I don’t know about you, but I am jumping for joy. I have been preparing over the past several months to put together online material that is relevant, accessible, high quality, and affordable. It is with great pleasure and excitement that I share with you the launch of my online courses!
The material I’ll be sharing with you over the next several weeks and months will cover a range of topics — everything from getting your first full push-up and pull-up to holistic lifestyle courses and a special online course for women which will be released late 2016/early 2017.
In addition to sharing this online school and course launch with all of you, I’m also going to share with you the official launch of…
…rather than create a downloadable pdf of the blog I shared with you all a while back, I decided to take the material and create a FREE course for you that you can access at any time. If you are looking to develop your upper body pushing strength, want to feel the connection between your core and your arms, or want to begin the process of developing shapely shoulders and triceps, then this is a good place to start.
More exciting news in the days and weeks to come! If you’d like to keep abreast of all that is coming down the pike, be sure to follow me on any of the social media accounts in the sidebar; or subscribe to my newsletter (I’m only going to be emailing once per week unless I have something to share that cannot wait) and receive your FREE copy of “9 Secrets to Living a Vibrant Life.”
We all have different reasons why we feel called to do push-ups. Or, maybe we don’t. Maybe our only reason for doing a push-up is because our trainer says we should. o_0
Before diving into the nitty-gritty on how to go about developing the strength and confidence to rock your first push-up, or to develop the courage to push yourself out of the muck that you may fall face first in, and you will, if you are aware of it —
Yes, that did happen to me once while backpacking in Alaska. I was hiking along a river bed, tripped over a rather small rock, and, since I was wearing a heavy pack, the momentum propelled me forward until…you guessed it…I landed face-first in a pile of silty mud. Life has also landed me in the mud more times than I care to count, and it has always nourished me, even if it didn’t seem nourishing at the time. I digress…
I would invite you to consider your attention to your intention.
Set an intention.
Why do you want to do push-ups? What’s your intention behind wanting to learn this skill? Take a moment now, pull out your journal (or pen and paper if you are journal-less), and write down your why. Allow your imagination to flow. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The answers you provide, or the questions you ask yourself, are unique to you.
How often do you want to work on developing this skill?
How much time, energy, and/or effort are you wanting and willing to devote towards learning the push-up? There is a fine balance between not training a skill enough and training it too much. This balance is unique to you, your goals, your lifestyle, and your biology.
Who will help keep you on track?
Although as women, we have somewhat fallen into the trap of needing to “be strong, independent,” and do everything on our own (sound familiar?), having a support network is crucial to keeping you on track and helping you keep going when you run face-first into the metaphorical wall. Develop a list of 3 people who are in your corner, who will be here to support you, and have your best interests at heart whilst in this role.
The good news is that push-ups can be practiced anywhere and at nearly any time! It’s a skill that is very simple to incorporate into ones’ day if the attention to intention is there. 😉
Cooking dinner? Take a few moments to do a couple of sets of push-ups using the counter. Watching TV? Do some push-ups during each commercial using the wall, the couch, or the floor for support depending upon your current level of ability.
Now that your intentions are clear, you’ve set up a support network, and are pumped, primed, and ready to go…
Push-Up Progression 1 – The Wall Push-Up
Perhaps you’ve never done a push-up before, or it’s been years since you’ve done one. If you’re getting back into training, this is a good place to start. Continue practicing the wall push-ups until you can do at least 3 sets of 10 reps with ease and good form.
Push-Up Progression Level 2 – the Bench Push-Up
The great thing about the bench push-up is that you can adjust the height to change the difficulty of the movement without needing weight machines, pulleys, or any fancy equipment. Begin by using a bench, or counter top that is roughly waist height. As you develop the ability to do 3 sets of 10 reps with ease, challenge yourself by moving to a bench of a lower height.
It may be challenging to set your ego aside and accept where you are. A lot of people want to go straight for the lower bench without honoring the journey to “get there.” Take your time. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. When we rush through things too quickly we set ourselves up for a metaphorical, or physical, face plant in the mud.
Do you ever find yourself doing that?
One you’ve become confident exploring the bench push-ups at lower and lower heights, it’s time to move on to Progression 3.
Push-Up Progression 3 – The Eccentric/Negative Push-Up
Pause for a moment and give yourself a virtual high five, a pat on the back, and a “heck yeah!”. Although it may seem like everyone can do push-ups, outside of people who regularly train and/or do this for a living, the majority of women have lost the capability to do a push-up.
The eccentric push-up will help you develop the strength and grease the groove towards doing a full push-up.
Watch for common compensation patterns as you get tired, such as: head dropping towards the floor, elbows splaying far out to the side, chest or bum dropping, bum lifting, and…holding your breath. Remember, breath = life, so breathe.
