Balance. What does that even mean in this day and age? We are all looking for ways to find the perfect balance of work, family, fun, and self, but is it really even possible?
Most of us are doing what we can just to get by, to keep up, and to make ends meet. With so many demands placed on us by our jobs, families, and even ourselves, and with technology allowing us to get information thrown at us at lightning speeds, the idea of "balance" can get lost. I know I am always working to define what a balanced life looks like for me and I have realized that despite it being one of the hardest things to keep in the balance, I MUST make time to care for myself.
Being a single, working mom of five children, it is easy for me to shove my own needs to the bottom of the list. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I have found that I can only neglect myself for so long, before things start to crumble. Being "self-less" can work for a while, but after many years, I realized this wasn't going to work for the long term. I need to prioritize my own health and happiness in order to be a better mom, teacher, business owner and person.
As a certified Pilates Instructor and movement practitioner, I see this struggle in my clients every day and have witnessed the impact our busy lives have on our bodies and lives. Even when we do find time to move it is hard to be fully engaged...."How am I going to meet that deadline?" "Did I miss L's dentist appointment?" "What the heck are we going to have for dinner?" With a constant dialogue and to-do list running through our heads, it can feel impossible to be present and find mindfulness in movement. This constant disconnect from our physical body and cloudy, distracted thinking have a direct impact on our productivity as well as our health and happiness.
In Joseph Pilates' book, A Return to Life, he shared his concerns about how the fast paced living and pollution is detrimental to our well-being. This was written in the 1940's! What would Mr. Pilates think of our "fast paced life" now?! Here he wrote:
In the Stone Age and onward man lived mostly outdoors with practically little shelter from the elements. He has not yet lived long enough indoors with protection against the elements to be able to successfully withstand the daily strains and stresses imposed upon him by our present mode of "fast" living. This explains why you and I and all the rest of us are compelled in our own interest to give constant thought to the improvement of our bodies and to spend more time in acquiring and maintaining that all-important goal of physical fitness. - Joseph Pilates
Joseph Pilates was clearly ahead of his time. With a complementary blend of East meets West, Mr. Pilates wove mindfulness into a rigorous movement system as a means to gain uniform development of the mind, body, and soul. His philosophy was that even a few minutes of exercise a day would be beneficial to your health. And his purpose for doing these exercises was to be able to "perform our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure". We need healthy movement to function fully in life!
I think of the Pilates Method as meditative movement- healthy movement that improves core strength, enhances your mobility, and improves your balance, both in your body and life.
Movement is needed in our life, every day, to flush toxins from our body. Being such a believer in the importance of movement and exercise for a healthy, happy body, I also look for other ways to decrease toxins in my body and home. One way that I find very powerful and effective is in the use of Essential Oils. I use my oils for all kinds of things from cleaning my bathrooms to improving the vitality of my skin. I also love to connect different oils to different goals and principles of my Pilates practice.
During my daily Pilates practice I use different oils to support my goals for that session- whether it is to find focus, increase circulation, enhance my breath or just find balance. I choose an oil that supplements my area of focus for that day (sometimes this is more than one area and oil!) and apply it topically or use in my cold air diffuser. I am amazed by how this has enhanced my practice and has allowed my to open up areas that have felt blocked.
I have been through a lot over the past decade. The things that have helped me through are movement, specifically Pilates, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. My goal is to help others be able to find the time and have the knowledge to experience healthy movement in their lives. It IS possible and it will change your life. This is where the seed was planted for the 100's to Happiness® Challenge.
Every moment of our life can be the beginning of great things. ~Joseph Pilates