Viewing entries tagged
meditation

3 Meditation Techniques for a Flexible Mind

3 Meditation Techniques for a Flexible Mind

Life is full of unpredictability. We frequently counter the unexpected. This often leads to stress and worry as we try to cope with a curveball from nowhere. How could we possibly make this better? So much can be changed by having a flexible mind. If we decide that we are willing to meet whatever comes, we can begin to, as they say, roll with the punches. It can be challenging to change one's mindset to live in such a way, but it is possible and it leads to a certain flexibility of the mind.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

When stepping onto my yoga mat, I remind myself that this is a sacred place. One's mat is where all else ceases to exist. I begin my yoga practice by taking a deep inhale, as I do so, I focus on the air rushing into my lunges, I breathe in positive energy. On my exhale, I blow the air out through my lips and exhale all negative energy out of my body. I like to think of myself as a blank slate when I start my practice. Each day is a new beginning and a new way to mold yourself into the person you aim to be, I begin each day with an open mind and a grateful heart.

Relax Anywhere With This 5 Minute Yoga Routine

Relax Anywhere With This 5 Minute Yoga Routine

Whether you're sitting behind your office desk or laying on your yoga mat, this yoga routine will help you to relax anywhere in 5 minutes. Reserve time for yourself. Relax and zone out of your hectic day for a blip of time. It doesn’t matter where you are. You could be heading back home from the gym. Do this routine in your dressing room. If you can't fall asleep because your thoughts are overwhelming you, try this breath-focused routine for a calmer mind. At the end of this 'Relax Anywhere' routine, we will explore a yogic breathing technique called Alternate Nostril Breathing. I will briefly guide you through it here so that you can watch the demonstration before trying it yourself.

Are you on your fitness journey for the right reasons?

In this post, PumpUp member fitnessriss (@carissamarie2 on the pumpupapp) teaches us how to reorient our mindset in a positive way, allowing us to view our personal motives for “fitness” with more critical introspection. 

Everybody wants to be a health nut, to have that “perfect” body, and to be that “beast” in the gym. I’m curious though; do we know why we want these things? Are we working hard for the right reasons? We each have our individual reasoning, but together we should be working towards the same thing: to better ourselves, to become healthier beings, and to spread love. Your goals should not be surrounded in vain; striving to imitate the hottest celebrity or striving to become beautiful! Do it for YOU! You are someone great and you were born beautiful.

Every human being is beautiful, you must learn to love yourself, because nobody will love yourself more than you will. We must stop comparing ourselves to people we’ve never met, and start comparing ourselves only to the person we were yesterday. Are you better than you were yesterday? No? Then continue to do exactly what makes you better than you were yesterday, whether that is working out, finishing your work, creating something, or simply thinking positively about yourself.

Remember: be patient while working towards your goals!  If your goal is to be healthy and yo see yourself going down an unhealthy spiral, make sure you pick yourself up instead of bringing yourself down. Boost your confidence with positive affirmations and keep working toward those goals. Be patient, you will get to where you need to be in time. Focus on the now, because that is truly where we are. Right now is all we have to bring the tomorrow we want. Worrying about your past or future is useless and wastes the time you have in the present.

We are all beautiful human beings. Be proud. Be you. Stop saying I will be healthy, I will be beautiful, I will be happy. Instead, right now, at this moment, remind yourself you ARE healthy, you ARE beautiful, you ARE happy. Be all that you can imagine right now. And if you are able to make these realizations, you can view the world with clear eyes and a warm heart. You will see others with the same beauty you see within yourself and love others as you love yourself. In turn, this spreads positivity and happiness to everyone, and creates a better environment and better world for all of us to live in. Now, ask yourself, do you do what you do to become a better you? A healthier you? Are you doing this for your happiness and your well-being? Are you doing this for you?

[gallery]

10 yoga poses worth learning more about

In the words of the late Vincent Van Gogh, “The best way to know life is to love many things.” This is why we loved all of your yoga poses on the pumpupapp. Check out our photo diary chronicling some of our favourite photos down below.

Bow Pose

@iyarbo’s bow pose wins our #MyResolution prize from our yoga pose challenge! The bow pose helps to elongate the front of your body. Not only does this position strengthen your back muscles, it helps to circulate blood and oxygen to your core.

Dancer’s Pose

@latasia_lovely and @gillianmicah’s pose symbolizes cosmic energy. It’s a fun pose that allows the practitioner to make their balance and focus more acute by focusing on one leg at a time. It stretches the thighs and shoulders and opens up the chest and lungs. Yoga has been crucial for @gillianmicah’s recovery from an eating disorder: "It helps relieve stress and calm your body down. I would highly suggest it regularly."

Inversions

pameladiazfc's forearm stand and elivkaa's handstand are both excellent examples of yoga inversions. Practicing yoga encourages us to “shake it off”, if you will: to break from habit or routine. Inversions are yoga's way of dramatically increasing blood and oxygen flow to our upper extremities. This reportedly accentuates mental concentration, cognitive functioning, and memory. If you’re stressed out over exams, assignments, or particularly a heavy workload, take a gander at inversions. 

