This is our Week 1 of workouts. Follow along with all my videos at BurnAlong.
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When Tim and I were newly married, we moved to Richmond, and were lucky to live about 8 minutes away from one of my uncles and his wonderful family. My Aunt Mary, Uncle Martin and my 4 cousins were generous and consistently thoughtful of us, including us in family dinners, birthday parties, even Christmas morning pictures on their stairs.
Every time I would go to their home, I admired how tidy everything looked. The kitchen was warm and cozy...the family room was all picked up... there were no bills, papers, messes anywhere. It was perfect. One night I finally asked my aunt, "How do you keep everything so neat?" And she laughed and said "Oh Maria...thats what the laundry room is for. Have you looked in there?" I laughed and admittedly took a peak and did in fact confirm that there was quite a bit of stuff in there...outta sight, hidden behind the door.
Fifteen years later, this memory has stuck with me for three reasons. First, it was very sound and helpful advice that I definitely tried soon after. Gather up all your things, toss them in the other room, shut the door. Outta sight, outta mind. Voila. Clean house. Second, beyond the superficial housekeeping benefits, I appreciated even more that my aunt was honest about her mess. She had the same piles and clutter that I had...she just moved them out of sight when guests were arriving. She didn't pretend. She was real. She told me her mess was just behind the laundry room door.
The third reason I won't forget is that during that time of living in Richmond, I experienced the scariest, life-changing health scare of my life to that point. My challenges with Crohn's are well-documented elsewhere but one of the biggest learning lessons of my battles with this disease has been the discovery that "everyone has something." No matter what we look like, how old we are, how many times we go to the gym, how much money we have, how much school we have attended. We all have a battle, a challenge, a backstory, a "something." We all have stuff. It’s our stuff.
And most of us have our own internal "laundry room." The place we put our stuff, our stories, our secrets. A place where we tuck it all away. Some of us might feel comfortable opening that door to others; some of us keep it closed from public eye.
I share this today because that laundry room conversation taught me that we cannot judge others by the way they look or appear. And we cannot judge ourselves against how others look or appear. Everyone has something. Until my aunt told me that she sticks all her piles into the laundry room, I compared myself to her every time I sat in the kitchen. “Why can’t I seem to get organized?” “Why does my life look like such a mess?” Fifteen years ago there was no social media but I liken this situation to how we can flip through pictures on facebook, instagram, snapchat and think “Why don’t I look like that?” “He sure does have his act together.” “Oh gosh..another perfect family picture.” “Wow her house is always neat.”
I ran into someone a few weeks ago and after exchanging pleasantries she said, “Gosh you are really doing well. I love all your pictures and posts. Looks like you’ve really got it all figure out.” I burst out laughing. I don’t think I or anyone will ever have it all figured out. We can present an image, a persona, a snapshot in time but that in no way defines or represents the whole picture. And that’s okay. It’s our choice what clutter and messes we share and don’t share. BUT....we gotta remember the laundry room lesson when we start the judging and making comparisons. It does us little good to compare how we feel, look, act based on our perception of someone else’s image. That perfect person you see? She has a laundry room. That rich celebrity? He has a laundry room. That perfect house. There’s a laundry room in there.
The laundry room lesson is one of understanding, honesty and compassion. Understand that we are all working on something. Life is messy. We clean up as best we can and sometimes we do a great job and other times not so much. When possible, be honest with ourselves and others...even if it’s just one or two trusted friends. My aunt had no idea how grateful I was for her honesty that day long ago but clearly it made an impact. Have compassion for ourselves and others. I often think of that phrase “everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. be kind. always.” Before we judge others, remember that we all have challenges. Before we compare ourselves to others, remember we all have a laundry room.
For those of you who made it this far in my blog post, thank you. This was a long one. I wrote this as a reminder to all of us that we are each working on something. Do your best to let go of judgement and comparisons..of yourself and others. You are each YOU and that is fabulous.
Finally....thank you to my aunt Mary for teaching me about the laundry room. xoxo I have shared this story and metaphor with several yoga classes and students over the years and I wanted you to finally know. :-)
Back on New Year's Eve, I shared this quote/picture on instagram and my fitness FB page. The quote was taped to the mirror where I get my hair done and was something that I needed to see and read in that moment. At the time I was feeling pretty negative and unproductive with some career goals and It was like the universe knew I needed a swift kick in the butt. A reset of my mindset. It worked. The next weekend I started shooting video for my online workouts and putting some other plans in motion.
