TRAIN YOGA READING! IT WILL PROBABLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

There is a lot to mock (but even more to love)

I have long been bemused and saddened that people see commuting as a black hole of wasted frustration. I believe our commute is a metaphor for our self-inflicted absenteeism. We are present physically, but absent in every other sense. We are not engaging our minds, our bodies, and least of all, our hearts. I believe Train Yoga Reading is a remedy to this absenteeism. This daily habit enables me to grapple every second of my commute and make it count. We all have the choice to do it another way. Commuting is a gift, and here’s why...

London’s Burning (and angry)

Anyone that commutes into and around London will resonate with me when I say it is akin to entering the gates of hell.

Many people have their heads down, lost in a period of utter soullessness. Others have their head up in preparation to enter a cock fight with anyone that so much as brushes them in the wrong way. Then there are the minority — those that smile, doing their best to exude love to their fellow passengers. Sadly it falls on normally falls on death doors, as few embrace it, and many hate you for having the cheek to be joyful in the face of this human herding Amargeddon.

People read tabloid newspapers that fill their minds with loathsomeness, not lust. Others hold disdain towards the habits of the people around them. And others furiously scroll social media, a bottomless info binge.

I believe we must change how we view and experience our commute, for the benefit of both ourselves and society.

London commuters fighting for a seat on the train

Taking a one man stand

Over the past year I have become comfortable with people staring at me as I make my commute into London.

As I board the train from the sunny seaside of Clacton On-Sea, I reject the seats, and instead stand. I take my bag off, play some Nils Frahm through my headphones, pull out the book I am currently reading, have my pen in hand to underline key notes, and I get set.

The staring begins in perfect harmony with me taking my first lunge.

I drop myself down into a hip flexor stretch; then the quad stretch; the calf stretch; the hamstring stretch; the triceps; the pectorals… all whilst deeply engrossed in my book of choice.

This is a beautiful thing. It is a meditative, as it is fulfilling, as it is productive.

​When I coach people, my role is to ask questions to understand who they are, before I assess how I can (possibly) help them. All great coaching begins with a two way discourse, where both people challenge one another. Because of this it is very rare that I insist on anything, because when it comes to development, there is no one prescription.

However one of the few things that I do insist upon is people listen to the Cal Fussman interview with Tim Ferriss! This is because during this episode, Cal will teach you a arguably the most critical lesson in life, which is, the art of asking great questions.

Cal is a graceful storyteller. He delivers his memoirs with a warmth that will captivate you, with anecdotes that will enchant you. I learnt more about questions from a three hour podcast with Cal than I have from any book I have read.

Of all his stories, there is one in particular that perfectly captures why I have made a habit of Train Yoga Reading. The story is when Cal was on a train was on in Hungary (part of his ten year journey around the world — itself a magical story.)

I won’t spoil the punchline, but one question Cal asks of an elder lady, led to one of the greatest (and longest) parties he could have ever had hoped for! History defines why I have longed believed that commuting is a gift, not some sort of curse we must resent.

Just like how Cal used his train journey to great effect, we can turn what many people see as ‘dead time’, into a moment to thrive.

Be like Cal. LOVE commuting.

Commuting is the time I consume from books and podcasts. It is the time I get to meet strangers who I would otherwise have never met. It is the time I learn how to ask better questions, and be a finer listener. It is the time I also loosen my muscles!

By doing so, I hit three birds with one stone; learning (the book), health (the stretch), relationships (the conversations that happen with new people that look or comment, and I then engage in conversation.)

I demount the train more knowledgable, fulfilled, happier, and with my muscles and joints feeling may more fresher (especially my hamstrings which have muscle fibres akin to steel rods!)

I believe our commute is a metaphor for our self-inflicted absenteeism. We are present physically, but absent in every other sense. We are not engaging our minds, our bodies, and least of all, our hearts. I believe Train Yoga Reading is a remedy to this absenteeism. This daily habit enables me to grapple every second of my commute and make it count. We all have the choice to do it another way.

Some people use the commute as their downtime, whether it be losing themselves in a tabloid, a box set, or dropping the head back and sucking in some flies as they nap. Each to their own of course — this isn’t a mandatory prescription!

However what I see around me on every train is a mass of people whose body language is screaming for greater prosperity and happiness.

Do not try this first. I once kicked someone in the face doing so.

My recommendation is take your spine away from its scrunched hunch, your mind from the suffocation of tabloid newspapers, and get your power pose on through stretching. Even if you’re already a habitual reader, take it another level and stretch whilst you read! Even if you simply stand up and bounce on your toes, it is still a yonder from the stuffy seat that impedes your well being.

It has been scientifically proven that people who ‘power pose’ see a notable rise in testosterone and a reduction in cortisol. This leads to giving us greater confidence mentally and physically, which in then leads people to believe we are more competent (and isn’t that one beautiful virtuous circle!)

Train Yoga Reading therefore actively enables you show up to work, and at home, feeling more positive, energetic, and engaged. I am sure we can all agree that is a good thing that we would all benefit from!

Call to action!

GO FOR IT! Get your Train Yoga Reading on!

When people stare — because they will — smile and ask, “How are you? Wanna join in?” You just may meet your new best friend, boss, or future business partner. As Cal will teach you, ask the right questions, and anything is possible!

If by chance you head from Essex to London, I get the 06:47 from Clacton to Stratford and typically the 19:25 back the other way, Monday to Wednesday. I’m in the front coach — come and join me — I will be the one bouncing lightly up and down in a lunge :)

​Thanks for reading

Much love and great peace,

Benjamin

Thanks for reading. If you like the article, I would really appreciate a clap.

I write about the lessons from three startups I have Co Founded. You can sign up for my blog, Meditations of a Co Founder here

I am currently working on a startup called gaggle. We’re making doing good easy, so we can create 5 billion acts of kindness every year. You can find us here

Here’s the Cal Fussman interview (my favourite Tim Ferriss episode ever)