Word of the Month: Compassion

Talk to yourself as you would to someone you love.

— Brene Brown

 

The meaning of compassion is to recognize that there is suffering and then to take action to help. It means embodying a tangible expression of love for those who are suffering.

As I reflect on this word and our theme for April, it’s incredibly noticeable how our world would benefit greatly from a unified effort to become a more compassionate society. Right? There is such an obvious need for us to make progress that will create peace and symbiosis for all humankind. This way of living should (must) be threaded into our way of living in each step of our daily lives. It’s each and every one of our responsibilities.

I consider myself a compassionate person. I’ve taken workshops on compassion; it is a common theme in my conversations with my children and my daily meditation practice. Yet as much as I feel able to hone an ability to be compassionate towards others, I notice often that I struggle with returning the same gift of allowance towards myself. This is especially true when I’m feeling more challenged in my life situations. And life has been incredibly challenging this past year!

I had the thought the other day, while I was inside the spin cycle of self-criticism, that in order to feel better and turn my day around, I just needed to cut myself some slack- or at the very least be okay with my shortcomings. At first, it was difficult for me to make the shift, yet I found that even as I focused on my intention to dig deep enough to find self-compassion – something inside of me began to change. I felt a surrender. I became okay with the feelings and then was able to take action and move into a place of self-acceptance because of the compassion I found for myself. After all, ideally, none of us ever intentionally mess up, fall short, or purposefully choose a path that does not feel good to another. When I put it that way to myself, I was able to realign with my intention and understand and accept that what I was telling myself didn’t translate with my belief of self. Thank goodness we always have a second chance to try again with a desire to do and be better. Second chances are great!

A thought that helps me realign with self-compassion is to remember that when I make mistakes or find myself struggling, it’s common to feel like I’m the only one experiencing those emotions. This is what makes us human and connects us all. We all suffer and experience setbacks. Instead of isolating myself from others, remembering that I’m not alone with what I’m feeling- I must choose to resist the urge to compare myself or my process with others. Hard, but so important.

When painful moments arise, my advice is to be mindful of the feelings that come up versus suppressing them, identify what you’re feeling, and refrain from any judgments that may come up around your emotions. Being aware of your emotions is different than getting lost in your own story and feeding into the drama. Oh the drama!!

I did some research and learned that there are only 3 steps for compassion toward others and toward self. 3 steps is obtainable!

For Compassion towards others: Daniel Goleman says: True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” —

  • Bring attention or awareness to recognizing that there is suffering
  • Feel emotion and moved by that suffering
  • Wish for there to be relief from that suffering

For Compassion towards ourselves, Dr. Kristin Neff says, “treating yourself like someone you care about with support, encouragement, and warmth.”

  • Self-kindness
  • Common Humanity
  • Mindfulness

And how this relates to your TDM class practice:

  • While practicing, notice where you can begin practicing compassion for yourself in how you actively choose to lift yourself up versus beat yourself down. Notice ways you can get involved to bring about this same change around you by motivating and inspiring others.
  • Remember! Getting out of position in class is not giving up! It is having compassion for your body that is merely asking for you to press the reset button!
  • Notice those around you, whether indoors, outdoors, or on the Zoom platform- that everyone has the same set of challenges as you! Collectively invite compassion into your room by allowing whatever is there to be fully and lovingly accepted! If you need to reset, redirect your focus, or leave and come back into the room – do it! This is the same way compassion spreads out in our world.

My ask for myself and for you:

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Dalai Lama

Who could say it better?

Compassionately,

Jill

Benefits of Morning Movement

We all know that exercise and movement are amazing for us at any time of day, but did you know that getting your movement in first thing in the morning comes with additional health benefits? Regardless of whether you choose to go for a walk, do a Dailey Virtual or Online class in the comfort of your living room, head to your local Studio or go for a bike ride, morning exercise is a fantastic way to start your day and comes with a range of additional benefits including more energy and less stress. Who doesn’t need that right now!

