How can yoga be used to heal oneself, we give you the run-down on this edition of Frank Relationships.
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: SID MCNAIRY, YOGA FOR ATHLETES
Guests: Sid McNairy
Date: March 28, 2016
Frank: How can yoga be used to heal oneself, we give you the run-down on this edition of Frank Relationships.
Yes. As always, those are my babies. Thanks for getting daddy’s daughter today.
Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look in the relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com.
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Greetings to my super duper co-host, Nancy Goldring, the consummate generalist. What’s up, Nancy?
Nancy: How are you, Frank?
Frank: I’m great. How you doing?
Nancy: I’m great today.
Frank: It’s also worth noting that there’s another chair available each week in the studio. We’ve decided to bring in a guest co-host each week. So if you’re in the Washington D.C. area or travelling to the D.C. area and want to join the show on a given Thursday morning, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know that you want to join us. We’ll see where it goes from there.
Today’s guest is an author, father, oyster lover and chess player, and yoga teacher. He began a yoga practice that had a profound impact on his injuries and his playing as an athlete. Inspired by the effect yoga had on his life and injuries, he started incorporating it into the training of his football team, resulting in the first winning season at 23 years.
So if you, like me, want to know how football players have benefitted yoga, the place that the phrase “I can, I will, I must” ahs in his life and his results related to yoga and asthma, then stay tuned as your Frank Relationship Team talks with Sid McNairy.
Welcome to the show, Sid.
Sid: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Frank: Of course. Before we get deep into the interview, I need to check in with everyone to see what’s new in the world of relationships. And feel free to join in, Sid.
Nancy: Yes, feel free to join us.
Frank: This is open floor.
Nancy: Let’s see… One of the things that came up for me was how somewhere along this journey with you we talked about how with any kind of relationship, relationships between dads and their sons, moms and their daughters, and the like… And I heard a story coming over about Latino kids being integrated into an international school that was prior like 65% African-American and now there was some issue with that and—
Frank: Who had the issue?
Nancy: Well, the issue basically came from the parents feeing like—
Frank: The Latino parents or the African-American?
Nancy: The African-American parents that the resources was actually being allocated to the Latino children, kind of like in taking away the resources from their kids. However, the Band Program—
Nancy: The Band Program.
Nancy: No. That’s a great distinction Frank, thank you. The Band, like drums and trumpets. The Band Program has created a fantastic bridge for the students even with language barriers and such and the African-American students are able to work with the Latino students inspite of the language barrier using rhythms and sharing that program, even the limited instrument resources that they have and it’s going incredibly well.
Frank: So it’s not just the ethnic, the Latino piece, it’s actually also the language.
Frank: Because there’s a difference. You know, a lot of Latinos speak English.
Frank: I found Latinos and African-Americans, in my experience get along fine.
Nancy: Fine, right.
Frank: But I guess the language does take another—
Nancy: The language piece evidently is a big issue. Yeah.
Frank: Okay. And where is this?
Nancy: Here. In [unclear].
Frank: Really? Wow.
Nancy: Yes, yes.
Frank: I want your advice on something.
Frank: I was listening to a segment yesterday on another radio station.
Frank: There’s a guy who’s ex-wife, they’re recently divorced—no, no, they were never married but they were together for 8 years, they have a son, I believe the son is around 6, something like that…
Frank: And the ex has now had two boyfriends as live-ins in her home in the last 4 months.
Frank: And so the guy who wrote in who has the issue has an issue with two different men living with his son in his ex’s home but he’s not really sure what he can do about it. What’s your advice?
Nancy: Wow, wow. Well, okay so my parents separated when I was young like younger than I could barely remember.
Nancy: How young I was when they separated.
Frank: So it might have been 2?
Nancy: So they didn’t divorce until I was about 8, but I was about 2 when they separated.
Frank: Did you know when they divorced?
Frank: Did you care?
Nancy: Yes, I did know because the paperwork came and I remember my mother kind of serving the papers to say that it was officially over and being surprised that she had any reaction because his was a union that was pretty much unfamiliar to me. I mean, I know my father, I knew him but I didn’t know them as a couple so much. I thought it would just kind of be, mail. I was too young to understand the dynamic.
Nancy: Yes, thank you again. I thought it would have just been a piece of information when it was really closure on—
Frank: She had a reaction?
