Relaxation and Exercise

Summer is often a time for serious play, time off and deep relaxation. Many of us use the summertime to rebuild our reserves for the rest of the busy year. In our work-crazed society we can lose sight of the benefits of slowing down and taking time to rest. Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to enjoy the restorative powers of reconnecting to your body through movement and relaxation.

The body loves to move. Even though our body is healthiest when it is getting appropriate physical activity, we often feel dread and boredom when we hear the word “exercise”. Think for a moment of what type of movement you would consider fun as opposed to torturous. Perhaps you loathe the idea of a gym, but miss taking dance classes. Maybe you secretly want to try yoga or rollerblading. You could play touch football with your kids, walk with a neighbor in the mornings or go for a swim. The summer offers so many choices – it’s simply up to you to choose which style of movement excites you. Your heart will thank you, your soul will be gratified, your limbs will be more fluid and you’ll sleep better at night.

Summer is a unique time of year when we can do both our relaxation and our movement out in nature. Take a nap in a hammock and enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass. Go to the park and meditate or read under a favorite tree. One of the greatest places to rest in the summertime is by the water. There is something magical and restorative in water, and we naturally crave to be near it, by it or in it. Heading to the water, whether it is the beach, a lake or a kiddy pool, can be relaxing and rejuvenating.

Whether you are relaxing, exercising or both, notice that being outside in nature has a profound way of quieting the mind and reconnecting us to ourselves. Often this relaxation and peace of mind are what our bodies crave the most. So while summer is with us, strap on your sandals and enjoy the rich elements of sun, wind and water and the nourishment that they bring.

Mentors

Do you have a mentor in your life? A teacher or guru? Life coach or counselor? Mentors have special gifts for us. They offer us knowledge and insight; they guide us on our path. We all have a unique path and purpose in life and if we are lucky we recognize that everyone we meet has something to teach us. The special ones, mentors, are meant to guide us through a difficult time in our life or can help show us our true path or purpose.

Did you know you could be someone’s mentor and not even know it? Be open to your impact on someone’s life. When you are conscious of your impact in someone’s life, guide them with love but don’t become attached to the outcome. Often it takes a while for us to understand what someone is opening us up to. Plant the seed and let it grow with love, patience and understanding.

Sometimes we don’t realize how a mentor has impacted our lives until they move on. One of my very special mentors is moving on with his life outside this country. At first I felt this was an end, but now I realize that this is not an end but maybe a new phase of our friendship. The seeds he has planted are still growing and will be well fed with the energy of his spirit in all the lives he has touched here at EMC.

We will miss you, Henry – Godspeed and be well!

Snack Attack

There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack. Views on snacking differ. Some of us feel that snacking is bad and that eating between meals leads to weight gain. Others believe that eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day is healthy for maintaining energy levels and optimal weight. If there were one way of snacking that was right for everyone, we would all be doing it!

To alleviate snack attack guilt, try to understand why you are snacking and what snacks work best for your body. Perhaps you snack because your daily diet is missing nutrition, or because you are eating too little at meals. You might be snacking to soothe jangled nerves when you are emotional, or to entertain yourself when you are bored. Whatever your reason, acknowledge it and start thinking about how to create a life that is nourishing and truly satisfying.

Although snacks are no substitute for loving your life, they can be great energy boosters. Many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, damaging fats and refined sugars. When a snack attack hits you, try foods that are filling and satisfying, but also nutritious. Snack on things that don’t come in a plastic wrapper or a box, like fresh fruit, leftover vegetables or rice cakes with almond butter and fruit. Make your own signature trail mix, organic hot chocolate made with almond milk sweetened with agave nectar, or blue corn chips with hummus.

You can also try “upgrading”. If you are craving something crunchy, upgrade from potato chips to raw carrots, apples or whole grain crackers; if you are craving a candy bar, upgrade to a handful of nuts and dried fruit; instead of a cup of coffee, upgrade to green tea; instead of ice cream, upgrade to applesauce with cinnamon. Upgraded snacks are high in nutrition and give you a greater sense of satiety and satisfaction; you won’t feel physically or psychologically deprived, and you’ll have plenty of energy to sustain your activities for hours.

Snacking is enjoyable and there is a wide variety of healthful goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy. Dive in, be creative and enjoy your snack attack.