Push-Up Progression 4 – The Full Movement
Wowza! You’ve made it to the end of the Basic Pull-Up Progression Guide for Women. How cool is that?! You’re now rocking out all of the other push-up progressions and have hit the last phase in the basic push-up progression series. No doubt you’ve learned a lot about yourself along this journey. What have you discovered?
One thing I have noticed in my journey is that life will knock us down at times so that we can learn. There may not be a branch for you to grab onto to pull yourself up. There are times when no one may be there to extend a hand and help lift you up.
There will be times when you are invited to dive deep within yourself and find a way to push yourself up out of the muck. You’ll be invited to explore, experience and integrate an inner strength that perhaps you did not realize you had.
Incorporating holistic movement will help you do that. Training push-ups will help you do that. They’ll also help you develop those sexy, toned arms you desire, develop a strong core, and shapely legs, and they will help develop your pectoral muscles which may help keep your breasts on the perky and lifted side.
I would love to hear about your journey through this guide. Send me an email with your questions, progress photos and/or videos, and/or comment or ask questions directly on the YouTube video that corresponds to where you are at so others may benefit from the learning experience as well.
It’s not often that I feel I can recommend a program or a teacher with 100% confidence. Truth be told, for this picky practitioner, it’s a rarity – I can count on one hand the number of people who fall into this category. Benny Fergusson, aka The Movement Monk, is one.
Benny and I began working together roughly two years ago. I had a few simple, yet complex goals:
- reduce and/or eliminate the niggling pain in my left hip from a yoga injury (you can read about that here and here)
- dive back into a movement program after three years off from rehabbing from my hip injury
- find a way to increase my flexibility again while developing strength so I wouldn’t feel like a rag-doll, susceptible to injury
I had tried various neuro-muscular therapies, physical therapy, chiropractics, different variations of yoga therapeutics, contract-relax stretching, and so on and so forth…Not one of them provided me with a platform that allowed me to safely explore increasing my flexibility whist maintaining and developing strength and stability. No other program, or teacher, at the time provided the space and support for me to explore the “issues in my tissues,” until I began working with Benny and his Embodied Flexibility Program.
Not only has my flexibility increased, but my strength has as well. The niggling pain in my left hip is nearly eliminated, and I have jumped back into a full-on movement program. Check out the video below to see the improvement I experienced in just 30-days’ time.
If you have been on the search for a program that can safely increase your flexibility whilst stabilizing and strengthening your body, I highly recommend checking out the Embodied Flexibility Program. If you have any questions about my experience, ask below or send me an email. You are also welcome, at any time, to reach out and personally connect with Benny and his Movement Monk Team via the Movement Monk website.
Before beginning a movement program, I find it important to ask why my students want to move their bodies. To me, it’s important to uncover the intention behind their motivation, much like peeling back the curtain to take a peek at the Wizard of Oz.
Once you have discovered your Wizard, your intention, your why behind the why, I invite you to take it one step further.
Add a daily intention to your practice. A daily intention invites you to connect, or disconnect, with how you are feeling and what you are experiencing. Admittedly, I’m a huge advocate for using a movement practice as a means to connect.
Wait…isn’t that yoga then? Perhaps. We’ll save that for another post though. 😉
Is there something wrong with choosing movement as a means of disconnecting? There’s nothing wrong with it, but there may be a more integrative approach to disconnecting. Maybe you’ve just had an argument with your girlfriend and want to lift some heavy stuff in order to avoid feeling the hurt and anger you may be experiencing. Perhaps you’re working a job you despise, are feeling stressed out, and want to tune out that emotional stuff that’s right there in front of you. Maybe you find yourself spending your workout flexing in the mirror and showing your physique off as a means of covering up the feeling of feeling not good enough.
Would you be willing to (wo)man up and admit that to yourself? Would you be willing to make a conscious decision to disconnect? What might that look like?
Rather than blindly going in and using movement to disconnect,
- Notice how you feel and acknowledge your emotions.
- Be honest with yourself and your decision to choose to disconnect. For example, “I feel really pissed off right now and I am choosing to go lift some heavy sh&t because I don’t want to feel what I am feeling.”
- Take action and go disconnect. Give yourself permission to numb out. Notice how numbing out can feel darned good sometimes.
- Invite yourself to reconnect and do it. This is the step many don’t take. Oftentimes, people go through Steps 1-3, then go about the day because they feel better never having really given themselves permission to feel or express their emotions. Sooner or later, that choice often comes back to bite people in the arse.
Have you ever experienced a cavity? Ignore it long enough and it becomes quite sore. You see the dentist who happily gives you some novocaine and you’re feeling much better all numbed out. But, the novocaine wears off, you go home, and two days later you’re experiencing even more pain, a fever, and an abscessed tooth because the dentist didn’t address the underlying problem – he merely numbed it for you – and it got infected.
