Inner Awakening with Anthony Chavez

Episode 037
Duration 50 min
Anthony Chavez - Coach, Leader, Athlete and Family Man
Anthony Chavez

https://www.prolificpersonaldevelopment.com/

New episode with my Colorado brother, Anthony Chavez. I met Anthony during a major life transition and exciting new venture. He’s a man of warm energy and light.

This episode covers all kinds of insights around waking up to our full potential. Anthony shares context into his unique background story, personal development training, yoga and mindfulness, peak performance coaching, the power of retreats and so much more.

Anthony has been coaching humans for most of his life. It’s built into his DNA. He also has unique experience and perspective into yoga, which was a catalyst on his journey.

I appreciate Anthony for the way he shows up and inspires others. He’s created different forms of transformation on various levels. He embraces life with a beautiful mindset.

Hope you enjoy the content!

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Ali: Welcome back folks. I have a guest, a local friend, Mr. Anthony Chavez with us today.

[00:00:10] Anthony: What's up brother?

[00:00:11] Ali: Thank you for being here first and foremost. You've come into my life more recently and we haven't had a ton of interactions but, you're the type of person that when we do interact, I'm like, this is my people, this is my dude.

And we're in somewhat similar phases of life, which we were just jamming on - fatherhood, the coaching world, and I know we'll get to all that good stuff soon but, I love having the opportunity to share some space with people who are local. And you have a very interesting story. I met you through a mutual friend, Kyle Wieger. Then we did a little bit of work together and now here we are.

I'll tell you what sparked this. The other day I was doing my thing through Instagram and I just caught you, dude, sharing this beautiful clip dancing with your daughter in the kitchen. And not only did it like inspire me, I was like, oh yeah, I love doing that stuff too. But I was like, we need more of this on social media. I love seeing people like you that command so much professional respect, but also are just fun and humbled enough to be like, this is what I wanna share right now. I'm dancing in the kitchen with my daughter. So more of that for me at least.

[00:01:21] Anthony: That means a lot. I've always had this story about my social media. It's never been curated. It's just like whatever. Sometimes it's dumb memes, sometimes it's profoundly inspirational. But that moment I remember, you know, my hair was a mess, I had a dirty shirt on and we were just dancing. I'm like, this, this is joy right here. Like, this is it. So thank you. Thanks for picking that out.

And then also, it's funny that you say, my peeps, I remember that first meeting we had and I hung up and I was like, that's one of my dudes, like, this is gonna be one of my guys when I get out there. Cuz I wasn't even in Denver yet. I was still in Southern California during that first meeting. So this is cool that it's all come together.

[00:01:58] Ali: Indeed, man. And I think that kind of goes to just a, a natural starting point. So, you're in Denver now, originally from California, but just take us back, what's the short story of Anthony's life and take that anywhere you want because I'm hyper curious.

[00:02:15] Anthony: Let's see. So first love, baseball. Let me just start there. Dad snuck me into a league when I was four. You were supposed to be six and played through high school, played college, played after that. Tried to make it. But being all of five/nine just wasn't gonna happen. But that was it. So like I started there and then started coaching and just found myself in the role of, coach.

And it was interesting. It was this natural transition to being able to get in front of people and to help them see their blind spots and to help them grow. And this is when I was young dude, like still in my twenties, so, mm-hmm, I was doing that. And then, I would say my first career was in the mortgage business.

So it was during the subprime era, that fun part, but I left coaching baseball for that. And again, within three months, found myself in the role of sales trainer like coach, helping other dudes and gals figure out how to communicate the best mortgage product for their people at the time. This still unbeknownst to me that this is kind of where I'm being pushed to go.

Mm-hmm. That blows up, that falls apart, and then, uh, I ended up like losing everything, which was a really fun part of my life to look back on. But holy moly, I was crushing it in my mid twenties. The mortgage industry blows up and then I find myself having to move back home with my dad after having a six figure income, like just tail between the legs.

Car got repoed. Girl I was living with left me. She took our cat like I was a country song. It was awesome. Yeah, I'm spending a lot of time just being depressed on the couch and trying to figure out what's next for my life. And one of my cousins who I had worked with, he's a real estate agent, he's like, again, this theme that I didn't see until after, he's like, you've always been such a great like trainer or coach or motivator or whatever it is.

I just found this really cool gig that I think you'd be interested. And, and they're also like, dude, you need to get off the couch. So then, I interviewed for this gig and it was as a professional speaker and a personal development instructor, and it changed my life.

I flew up to Oregon. It was a 24 hour interview after a bunch of phone calls, and that's where I met my mentor and I started working as a professional or personal development instructor in 2008. And through my mentor, he's the one who introduced me to yoga, which is wild. So it all started to play out cuz I didn't know any better than I was more of a meathead baseball player at that time.

Yep. Then I started to really learn about this yogic philosophy and traditions and meditation and mindfulness and mind body connection. All was foreign to me. So then I started over a year and a half speaking less, coaching less and teaching yoga like more full-time. And then that gave birth to really my second career as a speaker, coach and call it yoga professional.

