Spiritually Fit: Simple workout routine (Playing Cards)

12--183086-playing cardsThe challenge for many people when it comes to getting into a fitness lifestyle is that it can be pretty overwhelming when we start on the journey.  There are so many options on where to begin that it is easy to freeze in place rather than move forward.  So, I thought it would be great to periodically post some of my personal workout routines and tips that keep me moving towards health and fitness.  I go to the gym, and I love it.  I love the environment, I love having access to equipment that I normally would not if I was at home, and I also realize that the gym is not for everyone.  The difficulty with at home training is that it requires a bit more motivation to get up and do the workout.  The idea is to keep your  home training as simple as possible, but to also make it fun.  “Working out” should be all work.  It is a chance to dive into the sacred temple that is your body.

For this routine all you need is a deck of playing cards.

If  it is a new deck you want to be sure to shuffle it up pretty good.  If you want a longer workout you can take two decks and combine them into one massive stack.

The next thing that you will need to do is assign an exercise to each suit:

  • clubs= push-ups
  • hearts= sit-ups
  • spades=squats
  • diamonds=diamond push-ups
  • non suit cards= 30 second rest

You can really use any combination of exercises that works for your level of fitness and enjoyment.  I recommend staying with your choices for about a week or so, and then switching to another exercise for each suit.

Now the fun part.  Place the deck face down, draw a card, and you are going to do the exercise for that suit and your rep count will be whatever number is on the card.

Using the above example:  If you draw the 10 of clubs, you will do 10 push-ups.  If you draw a face card, or an ace you can call these “11” , and aces can be “1” rep… or you can assign your own numbers to those cards.

This is a fun way to dive into a home routine.  The exercises cycle through, and it becomes a randomized circuit training session. You can pause however long you want between each card draw.  If you are just starting out I’d recommend giving it 45-60 seconds between cards, more advanced can do 15-30 seconds between the draw.

I feel that engaging the body is as important as engaging spirit.  When we are able to connect to the body, achieve greater states of health and well-being, we are allowing for greater alignment in all areas of life.

Before starting any workout routine, be sure to check with your doctor.  Do what you can, and remember it is not a competition.  It is you getting in touch with you.  Keep a journal of your progress and how you are feeling before and after you workouts.  You can do this 3-5 days a week and you don’t have to cycle through the entire deck in one sitting.  I use to do 1/2 the deck in the morning, and the other 1/2 in the evening.  Have fun with fitness!

You are Loved.  You are Beautiful.  You are Divine.

Mike Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

www.michaelbrazell.com

michael@michaelbrazell.com

 

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The Cleanse: Hitting the Spiritual Reset Button

istock_000013005656xsmallI want to start off this post by saying that the cleanse I am posting here is my journey.  Some of you may like it, others may not.  I only share it because we can all learn from each others trip along the soul highway.   I often find myself called to do a cleanse when I feel it is time to do a reset.  My spirituality is my life, my profession, and my passion.  Having come through a big transition, I feel that I am still carrying some old resistance, habits, and patterns.  Doing deep, and honest self inquiry allows us to go into a cleanse with clear intention.  I am also feeling that things are shifting for me spiritually.  I am starting to work deeper in the intuitive space, communing with my guides, my angels, and higher vibration beings.  When engaging these higher energies, I find it of value to detox and purify the body as much as possible.  It is also important to have a plan of action in place for going into your cleanse.  This helps keep you focused and aligned with your intention.  I am hoping to do a daily video post for this as well, and you can check out my YouTube page here.  If I do the videos I’ll also try to post them here as well.

So, for this cleanse and detox I am starting with 10 days.  I am starting with a 3 day master cleanse and then going into 7 days of water only.  Each water day is going to be dedicated to a particular chakra.  I bought 7 jugs of distilled water.  On each of the jugs I am going to draw the sacred symbols associated with each chakra, and will charge the water by chanting/toning the chakra sounds into the water.  I also have some wonderful chakra incense that I’ll be using for my morning meditations.  This cleanse is a bit more intensive than other things I have done in theChakras-in-Lotus past, but I feel that this is what I need to do right now to clear out some stagnation.  I am also structuring my reading time, online time, and yoga practice to support this adventure.  I’ll end the 10 days by doing 3 days of green/raw protein shakes, and I’ll allow my intuition to tell me what comes after that.  I am cutting gluten, sugar, soy, and processed foods out of my diet moving forward.  I have been receiving a lot of clear messages from my guides to start doing this, so I am.

