Set the Tone for a Happy and Successful New Year
Most people bring in the new year with a resolution (or two or three…) for what they plan to do and achieve over the next 12 months. But how many of us actually take the time to review our accomplishments, experiences and joys of the year that just ended?
One of the things I like to do on New Year’s Day is journaling my “Year in Review”. I find it a valuable exercise to remind me of the ups and downs, my accomplishments, what brought me joy, and what my intentions (and hopes and wishes) were for the past year. This practice can take as much, or as little, time as you want to spend on it. It may bring a smile to your face or tears to your eyes as you remember events or experiences. It’s also a good time to pat yourself on the back for your successes and to re-evaluate an approach or even the importance of something you may not have accomplished.
There’s no set way to do your Year in Review. Personally, I like to journal about “The Milestones” of my past year by going through my agenda/datebook month by month, and then write about some of “The Joys” I experienced. I’ll then reflect on and journal about “The Unfortunates”, what I call the experiences or situations that made me feel sad or angry in some way. I follow that with “The Blessings” which are the things (people, experiences, etc) I feel blessed about or grateful for that helped me on my journey of personal growth. And I end my review with “My Way Forward” which is where journal about my intentions, hopes, dreams, wishes and plans for the year ahead. At the beginning of each new year I look back on what I identified as my intentions for the past year to see how far I’ve come in different aspects of my life.
Set the tone for a successful and happy 2019 by acknowledging your accomplishments, re-examining and re-framing your setbacks in 2018, and establishing a positive way forward for the new year.
Pssst… If you’re interested in setting a New Year’s resolution, I invite you to check out this previous tip to help you establish one that you’ll be able to maintain and sustain over the course of the whole year.
If you need support getting the New Year off on the right foot, contact Christie to create a customized approach to address your particular needs.
You often hear in yoga classes the invitation to “centre yourself”. What exactly does that mean? Ask ten different people and you’ll get ten different responses!
In my opinion, centring is about connecting with your body and mind through awareness of the moment. Feeling the sensations in your body in the moment, being aware of the thoughts in your mind in the moment, acknowledging the experience of the moment, and then letting it all go to find the stillness and silence within you.
Though centring may be something you’re used to doing on your yoga mat, it can actually be done anywhere and at anytime. There are many benefits of centring yourself. It helps to reduce stress, to lower blood pressure, to alleviate anxiety, to increase mindfulness, and to live a more conscious life.
Here are a few examples of when centring yourself would be useful:
Create your own centring practice and give yourself a small gift that has a huge impact on your overall well-being!
Did you find this tip helpful? Contact Christie to work with her one-on-one and learn other tools and techniques that you can easily integrate into your life to improve your health and wellness on all levels.
Yoga is about listening to yourself
Yoga has been proven to help with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety, stress-reduction, and improve overall strength and flexibility. However, when yoga poses are done haphazardly or in a way that pushes the body beyond its natural abilities, injuries can occur.
Yogic philosophy teaches the importance of increasing one’s awareness of both body and mind, and respecting one’s capabilities. But in our competitive and achievement-focused society, we sometimes forget to turn our focus inward.
When your focus shifts to your internal, or physical, sensations and experience, you are more apt to feel it when a pose isn’t right for your body. At that point, you can ease off on the intensity, adjust your position, take the opportunity to rest, or ask the teacher to help you modify.
Many people assume that all yoga poses are safe for them, when in fact that’s not the case. There are incidents where students have gotten injured from doing yoga poses that were either not appropriate for them or by pushing beyond their physical capabilities. There are also some poses that are not anatomically functional, which means that, over time, you are straining and stressing your joints. Perhaps you’ll be one of the lucky yoga practitioners who never experiences pain from their practice; but chances are that, at some point, you’ll experience some degree of discomfort from doing a pose that your body isn’t intended to do.
So, should you stop doing yoga? No! Continue your yoga practice in a more mindful way, doing poses in a manner that supports your personal needs, without forcing your body beyond what it can do, and speak up and ask your teacher for modifications when you need them.
As an integral part of all her yoga classes, Christie teaches modifications and presents poses in a way that supports functional movement of the physical body. If you need help in modifying your yoga practice or therapeutic support in dealing with an injury or physical pain, contact Christie.
Healing can be a complex journey
When we suffer from an injury, chronic pain or an illness, sometimes we can heal on our own, and sometimes we need to seek professional support. Often though, our symptoms can be misleading. Pain in your shoulder, for example, may not be due to a problem with the shoulder per se, but may rather be caused by the shoulder compensating for dysfunction in another joint, an injury-causing repetitive movement, or even poor posture.
