New to a mediation practice? Well, this one's for you. Many of us have heard about the benefits yet we still may be grasping for tips on how to begin. Here's a foundational explanation of how our body is positioned in a seated posture. Ultimately, please know the goal is not so much in doing but in being. Being in a space where you can consistently call attention to your breath and let go of all the thoughts that surround you.
1. Seat- Find a nice stable base. Options include a flat ground, gomdens (a hard, square seat that lifts you up so your knees are below your sacrum), zafus (a circular cushion a bit softer and lower), or a chair. We each need to find our own sense of stability and balance.
2. Hands- Place in the "resting the mind" mantra, which simply means resting your hands on your thighs, palms down. Because alignment is important, find a place of comfort where no pressure can pull you body out of alignment. Placing the hands too far forward or back can add stress and pain to your sitting posture. If your energy needs a boost, your hands can be in the Zen mudra (symbolic hand gesture), where one palm is placed over the other to make an oval shape by joining your hands. The thumbs also draw toward each other without touching. Lift your hands up a bit versus sitting them on your lap.
3. Torso- This part of the body should be as relaxed as possible. Visualize a straight line starting at the top of the head that travels down to your seat, into your cushion. As an expression of being being awake and attentive, the front body should remain open, especially in the heart, with a strong back.
4. Eyes- Keep your eyes open with a downward, soft gaze about four to six feet in front of you. This option may be a renewed perspective from what you may have seen during meditation practices. Doing so will demonstrate the intention to stay with the present.
5. Face- Allow your mouth to open slightly versus wide so air can flow between your nose and mouth. Allowing your lips to part slightly helps to relax your jaw, face, neck and even the shoulders. If you feel any tension, notice your breathe and let it go.
6. Legs- Cross your legs in front of you and if needed, raise your seat. This especially helps if your legs don't go down or if it exacerbates any injuries. A chair can be used for support. Sit in a chair with your spine erect, heart open, palms on your legs with your face, mouth, and gaze relaxed.
Additional Mediation Tips
Know that like anything new, allow yourself to adjust into the process. Be gentle and kind to your practice and when faced with any discomfort, agitation, or self-judgement, choose to stay with it a little bit longer.
Embody an expression of being awake and confident knowing that with each experience we can usher in renewed opportunities for peace, love and joy.
Wishing you life-long compassion & openness in meditation.
Namaste- Erika Maxie
Resource: How to Meditate by Pema Chödrön
At the risk of sounding judgmental, I'd like to take on the challenge of addressing a very visible dichotomy in our current healthcare system. A significant number of healthcare workers are dealing day-to-day with disease, pain and mental health issues. While this may not obstruct the ability to carry out what health professionals are trained to do regarding patient care, it does speak to the example set in living a lifestyle of health. We all know that how we feel is significant to the choices we make each day. We also know that we, as humans, go to great lengths to hide, cover and conceal discomfort as well as train ourselves to push past our limits to get the job done. It also could be considered that we trend toward pleasures versus pain. However, over time, ignoring the most basic of human needs such as proper nutrition, rest and exercise can yield detrimental consequences. The unrecognized voice inside strives to keep us whole as we navigate the ever-changing struggles of our daily existence.
I ultimately speak from a position of experience. In fact, my health challenges as an Allied Health Professional at the start of my career led me to create CORE Fitness LLC. What I've learned over the years (and still learning) is how to listen to my body through embracing a daily "perfectly imperfect" wellness practice; step by step. It is in the journey toward wellness that's so desperately missing from our healthcare system.
The goal of creating various complementary and alternative medicine initiatives (CAM) using various holistic views continues. It's through this interdependent merger that optimal health can be more fully realized. Healthcare is changing and it's up to us to continue committing to the education and implementation efforts for change.
What we're left with in the meantime is us. We each have a purpose-driven opportunity to be the change we want to see. Connect with our community in health. It is in each experience that we build our best life and promote moments designed to renew and restore.