12 Reasons to Detox

Detoxing doesn’t mean drinking liquids all day long. What is does mean is paring down on the heavy, processed, toxic foods such as fast food, junk food, etc. It means limiting your animal consumption while increasing your vegetable consumption. Below are 12 reasons why you may want to do this.
Headaches
Depressed
Blemished skin
Acid reflux
Diarrhea or constipation
Extra weight
Cravings
Tired
Depressed
Trouble Sleeping
Inflammation
No Energy
Interested in learning more? Stay tuned!

Bringing Life into Balance

What’s the best exercise to do?
What’s the best diet to follow?

When someone asks me what I think about this exercise or that diet I often find myself at a loss for what to tell them. I know they want a simple answer but sometimes the simple answer is hard to hear. We need to find a balance in our life between exercise and diet, work and play, media candy and meditation.  So how do we do that?

What is the best diet? It is the one that keeps you feeling vibrant and alive full of energy and strong immunity to viruses and colds. It is a balanced diet high in vegetables especially the green ones, good quality proteins, a few grains, fruits, nuts and seeds, good source of fresh clean water, and very little processed foods and refined sugars no more than 10 percent because remember balance. Sometimes we need a little sweet in life. And a good balance between the protein, vegetables and grains depends on your body type and what works optimal for you.

Same with exercise. Too much yoga can leave one weak and mushy putting their tendons and ligaments at risk for injury.  Too much weight training can leave one tight, and inflexible leading to injury of muscle tissue. And too much cardio exercise like running can lead  to stress fractures and imbalanced muscles. Find a balance in your exercise program. Make sure you are getting at least one day of strength training with weights, include some yoga stretching to all your exercise routines and remember cardio. At least 3 days per week of cardio. Doesn’t have to be long, 20 minutes of interval style cardio program where you add in 30 – 60 second sprints of vigorous movement, enough to leave you near breathless.

When it comes to “chilling out” we also need a balance. Chilling out to TV or to our computer/smartphones can disconnect us to ourselves and our species. Too much meditation can lead to a distancing of ourselves from our life here on this earth and in this body keeping us disconnected. However, most of us don’t meditate enough if at all.

Balance can be hard to find. Seems so simple but we convince ourselves that we need to keep working and we don’t have time to exercise or we worked so hard today that we deserve to take ourselves out for dinner. We veg out at the TV or in front of the computer but we haven’t emptied out our head. We keep filling it up with stuff we don’t need.

Where do we start? Try a simple 10 minute meditation in the morning and then in the middle of your day. Sit at your desk, feet flat on the floor uncrossed, hands open in your lap and close your eyes, drop your jaw and just pay attention to your breath. Try this for 2-5 minutes at first then add a minute per day.

How to Balance Giving and Receiving

“Give away what you think you have not enough of.” -Neale Donald Walsh

This thought may seem perplexing at first.  But let’s break it down in simpler terms.  Need a hug? Giving a hug.  Feeling unloved?  Take actions that demonstrates your love.  Feeling unappreciated?  Show your appreciation to others and also to yourself. But what about if we feel we’ve given too much or that we don’t receive enough?

Let’s begin by exploring how we may be giving and receiving at the moment.  Ask yourself, are you giving in order to hopefully receive something in return?  When you don’t receive what you had hoped for, do you feel used, victimized and resentful?  For some people, giving to others puts them in the driver’s seat.  We may be giving in order to attempt to get our needs met.  But at the same time, we may be avoiding dealing with the underlying emotions creating this behavior, such as loneliness or fear of rejection.  On the same token, long-term repressing of emotions may bring out fear-based energies such as narcissism, materialism and hostility.  Finding a balance between giving and receiving starts with admitting to feeling needy and unloved.  This may not feel good at first.  But after a time of just allowing this to sink in a bit, we realize that having needs does not make us needy and unlovable.

The key here lies in exploring and getting in touch with our deepest feelings.  In the Gates of Power Method, this is tied with the Gate of Emotions.  This may be one of the bravest things to undertake, because of the range of emotions there are to experience, including the darkest of feelings.  But when we have gotten a glimpse of these dark emotions, believe it or not, this is actually the perfect place to start exploring deeper.  The result? Feeling more loved, more appreciated, more connected and more able to express our truest selves.

Our underlying needs and feelings are completely valid. 

When we allow ourselves to dig deeper and feel the full spectrum of feelings we learn how not to judge our feelings as good or bad.  This enables us to become aware of the underlying need that is not being met, so that we can behave in a way that does not push people away, thereby diminishing our ability to get our needs met.   If you have a tendency to over give, practice abstaining from giving for a while until you are sure that you are not doing it in order to receive something in exchange.  Practice being open to receiving.  Practice giving if you feel that is what you must do to find balance.

