Get in Shape & Thrive: Intention

“Intentions are causes that create effect. Choosing an intention is the fundamental creative act. An intention is the reason or motivation for doing what you do. Every act has an intention….it comes from fear or from love.” Gary Zukar

Let’s face it, meditation is hard to prioritize, it feels embarrassing. What should I meditate on? How often should I meditate? Do I use certain words in my intention? Is it okay to use my intentions during meditation to ask for material things? Should I always use the same meditation and intention?  These many questions often get in the way of our actual action of setting time aside to meditate. Artha is one of the four desires in yoga philosophy (Dharma – duty, ethics, Artha – prosperity, wealth, Kama – pleasure, sensual gratification, and Moksha- pursuit of liberation). We can meditate on any of these areas as long as the intention is to support our soul’s dharma.

Yes, there are some who meditate for hours effortlessly. For me, some days three minutes is difficult and I want to avoid it at all costs and then other days forty-five minutes didn’t seem to be enough and it came effortlessly. Why is it easier to meditate in the storms of our lives? When tragedy such as grief and loss happen in our lives all the time, intentions, words, spring from us and we hope. The books that have helped me during storms in my life are How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold H. Bloomfield, MD, Melba Colgrove, PHD, and Peter McWilliams and The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma.  For many of us, meditation is a struggle because we focus on ourselves and control over life, rather than a higher power.

Rod Stryker, one of my favorite presenters, of the four desires (check out his book The Four Desires) says, “it pays to pursue the meaning of the word itself purusharthas. Purusha roughly means ‘soul’ – the essential Self that is unchanging, that isn’t born and doesn’t die, but belongs to the universe. Artha means ‘the ability’ or ‘for the purpose of.’ Purusharthas means ‘for the purpose of the soul; and the very concept asks that you take the broadest view of your life.”  Are your days balanced in such a way that you feel supported from your inner work? Our spirit is the nonphysical part of us that is the seat of our emotions and character.

Meditate often, honestly, unselfishly, and confidently. Challenge yourself to meditate often. Two books that help me meditate in the morning and evening is The Daily Om by Madisyn Taylor and First in the Morning by Osho. Meditate until you are clear, inspired, and your heart is on fire with love, kindness, and compassion. Now don’t get crazy and act all goofy with your new found energy and annoy your friends. Just allow your heart and mind to engage with your spirit on an intensely personal level. We do this by meditating daily on love, kindness, compassion, intention, and our soul’s dharma. We need to get fired up, meditate, because it is what magnifies the spirit in our lives.

You can do a burn and release session for setting an intention for 2016, then release control and let go.  Take a moment to sit, grounded feet on the floor in your best posture, find your breath, and then begin. Take a piece of paper and write everything you want to invoke. These are feelings and circumstances that you want more of. On the other side of the paper or a new one write your intentions. Start with the feelings or circumstances that no longer serve you, the things you want to release.

Now say something like:

I no longer need the lessons that these feelings, things, or circumstances would teach me. If I haven’t already, I vow to learn these lessons in a different way that feels better and opens my heart.

Burn the list!

I invite these emotions and circumstances into my life this time to serve my highest and best good. I intend that these things will fuel me to be of better service, to be more present and to keep open my heart.

Burn the list!

Suggested intentions to release might be: Thinking you are not enough, breaking promises, dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, living up to others expectations, comparing yourself to others, etc. Suggested things to invoke might be: fun, financial freedom, intimacy, connection, creativity, etc.

Meditation isn’t an option for those wanting to live with mindfulness.

Questions?

  • What priority do you place on meditation?
  • How do you show this?
  • How can you benefit from writing out your intentions?
  • What are the disadvantages to writing them out?
  • How sincere and honest are you in meditation?
  • How can you avoid doing meaningless meditation or having been nap time?
  • What should we practice and what should we avoid? Make a List!

Intention:

Developing meditation and intention toward our greater good draws people to us!