By consciously choosing to disconnect, we are giving ourselves permission to see the work that our inner dentist is or isn’t doing with us. Is your inner dentist asleep on the job? Is he/she consciously choosing to only partially do his/her job? Would you be willing to invite your inner dentist to roll up his/her sleeves and explore what fully doing his/her job – choosing to move with connection – feels like?
If you would like to begin the process of learning how to consciously disconnect or connect through movement, reach out to me in the comments below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you wake in the morning feeling like a bear? Do you feel sore, stiff, slow, and stagnant? In this blog, I share with you three simple tips to help decrease pain, stiffness, and stagnation that you may experience upon waking. Our animal friends do them without thinking, yet we as human beings, with our creature comforts, have largely disconnected from our animalistic nature. Yes, at the base level we are animals.
What are the three things nearly every animal does upon waking that we can also do to increase our mobility, flow, and wake up feeling better?
- Move your spine. What’s the first thing a cat or dog does upon waking? They stretch and move their spine. Follow along in this video to experience five simple movements that will help you free your spine upon waking.
- Eliminate and squat while doing so. Oftentimes, the second thing animals do (at least my dog does), is go to the bathroom and empty their bladder and/or bowels. As human being-animals, it’s necessary for the health of our system to regularly expel our excrement. Yes, we need to pee and poo. Urine, when we’re well hydrated, should be clear. We should be eliminating ~12 in. of feces per day. Now, there’s a lot about what our poop can tell us about our health, but I’ll save that for another day.
Why squat? For one, it’s a primal position that we, in our Western culture with our chairs and creature comforts, have largely moved away from. When we sit upon the loo, vs squat, the colon is placed into a less than ideal position for the elimination of feces. In addition, being in a squat position naturally helps with the motility of the excrement through our digestive system.
- Hydrate. After going numerous hours without water, animals will drink and drink and drink when they have arrived to a water source. What about us humans? I daresay, there are probably people out there whose first drink of the day is a cup of coffee or tea. Why is that a challenge? They both serve as diuretics, which make us pee more, and can lead to further dehydration when we’re already dehydrated upon waking.
Begin the day by drinking and eating nothing else until you have integrated 32 oz of pure, living, spring water with a little Himalayan or Celtic sea salt into your being. Hydrating with pure, living, spring water will help plump your intervertebral discs, hydrate your tissues, help reduce wrinkles and puffiness under the eyes, as well as provide hydraulic support to the entire system facilitating ease of movement (including defecation) and well-being.
I invite you to give this practice a try for the next week. I’d love to hear how you feel after you’ve begun the process of integrating these simple animal-inspired tips into your day.
From CrossFit to kitchen mops and broomsticks, the kind of movement you do largely depends upon you. In this video, I share with you some tips to uncover what kind of movement you should do. [Am I projecting? I may very well be.] The kind of movement you should do may not be what you are thinking.
What kind of movement do you do? And, what does movement mean to you? Are you experiencing challenges deciding what to do? If so, comment below.
Where do we start when we don’t know where to start? Oftentimes, we know where we want to be, know what we’d like to do, where we want to go, but lack the clarity to know where and how to start. In this video, I share some tips to help you take that first step on your journey.
You know what I mean, single folks, divorcees, widowers, in-a-non-relationship-relationship women…
The primary day where our existence and our rating on the love meter is determined by some external influence. The day when if we’re not in a loving, giving, accepting, compassionate, understanding, yada yada yada relationship, we tend to stick our heads in the ground, bury our face in the blankets, put on a sappy chick flick and cry our eyes out over the box of chocolates we bought for ourselves – the one day out of the year when we tend to feel the most lonely, worthless, and unlovable.
It’s time for that to change.
Your rating on the love meter has nothing to do with some external influence. It is not defined by how many roses you get, how many boxes of chocolates you receive, or whether or not you’re taken out to some fancy restaurant where you wine and dine on champagne and duck.
It’s time to toss that perception right in the ol’ recycling bin.
Your rating on the love meter has to do with how you love yourself. It’s time to drop the bullshit stories you keep telling yourself as to why you’re not lovable, why you’re not good enough, why you’re not pretty, desirable, etc., etc., and act like you are! Why? Because you are lovable. You are good enough. You are beautiful. You are desirable. You are worthy.
True love begins and ends with you, not someone else.
Wild-hearted one, I invite you to dust off your clothes, dry your eyes, lift your chin and go spoil yourself. Show yourself how much you love YOU this Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself to a massage. Buy yourself that heavenly box of artisan dark chocolates and enjoy them, under candlelight, with an amazing glass of organic red wine (or Guinness if you prefer beer). Get dressed up, and take yourself out on a date to the restaurant of your dreams. Order that champagne and duck and treat yourself like the goddess that you are.
Why? I believe in you. I believe you are worth it and I believe you are worth learning how to love every inch and aspect of your wonderful self.
“Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.” ~Courtney A. Walsh
How are you treating yourself this Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear in your comments below, how you are embracing #fiercelove2016 for yourself this year.
