Why do we disembody from our mindfulness practices?

Over the last three years and I have struggled with maintaining my own mindfulness practices. I experienced a tremendous amount of grief all at once. It hit me as if someone had pulled the chair out from under me and I had not realized how far it was to the floor. I was being hit so fast with so much that my body was using disembodiment as a protection mechanism –which there is value to this. I was experiencing my being through a whole other aspect. I have kept up with my self-care practices even beefed them up more than usual. I let go of my attachments to what “I thought they should be” and allowed myself to choose practices that “would support me” at the moment. I no longer felt guilty for doing my self-care practices because I realized that they were an act of self-care and self-love and those that judged me for doing them told a story more about that person than me. Society doesn’t value the miraculousness of the body’s ability to self-regulate and self-heal.

As I found a path out to a new perspective I realized that this was an act of mindfulness and yet again another personal growth journey. I began to take my learning into the worlds of nerves, organs, feelings, and needs. I am no longer afraid to feel the big joy and aliveness that my personal practices bring me. When I manage the mud the lotus of my heart can bloom.

What does dis-embodiment mean? It is the act of instance of disembodying on the state of being disembodied.  Disembody is the separate or free (of something) from its concrete form and to deprive of bodily existence. We know that roughly ninety-five percent of what we do is driven by our unconsciousness. If through our personal practices of movement we can make the unconscious conscious how will that affect our lives? This leads me to my next question- How do I inspire clients to understand the treasure of their body? When we are alive and doing our movement practices to the best of our ability at that time of doing we are living in the present tense and we have an awareness to listen to our bodies messages which are embodiment.

 In the unconscious mind, we have things like our belief system, memories, narratives, intuition, moment-to-moment sensations and so on. Do we fully allow ourselves to feel it? Or have we turned down the volume because our culture couldn’t tolerate all the feelings or not have the ability to understand us. We don’t get to turn the volume down on just pain instead when we turn the volume down we are turning the volume down on everything. This leads to things like losing trust in ourselves, thinking that movement will hurt us, that any felt sense must be bad and so on. Our right brain is where we connect with our feeling of being whole. When we allow our stories to take over we are disconnecting from our sense of knowing and our “should’s” take over. Stories don’t happen in the present tense. Examples of stories are: I’ll ruin someone time with my needs; I’m a burden; No one likes me; When I get the new job I’ll feel great.  How do we avoid our body? We disconnect through moving to the left brain and work on becoming our “should’s” our ego mind says to stay within these narrow parameters?  While our inner wisdom usually asks questions like: What are you capable of? Who are you? What is good for you?

All of this is difficult and painful work as we learn to accept all of our emotions and flow the body through movement. No Mud- No Lotus!


Resources: Bliss and Grit Episode #12 http://www.blissandgrit.com/

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Your Young Adult Needs Help!

I love seeing parents and teenagers or parents and young-adult children working out next to each other. The energy that is there is spectacular. The parent who has finally taken some time for themselves now that their children are getting older is strong and graceful. This new, empowered energy starts to pull their children toward them and eventually they bring them to a group class. On one hand I love it when a child is struggling and they look over in amazement to see their parent holding steady in their inner strength and resting on their breath. But on the other hand, the child needs some basics and support.

I feel that parents look at their children as young, strong and can do anything so of course they can handle an intermediate to advanced class. In actuality, our youth need to learn a good foundation just as the parent did. While it creates a spark of excitement in the parent that they just showed their children “See, I am strong and can do anything.” This is the ego talking!

I get it. This is a very hard time of life.  A parent may be “empty nesting” or starting to feel the effects of years of putting family first and not caring for their bodies.  Parent and child need to connect as adults now. You no longer have control over a young adult’s every life decision.  This is a way to strut your new-found empowerment too, but let’s do it in a way that inspires the child to movement.

