This week’s Prevention Not Prescriptions guest blogger is Tara Stiles, YouTube yoga sensation, HuffPost blogger and healthy living advocate.
Wouldn't it be nice to live vibrantly healthy, have loads of energy, an envious body, and feel fantastic all of the time? Totally, right! We often forget that we have more control than we might allow ourselves to believe over many aspects of our lives, including our health. Things might happen that are out of our control, but how we handle our lives is completely up to us. We can live long lives with good health, abundant energy, and ease if we choose to live consciously. The more space we create inside our bodies, and the more attention we turn towards treating our lives with respect, the more we can live with ease. When we bring awareness to our habits we have the ability to gain perspective and hopefully muster the courage to make a change for the positive.
A lot of us face similar challenges that affect our health negatively. We think we don't have any time to take care of ourselves, and we often feel that taking time for ourselves is selfish. Thankfully we can connect, empathize, and support each other to elevate to a clearer state of being. We all have to do lists that are a mile long, jobs, families, obligations, and goals. Life builds stress. Stress will never go away. How we deal with it can make all the difference in our lives.
1. Breathe. When we stress we hold our breath. You've probably heard it loads of times, but it's something that we all need to be reminded of. Just breathe. Long, deep inhales and exhales expand our bodies, clear our minds, and make room when we feel like there is none. Try just for a few moments to rest your attention on your breath. When you notice yourself thinking, guide your attention back to your breath. Focus on watching the quality of your inhales and exhales. When we take the time to make space for something other than following the hamster wheel that is our thoughts, our intuition and awareness have an opportunity to surface. Meditation is useful for good health and can be something that you fit right into your day whether it's 5 minutes in the morning, when you're in the shower, making breakfast, or at work. 5 minutes makes worlds of difference.
2. Pay attention. We can learn so much from paying attention to our habits and our way of being to ourselves and each other. Food diaries don't work when it comes to weight loss because so many of us live mindlessly and actually don't know what we ate, let alone enjoyed our meal, or snack, or remember to write it down. When we realize there is no destination but the present moment, our lives crack wide open. There is a lot of common sense to "be here now." Hint * the breath can help bring us into the moment. This helps with enjoying our lives, easing tension, and everything else.
3. Be easy on yourself. Compassion starts with the self. From ourselves we move into the world. It's hard to be easy on ourselves. When we drop our fears, and insecurities (this takes work) we can begin to understand that the universe is on our side. Have you ever had one of those days where you felt like everything was going your way and things were set up for you? We can have more days like that when we work to dissolve whatever is holding us back from living our best lives. There is only one YOU on the planet for a reason.
4. Be easy on others. We have a better chance of getting along with others if we are able to get along with ourselves. Once we make time for ourselves we have the space to allow others to exist in our presence in peace. We snap at others when we are tight in our bodies.
5. Cultivate balance. Trees can teach us a ton. They live for a very long time and have a few elements that we can adapt to help us also. Strong roots, flexible branches. When we work to strengthen our bodies through mindful exercise, whether that's yoga, running, or something else, we carve out strong roots. By moving mindfully we do the same in our lives. Strength creates boundaries and keeps us stable. From this strength we can extend ourselves (flexible branches). Branches can blow easily in the breeze because they are connected to a strong core. We can be the same through practice. In yoga we work to build strength and flexibility equally to create balance in the body and mind. Use what you need. Rest what you don't.
Bonus Step! Practice. We've never arrived, and always have work to do. That's why they call it practice. It should be enjoyable to practice. Whether your practice is meditation, gardening, yoga, running, or something else, it should bring you back to you, where all the good stuff is. Try out this gentle morning yoga routine to lengthen your body, calm your mind, and set you up to live a healthy day. Enjoy!
Read this week's full Prevention Not Prescriptions line-up.
Kathleen’s interview with Tara Stiles
More from Tara Stiles on The Huffington Post
Chat with us about the show and our guests on Facebook