When stepping off the ledge and into something like a cleanse, or detox be sure that you allow yourself time to prepare to go into it, but also be kind and gentle with yourself as you exit the cycle.  The most important part of a cleanse is your journal.  What emotions are coming up?  What body reactions are you having to the cleanse?  Write down your weight at the start, and track it throughout to be sure you are not losing too quickly.  What are your dreams telling you during this time?  I find that a cleanse usually brings up much more than our dependence on certain foods and additives.  Remember also, that cleanses and detoxes do not need to be food centered.  Taking a break from the computer, TV, the bar scene, clubs, or even pulling away from certain people might be a good thing.

For me, this is also a chance to reset parts of my life.  To come back to center, to bring my power home.  I do lots of energy work, self-healing, self-reflection, readings on myself, and this allows me to also be of service to my clients, friends, and soul family.  It also allows me to work more closely with this new and wonderful energy that is coming in.  I’ve had a lot of resistance stepping more deeply onto my path, and this process helps to clear away some of that muck.  I am also going to be working on cleansing and balancing the energies in my physical space.  Lots of work ahead, and lots of great things that I’ll be sharing here in the next few days.

What in you is calling you forward?  What in you needs to be cleansed right now?  Are you able to pause now for a moment, and bring awareness to that area of your being?

You are Loved.  You are Beautiful.  You are Divine.

 

Mike Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

www.michaelbrazell.com

www.yogawitch.com

www.facebook.com/soulintutive

www.blogtalkradio.com/michaelbrazell

 

108 Day Challenge

I finally made it down to South Carolina.

New starts, new changes, and coming into new alignments can always bring struggle.  One of the things that I like to do when I get to a new area is a cleanse and detox.  Upheaval can bring a lot of stress thorough our entire system.  For me, cleansing the body, mind and spirit helps to harmonize me into my new experience.   Since this time I am also in a process of building a new life, I thought I would take this cleanse a bit deeper and also offer myself some challenges.  The challenges help to re-align my system, and well… keeps things from getting stagnant.  Getting into a new routine is always a good thing when leaving an old one.

I’ll post the details here, and will do a daily post as I move through the cleanse.   This is my personal challenge, but if you are finding yourself in a rut, why not do something to help move you deeper into your experience.  Before I start a cleanse, detox or challenge like this

My challenge:

  1. Food and nutritional detox: no sugar, gluten, processed foods
  2. Reading 1-2 books/week.
  3. Writing, writing, writing…. one blog post a day, one poem a day, and daily journaling
  4. Daily mediation and yoga practice
  5. and some other things that I am keeping personal 😉

The challenge should be something that is out of the ordinary for you, it should allow you the opportunity to step into something “new” as far as a routine, or spiritual experience.  Taking you a bit out of the norm, or bringing deeper awareness to something that is more routine.  If you meditate already, challenge yourself to shift it up a bit.  Do something a bit differently.  Breaking up stagnation helps us to keep our practice fresh, and we also get to take a deeper look at ourselves in the process.  The path is about learning to grow through engaging the process, rather than just going through the motions.

Do you have questions on setting up a cleanse, detox, or personal challenge?  Feel free to write them in the comments section below and I’ll answer them.

You are Loved.

You are Beautiful.

You are Divine.

Michael A Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

www.michaelbrazell.com

www.facebook.com/soulintuitive

Fasting and Detoxing: Day 1

Life is a fantastic journey.

The past few weeks have been interesting to say the least.  I feel more connected to my own journey and experience but feel that it is time to pull out one of my favorite techniques for going a bit deeper.   We imprint, and we are imprinted constantly by living the human condition.  What we eat, what we think, what we choose to let in, and what we let out imprints on us on many levels.  When we fast we are taking time to let go of distractions, and detoxing is polishing up the pieces that need a bit of attention.

I’ve done a few posts in the past on this topic, and this one is going to be a bit different.  I typically share the details of my fast and detoxing plan, but I am going to hold that part sacred and just for me.   Fasting on many levels is a very sacred action.  We are communing with the soul, and allowing space for growth…. as a teacher, it is also my purpose to help show others that they too have access to these tools and they are there when you need them.

When many people hear the words “fast” or “detox” they immediately jump to food.  This is one aspect of fasting, but in a time and age where distractions are a plenty you can really choose to start anywhere.  You can fast and detox from facebook, from your cell phone, from speaking, from food, from sugar, from candy, from smoking, and the list can really go on and on.

Things change when you begin the process of letting go of distractions, emotions come up, resistance starts barking at you…. have a plan.

