mindful movement

What’s Your Style?

In our fast paced society, it’s all about speed. Getting it done. Having it now. Making it happen. Pushing to the extreme. Pulling. Going big or going home.

Counter to that…or sometimes, alongside of it, is allowing it to happen. Letting it be easy. Relaxing. Expanding. Breathing into it. On the surface, this may seem easier – I assure you, it’s not.

Which one is your predominant style? When you work? When you eat? When you breathe? When you exercise?

Both styles work. They both have their finer points, and situations in which to use them. But do you ever mix it up? Or find that you stick with one way in pretty much everything?

I have to admit, I’ve more of a go hard or go home gal. My motto for exercise has always been “if I’m not swearing in my head, I’m not working hard enough.” If I’m in a class, and I’m not mentally cussing the teacher out, I figure I’m wasting my time. Harsh, I know. But I only have so much time to exercise and I want to leave it all in there. I want to walk out of the class, off of the field, away from the track knowing that I left everything there. Breathing heavy. Sweaty. Done. This has been my approach for as long as I can remember.

Right now, I’m mixing it up. Toying with a more expansive, softer(?) style.
I have been attempting to develop a yoga practice and am now in week three.
Every now and then, I think that I’m not working hard enough. I don’t leave class sweaty or out of breath or even needing a shower. And this morning, as I was on the mat opening my hips in some god-forsaken pose (I’m pretty sure she was trying to kill me), I noticed that I wasn’t swearing. AT ALL. There was no need to. The only thing that would ease the tension in my hips was breathing into it. Gritting it out or tightening up wasn’t going to help. Expanding into it was. Finding a way, within my body to relax a little more, and perhaps find a little more ease.

 Two different styles. Two different purposes. Perhaps, two different outcomes.
Each a challenge in it’s own way. There’s a time and a place for leaving everything on the field. In the classroom. On the project. However, there’s also room to expand. Deepen into it. Allow it to be a little easier (even if that’s not so easy).

Which will you do? Is there room to practice both?

 Move with intention.

When Less is More.

Over the past several months I’ve been playing with my running form (and anyone that allows me to monkey with theirs). The questions I ask are: how can you relax more, and go faster? or go further? How can you put in less effort, yet get more out? How can you be more efficient?

Some days, it’s easy. Others, not so much.
The thing is, we often get in our own way.
We make things more complicated than they need to be.
We over think things, or “try harder” or push more when relaxing into it or slowing down or simply taking a deep breath would be easier and faster.

Recently, I’ve started to apply this principle to life in general.
How can I do less, yet get more done?
How can I relax into this – whatever this may be?
How can I be more efficient?

As a culture, we tend to push and multi-task and stay busy.
We resist slowing down. Go. Go. GO.
Let’s chuck that out the window for a moment.

 The challenge: do less, and get more done.

Only have 15 minutes to exercise? Run, Dance, Jump, Move…. your ass off. As fast as you can. Do some stairs. Jump in place. Or go for a quiet walk, and let your mind wander (you never know what’ll show up).

Kids screaming at you or misbehaving? Relax. Do a monkey dance. Beat your chest. Laugh. Let the tension fade naturally.

Have a to-do list a mile long? FOCUS. One thing at a time – no multi-tasking, no web, no smart phone or email. Focus. Get one thing done completely and then move on. Go slow, to go fast.

How can you do less and get more done?
How can you be more efficient? In movement? In work? In life?
How can this be easier?
Ask yourself these questions as often as you can.
To a life less complicated.

How will you participate?

Participate ~ (verb) to take or have a part or share in.

The other day I took a yoga class, and as the teacher roamed the room she suggested that yoga invites us to participate in our own well-being.  WHOA.
It was early, and that was deep (or maybe not so deep, but again – it was early) – and that was awesome. 
Yoga invites us to participate in our own well-being.

I know that yoga specifically does, as you are meant to focus on your breath and the flow of your body.
However, I think you can do this with anything.
Walking.  Running.  Lifting weights.  Dancing.  Eating.  Sitting at your desk.  Working…..whatever.

How will you participate in your own well-being?
Not some diet, or new fangled resolution, but really take a part in your own health.
In what feels good for you – with your body, breath, the food you eat and the presence you bring.
The beauty of it is, you can change from moment to moment.
Something doesn’t feel good – stop.  Don’t do it.  Begin something else.
Find your flow.  Follow your breath.
Participate.

wishing you a year filled with love, laughter, health, joy, movement and meaning!

MoveMeant.

MoveMeant.
As in yeah, I meant to do that.

How often do you do that?
Exercise or go for a walk or just get outside, and instead of tuning out, you tune in.
You pay attention to how you’re moving.  How your feet land.  How you’re breathing.
How it all feels.
Now that may sound all new-agey, but it’s good practice.
As a runner, I have tuned out.
I spent years with the music blaring, ignoring pain and pushing through.
Pain is weakness leaving the body, right??  NO.

It’s time for another approach.
MoveMeant.
Move like you mean it (and perhaps you’ll begin to live that way too….)
A few reminders to get you started:  MoveMeant

Join Cline Coaching for the MoveMeant Challenge, starting January 1.
Register and get more information here.

Drop into your body.

breatheYour body is always in the present moment.  It doesn’t have anywhere else to be.
Your mind, however, is rarely in the present.
Sometimes it’s focused on the past: This morning, when your partner used all of the hot water.  Traffic on the way home.  That presentation last week.
Or the future:  Your trip next week.  Your work projects for next year. When you lose ten pounds.  That next vacation.  Your to-do list.

