Relax

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.

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.

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.

Rest.

A day of rest.
Rest is important for many reasons, and has many benefits.
It melts stress.  Sharpens creativity.  Allows for deep breathing.  Can improve relationships.
Gives us space to think (or not!).

But by rest, I don’t mean lie on the couch and watch tv, or hike a mountain or simply take a break from work.
The tv stimulates the brain and doesn’t allow you to truly shut down.
Also, you can rest and still move – but hiking a mountain or other strenuous activities don’t give the body a true break.

Today, find an activity that allows you to rest. To rejuvenate. To relax and take a break.
Shut off the tv. Power down the computer. Hide your phone for an hour or two.
Go for a walk in nature.  Listen to your surroundings.  See the colors.  Smell the air.
Curl up on the couch and take a nap.
Cuddle with your dog.
Play with your kids.
Sit in silence.
Do some yoga.

Rest, and be at ease.

Move more, not less.

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

Be present when you breathe.

Breathing.
It’s very easy to take for granted.  An automatic reaction – something we don’t even have to think about.
It’s often over-looked, yet so vital to our optimal health.
What if you considered breathing a practice?

If you sit at a desk for hours on end, your breath is likely shallow.  Your posture slumped.  If you can, set a timer every hour to remind you to sit up.  Lengthen your spine, drop your shoulders and take a deep breath.  Even better – get up and move.  A quick walk around the office, or the block will do your mind and body some good.

When you exercise, notice your breath.  If you find yourself getting short of breath, fully exhale.  Push everything out, and allow the inhale to happen naturally.

Taking a deep breath brings you to the present, and allows you to hit “pause” if only for a moment.

Notice how you breathe throughout the day.
Be present, and aim to go deep.

Move more, not less.

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

Breathe.

You’ve been breathing since you were born.
It’s something that you do approximately 20,000 times a day.  20,000 times.
When was the last time you thought about how you did it?
Likely, not often – unless you’ve struggled for a breath or two.

Most people use only 20% of their lung capacity, taking short, shallow breaths.
How do you breathe?
Pay particular attention when you’re focusing, trying something new, distracted or worried.
Ever have to remind yourself to breathe???

Here’s an exercise to try.  A little somethin’ somethin’ to get you breathing into your belly.

** this is an exercise from Moving Evolution, soon to be re-released!
inhale, exhale.

Move more, not less.

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

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.

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.