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!

 

Here’s one the kids will love! 
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor; spine tall. Interlace all of your fingers except for your pointer fingers — let those extend out long and press together, making a unicorn horn.
Place your unicorn horn on the crown of your head. Relax your shoulders and begin to take long, deep breaths. Focus your attention on your magical horn. The energy in your body will travel through you, and continue upward and out into the cosmos, creating a profound sense of grandness. 
 

Today, let’s go behind the eyes, behind the mind, behind the scenes…

Take a hand towel and fold it to form a long, thin strip. Rest on your back with the folded towel draped over your eyes and the ends of the towel covering your ears. Relax everything. 
Sometimes the work we need to do on ourselves is so simple. Take this time to ease away from sights and sounds and thoughts… simply hang out in the space behind the scenes.

 

Let’s explore a spectrum of emotions in the space of the heart. Take a comfortable seat anywhere to begin.

Start by making fists and “bumping” your fists right at the center of your chest. Hold this hand position for a few breaths and feel your heart’s strength compounding. 
Next, press your palms together in “prayer” and rest your thumbs at on your sternum. Allow the hand gesture, which can be associated with gratitude and humility, to bring a quality of softness to your heart space. Melt into these sensations for several breaths.

Finally, extend your arms straight out from your sides, palms open wide and fingers extended enthusiastically. Breathe big, as though you could fill up the entire space between your arms with your heart’s energy and ever-expanding love.
 

I have fallen in love with a Kundalini Yoga class offered by Marilyn Hyde at The Studio on Liberty. Today’s mindful exercise was inspired by some of the work we do in that class.
Situate yourself near a window. Stand so that the window is directly to your left side side. Separate your feet a little wider than your hips and soften your knees. Close your eyes gently and notice the view from behind your eyelids - it is here where you will focus all of your attention for the duration of the exercise. 

Without moving your lower body, rotate your head and torso to the left, so that you turn to face the window - breathe IN while you are doing this. Immediately rotate your torso to the right, so that you turn to face away from the window - breathe OUT while you are doing this. Repeat these torso twists synchronized with your breath for 1 minute. Your arms can sway with the motion. 
Most importantly, keep watch behind closed eyes - there is light as you turn to toward the window, and there is dark as you turn away from the window. This play of light and dark is symbolic of life. We all experience both. Each is part of the whole. — May this practice encourage you to embrace the play between the lightness and dark in your own life.
 

Let yourself drop into complete stillness at each pause-point in this breathing exercise. It is in those moments that you can experience so much!
Take a comfortable seat on the floor. Your legs can be crossed or you can sit on your shins - just make sure your spine is tall. Close your eyes. Take your arms out to the sides of your body and let your fingertips rest on the floor beside you. Inhale and raise your arms all the way up over head until the palm touch. (Do this without looking!) 
Then begin your exhale: 

Keep your palms pressed together, empty just 1/3 of the air in your lungs and lower your thumb knuckles to your forehead, at the point between the eyebrows. Pause and hold.
Breathe out another 1/3 of the air in your body and slide your thumb knuckles down to your sternum. Pause and hold.
Completely empty the lungs and return your fingertips to the ground next to your body - arms outstretched. Pause and hold.

Repeat this breathing pattern of big, smooth inhales and exhales with pause points for one minute, or as long as you have to devote to this practice today. Remember that you are whole; complete in and of yourself. 
 

The sun rising to bring us a brand new day… 
The feeling of a warm cup of coffee in your hands…
The hum of people and cars and machines moving and buzzing and working…
Crossing something off of your To-Do list…
Taking time to do nothing at all…
Being really good at your job…
Giving a compliment…
Receiving a compliment…
A delicious meal…
A good laugh…
A good cry…
A deep breath…
Life is filled with things to celebrate. We don’t have to wait for a milestone or a holiday or a weekend to rejoice in all the goodness that abounds. Let your whole life be a celebration! Mark each moment as something special and marvel in the wonder of the world. Don’t be shy — this life is for our enjoyment. To fully experience it is to celebrate it.
 

 

It can be easy to appreciate nature during the early days of summer in Ohio. The sun feels warm; grass and sky and strawberries are all bursting with vibrant color; and the sound the breeze makes as it blows through the trees is melodic and meditative. Let’s appreciate the glory of this moment in time by taking our mindfulness practice into nature today.

Step outside and find a seat. Pour all of your loving attention into something you notice and appreciate about nature right then and there. (It is always presenting us with beauty and wonder - It always has a way of surprising and delighting - When we make ourselves available to it.) Allow yourself to be in awe of the magic of nature!

Breath, and the energy it carries, can travel to all parts of our body and all layers of our being.  Practice multi-dimensional breath to bring life to all the space and potential you hold.
Take a comfortable seat, and observe your natural breath for a moment.  Take three breaths and feel your torso grow taller, as though you were breathing up and down your spine.  With your next three breaths, try to breathe wide — from the center of your chest out to your side ribs.  Follow those with three more breaths in which you expand forward through your chest and out through your upper back.  Finally, take three breaths combining all three dimensions of breath to maximize the bounty of your own breath — expand from your heart in all directions.

 

I have been practicing this small and powerful ritual for a few days now - it makes me feel a like a space shuttle ready for launch!
Courtesy of @therealflyingyogini via Instagram
5 things to do before you get out of bed

Express gratitude
Set your intentions for the day
Take five long, deep breaths in & out
Smile for no reason, just flex the muscle
Forgive yourself for yesterday’s mistakes

Try it and prepare for blast-off!
 

What lies just beyond everything you think and know?  What happens when you dare to take one step over the boundary of what’s familiar and comfortable?  

Some psychologists say that your optimal state of being can only be tapped when you stretch yourself just past your perceived limitations. 

Today, do something that scares you — spark up a conversation with a stranger, sign up for and commit to running a marathon, eat a vegetable you’ve never tasted before, speak up if you see someone being disrespectful, wear a crazy outfit that others might think is weird, try a new activity or go on an adventure without a map. Mix things up and see what shakes out.