Unfortunately, not all professionals take a holistic and integrated approach at addressing the problem. Usually, the focus is only on the part of the body that is hurting. (Squeaky wheel gets the grease.) However, most of the time targeting just that part of the body isn’t enough to make the healing permanent; it’s just a short-term band-aid solution.
Complete and lasting healing doesn’t happen by simply addressing the surface issue. The body is such a complex biological unit! Poor posture, unconscious repetitive movement, and stress-related problems are commonly intertwined with the pain or physical dysfunction being experienced, and are rarely taken fully into account. Of course, you want to address the pain! But you don’t want to forget to look at what might be the root-cause of the dysfunction (injury, chronic pain or illness).
So, if you’re one of the many experiencing pain, you may want to speak with a professional who will be able to help you not only reduce and eliminate your pain, but also assess what is going on in your life, including your body and mind, to help you make your healing permanent.
Christie is a unique professional. She assesses her clients holistically and identifies the underlying causes of their physical issues. As a Certified Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher, Christie has a deep understanding of the intricate weavings of the human body and mind. This enables her to determine the underlying causes of her clients’ pain, injury or loss of mobility and to work with them to create a personalized program that will address their specific needs, and help them reach their health and wellness goals.
See how Christie has helped clients live this month's tip through her own uniquely developed and tailor-made programs.
Shifting your thought patterns
When was the last time you listened to your inner dialogue? You know, the voice in your head that tells you stories about how you’re not as good as so-and-so, you really should do such-and-such, or that you can’t accomplish a particular goal.
That self-talk is a subconsciously-recorded continuous loop of messages you either heard, experienced or inferred as a child and now, as an adult, you’re still pressing “play” over and over again. And most of those messages are negative, self-deprecating and self-limiting, not to mention completely untrue! Now is the time to start shifting that inner dialogue to a more positive, uplifting and self-affirming one.
Start by noticing your thoughts as often as you can. There will most likely be two or three prominent thoughts that keep recurring. Once you’ve identified those main recurring negative thoughts, write them down on a piece of paper. Next to each negative thought, write down a countering positive thought. Keep the paper with you and whenever you catch yourself thinking one of those recurring negative thoughts, tell yourself that the negative thought is no longer valid and tell yourself the positive thought instead. If you practice this over and over (and over and over and over…), eventually you will erase the negative thoughts, one at a time, and create a new positive, happy and empowering inner dialogue.
Awareness is the key to being able to shift out of your negative thought patterns. This practice takes time and patience, but is so worth it in the end! And if I can do it, so can you.
Growing your garden with the Elementals
The Elementals are energy beings who resonate with one of the four elements of life and nature: earth, air, fire and water. The Elemental realm works with the animal kingdom and all aspects of nature to keep our planet healthy and vibrant, and also helps us manifest growth and abundance of all kinds in our life.
As you tend your garden this summer, you can invite the Elementals to work their magic. For example, you can ask the Gnomes to help your garden soil remain filled with nutrients; the Sylphs (more commonly known as Fairies) to provide gentle breezes to disperse the sun’s heat and rainfall evenly; the Dragons to ensure just the right amount of warmth and sunshine each plant in your garden requires; and the Undines (more commonly known as Mer-folk) to support your and Mother Nature’s efforts in maintaining the soil’s perfect hydration.
You can call on the Elementals through your spoken word or simply by holding the intention to have them tend your garden with you. You can also invite them to work with you by tying pieces of environmentally-friendly coloured ribbons to a tree or bush near your garden; by placing shiny crystals throughout your garden; or even by placing a “fairy door”, a statue of an elemental, or a decorative toadstool in your garden.
The Elementals work with various aspects of Mother Nature to help you manifest happiness and abundance in your life. Start to connect with them whenever you’re in your garden, and see the magic and beauty they create for both your pleasure and theirs!
Movement is key
In our sedentary society, where we sit more than anything else, the focus been put on the need to exercise. We’re told that we need to exercise at least 30 minutes four to seven times weekly to be healthy. Or we rely on the “Fitbit” to tell us if we’ve met our "daily step quota." But is that really enough to make a true difference in our health?
Think about your typical 24-hour cycle: you sleep for six to eight hours; you work for about eight hours with perhaps a 30-minute or one-hour commute to and from work; and then you sit and watch TV or play video/computer games for two or three hours before bed. Most of your day is spent without movement of any sort.
