Category Archives for "practice"

When the frenzy of the work day presses in

It’s super common to get into the middle of a well-planned day and all of a sudden you have emails and IMs pinging in from every direction. Maybe your boss or a contractor is demanding you immediate attention.

Stress starts to mount, right?

Phone calls. Stress. Deadlines. Everything starts to get kind of overwhelming.

You may find yourself pouring a second (or fifth) cup of coffee. Or perhaps you decide to skip lunch (or eat in the car between appointments) to try to get more done. You simply have too much to do and you have to do *something* to make up for lost time.

But this is not the way to REALLY find freedom from the frenzy.

It may seem right in the moment. Get a cup of coffee. Plow through lunch. Work later.

But no.

Trust me. It’s not the way.

The way to find freedom from the frenzy in the middle of the day is to push the pause button.

Yes, it seems beyond counter-intuitive to stop when there’s so much to do. But I promise it works.

If you’re feeling frenzy in the middle of this day, I invite you to push pause. There can be a variety of ways to do this, and if you already know what works for you, do it!

I have one tool I’d like to share with you today. It’s simply managing the breath. I love this tool because you ALWAYS have it with you! You don’t need any special tool. You don’t need a yoga mat. You don’t need workout clothes or perfect weather.

You can manage your breath at your desk, on the stage, on the playing field, in traffic, in a meeting, at home. It works EVERYWHERE!

Here’s the technique:

  • Focus on the breath and slow it down
  • Inhale  1-2-3-4
  • Pause 1-2
  • Exhale 1-2-3-4
  • Pause 1-2

Hopefully you feel better already! You can use this technique anytime, anywhere, and no one even knows you’re using it but YOU! As you use it, you build a new tranquil mind and create freedom from the frenzy of the day.

Get my free pdf guide for even more tools to take back YOUR day, or book a Discovery Call to explore personal coaching options to create your tranquil mind and life!

Book a discovery call

Yoga During Health Education Week: Solutions for Mesothelioma Patients

Between October 15th and 19th, the nation is focusing on Health Education Week 2018. Our minds and bodies are linked in many ways that are still being defined. Every person can have a pathway to better health through yoga, including mesothelioma patients. Because this rare cancer of the lung lining can be incredibly debilitating, yoga offers several answers for a better quality of life. The following practices are shared with mesothelioma in mind. However, these are great practices for anyone dealing with a challenging illness, like cancer.

Putting You in the Moment

The human mind tends to ruminate on the past and future. Thinking about the present isn’t always a priority. Yoga helps patients with terminal cancer by putting them in the present. Feeling their bodies stretch and relax is important for both mental and physiological improvements.

There’s nothing to truly worry about in the present. The focus is on moving the body into certain positions. Mesothelioma patients need this reprieve so that they can deal with life after the yoga session.

Encouraging Deep Breathing

One of the most basic moves in the yoga world is breathing deeply. Most people, including cancer patients, breathe with a shallow inhalation. Bringing more air into the lungs allows extra oxygen to reach the tissues. Cancer patients need as many nutrients as possible in their bodies. Therefore, transporting oxygen and other nutrients to tissues can make a difference in prognoses and outlook on life.

Fighting Fatigue and Creating Quality Rest

According to the Oncology Nursing News, yoga encourages rest in the evening and fewer worries during the day. No other medicine or activity can boast both of these benefits together.

Yoga stimulates the entire body. Patients feel elated after the workout. Additionally, patients enjoy good feelings and an energetic mind the rest of the day. As this sensation declines, the body feels tired. Patients typically enjoy a deep rest so they can tackle tomorrow’s challenges with more energy.

Increasing Flexibility

Patients dealing with mesothelioma have a tightness in their chest. This can translate into limited movements among the limbs. Yoga classes with teachers who are experts in their field can help patients with their flexibility issues, states the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. These professionals know how to move the body so that no detrimental effects occur as a result of the movements. Flexibility returns to the body after only a few sessions.

Supporting the Mental Side of Life

Feeling down during a fight with cancer is understandable. Participants can fly with their minds and bodies through yoga, however. When participants move their bodies into achievable positions, they feel good on a mental level. The body naturally releases good hormones, which leads to happier times.

When the mind isn’t supported by a positive outlook, both physical and mental decline are possible.

Finally, fighting off negative emotions, including depression, is an important facet of yoga training, reports Psychology Today. This activity has dozens of benefits that should be explored by mesothelioma patients. As patients look for alternative ways to improve their lives, keep Health Education Week in mind. A better tomorrow is in store for everyone who tries something different.