I spent around a decade at CorePower Yoga . managed a studio, a regional manager, then eventually became the director of personal transformation and mindful leadership. There's this really cool intersection of all my skills, talents, and passions where I got to teach personal development, leadership development and yoga inside of the yoga space.

It's cool. Did that for a while. Had a little stop off at Lifetime Athletic, where I was the director of yoga programming for them, and then did the same thing for them for a few years and then just came full circle and decided to relaunch my speaking and coaching company. So we're in the middle of doing that, having a blast.

And then enter you, enter Denver. Hmm. My wife and I decided to partner with a longtime friend and open up what we're calling Dynamic Wellness, a social wellness studio here in Denver. So we packed everything up, paused our life, brought the kids out, and went all in on this concept. And, uh, you know, we were there, we were involved in that for just about a year, just a few weeks ago, we decided to close that chapter.

So the business is still running, still going. And Nicole and I are like, all right, what's our next adventure? And then here we are looking at the next adventure. Still, coaching, speaking, teaching, doing all that fun stuff, but it's the adventure of life. Wow. Wow. That's, that's the short version of me.

Oh, Nicole. so rewind, I met my wife in yoga. I don't think we've ever talked about this. It's also a fun story. I figured out right away, like I was one of the only dudes in yoga at that time. And I was like, ooh, this can go one of two ways. So I made a commitment to myself. I'm like, I'm never gonna date a student.

Mm-hmm. I'm just gonna like really be about this practice. And I was, until Nicole walked in a couple years into it. And, uh, I don't know if you believe in love at first sight, but man, I was just like, jaw dropped like a cartoon. Like hit lost control. Yeah. Hit me hard. And so, uh, for a couple weeks there was a little bit of flirting going on, but nothing really was happening.

And then at that time, I had got promoted to open a studio that was about 20 miles away. So then in my, you know, Neanderthal brain, I'm like, well, she won't be a student anymore because I'll be 20 miles away. I like justified this whole reason to ask her out. And so I did, and then we ended up getting married. So I'm like, ah, one for one. That's fine.

So married her, she's a nurse. She's been a nurse for 16 years. She's been teaching yoga for 10. We've got three beautiful kids together, nine year old name's Wyatt. He is like this little engineer. Articulate, artful, just awesome little dude. And then Sage, a little girl who is in the video who we were dancing with. Absolute love of my life. She's just the sweetest little thing. And Jackson, our baby. He's three and he is a, in the sweetest way, a little psycho, like just jumping off things like a daredevil.

And if we rewind 25 years, I've got a 25 year old as well who I had as a freshman in college while I was playing baseball. Mm. So, three little ones, one fully grown man who's off the payroll and uh, yeah. Wow. The three little ones are here in Denver. Yeah.

[00:09:05] Ali: So much life in there, man. Oh, what a cool story. Some things that I wanna reflect back to you, so you have an adventure baked in there, as I was taking notes and listening and absorbing some of that, not only was there adventure in this nice rhythm I'm using, if people that can see the screen like a, a rollercoaster, but, it's cool how you said there's this common element of mentorship, of coaching that even at a young age came to you, which I think is really cool. I imagine you had a leadership position on the baseball team, and then you were exposed to different things. Mm-hmm.

You talked about yoga, which is something I wanted to talk to you about because we haven't gone deep on this show around yoga yet, and there's a part of me that is very curious about yoga. I have different friends like Kyle who've been exposed to it as well. And Rocky, who you also know, shared, yeah, yoga was such a part of his journey.

So I wanna ask a little about that, but I just wanna honor that you're like with the adventure. Because for all these things to happen, the way that they happened, I have to imagine there's a part of just kind of feeling into things, surrendering to them, whereas a lot of people are like, oh yeah, I grew up here. I've lived here 20 years. I started this. Whereas for you, I'm like, oh, you've done a lot of life. That was my initial reaction.

[00:10:29] Anthony: That's a great way to frame it. You know, I had to start figuring things out quickly. Yes. Um, my parents got divorced when I was six. Hmm. And it's me and my brother. I have a brother and a sister from my mom when she got married later. But I feel like at six years old, things shifted for me and it was great. I've got four parents who I absolutely love, but also it was rough. And having to take on some roles that a seven year old probably shouldn't take on.

I think started to frame it. There was this interesting moment of awareness that I had as a little kid, and I think that's what started the adventure. And then when you go back to like this mentor, leadership thing, it's funny how people show up in your lives and you don't ever know where they're coming from or why they're there.

But the first moment, like when you were saying that, it comes to mind was that when I was in fifth grade, I had this fifth grade teacher, Mr. G, and he was this short little Mexican dude. It's awesome. And I remember one day I was being kind of a jerk at the playground and he caught it and there was like, you know, six or seven of us, the little boys being in the eighties, like doing what we do.

Bell rang, they all went in and he grabbed me by the shoulder and he looked me in the eye and he was like, "you're better than that." And I had never had anybody like hold me accountable that way. And he was like, don't do that. I don't remember, but I just remember the sense of like, you're better than that. That's not you.

