How I Started and Kept My Exercising Habit (18 Years Ago)

How are the New Year’s Resolutions going?

If you said “Huh?,” you’re not alone.  I found these interesting statistics at statisticsbrain.com:

Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%
Percent who have infrequent success 49%
Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year 24%
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

According to this data, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution, with 49% with infrequent success and 24% who fail on their resolution each year.  However, notice the importance of making a resolution; it says you are 10x more likely to attain your goals if you do!

However, let us not be in category 3 where we make the same goal year after year!

I was inspired to write this post after watching Master Co’s February Full Moon Meditation video.  He always gives a lecture on a spiritual topic before leading a meditation.  I particularly liked his discussion of willpower.  He was talking about sticking to a meditation schedule:

“When it comes to spiritual practice, the secret is not love.  It’s will.”

This is what that means to me: we sometimes confuse being loving toward ourselves with letting ourselves off the hook in doing what we know is right and healthy for us.

For instance, I make a plan to exercise regularly and after a few days, it goes out the window.  I am advised to be kind to myself, so I relax about it and don’t push myself with the result that I don’t exercise much, if at all.  This is not the intention of that advice to be kind to ourselves!  Or if it is, it shouldn’t be!

We are to be loving and forgiving toward ourselves as opposed to beating ourselves up when we miss a workout or don’t meditate as we planned.  That doesn’t mean we change our goals or stop trying to achieve them.

Achieving goals takes willpower.  You can be willful in achieving your goals and kind to yourself at the same time!  But if you are kind without will, you simply won’t make it to the gym or the meditation room.

Master Co also says in the video students ask him all the time for advice or a trick on sticking to their meditation schedule.  He says there is no trick.  There is no technique.  You just do it.

There are so many situations where we massively over complicate things, and this is one of them.  We will read every article on the Internet about working out before we actually walk outside and go for a run.  We will read and study how to create a habit without doing that thing we want to be habitual more than a couple of times!

You DO have to do things in life you don’t like that much.  Yes, I am stating the obvious.  But have you applied that fact to your exercise or meditation schedule?  Sometimes it’s the obvious that we avoid.

(If you are reading this, thinking about exercising, stop reading now.  Put on a grubby old t-shirt and sweatpants, and go jogging outside.  Not in shape?  Jog until you can’t anymore, then walk.  When you have recovered, jog again, and repeat the process for 30 min.  Come back home, take a shower, and finish this post :))

I was looking back this morning and realized I have been exercising regularly for almost 20 years.  I joined a gym at 16 and, aside from a few breaks, I have pretty much been exercising a few times a week since then, though I will freely admit it’s less frequent than before I had a baby.  Do I love going to the gym?  Heck no!  I do it because I care about being healthy–and yes, looking good–and exercise is simply required.

Naturally, it will help if you find something you like at least a little.  When the weather is decent, I go for a run outside, and I do enjoy that a lot.  The gym isn’t the greatest, but it’s easy, they have everything there, and at this time in my life, the childcare is more than useful as well.

So how did I ingrain this habit into my life?

Do it every day for 3-4 weeks.  Every. Single. Day.

Extreme?  No.  I am not suggesting you run a marathon every day.  If your goal is exercise, just do SOME amount of exercise every single day for 3-4 weeks.

Here’s why:  When you do something every day, you don’t ask yourself each morning if you will do it that day.  If your plan is to exercise 3x/week, it is way too easy to see that there are 7 days in a week so you can always start the next day.  Procrastination is extremely easy.  Pretty soon the week is done and you have exercised once or twice.  The next week, you’ll be lucky if you get there at all.

When the plan is every day for 4 weeks, it simply silences excuses and stops procrastination in its tracks.  There are no mind games with yourself.  It’s so simple, it works.  By the time the 3-4 weeks is up, you are so used to going to the gym (or whatever the new habit is), you feel positively weird when you don’t.  I know, because this is how I did it!

You will also learn that even when you are tired, in a bad mood, had to put in extra hours at work, had a bad latte, or whatever else happened that would have otherwise thrown you off and made you put it off, you can still make it to the gym.  You can still do what you need to do, and these small things in life are really just excuses.  So when you do create a schedule for yourself later that may only be 4x a week or whatever, when you are stuck in extra traffic on the way home from work, it doesn’t turn into an easy excuse not to go.

Some of those workouts might be ridiculously short or simple, but that’s ok.  It absolutely counts.  If your workout is at the gym, all you have to do is go and make sure you do something for 10 or 15 min.  That’s your minimum.  You are ingraining the routine into your life as long as you are going, and that’s your only goal right now!

It works the same for meditation.  When the question changes from, “should I meditate today?” To “when will I meditate today?” you are miraculously fitting it in.  You have to change the question you ask yourself!

Master Co also said in a class, “You don’t practice spirituality when you feel like it.”  I wrote that down, typed it up later and printed it out in big bold letters.  Then I hung it on my bedroom wall.

If you miss a day, you still don’t beat yourself up.  If you beat yourself  up, it’s so damaging and disheartening, you won’t continue.  Why would you, with such abuse from a simple mistake?  That is key.  Notice you missed a workout, figure out how to prevent it the next time, and then just literally forget about it.  Next day, keep going with the plan.  There is no other way, and I don’t care how fancy/exotic/exciting people make their plans or their tricks come across.  In the end, you are either doing it or not.

By the way, when you start exercising, the biggest hurdle is not learning all the things you “need to know” about how to work out or lift weights.  That stuff is so ridiculously easy and simple compared to your first task of simply getting to the gym or outdoors to exercise daily in the first place.  Don’t procrastinate yet again by telling yourself you need to learn more first, you need to learn how to workout, you need to learn the best workout first.  You DON’T.  It doesn’t matter if you are doing hopscotch for 10 minutes some of those times, as long as you are doing something!

Putting a new routine in place is difficult, and remember that the hardest part is (unfortunately) the first step you have to take, which is creating the new routine.  It can be incredibly hard!  But once you have that down, the rest is so easy.  Then you can study about what workout is best for you and tweak your routine.

You are not hurting yourself to push yourself.  You are not being unkind to yourself to aim high and force yourself to achieve a goal you know is good for you!  We’re not talking about pushing yourself to do 2 hours on the treadmill here!  Just pushing yourself to move your body every day until it is a natural part of your life.  Getting yourself out of one routine and into a different one takes a push for everyone.  That is ok!  This is good–this is empowering!

I hope this post wasn’t too boring, and I apologize for lack of lightning bolts and wand-waving, but I guess I get a bit annoyed with all the fluff and math that I read about accomplishing simple things, and though I guess this concept will be a lot less exciting, as least you can rest assured it’s honest and functional. And let me add that self-honesty is not a given and not easy.  Master Co also says sometimes we need a “psychic slap,” I believe was how he put it….  At least, I can tell you it works for me!  🙂

 

 

 

Your Weight Loss Goals: Sanity Check

Originally Published June 27, 2013

All right.  This is going to be part constructive, part rant.  Hope that’s ok!  Here goes.

It’s important that, on our path to health and fitness, we make goals that are not only realistic but healthy.  No matter how many times we have all heard it, it is still very hard for us to understand and believe that striving for a “perfect” body is not only unachievable for almost all of us but extremely stressful and then extremely silly.

The standard that we strive to uphold physically comes from marketing campaigns and not health experts.

We know this.  We hear these kinds of facts and nod and say yes, yes, so true.  Then we look in the mirror and get depressed that we don’t look like Kate Moss.  Having been through this mental process myself about a few hundred thousand times, I have some important facts to consider when deciding how you want to look, how you “need” to look, and how to describe to yourself how you look right now.

For starters, the models we see in magazines that we strive to look like were almost always “scouted.”  This means that a model scout, someone who works for a modeling company and whose job it is to find new models, “discovered” them in a public place.  These scouts walk around town looking for 6-foot-tall very thin women.  Runway models are the thinnest and the industry standard, until a few short months ago, was that they be a size zero (it’s now a size 4).  Any 6-foot-tall size zero walking around town was, 99% for sure, born that way.  They genetically have that particular body size and shape and metabolism, end of story.  For us regular folk to try to force ourselves into that is downright unsafe.

As supermodel Daria Werbowy is quoted as saying, “I won the genetic lottery.”

Another quote from a Victoria’s Secret photographer said their models “are rarer than professional athletes.”

Did you know–magazines can’t put any model they want in the designer clothes they feature?  Designers have agreements that any time their clothes are “marketed” (even in the supposed non-advertisement portions of fashion magazines), they are in control of the models who wear them.  Even if Vogue wanted to, they could not put a size 10 model in designer clothes.

Next on the list of comparisons we make: celebrities.  Mostly actors.  For these people, they may naturally have a killer physique or be working at it.  For anyone that isn’t naturally very thin, to maintain the incredibly low body fat percentage they usually have (the women, that is… men have no trouble getting roles with all sizes of bellies–see Tom Hanks, Vince Vaughn, etc.), they have to work out like crazy.  You may have read the workout routines these people subject themselves to–it’s at least an hour a day and frequently nearly two hours a day, 5-6 days a week!  Who the heck has time for that?!  They do it because they HAVE to.  They will not get cast a role in a film, commercial, whatever, if they don’t have an ideal appearance.  They are also stalked and photographed night and day, so they are probably beyond paranoid at being caught at the beach with a little flab hanging over their swimsuit bottom.  Not a situation I would envy.

Ok, clothing: If you’re like me, you scrutinize what size you are fitting into like the numbers are those of the next winning Powerball ticket.  These numbers are meaningless!  Some smart person researched and discovered that women were more likely to buy an article of clothing if it was in a smaller-numbered size.  So there were certain periods of time where we all started fitting into smaller sizes… so we thought.  You’ve noticed you’re never the same size from one brand to the next either.  The numbers are arbitrary and, again, based on marketing.

You know, a hundred years ago, people all tailored their own clothes, by the way.  There was no stress and strain about fitting into a size.  There was no meltdown in some shop’s dressing room because the 4 didn’t fit anymore.  No one was even aware of their “size” because sizes didn’t exist!  Can you imagine such a utopia?  The fabric was made to fit US, not the other way around!  If something didn’t look good, it was the tailor’s fault, not ours!

Thanks to, again, industry, we started making pre-made clothing because it was cheaper and more efficient for the companies–not us!  And, trust me, they’re still having a terrible time trying to make standardized clothing that fits a massive variety of shapes and sizes.

In India, there is some of this utopia left.  More tailors for sure, but also something called a drawstring waistband.  Yes, this is worn ALL THE TIME.  Those simple cotton pants you see Indian women wearing?  They are slim in the leg, but the waist is big enough for a clown costume.  They’re all one size, and you just get the length adjusted!  A Sari is a flowing dress-like garment that, unwrapped, is a gigantic sheet of fabric.  There is nothing sewn and no fixed size at all.  You drape it and secure it with safety pins each time you put it on!  Can you believe that?!

You can gain all the weight you want and probably never notice it.  Western women, on the other hand, can’t gain 3 pounds–I mean that literally–without their jeans not fitting.  And subsequently feeling “fat.”  At any one time, half my wardrobe fits, and the other half does not.  I literally have to have a couple of different sizes in my closet all the time.  Of course weight inevitably fluctuates and when it does, my stuff either looks too baggy or won’t zip up.  It’s crazy-making.

I finally–FINALLY gave up on having the perfect body after I was doing two hours of weight-lifting a week (a 1-hour class at the gym twice a week), went running twice a week, did a couple of sessions on the Stairmaster each week, and ate almost perfectly.  By that I mean, hardly any carbohydrates, snack or dessert foods, not even sugar in my tea.  I was still obsessing about what new exercise I needed to do and what else was left to take out of my diet (nothing), and basically just stressing a bunch over nothing.  I felt fantastic, had tons of energy, a great mood, was also meditating regularly, and life was just fine–except I’d get all bummed out that I didn’t have a perfectly flat tummy.  At last I decided: If I was doing everything right and still didn’t have it, it wasn’t meant for me!  My body was fine the way it was, and it was time to move on.  And I finally did, little by little.  To have lost that last 5 pounds, I would have had to live the life of an ascetic.  There was no point.

SO, ladies and gents–we need to team up against marketing and industry and stand our ground!  Our uniqueness will never go away, nor would we ever want it to!  Why do we ever let salespeople dictate what is beautiful?

Let health come first, and beauty will always follow.

What is Fresh Air? The Power of the Outdoors, Part I

Originally Published March 28, 2013

In this short three-part series, I want to talk about the real impact being outdoors has on us–whether we’re doing anything athletic or not.

The difference in being indoors vs outdoors is monumental, yet rarely talked about.  The subject deserves enormous attention, given that we spend a massive percentage of our time inside.  Yet we take that powerful fact for granted.  We look at health problems, mood problems, and energy problems all within the context that we are indoors, and no one thinks anything of it.  Yet what would happen to these commonplace problems if we started spending lots of time outdoors instead?

How could something that seemingly insignificant really make a difference?

Much more than a change in scenery, it exposes us to powerful sources of prana (energy) that we can tap into at absolutely any given time.  Like any power source, we can hook ourselves up–free of charge!–and get flooded with energy that our body can use for whatever it needs including physical energy, mental energy, healing, and lifting our mood.

In short, when we are indoors, we are surrounded by non-living items or materials.  The building we are in, the furniture we sit on, and the air we breathe do not vitalize us (aside from the necessary oxygen in the air).

When we are outdoors, we are surrounded by living things that literally give off energy,  also called prana, chi, and ki, that our body readily and automatically absorbs.

Prana is the metaphysical “invisible” energy that pervades absolutely every single living and non-living thing in existence.  It is the foundation that makes up living and non-living physicality.  It is an absolutely vital component of our bodies.  In fact, energy is more than a component, but is really the underlying source that gives rise to our physical bodies.  Prana is so important to our existence, we could not survive even a nanosecond without it, while we can go minutes without oxygen.

Prana makes it possible for us to perform any activity or function.  When we use the word “energy” in day-to-day conversation, we talk about how much ability we have to stay awake, work, talk, drive, and do our daily activities.  Prana translates exactly into this everyday concept of energy.  You can see how very important it is that we have lots of it!

The first living thing we immediately get to come into contact with when we are outside is fresh air.  I think we can fairly call it living air because it is FULL of prana.  In Pranic Healing, we call this type of prana “air prana” (which has different properties from solar and earth prana).  We can literally tank up on prana just by breathing it!

Air prana is also the primary source of prana absorbed by our chakras, particularly the spleen chakra whose primary function it is to absorb prana from the environment, break it down, and distribute it throughout the body.

Inside air can’t compare.  Once we have filled our indoor areas with fresh air, the prana will soon be used up as we breathe–though, of course, it won’t ever be completely gone, as we are always surrounded by energy.  Inside, however, we aren’t tapped into the real, living source of it, and energy levels can become low.

We use the word “fresh” to describe air that comes from outside because we know intuitively there is a difference.  Outside air is clean, living, and just FRESH.  Indoor air, by contrast, has been circulating and re-circulating and we can just feel the difference.  It is not fresh.  When we say, “open a window, let’s get some air in here,” we know that the air outside has something valuable that we need.

In the winter months, we often feel sluggish.  How many of us complain of being tired and droopy?  There’s a reason coffee is so popular!  We blame it on the cold weather, our cravings for heavier foods, and (in the Pacific Northwest), the lack of sun.  These are certainly partial causes, but a very important and overlooked cause is the fact that we are mostly indoors and just don’t absorb the prana every day that we do during the summer when we are frequently outside.

In depressed people, the overall aura and chakras are low in energy.  This is particularly the case with the basic and spleen chakras which are very important in supplying the body with energy for physical as well as emotional needs.  Have you ever met a depressed person with tons of energy?  No.  The two go hand-in-hand.  This is why getting outdoors has been shown time and again to assist in healing depression.

How can we get the prana we need when we feel sluggish and it’s winter and yucky out there??

First, it is very important to realize HOW important it is to stay exposed to these natural sources of energy year-round.  In a recent scientific study I read outdoor and indoor exercisers were compared.  The outdoor exercisers got into better shape and reported a better mood.  There is clearly a difference between doing the same activity outside and inside.

Next, we make a point to get contact with these sources of energy as much as physically possible.

While we all have a seeming natural aversion to cold weather, rain, and gray days, a few excursions outside with a brisk walk, run, or bicycle ride will quickly change your perception of them.  It feel so GOOD.  You’ll burst back inside rosy-cheeked, invigorated, and downright cheerful!

I recommend one simply push over that hurdle, get bundled up, and go out–just DO it!  Once outside, breathe deeply from the abdomen and take in all the fresh oxygen and prana the planet has to offer!

I also recommend cracking open a window or two whenever possible.  Here in Seattle, we do not have freezing temperatures all winter long, and there are plenty of opportunities to leave a window open partway.  This is especially beneficial at night if it is our bedroom window where we can take in prana-charged air for many hours while our body sleeps and recharges.  At the very least, put on a coat and hat and open all the windows for an hour and then shut them again afterward.  This will at least exchange old stale air for fresh air.

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to convince people of in their effectiveness.  But the simple small habit of getting out-of-doors really can and will make a difference in your health and how you feel, and fast too.  Don’t believe me?  Try it! 🙂

The Easiest Three Steps Ever to Starting and Keeping an Exercise Routine

Originally Published February 18, 2013

I am very excited to post my very first video!

(Now, videos are not my forte, nor is public speaking in general, so do forgive the imperfections… :))

Here I talk about how to get started and stick to an exercise routine–the most important part of exercising!  While we often jump the gun and get entrenched in detailed information about how to exercise to achieve our fitness goals, what we should instead be doing is starting from the beginning.  Here I describe what the first step really is in getting started with exercising, and how and why you will be far more successful by implementing these three steps.

Special Announcement! (…and is a Painless Pregnancy Possible?)

Originally Published May 01, 2012

Wonderful readers,

I wanted to share with you some exciting news.  Many of you already know, but for those who do not:  I’m pregnant!

My husband and I are thrilled to welcome a baby boy into our family sometime around July 15th.

I would like to discuss a little bit about the first question I am asked when I tell people I am pregnant, which is “how are you feeling?”

I have been feeling absolutely great–physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The typical “roller coaster” of pregnancy I so often hear about has not been part of my experience, and I wanted to discuss that a little for two reasons:

1.  To share the perspective that pregnancy is not always a painful and grueling experience and

2.  To tell you what my lifestyle habits are like in case you or someone you know would like to try the same things to create a happy, healthy pregnancy.

As I will discuss further below, pregnancy, as well as other things in life, are not 100% predictable, no matter how much good advice we follow.  Everyone will have a different experience, and for some, this will be related to their lifestyle habits, and for others, it may not be related to that.  Again, I relate my experience only in the case that you may learn something that would be of interest or of use to you.

Here are all the symptoms I would likely have had by now, according to the popular book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting:

Morning Sickness

Fatigue

Frequent Urination

Nausea

Vomiting

Heartburn

Indigestion

Flatulence

Bloating

Food aversions and cravings

Mood Swings, Irritability, Irrationality, Weepiness

Constipation

Edema (swelling of hands and feet)

Varicose Veins

Headaches

Faintness or Dizziness

Skin breakouts

Trouble Sleeping

Nasal Congestion and Occasional Nosebleeds

“Pink toothbrush” from bleeding gums

Scatterbrain

Trouble Concentrating

Elevated Blood Pressure

Leg cramps

Backache

Out of these, I felt nauseous about five times and got about 5-7 headaches.  I have become a more picky eater, but not had real aversions to certain foods.  The only cravings I have had were for salad and frozen berries my first trimester.  I have had frequent urination lately due to the bigger size of the baby.  I have had trouble sleeping for most of the pregnancy.  (I asked Master Co who was just in town to do a little healing on me after class, and with about 3 minutes of work from him, my sleeping is about 80% better–yay!)

I had mood swings for about two weeks around the beginning of my second trimester.  But I had stopped exercising and meditating for that period.  With my first meditation after that time, and with my continuance of a meditation schedule, I have not had another one since.

I don’t say any of these things to brag.  There’s no pregnancy contest going on which I am striving to win.  Women live all kinds of different lifestyles and still have easy or difficult pregnancies, sometimes for no logical reason.  Pregnancy is also not an area of expertise for me in my health practice or education.  I cannot, with any certainty, pinpoint exactly why I have experienced what I have (or haven’t) or which lifestyle choices resulted in my being free of which symptoms, other than some more obvious ones.

I will give you my little two cents, though!  Some comes from my own gut feeling, and others are some things I do know for sure, such as the benefits of exercise and meditation which apply whether you are pregnant or not.  Again, I tell you my experience only so you can keep an open mind if you become pregnant in the future, that pregnancy isn’t always all misery and pain, and so that you can, if so inspired, try some of these things for yourself in case they work for you.  Of course, most of the things I have done to stay healthy during my pregnancy are things I recommend everyone do anyway, and which I was doing before I became pregnant!

Whether pregnant or not, I stand by my three tenets of health which I called in a previous blog, The Triumvirate of Health.  These are 1.  Healthy diet  2.  Exercise 3.  Meditation

The Power of Thoughts and Expectation

In the case of pregnancy, I would add another specific thing to this list which I feel made a difference, and that is positive thinking.  If we internalize every horror story we hear, whether about pregnancy, childbirth, or getting a tooth pulled, we are far more likely to experience the worst possible scenario, rather than the best possible scenario.