With days full of juggling work and family priorities, I know how tempting it can be to sleep through the alarm and skip a morning workout. This pandemic has definitely taught me that prioritizing my morning exercise allows me tremendous benefits and the space in my day for more time, because it’s already done! If you can get into the habit of getting your daily exercise in before you go to work, you can take advantage of these proven benefits:

Better Mood. Checking exercise off your list first thing in the morning not only starts your day with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you’ve done something great for your health and well being, but it will also reward you with a rush of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine – those post-workout feel-good chemicals that help boost your mood throughout the day. With morning exercise, you are less likely to allow traffic, running late, or that never-ending zoom meeting upset you.

Better Focus: There are a lot of studies out there now that by exercising in the morning it can actually help you focus better through the entire day. It’s proven that people suffering from attention deficit disorder feel much more balanced, present and successful when morning movement is prioritized. And I don’t know about you- but I believe almost everyone has a hard time focusing these day. This is a great day to help jumpstart your brain.

More Energy. Regular exercise is excellent for boosting energy and reducing fatigue. When you move your body, oxygen and nutrients travel to your heart and lungs, improving the cardiovascular system, your endurance, and overall stamina. By starting your day with exercise, you will feel more energized throughout the day.

Manage Stress. Movement is a natural remedy for stress. Getting in your workout before your day gets going will lower your body’s cortisol levels (stress hormones). Morning exercise will also help relieve tension and relax your muscles, which fights the negative effects of stress on your body. Physical activity is a natural remedy for stress.

Better sleep. A workout revs you up, boosting your heart rate and core temperature, and if you do that a few hours before bedtime, some people find it more challenging to fall asleep; working out in the morning leads to deeper, longer, and higher-quality sleep when you finally hit the pillow 15 or so hours later.

While getting a morning workout routine can be tough for you, I promise it is really worth the effort. Creating the habit is the hardest part. Start as slow as you need to, give yourself grace when you don’t succeed but commit to sticking with it. You will reap the health benefits and enjoy a much healthier and positive day every day. And we’re here for you every morning. A Dailey dose may be just what you need!

Word of the Month: Begin

be·gin – start; perform or undergo the first part of (an action or activity)

 

When I reflect on the word “begin” my thoughts are pulled towards those of intention, thoughtfulness, allowance of space, breath and awareness.

The way we begin something sets the tone for the entire process and ultimately affects our end result. In a Dailey Method class, we always begin our practice with a few deep breaths in order to bring us more present. It’s a way to center ourselves in our space, it allows us to arrive at the door of our practice and then settle into our bodies. It gives us the opportunity to truly be in the moment and move forward with an intention of newness.

I love the word “begin” because it’s reflective of the here and now. I was listening to a Master Class recently with Jon Kabat-Zin, a meditation teacher. I loved how he expressed (my words not his) how every current moment is the space from where we move forward. It gives us the opportunity to continually begin anew. We all have regrets in our life but focusing on them will never be productive. In fact, giving ourselves an allowance to leave those shortcomings in the past and then move forward from the present moment onward, frees us of negativity and is a true gift. It’s a place where only “the now” exists. This awareness gifts us the space and grace to believe in our best selves from here onward – each and everyday. This is immensely powerful for me and can be truly life transforming.

As we approach the Spring and all of the awakening and renewed energy the season brings, I am filled with gratitude. After all, the winter we’re each coming out of has not been an easy one. That said, as we practice the concept I mention above, and decide to begin again – I believe this undoubtedly will lead us towards boundless possibility.

Let’s “begin” a new month on a new foot, together, If we each focus on this small intent great things will make their way to our horizons.

Other thoughts I had when reflecting on beginning anew are:

  • Sometimes a “pause” is the best beginning. Begin a response to a question or interjection into a conversation with a pause. This can be such a powerful way to not only ensure you’re truly listening, that the other person is being heard, but also give you the space to really say what you mean, not always the gut reaction or what you feel.
  • I absolutely love beginning my day with an affirmation. From the moment I wake up I try to think of something positive to align my day with that energetic path. It’s as simple as “it’s going to be a great day” or “I’m happy”. A friend of mine begins his day by setting his alarm to a song that brings positivity into his thoughts. He changes it monthly but the current one is “Love and Happiness by Al Green. ❤️

Here are ideas from Katina to think about BEGIN in your Dailey Method practice:

  • In the start of class, when marching, envision that this march or lift is your first step to begin anew. Be intentional each time and feel your strength, power and perseverance that will see you onward towards great things – including a great class to build strength and support your body and health.
  • When you’re holding a position – close your eyes and from the ground up, begin a sequential check of each body part in space. Own the space you take up on your mat and notice the exact moment you begin to feel an exercise you know so well differently.
  • When you need a reset- acknowledge that it is NOT giving up! It’s the BEGINNING of you preparing yourself for a powerful finish to this exercise. If you have come out of position, take a breath – gather your strength and smarts and BEGIN again!

