intentional movement

Venture into the unknown.

How often do you do things out of habit?
Take the same exercise class.
Drive the same route to work each day.
Eat the same things.
All too often we fall into patterns. The same ‘ole same ‘ole day in and day out.
Living within the comfort zone.
BORING.
It’s time to mix it up.
Explore the unknown.
Start with something small – perhaps running a new route.
Speaking up, when you normally shut down. Eating something new for breakfast.
As you take new actions, you expand that comfort zone.
Before you know it, you’ll be jumping out of airplanes.

Feel the rush of butterflies.
Hold the hand of fear.
Push your limits.
Expand your boundaries.  Learn to fly.
What might that look like for you?

What’s your pain telling you?


There are lots of indicators in life – some more subtle than others.
Like when a large truck backs up, you might hear a loud BEEP.BEEP.BEEP to indicate that it’s reversing – get out of the way.
A fire alarm.  The gas gauge in your car.  A bell ringing at school.  I could go on….

For the body, pain is often an indicator.
Knee pain is an indication that something’s not right.  Re-adjust.  It doesn’t mean stop forever or push on through.  It simply means that something’s wrong – let’s fix it.
Hip pain can be an indicator that you’ve been sitting for too long.  Get up and move.
Craving a certain kind of food can be an indication.  Or a taste in your mouth.
It doesn’t even have to be physical.
If you’re forcing something – making it happen.  Pushing it through.
Perhaps it’s not the right time.  Might not be the right team.  You might not have all the information.
There’s no need to push, move or muscle through pain.  Of any sort.
“It’s only five more miles.  I can grit it out.”
“Only ten more years until I retire.  I can make it that long.  I’ll grin and bear it.”
bullshit.
Pain is an indicator.
What’s yours telling you?

BEEP.BEEP.BEEP.

I hate this….

During a recent Chi Running workshop, one of the participants mentioned that she hated running.  She ran because of peer pressure, even though she was often the one applying the pressure by signing up for races.  Ironic?
She used the words “dragging” and “painful” – painting a bleak picture of her running life.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard that story – be it running, a job, a relationship, trying to lose weight…the list could go on.

What strikes me in these stories is the amount of resistance and tension.
The amount of energy it takes to “hate” or dislike.
If you hate running, how can you expect it to be pain free?  or even fun?
If you hate your job, how can you expect to be good at it?  To be engaged?
If you hate the effort it takes to eat healthy, how can you expect to do it?

In hating something, you resist it – and your body takes on that resistance.  It tenses, as if you’re waiting for a punch.  Tight muscles, scrunched shoulders, knotted stomach.
Wasted energy, all of it.
AND, if the tension persists, injuries/side effects occur.
You gain weight.  Get shin splints.  Throw out your back.
Often we move through this pain, assuming we have no choice.
We push forward.  Try harder.  Make it happen.

Running is painful.  Eating healthy doesn’t taste good. The job just sucks. 
Pushing through pain is never the answer.  Usually, it leads to more pain.

Instead of moving through this pain, let it go.  Release and relax the tension.
Make an adjustment.  Be open.
I know, I know – easier said than done.
But work with me here – if you hate running, focus on what you do like about it.
The outdoors.  Fresh air.  Flashy running gear.  New shoes.  The feeling afterward.
If you have aches or pain, figure out the cause.  See what you can do to make it go away.
If you hate vegetables, find one that you can tolerate.  Or fix in a way that tastes good (without totally diminishing it’s benefits).

Less hate, more love.  Hell, less hate, more like.
Be open, and let go of the resistance, or seek out it’s cause.
You never know what you might learn, and how easy it is to fix.

Relax.

Take a deep breath.
The more that you can relax into it – whatever it is – the better and easier it becomes.
The run.
The pose.
The job.
The relationship.
The more that you can relax and allow, the easier it is to find a state of flow.
To relax doesn’t mean to get lazy, or complacent – exactly the opposite.
Relax.  Take a breath.
Become present, centered, and aware of what’s going on in the moment.
Let that “try harder” reflex take a break, and relax.
You’ll be happier for it.

5 ways to create mindful movement.

5.  Pay attention.  You’ve been standing, sitting, walking, running, etc. for ages.  When was the last time you paid attention to how you did it?  to how it felt?  “Climb” inside your body.  Listen to it.  Pay attention, as it’s constantly giving you feedback.
4.  Connect the dots.  Have some aches and pains?  Put on your super-sleuth hat and see if you can connect the dots to figure out why.  The clues are all around.  Look at the way in which you wear out your shoes or socks.  Look at where you have calluses.  Become the mentalist of your body.
3.  Know where you carry tension.  Everyone carries tension in the body.  Everyone.  Where do you carry yours?  Shoulders?  Ankles?  Toes?  Find it. Release it.
2.  Slow down to speed up.  Faster + more reps/miles/anything = better, right?  WRONG.  Slow down. Build a foundation.  Make sure your form is impeccable.  Climb inside (see #5), and go slow.  As you get to know your body you can then speed up (and likely, be even faster than before with less injury….)
1.  Take a deep breath.  Drop your shoulders from your ears.  Roll your head around a few times, slowly, easily.  Relax.  When doesn’t that feel good?

Go forth, and move with intention.