Wednesday, December 23, 2009
We are so fortunate to have been born into a country where we are free. Though all of humanity possesses free will, not everyone is lucky enough to live in a country having a government, culture and society that allows its citizens to actually live freely. Still, many of us have surrendered our right to exercise free will by, consciously or unconsciously, choosing to live our lives by others’ rules and wishes. It is my belief that this specific issue is at the root of many people’s suffering. Just as at one time I forgot that I have a choice, so have millions of others. As we move into another new year, many of us reflect on our current lives and what we can do to improve them in the coming years. I suggest tuning into your heart and spending a little time figuring out what it is that you genuinely desire. Set all others’ opinions and wants aside and let surface what YOUR heart truly wants. You are not a bad person for having personal wants and desires, in fact, it is to a large degree why you have come forth, to offer your personal perspective and desire. You have a unique and individual life to live, dreams to fulfill and purpose for being here. If you sacrifice your desires by always living the desires of others, you will never feel satisfied, on course and authentic. You will have lived YOUR life for someone else who, by the way, has his or her own life to create and live.
Choice is a precious gift and not one to be taken lightly. Becoming the authentic YOU that you have come forth to be requires living from a place where your personal heart’s desire is honored first. We have all heard the saying, “Take care of yourself first and by doing so you will have unlimited energy to give to others” but how many of us actually live by this? Very few, from what I have seen, and that is very sad indeed. If you have wondered why you often feel unhappy, unsatisfied or even resentful that you don’t have the joy in your life you innately know you should have, consider the choices you make for they may very well be the culprit. We are quick to blame others, our circumstances and events for stealing our joy. But I have found, after careful evaluation, I am the only one who can be blamed for my misery. After all, I am the one in charge of my thoughts, my decisions and how I am feeling...only me. I end up being the common denominator in all of my life’s circumstances and events.
What continues to excite and uplift me is that it is never too late to start taking better care of myself, to weigh out my choices and to choose from my personal heart’s desire, TRUSTING that when I do, it is always for everyone’s highest good. The holidays present us with unlimited opportunities to either cave into the demands of others or to make decisions based on what our hearts know is right for us. To truly live life, we must follow our joy, and there is no time like the present to start. Be the conscious free will being you came forth to be and experience a life that is full, happy and satisfying...Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy fitness.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
First let me stress that not all Resist-a-balls are created equal. What you want is an ‘anti-burst proof’ product. Some of the less expensive balls do not have this feature which means that should your ball come in contact with, say, your cat’s claw, and then you go ahead and train on the ball, it could blow right out from under you. An anti-burst will always deflate slowly and will prevent you from taking a sudden fall on your backside. This is very important. Secondly, most balls come with a list, including pictures, of sample exercises. Don’t forget to search the Internet as well.
We all want to strengthen the ‘core’, the front and back of our torsos. Truly, the Resist-a-ball is an outstanding prop for working this area of the body. To position yourself safely to perform most abdominal exercises, begin by sitting on the ball facing a wall, approximately 3-4 feet away. The wall will provide security and an anchor for your feet, not mandatory but most find it reassuring. Now, place you hands on the ball directly next to your hips and begin to walk your feet toward the wall. As you do, begin to lie back allowing the ball to gradually roll up your spine, you are now lying out flat with the ball positioned at the small of your back. Your buttock muscles should be forward of the ball slightly, to assure that your back receives full ball support. This too is very important. The true beauty of the ball is the increased range of motion that it provides. In other words, while lying on the floor you can only move from flat into a contracted curl or turn opposite elbow toward opposite knee but still, in a fairly limited arching range. On the ball, you can begin and finish each exercise by laying all the way back extending your spine up to 30% further. What this translates into is the potential for gaining stronger abdominal muscles at the insertion or head of the muscle. Typically the heads (where the muscles attach to the tendons, which in turn attach to the bone) of our muscles are weaker because the body is so smart that it knows to do the bulk of its work through small ranges, allowing the belly of the muscles (where we are strongest) to work, leaving the heads weak and at risk for injury. The ball is a great way to assure strength throughout the full length of your abdominal muscles. 1.) Keep the head cradled in your clasped hands, fully supporting your head and gaze back slightly with your eyes to maintain a neutral neck. Be sure you have extended back onto the ball as far as your back will comfortably allow. Take a full inhale and as you begin your exhale start to curl forward contracting the full length of the front of your torso. Depending on your fitness level you may be capable of curling all the way up past vertical into full spinal flexion BUT you may need to work up to that. It will come with practice and increased strength. Repeat in whatever range you can manage, keeping the neck neutral the entire time, for 10-30 repetitions. 2.) Next, begin in the same position but as you exhale and curl, rotate at the waist moving your right elbow toward your opposing knee 10-30 times per side. In my next article I will offer several more options including targeting the dreaded lower pouch. I encourage you to work out seated on the ball sometimes. The core will be forced to work stabilizing the spine, good stuff.
