Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Something In Yoga For Everybody

joy held yoga book photo's 016

There is Something In Yoga For Everybody

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Relaxation/meditation, creative play, fitness and exercise, journaling, and nutrition.

The physical component of yoga is called “hatha yoga.” The word “hatha” is Sanskrit for physical. There are essentially 24 basic poses in hatha yoga and many, many variations on them thus creating hundreds of poses altogether. There are also ways to modify the basic poses so anyone can participate in some level of hatha yoga. This is where yoga therapy comes into play.

All yoga is therapeutic in a sense because of the breathing, stretching and mental practices, but the physical acts of the poses also called asanas, can be changed up slightly to make them accessible to almost everyone.

Disclaimer alert: this article is not meant to replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always consult such persons before engaging in activity to be sure your condition warrants participation in an organized exercise regime of any kind.

That said, besides talking with your doctor first, here are three books to give you an idea of what might be available to you.

Recovery Yoga, A Practical Guide for Chronically Ill, Injured, and Post-Operative People, Sam Dworkis, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1997. This book covers breathing and movements in a variety of positions. Once you have understood any limitations your doctor recommends, you can choose exercises done sitting, standing, lying down, and on the floor. Dworkis is an Iyengar trained yoga teacher and the B.K.S. Iyengar tradition of hatha yoga originated the practice of modifying yoga poses through the use of props such as chairs and bolsters. His program is called Extension Yoga.

http://www.extensionyoga.com/

Yoga As Medicine, The Yogic Prescription For Health and Healing, Timothy McCall, M.D., Bantam, New York, 2007. McCall is a doctor and a yoga practitioner and the medical consultant for Yoga Journal Magazine. It includes practice routines and advice on using yoga to help with several conditions such as back pain, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.

http://www.drmccall.com/

Yoga for Movement Disorders, Rebuilding Strength, Balance and Flexibility for Parkinson’s Disease and Dystonia, Renee Le Verrier, BS, RYT, Merit Publishing International, Florida, 2009. The author of this book suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and practices what she preaches. Every pose is prop assisted and the system is explained very clearly. The photos are very clear and the poses are adaptable to more than Parkinson’s. Highly recommended.

http://meritpublishing.com/

My book Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity includes chapters on yoga for writers. Basic poses like Triangle are shown modified in Writer Wellness for use by almost everyone.

Best wishes to you for continued health through movement.

Have you found an interesting way to keep physically active?

Be well, write well.

~hugs,

Joy

JoyHeldHeadshot3

Joy E. Held is the author of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, a college educator, blogger, and yoga/meditation teacher. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Romance Writers Report, Dance Teacher Now, Yoga Journal, and Woman Engineer Magazine.

Photo: K. Held

Copyright 2018, Joy E. Held

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A Liquid Mind Can Be Messy

20161129_173712A Liquid Mind Can Be Messy

 

A singular goal of meditation is to learn acceptance and therefore patience. If we accept the truth of ourselves and decide to live that authenticity in our daily activities, we will surely become more aware of our inadequacies. By the same token, we notice these weaknesses in other people. “We are only human,” (and flawed ones at that) becomes an overused excuse for not wanting to make the effort to be better, to change.

If meditation practice brings us face to face with our true natures, then why would we want to do it? Because knowing the reality of who we are releases us from the burden of trying to be something and someone we aren’t. It’s a very liberating feeling to make choices from a strong and energetic place of, “This is who I am, and this decision comes from that source, the me-energy I am.”

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How can a few minutes of sitting motionless and without dwelling on thinking bring us to a place of fully understanding our true natures? These moments are the only ones in the day when we are free from having to meet anyone else’s expectations. Our lives are all built upon living up to the demands, requests, promises, and instructions given to us by other people. They are perfectly within their rights to offer these requests.

Our personal stress comes from trying to meet obligations put upon us that do not match what we believe about who we are and what we’re capable of. It’s stressful to be inside this pressure yet it’s how everyone’s life is lived in contemporary society. There are rules, boundaries, expectations, precautions, and on and on that define how we live. These demands do not have to define who we live our lives as.

