An Interview with Yoga Teacher Brad Keimach

For those of us that live in Southern California, it’s so important for our body and mind to take advantage of this beautiful weather. What better way to enjoy the day than spending it at the beach? You can soak up your Vitamin D from the sun, get your magnesium from the ocean air, and melt your stresses away. To make it even better, Brad Keimach teaches yoga classes on the beach, right at the water’s edge. His classes are by donation (min $10), so there’s no reason not to take advantage of the great exercise for your mind and body. Brad’s classes can be transformational, and have gained him a lot of media attention as of late. His beach classes have been featured as “Best of L.A.” by Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. And if you don’t like the sand, you can find his classes at the renowned exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice.

I wanted to find out how Brad discovered his practice, so I was able to get an interview and find out.

Beach Yoga with Brad

How did you discover yoga?

“I had lived in Los Angeles for one year, and I had a conducting student over at the house. I don’t know why, but we were talking about jogging, and I told him I was getting bored with my jog around the neighborhood. And he said, ‘Oh, you should take a yoga class with my teacher Max.’ And I thought to myself, ‘Yoga? How Californian am I?’ But then I thought about it…I was so bored with running, and this guy taught Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So I figured I could take his classes, and then run the other days of the week. Fine. I didn’t know it was a level 2/3 class. I didn’t know anything! So I went to this class. And it was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I came home, thoroughly wiped out. I made it home to the floor of my living room, and just, splat! For two days I lay like that. There’s no way I could have run Tuesday as planned. I went back to his Wednesday class, and came home, and again, splat! But what I did sense is that there was something else that was there, and I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to find out. So I went to Max’s class 3 and 4 times a week until he left 8 years later. I’m sure I was his most loyal student. Every day he taught, I was there.

So what was the “something else” that you sensed? What else did you get from your yoga practice besides exercise?

The other aspect of yoga, which is primarily what I teach now, is how to teach the mind how to think. This is truly the cornerstone of a happiness practice, because what you think is where you live. It doesn’t matter what the external reality is, it’s what you tBrad Keimachhink about. The mind has a tendency to think worst possible scenario, and that leads us down the path of enormous suffering. Mark Twain sensed this when he said; “I have suffered many misfortunes in my life, some of which actually happened.” So most of our misfortunes come from within, not without.

So what would you suggest as a way to keep our mind in a healthy place?

Staying present is the key. It’s not about the body; the body will get enough work during the physical practice. But that’s not the point.

Basically, the point is to have the mind do one’s own bidding. The mind is a lousy master and a wonderful servant. Most people live the other way…. they let the mind rule. That’s really a tough life.

There are definitely physical things that help certain physical ailments. One of my students had low back pain all the time, and she looks to be in exquisite physical shape. But she was hurting all the time, and I’ve shifted things for her. So there are physical things you can do to help certain physical ailments. Yoga is a stone that shouldn’t be left unturned. Even if it can’t fix a certain physical ailment, what you can acquire from a yoga practice is a way to talk to the mind, to teach the mind, again, how to think. It’s not a lost cause. It’s going to help other aspects of life.

Beach Yoga with BradBio: “Beach Yoga with Brad” has been named “Best of 2012” by LA Weekly, “Best of L.A. 2012″ by Los Angeles Magazine, and one of the best “10 Outdoor Works in LA” by The Examiner. The classes also have a 5-star rating on Yelp. Brad has studied Hatha yoga with Max Strom, Saul David Raye, Sarah Powers, Georg Feuerstein, Gabriella Giubilaro, and Tias Little. He has taught yoga at Exhale since it’s opening and has also instructed at Maha Yoga, Dance Home, and Brentwood Yoga. For Brad, yoga is a transformational and healing practice for and from the heart. This is what inspires and motivates him to share this path with others. With a background as a symphony and opera conductor, Brad has been profoundly influenced in his life and teaching by the heart-first example of his mentor, Leonard Bernstein. “Like” his page of facebook, and you will receive updates on his beach yoga classes: http://www.facebook.com/beachyogawithbrad

5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Without Medication

Blood PressureMany of us have, or know someone with, high blood pressure. Blood pressure medications are now the third most prescribed medication, and yet controlling your blood pressure is usually a matter of adjusting your lifestyle. Whether or not you choose to take blood pressure medication, adjusting your lifestyle will help you eliminate, minimize, or delay the need for medication.

