Making a Resolution VS Broadcasting Your Intention

Reaching for Open Skies and High Peaks

Broadcast Your 2015 Intention

As some of you may know, I gave up making resolutions a few years back because I found the process to be ineffective and even disempowering.  Think about it… when we make resolutions like

  • I’m going to lose X pounds
  • I will exercise 3x week
  • I will eat healthier foods
  • I will quit smoking…

what are our thoughts and statements focusing on?

Answer:  The “bad” thing that we feel guilty about doing or the “good” thing that we feel guilty about NOT doing!  While the intention behind each of these resolutions is an empowering one, the ESSENCE of the resolution is quite the opposite.  How often have you heard (and perhaps you’ve experienced this yourself) people say that they made a resolution but didn’t stick with it?  I’d like to suggest that it’s difficult to stick to something that reminds us of how “bad” we are, or of what is lacking in our lives… it’s simply a downer!

So this year, this idea of “broadcasting my intention” came to me while I was reflecting on my year.  First of all, it’s about creating an intention of purpose (called sankalpa in yoga terms)  for the new year and then choosing language to describe your intention in a way that FEELS empowering and captures the ESSENCE of the intention.

For example, the intention behind all of those previous resolutions was one of better health.  The more empowering language to use to describe this intention could be:

  • I feel strong, flexible and comfortable in my body!
  • I make the best food and fitness choices for my personal well-being!
  • I am committed to feeling good about myself- mind, body and spirit!

Often, I will write down a bunch of words and phrases that come to mind and then sit with them to see which combination of words really represents the essence of what I am after.  It’s also a great way to get clarity on what it is that you really want to experience in the New Year and also create a shift in your persepective so that you view it in a “feel good” way.

My intention for 2015 is to fully experience FREEDOM… financial freedom, creative freedom, freedom from old beliefs and patterns of behavior, freedom to choose exactly what delights my soul and nothing less!  And as I went through my list of phrases that described this essence, I started picturing a tower that was broadcasting these mental and emotional energies (our thoughts and emotions have a frequency, a vibration; thus, they are forms of energy!) out into the Universe… I was broadcasting my intention! 🙂

WOW… did that feel powerful to me!  It helped me to really connect with my sankalpa so that I actually felt it in my body.  And the idea that I was sending it out to be received by the Universe also felt very powerful.  So each morning, I work with this same visualization and I broadcast my intention… In fact, sometimes I do it multiple times throughout the day.  In doing so, I play a powerful and active role in setting the stage for each day and for the entire year.  And as I go through each day, I am more likely to make choices and decisions that align with my New Year Intention.

I invite you to experience and have fun with this process in 2015!  And if you do give it try, I’d LOVE to hear your feedback so comment here by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the top or shoot me an email.  What will YOU be broadcasting out to the world this year?!!  🙂

Tis the Season… For Slowing Down and Self-Care

ACDY_Resting Butterfly_PWPAs the summer season comes to a close, many of us find ourselves naturally slowing down and falling into a more regular routine of school, work, etc. After a busy, hectic, fast-paced summer I welcome the advent of Fall and it’s calmer quieter energies. In fact, the autumnal equinox (day of equal light and dark) symbolizes a return to balance and is a good time to re-commit ourselves to some well-deserved and often needed Self-Care!

** See BELOW for Self-Care opportunities!  Aromatherapy Yoga:  Fall Restoration and Yoga Self-Care for LMTs for continuing education credits **

We’ve all heard the saying… “You can’t take care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself”… right? But how many of us truly act in that way?

Whether you’re a parent taking care of children or a child taking care of a parent or other family… most people tend to put themselves last. Even from a professional standpoint, how many of us put our work or our businesses before our own well-being?

As a business professional whose work is all about providing care & support to others, I know all too well how challenging this can be! In the past, I have run myself ragged trying to get in those extra clients, or running from one appointment to another without leaving time to have a proper meal, etc..

And we all have our reasons for doing so… economic reasons, social expectations, belief systems, etc… Most likely it’s a combination of these and other factors. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of others if it’s our responsibility to do so – absolutely we must fulfill our life responsibilities.

But here’s something to think about… how often do we use this as an excuse to NOT take care of ourselves? Believe me, I’ve had to work through my own “martyr complex” and in the end, what I found was that not only did I sacrifice my own well-being, but I also sacrificed the quality of my work and integrity of relationships. Additionally, I set an example that was energetically disempowering for myself AND my clients and family members (whoever it was I was taking care of.)

