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.
How often do you experience yourself saying, “I can’t sleep!”? If your beauty rest resembles a scene out of the WWF vs Sleeping Beauty, read on for 8 tips to help you turn the tide towards more restorative and restful slumber.
- Limit or eliminate caffeine after 1 p.m. If you experience an afternoon slump around 3 p.m., let’s take a look at what you’re eating, your blood sugar levels, and the state of your adrenals.
- Try to avoid eating after 8 p.m. When we eat too close to bed-time, our system can be busy digesting rather than winding down for peaceful slumber.
- Since exercise tends to increase energy (unless you’re exceeding your body’s ability to adapt), keep the intense workouts to the morning or early afternoon. Practice working-in, meditation, or internal movement arts in the evening to wind down the system.
- Unplug by 9 p.m., or one hour before bedtime. Set aside quiet time away from the tele, off of the tablets, iPads, phones, and computer. Allow yourself to be quiet. Read a book, or do some artwork or writing, or work-in.
- Keep electronic devices in the bedroom to a minimum, or keep them in a different room if possible. If you cannot keep your cell phone out of your room, try to place it as far away from your bed as possible and set it to airplane mode. This will reduce EMF pollution and aid peaceful slumber.
- Check your magnesium levels. The majority of the population is deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is known for its relaxing benefits. For additional benefits, check out yesterday’s post on FB about magnesium.
- Sleep on the floor if possible. If not, grounding sheets can help. Where to find out more about them? Visit earthing.com.
- If all else fails, unplug. Completely. Go outside and spend one week sleeping out in nature. This will help reset your system to its natural rhythms.
Before you know it, you should be sleeping as soundly as the adorable shih-tzu in the photo.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty experiencing a restorative night’s sleep, let me know. I’d be happy to help.
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.