Sayulita Fitness Retreat – Flight Price drop today only!

**Price drop alert today only from NY to PVR, 45 minutes north of Sayulita for $378 Roundtrip! I have never seen the flights so inexpensive but it will probably go up by the end of the day to $550+  Book now to secure this pricing before it’s too late! https://www.skyscanner.com/

Escape with us to beautiful Sayulita as we create a magical and unforgettable experience to help you relax, re-energize, and refresh your daily perspective of life.

Sayulita is a hidden gem with beautiful beaches, great surf breaks, and a very chill vibe which is hard not to fall in love with.  From amazing margaritas to beautiful sunsets, you won’t want to leave!

I will be leading the Fitness portion while Janalyn Rose will be in charge of the yoga, surf and SUP instruction.  We are thrilled to take you on an exciting adventure and create a memorable experience you’ll never forget! Whether you decide to go solo or bring a friend, we’ll have a wonderful time together. Everyone is welcome!

Early Bird Deadline:  August 15th

Sign up by August 15th for the $200 off Early Bird Discount!

The Fine Print

  • Regular pricing will resume after August 15th.
  • 50% is due by 8/15/2017
  • 50% Balance due by 9/5/2017.
  • There are no refunds.  Any cancellations thirty days before the retreat date will result in credit towards the next retreat.

Go to www.cindylaifitness.com/events to request the brochure

 

Active Beach days and Surf Fit Summer

Happy Summer! It’s the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with amazing weather, sunny skies and plenty of recreational activities to choose from. Become one with the sea as you escape to the beach. There’s nothing like the fresh ocean air to stimulate your senses and nourish your mind, body and soul.

Join me every weekend to play! Surfing is one of the most challenging activities out there. Not only do you need good core strength and balance, mobility is a key element as well.  It’s a skill which takes time to learn, but the process can be accelerated by getting into shape specific for this activity.

I developed Surf Fit this summer as a way to help people have fun outdoors while getting into shape for surfing.  Strength, mobility and posture is the main focus of this program.  All too often, I don’t see people properly warm up which increases chances of injury.  Due to the technologically advanced world we live in these days, poor posture contributes to a variety of aches and pains. This can be further exacerbated in activities, especially surfing.  You need good extension of the spine to pop up as well as range of motion in your lower body. If your job requires sitting for hours, you will be extremely tight and out of alignment. If you do nothing to offset these issues, your limitations may lead you down a dark path.

Learn how to take care of your body with me every weekend at Beach 67th in  Far Rockaway. We start with a 15-20 minute warmup before we hit the waves.  One hour complimentary board rental provided by Breakwater Surf Co. Don’t miss out as classes will be held until the end of August.  All details can be found at:

www.cindylaifitness.com/surf

Make it an all day beach day. Bring your lunch, snacks and beverages. We can do a stretch/yoga session after, play volleyball or whatever your heart desires.

 

 

Sayulita Fitness Retreat

sayulita-2016

Sayulita Fitness Retreat
May 25-29, 2017 |  Sayulita, Mexico

Escape with us on a fitness retreat to beautiful Sayulita Mexico! Relax, re-energize, and refresh as we create a magical and unforgettable experience at Amor Boutique hotel, a luxury boutique resort with exquisite ocean views and a double infinity pool.

Are you ready to recharge as you exercise, surf and play in the warm sea and sunshine?

Reserve your spot by December 15 to lock in Early Bird savings!

Learn More

Sayulita Fitness and Yoga Retreat

 

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Retreat to Paradise in charming Sayulita, a seaside town on the west coast of Mexico.  Not far from Puerto Vallarta, Amor Boutique hotel is a luxury boutique resort perfect for your fitness retreat. Exercise, surf, and play in the sun while you recharge your batteries in this magical place.  Located right on the beach in the heart of Sayulita with exquisite ocean views, you’ll start the day off with fitness or yoga. Surfing and SUP will be included and there will be free time during the day do as you please before the evening activities.

Sayulita is a hidden gem with beautiful beaches, great surf breaks, and a very relaxed vibe which is hard not to fall in love with.  From fresh tacos, amazing margaritas to beautiful sunsets, you won’t want to leave!

Janalyn Rose and I are excited to created a memorable experience for you which will encompass fitness, wellness, and plenty of fun times in this great little surf town.  Join us on May 25-29 next year for 5 days as we take you through an adventure you’ll never forget!