The effect of this “self-negligence” goes beyond the physical effects… it creates an energetic signature that becomes embedded into our behavior and beliefs. In my case, I would physically feel tired, sore, sick, resentful, etc. But on a deeper energetic level, I was also sending the message that I didn’t care enough about myself and thus “teaching” those I was caring for that it was OK to be this way. And the more I allowed this, the more I reinforced this behavior in myself and (in a very subtle way) in others.

When I finally began to “undo” this habit and focus on choosing to take excellent care of myself, I felt a major shift in my work as well as my relationships! From a professional standpoint, I made sure that I scheduled my clients in such a way that I was able to feel GREAT (not just OK) when I worked with each one of them. It made my work more effective, comfortable and enjoyable for both of us on all levels!

And isn’t that the type of experience we want and deserve, whether it’s from our family or from our professionals? But how can we expect it from others if we don’t implement it ourselves? If we don’t take actions to be caring and nurturing to ourselves, we send an energetic message to the world that we don’t want or expect that from others as well.

There’s a wonderful piece called the “The Real Woman Creed”[although is it CERTAINLY applicable to men as well!!!] that we read in one of the women’s group in which I participate… here is a great line from that:

I believe that a woman [ or man ] who loves herself [ himself ] is a powerful, passionate, attractive force, and I commit, from this day forward, to loving myself deeply and extravagantly.”

So as you slow down this month, I invite you to reflect on your own Self-Care choices… how do you take EXQUISITE care of yourself?

And if you find your answer to be lacking, I hope that you will join me this month to re-commit to this very important task. And even if you take excellent care of yourself, please join me anyway, and we can share in loving ourselves “deeply and extravagantly!” 🙂

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Sept 20 & 28th: Aromatherapy Yoga – Fall Restoration workshop.  Contact Sheetal or visit West End Yoga Allentown or Living Room Yoga Emmaus for more information.

Sept 29th:  Yoga Self-Care for LMTs (licensed massage therapists)  All-day workshop for 6 CECs.  Contact Sheetal or visit Sage Continuing Education for more information.

 

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3 Key Principles for Good Posture… #2 Releasing the Shoulders & #3 Maintaining Safe Angles

My last post was about the first principle for good posture:  Engaging the Core.  To refresh… Strong spinal alignment begins with maintaining the natural lumbar curve of the lower back.  Too much curve (a condition called ‘lordosis’) and the anterior pelvic muscles experience congestion/constriction while the posterior muscles of the gluteals and hamstrings become overstretched and painful.  Too little curve (a condition called ‘kyphosis’) can create tension and hyperactivity in the posterior muscles of the body and weakness in the anterior muscles of the pelvis and abdomen.

We can properly Engage the Core by:

1. lengthening the tailbone toward the heels

2. activating the lower abdominal muscles

3. gently pulling the navel in and up toward the rib cage

This allows us to align the pelvis upright and hold the natural lumbar curve with a strong core.  Feel free to watch the video from my previous blog post for more review!  Again, it’s NOT rocket science!  It just takes some awareness, knowledge and discipline for ANYONE to experience good posture and the benefits that go along with it.

 

So here are the remaining two video clips – Releasing the Shoulders and Maintaining Safe Angles & Planes –  from my Yoga Essentials DVD series.  These are the foundation on which you can build good postural habits.  Please post any questions, comments or feedback… I’d love to hear from you!

 

3 Key Principles for Good Posture…. #1 Engaging the Core

For many of us, good posture has become quite elusive due to our sedentary lifestyles.  Human beings weren’t meant to spend as many hours in a seated position as we do today…. at work, in the car, watching TV, at the computer, etc.

In working one-on-one with my wellness coaching clients, I have seen time and time again how they have greatly benefited simply by improving their posture!  “How have they benefited?”, you ask?

They have…

  • reduced, and in some cases eliminated, chronic back and neck tension and pain
  • improved their breathing by expanding their chest cavity and thus allowing for deeper, longer breaths
  • strengthened their core muscles by regularly practicing their good postural principles
  • facilitated movement in their bodies so they move more efficiently and with greater ease
  • increased confidence and self-esteem when they experience ALL OF THE ABOVE!

It’s NOT rocket science!  It just takes some awareness, knowledge and discipline for ANYONE to experience good posture and the benefits that go along with it.  To get you started, I’ll be posting 3 video clips, each one introducing a key principle for good postural alignment.  These clips are from my Yoga Essentials DVD series and are the foundation on which you can build good postural habits.

Here’s the first one… Body Geometry:  Engaging the Core 

Stay tuned for the other two…

Stop and Smell the Pine!

