September Gratitude Challenge Starts On The 19th!

To join this challenge send an email saying “I’m in!” to Anne@FluidPortland.com

What is it:

  1. Sit with us live Saturday the 19th at 11 am PDT (or catch up later with the audio recording).
  2. Receive an email prompt from me, once each day, for 7 days.
  3. Write down one thing you are grateful for.
  4. Respond to my email, or post your daily gratitude on Fluid’s facebook page (if social media is your thing).
  5. Notice your feelings.

I am thankful for you!

This year we are changing up our September Challenge. In years past we have focused on nutritious food, healthy movement, basically using this time of year as a fresh start to get back on track, or back into a routine. This year feels so very different. Rather than a list of assignments, we are focusing on one thing – gratitude!

Studies show that expressing gratitude can improve your sleep, reduce cellular inflammation, and strengthen your relationships. While it may not feel like it right now, we have many things, and people to be thankful for.

How do you express gratitude? You can send your special person a quick text, or an email, you can write out an actual handwritten thank you card (yes, like with a stamp, thru the mail!), you can call your person and tell them what they mean to you. This could also be a more personal thing, maybe you keep a gratitude journal, that only you read.

So how do we get going? Join us live for a Zoom group meditation Saturday September 19th at 11 am. We will set our goals for the week, talk about possible stumbling blocks and how to address them, then sit for 30 – 45 minutes. you may join us for part or all of this, and I will record an audio file of our meditation that you can re-listen to anytime.

Each day I will email you one short prompt. I challenge you to spend one minute each day reflecting on gratitude. Start small, literally one minute, write down one thing, and see where this goes. Notice how this process makes you feel. Do it every day, first thing in the morning, creating a habit.

To join this challenge send an email saying “I’m in!” to Anne@FluidPortland.com

To recap our plan:

  1. Sit with us Saturday the 19th at 11 am.
  2. Read your daily email prompt from me.
  3. Write down one thing you are grateful for.
  4. Respond to my email, or post your daily gratitude on Fluid’s facebook page.
  5. Notice how this daily gratitude habit makes you feel.

Help me spread the word! Who do you know who would benefit from this? Can you send your special person this post, inviting them to join the September Gratitude Challenge?

Thanks, I appreciate you!

~Anne

Gentle Yoga, Mindfulness And Meditation Workshop Saturday May 3rd

Had a long week? Join Anne for an afternoon of mindfulness.

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We start with gentle seated yoga to warm up our bodies and calm our minds, then explore your five senses with a mindfulness exercise, and finish with a guided meditation.

  • Who: You! And your Fluid family
  • What: 90 minutes total, the class includes gentle movement and sitting quietly with short rest breaks
  • When: Saturday May 3rd at 2 pm
  • Where: Fluid World headquarters 1626 S.E. Sherrett Street, Portland, Or 97202
  • Why: reduce stress, improve your mood, increase your awareness and strengthen your relationships

New to yoga or meditation? This is the perfect introduction. If you are not able to sit on the floor (like Anne in the above photo) please bring a pillow, blanket or towel. Anne will also have props to make you comfortable.

Click here and here for more info about the benefits of meditation.

Questions? Call Anne (503) 705-4762. R.S.V.P. to anne@fluidportland.com by Friday May 2nd to reserve your spot.

Anne McCranie is a Portland Oregon based Licensed Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer. She offers one on one training, weekly classes and monthly workshops. A list maker and go getter she is working on getting comfortable with stillness, silence and moving s-l-o-w-l-y and invites you to join her on this journey.

Living a Balanced Life

Last weekend I attended a YogaFit teacher training in Hood River.   The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, and our hotel overlooked the gorge!  I ate yummy food, did lots of yoga, meditated and met some cool people.  The focus of the weekend was meditation, and chakra balancing.

We discussed learning styles especially right brain vs. left brain.  Ideally we want a balance of left brain (where are my keys) and right brain (imagination, visualization, creativity etc).  This allows us to seamlessly move through our daily activities while feeling connected to those around us, having a sense of community.  Our instructor, Kristy Manuel showed us this video of Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who while having a stroke watches her brain functions shut down one by one – motion, speech, etc…   Hers is a fascinating story.  I love her ideas about how to connect more with our right brain, or creative side.  As she says our right brain thinks “We are perfect, whole and beautiful”

Also during the weekend we did several chakra meditations visualizing the colors, shapes, and qualities of the energy throughout our body.  We also incorporated the colors and characteristics of each chakra into our vinyasa yoga flow.

For the uninitiated, chakras are energy centers that connect to major organs and glands which govern certain parts of your body.  There are seven major chakras and their locations correspond to nerve bundles branching out from the spinal column.  They can be visualized as spinning wheels or vortexes, and each one has a separate color and sound associated with it.  Ideally all seven chakras should be balanced.  If our surroundings are healthy and positive, we receive positive energy and feel good.