And from that moment on, I started to view myself in a different light. Mm-hmm. Um, tried to take care of people and you know, I've made every mistake a 44 year old man can make. In my relationships, financially, at home, with my body, like everything. Right? Right. So it's not to say that at fifth grade I became, I just had this awareness and this like acknowledgement and it stuck with me as we went. I think a lot of it sparked there.

[00:12:28] Ali: Yeah, I sense that. I feel that you're a lot more open. And what I've learned from people like you who are open is generally they have failed a lot, including myself, but they're with that failure. Mm-hmm. Not like resistance to it. They're willing to share and be like, yeah, this is what I learned, or this is what was hard, or this is what was awesome, even though most humans would say that was terrible. So I sense that from you, just the way that you smile.

Let's talk about yoga for a little bit.

So yeah, yoga was a big part of your journey. It's also how you met your wife, which is really cool. And how would you distill the most impactful thing you've learned from yoga? And this can be as simple or as complex as you wanna make it.

[00:13:13] Anthony: That's just a big old question.

[00:13:15] Ali: I know, I know. I know.

[00:13:16] Anthony: I've like dedicated the last 14 years to it.

[00:13:19] Ali: And maybe that's why I chose that. Like how would you distill, like if there's anything in yoga that's common, that's powerful. It's this.

[00:13:27] Anthony: All right, for me personally, it woke me up to this feeling that you're talking about this openness. This thing that you're sensing, cuz that wasn't there up until, call it 14 years ago when I started to shift my worldview and my perception on how things unfolded. So there's this waking up to how the world works for me and then a waking up to what's possible for my life and for the world.

I think that was like the, the first thing, there was a wake up call. And the way that it's affected me is that it's given me permission to feel and to be open and to be in touch with my feelings and to not have to be the guy I was growing up in a locker room in the eighties and nineties.

Very different culture. Right. Dude, even in '08 to probably 2014/15, like it was still made fun of a lot for being in yoga, like it was for chicks or for whatever. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Like now I'm actually learning how to be in touch with myself.

And then having this athletic background and having this entrepreneurial spirit, it also really opened up a door for performance. And it's funny cuz I go two ways depending on who I'm talking to about yoga, but the ability to slow down my thoughts, to connect to my breath, to regulate my nervous system, to get incredibly still when the world is moving fast. I think it's the biggest PED in the world.

Sure. It's so powerful. When you're talking just specifically to athletes, if you know how to regulate your breath and you're in the middle of an endurance run, right? Like that's the thing out here. Everybody is an ultra endurance athlete. And I'm like, hell yeah, let's go. But you physiologically will slow your heart rate down. You'll get more oxygen into your blood, you'll delay lactic acid, and you'll be able to go longer, faster. And that's from simply breathing and yoga.

The other thing is when you're doing the asanas or the poses, it's a huge mindfulness exercise. You're focusing on the quality of your breath, where your focus goes, your drishti, the shape of your body. So all of that stuff makes you a better human. Mm-hmm. Like here's my philosophy all these years later, you don't do yoga to be good at Warrior Two or like Kyle's our buddy, like he's the handstand guy. Yeah. But like for me, you don't do yoga to be good at handstands.

That's awesome. The result is, of all of that training that he shares with people, to be able to control your body that much is so that you're a good human so that you can control yourself in life when the kids are going crazy or when your life is blowing up. Yeah. To not react and to not pop off and you know, have to buy your wife a bunch of stuff and kiss butt for two weeks cuz he said something stupid.

So it's all about being a better human. Mm-hmm. I think that, in the semi big nutshell, what it's done for me, it's allowed me to look for what's possible, to change myself from the inside to find peace with who I am, to be a better human. That's the game. I want us men like you, like me, friends, I don't care what gender you are or how you identify to leave this world a better place than we found it. That's it.

[00:16:59] Ali: Beautiful. Some things that land there are not only that I've mentioned, I have a limited exposure to yoga, but you've actually reinspired me for why I would practice more yoga. Slowing down, getting back in touch with self, you know, if nothing else, like my mind was just starting to, to just process like, oh, there's so much stillness in this. Tapping in, as you mentioned earlier, sort of the judgment or the early facade of oh yeah, yoga's for chicks. There is a strong argument that it allows you to exercise that feminine energy that strong men forget.

I've had a lot of conversations around this recently, just realizing our relationship with both, and I have so many buddies that it's easy, it's natural for them to be like, oh yeah, I got the masculine in check. If I even bring up, mm-hmm, the topic of feminine energy where I've been investing heavily the last few years, they don't even know what that is. And so yoga's a, a way to exercise that. Right.

[00:18:01] Anthony: Yeah. I love this. Like, that's the evolution of fathers or of men that we should be talking about. Cuz it doesn't take away from your masculine energy, it actually uplifts everything. Mm-hmm. To be able to walk into a room again, to be a a girl dad, and then to also walk into a locker room and to be able to connect with both. So back to yoga, the word means union or connection. Mm-hmm. Or the way that I would define it now is it's simply relationship.

