REPLENISH yourself. Spring meditation and giveaway.

replenish [rɪˈplɛnɪʃ]

vb (tr)

1. to make full or complete again by supplying what has been used up or is lacking
2. to put fresh fuel on (a fire)
How do you take time to refuel and replenish yourself so you can live your best life?
So often we put everything else ahead of our health and well-being.  It can be terribly difficult to make time for ourselves, especially if doing so results in guilt for spending time away from loved ones, the office, or whatever feels more important.  In our busy lives, it can feel excruciating to leave the house for 90 minutes to take a yoga class or grab dinner with a friend.  And these important time-outs dont do much good when we are stressed or anxious over taking them in the first place.
What if we were to change how we think about the time we set aside for ourselves?  What if we were to learn how to recognize its importance in our lives and the lives of the people who count on us?
In the book The Trance of Scarcity, author Victoria Castle writes, “Those of us who want to do good in the world are especially accountable to our own well-being.  If we are to be of real service to humanity, we must make ourselves available to be nourished, inspired, and sustained.  Otherwise, how would we keep going?”
This is profound on many levels, but two parts of this quote speak to me most.  First, she says that those of us who want to do good in the world are especially accountable. Often we act as if  we believe the opposite; we behave like martyrs, giving to others and never taking the time to renew ourselves.  I also love the way Victoria says we must make ourselves available to be nourished, inspired, and sustained.  It is up to us, a choice we can make and a necessity to our lives.
If we don’t fill ourselves up, how can we expect to enrich the lives of others?
Every day you have an opportunity to be renewed, replenished, nourished, inspired, and sustained (not to mention relaxed!).  Take note of the above image, “the meaning of life is to live it”.  My hope for each of us is that we take the time to do just that. What activities bring your life the most joy? Plan to take the time for those things in your week and be ok with your decision to spend some time doing what you love. Spend some time every single day in your body and with your breath. Go out for tea, a cocktail, a meal with friends or family. Replenishing yourself can be as simple as taking a few moments to feel gratitude for your health, your family, or the other blessings that bring your life joy.  A daily gratitude practice — even just a few minutes each day– is itself nourishing, inspiring, and sustaining.
Choosing to nourish yourself takes practice and you will have to figure out the habits that will help you LIVE your best life. I challenge you to REPLENISH yourself so you can continue to give to others.  Serve as an example for the other people in your world.  How amazing would it feel to inspire your children, a parent, your spouse or partner, a friend, a coworker to be kind and good to themselves?  Start a domino effect for the people around you and “Be the Change you want to see in the world”.
This spring to help you Replenish yourself, Sokenbicha is giving away a case of their REPLENISH tea blend and a sweet swag bag to one lucky winner! I’ve tried the new flavor and I am a FAN! To enter to win, follow @SokenbichaTea on Twitter, share this blog post and include the @SokenbichaTea @carolinefitness handles. You have until the end of April, so you can share this post as often as you’d like for added chances to win.

Click here to read more about Sokenibicha Tea or check them out on Facebook.

How will you REPLENISH yourself this spring? Give love to yourself, it makes the world a better place 🙂

With love,

Caroline

Quick Disclosure: Sokenbicha partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in this giveaway. Sokenbicha believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Sokenbicha’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Sunshine In the STORM. Easy ways to Brighten Up Your Attitude on ANY stormy day.

“The Sky is falling the Sky is falling!”

You’re having one of those days where nothing is going right — you’re late for work, your computer crashed, you spilled coffee on your brand-new shirt, and its RAINING. By the end of the day, you find yourself collapsed and zombie-like  asking “Where is my life going? Where did I go wrong?”. The events of the day have left you defeated and in need of an attitude adjustment. Indeed, a shift in your perspective at some point during the day could have turned things around. What should you do next time a stormy day messes with your emotions and attitude? Shower yourself with small things that improve your well-being and shift your mindset to a positive one. Sprinkled in throughout even the darkest day, the simple tasks listed below can help bring rainbows out of the rain.

Caroline’s Attitude Adjustment. Easy Ways To Brighten Your Attitude on Rainy Days. 

