Happy-U Bloggity Blog

Holistic Approach to Positive Psychology & Yoga

Cleanin’ Yo’ Fridge

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store, and made a pretty big purchase. It was one of those trips where I needed to buy things like olive oil… you know? I needed to buy the things you only need to pick up every 3-6 months and one of those visits where the checkout total made me clench my butt a little bit.

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Anyway, I came home with my groceries and had made a mistake. I crucial mistake that I’m usually really good about not making. One that caused me time, frustration, and a mess.

I hadn’t cleared out the fridge before I went shopping.

Dun dun DUN!

I opened the fridge and there were still take-out containers, half-full tupperwares, a little bin of tomatoes that were growing beards… Dammit.

Not my fridge, but this is what it felt like. Interestingly, on Google, this photo was titled "Day after Thanksgiving". Look familiar?

Not my fridge, but this is what it felt like. Interestingly, on Google, this photo was titled “Day after Thanksgiving”. Look familiar?

Well, you know the rest. I’m SURE you’ve done this before. Your FroYo starts to melt on the counter because you can’t find one square inch in the freezer to shove the damn thing. Why do we do this? Why do we let this happen? All it would take is a little forethought. A little planning to make some SPACE.

My brain is the same way.

 

brain-was-full

I know that if I “clear out the fridge” and make some space, I have room for the things that are freshest. If I get rid of the the junk that’s expired, I don’t want anymore, or is growing fur to keep itself warm from neglect, I have plenty of space for the new stuff on my list. I can walk through the grocery with my list of desires, put them in my basket, and EVEN have room for that Pirate’s Booty I was craving but didn’t know it until I was looking at it on the shelf. I can come home, fill my fridge, and have enough room to really see and enjoy each thing in there.

Until it’s time to go shopping again.

So for me, yesterday served as a reminder of the importance of “Cleaning Fridge” regularly (since I am most comfortable working in food analogies).

Meditating, yoga, walking, running, living room dance parties– these are all mind de-clutterers for me, and they are crucial to living at my best. Empty that brain of the old thoughts so you can make space for the new. Empty your body of the stagnant energy to make space for the vital. Rid yourself of the limiting beliefs to make room for the expansive ones.

Sometimes it takes a bottle of 409, but sometimes all it takes is a breath.

Aaahhhh….

perfect_fridge    —>     lotus_brain

 

 

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Flexing Your Willpower Muscle!

There are thirty-three days until the NEW YEAR!

Time to start planning (drum roll, please!) Resolutions 2013. 

Every year we seem to enter the New Year all eager and shiny eyed, biceps bulging, carrying lofty intentions and resolutions.
 
This will be MY year. I will lose weight and exercise more, drink less,  get my stress under control & meditate daily:)
 
I will be happy, damn-it!
 
Then all of a sudden, it is March and those resoultions have fizzled like stale Dom Perignon. Seems like the one resolution that’s a shoe-in year after year is failing at our New Year’s resolutions.
 
QUESTION
       Why, why, why, is failure the one thing I can count on?

ANSWER: Unrealistic Expectations

If there is one thing we tend to misjudge, it is the difficulty of breaking deeply ingrained habits. If you set the bar too high…failure ensues, followed by the dreaded slippery slope of “What’s the use?” “This is too hard.” “I’ll never change.” 
 
Leading to…

LOSER SYNDROME (and we don’t mean that in a good way)

 
Referring back to those nerdy researchers who study these things, they tell us:
 
The Willpower necessary for change is lost, when we fail to meet any part of our goals.
 
So with that piece of knowledge, we can begin to set ourselves up for success, simply by keeping a goal small and simple. 
 
If it’s your goal to take off a couple of pounds in the New Year, the time to start is NOW. This month. 
 
Remember, we tend to gain a solid, two pounds in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we will be well on our way to being a lighter version of ourself, simply by declaring December a… 
Weight Gain Free Month. 
If that goal is too lofty, how’s about a weight gain free, week, day, minute? Downsize those goals, and you will make ’em every time! So let’s give the bathroom scale a little love every day throughout December. Appreciate its feedback, and adjust your goals as you go.
And remember, each time you accomplish a small goal you strengthen your WILLPOWER!