Meditation allows us to discover and stay connected to our authentic selves and later it gives us the strength to accept and appreciate ourselves and others regardless of flaws. Because we learn in meditation to accept and appreciate our true natures, we are better equipped to offer the same considerations to other people. But we’re only human.

shower

I call this having a liquid mind because during meditation I am soft and flowing physically, mentally, and emotionally and the feeling is like warm water all around and through me. After taking a deep cleansing breath, opening my eyes, and getting up from the meditation cushion, I notice this liquid feeling, and I make a point to say to myself, “I will do my best to carry this warm, juicy feeling into my experiences today.”

Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes it is messy. Like a coffee cup filled beyond the brim, hot feelings can overflow and burn me when I encounter people with agendas, misconceptions, and fears.

Cleaning set photo

I’m only human, a flawed one at that, but I try to pause before I respond to the burning liquid being thrown my way. I try, but sometimes, because I’m only human, my true self says, “You need to clean that up, honey. I left my maid uniform at home.” And I go back to the cushion seeking more practice at patience and acceptance.

Is meditation helping you cope with something or someone in a better way?

Be well, write well.

~hugs,

Joy

cropped-writer_wellness_cover3

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Monday Meditation: “Easy” Cross-legged Seat?

In yoga, life is considered a series of “dukha” or sufferings one after the other, but the lessons of yoga are principally about teaching us to cope with suffering through relaxations or “sukha”. This is the art of relaxing and to yoga this means being comfortable and at ease. It means stillness (sukha) in the body and mind purposely practiced to counter act the opposite feelings of stress (dukha.) Therefore, the “easy pose” is taught as a physical position to take when trying to relax. But for some people the “easy pose” is anything but easy, so why is it called “easy”?

 

The “easy” translation simply means being the opposite of uneasy or busy and stressed. Although the specific sitting position known as the “easy pose” is traditional, the mere act of sitting or semi-reclining and being motionless can be considered an easy pose. After all, not everyone can sit on the floor with their legs crossed at the ankles for an extended period of time. It would take human or mechanical intervention to get some of them back to standing contradicting the “easy” part.

 

An “easy pose” is one that allows us to be at ease with ourselves without the urge to fall completely asleep. Most of us are conditioned to begin snoring within a few minutes if we find ourselves lying flat on our backs. Happens all the time in yoga. Corpse pose at the end of class is regularly mistaken by some exhausted individual as nap time and the rest of us are serenaded by the heavy, unburdened breath of someone who has fallen asleep on the mat. That’s okay, but as I’ve said before, sleep is not meditation. Sleep is sleep and meditation is an easy, comfortable state of relaxed alertness.

 

In meditation we are without the normal business of our bodies and minds (thoughts, movements, sounds.) Instead we are physically still. The only movement is what’s necessary to breathe. And our thoughts are fewer and slower. Thoughts are normal but they bring with them varying degrees of stress, so during meditation the fewer the better. It requires a low level of consciousness or awareness to “quiet the mind” as desired by meditation. The lack of thoughts equals fewer opportunities to be stressed by thinking which equates to feeling at ease—without stress. An easy pose is one that is comfortable enough to bring on the sensation of ease without allowing us to fall asleep.

 

Sitting cross-legged on the floor, a stack of blankets, or a meditation cushion IS a comfortable pose for some. Others may need to sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor or lie back on a stack of pillows or a bolster to keep the body from lying completely flat. As long as we are physically at ease, our breath and thoughts will eventually join in and calm down. This is “sukha” or being without the suffering implied by the stress or “dukha” of physical movement and mental stimulation.

 

The honest challenge is developing the stamina to remain in this position of ease for a particular length of time. Practice, practice, practice and the body will gradually remember its state of comfort and be more cooperative when asked to be still. Remember our bodies and minds are very practiced at zooming all the time. The opposite is challenging (dukha) but rewarding (sukha.) This is balance.

 

What is your “easy pose”?

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

 

Joy E. Held

 

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Wednesday Workout: Bodybuilding Between the Books?

