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Discovering Yourself Through Yoga with Butler Raines

active atlanta podcast atlanta Sep 24, 2020

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So here's the question, how do active people in the Atlanta area, stay pain-free and live the active fulfilled life that they deserve at any age. This is the question. And this podcast is the answer. I'm Danny Matta and welcome to the Active Atlanta Podcast.

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What is up Atlanta and welcome back to the Active Atlanta podcast. I'm here with yoga, enthusiastic as well as a software executive bad-ass Butler rains, guys. This guy's incredible. He's doing a lot of things and what's really cool. I love getting people like Butler on the show because the, the diversity in skillset and knowledge is.

Awesome to see. So Butler without further do, how are you doing my man? How am I doing well, man. And I'm flattered by that opening to kind of thank you. No, I hope I did it justice. Cause you know, like we were talking a little bit about the show guys. I'm excited to bring Butler on because he is just. A wealth of knowledge, as it pertains to yoga, he is, oh, wealth of knowledge as it pertains to product design.

So if you have any questions about that, I'm sure you can reach out to him on that too. But not necessarily the point of this show, but like he, he's just very passionate about a lot of different things. So I've had the opportunity to talk to him and to clinic as well. He's got a vast background in art, which is wild and crazy.

Cool. So just a wealth of knowledge. And so Butler, I guess, with, with for our audience here, can you just kind of give a background. Who you are and kind of like how you got into yoga of all things. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. That's a loaded question. Loaded question, but I'm going to, I'm going to break it. I'm going to break it.

Give me so who am I? I, I'm just a country boy from middle Georgia and had a very, very fortunate journey. How how I came to yoga or to find a passion. Enthusiasm for yoga. I'm an addict in recovery and one day out of desperation, I was 240 pounds or so I was drunk and just not well.

And I remember sitting above a garage in a room, I rent it out and. Googling up beginners because I thought, I thought it was the only kind of exercise I could possibly do because this southern boy is his understanding of yoga was like, it was stretches that people did at the health center at the hospital, in his small town.

And boy, I had no idea what ride I was about to go on. And so I accidentally found a beginners class in a stronger year. Okay. Which is a very, very physical discipline, the eight limbs of yoga. And I'm part of the secret, I just kept showing up. 

So teachers that have a lot of love in their heart, I just kept showing up, kept working it and great things began to happen. So I began to explore. How yoga and the practice of yoga enabled me to recover from what was ailing me and then how it has helped me get to where I am today.

That's awesome, man. What you know, I've had the opportunity to talk to a couple different people that have used exercise and fitness and wellness as a way to overcome personal battles. So did you. Did you originally kind of look up yoga as a way to get in better shape, or was it a way to kind of help you battle your addiction or, or was that just an added bonus that kind of like bled into that scene as well?

Yeah. Great question. It was an added bonus. So I was. Again, I was very overweight, striking constantly, which I know guys, you can't see Butler right now, but he is nowhere close to what? Two 50. Yeah. Nowhere near COVID definitely has a few pounds. I'd like to shut off, but but they do take you for telling your audience that.

But no, it was really. You know, just feeling bad about yourself and like being really overweight and unhealthy, like sick looking. And I just needed to start moving for sure. I felt like it was, it was like an internal calling. Now I had no idea how this would affect me in recovery, and that's really the, the magic of yoga and I, and not to play into all the normal things people say about yoga, but the mind, the body mind connection is a real huge component for sure. And in particular with a style I do. And I think this is often lost in young and the west is it's about showing up every day, right? You show up every day and you tell your mind, I am doing this every day and that the trip would have Chagas.

It's the same poses every day. 

Okay. Every day. Wow. 

You do about an hour and a half of poses. It depends on where you enter the practice. So for me, 240 pounds alcoholic just had either recovery for drug addiction. It was five poses I did every day. Right. I walk in, set up. Teacher helps me to the spot.

Now I'm practicing an hour and a half. Don't stop. Just breathe in, breathe out, move, you know, 50 something poses. Yeah. That's you work through a lot of acrobatics. Oh, I, as best as I can do that, I'm 44, but yeah, but you know that, that's the, that's the part, that's the, that's why I'm so fascinated with it as a subject is because now, so this happened like.

Out of shape. I go into this yoga Shala who had started doing these same five poses every day. And I got six. Then I got seven and my breathing got better. And all of a sudden I started really being like, I think I can be completely sober. I think I can quit drinking. I think I can improve this. I started reading again.

