Conflict Matters

Successful relationships handle conflict well. Currently, our political arena is giving us a front-row seat into the tension-packed experience of conflict. Everyone has an opinion on how things should be handled. No one is removed from the process, even if they’d like to be. What is easy to notice is the inability of most people to see someone else’s perspective. The old saying “try to walk a mile in their shoes” seems to be thrown completely out the window in the political realm as battle lines are drawn and “enemies” are identified. We hurt, insult, create labels, hate and sever relationships. Is there a better way to handle conflict? Marshall Rosenburg says “The objective of Nonviolent Communication is to establish a relationship based on honesty and empathy. When others trust that our primary commitment is to the quality of the relationship and that we expect this process to fulfill everyone’s needs, then they can trust that our requests are true requests and not camouflaged demands.

While it is not my intention to dive into the craziness of politics, the way many people handle conflict within political discussion does help us realize how we can better handle conflict within our personal lives. How we handle conflict is a key indicator of success and compatibility which is definitely important in our relationships with others in our lives. Imagine if for a moment you improved your conflict resolution skills how would your relationships grow and improve?

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music” – John Milton

It is okay to feel anger and to process anger. When we are speaking the truth/Satya to someone if we are doing it in a non-harming/ahimsa manner, truth and anger cannot belong in the same sentence.  This is why we apply self-empathy, take a breath and then chose how to respond. We have communication choices. Focus on self-empathy, start with your “Self” become aware of your feelings and needs first to gain clarity. Words matter it makes up our emotional DNA that helps develop our thinking and thought patterns. It is when you can sit down next to the person and discuss a conflict that you are ready to communicate when you want to be across the table listen more than you speak.

 

Yoga Sutra 1.30Vyadhi Styana Samsaya Pramada Alasya Avirati Bhrantidarsana Alabdhabhumikatva Anavasthitatvani Cittaviksepah Te Antarayah” From that comes Realization of the individual self and the obstacles are removed. This is often translated as a disease; mental inaction; doubt; carelessness; laziness; inability to withdraw, compose and rest; hallucination; inability to reach, grasp or comprehend the goal; and inability to remain grounded are the obstacles these are distractions to the mind. We are all overscheduled, overworked, thinking about too much. However, this is all by our own choice and under these obstacles, it gets worse. By examining opposites, beliefs, and self-inquiry is an excellent starting point.

 

For me Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally said it best “How we view the world- our worldview- is, in the end, the only thing that decides whether we suffer or find real happiness. It’s extremely important to realize that an entire civilization can be caught up for many years in a mistaken view of the world. For thousands of years, sensible people believed that the world was flat. The courageous, democracy-minded founders of the United States kept human beings as slaves and believed that they were animals, not people. Our culture today has its own massively mistaken ideas of the world, and these cause all hunger, poverty, sickness, and war in the world. If our people’s view of the world is causing pain to others and ourselves, then we must look for a better one, one that works. If it doesn’t work, we cannot simply continue to follow whatever we learned as children, whether it came from parents or schools, churches or governments. True yoga is the search for the worldview that actively works to bring people happiness.

We need to integrate our experiences and have the courage to be ourselves and to allow this individuality even if it scares us because belonging matters. “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear whole or acceptable, but our wholeness even our wholeheartedness actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the fails.” – Brene Brown During conflict we need to listen there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listening is much more important than talking and yet it is much easier to talk rather than listen. We want to be heard and more importantly, we want to be right. When in the midst of conflict we are thinking about our response more than we are actually listening to what the other person is saying and this is not our best way to start a conflict resolution.  The first step is to listen for identify the root of the problem (content, pattern or relationship rooted)

 

Here are some questions to ponder:

  1. How was conflict handled in the home in which you grew up?
  2. When you were growing up, what were sources of conflict between you and your family of origin?
  3. In what areas of your life do you tend to value your own perspective over the members of your immediate support system?
  4. Often times, the way our parents handled conflict growing up carries over and impacts the way we handle conflict as adults. Is this true in your life and in what ways?
  5. What areas do you need to be more mindful of your own responses where conflict resolution is concerned?

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Applied Yoga Philosophy

In this paper you will learn how the classical text of Ramayana has influenced my life and my yoga practice. I will discuss the core principles and/or teachings of this text with regard to historical context and to the contemporary application of it today. I will also describe how the teachings in this text have influenced my role as a Yoga Therapist and how it is applicable to my clients.  Ramayana gives insights into how to live our various dharma’s and ethical standards at times of mental turmoil. It teaches us lessons of mortality and is a guide for righteous living. Ramayana inspires old and young and cuts across all barriers such as income levels, cultures and religions from around the world. The Ramayana story retold by William Buck is one that speaks to me. (Buck, 1976)

Ramayana was originally written in Sanskrit in the tradition of Vedas. The story is about the romance of Rama and the Court and the struggle of good over evil. It contains twenty-four thousand couplets (verses). These verses were written in thirty-two syllable meters called sloka (two line verses with sixteen syllables each). The meter is called anustup, chapters are called sargas and books are called kandas (of which there are seven). Each phrase of the story is connected to the next phase. This text dates back to 880,000 BCE (before Common Era or Christian Era). (Anonymous, “Ancient World History”)

The most important lesson that Ramayana teaches us is the relationship between Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Ultimately we are striving for Moksha and if we follow our Dharma we will obtain Moksha however at times Artha and Kama muddy our ways as we lean toward excess or scarcity in these categories rather than defining what is enough for us to fulfill our Dharma. I love how Rod Stryker describes the four desires. He says: Dharma in simple terms is the drive to fulfill your potential, you might also think of it as your duty (daughter, sister, etc.); Artha refers to material resources that will help you fulfill your dharma; Kama is the desire for pleasures of all kinds and Moksha is the longing for liberation and true freedom. (Stryker, 2011, pp. 20-23)

Ramayana is relevant more than ever in our modern society. Ramayana can be used as a set of values or a code of conduct in how to love our individual life, our family life, our career and how to connect with others in society. The young can learn from their mentors/ elders about wisdom in practicing the lessons taught in Ramayana. Currently in our society I see an undertone of solitary accomplishments being a metric of success. Success equated to worthiness, yet we are born worthy and unity is success. Relationships are being based on economy and greed instead of love, honesty and loyalty. Think of your hand for a moment. What if each finger did its own thing? How much can you accomplish with one finger? When all five units work together what can you accomplish then? We have teens who don’t heed parental advice and parents that aren’t concerned with their teen’s future. We have students that don’t respect teachers and teachers who don’t impart wisdom to students. We are one.  We breathe the same air, drink the same water and put our pants on the same way. Unity is diversity. We must all do our own work to understand ourselves better to be at peace for the world to be at peace.  One of my character strengths is the love of learning. I remind myself every day to take my acquired book knowledge and put it into practical knowledge to live by. “Ramayana is more than just a story. It assimilates principles of science and psychology, within its broader fold of spirituality and wisdom and this affords an all-inclusive solution.” –Dr. Ramesh Kumar Gupta

