Thursday, October 21, 2010


During times of transition, challenges abound.
  • Fear of the unknown 
  • "What if..." worrying
  • Effect on loved ones (emotionally & physically)
  • Facing yourself on those REALLY ugly days (I call these "meltdowns")
  • Picking yourself up on those REALLY ugly days
  • Trying to make it through the next transition "hoop" without falling on your face
  • Trying desperately not to alienate those around you (especially on the REALLY ugly days)
  • Getting acclimated to the new stuff while trying desperately not to cling to the old stuff
  • Figuring out who you are without the old identity & what the new identity is
  • Figuring out how to keep some of your old identity while forming a new & better one
  • Problem solving everyday problems with a giant question mark monkey on your back
In essence, transition is grief with growth opportunity.  Nobody wants the grief, but the growth opportunity is hard to resist.  So, we keep trudging forward during these times of grief with a carrot of possibility dangling in front of our faces.  Transition takes courage & initiative.  It's not easy to choose transition. In fact most of us would probably try to steer clear of it if we had the choice. I also takes perseverance.  It takes a good attitude to persevere.  It's not always easy, but sometimes you have to adopt the "fake it until you make it" attitude.  It takes commitment; commitment fueled by thoughts of what you wish to move away from & the opportunities that could lie ahead.  It's important to show yourself compassion during times of transition; physically, mentally, & emotionally.  Transition takes diligence & you can't muster up diligence without taking care of yourself. So be flexible if something doesn't go as planned.   Cooperation is also a necessity of the beast.  Just as you are going to need help from those around you, you need to strive to compromise with them. When we are facing "fear of the unknown", we tend to feel stubborn.  This stubbornness is born out of the desire to cling desperately to all that you think you know because everything else is such a mystery.  Not to worry though.  If you find it difficult to let go of this stubbornness, you still learn a lesson: humility.  Humility isn't pretty, but it is a necessary life lesson on this rocky road of change.  You will stumble. You will melt-down. You will feel unsure. You will alienate people.  You will have an identity crisis (probably a few). But hold on.  Be resilient, tenacious, and optimistic.  Use your integrity to strengthen your fortitude.  It all boils down to balance.  You don't have to be "the best" during these times.  You just have to balance your issues & survive.  These times are helping you to be your best down the road.  So, hold on for a bumpy ride & I'll meet you in the winner's circle. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Right Thinking

In order to use our brains & psyches to the best of their capabilities, we need to be mindful of our thoughts.  I know this sounds redundant, but admit it, sometimes we let our thoughts run out of control and allover us.  We should be striving to adapt to the changes in our world.  When we can not, we must be prepared to accept the changes that are inevitable.  In doing so, we can avoid the unnecessary attachments that cause us suffering. Here are some tips for de-cluttering the mind:

  • Yogis believe that "OM" is the sound that brought the universe into being.  Create your day by chanting "OM". 
    • Take a deep breath in.
    • As you exhale, say "aaaa" from deep in your belly.
    • Round your lips to make the "uuuu" sound.
    • Finish off with a soft "mmmm".
    • Repeat as needed.
  • Tell yourself: "I and the source are one." Carry this sense of unity throughout your day.  
  • While preparing yourself for the day, choose a drishti.  A drishti is a simple yoga term for a specific focal point.  When we focus on a drishti, our minds are more able to let go of external stimuli.  
  • Practice meditating at least once a day.  Using a drishti for meditation allows the mind to concentrate more deeply and invokes a deeper sense of relaxation.
    • Choose some down-time in your day (you know...the 5-20 min. you have scattered between tasks? 
    • Close your eyes.
    • Try to limit your thoughts to just your drishti (perhaps a creative endeavor or something positive going on in your life).
    •  Or you can simply focus on your breath, a candle, or your 3rd eye point- just between your eyebrows)
    • Set a timer for 5 min. (work up as you master your each set time).
    • Whenever your mind starts to wander away from your drishti (single pointed inward gaze), simply guide it back...letting go of all other thoughts.
  • Upon getting into bed, think about all that you accomplished physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.  If you have trouble coming up with positive attributes from each of these dimensions, let that dimension be your drishti tomorrow.  Strive to conjure a list of each of your positive gifts for the day.  Despite setbacks, the day is always resplendent with gifts.  

Remember: A positive attitude and the best ideas are born out of a calm and clear mind.