We need to look at the child. How can we take what the parent is learning and share it with the child? Let’s not allow them to start to take back their life (after grad school or in their sixties). Let’s teach them the tools to start their life with inner strength, empowered choices and movement. Our tweens, teens and young adult are struggling with some very real social, emotional and physical issues. Now, I’m not saying that they should get the Hollywood treatment. I am saying that you could share your experience, introduce them to the movement transformation that you have learned and then be like “I’d like for you to learn these tools so you won’t struggle like I did.  If I would have learned these life skills earlier in life this is how my life would be different.”  

Once movement enters both your lives, it can be used as a way of spending time together.   For example, instead of going out to dinner together, how about sharing some yoga classes?  The yoga class is going be something that sticks with them for a lifetime, whereas the food will be gone from them in about 24 hours or less.

While it is good to exercise with the child please remember that they need to have their own self-discovery and journey separate from your own.  They are going through a lot of physical and emotional changes. They are trying to find their independence and using movement services is a great way for them to explore challenges, overcome obstacles, learn consistency toward a long-range goal, push through fears, stress management tools, self-nurture techniques, learn to keep an appointment, to show up on time, etc. All are pretty powerful tools if you ask me.

We get so tied up in raising children that sometimes we forget to teach them the important life fundamentals. If someone took time to mentor you in these areas how would your life be different? You are leading by example, now take it to the next step and mentor your young to make empowering choices regarding their movement because a choice of no movement or movement later in life isn’t an option.

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There’s no “app” for happiness!

I love my husband. He supports me in so many ways and develops me to be a better person in life.

See, I’m always struggling with the “fear loop.”  When there is fear in your life, you can’t lead your life from your “love loop” and vice-verse. Love has more vibrations.

I tend to worry a lot… and, well… worry is just my imagination creating the life that I don’t want.

Bless Nick’s heart.  The other day I called to do my usual check in and he was having a bad day.  It is rare for him to have his blood pressure so high.  He said “Tell me something happy… something positive. I need your help in switching my energy.”  I was delighted because I finally got to help him for a change.

As I started to tell him about the wonderful industry leaders I’d discovered, he was starting to breathe again. Then, I said “I’ve set an intention for my meals… that I’d bring people to my table that would lift me up and inspire me to my greatest potential. Guess who has been sitting with me, presenters, peers who travel the world… to and from speaking engagements.  All have encouraged me to present too.  They were delighted in what I had to share….can you believe it?” 

With fire still in his belly he said “YES, and I’m getting tired of carrying this cross alone for you.  I need you to OWN your GREATNESS.  I believe in you; which is why I’m such a supporter of Mind Body Balance.  Against all odds. But the cross is getting heavy. I need your help. You bring light, inspiration and greatness to everything you touch in this world and now you are touching others and empowering them to be better. You have a gift.  Please own it!”

WOW! He was so right I have been working a lot on this, this year and at the time of this conversation I was half-way through a month of journaling reasons why I was great. This has been a very hard task and there are a lot of repeat reasons, but it is a start.

You know, we aren’t taught happiness. There is no “app” for happiness. What is happiness? How do you define happiness for yourself? Your GPS will help you find your way through the city but will it help you find your way through your life? Movement helps you remove layers of armor, quiet the mind chatter to connect to mind, body and spirit. We are feeling beings, not thinking beings. Our heart has 5,000 times more energy than our mind. If we could just come from the heart with love, peace and joy what could we accomplish? I’m really working on this right now. So if you have mastered this already please share below.

I know, I’m a little crazy right? Well, I think crazy is the new norm.

I’m just going to say it like Steve Jack said it to me “Enough with the BULLSHIT you are greater than you are currently living.” I know, two “WOW’s” in one day for me!  Ouch!  But both Steve and Nick were right on. Everything happens from our center out.  I am strong.  It is time that I become more disciplined, empowered and own my greatness.  I need to learn to trust the process and embrace the good that comes with feeling my way through life so that my life can flow more, connecting with my breath and breathing with intention.   Life happens, giving you messages so that you can take steps without fear.

