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  971 NW Spruce Ave Ste 101, Corvallis, OR  |  541-224-6566  |  My Account  |

11:06 am

My New New Year’s Resolution

By Lisa Wells Year after year my New Year’s Resolution was “Lose weight.”  It did not matter what my weight actually was.  I always wanted it to be less.  My resolution was solidified by the inevitable increase in weight that started at Halloween and continued through the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve Celebrations.  I was never happy with what the scale foretold on the morning of January 1st.   I would begin another crazy diet with ‘guaranteed success.’ I’ve tried everything from counting calories to The Grapefruit Diet to Atkins to Raw Food to training for a marathon. Regardless of what I might have said about choosing a particular diet for health reasons, somewhere deep in my mind, I just wanted to lose weight. Over the years I tired of the roller coaster ride. I got tired of picking up old journals and reading the same resolution over and over again.  I didn’t want my gravestone to say “she never lost those last 5 pounds.”  Honestly, I was bored with myself.  So at some point, I gave up. Mind you, the tape has not fully erased itself.  I can still hear its echo playing deep in my mind.  But it has become much easier to ignore as I practice mindfulness and embodiment. Mindful eating and embodiment are challenging resolutions.  They require slowing down, being patient, and listening.  They require letting go of the judgmental and predatory mind that wants to force my body into compliance.  They require learning to tell the difference between what my body wants and what my mind wants.  For those of us who have spent a life time alternatively battling and numbing our bodies with food, hearing and understanding what the body needs and wants is a challenging resolution in itself. The first step is surrender, to stop battling, to give up.  Once we’ve surrendered we can use meditation techniques to witness what we choose to eat and how we choose to care for our bodies. We can begin a scientific exploration of eating, exercising and observing how the body responds.  We disengage from the scale as the measure of success.   Instead we choose a sense of wellbeing as our measure of success.  Here are my simple suggestions toward finding wellbeing:
  1. How to eat: Eat with love for yourself and integrity for the higher good. To quote Geneen Roth: “Eat what your body wants, when your body is hungry, stop when you have had enough.”
  2. What to eat:  Eat with love for yourself and integrity for the higher good. To quote Michael Polan: “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother would not recognize as food.”
  3. How to exercise: Move your body, in a way you enjoy, every day.  To quote myself:  “Dancing (walking, running, yogaing…) is your birthright.”
  4. How to think: Make a daily gratitude list. To quote my friend Happy Jack: “My happiness is directly proportional to my gratitude”
  5. More on how to think: Meditate and pray. It doesn’t really matter who or what you pray to.  Meditation and prayer are the opposite of worry. Use them to guide your mind in the direction you want to go.  If eating is your meditation, you have at least 3 opportunities to meditate each day.
  6. How to survive and thrive: Join a support group (like the Well-Being Group at Live Well Studio), talk to friends, the journey is more difficult in isolation.
Our Well-Being Classes include support and fellowship along with personally researched instructions for the path to mindful eating and embodiment. Registration is now open for: Wednesdays, 7-9pm, January 23, 2013 through March 13 Fridays, 10:30-11:45am, January 25, 3013 through March 15

4:56 pm

You are invited to the Yuletide Yoga Retreat

By Lisa Wells As the holidays approached this year, I decided to take a winter solstice retreat.  I’m looking forward to two days of silence and darkness.  I’ll have my home to myself and dip deeply into meditation and yoga.   And I’m curious to spend a few days in deep winter without artificial light.  I think my eyes will appreciate a respite from the compact florescent and halogen lights in my home and from the glare of my computer screen. My husband and sons will be visiting relatives.   They will be returning late on the 25th,which left me spending most of Christmas Day alone.  And while I was looking forward to my retreat, I knew that spending Christmas day by myself might leave me feeling sad and lonely.  I know a fundamental piece of my internal struggle is constant craving for solitude competing with the desire for community.  From this pondering was born the idea for the Live Well Studio ‘Yuletide Yoga Retreat.’  I wanted to bring the intention of my personal solstice retreat to my Yoga community. In our current world with its pervasive lighting and computer screens our minds have lost touch with the natural rhythms our bodies need. We don’t indulge our need for darkness or rest. And we feel poorly when we don’t meet an external standard of cheer or party enthusiasm.  The combination of high expectations, the push-push-push to consume more and the lack of rest are part of the cause of winter blues and seasonal affective disorder.   For those of us who find ourselves alone on the holiday, the possibility of self-pity and depression is just too high. During this retreat we will drop deep inside ourselves while enjoying the company of other yogis and yoginis. This will be a day to relish the space between, the liminal space, that opens at the solstice.  We will savor solitude and community, strength and surrender, darkness and the returning of light. The Yuletide Yoga Retreat will be an antidote to the holiday blues. We will spend time resting in community. We’ll be fed delicious healthy foods. We’ll be quiet and we will be social. We’ll stretch our bodies, our minds and our spirits.  We’ll laugh together.  I hope you will join us. Register here

