Yogic Principles in Action

In this blog you will learn the Yamas and Niyamas in Sanskrit and English. How each of these principles is applicable in daily life? What role Yamas and Niyamas play in the Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics for professional Yoga therapists? How will the Yamas and Niyamas influence my personal approach to practicing yoga therapy?

The Yamas and Niyamas are foundational to all yogic thought. They are guidelines, ethical disciplines or pieces of wisdom that you can think of as the yoga commandments. This set of guidelines helps us recognize moments of self-deception such as observing what sort of communication style we are using with others. It teaches us tools in which to distinguish between cause and effect or Karma.  Yamas are restraints, disciplines, attitudes and behaviors (like our attitude we have toward things and people “outside us”- our external world). Niyamas are our inner observances and how we relate to ourselves – our self-care.

According to Doug Keller in The Heart of the Yogi there were traditionally ten each of  the Yamas and Niyamas, however for our discussion today we will focus on the main five in each category of the Yamas and Niyamas that are widely used today. The Yamas are the guidelines to help us interact with our external world, our social environments, our relationships and our code of ethics. The Yamas are Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (non-excess) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). The Niyamas are our code of personal conduct; it is about self-regulation and maintaining a positive environment in which to grow. The Niyamas are Saucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (self-discipline), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender).

Ahimsa (Sutra 2:35) at its root means finding the courage to maintain compassion towards yourself and others in all situations. When we don’t meet our body “where it is” on the mat that day we are being violent toward our body.  we are no longer listening to the messages that it is trying to send us. Our body speaks our mind; violence and awareness do not coexist. How we treat ourselves is how we treat those around us.  if we are being a task master and critical with ourselves and then feel as though we are being light hearted and forgiving with others we are fooling ourselves. We can’t be critical of ourselves and forgiving with others. If we can’t be emotionally safe and loving with ourselves then others can never feel safe around us. The pop-culture allegory would be like Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon.  There is always a “cloud of dust” around him.  People can sense this cloud of harm in actions or thoughts. You can’t expect to purchase orange paint at the store and expect it will be yellow at home when you put it on the walls. I believe Ahimsa helps us build bridges with people by being compassionate, loving and patient.  It nourishes our students.  However, this doesn’t mean we should be a door mat. The most compassionate people have boundaries for themselves. Gandhi is just one teacher whose whole life was based on this one principle.

Satya (Sutra 2:36) Patanjali describes it as truthfulness (being honest with ourselves and others). In our practice when we buy a pose by selling Ahimsa and Satya it is too expensive. We do not need to be cafeteria practioners taking only what we are good at and leaving the rest behind or compromising our truth. Our body is ever changing.  We should love it and be honest about where it is that day without apology or excuses about parts of the body that are healing or unflattering. By letting go of our competition with ourselves and others you can let go of your masks by being authentically you (bold, brave, courageous, loving, honest and compassionate). When we are vulnerable it is a language that connects all of us and allows us to be empathic. We can’t just organize our stuff in a closet and close the door forgetting about it because at some point the door bursts out. We are imperfect beings.  Be careful to not confuse truth with ‘brutal honesty’ or compassion with ‘being right’. Love is a higher vibration than truth and should be your guide in directing you on how to use your truth. By not letting the ego get in the way of the heart we can recognize when we are in need of being right rather than the more important issue of the feeling of others. Sharing our knowledge with love, compassion and authenticity feels better than causing harm to others making them feel wrong or “less than.”

Asteya (Sutra 2:37) while it consists of “non-stealing” it is really rooting out the subconscious beliefs of  “lack” and “scarcity” that cause greed and hoarding in various forms.  When we approach our practice from scarcity and hold back thinking that we won’t have enough energy to do the entire practice we are not operating at our full capacity and trusting that we have the required energy to do our practice. If you attain what you want through honest means you will have no fear. Taking time to use objects in the right way, managing our time properly and cultivating a sense of completeness are ways that we can practice Asteya. How often do you steal from yourself? We steal our time of rest and reflection because we see it as a status symbol or self-worth validation. As we allow demands of others and their perceptions to mold our images it steals our own uniqueness. When was the last time you were on an electronic device instead of being present with the person in front of you?

Brahmacharya (Sutra 2:38) is the moderation of sensual pleasures (mental, vocal or physical). What is the perfect limit for us and why do we move into excess? Learning to tame the mind to distinguish the difference between what the body needs to fulfill our health or dharma and what the mind is making up that we need. We are complex beings and many times we fulfill the surface level needs rather than pausing and taking a moment to view what our soul needs for holistic approach to fulfillment. It is neither obsessing nor repressing that satisfies our desires.

Aprigraha (Sutra 2:39) is non-clinging or simplicity. When we take away our stuff (our possessions) and we face ourselves it isn’t always comfortable, but it is a place of inspiration that makes room for growth to come.  When students look at someone else in class and want to be them and they judge their life against their peer, it is creating comparison and jealousy. Rather than the student looking inward and working on their own body in their own capacity, loving and accepting where they are in that movement everyone has a starting point in which they leave denial and start to grow awareness and understanding.  It is okay to have possessions in life as long as we stay connected to our internal self (our soul).  It is when we use the possessions to feed a spiritual starvation that we get off of our path… remaining connected to our inner desire or our soul’s dharma code and allowing life to flow and trust our journey, determining what is enough for us in all dharma roles that we play (such as child, sibling, partner, teammate at work, parent etc. Remember to check in to see how many rocks we are carrying around with us and learning to let go to detach and respect the circle of life.

Shaucha (Sutra 2:40-41) is purity and at the root concerned with keeping different energies distinct and keeping the sanctity of the energy around us. The sage Manu says “Water purifies the body; truthfulness the mind; true knowledge the intellect and the soul is purified by knowledge and austerity.” By keeping an orderly environment, ensuring that our body is cleaned and free of strong body odors… by coming into our practice and lining up with our peers rather than scattered about the room… this allows our energy to flow and keeps the room clean.

Santosha (Sutra 2:42) being content with what we have already attained and wanting what you already have, accepting what is and making the best out of everything. We may not be ready yet for what we are attempting to do and that doesn’t mean we are bad or “less than,” instead accepting we did our best and tomorrow we will show up and do the same. Approach each asana with an effort of ease. This is a practice of gratitude and grace by approaching each obstacle with love over fear. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the adage “accept that which we cannot change, change what we can and have the wisdom to know the differences.” Every day I ask for the wisdom to know which question to ask, the ability to be quiet enough to hear the answer, the courage to accept the answer and the boldness to take action without fear.

