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!

 

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.
 

Every morning when I wake up, I…
On Saturdays, I like to…
… is something I do all of the time.

Our days are composed of rituals, routines, habits and patterns.  These can be important to our wellness: providing motivation, setting a positive tone for the day, and helping to structure our lives in meaningful ways.  They can be a means taking care of ourselves.  And, they form who we are as individuals.  — Will Durant said, “We are what we repeatedly do.”
Take a moment today to think through and even write down the routines and rituals you perform on a daily or weekly basis.  Note: Which ones serve you?  Does any one feel like a burden?  Do you have a routine of personal, self-care?  What do you wish you could do on a regular basis?

Honor and enjoy the constructive routines and patterns in your life; be grateful for the comfort the provide; commit to turning good habits into sacred rituals.

 

Instead of a one-minute exercise today, I’m asking for two minutes of your time, so that we can explore opposites - 100%, pure, give-it-your-all, power-through, surging physical effort vs. patient, calm, quiet, perfect physical stillness.

Note that we are working in the physical realm today.  Use your body as a tool or instrument or vehicle for this exercise.  
For the first minute, choose any physical activity where you are really effort-ing. During the activity, I’d like for you to feel like you are really going full-steam into whatever you have chosen. It can be jogging in place, running with high knees, doing push-ups, squatting and jumping, skipping as high as you can go, shaking out some big, bold dance moves… or whatever will really get your body going.  As soon as your minute is up, drop right in for minute #2…

For the second minute, sit.  Be still.  Try not to do anything.  Just let your body begin to settle on its own.  The more peacefully and patiently you sit, the more you will feel.  You just gave 100% to moving and shaking and giving your energy.  Can you match that with 100% tranquility and welcoming back your own energy?

 

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?