If you are unsure of what to do, simply start each day with a gratitude list of 5 things that you are grateful for.  No need to judge any of the items on your list as good or bad. Trust that we live in an abundant world, that all our needs will be met, and that there is enough to go around, so we do not need to feel threatened by each other.  We are all humans with the same emotions and so we can all relate and even help each other.

The X-BIKE Difference

Indoor cycling is not all the same. At Energy Movement Center, we X-BIKE. The difference in our bikes is the free wheel and handle bars that allow for side to side movement. These differences and instructor direction allow for full engagement of the upper body and core – simulating the full experience of mountain biking on various terrain.

We encourage everyone, no matter what age or fitness level, to X-BIKE. We have college students as well as clients well into their 70’s – male and female – that ride. Our instructors welcome all and guide clients to set their own challenges and remove the inclination to compete or keep up with their neighbor. We believe that each person has an ‘inner X-BIKER’ ready to emerge with some individualized attention and support.

Each instructor has their focus so each class different – Balance, Strength, Interval, and our Basics geared for beginners. Guided classes are offered most mornings at 9am and a few evenings; members enjoy the privilege of ‘Member Only’ self-guided rides. Our drop in rate is $20 and $15 for students, seniors and military. Three Month Trial membership only $199. Because we have a limited number of bikes we request that you call to reserve a bike in advance.

“BECOME A DIFFERENT INDIVIDUAL”

Meet Mike ANZOVINO, ISSA CFT
Mike has been passionate about athletics and fitness for well over 40 years from playing sports as a child, to training athletes and power lifters. Now his passion is helping the average person build strength and flexibility through body weight exercises, functional movement patterns and weight training through functionality. He is also a practicing martial artist and incorporates that into his training as well, just to keep things interesting.

Mike wasn’t always on the straight and narrow path.  He says, “As I got older, around my thirties, I  got in with the wrong crowd, and fitness fell to the wayside. I ate badly, didn’t train and I LOOKED IT (I was up to 215 lbs)! One day I woke up and said, “WHAT AM I DOING?” From that moment on, I threw myself back into training, I got back down to 185 lbs, and I feel like I’m in my twenties again!” This experience gives Mike the empathy towards all of us who get off track the encouragement that through the right training and support it is possible to find your way back to health.

Over the years, Mike has done extensive research on training theories, nutrition, supplementation, herbs and weight management. Through his own wellness journey, he feels his purpose on this Earth is to help others. Now being an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, he has the knowledge and expertise to help one reach a higher state of wellness.

“My goal is to teach and educate my clients on how to make a complete lifestyle change. Come join me, have some fun and let’s take this wellness journey together.” Mike Anzovino

The Post-Holiday Season: A Compelling Time to Find Balance

The holiday season can be a time that we become more aware of a loss of personal space, feeling deprived, unrequited love, feeling stressed, hopeless, a lack of control, unable to cope and perhaps an insatiable craving that no amount of chocolate can satisfy.  And herein lies the great paradox of “The Holiday Season”:  Love and togetherness mingled with resentment and competition.  What is it that causes us to take otherwise normal behaviors a bit too far, forcing our bodies to desperately try to find balance.  And what better opportunity for us to practice finding balance than in this season of extremes and contradictions.

This year, instead of trying to regain control by imposing a strict New Year’s resolution, practice being a little kinder to yourself.   Consider these resolutions instead:

  • Be open and question all your beliefs and assumptions in order to uncover your fears
  • Be insanely brave and start feeling all your emotions as they arise, instead of repressing them
  • Be creative and discover what you love aside from things or people
  • Trust that doing all these things will eventually lead to finding balance in an uncertain world.  It is possible.

Below are some areas to begin your personal exploration to finding balance:

Giving and Receiving – Start by observing how we may overgive/underreceive or undergive/overreceive in different situations.  In the next post, we will explore the soundness in such actions as our bodies are really just trying to get our needs met.

Togetherness and Solitude – Loneliness affects every one of us at different points in our lives.  It has a definite purpose and the sooner we understand and embrace it, the sooner we no longer fear it.  That is the moment that we are able to carve out our special niche in this world.  In the meantime, just be mindful of when you need to take a break and perhaps go for a walk amidst all the togetherness or take time for yourself.  Practice being a good listener.  Notice when you may be judging, criticizing or offering unwanted advice.  Sometimes, just showing up, is the most wonderful gift we can give to someone.