Why do we do anything that we do? Why do we move our bodies? Why take care of our health? Why work? Why experience financial abundance? Why enter relationships?
Oftentimes, it boils down to a few things — we want to feel connected, we want to know that we matter, we want to experience freedom, support, and love in all that we do.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being naked, hungry and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” ~Mother Teresa
I understand what it feels like…
…to have nothing. To choose to leave a relationship with no sense of security. To wonder where the next meal is going to come from.
…to feel so overwhelmed with emotional pain that you contemplate hurting yourself. Or, beg for physical pain so you can be distracted from feeling what is inside you.
…to numb yourself from feeling anything. To choose to bury the pain you are feeling so that you can go about your day and do what you must in order to survive.
…to put yourself last. To give until there is nothing left to give. To feel so exhausted and drained and broken that you cry because you no longer have the strength or the energy to open that jar of pickles.
…to experience physical pain. To not be able to roll over. To not be able to do what you love. To be told time and time again that this is something you are going to have to live with.
…to feel incredibly alone. Worthless. Undesirable. Not good enough.
I understand how it feels because I’ve been there.
That woman who left a marriage with two young boys and no means of support, was me. That woman who wondered where the next meal was going to come from, was me.
The woman who contemplated physical harm was me. And, I was the same woman who buried her emotions, who sustained two devastating injuries, and who stands here before you now having made the conscious decision to change —
To live a life of freedom, of infinite support, of love.
A life by design, created and fueled by my passions.
It’s a bit of a secret, and I am going to share it with you.
Learning to love yourself as much as you want to be loved by others.
Stay tuned for the launch of the #fiercelove2016 campaign. I’m so excited to share this with you, and look forward to a select number of people joining me, as I walk beside you on your personal journey towards fierce love.
When you begin to live your life by design, listen to and follow your organic timeline, and build your life, & your business around your passions, you may notice & experience the following:
- People leaving or entering your life. Or both.
- Conscious decisions to let go of what isn’t serving you.
- A tremendous amount of freedom in being.
- Excitement. Pure unbridled excitement.
- The beautiful and painful process of bursting forth from your shell, into the nourishing, dark mud.
- Unbound joy as you burst forth into the light of what is.
- Immense focus, clarity, and creativity.
- An unwavering commitment to yourself, your passion, your mission. Psst – it’s ok to take care of yourself and to do so beyond what you thought was possible.
- Profound awareness of your innate biological rhythm and what your essence needs in each moment.
- A zest for life that draws people in and welcomes them to ask and be curious about you…sparking the life force within others by shining your own light.
What are you most passionate about? What would you choose to do if time and money were of no issue? Are you doing that now? If not, why not?
When was the last time you heard someone going all “Hulk” on some movement modality? My guess is that it may have been today. At least once. Possibly several times.
You’ll die if you do CrossFit.
Yoga is crazy.
Old-school weightlifting is so outdated.
Cardio is horrible.
Climbing is deadly.
Bodyweight training is so boring.
The list goes on and on and on. I heard it today, a few times, while in the gym training this morning. Some of the biggest modality smashers are people in the industry – teachers, personal trainers, etc. I’m guilty of having “Hulked” on a few movement modalities in the past. Now though, rather than trash a modality, I tend to view things differently. How?
One very simple perspective — people are moving.
Period. That’s it. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter to me which movement modality one picks as long as you move. Everything else largely comes down to opinion. Yes, even with “scientific evidence,” it’s still ultimately your opinion and your thoughts, beliefs, and projections about what is good, not good, crazy, and downright hilarious and outrageous.
If you feel called to prancercise, go for it. Move that body and get your horse-like gait a-going. If your movement of choice for the day is making love with your partner, beautiful. Love dancing in the kitchen with a mop? Crank up those tunes and get your dance on! Choose something you enjoy that will increase your health, well-being, and happiness.
Now, do I believe some modalities are “better” than others? Absolutely. And, that’s just my opinion.
There is no one way. There is no the way. There is only a way.
If you’re not sure where to start on your movement journey, comment below or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you uncover movement that works for you.
A fair number of people are coming to yoga and acro yoga from non-movement related jobs – ie: desk jobs – where there tends to be little movement in general and mainly repetitive wrist movements. Then, they come to the mat, and the first few poses tend to be downward facing dog, chatarunga, and cobra pose or upward facing dog — all poses that place an immediate demand upon the wrists without any prior warm up.
In acro yoga, it’s a similar scene except many are going from their jobs to an acro practice where they are interacting with another person (basing or flying), exploring movements that put a fair amount of stress upon the wrists also often with little to no warm up.
What are some potential effects of not warming up?