Going into a fast or detox without a plan is a good way to set yourself up to not complete your goals.. on,  and have some goals or milestones you want to move toward.

Write your plans in a journal and keep that journal with you.  The fast should challenge you, it should not be something that is too easy, but something that is not going to harm you.  Fasting allows us to see what power we have given away to the distractions in our life… are we mindlessly eating?  are we addicted to being online?  how much power does texting have over you?  can you go without tv for a few days?

When we create space by removing distractions we often begin to see we have more time… we might have more energy… we might find we have more awareness of our surroundings, etc… awareness begins to shift a bit… and this is powerful.

What holds you, and what are you holding onto?

If you are doing a dietary cleanse/detox or fast… Do your research.  Do not jump into it without knowing what you are doing to the body, what you are feeding yourself and the effects of what you are removing can have on your body.  Ex… removing caffeine can often cause headaches, etc.  Allowing your body to detox slowing, doing 1/2 caf, reducing, shifting to teas, etc. can assist with helping you make the transition away.

When you detox you are resetting the body.  Not just the physical body, but we also notice our patterns and habits that might be bound to the food/action.  “I must have that morning cigarette/cup of coffee”…   we hold affirmations that can at times bind us to the actions, not always are those affirmations positive as you can see above…  Keeping a journal of the emotions that come up in the absence of the cup of morning java, can show you a lot about yourself and your patterns.

Fasts can be as short or as long as you want.  Some people can go up to 40 days, others do a  3-7 day experience… One thing that I always like to point out is that there is no such thing as a failed fast.  You start, then you stop.  If you stop before your goal is reached, what caused you to terminate the fast… journaling this will help you to do the internal dialogue necessary to help you the next time you decided to fast/detox.

This is a bit of a ramble post…. and in the future fasting check in, I’ll be posting more of a journal style entry to give you a bit of insight into my process (internal and external) when taking on this sacred practice.

 

You are Loved.

You are Beautiful.

You are Divine!

Michael A. Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

www.michaelbrazell.com

www.yogawitch.com

 

Working out in a Storm

Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on us, and the Metro system will be shut down tomorrow.  If we are lucky we’ll maintain power, but knowing our local power provider that is unlikely.  So, no power–no access to my gym–whats a workout-a-holic to do?

Work out at home!

Here is a quick and dirty workout routine that you can use to take you through any storm environment:

All you need is a deck of cards.

The next part is pretty easy– Until you begin that is.

There are four suites (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades).  You are going to assign an exercise to each suite.

Ex:

Diamonds- Diamond pushups

Clubs- sit ups

Hearts- squats

spades- flutter kicks

Shuffle the deck.  When you pull the card off the top of the deck you do the corresponding exercise at the number given.

10 of Diamonds = 10 diamond pushups, etc.

Go through 1/2 the deck, or the entire deck.  Try and choose exercises that give you the use of multiple muscles or big muscles groups.  There are a multitude of variations on pushups, planks, sit up/abdominal exercises.

Be creative, have fun!

Michael A Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

www.michaelbrazell.com

www.blogtalkradio.com/michaelbrazell

Coming into alignment: Purpose, Self, Breath

This seems to be the year of integration.  Many of us are hearing the call to come into being, to begin showing up, to be the divine light we were meant to always be.  For some the process will be an easy one, for others this means making radical shifts.  Being in the present is an action of surrender.  So many of us spend so much time in the past, even exploring past lives to find some tidbit of knowledge that can unbind us from some future karma that has not yet been actualized.

Breathe!

Breathing is one of the most important things we do.  It is spirituality stripped down.  It is our common bond to all things in life.  Breathing is the religion of life.  It is the divine mother birthing a new moment, it is father god bringing us connection, light.

I see too many people living on the inhale, life catching them off guard.  Then they forget to exhale.  It is in the out breath that we inspire new life, new connection, and expansion.  We have to break living in a state of waking apnea.  When we breathe we move, and this brings us into alignment.

The physical body is where we meet the breath.  We must take care of the temple.  The physical body is the temple of the soul, where we congregate with life herself.  We often speak of alignment in our spiritual practice, but how can we align with purpose if our bodies are held out of alignment due to neglect?  Take a moment to breath deeply.  Then exhale.  Where do you feel the breath stopping?  Where do you feel resistance?  Sit for a moment with that energy, be in that space of deep listening and ask what is needed in this moment.

Purpose is an unfolding lotus.

It changes as we breathe.  The road bends, it turns, as do we.

