Tuesday, 25 April 2017

character and beliefs

self expression

Sometimes, life just does not feel so great. Not chic, nor glamorous, nor healthy. Sometimes it feels just plain boring! Obstacles abound. We feel unable to express ourselves in our lives. I am not talking here just about talking, for we express ourselves in so many ways. 

We express ourselves through our personality, our character, and our beliefs.


Personality covers so many facets: 

  • a person can be artistic
  • or have a business mind
  • or be a teacher, for example
  • and be either introverted or extroverted
  • organised or messy, 
  • loud or soft
  • spontaneous or self contained. 

We have so many aspects to our personality! Our personality, we could say, defines who we are as an outer expression of ourselves.

                            Image result for personality quotes


With our character, it is more to do with things that we do. We all know people whose character is mean, others whose character is generous. 

But it also includes society's judgement of character, and (often "hidden") rules. And even this can be further defined by the attributes of character, according to one's family, one's school, religion. 

However, there are some things that a person of good character does and doesn't do.

Sometimes if I am feeling a bit blue:

  • I like to look and what I have been doing that I would normally not do
  • things that could be against  my character, so to speak
  • where I have been compromising myself. 
And this can be so subtle, and even done bit by bit, without us realising, until things just aren't working out, and our self expression is just not what is when we are "in character".
                                     Image result for belief quotes images


Then there are our beliefs, which obviously refers to what we believe in. I read once that we really only do things if we believe in them. I taught yoga for decades (I still do!), because I believed in it. I meditate frequently: because I believe in it. I am a healer. Again, because I believe in it.

I get secretly upset watching and hearing people browbeating others about truth, honesty, non-violence, if I know that those people are not doing these behind everyone's backs. I get upset because I so believe in being a decent person, and not lying. These are two of my beliefs.

Our beliefs are another facet behind our character and our personality. I have found, for me, that when I go against the beliefs that are:

  • deep in my heart
  • in my gut
  • and within my own innate wisdom
that this is another time when life just isn't as "right" as it could be.

What are some of your beliefs? Ideally our beliefs are easy to include in our behaviour. For example:

  • if you believe in not eating meat in any form, it is easier for you to be a vegetarian
  • if you believe in eating healthy foods, or in being healthy physically with exercise, then it is easier to do those things
  • if you believe in having a clean and tidy home, then that is something that you will do.

Sometimes I like to reassess my beliefs

If you believe in being a decent person, then the character part of you will do and say things to be this person. I think that this is one of the reasons why it is important to assess our beliefs from time to time, because of the rebound effect with our inner self. When we go against our beliefs, we do tend to become angry, unhappy, ashamed...... we can have a myriad of not so positive feelings predominate.

                               Image result for personality quotes images
                                       (Bruce Lee)

being unique

These three aspects of ourselves: personality, character, and belief, are interwoven. And just like putting ourselves together on the outside, with our appearance, the inside matters too. I think that it matters more, for, to look great but be unhappy .... it's not good for us.


Thursday, 6 April 2017

on being more youthful

Being active

Still following on from the previous posts. So last week we talked about:

  • mobility
  • being mobile
  • up and about
  • able to twist and turn, dance. 

Activity - honestly, today's lives are so sedentary! It is really helpful to incorporate more activity in our lives - young, old, whatever! 

  • get up and change the tv manually
  • pull the bed covers off each morning and remake the beds, rather than just smoothing over the duvet to make it look tidy. 
  • find ways to incorporate more activity. Walk to the dairy. Walk to the bus stop so that you have to move around more at the local shops, mall, or similar, rather than use the car.
  • Insist on your family fetching things for themselves, to train them to move. 
It is these bits of daily movement that are as important as a daily walk.

Short bursts of movement

I read a book by a New Zealand author Sam Pease:  "Eat Less Crap, Lose That Fat". Sam easily lost 28kgs in five months, by not only changing her diet, but also relying on 10 minute increments of activity through out her day, like:

  • cleaning
  • standing
  • dancing around
to achieve her weight loss.

                                        Image result for sam pease

What little bursts of movement do

So how does this work? It seems that doing movement here and there throughout the day, uses up a lot of calories, sometimes up to 500, and this definitely helps with:

  • keeping our metabolism ticking over
  • halting excess padding depositing itself on our body. 

If you have been unwell:

  • get up & move
  • walk around the house
  • then progress to walking to the letterbox
  • as you start to feel better, start moving briskly here and there. The moving briskly bit, really is the key.

Functional fitness

Then we mentioned functional fitness: being well enough to do tasks, but actually it's more than that. It's also having the strength to lift and carry, too.  

After our early thirties, our muscle tone deteriorates. All by itself. And correspondingly, we start to store more fat. And, if we don't do anything to maintain the twenties status quo of more muscle, less fat, then sadly, the muscle to fat ratio just gets worse and worse. And we get weaker, by having less muscle.

Muscles matter

And, muscle uses up more calories than fat! So, doing some muscle things are highly beneficial. 

A friend has a stretchy band attached to a window catch in her kitchen. This is for her to use regularly throughout the day for a shoulder injury. She showed me the moves that she was to do each day, and I could see how it was strengthening around that area. And that is such a great idea. 

Stop and do:

  • some pushups on the kitchen bench whilst you wait for the kettle to boil
  • do some squats or lunges when you are on the phone. 

