Strongman, Veteran, Jeremy Apisa

I met Jeremy in India. He and I were a part of the first theYoga4Change group – which as an amazing project and future documentary. Check it out using the link provided.

Jeremy has an extraordinary ability to make a group feel safer in his presence. He has a kind heart, which became evident as I saw him interact with others. His ability to really listen is something I wish could be conveyed in writing.

We connected as two observers in a group full of shining stars.

A veteran, a strongman, a silent warrior – It is my pleasure to introduce Jeremy Apisa as Yogabud’s first Featured Yogi!

What does your physical training regimen consist of?

Currently my Training consists of Powerlifting, Strongman Training, Yoga and Cardio. I typically workout in some sort of fashion nearly everyday, only taking a day off when I really need to. Heavy upper body training twice a week and lower body training every other, then supplemental muscle work, and those are both during lunch breaks and after work. My cardio and Yoga training are in the morning before work, I alternate back and forth every other day.

What does your yoga practice look like?

My yoga practice alternates in the morning, paired with brief Meditation afterwards. Depending on how I am feeling, I typically stick with Power Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga.

Why did you decide to go to India with Yoga4Change?

Well at first it was because of my significant other at the time. She was very much into Yoga as I was still starting out and didn’t feel I was up to par just yet. But I decided to go with her and share the experience and it was something that I would not change for the world.

Could you share one of your favorite stories/memories/experiences from India?

We were at the Bodhi Tree and it was nightfall. I had happened to walk to the water where a giant statue of Shiva stood in the middle of the water. I was with two others (Danielle and Alissa) and monks approached us. After some back and forth the oldest of them, asked me if I meditated. I simply responded not often, and he told me, which still resonates with me, he said “You should meditate, 1 hour a day, you have strong muscles, strong body, but in time, soreness, tiredness will slow you, meditation strengthens the mind, it will keep your muscles strong and keep you going.” And from there I make it a point, to do my best to keep my mind strong and strong with a mind-muscle connection.

Also I met a stray puppy that I still to this day wish I could’ve taken home, and he followed me all the way out of the temple area and couldn’t come. I still have picture that I look at till this day of Krishna, guards named him.

What would you tell someone thinking about going on a trip with Yoga4Change?

To embrace every moment. Take it all in. Sure you can visit these places as a Tourist and in some ways you still are. But you have a chance to not only practice your Yoga with others from all over, but in a different location. You get to be an ambassador and show the world and break the typically stereotypes of “tourists” ruining their place at which they live and bring Yoga back into that area, show case it and inspire others.

You’re very open about your experience of PTSD. How would you describe it to someone with little to no understanding of it?

I wasn’t always open about it and still am working on it. It has a very nasty Stigma with it, and it seems almost like a cry for attention in the Veteran world. It’s different for most, but for me, the way I feel with it, always on edge. Hyper-vigilance, tuned in attention to detail, nightmares, and constantly thinking about being deployed. Having the feeling of being safer when I was deployed. Missing it constantly, but hating it at the same time. When agitated to a point I can lose my temper, but also shut down just as fast. Talking can be hard for me, well opening up about emotions or expressing them. I say what needs to be said, very bluntly and short and that’s it for me. I can be very quiet and I am perfectly okay with that, although many others aren’t, makes them uncomfortable or uneasy. It is always there and never leaves; Veterans may be home, but they’re never really home.

How has yoga affected your experience of PTSD?

Yoga has been another outlet for me. It has allowed me to breathe. When I lift it’s an emotional lift. I get angry and I just get at it. But with Yoga, I am calm, I breathe, I resonate with the energy, the moment and the movements. For the first time, unlike lifting, I can nearly shut things out. There was a time I was working with Amie in India, and there was a moment, all I could hear was the wind in the trees, people were drowned out, my thoughts were drowned out and I could hear her talking lightly and for the first time in a long time, there was no thoughts of being deployed, of what could go wrong while we were in India, nothing bad, just peace.

You live in Nevada, where cannabis is now legal for recreational use. Have you used cannabis since it’s been legal? If yes, how has it impacted your life?

I unfortunately have not had the opportunity to use it. As being still in a Federal job, I am not legally allowed to.

What have you been working on lately that you’re excited to talk about?

Well when it comes to major projects, I have been working on putting together the plans to open my own gym. But not any gym, I want it to be a community. A place where we as people raise each other and help each other to our better selves. I want my gym to be a haven for those with PTSD, or disabilities to come, train, workout and find that balance between what you feel because you can’t help it and fitness. I use fitness to help myself find balance, to find my center and I want to help others do the same. This same gym, in time will also be in part with a Non-Profit I want to put together, to pair dogs with Veterans, or those in need of a service dog or emotional support dog. Also to provide homes for dogs, after Krishna and not being able to take him home, it’s something I still think about, I want to do more, and help more dogs out there like that.

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