I started writing again. Rewind or not rewind, but Paul's, I pick up the yoga sutras of Patanjali the Bible of yoga written ages ago. And you read it and it describes exactly what happened to me really. It's just like reading, like if you do these things, these things are gonna happen and you're like, there's no denying it.

Yeah. Wild. Yeah. It's it's, it's always, so it's a real experience, I guess you can say when, especially like, you know, in the world of healthcare and wellness and fitness, there's a lot of literature that's written or a lot of things that people say, but when you experience it to a T like that, it's, it's really almost gives you chills, you know, especially like when you read what kind of happened on your animal and experiment there, you know, I don't remember.

Yes. I remember it like it was yesterday. So I had tried. You start yoga, you get a little bit, you know, as anything you start, you like get a little bit more interested in, I've tried to read the yoga sutras. I'm like, this is esoteric. This sounds like a mock up to me. But then as  for years, really with the only goal of, I didn't want to be overweight and I wanted to become more attractive than a bit healthier for sure.

But then all these other changes started happening and then randomly one day I picked up. And I started reading it and it all makes sense. And I'm like, it makes sense because I experienced it for sure. The timing was right. The timing is right. Timing is everything. And just about everything in life. So like the timing of finding a great fiscal year.

Hey, you know, COVID, hasn't, COVID had its purpose right now. Yeah. So that's awesome. So how long have you been practicing yoga then? Oh, man. So, so wrapped up in my story I wanna say five years, four and a half years, somewhere in there to have to go back and look, man. So we'll call it somewhere anywhere between four and five years, then 47,000 years.

Yeah. That mindset of just showing up. And it's hard to dedicate your, your brain space to anything for an hour and a half at a time, especially like, like truly being dialed in, you know, like I think people will be amazed at what you can accomplish when you can focus on one thing. Truly like in a deep mindset mindset process for an hour, hour and a half at a time can see, can accomplish a lot and to do that every day can be fatigued.

Absolutely. So do you find that your practice and being able to do that has led to your ability to kind of like branch out into some of these other things that you've become so dedicated and good at no. I might offer a different way to look at it at it. God, this might sound cheesy, but I. I can I can kind of see the yoga and the other things.

So for instance in the same way, like I didn't, I did have an appreciation of art. Sure. I grew up in again, a small Southern Georgia town and wasn't exposed to it. I came to Atlanta and I was interested, but I didn't know how to like, get the scene and all these fears you have about going to try something.

Yeah, where I really found my love for art was going to galleries and not, you know, like gallery might just be one route, someone showing their art and it's not just going in and having a beer and walking through and shaking hands and walking out, but like stopping, really stopping and looking and absorbing the piece that was in front of you.

Yeah. Right. That's kind of what yoga teaches you, right? How do you, how do you focus? Because it concentrating on what you're doing, what's in front of you shutting out everything else. Right? So I've kind of found that a century, if you will. And so, you know, that that's how those two things are related and another things like it's, it's so much of this Joeget philosophy.

I'm sure you see it with athletes who get into flow and things like that. It's really just teaching yourself, training yourself that you can, you can control your mind. You don't have to be distracted by every little thing that comes by. Like, that's what, that's what the world does to us, right? Like you're talking to you on a phone but you can train your mind to focus.

And so a lot of times people are starting out in yoga and I work with them and I'm the president of a nonprofit called The Trinity foundation that we give scholarships to people in recovery so they can go to yoga classes. Awesome. Right. Because we know there's a lot of us on the board or a parlor organization have, are in recovery.

We know that it's about retraining and rewiring your mind. It's on often say with yoga, you just show up. Yeah. I don't care if you do 50 poses. I don't care if you do it for hour and a half. I don't care if you do it for 30 minutes. You show up to top of your mat and you might just put your hands in prayer.

You might just raise your hands. Doesn't matter. The simple act that you've committed to showing up and you showed up, teaches your mind. You're in control. 

For sure. Yeah. 100% I think you know, w what's really interesting about yoga and really just about it's. It's so interesting to me, where in the world of fitness and wellness and health, all these different disciplines try to act about, I try to talk about how different they are, but, you know, and, and discredit other arenas of thought, or try to discredit other things, but, you know, as the world evolves, we see more and more overlap in thought process and yoga is no different from, so like, you know, you take the, like the breath work that you're talking about when you do yoga, like that's a huge part of sports performance now, you know, and that's a huge part that that especially like sports psychologist or there's this course called art of breath. 