So, here's a toast to positive thinking! 
"I'll Think to That!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mindful Breathing

During stressful times we tend to breathe in a shallow, quick manner.  This only allows air to enter the chest rather than the belly.  This does not take advantage of our full lung capacity or the muscles we use for breathing.  This can quickly become a bad habit.  It leads to tension, fatigue, and lethargy.  Mindful breathing can lead to healing better balance within life.  Here are some tips for improved breathing:
  • Breathe in and out of your nose, not your mouth. Breathing through the mouth can make the heart feel heavy because it does not allow for total relaxation. Breathing through the nose filters the air and gives you a more refined energy.
  • As you breathe in, imagine the oxygen is spreading throughout your body and into each cell, nourishing your body with fresh energy.
  • Yoga philosophy says that we are only allotted a certain number of breaths in our lifetime.  So, the longer and more slowly you breath, the longer you will live.
  • When you awake, start your day with becoming aware of your breathing.  On your inhalation imagine the sound "SO". On your exhalation imagine the sound "HUM".  In Sanskrit, "soham" means "He am I".  This a way to link your breathing with the divine.  
  • Practice lengthening your exhalation during times of high stress.  Try to extend it to twice as long as your inhalation.  This will bring about a tranquil state of mind.
  • Poor posture and tight clothing can hinder the way your breathe.  Sit up straight as if a cord is attached to the crown of your head pulling you up and wear comfortable clothing.
Pranayama refers to the mastery of breathing.  It regulates and increases the energy flow within the body.  The following breathing exercises help increase your lung capacity and energy levels, as well as aid in relaxation.
  • Abdominal Breathing (Relaxes mind & body, strengthens lungs, massages internal organs)
    • Sit or lie completely still with your hand on your belly (just below your navel).
    • Relax and feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly.
    • Let the air move in and out of your body effortlessly.
    • Practice for 10 breaths (each breath consists of one inhalation and one exhalation)
  • Rib Cage Breathing (Relaxes mind & body, strengthens lungs)
    • Sit or lie completely still with your hands on the sides of hour ribs.
    • Gently inhale, contract your belly and fill up the top part of your lungs.
    • Inhale into your rib cage only.  Keep the breath focused between your ribs.
    • Feel the ribs expand and the chest open as you inhale.
    • As you exhale, feel the ribs contract.
    • Repeat 5 times.
  • Complete Breath (Increases lung capacity, helps the body efficiently cleanse the blood)
    • Sit or lie completely still.
    • Exhale to get rid of stale air.
    • Inhale to fill the bottom, middle, and top of the lungs
    • Slowly exhale, emptying the lungs from top to bottom
    • Repeat 5 times.
  • Tapping Chest Breath (stimulates lung cells, strengthens the respiratory system)
    • Sit on the floor in cross-legged position.
    • Inhale, filling the lungs and expanding the chest. Hold.
    • Use the fingers of your right hand to tap quickly and sharply all over your chest.
    • Stop tapping, and bend forward as you exhale through your mouth.
    • Relax. Repeat 5 times.
  • Bhramari Breath (Opens up the sinuses, clears the mind, calms the nerves)
    • Sit on the floor in cross-legged position
    • Inhale, filling the lungs and hold.
    • Exhale slowly through the nose while humming an "m" sound.
    • Direct the vibration to the tops of your teeth and eyes.
    • Contract the ribs a few inches above the navel to expel all the air.
    • Repeat 5 times.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT (Don't worry, it's easy & your mind/body/spirit will love you for it):

Choose one of the above exercises to practice this week (or try a different one each day!)  Do it upon waking, during a quiet & relaxed part of your day, or just before bed.  Throughout your day remember the breathing tips and be mindful of your breathing.  SOHAM...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Right Exercise

Finding the time, energy, and right exercise for your body can be easier said than done.  However, once you get into the flow of an exercise routine you'll find that you can counteract the very limits that kept you from exercising in the first place.  Here are some of the benefits of engaging in a meaningful exercise routine:

  • Exercising can help you manage your time more wisely because you must schedule your routine into your day and adjust your other daily activities accordingly. 
  • Exercise also leads to increased energy which can keep you in your routine and helps you juggle everything else going on in your life.  
  • A good exercise routine leads to better body awareness.  This means that you won't be as clumsy and stressed out due to muscle tension & you'll be more aware of specific problem areas in order to make adjustments.
  • Exercise helps stave off depression.  When you exercise vigorously, endorphins are released giving your a natural high.
  • Exercise detoxifies.  Sweating is one of the best ways we can detoxify the largest organ of the body, our skin.  
  • You'll look good.  Exercise leads to a look of natural vitality & a healthy glow.  Sporting a lean & toned body is a confidence builder too!

Finding the time and the tools to make it work:
  • Do you have more time in the morning, afternoon, or evening?  
  • Carving out just 30 minutes per day is all you need. You can build up from there when your routine becomes more solid.
  • Videos are great!  You don't have to worry about a schedule so much & there are so many out there that cater to every person's needs.
  • Walking, jogging, and running don't require much time or extra equipment.
  • Weight training & pilates will help you feel stronger, more confident, and better able to perform daily physical activities around the house or at work. Pilates works your core muscles to help you feel better balanced as you go through your day. 
  • Yoga is great for toning muscles, creating better body awareness, and providing stress relief.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  Your body will love you for it!
So, I challenge you to make a commitment this week to developing an exercise routine that works for you.   Your reward: a healthier, happier, and more functional body.  The journey of a thousand miles  begins with one step.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

5 Keys to Staying Healthy, Happy, & Balanced

Follow these  5 yogic pillars that lead to a healthy, happy, & balanced life:
  • Right Exercise-something that fits your age, health, and needs of your body (I'm going to encourage yoga.. your body will love you for it!)
  • Right Breathing- try to be aware of your breathing (in time of high stress, try inhaling for the count of 7, holding for 4, and exhaling for 7)
  • Right Thinking- try to de-scatter your mind & think positive (thought turn into actions... make sure they are good ones!)
  • Right Nutrition-eat food as "fuel" slowly & mindfully (try juicing one day a week and going meatless a few times a week)
  • Right Relaxation-seek mental,emotional, and physical relaxation by finding balance between your phases of activity & rest (think of it as a bank account... if you don't make deposits, you can't make withdrawals)

Focus on each day, then gradually add more as the awareness strikes you.  Which one will you start with?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Riding the Wave

When we are at our best, we are rested, refreshed, and refueled. Before we get to specific ways to help us rest, refresh, and refuel, let’s talk about maximizing our time while we are in that good spot.

How do we recognize this spot? Here are a few things you may notice or may be feeling:
  • High energy
  • Happiness/ Euphoria
  • Spot on/ Confident
  • Productive
  • Creative
  • Socially adept/ Connected
  • Generous
  • Attractive
  • Agile  
  • Strong
  • Intelligent/ Witty
These are times to explore our boundaries. Of course we grow during the down times. In fact, some of our biggest lessons are learned during the down times. But think of the good spots as growing at warp-speed. Here are some ideas for maximizing this time when you are on the up-and-up.
  • Engage in physical activity (weight lifting, running, active game playing, etc.)
  • Smile a lot (attitudes are contagious and this is the best time to spread yours around)
  • Make a list of things you appreciate (this will come in handy during those “down” times when you have trouble remembering if there’s anything good in your life)
  • Share your ideas (personal & business)
  • Get things done (remember all those little things you’ve been “meaning to do”?)
  • Explore your creativity (make something, write something, etc.)
  • Entertain & spend time with loved ones
  • Practice random acts of kindness (remember, “what goes around, comes around”)
  • Flaunt your inner & outer beauty (pretty is as pretty does!)
  • Try something new (build new neural pathways)
  • Ask yourself: What are my unique gifts? (explore these & share them)
Making the most of these “up” times ensures that you won’t need to climb so far to reach them the next time you are finished “resting, refreshing, and refueling”. So, what are you waiting for? Now is your time to shine!




Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ebbs & Flows

Ebbs & flows are a natural part of our lives.  Our greatest individual potential can be met if we can identify which wave we are riding and where it is in the continuum of ebbs & flows in the great ocean of life.  Imagine you are a surfer.  Sometimes you are riding the waves and exploring your boundaries.  You are keeping good balance.  Other times, you are back on the shore...resting, refreshing, refueling.  You would not entertain the thought of going back out if you knew you didn't have the proper strength, endurance, and agility.  After all, without the proper ability, you would become vulnerable to undercurrents.  

This blog is about identifying ebbs & flows and maximizing the benefits of each through rest, refreshment, and fuel.  It is about knowing when and how to nourish the mind, body, and soul.  

There is no beginning & no end...just continuous waves.  

  • Where are you?  Riding the wave or basking on the shore?
  • What can you do to maximize your time there? Do you need to rest, refresh, & refuel or explore your boundaries?