Today I was back in the same chair at the salon, looking at the same quote and thinking, this is perfect for our Spring Training Challenge. Whatever your reason for jumping in with us, it's time for you to take care of you! No more judging, comparing, complaining. Work with what you got! Like we said on Day Two, let go of the past, be present today, and create space for your intention/plans to manifest.
We are four days into this challenge and we are getting ready to ramp things up. Fitness and wellness are always my focus with these challenges. What I've learned over many years in this career though is that fitness and wellness come in many forms beyond just the physical. Just as I do with my clients and students, I like to start off with mindset preparation, refection and goal-setting discussion before jumping into workouts or more intense tasks.
Intentional Task for tonight/tomorrow:
As we wind down the week here on Friday and enter the weekend, please think about one or two goals you are going to work on over the next 4 weeks. They could be big giant huge goals...or maybe something smaller. Your intentional task for today or tomorrow is just to write these down. Big or small, we will work on them together.
On Sunday evening, I will post a week of workout ideas and nutrition suggestions, as well as a week's worth of recommended videos from my BurnAlong site for your first full week of fitness and movement. If you want to join BurnAlong to be able to view all of my videos, you can check it out at www.burnalong.com. There is an option to do a free trial. You can also get a year's membership for 49.00 using my discount code MFF49. You do not have to join BurnAlong to be a part of this challenge! You will have to join if you want full access to all the workouts. Let me know if you have questions about any of that.
Have a great evening friends.
Just for today.....
I don't know where and when I started using this phrase in my teaching. One day these words were just there. Three little words...."just for today." Examples....”Just for today...we can drop the knee into low lunge if that feels better.” “Choosing child’s pose instead of down dog...just for today.” “Just for today, taking our intention from our mat into the rest of our evening.”
Yesterday I watched/listened to one of my own yoga workouts at the gym. This is not only for quality-control :-), but also a chance for me to “take a class” and not have to think...just follow. I heard myself say "Just for today" several times and it was a unique position to be in; hearing my own words in my headphones while I moved through my yoga flow. Even though I preach it and teach it, yesterday was one of the first times I actually got to experience and feel the meaning of those three little words in a class and it was pretty powerful. “Just for today” gives us permission to take things at our own perfect pace. I didn’t have the energy to hold my high lunge posture so I had the freedom to drop to a knee “just for today.”
Taking this idea off the mat and into life, “just for today” allows us to take something that might seem difficult, overwhelming, or challenging and make it a little less intense or stressful. Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we ought to do, perceive we should do, are supposed to do....that we neglect to listen to our bodies and our intuition. “Just for today” takes the pressure off the “should’ve/would’ve/gotta” mentality and let’s us determine what actually feels right at that moment. “Just for today I am going to spend 30 minutes reading a book.” “Just for today I’m hitting snooze twice.” “Just for today, I’m going to accomplish 2 things on my to-do list instead of all 15!”
This spring training challenge is all about YOU and working on some of your own goals whether they are physical, work-related, emotional, etc. On Day one we reflected on aspects of our lives where we might feel imbalance. On Day two we wrote down some intentions. At this point, it all might seem overwhelming already and we haven’t even gotten through day three!
That’s where “Just for today” comes into play.
Today’s intentional task:
1. Think about some of your goals you are starting to set. Think about some of the reasons why you are participating in this challenge.
2. Though you might have big, broad, ambitious goals, let’s see if we can take any one of these ideas and create a smaller, attainable part of it using a “just for today” sentence.
Example: I need more sleep. “Just for today, I’m going to stop whatever I’m going at 10pm and get myself into bed by 10:15pm.”
Write your “Just for today” sentence somewhere you can see it.
Have a lovely evening friends. Thank you for being a part of this challenge. I can feel the buzz of energy from all of you and I'm so excited to be in this together with you.
I am hoping that Mother Nature read my post yesterday and realizes that after all this snow and cold and rain, we need some balance with sun, blue skies and warm temps. Soon!
Hope you are all doing well and for those of you on the east coast, you are staying warm, cozy, and safe today in this winter/spring weather.