 How do we preserve our values? We are busy working hard to achieve individual success through greed and disregard for family, spouses, friendships, and fortunes. We have lost sight of what is truly important; unity, connection, loyalty, family, higher power, purpose and love. “Spirituality destroys narrow mindedness and confers unity, cooperation and universal peace.” ~Sai Darshan Pressures to perform deteriorate our life.  Without connection and spirituality we end up losing ourselves and our happiness. (Gupta)

Rama said in the second battle episode of the siege of Lanka: Vibhishanal! Self-confidence is my chariot and my courage and patience are its wheels. Truth and character is my flag while my strength, knowledge and self-control and goodwill are the four horses of my chariot. Forgiveness and uniform behavior are the ropes used to tie these horses. Faith in God is my charioteer while contentment and charity is my sword and axe respectively. My principles are my arrows. Devotion to the Brahmana’s and to my preceptor is my impenetrable amour. What other means of victory can one crave for? (Bhanot, 1992, p. 12)

My life and work is filled with love and through the life lessons of Ramayana. I can inspire myself and others to heal through movement. The fourteen lessons that Ramayana teaches us and I apply in my profession as a Yoga Therapist are:

If I come back to my soul’s dharma code I can relinquish my excess of wants in materialism and sense pleasures. I have dharmas or duties to carry out through other roles such as being a wife, daughter, friend, aunt, Yoga Therapist etc. Working through my four desires and developing clarity on my soul’s dharma code has helped me stay grounded as a Yoga Therapist while guiding my clients in finding clarity for themselves.

 Ramayana’s lesson of being married to one partner in our lifetime is built on long term meaningful relationships that are loyal and respectful of both parties. I like this quote by Kabbalah “We all come to this world as half a soul, we stumble about in this existence, trying other halves, preparing for the day when we will meet our kindred spirit. That’s when life really begins, that’s when it picks up speed and starts to flow and we can cast off. But we can’t meet that kindred spirit unless we discover our mission in life first.” It reminds me to do my work so others can do their work as well. Relationships are not perfect. They require growth, forgiveness and compassion especially after the affinity fades and the relationship changes into something that isn’t as new.  Relationships are a living moving piece of art that is always seeking balance and harmony. By having boundaries for myself and as a Yoga Therapist it allows me to have compassion and empathy. Happiness is obtained from the inside not from the outside.

If we take our time and speak our truth we are keeping our promises and honoring ourselves and others. As a Yoga Therapist I use my tools from Marshal Rosenberg (Psychologist and creator of nonviolent communication) and speak in a style that is non-violent and honor the profession and me. This maybe at times saying “I don’t know, I’m struggling with that myself, I feel this professional would be more helpful, I can’t fix but I can guide you to finding a more comfortable space if you are willing to do the work.”

It is my duty as a pioneer in this field to be respectful of the client in front of me, to my peers and those coming behind me. Reminding myself of my own detachment challenges without disappointment. Reminding myself to stay in a professional role rather than a friendship role with my clients so that they we can detach as a celebration of how far they have come without disappointment.

Not to listen to pointless and useless stories of my life especially stories that are vicious. It reminds me that my personality or way of healing my not be right for everyone and it is okay to excuse myself from a relationship with a client if I feel it isn’t providing healing for the client and a strain on my energy level. There are many needing guidance.

Not to accept valuable goods or presents from anyone, as this does the service of Yoga Therapy an injustice. A fair wage for the session provided is enough. I always tell my clients the greatest gift you can give me is to first heal yourself and then share your story, tell others about this service and then invite them to start their work.

Sometimes things come to you in disguise and to try and not get swayed by suspect attractions. Follow my gut and trust my personal intuition. As a Yoga Therapist I can always ask curious questions to understand things better and to see if what I’m feeling is client’s truth.

To always speak mindfully and to think before I speak sometimes my findings as a Yoga Therapist should be just that; my findings. My words could cause the client harm. They don’t need to know all of my assessment findings right from the start as they are usually coming to me wounded from a trauma of some sort. I want to create a trust, a safe place emotionally and physically- then I guide them through layers of self-discovering and healing as they are ready and ask for the knowledge and specifics.

All people have value and deserve to be treated fairly. No one deserves to be part of a violent act whether that is verbal or physical or be the subject of cruelty or bullying behavior. As a Yoga therapist I always lay out the expectations of what I agree to bring to each session and what I ask my client to bring to each session. It sets a boundary and a tone of what to expect during our times together.

My life and work is filled with love that moves people to heal; I am light in a dark world. I believe love exceeds all barriers. As a Yoga Therapist (I ask first) I always give my clients a hug on the way out. Hugs are healing and so many times I am the only loving touch they received all day. Vitamin L (love) is what will heal the world.

As a Yoga Therapist I am only their guide on this great adventure of theirs. They have to do all the work. I’m humbled and honored that they chose me to guide them.

We are wired for connection, belonging and friendships. As a Yoga Therapist I create times where there is a sense of community at the studio. A place where like-minded individuals can go, belong and friendships can be made. The connections here have a major impact on our local community.

Those that have the biggest bark, the toughest exterior, the souls that hurt others are the ones that need help the most. I pray daily for strength to be given to me, for the wisdom to ask the right question that will help them heal. On the inside they want love, connection and belonging more than anyone.

At times I have to jump into the middle of a fire to set a higher standard. As a Yoga Therapist I hold myself to high standards, others say they are impossible standards. As a teacher I guide my clients to lean into their fears to find calm waters and to set a standard for themselves and role model it to others.

 

References

Ancient World History. (2012, July 22). Retrieved October 19, 2015.

 

Bhanot, T. (Ed.). (1992). Ramayana: Part 9: Battle episode 2. (p. 12). Nai Sarak, Delhi: Dreamland Publications.

 

Buck, W. (1976). Ramayana: King Rama’s way (35th ed.). Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

 

Gupta, R. (2011, April 4). Ramayan for our daily lives – The Times of India. Retrieved October 19, 2015.

 

Stryker, R. (2011). For the purpose of the soul. In The four desires: Creating a life of purpose, happiness, prosperity, and freedom (pp. 20-23). New York: Delacorte Press.

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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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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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How to get from your starting point to where you want to be!