                        Tapas (Sutra 2:43) is the wiliness to do what is necessary to reach a goal with discipline. I think of this in a personal practice where wise effort can be discerned as the difference between someone who simply fantasizes and someone who is on a path toward their dreams. It takes effort for anything to bear fruit in our physical world yet we need to balance Tapas with Santosha (effort with contentment) If we try to force things we end up doing harm. If we are forcing an asana we are creating gripping muscles and joints versus meeting our body where we need it to be with effort and ease and allowing circulation and health to thrive. Sometimes we have to underwhelm ourselves so that we will build more desire to reach our goal. I am reminded of the story of the Phoenix… of burning off some layers and emerging as something new so that we can fully live our soul’s dharma… our life’s mission.

            Svadhyaya (Sutra 2:44) is the study of one’s self through careful observation. Taking pause during our over stimulated life and finding our breath, relaxing, and feeling, watching and allowing ourselves to just “be.” At these times we can journal and meditate and almost in an organic manner we can start to see our inner wisdom source guide us to our truth. Being aware of our spirit of exploration within and acknowledging the scared power it holds.

Ishvara-Pranidhana (Sutra 2:45) is something bigger than ourselves. It is about showing up in our life, doing our best and leaving the rest up to the higher power that we believe in and allowing our life to create a legacy that is for a higher purpose than ourselves.  Always asking which option will help the most people keeping self-actualizing as the goal in life and adjusting all of our actions to serve this goal in some way. When we allow growth to happen it brings awareness to our being which can then fully express our authenticity of “self” and celebrate this energy.

References

Adele, D. (2009). The Yamas & Niyamas Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice (pp. 21-175). Duluth, Minnesota: On-Word Bound Books LLC.

 

Keller, D. (2004). The Yama and Niyamas. In The Heart of the Yogi: The Philosophical World of Hatha Yoga (pp. 141-146). South Riding, Virginia: Do Yoga Productions.

 

Satachidananda, S. (2005). Sadhana Pada Portion on Practice. In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (11th ed., pp. 131-151). Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.

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Transform and Upgrade You Part 2

How do you deal with how you feel?

Emotions are both a gift and one of the most challenging things we will ever deal with in our lives. Emotions are a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood or relationships with others.
Plutchnick’s wheel of emotions says there are eight basic emotions which experience:

• Fear – feeling afraid and also may be known as terror, shock, phobia
• Anger –feeling angry, also known as rage
• Sadness – feeling sad also known as grief, depression
• Joy – feeling happy also known as happiness, gladness
• Disgust – feeling something is wrong or dirty
• Trust – feeling a positive emotion. Admiration is stronger, acceptance is weaker
• Anticipation – in the sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen, expectation is more neutral
• Surprise- how one feels when something unexpected happens
Emotions can also be broken down into simple, complex and pure. Examples of simple emotions are:

• discovery/ anger,
• envy/expectation,
• wonder/ common place,
• happiness/ sadness,
• amusement/ weariness,
• courage/ timidity/ cowardice,
• pity/ cruelty.

Examples of complex emotions are:

• pride/ modesty/shame,
• closeness/detachment/distance,
• complaint/ pain/doing average/ pleasure,
• caution/ boldness/rashness,
• patience/ mere tolerance/ anger,
• relaxation/composure/stress,
• envy/ goodwill.

Examples of pure emotions are:

• fear/nervousness/security,
• togetherness/privacy,
• respect/disrespect,
• appreciation/envy,
• love/no love lost/hatred,
• hope/despair,
• confusion/being confused.

Feelings allow us to laugh, to love and to create. They create experiences in our lives… they are the source of our relationships. Emotions are rich! We have joy, anger, grief, pain…we have emotions so that we can have deep emotional relationships. So what does that mean…with all our heart, with all our love, with all our focus we develop relationships of purpose to connect, to love and to appreciate one another.
On the other hand, emotions can cause us some problems in our lives… a tremendous amount of pain in our lives. When mishandled and abused, emotions send us into a spiral because life is uncertain a lot of times. We do everything in our power as human beings to avoid pain and sadness, but let’s face it… life never plays by our rules, right?

Things don’t always work out how we plan them to. Any effort we may put forth to try to control our emotions is futile. Life breeds a whole host of emotions that we have to figure out how to manage rather than control. The loss of a loved one, abuse in a relationship, misguided emotions such as anger fear, guilt, and shame… if not handled correctly can lead us father and father away from how emotions are a gift in our life. The farther we get from living a purpose driven life the harder it is to manage our emotions. We are troubled. The closer we get to living a purpose driven life the more our life is transformed. We get lost sometimes in life. We are trying to get back to the part of our life that we feel connected to. It makes sense.

There are two important ways that we can make sense of this emotional journey that we are on. We can actually be transformed by the emotional journeys that we travel. They can draw us closer to that purpose driven life:

#1 Learn how to manage our emotions!

Why is it important for me to manage my emotions? Feelings are unreliable and uncertain. Have you ever felt that you were not sure how or what to feel at times. I really don’t understand myself. How I feel is unpleasing at times. I want to do what is right but I don’t do it, instead I do what I hate. I want to do what is good but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong but I do it anyway. Is it me or do you feel this way at times too? Seems like a picture of our lives…everyday right! What seems like the wrong thing feels like the right thing and the right thing sometimes feels like the wrong thing. In either case it comes down to your intentions. Sometimes what feels like the wrong thing is correct. My mentor Beth Shaw reminds me that comfort and change never come in the same sentence. For example, Sustainable Movement Practice (a.k.a. exercise) is at times uncomfortable and takes a consistent discipline so when someone says it is “easy” or isn’t hard to acquire a discipline, they are lying. Is hurt good for us in our life? It is a temporary discomfort that brings us to health. On the other hand what feels good is actually bad for you in your life. For Example, anyone that tells you that eating a cheeseburger loaded with toppings is not enjoyable they are lying. It is yummy, greasy, the bread is soft but it is 970 calories loaded with a day’s worth of fat. Not a great choice for your life and it will eventually lead you to pain.

Emotions are unreliable in leading us to which choices to make. They lead us in confusing ways. There is a way that seems or appears to be right, powerful, convincing—I’m here to say that it is a bad compass. The mind is powerful and it will work hard to be convincing. You don’t just wake up and whatever mood you feel guides you that day, month or year—it is a bad compass! Let the facts shape your feelings rather than the feelings distort the facts. Let the facts shape your feelings rather than the feelings distort the facts. There are times in our life that we feel alone, lost, wondering where the light and support is. Love and leading with our heart, forgiveness and listening to that quietest voice from our spirituality. Love is the key that opens the heart. You hold the key to your own dream. Family is the key to happiness. Why is managing our emotions so important? Emotions are unreliable. Family and mentors help us know if we are managing our emotions or if they are managing us. When we are off course, we are lacking spirituality (listening).

