It changed my life. I’m more flexible at 46 than I was at 16. But yoga has done more for me than that. It has helped me quiet my mind and tune in to the most elemental things: breathing, and just “being.” I have also seen improvements in spinal, joint, ligament flexibility and dexterity. Yoga opens energy meridians, improves brain function, decreases risk of injury, and elevates mood. It makes you feel youthful, more athletic, more sexual, and more joyous!
I don’t just do an hour-long yoga practice, with an instructor, three times a week. I do it in airports and on airplanes, too. Just for a few minutes. I’m often upside down in an inversion, when I’m talking on the phone. Lately, my work philosophy is: sit less, do yoga more.
There are more ways than just yoga to connect your body, mind, and spirit. Tai Chi, Pilates, meditation, and many other practices. Yoga is my personal favorite, and there are so many kinds, to explore. My favorite, when I take the time and am willing to stand in a puddle of my own sweat for 90 minutes, is Bikram Yoga (“hot yoga”). You’ll never feel more amazing than 20 minutes after Bikram Yoga.
2. CONTROL MY THOUGHTS AND SPEECH.
Emotionally healthy people are physically healthy people. And emotionally healthy people don’t nurse grudges, don’t spend their social time with people cataloging the ways others have wronged them or the hurts of the past. I’m not saying I—or any emotionally healthy person—doesn’t ever feel, or act, negatively. (I’ve literally never seen my own father in a bad mood, or talking about negative things. But I also feel he doesn’t PROCESS negative things, which is where we get important clarity.)
In my case, I just minimize negatives I’m a fan of MOVING ON. I’ve felt gloomy for a few hours at a time. Never longer. If a dark cloud comes on the horizon, I make note of it, I don’t rush it out of the sky, and I’m willing to sit with it.
But I look for, expect, even require, the blue sky on the other side of it.
My health requires that.
I refuse to allow a week or year of my life to be destroyed—by a dark mood, by the poor choices of others, or by negative events of the past. If I have a bad day, I don’t climb in bed and brood. I work—solve problems. Or I go skiing, or for a bike ride, because in the great outdoors, I’ve learned I find more clarity of thought, and more joy.
If I am feeling troubled, I use a thought process to work through it. I remind myself, “It’s just a feeling!” And, “Luckily, all feelings are temporary.” I dig, to find out out why I’m having the negative or intense feeling or thought. I give it some space, sit with it if it’s demanding attention, without judgment. If I’m having trouble figuring it out, I talk with someone who knows me well, and they help me to decode it.
But if the feeling is hijacking my happiness, I give it wide berth, don’t let it take over. I want my attention back on stuff that makes me happy, not sad.
I actively cultivate happiness and hope with what I listen to and spend my time doing.
I’m careful with what I do with my mind. I don’t let it go to low places. I haven’t watched TV in five years. I don’t look at pornography or watch dark or scary movies. I do read books. Fiction and non-fiction. Fiction by Annie Lamott, Jodi Picoult, Michael Chabon, Ayn Rand, and many more favorites. I take on challenges, spend time with and talk to people I love, discipline my thoughts and feelings away from pointlessly “spinning in circles.”
I write, solve problems, collaborate with others, and just generally work—a lot. Because I love my work and consider it a blessing to have meaningful work.
3. CLEAN WATER—HAVE IT EVERYWHERE.
I had a water feature in the entry of my last home. I love oceans, and rain, and putting my feet in rivers, and taking a bath after a hard workout, as well as gliding through frozen snow on skis – just thinking about water recycling in the atmosphere. I am made up of more than 70 percent water, and so I drink it all day long to bathe my cells and flush out kidneys, liver, and colon. Especially I drink two glasses of water when I wake up in the morning dehydrated. I do not drink it with meals, where it dilutes gastric juices, but rather, between meals.
I try to drink clean, alkaline water, and have it with me everywhere I go. People who drink lots of water are much less likely to overeat.
4. DETOXIFY REGULARLY.
When I come back from a vacation trip, or if I had a not-so-great Saturday night restaurant meal with friends, I spend a day, or several, letting my body rest and clean itself. That is, I drink mostly green smoothies and fresh vegetable juices.
I skip a meal pretty often, never breakfast, but often dinner. Sometimes I’ll eat all raw plant food for several days. Sometimes a whole day of nothing but watermelon. Or a whole day of nothing but green smoothies.
I get in my sauna often and do the GreenSmoothieGirl Detox twice a year.
I try to pay attention to my body’s need to repair, from any insult or injury or overwork. Horse owners know that it is unwise to ride their animals hard and then put them away without sufficient cooling down. If I have an extreme workout, which I occasionally do, I slow down afterward to help my body recover properly.
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE.
Have you heard that you tend to have the average income of the 5 people you hang around with most? I believe, too, that we eat similarly to those we are closest to. We think similar thoughts and have similar feelings. We are either lifted up, or pulled down, by those we allow to be closest to us. Who are the five people closest to you—and do they add energy, or drain it?
I’m protective of my physical and emotional health, so I seek out people who make me want to be my best self, and try to give that to them. I love to be around people who are trying to be THEIR best selves; growing, learning, reading. I enjoy exploring principles, goals, science, faith, questions, and new knowledge with my friends, rather than gossip and idle small talk.
And, although I have friends who struggle, whom I try to help—I minimize contact with people who consistently bleed energy and don’t choose to progress.
My next posts are the remaining 10 DAILY PRACTICES that I believe lead to HEALTH AND ENERGY!