Yes, Andy Stanley is still inspiring me so bear with me. After listening to Andy Stanley present at The Global Leadership Summit in 2010, I had to read his book The Principle of the Path. It offered some insight into my personal life and made me wonder about my health, and my client’s health as well. Why is it that smart people with admirable life goals often end up so far from where they want to be regarding their health and well being? Why is it that so many people start out with a clear picture and or living a healthy lifestyle and yet, years later, find themselves far from their desired destination of “healthy body?” Why do our expectations about our own health and fitness level often go unmet?

I’ve sat with many clients who have cried, wishing they could go back and have a do-over, living differently, but we can’t.  As the line in the country song goes, “When your hourglass runs out of sand, you can’t turn it over and start again.” Experience is our most valuable commodity. This learning from experience eats up a lot of years, it steals entire stages of life, it leaves us with scars, pain, and regret. This regret creates powerful emotions which can drive us right back to the behavior that created the regret to begin with. Whenever a client talks to me about weight, there are always big emotions, fear and pain.

I’m not giving you a 12 step program to follow or a guarantee that will fix your pain but I do hope to bring your attention to the fact that some big emotion is floating in the background of your life and the lives of those you love. If you can find the courage to look for this emotion, and bring awareness to it, without judgment, than you have done the most difficult part of the journey to regaining your health, your life, your happiness. Once you’ve located this emotion you can then leverage it for your benefit.

Clients come to me and they want me to hold all of their responsibility to becoming healthy. Ultimately, I can guide them, but I can’t do the work for them. I can lay out a yellow brick road or a prudential path to better health, but there are sure to be road blocks and detours that they’ll be faced with. 

My clients always hold the best answers.  They already know the solution; they just need help with direction. This will take time, a change of direction and patience. Remember, there is no quick fix when one day you wake up and find that you are hundreds of miles away from were you want to be. I often have no idea how I will help the new client that comes to me for help. Their latest health scare just reveals where they are and where they aren’t.  It also reveals the path that they were on.

I don’t “fix” or hand out a 12 step “to-do” list, but I do know that if we choose a path of unhealthy lifestyle habits eventually we arrive at an undesirable destination. A health scare just speeds the trip up. Every path has a specific destination.

Proverb (27:12) “Lord, help us to see trouble coming long before it gets here. And give us the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it.”

It takes a lot of courage to face your health and fitness issues. It takes a lot of courage to admit your starting point; but we all have one. Mine came when I realized that I had gone from a size 2 to a size 12 and was wondering why my back issue (crushed T12) was getting worse at the age of 32. Why was I having hormone issues and facing type 2 diabetes just around the corner?  I knew better.  I knew how to live a healthy lifestyle.  I wasn’t raised to live unhealthily. I just chose a path that didn’t include self nurture. I had to pay attention to my health, when I see old habits coming back I have to change direction because it is the direction of our life that will determine our destination.

I’m definitely not perfect.  I often learn from mistakes only. But, I do have some questions that I want you to consider. Why do you make choices that give you short –term happiness over long-term happiness? Why overindulge for a short term high instead of years of good health? Why do I have to have my way now rather than wait and really have my way later? Why do I have to sit in front of the TV now every night instead of playing with my children, grandchildren and being fit enough to enjoy traveling the world later in life? Why do I knowingly choose paths that take me where I’ve already decided I don’t want to go? Are you allowing your brain to sell you on things that you want to do rather than what you ought to do?

How many times have you eaten the whole bag of potatoes chips and said, “I don’t understand why I did that? What was I thinking?”  I’ve done this before and I don’t understand some of my decisions.  We can’t understand our heart. We are corrupt.  Our brains have the ability to lie to us, create actions based upon those lies and then defend our lies and actions with ridiculous excuses. Getting the Courage to tell ourselves the truth is downright terrifying, but the truth is liberating and weight is lifted from our shoulders. The reason I lie about my health is……….. The real reason I won’t exercise is…………. The real reason I eat so much is…………the real reason I can’t afford wellness services is……………The real reason I quit doing what I love is…………….. Andy sums this up very elegantly “When you are willing to come clean with yourself about the uncomfotable truth behind your choices, you’re on the verge of freedom. We can never be free as long as we’re in the habit of lying to ourselves about the reasons behind the choices we make and the paths we take. Telling yourself the truth will free you to move from where you are to where you want and need to be”

When we make a choice, we choose a path and every path has a destination, the direction we chose, not our intention, determines our destination. Information, insight is not enough.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the lord with all your heart leans not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him; and he will make your paths straight.

Find a Fitness Coach that will help you cut through your emotional fog that clouds your decision-making environments regarding your health. Every big decision has an emotional component behind it.  Every big decision takes you down a path that will impact your future. Life is too short to allow the emotions of the moment to direct your health toward a direction you will later regret.

Success is sometimes admitting that you have no idea what action to take concerning a particular issue or situation. Successful people know that they are in uncharted territory and they should seek other’s advice; people who have experience in that area. It takes a lot of confidence to say “Even though I’m in charge of my life, successful in so many areas of my life, I have no idea what to do on the issue of my health and fitness level” I often hear, “I’m the head of my company, department etc. but I’m just not sure what plan of action I should follow for movement.  Can you help me?  I partner with them and we develop a plan of action that meets them where they are at that moment. Often they report back that they’ve been humbled, that they are a better manager to their employees because of it and that they are ready, begging to start the next step in the action plan.

Our decisions to live an unhealthy lifestyle (the one’s that we make privately and independently) are judged by others, and affect other people as well. Even when we pay attention and choose another path or direction to improve our lifestyle to one of health we are judged by others, and affect other people as well. Yes, you are an adult and you can make your own decisions, but it affects your family, your co workers, and your friends. When your health goes south, you aren’t the only one affected.  Your parents, friends, spouse / life-mate, children, coworkers…, all who have come in contact with you, suffer. Every decision that you make that hurts you, also hurts those that love you and depend on you the most. So many times, clients are afraid to have a family discussion about what they need in order to make a lifestyle change (i.e., help with cooking, cleaning, watching the children etc. so that they can exercise) and they want to go it alone or use it as an excuse not to make a change. When we make a bad choice or choose a bad path and we realize we’ve made a mistake, who do we go to for advice about how to make a course correction? Who do we go to for advice about how to dig out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves into? If the decision we make will be seen, judged, and felt by these individuals why not involve them from the beginning? Nothing remains a secret.

