Every body works differently but there are a few key indicators that lead to personal success and it all boils down to finding and doing what’s best for you! In this comprehensive guide to living your best self, we’ll navigate through different areas of life that are conducive to self-improvement.
There’s always something we can work on and these meaningful tips can help you level up to a better version of yourself—mentally, physically, emotionally. So dive in, check out our practical and holistic tips below and find out how to best do you, today and beyond.
3 Steps to Getting Your Best Body
All bodies are made to move. The type of movement that is best for your body depends on your goals, daily schedule, and interests. These simple steps can be added to your yoga practice and help you take a step toward your best body, no matter where you are on your yoga and wellness journey.
1. Activate Your Muscles with Awareness
Contracting your muscles to hold a yoga pose is a great way to build muscular strength, and when done regularly, can help prevent the loss of lean muscle mass in the body as we age. A great way to put this type of resistance into practice is through the many variations of Plank Pose.
In High Plank, Low Plank, and plank against a wall, you are pressing your palms onto the floor or wall. This creates a contraction in the muscles, allowing you to build strength without moving the body. You can explore this activation, also known as isometric movement, with many yoga poses, a few of which are highlighted here.
Another way to explore muscular contraction is to bring your hands to prayer hands (known as anjali mudra) pressing the palms together in front of the chest. As you press your palms together, observe the muscle activation in the arms. As you bring this awareness to other poses, try to apply resistance where possible. This will activate beyond primary muscle groups to provide further strengthening ability.
2. Add Weights to Your Yoga Practice
Another type of strength training, called isotonic strength training, adds weight to movements. This strengthens the muscles and helps to maintain or increase bone density. Grab some light weights (2-5 lbs., depending on your preference) and add gentle weightlifting into your yoga practice.
For example, by adding a bicep curl to a High Lunge, you’re creating isotonic movement in the arms and isometric movement in the legs. If you prefer to keep your yoga and weights separate, keep it that way.
3. Elevate Your Pulse Everyday
The more you add healthy movement into your everyday life, the better your body will feel. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate, pulse-elevating exercise five days a week. When you engage in cardiovascular activity, such as going to a fast-paced yoga class, your heart beats faster to help circulate oxygenated blood around the body.
Try out this succinct and powerful yoga sequence to elevate your pulse and get your body moving.
3 Steps to Become Mentally Strong
Mental strength is a measure of a person’s resilience and confidence. It is an active process that encompasses a variety of mental exercises that help to better regulate emotions, understand thoughts, and cope with life stressors. If you are interested in the science behind mental strength, check out Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation.
1. Evaluate your mental strengths and what you want to work on.
Take time for self reflection to better understand what you want to work on and your unique mental strength goals. If you have trouble naming your strengths and weaknesses, you could start by trying a free online personality test like 16 Personalities or Enneagram Test.
2. Create small changes that can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Be intentional with your changes. Add one new activity to your life. Focus on building and sustaining one habit before incorporating another. For inspiration, check out, 25 Simple Ways to Balance Your Mind, Body, and Soul, and 10 Strategies to Make Yourself Mentally Stronger.
3. Be mindful to not change too much at once.
When you are ready to build on on your mental strength activities, make sure to only adjust your behaviors by +/- 10%. For instance, if you meditate for 10 minutes a day and you want to increase time, meditate for 11 minutes a day next week, then 12 minutes a day the following week.
Lastly, while various exercises may work for some, it does not have to work for you. If you give journaling a try and it is more stress than relief, try something new. Adjusting does not equal failure. Adjusting is a sign you are listening to what you need, and being an active listener to yourself is a big step toward becoming mentally strong.
3 Hacks to Finally Eat Healthy
We know what we should be eating. We know we need to avoid the donut shops and processed foods and munch on fruits and veggies, instead of chips and cookies, throughout the day. Yet, when we are hungry and looking for something to satisfy cravings, we reach for that crinkly bag of goodies or for that crisp-tasting soda.
Eating healthy shouldn’t feel like deprivation, much less torture. Making good food choices shouldn’t be something we feel like we have to ignore either. So how do we make the jump and finally eat healthy?
