Mindfulness Monday

Mindfulness Monday: Serve Yourself

Buoyed by some beautiful weather this past weekend, I bring you another post about spring renewal.  Spring can be a great time for clearing out closets, and an even better time for clearing out the more abstract things in life.  Oftentimes we cling to rituals and habits that worked for us once with the expectation that they will work forever.  The problem is, as we constantly grow and evolve, our needs change.  What served us in the past may no longer be serving us today.

Just like you don’t throw out everything in your closet and start afresh every spring (unless you are me that one time I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”….) you don’t need to do a complete overhaul of your lifestyle to replenish your routine.  Start by asking yourself the question “Does this serve me?”.  If it helps you to have some structure, you can do it Joyful Gym Rat style.  On Mindfulness Monday, look at your ways of managing stress.  On Tasty Tuesday, notice your habits in regards to nutrition.  On Fitness Friday, take note of your current fitness routine.  You can meditate on this question, journal about it, or discuss it with a friend.  Doesn’t this sound more interesting than scrubbing the baseboards?

For more ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

Sailing on the winds of change….before T decided crashing kites were funnier than flying ones….


Mindfulness Monday

Mindfulness Monday: Rockstar Mentality

In this day and age it can be pretty hard to stay on top of things.  Life moves fast.  Just when you begin to feel like the master of your domain, you discover a whole new domain to conquer.

Sometimes it’s nice to go back to basics.  Take a break from pushing and see what opens up.  Enjoy moments of utter proficiency, doing something you could do with your eyes closed.  Allow yourself to feel like a rockstar once in a while.

The beauty of doing this is that it opens us to flow state.  It has often been said that entering flow state is one of the key components to happiness.  Being in flow is the epitome of presence.  Becoming completely immersed in an activity quiets the mind and allows one to simply be.

Though being challenged is essential for growth, taking the time to revel competence makes striving feel more worthwhile.  So go ahead.  Take your hilly run to flatland and fly.  Crush that moderate level strength training class in lieu of struggling through the advanced.  Show off your mad art skills at a wine and design painting class.   Bust out your four octave vocal range at a karaoke bar.  Get out on the dance floor with your ballet trained booty and shake what your mama gave ya….it just may make you happier.

For more fitness ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

Rockstar mentality baby……….
Mindfulness Monday

Mindfulness Monday: Spring Awakening

T came home the other day singing “Spring is coming, spring is coming, flowers are coming too!” (ok, not the best lyrics but oh so cute!)  It seems, at least where I live, that we may have turned a corner.  Weather is warmer and with it brings a sense of relief and maybe, just maybe, celebration?

Here are a few ways to celebrate spring while being good to yourself:

-Plant a Plant: Preferably something you can eat!  If you live in a small apartment consider an herb that you might get some use out of (and is legal).  If you have acres, the options are endless!  Some gardening stores will actually send an expert to your house to see what is best to grow.  Whether it is a pay-for or free service depends on the store, so call and check with your local retailer.

-Refresh Your Fitness Routine: Beautiful sunny days make it so much easier to get motivated for outdoor exercise.  If you’ve been cooped up all winter, see what outdoor activities might be fun to add.  Cross training in the gym is great year round, but taking the bulk of exercise outdoors will maximizes its benefits.

-Settle Your Circadian Rhythm: Did you know the most important factor in getting a good night’s sleep is keeping your wake time consistent day to day?  Neither did I until a few days ago.  I am in the midst of trying it and so far so good.  Think of this like springtime cleaning for your sleep habits.  Spring is an especially great time to implement an earlier wake up since morning sunlight increases with each passing day.  Stick with it and you will be able to avoid crowds and catch the early bird deals at your local farmer’s market!

For more ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

Get all your ducks….er, cars in a row T…..it’s time for spring!


Mindfulness Monday

Mindfulness Monday: Is This the Winter of Your Discontent?

If you live on the east coast anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line (and even somewhat south) you can probably relate to the the meme below.  It’s been a long winter, and it feels like it just keeps coming back.

This weekend I attended a yoga workshop organized around the idea of santosha.  Namely, finding contentment even in less than ideal circumstances.  It’s normal and even ok most of the time to reach for things outside of ourselves to find pleasure.  What’s empowering about the yogic idea of santosha is the belief that contentment already lies within us and we can bring it up at any point.  Not to say that we stop intentionally evolving, more that we are at peace with what is as we continue to move forward.

Hopefully spring will starting getting it’s act together soon.  In the meantime, consider one or all of the following practices to find a sense of satisfaction in what is (even if what is is freakin’ cold!):

-Practice makes perfect content:  Perform a yoga practice with the intention of accepting what is in regards to your body.  Modify poses as necessary to feel as good as possible and breathe through the tough parts.  Allow yourself to experience the practice without holding onto any preconceived notions about what poses should look or feel like.

-Shift grumpy thoughts with gratitude: Before heading to bed at night, write down three things you are grateful for today.  Even if all you can come up with is not getting hit by a bus, shifting to a grateful mindset can edge the brain towards more positive thoughts and increase well-being.

-Try a visualization meditation: Visualize a time and a place where you felt utterly fulfilled.  Conjure up as many details as you can such as location, who you are with, sights, smells, and sounds.  Stay with the feeling for as long as you have time for.  Though mindfulness meditation is important in its own way, visualization helps us realize that we have the power to create specific emotional states all on our own.

For more mind/soul melding techniques head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!