Nancy: Well, when I say reaction, she sat with the paperwork for a while. It wasn’t like she cried or emoted in any way or even said anything to me. It was just noticing that she sat with the paperwork for a while… she paused and looking back on it, it’s like that was a very critical and important time in her life when she obviously had other intentions for her marriage, her family, herself that did not come to fruition.
So I say all that to say that my mom never really—all the few men that were involved in my mother’s life were significant. She got married.
Nancy: Re-married, yes. So it’s difficult for me to grasp…
Frank: Two men in 4 months.
Nancy: Two men in 4 months.
Frank: Living in and I just—
Nancy: Mercy. It’s like unthinkable but that could be… Sid, are you listening?
Sid: Yes, I am.
Frank: You got anything on this?
Nancy: So I’m hesitating because I want to say I don’t want to put my story on it.
Nancy: Well you know because it is my story. I’m looking for could there be some opportunity in that. it sounds awfully…
Nancy: It sounds way out of the box in the interest of the child—even in her interest. It just sounds way out of the box to me. I’m not saying that there isn’t some good that can come out of any situation. I just don’t think it’s healthy for her or for the child but it’s not my call.
That’s my story.
Frank: Well what’s your advice to the man?
Nancy: Pick up your son. Bring him to your house and negotiate some kind of arrangement where she’s able to express in her life in the way she sees [unclear]—they need to come to some agreement as it relates to the child and I don’t think that the way—I don’t think 2 boyfriends in 4 months is in the best interest of the child.
Frank: And how would you suggest that he convince her of that? Or even present the issue?
Nancy: Well I think if he… number one, requested custody of the child…
Frank: Not necessarily going to court?
Nancy: No, just request the custody of the child and suggest that she consider visitation for a while until she kind of gets her head together in terms of where her private life is going. I can’t imagine her… well I can imagine her having a problem with it only because we kind of socialize as women to not want to give over our children and—even if it’s in the child’s best interest which is socialize to believe that the child’s better off with the mother even if it isn’t…
Frank: But a lot of men seem to feel that same way too. This guy noted that the child lives with mom.
Nancy: Right. So but he takes issue with the way mom lives her life. So if he takes issue with the way she lives her life then in my mind, he’s saying that… Well maybe he’s not saying that he can do better. He’s essentially saying he doesn’t like what she’s doing. But he is the child’s father.
Frank: And what are your thoughts on that socialization as it relates to women being the party that get the children?
Nancy: Well I know that that’s the historical norm. I don’t think it’s an absolute.
Frank: Do you think it’s—
Sid: It shouldn’t because I have mine too.
Nancy: There you go.
Frank: Alright. Okay.
Nancy: There you go.
Frank: And do either of you think it’s good, bad, indifferent, or it varies with each situation, what?
Sid: Personally, I feel like… in my case, my ex-wife she moved to Florida [unclear] one boy, my oldest son stayed with me and then my second child, my middle son, he moved back with me after a couple of years because he just… there was that relationship to understanding himself and being with his father that made sense and then my daughter, stayed with Cindy… and we’ve made it work. The betterment of our kids. I think no matter where they go, that has to be first and foremost—
Frank: That you make it work?
Sid / Nancy: For the kids.
Sid: It’s not their fault regardless of what’s going on and in the case of the lady having two guys in 4 months? I’m not sure that makes a difference as much as are the people standing in the way that represents what they would want for the kids.
Frank: What’s the overall vision for your child-rearing.
Nancy: Which now that’s certainly valid. And yet you feel that if you’ve had two men come and go in the span of 4 months, then what’s missing is a vision for herself and the child. Because if she had one and she communicated that to the men I her life, they would either be enrolled or they would say, “Okay, that’s a little too deep for me.” Unless it’s a survival thing, which is a whole other… bag of tricks.
Frank: What if she had one and it was—that we float, we do whatever we want to do…
Frank: When we want to do it.
Sid: And what if she thought that the child that you stand for you and… initially that could look like they were going to stand together…
Sid: And something pulls them apart, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the guys are there for a particular reason other than they thought they were going to be together.
Nancy: Right, right.
Sid: No matter how we look at it, you have to look through the eyes of non-judgment.
Frank: They’re layers.
Sid: …making our story on to that.