When you find yourself feeling rushed or hurried, frustrated or tired.
Before you buy that unnecessary gift.
Before you yell at your child/partner/driver in the other lane.
Before you eat that tenth peanut butter ball or drink that next glass of wine.
Drop into your body.

When you find yourself wanting to remember the moment.
To take in all of the love and beauty that surrounds you.
To truly feel the power of now.
Drop into your body.  

Stop what you’re doing.  Take a deep breath.  Relax your shoulders.  And notice.
What’s going on in your body right now.
Any tension?  Let it go.
Where’s your energy?  Within you?  Or are you throwing it out to anyone that’ll take it?  Pull it back in.
Feel the flow.  Exhale.  Wiggle your toes.
From this place, what’s next?  What do you most want in this moment?

Let your body be your guide.

Do it wrong, so you can eventually get it right.

I tell my running clients this all of the time.
Do it wrong, so eventually you’ll get it right.

Our first session is all about gathering information.
Noticing. Simply notice how it feels in your body.
Notice, when you’re doing it “wrong”.

You see as runners, and humans in general, we tend to ignore our bodies and push through pain.
“Knee pain?  Ahhh, it’s not that bad.  I’ll rest at the next bench.”

I’ve often heard that pain is weakness leaving the body. Bullshit.
Pain is an indicator. You’re doing it wrong.
**now we’re talking about physical pain, not mental. Mental “pain” is your brain telling you to stop.
Ignore that voice, and learn the difference between the two.

The more you notice that, the closer you are to getting it “right”.
Now “wrong” and “right” are two very loose terms, and different for each person.
My definition of wrong is something that doesn’t feel good in the body.
Right is easy. It feels good. It’s more or less effortless.

Knees hurting while you’re running? That’s a sign. You’re doing it wrong.
Stabbing pain in your feet?  WRONG.
Tension in your shoulders.  WRONG.
Toes gripped and tired.  WRONG.
Tense legs?  WRONG.

None of these signs mean stop. They are simply indicators.
You’re doing it wrong, and it’s AWESOME that you noticed.
Now, make an adjustment. Make the pain go away.
Shorten your stride.  Adjust your footfall. Lengthen your spine.  Relax.
Do something.

Find the place where it feels good. Where it feels easy. Where it feels right.

This can apply to anything.
If you notice pain when you do something – anything – it simply means you’re doing something wrong. EXCELLENT! Again, awesome that you noticed.
When you notice, you can adjust.
Find the place where it feels right for you.

Move with intention.

Today is the last post for the Move More, not less 31 days series.
However, it’s not the last time that I’ll post with that title.
As I stated at the beginning, we’re given countless opportunities each day to move less. Don’t do it.

Move more, and move with intention.

Wear the “right” shoes. And by right, I mean something that feels good on your feet. Not what’s in fashion or someone at shoe store told you you “needed”. Wear shoes that feel good to you.

Pay attention when you move. Pain is an indicator. If you feel any aches or pains, figure out why, and make it go away. If you’re tired, rest. If you’re hungry, fuel up. Pay attention. Your body is constantly talking to you ~ listen.

Move with intention. Don’t throw on head phones or make a call or distract yourself every time you move.
Tune in, and listen. Push hard, and learn.

Need some help with that? Want a community of like-minded people to move with?
Join me in January – the MoveMeant Challenge 2014.
Move like you mean it.

Move morenot less.

This is the thirty-first post in a series of Move More. Not Less. 31 days.
Click here to see a list of all posts, updated daily.

The Body Scan.

It’s good to check in with your body ~ daily if you can.
At the very least, weekly.

Do a body scan.

What does your body need?

In order to move more, and not less, honor your body’s wisdom.
Listen to the guidance it provides.
Fuel it well.
And move with intention.

Move morenot less.

This is the twenty~seventh post in a series of Move More. Not Less. 31 days.
Click here to see a list of all posts, updated daily.

Exhale.

Ever get a “side-stitch”?
Been short of breath and want to give up (or given up)?

The problem is not that you’re not allowing enough oxygen in.
It’s that you’re not getting everything out.
I notice a lot of people, when short of breath, try to take super quick breaths to get more oxygen.
This only exacerbates the problem.
Taking short, quick breaths does not allow for good oxygen exchange.
This increases stress in the body.

The remedy?
FULLY EXHALE.
Push everything out. Until you can’t any more. And then push a little more.
Allow the inhale to happen naturally.
Even better if you can inhale through your nose.

When you notice you’re getting short of breath – for any reason – (movement, anger, anxiety ~ any reason) – exhale. Long and slow. Push it all out, and allow peace in.

A breathing practice for you:  equal breathing.

Move morenot less.

This is the twenty~third post in a series of Move More. Not Less. 31 days.
Click here to see a list of all posts, updated daily.

Make movement a practice.

Most people treat a workout as something to get through.
A punishment of sorts.
Movement as an after~thought.
Something you know you should be doing, but you might have to talk yourself into it.
Park further away.  Negotiate to get it done.  Make someone hold you accountable.

What if you made movement a practice?

Practice ~ repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency

Something you do daily.  Not simply to get it done, or to punish your body, but to get better.
What about your movement are you practicing?  What can you carry over into your daily life?
What can you practice while sitting at your desk at work?  While you’re out on a Friday night?

Breathing?
Core engagement?
Relaxation?
Thinking good thoughts?

Find something.  Anything.
And if you can’t, perhaps you need new movement.

You get better at what you repeatedly do, no matter what it is.
Practice your movement.

Move morenot less.

This is the twenty~first post in a series of Move More. Not Less. 31 days.
Click here to see a list of all posts, updated daily.