Category Archives: Yoga

Body + Mind + Soul Workout

by Vicy L. Wilkinson, MA, BCC, Certified Concept2/UCanRow2 Indoor Rowing Instructor

Rowing Machine and Yoga Mats - Creative Workouts for People with ADHDI 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.

On the inside looking out

On the inside looking out.

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!

Automatic writing with a word promptThis 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

Vicy is a Concept2 / UCanRow2 Certified Indoor Rowing Instructor5 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
Repeat!

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 info@completelifecoaching.com today.

February Events – Relax & Enjoy

Relaxing Cat

Cats Make Excellent Relaxation Coaches!

Just SHOW UP and SHINE!

You are invited to join us for one or all of our upcoming February events, which you can find on Meetup.com or just RSVP through Facebook!  Some events are free, others are $5-15 per person.  All events are here to help you focus on YOU!

Here’s what’s coming up over the next few weeks…

Complete Life Coaching: Connect, Collaborate, Create

Greenville, SC
1,849 Awesome People

This is a group for people who desire living life beyond just surviving.  The group is hosted by professional coaches who work with people who are interested in THRIVING: in t…

Next Meetup

RestShop Series – RELAX

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018, 3:00 PM
6 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

February begins our new “RestShop” Series, which are all events intended for you to enjoy through relaxation, renewal, restoration, and quiet focus.  We’re hosting Gentle Yoga, meditation time, tea time with focused conversations on manifesting your visions, group coaching around creating ABUNDANCE in your life, and more.  We are excited to bring people together for the purpose of making time to dream, and for taking time to turn our dreams into reality!

Featured February events include two awesome opportunities in just one weekend! 

Ally Karge, RYT 200

Ally Karge, RYT 200

On Saturday, 2/17/18 from 3pm – 4:45pm we will host our first Gentle Yoga + Meditation Class.  This is a class for ALL yoga levels, and there will be modifications taught so that anyone of any age can receive the healing benefits of yoga.

We will finish yoga about 4:15.  The extra 1/2 hour is for tea + talk time to get to know each other a little better, if you wish.

RestShop Series – RELAX

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018, 3:00 PM

Complete Life Coaching – GTP offices & studios
1801 Rutherford Rd. Greenville , SC

6 Awesome People Attending

We all work so much, even when we’re “off work”, so CLC created a RestShop Series to help you slow down and relax… This one is all about RELAXATION! Gentle Yoga with Ally, RYT 200 + Golden Light Guided Meditation with Vicy, MA, BCC *All ages and all levels of practice welcome & encouraged. Modifications for chair yoga will be available.* Even if …

Check out this Meetup →

The Abounding River GameAnd then on Sunday, 2/18/18 from 3pm – 5pm, we will be facilitating an afternoon game of The Abounding River, which is meant to inspire, ignite, and renew impassioned ideas and goals!

RestShop Series – ABUNDANCE

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018, 3:00 PM

Location details are available to members only.

7 Awesome People Attending

We all work so much, even when we’re “off work”, so CLC created a RestShop Series to help you slow down and relax… This one is all about ABUNDANCE!Please join us for an afternoon of discovering abundance, joy, gratitude, and love in your life as we group play The Abounding River game and enjoy abundance-manifesting sharing and conversation. Faci…

Check out this Meetup →

Got questions?  Give us a call or text (864) 918-2914.

Ready to jump into coaching right now?  Call or text today to set up a one-on-one appointment.  We coach clients around the world, but we see them in person in Greenville, SC.

Summertime and the Living is Easy – Sometimes

Orchids in bloomIf someone asked me what my favorite thing about summertime is, I would have a hard time narrowing my answer down to just ONE thing.  I absolutely love to swim, so swimming ranks high on the list.  I truly enjoy eating fresh vegetables from the garden and farmer’s markets, and summertime food prep on the grill is pretty sweet too.  And then there are the vacations:  my own annual scalloping vacation is in the heat of the summer, lots of friends and family come to visit to take advantage of the outdoor fun times in the Appalachian Mountains, and I get to hear excitement and joy from clients as they look forward to their own breaks from the day-to-day. Summer also just feels like it’s teeming with life and energy runs high and the long days yield a lot of productivity, but still leave time for some rest and a nap in a hammock. The only thing about summertime, especially in the American southland, that gets a thumbs down from me is the bugs that are just incessant. (But that’s what lemon, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oils are for!)

