26 Ways To Savor Summer

Sunset in summer
Savor summer’s sunsets

Do you want to savor summer?

If you are like me you absolutely love summer. The long hours of daylight, the balmy air, flip flops, iced coffee, fireflies- to name just some of my favorite things. There are many reasons why I want to savor summer.

But before you know it summer is gone and the calendar says September and I am replacing the shorts in my closet with long pants and sweaters.

So often summer escapes me. Not this year!

This year, by being more intentional and mindful, I plan to make summer linger.

By bringing mindfulness into my life I will slow down summertime and relish in every moment possible.

Here is my list of intentions to help me savor summer! What are yours?

  1. Go for a daily walk.
  2. Drink my morning coffee in my garden.
  3. Shop at my local farmer’s market once a week.
  4. Prepare at least 2 meals a week solely from our local farmer’s market.
  5. Garden 3x’s a week.
  6. Always have a book going.
  7. Dine outside as often as possible.
  8. Drink iced coffee in the afternoons.
  9. Wear sandals.
  10. Meditate daily.
  11. Knit.
  12. Go out for ice cream. Try different ice cream stands each week.
  13. Wear sun hats.
  14. Feed the hummingbirds.
  15. Wake up early for the sunrise as often as possible.
  16. Go to a 4th of July parade.
  17. Have friends over for a BBQ.
  18. Go to an outdoor concert.
  19. Stargaze at night and watch for falling stars.
  20. Watch each full moon rise.
  21. Wear sundresses.
  22. Make ice cream with my ice cream maker.
  23. Watch the bats at twilight.
  24. Grow tomatoes and basil.
  25. Celebrate veggies and fruits in season. For instance, strawberries are in season here now!
  26. Write in my journal daily.

Mindfulness matters. Bringing mindfulness to how you move is a powerful way improve your life.

Move every day with ease and joy. You will be amazed how it will change your life in many wonderful ways!

How You Move Matters! You can learn how to move better with my Amazon bestselling bookAgility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence.  My book is illustrated with 40 videos that you access with your iPad or smartphone! You can purchase it here.

The author Mary Derbyshire savors summerMy name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a fitness and movement coach. My methodology is the Alexander Technique, a mindfulness practice that teaches you how to move better. When you move better you feel better and when you feel better your whole life improves! Let me know what you think or ask a question! I love to hear from my readers! Feel free to post in the comments section below and feel free to share this with your friends!

 

How To Lessen Anxiety With Mindfulness

Being with my horse is another way to lessen anxiety.
Me in my happy place with my pony Tonka.

Let’s talk about anxiety.

Do you get anxious from time to time?

I do. A lot.

This may come as a surprise to some, but I am an anxious person. Perhaps that is why I teach people how to move better and feel better. Have you ever heard the expression “You teach best what you most need to learn”?

I needed to learn how to be less stressed and anxious.

I have been teaching movement, fitness, and the Alexander Technique for many years. For those of you who are not familiar with the Alexander Technique, it is a mindfulness-based practice that teaches you how to move and think better. Practicing the Alexander Technique is an exercise in mindfulness.

But let’s get back to anxiety.

You see people come to me to resolve anxiety issues. How could I be an anxious person if I truly practiced what I preached?

Well, the answer is simple.

Life is hard and at times life is incredibly hard for all of us.

I have discovered though, that the tools I have learned through the Alexander Technique have definitely made my life easier, less stressful, and thus less anxious.

I want to teach you these practices.

Here are three things that I teach my students to help them cultivate mindfulness and cope with anxiety. I have created three videos to make the instruction easier.

De-Stress With The AT Lie Down

  • The first video teaches the AT Lie-Down. Practicing the AT Lie Down once or twice a day for 15-20 minutes can be life-changing. Finding a quiet spot in your home or office and lying down in this way not only does wonders for your back, neck or whatever ails you but it also provides you with the opportunity to really stop and let go of emotional, psychological and physical tension. At first, if you cannot last the full ten-fifteen minutes, and most people can’t, then start off a few minutes at a time and increase the time incrementally. You may listen to quiet music if you like, but I prefer to practice in silence. There are many health benefits to being silent for extended periods of time. Silence can improve memory, regenerate brain cells, reduce stress, and increase creativity. You can click here for the video.