I’ll be working (the next… forever) on bringing more of my subconscious up to the water level so that I can shift my energy and create balance between reason, will and emotion in my chakras. I’ll be working with spirits and intentions, not goals, so that I can create more space and start living the amazing life I’m capable of during this great adventure.

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Why is Movement the First thing to GO!

Okay, so, I love this.

I see a client maybe 2-5 times a week (which is about 2-5 hours) and the client is away from the studio 160-168 hours a week. Now, something starts to hurt, bother them, or they aren’t seeing results fast enough… All of sudden the mind jumps and says “It must be the Pilates, yoga, or… (whatever service) is causing this.” What???

Have you even thought about this for a minute?

Typically, a client might even have a history of 100+ hours of these services working for them, changing their body shape, reducing pain syndromes, helping them feel great with more energy, etc… I’m continuously amazed at how, all of a sudden, they are ready to bag in the services that have transformed your life because they’ve hit a hiccup somewhere else in their life.

I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to become injured while doing these services, because you can. Movement always needs to be respected and you need to learn how to get it to come from the right place in your body. But logic says that if you are only in the studio for 5% of your life and the other part of your life 95% is lived outside of the studio, you might want to at least consider that it could be coming from somewhere else.

I love the book Your Body Speaks Your Mind by Deb Chopera because a lot of the time it is an emotion causing the new discomfort in our life. When you are doing Pilates and Yoga you are doing very deep work. As you breathe and learn to work deep in your body, emotions come to the surface. If we don’t direct our awareness to them and heal them they start to cause disease in the body and mind.

Often times I think I’m dealing with something great! Then I lay down on the reformer or turn to my mat for yoga and go “HMMM!”

Slowing down enough to breathe, to move, removed some layers of armor and exposed something. What am I not dealing with in my life? Where am I stuck in my life? Wow, I guess my parent being in the hospital has left me feeling unstable? Etc. Thank the movement for showing you this, for bringing the emotion to your awareness. Be curious about it and then come at it with a heart of love to heal it. Movement Heals in so many ways!

Just consider that if you are singing the praises of your movement and all of sudden you want to drop it like a hot potato, it probably isn’t the movement. So, honor the teacher in front of you and be present in the moment with them. Be aware of your thoughts, connect with your breath and breathe with intention. Remember there are always two lessons being taught: the one in your head and the one the teacher is teaching. Which one are you showing up to?

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Adjust your perspective and live a happier life.

“Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold” – Maurice Setter

When I used to work out of my home, I’d say “If I could just turn the key every morning on a commercial space I would be successful.” Then, one day I was down (as some small business owners get) and I realized, “What’s wrong with me? I’ve been turning the key for over a year now. I am successful! Celebrate!”

See, I had adjusted the bar to allow myself some modest success. It takes trial and error and perseverance to determine where the bar actually is. Levels of success need to be reachable on any long journey. I would never have made it to turning the key on my very first commercial space otherwise.

Don’t we do this in our health though, too? Stop and ask yourself how long you have been on your journey to change your lifestyle. How long have you been really taking steps each and every week consistently? If you’ve been on this journey for 4 months, 1 year, 2 years or more… then everyone is looking at you. They are looking at how successful you are. This is why I like my clients to use journals; so that you can look back at a year ago to see just how far you’ve come. It is hard for us to remember the different levels we reach if we aren’t keeping a log of our action, moods and thoughts.

You have a choice. You can moan about where you are and how little you’ve accomplished or you can celebrate what you have and how far you’ve come. I try to always remember to live in the celebration. Where we put our energy is what we will get, so I want to focus my energy on the positive and not on the negative. I would like to attract more positive actions into my life for they serve my goals better.

Be the most successful “You!”

Please post below what you are celebrating today.
To help yourself discover areas where you disappear into availability, write a list of circumstances in which you feel used or taken for granted. For each separate entry, ask yourself why you continue to act in a way that results in your feeling invisible and undervalued.

