Our “Live Simply” series profiles experts in their fields who are helping people save themselves from their complicated, overscheduled, exhausting lives. Although the approaches are diverse, the end goal is the same: Less stress, more joy. First in our series, a yoga instructor who is making waves with his realistic approach to wellness. Far from the stereotype of the holier-than-thou yoga devotee, David Romanelli wants everyone to stop trying to be perfect at everything and find a way to live in the moment.
When yoga instructor David Romanelli was a kid, his dad took him to a certain World Series game in Los Angeles. “Yeah, it was that game,” he says. “The one where the Dodgers’ Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic, game-winning home run in the bottom of the 9th and created one of the most famous moments in sports history.”
But young David didn’t see that home run. “My dad wanted to leave early, so we missed it,” he says. “We were on the freeway when it happened. So painful.”
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Today, Romanelli, also known as Yeah Dave, is a foodie and an irreverent spiritualist, but the essence of what he does is helping people find ways to appreciate the important moments in their lives—every day. “I realized as a kid that there’s a certain courage to sticking with the moment and trusting it,” he says. “We miss so many moments because we have too much going on—we’re raised to multi-task. It’s not cool to be present.”Romanelli wants to change that, and he’s not just talking the talk. Want to live with more awareness? Here’s how:
Become a Momenteer:
This week, Romanelli launches the Momenteer Movement on momenteer.com to encourage and inspire us to live a more present life. He doesn’t ask that we be attuned to every second of every day (above all, he’s realistic about how people are busy), just that we experience a moment or two that we can remember. “What did you do a week ago Wednesday? Two weeks ago Thursday?” asks Romanelli. “We think it’s no big deal that we can’t recall, but I think we’re building fewer memories. We have Facebook photos and phone videos, but the goal is to have real rich memories that you experience daily.”
What it is:
The Momenteer Movement is about showing up fully for moments that matter. “In the course of a day, that may be one or two instances where something profound or delicious or funny or beautiful happens,” explains Romanelli. It doesn’t have to be an epic experience—something as simple as sitting with a great cup of tea without multi-tasking anything else fits the bill. If you’re game to stop walking and stare at the sunrise in wonder, to savor the taste of a fresh orange slice, to linger in laughter with a friend… then you’re already part of this movement.
What you get:
Everyone who signs up for Momenteering will receive a daily visual inspiration from Romanelli at 1:11pm that serves as a reminder to slow down and savor life. “I want 1:11 to be a time when people stop, take a breath, and realize that they can relax, that everything is okay,” he says. Research shows that mindfulness of this type can help combat depression and anxiety, as well as reduce stress. Sign up here!
Take it further:
For people who want to do even more with Momenteering, there’s an ambassador program that encourages things like sharing the movement in classrooms or around the family dinner table with the help of tools from Romanelli. One is a “Moment Chart” where everyone can record a savored experience each day. Another is a weekly “sensory item,” like a new album, book or flavor of tea—“something that helps people sit down, chill out and live through their senses.”
Take an Easy, Affordable, Comfortable Retreat:
“I’ve done tons of yoga retreats in faraway, exotic, hard-to-get-to places,” says Romanelli. “But real healing and happiness starts at home.” His “In Home Retreat” speaks to that belief by creating an experience where people transform their homes into peaceful spaces and join him for a two-day retreat experience via Livestream. The first In Home Retreat—”Relax, Rejuvenate, Refresh”—runs January 25-26th. (Sign up here!)
What it is:
“It’s a combination of deep stretch yoga and storytelling that will engage people mentally,” he says. “There are also guest interviews with musicians and authors who tie into our themes—Feng Shui is one subject we’ll cover, creating harmony in your home.”
What you get:
When you sign up, block off Friday night and all day Saturday to dedicate to the retreat. Think of it as a staycation where you view the Livestream—doing yoga, hearing stories, being mindful and awake and aware. You don’t have to pack, you don’t have to travel, you just have to carve out a small space in your home where you can tune in. “I’m going to lead you on a fun, deep, soothing journey,” says Dave. If you can’t join the Livestream in real time, you can download the programs for a limited time after the retreat and watch them on your own.
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Take it further:
To make the most of the In Home Retreat, set up a space in your home where you can truly relax and be open to the practice of mindfulness. Clear space for yoga routines, find a comfortable pillow for sitting to listen to stories from Romanelli and set up a tray for the Saturday night wine and chocolate closing session (oh yeah). Not only will you be recharged, but your home will too.Final words from Romanelli: “Thoreau said perception of beauty is a moral test—making time for beauty has to do with your character. 100 years from now, no one will remember any of us. Enjoy your life more. Now.”