The Use Your Words Project

Have you ever had a goal you wanted to achieve, but struggled with where to start?  I have been working on a project with my yoga clients to help get them out of the starting gate and moving towards that goal. It’s called the Use Your Words Project. With this project I hope to help people harness the power of intention to achieve goals and lead a more mindful life.

Words have real power, and combining your words with a few simple rules, you can reach your goals or make those changes you have thinking about but have simply lacked the catalyst to get started.

Taking inspiration from the MyIntent Project, I am making and selling custom-made intention bracelets.  These pieces are an integral part of the project, serving as the touchstone of your goal.

The power of intention

Here’s how it works.

Choose a word that represents your goal or aspiration.  For example, someone who is struggling with getting things done, might choose the word PRIORITY.  So the next time they are overwhelmed with a long list of tasks and short time to do them, they will be reminded to question what has priority.  It can be any word you want, it just needs to make sense to you.

Once you have the bracelet there are three simple rules to follow.

First, wear your word continuously for three weeks.  Why?  Because research has proven it takes at least 21 days of repetition to either make or break a habit.

Second, take a photo of your word and post it to whatever social media you like and tag it with #useyourwordsproject.  If you are not on social media,  then simply take a photo of your word and find a way to display it.  You can save it as your phone or computer’s wallpaper, or have the photo developed and put it out where other people can see it.

You don’t have to include an explanation unless that is something you are comfortable with, just the photo alone will serve as your outward and public declaration of your intention or goal.

Third, tell three people during the 21 days about your word.  It can be as simple as “look at this cool bracelet I bought, I chose the word priority to remind me not to get caught up in unimportant tasks”  The reason for this step is to help you articulate your purpose.  The more you talk about it, the more likely you are to do it.

That’s it.  Simple right? Give it a try and see what happens.

Brass & Nickel Tokens

Intention Bracelets $10.00    These bracelets are made with waxed cotton cord and your choice of a brass (gold tone) or nickel (silver) token.  String is available in black, blue and purple.  The bracelet has an adjustable sliding knot. Free shipping in the US.

To order use the contact form below. Credit cards are welcome on the Paypal account.

 

 

Yoga + Essential Oils

Incorporating esseyoga-eontial oils into your yoga practice is a great way to maximize the benefits of yoga. I know, it can feel a little out there to think that rubbing a drop or two of some plant oil on you is going to have some tangible effect on your body. However, think about this: before we had modern synthetic based drugs, people cured multitudes of maladies with plants alone.

Scientists who are way smarter than me, figured out how to mimic those plants’ chemical compounds and created drugs that have profound effects on the body, curing all manners of disease. So I ask, why is it so far-fetched to believe those same plant oils, in their purest forms, would not have the same effect now?

In short, its not, it just takes a little getting used to the idea. To be clear, no-one is suggesting you should forgo all modern medicine for essential oils, that would be irresponsible, but why not give it a try and see if you realize any benefits?

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The use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes is called aromatherapy. Different oils provide different benefits. Some oils can improve concentration or reduce stress, while others help boost the immune system or improve the quality of sleep.

There are many different oils out there, the trick is to find what works for you. That will depend on what you hope to achieve. Here are a few essential oil basics: for enhanced relaxation try lavender, marjoram or ylang ylang. Conversely, for energy try peppermint, rosemary or wild orange. For focus and concentration, try grounding oils like sandalwood, frankincense and cedarwood.

Now to amp up those benefits try incorporating essential oils into your yoga practice. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that:

  • Use a Diffuser: Diffusing aerosolizes the oil molecules allowing you to breathe in their benefits. The most safest and most effective method is to use a diffuser which you can find either online or at most stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond. You simply add water and a few drops of oil and hit the start button. diffuser
  • Topical Application. Basically, you rub a few drops directly on to the skin. Always test for skin sensitivity first, and consider using a carrier oil such as fractionated (fatty acids removed) coconut oil to dilute the oil and cover more of the skin’s surface. Depending on the oil and the desired effect, there are a variety of ways to apply, for instance; rub peppermint on your chest or biceps before sun salutations for an energy boost; for relaxation, massage some lavender into the soles of your feet before final seated and reclined poses, or rub some sandalwood into your hands, cup your hands in front of your face to breath in the scent during the initial breathing exercises at the beginning of class.Foot care and foot massage in salon
  • Ingestion. Oils that are safe to ingest, such as lemon, lime and peppermint can be added to your water to sip during and after class. Be sure to confirm the oil you are using is safe for ingestion. Personally, I use doTerra products which carry a supplement label, letting you know they are safe to ingest, unless you see a similar label, do not assume you can ingest the oil.

