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Small moves, big changes: Simone Seitz helps you get moving to find calm in the holiday stress and rejuvenate for the New Year.

Do you ever walk slowly, even when you have to be somewhere? Try it and notice how different your pace and stride are when you're being mindful of your walk. This pause can help you become aware of just how much your movement is affected by your mind. For example, try taking a walk when you aren't feeling so great, and you'll probably find that what you're thinking or feeling shifts, simply because you moved your body.

When we've been doing too much, moving too quickly or just simply not paying enough attention to ourselves, something always seems to happen--maybe we get sick or injured--that forces us to slow down When we don't give attention to ourselves. something will bring the attention to us. Here's the thing: when you love something, you pay attention to it Right? During a stressful time like the holiday season, when we attend to the desires of others and strive to meet significant expectations, it's important to nurture ourselves. Whatever you do and whoever you're doing it for, it will be much more enjoyable for everyone if you feel good. I propose paying attention to yourself with movement. As long as you move in a way that feels good (because it should feel good!), movement is nurturing and is a gift you can give to yourself anytime/anywhere.

Before we explore ways to get moving, I invite you to pause with your thoughts and write a list of things that you do for you (movement or otherwise--everything from taking a walk to reading a good hook) when you are nurturing and paying attention to yourself. Let's call it a "My Gifts List." (This will come in handy; I promise.)

Okay. Now, start nurturing yourself with the gift of movement and a time of calm. Here are a few simple movements/exercises to try:

Scan your body: Whether you're standing or sitting, start with just a few deep breaths to settle into the exercise, and then simply focus (and keep) your attention on each body part until you feel a sensation there, ff the sensation is a tingle or heaviness, that's great. This scan should lead to a calming feeling overall. But, if there is discomfort in any way, tweak your position until you feel good. Continue scanning the parts of your body until you reach the top of your head (or the tip of your toes), and then stay quiet in your mind and body until you are ready to move on. To re-charge with movement, begin to move and stretch the part of your body that you're attending to (in a way that feels good, of course) until you feel the energy flow through it. Continue until you've stretched each body part and then go for a full-body stretch.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Breathe deeply: To create a calming moment for yourself, breathe deeply (and slowly) in through your nose as you count to five. Hold your breath for five seconds, and then release, slowly counting to five. For a little boost, bring your arms from your sides to above your head with your hands together as you breathe in, then release your arms and breath. The speed and focus of your breath will determine the outcome for you.

Take a break: Many people get relief from a stressful day by taking cigarette breaks. But, nonsmokers deserve a daily respite, too. If you're at work, try taking a short walk around your building. Depending on),our pace, stride and mindfulness, this can be relaxing and energizing, as well.

Pose: Yoga is a great way to nurture and rejuvenate the body. Poses like the child's pose can provide calm, and spinal twists can help you re-fuel.

When you feel some holiday stress coming on or you're working hard to meet a goal or expectation, pause and do something that will fuel/feed you. This can be any of the above exercises, or any activity off your "My Gifts List." Keep the list with you or up somewhere at home as a reminder, so you can quickly go to something that will give your body the attention it needs. (I told you it would come in handy!)

Just remember, the body needs to move its physical and emotional energy. And, while you're active, be sure to be mindful and aware.

So, give yourself the gift of time, compassion and forgiveness this holiday season. Try to be gentle and nurture yourself. You'll still be there for people and things, only you'll be more fulfilled and nurtured yourself. And, that's better for everyone and everything, especially ... you.

Simone Seitz is the owner of mbody mind-body fitness studio, the place where she gives herself the gift of movement with nia, yoga, pilates, belly-dance and hoop. mbody is located at 1200 Hendersonville Road in Asheville; call 828-277-7500 or visit www.mbody.net for more information.
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Title Annotation:breathe in
Author:Seitz, Simone
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2007
Words:813
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