We made it to Week 13 of 100 Days of Crazy Healthy! How are you feeling? Which parts of the program have helped you the most? Send me a note, I would love to hear about your experiences.
For Week 13, we will add 5 minutes of daily meditation to the mix. This practice will help us feel more grounded in our new healthy habits, and help cultivate a sense of peace and empowerment in our lives.
If you are new to meditation, you might be surprised how simple, yet challenging, it can be in practice. Mediation is a discipline of surrender–something that feels more difficult than it actually is. We are so busy these days that it seems hard to sit still. But is it really? When we meditate, we learn to free ourselves of the impulse to do, so that we can simply be.
Meditation is best performed first thing in the morning, but if this is not possible, it is ok to work it into your day at your convenience.
Instructions for mediation are below, in item number 1. As you meditate, reject your “monkey mind” and instead, let the mind get quiet, and pay attention to the quality of the breath. As the mind empties, we reconnect with our innate peace and joy, and are reminded that it is always there waiting for us.
Daily mediation might feel impossible and frustrating for the first two weeks, but keep meeting the cushion every day. Just like asana (yoga poses), mediation becomes more accessible with daily practice. Over time, the discipline that initially feels impossible will become the one that you look forward to the most, and it keeps getting better from there.
Trust the struggle and let me know if you have questions!
Daily Habits For Week 13
1. Upon waking, prepare yourself for meditation. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Sit on the floor with the legs crossed (preferably near a window when the sun might shine in, or in a lit room), with a cushion or pillow under your seat. Make sure it does not come forward of your hips, so that your hips are higher than your knees, and that your seat is comfortable. Close the eyes and mouth, and breathe through the nose. On the inhale, think “so”. On the exhale, think “hum”. So hum is sanskrit for “I am that”, and it reminds us of the importance of just being. If you would rather use a meditation in English, consider replacing “so hum” with words that serve as reminders to live authentically, such as peace, truth, or love. The mind may wander, but do not judge the thoughts. Let them come and go, reconciling with the breath and mantra frequently. After a week or two of practice, the mind will quiet more quickly and you will get to a place where there are no thoughts, and a sense of peace will wash over you. It feels wonderful–like all is right with the world–and will inspire you to meditate more frequently.
2. After meditation (or before, if you prefer), scrape your tongue from front to back with a spoon, or tongue scraper. This will remove the ama (toxins) that have built up in your mouth over night. Rinse your mouth with water, being careful to not swallow any of the water, and brush your teeth afterward. Read more about the powerful practice of tongue scraping here.
3. Drink 12 oz. of warm, filtered water, before consuming food. You may add lemon or lime to the water if you would like.
4. Enjoy quinoa with fruit and nuts, or a crazy healthy smoothie, for breakfast every morning.
5. Practice 5 B series Sun Salutations, moving intentionally on each inhale and exhale, as shown in the photo from Week 1. Don’t rush, and don’t think about anything besides the breath and the pose. This will feel difficult, if you are new to yoga, but reject this idea in favor of doing the work. For those who have practiced yoga before, doing 5 Sun Salutations every day may feel boring–do it anyway and trust the process. Play the music you love, or use my playlists on Spotify. Make it a moving meditation. Changes will happen on such a deep level in your body, that you won’t even be aware that you are being transformed. It’s a beautiful thing! It is preferable to practice in the morning before showering, but this may be done at night, if necessary. Do whatever it takes, to complete this task every day! Don’t allow yourself to crawl into bed at night, until it is done. It takes me exactly one minute to complete a B Series Sun Salutation, using full inhales and exhales, and it should be the same for you, so this is a 5 minute exercise.
6. Practice 3 minutes of core work every day, comprised of 100 bicycles, 20 toe touches and 6 plank exercises, as described in Week 3. The bicycles may be broken up into 5 sets of 2 or 2 sets of 50–doesn’t matter as long as you do 100 each day. The same is true for toe touches and planks…break it up if you can’t do them all at once. This may be done after sun salutations, or any other time during the day. No matter what, don’t go to bed at night, until you have completed this work.
7. After practicing your core work, roll over to your stomach, and practice poses to strengthen your back, as described in Week 8. Stretch your arms forward, and legs straight back. Lift your right arm and left leg, lengthening forward and back, and hold for 20 breaths. You may break this into 2 sets of 10 breaths if you wish. If you feel pain in your lower back, lower your arm and leg until you feel balanced. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the pose looks like, as long as you are meeting resistance and breathing into it. Lower limbs to the ground, and repeat on the other side, also holding for 20 breaths. Next, lift both arms and both legs at the same time. Try to relax the lower back, and let the hands and feet lift as they reach. Note: the photo above shows the pose performed with palms facing the earth, but I prefer to practice these poses with palms facing each other. Both are correct, so you may decide which is most effective for your purposes.
8. Eat raw or roasted veggies with a healthy fat for your afternoon snack, as described in Week 3, or substitute a green juice, as described above.
9. Practice Pigeon Pose, for one full minute on each side, as described in Week 5. Remember, the more you move your front foot forward, the deeper the stretch. Find your edge, and breathe into it. The back leg should be straight back behind you, and the hips are level.
10. After practicing pigeon on both sides, practice Cobbler’s Pose for one full minute. Keep your back flat, and reach the heart forward, for maximum effect. You may use your elbows to press into your thighs, to deepen the stretch.
11. Eat a vegetarian soup or salad for lunch. Prepare it (or order it) with the intention of maximizing your nutrient intake, as described in Week 4.
12. Practice twists for 30 seconds on each side (about 10 full inhales and exhales). As you twist, keep your mouth closed, inhale through your nose, and allow your inhales to fill the belly. As you exhale through your nose, draw the belly back toward the spine. Think about what is happening internally as you twist: the movement in the spine is creating more space in the body, and your breathing is applying gentle pressure to your internal organs, to improve how they detoxify your body.
13. Practice backbends for 10 breaths, three times in a row. Choose one of the poses below. Remember that back bending compresses the vertebrae, so it is essential to move slowly and with intention, keeping length in the spine as much as possible. Length is created by grounding through the foundation of the pose, and creating lightness and extension in the upper half of the pose. Also, take care to keep the lower spine and butt relaxed at all times.
14. Work with balance for 5 minutes, practicing Warrior 3 Pose, Eagle Pose and Dancer Pose for 15 full breaths on each side, as described above and pictured below.
15. Find daily inspiration to keep fighting the crazy healthy fight on my Facebook page. And remember, you can do this! It may seem too difficult to some, and too simple to others, but either way, trust the struggle!
Photo credit: the-yoga-connection.com