LIVE; mindset and movement

By Ryan Howes | Oct 26, 2017

Last week’s column titled: “LIVE; one-week recommendation” was about increasing water, fruit and vegetable consumption. What we drink and eat has a direct correlation with how we feel. What goes into our mouth the body assimilates into the bloodstream, which creates your cells, your tissues, your organs, your skin, your hair, your brain, and eventually, your thoughts and feelings. People who eat high-quality, nutritious, whole food naturally have higher energy, stronger body, stronger digestion and clearer thinking than those who eat fast, junk and processed food.

Your body is completely intelligent. It constantly sends your brain messages about what it needs for balance and vibrant health, however there is a problem. Most of us have not developed a powerful listening to our body’s wants and needs. In addition to high-quality food, the body needs mindset and movement to build a foundation of health in the LIVE phase of LIVE LOVE LEAP, where Mindfulness, Exercise and Nutrition become daily practices.

Mindfulness is a spiritual practice for developing conscious awareness of “what is” in the present moment. One of my meditation teachers calls this “isness." One day after class I told her “You’re in the Isness Business.” She laughed out loud and said, “We all are.”

The Isness Business aims to allow thoughts to pass through, rather than tending to each one as it enters the mind. Learning to be present is the goal. Here is a meditation exercise done in three rounds to facilitate just that. Find a comfortable place to sit. Place your hands together on your lap and take five full breaths in and out. Do this and then come back to reading. Pause…

Congratulations! You just allowed your mind to rest from thought, which allows you to be more present. Now, repeat the exercise with two additional challenges. 1) Sit tall with a long spine; 2) take five breaths into your stomach rather than your chest, allowing your stomach to soften with the rising and falling of each breath. Do this exercise and then come back to reading. Pause…

Congratulations! You just allowed your mind and body to work together to increase presence and decrease stress. Lastly, repeat the exercise with one additional challenge: continue for five-minutes. Use a timer, watch or smart phone. Make sure that your smart phone is turned to silent so you are not distracted by texts or calls.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate. In the beginning, you may find it difficult to slow down your mind. Thoughts arrive like cars moving past you in traffic. Allow them to pass by you, connect with your breath, and soon enough you will tap into your inner consciousness. This is part of developing a powerful listening to your body’s wants and needs. Five minutes of daily meditation upon waking is a great way to get in control of your thoughts and live in alignment with your day’s intentions. Here is a list of health benefits that meditation helps with: allergies, anxiety disorders, asthma, binge eating, depression, fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, sleep problems, substance abuse and more.

Movement, exercise, physical activity – no matter what you call it, this is a lot like food. There are many different types that nourish the body in different ways and you can put together a menu of exercises that help you reach your full physical and mental potential.

Just like food, it’s important to remember that bio-individuality plays an important role to find the movement types that work best for you. No one type of exercise is right for everyone. Experiment with a variety of options from the movement menu like walking, running, cycling, swimming, yoga, Pilates, functional movements, interval training, weights and climbing – to name a few. You’ll know right away what works and stick to it. Part of implementing a regular routine is finding what nourishes you and doing it consistently so you reap the rewards.

Here are some benefits from getting regular exercise: increased energy, mental clarity, digestive health, better mood, controls weight, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep quality, delays loss of muscle mass, improves balance, coordination, and flexibility, reduces osteoporosis, joint stress and back pain, decreases inflammation and risk of heart disease, improves immune function, liver health, insulin sensitivity, and reduces the risk of anxiety, depression, stress and type 2 diabetes.

No matter how many positive benefits are touted these days about regular exercise, it’s still not easy to get out there and do it. So, what’s the secret to a successful and consistent exercise routine? Accountability! This could be in the form of a friend, exercise group, class, family member, personal trainer, or some good old-fashioned willpower. Setting goals and tracking process is crucial for success.

Tibetan Monks developed one of my favorite exercises, The Five Tibetan Rites, over 2500 years ago. I recommend performing them after meditating. The Rites don’t take long and produce fantastic results. Want to learn more? Check out this blog post to get started: northernvertical.com/blog/2016/7/1/daily-practice.

How much and how often should you exercise? Again, this largely depends on bio-individuality, your goals and personality type. However, try something new for 20 minutes everyday and the exercise will speak for itself, i.e. the movement will precipitate more movement.

So, I have officially covered the three components of LIVE, which are: Mindfulness, Exercise and Nutrition. Think of these components as foundational daily practices. To recap, try meditating for five minutes each morning, find a movement practice that feels good and fits your schedule, and increase high-quality, nutritious, whole food options while decreasing sugary, processed foods. LIVE is not easy to implement, because old habits are hard to break. The challenge is worth the reward. If you need help, I’m just a phone call or email away. LIVE LOVE LEAP, RYAN.

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