With the advances in technology, there’s been a noticeable decline in our health and experts are suggesting it’s because there’s been a serious decrease in our level of general physical movement. Fifty years ago, people didn’t worry about how much they exercised. They were too busy walking to the store (instead of driving their car); they walked up the stairs (instead of taking the elevator up two or three flights); they pushed or pulled doors open (rather than pressing the handicapped button).
Studies are showing that by integrating small bursts of movement into our day actually increases our health and vitality. Exercise is great, but movement throughout our waking hours can make a huge difference in a short period of time. We think that as we get older our body is supposed to get weaker and more fragile, that we’re supposed to have aches and pains, but nothing could be further from the truth! It’s because our sedentary lifestyle has made us a lazy society!
What can you start doing to get out of your lackluster lifestyle? Start walking from place to place, taking the stairs, and pushing or pulling doors open! You’ll notice very quickly that your body will get stronger, you’ll feel better, and soon your body will crave even more movement!
When was the last time you played?
Have you noticed that we seem to take ourselves very seriously? Even kids take things seriously. When they play, nowadays, their activities seem far more focused on competition and winning, and less on creativity, imagination and inner joy.
Maybe that’s why a lot of us adults don’t enjoy exercising. We see it as “more work”. Often, our main reason for exercising is to lose weight (usually because someone told us we needed to), to look better than someone else, to have a six-pack, etc. But what if we took a different perspective? What if instead of focusing on exercising, we focused on playing again? Not playing a sport, but actually playing silly like we used to when we didn’t have a care in the world?
The next time you go for a walk, add a skip/hop or two every 10 steps!
The next time you pass by a playground, stop in and swing for a few minutes!
The next time kids are kicking a ball around and the ball rolls near you, take a run for it and kick it back to the kids!
Find your inner child again and do something playful – just for the fun of it! It may surprise you just how quickly your mood changes and you start smiling. You’ll not only feel more relaxed, you’ll feel like a kid again. One of the best ways to live a vibrant and healthy life is to stay young at heart!
Easing Sore Wrists
Do your wrists get sore when you do yoga? Many people experience discomfort in their hands and wrists when doing various hand and arm poses.
This month, Christie has put together a brief video to teach you how to properly place your hands on your mat for better support and strength when doing yoga poses.
Key points to think about when using your arms for support:
Watch the video and try it out for yourself!
When you change how you use your hands, you’ll not only ease any discomfort in your wrists, but you’ll begin to create strength that will serve you both on and off your mat!
The joys and wonders of self-message
You may have seen, or experienced for yourself, the use of therapy balls in yoga classes (such as Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method) and wondered why they’re so effective in relieving pain and improving mobility.
The therapy balls not only allow you the opportunity to self-massage and release tension from your body, they also help increase your ability to sense your body. Regular work with the therapy balls awakens the body’s proprioception and interoception receptors which augments your self-awareness.
Proprioception is our ability to sense our body in the space or environment around us. Interoception is our ability to sense our body from the inside. When we use the therapy balls, we feel the ball pressing from the outside into the body, which stimulates proprioception; and we also feel sensations inside the body due to the pressure of the ball, which stimulates interoception.
As we become more familiar with our body and the sensations we experience, the easier it becomes to address issues like chronic pain and discomfort, poor posture, recurring injuries and lack of mobility.
If you want to experience first-hand the amazing benefits of the therapy balls, sign up for Christie’s weekly Yoga Tune Up® class and live the difference yourself!
Emotions impact your body
You may not realize this, but your emotions have a direct impact on your body’s ability to function in a healthy way.
It’s not about going through life with a fake smile on your face and telling everyone you’re doing great. It’s about being able to deal with life’s ups and downs, rather than trying to push them aside or to ignore them.
People who have good emotional health tend to be more aware of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and have learned to deal with their stresses and challenges in a way that supports their well-being. But even the most adaptable people can have setbacks. How you deal with those challenging times is the key.
When we have stress-related emotions (such as sadness, depression, anger, frustration, etc.), our body will often respond by contracting and tensing. Over time, that can cause health problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension), shortness of breath, aches and pains, joint stiffness, digestive disorders, and anxiety, just to name a few.
‘Ok,’ you’re thinking to yourself right now, ‘but there’s stress everywhere! What can I do about it?’
Here are a few tips on what you can do to deal with your stress-related emotions:
Being healthy is not just a physical thing. There’s a huge emotional component that we need to address as well. Start dealing with your stress-related emotions and you’ll notice changes in how your body feels and moves.