Every single moment of every single day is your opportunity to begin anew. Embrace it and embrace yourself. You’re beautiful, amazing and can accomplish anything you set your mind on.

Love,

Jill

Word of the Month: Self Love

Your best life, the one you deserve, begins with self-love. If we lack love for ourselves, it’s incredibly difficult to allow others to love us – or to even share our love with those around us. To be able to stare back at our reflection in a mirror and be able to say “I love you” is a practice we must all aspire towards.

One of my favorite meditations that drives this messaging home is on “Insight Timer” with Sarah Blondin. You can access it here:

Sometimes, when I’ve said or done something I wish I hadn’t, I struggle to find love and compassion for myself. In these times, I look for a quiet place to sit and focus on a few affirmations that are really powerful in allowing myself to move past the moment I’m stuck in. This process gives me the space I need to move forward towards my greatest potential and unequivocally helps me reconnect to self-love and forgiveness for my imperfections.

Here are a few of the affirmations I tap into:

  • I am enough, I matter
  • I do not have to be perfect
  • My flaws are my character, and they are beautiful
  • I am beautiful
  • I love myself, my body, my heart, and my soul
  • I am deserving of love
  • I am deserving of success and happiness
  • I choose myself
  • I am doing my best
  • I do not need validation from others
  • I believe in me
  • I forgive myself
  • Positive thinking creates my positive life

Once we all commit to practicing self-love daily, we 100% have more gas in our tanks to provide authentic love to others. If you find yourself lacking or depriving yourself of this gift – make it a practice to pull in some positive affirmations. In class, do things like feel the floor holding you up and feel what it feels like to turn this into a metaphor for how there are supports around us all of the time, just take the opportunity to notice and submit. Or when you are in a stretch and forward fold, notice the surrender and calm of bringing two parts of your body closer together transforming this awareness into the metaphor of giving yourself an internal hug.

Lastly, in our day to day lives and certainly in our Dailey Method practice, sometimes self-love shows up when you allow yourself a break by taking a reset of a position or pulling back a little in honor of your body’s messages. In life, it could just be taking a walk to breathe some fresh air to clear your mind. Regardless of where, the little bits of added support you provide and then gift yourself are simple and tactile ways of demonstrating SELF-LOVE.

Do it.

Be the ripple effect.

Loving yourself, first, is the gateway to giving others permission to do the same.

10 Healthy Habits for a Healthier Life

After the absolute longest and most challenging year ever, 2021 is finally here. Hurray!!!! Even though Resolutions are not my thing- continually trying to adopt healthy habits to ensure mental health and physical health is always top of mind.

Sticking to new, healthier habits doesn’t mean that you need to completely turn your life upside down; instead, if we focus on choosing healthy habits that feel good and fit easily into our lives, it’s so much easier to see them through.

Here are 10, Dailey-approved habits that can lead to healthier living for everybody, and they are easy to adhere to. Whether you pick a couple from the list below or take on the whole list is up to you, but one thing is for sure: your body will thank you for the healthy changes you make.

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

If you’re like most, you’re probably not drinking enough water. Drinking plenty of water helps your body perform its natural detoxification functions and keeps you looking and feeling your best. Upping your water intake can support energy, digestion, and skin health. I always start my day with a large glass of warm water with lemon, turmeric and cayenne. It’s a great detoxifier and starts my day with a boost of hydration before my coffee. So how can you make it easy to drink more?

Prepare it the night before– I make sure there’s water in the teapot, squeeze ½ a lemon, a dropper of turmeric tincture and two shakes of cayenne pepper in a glass so that it’s really easy to do that first thing in the morning. But even putting a large glass next to your bed to start your next day off is a great step.

Set a reminder – Put your phone to use and set an alert every hour to drink up. A simple reminder could be all you need!