    • Take a Friend to Lunch/Coffee: Invite a positive, supportive friend out for a quick bite. You’ll get to visit and talking to someone will likely boost your spirits.
    • Listen to Your Favorite Song: Carry your ipod/ iphone with you and listen to your favorite tunes when you feel upset or overwhelmed . A study in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia found that music decreased anxiety experienced by patients before surgery. Have a playlist created and on hand just for stormy days. Pack it full of “feel good” songs that never fail to pick you up and make you smile. Try out my guilty pleasure party playlist for ideas on songs you cant help but smile to.
    • Compliment Others: There is nothing more uplifting than making someone else’s day. Give a genuine compliment to someone to change your focus to things other than your problems. Making someone else feel good will leave you joyful and give you positive feelings that can turn your attitude around.
    • Take Ten: STOP and take 10 minutes. Reconnect with yourself, take a few DEEP breaths, and calm down from the events of the day. We live in a fast-paced culture where we move at warp speed with ridiculous to-do lists. If we take time to be quiet, we can get in touch with our values, priorities, and set positive intentions for ourselves. By taking this time, you’ll be able to bring your mind to a balanced, positive state and make rational decisions to move forward with your day.
    • Count Your Blessings: A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that individuals with a more grateful outlook on life exhibited a heightened state of well being. According to the study, “research has shown that gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness, and hope.” At some point during the day, make a simple list of five or ten things that you are grateful for in your life. We have talked about the power of keeping a gratitude journal in this space before. It’s amazing how simply taking the time to count your blessings goes FAR in helping you with a positive attitude.
    • Shake It Off: Did someone else’s words or actions contribute to your sour attitude? Try not to take things personally.  Instead, develop the habit of looking at other people’s actions as just the way they are and less of a personal statement about you. Keep in mind that you can’t control another person’s actions, but you CAN control your reactions. Dont give others actions a second thought and focus all your energy towards living your best.
    • Just Say Om: Cultivate your spiritual side. This could mean checking out a meditation class (often yoga studios are a good source), exploring the local religious centers in your neighborhood or asking a friend to recommend a good spiritual book.  Studies show that those who develop their own spirituality and their own belief system will live longer and more satisfying lives. Simply practicing the beliefs that you have through meditation or organized worship can be very helpful for developing a positive attitude. After all, trust gives way to a better attitude and mood, whether that trust is in a higher power or yourself! Good places to connect you to your spirit: Intent.com, Hay House Radio, Live FEARLESS and Free by Terri Cole, and the DAILY LOVE .
    • Work It Out. Im positive the endorphins created from exercise can help make any bad day disappear. Nothing cheers you up more than an endorphin rush. Get your gear on and GO out for a run or sweat session. Better yet, go to a class and let a group energy take your mind off the events of the day. The hardest step is the first one out the door, you’ll come back from your workout smiling and brand new.
    • Get Inspired. Is there a teacher, book, song, or photo that moves you at a deeper level? Next time your attitude is feeling funky, connect to the people and things that inspire you most. When Im out of sorts, a class with Stephanie Snyder Yoga, article from Oprah, or talk from TED turns my entire day around for good. Make the effort to connect to the things that make your heart sing and lift your spirits UP from the storm.
    • When All Else Fails…. Dance Like a MANIAC. Shimmy, shake, and FLASHDANCE your attitude to a whole new place. With moves like these,  I guarantee you’ll end up smiling 🙂

 

What is your number ONE tip for funky day attitude adjustment? Leave your suggestion as a comment below – together we can inspire each other to work towards a happier attitude no matter what the weather 🙂

Looks like rain for the next couple days…. will you be smiling?

With Gratitude,

Caroline

Other Things To check Out This week:

Hip Flexor Care Kit. Free Online Stretching Fitness Videos.


How much time do you spend sitting? If it’s a majority of your day, theres a good chance you have tight hips and hip flexor muscles. While it might not seem like a big deal, tight hips can be the criminal behind lower back pain, postural imbalances, decreased performance in sports, or nagging injuries. When the hip flexors are overdeveloped, tight, stiff or short, it can reek havoc on your health.  If left unstretched, shortened hip flexors affect the quality of your daily life. What should you do? How can you prevent tight hips from hurting you?

Never fear! My Hip Flexor body care kit is here! This guide will teach you about your HIP FLEXOR muscle and provide you with easy strategies to keep your hips feeling fabulous. These workout tips will help you fight back against hip inflexibility and enjoy total body vitality. Enjoy, and heres to healthy, happy hips for life!

Posing like a Nerd at San Francisco's lululemon athletica GRANT AVENUE

What the hip? Caroline’s detailed guide to your hip muscles. 