Here’s your friendly reminder to allow yourself to fully ENJOY the experiences of this season and NOT get caught up in the “holiday hub bub”.

The energy of the season can be full of distraction and overwhelm.  I find that the key to staying present and focused amidst this chaotic and sometimes challenging time is to PAUSE and BREATHE!  I do these “Daily Breathers” several times throughout the day as needed.

Every time I notice my mind wandering and being pummeled by way too many thoughts, I simply…

  • become aware and stop what I’m doing (or thinking of)
  • close my eyes (if my environment allows it) or focus on a specific point/object (if I cannot close my eyes at that time) and
  • take 3 DEEP, SOOTHING BREATHS.

As I’m taking these breaths, I make a point to really FEEL the breath moving in and out of my body.  This very basic, simple exercise of mindful breathing is very grounding and will bring you calm and greater focus.  Like anything, the more “Daily Breathers” you take the easier it gets and the more effective they become!

And in case you need a helping hand with this I’m sharing with you a 4-minute Mindful Breathing Meditation audio for you to follow:

Mindful Breathing Meditation

Some of you may have received this meditation from me before, but I’m re-posting it as it’s short and sweet and does the trick.  You can even save the link in your Favorites on your web browser to use it regularly!

During this time of year, it can be easy to forget our most basic yet powerful tool:  our BREATH!

Make good use of it so that as you are getting presents…. you’re also getting present! 🙂

HAPPY HOLIDAYS… AND ENJOY!

 

Remake Yourself…

As human beings, our greatness lays not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.   ~Mahatma Ghandi

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What a thought-provoking and powerful statement!  I think it’s especially applicable in today’s world where so much change and so many challenges are presenting themselves.

It can feel overwhelming sometimes when we are bombarded by so much negativity and tragedy in our (so-called) news, politics, and current events.  Even if you want to help bring about a positive change, you may ask yourself, “Where do I begin??!!”

Exactly where Ghandi has directed us… with ourselves!  Instead of getting bogged down and worrying about things outside of us that are beyond our control… if we focus our intentions on how we can help ourselves feel healthier and think better… we can each as individuals make a positive impact not only on our own beings… but on our families, communities and our world!

The only things we have complete control over are our own thoughts, intentions and actions.  If we each commit to improving and elevating our own well-being — that is how we feel physically, how we think and how we interact with others  — we initiate our own little ripple effect.  When you start feeling better in your body, thinking with more clarity and calm, managing your emotions and stress with ease… you indirectly affect others by example and energetic interaction.

We’ve all experienced something of what I’m describing before… If you’re in a room full of people and someone who is carrying a lot of negativity walks in, everyone feels it.  It drags everyone else down as well.  But if someone who is uplifting comes into the room, it elevates everyone in the room.

Now imagine if you are working to feel the best that you can each day… Your positive ripple effect collides with my ripple effect which collides with someone else’s… get the picture?!  And soon… the similar positive energies converge to effect larger and larger populations over longer periods of time… this is how movements are started!

If you are tired of feeling like a victim or a bystander… if you want to be a participant in something positive, then I challenge you to commit to yourself and your own well-being!!!  If necessary, start with small simple steps that only require 10 – 15 minutes every day.  For example:

–        take a walk outdoors

–        read something inspirational or educational

–        spend time by yourself to journal or reflect

–        take multiple “Daily Breathers” (just pause from what you are doing and take 3- 5 deep, slow breaths)!

The key is to take some action for YOURSELF every day! And if you are ready to learn even more powerful self-care techniques or just need some support and motivation, come talk to me… I would love the opportunity to help you!

Here’s to remaking ourselves…

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To learn more about yoga self-care and personal wellness programs, visit www.anyonecandoyoga.com… download chapters of my complimentary E-Book on the Home page, check out my 3-Part “Yoga Essentials” DVD set from the Shop or simply contact me.

With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power!

Amidst all the heated talk about healthcare these days, I read a commentary by Dr. Mark Hyman that made a lot of sense to me so I feel compelled to share it.  Read Dr. Hyman’s article.

I share Dr. Hyman’s belief that the majority of the focus in the healthcare debate is misplaced.  I am particularly “on board” with one of his key suggested strategies for improving our wellness landscape…. He termed it “intensive lifestyle therapy.”  To me, this equates to taking charge of our own health as individuals and as communities.