I've mentioned a couple of times on the podcast, but they, they teach you how to like, you know, use different breathing techniques to control your breath.

And to a lot of people, myself included when I first heard the core, it's kind of groundbreaking, right. But then you start diving into the reaches of like, holy shit, this has been practicing for centuries, the other disciplines, you know, like things like yoga or, you know Pilates, even just to some degree, which is just, you know a different variation, I guess you can say.

What do you notice, do you, do you dive into any other forms of fitness or than yoga at this point? Or? Cause I know you worked out at my buddy, my buddy Sam's place or at least, you know, Sam and, you know, Smokes Fitness. Do you, do you dive into that weight training at all? Or, or do you like to stick with yoga?

No. I throw kettlebells every once in a while, you know if I, if I may expand on that a little bit, I think you'll find this interesting for sure. So you know, you've been helping me with some of my movement and mobility. So thank you for that. But you might ask, someone might ask, well, why, why would someone who practices yoga for years and has a somewhat daily practice?

Why would they need the help of a mobility coach? Right. Well, yoga's been practiced for thousands of years, but we are different as humans, right? We sit in front of a desk and I've been in this chair since eight o'clock this morning. Don't tell my doctor. And you know, in your, your shoulders are down and you don't have strength in the areas you might say, even in the seventies and yoga is really discovered and brought to the west when you discovered in the west.

And so you could go through these things all day long, but sometimes your body. One of the things we're working on right now is my internal hip rotation. Right. So four years practicing yoga, flexible as all get out how hard folding. Right. And that's blocked. That's not going to change for sure.

Right. And so sometimes you need that additional support. And also that also, plus the strength train, you do a lot of where people really get hurt, especially in a strong, in other kind of like power yoga is doing. Okay. Yeah. So like push up with your elbows by your side, if you will, right. Always get hurt.

They get hurt because they're most people's shoulders kind of come forward and you're just pounding away at your what's your bicep tendon there. Yep. Right there. Yep. Right. And so are you, you don't have the strength. You'll have to help me here. What's this called? And you're like, right. You're right.

Most people don't. And so you need to do strength training. Right to keep yourself from getting hurt and something that's supposed to be super helpful, like yoga. Right? And so there's a lot of, there's a lot of overlap there. Like I think people think yoga fixes everything. That's not true, right?

It is, it is a practice, a method that's can be super helpful, but you also have to take care of your body and protect it's education. Right. And so learning how your body should move, learning, where you might have to efficiency and strength to go support whatever practice you need. I think it's kind of a cancer, like weight training to play football, better basketball, better football, better.

Yeah. So short answers. You're not swinging some kettlebells. I do I do some exercises that kind of help open me up and yeah. And I think it's very complimentary. Yeah. Oh, for sure. You know, I think you know, it's really interesting and I get it to a point like, W with youth athletes, you it's, oh, it's almost redundant at this point.

How much we hear, like don't specialize early. You know, kids, these days are specializing too early and you know, you need to be a multi-sport athlete. You know, it helps your athleticism and helps with injury prevention helps with creativity all these different things. And then what do we do as, as adults we specialize and to the fitness realm that we love the most.

And I get it. We're all adults. We have very busy lives. We've got an hour, maybe an hour and a half to ourselves, if you're lucky. And then and you're what that timeframe, if you're going to, if you're going to do something for you, you typically want to do what you are good at, what you enjoy to do. So, you know, say I take someone with one of, some of the powerlifters that I work with and I try to tell them.

All right. I want you to go do an hour and a half a yoga, you know, like they're going to look at me like I'm crazy. And but there's components of it where it is super beneficial for a powerlifter to have some more, especially like a sport, like an Olympic lifting. Let's take that. For example, there's a ton of mobility that's required and the mandate out of that sport.

So if you're not trying to do some type of cross training, if you will. And cause that street goes both ways. You know, we hear it all all the time. You can't go wrong going or you can't go wrong getting strong, right. Like strength, training, fixes, everything it does for sure. But it's a, but it's definitely a two way street.

And in terms of you should be a little bit of, you should be able to run a little bit. If you're a runner it's going to help with your aerobic capacity. Now you should be able to have some good mobility as a, waitress, as a, an Olympic lifter as a or somebody who focuses predominantly on waitress.