5:00 pm

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

By Lisa Wells Travel takes it’s toll on the body.  We scrunch ourselves into small spaces for hours. We eat poorly. It is difficult to stay hydrated.  We’re stressed by the environment and by the pressure of holiday expectations.  There are many simple yoga exercises you can do in the confines of a plane, train or automobile that will relieve your body and your stress.    But please don’t practice yoga while your in the driver seat of the car.  As Thich Nhat Hanh wisely said: “when driving, just drive.” Simple breathing can go along way toward making you feel better and at ease.  Begin by turning your attention to your breath.  Experience the simple act of breathing. Then extend your exhalations.  Work toward exhalations that are twice as long as your inhalations.  On your exhale think of detoxing your body, on your inhale think of replenishing your body.  You can practice this for as long as you like. Ankle and wrist circles will begin the process of moving lymph and blood from the extremities back toward the lung and heart.  Make about 10 big circles in each direction with each wrist and ankle. Point and flex your ankles, roll through the ball of the foot, turn your foot over and press the top of the toes into the floor.  Do ‘spider pushups’ with your hands, make fists and then extend your fingers, flick your finger tips, do the Star Trek Vulcan salute and then switch to a ‘W’ salute (pointer and pinky extended, middle and ring fingers together). Switch back and forth between those two.  Flick your fingers again a few times when you are through. Neck circles ease the strain from your shoulders and  your neck. Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder, then drop your head forward and chin toward your chest and then left year toward left shoulder.  Circle back and forth about 6 times. Then, keeping right ear toward right shoulder use your right hand to gently enhance the stretch.   You can turn the face downward to take the stretch more into the back of the neck. Repeat on the left side. Seated Cat/Cow can release low back strain.  Sit a little forward in your seat so you are not leaning onto the seat back. Rest your hands on your thighs and sit up very tall.  On your exhalation engage your abdominal muscles, drop your head forward and round your back.  On your inhalation keep your belly strong as you lift your heart and your gaze and come into a gentle back bend.  Alternate back and forth from the stretch of the front of your spine to the stretch of the back of your spine. Continue for as long as it feels pleasant. Seated Chandrasana stretches the sides of the body.  Stay forward in your chair as you arch your spine left and right.  You can bring the right arm overhead as you arch left and the left arm overhead as you arch right.  Do as many as feels good. Seated Twisting will complete the range of motion exercise sequence through your spine. Bring your left hand behind you and your right hand to your left knee.  Use the strength of your arms help you into a spinal twist.   Keep yourself very upright as you do this.  Stay in the twist for up to 6 breaths before changing sides. Seated Pigeon will help your release your low back.  Sit up nice and tall.  Bring your right ankle to your left knee.  Allow your right knee to drop down toward the floor.  Gently forward fold over your right shin.  Hold for up to 6 breaths and then change sides. Seated Apanasana is good closing pose for your mini-yoga practice.  Sit up nice and tall again and draw your right knee into your belly.  Interlace your fingers and use your clasped hands to pull the knee in tight to the belly. Drop your forehead towards your knee. Hold this pose for up to 6 breaths and then change sides. You can complete this whole sequence in under 10 minutes or stretch it out for 15 or 20.   If you have a long trip, repeat the sequence once every hour and you should feel much better at the end of your trip.  If you are in the driver seat, take regular breaks and do yoga at the rest stops. Make sure you drink lots of water. Take along food that you know will nourish you. If you’re on a plane or train get up and walk the aisles from time-to-time.  And have a great trip!