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Self-Care Month – “I don’t have TIME…”

The #1 answer I got back. “I don’t have time.” “Not enough time.” “Not enough time in the day.”

I’ve been dancing around this post for a couple of weeks now and I’m not sure why. I think because it rubs up against what I hear as a trainer/teacher again and again and again ever since I had big hair and taught aerobics, “I just don’t have time to exercise.”

The coach in me wants to respond with the tough line, “No. You don’t make time.”

Uff. That’s not really how I roll now. The yoga instructor in me wants to be more spacious.

Thus the battle. So here we go….

What I want to say to people who say they don’t have time for Self-Care is this, you’re not making space for yourself in your own life. You are allowing other things to take the line ahead of you. And I get it –sometimes life is like that. But it’s when this becomes the norm that things start to go awry. When you continually subjugate your needs again and again and forget that you even have a need…that is when you need to stop and take stock.

Because you’re operating from a negative balance – an empty well. You grabbing table scraps to make it through each day instead of coming from a place of being full (or at least partially full.) You’ve probably forgotten what it even feels like to come from that place.

What does this lead to? Well…something on the other end of the see saw of wellness. Stress. Anxiety. Depression. Overwhelm. Exhaustion. Self-Medicating. Hamster Wheels. Around and around and around and around.

The thing is this – Self-Love is the heart of it. It is the beginning and the end of it. The alpha and omega. Because when you love your beautiful self, you’re more apt to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. You’re more apt to:

Breathe

Calm

Move

Cook healthy food

Eat healthy food

Keep your center

Quiet

Fresh air

Drink a glass of water

Practice gratitude

Choose positivity

Not drink/eat too much

I can’t take the hard line because I’ve been on the hamster wheel. I get it. You won’t get any judgment from me – but you might get an irrational hug because I want to smooth your feathers. Step off now. And remember that Self-Care can be the simplest of things done in a just a moment of your time. Breathe now. Inhale. Exhale.

Peace.Love.Joy. Sarah

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Inspiration

Inspiration. “A person, place, experience etc., that makes someone want to do or create something. – Merriam Webster

Inspired. I love that feeling. I feel most alive when I am feeling inspired to do, say, create something. And I’ve been really trying to stand on that place in my life, interactions, business more often. Because it makes it come from a very authentic and enthusiastic place – and to work from that place just FEELS GOOD.

This month I’ll be sharing some of the things, quotes, art and people that help me to feel inspired. In addition, I would be incredibly grateful if you shared with me WHAT INSPIRES YOU? You can IM me through my Facebook page or respond to this blogpost with two questions in mind:
1) What inspires you?
2) Your favorite quote, book, picture that you get inspired by reading or looking at.

I’d like to start by sharing about someone who inspires me with each interaction. Her name is Conie and she does a couple of things that inspire me regularly.
*She comes from a place of love – she exudes love.
*She is a creative – an ACTIVE creative. Conie tills the soil of her creativity in her music, dance and artwork.
*She is a hugger. I am a hugger. When we see each other, we hug.

Why do these things inspire me? Continue reading


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Self Love Month – Hypnosis

Tell me – how has your Self Love Month been going?  Have you treated yourself to some kindness and care?  I hope so.  It’s so easy in the hub-bub of everyday life to neglect to give ourselves even the smallest kindnesses.  We forget.  We get lost in the shuffle.  And all of a sudden, three months have passed by and you have neglected taking care of your beautiful self.

This month, we have featured some amazing healers that I work with at Tula Yoga & Wellness in Saint Paul, MN.  Why?  Because they are so special and loving and I wanted to share them with you.  Wherever you are, seek out some of the modalities that we featured here and treat yourself.

This week, I am focusing my loving eye on Stacy Dunn.  Besides being an incredible massage therapist (her myofascial work makes my body sing), Stacy is a hypnotherapist.  She is the first to say that her work isn’t aversion therapy nor will she make you cluck like a chicken (unless you’d like that I suppose.)  But what she DOES do is help with stress, choosing healthy eats, avoiding things that harm you like smoking and alcohol, and choosing calm. This is Stacy

selflovestacy

Stacy worked with a group of my clients to help with mindful eating and choosing healthy foods in healthy portions.  And it was wonderful.  What I love about Stacy is that it is all about Self Love.  She creates a beautiful situation in your mind that you WANT to uphold and attain.  She helps you to realize that the calm and centered feeling you feel when working with her, is attainable and maintainable in your life.

Here’s what she has to say:

Sarah:  What is hypnosis?

Stacy:  Hypnosis is a deeply absorbed state of focused relaxation.   This state of absorption is one that you achieve everyday.  If you’ve ever driven somewhere and wondered how you got there, you have experienced this state.  Hypnosis is the ability of your unconscious mind to convince or unconvince yourself of anything.

Sarah:  Are people in control of themselves during the session?

Stacy:  You are completely in control during a session.  You will not do anything under hypnosis that you wouldn’t otherwise do.  Unlike the unfortunate “stage show”image of hypnosis, sessions are very peaceful.

Sarah:  Can anyone be hypnotized?

Stacy:  Everyone can be hypnotized, if they are willing.  Like most things, practice can improve your self-hypnosis skills.

Sarah:  What is a session like?

Stacy:  Sessions use comfortable zero gravity chairs.  The beginning of each session is a gentle, peaceful guided relaxation to help you achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Once in this state, suggestions, metaphors, and images area all used to help you achieve your personal goals.

Sarah:  Who can benefit?

Stacy:  Everyone can benefit.  Hypnosis has been clinically documented to relieve stress which can contribute to most medical conditions.  For example, in a study on teeth grinding, which is significantly related to stress, 100% of participants experienced reduced grinding as shown on EMGs.  A study on hot flashes showed almost ¾ of participants reduced their hot flashes.  Hypnosis can help you unconvince yourself of harmful beliefs and convince you of beliefs that help you.  I focus on easy relaxation skills that can be used in everyday life as a part of every session and using self-kindness as a gateway to achieving your personal goals.  These skills can have a broad positive effect on many areas of your life.

Sarah:  Why did hypnosis call to you as a healing modality?

Stacy:  I became interested in hypnosis after I brought my daughter for 3 sessions.  She responded easily and painlessly.  I felt that hypnosis was a skill that is so painless, helpful and strengthening that it was underutilized.  Several years later, I decided to attend a training and really found my niche when I started incorporating self-kindness as a gateway for all behavior changes.

My personal experience with hypnosis.  I went to Stacy because I was irritated that I used wine as a crutch in awkward family and social situations.  I felt that I wanted to not have ANY crutches and be able to be peaceful and centered and at ease in all situations…even ones that make me feel really uncomfortable.  So – I went to Stacy.  And we recorded the session and I did the work and listened at home to the sessions for 30 days, as she recommended.  Result?  Frankly, I know it’s crazy – but I’m not really interested in drinking anymore.  It doesn’t feel like something I really want or need to do.  I can’t figure out the ‘why’ of doing it…so I just…don’t.

Think on it – if there is something pulling you off of your center, or if you have never even FOUND your center, or if you lose your temper, or if you eat for comfort, or if you wish you could make a different choice in various situations…consider it.  It was incredibly peaceful and I really just could listen to Stacy all day – I think she should have her own Pandora station.  You can schedule with her by clicking here (for MASSAGE TOO!)

Much peace to you on your journey.

S


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Self Love – SourcePoint Therapy

I am FEELING this self-love month.  All month I’ve been seeking out small ways to shower a little care on my beautiful self.  I’ve even.made.appointments.  Awesome.  I’ve even taken myself on a 24 hour retreat.  Crazy.  How about you?

Today is my very first SourcePoint appointment with the radiant Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan.  Elizabeth is one of my favorite colleagues.  When we’re in the same space together, there is much laughter.  We try not to look at each other during meetings…here she is:

selfloveelizabeth

So Elizabeth is a wonderful yoga instructor, but she is also a SourcePoint practitioner.  Let me start this by telling a very brief story – around one year ago, I developed this weird tumor thing on my neck.  As a former smoker, I was trying to fend off the idea that I had throat cancer until the doctor could confirm or deny (it was not…yay.)  But UNTIL then, I had this pretty awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.  One day, I went to Tula for something or another and pretty much bumped into Elizabeth.  She asked how I was, and for some reason I overrode my Midwest inclination to say, “fine” and told her the truth.  I was scared witless.  Elizabeth, took me in her hands – one hand at my back I think and the other on my throat.  She was utterly calm and confident.  And she … calmed me.  And the thing on my neck SHRUNK – it came back, but IT SHRANK DOWN TO A MARBLE SIZE.  That my friends is some POWERFUL stuff.  So, let’s learn about it:

What’s SourcePoint?

Elizabeth:  SourcePoint Therapy is simple but profound healing modality that is based on the principle that there is a blueprint for human health, the information of order, balance, harmony, and flow, that we are born into and connected to, by removing primary blockages that occur from living in the world, our health is better able to flow with ease throughout our whole body. In short, SourcePoint Therapy is a remembering of wellness or simply put of hope.

Do you have to be ‘hurt’ or ‘ill’ to see you?

Elizabeth:  Absolutely not, it is a modality that supports you in sickness and in health. What I love about this modality is that it acknowledges the symptoms, but it really is rooted in health and bringing health back to the person, always returning you toward greater and greater health and wholeness.

How does it help people?

Elizabeth:  It makes people feel better, a sense of overall wellness and health, ease, and hope. SourcePoint Therapy’s nature and orientation is health, and health from a SP perspective brings in the qualities of order, balance, harmony and flow.  SP removes the blockages and returns the flow of health to the person. SP is based on the intention and connection to health for the human body and grounding the human being in their highest potential.

Why did it call to you as a healing modality?

Elizabeth:  I love its simplicity and its effectiveness, and how I never know what I will be doing until the person shows up and we talk and they get on the table. It really is a modality that as the practitioner you need to be present for moment by moment listening to the other person’s body and system and responding in kind how to bring it back into greater harmony and attunement with health.

Why would you tell someone to try it?

Elizabeth:  Anyone who wants to feel better and root themselves in health. Also people come to me to heal and get support for a physical injury, on-going stress, mental or emotional imbalances, pregnancy support or postpartum support, chronic health conditions, you want support in resolving, to name a few. I love working with all ages…and have the pleasure to work with babies and kids as well as adults.

What can people expect when they come?

Elizabeth:  We will talk for a few moments before getting on the massage table. On the table you are fully clothes and face up. Many sink into that alert but asleep healing state, and leave feeling a sense of completion. The work continues after you leave as your body continues to self-heal.

Want more information?  Check out the SourcePoint website:

After my appointment today, and throughout the rest of this afternoon, I have felt an absolute feeling of wellness and feeling ‘right’ and good.  Of feeling like everything’s ticking along in my body.  It was different than reiki – Elizabeth puts her hands on areas that need to get energy moved through.  But similar in that she’s working with your body’s energy to get it aligned with the ‘blueprint’ of optimum health that she outlined.

You can find Elizabeth at Tula Yoga and Wellness Center.  Much peace and health to you this day and every day.

Peace. Love. Joy,

Sarah


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Some Tips on Handling Emotional Eating Attacks

-Take a pause.

You’re in front of the pantry, refrigerator, snack drawer.  Stop.  Don’t move.  Take a deep breath.

-Ask yourself if you are ACTUALLY hungry? 

This question is a deal changer.  It means you actually have to tune in to what you normally ignore.  Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry right now?”  Pay attention and remember that real hunger gives notice for awhile – first an empty feeling in your belly, then some rumbling, then some gnawing.  That’s real hunger.  Are you reallllly hungry?  Or are you something else?

-If you’re not hungry, ask yourself WHY you are standing in front of the pantry?

If the answer is that you’re not really hungry and that you’re standing in front of the pantry, refrigerator, snack drawer for other reasons, let it come in that you’re having an Emotional Eating Attack.  Simply notice that you are in the middle of an attack of emotional eating.  Notice, but don’t chastise.  Notice but don’t do anything.  Just notice it.  Then step outside yourself and say, “I’m not really hungry.  So WHY am I standing in front of the pantry?”  Answers will come up – bored, stressed, angry, frustrated, etc.

-Journal what happened leading up to it and what you are feeling.  Are there any patterns?

What feelings are you feeling?  Grab your journal and write about it.  You’ll notice some patterns appear – feelings that ‘trigger’ you to stand in front of the pantry.  Then, once you see what feelings trigger you, you can seek out what you REALLY NEED on a soul level.  Because take it from me, potato chips are a quick fix, but they do not address what I really need on a soul level.  What is it?  Comfort?  A hug?  A conversation?  Intimacy?  Quiet?  Calm?  To be alone?  Something to do?

-Give yourself what you really need. 

This step can be tough.  It’s hard enough trying to figure out what you’re feeling, but then actually figuring out what you really need?  This takes some serious self-care.  And friend?  You are so worth it.  Treat yourself to what it is you really, really need.  Really nice bath salts? Check.  Organic herbal tea? Check.  A firepit in your backyard? Check.  Whatever.it.is…give it to yourself.  Create some space and give yourself permission to gift yourself with what you need.  Things to try:

Sip on some herbal tea.

Drink a glass of water.

Change your scenery.

Take a bath.

Go for a walk.

Go to bed.

Call a friend.

Pick up a book.

Peace to you on your journey,
Sarah


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It’s all going south.

I like it when three completely different things present themselves to you as gifts from the Universe and they all illustrate the same thing in different ways.

First thing – A conversation with my neighbor Joan. We were talking about our parents getting older and how difficult that is for us to see. For each of us the takeaway was to MOVE AS MUCH AS WE CAN, WHILE WE CAN.

Second thing – I’m at the gym in the changing room and the beautiful women of the Water Aerobics are drying off and naked. And most of them are senior citizens. They are laughing and seemingly at home and content in their bodies. They are beautiful. They are fit. I admire them. I want to be like them when I grow up.

Third thing – a woman came to my class. Lovely, strong, full of life. She is living with Multiple Sclerosis. And when I asked the class to run down a hill, she wept. She wept because she used to be able to run down hills, and now she can’t. Now, with a determined look on her face, she concentrates on her balance and she walks down that hill. This woman was a runner, a mountain climber, a MOVER. She grieves the loss of ability in her body, and yet pushes herself to do her very best in what she CAN do.

We spend a lot of energy….wait, no, we WASTE a lot of energy disliking our bodies and wishing that they were different. So much energy wasted despising, wishing, working, coveting, loathing….

And here’s the deal people. It’s all going south. For each and every one of us eventually….it’s all going south. Eventually the skin sags around the muscle and things loosen up. Unless you are going to get a body lift (is there even such a thing?) it’s coming for all of us…

So when are we going to love ourselves? Love this shell that we’ve been given that holds our beautiful selves? Take care of it, move it, stretch it…but moreover – be grateful that we CAN do what we do.

If we take a wider view of our beautiful selves…not so myopic on our bellies, butts, jiggly arms, sagging jowels and zoomed out a bit. Maybe we could see how lovely we are as a whole. How nice it is to be right where we are…right here, right now.

Love the body you’re in. It’s part of wellness. Let go of the blaming, shaming, self-disgust, frustration. Embrace love, admiration, celebration and delight.

Please. And please stop letting marketing and sales geniuses define what beautiful is. It’s crap. Healthy? Yes. Eating well because it contributes to your wellness? Yes. Moving because it makes you feel good inside and out? Yes. But dieting yourself into submission because people say that’s what size you ‘should’ be? No. Working out obsessively because you want to look like xyz? No.

It’s all going south people.

Until then. Love your beautiful selves. Be grateful. Delight in yourself. Focus on health and wellness. Spread love around to others….and to yourself.

Peace,
Sarah


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Why Strength Train? A manifesto…

“Muscle is metabolically active tissue that is highly responsive to the stimuli of progressive resistance exercise. With appropriate training, muscles grow and become stronger; without appropriate training, muscles diminish and become weaker.” –American Council on Exercise

I have so many people that ask me about how to lose weight. And even though my message is about loving yourself and embracing yourself wherever you are on your wellness journey, I get it. I think you can love yourself and still want to be healthier and want to make changes.

The problem is there’s a lot of shaming stuff out there. Stuff that makes you feel less than. Especially about nutrition. I’m not going to talk about that today. But I will say this – if you can just be as consistent as possible with eating really good, really whole food in healthy amounts. That would probably be all you’d need to get you where you want to be. In addition, if you are eating when you aren’t hungry, start journaling and figure out what emotions trigger you to use food for comfort. Then, you can start really giving yourself what you need emotionally instead of turning to food…which doesn’t really comfort you. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth. Or, check out her website at www.geneenroth.com.

Ok I digress. So after the food thing can get looked at with some tenderness and care, the next thing is STRENGTH TRAINING. Yeppers – it’s time to GET STRONG.

And here’s why – (thank you American Council on Exercise for giving me some fantastic words around all of this) READ THE WHOLE LIST…IT WILL BLOW YOUR EVER-LOVIN’ MIND.

*Feeling STRONG. Important…no?

*A decrease in depression.

*Improved posture.

*Improved tensile strength in tendons and ligaments.

Improved bone mineral density which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

*Injury prevention. – Muscles serve as shock absorbers and balancing agents. Balanced muscle development reduces the risk of overuse injuries that result when one muscle group is strong and the opposing muscle group is weak.

*Raised resting metabolic rate. Even during sleep, resting skeletal muscles are responsible for more than 25% of the body’s calorie use. More muscle = higher metabolic rate. In a matter of WEEKS you can improve your resting metabolic rate.

*Improves metabolism. – After a hard workout – you can raise your metabolic rate by 7-8% for 3 DAYS.

*Results in more calories burned on a daily basis.

*Raised lean muscle mass looks pretty good on a body – enhanced self confidence.

*Improved body composition, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

*Lowers resting blood pressure.

*Improves blood lipid profiles.

*Facilitates movement of food and waste through gastrointestinal system. Four months of basic resistance exercise increases GI transit speed by 56% in older men!! Why is this important? May reduce risk of colon cancer!!

*Stronger muscles = reduction or disappearance in low back pain.

*Reduced pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

*Improved functional ability in older adults – Also in one study, older adults who performed 6 months of circuit training experienced positive adaptations in 179 GENES associated with age and exercise, giving their muscles mitochondrial characteristics similar to those of young adults.

Taken together…these benefits enhance the quality of life and lower the risk of premature all-cause mortality.

Now…let’s talk about aging.

Age alert…Physical capacity decreases dramatically with age in non-strength training adults due to an average 5-pound per decade loss of muscle tissue. You want to maintain your physical capacity and performance? Make strength training a regular part of your life.

BUT GUESS WHAT ELSE – that 5-pound per decade muscle loss leads to a 3% per decade reduction in your resting metabolic rate. That reduction = weight gain. When less energy is required for daily metabolic function, the calories that were previously used by muscle tissue (that has since atrophied due to disuse) are stored as fat.

    BOOM.

Everyone wonders why they gain weight as they get older…this is why. “But I’m not eating any differently”…you don’t need to! Your reduction in muscle is doing the trick.

So, if you’re a person who grew up in the 80’s…we were told cardio, cardio, cardio. For the good of your heart, you bet! Get some cardio exercise in a way that pleases you. But for the love of all things good and right in the world…STRENGTH TRAIN.

And before you go all crazy and start doing plyo pushups or go buy some crazy DVD’s…I’d like to urge you to visit your nearest trainer or a gym with trainers. Why? Because then you can learn about form. Trainers can help you learn how to do strength exercises properly. Most trainers are taught to ‘straighten before you strengthen’ and that simply means – we’ll look for postural deviations and weaknesses and help you correct those before adding load to your work. This helps prevent injury.

Ok. Woohoo! Get after it. 
Peace,
Sarah