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Friday, May 20, 2011

FITNESS FRIDAY--Balance Grasshoppers

After growing up in a chaotic house with seven kids and three adults, (that's ten people, one bathroom, eighteen hundred square foot house kind of chaos), I realized the only way to survive in life was to find some sort of balancing point. Thanks to that epiphany, (and more than a few years of counceling and support groups), I somehow found my way from figure skating to martial arts, and then yoga. All of these practices have taught me about balance--the yin and yeng of life.

 I live by the motto 'BE WILLING TO DO WHAT'S HARD, AND LIFE WILL BE EASY. IF YOU DO WHAT'S EASY, LIFE WILL BE HARD.' (I think Harv Ecker said that one)I know how challenging it is to take care of ourselves. We are high maintenance and for most of us, life is a tightrope walk--always struggling to stay on some center line and not fall too far off to one side or the other. I would like to share with you what I know about finding balance. For now, let's talk basics.

1) HYDRATE-start your day with a galss of water. It's amazing how much fluid we lose in our sleep, simply from the act of breathing. Drink water often throughout the day. My rule is take your weight, divide by three and that's how many ounces you need to drink a day to stay sufficiently hydrated. ex.: 150 pound woman should drink 50 ounces of water a day. Fill a water bottle in the morning and keep it with you.
2) BREATHE-Take ten deep breaths in and out through your nose in the shower every morning and every night when you get into bed. You will sleep better, have more energy, be more relaxed and remain more centered throughout the day.
3)  TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST-Mom used to tell me to 'mind your own business'. Being the youngest, I was quite the pest--I think precocious is the word. I couldn't help that there was always something exciting happening with that many people around all the time. But she was right. I figured out that I couldn't fix, change or otherwise control what other people did and that I was only responsible for my own personal well-being. Some people might construe this as being selfish. I call it self-preservation and self-caring. This lesson has helped me to LIVE AND LET LIVE. Ironically, when I do take care of me first, I am so much better able to take care of others. And knowing I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of me to be a people pleaser. I find balance in knowing how to DETACH WITH LOVE.
4) TAKE JOY IN SIMPLE PLEASURES-A walk on the beach, butterflies in the garden, sunshine on your face, a beautiful melody, a rainbow after a storm, a waterfall in the woods, the taste of strawberries and whipped cream, babies and puppies...you get the picture. There is so much beauty amid the chaos and darkness of life. Don't take anything beautiful or meaningful for granted.

Your yoga pose for the day is TREE POSE.
Stand with your feet together, shoulders down and back. Draw your belly button into your spine and lift up through the top of your head. Now shift your weight over to your left foot and turn your right knee out to the side so that your weight is through the ball of the foot, your toes are on the floor, and the right heel rests just above your left ankle. Take a breath in, place your hands together over your heart space in prayer position (or hold on to something sturdy if you have poor balance). Exhale, lift your foot so the sole of the right foot rests on the inner calf of the left leg. Lift up tall, balance, and breathe. Keep your eyes on a focal point. Hold for at least three to five breaths. Repeat on other side.

Balance is a blessing. It just takes practice.

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