[This week's blog post is from the brilliant mind of Amanda Bauer, our Functional Breathing and Running Coach!]
There is a little berm behind my home. I affectionately refer to this little path as “Snake Alley.” The apt nickname becomes clear during the summer months for…obvious reasons. Well, this nearly 1-mile track is my dog’s favorite path to meander through in the morning. She will sit down in the middle of the street and stare at me with indignant accusation in her eyes if we don’t take the “right” path towards Snake Alley. And when she gets there. Ho boy. Her little tail goes wild, she whines with impatient excitement as she sniffs around the thick tree line hunting for that perfect stick.
This path lights her up.
We usually sit on this little bank that faces a creek and the sunrise from this spot is heartbreakingly calm. I have made many important decisions sitting there, half in peace, half in quiet...
Mindfulness for Beginners
Mindfulness is a funny thing. It’s being able to think, feel and be aware … while knowing you’re doing all that… without getting stuck in any particular part of that process.
When I started a formal mindfulness practice about 10 years ago, I just dove right into joining a 45 minute lunchtime meditation at a local spiritual center in San Jose. I attended twice, and they were identical: my brain went absolutely insane for about 15 minutes, then I fell asleep, my head rolling back against the wall I’d (fortunately) placed myself against in my attempt to melt into the back row of the group.
For years, I battled this. For 15 minutes a day in sporadic one to three day streaks, I’d struggle against myself, desperate to calm down, then upon the arrival of this so-called “calming down” … I’d fall asleep. The rest of my life was spent drowning in the tasks I frantically created to distract...
Do you dodge goal setting because you don’t like the feeling of failure when you don’t hit your goals?
Are you in the habit of setting big goals, knowing you’ll likely bail by Feb 28th anyway?
Are you in the boat I - until recently - boarded with much fanfare, the “SS F*&$ RESOLUTIONS!” ??
Goals. Intentions. Resolutions. Visions… There’s a lot out there right now about how to set yourself up for “success” in the coming year, and - both personally and professionally - I’ve learned or heard just about every iteration of goal setting and habit forming.
I can tell you this for sure: they’re all 100% right and 100% wrong depending on who’s doing the goal setting and what stage of life they’re in. Some people in some stages need more structure and discipline. For others, fluidity and flexibility is the only way forward. Keeping your sights on what you truly...
One of the things we teach all of our clients is the importance of nutrition in pain management, recovery and building strength… and that means NOT skimping on protein, fat and glucose in the evening. I often hear people cite a “no eating after 7 pm” rule, but good sleep depends on balanced blood sugar while your brain and body clean out and rebuild!
Also, this time of year - as it’s dark, cold and we’re all a little on edge - is the perfect opportunity to create a 5 minute sensory and grounding ritual. Use all of your senses to enjoy massaging warmed lotion in your hands, eating a piece of high quality chocolate or wrapping a heating pad around your shoulders (or all of the above!) while you breathe purposefully.
To soothe your nervous system, create healing while you sleep and warm your body from the inside-out, try this Ayurvedic Golden Milk Recipe!
Forest Coaching’s Bedtime (or anytime!) Golden Milk
[We're excited to introduce monthly blog posts from our running and respiration coach, Amanda Bauer!]
The familiar and cozy scent of freshly brewed coffee gently beckons my attention from my immediate task. I smile as my hands curl around my favorite mug and bring the soothing liquid to my lips. Then I groan. I catch a glimpse of the raging snowstorm off my patio. The snow seems to come in sideways and there is already a 5-inch accumulation on the railing. I sigh and let out a little whimper.
I will not be going for my Saturday Run. As the winter months rage on motivation to bundle up and brave the cold and ice wanes. See, I am NOT one of those die-hards that will go out no matter what. I crumble at the sight of icy sidewalks and snow-covered trails. My running shoes will stay dry and rested at the front door.
You know what?
That lack of motivation to freeze your cheeks and brave the ice for a run...
Grab some hot chocolate and settle in -- we’ve got this year’s WELLNESS GIFT LIST for you! We’re focusing on small or sustainable businesses this year + a few local businesses in the Madison area if you happen to live here!
OH! Before I dive in, I have to share : We also have a huge list of new gear for you this year designed by our incredible pilates guru, Lauren Rae! Shirts, masks, mugs and onesies with reminders to Train, Breathe Repeat
And encouragement for a braver 2020 with Sweat, Compassion and Kindness
And now - without further ado - here’s my 2020 Gift Guide for Wellness Lovers!
Online Gift Guide:
Danielle LaPorte said beautifully of this year : MAKE THIS CHANGE YOU… and a wearable reminder seems appropriate. The Prana TRANSFORMATION Jersey Knit Top is sustainably sourced, super soft long sleeved shirt is 100% on my list for this year!
Always a favorite, Kleen Kanteen is top of the line when it comes to reusable water bottles....
Welp, you’re all stuck with me this week! Annie has passed over the reins of this incredible blog for me to blather on about that thing that lights me up.
Yeah, yeah… I can hear you groaning. But here’s the thing.
Humans evolved to run. And walk! A LOT.
Seriously. Do you think we climbed to the top of the food chain because of our sharp teeth, strong bodies, sprinting abilities or our capability to withstand long periods of time without food?
We evolved to outlast our prey and to walk for hours and hours to gather and forage. Then came agriculture and industry and then google. So now our running and walking is no longer a necessity of our survival. It has become recreation to some and dread too many.
Here’s the thing though. Can you describe what it is about running or walking that creates that ball of dread in the pit of your stomach?
Think you got it?
Life. For better or worse — I’ll rant about the glamorization of busy later — it’s crazy busy.
I know I tend to beat myself up when I set a goal and can’t even seem to manage an extra 30 seconds of breathing drills. It’s frustrating! But I learned something really important this year:
Adding change (even positive health change) to our daily habits is stressful to brains that are busy trying to just hold down the fort with the habits we’ve already built to save space, energy and time.
#science: our conscious minds can only hold around 7 things at a time…even less when we’re stressed. And if you factor in work, family, personal needs, your environment and general daily living, that doesn’t leave much space for remembering to drink water, do some breathing or choose wisely at lunch.