kirstie

Posts Tagged ‘strength’

Decluttering : Space : : Detoxing : Body – Part 1

In chi, Clutter, Emotions, food, Life skills, Lifestyle, mind, spirit, teaching on July 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

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There once was a beautiful house with high ceilings, large windows, spacious rooms and a lovely warm light flooded in through those large windows. A family fell in love with it and decided to move in. They bought, beds and couches, tables and shelves. They stacked the shelves and filled the closets and drawers until everything was full. Everything had a special place, and they were happy and settled.

The new home was clean and cozy, a perfect retreat for the end of a busy day in their new town. School had its new challenges for the children, and work was tough and tiring for the parents. Most nights everyone was too tired to do the dishes after dinner. And first thing in the morning, Dad had to take Josh to early morning swim practice, and this made Mum mad and she didn’t want to do the dishes all by herself. Ivy was just too small to help her. But she did them anyway. Then Josh’s room started to overflow into the hallway, and Ivy’s toys were strewn all over the house. Dad’s shoes were never in a neat row and Mum’s work papers kept getting lost on piles of papers on the dining table – where no one ate anymore because there was no room! Josh could never find any clean clothes, so new ones would be bought. Mum couldn’t find anywhere to store her work things, so she went to Ikea and bought a bunch of lovely neat boxes to use. But when she got home, she couldn’t find a good place to put them! So they sat in the entrance way, unopened. Dad couldn’t find his golf clubs and thought he must have given them away, so he went to buy new ones. Now those live in the entrance way too. One day Ivy stumbled and fell into them, and the whole bag of hard metallic clubs fell on her and she got a bad bruise!

Mum got really angry and told Dad he needed to move the stupid clubs or she would throw them away! After a big argument Dad put his clubs in the bedroom which made it really difficult to open the door properly. Then Dad took Mum’s new Ikea boxes and yelled that she needed to do something with them because he had to move his clubs from the entrance hall, so she had to as well! So Mum took them and crammed them, still unopened into a corner of her closet, squashing all her sweaters making them all crumpled. So now everyone in the new house was sad, hurt and angry, and the house was all a jumbled mess. Getting ready to go took an extra long time, and coming home felt depressing because it was so confusing and ugly everywhere. It felt like they always had to eat in the car because they were always late and needed drive through just to stay fed. Soon Mum started looking at new houses because she didn’t like this one anymore…

 

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There was once a beautiful boy with bright eyes, curious fingers and strong legs. His name is Billy. Everyday he grew more and more and more and soon he could walk and run and chase other little children in the park and playground. He started going to school and learned to play sports and how to use his words to communicate. He had a lunch box to carry his food and always had a white bread sandwich with a slice of meat and cheese between them, a chocolate milk, a bunch of grapes and a granola bar. When he was learning his multiplication tables one day he suddenly got really tired. He couldn’t remember how to do this set of numbers, but he knew he had done it only yesterday! But then the bell rang and it was time for the nutrition break. So our beautiful boy went to get his lunchbox and have his grapes. He went to play on the monkey bars too and when he came back inside, he remembered how to do the  multiplication table! When he got home he told his parents and they were so proud they said, “You can watch an extra hour of TV tonight!”

Now Billy is 16 and he works out in the school’s gym because he is on the rugby team. You have to be strong to play rugby, and you have to be fast. So Billy lifts weights with his team mates everyday and he also goes running on the track. But sometimes he just can’t lift enough, and he feels bad because his team mates can lift more. And when they run, he is often left in the back and runs out of energy… his muscles just can’t go on. This makes him sad. But one of his team mates says, “Don’t worry about it. You’ll keep training, and you’ll get faster and stronger! I know how to make you feel better. There’s a party this weekend, you should come! It will be fun!”

At the party Billy has a blast. He drinks beer, tries smoking pot and likes it, plays strip poker with some pretty girls and falls asleep really easily afterwards. In the morning he walks home with some other guys who stayed over and they all agreed to party more often. It felt great, and it was fun. So the next weekend, they do it again. This time someone says they should order pizza, and it was amazing! That was their new ritual – order pizza at midnight to satisfy their munchies. The guys keep going to the gym and lifting and running, but the group who have the party every weekend keep getting slower, they get heavier, and some have trouble breathing while they run. So they drop out of the team. Billy tries to stay  on the team a bit longer, but he misses his buddies. So he drops off the team too.

