I mention frequently that I am always looking for the magic pill that will make me better – in what ever capacity I am chasing at the moment. I think I found it.
10 Deep Breaths.
I have had a breathing coach tell me that 10 deep breaths (in and out through your nose, full on diaphragm expanding breaths) helps you sleep better.
I just heard the other day some one else uses 10 deep breaths to savor those day to day moments even more.
Another trainer advised that they use 10 deep breaths post workout to calm their nervous system and go back out in the world in a calmer, collected state.
My recent practice of taking 10 deep breaths before I eat helps me slow down, pay attention and enjoy the food that is in front of me. It helps me eat less and enjoy more.
I invite you to try out this “magic pill” practice when you need to slow down, savor, refresh, relax, pause, sleep better or be more mindful.
Let me know what you think or share times when you find the 10 deep breaths practice especially useful.
As a coach and a regular worker-outer, I have seen and experienced my fair share of tears and deep disappointment post work out.
- It shouldn’t feel this hard. (Really? Why?)
- I wanted to quit the whole time. (But you didn’t.)
- I didn’t do what I wanted. (But you did SOMETHING, doesn’t that account for anything?)
- I can’t get (insert skill that you are wanting to have) right yet!! (Oh I am sorry, Have you been doing (pull ups, handstands, olympic lifts, double unders, etc) for years now and you don’t have them or did you just starting trying it a little bit ago so you are still practicing?)
Any of that seem familiar?
I have heard the saying that our minds are teflon for good experiences and velcro for bad.
On those workouts that just feel like shit for some reason and we are left feeling disappointed, teary, down on who we are – all we feel is the bad. We don’t acknowledge the good.
As I see it you have two options:
1) Beat the crap out of your self for not being good at anything – for being too out of shape, not strong enough, not fast enough, not whatever enough. Wallow in it.
2) Take a deep breath. Acknowledge that you had expectations of this workout and it didn’t go as planned. Acknowledge that EVERY ONE has good and bad training days and it is no assessment on you as a person.
Then take ANOTHER deep breath. Start thinking about what went right and what you are grateful for in this moment. Here are some hints that might help you out:
- You made it THROUGH the workout (or maybe you quit. Who cares! You came in a tried something!)
- Your body allowed you to move and be active today. (Meaning you are alive another day and you are not bedridden).
- You are breathing.
- You are thinking.
- Your muscles are responding.
- Your joints are working (or at least maybe many of them!)
- You are ALIVE for another day to do things that you love to do…like exist and lift heavy shit.
Change your perspective. Love who you are. Love your training – even the hard, boring, “it should be different” days.
Recently, I asked a group of women to share one thing that they loved about themselves.
There was some silence. Some murmurs of “I have no idea” “I need more time to think.”
I am guessing if I asked you to name something about your best friend, significant other, workout partner, etc you would be quick to start shouting out things that you loved.
Why is it we can’t do that as easily or openly about what we love about ourselves?
Just so you don’t think I am casting stones at others, I even noticed that when it was my turn to share, I suddenly felt awkward and it was hard to get my words out. I thought ‘Oh my, am I bragging? Am I talking too much about myself? IS IT OK FOR ME TO SAY THIS?!?’
YES IT IS OK!! I think like learning to accept a friggin’ complement. Learning to own and share what you love about you takes practice. So do it! Own it! KNOW what you love about yourself. You certainly know what you don’t love, shift that beautiful focus on to the parts of yourself that you know radiate and bring you strength and peace and happiness.
What I love about me:
- I am a damn good and loyal friend. I work on taking care of the important relationships in my life. It is what makes my life meaningful and worth while.
- I love being a cheerleader, advocate and source of strength when people don’t (yet!) believe in themselves.
- I love that I love working out. It takes very little motivation for me to get to the gym most days.
- I love that l love to learn for myself and to connect others with information that hopefully makes their life better.
- I love that my eyes change colors some times.
- I love that with out working on them I get GIGANTIC traps.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOU?!?!?!?
You are awesome.
You are worthy of being strong.
You are worthy of being healthy.
You are worthy of being happy. NOW.
You are worthy of the space you take up.
You have value.
Your voice has power. Speak up. Its ok to ask for what you want. Its ok to live life the way you want to even if that looks different from what ever one else is doing.
However you are exactly right now in this moment is perfect.
In December 2013, I participated in the TedXRVA Women’s event in Richmond, VA.
I was so thrilled to be a part of this event. How powerful to be included in a group full of amazing women with fabulous stories to tell. How exciting to be in a room full of people willingly wanting to have the deeper conversations. Really just an experience I will never forget and deeply grateful to be a part of.
My talk was on the power of the scale. How for some of us it can dictate what kind of day we will have and how we feel about ourselves. There is another way.
Here is the video to the talk here.
Would love to hear your feed back on the talk and what your experience with the scale is.
