11/30 - Happy Wednesday.
One of my favorite yoga sutras is 1-14:
"Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness. "
Patanjali, who compiled the sutras, was referring to a yoga practice, but these are wise words that can apply to any long term goal or intention. It takes time, consistency, commitment AND patience to reach goals and create effective change. These can be difficult concepts to accept or incorporate into our daily lives, especially when we get used to having instant access to stuff or info we want -- Want that app? Buy it now. Love that old movie? Stream it now. What was the name of that book? Google it now. Need a quick gift? Order and send it now.
Want to get fit? Lose weight? Eat better? Uhhhh......there are alot of quick fixes for those too.....but without time, consistency, commitment and patience, the odds of actually creating and maintaining that healthy habit are pretty low.
Confession time -- Back in 2002 I bought into one of those quick fixes and bought an "ab belt." Remember those? You were supposed to strap on this belt and the electrical stimulation of the ab muscles would give you a 6-pack. I saw it on TV and thought, "What the heck? If I can get flat abs and skip the core class, let's try it." It arrived and I think I opened it on the spot. I put the gel on the electrodes (gross), strapped on the belt and turned on the battery pack. It sounded like a buzzing bee. Did I need to turn it up? Cranked it higher, but I could hardly feel anything. And the gel was a big old mess on my belly. What a shocker...it didn't work. My husband laughed at me and said "What did you expect?" I guess I expected quick results!
Happily, I did find something that worked to strengthen my core though. Going to my workouts classes, running, lifting weights, eating well.....every day, every week (or most days/and most weeks at least.)
The Yoga Sutra book that I use as a guide has each sutra (statement) followed by the translation and commentary of another yoga sage. He offers his interpretation and thoughts on Patanjali's statements. Following sutra 1-14, the commentator makes some very insightful observations about the need for patience and dedication to one's practice. He gives advice on how to stay vigilant towards our practice: "Let us not be like little children who sow a seed today and dig it up tomorrow to see how much the root went down."
We need time, consistency, commitment and patience.
"Sow the seed" with your intentions that you have written down. We have 4 weeks together in this challenge. Use this time to cultivate your healthy habits, friends. Use this time to practice patience and work on commitment and consistency. While it would be easier to just give up after a few days because it's difficult or you are not seeing change, stick with it. Trust the process or at least give the process a try.
"I can do this."
Some days you are gonna rock this challenge. Other days not so much. Whatever today brings for you, be gentle in your thoughts and actions towards yourself.
One day at a time friends. If our ultimate "goal" is creating a healthier habit and lifestyle, then realistically there are going to be easy AND challenging moments throughout every day as we work towards these goals.
Stay with it. Take your time.
"i can do this."
Word of the day: Habit.
1. A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
This challenge is all about habits and our intentions to make them better, healthier and/or to change them all together. I like the definition above....especially the last part, "one that is hard to give up." I think that phrase can automatically evoke an image of a "bad" habit --
"I have to break this bad habit." "It's hard to give up this habit."
Wouldn't it be so cool though if we created REALLY GOOD and HEALTHY habits that are just as hard to give up. I mean...if it's a good habit...we wouldn't even think of giving it up because it would be part of a healthy lifestyle.
There is a lot of research on how long it takes to form a habit. Who knew this would be so well studied? I've seen articles citing anywhere from 3 weeks to 254 days! This challenge is 4 weeks long because it's longer than 3 weeks but short enough that everyone remains interested and focused. We are working on long term habit formation...whether it takes 3 weeks or a year. However, the only way we get there is one day at a time.
So.....just for today.....look at your list of intentions. What can you do today? How will you do it? Can you spend 2 minutes making a plan so that your healthy habits can happen today?
Whether you have exercise goals on your list or not, I encourage you to move your body today. See where you can get 20-30 minutes of movement into your day. You can break it into three 10 minutes intervals if that works better. All movement counts...especially the kind that gets your heart rate up.
As always, let us know what you did today....how you worked on your habits or anything you are struggling with.
There is likely someone else experiencing similar feelings as you. Use this network friends and GET IT DONE today. Just for today.
11/27. Day three.
Today is a PERFECT day to stick to your healthy habits intentions.
Look at your list. Can you do this today? Of course you can.
If your list is intimidating all at once...then break it into small, attainable pieces:
-Eight glasses of water a day might feel like a lot....but you can only drink one glass at a time, right?