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Attitude of Gratitude

“The sun is always shining. Even though clouds may come along and obscure the sun for a while, the sun is always shining. The sun never stops shining. And even though the earth turns, and the sun appears to go down, it really never stops shinning.” – Louise Hay

Does anyone besides me struggle with this? I’m sure we all can recall a time when as a child we ran home to our parents just devastated because something didn’t go as planned. I can quickly recall one year I didn’t make it on the cheerleading team. I’d been on it 7th and 8th grade and then didn’t make it on the team in 9th grade. I expected I would just make it. At the time I felt so rejected.

When moments like this happened, when I expected to be great at everything, my mother and father would let me have a 24 hour pity party and then they would say “Okay, you are a survivor. So what are you going to do now? You are great at so many things.” and they’d begin to list off all these things they thought I could do well. That just annoyed me to no end. I think, sometimes, I moved ahead just to quiet them.

The point is… now, when I fail at something, I have a self-loathing time period, do a self-evaluation and then look for the positive in the experience. Now, I’ll be honest, this easier to do sometimes more than others. For example, when my fuel pump on my Jeep went out one morning; as I went from having a wonderful, peaceful morning to “Oh, my gosh! I’m going to miss my first client and I don’t have their cell phone number.” After a few choice words, I started to count my blessings:
• Thank goodness this happened close to home and I could walk to my studio to greet my client, even if I was late.
• Thank goodness I had AAA to pick up my car and transport it to be repaired.
• Thank goodness I had a cell phone to make this happen.
• Thank goodness I was fit enough to make the walk quickly and
• Thank goodness I was in a safe neighborhood and it was daylight instead of evening.

This, of course, is an easy one. Some more difficult ones to overcome are losing a grandparent, struggling to have a relationship with my brother, losing a pregnancy, having financial problems, crushing my 12th thoracic vertebrae or going through a rough patch in my marriage. These take more time but the process is the same. I mourn my loss and then refocus on my abundance. This coping strategy keeps me in a state of happiness and well-being most of the time.

An “attitude of gratitude” creates more blessings in our lives. If we can pick ourselves up by our boot straps put one foot in front of the other and focus on the lesson to be learned and search for the positive we are stronger for it, humbled, compassionate for ourselves and others. It is not too late to start changing your lifestyle today to a healthy one. Even if you’ve failed at it before because either life (or you) got in the way; you can learn from the experience, find the positive and move on.

Please post what you are grateful for today.

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To What Extent Do You Yearn to Become Fit?

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” Pablo Picasso

During our orientation appointments at Mind Body Balance we ask a series of questions. A couple of which are:
• Why are you seeking our services?
• What are you hoping will change in your life once your reach the results you are seeking?
• Do you have any thoughts on what you will have to do both physically and mentally to reach your desired outcome?

Usually prospective clients can answer the first two and haven’t thought about or can’t even imagine how to answer the last question. It reminds me of a saying:

“It’s there if you want it—but you gotta want it bad!”

Good health is sitting there. It’s wired into you and I’m there to offer you the tools to get that “good health” but it comes down to one sticking point… Do you want it bad enough?

Why does success elude many people? Well, they just don’t want it bad enough. There are risks, challenges to overcome, change and new life skills to learn. I feel somehow as a society we’ve gotten away from putting ourselves and our children in uncomfortable positions.

I’m going to use this analogy to describe my point:

1. I’m going to get into the lake.
2. I stick my feet in first.
3. WOW, that is cold.
4. I want to get out.
5. Take a deep breath, walk further in.
6. NO, REALLY, it is very uncomfortably cold.
7. I’d be happier in the boat in house.
8. Continue further, I will be happy that I did.

Yes, I end up enjoying a glorious day in the water and it relaxes, relieves the stress and heals my spirit.