- sore wrists
- carpal tunnel like syndrome
If we look to the majority of circus art classes, any hand balancing class or workshop that’s worth its salt, and/or the careers of people who perform professionally and wish to be able to have some sort of career longevity, a wrist warm up is one of the first things they do. Why is that? Well, chances are a fair number of them have experienced wrist pain and/or injury and would like to do all they can to avoid a repeat occurrence if at all possible. And, quite frankly, having “been there, done that,” your teacher likely wants you to stay healthy, pain and injury-free.
I know I would and do. What can be done about it?
The answer is pretty simple. Warm-up. Take care of your wrists. Stretch and strengthen them. (It’s a bit more complex with people who already have injuries and/or pain). How?
Rather than re-invent the wheel, I highly recommend checking out the series of videos below put together by my teacher, Yuri Marmerstein.
This video is by far the most comprehensible hand and wrist sequence I have seen to date. In my opinion, it’s worth its weight in gold. It’s also the wrist warm-up I use prior to each practice session (though I have had a couple of times where I did hop directly into an acro practice without warming up only to have sore wrists for a couple of days afterwards. Doh. Lesson learned.).
If you have any questions or are wondering how to integrate hand and wrist care into your practice, comment below and let me know.
For more about Yuri Marmerstein, follow him at Yuri Marmerstein.
After sharing conversations with friends, clients, a dear soul sister, and recently stepping into a different level of raw vulnerability myself, I have noticed a few things.
It’s uncomfortable being vulnerable. It can be really uncomfortable and somewhat unsettling opening yourself up, baring your heart and soul to another, acting courageously in the face of fear and shame, and letting go of any control we may have over the outcome of sharing our vulnerable selves.
I have realized that in a society where it is considered taboo to be physically naked and vulnerable, how uncomfortable people are and can be when they are physically naked, despite being able to put on clothes and cover themselves up, that I found myself wondering how then, can we allow ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable? And, what would it take to step into the waters of emotional vulnerability where you will be seen and there is no place to hide?
How can we, when as a society we cover our physicality up with fear and shame, invite ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable? To allow ourselves to bare our vulnerably authentic hearts when, once we do, there are no clothes to put on, there is nothing to hide behind? Once we open up and share what parts of us believe to be the most vulnerable aspects of self, we are there, present, open, incredibly beautiful in this state of raw vulnerability.
With each step I take along this path and with each shared story, shared vulnerability, I’m realizing more and more the depth of heart, the courage, the compassion, the willingness to connect, the willingness to realize within ourselves that we are enough as we are, and we are alive, is nothing short of mind-blowingly awe-inspiring.
I’m incredibly grateful for each and every moment of being witness to others’ vulnerabilities and beautiful openings. And, I’m incredibly grateful for each uncomfortable moment I step into and share my vulnerabilities (there are many). Life is a wild and crazy ride, why not join the party and get naked with your soul.
I highly recommend checking out this TedTalk by Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability.
Have you ever received a gift that really touched your heart? What was it? What it something someone bought you? Made you? Or was it something completely intangible that you cannot hold and can only experience?
“Santa Clause,” a couple of weeks before Christmas, gave me a gift that touched my heart and moved me in such a way that I still cry when I think about that gift. What was the gift?
It wasn’t a toy. It wasn’t clothes or jewelry. It wasn’t anything you can buy in a store, or make with your hands.
The day after sharing a cup of tea, a little movement, a lot of laughter, and some fantastic climbing, backpacking, and hiking stories with a friend, I realized something about myself. I have not been living. Well, not what I would consider living.
You see, in that brief time together, my friend mirrored back to me a part of myself that I had lost. Where did the adventurous, wild-hearted woman go, who spent nearly every weekend hiking in the mountains in NH? Where did that woman who packed up the back of her pickup truck, drove 2 weeks across country at the age of 20, to live in Alaska for over 3 years, backpacking in Denali National Park, working various odd jobs, living in a cabin with one room, a loft, and no running water, go? Where did the woman who later moved back east and spent a few days per week climbing at the local rock gym (my first love of movement), taking private lessons, and openly and authentically chatting with friends about life over a climbing or bouldering problem, go?
Where did she go? And what the heck has she been doing the past 9 years?
I realized that for the last 9 years, I have not lived. In that moment, I found the aspect of that adventurous, wild-hearted woman that I have been missing all this time.
Remember the clip from Hook, when the little boy “found” Peter? You don’t? Watch it. I’ll wait.
Where did she go? I pushed her aside, sacrificing that aspect of myself to raise my boys, to finish my degree so I could get a “real job,” (which I didn’t do), to continue my ongoing education in holistic movement and wellness, to open a studio, and the list goes on and on. Of course one can argue that with all that I’ve “done” I have indeed been living. At what cost? Have I really been living? Following my heart?
It’s been a long road home. The process of living an awakening life, vulnerably and authentically connecting with others and myself, being curious, inviting myself to explore the dust bunnies in the dark, hidden corners of my inner closet, and developing a movement practice largely brought me to this moment.