Nancy: Right, right.
Frank: Well, on that note, we will move on to who you are, Sid. I’ll remind the audience… He began a yoga practice that had a profound impact on his injuries and is playing as an athlete and inspired by this yoga and practice, started incorporating this yoga as an integral part of coaching his football team resulting to first winning season and 23 years.
Okay, where’d you get started?
Nancy: I was going to say (making sounds)… He’s cheating on the program right now.
Sid: Yeah, right.
Frank: Alright, so… Nancy?
Nancy: Okay, so we have a question that we ask everyone, Sid and that question is—what advice do you have for a 25 year old couple with a baby due in 2 months?
Sid: That’s good because I lived it. I was 24 when—
Frank: So you weren’t 25? You didn’t live it?
Sid: Well no, I had… well yeah, I guess it was 26 when I had my next child.
Nancy: Okay, okay.
Sid: …full size of that.
Frank: Excuse me, don’t [unclear].
Nancy: Don’t mind him.
Sid: So, I would say the best advice that I can give for my own mistakes—I think that’s where the most solid advice I can come from is when I make a mistake and I find my way on the other side, is making first and foremost about the child coming… and that may look like some sacrifices that you have to make in order to give another life—the best life that they can have.
Frank: Like what? What are sacrifices? And I got to tell you, I have an issue with that word, “sacrifice.”
Frank: I feel like we don’t sacrifice, we invest… and sacrifice is a way that we try to basically manipulate the people that we’re talking to. I can’t think of a time when we say we’ve sacrificed something when we’re not trying to sway our listener in our direction of giving us sympathy or some kind of benefit of the doubt. I consider “investment” is much healthier term because when we invest, we understand that it could go either way.
It could work out the way we want it to work out, we could make money or we could lose money but we’re putting this energy, effort or whatever into this knowing that… with clear hopes that we’re going to make money but in understanding, we could lose money. if you do lose money, hey, that’s just part of the game.
Frank: It’s nothing to be angry about or bitter or anything like that. That’s just you go to Vegas, you gamble, you walk away with sometimes and you don’t most of the time.
Nancy: Right, so as it relates to a family or a child, you’re saying it’s an investment, so if this child—if we’re successful in rearing this child the way we want to see him grow up or come out… cool…
Sid: I think he used the word “sacrifice” because sacrifice is a slaughtering of a animal or a person, surrender a possession as an offering to god.
Frank / Nancy: Okay.
Sid: And so—
Frank: Is that all it is? Or is it something else too?
Sid: To me. Now I can’t say for everybody else.
Nancy: Okay, so has a ritual kind of… connotation.
Sid: I have now taken on when I had my kids, I took on the fact that they were a gift from god. So that may mean some things I have to let go of in order to honor them and to honor god.
Sid: And I like the word “investment” because we don’t have a choice of how it’s going to go. So it’s like I’m making a sacrificial investment.
Sid: In my life, what I’ve found several times over is, something higher has me… and so having honor and even my mistakes or even the times that I’ve missed as a human, I’m looking to honor it. Whatever you want to call it.
Sid: So that’s why I used that word.
Frank: Understood. How does yoga facted into your journey with—in fact, with rigorous sports? You’ve got quite a story.
Sid: Yeah, you know initially, I started playing sports when I was 7 years old. As a lot of young males do, and so it was a way to keep me from being too hyper in a regular day—
Frank: What type of sports?
Sid: …outlet for the energy that I carried inside and so… a big sport for me was soccer and basketball at that time as well as baseball. So… at 8 years old I was selected to be part of a pretty elite group and it just so happened that I had a coach that taught meditation to kind of get us to learn how to focus.
Frank: Was it Phil Jackson?
Sid: No, it sure wasn’t. Coach Stevens and he ended up when I turned 15, same guy took us over and I played over in England and so that stayed with me for a long time. There’s an old meditation that pay like it used to do. He’s a really famous soccer player back in the day d he used to do and our coach plays with him. So that was part of my beginning foundation of yoga in the form of sitting and understanding your mind. When I got to high school and started football, before every game, our coach would have us sit in the dark room and meditate. When I got to college, it kept going and even when I worked in my Master’s, Sports Administration, my teacher said, “Hey Sid, you’re going to teach everybody to meditate.” He had no clue that that’s what I knew.
Frank: Does that mean you kept finding yourself in situations with coaches that just promoted meditation or you brought the meditation to the team? How did all of that come together?
Sid: No, it started out literally as everywhere I turned in my life, someone would make me sit still and meditate. So it was almost—that’s why I honoured that space. It was ordain that this was what I was supposed to bring in.
Frank: That sounds like a gift by itself…
Sid: No question.
Frank: That just be put in that scenario repeatedly where you end up getting that benefit.
Sid: Right. And that continued and it kept finding me in those moments where I’d start to get too frazzled in my head and drinking coffee or drinking beer, things that were taking me out of myself. Somehow it would come back. So then when I was—in 1996 is when I started doing what we here in the States call “yoga” because really, meditation is a limb of yoga. And…
Frank: Meditation is a limb of yoga?
Frank: Yoga encompasses more—yoga is more than a form of meditation.
Sid: Yoga is more than meditation. It’s more than a physical stretching class, it’s more than a devotion to a higher being, it’s everything. Yoga is truly the union from your lower self to your higher self and so I like to look at it as… for me, it’s that union from my highest of high inside of me to the lowest of earth-self that I’m walking around in every day.
So that union happens in many forms and so in 1996, I had my first real surgery because I had my right ankle fused and I was limping and hurting—
Frank: This was during or after your playing days?
Sid: This is after. This is why I was coaching football.
Sid: Because I coached for 12 years and so someone once saw me on—you know, the big stair climber thing? And I would turn it all the way and still just got it. this lady when I was done, I could remember walking over and saying “Hey, you know yoga can heal your ankle.” Now I didn’t know this lady so I was like, “Alright, who’s talking to me?” you know… And she guided me through that process and told me “You know if you order some videos and see what it does…” and yes, it started giving me the flexibility of my ankle but all of the sudden, my abs were getting more cut. And I was like, alright. So then atleast yoga had me that way for physical benefits because no matter what I was doing, I knew I could get my abs back if I started doing some yoga.
Sid: So to me, my vanity played in a strong sense there. It helped me continue to stay with yoga in that sense.
Nancy: So yoga turned out to be more effective than your traditional gym workout?
Sid: Oh yes. Yeah, I mean it’s—because yoga gave me the space to breathe and—
Nancy: The space to breathe?
Sid: Yeah, where—
Frank: Literally and figuratively.
Sid: [Unclear] you’re not breathing fully.
Sid: And so I mean, that’s how I did my workouts real hard. So yoga gave me that development of my abdomen that through breathing that now in the long term, allowed me to release my asthma.
Frank: Please tell that story.
Frank: Yoga, asthma…
Sid: Yoga, asthma…
Frank: Healing… what—
Frank: What did it take, 10 years? A couple of days? What did you do? What happened? This is good.
Sid: I’ve been practicing since ’96, so ’96 I was 26 at the age of 32, I no longer needed an inhaler. Now I was told that if you want—I got asthma after I was born. I got it when I was 7 years old. I can remember the day when it hit me because like I said I needed sports so I was 7 and I’ve picked up a boulder to throw at a kid and it landed in the middle of my dad’s new [unclear].
Nancy: Oh man.
Sid: I can remember my mom taking me into the house and saying “I don’t know what to do with you. You’re going to have to wait for your dad.” So I sat on the stool and she was unpacking boxes because we had just moved from [unclear] to Maryland… And I can remember the dust getting in my lungs with the stress I was already sitting in. Next thing you know, I was diagnosed with asthma.
Nancy: And it wasn’t the kind—sometimes you develop asthma as a child and they say “Oh you’ll grow out of it,” I can remember that.
Sid: And so literally, I mean I had doctors that said “you’ll have an oxygen tank at some point.”
Sid: And I can remember sitting there when that doctor said that to myself because I was in college and i had already started training my own mind. I said “That’ll never happen to me.”
Nancy: Okay, okay.
Sid: So then at 32, I actually started to let go of asthma and—
Nancy: What does that mean?
Sid: Weaning myself often. So there was a new product, there was a pill as opposed to an inhaler so I went to my doctor and said “Hey I’d like to try this new pill.”
Sid: I knew I wasn’t disciplined enough to take a pill everyday which would help me because it would almost create a reversed, almost like a release in the sense of detox from taking this inhaler for so many years.