We go to run across the yard to play with the dog or our grand children and can’t make it because we are out of breath.  We end up in the hospital on father’s day with a heart attack.  How in the world did you end up here? How do we get ourselves to concentrate on the things that matter? Self-deception doesn’t accomplish much, but it is a path. What has your attention now? Who has your attention now? There is no one but you at this very moment while you are reading.  Don’t lie to yourself. You know from your own past experience.  Be honest.  Why is it that you just don’t find the time to exercise; to get around to your health; because of the other less important stuff?

THINK!  HONESTLY, A LOT IS AT STAKE!

Take a moment out of your hectic life and ask, “What I am devoting my attention to right now? Is this a special item that deserves my attention?”  Don’t imprison yourself in your unhealthy body. I know that this is not where you intended to be.  Disappointment creates powerful emotions.  I know poor health is the last place that you wanted to be and that a life of disappointments creates powerful emotions that take over our life.  No one in our society is immune to these emotions. Regardless of what your goals, dreams, wishes or wants were or are, set a course for improved health today.  Change your direction today.  That will set your destination. Remember, “Knowing/ Awareness” doesn’t make the difference but “Doing” does. Start exercising today.

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Marathon blog #4

So many of you are off to a great start! What I love most about the stories that you are sharing with me is that you are making this training your own. You are all listening to your bodies, having some light bulb moments and acknowledging the emotions that come up along the way.

For example, some of you are learning the art of a warm up… That if you just race off from your start point, mindless, you get cramping in your calves, wheezing, etc. (if this happens then slow down). Remember, you should start-off slow and build speed over a five minute period of time and during this time you shouldn’t feel any tension, cramping, your breath should be full.

I’ve heard about the “a-ha” moments, stretching at the end of your workout. For those of you that workout with me on Saturday, you find that even though it is your long run, you aren’t that sore & tight the next day or two. This is because we do a good stretching program at the end. If you skip your stretching program at the end then your body starts to speak loudly until you listen and give it some much needed “love.” You can’t skip this. It must be part of your routine.

I’ve heard stories of: the run was great but afterword’s I was angry, I was happy, I am amazed I did it, I’m proud, I’m fearful to start to exercise, I’m embarrassed to exercise with others, etc. You are certainly going to learn a lot about yourself during your training times. Look, you have nothing but time while you are out in nature. This is fun. This isn’t about punishment, judgment, competition or having an expectation. This is about learning about yourself, your body, being healthy, enjoying the outdoors, having fun with others during movement, exploring yourself and personal awareness. Please don’t put yourself into a box that you create for you.

Be patient and allow yourself some grace. As you become more efficient, work on your technique you will have a sense of joy and as this joy increases so will your efficiency in your running. I know I rocked my 5 mile run on a very cold day. I felt great. I enjoyed it but then came my short runs the next week. I felt okay, but I wasn’t looking forward to them. Remember, our mind is like concrete; sometimes it’s visualized as a road block. Our body is fluid. I’m always trying to create a fluid mind to match my body. Running is inexpensive, running goes with you anywhere, and running clears the mind chatter and helps you keep it in sane perspective.

This training needs to be fun. You need to be having the time of your life whether you picked walking, running or a combination of both (that’s me). Your heart will beat stronger, your bone density will improve, and you’ll burn calories and increase your cardiovascular efficiency. A lot of people get injured while running and never make it to the start line. Why? In my personal opinion it is because they over-train (going beyond what the body is capable of), attack their training with the same stress they live daily, have poor alignment and use poor running technique.

This is why we offered you some additional services such as Sherri Eby to help with holistic health and emotions. Chi Running by Danny Dreyer will help with your running program. We like Danny’s philosophy because it fits with our philosophy of movement at Mind Body Balance. Please make sure that if things are coming up during your running that you strongly consider using one of these additional services for a period of time. I know that my breathing is limiting me (still working on expanding my respiratory muscles from my old injury) I’m rereading my Chi Running book to remind me of good form so that I run with mindfulness. I’ve shared with many of you some of the things that I say in my mind “Breathing in I Smile, Breathing out I smile”, “Inhale God’s Word, Exhale his Love”.

I’ve shared some running techniques based on what I see in your running form when you pass me on the trail. By the way, I’m glad that you pass me because when we get together you shouldn’t feel obligated to go at another’s pace. We are all there to support each other. Chat before and after, maybe during, but the bottom line is to first listen to your body and feel what it is telling you.

Please don’t make your training program about peer pressure, wanting to be the fastest, trying to prove your value, wanting to keep up with the Jones’, etc. This is about you and you define your own success, no other. Danny Dreyer talks about Master Xu in his book and I love the saying “Let your mind do the work….let your body relax.” Your running should be with ease. You should run down that trail as if you are the air that blows through the tree leaves, you should leave no foot prints behind, and your energy should be united between body, mind and spirit. The process of this training is your goal. The events are just fun social gatherings for us to have community with one another.

Learn what your body can and can’t do and teach your body new skills and habits. Danny Dreyer’s techniques make sense on so many levels I really hope that you get his book as I recommended in the very first blog and absorb every page. I know mine is well used.
“Principles are deep Fundamental Truths that have universal application. Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value” –Steven Covey

Your reading for this week is to cover the next three chapters in Chi Running by Danny Dreyer (chapters 4, 5, 6 by months end) these chapters are on form and technique. Danny’s principals are very similar to those that Joseph Pilates left us (Centering, Control, Concentration, Flowing, Precision, and Breathing) remember Joseph called it Contrology (the complete coordination of Body, Mind and spirit). So with this said, you should be spending your time on form these next four weeks and listening to your body. For example, if I start to get tense while running or something starts to “talk” I start to walk until I can correct my form, quite my muscles and relax.

I send it good thoughts. I don’t get mad or discouraged. Instead I ask it what it needs, why do I need to carry this tension, can I let the tension go, my left side isn’t tracking right because I have numbing or I’m a little sore the next day. How can I work on my technique to help it, etc. While the table below offers suggestions, please use your best judgment and listen to what your body is telling you. Maybe you need to walk the long runs and not shuffle at all. Maybe you need to stay with a different interval then what is recommended but can still go the time and distance. All of this is fine, giving you permission to listen to your body. Just stay healthy, injury free and consistent with your program; helping you find the balance that works for you. If you get discouraged go back and re-read the blogs because they offer great suggestions and serve as good reminders.

Week # Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Short Run Yoga Short Run/ Yoga Pilates Pilates Long Run Breathing Active Rest/ Nap
2 Short Run Yoga Short Run/ Yoga Pilates Pilates Long RunBreathing Active Rest/ Nap
3 Short Run Yoga Short Run/Yoga Pilates Pilates Long RunBreathingSherri’s Class Active Rest/ Nap
4 Short Run Yoga Short Run/ Sherri’s Class Pilates Pilates Long Run Breathing Active Rest/ Nap

Week One (intention is Body Sensing) a short run is 30/40 it is a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down with a 2 minute shuffle/ jog or fast walk and a 3 minute walk. The long run is 4 miles same warm up, cool down and interval.

