October Ode

Impatiently we await your arrival,
October, most favored month of the year.
September teases, foreshadows,
Your brilliance; your orangeade gold.
Luxuriant, intoxicant, provocative,
Deeply we drink your medicine; we steep ourselves,
In splendored awe, whenever our gaze looks upward,
Into impossible spaciousness, your blue canopy, your crown.
Our breath draws deep, full of you,
Your essence, fragrant, brash and bold,
Pricks our affections, our sensibilities.
October air crisp, awakes us, awakes possibilities,
Like so many autumn leaves cast adrift,
Frees us from Earth’s hold.

Quadruped Torso Rotation Exercise

This spinal rotation exercise and stretch will wake up the muscles in your obliques and upper back.

Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Place your right hand behind your head and then rotate your torso to point your right elbow toward the ceiling, as far as is comfortable. Pause, then slowly lower back down, pointing your right elbow to the floor.
Do 5 reps, then repeat on the other side.

Cautionary note: If you have osteoporosis, twisting and bending moves may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor about safe exercise.

Ripple Effect

Change the self and your inner world changes. And when your inner world changes, the outer world that you touch changes, little by little. And when the outer world that you touch changes, the world that it touches changes, and the world that it touches. Outward and outward and outward this spreads, like a ripple in a pond.

Neale Donald Walsch

Cat-Cow Exercise

Your low back and spine will really appreciate the nearly theraputic results of performing this exercise on a daily basis.

Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Slowly round your back up toward the ceiling (like a cat) while tucking your chin toward your tailbone. Then reverse the movement by arching your back (think about a cow) while lifting your hips and head.
That’s 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 reps total.

Cautionary note: This move may not be recommended if you have osteoporosis.

A Living Practice

We’ve all heard the addage ‘practice makes perfect’ and further itterations state that ‘practicing perfectly makes perfect’. In the realm of our health and fitness practices, these pithy sayings point us to the principle of enduring sustainability. So many times our personal approach to exercise and nutrition resembles a mish-mash of practicing or following the latest trends for exercise and diet programing. It’s no wonder we get lost and burned out trying to perfect our well-being when we chase after ever-change models of wellness. Is there a better way to ‘perfectly practice’ for the outcomes we desire in our health?

According to Terry Patten, author of The New Repbublic of the Heart, knowing what matters most to you and having the courage to pursue it is a good start, but it’s not enough. He posits that you must act on your choices, your values over and over again. He believes you’ve got to “make a practice” out of living.

He writes that life satisfaction is a byproduct of transitioning from being a seeker, or someone who wants a certain lifestyle, to a practitioner, or someone who lives that lifestyle day in and day out. “Practice,” Patten writes, “is about waking up again and again, and choosing to show up in life in alignment with one’s highest intelligence,” or what matters most.

So the question for ourselves today is: What practice am I perfecting? In regards to my health? In regards to my stated goals for improved fitness? Today, what choices am I making and what behaviors am I reinforcing? Are my actions supporting my values, my beliefs, my goals? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Patten writes, “A whole life of regular, ongoing practice is necessary. We are always reinforcing the neural circuits associated with what we are doing. Whatever way we are being, we’re more likely to be that way in the future. This means we are always practicing something.”

This knowledge behooves us to live our practice with actions that support the values we have identified as foundational to our well-being and well-living. How do we accomplish these value oriented goals over so many tomorrows? I think we can make it simple for ourselves, by simply making our practice the practice of living…authentically, thoughtfully, whole-heartedly.

Glute Bridge Exercise

Another beneficial strengthening exercise for the lower back and glutes.

Lie on your back with knees bent. Place your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart (heels should be a few inches away from your buttocks). Press your arms into the floor for support and brace your core to minimize the arch in your lower back.

From here, push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. As you get stronger, focus on getting your shins as close to vertical as you comfortably can at the top of the movement. Pause, then slowly lower your hips to return to starting position. Do 8 to 10 reps total.

Lying Pelvic Tilt Exercise

A simple exercise which eases tight or sore low back muscles. Perform multiple times throughout the day as needed.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Flatten your lower back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and tilting your pelvis up slightly. Hold your lower back to the floor for up to 10 seconds, then release. That’s 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 reps total.