Monday, August 30, 2010

Meditation Monday

Did you have a fabulous weekend?

Mine was pretty low-key. I did a lot of training for my new fitness job on Saturday and Sunday. I don't think I ever revealed what that is on here because I wasn't really sure what the job entailed until this weekend's training :)

I'm now the "Group Fitness Coordinator" at a very large multi-location gym in the area. Trust me, the title sounds more important than it merits. I'm just the assistant to the Program Coordinator. I do whatever office tasks are required of me, check payroll for instructors, and make sure everything runs smoothly for almost 30 group fitness instructors. I will also be teaching three "Strong" classes a week. "Strong" is the gym's choreographed strength class.

I'm still working full-time and teaching at a private university and teaching fitness at another gym making the grand total = one full time and two part time jobs. At first, I thought I wouldn't be able to handle it, but last week I talked to three or four people with full schedules like mine and they assured me that it's all possible--I just have to make sure that I stay flexible to the schedule.

On Saturday, Wes and I also went to Bruegala, which is a beer festival put on by the local Jaycees.

Wes and the "homemade" beef sticks he bought at the festival. Slim Jim's and beef jerky make me want to gag at the smell. I told Wes what was in beef sticks, but he didn't seem to care. NOM NOM NOM.

At the festival, they gave us these extra-large shot glasses for sampling beer. You buy tickets and it's one ticket to sample one beer.

The next day we hit up the Mexican restaurant close to our new house. We hadn't been there yet, but since we figured we're gonna be repeat customers (Wes LOVES Mexican food and I LOVE margaritas!), we gave it a shot. It did NOT disappoint! A tasty tip for eating at run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurants--order a side of pico de gallo to mix into a bland salsa. Tasty and fresh!

This evening I taught
PiYo, which is a pilates/yoga hybrid class that I recently got certified in. I'm LOVING teaching PiYo, but I want to get better at leading the "guided meditation" part at the end of every class (it's supposed to be a 5-6 minute relaxation/meditation portion).

I've taken a few Yoga classes that featured meditation, but I have a hard time remembering what the instructor said during mediation because I was SO RELAXED during that portion. The only phrase that sticks out in my mind is, once, a yoga instructor said to "relax the back in a natural arch as if a little bunny is scampering underneath your spine." Nutty or cute? I don't know...

To me, in a group-fitness setting, meditation is more about creating a relaxing atmosphere than guiding the mind through mental energy exercises and imagery. All I have is five minutes for the meditation portion! That's hardly enough time to "channel mental energy." Heck, that's barely enough time to relax the muscles much at all. For now, I'll leave the extensive guided meditation to the pros, but my question for ya'll is this--
What do YOU like to hear during yoga meditation? Any favorite phrases or sayings that help you relax?

Right now, all I've got is short stuff like...

"Take a deep breath in and as you exhale feel your body being consumed by gravity"

"Soften your breath and feel each shallow breath as it enters and leaves the body"

"Release the tension from your shoulders and feel them fall heavy to the floor"

"Inhale positive energy, exhale negativity"

When I first started leading the guided meditation, I'll admit, I felt a bit silly. But now it's gotten more natural and I really enjoy creating that relaxation space. Still, I'd like to improve on my "guided meditation" skills, so any suggestions ya'll have for creating a calm space in about five minutes are certainly welcome!

Also, I found this guided imagery mediation through a Google search for "guided imagery meditations" (yes, I AM search-lazy). I thought it was fantastic and this part especially struck a chord:
"And now, perhaps you'll see yourself surrounded by a lovely golden light. It covers every inch of your body while all the normal functions go on... you breathe very normally and your pores are open, and every normal function goes on. And that lovely, lovely golden light is a combination of all of the healing power of the universe, and all of the healing power of your own body, and all of the healing power of any med ication you're taking or radiation you're receiving, or anything you're taking... and that golden light can go anyplace you tell it to."

Gorgeous. Perhaps I will use this one in my own daily meditation. I usually meditate before/while falling asleep. Since I've started doing this, I've slept sounder, deeper and had more vivid dreams. If you need mental relief, I highly recommend 15-20 minutes of meditation a day. It's scientifically proven to relieve stress! :)

In case you're curious, for want more information on meditation, here are some of my favorite resources:

After teaching PiYo tonight--feeling relaxed, stretched and calm--I headed home and meditated....errr..chomped on this...

Spaghetti Squash topped with olive oil, salt, pepper and marinara.

I'm craving fall squash even though it's only the beginning of September. Spaghetti squash (SS) just fills that void (AND is full of fiber and nutrients). I just sub it in recipes in place of real spaghetti or it's even yummy just tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

My quick n' easy cooking secret for SS: I poke a few deep holes in the squash and microwave it on high for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the squash. BIG squashes take a little longer). When cooked, I cut in half, scrape out the seeds and then fork out the strands. This microwave approach not only cooks the SS perfectly, but it also softens the skin and makes for easy cutting.

Well, off to meditation and moonsleep I go. I have a LONG day of work and teaching tomorrow! Have a terrific Tuesday, darlings!

Q.O.D. (question of the day): Do you meditate? What's your favorite meditation or affirmation? Any "guided meditation" phrasing suggestions for my group fitness classes?


  1. Yowzers girl - you're gonna be one busy bee! I don't meditate, but am thinking I really really really need to learn to enjoy yoga or meditation as a stress release.

  2. When I returned from a spa trip in July I took up meditation. I meditate each morning just to give myself a peaceful start to the day, which usually lasts throughout. I should start doing it in the evenings as well. My affirmations are generally spiritual in nature: "God is Love", "I am complete in Christ" ...

  3. Shane and I both went to the beer fest and Fiesta this weekend too! Haha:) Good times.
    Congrats on the new title:) you are definitely a busy lady!
    There are a few other health bloggers in the area- we should definitely meet up sometime soon!

  4. hey girl - welcome back:) missed you. I don't meditate - but I think that 'concentrating hard' on worries should count;) congrats on the new jobs and digs. stay around - missed ya!