Week Two (intention is Breathing) a short run is 35/45 it is a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down with a 3 minute shuffle/jog or a fast walk and a 2 minute walk. The long run is 5 miles same warm up, cool down and interval.

Week Three (intention is lean/ posture) a short run is 35/45 it is a 5mintue warm up and 5 minute cool down with a 4 minute shuffle/jog or fast walk and 1 minute walk. The long run is 6 miles same warm up, cool down and interval.

Week Four (intention is effort with ease) a short run is 30/40 it is a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down with a 2 minute shuffle/jog or fast walk and 3 minute walk. The long run is 4 miles same warm up, cool down and interval.

If the above mentioned intentions don’t make sense, then please consult your Chi Running book. Focusing on your reading and working on your form will go a long way and help yourself create a strong base in which to grow on.

Now is the time to sign up for your second event: The 10k. And guess what? You’ve already gone the distance. “Yes, You Rock!” http://www.martianmarathon.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=61

Make sure to register before March 2nd or you will have to pay extra!

So everyone is asking me who is going to the March 13th event: the 5k. If you are going walking or running, please comment below so that everyone can see and help inspire those that are sitting on the edges looking in wishing they had the courage to sign up too. I confidently know that all of my clients can walk a 5k. so please join us it is for a good cause.

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What is the wise thing to do?

Recently Andy Stanley has inspired me to do some self evaluation. I was recently preparing for a leadership conference this year.  When you enrolled early you were gifted a book entitled The Best Question Ever by Andy Stanley. Two weeks before the conference my excitement was building and I thought I probably should give it a quick read before I attend….you know, so I’m prepared and all…..

Of course, like many items that grab us, we always say “If only I had this earlier in life.” But, the truth is, I probably wasn’t ready for it until now.  He said in his book “You can overspend, overeat, and overachieve, but you can’t over-live.”  Lets look at this for a moment.  We all know that our time is limited on earth, right? You would think this would inspire us to look at our life differently, but instead, we all spend our lives asking for more time instead of evaluating how we invest our time we already have.

I think a better idea to ponder would be how to use our current time.  For example, what do you do with all of your extra time? You might be thinking, “Well, I have no extra time.” But, for you parents, I bet you thought you had no extra time when you were single.  You found time for your first, second, and third child. Where did all that “time before children” go?  Away?  Where did your life go? 

I get clients all the time that say, “I know I should take care of myself but I just don’t have the time!” WHAT?  Think about your past experiences (family history your own health history, etc), your current responsibilities (parent, care giver, productive citizen, etc.), your future hopes and dreams (grandkids, children in college, trips in the golden years, etc.).  What is the wisest way to invest in your health?  Now, you are all smart enough to know how to manage your time, see were your time-wasters are and to understand that time is life.  But, often times, we don’t prioritize our health until it is too late.

I see clients that routinely, for years, ignored this very aspect of life.  Then finally something happens in their life and their health gets pushed up the ladder to the top rung. They, of course, are often looking for a quick fix (a magic pill) and get angry that I can not accomplish their goal (reduce pain, lower cholesterol, lose weight, etc.) in just a handful of sessions. It is almost as if they are laying there, thinking, “This won’t work, this isn’t helping me.”etc.

At this point, I tell them, “The body is fluid and has the ability to repair, heal and change over time.  The mind is concrete.”  In other words, if you are saying unkind, negative things while we work together, we should just stop working together.  You are working against your body and you “know” that it won’t change.

You aren’t ready to change your lifestyle until you are ready.  You are only ready when it has nothing to do with the externals floating about in your life.  In one, or even five sessions you aren’t going to see this big difference other than you may be sore and realize that taking back your life is going to be hard work.  Sorry to be the barer of bad news but…  It’s the truth. 

If you allow your exercise sessions and the small lifestyle changes to accumulate… now you are talking about real movement that has a measurable benefit in your life. I know we are a society that wants immediate gratification.  Because exercise doesn’t supply this it is easy for our mind to “fight to be right” and say things like, “It will not hurt if I miss one day.”  Healthy lifestyle factors have a compounding effect.  Consistent, small investments of time have a value.  In the end, that time makes a difference.

If you are like me, you live and learn.  I’ve found myself, many times, wishing I could go back in time and actually listen to my father’s advice.  But I can’t go back.  In fact, we can’t go back for many things such as living, loving, re-prioritizing….the critical aspects of life.  We cannot go back and make up for our mistakes or lost time. You know you’ve done it with your health.  In fact, at the beginning of every year I see it.  Many clients wanting me to brow beat them with outrageous workouts, trying to make up for “that lost time of exercising” in their life.  It’s as if logging 2-3 hours a day makes you feel “in control.”  You’ll feel you’ve regained your footing, then you’ll wake up the next day and have a hard time getting out of bed or you injure yourself.  And so, the brain says, “See, I told you we shouldn’t be doing this.”

Your health matters.  It is one of the top five things that matter in your life and you can’t make up for lost time.  Two of the biggest crises’ that Americans face today are obesity and metabolic diseases; both of which stem from making decisions.  We eat too much.  We spend too much on trends and magic pills.  It isn’t because we make too little income or have too little time.  So we look for others to blame for our behaviors like fast food, finances, employers, etc.

You know something about cars, right?  But most of us don’t work on them by ourselves. You don’t expect your mechanic to make wise suggestions and decisions about your car without first knowing how the car works, right? You don’t try to make wise decisions about your family’s finances without first seeking out a financial planner and knowing the laws and principles that work in these areas of your life.  So, why then, would you not seek help in mastering your health? How would you expect to make wise decisions?

Make a health care team for you today that includes:

  • You,
  • An integrative fitness professional,
  • A doctor that respects movement and nutrition,
  • A physical therapist if needed,
  • A nutritionist and
  • A “body-work” professional.

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Marathon Blog #2

 What is a marathon? How do I choose my event? How do I decide to participate?

Commitment, Patience, Good Training Program, Will/ Desire to go the distance, Willingness to take advice/ tips, Consistency, Love, Perseverance, Determination and Hard Work are some characteristics that you will have to own in order to accomplish the goal of completing your first Marathon in the fall of 2011.

A qualifying run for a marathon is 3.30 hours and under. Our first goal is to finish and then to finish in about 5-6 hours for a full marathon. A full marathon is 26.2 miles and half marathon is 13.1 miles.