Flex Those Willpower Muscles!

Next week we’ll share some more info on the cornerstone of successful behavior change… 
Yep you got it, WILLPOWER!
You can do it! Love, Jan 🙂
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Why I’m Being So Selfish on Saturday

This Saturday, I’m holding my next HAPPY-U Workshop, an act of ultimate selfishness on my part.

Yes, I continue to be thrilled as ever to share with others what I’ve learned about happiness, positive psychology and yoga in the pursuit of living a fulfilled life, but I’m reeeeeeally doing it for me

I’ve long known about myself that when I’m teaching something I’m passionate about, I’m in my FLOW. Time simultaneously slows down and speeds up. There’s no resistance, there’s no struggle… it become effortless, and I feel at my best. Do you have something like that?

Now over time, the “what I’m passionate about” has changed forms… When I was little, I taught my babydolls and stuffed animals about cursive handwriting as I played School in our playroom. When I was 10, I morphed my love of painting with, err… fingernails… and set up a nail boutique in our basement in which I taught mock seminars on how to do beautiful nail-art.

Pretty.

In highschool and college, I started teaching dance classes, and in my 20’s I became a high school teacher of theatre arts. Now, I still love all those things (esPESH fancy nails, duh), but I’m most passionate about HAPPINESS and all things related to FEELING GOOD.

Happy-U is my new FLOW…

The truth is, preparing and planning these workshops makes me SO happy. Reading, coaching, doing my positive psychology research, preparing the yoga sequences, finding kickass, makes-you-wanna-sing-along music for the playlist… My sense of flow and excitement and enthusiasm starts well before the Workshop begins.

And so I consider it selfish. And wonderful. And exactly what I’m meant to be doing.

The research shows that when you are utilizing your top strengths, you are happier. And so, even now, as I demonstrate GRATITUDE (my #2 strength according to the VIA-Test of Signature Strengths) for the work I get to do, I am feeling better than I did before.

And KNOWING that my Workshop on Saturday is going to be fun, fabulous, and vibration-raising puts to use my #1 strength- Hope, Optimism, and Future Mindedness, so NOW, I feel even BETTER. And also, because EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. who has told me they are coming on Saturday I think is AWESOME and I really truly LIKE, I know it’s gonna be even better, because positive social interactions are among the top happiness-raisers for everyone, no matter who you are or what your strengths might be.

Yeah!!

So Saturday, December 1st, at OB Namaste in Ocean Beach from 1-3pm, come watch me be selfish.

And I’ll watch YOU be selfish. Because you’ll be doing something fun, healthy, mind-expanding, and positive for yourSELF. And you deserve it 🙂

Remember, the greatest gift we can give anyone is to be happy ourselves. So in the spirit of the holidays coming up, consider this a gift to your family, your friends, and everyone with whom you encounter. COME GET HAPPY WITH ME 🙂

VISIT www.obnamasteyoga.com and hit the Classes tab to register.

 

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My Imperfect Meditation Challenge

Today is the 21st day of the Chopra Center Meditation Challenge, and I feel proud to say I completed it 🙂

It wasn’t easy, though. And I say this because I want to acknowledge that you’re not a failure if meditation is hard for you… You’re human!

It’s a challenge for every person in a different way… For some it’s difficult (if not seemingly impossible) just to sit still and quiet for 15 minutes at a time without moving. Sometimes, that’s the case with me. But this time around with the meditation challenge, FINDING THE TIME and having the DISCIPLINE to just do it AT ALL was the difficult part.

The last time I did the Challenge was the Free to Love one that Chopra held in July. If I may say so, I kicked ASS at that one… Every morning, same time, with out fail, I was in my meditation seat doin’ my thang.

This time, however, I had a hard time finding my routine. Every morning found itself faced with different circumstances, different things on my to-do list pressing on my attention, and a different temperament from the Furry Happiness Guru that would either beg me to take her out NOW NOW NOW or stab me in the heart with her cuteness.

