All entries tagged with “mind”
Be mindful. Every day, you can catch eudaimonia. There is no cure for it. In fact, once you’re infected, your brain feeds upon it, your body reacts to it, your actions change from it, and you become more of who you were made to be because of it. Literally brace yourself! Once you catch it, you begin to foster its continued growth, and spread it amongst your family, friends and associates too. You’ll find life is better with “eudaimonic” symptoms and manifestations. WT… is she talking about?
Let’s get philosophical before we get physical, shall we? Put some thought into our action. Let’s exercise the gray matter between our ears and then pump the heart muscle before we tone the over 600 other muscles in our bodies. Let’s live FITosophically!
Aristotle used the Greek word eudaimonia to describe “the state of having a good indwelling spirit, a good genius.” He taught of an ethical, practical way to live that fosters self-realization and well-being. Achieving eudaimonia is a practice that creates a better way of being. How do we enhance our well-being? Discover something new every day. When we learn something new, our brains thrive upon the stronger synaptic connections we make. We are literally super-charging ourselves and fine-tuning our body’s drive mechanism. As fellow philosopher Socrates said, “The beginning of wisdom is wonder.” One of my common FITosophical refrains: Always remain in a state of wonder about what you can do, and keep creating and discovering more about YOU in the process.
On May 16, 2013 I turned 51derful. Humor me. I have been a committed yogi for a number of years and have been dedicating my time to training and teaching various traditions of the practice I love. Yesterday I broke out of the studio setting for a personal training session with John Bowie, an extraordinary athlete/trainer whose NFL career includes the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Oakland Raiders. In a smiling state of wonder, I looked at contraptions I had never used before as my fitness protocol was revealed. Long, heavy braided ropes for my arms to create wave patterns with, TRX hooked me at the ankles, a mountainous platform to leap over and more than J-Lo squat down to(!!), 5lb dumbbells in hand for the journey, and some elliptical, lunge-stepping patterns to complete along the way. Happily, or rather, “eudaimonically,” I feel all of my 51derful years BEHIND me! I absolutely loved every new challenge presented to me and feel the hunger for more discoveries of all that I can do begin to grow – again.
Learning a new word with age-old meaning, understanding etymologies or even making words up to describe, encourage, and affirm yourself creates revitalization and motivation for your physical work-out. We are masters of ourselves. We can empower ourselves more effectively than anyone else can. Choose good words for yourself and create a philosophy to not just live by, but become more YOU by! We are physical beings. We are made for action and mobilization. We are driven by our hearts and our heads both physiologically, intellectually, and esoterically. Create your own FITosophical way of being and rediscover all you can be every day. Catch eudaimonia, and infectiously grow younger, stronger, happier and more wonder-full every day!
By: Karen Cutrona, ERYT-500/RYS Founding owner of Blue Moon Yoga and Fitness,Inc., FITosopher, and Self-proclaimed Age Retardation Specialist
Often when I begin a yoga class, I remind my clients that when the language in their body speaks louder than I do, obey!
The practice of yoga is a unique expression that every body gets to discover on their mat. A posture can become as varied as each body can manifest the pose. With the twisting and turning, upending and balancing, strengthening and stretching involved in a yoga practice, everyone should feel empowered to explore how to inhabit their bodies better.
Whatever your choice for physical activity, be your own fitness expert. Pose challenges to your body and do what you can to meet them. Be fearless in your approach toward fitness because truly, we simply can’t do what we can’t do! However, we can discover all we can do with each attempt.
If we choose not to listen to the language in our bodies while we are challenging ourselves physically, we likely will either injure ourselves at some point, or conversely, never know our full potential. Who knew that a lift of a leg could lead to wearing it like a scarf! Always have a sense of wonder about what you can do.
If we choose to let go of a prescribed notion about what we should accomplish, we will not fail in accomplishing what we can! If we choose to let go of a prescribed notion about how we should look, we have accomplished looking how we should! Build success into your workout and hone into the message of your body language. Go when it says go. Stop when it says stop. Challenge yourself as much as your body allows, and then surrender as much as your body needs.
In yoga there is a continuous theme for each participant to meet challenge with ease. There’s an ancient Sanskrit term for this: “sthira sukham asanam” which translates, ”The posture is challenging but steady.” Sthira speaks of strength and fortitude. Sukham speaks of joy, happiness, feeling satisfied; and asanam speaks to the practice itself.