It's your relationship with self, with other people, and with the world. So if you hone the craft of being able to connect with other humans, be it hyper-masculine or hyper feminine, now you're bringing everybody together. Yes. So I think it's a disservice when we don't do one or the other. You know, it, it always swings back and forth. Right. And depending on the situation, but being able to be this like, fully developed human, oh, that's the goal.

[00:18:59] Ali: Dude. That's it. I agree. That kind of starts to blend into something you mentioned, and it's a focus of this show as it relates to coaching, personal growth, transformation. So you've been coaching for years as you shared in different contexts, and now you still run a very prominent coaching business. Before we get into some of the details of that, mm-hmm, I'm curious, again, at its root, at its core, what gives you energy about coaching people now? What is it? Is it seeing them realize more potential? Or is there something else?

[00:19:39] Anthony: Yes. It's twofold. It's probably more than twofold. So there's this Sanskrit word called _Sankalpa_, mm-hmm, and it's your purpose for being put on this earth. Mm. It's like this divine prayer that was imprinted or stamped on your heart as you were put into the earth. And mine is to be a vibrational shift in consciousness. Like that's why I was put here.

Mm-hmm. So knowing that my purpose is to and I would say this in that non big, dramatic way to wake people up to what's possible. Yeah. Yeah. Like that's what gives me the energy. Like I think that's just why I was put here. To demonstraste with who I am, with my body, with my life, what's possible with my words, with coaching circles or on stage. Like, it's just to show people what's possible. And I use the word, uh, _shift in consciousness_ is because sometimes people get mad. Yep. People don't like it, but they wake up and they move.

So like that was number one. I found that, that that's my purpose.

And then when I looked at like my innate skills or gifts and talents that I was given. It's in the role of trainer or coach and I didn't realize that again until way later. It wasn't until looking back, I was like, oh, damn, I was always kind of put in charge of stuff and maybe it's being the oldest kid, like there's a lot of ways in which we could figure out how we got there, but I was always there and I'm like, cool. Instead of fighting it, I'm just going to lean into it.

[00:21:09] Ali: When did that authentic purpose land? When did you really honor that, the one that you described first?

[00:21:15] Anthony: It started to open itself up when I was working as a speaker for Freedom Personal Development. Gotcha. And then it really landed, I would say, a year plus into practicing yoga. It's funny, I, I can look at every single professional speaker, personal development guru out there and make a tie to yogic philosophy. Mm-hmm. So I'm like, ah, all comes from the same place. Yep, yep, yep. Then when we look at all of our great faith-based traditions, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, like they all have these beautiful tie-ins that, I'm massly, paraphrasing, that they're all like guiding us to take care of each other, to love each other. So like that we're all here. So when I pull all the way back, I'm like, oh, it's all from the same source, bro. Like, this is so cool.

[00:22:05] Ali: I have to interrupt you because, yeah, literally I was sharing with you before we hit record that my dad's visiting, he lives in Germany, so there's a special time to be with him for a couple weeks and he and I geek out on this type of stuff. And we were literally talking last night, Anthony, because he's had his own relationship with Sufism and finding self and getting that real inner peace and inner clarity. And so we were talking about exactly what you just shared. And I would use the umbrella term _waking up_, cuz that lands with me.

One of my favorite books, _Awareness_ by Anthony de Mello, the late Anthony de Mello. This is the type of book I recommend to people who are starting to question life at a deeper level. And it's all about that. It's about waking up. And back to your point, which is so paramount. It's like, I think everyone wakes up in their own way. But if you wake up and you start to really feel what's presenting itself, and of course this is from my lens. Then you start to sense when you're leaning into other people or absorbing energy from other people who have woken up that, like you said, we're saying the same thing. It's just slightly different words, it's slightly different moves, but it's the same type of language. Right.

And that's what you can just be like, oh shit, what I saw in yoga, it's so similar to this Buddhist philosophy or so similar to this Easter, like it all just blends and that's where I feel like things get more peaceful, but it's like, oh, you're trying to find peace too. You're just using a different way, different tool, a different framework. So I really wanna honor that you said that because that is like exactly the lightning that's hitting in this house as we speak.

[00:23:44] Anthony: That's awesome. One of my favorite things, or I've taught probably close to 6,000 classes in the last 14 years, and I've had this thing come up after class. Cause you know, like try to keep it, the, the message and the theme universal and connected to these things. Hey dude, I always knew you were a Jewish man, that's cool that you shared that in class today. And I'm like, yeah. Hey dude, I've always knew that you were this hardcore Christian, like, right on bro. Thanks for sharing the message of God. Oh my God, Anthony, I knew it, but I could never figure it out until today that you are Hindu, like super cool.

So I've had different people from their lens, like, yeah, they, I see you, I know what you're doing. And I'm just like, right on. Love that with it. Yeah. Yeah. And it's cool because it, you're right, like people get it.

On the other hand too, we were talking about waking up. This goes back to your other question. I feel like once you've woken up or you've been awake for a little bit, it's hard to put the handcuffs back on. Mm-hmm. Like once you, you're like, Ooh, I can't go back there. And so there's this friction that happens, and this is why I love yoga and where that source of coaching comes from and where they're both like really combined.