Nancy: You mean moving over to the pill?
Sid: So I did that and so for the next 2 years, I kept getting more and more space from needing anything and then when I was 34, I can remember I was sitting in—this was with my second wife—we were sitting and I was talking to my aunt and she’s like “How’d you get rid of asthma?” I told her about my process and doing yoga and learning how to breathe and transforming that. Then when we got home, Heather said to me, she said, “Why do you tell people you’ve let go of asthma?” I’m like “Because I don’t use this inhaler.” She said, “Well why do you carry it?”
Nancy: Ohh okay.
Sid: You know, sometimes the people that challenge us the most are the best people for.
Nancy: Yes, yes.
Sid: So we were going through this process and I said, “Alright, well then I won’t carry it.” I actually said it kind of angrily, you know…
Sid: Because it was like “who are you to call me out on my safety net?”
Sid: It was kind of like an addict. We were leaving for Hawaii and because she said that, I took it out of my pants pocket and set it on the counter. Next thing you know, we’re literally on the flight from LA to the big island and I realized I don’t have it.
Sid: Right in that moment, I knew either I was going to learn how to be peaceful enough to keep my asthma off me or I was going to be in trouble because I didn’t have an inhaler. So that is the whole training of the yoga process, helped me to see where I can let this thing go.
Nancy: I see. Okay. And that was it? After that trip back, you never used it again, carried it again?
Sid: I never carried an inhaler since then.
Nancy: Okay, okay. Fantastic. So it is possible. I know in my own experience, actually my initial experience with yoga was going to a studio and having this persistent cough I couldn’t shake it… and after 3 sessions over the course of 5 days, I went every other day for 5 days, the cough went and I was sold out on yoga from there… because nothing was getting rid of it and I thought “What is this?” and it basically like you said, the breathing, the heat from the room, all of that, and it just dissolved.
Tell us about the “I can, I will, I must.” It sounds in some way your resolution with asthma ties in to that.
Sid: Yeah, it does. I mean my dad’s mom, that was her, things she’d say to the kids so I can remember if I ever said “I can’t,” she’d look at me with that stern look and be like “We don’t say that, son.” And so, it was passed down to my dad who—I mean he’s showing in his own right to be a yogi but also to be world changer and that was just kind of the thing that all of her kids with the exception of one out of five, graduated with a Master’s degree.
Frank: What did your athletes, the athletes that you coached, what do they say about your introduction of yoga into the coaching paradigm?
Sid: Initially it was meditation, so they liked it because it was almost like a 5-minute nap without needing to go to sleep before they went out to practice because that’s what we do right before we leave our meeting. So then it grew into beginning to create visualization. So even we did walking meditations where we walk up and down the field and I talked them through a drive or a plane that they could visualize themselves and then it began to be the physical practice. That’s happened also in ’96 when one of my players, he pulled both of his hamstrings. I just [unclear] went on to play for the Jets and the Titans and he was pulling both his hamstrings because his quads were so strong when he’d run, he’d grip his hamstrings.
Sid: And so in order to help him, we got him to do a yoga class on campus. Creating that flexibility within his hamstring gave him the ability to go on and eventually earn that 40+ million dollar contract.
Sid: Without that, he wasn’t going to be in the field.
Frank: Does he attribute any of that success to you?
Sid: Yeah, he actually does. I’ve got a long testimony that we use often over and over again and he does credit to—he hasn’t actually come out to often and talked about his yoga practice as much as he’s talked about things I got him to do helped him become who he was. But having him as kind of a spokesperson for my teachings and my coaching, gave me the credibility to walk yoga into any team that I went from there with.
Frank: What do you consider unique about your yoga studio your practice? What’s different than average yoga?
Sid: Well, I consider myself a warrior. I mean I have this warrior spirit that no matter what you put me in, I’m going to find a way to make it work. So with that, I eventually became a warrior for peace… because I’m so strong physically, that I can [unclear] in peace because nothing else is going to take out of that peace.
So I know that’s where we developed from, is that sense of developing warriors which makes our practice that much stronger. I don’t want to say—not that a gentle yoga class is on a strong yoga class. What I’m talking about is a physical challenge is when you get on the other side of it. you know, that you’ve just accomplished something that strengthens you, that you can handle anything that comes your way.