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What’s included:

(Oceanfront Villa )

Shared Room $1800 pp

Private Room $2200 pp

Breakfast, snacks, dinner (Vegetarian options available)

Daily fitness and/or yoga activities

(Some examples – Sunset yoga, Beach Body Partner Workout, Restorative yoga, Cultural Boot camp tour, etc.)

One Surf Lesson

One SUP Lesson

Surfboards at the hotel from 8a-8p

SUP at hotel

Nutrition Workshop

Salsa Lesson

Fitness photography with professional photographer – details tba

Not included:

Lunch

Airfare

Massage (there will be options available at the hotel)

Earlybird discount for payment by 12/1 is as follows. Regular pricing will resume after.  50% is due by 12/15/2016 and balance by 3/1/2016. There are no refunds.  Any cancellations before x days will result in credit towards the next retreat.

$1500 Shared Room

$1900 Private Room

More details to follow.

For all inquiries, please email cindy@cindylaifitness.com

We can’t wait to help you plan an incredible and active adventure in beautiful little Sayulita next year!

Love,

Cindy Lai and Janalyn Rose

Sunset Yoga in Sayulita

It’s never too late to make healthy changes

No matter what age you are, it’s never too late to make healthy changes in your life.  Making excuses won’t get you anywhere. You’ll always be busy so when is the right time?  The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to undo bad habits.  If you are serious about living a healthy lifestyle, start with baby steps.

1.Make the time

A few minutes a day of movement is better than none.  Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be an hour. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up.  Do some light exercise before work. Move around if you’re sitting all day long. Take hourly breaks from your desk to release your spine. Take the stairs or go for water breaks. Get off at 2 stops before your regular station so you can walk more. Hit the gym or take a fitness class after work to stay motivated. Make a date with a workout buddy or hire a trainer if you need extra motivation. There are only options, not excuses.

2. Keep your brain healthy

According to Henry Ford, “anyone who keeps learning stays young. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty.”  A study at the University of Texas found that older adults who engaged in challenging mental activities actually improve their cognitive functioning.  Learning stimulates the brain and can improve memory. Go out there and learn how to play an instrument, sing, paint, or whatever your heart desires! The great thing is that you have plenty of things to choose from so have some fun with it and make a list of things to try.

3. Make a commitment to yourself

This is non-negotiable. You are in charge of taking care of your mind and your body. You know what you need to keep yourself sane and balanced.  This does not mean you need to be perfect, but you do need to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Drink water, get sleep, exercise, stretch, meditate, relax, recover and eat well.  That’s pretty much what you need in a nutshell.  Everything else will fall into place.  Don’t work yourself to death because you will deteriorate over time in the form of illness or disease.  It’s not worth it.

There is always time to be healthy.  Make the changes necessary to improve your lifestyle today.  It won’t happen overnight but with consistency, you will get there.  I saw this video of 79 year old Deshun Wang today which was so inspirational that I had to watch it a few more times.  Some of the people who inspire me the most are the older folks because they understand how important it is to make the most out of their lives.  They have a positive attitude when it comes to their health and wellness and this is something we can all learn from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Habits of Healthy people

There are many habits which distinguish healthy people from unhealthy. Here are the habits of some of the healthiest, fittest and most successful people who always make time for improving their lifestyle.

1. Positive attitude

Instead of wasting time and energy complaining about everything, healthy people tend to adopt an optimistic attitude more than unhealthy people. They look on the bright side of things and make the changes necessary to improve their circumstances in the long run.

Positive attitude

2. Health is a priority

Without health, you have nothing.  This is probably the most important habit. They make the time to take care of their mental and physical well being because they don’t take their health for granted.  They know this has a direct impact on their emotional well being.  Taking care of the mind, body and soul will help them become more balanced and better equipped to handle the daily stresses of life.

3.  Physical activity is a necessity

Physical activity goes hand in hand with making health a priority. In a study in the American Journal of Physiology, it found that 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day was just as effective as 60 minutes when it comes to weight loss.  With the sedentary lifestyle today, any movement is good movement. Humans are not made to sit for extended periods of time. Sitting has contributed to chronic aches, pains and injuries due to poor posture and frequent visits to the doctor.  If going to the gym or taking fitness classes is not your cup of tea, you can participate in a variety of recreational activities.  Also take the stairs, get up often from your desk or go for walks when possible.  This is just as important because it keeps you moving throughout the day.