If we walk a full marathon, it will take about 7 hours.  We need to finish in about 6 hours so we will need to do some shuffling in there. If you walk a half marathon, it will be about 4 hours.

Why are we doing this as a studio and why are you even considering participating in this event?
Once you accomplished this experience you won’t regret it.  It is a simplistic, inexpensive event.  Training for the event and the event itself will teach you a lot about yourself.  You’ll learn your limitations and at the same time be given opportunities to conquer them.  You’ll improve your self-worth.

Are you up for it mentally and physically? I know I’m up for a new mental task and physically… well, it’s time I get back into my cardio routine.  There is nothing like an event to make that happen.

Can you make the commitment? I know that I’m worried about this one myself.  Being a small business owner, working 100 hours a week plus having a marriage and a personal life is going to be tough. For example, you are going to have about 38-41 weeks of training you will have 3 cardio sessions on top of your Pilates and yoga to add to your schedule.  One of these cardio sessions (as the training schedule progresses) will take several hours to complete.

Will you have Support? You will have support from me and our Mind Body Balance Community but this is another step in making a lifestyle change.  As you know I always ask you, “How will this help you and hurt you?” Your loved ones will be affected by part of the process whether they are participating in the event or not.

Do I have limiting health Concerns?  Well, as you all know I have injury in my spine in the cervical and thoracic vertebra.  I believe that Pilates and Yoga has made me strong enough to endure this event but until I put it to the test… we will see.  Be honest.  Don’t set yourself up for failure.  Maybe you need to pick the half marathon or train longer than 26 weeks. We are taking a slow, gradual training approach and there will be flexibility in the schedule for you to decide as you progress whether to complete a half or a full.

Are you prepared to take care of yourself? You are going to have to pay particular attention to your nutrition (using your online nutrition program), hydration, and sleep.  All of these are parts of a good training program. Are you willing to be mindful in these areas? We’ve given you the tools to make you successful.  Will you use them to help yourself?

Am I mentally strong enough to physically make this happen? We are often our own worst enemy. Our psychological barriers are often our biggest obstacle to overcome. We are about to embark on a 30+ cardio week of walking/ shuffling/ jogging training program.

Yes, you can go from a coach potato to a full marathon. But we are training a little longer and a little bit different than some programs are written. We need to allow our body (muscles, bones, ligaments) time to adapt to the stress of 26.2 miles that will be put on the body. Yes, some people get injured while preparing for these events. These injuries come from under-training, because they didn’t allow enough time or they were inconsistent in following their program. Some injuries come from over-training; they trained too hard and too frequently. Success for this event will not come easily. This schedule is slow so you can build strength, stamina and confidence. Our ultimate goal is to improve your overall health/ fitness level and to remain injury free. Our secondary goal is to cross that finish line with grace that allowed you to honor your body. The journal I asked you to get will allow you to monitor your aches and pains, seek expert advice and then listen and follow the recommendations.

Preparing for this event is the cheapest prescription available.  The benefits are: 

 

improved heart rate;
cardiovascular system;
muscle tone;
weight control,
circulation,
sleep patterns,
improved health,
increased energy,
improved self-esteem,
time with friends,
quality time outdoors,
stress relief,
weight control,
character building,
strength,
wisdom,
know yourself a little bit better,
bragging rights at the water cooler,
decreased risk of stroke,
decreased risk of hypertension,
decreased risk of diabetes,
decreased risk of cancer (breast and colon),
decreased risk of mental illness,
improves respiratory function,
improves bone strength,
improves muscle balance,
psychological well-being,
improves overall quality of life,
confidence building,
overall attitude boost,
improve focus,
determination,
euphoria
and the list goes on.

 

Some cons for preparing for this event are:

 

a great deal of patience, discipline and willpower
blisters,
chafing,
fatigue after event,
time involved,
experience highs/lows,
cold weather,
injury,

 

Should you participate in a half or a full marathon? Well, how much time do you have to commit to your exercise program? Does the time you have available for your next exercise endeavor match the demands that characterize a full or a half? Have you been injury free the past few months? Are you mentally and physical prepared to train for significantly longer periods of time? Do you have the commitment of family support? Do you realize there will be a “tired” factor and you may need to turn in early for the night? Are you board and want to try another activity?

You all filled out a Par-Q before exercising at the studio. If you marked yes to any of the seven questions then ask your doctor to do an exam before beginning. If you didn’t have any “yeses” than you are probably fine to start training. When you talk to your doctor make sure that they understand what a marathon is and aren’t just against events because they wouldn’t do one. Sorry doc’s, I love ya but maybe you should join us J

Your teen may decide that while you are training they’d like to participate.  This would be a wonderful parent child activity.  Please check first with their doctor to make sure you understand their skeletal maturity. Don’t force your teen to choose your goals.  Let them set their own goals to reach for. You focus on safety and being a good role model.

Our next blog will talk about what is involved with participating in a marathon?

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Marathon Blog #1:

This is an overview on:

  • How we will help support you
  • Dates to clear
  • Products to put into your toolbox

I had the pleasure of meeting Anne Zorran when she walked into my studio to become a Pilates client. Anne was a pleasant surprise to me. You see, every client at Mind Body Balance is a gift. We believe those that are ready for a life change will find us. We know that while each client is a new challenge, they will touch our lives in an unsuspected way and we will learn as much as they did. Anne shared her story with me and inspired me to take it to the next level.

We have helped several athletes over the past year accomplish their dreams of participating in Triathlons.  Nick and I (and then some of our clients joined us) volunteered at some local Triathlons and supported our clients who participated. The energy at these events is amazing and this has to be one of the best volunteer experiences we’ve ever helped with. We will continue to volunteer at these again this year and I hope that more of you will join me.

Now we, as a studio, will compete in our first Marathon. Together as a studio we are going to complete The Detroit Free Press Marathon on October 16, 2011.

We have chosen four races in total and the whole family could get involved with all but one of them. Now, I know participating in a Marathon seems overwhelming! Your eyes glaze over, your heart skips a beat, you immediately get tired and feelings of self-doubt come up.  However, somewhere in there a smile occurs.  The mind starts to think “What if…. you know… I’ve secretly wanted to say that I have completed one.” Well, you can participate in one. You will learn a lot about yourself as you prepare for this event. Usually a training schedule for a Marathon is 20 weeks.  Our training schedule will be about 38 weeks. Each training schedule will come out in 4 weeks blocks so that you can plan that month’s training.

  • Your Pilates schedule to help you with alignment, strength and flexibility.
  • Your yoga will add flexibility and to help you reduce your stress levels.
  • Your on-line nutrition program will help you keep your body fueled properly.

