I am a professional life coach who specializes in transformational and integrative coaching methods, so I am all about living more authentically by embracing all aspects of yourself as thoroughly as possible. By leaning on your strengths and values, while being aware of your weaknesses and triggers, you feel more whole and complete as you move through the world. When you move through the world from a place of feeling whole and complete, it’s possible to be more vulnerable, open, and compassionate towards others because you’re actively working to embrace all your “stuff” instead of just the shiny bits. This year, all my intentions of what to cultivate more of in my life and experience can be summed up in three words: health, wealth, and travel. I know that part of the foundation of my intent is making fitness a priority even more than ever now because “fit over forty” is more challenging than fit under forty. I have also developed a keen awareness that keeping my mind sharp is equally important for my overall health, whether we’re talking physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. I also know that none of these aspects is separate from the others, so I’m constantly seeking ways to integrate instead of compartmentalize.
It’s the end of January and I live on the side of a mountain. It’s been raining for almost 48 hours straight and it’s cold, gray, foggy and soggy. Many of my clients and friends experience SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and the older I get, the more I feel this affect as well. My point is that even with the best of intentions, sometimes the motivation is hard to muster. This rainy Sunday afternoon, though, I had an idea that felt so energizing that it motivated me to get up off the couch, turn off the Hulu, turn on some music (I chose my Pandora Madonna station today), pull out my erg (oh, Concept2 ergie, how I appreciate you!), and unroll my yoga mats. I pulled up my InsightTimer app and made a 40 minute pre-set with a 5 minute warm-up, and set up bells at every 5 minute increment. I set up a pen and paper with two short prompts written on them for intervals #4 and #8. I decided that I would be kind and compassionate towards the ADHD aspects of me that get a little frustrated with long haul workouts when it’s really all I kind do to light any kind of fire in me to work out. I pushed start on the timer and off I rowed!
I started off slowly, just loosening up and warming up all the big muscles in the legs, abs, back, arms very loose and barely doing anything. I did some short stroke drills: legs, body, arms, arms, body, legs. Woof! Mee-oww… Work! Rest. Rest. That sort of thing, honing in on the rhythm of the rowing stroke while I was reminded that everybody wants to rule the world. (What a great 80s song that seems to always roll through my Madonna station.) When that first bell rang, I picked up the pace and decided to find a stroke that felt like a bit too much to keep up for five full minutes, and then I backed off just a tiny bit from there and rowed hard for 5 solid minutes. By then, I was feeling excited and also thinking that a good downward facing dog and ujjayi breathing was coming up right in time!
Spending the next five minutes on my yoga mat gave me some great breath work and allowed me to find all the tight spots in my hips, shoulders, and back that the erg had heated up so nicely for me. Pigeon pose was exceptionally good during this brief yoga interval. Ding! Back to the erg for another round… I repeated a similar hard row, but this time I felt more open, free, and joyful! I could close my eyes, listen to the rain pattering on the roof, and feel a sense of swing over smooth water on a beautiful lake. It was perfect. My stroke felt strong, tall, and smooth. I highly recommend visualization work while your muscles burn with lactic acid – it sure does help pass the time. And those 5 minutes flew – ding!
This time I stood up, took a few sips of water, in between sips of nice solid air after rowing at a hard pace for those brief perfect-seeming minutes. Nodding approval at the ~1150-meter distance covered over that flowing row time, I took a seat at the table that had the pen and paper. “Ease – what would cultivating ease in all experiences of life look and feel like?” (Thanks, Danielle LaPorte, as that was inspired directly from a Fire Starter Sessions group on Facebook from earlier this week.) To my surprise, all kinds of things came pouring out of my pen: open heart; looseness in my body – especially at my shoulders, around my heart, in my belly; pushing only with energy of mind; calmness and clarity in my thoughts; sense of rightness in the 8-fold-path sense; CHOICE not by default or leftovers or last standing standards but CHOICE by discernment of specific desire; abundance always; no clenching or tightening – only joy and laughter, even over challenges, through tears and the endless clouds of grief and pain that are part of being human; ease does not equal easy; ease is a felt-sense inside – attainable through muscle memory and conscious awareness; freedom – love – joy.
I then repeated the 5 minute HIIT intervals, with a high energy Vinyasa flow piece my next time around on the yoga mat, and writing on the prompt “working at a distance” as I drank water and finished up the workout with my blood pumping hard and my pen writing furiously. Even more poured out than before, and this time, I walked away with some really specific actions to take towards goals that I set at the beginning of the year, connected to those highest intentions for my 2018 experience. I discovered that a physical workout that includes my 3 big habit-based strengths – rowing, yoga, and writing – I could get motivated to get my workout on and also tap into my own soul or higher consciousness or empowered self or God consciousness to get answers to the nagging question that always swirls around goals: how do I get there?
Give it a try! (Quick start instructions below) Or create your own multi-aspect workout that includes whatever your strengths are! I can’t wait to try this one out during swim season!
Mind + Body + Soul Rowing Workout
5 minutes – warm up row
5 minutes – row at a fast “cruise pace”
5 minutes – yoga (breathing and stretching) on a yoga mat
Suggestions: downward facing dog until your breath slows and ujjayi breath comes easily, lower down through plank pose all the way to mat, stretch up into cobra three times, back up to downard dog. Walk the dog, do some hip openers. Then walk up into a long hold on a forward fold, stretching out and continuing ujjayi. Repeat this or add lunges as time permits.
5 minutes – row a little faster, right on the edge of your pacing being unsustainable – “transport pace” in 2k race terminology
5 minutes – write for 5 minutes on unlined paper or line paper turned sideways on a pre-selected single word or phrase
Stretch for at least 5 minutes after the work out – all major muscle groups, including hands, wrists, and fingers.
Are you feeling too unmotivated or just plain stuck in general to get off the couch? Reach out to us and make an appointment for an initial coaching consultation call. All you need is a phone to accomplish your first step. Call or text 864-918-2914 or email email@example.com today.