Now, if my parents wouldn’t have encouraged me and taught me to push through the uncomfortable to find some deep grit in my soul to learn to live through the uncomfortable because something more glorious was on the other side; I can tell you I’d have missed out on a lot of fun, character and memories. Discomforts will be endured and without a clear goal or a vision you will falter and not achieve your goals. “Falter” is okay because we learn from our “falters” and it makes us stronger.

Ask yourself two questions:

• What do you want?
• How badly do you want it?

Are you a person who will be consistent and persistent in achieving your goal, pushing through the uncomfortable and stay in the water or are you the person who (when it gets difficult, uncomfortable, fearful and that self-doubt creeps in) will get out of the water?

You are courageous, you are confident, and you are strong. Take back your life today!

Please post below the answers to these questions. We are curious.

• Would you stay in the water or get out?
• Do you take advantage of opportunity or crouch fearfully in the shadows?
• Wouldn’t you like to be the person who takes advantage?

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Step to Edge of the Box Today!

Today’s blog post is inspired by Seth Godin and his book Poke The Box. Seth inspired me at the 2012 Leadership Summit, challenging me to evaluate my leadership skills as a business owner and Integrative Fitness Professional.

I liked how he said we all get comfortable in our box and stepping outside of the box (where there are no walls) might be too far for most of us. So he encouraged over 130,000 leaders that day, from 13+ countries, to go to the edge of the box and poke it.

In one aspect, I felt like I had taken this challenge over six years ago when I started to form the idea of Mind Body Balance. I disagree with the mainstream approach to fitness and its concepts to changing one’s quality of life or lifestyle. I personally believe the mainstream approach doesn’t work (and I got sick of hearing about it) so I went out educated myself. I looked for other fitness professionals (who had similar ideas and were just as dissatisfied with the status quo) to partner with and to learn from. In 2007 I started to develop the Mind Body Balance system. If over 500 Integrative Fitness professionals started working out of their homes and developing new ideas, slowly you would see our philosophy take over the globe. Each year we grow in numbers.

But, Seth got me thinking.

For one, I’m not a risk taker. I like to live in the proven, known, safe areas. I will say this; in over the 6 ½ years of owning my business, I am getting better at taking risks. I wouldn’t say it is easy. My heart still races, I still have sleeplessness nights, I still get sick to my stomach and am filled with anxiety but somehow I survive. The risk is sometimes too great and my pride is hurt, but I still survive.

At Mind Body Balance we teach our clients tools that help them change the way they look at fitness and a healthy lifestyle. After being with us a while their posture begins to change. Our clients gradually (over four years or so) stop waiting for instructions, working through a to-do list or reacting to incoming obstacles. They aren’t handed initiative. They took it. They took their life back.

I get to be the lucky one watching it all.

Stop talking about the lifestyle change and instead:

Make a list of people you admire, that have appeared to have successfully tackled this “lifestyle change thing.” I bet what you will find is that they have turned initiative into passion and a practice. The challenge isn’t about being perfect, finding the perfect time to start or knowing when to coast.

No, the challenge is GETTING STARTED, to practice starting, to poke the box that you’re standing in.

You know, when I created Mind Body Balance and our system, I wasn’t sure about it until I poked, tested, modified and understood. I think I’ll always be doing this because our body is an amazing machine that I don’t think I’ll fully understand.

With a fitness coach, you will learn and discover together:
• When you do this, what happens?
• When you do that, what happens?
Your box will reveal itself through poking. The more you poke it, the smarter you get. The more ownership you take, the more control you will take over your lifestyle.

I’m giving you permission to build your best self, to poke the box. So many doors and opportunities are open to you today. If the only reason you are not initiating the quest to build a healthy lifestyle is because you are afraid to start, perhaps you ought to think about what is at stake. Have you fully understood the cost of not starting?

Please post what your cost of not starting is today and how you plan to challenge that ideal by poking the box.
Do you take advantage of opportunity or crouch fearfully in the shadows?