So our overall practice is definitely a warrior’s way—development of strong powerful people that can walk peacefully on the earth.
Frank: And take that over to relationships. How do you see yoga as being beneficial to a relationship?
Sid: You know what, it’s done for me now. I can remember my dad saying to my brother, “Hey you need to go to Sid for advice on relationships. He’s been on enough of them done [unclear].” My dad would say, “I’ve been with your mom forever which means I may not understand what I’m doing.”
Frank: We’re on autopilot.
Sid: Yeah, and so that’s what took place during my yoga practice. I’ve been married twice and was in another relationship for 8 years and what it’s done is every time I’ve come back to the mat, yoga has helped me to see where I’m reactive, where I’m carrying anger, how I’m moving on the earth. I mean it’s allowed me that hour and a half, 2 hours, sometimes 4 or 60 minutes to really study myself. I’m not sure we get that tie anywhere else.
Frank: Talk about—
Sid: [unclear] we’re not sitting in meditation or getting on a yoga mat and really diving in to see how we’re moving around…
Frank: Talk about how reactive or being reactive can be a problem in relationships because that’s a powerful concept that I have conversations about pretty regularly.
Sid: Right. So the reaction comes from the space of us understanding our past. So for instance the conversation we’re having earlier, the reaction of evaluating 2 guys in 4 months says you got to be sleeping around, you may be detrimental to yourself and the kids, there’s all these things that comes from or path of knowledge.
Sid: So the reaction is your mind assuming that it knows what today’s about. So when you’re on the yoga mat and you start to diminish that time of reacting and you start seeing things for what they are, you bring peace to you, you bring peace to the relationship.
Nancy: Yeah, definitely.
Frank: One of the things that I find myself talking about is being reactive in a relationship and how—some people just say ”Hey, I’m reactive. That’s just me… Except me,” or whatever and what I’ve said in response to that, that’s a form of being at war all the time. It’s a way of demonstrating that you really don’t know who you are because you’re defining yourself as a response to what someone else does.
Frank: So… you got anything on that, Nancy? You look like you got something to say.
Nancy: I look like I have something to say? What does that mean, right? In terms of—well, you know what? The funny thing about the reaction question is before I meditate it, I was a reactor. I was very reactionary, very—
Frank: What might you react to?
Nancy: Oh man…
Frank: This is going to be good.
Nancy: What did not react to… I would react to… I had a couple of cousins and they didn’t—if they lived with us for a while and they didn’t do what we asked them to do—
Frank: If they lived with us?
Nancy: No, I said I had twin cousins who lived with us—
Frank: Oh okay.
Nancy: And so if they didn’t do what I asked them to do, I would be like… kind of—I try to control myself but I was trying. I was trying to control myself. I had an interaction with a guy I dated once where I thought we were in this playful conversation and he exploded. This was AFTER I had finished a meditation program, a pretty serious one, and the difference, Frank in my ability that just let him be in that explosive space and not have to not feel any inclination whatsoever to retaliate or to respond in kind, to be able to find stillness in myself while I could feel his reaction reverberating throughout my physical body.
Like I could feel myself having a visceral response to what was happening and yet, feeling totally peaceful in my mind and therefore having no need to respond in any particular type of way. To the point where when he was finished, he was like “Hello? Is anybody there?” and then he says “Baby, was that too much?” It’s just like, what? And I had nothing for him. I just let the communication fall flat because it was nothing I felt I needed to do with it. That was not available to me before mediation so I almost have to kind of like draw this line in the sand before meditation and after meditation in terms of how I might have responded to anything.
Frank: What about on the relationship side before meditation?
Nancy: Before meditation [unclear]—
Frank: What might you—
Nancy: I had to say “Who do you think you’re talking to? You don’t talk to me that way. How dare you take that tone with me? I might need to rethink this thing with you…” I mean I just went bananas totally.
Frank: I’ve got a big cheesy smile of my face just listening to you.
Nancy: That’s always what Frank is always looking for.
Frank: Wow, okay.
Frank: That kind of side of Nancy’s, the consummate generalist—
Nancy: Oh my goodness, what? I would win [unclear].
Frank: Sid, you got anything to share?
Sid: Yeah, in that, it sounds like the bigger reaction space that she’s talking about is that ability to listen.
