Friday, December 27, 2013
How do you know that you are making progress?
One way that I can tell is the freedom and joy that I feel in practicing yoga. When practice is calm, steady, and continuous, I am in a zone that celebrates the balance of effort / ease, challenge / reflection, heat / cooling. The practice is not really about the poses -- it is a dedication to the lives and efforts of those who brought yoga practice to individuals beyond their families, far away from their backgrounds. It is a tribute to the sacrifices they made in time, in humility, in reframing in order to communicate the practice and make it accessible.
So I practice the same basic poses. But they feel so different, and they settle into the practice space in a totally different way. When I practice in a class setting, I have both awe and a newfound respect for the variations and unity that yoga practice embraces. I feel less pressure to look like a magazine cover, and I glow in the realization that teacher and participants are there to honor our common humanity, irrespective of physical giftedness.
When I practice away from my usual yoga studio, the capacity to discern the tone of the instruction, the environment created by the class participants, is a special experience -- truly a sign of the times. Have I positively contributed to that atmosphere of discovery, ease, and thoughtfulness? Have I accepted what others have brought as a gift of sharing?
The practice is less about me, and more about how it reminds me to be of service off the mat, to look out, and to respond to "the signs of the times."
Saturday, December 07, 2013
There's music in the air... what's your tune?
Whether you live alone or in a family unit, you can choose, as an individual, how you will interact with those with whom you have contact. The power of choice is a privilege that humankind has, even in the most troubling circumstances.
In the lifestyle / wellness goals, I shift my focus at this time of year, because I ask myself to do things beyond my comfort level - in time, in the stress of the unknown, in responding to others who are part of a shared unknown. (Yes, this description is cryptic, but just accept that for what it is.) So I don't aim for weight loss - no expectations of improved body composition. Instead I aim to stay true to myself, to focus on sustaining the basics of day-to-day. And with that, that is enough.
The tune I sing is: I accept who / what I am today, without the expectation for drastic change. I will forgive more than I ask to be forgiven, because I will choose to overlook minor (and even, major) oversights and indignities.
The tune I sing brings happiness and light to a greater good. And I spend nine weeks each year, at this time of year, to achieve that better world for those around me.
To those of you who can still re-double your efforts to sustain and maintain your progress to goals, I congratulate you, and wish you the best. I will maintain as best as I know and rejoin you in with more focus on my own goals at a time in the near future.
What's y o u r tune? There's music in the air!
Sunday, October 27, 2013
What does it take to get the motivational juices flowing? Sometimes all it takes is seeing someone and realizing: "That's what will happen to me unless I am pro-active about lifestyle choices." I saw someone, with the accompanying: "Do you mind if I sit down while I'm _________? I'm getting too winded to keep standing." That's what an extra 80 pounds will do to you. It was all over that person's body. Face, arms, body core, legs, just everywhere. I knew who was supposed to be in front of me. Even the voice was just not the same. So in that moment, I decided to kick myself - hard. And stop making the excuses. And I did something two days later to show that I meant business. And I did something the next day to gladly help with a task, even though I didn't know I would be doing it. I just said to myself: "More steps gets me closer to my goal."
I don't follow through well when my goals are publicly stated. But that doesn't mean I can't go public about the process and the impetus of the motivation to try again, in a different way.
Thanks, Spark Friends.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
H.A.L.T. an acronym for too hungry, too angry, too lonely, too tired, signs that you are at risk of slipping into lack of self-control. I don't why that came so strongly in mind recently. But I recognized that the larger significance was to look at the concepts behind those words.
Have you nurtured yourself with nutrition, including water and balanced food choices?
Are you paying attention to how you respond to your world, to the things that "just come", beyond personal control? The response is the main part of your next steps.
The right companionship can put a different slant on many situations, including lifestyle change. That's why the SparkPeople community is such a powerful force for good. Share, and you'll feel the difference. Look around, and you'll see others who are on the path -- some coasting, some struggling, all wanting to make a difference -- in the affirmative.
Even the most intense and active need a balance, and rest and variation are key.
HALT - not just for 12 step programs.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Spark Activity Tracker
No one likes to hear that they are doing less than what they believed. But so far, that is my experience with the Spark Activity Tracker in comparison to using FitBit.
Having your expectations challenged is a shock; I certainly don't want someone or something to say: "You're not really working as hard as you think." Rather than take it personally, I realize that I have to "get over it"; I have to recognize that the Spark Activity Tracker is the new baseline of what I am doing day-to-day. So get used to it.
I find wearing the Spark Activity Tracker to be easy; once I clip it on, it stays, and there is no problem. There are several movement classes that I do for which it is not suitable to wear. When I take it off, I make certain to have a zippered pouch available so that all of my small belongings stay together.
The problems I am having with the tracking page are just growing pains, I think. People who use the Spark Activity Tracker will love the integration with SparkPeople.
There are some fundamental, basic questions about one's attitude to tracking. I have mainly positive experiences with the movement that I initiate with myself. I am at the stage that, if I don't go as far, as fast, or as long as I had anticipated, it's no big deal.. it is what it is. That wasn't always the case. Now food tracking, that is a very, very big deal. There are the mixed emotions of love and attention contrasted with poor nutritional information; the disappointment of making a "healthy" recipe that doesn't taste or look good after the 2nd of 8 servings -- these failures, really just new experiences of independent decision making, are part of the Edison experience, the multiple mistakes leading to the practices that bring us comfort and familiarity. Yes, it has taken many experiences of doubt to produce the positive take aways I now have with food. Grab and go meals, prepared one or two days earlier, "work" for me. I have a few food strategies that work -- right now, food tracking is not an overall strategy that I connect with.
In contrast, the fitness side of lifestyle is one that I have taken charge of for myself. It is that activity that makes me feel OK, even with twinges of discomfort. I treat myself with the attitude of an athlete, but without the pressure of personal bests and specific competition deadlines. Because I feel at home with movement, even though people around me say that new movement patterns don't come naturally to me, I am always prepared to experiment with new ways to track it.
Why use any activity tracker?
There are many ways to consider your lifestyle progress. Some people use clothing size. Others are happy to be able to comfortably sit. To walk in freedom from discomfort is yet another sign of progress. I like seeing numbers - miles moved; calories burned - and I trust that an activity tracker will allow me to see those trends so that I can use that information along with clothing size, eating patterns and intentional activity (planned "workouts") to make plans for the future. I still am at the stage that I ask myself: "Can you afford to eat _____ ?" And if the numbers don't look good, I probably will put on my breastplate mental body armour and say: "No, not today."
Using an activity tracker is less expensive than using certain professional testing clinics. As I don't have medical reasons for those testing services, I want access to the information only for curiosity, and to keep my mind on sustaining the movement patterns that placate food appetite.
I have changed types of activities due to changes of priorities in personal and public life; an activity tracker helps me to see "the big picture" for judging the impact of the intensity of these substitutions in activity.
So for me, using some kind of activity tracker, whether anecdotal or electronic with an online account over time, will be a permanent part of maintaining the balanced lifestyle I want to sustain.
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