All posts by Blog Administrator

Success Discussion – Case Study

  • The following is an impromptu discussion (chat) about success I had with an innocent bystander. As you can see in the reading we only touched the surface of the discussion and there were a few questions raised.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent so don’t go trying to find Mike!

    Success Discussion – Case Study


    Hey Mike, how are you today? You are a few years my senior, let me ask you. How do you define success and have you had any in life? You can take your time to answer or if you don’t wish to discuss you can just blow it off, up to you, thanks! ~y

  • Mike

    Hi Yosef I am not blowing you off if you want to discuss I will




    I don’t define success by how much money you have


  • Right. I didnt mention $$$.


  • I think success is partly a state of mind you have to believe that you are successful to be

    I have had a number of jobs and feel I was successful at most of them

    Having the people in your office respect you for the job you do and the people you work with happy with what you are doing for them


  • So you are linking success to a job you do and the comrade participation you are involved with.



    Partly but there is also success in personal life

    Happy home getting along with all the relatives

    And helping people who need help

    You have to give back what you are given


  • more comrade participation, right?

    I actually had to look of the dictionary definition of success for this discussion!

  • Mike

    Yes you can never be an success without others


    I believe, according to the definition of success, that the reason many MISPLACE it’s meaning, is because there is no way to actually NOT be successful. And that everyone succeeds at what they aim for, whether they agree with the outcome at the time they receive it or not. On the other hand what I just described above might be total bull!

  • Mike

    This is true it’s sort of like everyone wins and that is total bull


  • Well it goes on to say that the reason someone has not received what they view as success is because they didn’t create that goal and work towards it. And that they actually DID create some other goal and work towards it, and that is what they got.

    And I know, in my life, I have not set many goals consciously, but have reached certain places. Which I am not sure is the best way to go about things.

    On the other hand, just setting a goal and going for it might impose a certain amount of rigidity I am unwilling to accept.

    (just saying my side)

  • Mike

    If a person sets a low goal that is not success that is a copout

  • Admin

  • Yeah, there is another speech. It says everyone has the responsibility to be successful, and that means setting goals that are high enough.

  • Mike

    Everybody sets goals even if they don’t realize it it depends on how the mind works to how high the goal is

  • Admin

    Right so the question becomes a degree of how consciously (or perhaps even conscientiously) the goal is created/maintained.

  • Mike

    Very true

  • Admin

    I am thinking I need to test it.

  • Mike

    How would you do that

  • Admin

    Because a lot of my life and work has been about survival. And after one attains that goal things kind of just take their course….which is natural.

    But is most likely where things can break up and time gets wasted. As a new goal was never set.

    So the momentum of reaching survival can only propel one so far…sometimes all the rest of the life, sometimes not.

  • Mike

    But that could be considered being successful survival


  • It is definitely successful! I am not questioning that.

    I am questioning only this part:

    “Right so the question becomes a degree of how consciously (or perhaps even conscientiously) the goal is created/maintained.”

  • Mike

    What are you looking for as a true meaning of success maybe there isn’t one

    Success is different to different people

  • Admin

    Well by the definition success means to achieve a certain goal. And we spoke of one achieving what they set out for. So of course it is very specific, and personal. My only question is about the maintenance and development of new targets after one reaches the I’m Surviving stage, which seems to be common among men!

  • Admin

    And whether or not there is actually non-success at all.

  • Mike

    You can never stop once you achieve your goals you must always maintain and move forward

  • Admin

    At what degree of consciousness?

    I mean do you have a chat with yourself every 5 years and do the goal thing, once a year (new years resolutions) or is it a constant evaluating and resetting and is it written down (any better ?) or just something you ponder in a fleeting moment?!

    And are milestones defined!?

    Or is it one stream of action and every once in a while you see you have reached a “milestone” and decide to celebrate that!!

  • Admin

    We’re kind of getting to the end of the discussion, right? If you think about something to add, please let me know.


  • Mike

    It isn’t a pondering area with me once I hit the goal I am achieving I look for what comes after that


    Ok, nice chat, thanks!

My Yoga Practice is Very Competitive

My Yoga Practice is Very Competitive:

No Matter How Bad it Gets it ALWAYS beats Not Practicing!

