Saturday Night Bath

Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath.

Lyndon B. Johnson

My neighbor Keith called me up the other night. He is a gardener, a father, a cross-fitter, and one of my favorite people in the whole world.  We used to snowboard all the time together way back when, and now I live under him, his wife, and their 2 kids.

He has more remedy tools for the body then you can imagine.  Foam roller, the new nubby foam roller (love), the broom handle (for the 7 inning stretch), rollers for the legs, massage tools that allow you to reach into to your shoulder blades without reaching back.  Tennis balls, medium-sized balls, you name it.  At any given point I can walk upstairs and find his yoga mat out with some kind of body tool on it.

“I’m destroyed.” He said, “Picking up a glass of water is hard.”

“This happens.” I said.

“Is the Epsom Salt bath legit?” he asked.

“Yeah, hook yourself up.” I responded.  This is why.

Your skin is an organ…how quickly we forget…what we put on the outside gets absorbed into our blood (this is why it’s important to know product ingredients). Epsom Salt is compromised of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium helps with normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones.  Sulfates detoxify and help form proteins in joints, brain tissues, and mucin proteins (that which lines the gut wall in the stomach) according to the Epsom salt Industry Council.

Chances are the average American is deficient in magnesium as a result of diets that are heavy in  processed foods in general (foods rich in magnesium can be found here for your reading pleasure). Magnesium deficiency can contribute to muscle spasms, high blood pressure, hyper-activity, heart problems, migraines, diabetes, and other health issues.  So, if you’re not getting enough Magnesium in the diet…you can simply take a soak!

The only contraindication to an Epsom Salt bath would be low blood pressure – meaning a bath is going to reduce your blood pressure – so if you already are at the low-end, be cautious.

According to Epsom Salt Industry Council, Epsom Salts can help with:

  • Improved heart health through improved circulation, reducing blood pressure, and improving artery health by removing build up and toxins
  • Pain relief by reducing inflammation, increasing circulation at a sore sight or bruise, and also removing toxic build up from the sight.
  • Relaxation as a result of magnesium helping the body produce serotonin (the happiness hormone) – which helps us unwind and improves well-being.
  • Increase energy by assisting the body in producing ATP (adenisone triphospate), the energy packets made in our cells.  Experts state bathing 3 x’s a week can help with overall relaxation/sleep, focus, and improved energy.
  • Electrolytes assist in helping muscles and nerves function normally.
  • Increases the effectiveness of insulin in the body which can help lower the risk and manage diabetes.

There is number of beauty and garden benefits as well.  I do about 2 cups in the bath for my soak and if I am feeling that I really need to unwind add a few drops of lavender essential oil (one of my staples in the house).

Not gonna lie, crossing into my 40’s has created more moments of soreness than when I was younger, and the consistency of my efforts in my own practice is beginning to work me too.  I am sore…my back and  my shoulders especially.  I soaked last night and felt better this morning – but my practice was slower yet still determined.  I only did primary series today and spent extra time in back bending just navigating my legs, pelvis, bandhas, and back.  I thought I was going to feel pain – but by diving into deep awareness I was able to cultivate space and found a sense of ease.

Keith felt better too.  🙂

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Maintaining Momentum

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving ~ Albert Einstein

Implementation of my ‘new life strategy’ has been boding well for me in terms of managing my life, expectations, and improving overall well-being.  Not only am I feeling better about NOW, my yoga practice has also changed significantly.  My awareness is deeper and I find that I am cutting through the mental bullshit and getting to the clearing in my mind and body more expeditiously. I am finding new depth and strength on a more subtle level on the mat and off.

When we go from feeling stuck to developing a strategy and then taking action – we create momentum – we send other things into motion.  Things begin to happen – we taste the savory nature of small successes and begin to feel energized and motivated.  The challenge?  Maintaining it.

A couple of things I have learned in maintaining momentum in life/business:

1.  Keep your goal visible:

  • In business I always liked to keep my goals visible.  This was something I could always use to speak into and use to determine actions of my team.
  • When thinking of designing your life – create a vision that includes short term, mid term, and long term goals.  Let this vision include words and images that inspire and keep you motivated.  A vision board may not be your cup of tea, but the reality is we all need something to remind us of what we are actually working towards.
  •  Make it dynamic.  Your vision may change as a result of a new idea – and that’s okay.  If you get a fresh idea include it…this IS part of a creative process.  Also, if an old idea just doesn’t jive any longer – let it go.

2.  Revisit & remind yourself and others of your goals.  Companies do this monthly and or quarterly based on results….shouldn’t we do the same?

  • Determine what’s worked and what hasn’t.
  • What new actions need to happen or old actions need to go.
  • Remind yourself and your support group or team – this goes a long way in maintaining momentum and motivation.

3.  Capitalize on the energy from one success to move to the next – immediately.

  • The best time to do something is when you are inspired to do it. Not only are you more motivated after a success you are also energized. Use this energy while you have it.

4.  Consistency/Discipline in your actions:  Whether you’re in business or dealing with a personal transformation – staying disciplined to the tactics/or actions is important particularly over long periods of time (I thank my ashtanga practice for giving me this discipline).

  • Look at your weekly goals and determine the daily actions necessary to accomplish those and do your BEST to do them daily.   I like to use certain days for certain actions.
  • Build in a buffer knowing that life is going to ‘happen’.
  • Be realistic with your time and action list.  Focus on the priority goals and perhaps get rid of anything superfluous.

5.  Be the Tortoise – as in the Tortoise and The Hare.  Keep moving forward with modesty and perseverance (this goes hand in hand with consistency).

  • Are you familiar with sprinting out of the starting gate the suddenly stopping when you’ve gained traction? This quickness and overzealous nature can lead to burnout, exhaustion, injury (if dealing with exercise or even yoga), or taking too long of rest (i.e. a vacation).  The result of this means you end up falling behind and then racing to catch up again.
  • Consistency cultivates steadiness. Peaks cultivate burnout (in some shape or form). Valleys cultivate laziness or dullness.
  • Set yourself up for success by creating an achievable and realistic pace as well as being aware of your efforts.

6.  Create Balance:  We all need to take a break from our regimes in order to re-fuel. Think of a road bike team that works together.  They are moving forward at an aggressive pace, but at certain times the front rider drops back to draft and rest.  They also have rest days built into their practice.  They create a pace and strategy that is fervently moving forward and manageable over the long haul.

  • Include YOU in your time management or schedule.  Time for personal growth (classes, etc…), reflection, and your health (eating well and exercise).
  • Take rest on days your body or mind demand it or better yet, include days of rest in your schedule.  Make sure the rest is consolidated and actually rejuvenating. More than a day here or there may be a warning sign that you’ve been working too hard (this would apply to even to too much exercise).
  • If you find that you are swinging too far up or too far down in terms of your efforts, get to a place where you can regroup and then set up a paceline or strategy that is achievable and do your best to stick to it.

Momentum requires diligence and steadiness.  These are just a few tips, but I would love to know what are some of the things you currently do to maintain momentum and consistency in your efforts?

And remember, it’s all just practice…