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!


group practicing yoga in gym

Many of us think of yoga as a physical practice, meant to stretch and strengthen our bodies. That is one drop in an ocean of what can be discovered in the practice of yoga! 
According to an article titled “Are You Living Your Yoga? 5 Tips Inspired by Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor,” on YogaJournal.com, there are five ways everyone can practice yoga in their everyday lives. Try out these “yoga moves” this week! — No mat required.

REMAIN CURIOUS: Ask questions, even when you think you know the answers.
BE COMPASSIONATE: Practice kindness toward yourself so that the same gesture can be extended to others.
STAY HUMBLE: Remain a student of yourself and of life; surround yourself with a sangha (community) and teacher that support your growth.
BEGIN AGAIN: Pause long enough to catch yourself in moments of misalignment and, as Mary says, to “reignite enthusiasm for life.”
REMEMBER: Return, again and again, to the original spark that drew you in; allow that spark to be the foundation from which you practice, share and live yoga.

—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

Man doing a sit up

Lay on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in front of your body. Loosely support the back of your head with your fingertips and let your elbows spread out wide. Curl your heart center upward, so that your head, shoulders and upper back lift away from the floor — but be careful not to pull your head forward or hunch your upper back. You should feel your abdominal muscles contract to hold you up. Get excited about that feeling!
Stay lifted and keep breathing. Every time you breathe out, squeeze your abdominal muscles in and down. In this way, you can start to press and wring out excess fears, concerns and negativity. The more you are able to drive your navel down, while staying light and free in your chest and shoulders, the greater relief you will feel at the end of one minute, when you relax back down to the floor.
—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

couple talking at a coffee shop

Communication can be tricky. Putting into words exactly how we feel can sometimes be challenging. Paying close attention to the person who is sharing without letting our own thoughts distract us can be difficult. And, aligning those moving targets to create a clear stream of consciousness that is shared between two people can seem almost impossible. So, what can we do?
Today, let’s focus on the receiving end of things. As people approach you with various forms of communication today, just be aware of how you are as the receiver. Some things to note: What am I thinking about right now, as this person is requesting that I think about the information they are sharing with me? What is my current mood and state of mind, as I am processing this conversation? Am I willing to pick up the ringing phone and even enter into a conversation right now, and why or why not? Have I truly heard what she said, in the way she intended it, or did I misconstrue something as I ran the information through the filters of my own mind?
Remember, this is just an experiment to test your inner “receiver.” If you notice anything that needs adjusting, be patient with yourself as you work those adjustments in the coming days, months, years…
—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

football on field

Maybe you saw some of the NFL Draft, or heard about the top picks. Maybe football is not your thing.

Either way, there was a golden take-away for all walks of life, from the league’s big event for building teams: Look for the best in every one. Coverage of the team’s selection of players was thoughtfully handled, with the hosts and announcers highlighting what made each person a great pick. Even after the highest-ranked players had been selected and some names that almost no one had heard of before came into question, there was an abundance of positive reinforcement for every individual.

We can apply this to our own lives, right here, right now: The very next person you encounter, take a moment and notice what is great about them. Then, tell them. Let’s choose to see the best in others, starting with one kind thought and a compliment.

Thanks, mom, for bringing my attention to this aspect of the NFL Draft and for always pointing out the positives in every aspect of life!


feather floating in the air

Lay flat on your back with your legs relaxed and arms softly stretching away from the sides of your body. Close your eyes. 


As you breathe in, cultivate a feeling of lightness or weightlessness. As you breathe out, allow your body to feel heavy or weighted down. Continue for about 5 more slow, deep breaths and see if you can really create the light and heavy sensations through your breath work. 


Then, reverse the pattern: as you breathe in, keep your body heavy on the floor. As you breathe out, let yourself feel light. Repeat this breath work for about 5 more breaths. Take your time with each breath. 


Finally, just notice how you feel right now, in this moment; in the space between your mindfulness practice and the rest of your day.  

person holding red and white practice kindness sticker

There is a lot of buzz about self-care currently. The wellness world keeps offering up new ways for us to soothe from the outside - in. Rituals, massages, oils, tonics, crystals and baths all feel really nice, and can certainly have a positive impact on our state of mind. But real self-care, self-love, self-acceptance — feeling good in your own skin — starts on the inside. When we are able to see the beauty in our own hearts, expressing that beauty and love becomes much easier.

Consider this “Kindness Prompt” from theschooloflife.com: “Part of the reason why we jump so readily to dark conclusions about other people, and see plots to insult and harm us, is a rather poignant psychological phenomenon: self-hatred. The less we like ourselves, the more we appear in our own eyes as plausible targets for mockery and harm. That is why being kind must first involve learning to be kind to oneself.

Be kind to yourself today.

—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

woman standing while stretching beside brown leafed trees

Sometimes I don’t even realize that I am stiff in some parts of my body until I try to move or stretch them. Some dynamic movement can increase circulation, reduce rigidity in the muscles, lubricate the joints, and bring an overall feeling of ease to the body. Notice how your legs feel before, during and after this simple exercise.

Bend your knees and flower your upper body into a half fold. Make sure to lengthen your spine and avoid rounding in your back. Place your hands on the floor (if it is within reach) or on the seat of a chair (if your hamstrings are tight or you have any back pain). Step your right leg back into a lunge position while bending into your left knee. Check that your left knee is not pointing out ahead of the left foot. Re-lengthen your spine and roll your shoulders back. — Now step your feet together again, and repeat the lunge with the left leg stepping back this time. Alternate stepping one leg back, and then the other leg back at a pace that moves quickly but does not cause you to hunch in your back or put undue pressure on your spine. 

This isn’t a long, deep stretch; but it is another way of bringing freedom to your body.

—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

Woman with eyes closed near open window

Pick one of your daily, routine tasks or activities - something you are very familiar with and could do with your eyes closed. Today, do it with your eyes closed!
This could be brushing your teeth, washing your hair, putting your shoes on, talking on the phone to a friend, or holding a yoga pose. Go through all of the motions of the activity without engaging your sense of sight. Notice if it feels differently. Become aware of the depth and dimension of these everyday tasks. Feel for more richness and texture in everything that you do.

—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.


Today’s task is simple, but the work is deep. 
Meditate for a moment on the idea of “The Eternal Now.” And then for one minute, write in a journal anything and everything that comes to mind about this idea.
When you’re finished, go back to living in the eternal now.



Reserve any time you have in your car (or any time and means of transportation between places) for silence. Turn off the radio. Pause the podcast. Put down the phone. Get quiet and just be with yourself. 


There are so many messages streaming into our consciousness from the outside at any given time. Advertisements and news and music and lyrics and information and ideas... sometimes we need to silence the noise so we can listen to what is most important - what is inside.