#2 Deal with how we feel!

If we don’t manage our emotions they are going to wreck our life and our emotions will control us. It is just this simple. We will be manipulated by our moods and guided by the moods we wake up with that day and people will take advantage of us. In fact, advertising and marketing agencies make millions of dollars playing off our emotions. They use emotions to push us to buy things we don’t need they get us fired up and excited about it. Think of that in-house vacuum salesman; he knows that if he gets in through the front door he has a sale. They show you how dirty your house is and how the vacuum could suck up moon rock. Or the u-verse and cable guy… they get in the front door but it is all about the sport packages. Who has purchased something on impulse? QVC loves all of us, right? If you can’t control your emotions you are like a city with no defenses. With no plan, if you can’t control your emotions you will be over run, manipulated, they will have their way with you emotionally and rule over you.

Emotions are very powerful and study after study has shown that E.Q. (emotional quotient) is actually more accurate at measuring success in your life than I.Q. (intelligent quotient) The opportunities and joy in your life come from your E.Q. and how you manage your emotions with other people is actually more of a predictor than your I.Q. Have you ever known someone who didn’t do a good job at managing their emotions? Someone who ruined a job opportunity because of a silly choice? Someone who destroyed their reputation in a moment of passion? Someone who destroyed their family because of a lack of self-control? People get lost and die because of their lack of self-control. It hits home in a lot of different ways. Ever grow up and swore you were never going to do something your parents did only to find in your family unit that you’ve created the same thing? Are words coming out of your mouth or behaviors are showing up that you witnessed as a child? You react how you know. If you aren’t growing, you are repeating. I swore I wouldn’t allow my anger and emotions get the best of me but those family treasures where waiting in the wings. This is how it works. I grew up with a mother that yells, name calls, hits and then goes into silent treatment to express anger… a dad that yells, and then cries to express his anger. Growing up in a German/ Hungarian household we are passionate people that express our emotions and aren’t as good at communicating. Over the years I have worked hard to improve my life skills of listening only to realize that what triggers me turns me into a yelling maniac (because this isn’t who I am at my best self). I need to allow myself to express emotion verbally and compassionately before it gets out of control and yet, I act it out by yelling or punching the pillows or through pillows. In practicing the lifestyle of a Yogi and the discipline of Pilates it has helped me to live a more balanced emotional life. I didn’t realize until recently that living with an emotionally passionate wife is scary to someone who grew up in a family that doesn’t express or communicate emotion. This was such a light bulb to me. I felt bad for him that he fell in love with a wife that is passionate about her emotions both in expression and communication. No wonder he doesn’t know what to do for me when I’m sad, when I’m angry, and when I’m frustrated. The only emotion that he knows how to handle is my joy and love. But he named it and now we can grow from it. I learned about Emotional Intelligence in 2000 which is really about perceiving emotions, understanding emotions, managing emotions and using emotions.
Here is a little chart that might help you decide where you are on the Emotional Intelligence scale.

Low Emotional Intelligence/ High Emotional Intelligence
Aggressive/ Assertive
Demanding/ Ambitious
Egotistical/ Driving
Bossy/ Strong-Willed
Confrontational/ Decisive
Easily/ Distracted Warm
Glib/ Enthusiastic
Selfish/ Sociable
Poor Listener/ Charming
Impulsive/ Persuasive
Resistant to Change/ Patient
Passive/ Stable
Un-Responsive/ Predictable
Slow/ Consistent
Stubborn/ Good Listener
Critical/ Detailed
Picky/ Careful
Fussy/ Meticulous
Hard to Please/ Systematic
Perfectionist/ Neat

The book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Coleman is a great resource on this topic. It identifies what you don’t want to repeat in your life cycle and helps you to choose to make a better choice. Isn’t it better to choose to live a conscious life than to regret what you do when you are out of control that leads to ruin.

The truth is, no matter how broken and screwed up your life is, emotionally it takes just one encounter to change everything. The truth is no matter what you have lost in life it takes just one encounter to change everything. The truth is no matter how hopeless you feel it takes just one encounter to change everything. Emotions are strong, demanding but we don’t have to let them rule our life – put on a new truth – a new life. You have a choice. There is a conflict going on in everyone’s life all the time; in fact, it is seldom that we are without conflict. We often use phrases like this when we are in conflict: This is my family genetics, This is just me, I’ll always be this way, This is how I was brought up to be…… or you can transform and change the record—that’s your choice.

Take a picture of your life right now, what has you stuck in life right now, what emotion are you feeling, are you dealing with that emotion right now that you are struggling with? It might be a medical issue, depression, anxiety, job loss, marriage, worry, fear, maybe you’ve been unwell for generations –You can with one encounter change this course. How do you deal with how you feel?

Three things we should all do when we struggle in our lives are.

1. How you deal with how you feel? Give it a name (In doing this I would help my husband learn my emotions and develop clarity, as he can at times (because his E.I. is low) confuse the emotion that I’m expressing). What is holding you back in this life that you know is available to you. Conform or transform, what’s holding you back from that experience? Give it a name – nothing changes until we identify it- bring it to light and give it a name – grief, anger, depression, restless. For example, I’m struggling in my thoughts they are restless today and I am confused. Be driven by your emotions or by the spirit that lives in your heart- by identifying the underlying problem in life and naming it you take the problem in your life, shine a light on it and that it is the first step to being transformed.

2. Give it a frame take a picture of your life for a second, take a step back and look in the mirror, look at your life. Am I experiencing what it means to be transformed? Or Am I experiencing the life that is conformed? How do I know if my life is transformed? That is easy. Are you seeing these emotions around you in your life from others: Love, Joy, Peace, Patients, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control –if this is showing up in your life you are transformed and on purpose and if it isn’t I promise you it is available to you.

3. Change the Channel Time for a fresh start. Exchange the old record for a new record in your mind. A record of lies to a record of truth. “I’ll always be angry, it is just me.” “I’ll always be unhappy and grumpy, it is who I am.” These are a “record of lies.” You can exchange your grief for comfort. You can exchange your depression for encouragement. You can exchange your anger for self-control. You can exchange your worry for peace of mind and your hopelessness for hope.

I sometimes ask myself, “Why is this situation in my life?” Life is messy. Yes, I know this. I am reminding myself that I don’t want to Die in the Why but to make a choice to live in the What! I’m in this experience. I didn’t ask for this experience, in fact I swore it off but I ended up with it. Not because it is the right thing but because managed emotions and growth isn’t an option for all parties involved. This is bringing grief and great sadness into my life because it isn’t “going how I thought it would go.” Each day I remind myself that, yes, I’m experiencing suffering but I have a choice to how much suffering I decide to go through. I look for opportunities and know that this situation will qualify me on a different empathic level. Our MBB community comforts others in times of troubles so that they may one day comfort others in the future. MBB believes in enriching lives, loving life, sharing peace and seeking joy. Trust, no matter the circumstances. Channel your feelings and help other people because in fulfilling others this brings you happiness.

