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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Become a better Lover Part 1

Becoming a better lover starts with your own self-love. As an integrative fitness professional I always look at the body first and then mind, however I do understand that the body, mind and spirit are all connected and each influences the others equally. My life’s work is solely focused on the body to mind connection. I’m sure we can all relate to phrases such as:

• Fall in love
• My heart flutters
• My heart beats loudly with joy
• Heartless or Cold-Hearted
• Big Hearted
• Heartfelt
• Take things to heart
• Talk heart to heart
• From the bottom of your heart
• Half-hearted
• You have touched my heart
• You have touched the deepest part of my being

The list could go on and on but you get my point. We always picture a heart in red and red roses are taken differently than peach roses when received. If we think about it, LOVE rarely flows smoothly in our lives. We have all felt abuse, childhood conflicts, hurt or loss and sometimes these traumas causes us to lock our heart away. When we do this it serves as a protection and limits our feelings around love for ourselves and others. Often we lock away our heart we start to feel things like:

• Mistrust
• Uncaring
• Shallow
• Hateful
• Prejudice
• Fearful

We become closed of our own need for love. We are all wired for love and need love to survive. Boys are often taught not to express or feel with their emotions so that they appear brave, powerful and strong. This generally leads to adulthood with the inability to express gentleness, caring or nurturing qualities. This type of ethos instills fear, pulling back, putting up walls or defenses on the external and internally all they really want is love but don’t have the tools.

“Love is letting go of fear.” – Gerald Jampolsky

All of your passion, adoration, devotion, fear, anger, hurt, desire, yearning, gratitude and joy are expressed from your heart and through your mouth. They are expressed in words, intonation, kissing and through our body like our shoulders, arms and hands like hugs, hand holding, caring or pushing away and through sexuality or by caring and sharing. Love is a choice whether it is self-love or loving others. What is stopping you for embracing self-love and the love that is right in front of you? I challenge you for the next 90 days to write in a journal, or on social media what is in your heart. Every day start with the sentence “In my heart I feel…” (Fill in whatever comes up)! Deb Shapiro says the heart is our emotional home and here lays all of our struggles, anguishes, hurts, likes, dislikes, longings, yearnings and joy. In the case of heart transplants there have been many stories where they say the likes and dislikes of the donor were transplanted to the recipient.

It is a life lesson that we all must learn. In order to listen… to respect… to trust our feelings, we must first learn to open our heart. Alexander Lowen describes the heart as a king and the mind as the king’s advisors. The advisors go out into the world and then report to the king their findings. The king listens but makes his own decisions based on his intuition and deeper understanding of the bigger picture. So here is the skinny when you listen to your heart and not your mind you are making the right decision. Even though the heart may appear illogical or irrational, intuitively you know that it is a more real and meaningful decision. Our heart is the center of our being the center of our love. Native Americans have said about the white man: “It is strange the white man thinks with his head instead of his heart.” Our rhythm of our heart is affected by our deepest feeling such as increased undue stress, emotional trauma, shock, fear, passion, elation or joy and then once we become relaxed the heart returns to its natural normal rhythm.

Dr. Gary Chapman has a quiz on his website along with other books, dvd’s etc. on the Love Languages www.5lovelanguages.com My five love languages are in order of importance to me: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts. My husband’s five love languages are in order of importance to him: Acts of Service, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts. Learning what your love languages are helps you to determine how you like to be loved and it allows you to learn to be open and to understand that not everyone loves like you so you can learn to respect and meet the needs of those around you. Don’t just throw darts without a bull’s-eye. Really, what good are a house, cars, beach, trips, and life without someone to share it with? I didn’t learn my love languages until I was in my 40’s and intuitively I knew that quality time was top for me and gifts were low. I’d much rather have memories than a material object any day.

“We are looking for love and reaching out for love, May the love that we are radiate into the world. We all have a common thread of shared love for ourselves.” – Kim Searl

I love rose quartz for the heart. Eros brought it to the earth in hopes that its beautiful color would arouse love and desire among people. It symbolizes trust and brotherly love. It is also so very helpful in affairs of the heart. It strengthens friendships, combats love sickness and opens the mind to beautiful things. I’m also reminded of candle quartz. Its energy radiates love and fosters harmony in groups; releases fear, worry and emotional dependence and heals the heart! We are all balls of light-energy filled with love. By placing a hand on the heart and a hand on your belly button in just 10 seconds with the added breath as the bridge linking these two centers of the body together you have connected to your heart anchor – I AM LOVE! (Aham Prema)

Anahata – hold your two hands together and this is the heart… it brings two things together and integrates them… it allows each to offer support to be present in its wholeness and to expand into something greater. Our love is a base within the heart. Our heart chakra is a means of going within and feeling all that we are. We learn about ourselves. We accept who we are, recognizing the positive and negatives and relaxing within them and being them. When we see another (both in a state of joy or a state of pain) we can look to that person and realize that we’ve been through the same thing. We feel compassion and if we share that compassion with them they feel our love. Because they gain the love that we are, they become stronger and they offer back love, understanding and acceptance back to us. Air is the element of our heart (which is our breath). As you reach the top of your inhale, allow it to be an offering to the exhale and vs versa. We find our whole breath within the integration of the “in” and “out” breath. The heart is an integrator it brings together two things that may seem separate and supports them on an energetic level. Anahata lies in the middle of the chakras being the energetic integrator of our earthly self and our spiritual self. The heart is reflected and balanced, when one overcomes the other there is no balance… it becomes weighted in one direction, heavy, overwhelmed. As both earthly and divine we become whole, we expand and we become everything.

“The ugliest thing that I have ever seen is a selfish human being without compassion and empathy.” Kim Searl

Does having sex make your life better or more complicated? Adam and Eve, Romance, Passion, etc. Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards Sex is the dessert that has no calories and is the antidote to stress. We are all here because of sex and the number one reason why people aren’t having sex is that they are tired!

Study yourself – determine what is enough, what you need, and then communicate it to those that love and support you. Our needs change with the seasons of life. What have you been dreaming about? It is your responsibility to determine what is enough and then to communicate it to those around you. But it starts with you. Don’t sweat the small stuff – slip of a tongue. Tone – be careful with what you say. Your words have an impact. Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love! Be mindful of your self-talk, it’s a conversation with the universe. Privately and publicly praise those you love. It feels good to hear this from someone you love. Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach – the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction – SO TRUE. Don’t give up even if the person doesn’t say how much it means to them – learn to speak up to say how much it means to you when someone praises you. A core value should be to never criticize someone you love publicly, including yourself. If you are in a relationship that is at a crossroads of restoration or destruction… I like the Jason Mraz song “I Won’t Give Up.” because my favorite four letter word is LOVE! Love is a choice! Start with you and then move to us. Starting with you? I love the two books by Miguel Ruiz The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love. I also like the book Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin (this is a good book to do with a loved one). Relationships (at best) are complicated and complex and yet many of us go it without any guidance. Not to say we should follow a plan labeled step 1, 2, 3, etc…… what works for one isn’t what will work for all. However, going it blind (as many of us do) and expecting for it to all fall into place isn’t necessarily correct either. What if we were well-informed, guided and learned tools to support our relationship with ourselves and others? We all want to feel loved, feel cherished, cared for, and protected. As human beings we are wired for this and human beings have been being recorded in this pursuit since the beginning of time. We are social animals. Yet, with the new age of technology we aren’t putting our romantic relationships or committed friendships first. We aren’t using them as advocates or allies against hostile forces. We get off on the accomplishment list and forget to do the joy and ingredient list of creating a home for one another that is a safe place to relax and feel accepted, wanted, protected and cared for. Remember if you aren’t taking care of you and your own self-care than you aren’t really taking care of others. Hire a counselor and start doing your own work and seek counselors to do couples work.

“Even After All this time the sun never says to the Earth “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.”– Hafiz

Humans are sensitive beings and we are also emotional because we perceive everything with the emotional body. The emotional body is the medium of emotions, feelings, passions and desires which is more subtle than the energy body. Using the emotional body, mankind is able to experience intense emotions including both lower and higher emotions ranging from anger, fear, stress, irritation to love, compassion and happiness. In other words, emotional body is specialized in feeling. Humans use fear to domesticate humans and fear increases with each experience of injustice. Some injustices open wounds in our emotional body and still yet some of these wounds continue to fill with emotional poison. We begin to transfer this emotional poison throughout our lives and generations to come. According to Miguel Ruiz we create the Judge in our mind that is judging everything we do, everything we don’t do, everything we feel and everything we don’t feel. In time, you begin to realize that and understand why relationships don’t work with our parents, children, friends, partners… even us. Why doesn’t a relationship work with us? …because we are wounded and filled with emotional poison. The dream that we thought relationships were doesn’t exist. Perfection doesn’t exist. We reject ourselves, we judge ourselves and we find ourselves guilty. We punish ourselves. Look around in the world. There is so much punishment and suffering going on and everyone is judging. What would happen if we each started to value and love ourselves? What would happen if today you accepted yourself as you are and that you are enough? What would happen if we gave up on abuse, blame, shame, guilt, and instead embraced love, peace, joy, compassion, accountability and gratitude?

Looking For Love
A strange passion is moving in my head. My heart has become a bird which searches in the sky. Every part of me goes in different directions. Is it really so that the one I love is everywhere? – Rumi

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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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Why is Movement the First thing to GO!

Okay, so, I love this.

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

Have you even thought about this for a minute?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What do you do when life falls apart?

“Human beings are not helpless. They have never been helpless. They have only been deflected or deceived or dispirited. So long as people have a vision of life as it ought to be…they can look at the world with…confidence.” –Norman Cousins

Well it happens to all of us one day in our world, our life starts to slip… it starts feeling like life, itself, is falling apart. If this is you at the time of reading this blog, please know you are not alone. We all have stories. It is one of the reasons we do a video party every year asking our clients to tell their story just once in front of the camera. Each story is unique it will appeal and inspire someone else and give them the courage to walk into the Mind Body Balance Community.

This blog is inspired by the book The Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma. Yes, this book is not only part of my yoga training, it also came to me at a time that I needed it the most.

“We all like to stay on the little crutches that are familiar.” –Jules Zimmer

I love this quote because I (like the rest of us) love the crutches even though I know they aren’t stable. I love the familiar because the unfamiliar is, well, just unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and scary. I know that some of my clients don’t like the word journey, but our life really is a journey of evolution. By evolution, I mean growing into our spirit and coming into (and accepting) all that we are fully capable of being.

I know we all like to hang out in our comfort zone, but we really need to be stretched so that we don’t atrophy our body, mind and spirit. The universe whispers to us these growth patterns and if we don’t react it will start urging and insisting. This urging and insisting stage is when we feel life is falling apart. We start to take a survey of our life, looking for clues of how we got off track.
Let’s follow this example. We put on about 10lbs, our stress level seems high, it is hard to get out of bed in the morning and come midafternoon we just don’t have the zest we used to have. These are all whispers. One day we wake up and we have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and we wake up one day in the hospital as we’ve just suffered a small heart attack. These are all events of life falling apart, right! Daphne has a couple of steps she suggests that we think about:
• As far as you can tell, what is the crisis asking you to do differently?
• The name of your crisis is?
• The purpose of this crisis is to get me to?

For example, I will start to do a 10 minute meditation every afternoon at 3 p.m.. I will start to take a 10 minute walk after every meal that I eat all days of the week every week. I will hire a fitness coach so that I can learn how to exercise my heart by doing cardiovascular exercise.

“Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.” –Michael Peake

Boy we can all relate to this one. Just think back to that first love you had and how hard you tried to make it work because you really, really, really thought they were the one. Can’t you look back now and laugh at yourself. I’ve learned over the years that when I feel like I’m trying really hard to get something to work I stop and ask “Why are you really doing this to yourself Kim?” A square peg doesn’t fit into a round hole. If you need to try this hard, it obviously isn’t the thing you thought it was.

Letting go is scary it takes courage to step out into the unknown. You leave your tears at the doorway when you step into this new future. It also means that you are taking responsibility to be the pilot of your life. I’m sure you can relate to one of these: getting a divorce, letting a friend go, quitting your job, selling your house, letting go of your self-image, etc.
Having to let go of how things were or our expectation of how the future is supposed to look like can send us into an identity crisis. We have to sit with ourselves and big emotions, forcing us to reevaluate ourselves and our choices.

That is heavy stuff!

Doing this heavy work sets us free. Can you surrender to find happiness? Can you surrender to find success? Daphne says “Don’t hang on. It’s hard to fly with bags of concrete tied to your feet. Let go. Let go. Let go.” I struggle with letting go and so my personal affirmation (that I say all the time) ends with the words “I can let go!”

“He knows not his own strength that has not met adversity.” –Ceasare Pavese

Ugh! This is what is meant when my mother tells me I’m a survivor after I’ve poured out all of my latest misery. I mean, can’t life just come with a nice, neat little handbook on having a perfect, successful, peaceful whatever….marriage, life, career, child you name it.

I know… life wouldn’t be life. Why? We are all unique, we all have these spectacular qualities. If we didn’t experience “life” we wouldn’t grow these character strengths. When our world is shifting beneath us… that continuous thread of our life, our power, our charm, our talent, our personal essence develops and we rise to the occasion at hand.
As a fitness coach one of the first things we do is find out what your top five character strengths are. This is because these strengths are your extraordinary talents that (no matter what circumstances you face) will carry you through to the other side.

Persistence gives us grace, even when we feel trapped in hell, a hell that most likely occurred by our choices. Integrate this circumstance and embrace it into your life, making it part of your fabric.

“Do what you can. Where you are. With what you have.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Take this opportunity to simplify your life, reduce your material items, your stuff, lighten your calendar by letting go of obligations, let go of other people’s expectations and live your life… the life you were meant to lead. Being overweight, obesity or sciatica is unexpressed emotion

Love! Love! Love!

As a globe, we are facing so many uncertainties, such a struggle. We all face crises. For those who say they do not have crises, embrace them more, for they don’t know how to face it on their own. We are a species that can become unconscious, not present in our daily moments, and forget how to be compassionate, loving, and helpful. Love starts with each of us. If we cannot love ourselves, then how can we let someone else in to love us too. It isn’t about being perfect. That is exhausting. It is about loving who we are at this moment; loving our flaws, loving our uniqueness practicing to be fully engaged in our life in the present moment.

We become so scared, even terrified, as the old body/ habits disappear, and as we go out into the dark, exploring being comfortable, the void, the land in-between, and if we can then accept the new body/ the rebirth, happiness, a new consciousness… a new way of being will slowly rise before us.

Please post below and let us know the following:
Having you had an experience in life that made you feel like life was falling apart? Did this experience change your view of life? Do you have a spiritual practice that helps you stay engaged in the present moment? (i.e., walking, watching the sunset, yoga, meditation, dancing, music, etc.)

If you choose to really live, you will need to accept a certain amount of grief as well. If we don’t avail ourselves of emotional support at difficult times, we run the risk of closing our hearts in order to escape sorrow. Who do you lean on during difficult times?

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Determination is Everything

There are some people that just like to go through the motions of movement.

They can barely drag themselves in.

Then they proceed with a list of self-deprication… passively going through the movement… not being present… so that they can say “See? Poor me. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for me.”
I think they feel it gets them attention. In actuality, others just want them to be quiet and get to it.

Look, we all have our own story (our own baggage) that we try to neatly carry in our luggage. I’m not talking about those moments when our luggage springs open and those around us get peppered by it. I’m talking about the rat race of negativity surrounding every moment of your day, so much so that you can’t be present. We’ve all been there so I’m not judging. I am saying to put a time limit on it and then to dig deep into that will and desire. Look for some grit and make it happen

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Basically, you are missing the work and the gifts that it provides.

Relish challenges because they lift you higher and make you better. Determination is everything to your success. If you have determination, if you do whatever it takes, you will succeed. Be determined today to improve your health.

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather

If you are fully present in your practice and care about the lesson at hand (the meaning in all of it) you will learn how worthwhile movement is. You will appreciate the lessons learned throughout that practice.

Are you willing to ask “How Can I do better?” Post here how you can do better and/ or tips that you use to be present in your practice.

Being a perfect person, having a perfect relationship, or doing all things perfectly… there isn’t such a thing. Recognizing this increases our day-to-day happiness. What does your inner perfectionist look like? Why do you act the way you do? What are you afraid of?

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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 #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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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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