Have you ever heard the saying, "You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything?" There is truth behind that!! What do you stand for? Let's try stand for ourSelf for just a moment. Sometimes the most challenging pose we can do is root down into the earth to find our balance. First, start with your feet about hip distance apart. You may need to go slightly wider, depending on your body. Explore how it feels in your body to ground down through the 3 main points (Let's call it the Foot Trinity) where your feet make contact - the base of the big toe, the base of the pinkie toe, and the heel. Really root down here! Spread your toes wide and find your Foot Trinity once again. Refine your alignment by putting a microbend in your knees and bringing your pelvis into 'neutral', meaning you are not tucking the tailbone OR tooching your booty. Bring the shoulder blades together and down the back, and bring the chin down and back ever so slightly. Arms should be down at your side. How do you feel? My guess is this may feel awkward in your body, because we tend not to stand like this in everyday life. Play around with this posture and reconnect to the present moment, breathing in and out through the nose. Congratulations!! You just discovered Mountain Pose, also known in yoga as Tadasana!!
HALT. Right now, are you feeling...
L onely or
So many times we lose our tempers with people because we don't understand the feelings that become so overwhelming in our bodies. By doing a SYSTEM CHECK, and looking at the reason WHY we might be behaving in a certain way, we can usually come back to one of these reasons. The irritability that any one of these feelings can bring, can send us into overload. A situation that we all find ourselves in, from time to time. So, what do we do about it when we implement our SYSTEM CHECK and find our tummy growling, in need of some food? We open our 'mindful toolbox' and pull out a breathing exercise that will at least calm our body down enough to communicate our needs to someone. In a case of the hungry tummy, I am going to suggest deep belly breathing to try and calm down all the growling that is likely going on in there. Lets try this...
Coming into a comfortable cross legged position, grow your spine nice and tall and let your eyes close. Take a nice deep breath in through your nose, feeling the cool air enter your nostrils. Your belly will expand just like a balloon. Notice how that feels. As you exhale, see if you can tell if the air is warm or cool, at the tip of your nose. Do this 5 times, paying attention to your belly expanding as you breath in, and sinking as you breath out. How do you feel? I hope your body and your mind have come into a calm space, where you can now communicate your feelings in a healthy way. If you're still feeling frazzled, add a few more rounds of deep belly breaths. Keep it up!! You're doing a great job!
*Dr.'s Mitch Abblett and Chris Willard are clinical psychologists, authors and teach both nationally and internationally on mindfulness, positive psychology and psychotherapy. They designed a 52 card deck of mindfulness practices called Growing Mindful. In this deck, they discussed the SYSTEM CHECK, H.A.L.T. It was so great, I wanted to share it with all of you!
Notice sensations (or even emotions) right now in your...
What is happening? Where is it happening? Why is it happening? How can we change what is happening in our body? Asking yourself these questions after doing our C.A.L.M. Feelings body scan can help to identify a way to make everything you're feeling go away! By always coming back to our breath, we allow our mind and body to relax and slow itself down. Now might be a good time to practice using an 'anchor word' or words. Let your eyes close here, and try saying "breathing in" and "breathing out" as you inhale and exhale. Focus your attention on the rise and fall of your belly, expanding as you inhale and sinking in as you exhale. Let's see if we can lengthen our breath... "Breathing in, 2, 3, 4" and "Breathing out, 2, 3, 4". Keep this up until you feel your body begin to relax. Great job!! Hope this simple practice and awareness can bring overall well-being to your life.
I remember several years back, to when my son's epileptologist (a fancy name for a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy) told me that the best treatment for his seizure disorder would be yoga and meditation. Because Logan's kind of seizures are non-epileptic, meaning it was caused by something other than epilepsy (hello anxiety, nice to meet you), we couldn't use the usual medications to treat him. If I knew then, what I know now, we would have started this practice long ago. But, we can't go back. We can only move forward, and I can only speak to what I know...and that is this - yoga, mindfulness, and meditation have completely changed our lives. I never set out with the intention to teach other children or parents, that just happened. I hope that through my knowledge and experiences, I can help families support each other in a different way.
So, what is support? Why is it important? How do we offer it to others? What words come to mind when we think about it? These words come to mind for me: strength, stability, courage, healing, motivation, success, and balance.
- bear the weight of; hold up
- give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act
- Nearly everyone will experience anxiety, a sense of worry, or strong feelings and emotions at some point during their day. But, for some of us, it's something that can affect our daily functioning and send us into OVERLOAD!!! This isn't something that we can handle on our own. We need support to help us become successful.
- We can offer support to others just by asking them what they need and letting them know that we will be standing beside them when and if they need us.
- Imaging building a house. Where do we start? At the foundation, right? IF we started at the top, what would we have to support our roof? Nothing. It would simply crumble to the ground. Yoga and mindfulness is exactly the same. If we can't build a solid foundation, we have nothing to support us, and we fall. In our practice, and in our life, we need to find strength and stability to build upon. That is how we continue to grow and succeed. Let's build a strong foundation... Because, isn't it all about finding our own strength? I feel that when I am strong in my body, I feel strong in the world. I can then 'bear the weight' of more responsibility and more stress, without becoming overloaded. Let's support each other in finding our strength. We are all capable. We are all worthy. We are all creative. Now, we can all be strong!!!