MBB was born out of love from both its founders Nick and Kim. They had enough love to give; to build one life transformed at a time until there were enough transformed lives that together the MBB Community was born. The MBB transformation takes you out the FOG (Fear, Obligation, and Guilt) of life and puts you into a life full of zest and conscious living. There are countless videos under our Watch MBB on our website (put the link here). Be that transformation for someone else. It only takes one encounter, so be that encounter for someone! Inspire them to take one more small step at a time lead them to strength… to transformation. Do You Want To Get Well? What are you waiting for? Become a member of the MBB community today. We Inspire You to Movement through services such as: Classical Pilates, Yoga, willPower & grace®, Fitness Coaching, Intuitive Eating, Workshops, etc. We change one life, one community at a time. We are your Global Integrative Fitness Studio of choice. Thank you for nine wonderful years of allowing me to live my purpose driven life!

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Don’t Approach Your Life with Dirty Dishes

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all have that person that comes to mind that we feel is perfect, never makes any mistakes, never says the wrong thing, never is angry with others or at herself.  This person just loves everyone and everyone loves them. They are admired and humbled.  We focus so much on this person that we feel bad about ourselves. No matter how hard we try we just can’t live up to the standards, the ideal.  It makes you crazy.

I ask this:  Why are you comparing your behind the scenes movie-reel with their highlight-reel?

Few of us would eat dinner on the dirty dishes of last night’s meal.  Why do we approach our life with the same cluttered, self-defeating and negative mind chatter? If you want to tackle your lifestyle change from that of old habits to new habits, you are going to have to put on a new record.

Face it, you are not perfect and you are not a saint.  You are human who makes mistakes.  You love and care for yourself and those around you. Take care of your own self-efficacy concerning health and fitness.  Be honest, faithful and true to yourself. Accept who you are in this moment and embrace your starting point.

Here is an affirmation to try out this month:

I am enough. I accept myself unconditionally just the way I am.

Please post below what dirty dish you struggle with and how you plan to approach it differently.

Because we are sentenced to the consequences of our accumulated thoughts, it is important that we learn to observe and elevate them. Write out some negative thoughts you commonly have and practice elevating them to positive thoughts. As an exercise in helping you observe and elevate your thoughts, imagine that everyone can read your mind. When a negative thought comes into your mind that you would rather keep to yourself, acknowledge it non-judgmentally and then replace it with an uplifting one.

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What’s your inner voice telling you?

“We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light.” – Earl Nightingale

As a movement professional and coach I allow my clients to turn on their own light bulbs. I’m there as a guide and a facilitator. I’ll help them until they can do it themselves, but at Mind Body Balance we encourage our clients to be independent (not dependent on us). There is a whole world for us to inspire to movement.

There is far greater joy and power to watch someone figure it out for themselves; and they do, as long as you create that “place” in which it’s possible that you will be there for them on the other side. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, hope for the best and push through to the other side.

Fear is only as thick as a Kleenex.
The body is fluid and open to change. The mind is concrete.
Overcome the concrete mind and the body is ready and willing to be freed.

When it comes to movement, we all have an Angel on one shoulder and the Devil on the other. I know I’m being cute, but think about it. We have the Angel saying, “Yes. Yes. Buy vegetables, attend your Pilates today. You’ll feel better for doing so.” Meanwhile the Devil is saying, “Ice cream, French fries, be a couch potato. Come on, I’ve been doing this “plates” thing for five minutes it isn’t working. Let’s leave.”

Okay so this isn’t a perfect situation of what’s in our head, but you get the point I’m trying to make. We each have two voices; one that is trying to demolish our goals and self-esteem and one that promotes our goals and self-esteem. Some of us might have a whole committee to deal with.

I was fortunate to have a mother that said I could do anything, that I am a survivor. At Mind Body Balance “Can’t” isn’t a word that is said in our studio. As a matter of fact, it’s grounds for a stern “Kim talking to.”

I will accept phrases like:

“If not today, tomorrow.”
• “Every time I try I get stronger.”
• “Yes, I can.”
• “I release and let go.”… Etc.

We all have a negative voice in our head. My negative voice tells me things like, “I’m not good enough, strong enough or worthy enough to get what I want”, etc. You have these voices too, maybe a mob of voices. These whispers are always with us, good and bad.

Starting a yoga practice can help quiet these voices and put them into perspective. There is something to be said for being still, quiet, peaceful and content with our body and mind in this fast paced world. Our life paths take us through light and shadows, we constantly are faced with choices between good and evil, truth and lies, kindness and coldness. These interior voices face off on the battlefield of the mind daily.

Changing our mind’s thoughts to positive (turning down the volume of those negative voices) takes practice. They can be changed as easily as changing a channel on the television from Jerry Springer to the Discovery channel. We are what we “turn on” at the moment. It requires diligent repetition of positive statements, and constant, consistent, constructive application.

Daily practice. Daily practice. Daily practice. Daily practice. Did I say “Daily practice?”

Over time you will observe your interior voice change. Along with this, will come a change in your results. Take charge of your inner voice today. You can tell it what to tell you. Choose the positive voice. You are worth it, and more.

Is your inner dialogue overly critical? You deserve to be spoken to in encouraging ways. You have the power to change your critical inner voice to a loving and supportive one.

Post your most reoccurring negative voice here and then tell us how you are going to turn it into a positive. Feel free to help each other turn that negative voice into a positive. Remember, we are a community at Mind Body Balance. Inspire others to movement.

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Mind Chatter

Beth Shaw, Founder of YogaFit, first introduced me to affirmations or mantras. I’ve been practicing them ever since. They are powerful and always help me overcome limiting beliefs. I’ve never thought about it until right now, but I guess I’ve used affirmations in my life before without giving them a name.  I’ve used them to overcome health obstacles.  I just always referred to them as my gift for positive thinking and my strong spiritual belief that I could make things happen in my life if I put my mind to it.

“We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light” – Earl Nightingale

Let’s face it, we all have this mind chatter.  Some of the time it’s negative and some of the time it’s positive. Some of us have just one voice while some of us have a mob of voices. I can have conversations in my head.  If we aren’t careful we can get trapped there.