 

Taking a Fast Challenge:

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that powerfully directs our attention towards a higher power. Consider for the next two weeks replacing breakfast, lunch, or dinner with meditation.  Four ideas or places to start your meditation practice from could be:

  1. Candle gazing for 3 minutes daily.
  2. Transcendental Meditation for 20 minutes daily (repeating an Om).
  3. Doing a guided meditation from your iTunes account.
  4. Following your breath in and out for a predetermined amount of time.

Next Steps:

Meaningful-have this be quality time for you

Educate- yourself on what you should practice and should avoid

Discipline- to be honest, confident often, and to prioritize your practice

Intention-allow the healing process to be what it needs to be for your greater good

Try- keep trying, keep practicing

Appointment- make one to meditate

Train- physical movement is good & makes sitting for prolonged periods of time easier

Each- day ask how we can be part of the greater good

 

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Get in Shape and Thrive: Plan

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Seneca

We are here to inspire you to movement! As we begin in 2016 and we are excited even pumped about the possibilities the New Year brings. What inspires you about 2016? What are you hoping for? What are you dreaming about? According to usa.gov the top five New Year’s resolutions are: Lose weight, volunteer more often, quit smoking, get a better education, and get a better job. Are any of these on your New Year’s resolution list? If you accomplish one or more of these on your list what would that mean for your life? A 2007 study reported that 88% of New Year’s resolutions never get accomplished. Why? One reason is that we don’t understand the difference between a dream and a goal.

SanKalpa means – Kalpa is a way of proceeding or more revealing the role to be observed above or before any other rule. San means a concept or idea formed in the heart, so basically it means the determination or will of an intention or most commonly a resolution that reflects your highest aspirations. Swami Rama says: “On this path you must first awaken your Sankalpa, the power of will and determination. Overcome your resistance. Expand your capacity… you must order your body and senses to function under the leadership of your mind.” A sankalpa is a desire that you are absolutely determined and committed to achieve. In our western culture a goal is probably the closest thing that we have that is similar to a Sankalpa from the yogic lifestyle. You will have many Sankalpa’s in your lifetime and you should plan to achieve and refocus on a new one every 6-18 months.
“A goal without a plan is just a dream” if you do not have S.P.O. R .R.T.S. written out for each goal or Sankalpa giving you a way to gauge your progress and celebrate your achievements the likelihood of success is very low. Harsh but true if you can’t or don’t measure you will not achieve.
Specific: measure your success and progress in numbers, percentages, milestones, dates. For example, I will attend Yoga at Mind Body Balance for 55 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Positive: the goal should be uplifting and positively phrased. Have confidence in yourself! We tend to rise to the level of our own self-worth. Picture yourself reaching your goal.
Obstacles: what obstacles might you encounter working toward your goal? What might come up that would prevent you from obtaining it? Take action to put contingency plans into place and resolve the problems before they occur.
Realistic: your goal should challenge you, but it shouldn’t be a fantasy or a day dream. Make it realistic so you don’t set yourself up to fail. Yes it should be a stretch and uncomfortable but it should be achievable.
Rewards: we stay motivated to work toward our goals when we know the rewards. What will be your rewards once you’ve accomplished the goal? A Thai Energy Session perhaps 🙂
Tangible: goals must be written down or else you’ll tend to edit in your head as you go along. Many people daydream about being healthy and what they want to accomplish goals written down are tangible and concrete.
Self-Serving: the goal needs to be yours and yours alone. It is alright to accept advice and suggestions from others, but you will be more motivated to complete your goal if it is something you truly want to do.

Now write it into a sentence and post it everywhere:
I will (verb/ action) by (date) because (motivation). I will evaluate my progress by (measurement). I will reward myself through (reward).

Work the plan of:
Coming to Mind Body Balance regularly with consistency no hit or miss
Connect with others on the Integrative Sustainable Movement plan at Mind Body Balance Community and volunteer in the Seva programs
Commit discipline yourself and be devoted to your practice leave scarcity thinking behind

Next Steps:
• Get quiet and decide what inspires you for 2016 and are you healthy enough to achieve it with zest
• Write a S.P.O.R..R.T. S. plan so that your goal becomes more than a dream
• Start by doing your work of healing through movement
• Get Inspired through Integrative Sustainable Movement because You Can Fix You

Questions to Ponder:
1. What will you do now?
2. How and when will you start?
3. What does it mean to have movement in your life?
4. What will change in your life if you take responsibility to your health?
5. How will it feel to be part of a community that is living life on many levels?