Summertime is so sweet that it’s got its own anthem sung by the one and only Nina Simone, who reminds us in the soulfulness of her voice that life is long and complicated and filled with a full spectrum of emotions all the time, even in the summertime when the grass is high and the living is easy. And it is emotion, really, that’s on my mind this morning as I’m enjoying mist on the mountain over a rich cup of coffee.  I’ve been doing a lot of self-inquiry into my own emotional world while doing a lot of reading and listening to lectures and podcasts on the latest developments in the neuroscientific world around emotions, the brain, and the nervous system. There are a multitude of things I’d like to write about over the next few months, but today I am simply thinking about just how IMPORTANT emotions are and therefore how even more important it is that we all learn to discern what emotions we are feeling, especially when we dislike or disapprove of our own behavior or reaction to another person.

I went to bed far later than I meant to last night, as I got distracted with screens.  (Shocking, I know.  Who does that?) I was tired long before I stopped doing “just one more thing,” and turned everything off and got in bed, and by the time I did actually stop and get in bed, I was totally exhausted.  How many of you do this on the regular and find yourself feeling totally drained?  And how do you feel when you wake up after a too late night of distractions?

I realized last night that my emotions had gone flat because my “executive functions,” i.e., all that decision-making and task tracking and over-riding biological urges that tell you to go to sleep were zapped out entirely and my actions were absolutely on auto-pilot. This also meant that when I got in bed and my two sweet cats came into my bedroom to do their nightly power struggle ritual as to which one sleeps at my feet and which one sleeps near my head, I was at first mildly irritated.  After about 2 minutes, I was annoyed and my heart rate was increasing. After about 3 more minutes, I was angry and exhausted and weepy and I made both cats leave the room and sort themselves out somewhere else.  I had to just be still in savasana (yoga corpse pose) and do some calming meditation to ratchet my EMOTIONS back down to just tired and ready for bed.

So, it’s not that my emotions were flat beforehand, it’s that my brain and nervous system were both over-tired and over-stimulated, and my emotions were on a hair-trigger just waiting for some stimulus.  My response to that stimulus, which was from fuzzy creatures that I love dearly, was NOT loving.  Because when our nervous system is over-tired and over-stimulated, the emotions that tend to be triggered are not the sweet ones.

I had the luxury this morning of sleeping in without worries of an alarm clock disrupting the perfect sleep cycle, and was able to sleep soundly, for the most part.  When I woke up today, I immediately felt refreshed, happy to greet a Friday morning before a holiday, grateful for the rain that made sleep so blissful, and then super guilty for being so mean to my kitty cats. Thankfully, cats are more forgiving than people thanks to their smooth brains and infinite superiority complex.  But how often do our hair-trigger emotions lash out in ways that are way more destructive than my mild example above?  And just how much control do we have over such outbursts?

The answer is that most of us have precious little control over our emotions and lightning fast behavioral responses by the time we reach the end of a full day.

Earlier in the day, we have a lot more control, as long as we’ve had enough sleep and fuel for the most expensive part of our nervous system:  the big fancy brain and its prefrontal cortex. When we are feeling well rested, well fed, and in relatively low stress and positive mood, everything about our emotional world and the behavior it triggers is way more conducive to positive outcomes in our relationships and interactions with other people (and cats).

None of this is a revelation, nor is it revolutionary.  However, what I propose we all make time to do during the course of our overflowing days might be.  The world would be a much calmer, safer, happier place if we all took time outs for some restoration DURING our busy days instead of always running ourselves down to the cell phone battery equivalent of that 2% red line and then it just dies and the screen goes dark.

