Monday Mantras w: Meg

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easing the transition to fall

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Ricardo Almeida ©

As the rain aggressively fell outside my second story window, I was reminded of the small joys inspired by the season of fall in the Pacific Northwest. The crisp air in the early morning, the colorful change on the trees, and the pumpkin spice aroma wafting about brings with it a delightful memory of the warm fall season.

With school back in session and summer vacations long past, fall brings about a whole new routine. Shorter days gently shift our focus, increasing the importance to refocus to make the best of our waking hours.

Take these four practices with you into your fall to help refocus your mind, body, and soul thus ensuring a smooth transition into this new season.

 

Journal on your favorite activities of the summer.

Allow for a summer wrap up to take place to tie up the loose ends and prepare for the fall months ahead. Take time to reminisce and remember the joys of your summer. What specifically happened that was really great? Do you have pictures from the experience that you would like to frame? Is there an opportunity to make it a tradition next year?

Find a new routine.

As the daylight hours shorten and the weather changes, our routines will shift as well. Find a balance between activity and rest that feels right to you. Specifically, what shifts in your routine do you need to make? What’s a good time for you to wake up, get exercise, go to sleep? What other activities do you need to integrate into your daily/weekly schedule?

Create a meal plan.

Fall months call for warmer, heartier meals. Find a few meals you enjoy for the week and write out the list of ingredients needed before you go grocery shopping. Don’t have time to cook during the week? Add a new routine of prepping your meals on Sundays or sign up for a meal delivery service in your area that will bring the food to you (prepared or raw)!

Practice gratitude and appreciation for all you have.

It can be all too easy to focus on what’s lacking and what you desire, especially as we move into the holiday months ahead. This practice leaves a feeling of emptiness inside. Instead, start early with a regular gratitude practice to get in an appreciation routine. Nothing is too small to be thankful for. Start a daily gratitude journal. Write down what you are thankful for each day. Share with others and spread the joy of gratitude!

 

Refocus this fall season by taking the time to wrap up your summer. Be mindful of the habits and routines you wish to take into the fall and practice gratitude to set yourself up for the holiday season. Share with us tips in your routine that work for you during the fall months and enjoy these last few days of summer!

 

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Megan Kountz

Yoga Teacher & Life Coaching

take care : self-care

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Far too many times I have overworked, overscheduled, and over-committed myself to please others. In the end, it hurts not only me but also those I, less than wholeheartedly, commit to.

Because of the stigma around the word “selfish” we can be fooled into thinking self-care is a negative activity.

In order for us to serve others, love one another, and give wholeheartedly, we must cherish and respect ourselves.

The fact of the matter is, we have 24 hours in a day. In that time, there is only so much we can do. Remember that when you say yes to one thing, you say no to something else.

Below are 3 ways you can reaffirm your “self-care” practice this summer season.

Listen to your body

When you’re stiff, move your body. When you’re tired, lie down. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re full, put down the fork. Your body gives you cues as to how you’re feeling and what you need to do. Slow down and listen to these cues so you can provide the activity or nourishment your physical body needs to give it the strength to work for you in the years to come.

Allow yourself to feel emotions

It’s easy to push things off because you desire to avoid discomfort. But when we do this, we risk re-living the discomfort every day thereafter. Be with what is happening right now in your life. Enjoy the highs and experience the lows. You must feel to heal.

Give yourself downtime

Build in time in between your appointments, social events, and personal obligations. With longer days and shorter nights, it can be easy to run from one thing to the next right up until 10, 11 or even 12 pm. By creating space to reflect, think, and process what’s happening in your life, you enrich your life by learning from your experiences.

 

IF IT’S NOT A HECK YES- IT’S A NO.

Time is precious and limited. As you move through August and gear up for the fall months ahead take a moment to reflect on your self-care practices. Do you give yourself the grace to step back and take care of yourself?

Realigning your timing to encourage self-care will nourish your mind, body, and soul to enable you to serve your family, friends, and community to a greater capacity.

Self-care is not selfish it is self-respect.

This summer share love with yourself so you can love others.

 

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Megan Kountz

Yoga Teacher & Life Coach

sharing is caring

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To share your story is to give strength to humanity.

As I looked around the living room that warm summer weeknight, I saw expressions of fear, pain, and anxiety hoisted on top of shoulders and protruding from the lips of my peers. The topic of conversation: highs & lows of the past week.

When the topic breached, all I could think about was the struggles I had personally faced over the past 7 days. Sure there were moments of great joy and success but there were also times of extreme discomfort. Specifically, as my career shifts in a focused direction I have felt alone in my struggles and pursuits. Isolation is the worst possible counsel.

That evening as we sat down to share our individual highs and lows, I realized I was not alone.

 

In fact, many people were either experiencing something similar this very week or had within the past few months.

 

As I look back on my past experiences, I was reminded of the other times I have experienced life changes that shook my world. People came to me with comfort by sharing their story.

By opening up and sharing how you are doing you will find comfort in community but even more connection through vulnerability. In sharing your story, you inspire others to confide in you. We learn from one another. Therefore, our mistakes are not only opportunities for us to learn but also those around us!

Fear not your story, for surely it will inspire another.

 

Nobody has ever become poor by giving.

 

Share your stories. Confine in your community and grow in relationship with one another. We all are struggling or will struggle. By sharing your struggles we open ourselves up to growth from one another and with one another.

What are you struggling with? How can you share your story today? What do you need from your community to feel supported?

 

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Megan Kountz

Yoga Teacher & Life Coach

history repeats itself

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samuel-zeller-249358.jpgDo you ever have that feeling that you have been somewhere before? That you have experienced something like this in the past?

As we grow older and add to our eclectic assortment of experiences, this feeling is bound to happen. We will walk through scenarios that will present themselves again. It’s only inevitable as we grow older.

The question is, will we recognize our past experiences? Will we learn from them? And then, how will we use these experiences to move forward with grace, candor and hindsight as our friends?

History is repeating itself and it’s our opportunity to listen.

Japanese Internment Camps
Hitler Regime
Catholic Crusades

 

We have fought over both religion and race, yet we haven’t learned our lesson. Will we ever learn our lesson?

YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO.

Start today with your community. Start with yourself & your family.

How does your story read thus far? What moments defined you for the good? What moments defined you from the bad?

We experience both good and bad.

What lessons can you learn from these experiences? What would you like to repeat? What would you ideally not like to relive?

How can you take steps to reform around that?

Reform starts on a micro level. We need leaders who are honest and authentic in how they treat themselves and the people around them. We all need to take ownership of the society we are creating. It’s time to step up and lead in our community.

Lead by example with love, truth, honesty, and passion for what’s good. Let’s do this to make this world a better place for not only us but generations to come.

How can you do good today? How can you learn from your history?

 

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Megan Kountz

Yoga Teacher & Life Coach

 

the practice of presence

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chris-holgersson-249309.jpgWith the sheer number of articles and books I’ve read on the idea of “being present” you would think that I’ve have mastered this practice. Yet as I sat down to knock out my emails from the day before, my mind raced from here to there. Frustrated by the lack of focus, I sat back into my cheap computer chair. This is not the first time this has happened and chances are it won’t be the last.  In the meantime, I will share with you where I am at in the process.

When I sat back to ruminate on the practice of presence in my life, my mind rebounded off other events of the past week. I needed to do something to shift my internal awareness, which led me to the following exercises:

 

Breathing Exercises

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose (PAUSE) and exhale it out of your mouth. Keep doing this for 5 to 10 rounds of breath to bring your awareness to your physical body.

Tunnel Vision

Block out your distractions. If you have more than one window open on your computer, close it. If you have headphones in your ears or music on in the background, shut it off. If you’re in a busy setting, move to a more secluded location. The less distractions you have, the easier it is to be here in the now.

Slow Down & Pay Attention To Detail

Take notice of all the little aspects of the current task you are doing. As opposed to blocking out other stimuli, get so involved in your current project that you don’t have the time or mental capacity to think about anything else.

Plan Accordingly

Leave yourself enough time to get from point A to B. Stop rushing around. Allow yourself the space to focus and be fully present in each moment along the way.

Meditate

Sit or lay down in a quiet place with your hands on your knees, belly or at heart center. Bring focus to your breath. Each time your mind thinks of the past, tap your left hand. Each time your mind wanders to the future, tap your right hand. Kindly continue to bring your attention back to the now.

Pray

Tune into your connection with a higher power. Ask for help in slowing down to be in the moment. Trust that you have been given the strength to do so.

 

We all find presence in our own way. Get curious about the mindfulness behind the act of being present. The curiosity and self-study has the potential to shed light on what techniques work for you.

 

From this list, what resonates with you? What doesn’t? Please share in the comments if you have any other strategies that we could benefit from. We are in this together- your opinion matters.  

 

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Megan Kountz

Yoga Teacher & Life Coach