mindful movement

What Are You Saying Yes To?

Yes ~ (verb) to give an affirmative reply to; give assent or approval to.

I recently listened to the book, “The Year of Yes”, by Shonda Rhimes.  To be honest, I didn’t really want to read it.  I figure that I say yes quite a bit, and don’t need any more.  BUT, I wanted to see what all of the hype was about, and I’m glad I did.  First off, she’s hilarious – I love it when the author actually reads for their audio book.  And secondly, it was really good.  You see, she not only says yes, but examines, and gets underneath, what she’s saying yes to.

It’s one thing to say yes to invitations to speak, or to parties, or a date.  It’s another entirely to examine your habits – your life – and determine what you’re saying yes to.  It’s got me thinking about my “yes”.  What am I saying yes to???

In the book, one example that sticks out, is that she discovered she was saying yes to being fat.  Which is all well and good if you’re happy with that.  But if you are happy with it, own it.  No more complaining , or self deprecation.  Buy the expandable seatbelt for the plane and OWN it.  Or, if that doesn’t work, say Yes to being healthy and begin to make change.  It’s not going to be easy.  You’re likely not going to love every step of the way, but in the end, it feels better and will be worth it.

The whole idea being: do less of what’s good for you, and more of what feels good.
This is a motto I can totally get behind.

And the yes doesn’t have to be huge.  Start small.
If you say yes to happy hour, you’re saying no to your trip to the gym or that evening run around the lake.  Saying yes to sleeping in, could mean skipping meditation and the morning walk with your dog.  It might mean rushing through your morning, rather than ease in getting to work.  And none of this is bad – but know what you’re saying yes to.
You have the choice.

With that in mind, what will you say yes to today?

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?

MoveMeant Challenge is Now Open For Registration.

MMC2015Do you have a health or fitness goal you’d like to achieve in 2015?
If you’re like many people, you’ve got in mind a few resolutions or goals for the upcoming year.
AND, if you’re like most, those resolutions will be dropped and mostly forgotten by March.
The average person sets the same resolution ten years in a row.

This year, don’t be average – join the Movemeant Challenge.
Gain support, accountability, community, and a little push to not only achieve your goal, but to weave health into your every day.

For more details and to register go here.

Move. you are meant to.

Where are you holding back?

We all do it – so be honest, where do you hold back?

Not saying what you really think.
Not going as fast or as far as you can or lifting as much as you could.
Not stepping out on that limb.
Not asking the next question (do you really want the answer?)
Not playing full on.


I notice it for myself on the run (surprise!).  When I’m by myself I fall into a gait that’s easy.  That’s comfortable.  Then I glance at my watch and flip out – because what’s become comfortable ain’t fast.  And not that it always has to be fast – but here’s what I’ve noticed:  When I push myself to run a little bit harder, a little bit faster, it doesn’t take that much more effort (or time).  I don’t usually breathe any harder and don’t feel like I’m going to die. 

Mostly, I have to pay more attention.  I have to be on my game, and step out of my comfort zone, to get me that much closer to my goal, (and getting home faster).  Nothing major – baby steps in fact.  

And if I’m holding back here, there’s got to be other areas.  So I look at the rest of my day – where else do I hold back?  Do I fall into what’s comfortable?  Do I operate on cruise? 

And so I ask you:  where do you hold back?
Take a gander.  You do it.  Admit it. 
Push your comfort zone today.

move.  you are meant to.

Three easy ways to move with intention.

Do you move with intention?
If you’re thinking, “What in the hell is that?”, you’re not alone.

Intention (noun) ~ the end or object intended; purpose.

Moving with intention is essentially the same as moving with purpose.
Do you move with purpose?
I believe that the answer to that question, more often than not, is no.
Most of us live life from the shoulders up.  Ignoring our bodies and using distraction to get through.
Putting the ear buds in and tuning out, rather than in.

Why not try something new, and move with intention?  Here are three easy ways to begin:

1) Move. Our society makes it incredibly easy to move very little throughout the day – so much so, that we spend hundreds of dollars every year on exercise. While I love mixing up my exercise routine and I’m not against the gym, it’s as simple as moving your body. Park further away. Take the stairs. Return the shopping cart to the store. Walk down the hall, instead of sending that email.  Let it be easy. Intend to move.

2) Unplug. Unplug for two reasons. The first being that when you’re “plugged in” – you lose a sense (or two). Listening to music/chatting on the phone impairs your ability to hear other things. It also can impair your ability to see – or at least be present. You’re not truly engaged with your surroundings. You can’t hear that bike coming up behind you, or see the cross walk sign.  And, you miss some of the joy of movement in your lack of presence.  The second reason is that your body will fall in line to the cadence of whatever you’re listening to. Slow songs = slow cadence (think longer time on each foot) and faster songs = faster cadence (think less time on each foot, thus less chance for injury).
You don’t have to unplug all of the time, but the more aware of your movement and your surroundings, the better.

3) Use pain as an indicator. Most people feel pain and they do one of two things: stop or push it away/ignore it. Pain is simply an indication: you’re doing something wrong. Adjust. Now, obviously, if it’s acute and severe pain, stop. But if your knee starts to hurt, or your foot is cramping – adjust. Shorten your stride. Wiggle your toes. If you back hurts, get up and walk around.  See if you can make the pain go away. Pain ignored becomes some sort of “~itis” (plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, etc.) or if it’s pushed away for long enough, some sort of surgery. Don’t go that far. Use pain as an indication to adjust.

You’ve moved mindlessly for long enough – it’s time to tune in.  How do you move, or sit still?
Move with intention.

What’s holding you back?

What’s holding you back?
I’d be willing to bet, most of the time it’s you.
You hold yourself back.  

I know that I do.
I sometimes hold back on what I think, for fear of what other’s might say.  Or fear of hurting another person.  Or perhaps, fear of being wrong.  (sin of all sins!)
I don’t make the call.  Instead I send an email, for that is much safer.
I don’t run as fast as I could, for fear that I’ll be tired later?  That I might injure myself?  That I might get all sweaty and I don’t have time to shower?  I don’t want to re-do my non-existent makeup.
In writing it, it doesn’t make a whole lotta sense.  
Seriously, why hold back???  
But in the moment it’s far easier to let the brain take over with its excuses and play small.
To remain quiet.  To go slow.  To keep fear at bay.

How do you hold yourself back?  How do you play small?  
And what if you unleashed? What if you let your power out to play.
On the run, the bike, the court or at the gym.  
In the classroom, the boardroom or the bedroom.
What if you let it loose – said what you thought, pushed as hard as you could, dreamed as big as you could go.  No limits, no boundaries, no bullshit.  
No holding back.

let’s make it rain out here.