exercise

PHYSICAL — EMOTIONAL — MENTAL and SPIRITUAL SKILLS


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Mindful of Breathing: Mindful breathing involves focused attention on breathing. Notice how you are breathing. Notice slower breathing and fuller breaths. Notice your belly rise and fall as you breathe in and out. When your mind drifts away from your breathing, and it will, simply notice what caught your attention and gently shift your attention back to your breathing. 


Mindful of Sounds: Following mindful breathing, focus your attention on sounds; soft sounds, loud sounds, nearby sounds, distant sounds. Notice your response to sounds. Notice if you are annoyed by a sound or judging a sound; then gently re-direct yourself to listening to sounds without judging. When your attention drifts away to a thought, notice what thoughts you were distracted by, and gently return your attention to sounds.


Meditation: The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to become more aware and accepting of internal processes; thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations, cravings, triggers, etc. Meditation is not intended for relaxation. People who are extremely anxious about internal processes or have difficulty sitting still may need to work up to a full session of 20 minutes, beginning with only 2-3 minutes at a time and working on other exercises more at first. The goal is 20 minutes of meditation two times a day. During meditation, if your mind drifts to thoughts about the past or worries about the future, gently re-direct your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is about staying in the present, not about achieving a heightened state of awareness or bliss (that’s transcendental meditation).


Mindful Eating: When eating mindfully, choose a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Before beginning to eat, look at the food. Notice what it looks like; its shape and size and color, and how it smells. Notice any internal sensations; salivation, hunger, urges before you taste the food. Now take a bite. Notice the taste, texture, and sensations in your mouth. Notice your chewing. Notice urges to swallow. Notice your swallowing. Notice your stomach as you swallow. Continue eating mindfully, noticing sensations in your stomach; feelings of hunger and fullness. Decide when you are finished eating based on when you are no longer hungry. Avoid eating while engaged in other activities, such as watching television, reading, or working. Notice feelings and thoughts associated with eating and urges to eat between meals.


Beginner’s Mind: Pick an object in the room that is familiar to you, then examine it with your beginner’s mind; that is, as if you have never seen the object before. Some people imagine they are an alien from another planet or an alien on another planet, seeing the object for the first time. Notice the shape, weight, texture and color of the object. Try to imagine what the object could be used for. As you continue to examine the object, do you notice anything about it that you may not have noticed before? When you put the object away, reflect on what you learned about the object that you didn’t already know. Consider what would happen if you approached other areas of your life with a beginner’s mind; people, places, objects, situations. How would these other areas of your life be the same or different if you approached them with beginner’s mind? What expectations do you now have that you would not have if you saw them for the first time?


Mindful of Thoughts: Once you are comfortable and have become mindful of your breathing, shift your attention to your thoughts. Become aware of whatever enters your mind. Remember that your purpose is simply to observe the thoughts that are in your mind without judging them. Observe thoughts as they come and go in and out of your awareness without trying to engage them, continue them, stop them or change them. Simply notice them. If you find yourself getting caught up in a thought, notice what caught your attention, then gently re-direct yourself to observing your thoughts. It is normal to get caught up in thoughts. When this happens, return to observing thoughts.


Mindful of Emotions: Begin by getting comfortable and becoming mindful of breathing. Think of an event in the past in which you experienced a particular feeling that you want to get in touch with; happy, sad, glad, scared, upset, angry, proud, embarrassed, etc. Remember the situation and imagine you are in the situation now. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? Notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations come up as you remember the situation. Pay particular attention to your feelings. Is there one feeling or more than one? Notice any urges to hold onto or push away your feelings. Respond to these urges with understanding. Notice how your body responds to the feelings. Is there tension anywhere? Sweaty palms? Racing heartbeat? Urge to cry? Urge to run or hide? Urge to fix it or make it go away? Simply be aware of your emotions without judging or trying to get rid of them. Re-direct your attention to just observing your emotions. Notice any changes in your emotions during this exercise. Do they change or stay the same? Get stronger or weaker? Return to mindful breathing before ending this exercise, as it can be a difficult one. This exercise can be done with moderate, less intense feelings at first.


