The Energy – Exercise Paradox

Why does my body feel so good that first day I do yoga after I haven’t done it for ages, and then hurt so much afterwards?

I’ve been struggling with my energy levels for a few years now. Yes, I keep myself very busy and have a lot of commitments. My days are fairly well packed. And yes, I am getting older. We all are.

Yoga and Meditation - Mary MalinskiIn spite of all that, I’ve felt that my energy levels have not been what they could be. There are days in which it takes an incredible amount of will-power to get myself out of bed. My meditation practice has been suffering because I have been falling asleep during my meditations. I feel tired more often than I don’t.

A little over a year ago I had a medical scare – a gallbladder attack that put me in the emergency room. After consulting with my doctor and a naturopath, I chose not to have it removed. I’ve been working with the naturopath to get my body back on a healthier path.

I still struggle with fatigue, though.

I know that exercise helps boost energy and mood levels, and yet, quite often I can’t find the energy and motivation to exercise. Or if I can manage it one day, it’s gone the next. So I don’t establish the positive habit.

It’s a vicious cycle. I feel tired, so I don’t exercise, so I experience more inflammation, so my energy levels are lower, so I feel tired…

Something has shifted for me in the last week. I’m not sure what it is exactly. It could be that I ran out of my normal breakfast supplies and started eating just an apple for breakfast. It could be that Hekate’s Sickle Festival is over, and I have just that little bit less stress in my life. Whatever it is, I’ve felt the need to exercise.

Once upon a time, I was able to get up early – well, earlier than I already do – and exercise before work. That hasn’t happened for a long time. I’ve thought about exercising after work or before bed in the past, and haven’t been able to motivate myself to actually do it.

This week, it happened, though. I came home from work on Friday (the one night I didn’t have a class or meeting after work), and I got out my yoga mat. It felt SO good, and I was quite pleased with myself for actually following through.

Of course, I hurt yesterday, and really hurt Sunday morning. Instead of using the pain as an excuse not to exercise, though, I got out the yoga mat again on Sunday. I know from past experience that the best way to get through the pain of sore muscles is to keep stretching and working them.

It’s too early to tell if I’ll be able to keep the momentum going. And I really hope so. I’m ready to feel better.

How do you keep yourself motivated to exercise? How do you keep your energy level up?

Blessings,

Mary

A Lesson in Choosing Both

Expressive Yoga for the SoulI used to do yoga regularly. I have a DVD that my husband gave me that I love – Expressive Yoga for the Soul. Then something happened, I don’t even remember what, and I stopped. I’ve missed it. I even thought that it was something I would do this summer while I was off work.

Yeah, didn’t happen.

I’ve thought on and off that I would like to get back in the habit of doing yoga. Maybe not every day. But several times a week. Then I look at my schedule, and wonder where I would fit it in!

I have been telling myself that the only time I could really do yoga is first thing in the morning, when I meditate. I’d have to give up my meditation to do yoga, and the meditation has been more important to me.

I’m working with the goddess Athena right now. She’s a warrior, and warriors take care of their body AND mind. I’m also setting goals, and I want to continue getting healthier, and strengthen my back so I can heal from old injuries.

Anyway, the inspiration came to me this week that if I just shift my alarm 10 minutes, stop laying in bed after meditating (i.e. basically hit the snooze), and shift what I do in the first few minutes when I wake up just a tiny bit, I would be able to meditate AND do yoga.

So I tried it on Wednesday. And it worked! I did it on Thursday, too, even though I was up later than I wanted to be on Wednesday night.

I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to do yoga on the days I do my other workout yet or not. I’m thinking yes, at least for now. I’m building a new habit, and that takes consistency. It’s still a baby habit right now, though. It’s very fragile. If I give myself an excuse not to do it, even a valid excuse, I open the door to other excuses.

I could use your encouragement. Your comments of support, or even asking me how I’m doing. And tell me what habits you are nurturing. I’d love to support you in growing healthy habits. 🙂

Blessings,

Mary

 

 

 

I’m Back!

Did you miss me? I’ve been a very busy girl – yesterday was my first real day off in weeks. Now it’s time to get back in the regular routine of blogging and work and overworking myself. Well, I’m working on NOT doing that last one.

Blessings,

Mary

How to Recover from Hell Week

Last week was particularly busy for my family. It seems the theater bug has bitten my whole family.

Missoula Children’s Theater came to town this past week. If you haven’t heard of them, they run a wonderful program for children. Two actor-directors travel around in a red F150. It carries the whole set, scripts, costumes and props to put on a one-hour play, usually a version of a well-known fairy tale. Children from all of the local schools are invited to audition after school on Monday. Those who are chosen rehearse all week, and perform twice on Saturday. At the end of the evening, the actor-directors pack up their truck and move on to the next community.

All three of my boys auditioned, and all three got parts in The Pied Piper!

A few weeks ago, my husband received a call and was asked to audition for a reader’s theater production of Norm Foster’s The Foursome. Reader’s Theater is where the actors read from scripts. They use limited sets, props and costumes, relying primarily on expression to convey the meaning of the play. His performances were also this week.