Champions of Zen

Inside the controversial world of competitive yoga

Picture this: a hundred people sitting around a boxing ring at a Brooklyn gym one snowy evening in late January. Instead of gathering to watch people fight, they are there to watch people bend, twist, and fold their bodies into contorted yoga poses.

The room is completely silent as all eyes focus on the center of the ring, where 22 yogis will each demonstrate six different postures before the night is through. A panel of judges is positioned at a table in front of the ring while they analyze the movements, stone-faced.

Slowly but surely, the room comes to life. When Craig Friedman, a competitor in the senior division, breathes heavily through Dandayamana Dhanurasana, standing bow pose, his knees quiver as he pulls one leg up in the air to make a straight line with the one planted on the ground, and the crowd claps encouragingly. Beads of sweat drip down Friedman’s forehead as he brings his leg into Janu Sirsasana, head-to-knee pose, and the judges take swift notes.

Then Victoria Gibbs, tall and taut in a black bodysuit, takes the ring. Bending backwards to grab her shins, she completes Chakra Bandhasana, full wheel pose, to the sounds of soft gasping from the impressed audience. Moments later, she’s morphing into Vrscikasana, scorpion pose, and veins pop out of her forehead as she tries not to wobble while balancing on her forearms.

A few feet off away from the ring is an area where a dozen competitors are warming up their splits, backbends, handstands, and downward dogs on gym mats. They watch the competition and swap tips. Nikki Ortiz, a 27-year-old from Ecuador who teaches at Yoga to the People, says the atmosphere is friendly: “Nobody wants anyone else to fall. They just want you to do your best.”

These yoga enthusiasts are competing in the USA Yoga Asana New York regional championship, now in its 13th year. This is just one of 16 such events that will take place around the country in 2016, and those who earn the highest scores tonight will face off against champions from other regionals during a final competition in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in May. Those winners will then go on to compete in the international championships, where representatives from participating countries like Australia, Spain, Mexico, Switzerland, Chile, England, and Denmark will battle for the title of world champion.

The US competitions are organized by the United States Yoga Federation, also referred to as USA Yoga, an LA-based nonprofit with a mission to develop and promote yoga as a sport. Its clever logo resembles the NBA’s, but with a yogi doing standing bow pose instead of a basketball player dribbling a ball.

“Nobody wants anyone else to fall. They just want you to do your best.”

“The whole purpose is to inspire others to take on the practice and gain the benefits of yoga,” says Joseph Encinia, president of USA Yoga and an international yoga champion himself. “We find that the more people see competitions, the more they are interested.”

And the more steam competitive yoga picks up, the more polarizing it’s become.

Competitive yoga might sound like a strange, even contradictory, concept. In fact, as an April Fools’ prank, Lululemon put an ad in Yoga Journal in 2002 that read “Invitational. Yoga Pose Off. $30,000 First Prize. Watch the world’s best as they battle for prestige and cash!” In a time before yoga competitions had hit America, the idea was so offensive to readers that the magazine, drowning in angry responses, had to print a letter in its next issue to explain that it was a joke — but yoga competitions are actually a part of ancient Indian tradition.

Yoga is one of India’s oldest methods for holistic healing, with different schools rooted in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, with many yoga poses referencing Hindu mythology specifically. Take the sequences of Virabhadrasana, or warrior poses, that were named after Virabhadra, the son of Shiva, one of the major Hindu deities. According to Hindu tradition, when Shiva’s wife Sati died after her body burst into flames of anger, Shiva tore his hair out in grief and threw a lock to the ground which in turn birthed Virabhadra, a fierce warrior. The assorted variations of the warrior pose are said to represent strength, devotion, and an ability to overcome ego.

While its origins date back nearly 5,000 years, the Indian philosopher Patanjali is credited with assembling the Yoga Sutras some time around 400 C.E. He compiled ancient yoga traditions into 196 sutras, or texts, and outlined yoga’s “eight limbs,” the tenants of the practice, which include posture, breath, focus, and meditation. There are now at least a dozen, possibly upwards of 30, different forms of yoga that are practiced all over the world.

