Native Yoga Toddcast

Day Christensen - 2 Day with Day 1

January 05, 2023 Todd Mclaughlin / Day Christensen Season 1 Episode 97
Native Yoga Toddcast
Day Christensen - 2 Day with Day 1
Show Notes Transcript

This is a conversation I had Day Christensen of Day1Yoga Method. Day seeks the truth and has been foraging her path in the forest of yoga and fitness for many years now. She has been able to heal her back of chronic pain by looking outside the box and being willing to try new things. She is an inspiration in the yoga community and I am excited for you to hear her philosophy on life and her career.

Please visit Day at her website here: day1yoga.com
Follow her on Instagram here: @day1yoga
Visit her on YouTube here: @Day1Yoga

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Todd McLaughlin:

Welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. So happy you are here. My goal with this channel is to bring inspirational speakers to the mic in the field of yoga, massage bodywork and beyond. Follow us @nativeyoga, and check us out at nativeyogacenter.com. All right, let's begin. Hi, Welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. My name is Todd McLaughlin, for those of you that are seasoned guests welcome back. And if you're new, I'm so excited to have this opportunity to introduce to you Day Christensen and I really want to know what your feelings and thoughts are about this, please reach out to either me, and or Day. You can email me at info@Nativeyogacenter.com Check out Day at her website,

https:

//day1yoga.com. Also on Instagram and Facebook, you'll find her at @day1yoga, she's got a YouTube channel as well. Her website will direct you to her offerings, her online course offerings or online teaching. And this was a really enlightening conversation personally for me. And it feels like it's coming at exactly the right time. And that is amazing how this works. You know you, you need some information to help you out. And at the right time, boom, it lands in your lap. And I think just being an sincere seeker, and trusting that we can be happy and healthy. Like really truly believing that it's possible to feel a little more connected. healthier, healthy, and happy. Like that's a big one, like believing that and then actually cultivating it. And I feel like this conversation with de feeds that theory. I'd love to know what you think after you listen. Alright, let's get started. I'm so excited to have this opportunity to speak with Day Christensen. Good day. How are you? How are you?

Day Christensen:

Yeah, I'm good. Thank you.

Todd McLaughlin:

Did I pronounce your last name correctly?

Day Christensen:

Not totally correctly, but almost correctly.

Todd McLaughlin:

Can you correct me?

Day Christensen:

Yeah, it's Christensen

Todd McLaughlin:

Christensen. I knew that I'm sorry. Thank you. Where? Where? Are you joining me from today?

Day Christensen:

Um, secret location?

Todd McLaughlin:

Is it planet Earth? Are you are you somewhere? Fair enough. Awesome. And well, I'm really excited to have this opportunity. I had a chance to meet you many, many years ago when you were teaching in Miami. And I've been following you on social media over the years. And I really appreciate how, from my perspective watching you, I get the feeling that you don't want to just be satisfied with mediocre, I get the feeling you really tried to make yoga authentic and personal and not just accept the status quo for which you really inspire me. So I'm just really excited to have this opportunity. I've been wanting to reach out to you for a while. And I'm glad that this day is here on that. Yeah, yeah. Thank you. On that note, can you give me a little bit of an idea about what you are up to these days?

Day Christensen:

Yeah, so basically, I'm exclusively working online at the moment. I'm not super opposed to going back to traveling and doing some workshops or seminars here and there. But for the most part, online is the thing. It's just what happened to most of us, I think, and it was good for me, just because I was traveling a lot and it was because that was exhausting, it was getting to the point where it's getting exhausting. So this has been a really nice way for me to connect with people all over the world at the same time. So it's been really good.

Todd McLaughlin:

Cool. Was your switch to online because of COVID? And or were you already on that trajectory prior to?

Day Christensen:

Um, it was the thing that kicked me in the butt to do it. Yeah, I probably wouldn't have. Honestly,

Todd McLaughlin:

I understand me too. Did you already have a YouTube channel going?

Day Christensen:

I did. But truthfully, I neglect my YouTube channel. I shouldn't, but I do.

Todd McLaughlin:

Why do you say you shouldn't?

Day Christensen:

Uh, you know, it's, it's just another resource. It's just another way to reach people. And I hear Yeah, let some of those ideas across. But yes, I'm a little bit lazy about about some of that stuff.

Todd McLaughlin:

Do you feel like it's a lot of work? It's totally a lot of

Day Christensen:

work. And it's not really my wheelhouse. My thing is just teaching and be in and, you know, coaching and helping people get better, and YouTube doesn't quite feel like that same interaction, you know, it's one step removed. So I'm, it's harder for me to do it.

Todd McLaughlin:

Do you mean, you feel like you can connect with students more via zoom slash? You know, where it's a live experience where you can see people through the camera?

Day Christensen:

Yeah, I, all the people that I work with, are doing live classes, their group classes via zoom, and everybody that I work with, I try, I tried to get people on the phone, I tried to call and talk to every single person regardless of location. And I just do it via WhatsApp. And just to get a sense of, you know, where people are coming from, if they're, if they're hurt, if they're injured, obviously, but also what their goals are, and what they're really interested in. And, you know, sometimes what comes across on my social media is handstands and jump backs, and some of those vinyasas and some of that stuff, but that's not all that I do. Sometimes people are just feeling lost in in their own yoga practice or feeling. You know, like, they're, they're not progressing or they're not happy, or they're not loving what they're doing anymore. And I also feel like that's a good place for me to step in and say, Hey, you can do this differently. And obviously, I just speak from experience.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yes, cool. I've had the pleasure of being able to watch your career unfold. But for the for you that's listening. Can or for those that are listening? Can you give me a summary and or snapshot of where when you first interacted with yoga and how you fell in love with yoga?

Day Christensen:

Oh, yeah, I mean, I don't know if I ever fell in love with you.