Think of the possibilities here, and how you can sneak in some body toning throughout the day.

Muscle tone gives us:

  • strength, so that we can lift and carry
  • and endurance. Endurance means able to endure - or, to keep going. 

To halt, or even just to slow down the increasing fatty deposits, we need to keep moving!

We need to, somehow, keep the muscle tone, and stop it from continually shrinking. Even simple walking helps with this. And so do basic movements like: 

  • push-ups
  • squats
  • planks
  • other suggestions are here  here and here.

Maintaining is important, too

When we are in reasonable condition, we just need to do enough to maintain what we already have. 

And when we put on a bit of weight, or "forget" to do some form of activity,  we may only need to do a bit more exercise, and eat less food, especially less fat and sugar. Like self-maintaining.

But when we need to restore our body, reduce the "padding" and build up some muscle, a bit more of an effort is needed.  It is important to build up the muscles. Muscles also

  • help our bones keep strong
  • they keep us standing erect
  • and in these ways, muscles are important to stop us stooping as we get older.

I know that there is lots of fantastic advice regarding all this. Telling an overweight person to do burpees, or someone who is weak with poor muscle tone to do, say, power yoga , or any strong gym work- it doesn't make sense to me. 

Rely on muscle memory

I always imagine badly out-of-condition bodies quivering with fear as they endeavour to do strong forms of exercise. I recall teaching in a yoga in a gym, and outside I could see a lovely girl, who was overweight, being given strong, hard exercise. It did work, she started to slim down, but I suspect that ten or twenty years on, it would have just been too hard for her.

What we can do, for the rest of us who may not be able to do extreme exercise, is to use muscle memory. Our muscles have memory! Yes. They remember movement that you have consistently done in the past. And they respond quite quickly when we return to doing that same type of exercise. So, if you learnt ballet as a child, your muscles remember that, and if you started doing some ballet moves regularly, like plies in the various ballet positions, you would see rapid results.

My muscles have memory for yoga. Not the yoga were you hold poses forever, nor the type where you jump backwards and forwards with exquisite slow motion control and strength. My muscles respond to salute to the sun, done quite quickly, and floor poses. I suppose that's why I'm always rabbiting on about Sun Salutes, in my yoga (and clairvoyance) blog.

                                             Image result for women's health sun salute

(with this version, from plank, you can go to lowering yourself flat onto the floor, to make it easier. Or, plank > child > cobra)

My other muscle memory is for brisk walking. I wish it was for swimming, surfing, skiing, or something else glamorous, but no, it's for walking. 

So, for maintaining, or for getting back into shape - what would be your muscle memory exercise?

Saturday, 1 April 2017

still not looking old

                                     Image result for vintage french magazine covers

We now don't expect to be old when we are older

Nowadays, many women simply don't expect to get old, as they did in the past.

I have friends ranging from their early twenties through to being in their eighties. The truth is, I find everyone interesting, from the exuberance and hope for the future, that is in a younger person, to the wisdom and the fascinating stories of the much older. Plus everyone in between!

                         Related image

exercise is one of the keys

As a yoga teacher, I have met many youthful people. My first yoga teacher was seventy-eight. No-one could match his energy and ability. I was in my early twenties, and moved like an old crock, compared to him! (I made sure that changed)  

I began to notice, about ten years ago, that many people aged forty and over, were going to the gym regularly, as well as coming to a yoga class. One woman went before work. Every day. She looked amazing. She said that she didn't want to get old too quickly, and she wanted to be healthy.

And then I started teaching in more gyms, where I met women in their sixties, seventies and eighties (I kid you not) who went to the gym regularly, and, of course, two to three yoga classes a week were included in that. 

Some just came to yoga and did regular walking.  One, in her seventies, is retired and wondered what to do with her spare time. The nearby gym was the answer. One day I saw her at the local mall, where she had been window shopping. She laughed and said that with all the walking she had done there that day, that it had been her daily workout. And then she said: "We have to do something (regarding fitness) everyday."  No-one would have believed this woman's age. She is so youthful.

is the gym the answer

So, is the gym the answer to not looking old, on another level? I don't think that it is the gym, as such. I know a yoga teacher in her eighties who walks like a very youthful person, and talks like one. Yep. She looks amazing too. She only does fifteen minutes of yoga daily, so it's not doing lots of formal exercise that is the answer. This woman also lives on a hill and works outside a lot tending her bees. Plus would you believe that she still works part-time?

it's about movement

It's keeping active and mobile and functional fitness that are the keys. Activity denotes movement. It can be:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • dancing
  • yoga
  • gym
  • swimming
  • gardening
  • martial arts. 
The list is endless! 

Mobility is being able to move your body in various ways, like twisting, going from side to side, simple movements really for mobility, but important nevertheless. Mobility implies that one is mobile and can move around easily, get out and about with ease. 

Functional fitness is being able to do everyday tasks and movements such as bending over to get something, reaching up to get something off a shelf, being able to lift things - so a bit of strength is involved here too.

three important elements

Aside from gyms, yoga classes, any other fitness classes .... activity, mobility and functional fitness are important. They stop a person seizing up physically. Personally, I would look at these three elements before any stronger ones, as basics for being youthful.

moving in different worlds

                              I moved from one world, into another, when I was young When I was twelve, I went to live with Dad, and my ...