 

A quick overview of the program: 

  • We will support you and your training schedule through our various services and partners in the community.
  • Your monthly training schedule will appear on Mind Body Balance’s blog along with other support materials.
    • We encourage you to be interactive on this blog. Ask questions, share your self-doubt and share your celebrations so that together as part of the Mind Body Balance community we can offer words of encouragement. Trust me.  If you have a question, others have the same question. 
    • We will also be posting some daily thoughts on Mind Body Balance’s Fan Page on Facebook.
      • There will be days that you don’t want to go out and do your training.  Post this on our Facebook page and maybe you’ll get some inspiration from your other Mind Body Balance community members and/ or find someone who is feeling the same way.  You can meet up to train together that day.
      • Feel free to say, “I train on ‘blank’ days in the ‘blank’ time of day.  Does this work for anyone else?  I’d love to have a partner.”  I’ll be posting mine.
      • The program is being set up so that during the week you can do your training schedule however it works best for you.  The longer training sessions will occur on Saturdays.
        • We will always have a “meet” at the studio (or a location that has been announced) for our group training.  You can choose to come if it works for you, but you are not required to come. As our training times get longer… as we increase our endurance… it is nice to have a group support.  Trust me, not all of us will hit walls at the same time and so someone in the group will be able to take the lead and push us through the hump.
          • Read Gung Ho! By Ken Blanchard and pay particular attention to the “goose” story.
          • We will also have various field trips, running shoes, clothing, and speaking seminars from people who have completed marathons on regular bases.  These field trips have been planned to correspond with our training schedule and to appear when we most need them.

 

I’m asking you to purchase some support materials.

  • Chi Running or Chi Walking by Danny Dreyer (about $11 on Amazon or order locally from the Book Nook)
  • Your Body Speaks Your Mind by Deb Shapiro (about $13 on Amazon or order locally from the Book Nook)
  • A journal that will record your training notes (about $10) and anything that comes up that you’d like to work on in Jane’s workshops,
  • A Polar RS300 heart rate monitor ($112 to $200)
  • We will have some clothing picked out for us to wear on race day.  You will be asked to cover the cost of this clothing.
  • All marathon training from me (and during our Saturday meet-ups) will be free of charge to all clients. 
    •  I think it is important for us to spend this year learning about ourselves and growing our bond as a community at Mind Body Balance (we have amazing individuals to meet),
    • We can set a good role model for our town.
    • It is time to take our training to the next level in a safe way. We are strong.  Let’s not cheat our body! Trust me, while I may be ahead of you in Yoga and Pilates, because of my hamstring injury (that I’ve now procrastinated with) I’ll be starting my cardio over (just as some of you are starting it for the first time).
    • Our overall goal is just to FINISH the race.
      • Our goal is to be done with the race in at least 6 hours.
        • Why?  After this length of time they start opening the streets.
        • This means that we are walking, shuffling, and/or jogging a 13: 45 minute mile or about 4.5 miles in an hour.
        • Please don’t think that we are asking you to flat out run 26.2 miles because we are not.
        • A shuffle is a cross between a fast walk and a slow jog. I think that each of you can participate in some way on this day. If you have concerns please speak to me on an individual bases and I will be candid with you on how I think you should approach this. I will give you a “play it safe” goal and a “stretch for the top” goal. I hope that each of you will pick a “stretch for the top” goal but the choice (as always) will be yours to make and we will respect that choice.

 

Here are some dates to clear on your calendar:

  • Saturdays at 3p.m. (unless you are going it alone for the long training days),
  • March1 3, 2011 –Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5K run and walk in Ann Arbor (5K run, 5K walk, kids run)
  • April 2, 2011 –Martian Invasion of Races Dearborn (5K Run, 10K Run, Kids Run, Half, Relay and Full)
  • June 5, 2011 –Dexter Ann Arbor (5K Run, 5K Walk, 10 K Run, 10K Walk, Kids Run, Half)

Then our main event!

  • The Detroit Free Press Marathon, October 16, 2011
    • Everyone can participate, including your friends and family if you wish. (5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, Half, Full, Kids Run). Don’t panic this sounds like a lot but I paired up these smaller events with our long training schedules to prepare us for what race day would feel like. We aren’t over training, we are just doing some of our longer sessions in an actual event form.

I will be printing out applications and rules for these events and have them at the studio for you.

Our next blog will cover topics like, What is a marathon? How do I choose my event? How do I decide to participate?

We are also adding more helpful components to our list this year to help you further your training experience.

  • Jane V. Lutz, MSN, RN will be here to guide us through some self-growth and interpersonal development. She has been involved in holistic study and healing since 1985. She has taught psychiatric nursing, a variety of holistic classes and meditation. She offers individual and group education sessions and her writings about spirituality have been published. She has been a Mind/Body: Balance client for over a year now.  As we go through this journey you will learn a lot about yourself physically and emotionally.
    • These classes will be held on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. for 90 minutes for $25 at Mind Body Balance.
    • Holly Cramner is a registered craniosacral therapist and creates a warm and open atmosphere in her office where you can really change your health and your life.  Holly is also a client of Mind Body Balance and is participating in the event with us.  Using a holistic healthcare approach, breathing/ visualization classes and homeopathic remedies along with craniosacral therapies, Holly has helped many people cure their ailments, relieve their pain and increase their emotional well-being. She will be holding some breathing classes. As you know, with any movement, breathing is paramount and we need to strengthen this area of our body in order to make it through our events with ease.
      • These classes will be held on Saturdays at noon at Mind Body Balance for $70 for a seven week series or a $12 drop in.
    • Sherri Eby is our Naturopath;  so if you start feeling run down or a little funky, Ask Sherri Eby for natural health information.  She is a Natural Health Educator and body worker, currently training as a Naturopath.  You can get insight on several natural health topics and understand how to apply them per your needs.  Information that she can help you with includes nutrition, herbal supplements, essential oils, body work and homeopathies.  Remember, Sherri is participating in the marathon training and will be encountering some of the same issues that you might be faced with. You can call her for a consultation and she will also be writing an article that you will see in our monthly newsletter “Balancing Act” to give us food for thought. Sherri is also a client and participating in our event with us.
      • Sherri is having natural health education sessions on the 2nd Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. and the 3rd Saturday of each month at 1:00 p.m.  Please check the Mind/Body: Balance web site for specific dates and topics.  Each session is an hour long for $10 drop in or $35 dollars for a four session series. 
    • We have a list of five massage therapists each specializing in a different area so when you need body work (please be proactive with this) we have you covered Sherri Eby (Mindful Massage on Monroe St), Holly Cramner (The Resolution Center on Monroe Street) , Dawn Bellino (Divine Balance Therapeutic Massage on Telegraph Rd), Lisa Mannosco (located in Zinnen on Telegraph Rd), Rachael Gardner (Mindful Massage on Monroe St).

