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Wellness Challenge

Balance

By Energy, Health, Mindfulness, Seasons, Transition, Wellness, Wellness Challenge, Yoga No Comments

I’m currently finishing off a bag of Unreal Chocolate Crispy Gems and talking myself into running back to Natural Grocers for something nutritionally important… and maybe if I think of it, I can grab another bag of these delicious dark chocolate quinoa vegetable coloring hard candies. Veggies, chocolate, and quinoa: that’s three superfoods in one!

But it’s all about balance right now. A number of people have approached me over the last few weeks asking for another challenge to get back on track, or commenting on just how out of balance they feel right now. I don’t usually eat bags of delicious candies especially while writing a blog on wellness—so what’s up?

We’re in transition right now. Families are shifting back into school routines and the day/night cycle is coming into balance.  But it’s confusing when we have flirty 80 degree days full of summer and sunshine, sunglasses and flip-flops. Many folks in Steamboat played hard after the prolonged winter weather in June, doing everything possible to squeeze four months of expected recreation into two. The end result for some of us was feeling way out of balance or even getting injured.

In my world, summertime is carefree. I love the sounds of birds, and I even love the sound of a sprinkler coming on at 4am. I feel light and I’m more apt to be spontaneous, or lazy, or kick routine and scheduling to the curb. From May through September, one of my favorite evening rituals is the date I make with my front porch. I sit with my dog, taking in beautiful valley views, listening to summer sounds, and feeling the breeze on my skin.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll slowly feel this time slipping away as schedules get busier, darkness arrives earlier, and temperatures becomes cooler. Soon I’ll store my coveted chair away for the winter. As school settles in to the new normal, things just feel different.

I’ve polled adults without kids and fully grown kids. Everyone I’ve talked to notices a change as soon as school is back in session. The contagious carefree spirit of summer leaves, replaced with a heavier feeling related to routine and regimen.

Our yoga practice begins to change at this time of year as well. We incorporate more balancing postures and our breathwork focuses on balance in the body. We add more grounding postures to reconnect with our center. Embrace this shift. Use this time of year to be more introspective.

Add in some forward folds and child’s pose connecting the center of your brows to the ground (or a prop) and breathe. You don’t need an established home yoga practice or a fancy space for child’s pose. Take a restorative yoga or wall yoga class and just slow down. With cooler temperatures, baked or steamed apples with ginger, cinnamon, and clove is a great food to eat.

Carve out some time every day just to observe. Observe the beauty of the green we have now and the hint of gorgeous colors to come. Feel the breeze on your skin. Drag a stick along a fence. Be aware of your breathing. Come back to your center.

The focus of our next challenge from October 21st through November 22nd is balance, ground, and connect. It’s never too early to start making little steps towards balancing, grounding, and connecting.

In light and Love,

Sandy

Wellness Challenge, Change & What About my Wine

By Gut Health, Health, Inflammation, Nutrition, Transition, Wellness, Wellness Challenge, Yoga No Comments

I’m so excited about our spring Wellness Challenge focusing on gut health. I like to offer challenges in the spring and fall because these are powerful times for change. In the winter, I’m super busy with parties, out of town guests, holiday feasts, après-ski events, and what seems like a million birthday celebrations. In the summer, I want to play. I’m enjoying the green grass under my feet and the sun on my face. I’m losing myself in the long days and the ripe watermelon. I’m watching my goats be goats. I’m not thinking about nutrition, meditation, journaling, and deep introspection.

The premise of this challenge is to cultivate a healthy microbiome by increasing the good bacteria in our gut. Over the course of a brutal flu season marked by respiratory and secondary infections, many of us have taken antibiotics, Advil, Prilosec, and other medications that deplete our healthy bacteria. Being busy and under the weather can put us into food ruts where we’re choosing foods that don’t serve us best. Putting in long hours at work or taking work home with us can send us to bed reading emails or perseverating about projects, decisions, or discussions with coworkers.

We know that many disease processes begin with low-level inflammation in the body and a leaky gut, or deranged microbiome. Anxiety and depression along with autoimmune, heart, and inflammatory bowel disease all have this origin in common.

From March 5th through April 20th, we’ll focus on the following: practicing yoga four days a week; putting away electronics two hours before bed; getting eight hours of sleep each night; getting outside three days a week; meditating; avoiding sugar, processed foods, dairy, wheat, and soy; and cooking at home six days a week. Anyone who has done a challenge with me knows that it’s about exploration and learning, not hard-and-fast rules. Challenges are just like yoga: they vary and change depending on where you are in your life. Sometimes yoga is about more about the breath or learning advanced postures, while other times it’s about creating space for your monkey mind. Challenges can be reflections of our lives and they can inspire revelations, too.

The point of this challenge is not to be perfect. Don’t focus on doing it all. Some people will soak up the dietary information, some will be cultivating meditation for the first time, and some will be new to doing yoga four days a week. Others may not skip a beat and remember just one or two pearls of self-care tips. Even if you’ve done challenges before, something will resonate this time and stick. It’s just like yoga—every day is different and you never know when your crow might fly. Was it the cue? Was it your perspective? Was it the flow? Every breath, class, day, challenge is different.

Creating a healthy life is a journey. It’s not a sprint. It’s not about suffering through seven weeks, proving you can avoid Swiss cheese and a Fat Tire, and returning to “regular life” when it’s over. The challenge is about looking at areas in your life that work really well and shining a light on the dark corners you avoid. I learn so much every time I guide people through challenges, and I truly love these experiences.

If you seek self-improvement and you’re committed to self-care, sign up. If you’re traveling, have a tight work schedule, or not sure you’re ready for all the components, sign up. It’s free and fun to be part of a group working towards better health.

I can’t wait to get started!

In light and love,

Sandy