I love yoga as it is a constant action of surrender.  It is a unification of mind, body, spirit, breath, and purpose.  It is action coupled with intention.  Desire and will holding my space as I move around the mat.  This is how I am choosing to live my life in this moment.

What is calling you in this moment?   Where do you need movement?  Are you restricted in physical mobility, can you improve on this?  If not, find the smallest level possible and breathe into that space… The body is constantly moving, even if we are not.. Let’s join her in this eternal dance.

The Pagan obesity discussion… and debate

The interwebs is alive with discussion regarding obesity and the nature of it being a taboo topic within pagan circles.  Peter Dybing recently posted an article on his blog Pagan in Paradise regarding this oh-so-taboo of topics.  I applaud Peter for taking a step in creating space to have a discussion regarding health within out spiritual communities.

To start off, Obesity is not a “body image issue”, it is a health issue.  Many have lashed out with the thought that this is going to create polarization within the community, that judgment will occur due to body size, etc.  Rather than taking this as an opportunity to discuss creating positive change for health within our pagan circles, we have taken it as an opportunity to attack and tear down each other… see anything hypocritical about this?

Obesity is a global issue, to think that we as magical culture are exempt from the issues that plague society is a narrowing viewpoint.  What I do feel however is that we as a magical community have the power to effect change globally by taking a deeper acceptance of where we are in our pursuit of health.

Before the attacks begin, let me give you a bit of my back story:

I have been on a yo-yo existence with my weight ever since childhood.  I was healthy, but I did not feel satisfied with the extra weight.  Weight even now, is a struggle.  I’ve also had the opportunity to see this issue from multiple perspectives.  I am a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and yoga instructor.  I am vegan.  I’ve worked for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), and have worked in gyms and studios across the east coast.  It was also my responsibility while in the Navy to be a fitness instructor for the Special Warfare candidates.  I have competed in bodybuilding competitions and I have also suffered through struggles with being overweight.

There is a reason why the fitness industry makes over 8 billion dollars a year, and an its the same reason that the pharmaceutical industry makes even more… we surrender our power away to others rather than taking responsibility for where we are.

If we look at the body as a temple.  The soul as the energy that moves through us, it is important for us to improve that temple by whatever means necessary.

Now, lets step this away from a body image issue.  This is not about body image… again, let me stay… this is NOT about body image. 

The problem that I have seem as a fitness professional that is also a member of greater spiritual community is surrender to non-health.  I think that we should absolutely love ourselves no matter what size we are… big, small, and everything in between… However I do not agree with surrendering to poor states of health, poor habits, and poor lifestyle choices.

As members of spiritual community we have a responsibility to our divine work to be part of this experience for as long as possible.  We cannot use our spirituality as a shield to the reality we face as a community.  Obesity as a health issue is an epidemic.  We can pull facts, stats, etc and we can argue both directions.   We begin feeding into a greater illusion that being overweight does not have a damaging effect on the body.  Carrying excess weight not only puts excess stress on the joints, spine, and hormonal system, but it may limit how we engage the world around us.  I agree, greater society does at time make this more about body image than health… why are we feeding into this same illusion?  Are we, as spiritual individuals not able to see through this to the core of what we are supposed to be engaging?

Each of us holds weight differently.  Each of us has a unique beauty.

This is an opportunity for us to have dialogue to create opportunities to engage health in a new and fun way.  Locally we have monthly Pagan Centered Fitness gatherings.

Having these discussions are moments for us to engage in expansion instead of limitation.  We are a spiritual family, and it our responsibility to reach out with compassion and acceptance.  Size is not always an indicator of health, but by the same token, size does add some restriction especially when it is coupled with poor eating, lifestyle, and fitness habits.

Where are you within your body now?

What changes would you like to make to improve overall health and well-being?

How do you feel in this moment?

Where are you giving power away in regards to food?

***This last question is one way we can bring the spiritual aspects into how we relate to food.  Food is a powerful way for us to connect as community.  It brings us together.  Does our spread reflect healthy connections to food?  Do we surrender to certain foods because of emotional attachments?

 

I am going to do a series of posts on this topic, as I feel this needs to be an ongoing discussion.  Perhaps we can even facilitate an open discussion on conference call to bring actual voices to this issue.

If we don’t talk about issues of health, how are we supposed to engage our communities towards positive evolution?

Michael Brazell, CFT CSN MAT PAT

 

 

 

Tuesday Spiritual Fitness and Nutrition Tip: 7/10/2012

Most of us have tried dieting at some point.  We have gone through the ups and downs, and the “in-between” seems to remain the only constant.  For many, dieting it the final ditch effort to reach an end result.

