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Mindful movement requires consciousness and awareness so that we are building mental strength and a mental connection to our bodies. Mindful movement is healing movement. Mindful movement increases our ability to move smarter in the day-to-day and throughout our lives. Mindful movement allows for graceful aging. And all of that means fewer injuries, because we know how to listen to our bodies and move well.

Mindful movement means that no matter what life is throwing at me, what can I do today to feel better and to care for my body? Do I need the emotional release from really pushing myself? Or does my body need rest? Maybe it’s both. Everyday is a chance to care for our mind and body through movement. And a movement ritual is important mental work. Consider it your therapy. Throughout this course, it’s just as much a part of the coursework as any of the writing exercises.

The goal for the next month is daily movement, however that happens. When you make the commitment to six days of movement per week (one day of rest) you give yourself the flexibility to determine what kind of movement that is day-to day. As a side note: I recommend using your rest day as your day to complete the weekly coursework. One day it could be a run, one day Pilates, one day squeezing in a few minutes of stretching. You can mindfully make the call, what does my body need?

Key points

Movement is not punishment.

Movement is not just calories out or fat burning.

Movement is for your nervous system, bones, cardiovascular system, muscles and brain.

Movement is emotional.

Movement is essential.

This commitment to both mindfulness and daily movement relies on one foundational belief. And that is that our bodies need more than burning, shaping, and toning. Every muscle and system in our body has an actual function. Function that we need to stand, lift, laugh without peeing and even rest comfortably. A functional bod = a beautiful bod.

our bodies need more than burning, shaping, and toning

Your first step in seeing your body differently is to see what your body actually does. You are not a piece of meat, after all. You have things to do and you need your body to be there for you. I will say this several times throughout the course, your body is here to serve your life, not the other way around. We can get mixed up compulsively serving our bodies on either end of the spectrum. Neither are doing anything for you.

The best way to ensure movement happens everyday is to first commit. Decide it's as essential as brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, and everything else that you know you have to do to be the person you need to be. So no matter what happens in the day, you don't lie down in bed without doing something (this is exactly why two of the included workouts are as short as they are). Something small is always better than nothing. Don't be fooled into thinking that because the perfect workout can't happen everyday that you can't reach your goals or it isn't worth it. Commit to moving your body every single day. Connect to your body every. single. day.

The second thing to do to ensure success is to dedicate a specific time for movement. The easiest way is to set the same time everyday so that you can rely on and develop a routine. If you have classes you like to take, sign up now. Commit now. Dedicate the time now. Add it to your schedule, set alarms, and make your plan.

We all know the metaphor, If your life was a jar of rocks, pebbles, and sand and you put the large rocks in first, then the pebbles, then finally sand you'll have room for everything. If you fill your day with the "sand" things first, you'll never have room for the bigger "rocks". My point being, we only have time what we put first. So first we have to decide that daily movement is a rock, not just a pebble or sand. Then we have to make sure we aren’t getting distracted by the pebbles and sand in our life.

Your guiding question is always: What does my body need today?


EAT

Mindful eating is leading with awareness and consciousness as we make choices. We won’t be talking about nutrition or off-limit foods. We’re talking about nourishment, of the body and the mind and the soul. You will harness your awareness to help you determine which choices will bring you to the life and the body you desire. We can't be at our best when we are overly concerned with portions, macros, measurements, etc - because they take away from actual living, eating and enjoying. On the flip side, we can't be at our best when we aren't putting enough forethought and preparation into what we eat to set ourselves up for success. Both ends of the spectrum fall short. We have to learn to be consistent and flexible.

I love the metaphor from the book The Whole Brain Child (this is my bible for childcare ps). They explain parenting like a river. One side of the river is structure and one side is chaos. Neither side of the river creates happy kids. As parents, we want to steer the boat down the middle of the river without getting beached on either bank. Similarly, neither side creates happy bodies or minds (or grown ups). We want to float down the middle of the river, not getting too structured or too free. We are able to do this when we are connected internally and have also taken the right strategical steps to ensure our success.

Your priority throughout the next month (and beyond) is to observe your habits and make small adjustments as your consciousness and capacity increases. This process will continue long after the course is completed. I recommend using your course notebook or journal as a place to put all your feelings surrounding the topic. Whether we like it or not, eating is and always has been emotional. You will likely uncover a lot about yourself as you observe your patterns and rhythms. Give yourself permission to be patient with this process of peeling the layers of the onion. As your mindfulness and honesty with yourself improves, your decision accuracy will also increase.

As you make your observations, choose one thing to commit to focusing on at a time. Start with something small to build momentum. Some examples: Swap out sugary drinks for sparkling water with lemon, prep snacks so hunger doesn’t get out of control, eat three more bites of veggies and three fewer bites of dessert, swap out late night snacking for soothing golden milk, make sure to get protein with every snack to balance your blood sugar, eat veggies with every meal. Remember these are personal to you and should be based on your observations. Your intent is to maximize real enjoyment and minimize ups and downs with energy, emotions, and weight. The seemingly small things that we do often are the things that make the biggest impact over time.

Your intent is to maximize real enjoyment and minimize ups and downs with energy, emotions, and weight.

Your guiding question is always: What does my body need today?


Mindful body ritual

We’re going to get into all the ins and outs of creating some really awesome strategies and goals. However, before we can go there we have to start with the things that actually change us. So we are starting with small, semi-permanent changes today. Semi-permanent because we are always evolving and everything will be evolving with us. We are starting with small things that we can change today (because we are never waiting for tomorrow to feel good) and that we can be doing 10 years from now. Enter: Your mindful body ritual.

Here's what it is. It's your thing you always do. It's the thing that reminds you of your best body goal (we’ll get to this). It's your daily connection to your mindful body philosophy (and this). It's totally up to you what it is. Choose something simple that you can do every. single. day. It has to be something that’s just hard enough that it reminds you that you can do things (that you don't like) that are hard, and that are good for you. It also has to be doable enough that it can feasibly happen daily and will happen daily no matter where you are.

Here are some ideas: A 30 second cold water rinse in the shower (great for the lymph system, skin, & hair), morning apple cider vinegar shot, 10 sun salutations, make your bed, 10 minute meditation in the shower, foam roller session every nigh before bed, you get the idea.

What will get you in the mindset you want and remind you that you can do hard things, that you love your body, and that you are worth the time and effort? Go!