Sid: To listen without the chatter of our minds sitting here saying “We already know what you’re going to say.”
Frank: Or whether it’s right or wrong.
Sid: Right. Right or wrong, or do I trust you or don’t trust you, I agree and disagree… All those things going on where we don’t listen to anybody. It’s not about listening, it’s about formulating our contacts that takes us into a direction that we want to go. When we start to generously listen, at some point we might not have anything to say because we’ve been available for the other person.
Frank: And I was going to say… When you said “at some point we might not have anything to say,” like that’s the end of the sentence right there. You just might not have anything else to say, period.
Nancy: Right. If you’re genuinely listening.
Frank: If you’re genuinely listening. You can just look at that person as though you’re generally listening, not looking at the ceiling as though you’re just ignoring them.
Frank: But demonstrate a presence and say absolutely nothing.
Nancy: I used to give my ex-husband the business for that. I would be talking to him and ta-ta-ta-ta… and then I’d say, “Well what do you think?” and he’d say “I’m not thinking of anything. I’m just listening.” And I’m like “You got to be thinking of something! Come on! Everybody’s thinking of something!”
Frank: Well to his credit—well to your credit, I can understand sharing with the intent of getting feedback or to see what someone thinks or if they have a comment about it… and I also understand if they don’t.
Nancy: Right, right. I definitely had no space for him not to comment at that time and I feel now, if I communicate something and the person doesn’t respond, I still have sort of like a residual memory of wanting that so I can still feel, the kind of like the suck to get answer and yet, I can recognize it and allow space also for the other person’s silence or—
Frank: It’s probably ideal when you don’t have anything to say something to the effect of—let me give that some thought.
Frank: Let me—or let’s check in about that a little later.
Frank: Because atleast it closes the communication loop instead of just you speaking into the wind.
Sid: As well as the person who’s speaking… listening to themselves so in those moments you feel like we need a response, there’s nothing wrong with saying “So I said what I said and I thought you heard me. Is there anything you’d like to say?”
So I think that’s a big part of communication especially when you’re talking in relationships is to be any listening of the whole conversation.
Sid: Generally, a lot of times we’re just listening to one part which means we’re not listening to ourselves at all.
Frank: Yeah. We’re talking with yoga instructor Sid McNairy. He incorporates yoga and to working with contact sport athletes. Sid, please tell our listeners what you’re up to and how they can find out more about it.
Sid: We’re up to many big things. We’ve got retreats, we’ve got teacher trainings, we’ve got yoga classes, we’ve got books coming up, we’ve got music, we’ve got art… You can find us at www.sidyoga.com. It’s really simple, www.sidyoga.com.
Frank: What’s the Nahi warrior journey and philosophy?
Sid: So the Nahi warrior journey is a journey that I have been on in my life, during my whole life. It’s really a warrior’s journey, Nahi is… my native American name is Nahi [unclear] which means “he brings peace” and that was the mission that I took on after sitting out in the mountains on my vision quest, one of my vision quest and listening to spirits say “okay, it’s time for you to go now and be peace for the world.”
So when I took on that mission, that name I just used is kind of long and maybe harder for a lot of people to say but we shortened it into the Nahi warrior and that literally is helping others find the warrior inside of them that they can bring peace to the world through.
Frank: And that may be a great lead into what’s the #allinproject?
Sid: The #allinproject, so we have a lot of different projects and these projects “All In” what it looks like is we have created a space for us to help anyone with projects. Maybe we have a young man that really wants to go on to be a movie and film producer and director and so we’re doing a documentary on the Nahi warrior to start his career off and get the word out about what we’re doing. I also sing so different projects and that’s the All In Project. No matter who you are, we’re going to go all in for you and help your dreams come true.
Frank: What would you say the one most profound or powerful experience that you’ve had which kind of fuels your current journey or your current focus?
Sid: Yeah, I’d have to say it’s the many vision quest that I’ve been on and the vision quest is a native American practice where you go and sit on land. Every time I’ve gone it was on the mountains and you go sit by yourself, 4 days, 3 nights without food or water.
Frank: Wow. Is there like an introduction to a vision quest like one day, 12 hours maybe?
Nancy: Or a rescue team?