Mindful of Physical Sensations: Physical sensations can be urges, pain, tension, hunger and racing heart. Begin to focus on sensations involved in your body as your body contacts the surface you are sitting or laying on. Notice the parts of your body that are not in contact with the surface. Notice the sensation of air on skin or a sheet touching the skin. Notice the air temperature. Notice any body sensations: urges, cravings, hunger, pain, muscle tension, racing heart, stiffness, cramps, body temperature, etc. Notice any thoughts or judgments you are making about your physical sensations; then gently re-direct your attention to your body sensations. After 5-10 minutes, shift your attention back to the sensations you feel as your body contacts the surface of your chair or bed, then focus on breathing.


Mindfulness in All Activities: We can apply mindfulness to any activity at any time during the day. We can drive mindfully and do household chores mindfully; meaning we are keenly focused on what we are doing at the moment. We can practice mindfulness in the shower, during a walk, in a park, at work, during exercise, in a store, in the Dr’s office, in the waiting room, while dressing, while playing or drawing, etc. When we find feeling of guilt about the past or anxiety about the future creep in, or unwanted thoughts, memories or cravings, we gently re-direct our focus to the here and now.



This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

OUR OWN CREATED PRISON

Given how exercise, diet, and even therapy can become traps for a painful emotional reality, it’s crucial for us be aware of the fundamental causes of our suffering.

Think of how we might sometimes consciously (or unconsciously) believe that we are not good enough or not worthy of happiness. When this happens, we then begin to work hard in pursuit of this worthiness.

As a result, anything external that gives us the illusion that we deserve happiness for our effort will also become our own created prison.

This cycle of sustaining habits out of fear turns exercise and diet (or whatever our external source of happiness is) into negative forces, thus compounding the root problem as we live for our bodies and for conditioned emotional stability through abusive mechanisms.

This can cause disharmony within the heart, creating a state of mind where true happiness cannot exist.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

LOSE WEIGHT - FIND JOY

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Below you will find a sample of the diet that I was on for about two years before I competed with WBFF – World Beauty Fitness and Fashion. This dietary system, combined with weight lifting, can be of great help for losing weight, staying in shape, and building muscle and strength. But as I have mentioned throughout my book, Fit for Joy, this type of regiment mainly focuses on the physical body, which is only one aspect of our being. We are so much more than just our bodies! The approach to fitness that works the body in isolation from our mind and our spiritual heart is not what I do today, professionally or personally. My work at the moment is about integrating conventional physical fitness with spirituality.

These meal suggestions are only to illustrate what my personal journey was like. They are not approved meal-plan recommendations.

BREAKFAST Option One

8 oz cold water with a probiotic supplement

1 tablespoon matcha green tea + ½ lemon

7 walnuts

1-2 whole eggs

BREAKFAST Option Two

1 salmon filet oven-roasted with coconut oil

5-10 walnuts

Steamed Kale

BREAKFAST Option Three

Steel-cut oats, almond milk, berries

Green tea

 

LUNCH

Any lean meat of your choice: white fish (sole, cod, flounder, or halibut), grass-fed red meat, tuna fish, wild salmon, chicken breast, turkey breast, sardines in water.

Eat with steamed veggies or a green salad.

Avoid sauces; instead use olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil for salad dressing.

Snack - Best Options:

1 tablespoon spirulina shake with ½ oz. frozen organic berries and a teaspoon of coconut oil

Green juice (no fruit added)

Protein shake (whey protein)

Nuts (walnuts, macadamias, pecans, Brazil nuts)

Raw coconut flakes

Celery, cucumber, or carrots with almond butter

Kale chips or dried seaweed

Raw cheese (unpasteurized)

Sweet potato chips (homemade)

 

DINNER

The same options as lunch

*Important – Avoid:

Alcohol

All sugar and sweets

Regular fruit, except for berries and green apples

Starchy carbs such as pasta, bread, rice, wheat wraps, white potatoes, etc.

 

DRINKS

Water

Kombucha drinks or tea

All kinds of tea, but especially green tea (no sugar added)

Coffee (no sugar added)

 

OTHER DETAILS

Sleep 8 hours or more per night

Drink a gallon of water every day, as well as green tea

All vegetables and fruit should be organic

Adding lemon to your meals is great – it alkalizes the body

You can have a small piece of dark chocolate 85% cacao or higher, but not every day

Use stevia powder as the only sweetener

 

Much love!

