Consolidate, Equilibrium, Bravery

In true New Years fashion, my inbox, Facebook page, and twitter feed suddenly became inundated with the particulars on how to set and keep a resolution. Most of it melded into the din of data I’m flooded with. A LOT of it ended up in my advice-happy spam folder, or in the trash- all but the exception of one. Chris Brogan, a media marketing and PR guru, has an interesting take on making good intentions stick. I was lead to his article and philosophy, My 3 Words for 2011, purely by proximity.

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Chris shelves the tradition of making resolutions and instead swaps it for 3 valid words to use as a touchstone to get him where he wants to go. The belief behind focusing on words initially instead of goals, is to allow you to have something to mull over, get you thinking, and make objectives. He uses the SMART (Specific, Measureable, Acheiveable, Realistic, and Timely) to define the actual goals, sound familiar?

Here’s my 3 words that are the backbone of my goals:

Consolidate
In my therapy sessions (yes I go to therapy thank you very much), I have been exploring my yearning to feel safe and stable. My life often feels like it’s water running through a sieve and I can’t hold onto anything solid for any length of time. In trying to get to the bottom of my plight, I discovered actual evidence that I had the ability to nourish and support myself- plug up the holes, so to speak, and it was right in front of my eyes. I’d catch a glimpse of it, which would be eclipsed as quickly as it arrived by my nay-saying gray matter. Betsy, (my AWESOME therapist), suggested that every time I identified an instance where me, myself, and I did the “care taking” effectively, I should write it down and put it in a vase or bowl. This way I could have a tactile method of calculating my abilities. The word Consolidate means- to make something physically stronger and more solid. My first goal in my journey to become more solid, is to make my strengths materialize in a vessel on my desk. Finding a vase or bowl-no problem, I love to shop. Write down my good deeds, cake. I’m a writer.

Equilibrium
Ok- who doesn’t need more balance in their life? For me, my need for Equilibrium is specific to my career. I own my own business, which means I’m the head honcho, the big cheese, the boss lady. It also means that if something needs to get done, I’m the one who has to do it. I’m a one woman show, so I am responsible for answering the emails, phone calls, balancing the books, and scheduling the clients. It’s a full time job, and I find myself having difficulty turning off, tuning out, stopping the hamster wheel. Some days I book myself so tightly that I scarcely have a moment to pee, let alone stuff a hurried meal in my pie hole. The madness has to end. My journey to Equilibrium is initiated with two goals. First- I’m setting designated times of the day to check and answer my emails and calls. Otherwise it’s ignore, ignore, ignore, and make room for something else. Secondly, I’ve made up my mind to become a 9-5er. I will designate a quitting time for my day, after which I will be DONE with anything that resembles my “day” job, making room for other things like seeing friends and maybe even my a date night with my lovely boyfriend.

Bravery
This new year has big changes pending. Although I welcome them, they are still piggy backed by doubtful thinking and restless nights. The definition of being courageous is to not be deterred by danger or pain. Not knowing what’s in store for me makes it so hard for me to move boldly forward, (see my need for Equilibrium above), but, that’s what we ALL must do. No one can see what life has in store for them- we can only pay attention to what’s in the moment. This year I will move ahead with my plan to open my own Pilates studio without being dissuaded by my insecurities. I will write down the steps, and put one foot in front of the other without trepidation (or at least less of it). If my path seems to be going left instead of right I will follow it courageously, with confidence that it’s exactly where I need to go. Physically, I will dare to try new activities like rock climbing, boxing, and tennis. Emotionally I will continue to set free the remaining butterflies in my gut and courageously grow in my relationships with everyone I hold dear, despite my timid tendencies.

Even in re-reading this piece, I am flooded with inspiration instead of desperation. In the old days of resolution setting- I would unknowingly set myself up for failure and disappointment by creating unrealistic page-long expectations for myself. Having three key words to focus on creates hope and possibility. I’m thrilled to see where I’ll go.

Make sure to post your 3 words in the comments below! We want to hear from you!

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Pillow-lates!

If you live in NYC like me chances are your apartment is the size of a postage stamp! Recently a friend of mine on Twitter told me she hadn’t been doing Pilates because she had no room in her tiny abode. Nonsense!!!! You can easily do Pilates right where you lay your head with extra benefits! I’m calling it Pillow-lates!

The softness of your bed creates even more resistance and puts you deeper in your “powerhouse” or core. Any of the Pilates repertoire can be done above the covers but here’s a 5 minute routine you can do to get you started!

The Hundred:
Start lying on your back. Bend your knees into your chest. Curl your upper body off the pillow. Stretch your legs out 45 degrees and begin pumping your straight arms up and down, beating your wings like an angry bird. Inhale for 5 counts. Exhale for 5 counts. 10 sets of this make 100. Keep your eyes focused on your abdominals pulling your abs in and up the whole time.

The Half Roll-back:
Begin seated with your feet flat on the bed, legs together, knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Place your hands behind your knee creases and tilt your tailbone under, to the back of your knees. Start to round your lowest vertebras toward the mat behind you as you straighten your arms, without moving your hands. Keep your gaze on your abdominals and pull them in and up. Round back forward keeping your tailbone tucked under and your abdominals pulled in tightly. Repeat 5 times concentrating on leading with your lower back and not your shoulders.

Rolling like a ball:
After your last half roll-back, sit forward on the bed so you have plenty of room behind you. Begin just like the half-roll back, this time lifting your feet off the mat once you’ve rounded your lower spine. Dive your head between your knees and make sure you are behind your sit bones. Pulling back in your abdominals roll this ball shape back and then back up with minimum momentum. Make sure your feet don’t touch the sheets when you come back up. If you can’t roll with a rounded spine, practice just the balance.

Partial Ab Series:
After rolling like a ball, lie back down and bend your knees into your chest. Curl your upper body up off the mat and look into your abdominals.
Single leg Stretch: Place both hands on your right knee, pull it into your chest as you stretch your left leg out on a 45 degree angle. Switch. 6 sets.
Double leg Stretch: Pull both knees into your chest, head off the mat. Stretch both legs out 45 degrees as you reach your arms long by your side. Inhale, then as you exhale return to your beginning position by bending you knees back into your chest. 6 sets.
Scissors: Knees into your chest again, head off the mat- extend both legs up to the ceiling placing both hands behind your straight right leg. Lower your left leg to 45 degrees. With both legs straight, switch them or scissor them back and forth grabbing behind each leg and pulling gently. 6 sets

Cat and Cow: Finish this basic routine by coming up to your hands and knees. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, arch your back, lifting your chest forward and your tailbone back. Exhale and round your spine looking into your abs curling your tailbone under. 5 sets and finish the last one by sitting your sits bones back to your heels and rounding your spine like a yoga child’s pose.

Want to get the full experience of Pilates? Visit FORM Pilates NYC for a customized Pilates workout that includes working on the apparatus in a private boutique environment. Get started for just $250 here. Don’t live close enough to visit. Grab our Beginner Mat DVD for the studio experience right in the comfort of your home.

 

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