Within 24 hours of returning home, the harsh reality of life smacks us right between the eyes. We truly and often desperately want to keep up the practice, but family, business and life commitments simply demand most of our time. Usually after a day or a week, we quit. This sad end result can be just one more blow to our self esteem, rather than the anticipated path to enlightenment (or at least reduced pain). Sound familiar?
Well, I had too many demands on my time. Too many obligations. My life is huge! Just like yours. But I need the benefits, just like you do.
So do we just forget about our personal development for a few years (or decades?), and receive zero benefits? Do we simply tolerate the stress and pain? No we can make small, manageable goals.
Tai Chi for Busy People and 4 Minute Fitness are designed to give you maximum benefits in minimum time.
The result? A few minutes before going to work, before interacting with the family, or before sleep can significantly improve your quality of life. And then, after a period of regular practice you may begin to make decisions, even lifestyle decisions that will bring more balance into your life.
I firmly believe that a few minutes a day is infinitely superior to no minutes a day, and that even just a small amount of this quality time will increase your productivity and performance at work, improve health in all ways and reduce your stress levels.
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Five minutes a day is the single step needed to begin a journey toward wellness.
I recently received a question about ways to improve balance while standing on one leg.
It seems that most people have poor balance. In fact, we are a nation of falling people. Sadly, falling related injuries take a huge personal and financial toll. Beginners in my tai chi classes who stand on one leg look like a forest of trees in a strong wind, initially swaying all over the place. Yet, with practice and technique, balance improves in a matter of weeks. The key? Learn how to improve balance, then practice.
Anytime you need to stand on one leg, or need to have better balance when standing on both legs, here's what to do. Relax onto the supporting leg(s). Bend your supporting knee(s) a little more, then feel all the weight sink onto the foot, drop the shoulders and relax the abdomen (thereby lowering your center of gravity). Then take a breath as deep as it will go into your lungs, so it actually feels like you are breathing into your abdomen. And keep breathing this way. Soon you feel rooted, solid and connected with the ground.
Better balance comes with PRACTICE. Everyday. It will not get better by wishing it so. Tai Chi for Busy People (and/or) 4 Minute Fitness teaches effective and easy balance exercises. (add URLS).
Ever find yourself juggling your life, feeling out of balance? First thing you need to do to regain a healthy perspective is to become grounded. Stand on both legs and begin taking deep breaths. Breath deeply and fully, focusing only on the inhale and exhale. Nothing else matters. This is a perfect time to do a little tai chi or yoga. It seems that people who improve physical balance find an improvement in life balance. Interesting...
Perspective is needed to help you determine what is actually important in your life. Take a few moments to determine the most important parts of your life - your relationship, your family, your own mental, physical and spiritual health - and commit to attending to those first!
Determine what is least important (many phone calls, junk mail, other peoples' drama, many TV programs and junk novels) and reduce those significantly. I found the book First Things First by Steven Covey very helpful. Especially his powerful question How many people on their death beds wished they had spent more time in the office?
Daily practice of 4 Minute Fitness (and/or) Tai Chi for Busy People helps immeasurably with finding life balance. Both these videos incorporate much of what tai chi, chi kung, yoga and meditation have to offer. Check out the following link for more information on the concept of easily introducing just a few minutes of profound movement into your life each day.
1. Each day, spend some time alone. Time in prayer, meditation, yoga or tai chi. Time just sitting. Not reading, knitting, watching TV, talking, scratching, or sleeping. Just sitting. Not even thinking. Thoughts will of course try to invade. That's fine, but let them drift away, like clouds floating across the sky.
This process will awaken you to the frenetic, constant, repetitive activity of the mind. The constant pressure to be elsewhere with the assumption that something more needs to happen so you can be "happy". The first step is the recognition of this process on a regular basis. The next step is to continue spending time alone, in prayer, meditation, yoga, tai chi...
2. Each day, find something simple in your life that is beautiful, interesting, wondrous or amazing. Like a spider web. Or a flower. Or the sun reflecting off a colorful bird. Or a sunset. Maybe the moon. Or a smile. You get the picture. Living in appreciation makes every day better, and there is always something to appreciate.
3. Each day, decide to listen completely in every conversation. Without second guessing the content you are expecting from the other person. Without finishing the sentences for him/her. Without already preparing your rebuttal to the anticipated conversation. Just listen. Listening is a rare skill these days. It takes practice, and is enhanced considerably by having a quiet, still mind.
4. Quit fighting "what is". Whatever is happening in the present moment is happening, whether or not you like it. It is as it is for now, so increase your level of contentment by accepting each moment as if you have chosen it. Of course you can take actions to improve your life, but you can't change the present moment because it already is...
Mental stillness, discovering the profound in everyday life and living in the moment are very elusive experiences for most people. We put so much value on doing, on accomplishment, and so little on being. One of my favorite cartoons showed two cigar smoking, pinstriped executives in discussion. One lamented that "maybe true happiness comes AFTER the first $700 million".
Tai Chi for Busy People and 4 Minute Fitness teach methods designed to help you become present. Both offer vital principles taken from tai chi, chi kung, yoga and meditation, as well as a powerful sense of body awareness and energy (chi) development. Just a few minutes a day. That's it...
They say that it is wisdom to know others, but it is enlightenment to know oneself. Take a few moments each day to get to know yourself.