Partner Poses

@minimimi26’s resolution for the year is to incorporate yoga into her fitness routine. She only just began to practice this year! Having a workout buddy helps to keep her accountable. Similarly, @beckydirsch has been using the benefits of partner yoga to help perfect her inversions and balance.

Side Angle Pose

@ramo5678’s side angle pose is perfect if you are sedentary for most of the day (office chair and library desk-dwellers, we’re talking to you). This pose will open up your chest, lungs, spine, and shoulders while strengthening your lower half. It will help to prepare your stabilizing muscles to perform more advanced poses.

Crow pose

@linds_3’s crow pose is something of a feat. She’s been working on it for awhile and gleefully shared the progress that she made since August 2014. "I could barely get my toes off the floor in the summer, but now I can hold it for a second and my technique is much better!," she exclaimed. "I can see strength in my arms and shoulders. I had no idea I had improved on this pose so much! That is why it is so important to keep track of your progress."

Lotus Pose

@bangerz10’s meditative position helps to calm the mind. Do this if you need a break! It’s a perfect pose for reflection. You’ll be able to align your intentions with your actions the more you meditate.

Check out our full #MyResolution photo challenge here

How to master self-discipline

image

This is a post published by PumpUp member @coachmelissa. Check out her website at melissalepage.com 

A craftsperson masters her or his trade through repeated practice, care and continuous learning, and devotion to her or his purpose. 

The same elements are needed to master the craft of discipline:

  • Repeated practice
  • Single-minded devotion to the purpose
  • Continuous learning
  • Care

Here are some extremely useful tips:

  1. Do the task even when you’re not in the mood. Procrastination is such a common problem that I believe it to be universal. How often have you told yourself, "I’m not in the mood to do this"? The task is probably difficult or confusing. It’s uncomfortable and you’d rather do things that are easier, that you’re good at. You’d rather clean your house or trim your nails or check your email than start a task that could have had the biggest impact on your business/life. But if we wait until we’re in the mood, we’ll never master anything.

    Instead, practice this: Plan to finish the most important tasks first, write them down in your agenda, and start doing them, no matter what. Don’t check email or social media, or go clean something, or do a quick chore or errand. Sit down, and do it. It will be uncomfortable. You can still do it even if it’s uncomfortable.

  2. Exercise even when you really don’t want to. Yes, this is the same thing as procrastinating — we put off exercise for many reasons, usually because it’s hard, because we ‘don’t have time’, and because we’d rather do something easier. Change your perspective. View exercise not as punishment, but as an act of self-care. You wouldn’t skip brushing your teeth for a week, would you? Your teeth would rot. Similarly, skipping exercise for a week rots your body.

    Instead, practice this: Tell yourself you’re going to do a workout/run at a certain time, always plan your workouts ahead of time (I could never stress this enough, it is crucial). I tell all my clients to do this: plan. Take your agenda out, as you write your tasks, write down your workouts by blocking 20-30mins or even 1h of that day ONLY for your fitness. And then show up. Do it even if you’re tired or feeling lazy. Ignore the lazy feeling, the distractedness, and suck it up. You’ll find that you feel great for having done it. Either way, you’ll start to master doing things that are uncomfortable

    image

  3. Sit with a little hunger. We tend to panic when we get hungry, and run for whatever piece of junk food is closest to us. What I’ve learned is that you can be hungry and it’s not the end of the world. We don’t always need to be stuffed and satisfied with crazy delicious food. 

    Instead, practice this: Don’t eat if you’re not hungry. When you get hungry, sit there for a moment and turn to the hunger, and see how it really feels. It’s not so bad. This practice isn’t to make you starve yourself (not great), but to show you that a little discomfort won’t ruin your life, and that you can make conscious choices about when and how much to eat.

  4. Talk to someone about something uncomfortable. We avoid difficult conversations, because they’re not fun. They’re scary, uncomfortable. But that leads to all kinds of problems, including resentment, a worse relationship, worsening the situation, and more.

    Instead, practice this: When you have a problem with someone, instead of replaying the problem in your head, talk to the person in a gentle, compassionate way. Try to see the situation from their point of view, not just yours. Bring it up with a simple, “Hey, can we talk about ___?” And tell them how you feel, without accusing them or making them feel defensive. Ask them how they feel about it. Approach it with the attitude of finding a solution that works for both of you, that preserves your relationship. What you learn from this is that pushing through an uncomfortable situation will resolve a lot of difficult problems.

  5. Stick to a habit. One of the hardest things people face when changing their habits is that it’s difficult commit after the initial enthusiasm dies down. It’s easy to stick to a habit for a week — but what about pushing through the second and third weeks? It gets a lot easier afterward, but a lot of people drop the habit too early.