4. No dieting

Healthy folks know that diets are quick-fixes and will never last. They prepare healthier meals ahead of time and indulge in unhealthy foods in moderation.  They are not restrictive because they’re aware that this will backfire on them instead.  Eating well is a lifelong endeavor where balance is the key to success.

5. Get adequate sleep

Those who suffer from the lack of sleep and sleep disorders are less productive, get sick more often, and increase their likelihood of accidents when compared to healthy people, according to the book Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation.  Sleep is vital to daily function. Regeneration and recovery occurs during this time so it’s important to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day.

sleep

6. Stretch 

As we get older, our flexibility decreases which can cause more aches and pains than we’d like.  Our posture suffers from sitting too much and the wear and tear takes a toll on our bodies. Stretching maintains joint health, flexibility in the muscles and flushes out byproducts and toxins.  Keeping ourselves limber will help us feel, move and function better in life.

Stretch

7.  Meditate

Meditation not only lowers your blood pressure, it also changes your brain patterns through consistent practice.  See my previous blog for more details on “The Benefits of Meditation.”  A Harvard research study also finds that mindfulness and meditation can stress, anxiety and physical pain.

Meditation

8. Laugh

Laughter is great for the soul and one of the best medicine out there. Not only does laughing reduce stress hormone levels, it lowers blood pressure, increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.  Endorphins are released which promote an overall sense of well-being and can temporarily relieve pain.  What are you waiting for?  Laugh, smile and live longer!

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9. Try something new

People who are open to consistently learning and willing to try different methods of training or nutrition plans will become more successful in achieving their health and fitness goals. Everyone is unique when it comes to his or her needs. There will be plateaus along the way as our bodies and metabolism change. Adjustments will be necessary as learning occurs through trial and error.

10. Unplug

From social media to emails, our smartphones are constantly running our lives.  It can become an unhealthy addiction with possible withdrawal symptoms.  According to most research, simply unplugging or going offline can reverse the negative consequences such as lack or productivity, a disconnect from social relationships and overall stress.  The brain is like a muscle and needs adequate recovery time in order to develop and grow.

Unplug

No matter where you are at this stage of life, always make the time to take care of mental and physical health.  It’s never too late to improve your lifestyle!

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM-CPT

Holistic Health Coach

 

Why strength training is important for running

Become a better, faster, and a stronger runner by incorporating strength training into your program.  Exercises specific for this activity will increase the ability of your tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones to withstand the impact of running. You will improve performance, decrease chances of injury and recover faster.  I will focus on bodyweight exercises which can be done easily in the comfort of your own home or outdoors.

Bodyweight routines can help build the strength necessary to prevent future overuse injuries.  Running injuries are commonly caused by weak hips which is problematic for runners who sit most of the day. Hip and glute strength is crucial in stabilizing the muscles used for running.  Core strength is essential in maintaining your posture as you fatigue. When the muscles around your knees are strong, you are less likely to become imbalanced. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in August 1995  showed that runners who added three days of resistance training exercises to their weekly program increased their leg strength and enhanced their endurance.

CORE AND ARM SERIES  Build a strong and balanced foundation with your deeper abdominal muscles.  Upper body strength also plays an important role in preventing chronic neck, back and shoulder pain.

Basic Plank – Start with elbows underneath shoulders and either knees or feet on the floor.  Hold for 15-20 seconds for 2-3 sets and slowly work your way up each week.

Side Plank – with elbow underneath shoulder and opposite hand on hip, find the modification which suits you best. Hold for 15-20 seconds for 2-3 sets.

Superman – lying face down, keep arms shoulder width apart and legs hip width apart.  Squeeze your lower abdomen into the floor as you lift arms and legs simultaneously off the floor. Hold for a second, then release.  Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions

Prone “Y” raises – lying face down, keep forehead on the floor as point your thumbs up. Squeeze shoulder blades as you lift hands about two inches off the floor. Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Prone lat pull back – lying face down, lift the arms off the floor as you engage lower abdominals. Bend elbows back towards ribcage and squeeze shoulder blades. Keep head neutral and chest lifted. Return to start. Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Pushup – Place hands underneath shoulders with either knees or feet on the floor. Keep your back straight as you descend. Go as low as possible before you push yourself back up. Narrow your hands to increase difficulty.  Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Baby Cobra – open up your chest and strengthen your upper middle back.  Lying face down, keep your hands by your chest. Draw shoulders up, back and down as you squeeze shoulders blades back gently. Hold for a second and release.  Repeat 3 more times.

LEG SERIES is meant to build strength in the lower region, especially glutes and hips which are often weak and can lead to all types of knee and hip instability and injuries.

Basic Squat – start with feet about hip width apart and toes pointed out slightly. Keep your back upright as descend keeping weight in the heels and pushing your knees out. Drive yourself back up by squeezing your glutes. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Reverse Lunges – start with hands on hips and feet hip width apart. Draw a straight line back with one foot and stay on the ball of that foot.  Keep your hips square as you bend the back leg about ninety degrees.  Return to start and switch legs.  Do 2- 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions

Single Leg Squats – strengthens the glute medius, the primary stabilizer of the hip.  When this muscle is weak, it can contribute to low back, knee and hip pain.  Find a bench and walk your feet a few inches in front of the bench. Lift one leg off the floor as you slowly descend on the opposite leg.  Stand up on both legs and switch.  Once you become stronger, try to lower and lift off the same leg. Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps alternating legs.

Ease into these exercises and slowly work your way up.  Two to three times a week is sufficient for fitness gains.  Cross train with the exercises to counteract the wear and tear on your joints. Some statistics puts the annual injury rate of runners as high as 85 percent. Do you really want to be sidelined? Prevent your chances of imbalances and injuries and become a faster, stronger and more powerful runner by starting today.

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM-CPT / Holistic Health Coach

www.cindylaifitness.com

The importance of self care

Self care

Self care is crucial to our sanity if we want to live a happier and healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, this gets neglected more often that not. As a result, we’re overwhelmed with a larger amount of stress than we should be handling. We increase our risks of depression, become anxious and lose motivation in the process. The importance of self care is deemed selfish or inconsiderate by many because it’s considered a “luxury.”  In reality, if you don’t take care of your emotional and physical well being, you’ll fall apart sooner or later. Illness and chronic diseases may follow. Don’t wait until it’s too late to undo the damage.

Many of us grew up believing that the more we sacrificed, the bigger the reward. Nothing comes easy in life. We work hard to build a good lifestyle for ourselves and our family.  When is it enough and at what cost? There comes a time when you need to assess where that happy balance lies. If your job is wearing  you down and you’re unable to handle the overload of stress, this will spill over into other areas and into your personal relationships. Your mental and physical health will be severely impacted.  The moment you stop taking care of yourself, the more unhappy you will become. Yet, you persevere because that’s what you know how to do best.  There’s nothing you haven’t been able to work through before.  You’ll get through your circumstances one way or another.  The problem with this daily grind is that although  this may be manageable in the short run, the long term effects will be detrimental on your health in more ways than one.

Self care is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself.  It’s sometimes referred to as self love.  When you take care of yourself, you are more productive, efficient and energetic.  You have higher self-esteem and confidence in your capabilities. You are focused and are motivated to get through your day in the best way possible.  You exercise regularly to relieve your stress which improves your mental stability.  You adopt healthier eating habits and feel better from inside out. You’ve got a good handle in dealing with issues at work and in your personal life.  You’re a better caregiver.

It’s so easy to fall off the wagon once you stop taking care of yourself and let everything consume you.  We’re human and things will happen every day to test us.  Instead of freaking out, the first thing you need to do is to breathe.  This is one of the most basic but essential necessities of life which is often forgotten! Take a moment in your busy life and have a time out.  You may need to do this several times throughout the day or whenever you’re stressed. Close your eyes for several seconds and zone out.  Don’t think about anything else except for your breath. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale… Take as long as you need. This small effort at meditation can work wonders for your mental health!  See my previous articles on the reasons why you should meditate, also backed up by scientific research.

Self loveSelf love, self care

Make alone time for yourself.  Just like everything else you plan in your life, schedule it in.  Whether this means going to the gym, taking a fitness class, going to meditation, reading a book or taking a walk, do something that makes you feel good and will help you balance out and decompress from your daily routine.  If you don’t have an hour, start with a smaller timeframe and work your way up.  If it’s important to you, you will make time and not excuses.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? For my busy mom and dads, sure it may be more challenging but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Remember being healthy is a lifestyle.