Todd McLaughlin:

It's not it's not the honeymoon, there would never was a love affair. And there was no honeymoon and

Day Christensen:

no, not not really know what, what my experience was, was for me kind of a quarter life crisis and kind of hitting a metaphoric rock bottom, where I was feeling really disconnected from my body, really physically unfit, feeling, unhealthy, feeling unmotivated. And I went from being in high school to being more of a jock, more athletic, to going into college. And I went into art school, which was, it's not physical. I mean, there are physical elements of it. But you know, it's very cerebral. And I think that, through all of that, it actually put me into a little bit of a emotional mental downward spiral, where I was just feeling really disconnected and unhappy with where I was. And so when I graduated, I kind of realized that I wasted a lot of years doing something that really didn't make me happy. And I just wanted to feel good. I just wanted to feel healthy. I felt beyond the point of being able to participate in team sports, which is what I really loved. And I became kind of interested in this idea of chi or prana, or energy, or quantum physics or whatever. I was very attached to that. That philosophy and that way of living. And so yoga seemed like the thing versus let's say something like Tai Chi. Yoga seemed like the thing that was athletic enough that It sort of filled that void. And the philosophy portion that I was kind of interested in, in a more intellectual way was there. And so I started doing yoga. Because I was really hoping that I would feel better that I wanted, I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to feel healthy, I wanted to be fit. And I thought, well, let's dive in this, this is going to have to work. No choice because it was it felt like my only option.

Todd McLaughlin:

You know, that's really cool that you said that I'm listening to Howard Stern interview right now with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And they were, Howard was asking a question of like, Why do you think musicians make it versus those that don't. And the guitarist for the chili peppers said that he'd heard a theory that if we were given a pill that said, if we didn't make it, we wouldn't survive, that we'd be shocked at how creative we could become. And the way you just explained that reminded me of their comment where it feels like you had a similar type of, I have to do this, like I have to figure something out, or else. Or else I don't know what the other side is, or the other the outcome. So that's interesting, because, obviously, you have to be really passionate about what you do. You're obviously really passionate about what you do to be as successful as you are. That's cool. What was your first interaction? Like? What was the first style of practice that you fall into? What did you gravitate or what door opened for you? on that level?

Day Christensen:

I really had no idea that there was so many different styles of yoga when I started, you know, when I started doing yoga, social media wasn't a thing. It didn't exist other than my space. What year was that? So I started in 2004. And so I really didn't, like I said, I really didn't know that there were so many different sort of physical takes on what yoga was, I just thought yoga is yoga, right? So it tried a whole bunch of different things. Not really knowing that I was trying different things, especially in the beginning. And then the most accessible. The most available type classes that I wound up in were vinyasa classes. So I started taking them and I liked the fact that they were, you know, kind of faster paced, and, you know, it felt like I was more physically engaged in those type of classes than maybe some of the slower what people call HOFA classes. It's all happened, I guess. But, um, so that's what I was doing. And then I started doing like a work trade at work study with the yoga studio, that I was taking classes that so that I can take, you know, all the classes for free. And the only time that really didn't conflict with my schedule, which I was working as a painter full time, were Sunday morning classes, or Sunday morning shift. And so I was working that Sunday morning shift, and there were only two classes going on, which was a Mysore class and sort of what I call like a grandma style, slow flow class. Yeah. So I would have to go in the room and check in the people. And so that was my really my first experience seeing what a Mysore room looked like. And obviously, it's it's a stark contrast compared to doing a Vinyasa class with music with somebody talking all the time. And one of the things that I saw that really inspired me was that people were working on their own thing. And people were doing things they were able to sort of take a specific goal movement, Asana, whatever it was, and build it according to whatever their level was physically. And so I was seeing things like dropbacks that was not exposed to me and vinyasa classes, very, very rarely. I was saying things like scorpions and tiktoks and handstands. And I was like, there's something to this method of, you know, having everybody do the same practice, but individually doing the you know, so we're all in a room together doing our own thing. It's the same thing, but it's our own thing. We're all at different levels. We're all at a different sort of rung on the ladder. And that concept is really nice. There are obviously problems with it that I that I felt like I uncovered the longer I spent in it, but in the beginning the philosophy the concept seemed really interesting and seemed really something that was progressive and useful.

Todd McLaughlin:

Isn't it When you then started practicing that method as well,

Day Christensen:

well, I thought probably, you know, not not correctly thinking, but I thought that I should familiarize myself with what Ashtanga was by taking guided classes first. So I tried a few guided classes. And truthfully I thought they were super easy. And the reason why I thought they were super easy was because I wasn't doing half of it. The half that I wasn't doing with were the jump backs and the jump throughs I was doing the poses which I had already gotten myself to the point of being fairly flexible. Some of the poses were super weird, you know, the the length behind the fade that had thing that the garbage can dossena, Lotus rolling around in the circle thing I was like. I mean, if that's part of the deal, I guess I'll roll around in a circle, you know, I mean, it didn't the poses didn't really speak to me necessarily. What spoke to me was what I saw in the Mysore room. So I dabbled a little bit before I actually kind of jumped in said, Okay, I'm going to just try this Mysore thing, which seemed difficult, because again, you don't have somebody per se holding your hand.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yes. Were you in Miami at the time?

Day Christensen:

No, I'm from Chicago. So I was in I was in Chicago. Gotcha. Yeah, I hadn't moved to Miami yet until I was probably practicing. I was practicing about six years before I moved to Miami.

Todd McLaughlin:

I'm curious, because you had made mentioned thus far that you didn't really fall in love with yoga, that it was maybe more you felt you needed to something needed, you needed it to help you in some way. At this point, it doesn't sound like you're extremely enamored with the Mysore style, like just at first glance, like you were intrigued. But it wasn't a whole like mind blowing. Whoa, what's going on today? Am I getting that right? Or do you agree with me there?

Day Christensen:

Um, no, it was more of an appreciation of the method of not having every single person in the same room kind of moving in sync, there was an appreciation for everybody moving at their own pace and doing their own thing kind of at their own level. So it was it was an appreciation more of an intellectual appreciation. And I thought it was, as I said, it would it was, it seemed to be the thing that was going to be more productive.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah. It sounds like but you progress pretty far into the Mysore world because you started to go to Mysore in India, correct?