There's lots of different practices, but I'm a power Vinyasa guy. It gets hard, like it's arduous. It's, it's intense. And the intensity of the asana of the moment wakes you up to where you are in denial to where you're avoiding. But that moment of being awake is the access point to connection, to fulfillment, to all of the above.

So to answer your question, where I get that energy from it's to deliver that, it's to help people. Like when I see people wake up, when we can have these conversations, like for me, this is, this is awesome. If we could do this every day with a bunch of people we loved and make a living like there's nothing else I'd rather do.

Sure. Take a few runs in some classes here and there, but like this is it. Right? So it's symbiotic where we're lifting each other up, but that's where the energy comes from to see people who are getting it and filling it, and then we just help each other lift. Mm-hmm. The other thing is, again, back to making a shit ton of mistakes. Uh, yeah. I'd rather help you not make the same one. Like, dude, what worked for you, what didn't, don't do this. Don't do that. Awesome.

[00:26:09] Ali: Hundred percent. Yeah. So much of that lands with me. I committed to coaching more recently, so I'm earlier on in my journey than you are. And there's parts of it that just mimic your, your beautiful words, like just so much energy and fulfillment and being able to just see other people at a minimum. Like I see you, and then reflect back to them and then provide, like you said, any insight on like, yo, I've tried that and I'm not telling you not to. Yes, no. Good, bad. I'm just saying that this was my experience. There's a lot of value in that. Mm-hmm.

Especially when it's someone that I think is walking a similar walk, right? And to me a lot of that all starts to blend back into energy. It's like, oh, well you've done this or you're seeking this. Here's my experience with it. I can share that. What's your experience?

And what's really beautiful about coaching, and I think why I've been hyper-focused on transformation is I think when two people are in a coaching relationship, one that they're both committed to doing the work, and this doesn't just apply to like life esoteric coaching. It could be baseball, it could be anything. When two people are in that, man, there's this exponential learning.

And that's why I think we get caught because I've have had some mentors in my life where now it's very clear to me, being a bit more awake, that they had this job and they thought they just had to give all this information and teach and preach.

Whereas where I've gotten the most impact is I'm like, oh shit. The person that's mentoring me is actually learning too. And then vice versa. In my relationship with it, I'm like, yo, I'm here to help and be a guide, but I'm also learning. That's why I'm here with you. You know?

[00:27:49] Anthony: Dude, I'm getting fired up. Yes. Okay. This is like the center of my belief system. I'm a practitioner, period. End of story. Like I will never tell or share anything with anybody that I haven't personally tried or experienced. Mm-hmm. There's theorists and there's practitioners and so for us, how old are you? 38. 38, okay. It's like we're not kids. There's a lot of life in there. You're a father, you've owned a couple of businesses, like there is experience. Sure. Right. Being a practitioner, and say, hey, I'm in this too, and we're figuring this out together. Rather than, yo, I read this in a book, dude, or I saw this on Instagram, you should try it.

Like, no, bro. I think that's what makes you a powerful coach, an agent of transformation. I lean on that too, and that's not to say that we don't continue to learn and get our certifications and do all that stuff, but I value practitioners above all else, because I know you've been in there, you've scraped your knees, you've won, you've lost, um, it's coming from real life and not a Rocky movie.

[00:28:57] Ali: Totally, dude. Yep. That same philosophy over here.

As it relates to this, one of the final things I wanted to sort of just get into with you is retreats. So retreats have been a part of your world, a part of your journey. Retreats have had a profound impact on me. What do they mean to you? And are you still doing them right now? Are you still leading them?

[00:29:21] Anthony: Yeah, they just relaunched actually. So. Nice. Thank you.

[00:29:24] Ali: So new energy, it sounds like?

[00:29:26] Anthony: New energy. Yeah. I'll be doing a couple this year. I've led normally two to four per year since 2011, so, Mmm, they are a huge, huge part of my life. As a participant or as a student, there's a couple of different, I would put 'em into two buckets, like a seminar style retreat or a yoga style retreat. Have the same man, just a different path to it. Let me get back to your, your question. What's the why behind going on one?

Yep. For me, it's an opportunity to unplug from your life and to plug into you. When we go on vacation, part of the reason why they're so cool is because you're getting out of your everyday routine. So we are mostly operated by our subconscious. It's said 90% of our thoughts are the same, the same shit every day. And there's that little bit of room.

So that's why practices like gratitude and meditation and working out in the morning. Like that's how we get to reprogram that 90%. So we have those people in our life who are like always winning, who are always stoked, who are just like, dude, I wanna be around you. You're such a light. Then there's those people in our life who are lovingly call the, um, Eeyore's. They're just always like, man. Yeah. Right, right. Because they're unconsciously looking for everything that's not working. Yep. Versus the other side.

But coming back, if our life is a lot of routine and we go on vacation and it's new, the mechanism is that we're a lot more present. We're in the moment. We are seeing things fresh for the first time. Because even that wears off if you have your favorite vacation spot. Yeah. And it's your third or fourth time there, you're like, yeah, I kind of know it.