1. Make a 3-day food diary.
One of the key elements that will help us to make better food choices is to understand where we currently have room for improvement. Before making any changes to your diet, give yourself three days to write down everything that goes into your tummy.
Even better, use a nutrition and diet app to see if what you are eating is meeting your nutrient needs. This will give you a clear picture of your eating habits and where to make adjustments. According to research, not only will a food diary help you eat healthier, it may also boost weight loss.
2. Keep ready-to-eat fruits and veggies in the kitchen.
A common barrier to eating healthily is the perceived time it takes to prepare fresh food and meals. However, a healthy eating routine doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment if approached mindfully. You can spare some valuable time by keeping ready-made fruit salads, pre-washed lettuce and spinach, and veggie sticks in the fridge. Buy 1-serving ready-to-eat fruits, like apples, oranges, and bananas in a nice bowl on the kitchen counter. Whenever you need a snack, they will be available and ready to eat.
(Bonus: fruits and veggies will also help you recover from soreness after your last yoga session.)
3. Get rid of unhealthy snacks and processed foods.
Look at the foods in your fridge and pantry, and get rid of all the foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat, or have too many preservatives. Since you already have great snack alternatives (see hack #2), you’ll have no choice but to eat healthier. Don’t throw your pantry clearout foods away – we don’t want to be wasteful. Rather, offer them up for free to friends and family who will take them.
The key with these hacks is that they will change the way you view food while simultaneously easing you into to make healthier choices more naturally. They are just the beginning. Carrying these out while doing adaptation-inspired yoga, implementing other tips slowly but surely will help you make healthy eating part of your lifestyle, no matter how busy you are.
3 Steps to Develop Habits That Stick
Habit change is not impossible. But MAN is it hard. When you want to turn your hopes for healthy living into habits that stick, keep in mind these simple steps.
1. Don’t Ditch the Inspiration
Habits are like new homes, they benefit from a design phase and a build phase. During the design phase, you envision what the end result could look like. This inspiration step is key to keeping you motivated on the road ahead.
To get inspired, read blogs and books, or listen to podcasts featuring people who have successfully developed the same habit you wish to cultivate (e.g. an article on how to revive your yoga practice could easily roll into reading a first-hand account.)
During this phase, you will learn pitfalls to watch out for and remember that habit-building takes time for EVERYONE, not just you.
2. Take Advantage of Existing Habits
Make your new habits stick by scheduling them to follow your existing habits. According to Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” habits are formed in a three-step loop process that starts with a cue or a trigger that we can use to remind us of the new habit we wish to perform.
If you are trying to begin a daily morning meditation practice, for example, you might cue your new habit by transitioning into your meditation practice right after you brush your teeth.
3. Accountability is Key
Find a way to track the times that you successfully complete your habit. If you wanted to join the DOYOUYOGA 30-Day Challenge, you could invite a friend to start on the same day and notify him/her each time you complete a video. Having another person to share challenges and successes with makes building a new habit that much more engaging.
If you want your habit to be private, try tracking your progress in your journal, calendar, or personal planner. No one else has to know what the check mark next to last Sunday means but you.
3 Tips to Help You Channel Your Most Productive Self (At Work and In Life)
Are you ready to become more productive in service of your highest self and the greatest good? Read on for a simple three-step process that will shift your energy and spark your productivity.
1. Track Your Time
Time management is a huge barrier to productivity for many of us. Start addressing this challenge by analyzing how you’re currently spending your time. Complete this online time log to begin. Look for areas of wasted time and reflect upon pockets of opportunity (e.g. transition times) where you can make better use of your time.
2. Make the Most of Mornings
Many of us have the most energy first thing in the morning. Take advantage of this by attacking goals early in your day. Author Laura Vanderkam is an expert on productivity and has written extensively on the topic. How can you supercharge your mornings? Stick to a regular bedtime that allows you to wake up early. Mornings are an excellent time for exercise, yoga, and meditation.
3. Are You S.M.A.R.T.?
Goal-setting experts often recommend that you create S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound) goals to become more productive. For example, “Do more yoga,” is too vague. Instead, you could write down, “I will complete three yoga classes per week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 5:30 a.m., for the month of May.”