Now I could go on for days with excuses about why I could have NOT meditated… and I’ll be honest with you, some of the days I didn’t meditate at all– but my point here is that I did the best I could, and I FORGAVE myself for not doing it perfectly.

If I skipped one day, I did two the next day. I didn’t get down on myself, I just went with it. And I’ll tell you what… I felt proportionately better/happier/calmer/nicer on the days I did 2 than the days I did none. I am sure this is no coincidence. But I also learned that just because I messed up the one day didn’t mean I needed to scrap the whole challenge. (I was a child who’d throw the whole page of the coloring book away if I accidentally went outside the lines :))

So maybe this challenge came up for me for a different reason. I’d already proven to myself that I am capable of meditating for 21 days in a row for 15 minutes a day…

This time, perhaps, I needed to learn that doing the best you can is equally as valuable and being perfect isn’t any more valuable than keeping your eyes open to your imperfections and moving forward anyway.

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Happy Thanksgiving :)

I love (some) holiday traditions. They make me feel good from the inside out. One of my very favorite traditions, that has been established over the years, is my Thanksgiving Morning Cardio/Yoga gathering at the Studio. It is a time that is quite precious to me, when my dear and beloved clients come together to laugh, dance, share and give thanks, before heading off to spend the rest of their day with family and friends. I always conclude this class with the following essay written by Sarah Ban Breathnach, from her book Simple Abundance. I hope you find it to be as beautiful as I do.

True Thanksgiving
The turkey is in the oven, filling the air with the fragrance of anticipation, and my heart is glad. The pies are cooling on the rack, overflowing with the fruits of the earth, and my heart is full. Conversation, companionship, and conviviality transform the rooms of this beloved home, and my heart is at peace.
 
Soon dear ones—family and cherished friends–will gather at the table to rejoice in our bounty of blessings and with us lift up their heart in thanksgiving. As the table is set, my heart gratefully remembers the legacy of love and tradition represented in the talismans of freshly laundered linens, sparkling crystal and gleaming china. The silver shines, the candles glow, the flowers delight us with their beauty.
 
This is good. This is very good. Let us hold fast to this authentic moment of Simple Abundance. Let us cherish this feeling of complete contentment. Let us rejoice and praise the Giver of all good.
 
Offer grace for the bounty of goodness. Raise the song of harvest home, the glass of good cheer, the heart overflowing with joy. We have so much for which to be thankful. So much about which to smile, so much to share. So much in this season of plenty, we can embrace the season of relinquishment. All we have is all we need.
 
O beloved Spirit, truly you have given us so much, an extravagance of riches. Give us, we pray, one thing more. The gift of grateful hearts. Hearts that will not forget what You have done.
May your life be filled with blessings throughout this holiday season.
Namaste,
Jan & Karson 🙂
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Holiday “Prehab”

Yep, it is upon us. Tomorrow is the official Kick-Off of a 40 Day eating free-for-all.

Does it have to be that way? Well, here in coaching land, we know the answer is “NO”. We support people as they change their crappy habits all the time. We know change IS possible. It’s never easy, never without missteps, usually messy and challenging, but totally possible.

So, “How?” you might ask, is it possible to avoid the inevitable holiday food hangover?

We answer,”Baby steps, Friends, Baby steps.” It is the way change happens. One little tiny step at a time.

The first step is the hardest.

Ready for it?

That’s it.

STEP #1 in successful habit change…

 DECIDE to Change.

Not kinda/sorta decide, Oh No. You need to fully, completely, and wholeheartedly decide. 

Guess how we know that’s true? Because all those really smart nerdy researchers who spend their time studying the human condition, tell us…

 Committing to change is a predictor of success. (Duhigg2012)

 No committment? No change!

 

Then, we have to take Step #2

 STEP #2 in successful habit change…

 Believe you CAN Change.