And a lot of times that's where these yoga positions and these yoga styles come into play. If I might rip on that a bit so, you know, obviously the Asana, the poses and yoga can help open you up, can help them ability. A lot of things we do at your place, like can be mimicked in some of the poses and bring awareness.

But we focus a lot on ASA and yoga poses because that's your entry point to yoga. If you go to a studio, you take any of your class, you start, you raised your hand, you start falling over things, but as she's progressing yoga, Asana, pranayama, which is breathing part of your heart, which is withdrawal.

Diana, which is concentration. So you're actually using the poses to kind of climb this ladder or if you will, to get to a point of ultimate concentration. Okay. Right. But you can find that in any exercise, any fitness routine, any thing like that, that you enjoy. Right. Get it. Like if you love swinging kettlebells.

Right. Can you do it with proper breath? Can you do it without being distracted by everything? Because it's have, can you get in the state of focus and calm your mind and helps you find kindness, inner internists, inner peace, if you will. Oh my gosh. This is interesting. I never thought of it that way. In terms of like using yoga as a technique or a strategy for.

Focusing on a movement strategy. So that's over and just fun or anything that you do. Yeah, the the second Sutra yoga, the second searcher and yoga sutras of potentially yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. It says nothing about poses, exercise, nothing it's about using these poses.

You're breathing. Withdrawal from census, so you can reach a state of concentration. That's cool. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. And so you can do these things no matter what your movement is for sure. Right. But can you control your breathing while you're moving? Right. Can you, can you cease to be distracted by other things while you're moving?

So this may sound ignorant, I guess, but is there in that, in that series of flow that you're kind of talking about there in terms of getting to a total concentration or total like centered miss, I guess you can say, what is that driven from like meditation techniques or meditative techniques, or is that a huge cup?

Is meditation a part of yoga or are those two things. That is very much a part where it might be different from what people usually ascribed to meditation is. So if you think of the eight limbs of yoga, so most people are familiar, we're just starting to Midwest. People are familiar with poses, Asana, pranayama, breathing control, probably a heart withdrawal from the consensus, Diana which is concentration Dharana, which is meditation.

And it's somebody which is. You're absorbed into the universe. And so meditation is a piece of yoga. Right. But the way yoga describes it is it's also different from just concentration. Yeah. Right. It's the next step, if you will. So you concentration, Diana is like, I'll look at a flame and I just stare at it.

The goal of doing that. I'm not seeing the things around me. I am basically teaching my mind. I can just stare at the state and not be distracted. Yeah, it does that. Then the next step is the object of which I'm concentrating as myself. Okay. Interesting. So you don't need the external object to, to focus, just focus. 

Wow. Okay. Did they have to take some practice? There's no way you just jump into a class like boom. Got it. 

That's the whole secret. It's always, always practice. It's just practice. You don't you don't achieve it. 

Yeah, dude. That's that's speaking. You just show up. Yeah, that's great. So is there, so obviously you can become a co like a, an instructor or a coach, or a quote unquote guru with yoga, but like, what are their levels of like, is it like, is it like karate where there's there's levels and belts, maybe not belts, but are there levels of yoga expertise that you try to like, be like, I can do this pose and I can become a flame.

Is that like, so no. And yes. Let me, let me, let me talk about it a bit.  Especially. So there's benefit to all yoga, if you will. And just a lot of different styles Chagas is it has a levels series that you I'm in primary series out of practice that for four years, my teacher says, well, go to second series.

And there is pride in that. Probably wish it didn't happen. Just like I do a second series. So I don't do primitive man. But the idea is, could you suspend that? The idea is if I just wanted to go in the yellow room, lay down my mat into sun salutations for an hour, we'd extreme with extreme focus and concentration.

That's good enough. I should not be attached to what series I'm in what level? I'm on. That's right. And so in many ways, I don't think you should ever judge yourself, but you would want to charge yourself like how well did I concentrate? How well did I breathe? How well was I not distracted by things outside of what I was doing versus how complex is the post data?

Do you see that? There's a, there's a nuance there for sure. Yeah. Cause it's not a. I love it. Cause you're, you're focusing more on the process and being like savagely good at the fund at the foundations versus trying to. Like just do something cool for Instagram essentially. Well, simple model for this is you talk about breathing earlier.