Now, you have a measurable goal that you can track. Want to make your goals even smarter? Add an E.R. to the end! Evaluate your goal after its deadline. What could you have improved? Finally, Reward yourself for completing a goal. Perhaps invest in a massage or purchase some new yoga pants as a way to celebrate your accomplishment.
By tracking your time, harnessing your morning energy, and setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals, you’ll be boosting your productivity in no time.
3 Ways to Improve Your Friendships & Relationship
Throughout your journey to better health and happiness, you’ll notice that one of the biggest factors in feeling your best is having genuine and supportive friendships and relationships (see why loneliness is so detrimental here). We often get very involved in our own journeys and forget to show up for the important people in our lives.
Here are 3 easy ways to improve those relationships to keep yourself and the other person feeling the good vibes.
1. Don’t keep score.
This is typically something we do in romantic and platonic relationships, where we do a good deed and expect immediate praise or something in return. When we get neither, we begin to harbor resentment for the other person, although they might be totally unaware of what we’re feeling.
Our advice: stop keeping score. Do nice things because you want to be of service to the other person, not because you want a reward. Also remember to acknowledge when the other person does something for you, even when it’s not exactly what you wanted or needed. This is one of the key principles that Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project utilizes in her marriage.
2. Keep in touch.
It seems simple, but even a short text to say “I’m thinking of you” can go a long way. Let your friends or partners know that they’re on your mind and that you’re there for them, even if you’re busy.
3. Be honest.
Sometimes we can get complacent in relationships, sweep things under the rug, and accept things that we really aren’t cool with. Finding ways to be honest yet kind, to speak your truth and make sure that you are getting what you need from a relationship, is key to the health and longevity of that partnership. We all have boundaries that need to be maintained to make sure we can fill up our own cups and still show up for others.
Relationships are all about give and take. Being true to yourself while holding space for others is a fine balance, but these simple reminders can make a big difference. If you need a few more reminders of what true friendship looks like, here’s your guide.
How to Give Back to Your Community & the World
In the constant rush of today’s world, many of us find ourselves caught up in the chaos of life. Giving back is a powerful tool that can re-connect you to your community and our beloved planet Earth.
Giving not only inspires love and generosity in the world but it’s scientifically proven to make you happier! Set a goal for this month to try out one of these four creative ways to give back to your community and the world!
1. Volunteer your skills or time.
There are so many interesting ways to volunteer now, from animal shelters to local hospitals to soup kitchens; find out which organizations in your neighborhood could use your help. Get your friends or family involved and make it a fun outing. Maybe you have an expertise in a useful skill like donating haircuts, reading to children, or giving yoga classes as a volunteer yoga teacher!
2. Shop wisely.
In a world built for consumption, we are constantly tempted by the newest edition of iPhone or the trendiest yoga pants, so when you shop, shop wisely. Do your research and support brands that are eco-friendly (practical packaging to minimize waste, using biodegradable material, etc.), and have ethical workplace practices in place? Think twice before heading to the mall—are there any local shops you can support instead?
3. Buy someone’s lunch or coffee.
This is such a simple but lovely act to connect with others in your community. Next time you’re getting your morning coffee, step out of that usual morning fog and let the cashier know you’d like to treat the person behind you. Some coffee shops even allow you to officially ‘buy a coffee forward’ for others who can’t afford one, for example homeless or unemployed people. The little surprise will make someone’s day and who knows—you could even inspire a trend of kindness.
If you’re feeling inspired, check out this great resource on other small acts of kindness that will light up someone’s day.
4. Turn your next birthday or family holiday into a drive.
Use your birthday to give back to the world by choosing a charity you’re passionate about and requesting any gifts be sent in the form of donations. Let’s be honest, most of us truly don’t need any more stuff. Not only is this a great way to give back, but you will inspire acts of kindness within your friends and family!
Bringing out your best self starts with making your holistic wellness a priority. We hope this handy guide inspires you to invest time and energy into nurturing your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health so you can do you and become your best self this year and beyond.