Rest Day!

crooked sleepingRest days are considered vital to recovery, strength, and endurance.  It is not just the doing but not-doing that makes us stronger, healthier, and more successful athletes and human beings in general.  The notion that we have to be “doing something” to get in shape, burn calories, increase muscle mass or develop our endurance is only partly true.  When people don’t sleep, they go crazy because sleep is when the internal healing and growing within the body takes place.  Our conscious body needs sleep so that the automatic, internal healing mechanisms can take place.  Remind anyone of that quote, “Be still and know…”  We cannot do it all and we cannot take credit for it all either.  I love to use the example of breathing.  Do you think about breathing?  Do you remember to breathe while sleeping?  Most people say, “No, of course not!”  But we have the ability to pay attention to our breathing and somewhat control the depth and quickness of it when we want to.  This is result of having two types of muscle tissue in the lungs: striated and unstriated.  One set is automatic and out of our control (i.e. it keeps us breathing when we are too busy talking or working or watching TV), the other set is what allows us to take a deeper breathe, control our inhale/exhale in a yoga class or on a run, and even hold our breath when we go underwater.  So if our lungs have a fail-safe then so does the rest of our body.  If we don’t take our rest days – and sometimes we need more than one per week – our body will begin to break down via injury, illness, or simply exhaustion.

I usually don’t look forward to “Rest Days.”  In fact, I’m usually forced to take days off because of injury or illness or exhaustion then beat up myself for being human and still healing.  This week is one of few that was successfully traversed leaving a rest day before my long run & ride this weekend.  While those hurdles are still to come, I have had huge successes this week. 1) Continued swimming endurance with decreased times and only some shoulder stiffness.  2) Finally able to RUN 5-10 minute repeats with NO knee/IT band/hamstring pain.  Guess the strengthening, icing, foam rolling, and RESTING is finally paying off.  Here’s to respecting, enjoying and looking forward to rest days!

PHYSICALLY FIT but MENTALLY EXHAUSTED

This past week was a recovery week which gave my still recovering hamstring a chance to rest from running and focus on gentle strength work.  I think the more I train the calmer my moods and more focused my mind becomes, so when training slows yet life speeds up and fills in the gaps, I scramble to push back in order for some mental/emotional R&R.  Let’s just say that this week was stronger than me, and as I faced another last minute change of plans this morning (which could rob me of a much needed long ride & time of mental peace), I had a meltdown.

melting clocks

Dali’s melting clocks that are simultaneously drowning seemed to appropriate image for this experience.  Not only is there seemingly not enough time but the pressures and demands and expectations have me up to my eyeballs with negative self-talk.  “You’re not good enough.”  “Why didn’t you do it right?”  Rejection, mistrust, doubt, FAILURE!  Hard to find the goodness and the grace and the gratitude when it feels the world & your mind is betting against you.

Or so it seems.  The mind and body are so intricately linked yet we tend to focus on them as separate identities.  Yoga means ‘union,’ and the yoga postures and pranayama (breathing practices) give us the opportunity to harmonize and experience both simultaneously.  When I absolutely cannot bear another moment of life’s constant swirling, I fall to my “mat” – the carpet, the tile, the grass, the earth – a focus on syncing gentle movement with controlled breath.  I give my mind permission to only pay attention to how it feels to move and breathe as one.  Within minutes (or hours, depending on the size of my meltdown), I’ve found my center, my Self, and my sanity.  It’s easy for me to see why I spent almost 3 solid years practicing yoga and meditation every day for at least 2 hrs.

Personal Flow-poster

In that deep awareness and understanding of mind-body connectedness, I will devote this day to realigning my mind, body, and spirit so that Week 5 of 70.3 training won’t end like Week 4.

 

How do you balance the demands of life and leisure and training?  What are your reset buttons when you reach meltdown status?

Beginner’s Yoga Starts February 6th

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6th from 12n-1p, is the first class of a beginner’s hatha yoga and meditation series.  Class will be held at Birmingham Yoga in the Lakeview/Avondale area of Birmingham.

No experience with yoga or meditation required. Only willingness and an open mind.

We will go through basic movements and awareness practices that will not only promote physical flexibility and strength but mental sharpness and relaxation as well.