Incorporate this theme into your daily active life. Empower yourself as your own fitness expert. Gain confidence in your abilities as you listen to the language in your body, and your level of fitness will grow. Your body will establish a new a craving for more and more challenge when you can manage yourself with a sense of equanimity through it all. Enjoy your workout for what you can do today, and you’ll look forward to your workout for what you can do tomorrow…
Love the journey toward building your strength and stamina, and you’ll love that your body will speak for itself!
Live to discover more.
Karen Cutrona, Body Language Specialist
Instructor/trainer/Owner, Blue Moon Yoga and Fitness, Inc.
In 2013, let’s feel good about wearing our bodies out! When committing your body to a physical fitness activity, let the idea of “wearing your body out” have new meaning. Build a relationship with your body that integrates physical challenge with ease, so you can wear your newly toned and revitalized body out tonight looking better in those jeans! Each time you commit to challenging your body, commit to discovering what your body can do today that doesn’t aggravate and deplete it, but rather challenges and stimulates it to crave more of the good revitalizing activities you’re submitting it to.
While we require a degree of challenge to create changes in our body, we also require moments of ease to build body confidence and awareness. Relationships fall apart if they are pushed, prodded and nagged too much. Avoid this kind of relationship with your body when it comes to your fitness practices. Mutual respect and honor builds up a relationship.
Begin to build a healthy mind-spirit-body relationship by being grateful that you woke up today, and then even more grateful that you’re able-bodied and capable of performing physical activities. Then honor the fact that you were made for action with the over 200 bones, most of them connected as joints for mobility, and the over 600 muscles in your body, most of them made for performance and power. Neglecting to honor your amazingly equipped-for-action body is choosing to let it rot away! Think about your body as your best friend and lover. Treat your body with consideration, respect, compassion and care, and a healthy relationship within your mind and spirit toward your body, begins to grow stronger. Get in sync with yourself for success.
A basic principle in an effective yoga practice involves understanding how to meet challenges with ease in your body, as well as understanding that “surrender” is one of the most difficult challenges of all to master. When challenge cannot be met with ease, surrender is necessary to honor your body. Surrender is an act of your will. Giving up is the absence of it. When you challenge your body, practice this act of your will and get good at it, just as you practice, as an act of your will, to submit your body to strenuous physical activities. Surrender, in this context, builds confidence, not defeat. Surrender signals to your body that you know when enough is enough so that the next time you meet challenges in your fitness regime; your body trusts you and knows when it’s time to take it to the next level. You begin to look forward to the next challenge, and you build upon a pattern of challenge meeting ease so that you begin to not only manage, but crave a greater level of activity.
Many yoga practices end with the popular “Corpse” pose, aka Savasana. The challenge of this pose is to surrender your body to your mat and to release all of your muscles from your bones. You take time in a few final moments to bring ease in equal measure to the challenges you’ve just put your body through in the previous 60 or 90 minutes of class. This allows your body to embrace and embody all of your hard work. Ease and surrender are also integrated throughout an active yoga practice by maintaining a steady breathing pattern through a flowing, challenging sequence of movements where your muscles are throbbing, and your heart rate is rising. Diminishing the quality of your breathing pattern, or holding your breath, through challenging physical activity only produces stress. Practice bringing a relaxation response that maintains the steady fuel of oxygen throughout your bloodstream, and your body translates this to “all is well,” rather than “WTFreak!” You reinforce that healthy, trusting relationship with your body so that the integration of challenge meeting ease builds your hard work right into the fabric of your being. You create a new norm to your level of fitness from which to build new challenges.
I often say in my classes, “You want to wear this in your body when you walk out the door - don’t just do this on your mat in class.” If you create hardship within your body, your body rejects it and reacts adversely. When it comes to physical activity, too much of a good thing, truly can be too much for your body to embrace if you go at it with too much intensity. This will set you back in creating an optimal sustainable fitness level, and keep you from wearing your work in the shape of tighter, toner arms, legs, hips, and abdominals. Practice the integration of ease to your fitness regime and you will enjoy incorporating more and more challenges each time you participate. Remember - synchronize yourself, mind-spirit-body, for success.
A grateful mindset, a mutual respect for challenge and ease, the will to surrender, together with your spirit of wonder and surprise for what you can accomplish through physical activities, will produce your best body. Enjoy the way you look wearing your body out every day and night!
