Your Grateful Practice

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for this blog. I’m not sure why, but it is what it is as they say. I have written about being grateful and actually writing it down in the past, although my own adherence to this advice was somewhat intermittent at best, until about 6 months ago. I broke down and bought a journal partly because I had always read that hand writing things down has more of an impact than typing them. For me that seemed to ring true. So everyday or almost everyday I get up early and at about 5:00 a.m. I start writing in my journal what I am grateful for and then I add a little thing called Decree to the Universe.

The Decree to the Universe is to a large degree a realization that your grateful practice is providing you. It may take the form of an affirmation or at least a way of being, even if it only lasts for the day ahead of you.

Sometimes I write very conventional statements of being grateful for things like my family or my home, and sometimes very simple things like this cup of coffee is pretty damn good. At other times I write what I think I am becoming. All of this journaling takes about 10 minutes of your time. Write down what you are grateful for and then some Decree to the Universe; read it back to yourself slowly so that you really feel it.

One of the things I noticed is that all the benefits I list below, did not happen for me overnight. It seems like it took months to attain the full effect that a grateful practice can provide. Maybe I’m a bit slow, but in any case it appears that perseverance matters.

So why go to all this bother? Well there are a few good reasons:

  1. It’s hard to start your day as an asshole if you just listed a number of things you are grateful for.
  2. It begins to distance you from the woe is me and isn’t this world unfair way of thinking.
  3. You start appreciating even the little things more intensely and you really start appreciating the people around you.
  4. It makes you more focused on who you really are or who you should be than the pain ass that you can be even to people very close to you.
  5. You eventually become more mindful, which ultimately results in you becoming a happier person.

Just a note here, there is really no need to buy some special grateful journal any decent journal with lines on it will do the trick.

Here is an example from my journal this morning. I may post more in the future.

Namaste

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Exercise is my hobby

We find too many people that view various forms of exercise as something they should do to lose weight or look better, which is fine, but there are many of us who view it as a hobby. When exercise becomes a hobby you no longer dread your workouts in fact you often think of them, looking forward to them. Developing a perspective that you are not exercising to achieve some goal, but instead it is a form of pleasure, provides you with a long term outlook. If I exercise to lose 10 pounds, what happens when I shed the 10 pounds? Maybe I will stop exercising because I have achieved my goal, but if the weight loss was just one of the results of enjoying my hobby, I am more likely to keep pursuing my hobby.

curls guy

I am convinced that exercise has a somewhat negative connotation for many people. They feel they have a limited amount of time that would better be devoted to their job, watching television, eating, drinking, or playing around on their computer, phone, or tablet. I’m not interested in listing all the benefits of exercising versus sitting around doing whatever; this should be rather obvious for most of us. The question is how do we change our perspective from something I feel I should do or dread doing to something I look forward to everyday? Here are a few ways we begin to make that mind shift:

  • consistency becomes habit and habits can be pleasurable. Being resolute in the beginning is one of the keys.
  • results tend to provide encouragement, you begin to think this is providing positive benefits for me, and this makes me want to keep doing it.
  • endorphin’s are released when exercising, providing pleasurable feelings and reducing pain in the body, yet another reason that helps you shift from I have to do this to I want to do this. In fact the mind shift becomes cemented when you find that you don’t feel good unless you have exercised that day.

As you begin to see results, and you realize all the benefits you are getting from exercising, it becomes a habit and as many of us can attest almost an addiction. Don’t be surprised if you go away on vacation and decide you just can’t sit there on the beach, pretty soon your taking a run or walk, and maybe spending some time in the resorts gym. This mind shift begins with consistently performing the activity, and it will become a high priority habit in your life. That habit will grow into a pleasurable hobby that you look forward to and yes reap all the benefits that come with it.

Namaste

Benefits of Yoga

benefits-of-yoga

I was just reading an article on the health benefits of Yoga, and wanted to add my two cents to the topic.  We all do yoga for different reasons and often a set of common reasons.  The health benefits of yoga mentioned in the article below include:

  • The personal time you spend on yoga reduces stress and boosts your immunity
  • Yoga poses done correctly combine exercise and breathing allowing you to control your mind and breathing
  • Yoga poses and sequences like sun salutations have a slimming effect on the body helping to keep you lean
  • Yoga poses strengthen and lengthen your muscles improving your sitting and standing posture
  • Yoga combined with meditation makes you happier, more joyful, and loving

Yoga Sunset

Let me throw in a few of my own benefits of doing yoga:

  • Many of us work in an office, spending much of our day sitting in a chair which tends if anything to constrict or tighten muscles in your back and hamstrings for instance.  Yoga can combat this situation by elongating those muscles reversing much of the damage done by sitting all day.  Many yoga poses also help you elongate the spinal column, and other joints like your knees and shoulders.
  • Yoga has many things in common with meditation in that to perform an asana correctly you must stop thinking about other things and focus on the pose and your breathing.  For this reason you begin to let go of other thoughts and relax your mind and your body.  For most of us this doesn’t happen for but a few moments during the day, and yoga can help you just be in the moment.
  • There is a great efficiency to doing yoga in that it takes maybe 20 – 30 minutes to perform a fairly extensive routine where you start to realize the benefits mentioned above.  So yoga is a very efficient form of exercise for both the mind and body.  This is meaningful for those of you have so much to to do, and for all of you who have other fitness interest like running, biking, and strength training for instance.
  • Yoga complements other fitness activities by stretching the muscles helping runners and strength training devotes alike, keeping their muscles loose and helping with recovery.  You won’t find too many runners or serious weight lifters who don’t stretch.  Yoga provides a more comprehensive opportunity to really stretch all the body parts in a very structured way helping the runner or strength trainer to stay healthy and manage pain.

What benefits have you received from you your yoga practice?

Health benefits of yoga:  http://www.healthcaremagic.com/insights/why-yoga-is-important-to-your-health/40