supplement

If you are interested in learning more, I teach Essential Yoga Workshops each month which incorporate oils into the yoga practice, consider giving one of those a try. The yoga is suitable for all levels of experience, the oils are all provided and most importantly, we have a lot of fun.

Here is the link to our Facebook page for more information on yoga and essential oils https://www.facebook.com/essentialyogaworkshop/ or better yet, go to: http://bit.ly/essentialyoga and register to join us sometime.

Meditation for Athletes.

Russell Wilson rocks. The Seattle Seahawks use meditation as part of their season long conditioning.

Super Bowl QB Russell Wilson. The Seattle Seahawks use meditation as part of their season long conditioning program. Interesting…

Meditation?  Seriously? I know what you’re thinking, but yes, seriously I am going to talk about meditation for athletes. I consider myself to be a very practical person so my approach to yoga has always been from a real world perspective.  Meditation has always seemed like a bunch of new age hokum.

OK, so I was wrong, it happens. The important thing is I have come around and now understand a regular meditation practice has very tangible physical and mental benefits. Specifically for athletes who are used to being cranked up for competition, it is necessary to stimulate the para-sympathetic nervous system to ground them or eventually they are going to find their tank is empty. Meditation also helps gain control over the breath which can be vitally important when hand-eye control is required like making a free throw, catching a pass or throwing a strike.

Finally, I can’t really explain why, but meditation helps athletes find  and maintain occupancy in “the zone.”  You know “the zone,”  that phenomena when the goal or basket seems to be a mile wide, or your opponents seem to be moving in slow motion.  All athletes seek time in the zone and meditation can help get them there.

At this point,  you are convinced I am right,  and can’t wait to get started.  Right…   I know that look,  I’ve cracked tougher nuts than you.  Just try this short “focus exercise” for five days in a row. If you hate it, give up, go ahead you big quitter. (Dropping some old school coaching on you there).  Really, just try it I sincerely believe you will find it beneficial.

First, sit in a comfortable, semi-quiet place.  A car is a great place to start.  Close your eyes and just settle in. Don’t try to control anything, just sit there letting your thoughts bounce around.  Feel free to think this is stupid if you want, I know I did when I first started.

After about a minute, start to take control of your breath. Inhale, counting 1-2-3  pause, then exhale 1-2-3. Try to visualize the actual numbers 1-2-3 in your mind’s eye as you breath. Do 10 rounds of this 3/3 breath pattern.

After the 3/3  breath pattern you are going to start lengthening you exhales.  Continue counting, this time inhaling 1-2-3-4 pause, then exhale 1-2-3-4-5-6 pause, and repeat this 4/6 pattern for 10 rounds.

After the 4/6 breath, come back to an even 5/5 breath.  Inhale 1-2-3-4-5 pause, exhale 1-2-3-4-5 pause.  Repeat this 5/5 pattern for 10 rounds. Don’t be surprised if you find this a little exhausting, it can be at first.

After you complete the 5/5 breath pattern, just let your breath go back to normal, sit there quietly, eyes closed for about a minute, longer if you want, and then softly open the eyes. See that wasn’t so hard, or weird.

Now, just like one set of sit-ups won’t give you ripped abs, one meditation, sorry focus exercise, won’t bring you enlightenment, but keep it up for 5 days in a row (maybe twice a day if you can hack it) and see what it does for your performance.  I bet you will notice something you can’t quite put you finger on, you’ll feel sharper, clearer, more in control.  In short, better.

Here is a cheat sheet for that focus exercise.

1 minute eyes closed, sitting still.

10 rounds 3/3 breath pattern.

10 rounds 4/6 breath pattern.

10 rounds 5/5 breath pattern.

1 minute eyes closed, sitting still.