are headed toward a cure and the yogic perspective is what is needed and can speed the process and keep others healthy until we get there.

We learn through metaphor. Everything we understand or could possibly understand is only possible because there is something else to compare it to. The law of duality; the law of polarity; “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

The fact is, in the environment we find ourselves in, anything that arises does so in relation to something else.

Diabetes and Yoga. We are going to hold these two “things” side by side and see how they relate to each other. We are going to “metaphor” diabetes with yoga. When we do this, connections will be created between the two “systems”, “maps,” “challenges” “conditions” “practices”, “disciplines”, “poses.”

Think about how the brain works.

It makes neural connections that create pathways. Pathways that receive knowledge, learn and hone skills and cultivate new and different mind constructs, cognitive maps, mental paradigms.

One of the most important writings in yoga is entitled, “The Yoga Sutras” by Patanjali. Written before 400 B.C. it is a compilation of 196 sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga. The very first sutra reads….

“Now the inquiry of yoga.”

A state of inquiry; being the witness; being the observer is the state we aspire to when practicing yoga.

Can a connection be made with diabetes here? I believe yes. In fact, when dealing with diabetes and everything one must account for in the management of whatever system one is using to try and achieve safe blood sugar levels, I have found that a state of inquiry is, usually, the best.

This path of inquiry is divided into three stages or phases:

Phase 1: Proper Alignment. (here a short on-line assessment and/or a short video that discusses proper alignment principles and how that applies to the foundational alignment in dealing with diabetes. Need something that is really concise and to the point. I have written so much I believe I got it. Got to find a way to offer this free in exchange for them filling out assessment with contact info. Could provide back an assessment summary with budget analysis..) From the perspective of the diabetes side…..it is proper alignment with the goal of achieving safe control.

Phase 2: Finding and Exploring Your “Edge” (I see this as a short on-line interactive teaching. 5 modules dealing with moving into the posture and knowing where to back off and where to push forward. Introduce the concept of flying the plane here. Could be a manual instead. I will write it as a manual first. Again, I got it all written. The newest insight I have is about the basal rate being most important. In Phase 1 basal rate is set. In Phase 2 we begin to explore testing and adjusting basal rate.

Phase 3: Expanding Your Edge and Experiencing Authentic Free Expression. (Here is the intensive retreat concept where we go at it everyday. Requires completion of Phase 2 training. Get sponsors from diabetes supply companies. If someone takes the inquiry to level 3 they can experience pushing beyond the edge. Cut basal rate by 50%. I’ve done this at a sustained level twice; Once when I was working out like a fiend and the second time was when I went to Vipassana 10 day retreat.