National Library Week, you belong at your library, April 8-14, 2012

National Library Week 2012

I don’t see many exercise classes taught at libraries, do you? If you know of a library that sponsors a regular exercise class, send us the link. The lack of workouts at the library doesn’t surprise me because most facilities don’t have the space or equipment. Some do not want to run anything longterm because it keeps other patrons from accessing the space. This all makes sense, but so does offering courses on hatha yoga, meditation, and walking at your local library.

Here’s an example of a hatha yoga class in a library http://www.myacpl.org/events/yoga-people-50-and-2012-04-11. The course is ongoing and has been a success for several years. However, like most library settings, the space is limited. Namaste to instructor Linda Cochran for continuing this great program in the Athens Public Library, Athens, Ohio.

Here’s a very good article about the rationale for libraries extending their services to include fitness courses http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/Libraries-Now-Offering-Books-and-Workouts.html

Put this way, it makes a great deal of sense in spite of the limitations and hesitations to blend your books with your bodybuilding by getting it all at the local library. In his fab book SPARK, Dr. John J. Ratey with Eric Hagerman, (a book I require in my college courses,) explains the benefits of exercise to brain health and overall wellbeing when he recommends exercise first then hitting the books. Exercise improves brain elasticity and grows new brain cells capable of absorbing new information.

So the next time you’re at the library, look around for a fitness offering and let me know what you find.

“Be well, write well.”

Joy E. Held

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Wednesday Workout: I don’t have time

 I once read in a pop icon’s autobiography that none of his work was his own. He considered himself a vessel or a conduit for some unseen, powerful creative spirit and it was his duty to deliver these songs and dances to the world for this artistic deity. What if he was right? What if there is a master puppeteer pulling on our strings and sending us the ideas? For the sake of argument, shouldn’t we be in good condition to accept these wonderful creations? Would we fail the great artist if we were full of nicotine, fat, caffeine, drugs, and booze and didn’t have room to take in the art? Yes, there are scores of unhealthy artistic people who have left their marks on society but think of how much more valuable work we might have known from them if they were in better physical shape.

Except for those who have just landed on our fair planet, the rest of us are aware of the positive benefits of physical exercise. Weight loss, muscle tone, cardiovascular conditioning, longevity, improved mood, and better sex can all be the results of regular activity such as walking, yoga, and lifting weights. Granted, I’m simplifying things because I want to get to my point: what is the point of exercising? We know about the results, but what is the point? If we are going to be artistic chalices full of great ideas and inspiration, there has to be room for all that stuff. The main point of physical exercise is to remove toxins from the inside out to improve and regulate our bodily functions. Sluggishness creates more writer’s block and missed deadlines than lack of inspiration. When our bodies are full of crap, we can’t create as well. We have to exercise to help move all the crap out of our systems literally and figuratively.

“I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day.”

                ~Brenda Ueland, author If You Want To Write, A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit

Let’s cut to the chase. If you exercise physically on a regular and consistent basis, your writing will show marked improvement over time and it will be ENJOYABLE. Writing is downright painful and exhausting when writers are already bogged down with sweat, free radicals, evil thoughts and whatever else is built up in the body and mind from lack of trying to wring it from their very souls. But who has the time?

“I don’t have time” is the lazy person’s excuse. And it also means they have set unrealistic expectations for exercise. These ideals are crafted to set the person up for failure. So rather than schedule yourself to run the Boston marathon in the spring, design an exercise schedule that is manageable and practical for your individual needs.  Here are three quick ideas.