Okay, so now you all are thinking I’m loopy but really, tell me you haven’t been grocery shopping… and you know you should be buying vegetables… but instead you buy chocolate cake and ice cream. This is what I mean by the two different types of voices. Oh! Here is another example for you.  How many times have you come up with every excuse known to man as to why you shouldn’t show up for exercise?  Believe me, I’ve heard a lot.  You can be on the treadmill already and still talk yourself into getting off and leaving.  You know you’ll feel better afterwards and it is good for your health and well-being.

These voices can either promote or demolish us, our goals and our self-esteem.  I can learn something the hard way and pick myself up and be more successful the next time around. She doesn’t understand why I do what I do but knows that because I’m doing it I will be successful at it. When your negative voice creeps in, you can always count on your mom to give you a good kick in the pants. What does your negative voice tell you?  “You aren’t good enough.  Why change now you’ll just fail.  You’ll never be beautiful.  You’re not worth the effort.”   Do you have this voice?  Maybe several voices? I meditate and practice yoga.  It helps me quiet the mind chatter and still my mind; even if for just a moment. I practice Pilates because it gives me inner strength and I love my body for it. I practice fitness coaching because it gives me the grace and patience to see that every step (no matter how small and what time I start) is better than giving in to the negativity that surrounds us. Our lives are always swaying between light and darkness; we face good and evil, truths and lies, kindness and bitterness daily. You can’t escape completely but you can control the volume of certain voices.  It requires perseverance, dedication, self-sacrifice, and hard work daily.

I’m writing this while watching the Stanley Cup playoffs.  I’m reminded of some keys to winning.
Avoid Turnovers. Why, when we are on the path to greater health, do we self-sabotage our efforts?  Every time you use the word “Don’t” you set yourself up for failure? “Don’t eat cake.”  What do you do?  You eat two pieces of cake. “Don’t miss an exercise session this week.”  What do you do?  You miss the whole month.  Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away from our goal.
Build Momentum.  It takes both physical and emotional training consistently over lifetime.  You want it overnight.  Well, you are just starting out on your journey to a new you, a new lifestyle.  It doesn’t happen overnight, because if it did we would miss out on the character it builds going from point A to point B and you wouldn’t understand how to celebrate once you got there.
Play like a champion. Workouts should be called “Playouts.” It isn’t about being perfect and your clock hasn’t struck zero yet, so start today in taking steps to becoming your best self.  Let me and the staff at Mind Body Balance help you become the champion I know you already are.stacked stones with flower

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Marathon Blog #7

“There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of that don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek that”-Rumi

Well, we just finished up our Trail Half Marathon and I have to say I had to dig deep. My practice long runs went much better for me than the race day run did. I was having stomach issues and found that my shoes for the rocky portions weren’t supportive enough. I had many mental struggles after the 10 mile marker and lost the personal pace that I had set.  When Danny Dreyer talks about it being a mental race he isn’t joking. We did a hard 13.1 miles and I think this took us to a new physical and mental level and reminded us that we still have work to do.

Our next race is in Northville on June 25th. It is a timed 10 mile run of a 12 minute pace. So, you guessed it, we will be working on our speed over the next 6-8 weeks. Don’t let this scare you.  It will come, just as the endurance keeps coming. Remember that the strength of your mind is your driving force through your training. Keep your eye on your long-term goal and remember how far you’ve come.  It’s something to celebrate!

Just as in Pilates, when you hit a certain level of performance you really start to focus on flow and rhythm.  In doing this, it doesn’t mean that the quality of movement is lost; it just means you have to find it quicker and stay centered. As we do speed runs this is also true.  You still must focuses on form.  Good form increases your speed.

Here is a checklist to remember when working on speed:

  •  start slow and gradually pick up speed,
  •  stay focused on your body sensing,
  •  relax your lower body,
  •  allow the stride to be long out the back
  •  allow the core to be strong,
  •  focus on your arm movement as it sets your pace,
  •  pick up your feet (not your knees)
  •  relax the shoulders, hips, pelvis, calves, ankles
  •  remember, effort with ease.

We will be dong interval speed drills and ladder speed drills. Interval speed drills means you’ll pick a pace that you can maintain for a long distance, run this for 1 mile and then take it up a notch for the next mile and then back down a notch for the following mile etc. Remember, to increase speed, just increase your lean. For the ladder drill, start out your first mile slow and then each mile after that pick up the pace slightly. Notice that I say “slightly” and “notch” or maybe even “a gear” I do NOT say to sprint 🙂

Remember this month’s goals are to improve form and learn to use our gears more.

Some additional things to strongly consider: fasting/ detox cleanse & new shoes.

I’ve logged over 160 miles on these shoes. I need to get another pair so that I can have them broken in for the event in October. At this pace I’ll need a new pair in October. I do not want to run on an old pair or a new pair. I will also pick up a pair of trail shoes as well.

I have noticed on the long runs that stuff seems to be coming out of my body through my throat and skin so I will be doing a fast in May and then will continue with one daily fast per week. I used to do this on a regular basis and got away from it. I’ve asked Sherri to talk about this in more detail in May’s Balancing Act Marathon Tip. I really encourage you to give this some thought.

It is time to sign up for your June 25th, July 8th and October 16th race (this one is expensive and goes up in price starting Tuesday) so get signed up you don’t want to be like some of our clients that were shut out of our last race.

Here is a race day schedule:

Month Training for The Half Training for The Full Link to Race
June 25th 10k 10 mile http://www.solsticerun.org/
July 8th 15k 15k http://www.moonlitformarrow.com/
August      
September 10th 5 mile & 10k Mellow full http://www.runwoodstock.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
October 16th Half Marathon Full Marathon http://www.freepmarathon.com/

Here is your training schedule for May: (it is now time that I’ll start dividing the long runs out for Half/ Full Marathon)

Week # Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Active Rest/ Nap  Yoga Yoga/ Short Run Short Run Breathing Class/ Pilates Pilates Long Run
2 Active Rest/ Nap Short Run/ Yoga Yoga Short Run Breathing Class/ Pilates Pilates Long Run/ Holistic Health Class
3 Active Rest/ Nap Short Run/ Yoga Yoga Short Run Breathing Class/ Pilates Pilates Long Run
4 Active Rest / Nap Short Run/Yoga Yoga Short Run/Holistic Health Class Breathing Class/ Pilates Pilates Long Run

Week One: This is an active rest week for those that just came off the half marathon. This means short runs are about 45 minutes and your long run is 6 miles. (Interval Focuses of Form/ Speed)

Week Two: Short runs are now 50/60. Long Run for FM is 9 miles & HM is 6 miles (Ladder Focus of Form/ Speed)

Week Three: Short runs are now 50/60. Long Run for FM is 10 miles & HM is 7 miles (Interval focuses of Form/ Speed)

Week Four: Short runs are now 50/60. Long Run is for FM is 11 miles & HM is 5 miles (Ladder focus of form/ speed)

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Budgeting: Fast Food vs. Wellness Services?