Keeping a journal is a great idea in taking care of your mental health. When you’re overwhelmed and your emotions are all over the place, write them down instead of reacting impulsively. Journaling is like purging and can be very therapeutic.  In a study from the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, researchers found that journaling for 15–20 minutes helped study participants cope with traumatic, stressful, or emotional events.

Self care, journal

There are many reasons why self-care is important in helping us staying healthy in mind, body and soul. Finding a good balance in our mental and physical well being will help us feel more fulfilled in life. By taking care of ourselves, we can take better care of others. We will be able to manage our conditions in a positive manner instead of breaking down easily.  Our levels of stress will decrease.  We won’t feel bad about ourselves because we’re exercising regularly and making healthier choices.  When we look good, we feel good.  We become more confident in our abilities. We’re happier because of the choices we make. So what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until it’s too late, make positive changes today!

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM – CPT

Holistic Health Coach

 

 

 

7 tips to lean out without dieting

There are many ways in which you can lose weight or lean out without going on a diet.  I’m personally not a fan of diets as they end up in failure more often than not.  Anytime you’re being restrictive, especially when it comes to food, you’ll end up wanting more of what you can’t have. This usually ends up in bingeing and sabotaging the efforts you’ve initially put in. The physical and psychological effects of dieting are damaging in the long run. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed., author of The Rules of “Normal” Eating, explains, “Every diet takes the body further away from knowing what and how much food it needs for satisfaction and fullness. The push for dieting is nothing but reinforcement for everything that is wrong with restriction and arbitrary rules about eating.”  Instead of restricting your food intake, here are some tips on how you can make healthier choices and lean out without dieting.

1. Fill up on fiber

Fiber can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables so make your plate as colorful as possible.  Greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus should be incorporated for nutritional value. Fruits such as berries and watermelon have higher water content and will keep you satisfied longer. Complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa and lentils are also filled with fiber which helps you feel more satiated during your meals.

Fiber

2.  Skip the carbs at night

Nighttime is when you’re less active so be wary of what you put into your mouth.  Stick with lean protein and a bigger portion of veggies for dinner.  Skip the bread and pasta unless you just had a major training session in the evening.  Consume most of your carbs for breakfast and for lunch.  You’ll having a better chance of burning that energy during the day since you’re moving around more.

3. Never skip breakfast

It sounds like a no-brainer but according to a poll from Instantly where 10,000 Americans were surveyed, more than half skip breakfast at least once a week because they weren’t “hungry in the morning” or “didn’t have time to eat.”  When you’re sleeping you’re already fasting for 7-8 hours.  After you awake, you should put something in your system within an hour to rev up your metabolism.  By skipping breakfast, your put your body into a catabolic state to store fat rather than burn fat.  Start with something light if you’re not used to eating in the morning. Greek yogurt and berries or almond milk with whole grain cereal are healthy choices. As your body adjusts to normal eating patterns and you crave more, you can add eggs or omelette to have a complete meal.

Healthy breakfast

4. Drink Water

This is an absolute necessity not only for a healthier lifestyle but for efficient weight loss and fitness gains.  Water also supresses appetite.  Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty.  Besides flushing out toxins, it also improves energy levels and keeps you  well hydrated for fitness activities. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water a day.  Always start your day off with a glass of water in the morning to get your metabolism going.

Water

5. Fill up on soup

Due to it’s high water content, you will remain more satiated for your meal.  Stay away from rich, heavy and cream based soups and opt for broth based and low sodium instead.  Throw in tons of veggies and add beans and lean protein for a balanced meal.

Healthy soup

6.  Savor your meal

It takes twenty minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full.  Take the time to chew your meal to prevent from overeating.  Drink some good ‘ol H20 along the way and enjoy every bite. Try to aim for being eighty percent full instead of one hundred percent.

7. Lift weights regularly 

Building lean muscle overall will increase your metabolism since you burn calories at rest.  When you perform high reps or intense weight training, it boosts your metabolism which keeps it elevated post workout. This is called EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Numerous studies have shown conclusively that strength training, in combination with good nutrition burns fat much more effectively than dieting alone and dieting with aerobic exercise. The more lean muscle you have, the more fuel you burn. By incorporating a strong weight training program into your regimen, you can experience EPOC as long as 38 hours after your workout which is great for fat loss and toning!

strength training

 

There are many ways in which you can lose weight or lean out those few extra pounds.  Dieting alone will not help you get there. Making healthier choices in nutrition along with the combination of the right exercise program will determine your results.  It all boils down to finding a healthy balance for yourself.  What you eat accounts for roughly eighty percent of your appearance.  Just because you exercise does not mean you’ll be able to achieve the desired fitness gains.  Everyone has a different metabolism and some people can get away with more than others.  Experiment through trial and error to see what combination works best for you.  Whatever you do, don’t restrict or beat yourself up for not being perfect.  Food can and should be enjoyed.  Indulge in moderation.  Exercise regularly.  Make healthy choices and work on balance.  Everything will fall into place if you aim to live a healthy lifestyle for the long run.