  1. Keep two soft stress balls on your desk. Every hour stand up and squeeze the balls with your hands for one minute. Increase cardiovascular benefits by raising and lowering your arms as you squeeze.
  2. Get a wooden foot roller thingy and keep it on the floor under your desk. Every hour, take off your shoes and massage the bottoms of your feet with the roller.
  3. Take a walk every day. Inside on the treadmill or outside on the sidewalk. Start with five minutes and work up a thirty-minute walk several times a week.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

 

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Monday Meditation: Breath in, breath out

“When I stop, I pass out,” said one of my college hatha yoga students. That means we are out of balance. It means we have neglected the quiet, still moments in life and our energy levels are at an all time low, so our bodies seize the moment (when we stop) to knock us out cold so it can recharge. I call this backwards living because when we are going and doing constantly, it takes a punch in the belly to dump us a$$-over-tea-kettle so the body, mind, and spirit can get some rest. This is the hard way to achieve balance. In this zippy age of “just DO it,” 99% of the students I meet in yoga are looking for something to slow them down, but when they meet it head-on they resist. What we resist is what we need the most.

To look up the definition of “balance” in the dictionary would cause most people to slam the book shut and think, “How can one word have 27 different meanings? Forget it.” If we will spend a breath on the Latin (don’t freak) derivation, we’ll see that “balance” is Latin for “two scales”. Take the thoughts a bit farther and the image of the scales of justice should roll across our mind’s eye and we might take the leap to understand that “balance” is another word for “equality.” Hopefully, we think equality means giving both sides the same amount of time. It means striving to equalize our “doing” with our “being.”

We call ourselves human “beings”, but we are actually more human “doings”. Aren’t we always doing, going, getting, asking, etc. almost all the time? “Doing” is everything we’re responsible for and everyone we answer to. “Being” is much simpler. It is calming our mind until the only “doing” is breathing. Strangely, the human body, mind, and spirit react positively to an inequality of “doing” versus “being.” We can be much more active than inactive and our human carriages will show positive signs of health, but we must offer our bodies organized sessions of peace and quiet at regular intervals. In other words, it takes only a few minutes of “being” per day to balance many minutes of “doing” and we can achieve equilibrium.

The “being” is simply sitting or lying in a quiet, meditative state that is conscious relaxation when we are not talking, moving, thinking without obsessing (more on that later,) and simply appreciating the moment in which the only requirement of us is to breathe. It is not sleeping. It is conscious relaxation when our minds are focused on the breath and only the breath.

“Breath in, breath out,” is all we need to think and when something interrupts or tries to supersede that simple mantra, we do not follow its lead but continue the easy words in harmony with our natural breathing. As you breathe in, repeat to yourself, “Breath in.” As you breathe out, repeat to yourself, “Breath out.” Try it for five minutes, then ten minutes, then fifteen, and twenty minutes gradually increasing the time as you feel ready. It sounds easy, but let me know how easy it is or isn’t for you. If you’re human like the rest of us, it will present a lifelong challenge that will change your life forever and for the good.

 

 

 

 

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

 

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

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Thursday Thot: On Yoga and Writing, Interview with Maryanda

By Catherine Greenfeder

Maryanda, a yoga instructor in New Jersey for over twenty years, is also a published author of two semi-autobiographical books, Who is She and She is Me, and is working on a third book, “Yoga Secrets, Yoga Tales” a collection of short stories that bring the reader into yoga. As She explains,  “A shift will happen for the reader just reading this book, which will bring them into the yoga space.”

          As someone who has been a published author and a yoga instructor and practitioner, Maryanda feels that her third book is yoga off the mat, and “just as yoga on the mat brings in all parts of us – body, mind, heart, and spirit, that’s what the third book will bring to the reader.”

          “As for writing, learning to recognize the different parts of ourselves will create better writers and deeper writing. And when a writer is writing from the yoga space, the place which integrates all parts of our being, then the reader also has access to that space inside them.” Maryanda uses yoga techniques to open her third eye before she writes, opening to the yoga space.  It is simple and from the heart. “As the reader takes it in they also open to that space within themselves. If you cannot be actually doing yoga on the mat, you can take yoga in esoterically off the mat.”

          Maryanda practices and teaches Kundalini yoga.  This is a gentle yoga which helps the practitioner go inward. In addition, she offers Yoga Nidra, which means “yoga sleep”.   This is the deepest form of yoga and goes beyond the posture/asana.  Here we set our Intention, activating what we want to come into our life.  And it works!  

