Stay Zen #1 – Intro

Hope you enjoy my new web series that’s all about Health & Fitness, Dating & Relationships, and everything else From Wall Street to Main Street.  Stay Zen – R

When the going gets tough…go to the Yoga

So what does that mean, you might ask…go to the Yoga? Because as tradition may have it, we usually associate “the going gets tough” with the likes of Clint Eastwood and our ability to toughen up and power through any challenging situation with “the tough get going”, right?

Wrong.SandiTreePose

Well, at least it’s wrong in the sense that what is really needed in challenging times is our ability to find peace within ourselves and truly understand that everything is temporary and everything will be OK. To be calm, to reassure yourself that the Universe is conspiring for your highest good in every aspect of your life, and to know that letting go of fear, angst, frustration, disappointment, judgement and self-doubt are all part of the powers of Yoga.

Embracing a lifestyle based on Yoga principles is not just about practicing asanas (i.e., Yoga poses) in a church-like studio with other like-minded individuals. It’s also about how you think, feel and project your positive energy and charisma out into the world, not to mention how you handle tough situations by remaining tranquil and patient and believing you will persevere.

Easier said than done, perhaps, but totally do-able. Whether it’s living week-to-week while always searching for new gigs and barely making ends meet (like my creative friends), or enduring a 3-day flu that keeps you from your Daily Fitness Program (like I just did), or mourning the sudden death of a family friend (RIP – John Scheifele).

Just GO TO THE YOGA, because it works.SandiChildsPose,jpg

And if you’ve never practiced Yoga or don’t even know where to start, try a simple Tree Pose or Childs Pose (see photos), or check-out our 15-second Yoga sequence I recently posted on Instagram @BLVDZEN.

Get Fit. Live Healthy. Lose Inches. Stay Zen.

Enjoy – R

Get Fit. Live Healthy. Lose Inches. Stay Zen

Because life’s a BLVD and you gotta be ZEN.

And everything else that comes with living a self-respecting and healthy lifestyle that keeps you happy and fit. As well as lean and confident, because feeling good about yourself positively affects your friends and loved ones as you project your inner strength out into the Universe.

So if you haven’t already, add some exercise and some Zen (i.e., enlightenment) to your day and you’ll be on your way! And if you could use a little inspiration to get you going today, then follow BLVD ZEN on Instagram (click below), and Get Fit, Live Healthy, Lose Inches and Stay Zen.
BLVD ZENEnjoy – R

No Retreat, baby, No Surrender

Bruce Springsteeen’s quintessential phrase “No Retreat, baby, No Surrender” from his mega-hit, No Surrender, penetrates much deeper than our country’s blood brothers in the stormy night vowing to defend us through raging Wars. At least it does for me. And today was a perfect example of how a powerful song like this can inspire me to inspire you…30 years later.

Verdugo Mountains in Burbank, CA

1-Mile Away View of the Verdugo Mountains – Burbank, CA

Just as this song came on my playlist today about halfway through my 2-mile run, I passed this elderly woman walking up the hill. She had to be at least 90 years old, all hunched over and wearing a light blue cardigan sweater and dark wrap-around sunglasses to shield her from the rays. She was ever so delicately ambling up the steep incline with the help a walking cane. And if you’ve ever traveled up that 1-mile stretch from San Fernando Blvd to Sunset Canyon Drive at the base of the Verdugo Mountains in Burbank (see photo), you know that it’s pretty darn steep. So much so that it probably took this senior citizen 20 minutes to walk to the next house. No matter, because she was still walking up that hill.

author, Rich Tola

author, Rich Tola

Now that’s what I call “No Retreat, baby, No Surrender”.

Because getting older doesn’t mean you can’t fight Father Time and do something every single day to strengthen your muscles – and your bones – and to preserve your body as best you can. It’s called a Daily Fitness Program, and ANYONE can do it.

And it doesn’t matter what you do: walk, jog, bike, swim, Yoga, weights, Hulu-Hoop, whatever! Just do something, like the elderly woman in Burbank. While you still can.