I will credit my dad with teaching me this one.  We should never assume we will have a difficult or painful experience with something just because someone else did.

I remember as a child knowing I had to go to the doctor for a strep test or, in one case, to get a tooth pulled.  I was very scared and crying and didn’t want to go.  My dad gave me a really important talk on the fact that just because something sounds scary or you have heard your friends talk about how horrific it was doesn’t mean a single thing about what YOU are going to experience when you go through the same procedure.  Not only is everyone different, but people also like to exaggerate or simply dramatize for the sake of storytelling what they went through.  (I’m not saying everyone does this.  But not every account is 100% accurate, and it is better if we keep that in mind.)

My dad also said if we keep a strong expectation that something will be difficult or painful, it is far likelier that it will be.  However, if we instead create the expectation that maybe it will be or maybe it won’t, but another’s experience has absolutely no bearing on mine, then we have a much higher chance of having an easy experience.  As it turned out, the tooth pull and the strep test were no big deal.

During my pregnancy, I happily listened to others’ experiences whether first-hand accounts or through my reading of books and the web.  With any story I didn’t want for myself, I simply told myself, “that was their experience.”  I thought and felt this in a 100% non-judgmental way.  I was only saying neutrally that just because something happened to one person, it does nothing to increase any likelihood that it will happen to me.  When I heard a story I did like and did want to repeat, I internalized it and told myself, “it will probably be like that for me.”

Our mental attitudes are very powerful.  They are not 100% all-powerful all the time, however, and I am not saying that a person who had more difficulty only had to tell themselves it wouldn’t happen, and it would have been that easy.  I only mention that these attitudes have an impact and increase your chances of a particular outcome.  If a person, instead, powerfully feared and dreaded a particular experience, getting more and more fearful with each negative story, they instead add a few more energies going against them in creating the experience they would want.

Morning Sickness

If there was one topic I had to stay focused on, it was morning sickness.  Morning sickness is experienced by something like 80% of women.  Books even say your baby will be healthier if you have morning sickness.  Every previously or currently pregnant woman will talk about it, as it’s a pretty difficult part of pregnancy.  I didn’t like the sound of that, so I worked to program myself that morning sickness is not necessary, and it’s not necessary in order to have a healthy baby.  I guess I don’t know yet if my baby is healthy, but I at least got to experience a pregnancy without morning sickness.

I have wondered quite intensely what the purpose of morning sickness is, as it happens in so many healthy women.  I have come up with a guess of my own, but let me be the first to say I certainly have no idea if it’s true, and I could be dead wrong.  I present it only as food for thought.

I was reading a book which was a true account of a man meeting a spiritual teacher of sorts who lived as a recluse in the woods (The Ringing Cedars of Russia).  He was given a detoxification protocol to follow for three days, and included in that was consuming certain herbs that caused him to vomit.

It suddenly crossed my mind that perhaps a pregnant woman’s body intentionally goes through a detox or cleansing period to flush out toxins, waste, or negative energies before caring for and nurturing a fetus.  This would make sense and serve a very useful purpose, as well as explain why babies can end up healthier when coming from mothers who went through it.  I thought maybe I didn’t have it because I did a couple of detoxes last year.  Again, I don’t know, but it’s a decent guess, right?

Another possible factor is vegetarianism.  I read about a doctor online who puts his pregnant patients on a vegetarian diet if they are vomiting, and it works for almost all of them.  As you may have read in my other posts, meat contains a lot of dirty energy.  By removing this food from our diets, we are taking in less gunk that our bodies have to work to get rid of, so it kind of fits with my theory 🙂  Again, just a theory!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Diet, Exercise, Meditation

If you are practicing these things consistently, you have given yourself a HUGE head start in preventing health problems and discomforts of all kinds, as well as healing from any you may presently have.

It is incredibly important to implement all three.  They seem to have a compounding effect so that to get the full benefits of each, they all have to be practiced regularly.  Many of us are good at one or two, and this is good, but you won’t even get half the benefit that way.  It is much better to implement them all moderately than one or two constantly.

During my pregnancy, I have eaten mostly the same as I did before.  I do green smoothies for breakfast 4-5 times a week and have my regular meatless fare for lunch and dinner.  I have been less interested in Indian food and spicy food, but it doesn’t cause me any upset to eat it.  I have just had a preference for blander food.  I have been eating more sweets, but it’s more out of the cultural programming of, “you can treat yourself when you’re pregnant!” than out of any real cravings.  I figure I’m still getting tons of healthy food in me the rest of the time–a little more in the “treats” category shouldn’t be a big deal.

I’m exercising about three days a week–less vigorously than before.  I’m just doing 20-30 minutes on the stair stepper.  I did keep running for a while, as this is my preferred workout, but it’s no longer practical.  I still lift weights and it has really helped me to keep toned and not gain excess weight.  I did gain about 5 pounds of fat in the first trimester, but other than that, it seems like most of the weight is connected to the baby and his direct needs than body fat.

My meditation routine feels more essential than ever to me.  I am absolutely convinced that it is the reason I have avoided mood swings.  Mood swings seem to be pretty much universal for pregnant women, but aside from a little bit of emotionality when I stopped meditating, I have not had any change in my mood or mental state.

Master Choa’s Twin Hearts Meditation also has additional unique properties that go even further than powerfully calming our minds and emotions.  The meditation is like getting a 20-minute energy healing session, as it flushes out dirty, congested energy from the aura and chakras.  It also powerfully energizes the entire energy system and physical body.  I feel this is the reason I have not experienced fatigue but maintain the same energy levels I did pre-pregnancy.

