MoveMeant Challenge

MoveMeant Challenge 2016 is open!

If you’re anything like me, at this point in the year, your inbox is inundated with information about New Years Resolutions.
How they don’t work, or don’t. Eight steps to make them work, or a plan to keep you on track.
Which is all great, and yet, I’ve never been one to make resolutions.
It’s not that I don’t like them – I LOVE goals, but I’ve found that resolutions don’t inspire me.
For years, I’ve set challenges for myself.
I’ve had years where I chose one focus (that tends to bore me…but good learning!), and years where I chose as many challenges as candles on my cake (had to stop that at 30…).
Last year, I decided to share this practice with others and created the MoveMeant Challenge.
MoveMeant, for the body and mind, the entire year through.
Move-Meant = movement with intention.

This year, my movemeant consists of four challenges, and the underlying theme: Nurture.

My 2016 MoveMeant Challenges:

Make Yoga a Practice (at least twice a week). For years I’ve wanted to practice yoga. To do it as more than occasional class. This is the year I make that happen. I still intend to see how I can push my body, and perhaps drop my race times, but I’ll recover more mindfully on the mat, nurturing my body and my mind all at the same time.

Hamstrings! ~ Did I mention that I like to run? A LOT in fact, and my ham strings are tight. My intention is to learn about them, and hopefully loosen them up with that yoga practice and some stability work. Nurturing my body, and perhaps unlocking some mobility.

Read 12 Actual Books ~ an email I received listed a challenge of reading 52 books this year….that my friends, is insane (for me). I love to read. LOVE IT. But my book reading has diminished since having kids. The past 5 years I might have averaged 3-4 books a year. I listen to books on cd all of the time, but I don’t count those (don’t ask).  So the goal: nurture my mind with one book a month. *Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

Commute with Kindness. Ahhh….Driving in Seattle – which just implies traffic. And crazy “nice” Seattle drivers (stop for EVERY pedestrian, can’t figure out a four way stop, etc). Just thinking about it creates tension in my body. I consider myself a nice person. Compassionate even, but I get in a car and I lose it, with my kids in the back telling me, “mama, you shouldn’t have said that”. Yes, yes I know. And so this year: nurturing my soul (and those around me) with a kind commute. Go ahead and cut me off. I’m going to send you nothing but love.

If you’re inclined, I’d love for you to join me in the challenge.
I will occasionally be sharing my journey on this blog, and welcome your comments as we move through this year.

How will you move through 2016?

Breathe More Deeply.

Breathing.  Something you’ve done every day since birth.
In fact, you take approximately 20,000 breaths each day.
How do you breathe?
Unless you’ve struggled for a breath or two, you likely don’t think much about it.
And yet, the benefits of a deep breath are many:

  • it releases toxins
  • assists in weight control
  • relaxes tension & relieves pain
  • relaxes the mind & body, & brings clarity

I could go on, but I think you get the idea: a deep breath is good for you.
How do you breathe?
If you’re staring at a screen, your breath is probably shallow.
And if you’ve been in front of that screen for any length of time, check your posture.
When we sit for hours in front of a screen (t.v., computer, phone, etc.), we are unlikely to take a deep breath.  This particular disease has been called Screen or Email Apnea. Attention is focused elsewhere, and posture is typically slumped.  Arms out, shoulders forward, lungs compressed. Breath, shallow.
Lengthen that spine.  Drop those shoulders, and fully exhale.

That’s the challenge this week:  Breathe more deeply.
As often as you can, consciously take a deep breath.
Notice what expands.  What moves the most as you breathe?  (you can’t get this wrong)
Set a timer for once an hour.  Develop a breathing practice.  Get outside and get some fresh air. Doesn’t matter how you do it, aim to breathe deeply as you move through your day.

Breathing is a fundamental part of living ~ do it well.

breathe in, breathe out.
go deep.

Some resources for breathing:
The Art & Science of Breath with Dr. Andrew Weil
Belly Breathing Practice
Eighteen benefits of deep breathing

How can this be more fun?

That’s the challenge, and the question.
How can this be more fun?
Doesn’t matter what “this” is.
The middle of the work week.  Exercise in the rain.  A date. That Monday meeting.  A road trip.  The afternoon melt down.  Studying.  Lunch alone.  Dinner with relatives.  Your commute.  Saturday.  Cooking.

Whether you’re currently having fun, or not.
How can this be more fun?  

This is my question of the moment.
I know that I have a tendency to be focused on my to do list, and getting things done.  I can get lost in the every day details of life, and lose sight of the fact that this is all supposed to be fun – because if it’s not fun, why do it??
Whether it’s work, or exercise, or taking the kids to school.
How can this be more fun?  
Periodically ask yourself throughout the day – especially when what you’re doing isn’t so fun, or you need a little energy.  How can this be more fun?

What will you do?  Please, share it on facebook or instagram, or reply in the comments below.
Have more fun. On purpose.

Feel the Ground

How often do you think about feeling the ground beneath you?
How does your foot land as you move?  What does it feel like as you stand still?

Right now, take a minute and stand up.   Stand as you typically do.
Feel the ground beneath you. 
Where is your weight distributed?
Are you on your heels?  Or more toward the toes?  Feel any tension?
Do you clench your toes?  Do your shoes allow you to feel the ground?
(if not, that’s ok – you might slip them off for a second, and then limit your time in those shoes)
Sway on your feet until you find a stable position (not on the heel, and not on the toes, evenly distribute your weight).   Wiggle your toes.
Lengthen your spine, exhale and connect to the earth. 

Why would you do this?
Most of us use our feet all day long (even if you sit at desk), and yet we don’t pay them a whole lot of attention.
You might have even acquired some bad habits over the years, and thus made compensations further up the chain.  How you stand on your feet can affect your ankles, legs, hips, etc.

This week, notice how you connect to the ground.  Catch yourself as you run or walk, stand still or move slowly. Where do you stand on your feet?  Can you distribute the weight evenly?  Where does your foot primarily land as you move?  Do you roll over your big toe, or outward?
Be curious, relax and aim to feel the ground.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Why the MoveMeant “Challenge”?

Why the MoveMeant “challenge”?
Why not a mission? Or revolution? Or way?
That’s a good question, and the program could really be any of those things.
Plus, challenge seems soooo negative or competitive, right?
Wrong.
I think we often challenge gets a bad rap, and most people tend to shy away from it.
Like it’s this difficult thing to merely survive or get through.
A challenge can be that, but it doesn’t have to be.

challenge (noun) something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.

I want the MoveMeant challenge to be a call to a special effort.
Your special effort.

I LOVE a challenge. I want to see what I can do while I’m here – and I want you to join me.
We don’t all have to do the same thing.
Challenges come in many forms, shapes and sizes.
Success isn’t guaranteed. And that’s the beauty of it.
Getting out of your comfort zone.
Seeing what you can and can’t do. Getting support from others that are challenging themselves.
Learning. Making adjustments and trying again. Or doing something new entirely.
To be challenged, and perhaps changed by that challenge.
Too often we live on auto-pilot, doing the same things day in and day out.
(I know that I have been guilty of that)
The MoveMeant Challenge is here to shake that up.
To challenge you to weave health into your every day.
To push the limits of what you think you can do (because you can always do more…), or challenge you to slow it down and take it all in.

Choose to be uncomfortable.
Join the MoveMeant Challenge today.