          Among the many benefits of yoga, Maryanda said that the practice helps to lower stress, reduce anxiety, build strength without effort, and increase energy. This is healthful for the body, mind, heart, and spirit. Yoga is physically helpful, as well as mentally and emotionally helpful. And what delights many is that your body can very possibly find its own right size through yoga.  Although yoga is more about finding the right balance in every aspect of life, it still is very popular for developing a chiseled physique. Yoga is definitely not limited by age, body weight or body strength. Through yoga, the body is working with you as your level of consciousness is raised. Yes, yoga brings all parts of  all of us together, and it also keeps Maryanda healthy and well into her seventies, still enjoying life. 

Note: Catherine Greenfeder, a published novelist and teacher, has enjoyed and benefited from Maryanda’s yoga and Yoga Nidra classes.

www.catherinegreenfeder.vpweb.com

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

 

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

 

 

 

Be well, write well

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Wednesday Workout: Quick Exercise Tips To Keep In Mind

I keep reminding folks that fitness is a lifestyle choice. The long term benefits far outweigh the cost of health care remedies and tests. A set of small dumbbell weights is paltry compared to the cost of a prescription or surgery.  But honestly, some folks aren’t sure where to start or what’s the right thing to do or how to continue exercising when they feel discouraged. One day at a time, and like Anne Lamott advises in her book about life and writing Bird by Bird, take the project one thing at a time. And why do we still get discouraged? Because we might have let some important but minor things slip by the wayside. Here’s a list of some quick exercise tips to keep in mind to help you stay focused and upbeat over the long haul of a lifetime of fitness.

 

1. Variety-remember to mix it up on a regular basis and weekly is the best way to approach this idea. Practice yoga, aerobic exercise, walking, and weights every week to keep your overall muscle tone in shape and your brain challenged. Classes aren’t the only way to do this. The library has scads of videos and books to help you put together an endless variety of options so boredom isn’t an option.

 

2. Water-schedule your daily water intake and measure it out in advance to help you remember to stay hydrated. Water flushes toxins. Water aids digestion. Water may help avoid headaches. Water improves skin quality. Water is paramount to a successful fitness protocol. The first thing to hit your stomach in the morning should be distilled water with lemon. Keep a pitcher of filtered water with fresh lemon slices in the fridge to remind you to do this first thing every day.

 

3. Schedule-you probably eat at pretty close to the same time each day. And going to bed and waking up are about the same time each day for most people. Our bodies have built-in clocks, circadian rhythms. So you should schedule exercise at about the same time each day to work with your body’s natural flow.

 

I’m sure you’ve got a quick exercise tip to share that has helped you stay dedicated to fitness. Let me know.

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

 

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well

Leave a comment »

Wednesday Workout: 7 Workout Mistakes to Avoid

Happy new fitness year! Month? Week? Can you get to the gym at least once pretty soon and see what happens? In the year of 2012 I hope you’ll try your best to exercise and figure out how regular workouts can be a part of your life. I’ll admit it. Sometimes if I wasn’t the teacher, I’d just skip a day or two or three of exercising especially if I’m by myself. The tip about exercising in a herd or with a buddy really does help. But there is such a host of possible pitfalls when it comes to exercise that it’s no wonder people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolution to exercise more. Perhaps if you can be proactive and head off the troubles before they hit, you’ll stand a better chance of exercising longer and stronger.

This list isn’t the typical “do this” and see if it helps list. It’s designed to prevent some potential problems that make exercise a chore or at least a bother.

1. No pain, no gain is the cruelest fitness cliché ever coined. Because it rhymes it has stuck in the exercise vernacular, but the idea does more harm than good. Bouncing while we stretch went out in the nineties with leg warmers and headbands. Pain is a signal that should alert you to an important message from your body. It’s your muscles and bones telling your brain to back off. “Ripping” muscle fiber to achieve a temporarily visual affect if not what is meant by health and fitness.

2. Timing is everything in the world of exercise. Your body loves consistency and your brain loves the high it gets from habit. Give them both a good reason to keep supporting you in everything you do by exercising as close to the same time on the same days as often as possible. This is the number one way to increase metabolism and speed up fat burning.

3. A good workout includes a warm-up period, an intense aerobic series, and a steady cool down. With practice or a good class with a competent instructor, you can learn to do this safely and efficiently in thirty minutes a day five times a week with a variety of different practices. Most people don’t exercise enough however and don’t get the cumulative benefits. Physical fitness is a lifestyle for the long haul. That way intensity can be safely implemented into a long term exercise plan. Think of your workout schedule like riding a roller coaster. Some workout days are more challenging than others. This actually provides muscles the work/rest time needed to develop safely.

4. If you’re talking too much while working out, you won’t be able to concentrate on the correct breathing. Breathing patterns can aid or detract from the value of an exercise. Muscles and the brain need oxygen and lots of it, especially during physical exertion. Learn how to breathe for the exercise program you’ve chosen. There are different philosophies in some fitness corners and they really do contribute to the overall benefit of the program. Focus on good breathing patterns when you exercise.

5. Unless you’re running a marathon, you can make it through a 55-minute exercise class WITHOUT taking a drink of water. Hydrate before and after because drinking water while you exercise draws blood and oxygen away from your muscles and to the stomach to deal with the fluids. You’ll make it.

6. As mentioned in #3, a balance of high intensity and gentle workouts aids the body in recovery and development. Try for three aerobic sessions per week and two or more lighter workouts in between.

7. Throwing money at exercise will not make your workouts any better. Low tech equipment such as light weights, good footwear, and a decent yoga mat are all just about anybody needs to accomplish a decent fitness plan. When money is involved, the brain starts thinking value and outcomes and ratios and “did I get my money’s worth?” Exercise doesn’t work that way. The value is experienced over time as health care costs are lower and self-esteem is higher. You can try, but placing a monetary label on something like positive mental health defeats the purpose in my opinion. A good instructor is worth her weight in chocolate, I mean calories, but be careful about obsessing over what it costs to be physically fit. The price of not being in good shape is the real number you should be worrying about.

Do you have any suggestions for things to avoid that have made your workouts better?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well

2 Comments »

Wednesday Workout: Stillness and Discovery

When someone says exercise most people think of bodies in constant motion. Of course, some people think of lying down until the urge to exercise goes away, but that’s an opposite idea. There are many ways to achieve physical fitness and health with exercise, and there are many varieties of exercise. One practice is hatha yoga. The word ‘hatha’ means physical in Sanskrit, so every style of yoga where people are physically active is hatha yoga. Some styles of yoga encourage continuous activity (vinyasa,) and some styles of yoga incorporate long periods of stillness in a pose to achieve benefits. One of these styles is the Iyengar tradition of hatha yoga developed by B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. Of particular importance to his method is the practice of seeking stillness in a pose by holding it for a lengthy period of time. During this time a point of discovery is possible if the yogi is paying attention.

All yoga requires a process of embodiment, sustainment, and transition. This is repeated for every yoga pose and it’s important to apply awareness to the breath during these three stages as well.

Embodiment of a pose is the actions taken to get into the pose and the breath necessary to prepare the muscles. Stepping feet wide apart and inhaling at the same time is one example.

Sustainment of a pose is the point at which the body has achieved its full expression of the pose and when the breath is steadied while holding the pose for the desired length of time. This is also the place where many discoveries take place. When we think we can’t sustain the position any longer, we have reached a challenging edge. It’s here where we can either back away from the pose and return to center or choose to enhance it by applying greater awareness. Breathing is a good first step in facing the challenge and moving past it to develop physical stamina and improve self-esteem. Sustaining a pose just a few seconds past the point where our minds say, “That’s enough,” encourages us to continue because we can feel ourselves improving and changing for the better each time we encounter the edge and breathe past it. This is the mental focus that teaches us to believe in ourselves regardless of the dilemma.

Transition is the moment of action and breath that bring us out of the pose and into the next one.

Have you ever discovered a strength you didn’t know you had during a moment of stillness?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

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Be well, write well

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