Day Christensen:

Yeah, it was something that I avoided for a really long time, truthfully was not on my list. I wasn't like, Sign me up. Let me live. Let me drop my life. And take take a month or two often in, you know, go to India. And by the way, when you're in in I don't mean to say think about going to India, go to India, if you want to go to India, I didn't want to go. But I went because I was in some ways kind of backed into it. One, I was getting to a point where I felt like the people around me in my local community had taught me all that they could. And so I felt like and I wasn't ready necessarily to teach myself without feeling. So I was teaching. I was teaching kind of vinyasa hybrid, Ashtanga ish classes. But I wasn't teaching Mysore regularly. I was subbing sometimes, but I wasn't ready to take on, let's say, a program. And so yeah, I just didn't feel like I had learned everything that I could learn. And when I got the offer to move to Miami, it was sort of the requirement. It was like, if if you want to work here, if you want to participate in what we have going on, you have to go to my source. I said, Okay, well, I guess there's no other choice now. I have to go. So that's what I did. Yeah. And that was fine. I didn't have high expectations, per se. But that's what I did

Todd McLaughlin:

ya. How many times did you go? I went six times. Wow. That's a solid effort.

Day Christensen:

It was a pretty solid effort.

Todd McLaughlin:

I just saw, I mean, it's a big deal to be able to take a whole month or more to travel, adjust to being in another country travel back, then pick up where you left off and have a career and be able to pay bills.

Day Christensen:

Are there and hope that your students are still there? And yeah, yeah. All those things. Yeah, it was a huge, huge sacrifice. And I was hoping that I was going to get something in return, which I may. So my first two trips, I took a month long trips, and then everything after the last four trips, were two month trips. So it was it was a big sacrifice, no work, no money. You know, there wasn't. There wasn't options for it like that. Then now I see, you know, probably if I were to continue doing something like that, you can still work online and things like that. But at the time, it was like you teach in a studio? Yeah. Yeah, it was leaving that in hopes that I would get something in return. Of course, knowledge, you know, more information more, more attuned to the system, and all those things. And then the second thing would be some sort of accreditation, some sort of acknowledgement that I've done the work I've put in the work, because, you know, I went through college, and I got a degree, so you sort of feel like, well, that was useless. It was for me. So now to do something that was more meaningful, and, and be able to say, look, this is, you know, this is here's my accreditation, here's what I've accomplished, which could position me to be more of an authority and say, you know, I'm a person that you can study with train with, and you know, it would be worth your while, because I've put in this time. Yes. Yeah. So my third trip, I was authorized to level two authorized and, and I really saw myself on the path for certification, but that didn't happen. Things changed before that happened.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That's so interesting day because, you know, we went to Mysore. And prior to going to Mysore, we had gotten certified and Bikram yoga, and how to Bikram yoga studio and San Diego. And had such a, I don't know, like, how do I say this, you know, to watch someone who was playing the guru role, and then just really not act in a way that felt authentic or like very caring. And then we could even stretch a little further into like, quite abusive and mean and nasty. And then so when I went to when we went to India, I was really enamored with the Mysore experience in similar way that you when you saw a Mysore room, you're just like, This is so interesting, what a cool aspect or concept where you are all these different levels can be in one place, but I think I got, I'm gonna say burned. But from watching the Bikram world and all of the stuff that went on in that scene, I just couldn't subscribe again to another ladder climbing scenario again. So I feel like that first experience kind of cured me which allowed me to go into this jungle realm. A little more skeptical is the right word, but just cautious, I guess. And now having teaching been teaching for 20 plus years or whatever, I I'm very happy and secure just being like my own person and not really a part of any institution, although I really appreciate the institutions to for what the positive things they can offer. Does any of that seem similar for you and your transition from Have you have you kind of handed over your authorization back? Have you made a formal declaration or

Day Christensen:

so what happened was when, at the time that I received the authorization, of course, it's not, you know, the way that people make it sound is that it's some sort of a blessing. It's not something that you can sort of check the boxes and say, well, here I've paid my dues. Now it's time to authorize me. The way that it's sort of presented is that oh, like, if this guru sees something special in you, He will just offer it to you so you can't ask. So that was stressful. Because it didn't seem clear. It didn't seem defined to me. But um, so I just kind of inserted myself in front of shots face as often as I could to be like, Hey, don't like neglect me, like, you know, for for the good or bad. You know, there were some things that I would do that he really didn't like, like doing some high jumps or some hands down looking ish vinyasa is in class, just so he would be like, Hey, don't do it. And I'd be like, sorry, you know, oops. But I did sort of make myself stick out as best as I could. Because there's a sea of people. You know, there are 200 people. At that time, there's probably more now I think I'm sure it's more like three or 400 people that would be practicing at one time. So how do you stand out? You gotta make yourself stand out. So I'm, I'm probably going off on a tangent.

Todd McLaughlin:

No, I'm interested to hear everything you're saying. So it's not a tangent.

Day Christensen:

