Monday, November 11, 2019

The Value of Meditation and Stillness


Being active has it's purpose and is very beneficial in it's own way. It is important to keep active in order to relieve stress and remain healthy. An important component of health however, also makes the space to develop stillness as a means of mental and spiritual well-being. Meditation is a great way to begin to train the mind and body to the observance of the thoughts and how busy the mind actually is.

Meditation can help curb anxiety and fight off depression, meditation can also relax the mind and prevent the arising of anger. Essentially sitting is merely an on the surface practice of no movement; in reality even when sitting there is continuous movement in the mind and the arising of reactions within the body still occurs. If you are new to this practice your first attempts will help you to realize that perhaps the endless thoughts which are entertained have brought about stress and anxiety in your life. Eventually with enough practice the mind will begin to still and a regular practice will need to be maintained.

You can't change anyone but you can change yourself

Perhaps you deal on a regular basis with others that are very negative or condemning towards you, maybe you talk this way about yourself. It may just be a matter of speaking up and expressing a distaste towards the condemning behavior. However this does not always work and you really can't change a person unless they decide for themselves. Having a regular practice will help you to observe the actions of others so that they do not personally affect you.

When you begin your practice you want to find a comfortable seated posture but you don't want to be lying, leaning or too relaxed. This is because you can get tired when meditating and end up falling asleep! There should be an awareness of the body and the breath and this is the start of your practice. You will find that the thoughts which arise can hold you captive and you will need to continue to bring your awareness back to the breath. After awhile you may feel discomfort in the body and from there you will begin to observe the discomfort. You may also feel relaxed sensations and this will also need to be observed. All which arises in your practice should be viewed as a passing phenomena. For your first sit try 5-10 minutes and slowly increase to 20-30 minutes.


The following video will help you get started with a meditation practice:












Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Benefits of Lavender on a Holistic Fitness Journey



Due to the name of this blog and my company site, I figured a post about lavender was well overdue (as well as a blog post in general, sorry about that).

It may be the case that many today still think of fitness as a merely superficial vain endeavor; provoking imagery of the ultra-ripped, over-supplemented, vein pooping, white yolk eating exercise freak. Although this may be the case for some (and that's OK when healthfully done), fitness really is about the culmination of all the benefits that come along with a healthy lifestyle. Not all of the ultra-ripped and over-supplemented stereotypical fitness buffs are even healthy (and that's for another blog post). A large and incredibly important aspect of health is the incorporation of moderation.

When it comes to lavender, we are merely reminded of the necessity of calm and serenity in our lives. This is absolutely essential. How often do you stop and take the time to notice a single raindrop, a tiny flower, or a leaf falling from a tree? These may seem like pretty insignificant occurrences however, when taking time to notice the very subtle aspects of life, you begin to feel more present and in tune with your surroundings, which increases your mental, emotional and physical health.

Ageing is inevitable, and after awhile, external appearances may not be on the forefront of ones mind. Rather, there is a tendency to want to piece it all together, and realize the fragments of health that were so often overlooked in youth. When a person gets to this point in their fitness journey, they come to embrace the many benefits that nature also provides in their quest for holistic well-being.

Uses & Benefits of Lavender



Lavender is a flower which can be consumed and actually tastes pretty great! Consider trying it as a health smoothie and decide for yourself. Try this amazing recipe borrowed from thebutterhalf.com:



  •  Course Breakfast
     Cuisine American
     Keyword easy breakfast recipe, kid-friendly recipes, smoothie
     Prep Time 2 minutes
     Cook Time 3 minutes
     Total Time 5 minutes
     Servings 1 smoothie
     Calories 592 kcal
     Author Abbey Rodriguez

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup coconut water
    • 1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
    • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar for vegan option
    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1/2 apple
    • 2 cups blueberries

    Instructions

    1. Put all of the ingredients into a large blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
    2. Pour into glasses, drizzle some honey on top, and enjoy!
You will notice that not only does lavender taste great when mixed with other components, it also has tremendous benefits. According to thebutterhalf.com, lavender provides the following health benefits:

  • Lavender contains calcium, iron, and vitamin A, making it a good supplement in smoothies like this
  • Can stabilize your mood
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Help heal wounds
  • Can clear up acne on skin when applied topically
  • Works as an anti fungal
Lavender is also often used as a fragrance and essential oil. You may have been to a yoga class or gotten a massage where the scent of lavender was used.