Certainly, making health-care affordable and accessible is important and there is definitely a need and a place for modern medicine.  But that is not what will make us healthier human beings.  Instead, what if we just didn’t have to go to the doctor or emergency room that often??  What if we didn’t have to depend on a gazillion medications??  If we lowered demand of these things, doesn’t it make sense that costs would automatically go down??

Politics is certainly NOT my area of expertise or interest, so I usually stay away from political debates.  That being said, promoting wellness IS my passion and mission and in that regard I will say that so many of us have given up our personal power.  We’ve given up our power to convenient processed foods that don’t nurture or energize us, to “quick-fix” pharmaceuticals that just cover up our symptoms (not to mention they cause many other side effects!) and to the medical community with the mindset that they can somehow “fix us”.

This makes me think of a very profound quote from our pop culture… “With great power comes great responsibility.”  (And yes, for all you comic book fans out there… that is a quote from Spiderman! :-))  While we can debate over whether the great powers in our society are acting with great responsibility, I believe that as individuals we can make a difference by simply following the converse of this statement… “With great responsibility comes great power.”  If we take back responsibility for our health, we take back our power!

How do we do this?  Commit to breaking those bad habits that sabotage your health and in their place create new ones that empower your well-being.  I know… you’re thinking, “This is easier said than done!”  And yes, you are correct… but it is this type of crucial shift made at the individual level that will make a true difference in our society.  As Ghandi said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.”

This same week I also came across some interesting tidbits in the latest Yoga Journal that speak to this idea.  The first one was about the CEO of Aetna Insurance who “after a skiing accident left him in constant pain and partially paralyzed, … found relief through yoga and alternative medicine.”

Since then, he’s led the charge to build an evidence base that proves the healing and therapeutic benefits of yoga.  Here are some statistics from these studies:

–        1 hour a week doing yoga resulted in lower stress in individuals

–        33% decrease in stress was found after individuals took yoga stress-reductions classes

–        $2000 in health care costs was saved annually by individuals with the lowest stress levels compared to those with the highest stress levels.

The 2nd piece of interest in the Yoga Journal reported on a new elective course at Boston University School of Medicine that “teaches medical students both the practice and science of yoga.”  A research fellow at the university co-created this program after being inspired by his own personal yoga practice.  He stated “yoga is a way for medical students to take care of their own well-being, allowing them to become better doctors.”

For me, it’s very gratifying and inspiring to see the acceptance of yoga as not just a type of exercise but as an integrative practice for good health in our daily lives.  I know it can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you have been dealing with chronic pain or stress for a long time… but I speak from experience when I say that you can make a difference for yourself one small step at a time!

If any of this conversation has resonated with you and you are looking for some simple ways to take back your power, allow me to help you with these offers (For more information or to register for any of these, contact Sheetal):

–        Meditation in the Park:  Join me Sun 7/22 from 10-10:45am in Alburtis’ Lockridge Park to learn and practice basic meditation.  If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, we’ll reschedule. 🙂

–        Complimentary Consultation & Sample Session of my Personal Yoga Program:  This is one-on-one personal training with a holistic approach!  Using yoga, breathing techniques, mediation & mindset practices, I provide a structure that includes education, support, motivation and accountability to help you achieve your wellness goals whether they be physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual.

–        Yoga Self-Care for LMTs (6 CECs):  In this one-day intensive, licensed massage therapists and bodyworkers will learn practical yoga techniques and principles to not only prevent injury, strain and burn-out but also enhance the massage therapy you provide your clients.

We can either allow the status quo to pull us down, or we can take responsibility for ourselves and rise above…. With great responsibility comes GREAT power.

I look forward in sharing in your journey!

Sheetal

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I’d love to hear from you…. share your comments below!  To learn more about or to register for the programs listed above, contact me.  To learn more about Anyone Can Do Yoga, visit www.anyonecandoyoga.com.

Posture Perfect!

We’ve all heard it at some point or another in our lives… from a parent or perhaps a teacher… “Sit up straight!”  It may have seemed like a nuisance at that time, but that could be some of the best advise we were given as children.  This lesson becomes especially poignant because of the sedentary lifestyle many of us tend to evolve into as adults.

Having good posture has many health benefits:

  • You improve and maintain good core and spinal strength
  • You allow your body to work at maximum efficiency and minimum effort
  • You improve your self-esteem because you feel better and look better (Not to mention taller; I’m 5’ tall and every little bit counts!)
  • You have a more empowering presence

So how did we get to this place where so many of us have such poor posture?  I believe there are 3 key reasons than many of us are no longer able to sit up straight or even stand up straight for an extended period of time:

  1. Lack of awareness of when we are engaging in poor posture
  2. Lack of understanding of what proper spinal alignment is
  3. Weakness in our core region.