If there was one gift I could give to all pregnant women (and probably all people, period), it would be this meditation.  (You can do a mini-version of it for free at www.pranichealing.com or purchase the full CD at the same website.)  I feel and acutely understand what regular practice of this meditation does for me because when I stop, I have about a two-week countdown before I start to feel like I’m back on the usual roller coaster of life again.  The intense discrepancy between the two is really not pleasant, as it’s almost shocking to feel my sense of calm wear off.  I really don’t know how I ever lived without it.

Energetically, the meditation has a regulating effect.  Because of the immense downpour of spiritual energy generated, chakras that are depleted get energized, chakras that are congested get cleansed and purified, and other irregularities get smoothed out.  As some of you may remember from other blogs, this is extremely powerful for our health because physical and mental health problems manifest first in the energy body before they manifest in the physical body.  Energy moves and changes quickly, while our physical selves take extra time to conform and mold to our energetic blueprint.  When we do Twin Hearts, we are altering and healing our energy bodies, preventing physical ailments before they start.  I know that just by practicing this meditation, I have prevented small and large discomforts I would otherwise have experienced during my pregnancy.

The Gift  of Self-Healing, Pregnant or Not

I have an added advantage of also being  a Pranic Healer and so have been able to perform healing on myself when something came up.

For instance, I did have nausea a handful of times.  Each time, I did Pranic Healing, and it went away within 15-30 minutes.  Without doing any Pranic Healing, it is entirely possible that the problem could have worsened and turned into a more persistent, frequent, and severe one.  The same thing happened with headaches.  I had a few bad headaches, a couple of which I would call migraines, in my second trimester.  I was able to heal the headache in 15-45 minutes.  Due to the healing, I may have removed some congested energy and blockages permanently which may have otherwise caused headaches again and again later on.  I have not had a headache or any nausea in months now.

Knowing just some simple healing techniques has saved me the trouble of various ailments as well as all the downfalls of medications which might otherwise have been taken.  Many over-the-counter medicines are not safe during pregnancy anyway.  Even if you’re not pregnant, why take pills, made of chemicals which toxify our bodies, when we don’t have to?  Minor discomforts can be healed with Pranic Healing in the time it would take for a pill to kick in.  And Pranic Healing can help prevent it from happening again, unlike the pills we are so used to popping that only numb symptoms.  As an occasional guest has been surprised to find, we don’t have medicines of any kind in our house–we just don’t need them.

Soooo…. for those whom I have convinced!! 🙂  The next Level I class is being taught by Arnon July 27-28 in Bellevue.  See www.pranichealing.com/events and select your state for more info.

Another note: some of you have inquired about Pranic Healing sessions—I have put that portion of my practice on hold for now until after the baby is born.  I am not sure yet when I will resume sessions, but I will let you all know as soon as I do know!

My husband, Ajay, has decided to offer Pranic Healing, however.  He is doing only distance healing sessions for now.

He can be reached at mailkaul@gmail.com.  Ajay is a fantastic healer with about 15 years of experience now.  He first learned Pranic Healing in India from Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui himself, and I highly recommend him as a healer.

The Colds Season: Causes You Didn’t Know About and Solutions You’ve Never Heard

Originally Published January 18, 2012

This won’t be another article about hand-washing.  I think that one’s pretty obvious, not to mention given an abundance of print space elsewhere.  🙂

I hope to give you some extra tips you haven’t already heard that you can easily and swiftly apply yourselves at home.  It is most important to jump on a cold quickly because colds are really easy to heal when you just start to feel it coming on, but are likely to require much more effort once they’ve gotten going.

First off, I strongly suggest thinking through a little bit about how and why you get colds.  This will be different for different people.  Often times, there is a connection between a stressful event happening in your life, lack of sleep for prolonged periods, lack of exercise or meditation, eating unhealthy food or too much sugar/junk food, going without fresh air for a long time, anger or other negative emotions coming up, and coming down with something.  All these things lower our energy significantly.  When this lowered energy persists, our defenses are down and our immune systems are weakened.  There can be some delay between an unhappy event and a physical reaction in the body such as a cold of several days or a week, perhaps more, so we have to pay close attention and connect the dots.

It is important to realize difficult things happen in our lives that we brush off without realizing or admitting the impact they are having on us.  We have to acknowledge that, yes, that experience really upset me.  And there IS an energetic response to that that will affect your health.  Stress and any negative emotion block, congest, and lower our energy or prana in the body.  Without the right amount of energy flowing properly, our bodies cannot function normally.  So these small and large upsets affect our health.  When we realize this, we can start to understand how our lives, habits, emotions, and events affect us.  This gives us the power to be one step ahead of the game and prevent small as well as big health challenges.

I know you are thinking of being exposed to another person who is sick as a primary reason for getting sick.  I don’t feel this quite counts because we really are exposed to germs practically all the time.  It is easy to blame it on the sick kids we were around or the airport we were in, but with a strong immune system and a high level of energy, this additional exposure does not make a big difference.  I am now into my fourth winter at my other part-time job where at least three times a year, some bug goes around and at least half the staff gets it and has to call in sick.  I have yet to catch anything from work.  What causes us to catch them is our own immune systems and energy levels.