 

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM – CPT

Holistic Health Coach

 

3 reasons you should meditate

Meditation

In today’s world, we are constantly overstimulated by technology and inundated with never ending tasks. We try to fill up our time as much as possible and squeeze in every last second.  This can be overwhelming! How did we use to operate without our smartphones and labtops? With everything at the tip of our fingertips, it’s easy to go into information overload, get distracted and lose our peace of mind in the process. Yet, we keep going because it’s what we know how to do best, especially being New Yorkers. In order to preserve our sanity, it’s important to become mindful through meditation. This will help you take a step back as you learn to rebalance your mental well being. Here are three reasons why you should meditate.

Meditation

1.Reduce Stress

This would be at the top of the list. We deal with daily stresses when it comes to work and relationships. In big cities like New York, it’s more magnified because of the competition all across the board and costly living expenses. The lifestyle here can be cutthroat and you need to be on top of your game if you don’t want to be left behind. It’s almost like you’re the hamster on the wheel. You just keep going and going. At some point you will burn out, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Learning how to breathe, which is one of the most fundamental things in life, can help you reduce your stress levels and anxiety.  Just a few minutes a day can do wonders for your brain. All you need to do is to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  There are also apps such as Headspace and Buddhify which help with guided meditation.  Kadampa Meditation Center in NYC is my top choice as a place of solace.  It’s great for beginners or for those who have been meditating for years.  There are a variety of classes with guided meditation and lectures which I found to be very helpful.  Do your homework and find what works best for you.

 

2. Preserve your sense of self

It’s easy to become detached from ourselves though the onslaught of media which tells us how we should look, feel or act today.  We can lose touch with our emotions and values as we become displaced with reality. Society can be cruel and very judgmental. We see certain standards set in place and we yearn to meet those expectations, even though they may not be in line with our own beliefs. We live in a very self-absorbed world and it’s important that we don’t get caught up and lose our sense of self. Through meditation, we can practice being mindful of our authentic selves, and not who we are pretending to be. Don’t be so hard on yourself and embrace who you really are with your imperfections and flaws.

3. Meditation rewires your brain

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry and reported in the New York times earlier this year, shows for the first time that when we meditate, this appears to strengthen communication between the two areas of the brian involved in self-control and internal focus. Meditation also helps reduce levels of a substance in the blood linked to stress.  The brain is designed to adapt constantly. By creating new pathways in our brain, mindfulness can help change the banter in our head from chaotic to calm. The only way you can find out if this works for you is to try.  I myself have only started to practice meditation this year. I find it to be challenging at times and peaceful at others.  I’m not at the point where I can do it on my own, but I do enjoy the lectures and guided meditation at the center tI attend.  When I’m unable to go to class, I go to my app to keep me in check.  Keep in mind, you will have your good days and bad days.  Some days you will not be in the mood.  It will be difficult at first so start with baby steps.  Little by little, you can train your brain and change the way it thinks.  It will be a journey and constant work in progress.  Embrace the process.

Did you know that some of the most successful people in the world meditate? They range from business executives to athletes to celebrities.  Rupert Murdoch, Russell Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Derek Jeter, and Kobe Bryant are just a few. We all live in a crazy world these days as we deal with everything from terrorist attacks, social unrest and killings to politics.  Peace on earth would be great but let’s work on establishing peace of mind first.  I only touched upon a few of the reasons why you should meditate but there are so many more.  Meditation can improve focus, decrease depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia and increase quality of life.  Not only can it help us mentally but physically as well.  Start small, and start with a few minutes a day to build up.  Take a break when you need to.  Gently close your eyes.  Take a long big inhale and feel all the negativity leave your body as you exhale.  Feel your chest rise and fall with each breath and focus on your breathing.  All you need is a few minutes a day.

Cindy Lai

www.cindylaifitness.com