Some experts believe yoga competitions have existed for thousands of years, almost since the practice first originated. Benjamin Lorr, author of the 2012 book Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga, notes that India has ancient traditions of competitive wrestling, and so it’s likely that yoga competitions were held millennia ago too. According to the International Federation of Yoga Sports, though, competitions in their current form — Hatha yoga, focused on asana (posture) and pranayama (breathing) — are probably just 200 years old.

Regardless, contemporary competition did not begin to take formal shape until the Yoga Federation of India was founded in 1974. Since then, several organizations have formed to hold yoga competitions and regulate their rules. The biggest one, the International Yoga Sports Federation, has been around since 2003 and acts as a governing body for chapters in 32 countries, including USA Yoga.

Though not officially affiliated with it, USA Yoga has strong ties to Bikram yoga. The organization was started by Rajashree Choudhury, the wife of Bikram Choudhury, who trademarked the popular hot yoga variation where 26 specific postures are practiced in studios heated to 104 degrees and named it after himself.

Some experts believe yoga competitions have existed for thousands of years, almost since the practice first originated.

Bikram Choudhury’s journey to becoming a yoga master is deeply rooted in competition. Growing up in Kolkata, India, Bikram began practicing yoga at age four and also studied under the tutelage of renowned competitive bodybuilder Bishnu Ghosh. When he was 17, Bikram experienced a weightlifting accident and was told he’d be crippled for life. He began to practice 26 specific yoga poses (the same ones Bikram yoga studios practice today), and six months later, his health was restored. Bikram was an undefeated yoga champion in India in the 1960s, as was Rajashree in the ‘70s and ‘80s. “I’d be in standing head-to-knee and someone would bang a big steel pan to test my composure,” she told the New York Times in 2012, describing her childhood competitions.

The Los Angeles-residing Bikram and Rajashree were staples at yoga championships when competition first came to the US, but due to the recent sexual assault allegations leveraged against Bikram, his involvement with USA Yoga has all but ceased. He has not attended any competitions over the last few years and his name has been scrubbed from USA Yoga’s website. Last month, he was ordered to pay $7 million after losing one of the many lawsuits filed against him. Rajashree, who did not respond to interview requests for this story, filed for divorce in December after 31 years of marriage, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

Despite this upheaval, competitive yoga has managed to quietly pivot away from the Bikram movement and continue to attract new members. Competitions in places like Texas, California, Florida, and Washington draw big crowds and hundreds of people are expected to attend the national championship in May.

The rules for competitive yoga have evolved over the past several decades, but these days look like this: six poses must be performed within a period of three minutes, and each pose must be held for a minimum of three seconds. Four poses are mandatory and must be some sort of variation on a forward bend, a backbend, a stretch, and a twist; the last two poses are yogi’s choice. Each pose is scored on a 10-point scale, so the top score a competitor can receive is 60. Encinia says the average score is a 30, and the highest USA Yoga has ever seen from a competitor is a 42.

Yoga competitions test the asana, or physical movement, with balance, stillness, breathing, and concentration factored into the final score. The easier you make a difficult pose look, the more points you’ll receive. Some poses are also worth more points than others: advanced poses like Pincha Mayurasana (forearm stand) and Tittibhasana (firefly pose) are worth more points than, say, Ardha Bhujangasana (baby cobra).

“It’s not just about what you do, it’s how you do it,” says Encinia. “We’re looking at technique. If a yogi’s alignment is off, we’ll hold it against them, but we’re also watching for balance and control of the breath. Someone can be holding still the entire time, but if they’re holding their breath, they’ll eventually start shaking. We’ve had athletes and contortionists come to compete and they think they’re going to kill it, but then they get jittery and fall. Yoga is about catching the stillness.”

“Sure, the highest score wins, just like in gymnastics, but here the deductions have to do with what else affects the posture,” adds Cynthia Wehr, the owner of a yoga studio in Mountain View, California and one of the judges at the New York event. “Yoga is the union of their body, mind, and emotion, and the postures demonstrate control, so we are looking to see how breath affects it.”

“Yoga is about catching the stillness.”