 

Those nerdling researchers say…

 When believing in change becomes a habit, change becomes real (Duhigg 2012)

 

So let’s make a REAL commitment to change something in our eating pattern tomorrow. One little baby step, in the right direction, begins the process of change for an entire holiday season. Heck, who knows, maybe for an entire lifetime. We won’t know unless we try.

Just come up with one little easy committiment, like grabbing a smaller plate off the buffet, instead of a ginormous dinner plate.

 

Come up with just one little thing, and let us know what it is. We love to steal great ideas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jan & Karson 🙂

~~~Every Wednesday through the holiday season, we’ll be offering coaching tips on how to stay healthy and keep those extra pounds OFF during this time of celebration, holiday parties, and apple pies. Because guess what… We CAN have our pie and eat it too AND not get fat! YEAH!~~

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Conquering Fear & Jazz Hands

I KNOW I was taking a break from the stage, (and I DID– it’s been like, 6 months, which is like 6 years in Karson-ville), but when a role comes that you’ve dreamed about for decades, you gotta drop what you’re doing and go for it.

Even if it scares the ever-loving shit out of you.

So this last week, I started rehearsals for CHICAGO, in which I’ll be playing the role of Velma Kelly…

Gulp.

YAAAAYYYY!!!!

Shit.

WOOHOO!!!!!

Oh man…

THIS IS GONNA ROCK!

I hope I don’t fuck it up.

LET’S DO IT!!

I LOVE this fear. This is why I do it! I’m ready for it. Even though I have to do, like, 97 high kicks in heels, I CAN overcome the fear that I’ll fall on my ass in front of everyone.

Even though I’m gonna have to sing my heart out (and still don’t consider myself a “singer” despite my experience and awards that consider me otherwise), I WILL FIND CONFIDENCE that my voice won’t crack and I’ll break a mirror.

Even though I’ll have to wear teeny-tiny dance clothes on stage during holiday season, I WILL put it all out there in spite of my fear of muffin top. I CAN DO THIS!

 

So whatever it is for YOU that you’re fearing at the moment…

: a new job

: a new relationship

: a new dynamic

: a new experience

: a new chapter in your life…

SUMMON UP YOUR COURAGE, IGNITE YOUR JAZZ HANDS, AND MAKE IT LOOK EASY.

and be glad you don’t have to do it in fishnets.

Love,

Karson 🙂

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The Devil Made Me Do It!

Ok Friends, Halloween might be over, but we are entering the scariest time of the year!
We are officially entering “Holiday Season.” Guess what that means?

Oh Yeah! You’ve got it. Pigamortus is about to set in.

A well known fact amongst Wellness and Happiness Coaches, like Guru Karson and MamaGuru Jan, is that over the next six weeks, the weight gain for the “average” human American is around 2lbs!
Now maybe a simple two pounds doesn’t sound that bad to you right now. But do the math. If you gain two pounds every holiday season, let’s say over twenty years, that’s 40lbs! Just from these six weeks!

Holy Guacamole, Batman!

Since we are COACHES, we are not going to let this happen to OUR peeps! So we are going to do what we do best, and COACH you through the maze of Devilish Desserts, Beelzebub Brews and

the Satanic Snasages in a Blanket Horderves of the Holiday Season!

So WEDNESDAYS for the next six weeks, grab yo’self some coaching, simply by following the Bloggity Blog. It’s our intention to “coach you up” making this a “fat free” holiday for all of us!
If you know someone who might also want to come out the other end of the season without a new Fabulous Fat Suit, sent ’em a link to the Bloggity Blog:)

Eddie Murphy after Thanksgiving, 2006

Love,

Jan & Karson 🙂

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Preference Makes the World Go ‘Round

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
~Claude Monet

“I hate flowers. I only paint them because they’re cheaper than models and don’t move.” ~Georgia O’Keefe

We don’t all have to love the same things. Having preferences strengthens our characters and personalities, whether it’s what you think God looks like, the type of peanut butter you buy, or what you look for in a mate… Preferences make the world go round.

The problem comes when we start judging that which is not what we’d choose. We judge our own choices, get annoyed with anyone who believes something other than we do, make laws against other peoples choices, and in extreme cases, engage in wars over them.