Affirmation
I am the one who creates who I am. I can forgive my past failures and be free to learn new healthy movement patterns that serve me today.

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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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Become a Better Lover Part 3: Telling Your Love Story

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” – Dr. Seuss

We’ve spent this last quarter thinking/speaking about self-love and I think Dr. Kristen Neff’s quiz on self-compassion and her research is great. She says: “With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.” How are you caring for yourself these days? For me I know that I need to schedule in my self-care or it gets scheduled out by the demands associated with leading a full life. When this happens I’m not operating as my best self. Take her quiz with this link below and see how you are doing: http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/ I am high on self-compassion 3.91 with my highest score being in common humanity, mindfulness and self-kindness.

“Love leaves legacy. How you treated other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.” – Rick Warren

One way our Mind Body Balance Team Members share the Mind Body Balance Transformation of Love is through our invite cards that we offer our community members. We give you these cards with free services on them so that you can have a tool to share your health journey with others. The Mind Body Balance Team Members work hard to team up and put on our best presentations. We soften our hearts even more for potential new clients and roll out our best welcome mat. Why, because Crazy Good Love encompasses the softer side of love. It is all the warm and fuzzy things about love that make us feel good. This is what drives people to do generous and wondrous things for others. You should act lovingly toward all people, even the people who drive us a little nuts! Who are you going to tell your love of your health story to? Please be uncensored and share the highs and lows because being real, truthful, authentic and vulnerable is what inspires others and it is a language they can understand.

“Storms draw something out of us that calm seas don’t.” – Bill Hybels

Trauma’s happen to all of us and we put up walls where we don’t trust others or ourselves. Research reveals that parents act as genetic engineers for their children in the months before conception. In the final stages of egg and sperm maturation in a process called genomic imprinting the activity of specific groups of genes that will shape the character of the child yet to be conceived this research was done by Reik and Walter in 2001. What they are suggesting is that what is going on in the lives of parents during this process of genomic imprinting has a profound influence on the mind and body of their child. Kind of scary since most people aren’t prepared to have a baby, so it makes a difference if you were conceived in love, haste or hate and whether the mother wants to be pregnant, or whether the parents want to have a baby and live in a calm, stable environment free of addictions and supported by family and friends. In fact there has been so much research in the last decade that they are revaluating the mental and emotional abilities of unborn children. Mothers and fathers are in the conception of pregnancy business together the father has a profound affect as does the mother. Dr. Bruce Lipton uses this example: If the father leaves and the mother starts questioning her own ability to survive; his leaving profoundly changes the interaction between the mother and the unborn baby thus affecting the developing child. So conscious parenting is important for fostering healthy, intelligent, productive and joy-filled children from both parents. We are personally responsible for everything in our lives. We cannot be guilty or blamed for being a poor parent unless we already were aware of this information and disregarded it. But once you are aware it is your responsibility to begin to apply it and reprogram your behavior. If we physically hold children and love children and don’t repress sexuality our culture would be more peaceful. A child needs love, touching and physical contact, however when put in stressful environments and deprived of love, touch, etc. the child suffers from somatosensory affective disorders (an impairment of the somatosensory system which is your sensory systems) and is a precursor to violent episodes. Everything always leads back to love, vulnerability, connection, empathy, joy and peace. Simply knowing this knowledge and then waiting on the couch for it to take hold doesn’t work. It is the equivalent of accepting the latest miracle pharmaceutical pill thinking that it will fix everything. No one is fixed until you make an effort to grow and change from your new knowledge.