Awareness… Awareness… Awareness… Everything begins with having awareness.  Once we gain the awareness of when we are engaging in poor posture, we then need to have an understanding of how it should be corrected.  And after learning how to bring our bodies into a good posture, we then also need to be able to maintain it.

This is where a daily yoga practice can be extremely helpful.  Of course, we are constantly practicing awareness in yoga… we are always paying attention to the sensations and emotions our mind/body experiences.  Thus as our awareness is honed, our ability to recognize poor posture is improved.

Secondly, fundamental to all yoga is knowledge of proper spinal alignment in each pose, stance and movement.  For example, learning and practicing how to align the spine in Mountain pose helps us to stand up straight and steady…. In Easy Pose or Hero Pose, we learn how to sit up tall with no strain on the back… In Standing Forward bend, we learn how to bend forward in the most efficient manner so as to minimize effort and strain.

And finally, our continued practice helps us to retrain and rebuild parts of the musculoskeletal system that allow us to maintain and “perform” good posture.  Gradually, we find ourselves standing up taller and stronger for longer periods of time… we are able to sit longer and with less strain because of our better posture (although we should always take breaks during extensive sitting!)… and we experience more graceful, efficient movements that take less effort because we’re working “with our bodies” rather than fighting against them.

I know that it can sometimes seem overwhelming to think about all the things we could do to improve our health.  I’d like to suggest that by simply focusing on good posture, we can take a BIG first step toward better mind/body health.  It’s never too late to sit up straight!

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To begin learning more about how to improve your posture through yoga, visit www.anyonecandoyoga.com… download chapters of my complimentary E-Book on the Home page, check out my 3-Part “Yoga Essentials” DVD set from the Shop or contact me to learn about my yoga coaching and wellness programs.

It’s Time to Take Charge!

Let’s talk healthcare…. But not healthcare as you hear about it in our media and politics (in my opinion, that debate is about medical care, NOT true healthcare!)  I’ll begin by asking you a simple question:  Do you feel “in charge” of your health?

I ask this, because I find more and more people have the impression that something or someone outside of themselves (a medical doctor, a surgeon, a therapist, etc.) is going to “fix them”.  We as a society have relinquished our responsibility for our own health.

Being a massage therapist as well as yoga instructor/coach, I frequently hear clients say things like “I want you to fix my back” or “Can you fix my neck?”  To these type of questions, I usually reply, “I don’t fix anything…. YOU do your own healing.  I’m here to facilitate and support you in that process.”  That’s what all healthcare and medical care professionals are here to do.

And don’t misunderstand me… when I speak of us healing ourselves, I’m not talking about some “voodoo”.  I am talking about each individual taking responsibility to take the committed actions necessary to be healthy.   And depending on what you are dealing with, that may require having surgery or some specific treatment.  However, how healthy we get or feel goes beyond a surgery or treatment – these are things that come after–the-fact.  I’m speaking more about healing and taking care of ourselves in a preventative way.

I guess my point is that we must take back our power when it comes to how we feel – feeling and BEING healthy in mind, body and spirit comes from our own committed effort to feel GREAT each and every day.  It comes from inside of us when we choose to take daily actions to

  • eat well through nutritious foods
  • move well through physical activity that suits our bodies and
  • think well by keeping an empowered mindset.

Unfortunately, many of us lack the proper knowledge to do one or more of these things.  In my own experience, I felt I wasn’t eating well enough despite the fact that most people would consider my diet to be a healthful one.  I have been learning more and more about the kinds of foods that work best for me – that I can best digest and give me the most energy.  So I’m re-training my body to eat differently.

Similarly, many of us lack the knowledge of how to “move” in ways that suit us best and “think” in ways that are empowering.  Now in these areas, I do have some knowledge and experience! 🙂  Yoga has so many practical techniques to offer us when it comes to learning how to “move well” and “think well”.

To that end, I’ve developed a new workshop called The “ABC”s of Yoga Self-Care.  In this workshop, my intent is to not only teach yoga techniques but to advise on how to practically apply them to our daily lives.  In doing so, we begin to create better habits of moving well and thinking well… we begin to take daily actions to feel good in body and mind… and we begin to reclaim our power for creating our own good health.

So if you answered my question at the beginning with anything but a resounding “YES”… I invite you to contact me and learn more about how to TAKE CHARGE of YOUR HEALTH!

Copyright 2017 - Soluna Solutions, LLC