Nurture Your Body!

The mysteries of our physical body are many. It is the body that omits energies like feelings, aches, pains, joy, and the like. Where do they come from, why do they happen, and are some of these experiences better for us than others? Our minds spend much of its time trying to only have “good” or “happy” physical experiences, but alas such attempts cause more harm than good. Acceptance and understanding are the first steps to feeling joy and a sense of peace. The best way to understand our bodies is to accept that it needs to be consistently maintained in order for it to run smoothly.

6-Step Plan to Nurturing The Body

We may think that in order to get in shape we need have a great diet, pay an expert to help us lose weight, or change our lifestyle completely, but that is not the case. Our minds want to complicate things and tries to trick us into thinking that more is better. Another obstacle comes from a type of thinking that takes the “all or nothing” approach. In this scenario, in an effort to get the most out of what we do, we set up a complex and perfect workout or dietary plan that we couldn’t possibly meet for a number of reasons. First, our bodies have to learn the new behaviors and get used to the feelings associated with eating different foods and the pain resulting from a new exercise program. Second, it can be difficult to schedule the extra activities in an already busy routine. Finally, our internal negativity or natural resistance is going to vie for control and be screaming for you to give up. Thus, we must allow for a trial and error period, which is unavoidable and will occur until these activities become habitual tendencies. Rather than say, “I’m going to reach my fitness goals in three months,” I would say, “I’m going to give myself three months to engrain these new activities into my being.” This approach will result in long-term growth and allows an individual to continue these activities or versions of them throughout their life. The other approach is a quick fix technique that often results in quitting when the “program” is finished. Here are a few simple steps that I would begin practicing to help you acheive a healthy lifestyle:

1. Eat smaller portions (the size of your fist) that are broken up into 4 to 6 meals per day.

2. Make sure that those meals include a protein, carbohydrate, green and other vegetables, and a grain

3. Drink water throughout the day, consume less alcohol and cut back on sugar and caffeine.

4. Eat this way without alteration 3 to 5 days per week. You can even break each meal into the specific food groups listed:

……………………………………………….. Meal #1 Protein

……………………………………………….. Meal #2 carbohydrate (rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.)

……………………………………………….. Meal #3 Veggies

……………………………………………….. Meal #4 Grains/Fibre

……………………………………………….. Meal #5 Vegetable Juice (from a juice machine)

5. Cut out dairy and all complex Carbohydrates like pasta, rice and bread.

6. Practice Yoga 3 – 6 days per week.

A shift in our thinking regarding the way we view our bodies will help us nurture ourselves; give up the idea that you have to enjoy things in order for them to be fulfilling. Is it more important for food to taste good or be good for your body? Of course, the latter is the correct answer. Taste is a conditioned response and we can learn to like the taste of food that we wouldn’t normally be inclined to eat. A balance of “taste good” and “good for you” is the ideal. Which is why I suggested the above workout plan. Be really good to your body about half the time and the other half can be spent in devilish pleasures! The above 6-Step Plan is easy to do and allows the body to learn new behaviors at a gradual pace. Practice doing this plan 3 days per week and on the other days don’t exercise at all and eat whatever you want. You will find, over time, that your body does not need nearly as much food as you think it does.

Most of the extra food that we eat is to comfort ourselves or is used (often unconsciously) as a block to unwanted feelings of sadness, anxiety, or fear. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these feelings and they do not mean that we have ‘problems.’ They simply offer us a chance to nurture ourselves during difficult times. This nurturing can only happen if we allow those feelings to be expressed by either crying, or yelling (not at anyone) or breathing them out to relieve our frustrations. Finding tools that allow us to “yell-out” our frustrations are essential to well-being. Trying to be calm when we don’t feel that way simply blocks our true expression. I have come home at times and felt a lot of energy or was extremely “amped.” I usually come home and do my Yoga routine right away. When I’m “amped” up or full of energy, I do my Yoga routine to techno or house music with the volume turned way up. Again, I don’t want to block what I am naturally feeling, but I also don’t want it to prevent me from doing my scheduled workout. Usually, near the end of my Yoga routine I have calmed down and have turned off the music becuase it no longer resonated with me.