I want to be put on a food plan.
No I don’t.
Wait! Yes, I do! Some one tell me what and when to eat!
No, I know what to do!
WAIT! I am not making progress fast enough! I need some one to tell me and it will be THE magical solution!!
(Is that familiar to any one besides me? :D )
Dan John has said that moderation isn’t sexy. It doesn’t sell.
I agree with his statement BUT I think in this life of extremes, moderation is the better story.
Better? Is that the right word? Maybe more realistic?
- What sounds better, the months that you did day after day of crazy, exhausting stuff in the gym only to be burned out and injured in a few months or that you did something every day- showed up consistently worked the five basics of human movement and had energy at the end to be awesome in other area of your life outside the gym?
- What sounds better that I held it together for a few months of a crazy defined random rules diet and maybe got some spectacular results but then binged and lost control once I got through that and gained all the weight back versus consistently maximizing eating what I like AND makes me feel good and perform well, maximizing eating when I am hungry and minimizing eating when I am not?
I some times feel apologetic that I am not doing more EXTREME things for not trying to work out MORE or paleo HARDER. Even though I panic some times and still struggle with wanting things to be different, I am happier finding my own way, figuring out what works best for me and keeping a balance with it all.
I lift a couple of times a week. I walk and stand as often as I can. I eat proteins, carbs and fats through out the day – food that fuels me and tastes good. Its a new approach but I feel good and am making the kinds of progress that I want to see… albeit slowly. Sexy and steady.
What is your story?
Me and my moderate self finding happiness in the sunshine and grass
I have discussed on my blog previously that I some times struggle with depression.
Depression. I guess that it is the word for it. It makes appearances in my lift now and then. I get bouts of real lows, big sadness for no apparent reason. Illogically, it makes me angry that I go through this. I rant and rave that its not fair, that I should feel differently and it really puts me in anguish to spend a minute of my precious life moments feeling this way. It feels as though I am wasting life time away.
In talking to friends this weekend about being in this space, a friend of mine says its hard to remember that in all of those gray clouds there is blue sky beyond it. Meaning of course that it all will pass eventually and things will be better. I added, “and it does no good to sit there and yell at the clouds.”
Which I do.
I don’t know how many times I will need to learn the lesson of allowing what is to just be. Suffice to say it will be a lot. I know when I am calmer and just allow what ever is, to just be…its better….even if that means I don’t feel better in the moment. The ranting and raving and yelling against what I am feeling does nothing but dig me in deeper and wasting a lot of energy.
I don’t know that I can articulate yet the difference between wallowing and allowing. I often picture inviting the depression, the sadness, the anger to tea, sitting with it, allowing it and investigating with kindness (Thank you to both Rumi and Tara Brach for those tools!). As odd as that might sound, it allows me space between the sadness and myself. That space allows me to breathe and not be consumed by it all.
So. Here is to more practice and inviting it all to tea. :)
Stop with the I can’t.
“I can’t fit in these pants.”
“I can’t be happy at this weight.”
“I can’t find time to do what I love”
“I can’t do anything about my stress in my life.”
What CAN you do today?
Pick ONE little change to work on and to master to make your life better.
Getting more protein. A 10 minute walk. A bed time routine that doesn’t include a smartphone or other electronics. 1 minute of deep breathing several times a day. Anything! Start small. Love who you are.
You get so many opportunities to make the choice to love yourself or not, to treat yourself with kindness or meanness.
The opportunity to practice literally comes at you in every moment:
Each bite of food.
Each touch of your stomach and wishing it were different.
Each glance in the mirror.
Each step on the scale.
Each time you button your pants or pull on a shirt.
Each time your head touches the pillow.
With each thought that you wake with.
Each time you look at a body you envy.
Each time you hear a compliment.
Each time you hear disparaging remarks.
Each time you get “helpful” advice.
Each time you move your body in ways that you love.
Each time when it doesn’t feel good to move your body.
With each breath.
With each moment.
So many times to make a choice. Remember it is always a choice. Even when it feels awkward or fake at first. The more you do it the better you get so PRACTICE often!!
Sacred seems to be an important word for me at the moment.
It all started when the I saw a picture in the Eat The Food group that talked about eating being a sacred activity.
Then I bought some sheets and they included a little print that said sleep is sacred and so are you.
It got my brain turning. I wanted to try and bring that feeling of “sacred” to as many moments as I could. To the gym, to running errands, to getting coffee, to those mundane moments in life. It’s those kinds if moments that make up most of our life time. And one day they will stop. There will be a last time we chat with some one, drive that certain route, go through that check out line, experience everything that we currently experience. So I want to savor it, ALL of it.
When I say sacred, for me, I don’t mean religious or super naturally divine, but special and awe-inspiring in its own right. It takes being present and open in THIS moment.
So bringing the sacred to the day to day will be one of my practices for 2014. ️