“It’s amazing how fast you can go through $7,000 with beer, pizza and The Gap.” –Ben Affleck

People groan at the words budget, exercise, and healthy food. Why? They relate sinking, depressed, deprived feelings to these words. Well, if you have these feelings you aren’t alone. To the vast majority of us, it denotes scarcity, deprivation and limitations; none of which seem pleasurable. Exercising usually means eliminating fun, pain, boredom, sweat, feelings of inadequacy, something we do when we are stressed out. This is not my idea.

My idea is designing a plan to achieve healthy (not magazine) bodies; reaching all those goals you would like to accomplish over time without the heroic effort. Movement should be an enjoyable process not a bitter, restrictive, fearful pill to swallow.

An action plan for fitness and healthy eating doesn’t have to be written in stone, it should be flexible, adjustable and one that reflects your values and your life. All of these decisions and commitments that you make give you the power to change so you don’t feel trapped.  You aren’t stuck.  It wouldn’t make sense to create a plan that made you feel stuck. You can change things if you are willing. 

The power of a plan is that you can decide at the beginning of every week or month how you will spend your calories burned/ your fuel you use, how much, when and how. Then when you add up your cumulative calories burnt for the week or month you see whether or not you want to change your decisions for the following month or design a plan that works for you.  Then, work your plan.

I happily move spending calories I burn in the wisest of ways!

Add up your last four week’s receipts of eating out. I would bet if you commit to eating just a portion of those meals at home, you could afford a Fitness Coach, yoga or Pilates very easily. Notice I didn’t suggest to stop eating out completely; just slow the pace a little bit so you can find some balance between eating and moving.

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Marathon Blog #6:

“Some people think that successful people are born that way. A champion Is someone who has fallen off the horse a dozen times and gotten back on the horse a dozen times. Successful people never give up.” – Jean Driscoll (8 time winner of Boston Marathon, Wheel Chair Division)

The goals this month are to build to a continual running time of 20-30 minutes. It’s all in the pace, folks. Time and patience are required to making it to your first marathon or, for that matter, any marathon.  You need to be at the start line healthy and ready to run. Focus on your form, pace and body sensing; not on measuring.  To establish a strong mental attitude regarding your running: keep track of your midweek runs, plan ahead, space your runs evenly throughout the week and have fun. This is a difficult time in your running program. You must remember what your long term goal is and keep in mind how far you have come!

Congratulations for coming this far.  We are about one third of the way through the training program.  It is time for a celebration.  Treat yourself to something that allows you to reinforce your success (i.e., body work (like a massage), yoga class, pilates, a quality vitamin, new running outfit). Just do anything; something that inspires you and makes you feel great, whatever that may be. Think about it.  For the marathoners, you should be able to comfortably and safely walk/ run about 13.1 miles.  Jump into a half marathon to test yourself.  For the half-marathoners, you should be able to comfortably and safely walk/run about 6.5 miles.  Jump into a 10K to test yourself.   Remember, the events/ races are there to test your hard work and to allow some fun, positive energy in your training.

Trail etiquette:                     
Stay on the trail and follow the marked trail
Leave no trace behind you carry out what you carry in
Run in single file in the middle of the trail
Respect closures/avoid trespassing on private land
Do not disturb or harass wildlife,
no ear pods or ipods please, be in the present moment of nature
Give courteous and audible announcements well in advance of your presence and intention of passing “on our left” and show respect when you pass
Yield to all bikers, hikers, horses, etc. Uphill runners yield to downhill runners, Slower runners yield to faster runners, move over but stay on the trail
Be friendly, let other trail go-ers know they have a friend. “Thank you.” “Hello, how are you?” “Beautiful day.”
Run in smaller groups, it is less intimidating to others
Run with a buddy and let someone know your plan
Thank your volunteers
Familiarize yourself with the course map and have one with you
Be patient with the conga line.  Yell out “Trail—to your left or to your right” the slower runner should stop, step aside and make it easier for the faster runner to overtake.

This is not an all-inclusive list by any means but it should get you in the right mindset come race day to use your social intelligence and to help preserve nature.

Field trip on week two. Start and finish at Silver Lake in Pinckney Recreation Area. From I-94, go to US-23 North, (it jogs in Ann Arbor, and actually joins up with M-14 for a while, but stay on US-23 North), exit on North Territorial Rd.(first exit north of M-14). Head west 10 miles to Dexter Town Hall Rd. Turn Right (north), go one mile and the park is on the left.

Our group run will meet at our Start/ head of our Trail Marathon (running on a softer terrain (such as dirt trails) is easier on our joints, but look out for hard-to-see bumps, holes, tree roots, etc. We will plan to run 5 miles in and 5 miles out.  This will give us just enough of a taste to see what we are up against come race day. This allows us to find the location and see how much time we need to allow to get there. This will also allow us to experience a good portion of the trail ahead of time so that we can practice our hill technique as a group and offer support. This isn’t going to be an easy race, but learning something new keeps our mind vibrant. It gives us zest in life. You are going to face challenges on this run.  Think of it as a new adventure that will help you grow. Remember this whole process of training for such an event was to learn about your body and yourself. Learning can be a stretch goal at times and bring up feelings that are uncomfortable; physically, mentally and emotionally. Allow yourself to evolve as a person and don’t self-deprecate. Remember, I asked Sherri to hold classes at Mind Body Balance for our convenience.  Many of the classes have been outlined to follow the items that will come up in our training. She brings us a holistic way to handle these non-physical aspects of our training.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” –Albert Einstein

Hills?  In SE Michigan? Yes!  This race in May has a few of them and they will bring a challenge to our race. Why did I pick a race with hills?  Because having them included in our training is a great way to build stamina for the Ambassador Bridge and coming out of the Windsor tunnel, etc. There are several techniques that I encourage you to train with in April. If you are doing long runs with me, then you’ll be doing the Munson hill with me too. You can lean into the hill, hinging from the ankle-joint (ankle will stay down) keeping the stomach strong to support the back. Focus your attention only a few feet in front of you. Don’t over-stride up the hill. Pump your arms and walk up the hill. Be patient, take your time get to the top and then you’ll be going down the hill soon  🙂  Let cresting the hill and looking back be satisfying.  Don’t shy away from the hill because (as the ladies that ran with me last Saturday found out) it isn’t as much work as you think it will be; especially if you use my favorite technique of going up laterally. Here is a key element to remember.  Do not overwork your legs.  Your upper body will need to work harder on the uphill and reduce your lower body effort (70/30). Relax, shorten your stride, and shift your speed down. Think of a car shifting to go up a steep hill, Pump your arms forward (start at the hips and bring the hand up as if you were going to throw an uppercut to your chin) and lean into the hill. Memorize this check list to use when faced with a hill: shorten your stride, lean into the hill, swing the arms up to the face, relax your lower half and keep your heels down.