This is a great Christmas gift, hint, hint. Happy fitness.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
This feels like an appropriate time of the year to bring attention to the amazing and wondrous lives we all live and to assist you in slowing down long enough to savor the miracles of being human. Thanksgiving is one my favorite times of the year because it reminds me to stop and appreciate the bounty I have created throughout the year thus far. It also causes me to feel tremendous gratitude for all the love and support that is ever-present. Take our bodies, for instance. Most of us move through our days without a conscious appreciation for what is transpiring within us 24/7. The simple act of breathing is a blessing and a miracle. With each breath you effortlessly draw, the lungs immediately synthesize the oxygen; removing it from the air you drew in, and then sends it into your bloodstream. Simultaneously the lungs extract the carbon dioxide from our blood, direct it into the lungs for exhalation, and rid that waste from the body. This is going on 6-10 times every minute and never falters or stops. The sheer act of taking a full, conscious breath, then slowly exhaling, can and is extremely pleasurable and well, it should be.
A similar, and equally wondrous, event takes place each and every time we ingest a meal or drink a glass of water. Our bodies are amazing, intelligent apparatuses and their ingenious design never fails to astound me. Another incredible capacity we often take for granted is our ability to heal. Think about what has to happen within your body to repair something as insignificant as a paper cut. That is a miracle in and of itself. How amazing it is that our bodies know exactly what hormones to release and how many white cells to send and red cells to bond and how to prevent an infection while that cut is open to all the possible contaminants that are out there. Truly a miracle when you stop and consider what the body can actually heal from; things like knee and hip replacements, open-heart surgeries and the list goes on. The body is such a gift.
Friday, December 04, 2009
From Louise Hay to Wayne Dyer to Bruce Lipton to Gregg Braden and many more, came a unique, awe-inspiring message. Yet they all had a consistent, common thread...love IS the answer. A topic of especially high interest was 2012, and Gregg Braden had one of the most powerful presentations I have ever witnessed. He brilliantly summarized this upcoming event, viewed through the eyes and ancient teachings of half a dozen indigenous peoples around the world. It is fascinating to think about our ancestors living through similar circumstances and realizing the mistakes--then leaving explicit directions for avoiding their blunders, all spelled out for our generation. Incredible. Though each of these very different cultures lived lives unique to themselves in vastly different parts of the world; they each left a similar set of guidelines, knowledge meant to assist us through the coming events. Their messages all spoke of the love, compassion and the need for a deep understanding of the necessity for us, as a species, to embrace all of humanity. Through this united path we will transcend and emerge a healthier, wiser and more evolved human family. The message is simply, “Choose love over all else. Release the fear, the urge to reject or alienate. As individuals, we are each single human cells in the greater body called humanity. We, as one united consciousness, need to harmoniously occupy this planet.” What a remarkable concept, one that I have heard many times but never in quite so clear a manner. Maybe we can hear this now because we finally have the ears to hear?
As we swiftly move into a new era on our planet, the numerous changes we are presently facing suddenly make sense and many of the puzzle pieces have slid perfectly into place. I highly recommend Gregg Braden’s newest book, Fractal Time should you want to gain a more complete understanding of his presentation. He was one of many presenters that have spent the last 2-3 decades gathering information, researching and studying diligently in order to provide clear guidance for those of us who are now feeling the call. Our own inner voices are asking us to remember who we are and where we want to go, both as individuals doing our best to expand and evolve, and as members of the entire human family. The feelings and voices calling us are those of a deep knowing, of excitement and a sense of urgency to seek clarity for priorities and to release what is no longer important.
It becomes easy and clear when you think in terms of: “I can choose either love or fear.” It is simple and takes all the confusion away. We, you, I ...we are lovers and when we choose worry, doubt, fear or hatred we suffer tremendously. Why? Because as energies continue to speed up on our planet, we no longer have the luxury of being sloppy with our thinking and our feelings. Our energies MUST be in harmony with out true nature, with love. Or we will swiftly be taken down with disease, disasters, and a multitude of difficulties. These are not punishments but rather guidance prodding us to remember who we are and why we are here at this pivotal time. The choice is yours...what do you choose? I choose love and I do so with my whole heart, mind and soul. Let us BE the change we wish to see and let us begin right now. Blessings on your path.