So if you, if you take breathing as candidate, the the gateway between poses and meditation, just to make it simple. Okay. There's kind of two things you have is known for poses and meditation breathing the, the gate. So take, remember me 240 pounds of going to Charlotte for the first time. I can barely do a sun salutation without breakout to sweat.

Right. But if I keep doing that over time, I start breathing comfortably in it. Now that I can breathe comfortably, I can concentrate in it. I could call my mind. That is, I talked about it, but that is yours, if you will, for sure. Right. You get, you get the more complex pose, but because you want to train yourself to be able to breathe in that pose, you can train yourself to calm your mind in that pose so you can reach that next state.

Right. And so really the complexity of the poses in many ways are just tools. So you convince your mind, I can breathe through this and I can focus through this and whatever's going on outside of me is irrelevant. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I think you know, it's, it's pretty, it's pretty wild. What you. How doubting you can get or how hard it is to think about other things when you can.

Yeah. Yeah. That's right. You take that to your everyday life, right? Stuff that happens, drink too much coffee. So what excites you to get fight or flight then? All of a sudden you're making really rash decisions or reacting to things and which one it is like, calm yourself, breathe and focus and make.

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I think I think it was NCS Atlanta Neighborhood Charter Schools or something like that, where they were talking about, or somebody was telling me that they, and this is all secondhand knowledge is in firsthand experience. So if I'm wrong on this answer. Yes. If anybody's listening, I'm sorry, but the teachers, there's, there's almost like a rule where the kids had to do.

If they're angry at someone or they're going to like tattle on someone or they're mad about something, right. They had to do like four box breathing patterns, and then they were allowed to kind of tattle on, but like what would happen is a lot of times the kid would lose interest or they would not be angry or they would talk in.

Be a little bit more comprehensive in their speech. And it was just it's. I love that because you're so right. Like the first thing we do when we get angry is we get in that fight or flight. We start breathing into our chest using our, or using our scalings, things like that and using very short breaths.

And if we can control that a little bit better than our decision making process becomes a lot easier. Yeah, absolutely. You see me? I just picked up my copy of The Dover Sutras. You said something to me, I go, you're talking to your audience. You're like, if I'm wrong here, like correctly, I fear I got Diana neurona wrong.

Oh my God. I want to correct it before I get off the podcast. Yes. I would not know the difference. You sound like you sounded great to me while I studied all the time. For sure for sure. I get that man. Polar dude. 

So I don't want to keep you too long. I know you've been in that chair all day, so I want to give you some, let you enjoy your evening a little bit, but if anybody wanted to find out more about like, so, I mean, you're, you're on the board of a lot of cool things.

What was the board that you said you were a part of? Would that does the the, has like the foundation or the FA or the fundraisers or the yeah. 

Trinity Foundation, T R I N. Okay. Trinity is three and Sanscript. And it's it was started by my yoga teacher. One of my yoga teachers, Taylor Himes.

He has a podcast as well when he talks to people in recovery and, and other yogis. And again, we, what we do is we raise money so that we can provide yoga classes to people starting recovery. Yeah. So it's supplements a recovery program or alcoholics anonymous or something. 

Love it. Love it. So then if somebody wanted to reach out to you say you know, if they wanted to use yoga to kind of help them with their recovery process, or if they just wanted to find a bad-ass dude who, who is super knowledgeable on the topic of yoga, what would be a great way if you want to, it would be a great way for somebody to be able to reach out to you.

Yeah, absolutely. Or if you if I can help you in any way. And no matter what the topic LinkedIn, right? Butler rains on LinkedIn you can find me on Instagram. Just, my name is my handle. And so I, I encourage anyone, especially, especially if you're struggling. What's some type of addiction or kind of, we call sober, curious you know, if that's something that interests you and you can't figure out how to solve for it I'm usually keen to speak with people and I'm always keen to speak with people and, and kind of help them see that as possible.

And that, you know, it's not I just know one, it might. You know, anybody wants to drink whatever you want to do. That's cool. But if some people get to a point in your life where they want to change that, and they felt like kind of the world tells them they can't. And what I like to do is kind of put a message out there that it is real possible.

It's really possible. Thanks for giving me the space to say that. Yeah, dude, absolutely. Butler. I mean, you're doing great things for the community of Atlanta, really. And I'm happy to get you on the podcast. Love being able to give you a platform to be able to, to speak on that and enjoy the rest of your evening.

My man, thanks for having me super fun.

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