The aspect of “Santa Clause” within my friend gave the aspect of “the Grinch” within me a true gift of Christmas that allowed the aspect of “Peter Pan” within me to find himself.
Would you be willing to consider that you needn’t wait for the holidays to give and receive gifts? We have the ability to give and receive gifts each and every day.
Would you be willing to consider that you don’t need to give anything at all other than the gift of being your authentic self and living your life authentically? What if that is one of the greatest gifts we can give, not only to others, but to ourselves as well?
It’s coming…can you feel it? The stress of the holidays, the to-do lists, the go-go-go’s.
Why not learn some tools that will help you get through it all a little less frazzled and will help you jump start the New Year?
If you’ve been on the fence and curious about what it is we do here at On A Limb, now’s your chance to stop on by, learn what sets us apart from any other holistic movement and wellness studio in the area, and check us out free of charge!
Join us for a FREE info session THIS Thursday (11/6) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. All ages welcome.
- Learn what holistic movement and wellness is
- Participate in a free 1/2 hour movement class
- Learn what it’s like to listen to your body and move it mindfully without counting sets and reps
- Movement therapeutics demonstration
- Learn about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and what it can do to help you
- Learn how to alleviate stress related illnesses such as anxiety and depression
- Learn how to live in the present moment, have better attention, awareness, and focus
- Improve your relationships
- Participate in a free mindful living class
We look forward to seeing you there!
Amanda & Sally
Are you strong? Do you train your body? Train your mind? Explore your inner world? Let me ask again – are you strong? What does it mean to be strong?
Are you one of those people whom everyone looks up to and says “wow, you are so strong! I don’t know how you do what you do.” Are you a caregiver? A mom? A dad? Do you find yourself doing everything on your own and depending primarily on yourself? Do you find it challenging to ask for help? When you cry, if you allow yourself to cry, is it only behind closed doors where no one will see or hear you displaying such a show of emotion? Do you hide your true emotions and feelings behind your smile so that others may continue to see how strong you are in the face of various challenges?
Parts of me have fallen into those very categories for years. I am known as “the strong one” because I held back my emotions, am raising two boys on my own, and opened a studio (what?!). I made sure I would do everything on my own and not become co-dependent on anyone ever again. Parts of me find it challenging to ask for help. And, there are days when I cover up my tears, my anger, my fear, or my frustration with a smile. More often than not, my tears.
Would you be willing to consider that parts of us were led to believe that strong people don’t show emotions, they’re fully self-reliant, they don’t ask for help, they always appear happy and grounded? And, that if you displayed emotions, were co-dependent (as a child), interdependent, or asked for help that there was something wrong with you?
Would you be willing to consider that it takes much more effort to maintain the facade of being “the strong one” than it does to allow yourself to be yourself, to show emotion, to ask for help, to create space for healthy interdependence? It certainly doesn’t feel like it at first. It may even feel like you are breaking down and falling to your knees…becoming “weak.”
What if, in fact, you are allowing yourself to experience a new level of strength? What if by allowing yourself to see and accept those parts of yourself which you were led to believe were weak, needy, or shameful, you are becoming stronger?
Have you experienced the grace and the strength required to admit to ourselves and to others the following:
- I experience strong emotions and I have days that I cry off and on all day.
- Although I’m doing, xyz, parts of me are experiencing fear.
- I need help with…can you help me?
Would you consider that it takes a tremendous amount of strength and surrender to see, acknowledge, and accept those parts of ourselves? And, even more strength and surrender to openly share it with others? May I share with you a secret?
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness that comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and attend them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.” ~ Rumi
In my opinion, you are not alone. You do not have to do everything alone. We need other people. I do not believe that you have to be “the strong one” in the way you think others want or need you to be strong. Would you be willing to allow yourself to experience the deep surrender and incredible relief that comes from being authentic with yourself and vulnerable with others? Would you be willing to allow yourself to experience the tremendous growing pains from the heart that comes from opening yourself up, much as a flower experiences as it bursts forth from its shell?
Would you consider allowing yourself to experience the experience of being vulnerable, and share the experience that connects us all – that of being human?
Thanks for joining us again. If you missed Part 1, you can view it here.
Without further delay, here are tips 6-10:
6. Go outside and connect with nature.
Have you ever laid upon the earth and noticed how incredible it feels to do so? When was the last time you watched the stars come out at night? The sun rise in the morning? We spend so much time, in general, surrounded by technology in our man made concrete jungle, that we have largely become disconnected from who and what we are. We are human beings, not human doings. Unplug. Go visit the forest, the beach, or the mountains. Kick your shoes off, close your eyes, and allow yourself to connect with the earth. You may notice you breathe more fully. Your stress may decrease significantly. Your mood may brighten, and you may feel more grounded. If you feel so bold and daring as to be called a tree-hugger by your friends, please do hug a tree. If you “listen” carefully, you can “hear” the flow of movement within the tree, “hear” it “speak.” Yes, I hug trees. Part of me feels ashamed to share that with you. Interesting.