While these events are certainly competitions — the main objective, after all, is to get the highest score — the community prefers to use the word “championship.” As Encinia claims, “There are no winners and losers.”

More than 24 million adults in America practice yoga, according to a Sports & Fitness Industry Association survey from 2013, making it almost as popular as golf. It’s been cited as a $27 billion industry, a number that is simultaneously hard to believe and easy to understand, if you’re going to include all the coveted gear and green juice that yoga studios sell. Yoga has been welcomed with open arms by Americans hopping on the wellness bandwagon, but competitive yoga remains controversial: people either love the idea or utterly despise it.

“To a lot of people, it’s the antithesis of what yoga is,” says Jennilyn Carson, founder of the popular blog Yoga Dork. “Yoga is a personal practice, so bringing it to a competition blows people’s minds. Nobody wants to be in a yoga class where everyone’s eyes are looking around at each other, but this is the competitiveness they are trying to push.”

Carin Gorrell, the editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal, says the whole aspect of judging someone’s practice leaves her puzzled: “Every yoga discipline — and teacher, really — has a different and strong opinion on proper alignment. Who would have the ultimate say in what makes a ‘perfect pose?'”

Encinia, and others involved in the competition world, assert it’s not about a contest between battling yogis, but rather “a competition between our true self versus our ego.”

“It’s a lot like martial arts, it requires serious commitment and discipline,” says Ortiz. “It’s not about showing off, it’s about testing yourself and knowing you can mentally focus for those three minutes and commit to the practice. Winning doesn’t motivate us. We are there to help our personal growth.”

Loretta Turner, a yoga instructor from New Jersey, says that even though these competitions promote the idea that you are facing off against yourself, at the end of the day, “someone is watching you and calling out your mistakes. That makes it come down to good versus bad, and that is no longer yoga, that’s just trying to impress someone.”

“You can’t compare one person’s yoga form to the other because not all bodies are capable of doing the same movements,” adds Amanda Shafran, a 28-year-old instructor in New York City. “Everyone’s anatomical proportions are different, so yoga is really most effective when tailored to the needs of the individual’s body.” Shafran and others are also concerned competition strips yoga of its inherent spirituality.

Lorr, on the other hand, who studied the competitive yoga world for his book, posits that championships are less about winning and more about participating.

“It’s like going to church and listening to the choir. It’s Bikram yoga’s version of a high school play.”

“They provide an overwhelming sense of community, the same way people see CrossFit,” says Lorr. “It’s like going to church and listening to the choir. It’s Bikram yoga’s version of a high school play. It encourages people to deepen their practice and rally around their style of yoga. To an outsider, it sounds sinister, but that’s the reason most people participate: it strengthens their ties.”

“I love the opportunity to go on stage and demonstrate what I’ve worked so hard to do,” echoes Eddie Hall, a 37-year-old personal trainer from Baltimore. “I also think it helps motivate guys because there’s such a small representation of us in yoga.”

Ortiz, who placed third at this year’s Brooklyn championship, says competing has pushed her own yoga practice to a whole new level.

“I tell people that it’s good for them,” she says. “The first time I competed, there were poses I couldn’t do that were required. And yes, a lot of yoga instructors will tell you not to push yourself, and yes, you should never push yourself to injury, but when you actually set a goal and work to it, it’s amazing to see what you can do. It was mind-blowing to see how much more progress I made in three months getting ready for a competition than in a year practicing yoga.”

Gianna Purcell, a Chicago-based yoga instructor who competed from 2009 until 2014 and now coaches competing yogis, believes being involved in competition is the best way to advance as a teacher. “As a coach, you’re sitting around for as many as eight hours a day, throwing ideas around,” she says. “I found it very encouraging and helpful in ways that I was never fully aware of.”

Still, Shafran posits there are serious flaws to the mindset competitive yoga promotes. Making postures worth more points than others, for one, is not ideal. “That is really troubling because once you begin to rank postures, it encourages value to be put on one posture over the other,” she says. “And a pose’s difficulty does not reflect its worth. We say that Savasana [corpse pose, in which yogis lie still on their backs at the end of their practice] is the most important pose because it allows systems to regulate themselves and that doesn’t even involve any movement!”