What is “good posture” anyway?

How’s your posture right now? Are you sitting or standing nice a tall? Or slumped over your desk or phone? This is a topic that goes back to the good ol’ days. If you’re like me, your mama said on more than one occasion, “Stand up straight!” And I don’t know about you, but for me, it only lasted as long as she was looking!

It turns out that Mom was right!

Posture does more than make you taller and look more educated. It actually DIRECTLY affects everything from your mood to the inner workings of your body’s deepest systems! And for so many people, poor spinal alignment leads to “garden-variety” low back pain, too. So, figuring out how to “straighten up” can have some IMMEDIATE benefits!

But, do you even know what “good posture” is?

Well, in this short video I teach about the main elements that create a posture that even your Mom would be proud of! Check it out:

 

It’s really not complicated, or even difficult to create a strong and functional alignment. In fact, there are two very simple things you can do RIGHT NOW to create strength and stability in your body!

Start with your feet!

  • point toes straight ahead
  • feet under hip points (about two-fists wide)

Check the hips!

  • are hips tilting forward or backward?
  • find the even place between the two – hips parallel to the floor

 

Did you try it? Let me know in the comments your favorite tip!

Can yoga help?

It’s not the questions that are interesting – it’s the single answer

Yoga students, friends and family ask me yoga questions all the time. And it makes sense. After all, I AM a Yoga Teacher, a Yoga Trainer, and a Yoga Therapist. So it’s not all that strange that people ask questions. What IS really interesting to me is how almost every single question can be answered with the same answer.

It’s true.

Would you like to know what it is? I promise, it’s going to be a little underwhelming. It may even be disappointingly simple. In fact, I would venture to guess that most people would even PREFER for the solution to be something more complicated.

But it’s not.

It’s super simple.

But it’s not easy.

Ok. Here it is: Stand up straight.

Yep. That’s it.

Question: Jenn, I’m having issues with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. What yoga can I do to help?
Answer: How’s your posture? Are you standing and sitting up straight? Especially your neck and shoulders. Especially if you work at a computer a lot. Check on your upper body posture.

Question: Jenn, my low back has been bothering me. Are there any yoga poses I can do to relieve it?
Answer: Yes. There are a few poses to do to alleviate the discomfort. But let’s also get down to the deeper issue. How’s your posture? Do you stand and sit straight? Two areas to consider – your foundation and your abdominal support. Check to see if you stand with your feet hip width and toes pointing forward. Also, gently lift your belly button up and in to create low back support.

Question: Jenn, I’m having lots of neck pain and headaches sometimes. Is there anything I can do that’s yoga-related to help?
Answer: How’s your posture? In particular, do you spend a lot of time at the computer or on your phone with your head pushed forward and looking down? Create ways to sit up tall and put your phone down more often. At the very least, take breaks and do some stretches to get out of that pattern for a little bit every so often.

See?

Three seemingly unrelated issues may all be alleviated, or even completely resolved, by adjusting your posture! It is AMAZING how much pain and discomfort we can relieve when we do something as simple as correct our posture. Here’s a quick video on setting up the foundations.

It IS simple. But it’s not easy.

Strengthening our postural support muscles takes a fair amount of effort and concentration. Going to the gym or even yoga class a couple times a week isn’t going to cut it. This is something that you have to focus on every single day. Any time you notice that you are slumping forward, standing with one hip kicked over to the side, or spending hours looking down at your phone – pause – make an assessment – and then make an adjustment. It may only last for 1-2 minutes at first. But that’s ok! When you notice that you have gotten into the poor postural pattern again, simply adjust into good posture again! No need to beat yourself up. These things take time. Simply re-adjust any time you notice that you need to adjust.

Now, of course, there are specific yoga poses and sequences that can expedite this process and address your particular concerns. Your local Yoga Teacher or Yoga Therapist can help you with your individual needs.

I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below something you’ve been wondering about. “I wonder if yoga can help with…..?”

Shake it Off? Wisdom from Taylor

shake it off

Shake it Off?

Ah, Taylor Swift! You are a sage of this age. Your peppy tunes and thoughtful lyrics speak to our culture. And not just the kids. I’ve seen many an adult know every – single – word to your catchy songs. It’s possible that I may be among those who know all the words to entire albums. One song in particular caught my attention the very first day it released. Which one, you may ask? Shake It Off! I love simplicity behind taking all the things people say and just “shaking them off.” I find myself wondering though – can it be that easy?

I actually think it can.

