A few weeks ago I started offering a class "Core Strength and Energy Balancing". Over the years I've been training, I've come to realize that we have our physical bodies and energetic bodies with both impacting each other.
I've noticed that similar emotional states create similar postural issues. That similar energetic depletion creates similar core strength issues. The energetic body is represented by chakras and the main chakras run down the centre of the body (the pelvic area to the top of the head). They are the interface with the world. The energy we receive from the outside world (universe) is filtered through chakras and the energy we send out into the world if filtered through these chakras.
I have found that if I focus on balancing core strength out in people's bodies while also opening up areas where posture is compromised, we can concurrently build deep core stability AND move stagnant energy out of the body and revitalized chakras.
While I'm a strong believer in the power of psychotherapy, I believe that energy and memory gets trapped in the body. We need to find ways to release trauma from the body as well. Talking through issues is essential as is moving through issues.
So as I experiment with how to bring the physical and energetic bodies together to strengthen them at the same time, I know I'm not doing anything revolutionary. I understand that yoga can do this. That many other practices can do this. And that Tibetan monks developed the Tibetan Rites over 2500 years ago to do this.
But given our sedentary, desk based life, I believe we need to look at doing this is a way that is more specific to modern society and more efficient. Ancient practices weren't designed with time strapped desk workers in mind!
Our cores are far more de-conditioned to due prolonged sitting than they ever have been in history. So I'm creating an approach to address core strength and the energetic body (while incorporating Reiki training) in a way that is designed more specifically for people who sit for work.
So in my class format, I'm bringing energy work, incorporating the Tibetan Rites and bringing in cutting edge core training techniques.
The groups filled up very quickly! I only have one spot left on Fridays at 1 starting Feb 1st.
CORE STRENGTH AND ENERGY BALANCING WITH JANE CLAPP
In this 6 week workshop, build truly deep core strength and long lean muscles while learning how to ground your energy efficiently and release or energize each chakra! You will be introduced to functional and cutting edge core strength exercises while also experiencing more ancient chakra clearing techniques including the Tibetan Rights exercises and energizing meditations.
Wednesdays at 1 – 2PM starting Jan 16th
Mondays 9-10AM starting Jan 28th
Fridays 1-2pm starting Feb 1st
Cost $150 for 6 classes (committing to Mon, Wed or Fri).
When we have a hard time self moderating we will reach for rigid rules in the short term that we believe will provide a so called reboot for our systems.
So we all now know that saying "I'm on a diet" will create a perception of ourselves that appears to be less informed and old school in a bad way.
In keeping with our love of short term, oversimplified solutions to larger issues, people now feel somewhat self-righteous saying they are on a cleanse or a detox. Cleanses and detoxes can (not always) feed into the unconscious fast food culture that exists all around us.
The most common detox diets?
Gluten free or sugar free.
But the people who reach for these extreme measures are likely finding it difficult to live in the place of constant free will and the grey zones of having to make mindful choices moment by moment. So in trying to find a way to self regulate over indulgent or binge like behaviours people will say they have an addiction to white sugar for example. And like old school addiction treatment, the belief that once the substance is gone and cleansed from the system, the problem is solved.
But the real truth is that we all are engaged in addictive behaviours, addicted to substances or thought processes that are a way for us to dissociate from pain or from some truth that we would rather avoid. And in cleansing our systems of a substance, we are still left with the deep underlying reason of what drove us to find ways to dissociate in the first place.
As you can probably gather, I'm not a big proponent of cleanses or detoxes unless prescribed by a skillful holistic health practitioner that is doing so in order to improve overall health and wellness. Self prescribed detox diets are, most often, an attempt to reign in demons in a less than healing way or to mask a need to do deeper work.
We all could find daily opportunities to find foods that are more in balance with what our body really needs. And sometimes we do need a little chocolate. It's really quite simple. Eat whole foods in balance! Avoid foods that aren't nutritionally dense or that create digestive upset. Getting into a state of rigidity is not healthy for our spirit or mind. And if you really want to lose weight, do it the slow way. Slow and steady wins the race! Moderation! And if you can't find moderation, it's time to find out why.