Signup online via Birmingham Yoga or just drop-in when you can.

Namaste.
Lyndsey

Welcome…

Featured

…to Awakened Living Therapeutics

…teaching you how to cook, eat, exercise, and experience life to the fullest…

FROM how you cook AND what you eat…

TO how to you move AND what you think

OFFERINGS: personalized consultations, cooking classes, private yoga & stress reduction sessions, & FREE motivation

Contact Lyndsey for more information.

Make New Year’s Resolutions Last!

As January 1st, 2013, rapidly approaches, many people begin to plan how they want to look and feel for the next 365 days.  Unfortunately, most folks resolutions are so resolute, only lasting 30-90 days at best.  The only way to make permanent changes is to set long & short-term goals that have built-in accountability measures.  That’s where my job begins.  I am your accountability coach, your nutrition analyzer, your motivational speaker, and your stress reduction specialist.  So……

ARE YOU READY TO REACH 100% SATISFACTION?

Then there are 2 plans below to choose from:

1) a 30-day generalized plan with basic assessment

OR

2) 6 months of in-depth health & wellness coaching

______________________________________

Plan 1 includes the basic 30-day lifestyle outline, recipes, food guide, & 1 coaching session.

*Cost =  $75

Plan 2 includes all the above plus an initial health & wellness assessment, food/mood journal & the weekly coaching sessions (i.e. cooking, grocery shopping, personal training including yoga, etc.), email check-ins, & a monthly newsletter.

*Cost = $50/initial assessment then $100/mth with 6 mth commitment

________________________________________

Contact me for a free 15-minute consult to determine which plan fits your needs.

Everyone needs a plan and a process and a partner.  I can help you create that perfect plan for health and happiness in 2013.

NEW Yoga Classes starting Feb. 2014!

Here’s your chance to register for the yoga class that fits your needs.

Starting February 2014, Chair Yoga and Gentle/Moderate Mat Yoga (1hr) will be offered via Birmingham Yoga‘s studio.

Schedules is TBD depending on interest.  Options are Monday – Thurs from 11a & 2p.

Wednesday @ 1p will probably be the Gentle/Moderate Class but it depends on who speaks up.

Drop-ins and 6-wk Series will be available.   ALL ARE WELCOME and can find a place in one of these two classes.

Call/email/respond with the day/time/class you’re interested in attending along with questions.

Feeling too old, too soon?

To go from this  to this  in a matter of weeks, days, or even hours can be quite traumatic to say the least.

No matter how old or young we may be chronologically, our bodies & minds don’t always match up.  As we age, we hope, pray, and work to keep our bodies & minds feeling, looking, & acting younger than we are, BUT even when we are still relatively young in years, we have to make an effort to stay strong & healthy.  At the ripe old age of 30, an osteopathic doctor told me (the health food nut & athlete) that I had bursitis in my left hip and was developing arthritis in BOTH HIPS, not to mention a whole slew of other diagnoses that included words like impingement, dysfunction, enthesopathy & facetogenic pain (till not sure if that’s pain that makes your face twist up or not 😀 sure feels like it though).  While my chronological age is almost 30, the physical age of my hips seems to be about DOUBLE that!

So what do we do when we are faced with pain & problems that disturb our internal balance?  When I work with people as a Health & Wellness Consultant, I look at the whole person (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, etc.) because each piece plays a role in creating a lifestyle wellness plan that meets that individual’s needs, goals, & life demands.  Consider this a type of “Couch Potato to 5k” program that lasts a lifetime and prepares you to run the race of life at your own pace.  Even the best athletes and the seemingly healthiest people need support and guidance because no one knows everything….a hard lesson to learn for us “know it alls.”

We weren’t created in isolation and therefore cannot live happy, healthy lives in isolation.

So we take what we know and apply it to ourselves as best we can then we go out into the world to fill in the gaps that will link us to others and create a stronger, healthier, happier community and world.  I know how to eat right and exercise my body BUT I don’t know what will help strengthen the muscular imbalances my body has because of genetics and previous injuries.  So I go to an osteopathic doctor, a chiropractor, and a physical therapist.