By: Karen Cutrona, Better body inhabiter and Owner/ Instructor/Trainer - E-RYT500,
Blue Moon Yoga and Fitness, Inc.
Wellness… It’s a feeling. It’s a practice. It’s a way of being that represents you at your best. It’s a state of positive physical and emotional well being. Wellness is an internal all-is-well reverberation with glowing outward manifestations.
Our bodies are naturally seeking balance and equilibrium amongst its systems and functions. Our bodies intuitively seek wellness. This is a process known as homeostasis. When one faculty is compromised, another one compensates. When we participate in this natural process, we create our own wellness prescriptions.
Wellness can overcome disease. The human condition is finite and subject to break-down. Illness is inevitable, but dis-ease does not have to be a part of this broken condition. Having observed the ravaging outward effects of cancer in others, I found it humbling to discover that while their bodies were ill, more often than not, their minds and spirits were remarkably well and at ease. While our bodies have the natural capacity to calibrate our beings to bring balance and equilibrium, wellness also involves an act of our will, to surrender to what is, so we may gain all that can be. Wellness requires our participation to make choices that create the most positive outcomes, out of the most challenging experiences.
We can control our thoughts, and we can live above our circumstances, by creating a wellspring of virtuosity within. Stockpile the attic in your mind, and fill up the treasure chest within your spirit with a cornucopia of goodness, and when life poses challenges to you, you’ll have the reserves to draw from to help you sustain your equilibrium.
As a yoga practitioner, instructor and trainer, I try to discover ways to not just maintain equanimity within my mind, body, and spirit, but attain an even higher level of wellness for myself, so I can inspire others to feel good about their beings and empowered to make positive, healthy choices daily. I guide bodies through yoga poses and sequences of unconventional flowing movements that create internal heat and energy. As these poses become increasingly challenging, students are encouraged to meet those challenges with ease through a steady, calming breathing pattern. Yoga is an integral part of my wellness regime.
Yoga, while it strengthens and tones your body and revitalizes your organs and glands, lets you also practice “life” on the mat. If you’re living in this world, challenges are inevitably faced. Meeting those challenges with ease is a choice. Likewise, when a challenging yoga practice is complete, your mind is revitalized for having discovered what your body can do, and your spirit is encouraged that you submitted yourself to stay the course, no matter how shaky your quads were feeling in that Warrior Pose, and got through it! During your yoga practice, when these poses and sequences of movements become inspired, or more emphatically stated - infused with spirit, by steady breath control, challenges are united with ease. Yoga can create a keen sense of well being and empowerment when practiced regularly.
A self-prescribed wellness program requires some thought and action to be effective. Find your wellness prescription. Answer some poignant questions: “How can I challenge my body to create positive changes?” “How can I bring ease and relaxation to my body in equal measure?” “What choices can I make to nourish and nurture my body better?” “How can I stimulate my mind to stay sharp and innovative in its thinking capacity, and hone in on my intuitions more aptly.” And, “How can I think higher, become better, grow in character, and simply get smarter in this situation, with this bad news, in this joyous event, and with these circumstances? When you pause to ask yourself questions such as these, thoughtful answers can create your own wellness plan. Set your intention to inhabit your entire being better and optimize being you! Think higher. Choose well. Face challenge. Be all that! Make this your mind, body, and spirit manifesto for your Wellness Rx. Dispense daily.
Proprietor at Blue Moon Yoga and Fitness, Inc.,Self-prescribed Wellness Junkie.
I remember turning 20 and lamenting the fact that I would never again be a teenager. Had I done everything I could with those teen-age years? Had I been reprimanded enough, grounded enough, humiliated enough, mischievous enough, daring enough, and learned enough, mostly through trial and error, how to responsibly approach my 20’s and move on into legitimate adulthood? Hence, the I-phone self-portrait at 50, in a hot pink bikini, serves as my answer to these questions...
The 20’s brought college graduation, marriage, and by 30, four children into my life. As the 30’s and 40’s brought life changes and various career opportunities, I can say, at 50, I have some sense of what life’s all about. It’s a balancing act between the mind, body and spirit. It’s a practice of stimulating all three, mixing it up, sorting it out, and finding balance - only to shake it up all over again. Every day becomes a new balancing act, and that’s what keeps my world rockin’ and keeps me feeling fit and fabulous.