“I would not say that one student is better than the other because they can do harder poses like handstands,” says Karla Misjan, a yoga instructor from Brooklyn’s SyncStudio. “We encourage people not to be attached to the fruits of their outcome. They should practice for the sake of practicing.”

Up until now, it’s been relatively easy for the competitive yoga debate to quietly, peacefully simmer. Yogis like Shafran and Misjan will likely never participate in a yoga competition, and Hall says that while everyone is welcome, “if you aren’t interested in getting involved, then don’t!”

But competitive yoga could soon be too big to ignore, as it may take to a far larger stage: the Olympics. USA Yoga has been advocating for yoga to be considered an Olympic sport for as long as the organization has been around.

“People don’t think of yoga as an intense sport,” says Encinia. “It might look effortless, but it requires so much hard work. Most people don’t take it seriously — they think of yoga as meditation — but being an Olympic sport would make it reach so many more people.”

Yoga becoming a recognized Olympic sport is not as farfetched an idea as you may think. In order for an activity to be considered by the Olympic committee, it has to be played or practiced in 75 countries across four continents. There are currently IFYS affiliates in 32 countries, and interest is rapidly growing. Just six months ago, the Sports Ministry of India announced it was classifying yoga as an official country sport; it now holds the same status as swimming, soccer, squash, and chess in India, and the government will provide funding for future yoga competitions.

But those in the competitive yoga community don’t just want the validation that would come from Olympic inclusion: they want to change the very nature of the games.

“This is a healthy competition where you are only competing with yourself on stage,” says Hall. “I think yoga in the Olympics could spread what competition should look like, instead of all the sports you see today, with the violence and steroids and cutthroat attitude.”

“I did sports as a kid and was involved in other competitions, and our culture is so different; it’s very inviting,” echoes Purcell. “There is never the mentality to ‘take someone down’ — nobody is strategizing how they can beat the other yogis.”

More realistic than yoga altering the state of international competition is international competition altering the state of yoga. Those who participate in yoga competitions as they currently exist say they still enjoy the mental and spiritual components of the practice, but once an Olympic model is introduced, will athletes continue to recognize yoga’s roots? Or will Olympic yoga focus solely on the perfect form, with athletes propelled by big sponsors and the singular pursuit of that coveted gold medal?

“Yoga in the Olympics could spread what competition should look like, instead of all the sports you see today, with the violence and steroids and cutthroat attitude.”

This concern illustrates a broader debate among yoga practitioners, which Turner attributes to an overall Western influence on yoga. The BBC writes that India feels it “has lost control of ‘brand yoga’ to the West.”

“When you keep watering down yoga, it just gets diluted,” says Turner. “And at a certain point, it’s no longer yoga: it’s its own Western version, one that is appropriated, disconnected, and has lost all sense of respect of the meaning behind it.”

It’s not that Encinia doesn’t agree. He admits the yoga that the majority of Americans practice today is far from its original form — and that’s okay.

“In respect to the yoga we do here, it is a creation of our own culture,” he says. “The special pants, the special mats, the Instagram pics: none of that was ever part of the practice.”

And remember: competitive yoga originated in India, likely thousands of years ago.

“Yoga is romanticized,” says Lorr. “A version that fits American needs has been created, and it’s an often stress-free environment that doesn’t involve any competition and is judgment-free. That’s a beautiful thing and I wouldn’t want to take that away from anyone, but yoga in India does exist in a huge tent where there are many forms. Some of those forms are violent, some of them are militant, some are scholarly, and others are rooted in competition.”

In that way, competitive yoga can be considered just as authentic as practice rooted in Hindu mythology. As much as opponents want to fight the rise of competition, history has shown there is room for all manners of yoga. A tournament approach, as well as a transcendent one, can coexist.

As Hall puts it, “Nobody owns yoga.”