The hip flexor is a major muscle group that attaches your femur to your pelvis and lower spine, allowing you to draw your knees up toward your torso and to move your legs back and forth and side to side. This collection of muscles encompasses a number of groups including:

  • The iliopsoas, or muscles of the inner hip, which are the psoas major, psoas minor and the illiacus muscle
  • The thigh muscles, rectus femoris and sartorius
  • The gluteal muscle tensor fasciae latae
  • The muscles of the inner thigh, adductor longus and brevis, as well as the muscles pectineus and gracilis

Are my Hips Tight?

Unfortunately, no matter how often we get up and move around, the majority of the day is still spent sitting down. The more you are in a seated position  means the more time you spend in knee flexion, the action which causes the hip flexors to shorten.  Overtime, too much knee flexion pulls the pelvis forward and causes over-stretching and weakness in your back and stomach. Too much sitting combined with exercise and not enough stretching can create even more problems.

How Tight hips Affect You

When the hips are tight, they can pull the top of your pelvis forward, compress the back of your lumbar (overly arching your lower spine), or draw the tops of your thighbones forward of and tightly into the hip sockets. These muscle imbalances and tight muscles along the hips often set us up for a cascade of problems. Tight hips can cause lower back pain for cyclists and swimmers, shoulder problems for tennis and baseball players, knee pain for runners, and other nagging daily aches. Tight muscles can affect a runner’s stride, slow down a cyclist’s cadence, and hinder a swimmer’s ability to move through the water with efficient form. You can increase the QUALITY of all your favorite activities simply by working on hip flexor flexibility.

Hip Flexor Flexibility 

Daily hip flexor stretches are important in helping counterbalance the prolonged hip flexion caused by sitting for hours. Flexible hips enable you to move through full range of motion so you can extract as much power as possible from your legs. Flexible hips will prevent injuries, improve performance, and enhance the quality of your life. Believe it or not, you dont need a TON of time to stretch your hips. Just a few simple stretches performed on a daily basis will help you reap the benefits of flexible hips.

Caroline’s Simple Hip Flexor Stretch Routine. Free Flexibility Exercise Videos. 

Stretching your hips should be like brushing your teeth = done multiple times a day for best body results. Stand up from your office desk for a quick stretch, finish your workout with a few hip opening exercises, and calm down from the day with a slow stretch routine before bed. Having healthy hip felxors IS possible. Here are some of my all time favorite hip flexor stretching exercises and flexibility videos. All great ideas for exercises to build into your daily routine to develop a healthy hip habit.

1. My all time favorite hip stretch using a wall. 

 2. Free Online Hip Opening Routine. Hip flexor flexibility exercise video. Includes four exercises: high lunge, warrior 2, low lunge, and proposal lunge.

3. Ten Minute Stretching Routine For Runners. Great quick series for after a workout. 

4. Evening Relaxation Sequence. Flexibility for the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and of course your hip flexors! 

I CHALLENGE you to implement the above exercises every day into your daily routine for ONE week. How do you feel? I’d be surprised if you felt worse than before 🙂 Leave a comment below after you’ve tried one of the above flexibility videos and tell me one difference YOU feel in your body from stretching your hips. I cant wait to hear how HAPPY your hips are!

Have any  YouTube  workout video requests? Im filming every week and would LOVE to make a video that helps you towards your goals. Leave your workout video requests as a comment below and I’ll upload a special workout video just for YOU. Thanks again for being such an amazing fitness family. Can’t wait to connect with you again soon 🙂 Till then… keep shining!

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

You Got ROLFED. Week 7.

Rolfing Session #7 was by far the strangest massage experience I have ever had in my life. When I went in to meet with Marie, I was under the impression that the seventh session would be an hour of head, shoulder, and neck work. It was for the most part with an interesting twist. I was committed to experiencing the authentic 10 series experience, so with an open mind and brave heart I went for it. The WHOLE nine yards, nasal work included.

Let me explain. The work of the seventh session is directed entirely toward balancing the neck and head on the spine. During a seventh session, the Rolfer works on the fascia of the neck, opens the connective tissues around the skull and face and helps to improve breathing further by opening constricted nasal passages. Yes you read that right…. nasal passages. Session 7 is the most unusual massage experience you could ever imagine, one that can prove to be incredibly eye opening for everyone.

