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Mindful : February 2018
Listen to Your Body Your body speaks to you in the language of sen- sation. The problem is that we’re often stuck in our heads and don’t hear when our body asks us to change what we’re doing. Start paying atten- tion to the coolness, heat, tingling, or throbbing you feel when you exercise. Doing so will help you tune in to when you need to modify, hold steady, or pick up the intensity. During your next vigorous workout, notice the sensations: your muscles burning toward the end of your walk or run, the sense of expansion during a deep yoga pose, or the fire in your legs during those last few squats. Your body is getting stronger. There’s also the sensation that is not so sweet: It can be a sharp pain or, conversely, numbness. These are sig- nals that you’re overtaxing your body and need to back off or modify what you are doing. To know the difference, you’ll need to pay atten- tion. While it can be empowering to push past our limitations, it’s equally important to be mindful of them. Be Kind, Light, and Non-Judgy Nike has been telling us for a few decades to “Just Do It.” We could add, “But be nice about it.” You don’t have to beat yourself up to get moving every day. Try talking to yourself as a supportive soccer coach would talk to a first- grader. Maintain a cheerful “You’ve got this” attitude, and give yourself a pat on the back when your workout is over. Being too serious about exercising takes the joy out of movement. If you can keep your sense of humor about the whole thing, you may find yourself going longer and harder. Laugh at your mistakes. Pause to take in the view. Cheer your- self on: “I think I can, I think I can.” Be flex- ible with your schedule. While exercising daily sounds good, schedules can change on a dime. The last thing you need is to get stressed about exercising. The goal is to be consistent, not a slave to your workout schedule. Your body feels different from day to day. Some days you may rock and roll, other days you may only crawl. Acknowledge your highs and lows. If you can, commit to moving a little bit. This is how you build consistency and momen- tum. Negative self-talk will just drain your energy. Start where you are. Let go of what you can’t do. Embrace what you can. → Prepare To maintain your routine, plan ahead. On Sunday evening, grab your calendar and schedule your daily workouts for the week. Add all possible types of exercise, includ- ing walking the dog, trips to the gym, and danc- ing with friends. Plan your ideal schedule in detail, then hold that schedule lightly. As we know, sick kids and jammed traffic easily get in the way of our best-laid plans. Get Outside It’s often said that if you need to solve a problem, go out for a walk. Get some fresh air, clear your mind, and you’re likely to return home with your answer. Especially during the shor ter days of winter, spending time outside can improve focus, reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affec- tive Disorder, and lower stress levels. Bundle up! February 2018 mindful 73