Stop. RelaxSo basically, because of other events scheduled for Sunday and Monday of last week, it has been a pretty crazy two weeks. My husband and I declared this Sunday a day of rest.

I slept in for the first time in…quite a while. I had a very strong desire to stay in my pajamas and not do anything all day, except maybe surf the net. And then the sun started shining through the front window, and it called me to move my body. So I compromised. I put on my yoga clothes and did yoga for the first time since sometime last fall. Or maybe even last summer.

I forget how much I enjoy the yoga DVD I have. (Jada Fire’s Expressive Yoga for the Soul if you are interested.) And I was truly amazed at how much stronger and more flexible I am since I have been working out on the Wave Vibration Fitness Machine at my chiropractor’s office. Some day I’m going to get one to use at home!

It felt so good to have a day with nothing really planned. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the projects I am involved in. I sometimes forget that I need to schedule down time as well. Rest and relaxation are an important part of keeping balanced and maintaining positive mental health. When balance and mental health are not looked after, everything else becomes much more difficult.

The only thing I scheduled for the day was a phone call with a friend that I hadn’t talked to in ages. It was refreshing and energizing to catch up with her, and laugh with her. Again, it definitely helped with the balance and positive mental health.

I am very grateful that I, and my husband, took a day off, a day of nothing, a day of rest.

Blessings,

Mary

A Day of Rest

I’m writing this on Sunday evening, after an almost perfect day. It was pretty unproductive in the working sense, and yet I accomplished a lot.

I woke up this morning, and lay in bed for a little while planning my day. When I got up, I did yoga and showered in time for a phone appointment. Then I did a couple of errands in preparation for my afternoon, spending some one-on-one time with my middle son.

I prepared food for an earl evening potluck meal, and even had time for a nap before heading to the beach. I did battle a little guilt about all the other things on my to do list, and I still honored my body’s signals to rest.

Our potluck was a small gathering of friends at the beach near my home. We roasted hotdogs and marshmallows over a beach fire, and watched the boys play in the water and make new friends. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and the sun, which finally made its appearance. There was very little wind, and I was able to watch the birds flying overhead, fish jumping in the water, and just sit in good company.

huckleberriesAfter dinner, we went for a walk in the woods, and I enjoyed a tart treat of huckleberries from the same bushes that stopped me in my tracks to marvel at their beauty as they blossomed in the spring. I thanked the bushes for sharing their abundance as I harvested a handful of bright little berries.

I often forget how important it is to take time to rest. So many weekends fly by in a flurry of activities and household chores. I still had a full day, and yet, I am so much more renewed for having taken this day without worrying about housework or homework or other projects.

When was the last time you had a day of rest?

Blessings,

Mary

What Can You See Without Looking?

Broken GlassesThis week my glasses broke.  At first it was just part of the frame, but then one whole arm broke off. Without both arms, they no longer sit properly on my face, so I couldn’t see properly. It prompted the question, “Where else in my life am I not seeing properly?”

Admittedly, when the question came up, nothing came to mind! I even asked a friend of mine if she could think of anything.  Nada.

All of my energy and focus was on replacing my glasses. I went to the optometrist, I looked online, I did all kinds of research (something I happen to excel at).  In the end, replacing my glasses consumed 2-1/2 days. I did very little else those days.

This weekend I revisited the question, “Where else in my life am I not seeing properly?” Doing yoga out in the back yard, the question changed. It became, “What am I missing by focusing so much on what I see?”

I took my glasses off, and spent most of my yoga session with my eyes closed.  I tuned in to the feeling of the sun and the small breezes on my skin, and the grass beneath my feet, and even the ant crawling on my arm.

I  listened to the audio for my yoga tape, and the quiet conversation next door, and the lawnmowers in the neighborhood, and the birds flying past, and the soft movement of the leaves in the blackberry bush.

I smelled the rich sent of the growing grass, the fresh scent of the newly mown grass, the spicy scent of my deodorant, and the clean air around me.

I reveled in the movement of my body, and the stretching of tight muscles, and the relaxation of being fully present.

Through this exercise of giving attention to my other senses, I became more centered in my body. I was grounded, and not so much “up in my head”. No major or mystical revelations came through, this time, and it was still a glorious feeling to raise my awareness in so many other ways. I did realize that because so much information comes in through my vision, the signal often overrides the information coming in from my other senses.

I encourage you to take a few moments, close your eyes, and tune in to your body and other sensations. It’s amazing how much I was able to “see” without looking. 🙂

Blessings,

Mary

Is It Time to Write a Book?

A dozen or so years ago, I went to a channeling session organized by a friend of mine.  After sharing a lot of general information for the whole group, we were each invited to ask a question. One of the things she shared with me when it was my turn was that I have at least three books in me.

Writing my BookOn and off over the years, I’ve thought about that session. The big question that always comes to my mind is, “What would I write about?” In the last couple of weeks, several people have asked me when I am going to write a book.  None of the people who have asked me recently knew me twelve years ago. So, I think the Universe is trying to let me know its time to start working on my first book.

