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!

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.

 

Partner-up for today’s exercise!  You’ll need two sets of eyes to try this out.
Take a comfortable seated position in a chair or on the floor, facing your partner.  You can sit close — knees nearly touching, but no physical contact.  (We’re going to make a more subtle, but perhaps more powerful kind of connection!)
Lock eyes with your partner.  Try not to look up, down, or away.  Keep your vision focused entirely on the eyes across from you.  Keep your mind focused on your locked gaze.  
Allow yourself to open up and truly be seen by your partner.  Resist the urge to react to any feelings that may arise - anxiety, self-consciousness and distractions can all be read on your face.  Stay neutral and calm.  
Give your partner the gift of truly feeling seen.  Gaze without judgment or mental dialogue.  Hold a calm and neutral space for him/her to open up in.
Both of you can sit and be, mouths and minds silent, and behold the power of pure presence.
 

Today, your mission is simple: be kinder than necessary.  

When you ask someone how they are doing, pause and listen to the response.  When you pass a stranger on the street, smile bigger.  When you order lunch, make eye contact with the person taking your order and show real gratitude for their service.  When you are answering your kid’s 100th question of the day, give a thoughtful response.  When you are talking with or texting a friend, pay her a compliment.  

Be kind without cause.  Be kind without expectation.  Be kinder than necessary.
 

 

Take a comfortable seat and close your eyes.  Notice the subtle pull of gravity on your body, grounding you into your seat.  Allow your body to settle.
Your breath may naturally begin to deepen.  As it does, try to let your inhales fill your abdomen and lift your heart.  Even as you exhale completely, see if you can maintain a sensation of lift and flotation around your heart space.  You can even imagine your heart buoyantly floating on water, cradled by your breath.  Continue this breath and awareness for a full minute, or more.  
Next time your heart is heavy or has a sinking sensation… try this meditation again.  And, always know that your breath is your own, personal floatation device.

 

Wrist Release
You may not pay much attention to your wrists unless they cause you pain or problems.  And, more than likely they aren’t the body part you associate with good physical or mental health.  But, we are intricate and complex beings, and every part of us can affect every other part.  We thrive when everything jives.  If something is off, the physical discomfort causes mental distraction.
Today, take a moment to appreciate your hands and all the ways you use them throughout the course of a day.  Then, dedicate a minute to stretch, strengthen and make them more mobile and supple.  Who knows?… Maybe a wrist release will ripple into a shoulder softening which will relax your neck and face, and prompt a smile.
On all-fours/hands and knees: 

Flip one hand over so that your palm faces up and your fingers point toward your body.  Slowly stretch your hips back until you feel a stretch across the top of the flipped wrist.  Take three big breaths, then switch hands.

Sit on your heels:

Clasp your hands together with all 10 fingers interlaced.  Circle your wrists for three long breaths, then circle them the opposite direction for three more breaths.

Stand on your shins:

Pretend you are flicking water off of your fingers, forcefully and repeatedly.  Keep breathing while you work here for five breaths.

Stand on your feet:

Shake your hands in front of your body quickly while you breathe slowly for five breaths.

Stand tall on your feet:

Press your palms together in front of your heart-center.  Point your fingers away from you and notice if the base of your hands, by your wrists, connect in a flat line.  Start the work of making an arch at the base of each palm by pressing your finger tips together strongly.  Then, feel the knuckle at the base of each finger press into its counterpart on the opposite hand.  The more action you put into the fingers, the less stress you put on the wrists.  Notice now if there is a sliver of space between the base of your palms.  Maintain that space as you bring your thumbs to rest against your sternum and take three calm breaths.

Set yourself up to be comfortable and still.  Then set a timer for one minute.  
Your mission for the full minute is to stream “I am…” affirmations about yourself, either silently/mentally or out loud.  Affirm all of your gifts and strengths.  Stay positive and confident as your thoughts begin to flow.  
It’s ok to repeat some affirmations, but try to explore all the things that “you are.”  And, keep in mind that we are all different things at different times - so this is not about good vs. evil.  This is about all of the powers you possess, and how you manifest those powers in all facets of your life. 
“I am gentle.  I am assertive.  I am patient.  I am energized.  I am organized.  I am flexible.  I am confident.  I am humble.  I am compassionate.  I am steadfast…”  
—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz & The Joie of Yoga, LLC.
 

Take a moment with yourself today to reflect on/meditate on/journal about/think about/mentally explore this sentiment. 
How can freedom lead to more definition and clarity?  How are you, personally, a reflection of the freedoms you hold?  Do you look at yourself differently when you think of how your freedom defines you?
We are all multi-dimensional beings with infinite layers of Self.  This exercise simply directions our attention at one of those layers, helping us to more fully understand and accept who we are.

 

What are the little things that light you up?  Are there tiny self-care rituals that help you live better?  When you do small acts of kindness for others, do you feel a mood boost?
Today, bring to mind all of the little things that make you feel good.  (Emphasis on little, so that you can see how big of an impact small acts can make!)  Put these little things down in list form.  — An extra minute in the shower.  Making eye contact with a stranger.  Wearing your favorite article of clothing.  Thinking of one thing you’re grateful for before you open your eyes in the morning.  Making time to meditate.  — Simply summoning-up some of these feel-goods can set you on a positive path for the day.  Plus, you’ll end up with a reference tool: The next time you’re feeling depleted, pick something from your list to do, to pick you up!

 

“No problem can be solved at the level of awareness at which it was created.”
-Albert Einstein
Our personal perspectives create our personal realities.  We only know what we know and only hold true that which fits our ideas of truth, until we consciously expand our awareness.  With greater awareness, comes broader perspective.  The vantage point from the peak of perspective is vast.  It is from here that we are much more likely to solve problems, offer others compassion and forgiveness, and experience real self-growth.
Take a moment today to examine the lenses through which you see the world.  From what vantage point does your perspective originate?  Can you free yourself of any personal issues simply by looking at them from a different perspective - a different level of awareness?