Peace – R

Keep Kindness in Your Soul

When you lookup the word ‘humankind’ in the dictionary it says “human beings collectively”. Let’s go one step further and add “who are implicitly kind to one another”, and make that a requirement for the entire human race. At the very least, shouldn’t we always respect ourselves and be respectful and kind to others as we journey along this amazing ride called life? And more importantly is our ability to take this unreserved kindness we’re born with – because we all start as little babies that are sweet and kind, right – and Keep Kindness in Your Soul. Forever would be good…just keep it going into adolescence and throughout adulthood.

author, Rich Tola

author, Rich Tola

Case in Point: Yesterday I was riding the bus from Burbank to Downtown LA when we stopped at the Los Angeles Zoo – one of my favorite LA Landmark’s as evidenced by my charming video, Zoo Yoga. About 50 students and 3 teachers (no kidding) started boarding as I quickly hopped over to a better seat inside our soon-to-be traveling sardine can. Pretty cool stuff for a 14 year-old, but perhaps not so much for us unsuspecting passengers enjoying an otherwise peaceful ride. It actually turned out to be a great ride, and here’s why:

About 10 minutes into our trek I reached for my cellphone. Hmm, that’s odd, nowhere to be found. I immediately retraced my steps and figured it was somewhere between me and my previous seat. No worries, I’ll just remain calm and confident that someone has found it, and more importantly, that this someone has the KINDNESS in their SOUL to return it. Not to mention the good character to do the right thing. Interestingly, I really believed one of these Zoo-going kids would return it and save me from that nightmare of losing your phone!

So I stood up and shouted, “Excuse me, did anyone in the front of the bus find a little black phone”. A youngster immediately raised his hand and said yes. A rush of excitement washed over me as I saw the greatness of ‘humankind’ in that one boy. Way to go kid! Way to have KINDNESS in your SOUL…and way to set a great example for each and every one of us.

Keep Kindness in Your Soul, my friends, for as long as humanly possible.

Happy Thanksgiving & Hanukkah everyone! Enjoy – R

3 Tips to Improve Your Posture

It’s that time of year again, when the air is brisk and your Perfect Posture begins to wane in the face of Wintertime weather. I call that your Wintertime Posture, when your body naturally compensates for the cold with a defensive-type posture that seeks warmth by covering up and closing in. As opposed to your Summertime Posture, when the warm rays of the vitalizing sunshine make it easy to stand tall and lift your chin while opening your heart up to the sky, thus enabling a more offensive-type posture, and albeit, a much better one.

In the Wintertime we have a tendency to roll our shoulders in and lean forward, especially when we’re walking. It seems to protect us against the cold and get us there faster, or so we think. And because we don’t even know we’re doing it – who’s thinking about Perfect Posture when you’re walking or standing in the freezing cold – and because excellent health begins with excellent posture, that’s no excuse for letting good ol’ Mother Nature set you back.

Regardless of the changing seasons, arm yourself with my 3 Tips to Improve Your Posture:

1) Spend a few minutes every morning standing tall with Perfect Posture, i.e., feet planted firmly on the ground – shoulder width and hips distance apart, soften your knees and relax your butt, pull through your core (belly button) and feel your entire torso and spine elongating, roll your shoulders open with palms facing forward, shine your heart up to the sky, relax your shoulder-blades down your back and lengthen through your neck, soften and square your chin to the ground and reach your crown to the sky. Now relax your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply and let your inhales and exhales come naturally. Don’t hold your breath…and RELAX.

2) Repeat this Perfect Posture exercise many times throughout the day, for a brief as 10 seconds. Just do it. Like when you’re standing in line at the store, or on the corner before the light changes, or at the teller window, or waiting for a bus, or baking cookies, or even while you’re Watching the Ellen Show! It’s only for a short time and it reminds the body – and your mind – of Perfect Posture, thus creating a benchmark for success.

3) Spend a few minutes before you go to bed standing tall with Perfect Posture…you know the drill. Why, you might ask, considering if you did #1 and #2 then you already spent time working on your Perfect Posture, right? Because, you’d get the same exact answer if you asked any New Yorker that infamous question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice, Practice, Practice.