Lavender for Strength 


As you can see, lavender comes in handy for many different uses. When it comes to fitness, lavender can assist in calming the mind and body during those extra difficult times when it may feel impossible to move forward. It may just take a little extra patience and emotional strength, to really make significant gains in your health journey during those stressful times in your life. Thus is why lavender assists tremendously in building strength, as it keeps the immune system strong when you may need it the most, and relaxes the mind when clear thinking is essential.






My name is Cheri, and I help people move forward with their health and wellness goals. You can visit me online at www.lavenderfitnessandwellness.com or email me at cherihaus@gmail.com.






Thursday, May 16, 2019

New Blog Post Coming Soon!


I have been busy finishing up my final year of grad school and apologize for not posting in awhile. I will be adding a new blog post soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Year of the DOG: Loyalty and Friendship



New Years is often associated with parties, celebrations, gatherings and socializing, however the new year can also be a time of internal reflection, and looking back upon all the good and bad that made the previous year what it was. The new year is also a reminder that our time here is limited; what we do now has an impact upon who we become and what we will leave behind. Looking back at your life is not always easy to do, and it may take some getting used to if you find yourself avoiding certain aspects.

Each new year gives an opportunity to prioritize the most important aspects of our life that may or may not have been given adequate attention. These priorities can be influenced by surrounding factors which largely go unseen. This is where the Chinese zodiac plays a role in encouraging us to look deeper within ourselves. 

The Chinese calendar seeks to recognize the more subtle aspects by associating animal types to each new year as a means for a person to reflect upon its qualities and apply them to their own life. Based on ancient stories passed down throughout the ages, the Chinese zodiac is just as much tradition as it is a complex life-reflection system. The Chinese zodiac is not based merely on a yearly calculation, but also narrows itself down to the month of the year; day of the week; and hour of the day. To prioritize our focus however, we will look at the animal associated with the year 2018. 


This year marks the year of the dog: an animal of loyalty, friendship, trust, and protection. Dogs are also typically social animals and enjoy getting attention from those that they love. Simply put the dog helps you to connect with the qualities within yourself that may need some attention; or the areas that will be challenged. Last year was the rooster's year, and this may have meant new beginnings; early changes; daily (often routine) commitments. Goals that were set in the beginning may have needed some further care in order to be tackled later on.

As the dog is the animal of loyalty, a true heart-centered focus will need to be given in your work this year. Dogs can also be territorial, so be careful of not sharing your talents with others. A true heart-centered life is one which gives back while also taking time for itself. And since the Chinese new year does not officially begin until February 16th, you still have some time to think about and reflect upon your 2017 accomplishments and where you may need improvement.



The Chinese zodiac may not secure an ever-prosperous outcome, however it can help us to look at our own lives as a means to give back even greater to our loved ones, society, and ourselves. When we seek to do better we help those around to see what is possible. The dog is also this way in a sense by providing joy and love without judgment to those around him or her.

The Chinese zodiac has a way of simplifying the way we may look at things, and to help us to realize that simple gestures of appreciation make all the difference. Just as a dog appreciates a simple home and a loving owner, we too can think about the little things that may be lacking attention in our lives. I think 2018 will be a special year, one of seeing things in a different way and facing challenges with an open heart. But beware of the dogs aggressive nature, and seek to work through any harshness when communicating with others.

I wish you much success this year and always. Happy 2018!

-Cheri

Friday, October 13, 2017

Exercises for Flexibility and Strength

Flexibility training is just as important as anything else within your fitness routine, yet is often the most overlooked. Many people may feel as if stretching is not intensive enough, therefore no benefit can come from it. Instead of trying to convince the stretching skeptic, here are some core-focused exercises that are also great for flexibility.



Caution- If you have sensitive knees grab a blanket to use underneath your knees or double your mat. Always drink water before and after stretching and consult your physician if you are unsure if you should be performing exercise. 

Engaging the core
Before starting these stretching exercises, it's imperative to connect with the core first so that you are able to focus on this area effectively throughout the session.

Come to a comfortable seated position with your shoulders rolled back and down. Place your hands on your knees or in your lap while keeping the neck neutral. Begin with an inhale with the intention of engaging your core. As you inhale draw the belly out as far as you can without too much discomfort. With the exhale draw the belly in as much as you can without too much discomfort. Repeat 5x.


Quads, core, chest and shoulders
From a seated position come to all fours then shift your weight onto your heels. From here lift your upper body up on to your knees with a straight back. Next bend your right knee and grab your ankle with both hands (hold a wall or chair for balance). Engage your core while bending forward slightly then come to a neutral spine. Repeat 5x on each side.


Hips, shoulders, chest, core
From the position on your knees bring your right leg forward while engaging the core with the breath. Twist while bringing your left hand to the right knee. With the twist bring your right hand behind you averting your gaze over your shoulder. Hold 3 deep breaths then switch to the other side. 



Core, shoulders, hamstrings, quads
Come to an all fours position. Bring your left arm out in front and kick your right leg behind. Engage the core and squeeze the glutes and lower back. 

Part 2 From the previous position bend the right knee and grab the foot with the left hand. If you are not able to reach your foot you can use a towel or strap. You will feel a nice stretch in the quads, shoulder and hamstrings. Hold each for 5 seconds and switch to the other side. Repeat each side 2x.


End in a comfortable seated position while engaging your core 5x with the breath.

These exercises not only provide muscle toning and core strengthening, but they are great for flexibility.  With time you will find that the breath and the engagement of muscles becomes a natural process.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at cherihausmann@outlook.com. I also offer free consultations. Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Embracing Age: Your Golden Years of Health

Living in a world which idolizes youthfulness, can make the aging process seem daunting, yet it does not have to be this way. No one can prevent the aging process, but we can prevent the onset of disease from happening sooner than it may. We can also help ourselves to have a better quality of life during the golden years.

Set goals which are long-lasting

The key to long-lasting health and well-being, is learning how to incorporate it in your daily life vs. only event-oriented, temporary goals. When you sit down and think about what you'd like to accomplish, do not just think a year from now, but consider longer term--a lifetime.




Goals can change with age

A younger person aged 24 and below, is not necessarily thinking about disease prevention or increasing bone density. Likewise, a significantly older person is not necessarily thinking about looking perfect in a bikini, or having a chiseled six pack. Goals can change with age, and also how you perceive yourself.




Age can be embraced

Age can be embraced by focusing on what you deem important in your life, vs. allowing the world to impose upon your self-worth. With age comes the wisdom of life experience, which you can share with others, and feel a certain sense of fulfillment from. A healthy body in your golden years can make it even more fulfilling, and is a truly wonderful gift. Of course, the reality of life is that there are diseases and health issues which we cannot prevent, but we can try our best to work on the preventable. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body--embracing age is a healthy mental attitude to have.



It's OK to be a realist

If you are reading this blog post, chances are health is an important factor in your life. You understand why health is something worth giving your time and attention to. Everything in part takes effort and you understand this. If you want something good for yourself, it's going to take some hard work and the possibility of failure is there. Positivity can only go as far as what the basic facts of life will allow, and although being an optimist has its own benefits, it's OK to be a realist. As a matter of fact, it's healthy!



Coming to terms takes courage

Coming to terms with where you are in your health choices is courageous, especially if you have been avoiding the issue. Age happens to us all--this is a basic fact. The world can come up with as many anti-aging products as it wants--age can still be embraced for what it is. This is a balanced way of looking at things, which can lead you to many golden years of health.



Just getting started, or looking to get going again on a fitness program which suits your needs? I can help!  Visit my site at: www.FitnessByCheri.com or email me: cherihausmann@outlook.com. Best of luck to you on your journey!



Friday, April 21, 2017

Finding Well-being Through a Holistic Mindset


Many people may not realize how much the body is influenced by the mind and stress. Even if you don't think you may be stressed, there may be things going on within the mind that you cannot directly see. Finding balance is the key to your well-being and understanding how and why can help you to go forward with your goals.

The mind-body connection




The mind and body are connected. What one does impacts the other. You can test this within yourself right now by thinking about something really scary. Observe your body and notice the changes. Your heart rate may have increased, your hands may have gotten sweaty, a nervous feeling may have overtaken you. Now think about something really wonderful that brings you joy. Feel the difference? Your heart rate decreases, you feel at peace, the environment around you also changes as well and becomes more enjoyable. 

So often we may skip over the mind-body connection in pursuit of our physical goals. Yet true well being is the recognition of all parts of our self; mind, body, soul. A truly holistic practice is the balance of all three. An imbalance in one area can create disease within any of the 3 main areas of oneself. Disease as I am explaining here, is not just physical, or only a physical thing; disease can exist within both mind and soul also. 

Finding balance



Once we get to the place where we have assessed our needs not only physical, but mental and spiritual, we can start the journey towards balance where true well-being is found. If you don't believe in any kind of spiritual plane, you can simply connect with your heart place. Think about goals and needs you have which relate to this area of the body; like your personal needs for inner fulfillment and connection with oneself and others. 

Find a quiet place if possible where you can really think about your needs and what you would like to change, improve, or focus on. Don't be too hard on yourself, yet don't be too easy either. For each aspect you'd like to change remind yourself of your strengths in other areas. To help this process you can draw the following chart and write down what you would like to focus on in each area. Allow yourself to be open, creative and not too set on perfecting everything right now. Here is a chart I made with a few examples. You may follow this or create one in your own way:


Simply setting your intention and reassessing when needed is a great way to get going. You'll be surprised at how some aspects will naturally make a shift by setting your focus on it. That's the power of the mind at work!

Exercises for connection & balance


These exercises I've included can help you to balance yourself. Try these 5 basic exercises everyday for 10 minutes to feel a difference. 

1 Breath: Sit in a comfortable position. Gently close the eyes or lower the gaze. Find the breath. Stay with the breath. With the inhale draw the belly out, with the exhale draw the belly in towards the spine. Repeat at least 5-10 times while focusing on your intention. If you've made an intention of healing or connection, focus on your heart center. 



2 Lower back & hip stretch: This stretch can help you release tension existing in the lower back, hamstrings and hips. Inhale roll the shoulders back and down in a seated position. With the exhale walk your fingers out to the left knee. Repeat on the other side. If comfortable you may bring your forehead to the knee. Repeat for 1 minute each side. 


These next exercises don't necessarily require a ball, you can also use a stool, chair or blanket/pillows. 

3 Upper back stretch: sit with your hips on your heels keeping your back straight. Bring your hands to the ball (or stool/chair) with the exhale bring the head through the arms while stretching the arms as far as you feel comfortable. Hold 10 seconds repeat 3 times. 


4 Bridge: Place the ball under your feet, or you can perform without the ball if you feel unbalanced. Use your core (lower abs) to lift your hips while also engaging your thighs and glutes. Hands are next to your sides pressing down into the mat. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.


5 Crunch with heart and neck opener: Bring your hands to the heart center while laying with your back on the ball, knees are bent, feet straight. Engage your abs while bringing your chin towards the chest (part 1). Drop your head all the way back opening up the neck area (part 2). Perform this second part with caution, always stop if you feel uncomfortable. You will hold the neck opener for about 5 seconds then engage the abs again by bringing chin in towards chest.




Please remember to perform all exercises with safety and caution consult your doctor if you're unsure if you should participate. 

Keep going


These exercises help you to not only connect the mind-body but also will set a foundation for healing if that is your intention. These exercises also help to tone and strengthen the muscles and bones creating a stronger foundation. Exercise as well as proper nutrition, life purpose and stress relief, will help you to restore a holistic balance in your life.

You may contact me at my website: www.FitnessByCheri.com if you have any questions, or would like to get started with a  holistic fitness program which fits your needs. Thank you for reading and be well!