 

Our local Healthy Food Store “Health Matters,” is owned and operated by Maurine Sharp R.N. ~ Natural Nurse.  In 2004 Maurine’s vision of educating and helping people with health issues became a reality with the opening or her store:

Health Matters Herbs & More
17 E. Second St.

Located in the downtown district of Monroe, MI .

Maurine is a registered nurse, graduating in 1970 from Henry Ford Community College. She has worked in many facets of the nursing field including, hospitals, nursing homes, a doctor’s office and 14 years in mental health working with the developmentally disabled and those with mental illnesses.  Her passion for growing and using herbs began her journey into the field of natural health. Her accreditations include medicinal herbal education with Clayton College Of Natural Health, hands on herbal training with Linda Diane Feldt, a practicing herbalist in Ann Arbor, MI. and continued training.   

  Maurine’s services include personal health consultations, classes on vitamins and herbs, muscle testing, field trips and also a lending library that features a vast array of books on health issues including nutrition and disease.  She is also a great resource for us to pick up quality food for us to fuel our bodies.

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Lifetime of Legacy!

Some things in life can’t be learned through reading and studying alone.  You know what I’m talking about, the things that we learn through life experience.  Things like learning to appreciate the moment and to savor life as it comes along in what it has to offer us at the time.

As a child, I loved all of my time on the farm. When I entered kindergarten we only went half days, so I thought “Alright I could do this school stuff.”  But then when I advanced to first grade, I had to be in school all day. I announced to my teacher, after a couple of weeks, that I just simply did not have the time to devote to being in school all day, most days of the week. I’m sure this amused and amazed Mrs. Danso. I remember her asking me what was so important that I just couldn’t make school a priority. I began describing that I had a horse to ride, a dog to play with, lunch with my grandparents and walking along the creek that I couldn’t fit in and attend school. Needless to say, her and my parents set me straight on my priorities that day. I quickly fell into line but the school years seemed to drag on and the summers flew by. As I approach my forties, I still long for those farm days of simple, slow, hardworking (but rich in value) days. As I return home on holidays, I spend every day walking and looking at my old haunts and find that they still bring me comfort.  I can still spend a whole day morning to evening in those woods.

Here as an adult I have deep feelings of self-assessment and retrospection.  How have I spent my life?  Will I leave a better place than I found for the generations to come?  Have I (and will I) continue to live up to my capabilities?  I put myself through school at Youngstown State University.  I began my professional adult life in management for large corporations (and was very successful for my age in these companies) but I just wasn’t passionate about it. So, I abandoned this (with my husband’s support) in search for what I was passionate about. I found that passion fairly quickly and it morphed into a business and a passion for movement.  All of which has brought me to the present.

I’m often asked, how did my business (Mind/ Body: Balance) aquire its name? Well, I had approached my husband with the beginnings of my business plan for personal training. He suggested that I try it out on a small scale and be open to allowing my business plan to take on different forms, if need be. I’m glad he suggested that, because I quickly found that my plan of meeting the client in their home or office wasn’t for me. I also knew that being a personal trainer in a gym wasn’t for me either because I felt that this system was failing Americans. He and I then went to a conference together. I attended the first “Inner Idea” and together we attended “IDEA World” in Las Vegas. I remember calling my husband from the inner idea conference and saying that I had found what I was looking for. 

My intuition was right.  There were 500 attendees from 13 countries and we were all on the same page.  We are going to become pioneers in the fitness industry and change lives. Needless to say, Nick was excited to meet me in Las Vegas. He worked the expo, talking with vendors and I worked the education tract. It was this weekend that we developed our business plan, philosophy and named the business. The name came from a course that I took taught by Dr. Ralph LaForge. He has a definition of what makes an exercise program a mind/ body exercise. We view the mind and body as a totality. We strive for a balanced mind/body exercise using three components: cognition, breathing, and physical movement.

 


MIND: Fostering mindfulness and a culture of conscious living, or being engaged in the experience of the present moment, connecting us to a deeper purpose.

BODY: Encouraging the integration of many pathways. Finding the practices that work best for each individual; encouraging a commitment to the essence of learning, discovery and mastery.

 

BALANCE: Cultivating the development of balance in all facets of your life as the centering principle for sustainable well-being.

Mind/ Body: Balance’s ultimate goal is for our clients to transform their mind and body; finding balance through learning and self-discovery.  So when I am looking at adding a service to Mind/ Body: Balance it has to represent most (if not all) of these principles.  As an integrative fitness professional; we realize our clients are a complete package.

What a wonderful journey it has been thus far; and how lucky I have been in making most of my life choices. As many newcomers to America remind me… only in America could I have taken this opportunity and experienced such a dazzling outcome. I married Nick in 2004 and I knew when I met him in 1996 that he would be a life partner that I could count on. I have been blessed to have him there as times have been tough; when I would have given up on myself and my dream.  He reminds me of how “great” I am when I’m feeling down, humbles me if I get too righteous, acts as my sounding board when I need to work through an idea or vent and is always there for a hug when I need one. He pushes me to be better. I have been blessed to start this business in a community that has given me countless customers that are great comfort and give me pleasure in ownership of my business. You’ll see these great folks, customers of Mind/ Body: Balance, dotted all over the United States. They have put in tireless work to change their lives, to improve their quality of life, to change the destiny of their family tree so that it can live long and prosper. They have shared their success and inspired others on their journey to success. I’m amazed at how far Mind/Body: Balance reaches in changing lives.

Remember, life is sweet and we shouldn’t squander it with “I’ll have time to nurture myself when the cows come home.” attitudes. The saddest phrase to hear is someone saying “If only I had…” after they have been diagnosed with a life threatening disease. What we do for ourselves in the form of nutrition and exercise affects our life on all levels.

Thom Moser once said “In spite of all our hopes, plans and dreams, all we ever have is now.”  My hope for my readers, followers, friends, family, clients, and “soon to be” clients is that among your current aspirations, that you will give yourself a gift of improving your quality of life (and taking back your life) through the purchase of a Mind/Body: Balance service. I know that you will pass this journey, this experience, this wisdom on from generation to generation.  Not only will you enhance your life and environment in some measure, you will become a part of the development process of our newest cutting edge programs. We inspire our clients to movement! What movement legacy are you leaving behind?

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