Okay, good. So, so anyway, I did, um, you know, part of the, the unspoken rules is that you have to make or maybe it's spoken, I don't know, but that you have to make three trips. On my third trip. As I said, I had been practicing for six, seven, by the time that I got authorized, I had already been practicing for nine years. So but I, it was only my third trip. So I kind of skipped authorization level one, I went to I completed second series, and boom, I got the authorization level two. And I was at a really sticky point, because when you complete second series, part of the gateway to second series into third series, is doing tic TOCs. Which I always say that there's two different types of people. And there are people who tic tock and there are people who scorpion and very rarely do they does someone able is someone able to do both very well. So I was definitely on the scorpion side, I can do you know, it's static, it's controlled, it's slow. I'm not one for hurling my body through space, you know, a great gymnastic Tumblr, I would not make, you know what I'm saying. So tic TOCs were really sticky for me really, really difficult. And there was a lot of pressure to I had already started doing some third series poses. So there was a lot of pressure for me to perform, and to do it consistently. And when I was practicing in Mysore, you know, there there that pressure was known. Schrott would stand by my mat, every time that I was doing my back bends, and I would sort of feel like oh god, now this is my fault, I should not feel this way should do whatever the hell I want. But I was I succumbed to the pressure and started doing things much quicker than I normally would. And it was kind of the straw that broke my back, not the camel's back my back. So I really, I really didn't number doing all these backbends doing them so quickly and doing them in such high volume on a daily basis. And if you've if anybody has ever been in a nicer room, in that type of experience, one of the things you hear over and over and over again is catching, catching, catching. Did he catch Did she catch digit, so catching, obviously grabbing your ankles and a backbend, or your knees or your shins or whatever was a part of the daily practice on top of all of this? And it just, I mean, think about it. There's not it's not a cannot be healthy. There's nothing about that that can be good for anybody. I don't care how wonderfully physically inclined you are, that's going to take its toll. And and of course it did. So yeah, I was moving through third series, but feeling quite a lot of pressure to keep up this really strong back bending thing. And it kind of ruined me. And in combination with the back bending and not feeling good and eventually being in chronic and crippling pain to all the things that came out about Pattabhi Jois during the whole me to push all the issues, which I think was truly a distraction was that a lot of teachers certified and authorized a like we're getting their authorizations or certifications where you vote for seemingly no reason. And I was like, one of my friends who I'm sure everybody knows was Mark Roberts and I was there for his certification. Mission and I thought meeting mark and knowing Mark, I thought, Wow, what a nice guy with a nice, reverent person mark is. And when he got his certification, I was like, Wow, I'm sure he really truly deserves this. I didn't even know him that well. And, and then a few years later to find that Mark certification was revoked more numerous times. And I thought, well, if a nice guy like Mark can get his certification revoked, revoked, or, you know, doing a couple back handsprings on Instagram or whatever he was doing, that was non Ashtanga. I thought, Well, I'm not reverend. I'm not that nice. I'm not that respectable. I don't I don't love all this stuff like everybody else. I'm just here, because I'm sort of like I'm committed now. And I'm like, Well, if skylight Mark is going to get his, his certification revoked, who the hell am I I'm just this person who is, you know, I'm authorized. I mean, who cares? You know, I'm going to be the least Reverend person, the only thing that saved me was I kept my mouth shut for so long. And so I was like, You know what, this is just a ticking time bomb. It's just a matter of time. And, and I can't, I can't do this anymore. I no longer believed in it, you know, especially when I can see all these people. I mean, postural issues and pain, back pain, knee injury, hip injury, I mean, some of our quote unquote, greatest senior Ashtanga teachers all walking around in pain, and running to see the guy who does, you know, the physical therapy, or the trigger point therapy. I mean, he he made, I'm sure, you know, a really nice living off of all of us yoga students. So I'm thinking, well, Let's retry and go back to why this all started. And for me, it was because I wanted to feel good, I didn't want to feel. So then I started to realize there's a total disconnect, I got too caught up in the game and getting ahead and trying, you know, I want to be authorized and want to be certified. I want you know, I want to get up the ladder, and and do this pose and do the next pose and do the next pose. And I want to be the best, because that's my personality, if I'm going to do something, I want to be the best. So and that doesn't mean better than anybody else. It just means, you know, more the best for me. I just wanted to really, really, yes, push it. Yes. It wasn't, it wasn't the thing, that wasn't the direction that I shouldn't be pushing. So. And I think a lot of people do that. And what I really started to understand was that, first of all, most people are not going to have my mentality, when it comes to yoga, most people are going to have a job, have a live, do do yoga in the morning, or whatever. Because they think it's going to be the thing that keeps them healthy, keeps them fit, they're not going to be as committed or like as psychotic about it like I was. And so I was like, Well, you know, what, if you only have so much time you have a life, you have a job, you have a family, you have other things going on yoga isn't your life, then yoga probably isn't the thing for you, there's probably better ways that you can contribute to your health and fitness, that does not require this 90 minute, two hour, practice six days a week, you know, doing all these really deep Yoga Asanas that seem to be more harmful than beneficial. So anyway, long story short, when Schrott had a big falling out with his family, I think, and he decided to not go under K p. J, but go under Shirat yoga, or whatever it was. And he asked everybody, all the people who are authorized and certified to resubmit, and say, Yes, I'm an authorized teacher, and I'll put you up on my new list my Shirat list and not my patottie Joy's list or whatever. I just never did it. Because as I said, it's just a matter of time. Yeah, so

Todd McLaughlin:

Well, there's there's wisdom and seeing, like, if I don't put some water on this fuse, there is going to be an explosion and the explosion could be bad for you and bad for other people. Right? It could be I'm not saying it would turn into violence, but I just mean more on the level of like, who knows how that could progress. And so that's that's a sign of wisdom day, I think. I mean, I love hearing your story because I feel on the same trajectory. Yeah, yeah. I'm really curious. I almost teared up a little bit. When you started talking about the back my palms were sweating and I just like Mike had a visceral reaction to talking about the like the back been breaking In the camel's back, but my back, I'm curious, did you have any sort of X rays or MRIs or any interaction with other healthcare professionals that started to coach you and help you to understand some of these observations that you've come into conclusion about?