Now of course, I can’t control religious wars all over the world, but I CAN contribute an attitude of ACCEPTANCE & COMPASSION to this planet by embracing the varying array of choices out there. I don’t condemn them, because I know how scary the world would be if we all liked the exact same things!

Yikes.

Now, I jest… I love them polygamists– they spice the world up, with their intricate hairdos and high-necked frocks. I CHOOSE to be the only wife to my single solitary husband, and they can CHOOSE to do their thing! I don’t need to change them or be mad about it. I want to live in a world with lots of contrast 🙂

____

One of my very favorite excerpts from Abraham-Hicks’ book, Ask and It Is Given, is called Do Not Put Those Unwanted Ingredients in Your Pie!, and it goes like this:

Imagine yourself as a chef in an extremely well-stocked kitchen that contains every imaginable ingredient. Let us say that you have a clear idea of the culinary creation you desire, and you understand how to combine these easily accessible ingredients in order to fulfill your desire. And as you proceed, there are many ingredients that are not appropriate for your creation, so you do not utilize them, but you also feel no discomfort about their existence. You simply utilize the ingredient that will enhance your creation– and you leave the ingredients that are not appropriate for your creation out of your pie.

Some of the ingredients in this well-stocked kitchen are harmonious with your creation, and some of them are not. But even though adding some of the ingredients to your creation would absolutely ruin your pie, you do not feel the need to push against those ingredients, or to ban them from the kitchen, because you understand that there is no reason for them to end up in your pie unless YOU  put them in it. And since you are clear about which ones enhance your creation and which ones do not enhance it, you feel no concern about the great variety of ingredients that exist.

Mmmm… pie….

So embrace the contrast in your world today… There’s enough room for ALL of choices 🙂

 

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What does your body say about you?

What story does your body tell about you?

Does it tell the story of someone who loves herself, her health, and her wellbeing?

Or does it tell the story of neglect, laziness, and carelessness?

It’s kind of a harsh question to ask yourself, but be real here… Your body says a lot about you!

Esther Tuttle, age 99: “Your body is your instrument, and you have to take beautiful care of it. I do one hour of yoga and walk for 30 minutes every day. You really enjoy life a lot more if you’re healthy.”

Listen to your body… Reward it when it does something good for you (like make it through a vinyasa yoga class or goes for a run), but reward it with what it’s really asking for: water, vegetables, and healthy cooking!

You know that feeling of guilt and overindulgence after you’ve stuffed your face or sat on the couch for three days straight? Your body’s talking to you! It wants you to get moving!

As we enter the holiday season, it’s going to be easier than ever to overeat and underexercise. So NOW is the time to find the balance you so need to carry you through the holidays with health, radiance, and vibrancy!

According to the HAPPY-U Positive Psychology Research Squad, there are few things you can do to set yourself up for success with regard to your body and how you treat it:

1) Mind the negative self-talk. We think between 60,00-80,000 thoughts a day, and about 70-80% of those thoughts are negative! First become aware of your negative mental chatter, then start replacing those thoughts with positive ones. (i.e. replace “I’m such a fat beast” with “Actually, I’m a sexy beast who ate too much, so I’m going to do something awesome for myself and go for a walk. I rock!“)

2) Rather than going in a shame spiral, move into action. Remember, every day is a chance to start again. Stop thinking about going for a walk, and just GO!

3) Slow down your eating and speed up your walking. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register you’re full. If you usually down your plate of food in less time than that, you’re more likely to take seconds when you really didn’t need it. (Ya hear me, Thanksgiving bellies?!?) And when you go for your walk, you can burn twice as many calories in a 20-min mile than a 30-min mile. So squeeze that butt and pick up the pace! Your heart will beat faster, giving you a strong dose of endorphins and longevity! YEAH 🙂

 

Set yourself up for a fun, healthy, and great-feeling holiday this year 🙂 Now’s the time!

 

Love,

Karson & Jan 🙂

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