So going on a retreat does two things. It gives you that space to unplug, to be somewhere new. Maybe you've never been so that you're hyper aware in your present, then you can catch your default thinking. You can catch how you've been. But primarily what it does is it's like a big timeout on life. You don't have to go to work. You don't have to, for the most part, have the roles that you normally have as the husband, wife, father, mom, whatever your roles are. You can just be the you before your name even.

There's a, a retreat that I lead where we give people the opportunity to choose their name every day. Hmm. So like, I'll show up with a name tag. I was Yoda one day. I was, um, I was this woman the other day. Like, it's just different names. But then it's interesting when you're that checked into you and how you show up.

But like when I was Yoda, I moved around different, I saw the world differently. And then when I was this woman, who I really looked up to, I embodied her differently. So just this cool exercise. Anyway, so when you're on a retreat, you get to dump everything and it's like a yoga class or even a good run or a good workout.

You have that hour where you go deep, you go hard, you get outta your head, you get into your body and you feel really good. Then you get back into your car and you gotta put your dad hat back on. When you're on retreat, you don't have to do that. You get to stay in the experience, and then you have another class that night and you're in community with 10 to 20 people who are doing the same thing.

So for seven days, there's curriculum that's guiding you, the transformation to waking up to whatever the intent is. You're with a group who are all doing the same thing. Devices are pretty much gone. You just create this little container of awakening and transformation while you're connecting mind, body, and spirit in a beautiful place.

Mm-hmm. That's why. So if I could give everybody on the planet a prescription for peace, for growth, and for healing, it's to do one retreat a year. Mm-hmm. Yep. Like if you can figure that out. It could be yoga, it could be surf, it can be Vipassana meditation, which is a whole other thing. It's just about being intentional and deliberate. Do that once a year.

Are you familiar with Colin O'Brady?

[00:33:39] Ali: Oh yeah. His recent retreat, the darkness.

[00:33:41] Anthony: Dude. Yeah. So a couple weeks ago, um, because we've had this shift in our life, I was like, all right, it's time to rebirth and start again. So I did his 12 hour walk. Are you familiar with that?

[00:33:56] Ali: Yeah. I haven't done it, but I read the book.

[00:33:58] Anthony: Dude, do it. It was incredible. But it's the same thing about unplugging and being with yourself so the parameters are, you go for a walk for 12 hours, no devices, no talking, no books, no nothing. You're just with you. Exactly. And, and I went to a campground, I forget the name of it cuz I'm new here, but it was closed and there was snow everywhere.

So I didn't see another human. I maybe heard two birds. Ended up walking 24 miles for 12 hours and it just fundamentally rinsed me, healed some parts of me that were hurting and it was like a boop. Begin again, bro. Let's go. This is incredible. So you have like a week long retreat where you can go across the globe and go all in. Or you can walk outta your front door for 12 hours, come home and get a hit of it.

[00:34:51] Ali: Dude, it's so good. I'm back on a kick of reading the Daily Stoic and just the other day there's a passage on retreating inside. Stoicism philosophy, being able to retreat in your mind and there's value in that, right?

There's wisdom in that but, what's really interesting, and I totally agree with as it relates to what you shared, is like it's hard to do that in the environment we've created, the conditions we have today. Mm-hmm, like, mm-hmm, just to unplug during your day and, and retreat and go inside is not easy.

And I'm not making excuses for people, it's just we do live in a hyper-connected world. And so what you shared, well, you actually answered some of the questions I was gonna follow up on, so it's beautiful. But, cause I was gonna say, like being a leader of retreats, how often do you suggest, I think at least once a year is a beautiful suggestion, even the more grand retreats, like a few days. Because there's this argument I would make that if you really wanna find some internal clarity, the 12 mile walk can be a powerful tool.

And now I'm definitely gonna do it, just hearing what you got out of it. But there's also something to be said about immersing yourself in a natural environment with intention for several days, 3, 4, 5 days. And the environment that's created is crucial.

Because like if I go retreat to New York City, Right. It's like what's in New York City? A lot of distractions. But if I go retreat to a beautiful place or a more remote destination, mm-hmm, where nature's raw influence is just, is there dude? And it's like, that's it. I've been doing them in different capacity these last few years I've been doing two or three per year. Several day retreats with intention either on just self or men's work in Front Row Dads, my fatherhood community.

One of the things I'm also paying attention to, because I'm starting to lead them, I'm excited for what I'm leading out here in Colorado this summer, is that, when it is guided, so like the types of retreats that you lead. Mm-hmm. There's a sense of relaxation because now I'm like, oh, a leader's got this. Mm-hmm. Anthony's got me, he's gonna curate this experience. He's already put some intention into why we're even here. I just have to do me now. Right.

So I think there is a difference there. Cuz I've had retreats with buddies, which are cool as well. But then it's like, oh, we're hanging out. We gotta make decisions. We have to figure out what we're gonna do. So there's different variations of retreat. And I'll just go back to what you said. I love, if at a minimum, find one per year where you can really disconnect in an intentional environment and then go do some 12 hour walks just to like and refresh. Dude.

