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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Transform and Upgrade You Part 1

Sometimes we find ourselves having a hard time forgiving, our mind is racing, we are overreacting to stuff, we are easy to anger and slamming doors, etc.

Are you struggling to find time for movement!

What would it feel like to find time and Money for Movement Services?

What if you found peace in your Mind, Body and Soul?

Do you struggle with relationships?

Does it feel like those closest to you know how to press your buttons?

What would it look like to find peace and reconciliation within your body?

Do you stand there asking who this person I see in the mirror is?

Finding the time to grow in your lifestyle is a challenge and it takes commitment to “self” and discipline to “self.” Life is busy- do you want to exercise more than 1-2x’s per month? What would your life look like and how would your health change if you made it your top priority?

“Transform” dates back to the 1800’s and means to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance or character of. I’m so lucky to have discovered the Mind Body Balance Transformation. It changes your life from emptiness to fullness, from defeat and failure to victory, from insecurity to courage and boldness. Choose to Change and become all that you want to be! I like this song I Believe in Miracles by Deniece Williams. I also like two books The Four Desires by Rod Stryker and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I have read and re-read these books.

I’m not perfect. I make mistakes – I’ve made a mess and I mean a Hot Mess of my life at times… usually caused by what I think (or as like to call it, my I.B.S.C. (itty bitty shitty committee)). How I think influences how I feel, act and move and my “need to fix” makes a bigger mess than what was there before. What about you? Can you relate? Whether we have something going on in our lives that is small or huge, we are struggling so then we try to fix ourselves because we are feeling ashamed, guilty of the struggle we are having – we start this self-talk that goes something like this: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I do anything right?” Am I close? This is why we need to work on upgrading ourselves. We need to transform, to change, to grow and to seek guidance in our movement services.

At Mind Body Balance we are in the transformation business. As individuals, we can’t transform ourselves alone. We need guidance from integrative fitness professional’s (they look at the body as a whole- mind, body and spirit), help, support, encourage and offer community (a sense of belonging).

There is a plan that is in place for us. Are you living a life that honors you? If you start to reshape your body, your mind will start to leave those old negative thought patterns that aren’t serving you and as you learn to de-clutter your mind, your heart will open to your spirit as you learn to listen to the quietest voice within yourself. Two more books that I find helpful in transformation are The Life you’ve always wanted by John Ortberg and Clutter Bust your Life by Brooks Palmer. My sister-in-law over the holidays shared a story about my four year old nephew who was asked to sit up at the table while he was eating. His response: “I’m trying to sit up but my body just won’t do it!” He is so smart. Sometimes we are living superficially; maybe on the outside we appear to be living a healthy lifestyle but on the inside we haven’t committed with our heart. We need to move beyond talking about it and apply it to our life in all aspects of body, mind and spirit.

We all go through varying stages of change. From “I Won’t.” to “I Can.” to “I May.” to “I Will.” to “I AM!”
To learn more about the stages of change visit our website at: http://mindbodybalanc.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Where-are-You-in-the-Stages-of-Change2.pdf
This is a natural process for us to go through. We have to be able to walk the walk and be willing to give our body, mind and spirit over freely to transform. I invite you to join us at Mind Body Balance over the next 90 days and Believe in Your Ability to Upgrade YOU. It is your choice though- Do you choose to be transformed are you all in?

Transformation is a journey – we start off full of anticipation; but on a journey we can expect to get tired and weary. It is a journey after all. So, you will need to find your grit to push through; as this is an endurance journey. The journey of lifestyle transformation reminds me of an ultra-marathoner. My first exposure to this was when I read the book Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Kamazes. To finish is to accomplish the goal (lifestyle transformation takes 21 months) so forget the past and press on… one present moment at a time because your health is worth it. There will be moments of triumph and there will be moments of struggle. Will you make the journey and be transformed? Only you can decide to do the work.

Something deep inside of us is broken. It is why we struggle. We wish we could be different. The truth is, we are enough and we were built to change and grow. Don’t be surprised by suffering because no one gets a pass on this, trust me. We all experience suffering throughout our life more than once. We must prepare ourselves for a journey, right? We don’t just go to the airport and expect to get on, arrive and expect that there will be a hotel or that we have the spending money for our vacation on a moment’s notice. No, we plan, save, reserve and enjoy. We don’t just go on a road trip by hopping in the car and going… I mean it might go well and it might not. Instead, we map out directions… when we will stop… how long it will take to get there etc.

Where do you want to transform your life? Pick a place inside of you where you feel you are struggling, have pain, feel broken- it is time to do some “inside work” not just external work. Goals take you from brokenness to blessing, from pain to strength and from struggle to calm when you are motivated by love and dependent on YOU. Your goals reflect loving others and your higher spirit, whatever that might be. If you could have fixed you alone, you’d have done it by now- pick a stretch goal, get disciplined and go for it!

Things that you will need for our journey are:
• You need your spirit to empower you- something greater than your willpower to motivate you. Some people stay in disease and weakness because they’ve grown accustomed to the “streets and neighborhoods” they live in. They’ve become accustomed to the pain and sluggish, foggy existence. They say things like: “It’s just too much effort to change!” This way of thinking gets my blood boiling because it isn’t true, folks. You can change but you have to put your big kid panties on and find your grit!
• Personal Perseverance – I have the power to transform! Some worry that they will never make it to the end of the journey. Worry is using your imagination to create what you don’t want. The idea isn’t to stop ½ way through the journey – to make true change you have to get vulnerable, dig deep, sift through the mud, let go of our first world problems and endure the challenge.
• Words to guide us- when we “do life” alone we make a bigger mess than need be. Destination is transformation but we need support and guidance along the way. You will succeed. Saying you forgot, don’t have money for health or don’t have time are excuses that you feed yourself because you lack discipline, commitment and personal power.

If we want life changing movement we have to change the way we think, we need a community to support us and one hour a week doesn’t do it. One tank of gas to drive across the country doesn’t work. A person standing alone is easily beaten by another, but a person supported by 2 or 3 or more cannot be defeated. On one side you have your pain or struggle and across the other side lie your goals, motivation and healing. “Doing life” together – transforms lives- this is Mind Body Balance at its heart. When you have other believers who are further along the journey than you to support you – you move from pain to peace.

Do Amazing things; as all things are possible. You Can Fix You! Do you want to Believe in you? Transform? Be your Best Self? Join the Mind Body Balance Community and Start your Mind Body Balance Transformation today! We Inspire YOU to Movement! We teach Yoga, Classical Pilates, Fitness Coaching, willPower and grace®, Intuitive Eating and a variety of Transformative Workshops. Download our mobile app from your app store today “mindbodybalancellc” and start your journey now! What are you waiting for?

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What’s your inner voice telling you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will accept phrases like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mind Chatter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Consistency is Everything!

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

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

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

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

Give up:

 

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

 

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

 

  • Quality movement
  • Quality nourishment

 

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

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

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

  • Fuel in – Fuel out.

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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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What is the wise thing to do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make a health care team for you today that includes:

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

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Marathon Blog #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Some cons for preparing for this event are:

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Lifetime of Legacy!

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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