Aside from noticing and taking care of stress and negative emotions, we have to manage our day-to-day energy as well.  I know people who don’t stop until there is nothing left.  They have an admirable inner drive to work hard and help others, but we simply can’t help others or be at our best at work when we’re running on an empty tank.  It also opens us right up for colds, flu, and worse.  Don’t max yourself out.  It’s kind of like how we know to “eat till your stomach is no more than 75% full.”  You can keep eating, but it’s not good for you, and it’s gonna hurt.  So go until your energy is 50% depleted, not 95%.  Learn to “quit while you’re ahead” and not feel bad about it!  This is a habit and takes practice.

I personally haven’t been sick for quite some time (knock on wood)–aside from right now!    It can be fairly predictable for me.  My own learning has inspired what I call the Triumvirate of Health (see previous blog) which includes:

1.  Exercise

2.  Healthy Diet

3.  Meditation

When I do all these things consistently, I feel almost invincible.  My mood is up, my physical energy is up, my sleep is high quality, and even unexpected situations are dealt with smoothly.  When one or more of these fall to the wayside, there goes the quality sleep, there goes the good mood, and there goes the usually-endless energy.  So that’s kind of what happened with me.

Another intriguing theory behind colds, fevers, and flu that I feel is worth mentioning is that they are actually just the body detoxing.  You haven’t necessarily “caught” anything.  If you have ever been on a detox such as a juice fast, you know that the symptoms, whether from reading about it or experiencing it, are cold- and flu-like in nature.  I learned this idea from Matt Monarch, co-owner of www.therawfoodworld.com.  He puts out a fantastic, educational newsletter.

It may be that rather than having a viral or bacterial infection, our bodies have decided now is the time to unload some extra toxins (or, energetically, flush out a bunch of dirty energy).  The process of flushing something out means it leaves your tissues–or chakras–and circulates through the bloodstream or energy body before being expelled through the proper channels.  These include the bowels, lungs, skin, etc.  During this circulation process, the crud is moving through us and makes us feel yucky.  This causes us to feel low-energy, fuzzy-headed, etc.  We also eject toxins through mucus which in the form of a runny nose or cough.

While most of us run to the drug store for the nearest dose of relief, this greatly hampers the process your body is trying to undergo.  Remember, the number one source of toxicity is prescription and non-prescription drugs.  If you are stopping this flow of discharging toxins and dirty energy, your body will only hold onto it for later.  You are increasing your chances of getting sick again, and missing a chance to get healthier than you were before.

What can rapidly accelerate this process instead is something Matt Monarch is openly an enormous fan of, and that is colon hydrotherapy or an enema.  Our bowels are, of course, a main place for elimination of waste and toxins.  Virtually all of us have a clogged colon.  This is caused by over-eating, not chewing our food properly, consuming pasteurized dairy, consuming meat, not consuming enough fiber, and not consuming enough raw foods which have live digestive enzymes in them, helping to better digest our food.  By cleaning the colon, you immediately allow your body to rapidly get rid of significantly more waste, and this has been shown anecdotally to clear up fevers and minor illnesses in MINUTES.  Pretty amazing.

Other ways to facilitate rather than hamper your body’s natural detoxification process is to eat very lightly (most of us have decreased appetite when we are sick, and I believe this one reason why).  Fresh juices, salad, light soup, and smoothies are great.  Go easy on bread, dairy, and meat or cut them out until you feel better.  Say no to sweets for the time being.  Of course, drink lots of water.

So I feel those are the two main causes of colds

1.  Lowered defense system from lack of healthy habits, stress, and over-working

2.  Toxic buildup the body is trying to get rid of.

When you know what lowers your body’s defense systems and tends to allow infection in, you can act preemptively against illness before you get it!  Let’s say that a really busy week at work tends to allow a cold to come in.  When you know such a week is coming up, or even when one sneaks up on you, take extra good care of yourself.  Eat super-healthy, get as much sleep as you possibly can, and implement a relaxation routine in the evenings after you get home such as a warm bath and soothing music.  Meditation can be a life-safer in these situations as well.  As always, I recommend Master Choa’s Meditation on Twin Hearts because of it’s powerful cleansing and energizing effects.  Doing this regularly would be an extremely powerful tool to use against getting sick, no matter what time of year.  Yes, some of these things take time and effort, but getting sick eats up your time quite a bit more, and it’s not half as fun as some pampering!

When a stressful interaction happens between you and another person, take the time to process it and acknowledge it.  Do what it takes to feel better whether it’s talking to a friend, having a counseling session, doing some meditation, or writing about it.  Take care of your feelings sooner rather than later, or they can come back to bite you in the form of a nasty cold–or much worse.  More illness, disease, and pain than you can ever imagine is caused by negative emotional buildup over years and years, and simply letting it out is more powerful than any amount of hand-washing one can do–in my humble opinion!

Energetically, there are a few things you can do to greatly assist healing as well. First, take a salt bath.  This has to be regular table salt to have the energy effect you want.  Salt water draws out dirty energy from your body and breaks it down.  Soak in this water for 20-25 minutes, not longer.  You will need 2-4 pounds of salt, so stock up at Costco with one of their 24-pound bags.  Daily is best.

Next, a short visualization exercise has worked for me several times.  I actually read this in a book by Eckhart Tolle.  It’s very simple.  Sit or lay down and imagine a powerful waterfall of white, sparkling light pouring over the top of your head and into your entire body, down to your feet.  Make it as vivid as you can, and try to imagine this for 3-5 minutes.  Picture every cell bathed in white light.  This literally does bring additional prana into your body which you need in times of low energy or sickness.  If it seems like the energy is stuck or dark in some places, imagine the dark spots coming out and being flushed and filled with the fresh, clean prana.

