Word of the Month: Support

Support- it’s something we all need. The support of the earth working in opposition to our muscles to hold us upright, the support of our beds to allow us to soften and sleep, the support of people in our lives to help us grow, love, and feel safe.
For many people, asking others or allowing others to support them feels uncomfortable. Our lives have become increasingly busy and stressful, and as a result, it has led us to collectively adopt a mentality that we should be able to handle it all by ourselves.
I was one of those people. Things shifted for me, though, early on in my divorce when I broke my ankle (okay, my dog broke my ankle). I was suddenly more alone than I’d been in a long time and felt like I had no one to help me. I remember one evening coming home after the kids were already asleep, I had stairs to climb in order to get to my room, and I desperately wanted to take a glass of water up with me. It was terrible. I think it took me about 20 minutes and – quite a few tears to accomplish the feat. It was at that moment that I truly acknowledged what a vulnerable place I was in. I became clear that if I continued attempting to manage my life on my own, I would either end up spending unmanageable amounts of time accomplishing every task – or at the very least – I would be crying all of the time. Neither scenario was optimal, and I had the time for neither.
I began allowing myself to ask for and accept help. First, it was prodding my children; then, it was accepting offers from my friends. I finally noticed I had it down with a simple act. I was trying to get into my car with a coffee cup in my hand. Without even thinking, I turned to a stranger near the car next to me and asked them if they could please open my car door for me. Simple but impactful. They willingly did it, and I was proud of myself that I hadn’t flinched nor resisted the need to ask for outside support from a stranger.
We all need help, and we all need the support of those around us. Allowing ourselves to accept this and then asking for it is a transformational thing if you take that first step. Not only does it make our lives better, but it also fills up others. Visit the feeling that arises when you are truly able to help a friend of yours in need. There is an undeniable deepening of the connection you feel to them, and your friend is given a chance to be a grateful recipient of your unrelenting support. It’s a Win-Win!
Katina (a Lead Dailey Method Master Teacher Trainer) recently described it this way: “I think of support as the myofascial release balls meant to smooth out the discomfort of change. Increasingly as 2020 came and went and then 2021 moved upon us – it was a constant exercise in continual CONTRACTION and ENDURANCE because there was so much change and uncertainty.
As we ease into May, and it feels like things are shifting more towards normal, allow yourself the opportunity to sit, lie down, find a stretch position and just release into the support of the ground. Don’t force; simply give in to the feeling of being lifted up, held, and then drop into a deepened capacity to let go and surrender.
Be.
Drape.
Stay.
Breathe.
….then…
Move.”
Support this process inside of you.
Do it both within your body and inside of your relationships.
Because I believe, if we can adopt this way of being, we will be able to see ANYTHING through – together!
Love, Jill

Ways to Go Green for Earth Day (and Everyday)

Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on how environmentally friendly we truly live and to incorporate ways to give our utmost respect to this planet we call home. Designating one day out of the year to give our gratitude and love to Earth is great, but we can easily extend this environmental consciousness to our everyday lives.

Here are a few easy things you can do today on Earth Day and every day to go just a little bit greener.

1.Buy a reusable to-go cup

Every year, 16 billion–yes, with a B–disposable coffee cups are used. These to-go cups are coated with plastic laminate and plastic lid; they also require precious resources like trees and water for their creation. An easy fix to the mass amount of wastefulness is a reusable to-go cup. Not only will the Earth thank you, but you may also get a little discount on your daily coffee or tea for bringing your own cup!

2. Incorporate air-purifying plants into your home

Plants can absorb toxins and purify the air, which is good for the planet and your health; adding plants into your home décor is a beautiful eco-friendly way to improve both design and air quality in your home. Some plants are better air-purifiers than others, so choose carefully. English Ivy, Bamboo Palm, and Peace Lilies are excellent choices. Plus, they make attractive additions to your home décor!

3. Avoid single-use products when possible

Whether it’s small travel size plastic bottles of toiletries, make-up removing cloths, plastic floss and toothbrushes, plastic utensils, paper plates, or anything that can be used one time only, convenience comes at a cost. Over the decades, industries have provided us the blind luxury of convenience without thinking about how this affects the planet. Now, with so many reusable options, is the time to weigh convenience and environmental impact. Is the waste really worth the single-use product? For products – try instead purchasing the largest size you can and distributing that into single or multi-use bottles. So many manufacturers are now offering eco-friendly refillable pouches that can save you money and help the planet.

4. Avoid fast-fashion

Shop second-hand or try shopping sustainable clothing brands. Going with the latter can be pricey, especially if you’re a shop-a-holic, but minimalism is in right now. I’m an advocate of heightening my wardrobe by shopping for one or two versatile pieces that I love rather than purchasing an over-abundance of clothes. It’s better to buy one expensive item you love and will wear over and over again than to purchase items that will sit in the back of your closet. In the long run this will actually save you money too!

5. Recycle

Recycling has been around for a while, so if you’re not doing it yet, then please start!! The key to recycling is to sort your waste correctly, check your local codes for what can be recycled. Trying to avoid the use of plastic all together can help too, but this isn’t always achievable; however, you’ll be surprised by how often you can use glass products over plastic if you pay attention!

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

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