Yesterday mornign after yoga, I lay on my mat meditating, and I asked myself again, “What can I write about that is different than other books that have already been written?”

This time, I received an answer. It’s a project I’ve already been working on for the last eleven years. It’s called “Walks With the Goddess”. Each chapter will be about a different Goddess. I’ll write about Her background and mythology, share my personal experiences from working with Her and how she has influenced my life, and include the guided meditation I’ve written to integrate Her lessons.

You’re my market research. What do you think of this idea? Do you think it will be a best seller? 🙂 I look forward to hearing your comments below.

Blessings,

Mary

Quiet Time in a Busy Life

This past week has been even busier than usual for me. I’ve been helping three different friends with their websites in addition to my regular routine of audio editing, a full time job and three children. I’m not complaining, mind you.  I am glad I have skills to help my friends!  And though I may be tempted from time to time, I wouldn’t trade my children for anything.

Making space for quiet time was shuffled to the bottom of my ‘to do’ list, though, and I definitely felt the effects.  I was run down, exhausted, and my body was achy.  I knew it was because I wasn’t taking care of myself, and not because of any ‘bug’.  I was sleeping in instead of getting up and moving my body.  I sat in front of my computer, stiffening up. I worked on my computer straight up until I had to leave for work, then took half the day getting myself grounded again.

So I spent yesterday taking better care of me.  I slept in, and spent some time with my husband.  I read to my children.  I bounced on the trampoline.  I did the laundry and started cleaning up my work space. And I got some of my own projects completed that were pushed to the side last week.

And this morning, I got up early and did my yoga practice for the first time in weeks!  I focused on breathing love for the entire time.  Each time my mind wandered, I gently brought it back to I AM…LOVE.

Right now, the dishwasher is churning away, my youngest son is fighting battles with imaginary storm troopers, and there is a box full of papers I need to sort through on the floor next to my chair.  Instead of becoming anxious about this, though, I cam calm.  I can tune out the space battle, and turn down the pressure on myself to get to that box.  Why?  Because I started the day with yoga and meditation.  I began on the right foot: with calm and intention, and that carries me through the day.  I created the quiet inside myself, and so I become the eye of the storm.

Now, I think I’ll go bounce on the trampoline for a few minutes before I tackle that box!  A little fun makes life much more enjoyable, too!

Blessings,

Mary

How do I show up in the world?

I am vicariously taking part in an 8 week coaching program with The Peaceful Woman called Inspired Living.  I say vicariously  because I am not able to take part during the live call, but I can go back and listen to the recording.  Last week was the first session, and I just listened to the call today.

We did an assessment of our lives–looking at various areas and how fulfilled we are by those parts of our lives, and how different areas of our lives support us.  This was an interesting exercise for me.  Some of these areas I knew were not fulfilling me, and I’m working to change that.  Some areas that on first thought I would have said were great, after listening to the discussion I decided I really could be more fulfilled in that area of my life.   Areas that I would have said are not supporting me, really do support me more than I think.

After looking at the balance, or really, lack of balance, in my life, I have to ask myself some powerful questions: How am I showing up in the world?  How do I want to show up in the world?  How different are the answers? And what do I need to do to bring them into alignment?

I feel that I am showing up as Super Mom, an overachiever who has so many things to do, one wonders how any of it gets done.  And I do feel like I have too many projects on the go, but I am not sure how to pare it back.   Each project feels essential to one or another of my goals.  And yet, if I don’t slow down, I may crash.  I notice I go through this cycle from time to time, usually when I have fallen behind on my daily meditation, journal writing, and/or exercise, all of which has happened lately.

The answers to the other questions are going to take a little more time, meditation and reflection to answer.  As requested by my coach, I have chosen a theme for the rest of 2010: My life supports my purpose and my purpose supports my life.  I’m still working to bring all the areas of my life into alignment with my purpose.  I’ll keep you posted as I work out the answers to these questions!

If you know me, how do I show up for you?  Or, how do YOU show up in the world, and how does that compare to how you want to show up?

Blessings,

Mary

Project Meditation LifeFlow Sample

My recommendation for this week: Project Meditation’s free LifeFlow sample.

LifeFlow is a product designed by Michael Mackenzie to increase relaxation and help you move into a meditative state faster and easier.

LifeFlow® has been specifically designed using extremely precise frequencies that resonate and impact the body at a cellular level. You can truly feel your deep relaxation or meditation on a physical level, in surges of positive energy and a flow of deep heartfelt emotions.

I listened to it the other night before bed, and I had a good night’s sleep.  And I turned it on underneath my yoga DVD this morning, and it was wonderful, especially for the meditation at the end. I was able to stay more focused.

Listening to it sounds like pleasant nature sounds, but underneath the sounds are Isochronic, Monaural and Binaural tones that lead to brainwave entrainment.  What exactly does all that mean?  Stay tuned for next week’s post, as I’m doing the research to break it down.

For now, give the sample a try.  You will need to enter your name and email address, which will sign you up for another list.  The whole system is a bit pricey, but he gives away other freebies from time to time!

Blessings,

Mary

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download Creating Sacred Space for free!
And keep your eyes out for another meditation available for download soon!