It’s Billy’s graduation now and he has a great university offering a scholarship for him. Since dropping off the rugby team, Billy found out that he really liked gaming and that it also fit in really well with his enjoyment of partying, so he gamed a lot, and got really good at a lot of games. Then he started messing around with making his own games and this was fun because he loved numbers thankfully! But over the years of sitting at his computer, drinking pop and beer, smoking and eating fast food, he had developed bad posture, acne, and was overweight. He didn’t always feel very good, but he knew that once he got to university he would make a new start…

 

When we overload ourselves in some way and eschew a simple system to keep a basic routine, life can seem excruciatingly difficult and arduous. Stay tuned for the flip side of these two stories.

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Nia isn’t just “artsy”… she can get all “martial” on your ass!

In Aikido, chi, Nia, Nia Class, Tae Kwon-do, Tai Chi, Uncategorized on July 19, 2013 at 8:22 am

ImageSince making the connection with Black Belt School’s dojo as a place to offer Nia classes, I have found myself considering how the martial arts contribute to Nia in a deeper way. I have had a solid education of it due to my direct experience practicing Tae Kwon Do and Tai Chi. And that direct experience has also provided me with opportunities to master the physical demands of precision and safe execution of the movements.

But there is something more to it. Each of the 3 martial arts used in Nia bring a distinct energy with it. And each of those energies teaches us more ways to experience sensations of aliveness in our personal dances through life.

The first martial art to cross my own path was Tae Kwon Do. I took it up with a good friend Imagein university. I was lucky enough that our sensei used the last 10 minutes of each class to teach all the girls basic self-defense. It was the first time anyone had made the threat of being physically assaulted feel like a real possibility for me. And I am always grateful for that. I do not fall into the “oh, that won’t happen to me” category… which is the most dangerous category, by the way!

I now know that being hyper aware of your surroundings (360 degrees!) is the best defense. If you let a potential threat get close enough to touch or grab you, you are gonna get hurt (unless you are a highly trained fighting expert with real experience under your belt)! I know how to throw a punch without hurting my shoulder, and I also know that using punching and blocking sequences is one awesome, fun and VERY effective way to tighten and tone your abdominal muscles!

ImageTai Chi taught me about breath and balance. Within 15 minutes of my first Tai Chi class, I was dripping with sweat. Even though it may look like a cool slow-motion version of Tae Kwon Do that is the total opposite of dangerous and threatening, it is all about WHERE we get our energy and power from. The Earth. If you want wicked-strong thighs that sweep and curve in just the right places, Tai Chi is where it’s at! The mellow speed of the movements engages your muscles at a deeper level for a longer period of time than hopping up and down in jumping jacks or burpies. The movements are also very obviously rotational (round) mixed with some linear. This ensures strength in all muscle and joint connections because the human body is designed with both. Most traditional strength and fitness training rely on linear movements because they are easy to learn. However it is a major disservice to the athlete because it’s like only cooking your (gluten-free) pancake on one side! Eww. It’s just not right!

ImageAikido focuses on the movement of spherical motion. When used appropriately and with skill, the circular movements deflect oncoming energy away by using the opponent’s own strength and momentum to do so. Notice that I didn’t say “against them.” Many martial arts follow the principle that the best fight is the one that is avoided, and I love how Aikido can so clearly demonstrate this. Aikido teaches us to flow along and around the attacker or aggressive energy, and if at all possible to avoid engaging directly with it. We only need to be able to guide it past and away from us to stay safe. The swirling and spinning becomes very dance-like as the participants move in and away from each other. In Nia, Aikido gives us the grounded, balanced and graceful connection to the circle and turn across the floor. The knees are bent and we step in wide stances shifting weight seamlessly as we travel. Dodging toddlers, pets and misplaced household items becomes a lot easier with a grasp of the movements of Aikido!