WordPress : Password protect wp-admin directory and wp-login.php

WordPress : Password protect wp-admin directory and wp-login.php

Protect wp-admin with passwordHardening WordPress by adding both wp-login.php AND wp-admin password protection is a great way to protect your website from hackers.But isn’t it safe enough if I use a strong password on the standard wp-admin login? Well, yes, from a brute force attempt, but single factor authentication (simple username and password) means that there’s only one layer of security between you and the bad guys. Lets suppose you had to reset your WordPress password, and got it emailed to you. How secure is your email? Were you in a public wifi hotspot when you picked up that email? It’s not just about how strong your password is.We’re going to add another layer, using the web server’s own htpasswd technology. This technique can be applied to Joomla, Drupal and many other Content Management Systems with a few minor tweaks.

Why htpasswd is better than another PHP driven single factor authentication layer

While it is not the most graceful of solutions, Apache’s (assuming your webserver runs on Apache – most still do) htpasswd basic authentication system offers two great advantage over most WordPress security plugins.

  1. The user is challenged before the request for the page is served. This means that no PHP is processed until the user authenticates. That that means that no MySQL database query is processed either. When your website is under a brute force attack, all of the requests are stopped by apache. This saves a lot of CPU cycles when your site is under attack.
  2. Authentication failures get logged to the apache error_log file (/var/log/httpd-error.log or for cPanel servers /usr/local/apache/logs/error_log). Therefore if you have a login failure tracker such as LFD (which comes with CSF from or BFD (which comes with APF from then the attacker will only get a handful of bites at the cherry before they get banned by the firewall. A network level ban is far better than one engineered by the application level.

Why the wp-admin directory AND wp-login.php should be protected

Many guides only suggest you protect the wp-admin folder only, but that’s shortsighted. Why? because it won’t prevent brute force attacks reaching wp-login.php which is in the top directory of your WordPress installation, eating up your bandwidth/CPU and possibly exposing your login details. So, this guide locks down both areas.

Step 1 – Protecting wp-admin using cPanel’s Password Protect Directories feature

If you don’t have cPanel, don’t panic, just click on the guide below to creat your passwd file and protect your wp-admin directory manually:

Creating the password hash and protect wp-admin manually

In cPanel, click on the Password Protected Directories icon in the Security section.

Open Password Protected Directories

Then find the wp-admin directory. Navigate through your directories by double clicking the directory names. When you find the wp-admin folder, click on the little folder icon.

Password protect wp-admin directory

Creating the user’s password hash

The screen has two areas, so we will start at the bottom, as it makes sense to create the user before we restrict access. Just enter the username you wish to use, and the password (a nice strong on of course) and click the Add/modify authorized user button.

Creating the user's password hash

You will see a confirmation message, just accept it and you will be returned to the same screen again – your new user should now appear in the Authorized Users list at the bottom. At the top of the screen, we just just need to activate the protection. Tick the check box, and enter a nice stern warning in the Name the protected directory: box as shown and click Save.

Activate password protection for wp-admin

Step 2 – Protecting wp-login.php

Currently (11.40) cPanel doesn’t provide a graphical interface for protecting individual files, so this always has to be done manually.

In the root directory of your WordPress installation, create or open the .htaccess file. At the top of it, add the following:

Note: If you protected wp-admin manually in Step 1, then change the AuthUserFile path to the passwd file you created yourself. If you used cPanel, then the path to the file will be along the lines of:

That’s it! You have now protected both wp-admin and wp-login.php – but wait! There’s more

Step 3 – Preventing 404 Not Found and Ajax errors

Two things can go wrong when you implement this, and here’s how to fix them:

404 Too many redirects error loop

HTTP Basic Auth first sends a 401 Unauthorized with it’s request for a password from the browser. The webserver tries to serve the corresponding error file usually 401.shtml. Because it can’t find it (because who creates those anyway!) it then creates a 404 error and tries to serve the 404.shtml, which it also can’t find… which creates a 404 error and tries to serve the 404.shtml, which it also can’t find… deja vu?

The simple fix is to add this to the top level .htaccess file – immediately below the statement is safest:

If that doesn’t work, create an empty file in your website’s root folder called 401.shtml and add this to your .htaccess file:

Password protect wp-admin causes problems with plugins/themes that rely on wp-admin ajax functionality

If you experience problems with ajax enabled themes and plugins, then you can add this after the first Files block you created in .htaccess in Step 2.