Where is the mortar missing in the brick foundation of your life?

  • poor or imbalance diet?
  • physical pain or inactivity?
  • high stress at home/work?
  • financial constraints?
  • you fill in the blank _______________

*Ready to make a change that’s affordable & manageable & just for you?

Your Health & Wellness Plan will include:

  • initial assessment (90 minutes) of past/present lifestyle habits & stressors, important life events, goals, strengths, limitations, potential roadblocks
  • weekly 1-on-1 sessions (30 – 90 min.) in the office, grocery, kitchen, gym, yoga studio or in nature to teach & support the action plan
  • bi-monthly group sessions (60 – 90 min.) for support & community building
  • monthly re-evaluation (30 – 60 min.) to chart your progress & modify as needed

COST: $100 – 200 / mth (adjustable, income-based)

***To setup an appointment,

  1. click here
  2. choose Health & Lifestyle Coaching
  3. enter the time/day
  4. add your contact information
  5. show up and create the life you’ve always wanted!

Here are some additional links to help prevent and rehab injuries:

Where Does It Hurt?

Restorative Yoga Stretches

RW Injury Prevention Videos

Tri- Yoga

Some people are curious, others are confused, and the rest seem indifferent when they hear “yoga.”  The comments range from “I don’t like yogurt” to “I’m not flexible enough.”  The 1st comment I tend to ignore, the second follows with, “that’s exactly WHY you need to do yoga.”  At the age of 8 my mother enrolled my in gymnastics because I couldn’t touch my toes.  We practice something in order to learn it.  Yoga is not just for the flexible & fit.  In fact, it was never really about exercise & flexibility in its’ native home of India.

There are several branches of yoga, many of which emphasize disciplining the mind, but Raja (hatha) yoga, as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, focuses the mind by concentrating on health and purity of the body.  Hatha yoga is performed via behavioral disciplines (yamas/niyamas), physical postures (asanas), and breathwork (pranayama), which prepare the whole self for meditative concentration that can lead to an awareness of oneness with creation (samadhi/nirvana/spiritual connectedness).  These 8 limbs of Raja yoga outline a way to life a whole, happy, healthy life.  While it is not a religion, it is definitely spiritual in its’ nature.  Also, it can simply be a way to improve flexibility and mental stability.

Whatever your need, there is something yoga can offer you because after all yoga means union.

***What feels disconnected in your life?

***Aren’t you curious to see how a plan of yoga/union could help you connect the dots?

As a Registered Kripalu Yoga Teacher & a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practitioner & Group Facilator, I offer individual sessions for all levels to create a health & wellness plan that works for your goals & abilities.

Here’s a sample:

This pose sequence focuses on the core areas worked during swimming, cycling, & running. Be careful when performing postures if you’ve never done yoga…in fact, make it a priority to seek out a class or instructor.

Tri Poses
By RunningYogi
1
Bitilasana_CowPose_150
Bitilasana
Cow Pose

2
Marjaryasana
Cat Pose

3
Ujjayi Pranayama
Conqueror Breath

4
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose

5
Seane_in_Marachi_Pose_st
Marichyasana III
Marichi’s Pose

6
MC_211_Dandasana_150.jpg
Dandasana
Staff Pose

7
Paschimottanasa_150
Paschimottanasana
Seated Forward Bend

8
UpavisthaKonasana_150
Upavistha Konasana
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

9
YIN_213_AnandaBalasana_150.jpg
Ananda Balasana
Happy Baby Pose

10
Fish_Matsyasana_150
Matsyasana
Fish Pose

11
HP_216_Halasana_150.jpg
Halasana
Plow Pose

12
HP_215_SuptaBaddhaKonasana_150.jpg
Supta Baddha Konasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose

13
HP_193_Bridge_150.jpg
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Bridge Pose

14
savasana_150
Savasana
Corpse Pose

Listening to Your Body

Body awareness & mindfulness are becoming hot topics and key words especially in athletics, medicine, health, & spirituality, to name a few.  But what does it mean to “listen to your body” or “be mindful”?  It doesn’t mean the noises one’s body makes at times, although they can be helpful nor does it mean to fill your mind with more chatter….I’m pretty sure it’s full enough (remember yesterday’s post on anxiety in America).