“A lifetime without love is of no account, love is the water of life, drink it down with heart and soul” Rumi

When storms come our first question is usually “How can I be in so much loss and trial – haven’t I suffered enough already?” Everyone has different definitions of spirituality so we probably have to agree to disagree on this one. In my belief system I think of all religion as one God. I know that there is something higher than myself that governs the universe. How we go about worshiping that God is different for everyone and I respect everyone’s views. In my belief system I think of spirituality as listening… becoming quiet enough with our “self” to find that quietest voice inside to guide us through our life. There is so much anger and hatred in this world and my belief system is that there is a lack of respect, values, education and love. I could go off on a soap box on how I think we are even eating these emotions of fear, anger, etc. from our food supply chain but I’ll save that for another blog. We need connection, vulnerability and love to be healthy. So many people fail at their health and fitness programs because they don’t do the thinking part to exercise, they don’t heal because they don’t get to the emotional body and find the emotional root cause to the disease. We must start talking about this and making it safe to talk about it because it is literally killing our health care system and our cultures.

“When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story; we can write a brave new ending.” Brene Brown

Things are placed on our path for a reason. They are part of us. Find the positive take away. There are steps to loss and recovery:
• Shock/denial/numbness
• Fear/anger/depression
• Understanding/acceptance/moving on

Each stage of recovery is necessary, natural, and part of the healing process. When we are going through a loss we need grace, peace and to find the ability “to ask” for what we need from those around us because feeling loss is:
• Feeling helpless, fearful, empty, despairing, pessimistic, irritable, angry, guilty restless
• Experiencing a loss of concentration, hope, motivation, energy
• Changes in appetite, sleep patterns or sexual drive
• A tendency to be more fatigued, error-prone and slower in speech and movement

My favorite books so far in times of storms are How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold H. Bloomfield and 10 Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma. You have to dig deep and find something that will carry you when you don’t know how to move forward you have to be able to access your higher self, god, universe, Mother Nature.

We are asking you to share your Mind Body Balance self-love story with us this month! Whether it is in a short video or written know that in sharing your story it will have a ripple effect and change many lives. You may be doing Integrative Sustainable Movement for the first time – welcome- it is why your first visit is on us – What will it take to help you start your personal practice today? Hopefully by the Mind Body Balance Community Sharing the experience- Telling you their self-love story – and by the Mind Body Balance Team Members showing how to reach your goals you will become committed to your self-love and to your personal health in a supportive community that is a safe place physically and emotionally.
Over the years we have had incredible stories by those who had the boldness to share. The stories are unique but common. OUT OF SELF-LOVE HEALTH THRIVES! It takes hours, days, months, years to set an “intention” and be sincere about it. Forgive yourself for doing life your way without respect to your self-nurturing needs. Give up perfection. Lean into forgiveness, love and empathy. Take a step of courage and ASK! We aren’t going to give you a list of your negatives, email us through info@mindbodybalance.com and we’ll send you important next steps on how to get started on your Mind Body Balance Transformation today. STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN YOU AND TRUST YOUR JOURNEY!

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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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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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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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Why are Mr. and Mrs. Jones Living My Life?

“There is neither greater glory than love nor any greater punishment than jealously.” — Lope de Vega

I’m sure you have people whom you are jealous of.
“Why do they always look perfect? Why do they have the latest fashions? Why are they in a higher position than me? Why did they get the promotion? Why does living healthy come easy to them? Why are they on TV and I’m not? Look! They can lift their butt up over their head and I can’t.”

Stop your whining already!

Okay, I whined a little when I first started my business. “Why did they have to choose the same lights as me? I picked downtown first. Why are all my competitors moving to downtown now? Why does she have a trust fund and I don’t?

Enough already, right?

There is always going to be someone. They pave the way. We also can’t be right for everything (or every person) so thank goodness for them. The world is big enough for all of us. With our hard work, will and desire we will reach our own success. We are all different people with different struggles in the same choir. Some are bass and some are tenors while others are sopranos and altos.

I’m always reminding clients “She has 100 more hours of practice than you and when you reach 200 hours of practice in your Pilates you will be doing that too.” Hard work and effort pays off every time. Applaud other people’s success because they point the way to your own success.