Benefits of Yoga

I recommend Yoga as the primary exercise routine for my clients. In my opinion, it does more for the body as a single practice than most other exercise forms. Pilates would be my second choice and recommendation. Yoga offers, in a single workout, all of the elements needed to keep the body optimally healthy: strength, flexibility, breathing, stamina and it calms the mind. If one is thinking in terms of making the body work and feel better instead of wanting to be entertained, then Yoga is the way to go. Of course, over time, Yoga will be an enjoyable experience. For individuals who have not tried it before and especially for those who are not athletically inclined, the first six months to a year will be very difficult. In terms of one’s life though, this is a very infantile amount of time. I can almost guarantee that you will feel better and be profoundly happier when Yoga is a part of your life!

At the physical level, yoga and its cleansing practices have proven to be extremely effective for various disorders. Yoga is extremely effective in:

Increasing Flexibility – yoga has positions that act upon the various joints of the body including those joints that are never really on the ‘radar screen’ let alone exercised.

Increasing lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons – likewise, the well-researched yoga positions exercise the different tendons and ligaments of the body. Surprisingly it has been found that the body which may have been quite rigid starts experiencing a remarkable flexibility in even those parts which have not been consciously work upon. Why? It is here that the remarkable research behind yoga positions proves its mettle. Seemingly unrelated “non strenuous” yoga positions act upon certain parts of the body in an interrelated manner. When done together, they work in harmony to create a situation where flexibility is attained relatively easily

Massaging of ALL Organs of the Body – Yoga is perhaps the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner, including those – such as the prostate – that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder. One of the far-reaching benefits of yoga is the uncanny sense of awareness that it develops in the practitioner of an impending health disorder or infection. This in turn enables the person to take pre-emptive corrective action

Complete Detoxification – By gently stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the various organs, yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to various parts of the body. This helps in the flushing out of toxins from every nook and cranny as well as providing nourishment up to the last point. This leads to benefits such as delayed ageing, energy and a remarkable zest for life.

Excellent toning of the muscles – Muscles that have become flaccid, weak or slothy are stimulated repeatedly to shed excess flab and flaccidity.

This newsletter was assisted by the website:

About Shawn Athanasios

A little bit about me. I received my BA from California State University, Northridge in Speech Communication and my MA in Culture and Communication from New York University (NYU). My Master’s degree was within the field of Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Management and my thesis topic was Meta-Cognition and Human Defensiveness. I wrote about the importance of individuals learning how to understand their defensiveness and negative thinking habits as a way to improve the overall cohesiveness within their human relationships. Curerently, I am an Adjunct Professor at SAE Institute, and my pasrt teaching experience includes several of the top Universities in the U.S. (NYU, LIM College, Pace University, Manhattan College & Georgia State University). My teaching experience includes the following courses: Interviewing Strategies, Intro to Human Communication and Culture, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, Principals and Theories of Communication, Public Speaking and Theories of Speech Communication I decided to create my own Coaching Business (JAAS Coaching) under the umbrella of Personal and Career Development for those looking to enhance their current profession, change careers, discover their deepest passions, communicate and manage conflict more effectively, achieve high levels of motivation, and find balance with their total self by offering a holistic approach to career and personal development. My eBook, "The Soul Search Before the Job Search," encompasses all of my work as a Personal and Executive Coach. My website/blog is www.JAAScoaching.comLinks to an external site. I have had many fulfilling experiences that include being raised in Laos, Ghana, India & Egypt by parents of the U.S. Foreign Service and Diplomatic community, teaching ESL in South Korea, serving as a Primary Counselor for kids out of Juvenile Hall, and mentoring grade school children through a Psychologist’s referred program. In addition, I am proud to have received a full scholarship for my Masters Degree at NYU, to have been the sole recipient of the Rosenberg scholarship and for graduating Magna Cum Laude upon completion of my graduate degree. I also presented two papers at the New York Speech Communication Association (NYSCA) conference while at Graduate School where I discussed the importance of taking full ownership of one’s shortcomings as essential to inducing change within oneself and one’s environment and how to be an effective interpersonal communicator. And finally, I was voted Faculty of The Year and Georgia State University after just one semester on the job! The article can be found on my website/blog. My volunteer work is reflected through participating in Buddhist Activities as a member of the Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world. Previously, I was the Young Men’s Division Leader for Houston District, I transcribed the World Tribune to audiotapes for the blind Buddhist members, I published an article in the Soka Gakkai’s Living Buddhism magazine and was a volunteer staff writer for the organization’s newspaper (The World Tribune). I continues to lead group discussions on Nichiren Buddhist Theory.
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