Happy Veterans Day everyone! Enjoy- R

BEWARE: 10 Most Frightful Pick-up Lines

Listen up ladies, and BEWARE this Halloween season! Don’t be fooled by wannabe Gigolos serenading you with my 10 MOST FRIGHTFUL PICK-UP LINES. Because we all know that ghastly pick-up lines can scare the skeleton out of you and are mischievously laced with good ol’ fashion bullshit that’s meant to keep you talking – so those blood-sucking bad-boys can penetrate your sweet coffin and suck you dry!

author, Rich Tola

author, Rich Tola

1. You live around here?
Probably the most classic of frightful pick-up lines from the most amateur of bad-boys with no shot at scoring. He’s just trying to bait you ladies into a conversation by asking you an innocent question. No chance suckas!

2. Where are you from?
Notice how these four simple words could spark a conversation? Don’t fall for it ladies! Or better yet, answer it with: Barsoom (the planet Mars from Edgar Rice Burroughs and the sci-fi classic, John Carter). Or just a sweet smile that says “cute, but not enough”.

3. What’s your name?
Ouch, this one hurts just reading it! If she wanted you to know her name, chucklehead, then she would have introduced herself in the first place! NEXT.

4. Haven’t I seen you in the movies?
What do think she’s an idiot! And what’s that mean, “in the movies”? Like Titanic or Twilight or We Bought a Zoo? So what are you thinking, pal? That this weak attempt at a complimentary statement disguised as a question will touch upon her deep dark desire to be a starlet? Think again my un-original friend, your feeble attempt at flattery will get you nowhere!

5. You’re really hot!
Really? You think this frightful pick-up line will work? Are you kidding me! How many times have you heard this one ladies? From every chucklehead on the street just throwing bullshit against the wall and hoping it’ll stick. Forgettaboutit!

6. Don’t I know you?
Of course she doesn’t know you, you idiot! Don’t you know that women are smarter than men and usually pay more attention when first meeting someone, especially a wannabe Gigolo like yourself trying to pilfer her trick-or-treat bag. If she already met you, then chances are you’ve already crashed and burned while trying to hit on her with another one of my 10 Most Frightful Pick-Up Lines from this list!

7. Have we met before?
Come on guys, another feeble attempt at striking up a conversation by asking an innocent question that requires her to really look at you before answering. Can be a tricky one that sneaks up on you ladies, but don’t be fooled! If you met him before then you already know that he’s probably haunted by ’50 Shades of Playerdom’. NEXT.

8. Is that you VANESSA? (or any other name)
This is definitely one of those classic Trick-or-Treat lines: if he’s wrong, then who does he think you are, some two-bit hussy who doesn’t leave an impression? And if you met him before and told him your name, then he should at least remember the place where you met and not guess wrong. Especially if you made a connection. And if he guesses correctly, then go for it! He’s either telling the truth and you’re in for a real Treat, or get ready for a wild hayride because he’s a real psychic and a goblin with a bag full of Tricks!

9. You have BEAUTIFUL eyes! (or any synonym)
Once again, let me ask my favorite question, “So what does that mean?” Because any subjective comment complimenting a woman’s asset, whether it be her eyes or her earlobes is just that: subjective. And usually full of Gigolo bullshit that’s meant to move the conversation forward. Don’t be fooled ladies! If you have beautiful eyes, a wonderful smile, great legs or whatever, you already know it and have been told a million times. BEWARE of all these Mr. Right-Nows with Frightful Pick-Up Lines that make you feel like they CARE!

10.Do you believe in love at first sight?
Give me a break! What decade do think this is, the Psychedelic 60’s where Peace & Love was all the rage? Come on guys, you can do better than this. It’s embarrassing! Because if you were truly blessed with love at first sight, you wouldn’t have to inquire about it. It’ll just happen, because it’s meant to be and the Universe wants it to be. I know, a lot of Zen master mumbo-jumbo that’s not fit for a player like you. Well think again, you ethereal chucklehead, and put your frightful pick-up lines to bed! Amen

And for all the ladies who didn’t know me back in my bad-boy party days – and that’s a good thing – here’s some Jersey Shore mischief from my sexy memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood . Enjoy – R