Okay, so I mentioned that I’m a fan of lateral up the hill. Now you can go half-way up the hill one way and then switch to do the other half or if you have a lot hills in your run just do one hill one way and one hill the other so that you are working your body uniformly. Going up a steep hill is difficult.  If you overstretch your Achilles tendons you will tire out your calves quickly and keep you from moving forward with zest. So, turn your hips into the hill and move laterally up it. It is like a cross step up the hill with your heels down so that your Achilles tendons aren’t overstretched and the calves don’t get over worked. The beauty of it is that you are using lateral muscles of the leg, it is like using a fresh set of muscles. This allows our body to work one set of muscles for running and one set for going up the hill conserving our energy. So, turn into that hill and go up it half-way one way and half-way up the other way.  Others might look at you funny, giggle or call you a newbie, but guaranteed they’ll give it a try out on their next run and start laughing at how easy it is.

Downhill running.  Relax (quads and calves) and surrender to the speed. Let the leg and pelvis rotate as need be.  Come into your 100 curl.  This will protect the lower back and sacrum.  Take smaller steps, zigzag down the hill if there is enough room, relax your shoulders away from your ears, let your body-weight ride softly down on your heels using the back of your legs as brakes and stay off your toes, think of dropping your tail bone down to your heels. This is new terrain for us so be present, do our body sensing

Water, carbs, etc….thanks to our ultra-athlete/ MBB member (Mary Kapp) I’ve been trying out some water devices because it has become the time where we need to start bringing our own water and carb/ electrolyte replacements on our long runs and to our events.  You can’t always count on the supplies at an event, that it agrees with our system or that it is timed when you need it).  So far, I like the Amphipod handheld thermal lite 12 oz.  It retails for about $22.  Here is a link to learn more and/or purchase. http://www.amphipod.com/products/hydration/bottles-handhelds/handhelds/handheld-thermal-lite-12oz

I personally have found a great recovery when I fill it with coconut water (Meijer, Health Matters, Trader Joes, Whole Foods all carry this) and 2 oz. of my Body Balance liquid vitamin (purchase this from Sherri Eby). I’ve been testing this vitamin out at Sherri Eby’s request for about 2 months now. I was sold when I started to include an extra dose during my long runs. The recovery is amazing, no soreness at all :), no deep fatigue the next day (just an hour early to bed and a nap on Sunday and I’m like new). I’d been testing out some Gu (carb/ electrolyte gels) and Mary and Tressa have gone shopping for me as well (thank you ladies for spoiling me). Some of the gels didn’t settle well in my stomach and the ingredient label was a bit scary too. So, once again I went to our resident natural-path and asked her to whip something up.  Sure enough, she took that challenge on and accomplished it. The natural “gu” is superb and we are in the process of just finding a better package for it.  But the important stuff to know is that the stuff that goes in it is better than anything on the market 🙂 Five gold stars for Sherri!  Mind Body Balance will be handing out one container of this mix to each of you at the 10K (so make sure we know you are signed up by commenting on this blog, otherwise you will be left out).  If you like it then Sherri will let you know how to order more from her for future events and long runs. My second choice is Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel.

Upcoming events to sign up for:   http://www.solsticerun.org/  This is the link for our next race after the half-marathon. This event is on Saturday, June 25, 2011 in Northville, Mi. It is a solstice run to benefit cancer. This is a 10 mile run and it does have a requirement of keeping a twelve minute pace or we will be disqualified at the eight mile mark. This will push us to keep up with our training schedule 🙂 If this is too much pressure, or if you are training for the half in October, then sign up for the 10K. This race will fill up quickly and the deadline to register is May 15 for $40.  After this the rate goes up. This one has a really cool shirt.

http://www.moonlitformarrow.com/ this is a link for our following race which is Friday, July 8, 2011 in Greenville, MI  It’s a little bit of a drive so we should carpool. This is the moonlit miles for marrow run.  It benefits marrow and stem cell programs. This is a 15K (9.3 miles) trail run in the evening.  Again, this will take one of our training sessions off the pavement and onto a softer surface. The cost for this race is $37.90.

If you hear of other runs in our community or runs that you find that look fun. Please post them on our blog in the comment sections so that others can see it and sign up too. Make sure you include a link to the registration site for the race so that we can find it with ease.

Week #1 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1          Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run/ 10K Event
2 Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run/ Field Trip Run
3 Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run
4 Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run/ Happy Easter no Group Run
5 Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run and Sherri’s Class on releasing stress and creating beauty Pilates Pilates Rest and eat right our Event is tomorrow

 

Week One: Short run is 40/50 and a long run is our 10K. Remember to do a five minute warm-up and cool down. Congratulations you are a runner. Body sense and watch your heart-rate monitor to determine when and if you need to walk.

Week Two: Short run is 40/50 and a long run is 10 miles. Remember to do a five minute warm-up and cool down. Congratulations you are a runner. Body sense and watch your heart-rate monitor to determine when and if you need to walk.

Week Three: Short run is 40/50 and a long run is 9 miles. Remember to do a five minute warm-up and cool down. Congratulations you are a runner. Body sense and watch your heart-rate monitor to determine when and if you need to walk.

Week Four:  Short Run is 40/50 and a long run is 4 miles. Remember to do a five minute warm-up and cool down. Congratulations you are a runner. Body sense and watch your heart-rate monitor to determine when and if you need to walk.

Week Five: Short run is 25/35 and a long run is our first half-marathon. Remember to do a five minute warm-up and cool down. Congratulations you are a runner. Body sense and watch your heart-rate monitor to determine when and if you need to walk.

 In Chi Running or Walking by Danny Dreyer read chapters 10 and/or get caught up.

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Consistency is Everything!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle.

Wow, I think this is a very powerful statement. Do you know that it takes 21 days to change a habit and 21 months to change a lifestyle? If we are cruising along and we “fall down” on day 15, then the “21 days to a new habit” period starts over again.  The same goes for the 21 months.

Knowing how much fuel you use and how much fuel you put into your body is tangible, concrete. You can count it.  You can calculate your results with a small margin of error. Demonstrate this by keeping a journal for yourself.

Change your thoughts about your body and practice affirmations daily. If you are already doing this, do more of them and use them more often throughout your day.  Maybe even more importantly, stop that negative mind chatter.  Stop having negative thoughts about your body.  You can’t resent those that have mastered the skills of health, or have spiteful opinions of people changing their health for the better.

