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How to reshape your movement practice during the winter months

15271885_10154778028474776_6318546513650062579_oIt’s winter here in California – as it is for the rest of the hemisphere. With winter, many of us feel challenged to move enough. And yes, we don’t have “real” winter here, but it’s “real” enough when I see my students spending less and less time outside walking and more and more time still and at home. Roland and I are also magnetically drawn to the fireplace, cup of tea in hand and no intention to go out after dinner….So if it’s bad for us down here, what about our students in colder place, like Canada?

What used to be a sunny and easy walk on the beach is now a wet trot in the rain. You can see me in the picture above, squatting in full winter gear, base layers and all, taking some pictures of birds in the rain just last week. So whether you are here in warmer climate or somewhere else, winter is asking for a few adjustments to routine.

Here are 5 ways to make your movement practice more winter friendly, or um, make your winter more movement friendly:

  1. Choose appropriate clothing for your outdoor activities. Yes, it’s cold out. But you can get your wool socks and shirts out and warm up. As soon as you get out the door and start walking, running, biking, your own heat will provide all you need to feel comfortable. It may be worth investing in a pair of fleece or wool leggings and undershirts, so you can enjoy freedom of movement without being weighted down. When you have the right gear, it’s easy to say yes to your morning walk. I cannot tell you what a huge difference my rain boots have made to my beach walks. They almost motivate me to get out there and play! The same goes for your indoor practice. If the ice cold floor of your studio is repelling your single leg balance – get those sticky toe-socks on and get moving.
  2. Change your focus. While walking, hanging, running, hiking and water sports may be the meat and potatoes of your summer movement routine, winter gives an invitation to go inside and see what’s to explore there. This is the perfect time for an indoor climbing gym, a new dance class, or a membership to movement classes, such as the ones offered by Katy Bowman at Nutritious Movement. Maybe you have been waiting a long time to start arial yoga, or indoor swim lessons….use this colder time to do it.
  3. Don’t be all black and white. Just because you aren’t getting the same amount of quality of walking ( I know for sure the slippery sidewalks of my homeland are no place to be walking in winter), that doesn’t mean some walking won’t be possible. Maybe a shorter walk in the city, yet a longer hike on the weekend through the snow, with all the trimmings – sledding, snowshoeing, snowman building, the cool forts only people who live in the snow can boast – there is so much to explore out that isn’t about covering the same distance that you do in the summer. You body loves variability and seasons unmistakably provide the circumstances where you can go with the flow.
  4. All day movement is all day movement, rain or shine. We talk about this in our sessions, and even in our latest book all the time – it’s not the small amount of time we spend exercising, it’s the all day movement that makes the biggest difference to our health! How you inhabit your daily environment makes all the difference. Are you in an office all day? Plan your movement breaks every 30 minutes – take a short stretch break or walk to get a glass of water or to connect with a colleague. If you are at home trade the couch for the floor, play with pets and kids and do more housework and home improvement projects. The winter months are perfect to clean out clutter from the garage, reorganize closets and cupboards, finish small paint projects…when you make it about movement the work load is suddenly lighter! Win-win!
  5. Catch up on quiet practices. Mindfulness practice, also known as meditation is becoming more and more popular and accepted throughout schools, companies and organizations. What was once a strange practice reserved for a few members of certain groups or beliefs is now widely accessible through books, apps, classes and retreats. Winter time is naturally a time to go in, move on the inside and store reserves and inspiration for the spring when you are ready to come out and carry out the new ideas and intentions with fresh insight and ample energy. Check out Headspace and Insight Timer for a way to start your practice today.

How do you mold your movement practice to fit the winter months? Comment below and let me know!

p.s. If you have been considering working with me in private, I have 2 spots for new students open in December and January. Shoot me an email at movewellstudio@gmail.com and grab 50$ off your initial assessment when you mention this blog post!

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2015 is here, try these three new practices…

I hope you had a lovely time during the Holidays!

I am entering this new year with gratitude toward everything in 2014, but also with hope and faith for a 2015 where I can see what was planted in 2014 take deeper roots and grow to be visible and strong!

There are new habits and activities my family started in 2014 and below is an invitation for you to join us on this journey – whether as friends and clients in real life or as in-a-land-far-away online followers.

TAKE THE STEEP PATH

Whether literally, as in choosing a steeper more challenging route for your weekend walk, like we did this Saturday, or figuratively, as in choosing a career move or change in creative direction – go for the steep. Yes, your legs may burn on the way up, there may be sharp learning curves, but the view is fantastic.

In 2014 I completed my beginning year of Somatic Experiencing ® training. It by far exceeds anything steep that I have had to learn and experience. My insights, new skills and abilities are already shining bright in my own life and the life of my clients. I am enjoying the path, and the view from the top. Is there an even steeper route ahead? You bet.

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GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEE(S)

We often live life in the high places of desks, chairs, couches. But getting down to the floor, to play with a toddler, pick up a toy, do some natural movements like squatting or crawling, or garden, can reawaken all of our joints. We have an infinite number of possibilities to move, maneuver, duck, roll, crouch, clamber, climb. Sadly, only a small portion of our day is dedicated to any sort of natural human movement. I give you 1 point to touch the ground with one knee and 2 for two knees every day this year, at least once a day. Are you in?

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MAKE SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS

You don’t have to be talented. Doodling and making crooked clay cups still counts. Touching cookie dough as you make it into pretty shapes counts. Use your hands to create something – like Picasso said: “Painting is one way of keeping a journal” (or something to that effect). Being creative with no criticism and agenda helps the body relax, the mind to clear and the spirit to get invigorated. So much of the chronic tension and pain I deal with in my daily work stem from creative blocks and frustrations, or the inability to integrate turbulent life experiences through the mind and body. Being creative will free your body for movement and new experiences, so we can all move into a healthier 2015.

10519007_905199729490073_6302072463060268063_oAre you in?