Zen Body Yoga + Wellness

Spreading the Zen to Tulsa!

What Will Help You Bloom?

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Written by: Calista Evraets

IMG_20151008_131019As an avid gardener, I often find interesting parallels between my own life and my work in the garden. One of the challenges that I love about gardening is figuring out what a plant needs in order to bloom. Sometimes when I plant a new type of flower, it just doesn’t thrive the way I’d hoped it would. Then I have to do some research and figure out what I can do to help it along. Is it getting the right amount of sunlight? Is the soil too acidic or too basic? Maybe I’m over-watering. I recently noticed that while it’s easy to do research about my plants, it’s a lot harder where my own growth is concerned!

Perhaps you see a similar situation in your own life. Our lives are dynamic, and we continue to grow and change with our environments. Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Has your routine become monotonous to the point where you don’t feel like you’re moving forward anymore? Maybe your stress levels are high and you feel as if you’re constantly running around without any time to enjoy the present. What can you change to feel more at peace in your daily life? For some of us, it may mean breaking out of the routine, trying something new, or exploring a new hobby or schedule. For others, it may mean cutting back on new calendar items, or saying no to some of the requests for our time and energy.

The same thing can hold true in our yoga practice. Many of us began our yoga journey as a way of achieving personal growth. Practice can become routine and static, and we may need to branch out and try something different. If you’ve focused on high intensity classes with lots of movement, maybe it’s time to try the stillness of a restorative class. Maybe you haven’t put as much focus on the meditation aspect of yoga, and you would benefit from a Kundalini class. If you’ve felt afraid to try something outside your comfort zone, you might appreciate the confidence that comes from taking an aerial workshop and realizing the amazing things your body can do! If you’ve felt your practice needs some fine tuning, it might be a great time to schedule a private session, where you can work one on one with an instructor.
One of my favorite things about yoga is this: I’ve found that when I make changes to my practice to achieve personal growth, other aspects of my life tend to slip into a healthier path with less struggle. My stress levels improve, I find strength and confidence, and I’m able to be present in my life, rather than always looking forward to the next minute, hour, or day. I encourage you to give some thought to what you need to bloom! You might be surprised at the answers you find!

Strengthening the Mind-Body Connection

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Written by: Amy Miller

IMG_20151001_152808One of the greatest benefits of yoga is strengthening the mind-body connection.

You have probably heard your yoga teacher say “listen to your body,” which is often interpreted as “don’t hurt yourself!” whether or not that was the sentiment being expressed. A more powerful and truer interpretation of your teacher’s words are to listen to your body, and to really hear the message, to quiet your thinking mind and be present with the sensations you feel. That is definitely easier said than done, but yoga practice is, in my opinion, the most certain way to achieve this ability to understand the body’s signals.
Our bodies often send subtle signals, and sometimes, when we don’t heed the subtle warnings, aggressive signals. With a calm mind, we become more open to hearing the messages before we experience a negative outcome from ignoring the body’s whisper.

For example, when practicing yoga, you might notice that you are holding tension in your shoulders even when you try to relax. You might decide to spend some additional time breathing deeply into shoulder and neck stretches to ease the tightness.  If you didn’t notice this gentle tension for many days, you might begin to ache. Then a few days later, the aching shoulders have caused significant tension in the upper back. This creates a discomfort when moving freely, so you become stiff throughout the torso, creating a new pain in the lower back…and pretty soon, it’s time to take some Ibuprofen and a trip to the chiropractor. Again.  In other words, learning to hear and feel the signals early, before they become a problem, offers the opportunity to make an adjustment and defuses the potentially catastrophic outcome.

Additionally, you may notice your body sending you early warnings of mental or emotional harm. Have you ever had a “gut feeling” or a “lump in your throat”? These are physical reactions to thoughts, whether conscious or unconscious. We typically notice these physical reactions once the emotion or mental anxiety is acute. What if we were to notice the onset of a reaction earlier, before the anxiety-producing thought came to our conscious minds? This is a form of intuition, and it can be very beneficial in avoiding unsafe situations (such as a threatening person or place) or overwhelming emotional responses (such as outbursts of anger or sadness).