Please, get enough sleep.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  It’s very hard to convince people to do this.  It’s very hard to convince people that they might need more sleep than they think they do.  Our bodies get trained by alarm clocks very quickly, and just because you wake up on Saturdays at 6am feeling alert does not mean you got all the sleep you needed.  It means your body has been trained.  It takes un-training to be able to sleep in again after so many years of alarm clocks.  Take a nap, for heaven’s sake.  When you get home from work, just lay down even if you don’t think you’re tired (heck, even if you’re not sick!).  Chances are, you’ll doze off and feel great when you wake up.  We are a culture of chronically sleep-deprived people, and we cannot expect our immune systems to function properly under such conditions.

Get outside and get some fresh air into your house.  We are taught to be afraid of cold air and cold weather, but we are warm-blooded animals, and our bodies keep our optimal temperature very well in colder conditions.  I feel that part of the reason we get sick in the winter more is not from lower temperatures but because we are indoors so much, in stagnant air that has not moved and has had the opportunity to house bacteria and germs.  In the summer with windows open, our indoor air is exchanged for fresh air on a constant basis.  So open your windows for an hour or two at a time whenever possible, and get outside and get fresh air and fresh air prana into your lungs.  It will do wonders.

Here’s to a healthy 2012!

Will This Year Be Different?

Originally Published December 27, 2011

The average New Year’s Resolution is remembered or adhered to for three weeks.  This is virtually never enough time to accomplish it.  I am speaking, of course, of the most common resolution which is to get healthy and/or lose weight.

Will this year be different for you?

Will you stick to the commitment you made to yourself to exercise, eat better, get more sleep, and meditate?  Or will you get gung-ho for a few weeks and then gradually lapse back into old routines, forgetting every thought you had about change?  I’ll talk here specifically about beginning an exercise routine and sticking to it–an all-to-common and forgotten-about goal.

I want to make this blog short and simple because I feel that something like starting an exercise routine and sticking to it is put under the microscope and made into a science that people study for years without ever starting.

Exercise is a subject where  mountains are made out of molehills.  Just move your body!  Sweat a lot!  No matter how little you think you know about exercising and fitness, you know enough.  I promise.  I personally promise you that you do not have to read more articles, subscribe to a fitness magazine, find what fabrics to wear for which activities, buy the latest diet book, or read the latest research on fitness, burning fat, building muscle, or anything else to put an effective exercise routine into your life.  If you simply replaced a fraction of the time you spent thinking about exercising or reading about exercising with actual exercise, you would probably have reached your goals by now.

Those that sell fitness products and information would love for us to think we needed them.  That makes them money!  We don’t need them.  We don’t need one single scientific study to put on some sneakers and go run around the neighborhood.

How much time have you spent shopping for fitness attire?  This includes studying it in your copy of Shape magazine.  Do your tops go with your shorts and pants?  Is it flattering on you?  These things take up our time and attention without offering anything toward our ultimate goals.  (I still wear the old t-shirts I got in high school which have holes in them).  I actually read an article saying that you should get some fancy workout gear to get you more encouraged and excited to exercise.  I think this is sheer nonsense!  If you need toys to get you out there, then as soon as the gleam wears off of them, you won’t go anymore.  All the bells and whistles, equipment, clothes, research articles, magazines, and “latest health information” are sophisticated ways to dilly-dally and procrastinate on this for the rest of your life.

Another barrier is this massive collective resistance to exercising.  It’s made to sound like the most excruciating activity known to man.  It’s a favorite of topics to complain about.  A couple of sore muscles is described as the end of the world by some people.  I strongly feel that we have all taken on the collective negativity that millions have generated around these subjects, and it has caused many of us to feel negative about exercise and dread it before we’ve even tried it for ourselves.

We hear it’s awful, painful, and smelly, and we’re already turned off. No one ever says how fantastic it feels!  (Exercising feels fantastic!!)  Giving up junk food and going for a run in the morning do not ruin our fun.  They do not deprive us of our happiness.  They are not excruciatingly painful.  But the way you hear people talk, you’d think they had to go in for major surgery every day!  Don’t give in to others’ negativity by believing it, and don’t let yourself mimic it.  Nothing could be more natural and pleasurable for our bodies than to exercise them.  It is yet another sign of modern culture that something we are made to do has gotten a completely bad rap.

I will sum up my most sophisticated fitness advice to you here: Just Do It.

Stop thinking about it, rationalizing it, analyzing it, creating spreadsheets on it, or any of our many delay techniques.  Put on some sneakers and go for a run or a simple run/walk around the neighborhood.  Do it every day.  Do it for longer periods than before.  That’s it.  That’s all you have to do.

If you are doing this to see results, that is fine, but be patient.  It takes time.  Just because the fad diet books are geared toward results in 30 days or less does not mean this is normal or natural or going to work for you.  These diets and programs are designed for quick sells and exploding popularity (i.e. making money) which they will only achieve if everything happens at the snap of a finger.  Rarely are these plans healthy or sustainable because it is not usually natural for bodies to lose a lot quickly and be able to keep it off.

Start exercising with the mindset that this is for LIFE.  This is not to do it till you look better and then to stop.  This is not simply the means to one end.  Embrace it, love it, and do it every day for the rest of your life.  This is health maintenance that you simply cannot live without.  Keep one eye on your goals, but keep another eye on the long-term health of your body.  You need to exercise whether you want to lose weight or not.  You body is made to move, exercising is for everyone, and you don’t need anything else to start right now.