Day Christensen:

Yeah, so for the most part, that was also um, what's, uh, what's a nice way of putting it unhelpful? Because I did, I got the X ray, I got the MRI, I went to see chiropractors, I went to see acupuncturist. I went to see massage therapists, I went to see healers, which is not I don't know if you can tell from my personality, but it's not necessarily my thing. But I went to see everybody and anybody physical therapists, like, you know, anybody who I felt like could help me with the pain that I was experiencing. So I spent tons of money and tons of time seeking the expertise of the professionals. Of course, from the X ray and the MRI, I could tell you can see what's wrong. So what was wrong, according to the imaging was that I had two degenerated discs. So that degenerated for anybody who's listening or wondering is beyond the point of herniation. So some people say, Oh, I herniated a disc, or I have a bulging disc. Well, it's beyond that point. It's to the point where all the spinal fluid is gone. And all we have left is one vertebra on top of the other. So I was getting to the point of degeneration and getting to the point of fusion, the only point the only reason why those bones didn't calcify and start to fuse together was because I was so active. So that's it's sort of a double edged sword, I kept moving, I kept practicing, I kept doing yoga. Of course, I was forced into modification majorly. But, on the other hand, that all that tells me is that that was something that was ongoing, and that it didn't really, in other words, the degenerated discs, or the herniated discs weren't the cause of my pain. Because they had, they had been herniated for so long, that I didn't even know it until the point when they were already that the spinal fluid was gone. So of course, when you get an image, and when you talk to a doctor or something like that, they don't know, all they can tell you is what's wrong. They can't tell you why it happened. And they can't tell you what to do about it. They're there. The solution is, well, you can take a painkiller, you can take a muscle relaxer, you can get a surgery, you can, you know, but there's nothing to do in terms of lifestyle, or movement, or what what particular things have contributed to how this has happened in your body. There's none of that. So a lot of time and money, like I said, and I and I felt like I still had no answers. I came up dry, I had some temporary solution. You know, sometimes a massage would feel good. Sometimes I would maybe think I was feeling better after a chiropractic visit. But it wasn't sustainable. It wasn't long lasting. So I started just to say, well, no one's gonna fix this, but me, I got myself into this and I'm gonna get myself out of it. And I started really digging deep and experimenting with movement myself. And then kind of looking looking more into postural dysfunctions, looking more into repetitive movement, injuries and pain. And I really feel like I came up with some things that were really strongly affirmed by my research in terms of, you know, this is good, this is bad. This is a healthy way to move. This is an unhealthy way to move because and when I say good, bad, I mean that or functional or dysfunctional, I mean, that whatever movement pattern or repetitive pattern that you have, that that that you keep doing, if it makes you feel good, it's good. If it makes you feel bad, it's bad. So that's what I mean. It's all based on feeling, not necessarily anything else, not necessarily looking at somebody's X ray or MRI, but saying Does this feel good? Does this feel right? So? Yeah, anyway, that's how that's how all that started was. I started just changing my practice into doing something that felt better.

Todd McLaughlin:

I'm so happy to hear this day, because about three I've been having really serious back pain and it's then for a few years, and but it's just gotten hit a point about three weeks ago, where I was like, I've gotta go get this checked out. And so no disk in between L five and S one and a spunglo thesis on L four. And so that basically means backbending. So then I'm gonna look at these pictures of me being pulled and me holding my ankles and a couple of Toskana and or like you said, catching, catching, and that pressure to catch and that like, everything that comes with it, like the adrenaline and the ego the congratulatory after practice, like, Whoa, you got to inch higher up that time than you did yesterday, or that person that isn't catching that's jealous, like, Yeah, and you, you know, you don't want to feed off that. But like you said, we're kind of competitively orientated individuals. And, and I agree with you, 100%, where he said, I'm, I don't, I want to be the best, but it's not so much like better than you, or my neighbor. It's just our own drive is so intense. So you know, I had a moment of catharsis where I was like, What am I going to do? And but I'm having a similar realization is what you're speaking of, as soon as I'm starting. I mean, there's an element where like, yeah, that disk, I mean, some people will try to be really positive, but they call maybe that disco comeback, or I've seen this grow back, or I've seen this happen, but man, when you're in pain, you're on bone on bone or close to it. It's so frickin intense. So and it's like, every movement has to be so calculated, like, the way you lean your body when you're standing has to be corrected this way. And you have to spend 110% of our attention and time on trying to find the right spot for the spine where there's not this pressure, and it's just so intense. But quite honestly, today was one of the best days I've had in a while. But I know, you said about, like, and I went to the chiropractor yesterday. So I was like, oh, you know, you get this moment of like, maybe this is it. I'm gonna be okay, right. And today, I'm in the least amount of pain that I've been in for months. And I'm so I'm so happy. But at the same time, it's other part in the back of my mind is saying, watch out too. Because tomorrow's a new you know what I mean? Like, don't get too excited, which I know is a horrible way to probably come at this. But I know that's real. Because every day, I mean, our bodies just don't feel great every day. And like sometimes we do everything we possibly can for our bodies, and it still can have a really bad day. So I'm super curious. How long ago was it that you had this sort of revelation and that you started to honor your edge and not care what your postures look like at all? And do them 100% For you and your health, and you're feeling good in your body? And how is that going on a day to day basis for you. So I can get a little insight into how I can go about this too.

Day Christensen:

That was it. I wish it happened sooner.

Todd McLaughlin:

I know I feel the sense of like rebirth that's coming out of this. Like, I'm so thankful that I had that pain because I would just keep hearing myself if I didn't actually listen to it finally, or something like that.

Day Christensen:

Truthfully, it was a very long process of letting go. It was sort of like, you know, the stages of grieving of death, whatever those aren't, you know, like anger, depression, bargaining? Well, maybe if I just take off a couple days, and then I do this, and then you know, all these things. Then finally, you know, you get to a point of acceptance. Well, all of that process of grieving the death of my Ashtanga practice and my career. took years. It took years. Yeah. And then had, you know, now having the experience that I'm having now and understanding first of all patterns of pain. Everybody has the same shit. We're all doing the same shit. And we all have the same shit. We all have the same injuries, but it's usually the back pain that really is the the alarm for most people, you know, okay, hamstring, knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow, you know, all things we can kind of live with without sounding the alarm, so to speak, and saying, Well, there's something wrong. But when there's back pain, it feels so devastating that it really starts to call into question, the practice our practices, what are we doing? What are we doing on a day to day basis, that we're devoting our time, our energy, our bodies, our money to doing a practice that's making us feel like this? And that's, you know, my my whole message is Wake up, wake up, everybody who's do doing this and who's not feeling phenomenal. It's not worth the investment. It's not worth the sacrifice. You're literally sacrificing self for something else outside of you. And so had I understood that perspective, I wouldn't quit a long time ago. And I would have said, No, me first. But I was so hooked in this idea that I have to be great at this, I have to keep doing this, I still want to be certified. Being certified means by the way, going through all of third series, well, there's some real doozy is in third series. I mean, there's some real bullshit back, Benny, not mention that you're still having to do second series at least once a week. Or if you're still kind of in that path of doing, you know, second series, and then half a third or whatever it is, which by the way, it was my most miserable time in life. I was doing second series, and then like half of third before I had been split into doing third alone. I was the most miserable human being on the planet. It was exhausting. It was. It was not fun. It took time, my energy effort. I mean, I didn't have a life outside of that. That was my life. So in order for me to undo all that had been done, all that I did, I willingly participated in. took years, it took years for me to slowly let go and say this doesn't feel good. I'm not going to do it. And then this and then this, and then this. And then I started dropping things, you know, little by little, and then eventually I started adding some things. Okay, well, I'm gonna start adding a little bit of strength training. I'm gonna start doing a little bit of this, because some of these things just, they just don't work. So, yes, that's