    Instead, do this: Commit to one small habit for two months. Reserve just 5 minutes a day for that habit, and do it at the same time each day. Set as many reminders as you can so that you don’t forget. Track the habit on a calendar or log it, so you see your progress. Show up every day and do it. You’ll start to master the formation of new habits, which will open up all kinds of opportunities.

    image

  6. Turn toward the problem. When we have a problem, we avoid even thinking about it. Think about whether you have one of these problems: you’ve been avoiding exercise, you’re overweight, you’ve been avoiding a major project, you put off dealing with your finances, you’re unhappy about some situation in your life. Often these are uncomfortable situations, and we’d rather not face them.

    Instead, practice this: See the obstacle as the path. Don’t avoid the obstacle (the difficult situation, or the problem you fear), don’t go around it, don’t ignore it. Turn toward it. See it. Acknowledge it. Figure out what’s going on. Find out how to navigate within the problem. You’ll find that it’s not easy, but not as bad as you thought, and you’ll be happy you did it. And more importantly: you’ll get stronger from facing the problem.

  7. See good in the activity. Discipline really derives from learning that you don’t need some incredible reward — there’s inherent good in just doing the activity. For example, if you’re going to eat healthy food, you don’t need to make it taste like your favourite dessert or fried food— you can just enjoy the act of eating fresh, healthy food in itself. If you’re going to exercise, it doesn’t need to give you a flat stomach or nice arms immediately— you can just enjoy the activity.

    Practice this: No matter what the activity, find the good in doing it, and the activity becomes the reward.

  8. Meditate. People think meditation is difficult or mystical, but it’s fairly simple.

    Practice this: Take 2 minutes to sit still, and focus on your breath, noticing when your mind wanders and gently returning to the breath. There are lots of other ways to meditate, but this is the simplest, and it shows you how to watch the urges that come up, and see that you don’t need to act on those urges. As the days go by, add more minutes to your meditation session. With time it will get easier to keep your mind clear of thoughts.

You might not be good at these at first, but that’s why you practice.

You’ll learn to get comfortable with discomfort, to show up even when you don’t feel like it, to stick to something even when the enthusiasm wanes, to not act on your urges right away, to enjoy any activity as a reward in and of itself.

Does life need to be pure discipline and no fun? Of course not. But if you can enjoy any activity, in the moment, why not learn to master something that will pay off for you in the long run?

Follow Melissa on PumpUp @coachmelissa. Check out her website at melissalepage.com 

This is how to breathe positivity into your soul

There’s a saying that when we quiet the mind, the soul will speak. In this post, PumpUp member fitnessriss (@carissamarie2 on the app) teaches us how to internalize negativity and #SpreadPositivity through self-awareness.

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must find discipline and control one’s own mind.” – Buddha

image

Open your mind to the infinite possibilities that inhabit our lives. Ponder the possibility that our lives are molded by our minds. Imagine your life without stress, pain, depression; all the outer negativity from work, school, peers, family, and even personal issues. It can all be mended from within.

Wouldn’t that be relief? Wouldn’t that life be a beautiful breeze? Well, it is. It is freedom of the soul, and it’s more than possible. The change you’ve been waiting for, that part of your life that you’ve been searching for that has been missing, it has been within you all along. Your despair, stress, and worry can be healed beginning with the way you see, think, and how you feel.

 You carry the freedom of your mind, body, and spirit, but it’s up to you to take that freedom and control the emotions and responses you have towards life. Our lives are altered by our reactions and it takes seconds to make that right or wrong decision to react. Indeed, we are only human, but we must be patient with ourselves and think before we act upon a simple emotion. I’m not telling you to bottle up your emotions, I’m telling you to acknowledge the negative ones, breathe in, and search for an easier, less stressful way to react to a situation.

Those few moments of pure awareness within yourself can free your mind of the way you view the outcomes and sometimes negative situations handed to you. But you are saving yourself from the unneeded pain, unwanted alterations, and even unacceptable anger or intolerance. Your reactions to the struggles and situations that this life will bring forth will define your outlook on life. You cannot let the negative ones get the best of you. Your love embodies the best of you and your negative emotions or reactions will only bring you out of touch with that love. No matter what life throws your way, you can overcome it. Always look at situations from all perspectives. Stay mindful of yourself and be aware of your emotions, but again, do not act upon the negative ones. If you breathe positivity into your soul, only a positive brighter life can be viewed through your now aware and tolerant eyes.

Free yourself from the barricaded rooms of stress, depression, and despair. You deserve the light. You deserve to feel the winds of happiness caress your skin. See the world for what it is and realize that only you can truly stop yourself from seeing that beautiful truth. Remember that this happiness and positive perspective of life isn’t something you need to search for – it’s already there with you.

image

You possess the ability from within, right now. You can be happy and see this life full of light and feel the love, right now. Once you take hold of that new perspective you are living that life you’ve always wanted, you’ve found what was missing, you have it all in the palm of your hands. Hold it close, practice each day, stay mindful, and remain patient with yourself. You can spread the love and positivity to others, don’t just tell them to react differently, remind them of that self-awareness, and let them see the beauty of a more patient perspective of life.  

Follow Carissa on Tumblr fitnessriss, Tweet her at @risaamariee2, find her on instagram @rissmarie2, and best of all, #SpreadPositivity with her on PumpUp @carissamarie2!