Some would argue that this should be first on the list. Without breath, we would not be alive. So, breathing is just a little important.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to receive a deep breath? Can you receive a deep breath? Can you fully exhale? When you inhale, where do you breathe from? What is your belly doing? Are you a chest breather? A mouth breather? A noisy breather? Are you really breathing or do you just think you are breathing? Dysfunctional breathing patterns are a sign that your system, your body, is under stress.
I invite you to lie on your back, place a small sandbag, bag of rice, or herbal hot pack on your abdomen. Which direction does it move when you inhale? It should move up towards the ceiling. Draw your attention to your ribs. Are they expanding laterally? Posteriorly? Can you breath in 360°? I would like to invite you to take a few moments and breathe. Focus on slow, steady, quiet breathing, inhaling through the nose for a count of three, exhaling through the nose for a count of 5-6. You may find yourself experiencing emotions as you relax and let go. Allow yourself to feel them, to experience them, and let them go. Experience what it is like to feel, to receive and to give breath, and to relax.
Perhaps it would be worth exploring tips 6-8 together? Have you ever noticed how noisy our minds can be?! I don’t know about yours, but mind used to wander like crazy (and still does at times)! I would sit in meditation and find my mind wondering about what I had to do, what was going on in my life that was stressing me out, what to cook for dinner…inhale for three, exhale for six. Why can’t I relax? Breathe in, breathe out. Is this over yet? Has it been five minutes? My bum hurts and my feet are falling asleep. There goes my mind again. Monkey brain, monkey brain. Focus on the breath. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Sound familiar? It does get easier.
Meditation has many benefits, including, but not limited to the following:
- reduces stress
- lowers high blood pressure
- decreases tension within the body
- increases serotonin
- increases the immune system’s ability to fight infection
- increases energy
- increases mental clarity
- increases emotional steadiness
There are numerous meditation apps out there. I invite you to try one and incorporate 5-10 minutes of daily meditation into your life. Who knows, it may just carry over into the amazing art of what I consider moving meditation, like what my friend Rusty is doing here:
9. Play and allow your inner child to express his/her unique, creative self.
Now we’re getting serious. When was the last time you played? Really played and had fun and allowed yourself to be wild and carefree? What were some of your favorite things to do as a child? I loved climbing on things, swinging, sitting under this huge blue spruce tree in the backyard and making mud pies, blowing bubbles and running around to pop them…
What would you do right here, right now if no one was watching that would invite your inner child to giggle with sheer delight? What’s stopping you from doing that? I’ll admit, this is a topic that likely has many layers to it and may very well warrant a post of its own.
One of the things my inner child likes to do is write. She also likes to swing, though I get nauseous if I swing for too long. She loved the experience of contradancing, and would probably enjoy contact improve…and, I’m a horrible dancer and haven’t done it in a long time. She likes to climb on things, slide down slides, and be upside down on her hands. She loves to laugh and laugh with you.
What are some things you could do right here, right now that would allow your unique inner child to express him/herself through you? I’d love to hear about it from you. You won’t be judged, even if it means catching frogs or, holding a pumpkin and acting like it’s a microphone. Go for it and have fun!
10. Ask yourself what makes you happy and go do it.
What invites you to feel happy? Only you can answer this. What can you do for yourself to welcome more happiness into your life? Do you feel happy? Do you really feel happy or are you in denial that you are unhappy? I’m curious, what does true happiness mean to you?
This isn’t a fake it until you make it post. I’m inviting you to consider one thing, just one that invites you to feel happy. One thing that invites me to feel happy is taking care of myself and moving my body every day. Another is spending time connecting with people I love and care for. I would like to invite you to spend some time every day doing one thing that invites you to experience happiness.
11. Be curious about yourself.
Have you noticed how certain patterns may reappear in your life? Have you noticed that sometimes you are triggered for no reason whatsoever or that seemingly trivial situations leave you worked up and in a tizzy? Have you wondered about your dreams and what they may be telling you?
Would you consider being curious about yourself? What does that mean? Rather than rationalizing and accepting things at face value, would you consider asking yourself “why”? Would you consider asking yourself “what”? Would you consider asking yourself “is this true,” or “is this for my highest good at this moment in time”? I’ll admit that asking questions often leads to more questions and few answers. However, the answers are sometimes in the questions themselves. By remaining curious about ourselves, we may open ourselves up to a realm of possibility that may not be realized otherwise.
How do you nourish yourself? I would enjoy hearing from you below. Please feel free to share some of the ways you nourish yourself. If you find that you’re not nourishing yourself or don’t know where to start, please shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help guide you.
How are you at taking care of, well, you? Are you caring for yourself as well as you could be or should be? I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I fall short of nourishing myself. After mildly injuring myself last week, I found myself asking myself those questions.