“Its beach time, and now I have to lose 10lbs”

“I have a part to go to and I need to fit into that outfit”

These types of connections to the way we eat and the way we engage the body in fitness only lock us into places of limitation.  When we truly take our practice of bettering the body to both our physical and energetic core we begin to make lasting changes.

They body’s physical core is made up of the muscles of the Latimus Dorsi, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and abdominal region.  These area also the body’s largest muscle groups and when the core is worked in unison you are facilitating a full body workout.  The larger muscles also burn more calories due to their size.  So the more you work the core, the deeper and more effective your workouts will be.

So, how do I work the core–do a plank.

I know it sounds simple.  One single exercise engages all of the above mentioned muscle groups and also helps to create balance and alignment.

In many spiritual traditions the energetic core is located in the solar plexus.  Doing meditations to also help strengthen our connection to this deep center will resonate to our physical center.

The foods we put into our body are also able to help us facilitate alignment.  When we eat things that are in our highest good.  When we avoid polluting the body with toxins we are able to create both physical and energetic balance.

Take your practice to the core.  In the coming weeks I’ll be posting videos and guides to show you how to structure workouts to engage the core.

Love and Light!

Mike Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

PBP2012: “F”- Fasting for Spiritual Growth

Fasting is an important aspect of coming into alignment with our spirituality.  Fasting allows us to come into alignment and to see where our personal power might have been surrendered to situations, things, food, or people.  Fasting takes a bit of planning as well.  One of the things that I like to do with my fasting is to take a few days to really plan it out.  What do I hope to gain?  What will I be giving up?  How long do I want to fast?  Being sure of our reasons for fasting and where we hope to go with it is an important aspect of the entire process.

Fasting also does not have to just be about food.  We are constantly facing distractions, and there are a lot of things that deplete us of our energy.  Fasting from the internet, cell phones, or even talking for a day can bring us back into alignment with the world around us.  Fasting from food can show us where we might be reaching out through our emotions towards foods that might be harming us.  Set a spiritual goal for your fasting cycle.  Allowing yourself to find a deeper connection with your divine self.  Pick a favorite book, some new chants, or even a physical practice like sacred dance/yoga.  Set a schedule for your fast, and stick to it.  Showing up is one of the hardest things to do in our spiritual practice.

Remember, there is no such thing as failure.  I set a time parameter for my fasting cycle, but if I do not reach the entire goal I consider the time I showed up a success.  If I didn’t make it to the end, I sit with that and I see where my stumbling stones might have been.  I journal a lot during my fasting period.  I look at my emotions, I go deeper into my divination practice, and check in with my emotions constantly.  If I am removing something from my experience checking in with my emotions it allows me to see what power I might have given away.

Take a few moments and think about how you can deepen your spiritual practice by allowing something in your experience to sit on a shelf for a while.  What is something you feel you can’t do without?  That is where you start.

M. Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

www.michaelbrazell.com

michael@michaelbrazell.com

Tuesday Spiritual Fitness and Nutrition Tip 03/6/12

Here are your Tuesday Spiritual Fitness and Nutrition Tips!

Fitness:  Start small.  Like anything, if we make the fitness process complicated or overwhelming, we are going to be less likely to do it.  Start small and easy.  As soon as your feet hit the floor do 1 lunge, 1 push up, or one 10 second plank.  If then you feel like adding a little extra you can, even if you only do the one, you at least showed up to your fitness practice.  Sometimes getting the energy going can be the hardest part, and showing up is essential.  Just being present and fully conscious in that first push up of the day can make a big difference in how the rest of your day will go.  Start today!

Nutrition: Plan ahead.  My theory on planning is simple: If you have time to tweet, email, or Facebook–you have time to schedule your meals for the week.  Many of us live busy lives, and being busy causes us to reach out in convenience.  If you did not plan ahead and forgot to bring your healthy snacks, then that bag of chips becomes that much more attractive.  It only takes a few moments to pack some veggies, nuts or even to decide where you will go.  Busy lives also do not always sneak up on us.  We know when we can expect things to typically go haywire.  If Tuesdays are always crazy for you, then especially plan to be more mindful on that day.  Stress also causes us to reach out in convenience.  Knowing you have a healthy option at arm’s length can also help to reduce guilt, stress, and anxiety associated with not taking care of yourself.

Post, share, comment, and be present!

Michael Brazell CFT CSN MAT PAT

www.michaelbrazell.com

michael@michaelbrazell.com