Try adjusting your lifestyle with the following 5 suggestions. Add one at a time, and try incorporating them slowly, in a way that is most realistic and applicable for your lifestyle. Adding even a single suggestion to your repertoire will help significantly!

Exercise is an activity that will help aid many common ailments that affect our culture, and helping to reduce high blood pressure and maintain a healthy blood pressure is no exception! Aim for a goal of 30-60 minutes of moderate activity 5-6 days a week, whether this is aerobic activity (cardio exercises, walking, running, etc.) or anaerobic activityWalking (strength training), any exercise is beneficial! If this seems like a lot to start, aim for 15-30 minutes and work your way up. It is more beneficial to get your exercise throughout the week rather than all at once, so aim to spread out your activity as much as possible — you can even consider breaking up your day’s duration into multiple parts, such as 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. For individuals with high blood pressure, gradually build up your activity and intensity over time, as too much intensity too quickly can be risky.

If you have severe hypertension, it is especially important to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, as there may be some exercise restrictions specific for you.

VegetablesEating a Healthy Diet, like exercise, is a strategy that will help mitigate nearly all common ailments. Again, for lowering and maintaining a healthy blood pressure, this is no exception! When your body has all the essential nutrients it needs to survive, it will function more optimally. Reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet, and instead replace them with whole foods you make yourself, as simple and close to their natural form as possible. Be sure you add a full bounty of fruits and vegetables to your diet, the latter being most important for those with high blood pressure. Additionally, you’ll want to aim to eat some specific foods that will help to reduce blood pressure: foods high in essential minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium), a good amount of fiber, and high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

If you’re looking for some excellent foods to add to your cooking routine, be sure to check out: 7 Foods to Help Lower Blood Pressure.

Reducing Stress is often something ignored in our culture with a go-go attitude, but it essential for lowering your blood pressure. Besides, doing so will also help your overall well-being! Stress and anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure, but if you’re constantly stressed or anxious, your blood pressure will also constantly be raised! Take some time out of your day to identify what is stressing your most. Family? Work? Home? Friends? Think about what you can do to help reduce stress, and then take action and reduce it as much as possible. However, sometimes we have obligations we simply cannot give up that stress us. In this case, think of some alternatives. Take up some deep-breathing exercises, meditation, try yoga, get a massage, be sure you’re getting adequate sleep, or perhaps even see someone that specializes in helping to reduce stress (such as a therapist).

Losing Excess Weight is a tremendous key it lowering your blood pressure. When you have excess weight on your body, your heart and blood vessels must work harder to simply pump the blood to where it is needed in your body. Losing even just 5-10 pounds can help significantly, but making a goal to reach your ideal weight should be a priority! If you do decide to take blood pressure medication, losing weight will also help to make the medication more effective overall. In addition, keep an eye out for where you carry your weight: carrying excess weight primarily in your midsection increases your odds for high blood pressure. Make strides to lose those excess pounds, diet and exercise are key!

Reducing Sodium and Caffeine are two methods for helping to reduce your blood pressure. If your diet is primarily based around processed foods, it’s likely it contains a good amount of sodium. Replace processed foods with whole, natural foods as described in Eating a Healthy Diet (above), and you’ll help eliminate excess sodium. Once you’ve done this, if you still find you would like salt in your diet, try adding small amounts of unrefined Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, two types of salt that contain a significant quantity of minerals other than sodium. Additionally, add foods high in potassium and magnesium to help balance the sodium content in your blood. Limit your sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day.Caffeine

When you ingest caffeine, the caffeine temporarily raises your blood pressure. In the same way that stress can raise your blood pressure, a consistent stream of caffeine also means a consistently spiked blood pressure. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and thus the effects will vary. However, caffeine can also be stressful for your adrenal glands, the organs that help us deal with stress in our daily lives. Stressed adrenal glands mean a more stressed body, and stress as a whole elevates your blood pressure. Try reducing the amount of coffee, tea, and soda your ingest on a daily basis. Be mindful of how you feel, and also monitor your blood pressure as you reduce you caffeine intake to see what intake is best for you.

Incorporate these suggestions into a balanced lifestyle and you’ll start to see results, whether your goal is to lower blood pressure or maintain it. Taking blood pressure medication is largely unnecessary, especially for the long-term. Your lifestyle is key. The decisions you make are yours!