If we have a bit too much go-go and do-do in our lives, then we may find ourselves setting ourselves up for the opportunity for a bit of doodoo to land in our face, our lap, or on the bottom of our shoes. When that happens, life can become rather stinky. To help keep the roses smelling rosy and the air fresh and crisp (Don’t you just love autumn?), to find more balance and nourish yourself, check out these 10 tips:
1. Drink quality water.
A lot of seemingly unconnected symptoms may be connected to dehydration. Drink water and you may find yourself feeling better. A good rule of thumb, and this is just a guideline mind you, everyone has their own unique needs, is to drink 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces of water. This is different for those who use kg for bodyweight…in that case it’s closer to a 1:1 ratio. For example, if you weigh 180 lbs, a guideline is to drink 90 ounces water. Again, this is just a rough guideline. You may need more or less depending on your body and its needs. By the way, if it’s not clear, it’s not water, it’s food.
2. Eat quality, wholesome food from healthy plants and animals.
You are what you eat. If you eat diseased animal, you get diseased animal. If you eat diseased plants, you get diseased animal. If you eat pesticide laden food, you get a toxic animal. If you eat crap, well, you get crap. Got it? It’s not necessary to be perfect all the time. Who doesn’t enjoy a treat every now and then? I’d recommend aiming to eat well and healthy 80% of the time.
Three of our favorite nourishing foods (note, foods, not meals) are the following:
- Cate Stillman‘s Boo Candy to help ward off colds and mucous
- Turmeric Milk
- Beef Bone Broth. Although I usually keep mine to the bare basics, here’s a “recipe” from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Not only are they nourishing from a nutritional standpoint, they are also what I would consider “soul food.”
3. Develop a relationship with your food.
Turn the TV off. Set the computer and iThingys aside. Put the newspaper, magazine, or book down. Disconnect from your disconnections and connect with your food and the people who may be sitting in front of or next to you. You may find yourself chewing your food more thoroughly, tasting what you are eating, getting more full sooner, and maybe, just maybe sharing a conversation. I would invite you to consider chewing your food until it is liquid or nearly so. As Paul Chek says, “Drink your food. Chew your water.”
That’s a shocker! Yes, we need sleep. Quality sleep. How well and how long you sleep for you (everyone has their individual needs), will impact your health and well-being. If you’ve been experiencing yourself short of temper, prone to emotional outbursts, facing difficultly thinking clearly, feeling sluggish in the gym…sleep, or lack thereof, may be a contributing factor.
In my opinion, don’t just move. Ask yourself why you are moving your body. What are you moving for? What are you hoping to get out of moving your body? Are you beating yourself up in the gym or doing endless hours of cardio? Are you burning yourself out? Maybe you need to slow down and invite more yin-like movements into your day. High intensity go-go, more, more, harder, harder, and faster, faster isn’t often what our bodies need. They need balance. If your life and job are super stressful, maybe stressing yourself physiologically is pushing you over the edge. Check out these videos by my dear teacher and friend Benny Fergusson of Cohesion Gym for a quick glimpse into this topic. Although I see it far less often, maybe you need to move more. If you’re finding difficultly finding balance, I invite you to reach out to a holistic movement specialist who can guide you to bring balance back into your movement and your life.
Click here for Part 2, after you watch the videos.
On Sat., Oct. 4, we hope you’ll join us for a 4-hr workshop – Mindful Movement and Handstand Fundamentals. If you haven’t yet explored movement and handstands “Gold Medal Bodies style”, or are looking to refine your technique and add to your skills, then this event is for you. You do not need to be able to hold a handstand in order to attend, nor have any prior movement experience (though it’s helpful to have some).
On Sun., Oct. 5, we’re offering a 2 – 2.5 hr workshop – Mindful Movement and Parallette Fundamentals. If you’ve been wondering what this little piece of equipment is for, are looking for a total body workout that is guaranteed to challenge your core and upper body strength all while having fun, or are a seasoned practitioner, this event is for you. You do not need prior parallette or hand balancing experience in order to attend.
By popular request, we have three different event options for you. You can register individually for the Mindful Movement and Handstand Fundamentals Workshop or the Mindful Movement and Parallette Fundamentals Workshop. Or, you can register for the full weekend Mindful Movement, Handstands and Parallettes Fundamentals Weekend Workshop.
We are offering an early registration discount for the individual workshops through Sept. 4 and a $50 discount (with no “expiration”) if you register for the full weekend. Since space is limited, pre-registration is required for all events.
If you’re curious about Daniel, check out this video where GMB provides a trainer spotlight on him:
If you’re excited and rearing to start practicing handstand and parallette training, here are two free videos to explore and play with from GMB. Or, you can come to our Intro to Movement & Calisthenics Class on Saturdays or our Movement & Calisthenics Class Mon., Wed., and Fri. beginning Sept. 3. Have fun and keep moving!