Practicing yoga regularly can bring about the body awareness that allows us to avoid physical injury as well as help us balance and respond appropriately to emotions. Through mindfulness, pranayama and asana, this early consciousness can improve our self-regulation and our understanding of who we are.


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Finding Your Life’s Purpose

Diagram

Written By: Amy Miller

I’ve seen this diagram in the past, but it’s making its way around social media again and it still resonates with me.  Part of what I do as a Life Coach is to help people find their “Purpose.”

Spiritual Wellness is one of the 8 dimensions of well that I cover in 21 Days to Well and as a Life Coach.  Spiritual Wellness involves having meaning and purpose and a sense of balance and peace and may or may not include Religion.

Some elements of Spiritual Wellness include prayer, meditation, or personal reflection as well as understanding other’s beliefs and values. There should be a direct relationship between your personal values and your daily actions. Ultimately, we are talking about the self-awareness and understanding of your place in the universe, your purpose in life, your true passion.

Often, we are not immediately aware of our “purpose in life”.  Maybe you even think there is no such thing as a “purpose,” but it is here, in your purpose, that you will find true fulfillment.  Your purpose in life may not be something profound like “to heal others” or “to teach the next generation” or “end war.”

One purpose may be “to love” or “to be happy” or “to take care of my pets” or “to find and share my gift.” We may get so caught up searching for our Life’s Purpose, that we forget we may have many purposes.  But how do we find them?

We find our purposes by following our hearts and intuition and trusting ourselves to make the right choices. Listen to the thoughts that occur to you during or after meditation.  During meditation, we open the channels of communication between our mind and our unlimited awareness.  Listen carefully, as it will often be as quiet as a whisper and it might be overshadowed by the voice of the world – what you have been nurtured and enculturated to believe.

Try this exercise.

  1. Keep a notebook and pen just for writing down your plans for your future.  I like to have a pretty notebook and a special pen that I don’t use for anything else.  I keep mine in my bedroom because it is a calm space where I feel safe.  You might have a special meditation room or an office that makes you feel at your most comfortable.  Keep your notebook and pen in the place where you most often meditate.
  1. Practice meditation daily, even if only for 5 or 10 minutes.
  1. Once your meditation has become easier and you are able to let the mind and body relax for 5 minutes or more at a time, begin occasionally saying to yourself “reveal to me my highest calling” just before you begin to relax.  Then forget about it; don’t start thinking about what your calling is or should be.  It will only be revealed to you when you stop thinking and listen.
  1. During your meditation, if a thought pops into your mind, quickly write it down and then go back to meditating.  Don’t explore the thought now; that will close off your connection to your all-knowing spirit and set the human mind to work.  You can take care of that later.
  1. Remember that not every thought that comes into your head during this time will be an answer to your question, but it is usually placed in your mind for a reason.  Listen!

Don’t get discouraged when life doesn’t seem to be moving in the direction you want.  Sometimes, when things don’t happen in our lives exactly the way we planned or on the time frame we imagined, we think all is lost.  However, we ultimately have the knowledge of the way life is meant to unfold and while it doesn’t always meet our conscious expectations, if you listen to your heart and soul, the path you are on will not fail you.

Set-backs on your path are there to teach you something.  The sooner you learn from these trials the sooner you can get back on track to fulfilling your purpose.  As you explore your purpose, don’t be afraid to let it evolve and change.

Within each of us is a deep understanding of our values and through allowing our conscious minds to uncover these values, we can apply our personal strengths and abilities to create our purpose, our goals, our legacy.  Through this process we become the author of our destiny.  Every choice you make is a part of your life story but your story progresses in any way you choose.  Whatever you want with all of your heart, you can make happen.


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Toxin Elimination Bath

bath

Written By: Amy Miller

Place 2 cups of Epsom salts and one cup of baking soda into a tub, run the hottest water you can stand and add 8 drops of lavender oil. Soak for 20 minutes and allow yourself to sweat. When you are finished bathing, wrap yourself up in towels and go under the covers and sweat some more. You should feel very relaxed and sleep soundly.

There are thousands of different dietary recommendations and philosophies, and new ones come up every day. The very best way to figure out your personalized diet is to begin to pay attention to how you feel as you explore different ways of eating and being. In the process of cleansing, you will begin to recognize which foods may not be serving you, despite what you have read or been told.


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What is Wellness Coaching?

instructors at zen-99Written By: Amy Miller

As a Certified Wellness Coach I offer an Authentic Wellness Plan specially designed for each individual client. Authentic Wellness utilizes Positive Psychology principles and the StrengthsFinder method to empower you to draw upon your own abilities and strengths to achieve lasting lifestyle changes.

Coaching helps you take action in your life; so after each coaching session you will apply what you have learned and the plan you have developed to create positive change. I will help you focus on the goals you want to achieve and develop strategies to be sure you reach them. Authentic Wellness Coaching helps you gain clarity, focus and support build a life that best matches who you really are.

Your Authentic Wellness Plan encompasses the 8 dimensions of wellness: Physical, Environmental, Financial, Emotional, Social, Intellectual, Behavioral and Spiritual.

Physical wellness involves the condition of a healthy body, good physical health habits, good nutrition and exercise, and obtaining appropriate health care. Some elements of physical wellness include exercising regularly, eating fruits and vegetables, and even wearing a seat belt.

Environmental wellness involves being and feeling physically safe in your surroundings. This includes the places where we live, work, and learn as well as our communities, country, and the entire planet. Some elements of environmental wellness include keeping your home and work space free from clutter, avoiding unnecessary and overwhelming noise, and surrounding yourself with things that you love.

Financial wellness involves the ability to have financial resources, meet practical needs, as well as control and knowledge about your personal finances. Some elements of financial wellness include paying your bills on time, having a handle on financial status, and having available credit for unexpected life occurrences.

Social wellness involves having healthy relationships with friends, family, the community, and having an interest in the needs of others around you. Some elements of social wellness include having a network of close friends and family, communicating with a variety of people, and showing compassion or empathy when possible.

Emotional wellness involves the ability to express feelings, enjoy life, adjust to challenges, and deal with the stress that occurs in life. Some elements of emotional wellness include accepting responsibility for your actions, having the ability to laugh at life and yourself, and learning from your mistakes.

Intellectual wellness involves lifelong learning. This includes an application of the knowledge you gain as well as sharing that knowledge with others. Some elements of intellectual wellness include having an interest in learning new things, participating in creative and stimulating activities, and engaging in intellectual discussions.

Behavioral wellness involves participating in activities that provide meaning and purpose in your everyday life. Some elements of behavioral wellness include being happy in your career path, balancing work and leisure time, and participating in activities that are in line with your personal values.

Spiritual wellness involves having meaning and purpose and a sense of balance and peace. Some elements of spiritual wellness include prayer, meditation, or personal reflection as well as understanding other’s beliefs and values. There should be a direct relationship between your personal values and your daily actions.

As your coach, I will work with you to develop a lifestyle plan that includes a balance of health habits: adequate sleep, rest, and good nutrition; productivity and exercise; participation in meaningful activity; and connections with people and communities that are supportive.

Authenticity as a quality of being genuine and worthy of belief. You know whether you are behaving in a manner in line with your values and inner being; you cannot hide a disbelief of your own actions and words from others. They will sense your dishonesty and instinctively become distrustful and will pull away from you. Being who you really are is always admirable, even to people who don’t share your values.

When you are true to yourself, you harness the power that lies dormant in the unauthentic being: the power to achieve any dream, to live your highest purpose. When you are not true to yourself, you hide the power and your dreams are inaccessible.

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