One of the most basic yoga poses is called Tree Pose, but on this day, for me, it was incredibly difﬁcult. I can do advanced balances with one leg in the air behind my back, but for some reason I could not stop wobbling in Tree Pose. I fell. I tried again. I fell. There are times in life when we wobble before we get to our destination. We oscillate. We are off balance. The most important thing is that we get up and attempt the endeavor again.
Many of us make a New Year’s resolution to be happier and healthier. Sadly, however, most of us never reach our goals. Why? How can we stack the odds in our favor?
The University of Scranton determined that only 77% of people who make resolutions are still going strong a week into the new year. And after six months, the percentage drops to forty. Bad habits sneak back into our lives within days of having grandiose ideas about how the next twelve months will be different.
As we approach the holiday season, it’s important for us to maintain our health so that we can visit friends and relatives without that dreaded cough or cold. That means putting yourself first and making daily exercise and healthy eating a priory now. I’m all for having indulgences on occasion, like apple or pumpkin pie, but then it’s important to burn off those calories because they will catch up with you.
Each year the average person gains a few pounds over the holiday season. Let’s make sure that we don’t this season by doing a few simple things:
Sitting on a plane during a five-hour cross-country trip, I heard flight attendants counting to twenty; then there would be silence and they would walk around the cabin assisting passengers. I’d hear them counting again to twenty, then it would stop.
They were behind the galley walls, so I couldn’t see what they were doing. I just happened to get up to go to the bathroom while they were counting. (That’s not entirely true. I had totally planned it!). They were doing squats! Twenty squats, five times throughout the flight equaled one hundred squats. Kudos to those flight attendants for creating a healthy work environment.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
This is gonna hurt. I’m sorry, but it’s time to be truthful. Look at yourself in the mirror in just your undies. Do you have love handles and cellulite? We all have something we want to change. Coming face-to-face with the truth can be incredibly motivating, while putting clothes on just covers the problem, doesn’t it?
Throughout the day, you know what you’re hiding; numbers don’t lie. Weigh yourself and take your measurements. Are you content with those numbers? Do you want to look better and feel better? Have no fear! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you didn’t get that body overnight.
We all know the basics of banking; you cannot withdraw money you don’t have in your account. What if we looked at our bodies as bank accounts and the healthy choices we make as money deposited into our account? Every time you exercised, ate healthy meals, slept well and had a positive mental attitude you’d receive more cash flow! But all the unhealthy choices, like smoking, excessive drinking, too much stress and lack of sleep would be withdrawals that may result in poor health, depression or injuries.
There will always be times in life when we are unexpectedly hit with a curve ball and we’ll have too much stress, miss a night of good sleep, indulge in junk food, or have one too many glasses of wine. After those occasions we feel a little less perky, more sluggish and even run-down. Our body functions at a lower vibrational frequency and if we make yet another withdrawal on the body bank account we risk becoming overdrawn. Injuries and illnesses are more likely to occur when our immune systems have been compromised. In our twenties or thirties, we may have been able to get away with a few too many drinks and lack of sleep from partying but eventually, our bodies will rebel in the form of a cold, headache or something worse.
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.—Henry David Thoreau
Getting regular exercise doesn’t mean you have to work out an hour or more a day. Who has time for that? Short bursts of strength-training moves and at least two days of cardiovascular exercise weekly can help you keep fit.
Many of us use the lack of time as an excuse to not exercise. If I’m not teaching a fitness class, I can come up with more excuses than anybody about why I’m too busy to exercise. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.—life gets in the way, right? Wrong!
I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.—T. S. Eliot
Close your eyes, put your hand on your chest, and feel your heartbeat. Focus on slowing down your breath and relaxing every part of your body, beginning at your head, down through your jaw, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and toes. Imagine that every cell in your body is operating at its utmost potential. Envision every muscle and bone healthy and strong. Bring your awareness to your breath. Pretend you’re breathing through a straw slowly. Inhale to the count of ten and exhale even more slowly. Try to slow your heartbeat.
Studies show that we can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and diminish anxiety just by being still and calming our bodies and minds. Meditation helps the mind find a happy ground where it’s not working so hard and spinning out of control. It helps control anxious and negative thoughts.
Have you been ignoring minor or major aches and pains? Is your body trying to tell you something? Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my body and became deathly ill.
I have been a group fitness instructor since 1980. I’ve appeared in exercise videos and cable TV shows. I know my body, and I know when something doesn’t feel right. Around 2002, I began to have flu-like symptoms and debilitating migraines. I knew something was wrong. I went to several doctors. One of them told me I might be too healthy and I should try eating at McDonalds!
I was constantly tired and hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. Ten minutes into the exercise classes I was instructing, I couldn’t get enough air, and I was scared. I knew something was terribly wrong but I couldn’t figure it out.