This may seem like a HUGE switch in train-of-thought, but stick with me.

For the past few years I have been exploring how Yoga Therapists are using yoga to heal. Not just things like stress and anxiety, even though these are two very powerful things to overcome, but also deeper things. Much deeper things. Things like trauma (physical and emotional) and PTSD and serious injuries and even chronic illness.

Well, one of the techniques used to help people move through these deeply-held traumas is to, quite literally, shake it off.

Let me explain.

We hold some of our deepest emotions, especially those related to traumatic events in the muscles of our bodies. Most specifically, the psoas, or hip flexors. Without getting too deeply into anatomy – these muscle resides deep in our body – starting on either side of our low back, running straight through our mid-section, crossing over the front of each hip, and attaching to our femurs in our inner thigh.

Whew. That got technical in a hurry!

Here’s where Tay-Tay comes into the picture. When, with the guidance of a Yoga Therapist, we purposely and systematically fatigue the psoas, we are then able to put our bodies into postures that cause the psoas to shake. And I mean SHAKE! The tremors exude throughout your body and can feel intense and funny and liberating and so much more. After experiencing this practice, many people find that old triggers don’t set them off as intensely as before, or that deeply-held fears of the past seem softer. Over time and practice, the intense anxiety or sleepless nights start to subside. Our body literally takes those old traumas and “shakes them off!”

Here’s the magic…

When we move through this practice with our Yoga Therapist, we are able to let our body process things that our mind may not remember or understand or be able to process in other methods of therapy. Therapy through movement is showing itself to be a powerful way to move through some difficult experiences that haven’t been very responsive to other treatments.

If this sort of work sounds interesting or appealing to you, please contact me. We can explore if this is a good fit for your specific concerns.

Now, I know you can’t get that song out of your head – so go ahead – listen to it!

Spring into Balance! Tips to feel your best.

While it was quite chilly when I woke up this Spring morning (30-something!), it has gotten quite beautiful this afternoon. We’ve had fair amounts of rain over the last weeks, and the flowers are blooming and the grass is growing. Believe it or not, even the cacti look “fluffy” from all the rain!

While it’s officially still a couple weeks away, when Spring really gets going, we often notice changes in our bodies as well. You may feel energized to clean out the garage, or start up your favorite outdoor activities. Or, you may feel the onset of dreaded allergies and congestion. Have you noticed yourself clearing your throat a lot lately? And if that’s the case, oh for some relief!

Ayurveda.

Wait.

What?

Ayur-what-uh?

Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, has lots to say about Spring (and all the seasons) and how to structure your day and diet to feel our best. And that is great news! I’ve found that when I establish and follow my daily routines and best nutrition practices, I feel SO MUCH BETTER!

If you’re looking to make some changes so that you can really enjoy Spring, I highly recommend trying just one or two to start off. After you have successfully implemented those, try adding one or two more. Taking things a step or two at a time is more likely to stick than trying to do 10-15 at a time!

Spring Morning Routine

Starting the morning off right is a fantastic way to set up your day. Try one of these morning routine options:

  • Get up before 6:00am! This is especially important in the Spring. You want to get up before 6:00am so that you don’t wake up feeling all sluggish and tired. Here’s a little video on the topic.
  • Meditate. Ayurveda says that meditation is the simplest was to find balance for all body types in all seasons. Even 5-10 minutes can truly alter the projection of your day. Try this meditation.
  • Use a tongue scraper. You can find these easily on Amazon. I use this one. First thing (before eating or drinking anything), scrape your tongue a few times. That filmy coating that comes off is called ama, or toxins. Eww. Get that stuff off of there! And then brush.
  • Sun Salutations, or any type of moving exercise. Get your body going within the first hour of being awake. You will ultimately feel energized, even if it seems like the last thing you want to do.
  • Drink warm water with lemon. Maybe add some honey. Maybe some fresh sliced ginger. Maybe some cracked black pepper. Soooo good for your digestion! Here’s how I make mine.

During the day, work with your body’s natural rhythms

  • Work your task list from 6:00a – 10:00a. This is the time to set your mind to the task and just do it! If allergies are making you crazy try 1-2 drops each of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint in a diffuser. It works wonders!
  • Do the big projects from 10:00a – 2:00p. The middle of the day is best for the projects that take the most energy and effort. Also, this is the best time for a large meal. Eat up!
  • Let your creativity flow from 2:00p – 6:00p. Mid-late afternoon is when our creativity is the highest. Make the most of it by setting aside an hour or two to brainstorm or write, or whatever type of creativity moves you. This is also a nice time for a workout if that fits your schedule.
  • Slow it down from 6:00p – 10:00p. Eat a dinner that is lighter than lunch if at all possible. Take a walk after dinner. Relax. Enjoy time with family or friends. Plan time to get ready for bed. And plan to turn out the lights by 10:00p so you are well-rested for tomorrow.