Valeria

 

 

TURN EXERCISE INTO A SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY

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It's important to be aware that fitness can become a dangerous addiction, even when we practice our deepest spiritual understanding on a daily basis. I caught myself overtraining after spending days in meditation. As this demonstrates, we can never underestimate our habitual tendencies. Although spiritual knowledge—coupled with the guidance of our own hearts—can prevent exercise from becoming an unhealthy practice, it is my belief that we still need to surround ourselves with those who are on the path to “true health.” By doing this, we can create the environment that will allow us to practice our virtues consistently.

Finding the most enjoyable way that you can to unite your body and mind can turn any exercise session into a spiritual activity. Since everyone is unique, here is a simple solution: bring the heart into everything you do! 

 

Much Love!

Valeria 

OUR OWN CREATED PRISON

Given how exercise, diet, and even therapy can become traps for a painful emotional reality, it’s crucial for us be aware of the fundamental causes of our suffering.

Think of how we might sometimes consciously (or unconsciously) believe that we are not good enough or not worthy of happiness. When this happens, we then begin to work hard in pursuit of this worthiness.

As a result, anything external that gives us the illusion that we deserve happiness for our effort will also become our own created prison.

This cycle of sustaining habits out of fear turns exercise and diet (or whatever our external source of happiness is) into negative forces, thus compounding the root problem as we live for our bodies and for conditioned emotional stability through abusive mechanisms.

This can cause disharmony within the heart, creating a state of mind where true happiness cannot exist.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

MOVING WITH CONTENTMENT

When you’ve found joy in your own heart, you’ll have a much different experience when exercising. There should be a body and mind connection where you are in the moment: enjoyment without fear—there’s less concern with your physical health. You are simply respecting the natural law of cause and effect— satisfaction before, during, and after your exercise sessions; you feel anxiety-free about your next workout.

Exercise is a great habit to cultivate, but it should not be an obsession. There should be no expectation to get specific results, apart from improving your overall health. There should be no guilt when you don’t exercise. The main motivation should be to live longer and be physically healthy so that you can do more spiritual work on yourself and also help others to do the same.

My advice is that you find your own unique way to connect with that deep feeling of love within you while moving your body.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

UNHEALTHY MOTIVATIONS TO EXERCISE

Although physical health is an important asset, the reasons we engage in exercise can still become unhealthy. Being mindful about your motivation for hitting the gym or engaging in any physical activity is helpful if you are looking for spiritual growth and self-knowledge. Be on the lookout for these unhealthy motivations to exercise:

·      The need to be thin to feel good every day.

·      Pressure to look good and lean to attract a new partner or to please an existing one.

·      Feelings of insecurity about a specific body part.

·      Fear of not being loved by others if you are out of shape.

·      Guilt for not exercising every day or more often.

·      To release stress caused by a changeable situation.

·      To release anger.

·      To show off, get attention, compete, or provoke envy in others.

·      To fight or to intimidate others.

·      Out of pure habit and without enjoyment.

·      Shame.

·      Pressure to be a role model in your family, work, town, or society.

These are just some examples. Keep in mind that behind all these reasons to work out, there is fear, and it is fear that makes them unhealthy. 

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

EXERCISING FOR THE WRONG REASONS

Most of us engage in exercise and clean eating for the wrong reasons. I did it for many years. I went through a rough period in my marriage when it didn’t matter how physically fit and healthy both of us were, our relationship wasn’t a happy one.

I stopped exercising for a few months. I gained about ten pounds. My body felt incredibly good (no more soreness or joint pain), though my marriage was falling apart. It didn’t take long for a heavy cloud of shame to settle over my head. Not even hours of meditation could save me from the pressure to go back to the gym and clean up my act. It had been about three months at this point, and the feelings of shame and fear were unbearable. How many of us exercise because we feel pressured to be lean and thin to fit the rules of society, please others, or because we are ashamed of our bodies?

Much love!

Valeria 

EXERCISE AND LOVING-KINDNESS

Exercise, diet, and even therapy can become traps for a painful reality; in some ways they can make it worse. For example, if you consciously (or unconsciously) believe you are not good enough or not worthy as a whole human being, you might work to become fit in pursuit of such worthiness. This mindset, however, creates the trap of sustaining habits out of fear, turning exercise and diet into negative forces and compounding the root problem as we live for our bodies through abusive mechanisms. Disharmony within the heart occurs when we forget to recognize that love and kindness are what life is all about.

