mindful movement

Movement as a pathway in.

Body.  Breath.  Food.  Presence.

I believe that movement is a pathway in.

In moving your body, you begin to notice how you breathe (or don’t).
Are your breaths short and shallow, or do you go deep into your belly?
Do you get short of breath?  Get side aches?  Ever notice that you “forget” to breathe?

In moving your body, you begin to notice how your food fuels you.
Does it make you feel heavy? Or light, and powerful?
Does it make you want to push further, go faster? Or lie on the couch?

In moving your body, you begin to notice the thoughts that you bring.
Your presence.
Are you “in” it when you’re moving, or is your mind a million miles away?
Do you give in to that voice that begs you to stop?
Do you believe the one that tells you you’re not good enough, you’ll never make it?
Can you meet the resistance with the power of your mind, body and movement?

Movement is a pathway in.
Go deep.

Move more, not less.

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

Know Your Issues

The moment someone slapped shoes on your feet, you began to make compensations.

When you carry something heavy, you compensate (usually by jutting your hips out).

When you get injured, you compensate.

When you carry stress or tension, your body absorbs it, and compensates.

Over time these compensations build up and often become habits, or as I like to call them “issues”.
Everyone has movement issues.  Everyone.
What are yours?

Know your issues.  Embrace them.  
When you do that, you’re one step closer to letting it go.

Move more, not less.

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

Catch Yourself in Motion.

You’ve been walking for ages, right?
When was the last time you thought about how you did it?  How it felt?
Same thing for standing, sitting…moving in general.
When you first learned, you were totally aware of gravity and feel.
As we age we lose that awareness, and also begin to make compensations.
Compensations for injury, carrying extra weight (be it inside or outside of your body), the shoes we wear, tension or stress. Compensations for a plethora of things…
In addition to compensating, we also make excuses. We blame getting older for aches and pains that crop up.
I call BS. Now I’m not saying the body doesn’t deteriorate at all, but life practice has a lot to do with it.

Today, catch yourself sitting, standing, walking…moving.
When you walk, where does your foot land? How does it land? Do you roll out, or in over the big toe?
Do you stand on your heals? Grip your toes?
What does it feel like? Scan your body.
Notice any tension. Notice any aches or pains.
Breathe into it and notice what it feels like.
Become aware of what your movement feels like.
Catch yourself in motion.

Move more, not less.

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

Why move more, and not less?

Most people today are hooked on speed. We want everything right now, because there’s no time to waste.
I’m busy. You’re busy. We’re all busy. So busy, grocery carts are left stranded in parking lots the world over. Thousands of people never leave their desks during the day – not even to stand up and stretch, much less go outside for some fresh air.

Because of this need for speed, we’ve developed many technological “advances”.
Every day you’re given countless opportunities to move less.
Escalators. Elevators. People movers. The remote control. Voice activation. Home delivery. Chairs or even shoes with wheels. The drive thru.  I could go on.

This allows most of us to live life on auto-pilot. To live life from the shoulders up.
You’re knees ache so you take a handful of advil every morning, and you sit all day to not activate pain.
Your back hurts, so you wear a brace.
You’ve got indigestion, so tums is always at the ready.
You can’t sleep at night so you take some pills to help.

Cures for any ailment are found outside of the body.
And those cures, mostly treat the symptoms, without ever getting to the real root of the problem.
Stop.
Reverse this trend.
Your body will tell you everything you need to know, if only you’ll learn to listen.
Move your body, and pay attention.
The clues are all around.

Move more, not less.

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

Wiggle your fingers

Wiggle your fingers.
I often tell this to clients as they move – run, walk, skip….whatever.
I do it all the time.
Wiggle my fingers.
To remind me to wiggle my toes.
To remind me to relax my legs.
To remind me to release tension in my body.
To remind me to drop my shoulders, and breathe.

Wiggling my fingers is also an anchor.
Something that brings me back (anchors me) to the present moment.
My mind often wanders as I run – that’s part of the reason I do it.
However, another reason is to really be inside of my body.
Connected. Listening to what it’s telling me.
Wiggle your fingers.
It reminds me to be here now.
So I’m telling you ~ wiggle your fingers, or find something to bring you back to present.
What will anchor you?

Move more, not less.

Recently, as I was teaching a Chi Walking class, we were doing an exercise – sitting up in a chair by solely using the core muscles (rather than the legs or glutes, etc.).
From the back I heard, “I can buy a chair that will do this for me”.
ummmmm……yeah.

Yes. Yes, you could.
But that’s not the point.

You can buy a chair that will force you into “good” posture.
Or buy a back brace to take the pressure of your belly off of your back.
Inserts for your shoes.
A people mover or wheel chair so you never really have to walk ever again.

Again, that’s not the point.

When you search for something outside of your body to “help” you move less, you’re compensating (and likely, exacerbating a problem). You’re treating a symptom – and don’t be surprised if another one shows up.

If you can, move on your own steam, with what you’ve got.
If you have a pain or ache, that’s your body “speaking” to you.
Listen.
Don’t look for a remedy outside of your body – not yet.
Start within, make an adjustment and move from there.
Move more. Not less.

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.