Spring Evening Routine

  • Be sure to turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. This will allow your eyes to rest and brain to relax from the strain of screen-time.
  • Give yourself a foot massage. Include your favorite essential oil. Try Lavender or Balance Blend.
  • Meditate. You don’t have to meditate twice a day, but you can if you enjoy it! I find meditation is a wonderful bridge from day to night and night to day, so I like to spend a few minutes in meditation in the morning and the evening. This one is good for nighttime.
  • Turn off the lights by 10:00p. The hours of sleep before midnight are considered to be the most restful, so make the most of it!

Many of these routines are great all year long, so establishing your patterns now will set you up for season after season of feeling great!

Tell me, which of these resonates the most with you? Which one(s) will you implement?

I may or may not have rolled my eyes at her

I may or may not have rolled my eyes at her

A few weeks ago I went to a YogaFit Mind, Body, Fitness Conference and took another Ayurevda* training. Oh how I love learning in general, and about Ayurvedic routines and recipes more specifically!

*In case this is new to you, Ayurveda is the 5000 year old sister-science to yoga. It’s all about choosing routines and recipes that take your specific body type into consideration, along with the seasons. It’s pretty cool, I have to say.

Anyway, one of the recommendations that the trainer mentioned was to get up earlier. Like BEFORE 6am.

Crazy woman.

I don’t like to get up early. I get grumpy when I have to be up early. I will set my alarm for the last possible moment so I can stay in the cozy covers.

Can I get a witness?

Well, she could see the resistance on my face, and said (oh-so-kindly), “Just TRY it. Set your alarm for 5:55am tomorrow.”

I may or may not have rolled my eyes at her (sorry Tracy!).

 

Begrudgingly, I did it. 5:55am. Ugh.

HOWEVER, would you believe it? Instead of feeling MORE tired getting up 30 minutes earlier, I felt more AWAKE! How did THAT happen???

Well, it turns out Ayurveda knows what it’s talking about! When we get up before 6:00am (even if it’s just 5 minutes), we wake up during the time of day when we are most able to get going for the day. We have more energy and are able to jump into the day with enthusiasm instead of drudgery.

Seriously!

I felt so much better when I got up that extra few minutes early, I have been doing it every day since (well minus a couple sleep-in days). It’s truly changed how I feel about getting up in the morning. Since I am choosing to get up early, I don’t hate it! I get up, smile at my choice, and start my morning routine. And I even get all the things done I want to get done because I’m not hitting the snooze button two or three times.

Here’s my new morning routine timeline:

5:55am – wake up!
6:00am – tongue scraping, brushing teeth (and you know, going to the bathroom)
6:10am – meditation time
6:30am – Sun Salutations
6:40am – start getting ready for the day

 

I’d love to hear from you.

What new choices are you making to feel your best and improve your life? Please tell me in the comments!

 

How to enjoy the holidays

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it, but sometimes it can be a challenge to enjoy the holidays. Maybe it’s been a tough year, or there’s a conflict with someone in your family, or you’re working a second job to make ends meet, or whatever. And once it gets going down that road, what to do then?

Choose. Choose to enjoy the holidays.

Yep. Make a conscious choice to enjoy the holidays anyway.

Here’s the thing – our life situation is really only responsible for about 10% of our happiness. The other 90% of happiness is attributed to, you guessed it – choice. How we perceive our life, and choose to view it and respond to it is THE number one factor in us experiencing JOY.

For example…

You’ve seen it – the person with no money and a terrible life circumstance that somehow rises above it all to show kindness to others, or the homeless person who volunteers to help out the “less fortunate.” All you have to do is take a 5 minute tour through FaceBook to see one of those heart-warming stories that makes you cry over the goodness of humanity and the ability to overcome.

Now, I’m not saying this is easy. Not by any means. I’m sure the people in those stories didn’t FEEL like life was full of sunshine and roses as they walked through their days under such hardship. I would imagine that it seemed like an unbearable load most days.

However.

Each of the people in those inspiring videos did the same thing. They CHOSE to see things differently. They CHOSE to rise above the hardship and spread love and light ANYWAY.

Know what the best part is?