Keep a water bottle handy – Carrying a full water bottle with you makes it simple to stay hydrated throughout the day. And the bigger it is the better!

Jazz it up – If you’re struggling to drink water due to the lack of flavor, add a squeeze of lemon or lime or experiment with fruit-infused water. I love to add Nuun tablets occasionally to encourage me to drink the entire glass.

Eat your water – Believe it or not, some foods like watermelon, cucumber, and celery are over 90% water.

2. Eat something green every day

We hate to sound like your mother, but… eat your vegetables! Make it a goal to put at least one green thing in your body every day. Add a handful of spinach to your smoothie, have a salad before dinner, or swap zucchini noodles for pasta. Once eating your greens becomes a habit, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to regularly add more vegetables to your meals.

3. Move every day

There are some days that you might not have time to do a full workout. But we all have 15 minutes, and if you have 15 minutes, you have enough time for a quick workout. Think of all the things you can do in 15 minutes; take a brisk walk, hop on your mat for a quick yoga session, enjoy a quick Dailey Online workout or just do a plank (the powerhouse of all exercises!). A little bit of exercise is better than none at all, and even a short walk or 2 minutes focusing on your alignment and core is enough to boost your endorphins and get your heart rate up. Don’t be surprised if your quick workouts slowly inspire you to carve out even more time to move.

4. Meditate

The world we live in is loud and busy; it’s difficult to not let the chaos affect your mental health. Sometimes creating the time to step away and quiet our minds is just what the doctor ordered. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, its recent surge in popularity has piqued the interest of many, and with good reason. Research has shown that meditation can have some physiological and psychological benefits.

You don’t need a lot of time in your day to reap the benefits of meditation. The trick to making meditation work in your life is starting small. All you truly need is a quiet, comfortable place to sit and 5 minutes. Your meditation practice can be as simple as sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing, or you can opt for a guided meditation with us on Dailey Online or use Insight timer for access to a variety of incredible teachers!

Taking just 5 minutes each day to meditate can reduce stress and anxiety and bring about mental clarity.

5. Eat less processed foods

When you fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and begin to eliminate processed junk from your diet, you’ll likely notice a difference in the way you feel. It can be challenging to cut processed foods entirely out of your diet, so aim for progress over perfection here. Eat oatmeal instead of cereal for breakfast, opt for an apple and nut butter or carrot sticks and hummus for snack versus an over-processed granola bar.

6. Get outdoors

Sunlight and fresh air have such a positive effect on the way we feel mentally and physically. Make it a habit to get a minimum of 5 minutes of fresh air every day. We’re guessing once you get outdoors, you’ll want to stay a little longer.

7. Laugh every day

What is life if we can’t enjoy ourselves? Laughter is so good for us and truly one of my favorite things to do – it boosts our mood and can reduce stress. If you’ve had a tough day, make it a point to call your funniest friend for a chat, tease your children 😂 or check out some funny videos online. Even just making yourself put a smile on your face can immediately change your mood.

8. Adopt a life-long learner mentality #always be a student

Have you ever watched a young child as they learn a new skill? Their confidence surges, and they light up the room with their excitement. The confidence in learning is something we can all benefit from. Set aside time weekly or even monthly to focus on your growth, whether it’s in your profession or just in a personal interest. Not only will you feel great, but you’ll also set a good example to those around you.

9. Turn off your devices an hour before bed

Screen time before bed keeps your mind busy and engaged, which is the last thing your brain needs before drifting off to dreamland. On top of that, the blue light emitted from screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, which means you might have a hard time falling and staying asleep. Rest is essential to being your best self, turning off devices at least an hour before bed allows your body to get the rest it needs. Get in bed and read a (real) book instead!

10. Practice Presence

With the busyness of the world, we often try to do too much at once, which doesn’t give us much time to appreciate the beauty that is present in each day. Whatever you are doing: cooking, eating, exercising, reading, or spending time with loved ones, be present, and fully there (your meditation practice will definitely help you with this!). Leaving the distractions and smart devices behind while you focus on a task can reduce stress, strengthen relationships, and improve overall mental health.

Adding these little steps to your day can create incremental changes which can create habits that have lifelong positive lasting effects!

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