Extremes have a rebound affect. Chances are someone who has made cleansing sugar, caffeine or wheat entirely from their diet in one fell swoop will find themselves using again in a matter of months. Living in a grey zone of allowing oneself occasional indulgences in less than perfect food choices is what is healthier in my mind in the long run. It's tantamount to finding a sense of inner peace with the fact that we shouldn't strive for perfection. Anyone who has a hard time self regulating about food is like any other addict that needs to take a deeper look at what this behaviour is masking.
It's now two weeks after the turn of the year. If you've set New Year's Resolutions for yourself, you might find that they are already slipping through your fingers. Bummer! Or maybe you're sticking to it which is great!
I'm not a believer in New Year's Resolutions. I love the expression, "If you could have done it by yourself, you would already be doing it."
A huge reason why New Year's Resolutions don't work is because we don't seek out the resources to change. Trainer. Therapist. Coach.
Another biggie? We set goals that aren't based on starting from where we are at. We set goals from where we wish we are at. For example, setting the goal of going to the gym 5 times a week when you aren't going at all is not realistic. Change happens gradually. Our goals should be graduated.
New Year's Resolutions can also be misguided. For example, if we lose our mojo we might think it comes from not being physically active but we might not look at why we are lacking motivation to be active. Maybe we are stuck in unhealthy relationships. Maybe we hate our job and need to address the white elephant in the room. Or maybe working out is just a bandaid and what we really to do is address thinking patterns and our unhealthy coping strategies in life. Change flows from improving self-awareness.
Anyhow, if these last two weeks have past and you're not achieving your New Year's Resolutions, maybe it's time to get help changing!
Following a diet will help you lose weight and following a diet plus engaging in intense exercise will help accelerate the proccess.
Unless we really tune into our bodies as the truth telling miracles that they are, we cannot keep weight off in the long run without following a rigid and externally driven weight loss plan. And most people can't live rigidly for very long and often propel themselves in the opposite direction of said rigidity once off a strict program. The good old pendulum swings in extreme directions.
Yes it does feel good to lose weight but it feels even worse than before to gain back hard earned weight loss. That's why I imploring you to adopt a weight loss paradigm that involves mindful exercise.
Engaging in mindful exercise will help keep us in the present moment. When we live in the present and don't let ourselves dissociate or what many refer to as 'fall asleep at the wheel', it's much harder to fall back into negative coping strategies. And overeating and letting go of self-care is often the first sign of dissociation. If we commit to regular mindful exercise, we get several wake up calls in a week that will help us tune into our bodies and, as a result, tune into how we are feeling, our stress levels, our fears, anger or pain.
The definition of mindful exercise to me is much more broad than many people might agree with. Currently, most people consider mindful exercise to be things like yoga or pilates. But for me, mindful exercise is anything that requires us to pay attention to what our bodies are doing is a very specific way and tune into what muscles are doing the work. It requires mindfulness in our movement patterns and most often, repatterning of unhealthy movement patterns that keep our bodies stuck in improper alignment and sometimes subsequent pain or tension.
There are so many options outside the yoga and pilates arena that are now available. Most personal trainers provide mindful exercise is they are asking us to tune in, slow down and think about how we are doing something.
So if you're not a pilates or yoga type, you can engage in mindful exercise with weightlifting, running, cycling depending on how mindful the coach is encouraging you to be.
Our bodies tell us what we really need all the time we are awake. They tell us when we need to eat, when we are full, when we need to rest or sleep and when we need to burn off stress. We just get so caught up in living busy lives or convince ourselves we need to run around like chickens with our head's cut off that we don't stop and listen. And maybe many of us don't want to listen because then we would have to change something about the way we are living.