Please post someone else’s success that you are applauding today below.

Everyone has pebbles in their moccasins. If you feel lost in a labyrinth of other people’s demands and desires, try unearthing any unhealthy fears or beliefs you have that are allowing you to be taken for granted. Write them below by posting below.

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“Suspicious Procrastination”

Well, it’s been three weeks since I typed out the first blog.  I’ve been eyeing the box of pills and liquids suspiciously over the course of the last three weeks.  That’s why I typed the blog in the first place… accountability.  Clearly, being married to a fitness professional hasn’t inspired me to movement; I need the entire blogosphere to wonder what’s been up and why I haven’t written about the “great healthification of a stubborn middle-aged man.”

What?  You didn’t expect the fat guy to just jump in and do “health” professionally did you?  I don’t actually “do” health; in fact, quite the opposite.  My brain compels me to eat poorly and move little.

I have been a smoker.  I think it’s been almost nine years since I’ve smoked as a habit.  I still want a cigarette when stressed out or after a big meal or with my coffee or while drinking alcohol.  This is likely a sign of an addictive personality (if there is such a thing).  My assumption is that it will be much the same as quitting smoking when dealing with foods that I like to overeat.  I need some “brain re-training.”   Portion control, meal planning, changing my taste buds to crave fruit, vegetables and whole grains… these are all things that I know will happen.  The last three weeks, I’ve been putting it off.

If you stare at a “box of health” suspiciously long enough, It starts to stare suspiciously back at you.  This is why treadmills are always covered in clothes… to cover up the stare.  Thankfully, all of my exercise equipment is in a big, open, inviting studio run by my wife.  I never need to go there if I don’t want to.  This is a very effective way to avoid the suspicious stares of exercise equipment. 

Now, I have a new reason to procrastinate the start of the program.  Kim has told me that she would like to do the cleanse portion with me.  This is the beginning of the program that I’ve got in the box, so now I can wait until after Easter dinner.  Mind you, just because I’m not starting the cleanse, that’s no reason not to start with the other items on the list.  I could start eating better and moving more.  I won’t… because… you know…

Have you ever stopped to think about how close together eating holidays and personal celebrations are.  Americans are hard pressed to have two solid weeks without a food related celebration of some sort.  There are cupcakes in the office.  It’s your child’s birthday.  Your buddy is having a March Madness-all-day-basketball-a-thon.  These are real things! And there is no way to avoid them.  The only correct thing to do is to retrain yourself to handle them correctly.  I’ve heard it’s possible to have 1-2 cupcakes.  I know!  That sounds crazy, right?  I’ve heard it’s possible to eat a full meal of something healthy before going over to your Buddy’s house so that you don’t stuff yourself with the awesome crap that his wife has dutifully spent hours making for you fat old men.  Really!  I’m not making this up. 

A small amount of awesome crap is okay.  A person should never try to eliminate awesome crap.  It’s what makes us happy.  I have also heard that once a person’s fully re-trained, you don’t really want awesome crap as much and that it makes you feel kind of sick when you over-indulge.  This is the end goal, right?  To be so healthy that your body rejects awesome crap and you don’t crave it?  I think that’s the end goal, and most likely the reason it takes so long to change a lifestyle. 

I cannot imagine not craving Chili-Mac, or being utterly satisfied with a healthy version.  Who would that person be?  Not this guy.  Just typing the words Chili-Mac has made my mouth water.  Imagine spending all day Sunday cooking up the perfect Chili with sausage and burger, making it a little too spicy on purpose.  Imagine putting it in a lasagna pan and topping it with homemade Shrimp or Lobster Mac-and-cheese and baking it in the oven, covered in crackers until they are nicely toasted and the cheese is bubbly… and…  Sorry… Went off the rails a little bit.

What was I talking about?  Oh, suspicious procrastination.  Yeah, um, It’s bad, and I, um, need to try to work on that.  Right now I need to go get ingredients for Chili-Mac and prepare myself for the cleanse following Easter dinner.

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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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