A fit and fabulous mind is shaped by good thoughts. Every day that I get to wake up, as waking up is no longer something I take for granted, I recognize there’s a purpose and plan for me to be here. Before stepping out of bed, I set an intention to make the most out of the next 24 hours. There is a sense at 50, that everything I am, is not all about me. I’m a part of a bigger scheme. Participate in your life’s schematic. Endeavor to discover more about you in all that you do. At 50 I have discovered it’s all about what I CAN do, as opposed to what I can’t. And, with the things I can't do anything about, I CAN still apply faith.
One of my favorite quotes sits framed on my desk – “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can." – John Wesley.
A fit and fabulous mind leads to a fit and fabulous body. Our bodies need care and maintenance. The concept of longevity makes sense now, more than ever, at 50. My response to my younger clients who ask how I stay in great shape is this - I’ve had a longer time to work on the equipment to look like this, but I’ve also maintained over the decades, a lifestyle of moderation in all things. We will wear our history in and on our bodies. Our health will become a display of what we’ve taken in and how we’ve taken care of our divine machines over time. It’s never too late to start a better maintenance regime. Fuel your body with the best possible energy sources. No one would think of putting leaded gas in their car’s fuel tank these days, much less expect it to run without gas, right? Likewise, treat your body to the premium fule-source options. Think, one-ingredient-foods, and your body will respond with a sleeker, healthier appearance. We were made to live off the land! Again, I've learned at 50, that it's is all about what we CAN do, and feeding ourselves appropriately is not denying ourselves of anything we “can’t” eat. It’s not about restrictions, it’s about proper consumption.
Jonny Bowden’s “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” is a favorite one-ingredient "recipe book" of mine. From beets and spinach to oatmeal and brown rice, to apricots and avocados, to free-range poultry, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, tuna, and eggs, 150 options to fuel your body are listed with all the healthy benefits you can consume. Turn your pantry from a laboratory science project into a farmer’s market! Create a bountiful storehouse with foods containing only ingredients found in nature for a strong, vital body. Extended shelf-life in any "food" item = extended shelf-life on your body. How can our bodies break down anything that appears as if it could survive nuclear fall-out? When you can’t pronounce any of the words on an ingredient list, don’t eat it! Laboratory creations should not be considered "food" for your body.
Being fit and feeling fabulous means eating right and staying active. Move your arms and legs. Breathe deeply as often and as much as you can. Walk, run, lift weights, do crunches, bend and stretch. We were made for mobility with over 600 muscles and over 200 bones and joints in our bodies. Move in ways that use all of your equipment, and you'll keep yourself in good working order. Do everything you CAN to stay mobile and in motion. My 50 sense-worth is once you stop, game over. You’ve just gotten good at being old! Don't ever take yourself out of the adventure of the game of life! Keep passing GO and getting better along the way!
For half of a century, I can appreciate all that my spine has endured throughout my life just holding me upright and still, let alone the extending, bending and bowing it’s done for me throughout the decades. So, at 50, appreciation for my back and recognzing the need to keep my spine supple is so important. It's also even more important now to get your head below your heart and your feet above your head as often as you can. Not only will this bend and stretch your spine, but this moves your lymphatic fluids around helping to remove toxins from your bloodstream. Your lymphatic fluids do not have a pump to keep moving through your body. Your body movements are the pumping force. The more you move and upend yourself, the more you will detoxify your body. The older we get, the more we need to move. Again, it’s all about what we can do. In any physical activity you participate in, work it to the point of challenge within your body, vary your movements to include inversions, and you will continue to regenerate your muscles and bones and revitalize your body.
Fit and fabulous is an attitude and lifestyle choice. Foster a spirit of gratitude so that even moving and breathing becomes something you’re thankful for each day. Have an adventurous spirit, and an open mind to try new things. Your spirit conveys your attitude toward life. Participate in your life! Don’t let it pass you by. Take your body out. Stimulate your mind with new ideas to create color in the gray matter between your ears. Stay interested and become interesting. Enjoy living! We don’t know how many days or years we have in our lives, but we can put a lot of life into every day and year we’re given.
Put yourself out there. Before you know it, half of a century has passed. Smile today at yourself and say, “I’m all about discovering all I can be!” For me, staying fit and fabulous in mind, body and spirit way beyond 50 is what it’s all about.
It’s my 50-sense-worth that life just keeps getting hot-pink better, on the other side.
Be happy. Live healthy. Fifty is the new thirty.
Karen Cutrona, Owner, instructor/trainer at Blue Moon Yoga and Fitness, Ormond Beach, FL.