Saturday, November 1, 2014

I'm not goin' all chia seed porridge on you ~

I’ve always admired athletic people. The ones that I see riding their bikes up the steep mountain grade or the loyal followers of yoga, with mats rolled up under their arms, entering the studio for their 6:00 am class. Not being able to make simple commitments has always been one of my biggest challenges. I don’t know exactly why, but I’m working on finding out. It just seems that the minute I make one, I feel like my freedom has been snatched away and now there is one more rule to follow. And this is even when the commitments are good for me.


The funny thing is that I am finding that most of the people I am health coaching are the same way. Maybe for different reasons, but many of us seem to have an aversion to too much regulation, too many “musts” ~ even the good stuff.

So instead of asking or telling you that you need to get up and get in a 30 minute workout, give up your coffee, and eat chia seed porridge (which by the way, I actually love) I’m going to give you something much simpler to start out your day. And yes, it is a bit of a commitment, but one so simple that you just might find yourself wanting to do it on a regular basis!


Begin with a good stretch
 ~ take a cue from your cat or dog.  Notice how they wake up. With a stretch ~ and it feels so good. Spend a couple of minutes stretching. This, you can even do while still in bed.
Now, get up. Follow this with a few “holding up the sky” stretches. Reach as high as you can with both arms, keeping your hands flat as though you are holding up a tray. Hold the stretch for a count of 10, then let your arms and head hang down toward the floor.  Repeat this a few times. And now, maybe a few, "touching the earth" ~ gently bend forward reaching for your toes (or maybe your knees). Do those a few times and then finish up with some waist twists, letting your arms swing.
If you’re anything like me, you are anxiously heading to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot about now.  So, while you’re waiting for the annoying buzzer to let you know that the coffee is done, you can take a seat and sit with your eyes slightly open (which shouldn’t be hard, since you just woke up!) Sit on the chair with your back straight, feet flat on the ground, and hands in your lap. Take a few deep breaths and wish the world well—whomever and whatever enters your mind at this time, simply think, I wish you well.

Continue to breathe quietly and deeply, paying attention to your breath. If you find yourself worrying or grouchy about something just tell yourself, It’s OK and go back to breathing.  A great morning mantra is “My life is amazing. Thank you, *God.” (*universe, world, whatever works for you.) I say this several times a day, and especially when I'm feeling the opposite! It kind of brings me back into a more grateful state. 
Giving thanks helps set the tone for the rest of the day. You can always find something to be thankful for upon waking. This should be fairly easy. There are a few obvious choices here: you woke up, you have a chair to sit in, and maybe even a delicious cup of coffee/tea/lemon water. Finish this morning practice off with another few deep cleansing breaths.

This way of starting each day can loosen up the knots in both our physical and mental bodies. These simple, feel good baby steps can often turn into big leaps, and who knows, you might just find yourself enrolling in a yoga class soon or joining a bike team, or hey, maybe even able to touch your toes. Sounds crazy, but one never knows. 

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