[00:37:34] Anthony: Dude, we could go even deeper. That's what a daily meditation practice is for too. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Which I get. We are busy and it's hard, but you can go, this is my, my dad, my mom and dad hack. Go to the bathroom. The kids for the most part will leave you alone if you're like, hey, I'm going poop. Like they get it.

But you sit there for 10 minutes with your eyes closed and meditate and there's like a so many different ways, you know, we could do that on our next chat on different meditation practices, but to dip into silence. For me, I did 20 minutes, twice a day. I used the Ziva technique. Emily Fletcher's, a meditation teacher. She's out in New York in Manhattan, which is crazy. Oh, interesting. Yeah. But twice a day, 20 minutes, like, that's it. Yeah.

One of the things my mentor Eric, taught me in the very beginning, it was a quote that stuck with me. It was from Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi said, _"In the attitude of stillness, the soul finds itself in a clearer light. And what was once elusive and deceptive, resolves itself into crystal clarity."_ And I'm like, wow, that's it. So just get still, get still in the run, in the movement, in the walk, in the retreat or hiding on the toilet twice a day. Cuz if kids are screaming, like just drop in. Yep. So there's there's ways to access it for all of us.

Yes. Um, great point. But back to your like distinction of a self-led, which is kinda what we're talking about and or a guided, lead, intentional themed, mm-hmm, curriculum driven retreat. I think they're both incredible. You just have to kinda figure out what, what you need most or what would serve you most at the time.

It's also where you're at in your development too. It's hard for some people to just like figure it out on their own. Yes. So an easier access point is like, hey, we're gonna go on this retreat. Yep. Here's our intention, here's our focus, here's what you're gonna do. Show up and like, go all in. But I got you.

[00:39:30] Ali: Mm-hmm. So, mm-hmm. 100%. Yeah. Dude. The final note I wanna make on that is that, I was just actually teaching my kids who are five and seven right now, what the word retreat means because as I shared with you, my wife is just coming home from a retreat herself, pick her up here in about 30 minutes.

It's exciting. That's awesome. Africa. Just finding herself with beautiful animals and an environment and they were like, well, what is a retreat? And I paused to think about that. I was like, well, a lot of humans would define retreating as a means of running back or moving away from something. Especially as it's been used in war-like scenarios, war like terminology. Mm-hmm.

And so there could be this negative perception, like, oh, he's retreating, she's retreating. But in reality, to just really tie everything together that you've shared, it's like, we need this. There is a balance of retreating, of getting out of this normalcy, this conditioning to find ourselves to find center and then come back.

And so I love the word, I'm using it more regularly and in fact in, if I find people who can tell are just immersed in stress, I'm like, when is the last time you've retreated? When is the last time you've removed yourself from the chaos that you probably manage on a daily basis? Now I'm in these rhythms of life, Anthony, where I'm like, I can't consider not retreating. It's just part of what I need to show up, you know?

[00:40:54] Anthony: I love that you said that because most people who consider themselves high achievers, which I completely put you in that realm, know that retreating and moments of stillness and self-development, they are a priority. Yeah. It's the people who don't get that, who stay stuck in this, and then there's so much collateral damage to their body, to their relationships, to all the above.

That's the message, and it's back to the very beginning of this conversation of like, yoga's for girls, or it's this or it's that. And it's being able to communicate the real benefits of all of this to who's in front of you. So when you're in front of somebody who's trying to really get the most out of this life, that's the message. Like, dude, the more you retreat, the more you'll have.

[00:41:41] Ali: And the better you come back.

[00:41:43] Anthony: Yeah. It's this universal law, and if there's anything you want, then you've gotta give it. If I'm looking for more love, then I've gotta love more. If I'm looking for more forgiveness then I better forgive myself, if I'm looking for more time, then I've gotta give myself more time. Mm-hmm. It reminded me of the word sacrifice, where you're like hot on the word retreat. Lately I've been hot on the word sacrifice cause people think it means you give something up or you quit or whatever.

Actual definition is to give up something of value. Mm-hmm. Like this is valuable for something of greater value. Yeah. It's an expansion of it. Like, ah, dude, I love, I love this. Like this is my thing, but there's something even greater if I do release this cuz we get so stuck here. So it's like that my time is valuable. I've got a lot on my plate. That 15 minutes to bring it home of meditation.

What you're getting in return is of greater value. It's more presence, it's more peace. It's a lower blood pressure. It's more cognitive performance. It's more presence with your kids. So like, oh, got it. In the retreat, just like tenfold. Hmm. Your wife's gonna be. It's gonna be fun when she gets home.

[00:43:01] Ali: Totally. That's real. Thank you.

Well, thank you for all of this. We have a time constraint today, so I wanna wrap on some fun questions before we close. But I just wanna honor you for how you show up, brother. We will link to all the amazing things you're doing in the world today. So thank you for all the wisdom you just dropped.

So, fun questions. First one, what's one of the funniest things that one of your kids has said lately?