Time heals all wounds they say. And while creating space is significant for change, unless we actively and intentionally do the work toward peace we ultimately end up putting our mental health on hold until something triggers the traumas of our past.
My husband and I both grew up in Chicago. I was raised as a 1970's child in a middle class neighborhood called, Pill Hill, known for the many doctors that lived and also worked at a nearby hospital in the 60s. On one hand, this small neighborhood boasted beautiful homes filled with professional African-American families; in fact the house behind our family home across the alley took up about 1/4 of the block and had an elevator in it! I have fond memories of playing double dutch, walking to the neighborhood store and riding bikes with my sister and friends. On the other hand, I was always aware that potential dangers lurked all around. For example, the very first bike my sister rode on our block was stolen while she was on it! A kid came by and asked her for directions only to push her off and ride off in seconds. Another memory included my mom's brand new Oldsmobile Cutlass being stolen from in front of our home the very next morning after it was purchased. The car was later found totally stripped down and useless. As a result, slowly but surely with each fear-filled experience I grew more cautious and guarded with all interactions.
My husband spent part of his childhood on the west side, then later moved about 5 miles away to Jeffrey Manor, a popular south-side neighborhood that had its own community of families and businesses. We didn't know each other growing up yet we experienced some of the same violence and family breakdown that creates generational pain, stress and grief. As great as Chicago is, it also has a duality of living that swings from the "hood to Hollywood." And as much as I love my city, I also acknowledge that trauma is real and greatly impacts how we live.
How do I measure the affect it has on our lives today? The following experience was one indicator. One night, about 3 years ago as my husband and I were sleeping in our southwest Atlanta home, our burglar alarm unexpectedly went off. As if we've been prepping for this moment all along we shot up simultaneously from our sleep, literally within a few seconds, automatically armed ourselves and without any words needed, proceeded to courageously handle the unknown, whatever the cost. Although just a false alarm due to a faulty wire, it was in these brief moments that I realized yet again the subconscious impact from years of being exposed to varying degrees of violence.
What I know today is that it's critically important that we acknowledge the pain of our past to move forward in wholeness for the future. Feel, deal and heal. Although no one can guarantee peace and safety free from harm in this life, we can only let go of what we're willing to acknowledge otherwise it settles down deep within us like hardened rocks hidden underneath a manicured lawn slowly stifling the roots of life above. Decide today to work toward letting go of experiences that don't serve you to live more fully and freely. Pray, speak your healing, take a mindful walk, practice yoga, meditate, mentor, and/or see a therapist. There's options to renew your best life. Ultimately, living well is a daily process that's worth striving for. Keep moving forward, create space and be the change for peace, our future depends on it.
We LOVE our members. Aside from bodily exercise, the major factor in transformation is getting our eating under control. However, in order to do this we must first renew our thinking about food. What are we eating exactly and how is it affecting our overall health? The beauty of CORE Fitness is that we focus from the inside out. We provide education regarding how to implement a plant-based, fitness nutrition lifestyle designed to get you the results you want. Not just for the short term but to last a lifetime. Begin your journey TODAY!
CORE Fitness Member Testimony
I'm still thanking you for talking with me almost a year ago about clean eating and the negative affects of sugar in my diet. I cleaned up my diet last year in March. I began eating whole fresh foods. I removed process foods, sugary foods, fast foods, etc... White bread, white pasta, white potatoes, white rice, high glycemic foods etc...
Since that time I am lovin' my new lifestyle. I've lost weight, actually I'm 10 pounds from my goal weight and 20 pounds away from competition. It has been a wonderful journey. I will admit it was slow, like watching paint dry. However, I never gave up in the process. Some months I only lost 1/2 pound. It was okay, because I was going to hang in there, not give up and return to unhealthy food choices. I continued to read on the topic of why sugar is toxic. The reading and research is the key that sustained me during the process. Keep doing what you do, because you have enlightened me and gave me a new leash on life. I absolutely love, love, love clean eating.
I am eternally grateful that I listened to the knowledge you shared with me. I'm
also able to wear clothes that I never dreamed of being able to wear again
after I gained weight. My total weight loss so far is 28 pounds. I've gone from
sizes 14/16 to 8/10. I'm just getting started.
Again thanks so much for sharing information.
Happy spring! All of nature is in a season of renewal, a time of bloom. Are you ready to renew your exercise? As we continue to navigate a worldwide pandemic, we're also discovering a new sense of being. How we choose to process healthy patterns is so important to both how we live as well how we model for our loved ones around us.
As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us also remember the Holy Spirit that resides in each of us. Let us remember to nourish our bodies as our temples to carry out our God-given purpose.
Join us starting Monday, April 5th, for our CORE Fitness exercise sessions.
We also have a fun and engaging CORE Stability event coming up on Saturday, April 24th at 9:45 am EST. Join us on our mission to help others live fit to be the best you.
See you soon!
Research shows that the best weight loss plan is the one you can stick with for the long term (Johnston et al. 2014). For some people, that may be a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. For others, it may be a high-carbohydrate plan that’s low in saturated fat. Yet another group may need a complete macronutrient balance.
But there’s a bigger question: How do some people, driven mostly by a desire for better health, follow eating plans so religiously? And what makes some people unable to maintain even the smallest change?
The science is far from complete, but a growing body of research offers clues you can piece together to make nutritional behavior changes and keep to them. Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, CSSD, FAAP, a pediatrician, award-winning author and obesity medicine specialist in Carlsbad, California, describes strategies you can use to build confidence in your ability to sustain a dietary change and make nutrition a lifestyle.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Try these five suggestions to make lasting changes to your eating habits and create a nutritious lifestyle.
Hey, CORE Crew!
Ever wanted to learn about the benefits of a stability ball? The body loves a challenge and creating new patterns of movement. Join us, Saturday, April 24th from 9:45 am-10:30 am via Zoom. Not only is using a stability ball fun, but the exercise possibilities are endless. Check out our quick demo called, "It's the BALL Y'all! on IGTV @thecorelifestyle
Stay tuned at www.thecorelifestyle.com for updates, Join the Lifestyle!
Please see our Events page for more information.
See you soon!
I once read that in life that you will make 3 significant choices: where you will live, who you will live with, and what will you live for. Since absorbing these words over twenty years ago, my goal has been to make purposeful choices each day and to carry out the plans God has for me.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I believe we're all here for a purpose and despite our valiant efforts to stay focused, we can easily lose sight of our goals. With health being a foundational tool in being able to carry out the missions that we have in life, I ask you right now to take a moment to rediscover what it is you're really working for.
As a spirit who lives in a body and has a soul, we are continually challenged to prioritize our choice to honor ourselves in a way that nourishes who we really are. One way I choose to renew my spirit is by meditating in scripture each day. In this practice, I find that my mind processes the issues of life in a more empowered way knowing and understanding the truth of God's word.
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
Despite what we may think, we are not in control the world, And when we consistently practice how to, "Let Go and Let God," we ultimately find peace in knowing that things will work out, in God's perfect time and for his glory.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
Through faith, I strive to operate each day in peace with his grace. Because of the love I have for my Heavenly Father I work to please him and through this, I love myself. I walk in my calling of educating and empowering others to live their best life through exercise and live whole: mind, body, and spirit. As you renew your goals, know that the right balance of wellness practices and work habits will enable you to walk in the joy that comes from knowing who you really are, what you really want and what you ultimately strive to live for.
I wish you love, peace and total life prosperity- enjoy your journey.
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
What will you do to renew your exercise in 2021? I personally invite you to take The CORE Challenge!
Our NEW, fitness-focused services includes yoga, barre and (core) power classes that expertly integrates both mind & body.
Over the years as a Certified Personal Trainer, I've asked clients about how they want to both look and feel. What I've learned is that so many of us are choosing to exercise for the bodily results versus the peace and restoration that can be felt from a daily exercise practice. My question is, "why choose just one?" Now more than ever, our goal is to offer services that support a total package for living well. This includes: increased energy, a well-balanced mood, and celebrating your best body. In renewing our exercise, we can build our best selves and ultimately accomplish our true purpose in life. Join me on a renewed journey toward better health! Here's some CORE goals to get started:
Now is time to take the next step, hope to see you LIVE soon.
I wake this morning feeling full with hope. To get on my mat for 23 days straight and show my authentic self in exercise seemed like such a daunting task but I'm so glad I took the leap. The idea to showcase myself each evening at 7:30 pm ET LIVE on Instagram (IG) has been cathartic to say the least. This came to mind on Thursday evening, 4/2/2020 and before I talked myself out of it I jumped in and started the FIT 23 Experience LIVE on IG that very next evening! No time to plan ahead and no time to think of the major commitment of time and energy I'd need to expend on a daily basis. What felt quite comfortable, however, is my connection to my mat. Over the years, I've developed a practice of getting on my mat everyday and during a worldwide pandemic requiring millions to shelter in place, I found it to be a grand opportunity to help bridge the gap between communities that are offered my type of niche wellness services in abundance while so many others have yet to experience the value of specialized mind-body exercise.
The first important thing to establish in the FIT 23 experience is to ponder the simple question, "What is fitness?" After many years of professional fitness training and community health education, I define fitness as the consistent use of physical, mental and personal growth experiences toward improved health status. In short, fitness is being in the state of living whole, mind, body and spirit.
The FIT 23 Experience wasn't easy but is was effortless. What does this mean? Each day, I showed up on my mat (on-time) with an authentic desire to use my gifts to help others- that was the effortless part. You see, I know my calling is to help others live fit and that flows freely in everything I do. The challenge was putting together a self-made production equipped with sound, a customized Spotify playlist and exercise theme updated daily, lights, props and a loosely aligned reality TV vibe that would translate well on camera. Would others get my flow? Would they watch? What will I wear? Daily hair and makeup? (ugh!)
One special serendipity was my girl, Faith, surprising me by dropping by a bag of "fitness goodies" on my doorstep just when I needed it most. Faith-ful friends are the BEST!!! In fact, this spirit carried over to all who participated. Friends for life like Angel, Nan and JB who participated each day and would replay the video temporarily saved when needed. My mom, who I've been thinking of heavily each day as she shelters in place in Chicago, was also significant in me living the FIT 23 Experience. We had so many consistent peeps part of our FIT 23 crew! And our FIT Pros! Wow!! I could go on and on about how much I appreciate them. They, too, took time to give and serve. I understand that when a professional who has invested both time and money in providing a service gives it away for FREE it comes with such an unselfish mindset. I know that through the law of sowing they will reap more than double in return.
Where we grow from here is an exciting opportunity. I no longer feel stuck in my lens of overthinking if my authentic self is relatable enough to help and inspire others in exercise. You see, I know I'm different. I know that how I define fitness may not be the norm; mindfulness in exercise. I used to evaluate metrics based solely on numbers and wondered why others seemed to attract larger numbers than me. As of today, I release that metric as a primary source for growth. My services are not for everyone and I will not sacrifice my authentic self to build numbers. I release any self-centeredness knowing that during this pandemic, people are hurting and are in need. Those that I'm meant to serve will come and grow with me on this journey. As I look forward in this day, I stand grateful with a humble spirit and a SUPER-star mindset knowing that together we can grow a multi-million dollar mindset as we serve others with our unique gifts. Excited about moving forward in continued, authentic service. Erika's LIVE journey is evolving and I invite you to experience your best life in exercise TODAY!
See you soon.