MBB instructors practicing out of the studio

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Let MBB help you reframe your negative mind chatter

It is always an interesting phenomenon to me when prospective clients talk to me about their desires. I listen to their goals and their deepest desire for quality of life. When I offer them solutions to their problems of “poor health” they follow it with “Yeah, Buts”.

“Yeah, I tried honoring and loving my body before but it didn’t work.” or “Yeah, but my case is different.”

Their brain is fighting to be right (to hang on to the old, bad habits) because learning a new life skills is hard. It takes work, it takes money and it takes time. I call this stage of change “I’m looking for someone to agree with me that my position of ‘poor health’ is okay.” They aren’t really looking for tools to overcome their obstacles.

This negative attitude of “Yeah, Buts” builds a big dam in a river of creative, positive suggestions and ideas. I try not to pull punches and call people out on their BS. I know that they aren’t at the right “stage of change” for me to help them. This doesn’t mean that I can never help them; I just can’t help them until they are willing to do the work.

Once you are ready to put the “Yeah, Buts” aside and call them what they are, you will see a richer and happier quality of life. I’m not saying you have to be perfect or overcome the negative mind chatter to find lifestyle change at Mind/ Body: Balance. I am saying you need to be willing to name it, identify it, confront it and agree to work at it. It is what I do with my fitness coaching clients. Together we see how we can overcome their obstacles and how they can apply self-nurture, fitness, and healthy eating habits to their life situation. It works because we have two people (the client and me) working on the problems at hand and doing the hard work of uncovering what is underneath the negative mind chatter instead of arguing and scratching at the surface of the problem.

I challenge you to go through the day without one “Yeah, But”

Tell us by posting a comment here.

Before reading this today, what was your biggest “Yeah, But” concerning fitness?
You can choose what you look at, listen to, and respond to—and reframe your reality. Quietly think of a situation in your life that you consider difficult or depressing. Describe it by posting below. Think about how you’re framing the situation. Are you making it unnecessarily dark or heavy? Are you enlarging it beyond a reasonable size? How would you like to frame this situation? Allow a new frame to appear, one more manageable and maybe even beautiful. What change in attitude will you need in order to reframe your picture? When this situation next arises, take a moment to see it in the context of your new frame.

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Relish New Experience

When was the last time you took a small risk and tried something new?

“When I’m about to take a risk, I consider the down side. If it’s not death, I do it” –Nancy Sardella

I’m continually amazed at how people will take any chemically made medical treatment without exploring other options or questioning the side effects. I’m amazed at how fast we spend thousands eating out and on clothing without needing to; yet we agonize over self-nurture care and costs. The general populous are often fearful of whether natural-pathic medicine and physical exercise will harm them physically, emotionally or financially.

Often, people tackle self-nurture solutions to lifestyle problems only when “forced” to. Having finally made the commitment, they work hard to reach goals and experience the benefits/ positive impacts these changes make in all areas of their life. Even after all this, they will still quickly toss it out the window for a perceived “quick fix” solution.

I’m aghast at all of this.

Step outside of your comfort zone today. Step to the edge of the box. The box represents your comfort zone and I’m not asking you to go completely past the boundaries of your box into the unknown depths. I am asking you to poke the box, to stand at the edge, to take a risk. I’m not saying to quit your job and move to another country but to, instead, take some small risks. Risks like trying a new grocery store, driving a different route to work, watch a foreign movie, listen to music that is international, try to add a vegetable to every meal, join a co-op, try a Pilates chair class, maybe just sleep on the other side of the bed.

Many of us are afraid to take the risks that would see our dreams to fruition. Do you have a dream? Is there an activity in which you secretly long to participate? One of the best ways to transform your fears is to figure out whether or not they’re realistic. Encourage yourself to live your dreams. List some ideas below by commenting. That will help them manifest.
Please post here what you are willing to do to step to the edge of your box and try something new that will enrich your quality of life.
farmer's market photo

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