Much love!

Valeria 

 

 

INTENTION MATTERS

Where I come from in Brazil, an attractive body is worshipped as if it were a god. I was taught not only to strive for physical beauty, but also to be obedient, to serve, and to smile. It took years of suffering from inner conflict for me to accept my imperfect body and to find my way back to the intuitive faith in my heart. This heart had always known my true identity as a spiritual being, even though my rational mind could not accept that as truth. You might know well what I am talking about.

This was the main reason, for pretty much all of my life, that I pursued a fit and healthy body. To this day, daily exercise is still something my mind craves. What I do, then, is integrate exercise for the body with food for the soul! Every experience can become spiritual when we have the intention to be loving and kind. 

Yes, we can enjoy our fit bodies as long as we know that true happiness only comes from our own hearts! 

Much love!

Valeria 

Every Minute Of Exercise Lengthen Your Life

At a dinner party, someone was cheerily justifying the piles of money he spends on a personal trainer. He feels so great that it’s worth every cent, he exulted, “And the best part is the return on the time! Every minute you spend working out comes back to you, because you’ll live that much longer!”

Here is the math by Tom Anthony who holds a Harvard physics degree:

Computing years of life gained after age 40

Running for two hours a week should gain you about four years of life. “So that is roughly 100 hours per year for your remaining 40 years or 4,000 hours in total for all 40 years. In one year, there are 24 hr/day X 365 days = 8,760 hours. So four additional years is 8,760 hr/yr X 4 yr = 35,040 hours of life gained. To gain these extra hours, you expended 4,000 hour of running. So the payback ratio is 35,040 hours gain/ 4,000 hours expended = 8.8.

Running for an hour gives you 9 hours of extra life.
Brisk walking for an hour gives you 2.9/8 X 9 = 3.2 hours of extra life.
Biking for an hour at less than 10 mph gives you 4/8 X 9 = 4.5 hours of extra life
Rope jumping for an hour gives you 10/8 X 9= 11 hours of extra life
Calisthenics for an hour gives you 8/8 X 9 = 9 extra hours of life

Source: Common Health

Coconut Oil and Your Health

I have recommended coconut oil as the best versatile oil you can use. It’s perfect for cooking because of its high heat tolerance. Other oils become rancid when they are heated or mix with oxygen. In fact, they can actually go rancid within a few hours of being produced. When this rancid oil enters your body, it can lead to disastrous health effects.

You won’t have to worry about this with coconut oil, as it does not easily go rancid. Coconut oil is a complete saturated fat, which makes it very stable against heat damage. It is the ONLY safe oil you can use for cooking – olive oil is also a good oil but only when used cold, drizzled over salads or mixed into cold sauces. Due to its stability, it has a long shelf life of two or more years – the longest of any cooking oil.  

So whenever you need to cook or sauté your food, choose coconut oil. It’s great for frying (even though I don’t recommend frying foods), as well as baking, and is a wonderful substitute for shortening, margarine, or butter. When you bake with coconut oil, you’ll find that your muffins, pastry, or bread will be lighter and have a mildly sweet and enticing fragrance.

But that’s not where coconut oil’s convenience ends, because it also has numerous uses outside the kitchen. Coconut oil can actually replace over a dozen beauty products found in your beauty kit, such as your:

- Makeup remover: Apply a small amount on a moist cotton ball and wipe all over your face.
Facial scrub:  Make a gentle facial scrub by mixing coconut oil with baking soda, or with oatmeal and a dash of cinnamon.
- Lip balm:  Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your lips. You can also make your own lip balm using coconut oil as a base ingredient.
- Carrier oil for essential oil:  Use it to dilute potent essential oils that may be too harsh when applied to your skin in concentrated amounts.
- Shaving cream:  Apply a thin layer on the area to be shaved, and then shave as usual.
- Body scrub:  Mix equal parts organic cane sugar and coconut oil in a glass jar, and then scrub on your dry skin before bathing.

Coconut oil is heaven to me! :)

Source: The Coconut Oil Miracle - Book  and Dr.Mercola