Give up:

 

  • Being a victim,
  • Resentfulness,
  • Anger,
  • Jealousy

 

Appreciate and love the body you have, and other’s bodies.  Once you’ve mastered your positive thoughts about your body, turn them into actions.

 

  • Quality movement
  • Quality nourishment

 

Start with a couple of  items, like taking a ten minute walk after every meal, then move to eating more vegetables during the week and watch how these small efforts bring joy to your life.  Watch how other health habits flow more easily into your life.  Notice how much easier work becomes.

At the end of the month, count the calories.  Add them up to the cumulative total that you’ve expended.  Have you spent more calories then you did before? If your answer is “Yes!” then congratulations on a job well done!  My movement calories are piled high with treasures for my body and I’m unloading them today!

Here is the secret. Keep doing this! Consistency is everything! A lot of us say “Alright! We made it!” and then we stop moving (after we just had amazing results) and just revert to our old, ingrained habits. Sometimes we think we’ve conquered the “mind thing” and don’t have to work at it any more.  No more affirmations.  Guess what?  We sink.  We “roller-coaster” again with our health and ask ourselves, “How did this happen?” Or we accomplish the thinking part, like the affirmations, and stop moving; like the affirmations will work like some magic dust over our body. Nope.  We need to go back to that tangible, concrete method.

  • Fuel in – Fuel out.

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Marathon Blog #5

Well our first event (The 5K) is just around the corner. Don’t forget to determine when you can pick up your registrations prior to the race. (You should already be signed up for this race) http://www.runshamrocks.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=31

I know we will be driving separately, but as the event gets closer let’s look for a good meet-up place. Make sure that you eat right before the race as well. Our pre- race chicken and veggie pasta would be a good choice to consider. http://mindbodybalanc.wpengine.com/newsletter_articles.php (scroll to the bottom to find many recipes that appear in The Balancing Act).

Also, make sure that you have signed up for your 10K or you will have to pay extra very soon. http://www.martianmarathon.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=61

Now that some housekeeping is out of the way, let’s look ahead to the next four weeks of training. It is time to start evaluating your long runs. Some of you may be natural pace setters and some, like me, might struggle with this area of your training.

So here are some things to consider:

  • After your long runs…

o do you just want to lie on the couch for a few hours,

o legs are tired or sore for a couple of days following the run,

o winded during the last few miles,

o feel nauseated, irritated at the end of the run.

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are probably running at too fast of a pace for your training right now and should consider slowing down.

  • Before your long run you also need to…

o make sure that you are getting enough sleep the day before,

o eating appropriately,

o are you drinking enough fluids before?

  • During and after…

o are you mentally preparing for the long run,

o dressing for weather conditions and

o are you running with a partner?

As our long runs increase, factors that can make them more painful are:

o dehydration,

o insufficient fueling of your body,

o walk breaks that were too short or too fast,

o general fatigue because of our hectic American lifestyle,

o maybe your short runs were to close together,

o the pace you were running was too aggressive.

According to the Running USA Website in 2004, the average marathon time for men was 4:24:35 (approx. pace 10:15) and women 4:55:21 (approx. pace 11:15).

Listen to your body! You will hear me say this over and over again. Rest and recovery are very important.
You must allow enough recovery. If you do not, you will not become more fit, you will just become more tired. Your body needs time to rest and recover in order to get stronger and improve.
Don’t be a slave to your program. Be flexible and respond to what your body is telling you. If you went out, were too aggressive with your pace and your legs are feeling sore, allow yourself to put an extra day of rest in-between your runs; or just go out for your run and (instead of running) walk the time or distance instead.
Yes, we need to plan our workouts and not cut corners but we also need to be flexible so that we can listen to what our body is telling us. In case you haven’t noticed a pattern yet in your workouts, let me point out that you always have a recovery week each month. So, if you feel stiff, tired, and sore then allow an extra day of recovery before your next run. If you miss a session or two (I know I have because of weather) then don’t try to “play catch-up” and do extra the following week. This is a recipe for injury.
Don’t go rogue and start running every day because you love the added endorphins and how your body is feeling. Remember your schedule has rest days, recover weeks and progresses for a reason. Stick to it. Spread out your runs to avoid over-training. Have patience, listen and learn. You will not improve your running technique overnight, but you will progress gradually and those baby steps will add up to something great.

Our first race is coming up and you will have some pre-race-day jitters.
The positive energy will get to you.
The competition (even if you aren’t there for the competition but for the fun of it) will get to you.
You’ll get start-line jitters. Running in a crowd can make you want to run faster than your pace, especially when 100’s are passing you,
Learning how to take water from an aid station can be a little unsettling. Rest assured that these events are practice for the marathon event that you choose. After a couple of events, you will feel comfortable, confident and your anxiety will reduce.

Remember, pacing yourself is important. Give yourself the talk test you should be able to speak in sentences without feeling winded. Finding the right pace is difficult, but you should be able to maintain a pace throughout your training run.

“To climb step hills requires a slow pace at first” –Shakespeare, King Henry the Eighth

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run
Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run
Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run & Sherri’s Health Class
Active Rest & Nap Short Run & Yoga Yoga Short Run Pilates Pilates Long Run

The two rules of perseverance: Rule #1 Take one more step. Rule #2 when you don’t think you can take one more strep, refer to Rule #1.” -H. Jackson Brown Jr., American Author

Week One: Short Runs are 40/50, Long Run is 6 miles Your interval times for all runs will be five minute warm ups and cool downs and then six minute jog with a one minute walk.

Week Two: Short Runs are 50/60 No Long Run because we will be at the event running a 5k Your interval times for all runs will be five minute warm ups and cool downs and then six minute jog with a one minute walk.

Week Three: Short Runs are 40/50 Long Run is 7 miles Your interval times for all runs will be five minute warm ups and cool downs and then six minute jog with a one minute walk.

Week Four: Short Runs are 40/50 Long Run is 8 miles Your interval times for all runs will be five minute warm ups and cool downs and then six minute jog with a one minute walk.

In Chi Running or Walking by Danny Dreyer read chapters 7-9.

Here is your third event to sign up for: http://www.trailmarathon.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

You will want to sign up for this race by March 15, 2011; otherwise you will have to pay extra and may not make it into the race. They do have a runners limit for both the full and half of 1,000 runners. You will be signing up for the half. This course is going to be challenging, you will get dirty and you will need to bring your running etiquette with you (I’ll spend more time on this in our next blog). By May 1st you will have been in 3 races (5k, 10k and half). You’ve come a long way baby!

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