Todd McLaughlin:

Wow. Yeah. Can I know it doesn't the specifics don't matter. But just more on my own curiosity. So that I feel like as a teacher, if I can learn from you and I can help somebody who might have the same area of dysfunction. But do you mind if I ask what area of your spine though?

Day Christensen:

Right, right where you're feeling it. So my the two degenerated discs are L four, l five and l five s?

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah. Can you give me some insight to can you give me insight into some of the better rehab exercises slash things that you've implemented? Well, first off, Are you in pain right now? How when's the last time you remember being in that? Just like can't see the light of day type of discomfort? How long ago was that? years? years? Wow. Yes. That's encouraging. Thank you. Because I remember a couple of weeks ago, I was just like, what if I'm like this for the rest of my life, I don't know if I can do this.

Day Christensen:

No, that's another big piece of the message is you do not have to live this way. People. Currently, all the Yoga people, I mean, you know, this is for you guys. It's you do not have to live like this. It can change this, what you think is structural damage, you know, you have damage to your spine is not the biggest indicator of pain. I never got a surgery, I still have the degenerated discs, and I feel fine. It's muscular. So when I say I went to the chiropractor, and I did do that for a few rounds, I think I spent like a month or two months doing weekly visits to the chiropractor. But what happens when you go to the chiropractor is that they correct the bone, wherever the joint whatever is going on. So you know, you hear you get you get a little twist in the back cracks or, you know, they do this and this and crack your neck and whatever. So they can correct any sort of misalignment to your bones. That's fine. But what is the thing that's missing is what moves bone, muscle and lose bone. So when you leave a chiropractic office, and you've just been adjusted, most people feel pretty great. They feel wow, I'm an inch taller. I feel great. I feel amazing. Okay, and then 24 hours, if you're lucky. 48 hours goes by and you feel the same. It goes right back. Why does it go back? It goes back because it's muscular. muscle moves bone. So if you don't address the muscular imbalance, then you're going to be taking a portion of your paycheck or Whatever however you're earning your money and your time and devoting it to the guy at the chiropractic office who's never addressing the source of the problem, he's addressing the symptom, the symptom is that you're out of luck and you're out of whack. Right? So you have to address the source of the problem, the source of the problem is always muscular, and it's a muscle imbalance. And so, again, to go back to good and bad, functional, dysfunctional, you have to understand that there's, we all have muscle imbalance, it's part of being human, it's part of being able to move the way that we move. But once you reach a certain age, your muscle imbalance, let's say that you have some muscles that are stronger, some muscles that are weaker. So what most people think happens when you age is that you just become weaker, mm hmm, everything goes down. But what really happens is that that functional imbalance grows and there's a disparity between your tight strong muscles and your weaker muscles, it grows, so that you become your muscle imbalance essentially becomes dysfunctional. So your postural muscles, the muscles that are perceived as tight. So what are tight muscles, what are muscles that cause you pain or tension, your trapezius, your low back, hands, everybody has tight hamstrings, I don't care how flexible you are. So all of your tight postural muscles are primarily composed of type one, postural slow twitch muscle fibers, they don't have the same ability capacity for mass for growth. So those muscles always stay strong. Those muscles always say tight, it's the weaker muscles that have the tight to what they call fast twitch muscle fibers that will deflate if you don't use them. And that's where that muscle imbalance grows. So everybody starts to get that gap is bigger and bigger and bigger as we age, especially past the age of 25. And if you learn how to address that, if you start to learn what are your tight postural muscles, and what are your weaker phasic muscles, if you understand that relationship right there, you can save your body. Nice. Exactly how you're how you're feeling. You don't have to live that way. If you understand how to address that.

Todd McLaughlin:

Awesome day. Great info you've been studying, you've been learning so much. I love it. Through experience, doesn't it feel amazing when you actually learn it? Because you have to versus like, intellectually like, Oh, I'm gonna go to school and study muscles? Versus like, whoa, what? What do I need to do today to fix to feel better. So this is pretty cool. So the people that you're working with currently, so I know this next question, everyone has a different answer for it. And I'm really curious what yours is. You have the 19 year old who seems born to do legs behind the head slash porn about syndrome and I like a really deep Lotus slash whatever. And, and they have no restriction. They feel no pain, and they're amped about the heat. They love the fire like it just the adrenaline everything's firing doo, doo, take them into those places and encourage that, or do you use this sort of elder wisdom vibe to say, Whoa, look at the long term picture. And prepare, prepare for your future. What do you what do you think about that?

Day Christensen:

There's an expiration date on anything that chases deep flexibility. It's a buy now pay later situation. So yes, you can go nuts.

Todd McLaughlin:

Get the credit card.

Day Christensen:

No, go go. But the bill will come. It will come and you're not gonna like it. So at this point in my life, my teaching my career, I no longer teach yoga asana period. I don't teach yoga asanas at all. So anything that looks like a pretzel is not even on my radar as far as what I'm doing in my classes. So yeah, I don't I certainly don't encourage it. I I've had people I've worked with who did what I did, are having a hard time letting go of what they know of the practice that they know and continue. But now I sort of dip their toe into what I'm doing. And like I said, I just feel there's an exploration to it. You know, there's time will tell.