On days like today, it feels like all I can do is listen or respond to my body because it’s refusing to do anything except lay on the sofa.

Listening can be done through….

  • performing a body scan by bring attention to each body part
  • practicing yoga/breathwork/meditation with a teacher/group
  • feeling sore or tired more than usual
  • FORCE via screaming, loud physical symptoms that you can’t ignore

Ideally, we would check in aka listen with our bodies on a daily if not hourly basis to make sure we are in tune with our insides as much as we are our outsides and surroundings.

As much time and attention we spend externally on our looks, our workouts, our clothes, our courses, our equipment, we have abandoned or at least neglected our internal home that we carry around with us.  And the truth is that our internal home, our bodies & all that fills them, are what will make us or break us in the end.  By listening, nourishing, & responding to the signals we receive as soon as we receive them, we create fertile space for mental strength, physical performance, & emotional balance to blossom.

This pyramid of health & wellness must be equally balanced for us to live happy, healthy lives.  By constantly evaluating & observing each part, we can make manageable adjustments along the way.  If we wait until “wailing and gnashing of teeth” then well, get ready for a longer road to recovery and reframing your lifestyle.

So here I lay on my sofa, aware that the signs have been present but I’ve consciously IGNORED them.  Hopefully, after this day of mostly rest & hydration, I will re-commit & follow through in the practice of greater mindfulness through daily yoga & meditation.  All any of us can do is constantly re-evaluate and re-commit to our personal sadhanas (practices).

Namaste & good luck practicing.

Stress, Anxiety, & Food

While perusing the news highlights this morning, I stumbled across this article & video clip about “AMERICAN ANXIETY” and how it’s increase 1200% since 1980.  Whether that’s because of better diagnosis or a more frantic pace of living is unsure, but I would venture to say more the latter.

As a licensed counselor & wellness consultant, I know the impact of stress on the mind, body, & spirit, and at a 1200% increase, we have a huge problem.

There are several approaches to the stress/anxiety debate:

  1. Medication: our country’s favorite “remedy” to everything (i.e. a pill); efficacy is fair but overall inefficient in truly solving the problem.  Basically, pills are bandaids.  When you are so anxious that you can’t sleep or eat (healthy) or function at home/work, then medication can soften the extremes so that a true lifestyle change can be implemented.
  2. Diet:  What we eat & where it comes from is killing us.  Watch Food, Inc. or similar documentaries and you’ll be horrified & illuminated at the same time.  Scott Jurek in his book Eat and Run cites that the top causes of death in America are heart disease, stroke, and cancer, which have been linked to the “Western Diet” that is high in animal products, refined carbs, and processed food.  While Jurek is vegan, I don’t claim that everyone should or could do it, BUT it’s worked for him and many like President Bill Clinton.
  3. Disconnect:  The constant chatter of technology, whether through smart phone, TV, internet, cars, music, media, etc., has our brains working overtime.  Studies have shown that the brain DOES NOT MULTI-TASK EFFECTIVELY.  All this non-stop, over-stimulation is literally killing us & creating this anxiety pandemic.  What helps?  Quiet morning meditation ritual, mindful eating (no technology or reading, just EATING),  create a bedtime ritual starting 1-2 hrs before you need to be unconscious, & no TV/technology in bedroom (sex, sleep & reading only).

So implement a lifestyle change & stop cutting yourself by eating crappy food, not exercising, & watching hours of TV/computer surfing and you won’t need the band-aids anymore.  Long-term, medications cause side effects that are still unknown and a lifestyle change is a permanent, inexpensive fix.

Some say that it cost too much to eat healthy.  How much are you paying for medications & doctor bills?  Try spending that on healthy yummy food choices & see what happens.  Even better, buy some seeds (very inexpensive) and plant a garden.  Even city dwellers are finding ways to become self-sufficient through planting in pots or raised beds.  They are prettier than landscaping and tastier too!

For recommendations on how to start your own garden or how to create a lifestyle change plan  that will work with your life & schedule:

  • Email me your questions, concerns, &/or goals
  • Invite me to your home & I’ll show you how to start it