I am looking forward to dancing in Black Belt School’s dojo and absorbing the direct, powerful energy of the martial arts practiced there. For me, the martial arts in Nia give a steady and reliable weight to her; she isn’t a fluffy, bouncy noodle (all the time!). She is strong. Has direction. Won’t be pushed around, and is willing to fight what she believes in… as am I.Image

Next week we are offering 2 free classes of Nia at the dojo. Pick a time and date that fits with your schedule and join us! Classes will be starting in the Fall, so we’d love to see your support!

Let us know when you are coming by contacting me or the dojo.

Thursday, July 25th, 8pm
Saturday, July 27th, 2pm

Black Belt Schools
1555 Bishop St. East
Cambridge, Ontario,

N1R 7J4

519-621-2364

For map, click HERE

“No!” 3 Reasons Why We Don’t Say No

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 2:56 am

There are many reasons for us to not answer someone in the negative, and these reasons are complex, deep and have roots that twist and tangle back into the depths of our hearts and minds such that we often lose touch with the real reasons for complying more than denying requests. Right now I will lay down 3 reasons that are quite common and explain why it may be healthier to allow ourselves the opportunity to use this powerful, self-affirming little word.

1. We want people to like us and accept us: If I don’t go bowling with everyone they might not accept me, and probably won’t ask me to hang out again in the future…  This one  is based in the fear of not being accepted, liked, and loved. The truth is, when you love yourself no matter what (see my blog Lover), other people will automatically sense your comfort and ease with yourself. This energy is highly magnetic and people won’t be able to stop loving you and being around you.

2. We don’t want to miss out: If I don’t go bowling I might miss out on a lot of fun… Despite not enjoying the activity of bowling, you think you might still have a good time because your friends are there. This idea of missing out is again fear-based and linked to self-worth. If I missed this event, even if it was fun, would my friends not think we were very close any more because we didn’t share this experience together? Would this lead to more drifting apart? And finally to a loss of friendship and someone to affirm my existence by accepting me into their circle of friends and family? Can you see how this can spin out of control. Reading it here, I hope, shows the meaninglessness of this cycle.

3. We put others’ needs above our ownEnter any mother, father or care-giver: I’ll just take care of my child’s running nose/stained shirt/messy floor/dirty dishes, before I eat my lunch.  With demands on us from other human beings who are dependent upon us for almost everything, it is easy and sometimes expected that we eschew our own needs until the needs of others are met. In its proper and timely place, I agree with this. But, it seems this is an epidemic that consumes the need for so many mothers who are running on fumes and suffering from the early onset of degenerative diseases, heightened cortisol levels that don’t allow for deep and restful sleeps to restore the body and mind, for employees overstressed in precious jobs doing their utmost to out-perform their peers and even themselves week to week, in order to avoid being laid off, to place another’s health before our own… Again, this leads back to fear; a fear that if we don’t do this thing for someone else first, then they won’t like me, they will fire me, they’ll think I am a bad mother.

In the end, SAYING no is as much self-preservation as NOT saying no might feel! In Nia, when we dance with the martial arts using forceful kicks, punches and blocks, we shout words such as “No!” I am often startled at my own force and volume when I really let the air in my lungs shoot out with my fists. I think I respect my own inner wishes and say no when I mean it, but the release of shouting it loudly along with an empowering and strengthening movement makes me feel all the pent up moments that I wish I could say no, being released. Instances of work-related duties and such, is an example where we may have to accept some task or request we would otherwise decline. Nevertheless! Those ‘nos’ need to be released and my favourite way to do that is in a Nia class. Regular Nia practice (3 times a week or more) not only provides excellent physical fitness training and muscle conditioning, but also mental and emotional house-cleaning. I get to shake out the sheets of my thoughts and high-kick the carpets of my heart until all the dust is dislodged and the beautiful patterns and designs re-emerge clear and brilliant once more.

Allow yourself more opportunities to practice saying no. Even if you have the intention to comply, just say no, see how it feels, and then say yes if it’s truly something that you cannot ignore. The fun bit is seeing how the no sits in your body immediately after saying it.

Share your comments below about your experiences, and share this blog with others to keep the conversation going.

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