Mindful Mondays

Mindful Mondays are brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE. These quick one minute exercises are sure to help you start your week off on a positive note! Check back here each week for a new Monday message!

Feeling up to digging a bit deeper into mindfulness? Don't miss our guided Mindfulness Sessions!


I created this exercise for myself, at a time when I felt (mis)-judged by others and noticed the ugly feeling of judgment rising up inside me.  By defining what “I am” and what “I am not,” I renewed some inner strength and self-confidence.  From that place, it is much easier to see others and the world around me in a positive, compassionate, empathetic way - and release the burden of judgment.

Take a sheet of paper and make two columns.  At the top of the left-hand column, write “I AM…” At the top of the right-hand column, write, “I AM NOT…” Fill in the columns with truths about who and what you are vs. what you are not.  If someone has made you feel judged in some way that you don’t like, put it in the I AM NOT column.  If you have lost sight of some of the uniqueness that makes you, YOU, put that in the I AM column.  

These statements will become affirmations.  The affirmations will help to keep you on YOUR PATH.  


Need a quick way to calm your nervous system?  Take a dollop of rich, creamy lotion - and maybe a drop or two of your favorite essential oil - in your hands and massage your palms, all ten of your fingers, all of your knuckles and joints, and your wrists.  Dig your thumbs into the meaty heel of your hand at the base of each thumb.  

Then massage your feet.  Make strong, deep, circulating motions across the soles of your feet, along the inner arch, around the mounds of the toes and out to each toe tip.  Mentally connect to what you are feeling, smelling and experiencing in this mini self-massage.  Can you feel the softness and comfort this simple action brings?


If you’ve recently face the ending of something, or a window of opportunity closed — you may feel a little lost or uninspired.  Here’s a mantra for you:
The ending becomes the beginning.  

Sit for a quiet moment today and recite that mantra to yourself, either silently or aloud.  No need to create any kind of attachment to the words of the meaning.  Just breathe and repeat.  Blank space breeds potential.  


I heard this idea the other day — We must digest our thoughts, feelings and problems in the same way we digest our food.  There is a process involved in gaining nutrients we need to live and thrive and in eliminating the waste.  
Many times, our heads and our hearts don’t work together to streamline the process of digesting our emotions.  When there is an imbalance of power between the head and the heart, the system halts.  
Try sitting today with a thought, feeling or problem that you haven’t fully processed.  Rather than trying to think your way through it, just allow it to come into your heart and rest there.  And then notice how the rest of your body reacts - What’s the feeling in your gut?  How are you holding your hands as you allow this raw feeling to settle inside you?  What is the expression on your face?  From that place of greater awareness, create more space inside of your body for this emotional digestion.  Note that there is nothing to “accomplish,” and there is no clear ending point for this meditation - it will work its way through you once you really open up all of your faculties for processing.


There is really only one mindfulness exercise that you need.  It’s the most effective one, by far.  
It’s the one that YOU DO CONSISTENTLY.
Take a look back over all of the Mindfulness Monday posts and pick something that you can commit to doing every day for a week - or a month - or for the whole of 2018.  Keep it simple, and be realistic, and apply it to your schedule in a way that works for you — and then do it, on repeat, each time with the same awareness as you did the first time you tried it.
The ONLY mindfulness exercise that works, is the one that you make space for in your life.
[Let me know what you chose! — joieaschmitz@yahoo.com]


We often think of the holiday season as a time to come together, a time of excitement and celebration, and a time of giving.  At face-value, that is all very lovely.  This time of year has the potential to be the most wonderful.
A deeper awareness may reveal that this time of year can also be the most difficult — the cold, grey weather and dark skies can dampen our energy; the race to wrap things up by the end of the calendar year leaves us frantic; even holiday festivities like parties and gatherings and gift-giving can feel depleting if they are forced or over-shadowed by pressure. 
The good news is, we can enjoy the holidays, come together in community, create a sense of accomplishment for what we have done this year, and feel totally nourished and supported if we bring our vital essence into everything we do.  
When we approach decisions about what to gift each person on our list from our heart-space, rather than from our heads, we let out some of the pressure.  When we gather at a party and take time to have a real connection and conversation with someone, we eatables ourselves in community with one another. 

Sit comfortably, with a tall spine.  Take a moment to mentally relax your shoulders, your abdomen and your face.  Acknowledge your breath.  
Make a fist with your right hand and rest it at your heart-center.  Wrap your left have overtop of your right fist.  Where you feel the power of your hands at your heart is the seat of your vital essence.  Breathe there.  Give yourself the gift of your own, solitary presence and the space to feel what is in your own heart.  



Sit for a moment with this thought: Why do you do the things you do and think the ways you think?  What purpose are your choices, decisions, actions and thoughts serving in your life?

Next, take a full day and be mindful of the “why,” each time you think or act.  Instead of acting on instinct or autopilot, be conscious of how you go about everyday obligations and acknowledge the purpose of things you do.  Everything has meaning when it is done mindfully.

You can dream big and set goals for personal growth.  You can imagine a perfect day.  You can take aim at all the things you want to accomplish in life.  But, you have to put yourself in position to realize and actualize those ideals.

Take a seat for a short meditation.  Make sure you can sit-up tall and be comfortable.  Close your eyes.  

Envision yourself on a tennis court.  You are standing behind the baseline, at the back of the court, calmly, but intently surveying the space in front of you.  You’re firmly holding a racquet in your hands, directly in front of your heart.  Your breath is steady.  You are poised and ready to play.

The game moves in slow motion.  You see the ball soaring over the net to your side of the court, so you put yourself in position to meet it.  You arrive at a spot on the court behind the ball, so that it has time to land - then bounce - right up to your ready racquet.  You simply had to be in the right place at the right time to connect your shot.  And, that took seeing the big picture - the whole court - first.  Then. it took moving to the ball and putting your racquet in the trajectory of the bounce.  
Just like this tennis visualization, can you visualize putting yourself in position to meet and receive the things that are important to your prosperity in life?  


A Special Exercise from Yoga Alliance:  
Help us Light up the World!
In 2014, the United Nations declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, and a record 175 member states have joined in the celebration! 
On this International Day of Yoga, help us brighten up the world by sharing your inner light! We invite you to make a conscious and awakened choice to improve someone else's day in whatever way feels natural to you. Collectively, with the potential to create millions of connections and positive ripples, we can make a meaningful and significant impact on society. Join us in a yogic act of kindness– on or off the mat– by doing something on this day to help our communities and the world.
Tell us or show us what you're doing with the hashtag #YogicActOfKindness!
This post is shared from the Yoga Alliance website — I’m simply passing the torch that they lit!


At face value, it can seem like abundance comes from having more, doing more, buying more, consuming more.  Upon deeper inspection, abundance more closely resembles satisfaction.  
When you bring all that you have into your awareness, your sense of fullness flourishes.  You are content with what you have and who you are.  On the other side of the coin, a constant search for more can leave you feeling empty.  You can become so fixated on attaining or achieving something outside of yourself that you completely overlook all the beauty inside you.
To know real abundance in any or all parts of your life, you first have to set your focus on all that is rich, plentiful and lustrous in your life right now.  Longing for what you don’t have depletes your energy and sense of abundance and self-worth.   

Sit with a mental stream of everything beautiful that shows up in your life prolifically.  Allow whatever goodness exists in your life in large quantities to fill your mind… be it love, or laughter, or silence, or community, or coffee… We all have abundance in our lives that acts as a springboard, launching us into the soaring heights and vast space of contentment and satisfaction.