Yesterday I taught a "Mini-Yoga Mala" to my college students. On the equinox and solstice, it is common tradition to practice a Mala which is 108 sun salutations. Since I only have 75 minutes with my students, I offered them an abbreviated version of 27 sun salutations. Three rounds of 9 salutations each. We used "balance" as our overarching theme for class and then had a separate dedication for each of the three rounds.
Today I share these three dedications with you as a framework for establishing some balance. Remember that the beginning of this challenge is all about creating a healthy mindset and keeping it all simple.
Here are the three dedications:
*Let go of the past.*
*Practice being present.*
*Practice patience and create space for our intentions to manifest."
1. Think about what you wrote or considered yesterday. Where and what are the imbalances that you hope to work on?
2. Set aside 5 minutes today to create three statements using these intentions and the area of imbalance.
My imbalance is sleep. I need more to balance what I do during the day.
Here are my three intentions:
1. I intend to let go of past habits of staying up late to do work, answer emails, read messages on my phone.
2. I intend to listen to my body's cues and go to bed when I'm tired (of course this is after my children are tucked in...which means I gotta get them to bed earlier too!) :-)
3. I intend to make small changes to my schedule and my nightly routine to let my sleep habits improve over time.
1. Maybe you already exercised or worked out today or maybe not. If it's still on your "to-do" list.....get 20 minutes of movement into your day somehow. Use my ideas from yesterday or make time for the gym, a walk, or some snow-shoveling!
Have lovely afternoon.
Here we go friends. First day of Spring and our Spring challenge.
These first few days will be all about mindset and simple acts.
Today is the vernal equinox which means equal night and therefore most of us will have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. Balance. In the fall we get another day like this called the autumnal equinox. Balance.
I hear this word "balance" all of the time. It frequently comes up in conversations with friends, family, clients, and students. "It's hard to find work-life balance." "I'm trying to balance my job and school." "Gotta balance my budget." "Can you balance on one foot?" "I lost my balance and fell."
Seems like a lot of people are striving for balance whether it's to feel more stable, calm, steady, less-stressed, etc. It's not an easy task. Between work, family, school, finances, personal health, and more, it can almost seem unattainable to feel "balanced." I mean if we use the earth and sun as our models, it's even challenging for these two celestial bodies. There are only 2 days out of the entire year when they are in "perfect balance."
This week we will take time to consider this idea of balance and what it means to us in our daily lives. The Spring Training challenge is all about YOU and working on something in your life for 30 days....with the support of all the other awesome participants here. I'm going to give you suggestions, ideas, motivation each day and help you with accountability. It's the first day of Spring and a chance for a refreshed mindset, a clean slate and an opportunity to create positive and healthy change. And maybe find some balance. :-)
(there are two...one intention and one physical)....
1. Set aside 5 minutes to reflect on your day, your week, your year so far. Is there anything that feels perhaps out of balance? Is the see-saw tipped in one direction more than the other?
2. Identify one or two aspects that might feel out of balance. 3. Create a statement that can take these areas of imbalance and spin them in a positive and intentional way.
4. Write it down. Somewhere you can see it. Or share it to our group facebook or instagram page.
Let the statement start like this: "I would like more balance...
Example of imbalance: "I am usually exhausted everyday."
Balance Statement: "I would like to have more balance between sleep and awake time so I can feel healthier and more present during the day."
1. Move your body today for at least 20 minutes. Go for a walk, jog, bike ride. Do 20 minutes of yoga. Take the stairs all day at work. Do squats and lunges every 10 minutes at your desk. Move your body on purpose for 20 minutes.
I've got lots of fun planned for you over the next few weeks. Today we keep it super simple.
1-2 statements and 20 minutes of movement.
Have a fantastic day and Happy Spring.
Welcome and thank you for visiting this site. I'm happy and grateful to have a place where I can write about fitness and wellness. In addition to blogging about exercise and sharing workouts, I also use this space to tell 200-word stories about the inspiring and amazing people I encounter in this career. I look forward to sharing as many of these journeys as possible, and would love to hear from you if you would like me to tell your story. You can contact me anytime. Thank you so much for your interest and your effort. Think fit...be fit...stay fit! You are stronger than you think. #STYT