Wheel of Life Wellness

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.



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Centre yourself


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:


  • In the car – Before driving off, take a moment to centre yourself. You’ll be able to remain more calm and focused as you drive.


  • Coming home after work – When you get home after work, centre yourself before opening the front door. You’ll actually feel some of the stress and tension of the day dissipate and you’ll have more energy and patience for your loved ones.


  • Transitioning from one task to the next – Rather than finishing one thing and getting right into the next task on your to-do list, take a moment to centre yourself. You’ll feel more refreshed, alert and energized when you start your next task making you much more productive and efficient.


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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Wheel of Life Wellness

Ottawa, ON


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christie at wheeloflifewellness dot ca