Those people in the tear-jerker videos don’t have any special super-power. They are just regular people who decided to enjoy life no matter what.

And you can too!

If choosing to enjoy the holidays as a whole is too daunting, try enjoying today. If there is a particularly challenging event or get-together coming up, decide now to see the joy that IS there. Because there is always something to enjoy and be grateful for. And I can guarantee if you truly change your perspective about that thing you are dreading or hate, the entire scenery of this season will change. The lights will twinkle brighter, the songs will sound sweeter, and YOU will be filled with joy, because you chose to be.

So, tell me – how will you choose to enjoy the holidays this year? Let me know in the comments below!

It’s not over yet! 6 Ways to celebrate the rest of 2016.

It’s not over, ’til it’s over!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had so many people already asking me what my word for 2017 will be, what my New Year’s Resolution is going to be, etc., etc. And the thought that keeps going through my head is:

WAIT! 2016 isn’t over yet!

Why are we in such a hurry to get to the next year? What’s wrong with the 30 glorious days we have left in THIS year?

So I, for one, am waiting. And while I wait, I will enjoy this month as much as I possibly can!

How will I do it?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. Although, it won’t be easy every day. I will enjoy. On purpose. I will continue to work through each day as though it matters.

Because it does.

Here’s my game plan:

See? Super simple. While some days, it won’t be so easy – I may have a busy schedule, or not feel well, or something. Truth be told, I’ll probably miss some of these on any given day. But I’m committed anyway. Because I know it works. Making a plan, doing my absolute best to stick with it, and getting back on the wagon if I fall off.

There’s still 30 wonderful days! Let’s LIVE them!

I’d love to hear from you – how do YOU live your days on purpose? Leave a comment below:

“Take 10” and take care of yourself

Whatcha been doin’ lately? Have you been running around like crazy trying to get everything done? Sacrificing your own needs to take care of people around you? Yep. Me too. Sometimes we just need to pull back and take 10 – like a 10 minute break to get it back together!

So, earlier this week I decided to re-group a bit and revitalize my daily routines that nourish my mind, body and soul. Even the great routines can start to feel tired if we keep on doing the same ol’ thing without keeping it fresh, right? So, here’s a few of the things I changed up.

Meditation

I like to use a mantra or positive affirmation when I meditate. When I evaluated, I realized that I have gotten into a habit of just repeating it without REALLY paying attention to what it means. So, I purposed to pay attention and consider my affirmation with each repetition. AMAZING the difference this one simply step can make! Ready to meditate? Check this one out – I made it for you!

Morning Routine

There are a few things I like to do to take care of myself each morning, you know, besides brushing my teeth and applying deodorant! Lately, I’ve been kinda lazy about my routine though. I really like to begin the morning with my tongue-scraper, and then move on to dry-brushing before my shower and then finish up with applying sesame oil to moisturize. I ran out of oil a couple weeks ago and hadn’t replaced it. I was using regular lotion, which is fine, I guess, but something about using the oil makes me feel like I am really taking care of myself, so I got a new bottle for myself. It’s so great!

Daily Breaks – aka Take 10!

It’s true – sometimes I waste time scrolling through FaceBook when I could be taking a nice break from screen time and general busy-ness. I know I’m not alone here. So, this week, I reminded myself to put my phone down when I realized I was using it to fill up mind-space. It’s amazing how much more beautiful real life is than keeping your head in cyber-world! If it’s been awhile since you’ve taken a screen break, I highly recommend it!

The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Cheryl RichardsonThe Art of Extreme Self-Care

While completing my yearly workbooks from Leonie Dawson, I came across Leonie’s recommendation to read The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. It’s great! Some of the things I already do, and some I have decided to try. If you are looking for some ways to bring more love from yourself into your life, this is a great read!

What I’ve realized over the years is that taking care of myself isn’t hard. It’s just that it takes some thought and planning and an intention to follow-through with it. If you’d like to hear more about this, catch my interview with Renee Li on the OM Wisdom Summit 2016. It’s coming up in just a couple weeks. Click here to see the full schedule of interviews. There are several wonderful speakers this year! Here are some things you can expect:

OM Wisdom SummitDevelop stronger intuition to access peace and clarity
Power up your body with healthy aging and preventative care
Adopt healthy habits that offer you perfect health
Clear blocks to create full color transformation
Utilize Crystal Magic for well-being
Align with your Greater purpose for fulfillment
Awaken your inner Healer

So, tell me, what is your favorite way to “take 10” and take care of yourself?