With yoga and meditation becoming more and more popular. The term mindfulness or awareness has been coming up often. I hear people say, “practice being aware”. Well, how do you actually do that?
It’s easy to be aware when things are going well in your life. It takes doing what you don’t want to do but what you know you should do to actually practice awareness. When the alarm rings at 5am , the majority of the time, I don’t want to wake up to meditate and go to the gym. I prefer to put the covers back over my head and sleep longer. This is where awareness is practiced for me. Making the choice each morning to get up and meditate.
Staying away from the junk food in my kitchen cabinet when I am craving it is practicing awareness. First, I need to watch my thoughts, actions and emotions. Some questions I ask myself are : Am I hungry? Am I experiencing any emotions? Was there any added stress in my day? What else can I eat? Based on that information, I make a conscious choice to eat, not eat or eat something different.
Awareness is like a muscle. Build it, use it everyday and it will become a part of you. Practicing awareness never really disappears because we can always be more aware that we are now. But if you don’t practice it, during the harder times when you need it most, you won’t be able to call on it.
So, each action or choice that you make is a practice step towards being the version of yourself that you want to be. If you want to lose weight and have a strong body, your awareness for food, strength training and mobility is where you practice your awareness.
Decide on which version of yourself you would like to work on and look at you actions to see if they get you closer or further away.
This morning, I was at the gym doing a circuit training workout. I went to choose a weight for some kettlebell work and opted for the lower weight of my two choices. One of the girls that I train with, turned to me and said “You are stronger than you think you are.” I stopped for a moment and thought about what she had said….then I continued on with my workout.
When I was driving to my next destination, I gave more thought to her comment. What if I was stronger than I thought I was, what would I do? Would I attempt to lift a little more weight and push myself further in my class? I had always thought of my body as being flexible but never strong. To me, my belief was that I was weak. But simply because someone outside of myself saw something in me that I couldn’t, I was able to challenge that belief today. Side Note: you never know what one thing you say to a person can change the course of their life.
Then I thought more, what if I was more compassionate, more loving, successful and grateful than I thought? How would those beliefs impact my life? What different actions would I take on a daily basis?
It’s often been said that we don’t always see ourselves clearly. What if, I am actually more than I thought I was in every category, what could I accomplish then? What if we all saw ourselves bigger than we were? How would the world be impacted?
I am going to experiment and test the theory, starting with the belief that I am stronger than I think I am. I challenge you to join me. Think of a belief that has been holding you back in an area of your life and for the next week, ask yourself, what you would do differently if this belief did not exist. Start to see others as bigger versions of themselves and soon, they will grow into that belief.
For more information on identifying your limiting beliefs, come to our monthly advanced workshops where we discuss overcoming fears and obstacles, share our goals on what we would like to accomplish and learn breathing techniques to help us reach our goals. As always, our workshops are complimentary. RSVP 613-761-1600.
Back when shoes did not exist, we walked around barefoot and some tribes around the world still do this today. Kenyan runners are known around the world for their long distance running and they train barefoot when they are children.
I wanted to go back to my roots and use my feet the way they used to be. For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with walking around at the office when no one was around, outside in the yard and driveway, playing at the gym, etc, barefoot.
Here are some benefits of walking barefoot that I discovered:
If you have gait or balance issues, try walking barefoot to regain some sensation in your feet.
I’m often asked the role that exercise plays in healing. My response is that exercise is critical to healing as movement is what our bodies were designed to do.
When we were hunter gatherers, we spent the day hunting, squatting, gathering, eating, sleeping, climbing, chasing and procreating; we were often in a state of motion. This is what our bodies have been programmed for. Now, we spend our days in front of a computer, in the car, watching TV, essentially, doing all the things that are sedentary. Is it a wonder why so many injuries occur when people go from a sedentary position with their body to a sudden movement?
If you stop using it, you start losing it. When you were a child, your body was supple, had full ranges of motion, etc and as we stopped climbing and playing, we started to lose the flexibility we once had.
I was in Malaysia visiting my family a couple years ago and while on a trip to the mall, I had to use the washroom. When I entered, I noticed that the toilets were not the regular North American toilets but were holes in the ground where you had to squat. Due to these squatting toilets, everyone was able to perform the squat movement, including my aunts and uncles that were into their 70’s. Here in North America, there are teenagers who have already started to lose the ability to squat. Good thing it is possible to re-learn this basic movement. If you don’t use it, you lose it. However, if you train and start using it again, you can regain it!
When you decide to move a part of your body, you first start with an intention. For example, I would like to go from sitting to standing. Next, your nervous system will come up with a certain firing pattern in sequence, to allow you to execute the movement. Lastly, your nervous system will discharge that pattern and you will complete your intention i.e. standing up. All this information happens fairly quickly, often as soon as the thought comes.
The interesting thing is that the more ability you have to move your body, the greater the number of pathways for your nervous system to choose from. This is why injuries occur less in people who move more, they have more adaptable nervous systems. Darwin was right, it is not survival of the fittest. The winners are those who have the most adaptability. This is why my focus in practice is neuro-optimization. The greater your nervous system can change physically, emotionally and mentally, the better you are able to adapt in your body and in turn your life!
Remember, if you don’t move it, you lose it. However, if you train, you can regain!
If you're looking to regain some of the movement that you've lost, try a movement gym. Here's one that I recommend in Ottawa. http://www.humantwopointzero.com/
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.