How do you do that?  Here’s a few things that I use, when I’m not trying to be super-overachiever-do-all-the-things-at-once woman and forget to take good care of my brain during busy days:

  1. Schedule a short nap or at least a “resting your eyes” time during your day (21 minutes is perfect and can leave you feeling refreshed without feeling “groggy” and this method works best on a day when you really did get enough sleep the night before.)
  2. Take short walks (inside or outside, though outside is best when possible) about every 2-3 hours throughout your day.  Just getting up and moving briskly for 5-10 minutes can really help re-set your brain.
  3. Do “cross crawls” for 30-60 seconds 5-6 times a day to clear out stress or frustration and give your brain a little break.
  4. Stretch and release your eye muscles by doing what I call the “clock” exercise.  You close your eyes for 10-15 seconds, and then open them and stretch them up (without moving your head up) to the 12 o’clock position and take a full, deep breath in and then out.  Move your eyes to 3 o’clock and repeat the full, deep breath.  Then to 6, 9, and back to 12.  And then reverse the cycle and repeat it moving your eyes counter-clockwise.  It takes about 2 minutes and is helpful to physically let go of eye strain, helps reduce headaches, and reduces stress in the nervous system because the eye circuits are really key circuitry in the brain.
  5. Listen to music, especially while doing tasks that require concentration and focus. Instrumental music is the most effective.
  6. Occasionally, when you are so overwhelmed and pressured that it seems totally impossible to do so, just don’t do all the things.  Or even better, don’t do any of the things.  Just don’t DO for a day on occasion.  Your body, mind, spirit – and relationships – will thank you.

To summarize, how you FEEL is what matters.  If you FEEL flat, watch out!  The trigger is hair sensitive.  But if you’re feelin’ good, then by all means, keep doing what you’re doing!

And if you’re struggling in creating the life you REALLY want, please reach out for help.  We are here to assist.  864-918-2914

Bundles of Joy

Joy Jar

Pouring out joy!

I began my now-annual tradition of keeping a “Joy Jar” in January of 2014 during a very dark period of grief and depression in my own life.  I felt lost, exhausted, and just so gravely sad almost every day, even though my coaching practice was growing and I was in the best physical shape of my adult life.  Grief is a monster, with long tentacles that invade all aspects of life.  I saw a little post on Facebook about “Joy Jars” and thought, “what the hell? It can’t hurt to look for some joy, so I’ll give it a try.”  You can read about my first year of this process here.

Joy Jar 2016-2017Cut to NOW – January 2017. Life has moved forward, and mine has seen a lot of improvement and positive growth as I’ve deepened my practice of documenting my own joy, as often as I possibly think to do so.  As I began emptying out my jar, right after two back-to-back holiday driving tours, I noticed immediately that 2016’s jar had a LOT more joy stuffed into it!  Thinking back over the roller coaster of global atrocities, polarizing politics, and the loss of so many cultural icons, I was quite pleased to see that I had kept my attention honed around seeking joy in spite of the news and the general state of affairs in the world.  I felt a little giddy as I pulled the bits of folded paper out onto the kitchen table.

Table full of happinessAs I began unfolding each piece and reading my own scrawl, I noticed that I wrote more detail and more feeling words than I had in previous years.  I wrote lots of tiny stories about whole days or weekends, or a particularly juicy conversation or experience, sometimes cross-referencing dates in my journal so that I could read even more, and I also noted how I felt.