[00:43:27] Anthony: Oh, my daughter, she, where did we go? I took her to, uh, a coffee shop to get some cocoa and she looked me dead in the eye and she's like, daddy, I'm your favorite, huh? And I was like, like, I didn't know what to say. And she's so nonchalant and I tightened up. And I'm like, no baby, I love you all. Why, why do you say that? And she, she grabs her cocoa that's like this big ass cup cuz we're at unravel. And she's like, I just can feel it. I know I'm your favorite. And I was like, I started sweating.

[00:43:59] Ali: Oh, that's good. Yeah, that's a slippery slope when kids start asking about favoritism. So.

[00:44:04] Anthony: None of the other ones have ever said that, but no, it's a girl dad thing.

[00:44:08] Ali: And she's six, right?

[00:44:10] Anthony: She's six. Yeah.

[00:44:11] Ali: Sepia, who's five is saying some pretty deep things along those veins as well, where she's just like really dropping, I'd say more mature questions into the picture. Mm-hmm. And dude, I'm keeping this thing on my phone now where if it's within reach, I'll go grab it and put stuff down in terms of things Sepia says.

It's like an ongoing note and something I'll share. The other day, I think I came right out of recording a podcast. This is recently, and she's down there like making things with these blocks with like engineering things. And I'm like, Sepie girl, what are you doing down there? And she goes, dad, "I'm fixing an invention." I'm like, like that's going in the phone. Like, not gonna correct anything there. We're gonna see how long she fixes inventions, dude, but, oh, I love this phase.

Number two, what animal are you most scared of?

[00:45:03] Anthony: Oh, most probably like a snake.

[00:45:07] Ali: Mm, yeah. Are you familiar with Hazen Audel? He's a wilderness explorer. He's on Disney Channel.

[00:45:12] Anthony: No.

[00:45:13] Ali: So he's pretty cool dude in, you know, light of all the, the wilderness reality experts because in looking at those over different years, cause we like to find documentaries. I like people who are actually like doing it and at least trying to feel more rugged. Like the dude is walking in his bare feet. He's making a fire every night, which he geeks out about, which I love. Yeah, sometimes like he, his name Hazen Audel and it's on Disney Plus.

Anyways, the reason I'm bringing him up is cuz. He's got roots in biology and he will literally pick up the most venomous snakes and just like. And I'm like you, I'm like, yo, I'm not scared of many animals, but like a deadly snake, not something I'm like, try my chances with it. He'll just pick it up.

[00:45:59] Anthony: I can't. It's, I don't know what it is about him. Like I, you know, in my Neanderthal brain I'm like, yeah, I'll fight a bear. I'll fight a wolf. I'll go out like Tristan in Ledges of the Fall. A freakin' snake, bro.

[00:46:14] Ali: I'm with you dude. I am with you. A big snake is not something that I'm gonna try my chances with. No.

All right, last one man. What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

[00:46:28] Anthony: Oh, dude, these are not quick fire questions. Ah, favorite childhood memory. Let's see. I think the, the one that's coming to mind is just summertime. Um, staying at my cousins, like playing basketball all day, eating pizza, going swimming. Mm Uh, sneaking out at night and like, I guess it's fine, statute of limitations, like throwing M80's around the neighborhood, you know, just like being a little, being a boy, just being a little crazy, you know?

It just felt so free. And it's funny, like, that's my whole thing now. It's like, be free. But it felt so, so free. Weren't a lot of carers or heaviness. We just did what we did and had fun and yeah.

[00:47:15] Ali: Hmm. That's beautiful, man. Yeah, that takes me back. I feel instant nostalgia of this. Like, it's the simple things. It's like the pizza, it's the friends, it's the beach. Yeah. We used to relentlessly just run around in the woods and get lost and play capture the flag, or hide and go seek. And now, I'm like, damn, that's like the same shit I want to do with humans now on these retreats. Like I wanna take them in the woods and get lost with 'em.

[00:47:43] Anthony: Let's do that. An adult capture the flag. Yes. Personal development retreat. Like, oh, that would be, you're right. The neighbors would yell at us. My dad turned our whole backyard into a basketball court. Like my dad's freaking awesome, but he like killed his lawn. We put lights up and the neighbor would stand over the fence like midnight, one in the morning, go to bed, it's time to stop. Cause we're out there yelling and playing and we had music on and yeah, we would just play until we couldn't. Yeah. And, and watch like Cheech and Chong movies and just hang out. But yeah, all that was fun.

[00:48:20] Ali: That's it. All right, brother. So yeah, maybe that's in our future co-creating an adult capture the flag experience in... done... the mountains of Colorado. That would give me a lot of energy.

[00:48:32] Anthony: Let's do it bro.

[00:48:34] Ali: This is one of many conversations I feel so thank you for being here today. Thank you for being you. And anything left unsaid before we wrap up, brother?

[00:48:42] Anthony: Uh, same. Thank you. Thank you for creating this. Thank you for doing it. I think more and more people in our shoes should hear these messages. Let's keep up this good work. Grateful for you brother.

[00:48:54] Ali: Indeed, man. It's my pleasure. All right, until the next convo.

[00:48:57] Anthony: All right. Peace.


Ali Jafarian

Ali is a creator who's passionate about guiding people to their truth. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people realize their most authentic life. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.