Marie always begins our appointments with a structural assessment and a check in on our progress. My body has become stronger through our work together and every time we meet its nice to get a progress report on my journey towards healthier spinal alignment. She begins session 7 where we left off in six, moving up the torso into the shoulders, neck, and head. The first half  of the session is pure heaven. All specific work on releasing the upper traps, shoulders, and chest. From chronic computer work and stress of daily life, we all could use a half an hour on these hot spots. I am at ease when Marie moves up the body to work on my head. The head work is similar to cranial sacral massage with a rolfing twist. She works on specific points along the skull, ears, and forehead with unique techniques and a perfect pressure. I’m in a whole world of bliss when Marie informs me its time for the “internal work”.  Latex gloves come out and I start to get nervous.

The last part of session seven is known as “internal rolfing”. You should have seen the expression on face when she slipped the gloves on – I was intimidated and not sure what to expect. The “internal rolfing” only lasts a few minutes of the appointment and can be skipped if you do not want that experience. I had committed and was ready for anything, so when Marie asked permission, I agreed. First she worked on the inside of my jaw, releasing both the upper and lower parts of my mouth. It was a bit like seeing the dentist without the minty aftertaste. She then moved on to work INSIDE the nose. The nasal massage was a brief and strange experience. It goes down in history as the most unusual sensation I have ever felt in a massage session. Words can’t describe what it is like, you will have to sign up for the 10 series if you are curious enough to find out.  As strange as it was, all of the internal work seemed to free up a lot of jaw and facial tension. Rolfing is one way to find out just how much work the facial muscles DO in our bodies. I think singers, those who suffer from chronic stress, and chronic gum chewers would especially benefit from this Rolfing release. As odd as it “nasal massage” sounds, I think you would regret opting out of the internal work in session 7. It could be seen as a right of passage towards a healthier head, neck, and nose 😉

While the internal work wasnt my favorite, Im glad I had the chance to experience session seven’s unusual techniques. We finished our appointment with standing structural assessment and reviewing the physical changes brought about by our time together. Marie concludes by offering more guidance on how to move in my body with a posture that provides optimal wellness.

It’s amazing how our entire body is connected and is always surprising to discover where we store our stress. After 7 sessions of Rolfing I am feeling in tune with my body, am seeing improvements in my movement, and health benefits in my daily life. I am forever grateful for this experience (Nasal massage included). Looking forward to session 8 and continuing the journey. Till next time…

Caroline

Have you been “Rolfed”? What was your experience? Leave your comments below with your rolfing stories – Id love to hear from you!
Read More:
Check out Marie’s website for more : http://www.mariethiebaud.massagetherapy.com/

Marie is certified in the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, also known as Rolfing® from The Guild for Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado.  Her massage training was completed at National Holistic Institute where she was trained in Swedish, Deep tissue. Shiatsu, Myofascial Release, and Reflexology. CLICK HERE to continue reading about Marie Thiebaud, structural integration specialist. 

BREAK FREE from Workout Guilt.

“I blew it; I was doing so well. Oh well, I might as well enjoy this weekend and start over on Monday.”

“I feel awful when I miss a workout. Even if I’m sick, I feel like I’m being lazy and that missing one workout is going to turn me into a fat, lazy slob. I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s how I feel.”

“I just don’t have the motivation or will power to start over and be successful. I quit. Maybe this summer will be a better time to get back into it.”

“I feel so guilty when I miss a workout. The next chance I get to sweat im so anxious about getting back into shape I tend to overdo it. Then I’m too sore to workout again for a few days. I know it’s a bad cycle but I cant seem to break it. But at least I’m doing some workouts!”

Workout Guilt. You want to go but you don’t. You schedule it but you break your “appointment”. Or you overtrain because you can’t handle the thought of getting “out of shape”. You beat yourself up for not following through or not working hard enough to get the results you want. In the end you wind up doing more harm than good because no one does well when they’re beaten down, stressed out, and tired. It’s a self-defeating and energy-sucking pattern that leaves you feeling exhausted.

If the above sounds familiar, you are not alone. Most of us struggle with workout guilt and have the desire to overcome it. Our bodies NEED rest and we deserve to take a day off the gym without feeling like we are slacking off.

Wallowing in workout guilt isn’t working, its time to move past it  and move forward with your life. Heres my “snap out of it” strategy to help you  break free from workout guilt, make peace with yourself, and accomplish your wellness goals. Use the below tips to leave the pity party and work towards longevity. I believe you CAN develop an attitude that helps you enjoy a healthy relationship to exercise and guilt-free workouts for life!

