Everybody knows they’re supposed to exercise. What’s awesome is when you can find a way to something that you love, that doesn’t seem like exercise and that you can easily build into your schedule. That’s what martial arts is for me.
I enjoy a good work out. Mountain biking is pretty fun, I love yoga, even going to the gym is nice. I’ve tried different boot camps, as well as home work outs like the P90X, or the “Insanity” work out, which unsurprisingly turned out to be… crazy.
It’s amazing how great you can feel when you clean up your diet. I came across a quote a while back: “Eat like crap, feel like crap.” Normally I’m not a fan of negative affirmations, but this one has some sharp truth to it.
I’ve tried the Whole30, which is a strict Paleo diet variation. It was as difficult as it was rewarding. The idea behind it is to not have sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes or white potatoes. Which leaves organic meat, vegetables and nuts; fruits are acceptable, but are considered “natures candy bar.”
It’s definitely worth learning about and trying; I’ve done it a couple times and I felt incredible. The experience has permanently changed my diet for the better, but I found sticking to the rules more difficult to sustain than any other practice or challenge I’ve attempted.
When I used to follow Seventh-Day Adventist way of being I picked up an awesome habit: taking one day a week to rest. No working or business related stuff, just much needed R&R. I can’t recommend that practice enough.
I confess that I sometimes take naps in the afternoon. Dr. John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, says: “People vary in how much sleep they need and when they prefer to get it, but the biological drive for an afternoon nap is universal.” There you have it, a Ph.D. giving you a justification for nap time.
Are you hunched over reading this? Check out this passage from The Leadership Dojo by Richard Strossi-Heckler: “When we are not struggling against gravity, our attention is free to be with others. We’re inwardly calm and outwardly ready for action. We look out at the world from a position of balance and openness.”
Try this: stand so your head is over your shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees and knees over the midpoint of your feet. Relax your eyes, relax your jaw, relax your shoulders, relax your stomach, breath deeply so that your stomach moves and not your chest. Relax your butt; no clenching. Relax your thighs and calves. Scan your body to for tension and release it. Balance your self so you’re not leaning forward or backwards; distribute your weight evenly between your feet. Pay attention to the area below your belly button. How do you feel?
Somehow it’s easy to breath wrong. And by wrong, I mean ineffectively. I’ve spent plenty of time breathing shallowly. Something as simple as stopping what you’re doing and directing your body to take a few, slow deep breaths appears to slow the whole world down. After a while, muscles start to relax. Your posture might even out. You’ll notice all kinds of things your body is trying to tell you. It might be telling you to take a nap, have a snack, exercise or maybe it’s telling you to create something.
Conscious Breathing by Gay Hendricks is a fantastic book that has plenty of breathwork practices to promote “health, stress release and personal mastery.”