These hips were made for walking

Ever feel a little “gunked up” in your hips? Stiff? Like maybe after a summer road trip, plane trip, boat trip, or sitting around the table too long with family and friends? Or maybe just after working at your desk?

Even though I teach yoga and fitness for a living, and I have the amazing blessing to move most of the day, I sometimes feel stiff too!

Here’s a quick and very effective stretch to help you move your hips in all the directions they need to go for walking:

  • forward and back
  • side to side
  • right and left rotation

We do the stretch from a “walking stance,” so even just standing still in that position will help open up your hips.

This stretch feels good for almost all of my students. If it doesn’t feel good to you, try doing it with your forward foot up on a step or chair.

The video below is 1 minute 10 seconds. You and your hips deserve it!
Follow along and then let me know if one minute of stretching made a difference.

What’s really important?

It’s a full life. We are all busy.

But what’s really important? 

This week I had the opportunity to be with my meditation teacher Roy Eugene Davis at the Center for Spiritual Awareness in Lakemont, Georgia. Every time I am in Roy’s presence and read his publications, I hear his consistent message – what’s really important is to grow spiritually and be of service in the world.

I typically leave Roy’s place with a renewed commitment to daily meditation. I know it’s the #1 most important action step for me to improve in all areas of my life. When I am meditating daily, I feel more peaceful, creative, kind, energized, and happy. Then I can be of better service in the world.

And then I get busy, and don’t dedicate as much time as I’d like to it.

Today I’m making another start, and I’m inviting you to join me in your own way…

What one thing could you do (or not do) EVERY DAY to help yourself feel more peaceful, centered and happy?

Please share your comments here or in the Choose Joyful Health Facebook group. Let’s support each other to do what matters.

Please enjoy this five minute video tour of the Center for Spiritual Awareness. You might feel more peaceful just by watching! Learn more about Roy Davis and CSA at www.csa-davis.org.

 

Say YES when you want to say no

Sometimes I take myself, and life, way too seriously.

Having fun is good for your health – mind, body, spirit – the whole package.

Kids are naturally playful, so if you have kids in your life, they teach you how to be present and play again. We all knew at one point, but we forget as we get older and busier.

Here is one quick way to shift into a more playful mindset and enjoy yourself:

Say YES when you want to say no. I’m very good at setting boundaries and protecting my alone time. But there’s also a time to accept the invitation, join the party, go and try something new. And you might surprise yourself and really enjoy it!

I had a great opportunity last week to go swimming with three friends and this unicorn. I said yes to the invitation, and I’m so glad I did.

Now it’s your turn. For the next few days, look for opportunities to say YES when you want to say no, to be more playful, and to have fun. Tell me about it in the Choose Joyful Health Facebook group, or share it at the bottom of the blog post here.

#1 Top Favorite Absolute Best Yoga Pose When I’m Tired

Sometimes we have a lot of energy, and sometimes we don’t.

I have learned, and am learning, to listen to my body and rest when I am tired. The times that I haven’t – when I pushed through a more vigorous yoga practice or workout – I have gotten injured.

It’s nice to have some proactive and productive things to do even when we are tired.

Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani in Sanskrit) is my #1 Top Favorite Absolute Best Yoga Pose when I’m tired. It relieves fatigue in my legs and restores my energy.

Here’s how to do it.
1) Sit sideways at the wall, with one hip near the wall.  If you can’t get on the floor, do this in your bed.
2) Swivel your legs up the wall and your spine perpendicular to the wall. on the solstice or anytime.
3) Adjust your spacing from the wall so that your legs can be straight, close together, and your entire pelvis is on the floor.
4) If you have them, use yoga blankets to elevate your hips, keeping abdomen parallel to the floor.
5) Stay as long as you like, 5-20 minutes is ideal.

*This is comfortable for almost all of my students, but not every single one. If you have scoliosis or another type of curve in your spine, you may need a higher lift under your pelvis to be comfortable. You might also feel better resting your calves on the seat of a chair instead.

See how to do it in the 26 second video below.

Three Simple Steps to Reset your Mindset

Today is the Summer Solstice, first day of summer, longest day of the year. It’s the half-way point of our calendar, and it’s the day with the most light. For me, the equinoxes and solstices are not only important markers of Mother Nature’s seasonal shifts, but also times to reflect on how I am living my life.

Here are three simple steps to reset your mindset, on the solstice or anytime. Each of these steps is a neuromuscular activity, which means it grows more helpful pathways between your brain and body, your thoughts and your actions.

  1. Release old burdens, fears, and doubts. Water is ideal for purification. One quick way to let go: Think about what you want to release while washing your hands.
  2. Be grateful for what is.  One quick way to do it:  Walking Mantra – with each step say “Thank you Thank you Thank you.”
  3. Plant a seed for new growth. Write down the new attitude or behavior.

Watch the video here: