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June: Flexibility and Brain Training

June: Flexibility and Brain Training

I have come across a fine line in this Happiness Project of wanting to be happy with the present moment and who I am right here and now, while also striving to be even just a little bit better each day. I think sometimes we can confuse that drive to push ourselves to achieve goals with a dissatisfaction with who we are currently, and I hope to dismantle that notion and prove to myself that the two sentiments can exist simultaneously. I can be so happy and proud of who I am now, while also striving to be the best version of myself, setting and working toward new goals. In fact, that fire in me to be better and work hard is one thing that I love about my present self! Checking in on this balance is key. We have to make sure that we have happiness and self love now, and these aren't things we are pushing off as something we will achieve "some day," maybe after other seemingly more important goals are checked off the list.

The Alcázar of Sevilla

The Alcázar of Sevilla

So this month I am doing things a little bit differently. Instead of focusing on incorporating a general theme into my daily life like I have in past months, this month I want to focus on another goal of mine for this Happiness Project, which is establishing daily routines. Establishing healthy routines has been an underlying theme of this project, and I think creating these routines for myself is a great practice in finding the balance between loving myself now and propelling myself toward my best future. The daily practice I think I've done the best job so far at cultivating is meditation.

My walk to work at the bilingual elementary school I've taught at this year

My walk to work at the bilingual elementary school I've taught at this year

Meditation is a routine I begin back in February, and I am proud to say I am on day 50 of daily 10 minute meditation! This practice is the perfect example of what I am talking about. Meditation is all about letting everything fall away and existing fully in the present moment. The intention is to turn off all thinking and focus on the breath, to train the brain in presence and awareness. But with meditation, and most other things, one day of this isn't going to do much for you in the long-term. This practice is all about consistency, taking those ten minutes every day for yourself to retrain the brain and sit in stillness. With time, a habit is developed. Your brain actually rewires itself and so many benefits begin to present themselves, such as lowered anxiety and a better ability to focus. Meditation has allowed me to see the benefits in of daily routines, and I'd like to get better at maintaining them even when life is chaotic. So this month I'd like to keep my goals simple. I have picked two things I want to do each day of this month. Even through taking my international trip home for the summer, starting a full-time summer job, and getting back into the American lifestyle, I want to prove to myself that I can still manage to carve out a little time each day for 30 days to focus on my goals. This month I am focusing on stretching and daily work outs.

"Stretch Goals"

So my "stretch goals" this month are actually about getting more flexible! I hope to cultivate a daily yoga practice, but even when time is tight, I plan to spend each day at least working on my splits and back bend. Here are my "before" pictures:

Left split

Left split

Right split

Right split

Middle split, lots of work to do on this one

Middle split, lots of work to do on this one

Back bend

Back bend

These are all poses I have been working on inconsistently this year, and I am excited to see what some more attention and consistency will bring to my level of progress! 

Daily Work Outs

My trainer, life coach, and bestie, Shamir Peshewa Jackson, is someone who helped find the power in myself to cultivate self love and push myself harder. The means through which I began to chip away at this was fitness. Fitness is my self love language. This year, it has been incredibly challenging keeping up the level of fitness she helped me achieve last year, and I hope I can work to get back to that this summer. But in the meantime, even in the floor in my room in 90 degree Sevilla heat and no air conditioning I can still crank out a short body weight work out. Shamir came up with a booty challenge for the month of June, so this will be the minimum work out I hold myself to each day this month while reviving my daily workout practice!

I love a 30 day challenge, and I am so happy I've discovered the potential in myself to stick with and establish healthy routines! I am excited to live as much in self love as I do in determination, and I love discovering how daily habits can aid in that balance. What is one routine you'd like to develop? Start with me this month! Let's be accountability partners! More flexibility and brain training, please! :)

Self Love Can't Wait

Self Love Can't Wait

May: Energy Month

May: Energy Month