-Work out 5 times a week? Today is one day. So just focus on today.
-Trying to decrease junk food or processed food? Take it one meal or snack at a time.
Today, friends, try to think of your goals in small, feasible pieces. Focus on the aspects you CAN DO just for today.
Also for today, friends, see what kind of physical movement you can work in to your schedule. A walk, a jog, some yoga all counts. Sunday is typically a day of rest for me but after this holiday week I am looking forward to a heart-rate raising, sweat-producing-workout later this afternoon. Let's see what we can all do today for exercise.
Post a pic or share what you do today. Let's motivate one another, find the time and make movement happen!!!!
"I can do this!"
We can do this.
11/26. Day two.
I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the weekend.
Thanks to everyone who has liked and/or posted your healthy habit goals and resolutions. Keep them coming. Just like yesterday, please use some time to reflect on 2-3 healthy habits that you want to work on, create or maintain over the next few weeks.
Starting tomorrow I'll be offering you fitness, wellness and mindfulness suggestions that you can also incorporate into your days. For now we are starting with accountability (to ourselves and one another) and writing/posting 2-3 habits/goals/intentions. They can be big or small or somewhere in between.
This challenge is super successful (and FUN) with your participation and commitment. Lean on me and each other for support to stick to your goals. We will do this together!
Thank you again for making the decision to jump in and establish or re-establish healthy habits.
11/25 - Day One.
Welcome to our newest challenge, friends -- Healthy Habits 2016!
I am excited to share the next four weeks with all of you!
Today we begin the Healthy Habits 2016 Challenge. For 4 weeks (11/25 until 12/23), we will work together to define, refine, and maintain healthy (or healthier) habits that can carry us through the holiday season and into the New Year.
Rather than waiting for some magical day like January 1 to make resolutions and establish new fitness, health or other personal goals and habits, we are going to work on those together now. Every day can be your magical first day. We don't need a calendar to tell us to wait and then start at the New Year. Let's start today.
All you need for this challenge is a willingness to try and an interest in making some changes, additions, tweaks or edits to your current habits.
As with our other challenges, there will be tasks, things to think about, suggestions and other fun activities.
For today, your task is a simple one. Please think about some of your habits, particularly the ones that include your health....physical, mental, emotional. Are there some things that you do that you want to continue and maintain? Are there some habits that you need to tweak and adjust? Are there some habits that you know are not the best for you and maybe it's time to give them up? Or maybe there is something that you would like to become a habit but you're not quite there yet. Take a little of time to reflect on these.
Please consider 2-3 of these habits that you could possibly work on over the next 4 weeks. Perhaps write them down somewhere at home so you can see them as a reminder each day of your goals. The act of writing our goals can be very powerful. It’s up to you if you want to share them or to keep them for yourself.
Today is just about awareness of what we want to do, change, modify and/or maintain.
Invite your friends. The more the merrier. I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with all of you.
Have a fantastic Friday.
A thoughtful student sent this article to me this week and it led to some great conversation in my classes yesterday. One of my favorite facts to share with my students is that of the almost 200 yoga sutras, there is just one sentence about asana (postures). The rest are about yoga philosophy.
To me, this article really speaks to the first of the yamas, ahimsa....non-violence (or in a positive light...kindness...to self and others). When we practice asanas in class, my hope and intention as an instructor is for everyone to practice with their health, safety and well-being in mind....physical, mental, emotional. If you are in my class, you are going to hear me say at least 20 times "listening to our bodies....letting go of anything that is not serving us.....choosing rest when needed." Having said that, I totally understand In a class full of yogis, this is sometimes very hard to practice because ego and competition can get in the way.
When I get to be a student, it is my responsibility to listen to my body, hear the feedback it gives me and look for/ask for guidance when I need modifications and alternatives to suggested poses.
I remember a time when I didn't advocate for my body. I was taking a class from a popular instructor many years ago. She used to call me "furniture" because she would lay across me, push down on me, use much of her body weight to guide me deeper into poses. Admittedly I was flattered but also apprehensive when she would approach me. I am/was fairly flexible and I didn't, to my knowledge, suffer injuries at the time. Looking back though, those were some very intense "adjustments" that my body probably didn't need. I could already put my belly on my thighs in seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana)....did I really need her to lay across my back and push me further? No. No I didn't.
I would love to hear your thoughts if you have a few minutes to read the article. Definitely thought-provoking.
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