Caroline’s Tips to Help You BREAK FREE from Workout Guilt.

Set Realistic Health Goals. 

I fully support making goals that challenge you to grow. But if your goals are unrealistic you are setting yourself up for failure. Create goals that challenge you but follow a S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed) plan. Under-promise and over-deliver with your accomplishments towards wellness. Be realistic and you will successfully reach your goals without a guilt trip.

Make an ACTION Plan.

Create a clear vision of your S.M.A.R.T goals and develop an action plan to accomplish them. Having a plan for the week (or month) removes the pressure of feeling clueless and it gives you a solid strategy for success when it comes to your health. Prepare a realistic workout program and map out your schedule for yourself. Ask for help from a personal trainer if you are not sure how to create an exercise program that’s tailored to meet your needs.

PACE yourself

Often workout guilt or anxiety over “getting out of shape” can create a binge and purge relationship to exercise. Its either too much or too little; leaving you out of shape, injured, or frustrated. Over-training or under-training is self-destructive; it will never get you the results and health you want. Moderation is the key in establishing a lifelong healthy relationship to exercise. Be sure your action plan practices moderation and balance to avoid burnout or injury.

Drop the “all or nothing” mindset.

This mentality sets you up to feel guilty eventually and is why so many people struggle to succeed. Expecting to stick to a structured eating and exercise plan for an extended period of time without ever deviating is unrealistic. Things happen and life can get in the way – through illness, other obligations, exhaustion, different opportunities, etc – it is impossible for someone to NEVER miss a workout. Remember it doesn’t matter if you fall down, it is if you pick yourself up that counts. It’s not all or nothing, get back at it and don’t beat yourself up.

Shift your thinking. 

Remember it’s about wellness for life, NOT fitness for one day. Shift your thinking and see exercise as a way to alleviate stress, empower yourself, and fuel your life with health. It’s not about looking good in skinny jeans. It’s about having the health to enjoy your life. Choose to look at real HEART of exercise: wellness. This mindset always trumps any guilt trip.

Forgive. Learn. MOVE ON. 

Regret can follow you like a dark cloud that overshadows every other aspect of your life. When you feel ashamed or guilty about your past behavior or performance, the negative feelings will act like BRAKES in your forward motion.  CHOOSE to put it all behind you.Take the lessons of what happened and apply them to develop a fresh and open attitude on future action. You have control. Forgive yourself, take a deep breath, and MOVE onward.

Move on Mantra.

If workout guilt still lingers, here is a workout mantra you can use to pick yourself UP and move on with your life. Read, re-read, print it on a sticky note, or say it out loud to yourself. Repeat as much as you need to get your head and heart in the right place:

“I forgive myself for the mistakes I made. I’m not perfect – no one is – and I’m committed to learning and getting better. The past experience is my wise teacher, and I will apply the lessons well. I love myself enough to forgive and move forward. Letting GO is worth it when health and happiness are the end result.”

Track Your Progress.

Keeping track of your progress will help motivate you and provide a plan to come back to when you “fall of the wagon”. Record your daily workouts including exercises, duration, weight, sets, and reps. Write notes about intensity levels, what you need to work on, how you felt, etc. Use a free online journal like the daily plate or get tech savvy and track your output with NIKE’s FUEL BAND (how cool is that one?!). Tracking your progress will not only show you your stats but provide you with a record of your achievements. Look back and reflect on all of your accomplishments when you feel you’ve “messed up”. Recognize how far you have come  and pick up where you left off.

Bottom Line? Stop putting yourself down. Just stop. Do the best you can and prove to yourself you can do it.

Practice the skills above and teach yourself how not to feel guilty about exercise.  Listen to your body and support yourself towards your goals with a realistic action plan tailored to your needs. Remember that you’re exercising to improve your life and you want to keep progressing to improve your overall health.  Be consistent, realistic, and make time for daily movement. Always stay positive and make your ultimate goal one of WELLNESS. Every training day is different. The important part is showing up, doing your best, and committing to a healthy, happy life.

Whats your top strategy when feeling workout guilty? Leave a comment below with your tip on not giving in to workout guilt. Have a GREAT week and cant wait to see you for another workout soon. Till then, keep shining 🙂

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week: