Hello, I’m Toku
The first question people often ask me is why do I go by a weird Japanese name that rhymes with Tofu.
Toku is short for Gentoku which is the name I received when I was living at a Zen monastery. You see in my tradition when you take Jukai and become a card carrying Buddhist your teachers give you a name. The name they gave me was Gentoku which means manifesting virtue or present sincerity.
I do my best on my blog and in my training to live up to that name and to help other people embody their best selves as well.
I’m originally from Tennessee but now I live in Portland, OR. I work as a Mindfulness Based personal trainer and habit coach and have clients in Portland as well as all over the US and Canada.
I’m writer and thought leader in the Mindful Fitness and Habit community. I’ve had works published on sites like TinyBuddha.com, The Change Blog, and Sea Change.
My philosophy is based on the understanding that awareness alone is the most powerful catalyst for change. All diets, exercise plans, and self help systems work because they make us pay attention, but they all fail to some extent because they focus on rules instead of awareness.
While rules can help us be more aware, they often mask the power of our own minds and hearts. I work with clients locally and over the Internet to find balance in their lives, minds, and bodies using a unique combination of mindfulness, exercise, and habit creation techniques.
Most of the posts I write are about one of these topics:
Occasionally I’ll write about another topic just to keep things interesting. I post to this blog 3 – 4 times a week.
I would love it if you subscribed to my blog. I get such amazing inspiration from my readers and I get alot of the ideas for my blog from questions and concerns that my readers and clients share with me. Subscribing is a great way to support what I do and it also makes sure you don’t miss any of my posts.
I send everyone who subscribes to my blog a short E-Book
“A Guide to Mindul Fitness Practice”
as a way of saying thanks and also to help you get started
If you’d like to subscribe you can sign up here.
My Top Posts
If you are new to my blog, you might want to start with some of my popular posts. Here are the top 3 in each category
- What is Mindfulness? Mindful Eating 101
- What is Mindfulness? 3 Mindful Eating Tips
- Why Is It A Good Rule To Not Have Rules?
- What’s One Thing You’ll Never Hear A Personal Trainer Admit?
- How does fierce compassion work? – Mantra practice
- The Most Important Factor – The Archer
I have been a life long seeker of truth and transcendence, but that has taken many forms. I was born overseas in Hahn, Germany. My father was in the Air Force, so I traveled alot as a child. I flew over the Atlantic 7 times before the age of 3.
In third grade, we moved to Brentwood, TN, a small town south of Nashville, where I spent most of my youth. I played sports including, wrestling, soccer, track, cross country, baseball, and football growing up, but wrestling was my main sport.
I joined the wrestling team and was an HVAC champ in 8th grade. I was a 3 Time Regional Champ, and Placed 5th in the state wrestling tournament my senior year. In addition I won several tournament championships, my team came in 2nd in the state my senior year, and I won many freestyle wrestling tournaments, including the state tournament.
I went to college at George Washington University in D.C. , where I majored in Philosophy and studied dance and communication, though I didn’t get a minor in either. I continue to play intramural sports, but became largely inactive.
I started smoking cigarettes and pot and turned into a dirty, stinking, hippie. (A term of endearment for many years, I assure you)
After college, I moved back to Nashville where I worked in the music business for 5 years. I worked in distribution, for small labels, and on tour. I was a guitar tech ans stage manager for the Gin Blossoms for 2 years. I was also the head merchandise guy for country artist Phil Vassar for 1 year.
But I wasn’t satisfied, so I decided to move out west and seek my fortune. On my way out to Portland, OR I went on an epic adventure. I hiked over 187 miles in over 8 state and national parks and took a side trip to India for one month.
While in India I had a bit of a crisis and came to the realization. I had spent my life seeking only external things to make me happy. I realized I needed more. I needed something that would sustain me on the inside.
After coming back to the states, I struggled to integrate this realization into my life. I started reading books on Buddhism but it went no further. I got a ski instrucur job and eventually became the manager at Mississippi Studios. After a great deal of conflict with one of my bosses I lost my job and was at a loss about how to proceed with my life.
Soon after I met a guy at a party name Lowell Hope. Even though he was much younger than me he had a palpable sense of calm. I was intrigued, so I started talking to him. He told me he had just come back from traveling after living at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Northern Oregon.
This piqued my interest so, I asked him about mediation and some other topics. He invited me to come try it out. So one week I went with him and tried seated meditation for the first time.
I took to it quickly. I started attending meditation regularly at Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple. The next month I went on my first weekend retreat. The month after I went to my first Sesshin (week long silent retreat). Then 2 months later I moved into the monastery.
Suffice to say when I find something that works I throw myself into it. I spent the next 2 years living and working there. I learned a great deal about mindfulness, discipline, communication, and most importlanly myself.
After moving to the monastery I quit smoking, everything, and gained a little weight. Realizing that I couldn’t just coast on my high school athletics anymore I started exercising and doing yoga. I found that exercise and mindfulness we natural companions. I encouraged the community to include more time for exercise and offered to workout with my fellow residents.
After some time at the monastery I began to contemplate becoming an ordained preist. I struggled with the decision, but with the help of others I discerned that it was not my path. After 2 years and half years of a transformative experience I decided to leave the monastery and bring what I had learned into the world.
After leaving the monastery exercise became even more important. I started training for century rides and triathlons. I saw again and again how exercise and mindfulness helped my mind and my life. Soon after I decided to start my own business Mind Fit Move.
Ever since I have been working to help my clients realize the kind of transformation I experienced at the monastery. I know first hand the power that mindfulness and sustainable change can have. I learn so much about myself and the world from my clients and I wake up everyday happy that I can offer something to the world that really makes a difference. Here is what one of my clients has to say about my approach,
“Gentoku is the perfect trainer for working with where you’re at and easing anyone’s body type into steady activity over the long-term, where change can really take effect. No crazy dieting or denial of enjoyment that has you crashing and losing any gains after a short term goal is reached. Instead, he applies principals of truly observing your body state in exercise, in food, and all aspects so it applies to easier to achieve, far-reaching objectives. And he does it using very modern tools coupled with ancient meditative methods. Thanks to his coaching, I am already on the way to dropping pant sizes and feeling far more comfortable in my body in activities I already enjoy.” — Faddah Wolf (20+lbs lost)
Thanks so much for reading my Bio. I’d love to talk to you more about how I can help you transform your life.
A great way to get started is to Subscribe to my Blog. As a thank you, you will get a free E-book on mindful fitness
In addition I’m happy to answer any questions you have about Mindful Habit and Fitness Coaching. Just shoot me an email at toku at mindfitmove.com
I offer online coaching as well which you can check out by clicking here.