Todd McLaughlin:

I've been watching some Instagram posts of people that are in my store currently. And I've seen some people looking you know, when you get elated? I don't know if you've ever been elated. Have you? Have you had? Of course? Yeah. You know, from the practice, and, and I've been hearing some people. It's been like an up and down thing of like, I feel it sold and like unbroken. Yeah. And I guess in my mind, I'm thinking, Oh, thank God, I'm not there right now. Like not to be. But honestly, like, I'm like, Oh, my God, I just, I just can't even imagine.

Day Christensen:

Doesn't that sound a lot like a drug?

Todd McLaughlin:

Being being addicted to like substance,

Day Christensen:

and feeling elated and feeling broken? From the same thing? Yeah. In practice,

Todd McLaughlin:

same thing. Yeah, good observation.

Day Christensen:

It's an addiction. It's a it's a very serious addiction. And so what people do is try to replace and we all have an addictive personality, you know, you don't have to be in AAA or NA or anything like that. This is a human trait. And we have one negative behavior that got us maybe dug us into a hole. Like I said, I had my quarter life crisis, I hit my virtual rock bottom. And I decided to replace my negative habits with what I perceived to be positive habits. And it was just another drug. It was another thing that I place more importance on, then, myself, it took it took over. So I stopped thinking about do I feel good, I didn't feel good. I didn't want to wake up at five in the morning. I didn't want to do two hours of bending and whatever. I didn't feel good. But I was doing it because I felt like it was going to bring me some sort of peace, joy, health, fitness, all those things that I really wanted it to do. Of course, it didn't do. But I kept doing it. Because it was like, you know, investment bias. Yeah, I had the time. Yeah, I wanted to work.

Todd McLaughlin:

Oh, I know. I mean, great point. Do you remember being a kid seeing either a parent or an elder somebody's older? And thinking, How come they are so entrenched, and you'd like to have this career for so long, and they just couldn't, you know, it's their whole life was around it. But you could kind of watch that and go, I'm never going to do that. And then you find yourself actually doing that. And at some point, having to have to, like, relearn being willing to try something totally different. Does that? Did you ever have that as a kid of like, kind of saying to yourself, I'll never do that, like watching that. And then finding yourself in that pattern? Or? Yeah,

Day Christensen:

I mean, yeah.

Todd McLaughlin:

Have you have you? Sorry, I'm just one more quick question, do. One of the fears about it, to be honest, one of my fears is, well, what am I going to do? And so, are you more successful now? Because you're following your truth? Or have you had to take a pay cut? Because you're following your truth? I'm more successful. Yeah. Good to hear. That's positive to two really positive messages. You're not in pain anymore. I'm sure you have a field few things, but not like, major major, and you're successful. So this is awesome day. This is cool. Thank you. Yeah, I think the adulation.

Day Christensen:

I think that for anybody who's looking to be successful, a huge component to success is that you're enjoying what you do. And that it's meaningful. There's purpose. Yes. So yeah, now that I feel like I'm truly living in my purpose. Of course, if you believe in karma, it's, it comes back. Right. So that's a huge reason why I'm able to continue doing what I do, which by the way, I've had many, many a time where I'm like, you know, I'm just going to get myself out of this yoga world and just felt like Got it, it's toxic. It doesn't work at all, you know, 80 90% of people who are practicing yoga in the fashion that I was practicing, you know, the constant six days a week, Ashtanga two hours a day, people, I can't think of anyone that's not living with some sort of pain or injury. So, you know, when you're actually doing something that makes you feel good. And you put that into the world that's contagious. Come back. Yeah, if you're, you know, putting out into the world, I, you know, I was a really bitchy person. You know, I have a reputation from my olden days of teaching Ashtanga where I was tough. It was hard. I was, you know, that's because that's what it was. That's what it was. For me. That was my experience. And so that's what I was putting out there. And I And of course, what I attracted were people who were like me, people who needed something to fill the void. And so those are the people I got, yeah, now, putting out hey, I'm putting out a message of healing. I'm putting out a message of strength and putting out a message of, hey, we can do better. And so now I'm getting the people who are interested in those things. So it's, it's whatever whoever you are, is what you're going to attract. Yes. So this is a much, much better way to live. For sure.

Todd McLaughlin:

Can you speak a little bit about the healing process that occurs from feeling like you have to beat yourself up to be good? Do you agree with me on that, like is, I mean, I then so at some point, I'm like, okay, like this, um, let me try triathlon. Let me try endurance events. And all of these types of things are like really intense, pushing the body to like, see if you can get it to break to then see how I can respond to that. And if I can somehow prove that I'm a beyond the human body. And bigger than that, that that will equal enlightenment and or self mastery.

Day Christensen:

I'm pretty sure Well, I'm

Todd McLaughlin:

pretty sure I want to because everyone I speak to that's gone down that whole endurance triathlon world is just as beat up and broke. And at some point, look back and go hole am I doing? What did I do? Why, what was I doing another

Day Christensen:

endurance activity? Yeah. So this, this is another thing that I've sort of teach in one of my courses, which is that the endurance activities, yoga, marathon running, triathlons, anything like that, that's a repetitive movement that's done for anything longer than 30 minutes is an endurance activity. And that is what they call a low impact steady state activity. So it starts to become mindless. So cycling, endurance, long distance, swimming, long distance running, it becomes this mindless sort of in yoga becomes that because when you memorize the sequence, it's just that just this kind of mindless, this pose and this poses. So there's studies that have been done. And they were done in the early 2000s. In Canada, the the McMaster studies that determined that these long endurance style activities are actually not that great for you, in fact, that they're the highest source of injury and pain, and actually, ill health. So if you look at, let's say, the muscle mass between a marathon runner and a sprinter, what you'll see is that a marathon runner, as amazing as an athletic feat as it may be, oftentimes the best marathon runners, if you look up like the best male and the best female marathon runner of last year, or one of the fastest times was a Kenyan who did a marathon in like, two hours or something. I don't know. If you look at that person, if you were just to look at that person without the the tank top without the number without the shorts, if you were just to look at that person and say is this a healthy person, you probably would not identify that person as healthy. But if you were to look at a sprinter, and you look at their body, their physique, their glow, their skin, their muscle mass, and you said is this a healthy person? Is this a fit person you would most likely again Take off the takeoff, the gear, take off the, you know, the running shorts and running shoes, and just look at their bodies in just normal clothes, you would identify the Sprinter as being a healthy fit person. And the reason why is because when we sprint when we do activities at a near all out threshold, and this can be done super fast, or it can be done super slow, there's two ways of doing it. What happens is a central adaptation, meaning that if you were to look at, let's say the muscle mass of a sprinters deltoids, you would find that a sprinter has massive deltoids, biceps, triceps, well, what the hell does that have to do with running? Not that much. When you look at a marathon runner, there's no arms, right? skinny fat, sort of, not muscle mass. So what is determined from these studies is that there's a central adaptation. Meaning that when you run you make your whole body when you sprint, I should say you make your whole body healthy, and you have a positive cardiac effect. Whereas when you jog for a long distance, it actually has a negative impact because you lose muscle mass. Yeah. And you can see that I mean, it's black and white. So that's the same thing with the yoga. Yeah, we're doing these long endurance activities that are actually make making them skinnier and weaker. Rather than strong, robust and healthy. These people are literally and I was one of them, literally breaking down their bodies. You know, and the skinnier you are in yoga, the better because who can bind push us know when you're fat or muscular.

Todd McLaughlin:

Good point. You can't I mean, one one weekend. Yeah, oh my gosh, day. I want to be so respectful of your time. We've I just put my glasses back on. I'm like, Oh, wow, we're over the hour mark. And I know you're probably busy. Am I holding you up right now?

Day Christensen:

No, I'm okay. Right now.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah. Can I ask you one more question? Sure. Sure. I'm coming into your class, Aman zoom. Are you using the word yoga anymore? Or are you using a different word to describe what you teach? And then what are you going to ask me to do? Or what do you what are you going to encourage or teach me to do? And I'm guessing already, like, maybe it's just for half hour? Maybe it's not an hour? Or half an hour classes? 30 minutes, 30 minutes. So can you paint a picture for me what I could expect?

Day Christensen:

Sure. So most of my classes are sort of like if yoga and CrossFit and had a baby. So combine a what I called a list in low impact steady state, remove that add in HIIT, high intensity interval training, that sort of format with a lot of the CrossFit terms of Imams and reps to Bottas in a way that is athletic. Handstand training is mostly what the classes that I offer. I also offer corrective exercise, therapeutic classes that deal with functional strength training, that are at a much slower pace, that still do the job of building that phasic muscle, fast twitch muscle fiber. But they're done where anybody can do it. Anybody can do it scaled up or down, anybody can do it. So I have kind of a slow pace class that's more strength focused. And then I have these kinds of athletic handstand training classes. That and of course, the intention is for it to be fun. So that you, you feel energized, you feel like you're enjoying yourself, you feel like you're working on the skill, and it's done in more of a athletic way, which is really what my interest was, when I when I when I left my conservative high school job days, and when you know, that that was the piece that was missing for me was having that kind of like, you know, excitement. Yes. Yeah, but I don't recommend I mean, nobody would come into one of those classes without being prepped first, which is where my courses come in.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah, you mentioned that you'll have somebody take one of your pre recorded courses first. So does in those do just kind of give some of this philosophy to folks. So hey, don't expect to do things exactly the same way you've done a different class. This is the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing. And let's have fun Okay,

Day Christensen:

so I have the three courses. Number one is the course I called the four pillars course, which would be like for someone like you and me, who was dealing with pain. And that is basically just some of the things, some of the ideas that I touched on. And essentially, it's meant to educate and empower the person, the student, the participant, rather than what I was doing. And what we all do is going to the teacher going to the doctor, going to the therapist, going to stop looking outside of yourself and learn how to understand your own body. So that's the whole intention of the four pillars course, understanding muscle imbalance, postural dysfunction, some movement patterns, your shoulders, your hips, asanas, and quote, unquote, stretching, most people don't know how to stretch most. And so stretching has actually become an unhealthy thing. And the way most people do it is unhealthy. So I talk about all those things in a way that you can then start to approach what was your yoga practice in a completely different way. Option number two is for somebody who's really interested in handstand training. So I have a course on handstand, the handstand course. And then the other portion. The other course is what I call the more is less course, which essentially has to do with the ideas that I talked about sprinting versus marathoning. So that has to do with shortening your practice, or shortening your strength training or shorten whatever workouts you're doing. And understanding why being doing a shorter, more intense exercise is by far more beneficial than doing a less intense extra exercise that's read out through a longer duration. So I talked about that in that course.

Todd McLaughlin:

Cool. Well, I'm gonna check it out. Great. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah.

Day Christensen:

Thanks so much, Todd. I really appreciate you letting let letting me get it all out there.

Todd McLaughlin:

Oh, man, I was so excited for today. And I had a feeling that it was going to be as good as it just was. Thank you, thank you so much. Thank you, I'm gonna I'm gonna stay in touch and keep communicating with you because I, I really appreciate this. And it's really inspiring. And I know there's got to be a lot more people than just you and I that are in a very similar boat. Yeah. And that there's, you know, still some really fun times ahead. So thank you day. I really appreciate it.

Day Christensen:

Yeah, thanks so much.

Todd McLaughlin:

You're welcome. Thank you. Native yoga podcast is produced by myself. The theme music is dreamed up by Bryce Allen. If you liked this show, let me know if there's room for improvement. I want to hear that too. We are curious to know what you think and what you want more of what I can improve. And if you have ideas for future guests or topics, please send us your thoughts to info at Native yoga center. You can find us at Native yoga center.com. And hey, if you did like this episode, share it with your friends, rate it and review and join us next time