You’ve Got Permission

Don’t wait to be chosen. Don’t wait to be asked.
You’ve got permission…

To sleep in. To be grumpy, or send love far and wide. To eat in a way that serves your body, no matter what the diet says. Relax. To take a break. Say hell yes!! or NO. To NOT be busy. You have permission.

You’ve got permission to run far and fast. Or slow. Down the block. Walk for a stretch. Breathe. Dance, or move – groove even – in a way that soothes your soul. Take your time. Look at the clouds. Be late.
You have permission.

You’ve got permission to say what you think. To talk back. To be bold. Or hang in the corners. Sing out loud. Learn more. Fail, and fall. Get back up. You have permission to not be good.

You’ve got permission. It’s your turn.
What will you do?

Mind Body Exercise is Not Limited to a Mat.

When you think of mind-body exercise, do you think of yoga?  Pilates?
Something on a mat, in a room, with the focus on breathing or alignment?
It doesn’t have to be that way.

That mind-body connection can be established with any exercise.
Slow moving, or getting your ass kicked.
Crossfit. TRX. Trail Running. Bootcamp. Road Racing. Cycling.
You name it, you can be present with in it.
And in fact, when you do, you lessen the probability of injury, and deepen the exercise.

Take your next workout and pay attention.
What is your body telling you?

Inside out.

These days, we are pretty well trained to look outside of ourselves for answers to our problems.

Shoes hurt? You might need inserts – custom made. Or new shoes.
Back pain? A back brace is always an option, pain killers, or even surgery.
Health issues? Diet. Exercise. Pills.

What if you the first place you looked was in?
Before the fancy new (expensive) inserts, or the back brace, or the stringent diet plan?
What if you started with you?
What if you adjusted how you move, how you eat, how you think, how you live?
Before you head out to fix your problems, go in.
Inside, then outside, upside down.

Shoes? What kind of shoes “should” I wear?

This is a question I get asked a lot.  So here are my thoughts:

Vary your shoes. Different shoes will allow the muscles in your feet to work in a variety of ways. This includes going barefoot. Walk barefoot at home, and when you can, kick your shoes off outside. Walk barefoot (or in socked feet) over gravel, bigger rocks, a sandy beach. This might be uncomfortable, but it’s great practice to strengthen those feet.

Wear the most minimal that you can get away with in any situation, most of the time.

Find a pair of shoes that look similar to the shape of your feet. Ones that allow your toes to spread out and have some room.   Socks are important too.  Make sure that your socks fit your feet, and allow for room to wiggle!

Minimize your time in heels. **Heels are any shoe with the heel higher than the toe bed. *** You can’t go from a built out shoe to a minimal shoe over night. This takes time, otherwise it will cause injury. The muscles in your feet need time to adapt and strengthen – remember the golden rule:  gradual progress. 

Bend the shoe you’re about to buy.  Can you bend you it?  Does it flex?  Your foot does, so take that into consideration.  Also, if you can, take out the insole.  Place your foot on that and ensure that your foot fits inside the lines all the way around – even better if you’ve got a little wiggle room.

Wear shoes that feel good. End of story.

Shoes to check out:  Lems.  Altras.  Skora.

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?

Pattern Check!

What are your patterns?

Pattern (noun) ~ a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, etc. forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement.

We all have them.
The route you take to work every day.
The way in which you exercise.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner.
How you start or end your day.


What are your patterns?

This past January, I realized that I had been running the same route (for the most part) on almost every run.  As I was about to begin training for a longer race, I decided to mix it up.  I joined a local group on a weekend run and ran through a totally new neighborhood not far from where I live.  This rocked my running regime.  I concocted all sorts of new routes of varying lengths, all because of one run.

This not only changed the energy in my movement, but opened up creative energy in other places ~ how I fuel my body, the projects I’ve been working on, the creative flow in my life.

I loved it so much, I’ve made pattern checks a check in every three months.
And it’s that time.

In addition to asking myself, I’m asking you:
What are your patterns?
How are they serving you?  or not?
Is it time to shake something up?
Or be more consistent?
Take a good look at how you move through your day.
Notice your patterns, and change one thing.
Leave a comment below and share what you’re shifting.
I’d love to know!

In tireless pursuit of growth.

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

You have permission.

How’s your body today?  Take a moment and check it out.
When was the last time you had a massage?
I saw this infographic, and read that 16% of adult Americans received a massage in a year’s time.  16%?!?!

Now I know, that during that same amount of time, those people that drive cars filled them with gas.  They had the oil changed every so often, and when the engine light came on, drove straight to a mechanic.

Why wouldn’t you do the same for your body?

If food is fuel, consider a massage an oil change.
Massages release tension.  They relax and normalize soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments), increase circulation and boost the immune system ~ see the infographic here for even more benefits.  

A massage is preventative care for your body.  Taking care of it today, so you can stay out on the road of life, doing the things that you love to do.
So I wanted to remind you, that you have permission to take care of your body.
You have permission to take care of you.
Just in case you forgot.
This is just as important, if not more so, as taking care of your car.
If massage isn’t your thing, find something that is (yoga, mediation, foam rolling, etc.).

Your body is the most important instrument you own.
How will you care for it today?