Like most people, I battle with letting stress get the best of me. I have very intelligent ways or coping strategies that let me tune out sometimes but I turn to different strategies to become conscious again so that I don't stay asleep for too long.
For me, mindful movement can be a focused strength workout, a fast paced interval based run, yoga, or simply sitting still to meditate. It takes work to stay on a path of staying awake. But if you're trying to lose weight and want to find a new way that will help you keep weight off, the only way is being more mindful and a great in road towards this in mindful movement.
Often times, clients come to be (particularly moms) without any ability to connect with their lower abdominals. When an area of our body feels dormant or hard to connect with, this can sometimes mean that that corresponding chakra needs some energy brought into the area. The sacral chakra is about feeling and sexuality and is located right around the lower abs. Visit this site to read more.
Any exercise that helps stimulate the lower abs can be a great way to bring your sexuality back to life and bring new energy into the area, clearing out stagnation.
There are some go to exercises I love for getting these muscle fibres more alive.
To get your started, I'm going to suggest the towel squeeze tail bone lift exercise. Many people who haven't been able to fire these lower tummy muscle fibres find this fool proof! I've had people swear they haven't been able to feel this area work in any exercises or with lots of coaching in the past and finally feel their lower tummies alive again.
Lie on your back with a yoga block or roll up hand towel between your inner thighs. With slightly bent knees and soles of feet towards the ceiling and toes flexed, squeeze the towel and engage your pelvic floor by doing a constant kegel.
place your hands behind your head and elbow wide like a wooden coat hanger then exhale and lift your tailbone ever so slightly. Hold the towel squeeze and the kegel and hold the tail bone lift while bringing your mind's eye to your lower tummy. See if you can use Jedi like mind power to get the lower tummy muscle fibres to fire. Hold for 10 seconds while shrinking your lower tummy into your spine kind of like you're trying to juice a grapefuit into the size of a lemon. Release and repeat 6-8 times. To make this harder, lift you shoulders off the ground looking towards your toes keeping the elbows wide.
If you can, repeat this exercise daily and you will find it easier and easier to find fire the lower tummy.
See what happens to your connection to this area of your body and the increased energy in your sacral chakra. You might start to feel your sexuality come to life again along with a tighter lower tummy.
Post holiday functions with family can leave us feeling a little discombobulated. Maybe memories arise on a cellular level and we are left remembering things we thought we had let go of.
Or maybe the holidays brought change like a break up and partner moved out of a joint home.
Or maybe you want to leave behind many things in 2012 that were tough and transition into 2013 feeling lighter.
Simple rituals can be an excellent way to set a clear intention with ourselves and the universe that we intend to shed things we don't need anymore or to remove memories or energies from our home or work environments.
Whether any of the things I'm suggesting work in any real way is irrelevant. The intention and desire we put behind our behaviours are what is truly important. By taking time to engage in a structured activity that sets our intentions in motions helps convince us that our intentions will be the truth.
Often times people walk into Urbanfitt wondering if someone has been smoking herb but, in fact, it's just the smell of burnt sage. Sage is my go to cleansing tool for work and home. As I burn it I got through all corners of my space and hold positive energy and thoughts in my mind and heart. You can buy sage sticks or loose sage at most health food stores! I love it's earthy smell!
My partner just bought me a stunning singing bowl for Christmas. I've used it at the beginning or end of a meditation or at the end of a training or Reiki session with clients in the past few days and love how the purity of the sound resonates through my own body. When I've used it at home, I feel like the vibration of the sound is kind of like a reboot for the space as well. Not to mention the beauty of the sound making me feel so at peace in the moment.
Crank Hard Core Music
A Shiatsu therapist shared this technique with me. If you just crank heavy metal hard core music, the sound will shake the energy up in a space. Again, like a reboot with sound waves but a bit more aggressive than a singing bowl! I like Rage Against the Machine for this! Add a little crazy dancing around and you have a space filled with new energy! And you have a little fun and get your heart rate up too :)
Repressed Anger workout
Sometimes we are the thing carrying negative energy around. Check out my blog post "Exercising Anger Out of the Body". Taking a slam ball or a set of heavy ropes and pounding them can help release negative energy into the earth and help you let it out of the body!
Epsom salts bath
We can unconsciously absorb other people's shit without even knowing we did until a moment of stillness and we wonder why we aren't feeling that great after spending time with someone. A great way to cleanse toxicity that we hold onto physically on a cellular level in our tissues is the good old Epsom salts bath. Although this isn't my cleansing method of choice, many people swear by this technique and even just 5 minutes can help!
"In hydrotherapy, a hot Epsom Salts Bath is called a Cleansing Bath because it assists in speeding the removal of waste products from the soft tissues and cleanses the tissues of these irritants. It is a rather simple process, whereby the Epsom Salts make the water hypertonic - that is to say, there is a greater concentration of solute in the bath water than in your body. When you soak in this bath, it has the effect of drawing the waste products out of your tissues - it speeds the removal of irritating waste products from your body. Essentially, it makes you sweat , and sweating is one of the main ways the body gets rid of waste products."
Just remember, our intentions hold more power than anything and cementing our intentions with some type of action or ritual is very powerful regardless of your spirituality or belief system! All the best for starting 2013 with more light and peace. Happy 2013!
This holiday season I ran into a couple people I hadn't seen in a while. My
interactions with them reminded me of how far I've come to rehabbing my rushing around do do do mentality. One person had mentioned how I hadn't been around as much, out and about (insert Canadain accent). She chalked it up to me being in a new relationship the past 18 months.
And I realized that me not being out and about as much had to do much more with me learning to spend more time slowing down. I think I CREATED this on-the-go reality so that I could avoid a deeper more quiet part of myself where I can observe my thoughts, attitudes and things that might be keeping me stuck. I know that I was overly busy in the past because I wanted to avoid a painful sense of loneliness when my daughter was with her dad. Or avoid the fear of being without family in a big city with no safety net to catch me if I fell as a business owner. I also didn't like spending too much time alone at home with a child and to get her out with other people socializing. I was afraid I wasn't really enough for her.
Now, I stay in when I'm tired. I cook more meals at home and actually enjoy doing so. I don't over schedule myself socially. I'm scheduling fewer clients in and letting go of work commitments that under pay me or aren't aligned with my core values.
But this change is in sharp contrast to the way I've been living my life for years. In fact, I still fight with sometimes nagging guilt that I should be doing more, find ways to be more productive or even keep trying to grow my vision for a bigger business. I think I might be fighting the fear that my world will fall apart if I'm not doing a lot to make sure everything will keep being ok.
I can tell you that now that I've slowed down a bit with much more to shift in this direction, I have a lot of rehabbing my body and mind. Old habits die hard. I can feel that my body needs time to restore it's energetic stores, that I need to learn to take on less emotionally from other people and that I'm actually a way more chilled out person than I used to believe.
Last night, I cooked a turkey dinner for 12 and it was awesome or so they all said :). I prepped a lot the day before so that I wouldn't have to be stressed the day so that all the dishes were timed just right and all the food was hot when placed on the table and not overcooked etc.
It's come to be my understanding that the more gaps I leave in my schedule, the more I have time to prep for things coming instead of always trying to catch up. I realized that to live a life that doesn't require a lot of rushing around, it takes time. We have to prepare for living life this way. Sound contradictory? I don't think so. I'm just getting better at not expecting so much of myself all the time. Sometimes people don't really get how to interface with this newish attitude.
We live in a world where the current to always be 'doing' something can sweep us up and take us away further from our true natures.
Now when I spend time with loved ones who are still caught up in rushing through life and aren't desirous of a different way of being that is more present, it's starting to feel incongruous.
“Becoming conscious is of course a sacrilege against nature; it is as though you had robbed the unconscious of something.” – Carl G. Jung