Finding Ways to Love Yourself

hearmindValentine’s Day is a time of year when we show our love and gratitude to the special people in our lives. We shower our loved ones with shows of affection, not only on this holiday, but also in our daily lives year round. We all want to make others feel loved and admired, but what about ourselves? In order to serve those around us in the most meaningful way, self-love is essential.

Many people that consciously embark on a self-love journey are inspired to do so by someone else in their life. Love for yourself lives not only in our minds, but also in every cell of our bodies. Nurturing yourself, mind and body, has been undeniably linked with a longer, healthier, and happier life.

One of the primary ways to cultivate self-love is through exercise. Of course exercise makes you feel good for the superficial reasons – when you look good, you feel good – but there’s so much more to it than that. We’ve all heard it; exercise releases endorphins. These are beautiful little chemicals that your brain pumps out to make you feel good. Improved self-esteem is a well-know benefit of regular physical activity. Exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. So, even on those low energy days, just show up. If you can just show up to that class or the gym, the second you start moving, your brain will start to reward you. And that in turn will make you want to replicate the feeling. And when you are truly happy, high on life, your amazing mood will positively affect others.

Meditation is another way to really check in with yourself and nurture your mental and emotional health. Many extremely successful people have shared that meditation has absolutely been a key part of their success. Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Sting – these people have testified to the value of daily meditation and even admit that some of their best ideas came to them during this time of introspection. It’s like a daily cleaning for your mind.

In the age of social media, we are constantly being bombarded by everyone else’s thoughts and opinions. Meditation allows us to hear ourselves, and only ourselves, and the insight and wisdom that can come from just paying attention in the moment will surprise you. Even if you feel like you have no idea how to start, you can find a plethora of free, guided, meditation videos online. Just pick one and see what happens. Meditation is like any other type of exercise – just focused on your brain. It does require practice and patience. You don’t expect the rest of your body to change overnight, so don’t expect your brain to learn to meditate perfectly either. But if you stick with it, the rewards can be very satisfying.

So just remember, when you’re sending out love and gratitude to the people in your life, add yourself to that list. Sometimes being the best version of ourselves is the best gift we can give to others.

-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator

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Yoga Journal Live! – More than a conference.

 

 

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Yoga Journal Live! at Estes Park, CO

Whether it is to gain more experience and knowledge, personal or professional growth, explore new ideas or programs that are available, or to simply get away from the norm with some other intentions in mind, there are plenty of reasons to attend a conference or convention.

If you are able to go to a conference close to home and still have the opportunity to stay on site for a day or two, it is definitely something to try once in a while. Immersing yourself in the learning environment 100% can help you connect with other participants, allow time for personal reflection and help you stay committed to your sessions, truly getting the most out of the conference as a whole.If you are close enough to commute, it’s a great idea to save money. But keep in mind you may be less inclined to attend the whole conference towards the end if it is a far drive.

I recently attended Yoga Journal Live in Estes Park, a fun conference to attend. Some of the sessions available to attendees were created with nature in mind to compliment our surroundings on site, with outdoors hikes, outdoor meditation and walks with nature. Yoga Journal definitely chooses their conference locations and activities with Yogis in mind so that participants can take advantage of all the areas have to offer.

The next Yoga Journal conference, right here in South Florida, will have sessions like Stand Up Paddle Yoga and Beach Yoga to benefit from some of the beautiful surroundings Hollywood, Florida offers! The conference also goes above and beyond to offer extra events to get attendees involved. With a concert, film debut and more going on all throughout the weekend in Estes Park – there is no time to waste while I was there!

The Estes Park, CO conference I attended was very well-organized. Highlighting the conference was a group of very different and unique instructors and speakers.                         I came to learn more about Yoga and the speakers provided insights applicable to both Yoga students and teachers. This information helped all of us to benefit our personal practice and look at it in a new light. We were introduced to a variety of methods, allowing Yogis to choose the path for their teaching and practice that most authentically resounds with them. I came away from the conference refreshed and enthusiastic about my teaching skills and my personal practice. I am looking forward to the Florida Yoga Journal Live event November 11-14th!

 

Smarter through exercise?

There have been many studies over the years about the benefits of exercise on the body. However, lately there has also been numerous studies about exercise and the brain. This is a relatively new area of research and some studies have reported that people who dance, or walk or run, or even garden, have a lower risk of developing mental health problems like dementia.

Additionally, exercise combined with meditations appears to have the greatest benefit according to a recent New York Times article called, “Yoga may be good for the brain.”

Basically the study examined those who practiced yoga as compared to people who used only traditional exercise programs. After 12 weeks, all the participants performed better on thinking tests but the Yoga group also showed improvement in their moods as well. The Yoga group also improved more in areas like balance, focus, and the ability to multitask.

Any regular exercise program that keeps us moving will benefit our health. But Yoga may have an added bonus in helping us to feel, as well as function better, as we grow older.

Raising awareness – one event at a time

Many of us are already aware that October is breast cancer awareness month. Perhaps you have seen people wearing their pink to show support in finding a cure, or have heard about fundraising events in your area, or perhaps you’ve even seen the pink items for purchase in the stores. Every year the instructors at METFitness, like to do our part to help support awareness and raise money for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer with Zumba Parties in Pink or other Fun Fitness events.

This year we have already held several Zumba Pink Parties in efforts to raise money for the Florida Cancer Institute. However, there are other great ways to have fun while getting fit to support a good cause, like participating in a 5k walk/run. If you haven’t joi
ned in yet this October, it’s not too late! Check with your local newspaper or community website to see what’s going on near you. Or give us a call and try something new!zumbathon

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Renewal

As summer comes to an end, it is time for new beginnings. Students are off to another school year. But education is not just for children. To keep on top of our game, all of us need to keep learning and growing in our respective career paths.

One of the ways we learn as adults is by taking classes and attending conventions in our industry. Luckily for those of us living in the Orlando area, there are lots of conventions that take place here focusing on fitness. Recently there was a Zumba Convention in Orlando with thousands of people excited and happy to connect with others in their quest for fitness. Picture large meeting halls with hundreds of energetic people dancing and sharing their passion for exercise. The excitement was contagious with many master instructors leading classes and workshops on helping people improve their skills.

Many of our instructors attended this convention and came away jazzed by their experience. They have learned new routines and are now bringing this excitement to all of our clients. They are renewed in their sense of being an integral part of the fitness industry and proud of their roles in helping people to grow strong and fit.

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Eat Fresh!

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June 2015

This is the season to eat fresh!

Walking into the grocery store today, I was almost overwhelmed by the abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables that were piled high throughout the produce section. It was almost holiday time for the senses, making it hard to know what to select to take home.

I picked up some beautiful broccoli as well as some asparagus. Corn on the cob was also a possibility but I decided to wait a couple of days because of lack of refrigerator space. Tomatoes and spaghetti squash rounded out my vegetable choices since I am going to use them to make a low carb/ calorie version of baked lasagna later this week. Look for this lasagna (spaghetti squash version) in our recipe section.

Moving over to the fruit aisles was almost overwhelming. After much deliberation, I chose fresh cherries, red grapes, a cantaloupe, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries. The displays were tempting; be careful when traveling through the fruit aisle of a grocery store. You may bring home more than your can eat in a week.

Summer is such a great time to eat fresh foods that are available in such abundance. Prices in stores and roadside stands are lower because all of this produce is ready to eat at the same time. It is a great time to eat well and stay motivated on your path to good health.