Sid: So the general public, we actually do what we call “inner quest.” That’s like an 8 days sit—or 8 hours sit, I’m sorry. And so they go out and sit for 8 hours and we take them through that journey and we actually have a coming up in May. So—
Frank: Where? How would someone find out about this? Well I guess you gave this—
Sid: Right on the website.
Sid: www.sidyoga.com and just go to Events and scroll down. It’s called “Spirit of Yoga” and so they come here, we do some mental prep so that someone’s not sitting out and experiencing that reaction space that we just talked about and then we go up to my grandmother’s land. She lives in the Poconos, got 400 acres and everyone finds their own personal spot to sit for the day. So yeah, we go through that journey.
Frank: And how much is that?
Sid: It is $400.
Sid: Yup. So it’s an amazing experience. The one thing that we’ve found with people that are really into yoga, they’ve already opened their body up so much that a lot of the transmissions come through quicker than somebody that has… the body is like a radio [unclear] to a frequency. So yogis have opened themselves up in a space that the body and the radio frequency is quicker tuned than if they’ve just been sitting at the computer forever.
Frank: Give me a good book.
Sid: A good book?
Sid: You know, someone asked what was my favourite book and I’d be dumb to not say—
Nancy: The one you wrote?
Sid: My own book “Empowerment and Beyond.”
Nancy: Right, right.
Frank: Okay, let’s back up. Tell me about YOUR book.
Nancy: That is his book.
Frank: Alright, let’s hear it.
Sid: Yeah, so my book is a 6-week self-study program and it walks you through with different things and different questions and journaling aspects and you’re doing a yoga class weekly that guides you through that theme and really gives you a deeper look at yourself and I may have had people go through this program 12 times… and it’s very profound. You talk about relationships and it walks you through how to look at your reflections and everybody on the planet because we all are so connected and how to take accountability for your life that allows your space to let go of some of the drama. And so it’s got a lot of different things that way. It’s really a self-study program so it gives you the tools to look at yourself and re-align your life.
It’s actually about to come out in the next few weeks. We’re going to have it released as a digital program so that someone can have the book, have the yoga classes online, they can do it wherever they are in the world.
Nancy: Oh really, a virtual “Empowerment and Beyond”?
Nancy: Okay. And is that part of the Kickstarter Program that you do?
Sid: No. Well, when we do launch the book, part of the projects, we’ve got four people that I’m helping write books right now.
Sid: And so, we will have a book project that allows them to get it published and help with publishing and printing cost and all those things. Like I said, what I learned about myself was once I healed me, I had to start being for others. And so that’s a program, the All In Project is truly about helping others. Even with the teacher training or being a young man from Kenya to teacher training in May so that he can take this program and these teachings back to Kenya and help shift his community in that way.
Nancy: Nice, very nice.
Frank: What do you consider one of the great challenges to the work that you do?
Sid: When I was younger, one of the greater challenges for me was I was still—even when I thought I gotten through my reactions, I was still reacting.
Frank: There were new reactions.
Sid: Yeah. I’d uncover the big space of “I think I know it all.” Bits of that, that one crippled me for a while and then it began to go even further. I just recently moved through the fact that I didn’t know where I was reacting because I was peaceful, I’d watch but then all of a sudden my body was reacting to a place that I didn’t even know it could do it. So it would almost cripple me when something would show up that I needed to shift in myself. My body would react and the pains that would come through with that so then I had to learn how to let go of that stage of reaction. So it’s all been a journey of reflection. In native American teachings, we call that “walking the red road” and learning how to witness the divine in everything.
Nancy: So you’re saying it becomes more subtle as you develop it where you—
Sid: Yeah. Move into that subtle body work.
Frank: We’re talking with yoga instructor Sid McNairy. He incorporates yoga and to working with contact sport athletes. One more time Sid, please tell our listeners what you’re up to and how they can find out more about it.
Sid: We got a lot of programs for you, we’ve got yoga classes, books, music, art… You name it. We are here for you. You can find us at www.sidyoga.com.
Frank: Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed reactivity, meditation and athletes and athletics also, and vision quest. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had talking with yoga instructor Sid McNairy.
As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that I hope you create a relation that’s as loving and accepting as possible.
Let us know what you think of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter at @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. If you’re listening via Blog Talk Radio, make sure you like us there and if via iTunes, make sure you subscribe so that you can receive each week’s show.
This is Frank love.
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