Hope and Logic – If we keep hoping for something to occur, we will never be at peace.  At the same time, if we never take risks, we may live with regrets.  The balance lies in getting to know ourselves and discovering any illogical fears or self-limiting beliefs that we may have.  Once we do this, we can trust ourselves and others.  Even if the outcome is not as we may have hoped, we are enlightened enough to see how this was a necessary next step in reaching our ultimate goal.

                        Healthful Eating and Guilt-Free Indulgence – Guilt may be one of the hardest feelings to release.  Similar to loneliness, we may have to acknowledge and sit with it for a little while first.  From this point of acceptance however, we can accept that cravings are actually a blessing.  Cravings or guilt may indicate that we are stuffing down our emotions in an effort to avoid pain.  The long-term pain and suffering from years of doing this is far greater than the short-term pain in acknowledging, understanding and releasing feelings or beliefs that do not serve us.  Trust that your body ultimately seeks to nurture and nourish itself, so that we may lead long, happy lives.

Action and Inaction – When it comes to exercise, if it’s not fun, then it’s no wonder we don’t stay with it very long.  And since when does exercise have to feel like a burden.  Of course, there are days when we lose sight of our purpose.  At times such as these, maybe our bodies are calling for a less strenuous activity that day or week and we should take heed.  Similarly, this mindfulness of when to act or when not to act may occur in our social interactions.  There may be times when we can practice just being a good listener or giving a situation space, instead of feeling like we have to take action.   Through practice, we will get the balance right between action and inaction.

Connecting and Disconnecting – In today’s world, we are more connected, yet more disconnected than ever.  Deep-down all humans need connection and a sense of belonging.  We are not meant to seek it in people or things, however.  We find it through connecting with ourselves.  We look to our supposed weaknesses and that is where we find our strengths.  We explore our obsessions and turn them into passions.

In the coming weeks, we will explore each of these areas in order to gain an understanding of why humans behave the way we do today.  This allows us find balance through accepting ourselves, which is the link that allows us to truly experience growth.  New Year’s resolutions can have the effect of trying to control a behavior.  When we fail, it’s simply because we do not give the human brain and body any credit in having a sound purpose in every action we perform.

The path is different for each of us.  The Energy Movement Center offers the opportunity to try different classes and workshops, explore different concepts that may or may not speak to us and feel a sense of connection to each other that we are all in this together.  Opening our minds and hearts and breaking down self-limiting beliefs and fears, we begin to notice how much fun we can have and how many wonderful things we can open ourselves up to.  We may not know the future, but we can get to know ourselves and in doing so, find the balance that we seek.  Happy New Year!

Teacher of the Month: Ella Mocna

If you haven’t been to Ella’s 10 am Friday morning class  at EMC, I encourage you to take this class. Ella teaches a style of yoga called Jivamukti which is basically yoga that connects us to the Earth.
Those new to yoga – and many seasoned yogis –  are probably familiar with chanting an Om or two at the beginning or end of class. Some people don’t care for this aspect or even shy away from yoga because of this. At its essence, however, it is a powerful unifying aspect – more like singing a hymn in church or a cheer at a major league sporting event. Simply put – it  creates community.
Ella begins her class with a Sanskrit chant in a call and response format.  Without delving deep in yoga philosophy, the Sanskrit language is directly related to the vibration and tonal sounds of the subtle energy it represents. Understood as such, chanting can be seen as a tool to invoke the meaning of the words – somewhat like creative visualization with sound.  By beginning with a short chant in class, the subtle energy of each individual has already begun to change before students get into the more familiar and understood energy of asana (the physical posture) aspect of yoga practice.
After chanting and pranayama (breath work) the class moves into to a vinyasa  flow and Ella guides her class well. Yoga instructors make assists according to students needs. Sometimes it’s alignment – what the student can’t detect themselves , sometimes it could be to show the student how much more is possible – even though their own muscles or mind can’t take them there yet  and other times it to let you know you are on the right path. Ella is confident with her assists and in tune with each of her students –  if you are uncomfortable, opting out of being assisted is always an option.
Though Ella’s class and style might be just a little be different than what you are used to in your regular practice, she comfortably brings in an awareness to your own sound energy.

Yoga
Fridays 10a-11:15a