Sometimes of course we may become out of balance, having an excess of energy in one area, or a deficiency in another.  How do we solve this problem?  One way is to meditate and visualize your energy flowing evenly throughout your body, There are specific chakra meditations available (we were using a “Chakra Balancing Workbook” by Anodea Judith) but a good start could be sitting quietly for five minutes and just listening to your body.

Try resting your hand on your lower belly and see how it feels.  Rest your hand on your heart or on the top of your head.  Do any of these areas feel more vibrant, louder, softer, bigger, more fluid?  Imagine light or warmth spreading up from your feet all the way out the top of your head, then back down out the bottoms of your feet grounding you into the earth.

I have done a chakra meditation several times in the last few weeks – last night at a bachelorette party for instance (it’s Portland – go figure) and see different things each time.   Sometimes one color is more vibrant or feels stronger, some times I can barely sense energy moving.  Experiment with tuning into your body and see if you can start to pick up the messages it is sending you.

Yoga For Pain Relief Case Study Results

Last month’s yoga series was a huge success! Thanks to all my ladies who participated. We met once a week for six weeks for ninety minutes of restorative, gentle yoga. Our focus was chronic pain relief and we recorded pain levels at every session.

All of our participants reported lower pain levels by the end of the six weeks. One client reduced her chronic pain by six points, going from a 7 out of 10 at week one to a 1 out of 10 at week six! All noticed increased breath and postural awareness and greater ease of movement during their daily activities.

I know yoga can seem intimidating if you have never set foot in a studio. To quote Martin Luther King: “You don’t have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step”

 

What can yoga do for you? If you are interested in forming your own small group or joining one of our ongoing classes contact Anne – 503-705-4762.

Ernie Banks – baseball player, entrepeneur, Yogi?

I caught the tail end of an interview with Ernie Banks on NPR yesterday.  He played shortstop, and then first base for the Cubs in the 50 ‘s and 60’s.  Several things about him struck me as interesting.  For one, he seems unusually humble for a ball player  (Barry Bonds, A-Rod I’m looking at you), and he really did seem to enjoy just getting out and playing the game.

How refreshing in an era of multimillion dollar contract battles, temper tantrums, doping scandals etc…  He stuck with the Cubs despite the fact that he never made it to the World Series, in fact he holds the Major League Record of most games played without a post season appearance.

What the heck does this have to do with yoga you ask?  I’ll tell ya.

I have been re-reading B.K.S. Iyengar’s “Light On Yoga” , aka the yoga bible.  In it Iyengar outlines the eight limbs of yoga: 1. Yama (moral commandments) 2. Niyama (self-purification by discipline) 3. Asana (postures) 4. Pranayama (breath control) 5. Pratyahara (emancipation of the mind from the senses) 6. Dharana (concentration) 7. Dhyana (meditation) 8. Samadhi (a state of super-consciousness brought on by profound meditation where the individual becomes one with the object of his aspiration).  When we hear the word “yoga” most of us think of the asanas, or physical practice of yoga.  This is just one of the eight limbs.

Ok now here is the Ernie Banks/ Yoga connection.  Let’s take a look at one on the Niyamas, Santosa or contentment.  To quote Iyengar:

“Contentment has to be cultivated.  A mind that is not content can not concentrate.  The yogi feels the lack of nothing and so he is naturally content.  Contentment gives bliss unsurpassed to the yogi.  A contented man is complete for he knows the love of the Lord and has done his duty.  He is blessed for he has known truth and joy.”

Ernie says in his interview that there was talk of him being traded but that he didn’t think about it, he was just so focused on playing.  In other words he was practicing Santosa.

Here is Ernie talking about walking out onto Wrigley Field:

“When I walked into that ballpark, my mind just, boom, on the game. ‘Cause it’s a park where you can easily lose your concentration because you’re close to the fans and all of that; and you know, you can see people in the stands walking around, pretty girls, and all of that. You could lose your concentration real fast. And I played the game as if nobody was there but me. That was it. When I walk in a ballpark today, I mean it’s the same thing, just me and the ball.”

This sounds like meditation, or mindfulness,  one of the principles of yoga.  Meditation helps us control our mind and relax our bodies.  It  allows us to be more conscious about what’s happening around us and more aware of what’s happening within ourselves.  While not easily achieved we can get closer to this ideal with daily practice.

The goal of yoga is to eventually reach a state of Samadhi where the body and senses are at rest as if asleep, but the mind is alert and fully conscious.  As Iyengar says “the peace that passeth all understanding”.   I would call Ernie’s technique a form of moving meditation.

Have you experienced a zen-like moment where you felt as if you were exactly where you needed to be, doing exactly what you were meant to do, completely focused and not thinking of the past or future, only the here and now?   If so tell me about it and what led you to that moment.