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!

 

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? 

 

Today’s mission is simply to sit with the words, the meaning and the feeling of “joy without cause.”  What does this sentiment bring up for you?  Sit in solitary, quiet, sweet stillness for one minute (or more if you have the time) while you explore.  
—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz & The Joie of Yoga, LLC.
 

When life becomes routine and we go about our days in accordance with expectations rather than pursuing explorations, we aren’t being mindful.  Mindfulness is the opposite of auto-pilot.  In auto-pilot, our days blend together, food tastes bland, our bodies and minds feel numb, and the world lacks color and dimension.  Living mindfully, we see, feel, taste, think, speak and act with more definition, clarity and depth.
Today, practice approaching everything you do with a beginner’s mind — as though this was the first time you’ve ever done something.  When you wash your face, imagine that you are feeling water for the first time. If you send an email, craft it with the attention to detail that you would if you were just learning the process. When you step outside into nature, let the environment wrap around you.  What do you notice when you turn off auto-pilot and explore your own life with more curiosity and wonder?
 

“When life is not coming up roses
Look to the weeds
and find the beauty hidden within them.” 
― L.F.Young

Take a seat of meditation: tall spine, lifted chest, soft shoulders.  Take three calming breaths in and out through your nose.
Bring to mind one thing that’s troubling you this week.  Anything that’s bringing you down or stealing your energy.  Think of this thing as a weed in the garden of your heart.  Visualize this thing - pale and brown and drooping - planted right in the middle of your patch of colorful and vibrant flowers.  Contrast the beauty of the abundant, lush garden with the dreariness of the lonely weed.
Keep picturing this scene in your heart and start to move out of your head.  Let go of contemplation and rest your mind.  Don’t try to pull the weed.  
Softly focus on that garden in your heart, with awareness of the weed, but loving attention on the flowers.  Watch the weed ever-so-slowly turn from brown to green.  See the stalk grow plump and sprout new leaves.  Notice as buds begin to pop out between the leaves.  And, slowly, petal-by-petal, observe as flowers bloom.  
Enjoy three more full, rich breaths while imagining yourself sitting among all of the blooming flowers of your garden.  

 

This restorative yoga posture gently massages the belly, refreshes the mind and establishes feelings of ease and contentment through out the body.  Try it out if your belly’s in knots or tension has taken over your day.  You’ll need a pillow or blanket.

Sitting in a chair, bring your feet directly underneath your knees.  Place your pillow or rolled-up blanket on the tops of your thighs.  Press your hands into the seat of the chair on either side of your hips, so that you can lengthen your torso upward.

Leading with your chest and supporting yourself by pressing into your arms, fold over your legs, until your belly and chest rest on the pillow or blanket.
If you are comfortable here, release your arms to hang down on the outsides of the legs.  Let your head hang down between your legs.  
Breathe deeply into your belly, so that you can feel it press into the pillow or blanket with each inhalation.  The belly can soften with each exhalation.  Stay here for a full minute.  The bigger the breaths, the better the belly rub.

When you are ready to come out of the pose, press your hands to the tops of your thighs again and keep your spine long (not rounded) as you slowly sit up.