I saw lots of good feeling words like excited, grateful, loved, ecstatic, surprised, relieved, woo hoo!, feeling acceptance, unconditional love, yay!, and hopeful.  I saw that my joy was very active, too, with all kinds of verbs like hiking, swimming, rowing, paddling, laughing, eating, noticing, cheering, savoring, traveling, loving, and more swimming. I could see myself on location when I read my narratives that included relaxation, deep conversations, sharing experiences, boating with friends in Florida, hanging with my family during their summer vacation trip to my mountain, long walk and talks in the woods with my best friend, playing outside, sharing favorite swimming holes with my favorite kids, seeing fireworks over the lake on 4th of July, driving… Basically, the Joy Jar of 2016 was EPIC.  As I read all my bits of joy, I got to soak them up and experience them all over again.  I could really transport myself to those moments scattered throughout the year and connect to the warm fuzzy inside that led me to write them down for the jar.

As it turns out, joy is an infinitely renewable resource!

Bundles of Joy

Growing Bundles of Joy

And now I see a whole new value in the practice of stuffing your smallest moments of triumph and most intense moments of pure joy and excitement into a jar to review at the end of a very long 365 days: doing so helps you be discerning in your future goals and plans.  You can see EXACTLY what makes you happy and then you can PLAN to do more of those things. When your life becomes your own in this way, you feel a deep sense of freedom, purpose, and peace. Energy flows where attention goes, so make sure energy is flowing towards filling your life with as much joy as possible.

Having already done a good bit of my strategic planning and goal setting over the next 12-18 months, I’m now using the patterns I’ve extrapolated from my joy jars to tweak those plans and goals. When you plant seeds of joy, you reap more joy.  This is such easy gardening, and you don’t even get your hands dirty. If you’ve never tried this simple practice to help you be more mindful of what makes you happy, get started right now!  Your January 2018 self will be forever grateful that you took these simple steps.

  • Step 1:  Find an empty jar. Or a box. Or a notebook even.
  • Step 2:  Fill it with little notes to yourself about moments of joy throughout the year.
  • Step 3:  Empty it out at the end of the year/beginning of next year and have the pleasure of re-experiencing your own joys as you read through all your notes and stories.
  • Step 4:  Repeat.

May your 2017 bring you JOY in many forms, and may you be paying attention so that you notice when you feel it!  Namaste.

Not feeling the joy? Feeling stuck and not sure how to get out of your rut?  Call today for a FREE phone or Skype coaching consultation !  (864) 918-2914 or email info@completelifecoaching.com

Vicy is a Board Certified Transformational Life Coach, founder of Complete Life Coaching, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Philosophy from Oglethorpe University (Atlanta, GA) and Durham University (England), respectively, with specialization in neuroscience, chemistry, and Eastern-Western philosophy of mind comparative studies, and a Certified Indoor Rowing Instructor.  When she’s not coaching or rowing, Vicy is also a yogini, wild water swimming enthusiast, Reiki master (Levels I & II), hula hooper, writer, speaker, and organic gardener. Vicy’s life purpose is helping others discover the best in themselves while learning to pursue their dreams and goals with proven strategies that’ll help them move mountains.

What is “Row-Ga!”?

rowgalogosmallWhat is “Row-Ga!”?
Interview with Laura Caylor, certified yoga teacher & Concept2 certified indoor rowing instructor

Join us for the third episode of our new 4-week Health & Wellness podcast series! This episode features an interview with Laura Caylor, certified yoga teacher, Supreme Science Qi Gong Level III, Thai Yoga certified, Concept2 certified rowing instructor, and pretty much one of the most fabulous women we know. She and her husband Lowell Caylor own Greenville Indoor Rowing in Greenville, SC, and Laura offers special “Row-ga!” classes Tuesday – Thursday at 11am.  We’ll talk about Laura’s personal yoga journey and discuss how the combination of yoga and rowing creates an amazing and inspirational workout that helps you build lean muscle mass, tone up, shed extra pounds, and learn to LOVE TO HAVE FUN again with people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages.

Learn more about GIR and Laura’s classes: http://www.greenvilleindoorrowing.com/.

Our Health & Wellness series is designed to give you a kickstart in motivation to explore some things that can help you build a better life and a better business… because when you feel great, everything is easier!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/completelifecoaching/2014/03/31/what-is-row-ga-interview-with-laura-caylor-certified-yoga-teacher