Yoga and Life: Joy in Content

When the ultimate goal of life is to strive for future success, it is wise to acknowledge your present achievements.

The insatiable need to achieve the next goal, to obtain that exhilarating “prize” that is only inches away from your grasp, or the desire to defy the odds. This is the path of the high achiever, individuals who were born with an avid yearning to be the best. Individuals that live each day facing a fierce internal competition, in which success and self-improvement are the only acceptable outcomes.

Physical and mental exertion must be controlled, even if just for a moment on the mat. Lie down on your back on your yoga mat. Extend your arms out to your sides, open your palms toward the ceiling, and let the back of your shoulders melt into the floor. Extend your legs long on the mat or rest a bolster under your knees.  Release all tension in your body and breathe. Softly inhale through your nose and exhale through an open mouth. Observe the breath. Notice as your chest rises and your heart opens as you inhale. Linger in your exhale, give your limbs the opportunity to release into the earth.

Use this moment to let go, let go of the constant need to control and strategize. At this moment there is no need for planning, your only goal is to find peace in the present moment and allow yourself to take comfort in where you are right now. As you breathe in Savasana, you will be confronted with your natural tendencies. Random thoughts of your “to-do” list, the next big meeting, or any unresolved issues that lay in waiting will come to mind.

Acknowledge the mental distractions that cloud your mind as you inhale and use your exhale to slowly release them. Practice this strategy for five to ten minutes, after a while you’ll notice that the distractions will become less powerful and less frequent. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where all that’s left is your breath, a comforting breath that leads you to a peaceful place. A respite in which you no longer feel the pressure to achieve, where you have permission to find joy in content.

-Namaste

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Have It All: Fitness Tips, Life Lessons

Use fitness tips and techniques to help you reach your mental and physical goals.

We have one life to live, one chance to achieve our wildest dreams, one opportunity to pursue our passions. Why not throw our cards on the table and make the decision to have it all!

In fitness and in life, it is our decision to achieve a goal that leads to our success or demise. From having the most envied beach body to opening a business, our dedication will help us reach any goal no matter how far fetched it may seem. In the pursuit of excellence, the biggest obstacle that stands in the way are our own self imposed limitations.

  • “I don’t have time”
  • “I’m too old”
  • “I’m not creative enough”
  • “I don’t have the money”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “I’m not attractive enough”

And the list goes on….

Try this exercise. Imagine that there are no limitations on what you can achieve over the next 12 months. From a physical perspective, what would your body look and feel like from head to toe? From a mental/spiritual perspective, how would you describe your state of mind and the impact you’re having on those around you? Write down what a typical day would be like in your new life?

After you’ve spent a few minutes on this exercise step back and notice how you feel about this imaginary life. If you’re smiling from ear to ear and excited about what you’ve written then it is time that you consider reevaluating your goals.

The items that you’ve written are goals that you have ignored for far too long. The good news is that this brainstorming session is the first step toward achieving them. Reexamine the goals you’ve written and identify the steps necessary to achieve those goals, you may be pleasantly surprised that your goals may not be as unrealistic as you once believed.

Try working from the inside out by taking control of your mental and physical state.

Free Your Mind With Cardio
Incorporate 20 minutes of cardio at least 3 days a week. When the weather is nice take a walk or jog outside and keep your eyes on the horizon. Observe your surroundings and the people around you. Enjoying new environments is a great way to enhance your creativity and reduce stress.

Train your body and your perseverance
Weight training challenges the body to endure discomfort for the purpose of gaining strength. The rhythmic and controlled movement will calm a distracted mind. Incorporate strength training into your routine 2 to 5 days a week. Call on the services of a personal trainer to guide you through proper technique and weight selection to ensure you get the most out of each workout.

Breathe for Peace and Focus
Meditation is an excellent way to get your mind ready for the most difficult challenges. Those new to meditation may find it difficult to stay focused. Use the wave breath to calm your mind. Sit in a chair or a comfortable crossed-legged seated position. Close your eyes. Take a shallow inhale through the nose to allow the air to rise from your pelvic floor to your belly button then release the air the way it came. Take a deeper inhale to allow the air to rise from your pelvic floor to your lower ribs then release the air the way it came. Inhale to allow the air to rise from your pelvic floor to your breastbone and release the air the way it came. Complete three cycles of this breath and continue for 10 to 15 minutes, breathing steadily through the nose. During this time take your focus to the path of the breath as it rises up the spine, expands the rib cage and releases the way it came.

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Fitness Past, Present and Future

One of the most enjoyable things about the holiday season are the movies. One of the most popular movies is “A Christmas Carol” in which the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future visit Ebenezer Scrooge. We can learn some valuable lessons from this classic children’s story as we evaluate our progress toward reaching fitness goals.

Fitness Past: As we grow older and our lives are filled with more responsibility, the time reserved for ourselves will often be reduced significantly. In our younger years we had more free time allowing us to dedicate more time toward doing things we loved; whether that included dancing, hiking, running and a myriad of other fitness activities with friends.

Fitness Present: Now that time is short and the “to-do list” is larger than before we find ourselves skipping trips to the gym, canceling fitness outings with friends and viewing fitness as more of a chore than an activity of pleasure.

Fitness Future: Continuing down this path causes a number of health problems (i.e. obesity, high blood pressure, stress, diabetes and the list goes on).

Although it may seem that taking control of your fitness is an insurmountable task, it is achievable if you develop a strategy and commit to it.

Fitness Strategy #1: Make the Commitment

  • Define your fitness goal.
  • Determine what steps must be taken to achieve the fitness goal (i.e. workout consistency, particular eating habits)
  • Sign the contract. Write out your goals and the steps necessary to achieve them on paper and sign the proverbial “dotted line”.

Fitness Strategy #2: Checks and Balances

  • Designate a day each month to re-evaluate your progress with a fitness buddy, personal trainer or loved one.
  • Identify the areas of strength and weakness then determine a plan of action to overcome those weaknesses.

Fitness Strategy #3: Consult the Professionals

  • Start reading nutrition and fitness related literature to keep fitness “top of mind”
  • Schedule a consultation with a personal trainer and nutritionist to enhance your knowledge and obtain additional guidance.
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Give 100!

Ozzie Jacobs, Health and Fitness Expert, explains how “giving 100″ can lead to a balanced, healthier and happier lifestyle.

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Fitness Detour: The Crash

After a long week of numerous tasks, obligations and errands I find myself at an energy deficit during the weekend. Contrary to the hustle and bustle pace of the week in which I am a multitasking queen and my energy level shows no sign of slowing down, this weekend I hit an inevitable crash.

This is a feeling that quite a few of us are all too familiar. Ever so often our bodies give us a reality check that we are not superhuman. When our bodies give us these warning signs it is in our best interest to take heed. There are numerous ways to help increase your energy levels, try these proven recharging techniques:

1. Workout For Energy? Researchers from the University of Georgia recently conducted a study that found that “young adults who say they’re tired all the time got an energy boost from a low-intensity workout plan”. Try these two low-intensity workouts to boost you’re energy:

Yoga For Energy Part 1

Yoga For Energy Part 2

2. Take a Power Nap. Experts agree that power napping can bring you back to your A-game as the “majority of Americans are sleep deprived”.

3. Smell The Flowers. Treat yourself to one enjoyable activity that doesn’t involve excessive planning and strategizing, just pure enjoyment.

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Ask Ozzie: Part 1

Ozzie Jacobs, Health and Fitness Expert, answers your fitness questions.

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