Reduce Anxiety With Mindful Breathing

  • The second video teaches you a very powerful way to calm down through breath. I call it Exhale and Wait to Breathe. Have you noticed that when you are stressed and anxious that your breathing becomes more shallow? For many of us, our voices go up a notch! Exhale and Wait to Breathe is the answer to that problem and many others. When we consciously attend to our breathing we can redirect our moods in a very powerful way. A breathing practice will improve your energy level, slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety. I always end my Alexander Technique sessions with this breathing.  Click here for the Exhale and Wait to Breathe video.

A Little Movement Refreshes

  • The third video is titled A Healthy Back is a Supple Back. This short practice revitalizes you in a couple of minutes. Sometimes just moving a little can make you feel much better and less pressed. This is an excellent movement series that is especially good if you have been sitting in front of your computer for a while. A mini-break if you will to de-stress and feel better. Click here for the video.

Here is another blog I wrote about how the Alexander Technique changed my life. Click here for the post.

My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a fitness and movement coach. My methodology is the Alexander Technique, a mindfulness-based practice that teaches you how to move better. When you move better you feel better and when you feel better your whole life improves. You can get my Amazon best-selling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence here.

My interactive book is jam-packed with instructional videos that you can easily access with a smartphone or with a Kindle, iPad or computer.

So I’ve just given you some good information about easy practices that can help you address anxiety. I have also created a course that teaches you how to sit better. If you would like some more instruction on how to sit better you can sign up for my FREE video course Sitting for Success here.

If you would like to learn more ways to improve mobility and get out of pain sign up for my course 5 Ways to Heal Back Pain here 

Please feel free to ask me questions.  I am passionate about teaching you how to move and live better. Moving well is a critical component of aging well.

XO Mary

 

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3 Ways To Mindfulness

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Have you noticed mindfulness is all the rage right now?

If you are not familiar with the concept here is Wikipedia’s definition “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.”

That may sound a bit obvious but we live in such a go-go world. We rush around as if we are skimming over the surface of life. A mindfulness practice will change all of that.

Some people cultivate mindfulness through meditation and bring their attention to the breath or a repeated word or mantra.

Alexander Technique practitioners practice by paying attention to ourselves. We pay attention to how we move, react, and think. This attention to self is a mindfulness practice.

In fact, it has been said that the Alexander Technique is Mindfulness in Activity!

So why would we practice mindfulness?

Well, it has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness also increases immune function, improves higher brain function, lowers the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases one’s awareness, increases clarity in thinking, and cultivates feelings of calm and peace.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

And guess what – no side effects!

But it is the way in which mindfulness brings about a deepening and a more meaningful existence that really inspires me. There is no doubt in my mind that practicing the Alexander Technique has completely changed my life. You can read about my first experience in this blog post.

3 very effective ways to bring mindfulness into your life. These are simple but profound. Do not underestimate their simplicity. Simplicity can ensure profound change. Simplicity is good.

  1. Stop! Really, really stop. Stop and pay attention to your senses. Notice what you see. Notice what you hear. Notice what you smell. Notice what you touch. Notice what you taste. Paying attention to your senses is a most effective way for you to slow down and take in your environment, live in the moment and bring about mindfulness.
  2. Exhale and wait to breathe. We Alexander Technique folk approach breathing very differently than other practices such as yoga or meditation. Instead of starting with a deep breath, first, exhale whatever air is in your lungs and wait. Wait until you feel a little tug in your diaphragm area at which point you allow the air to come in through your nose. You repeat the process several more times. You are not trying to hold your breath but rather are waiting to feel the need to breathe again. Here is a video I made about breathing.
  3. Practice the AT Lie Down. Lie down with your head on some books 2-3X’s a day for 15-20 minutes. Not only will this practice do wonders for your aching neck and back it will make you feel more at ease and connected with the world. Here is a short instructional video I made about the AT Lie Down.iframe src=>

So you have learned 3 very simple ways to improve your life.

My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a movement and fitness coach and an Alexander Technique teacher and have been in practice for over 20 years. I teach people how to move better. HOW you move is at least as important as moving more. You can work with me in many different ways. You can sign up for my blogs when you enter your information in the 7 Ways to Turn Back the Clock. In my FREE video course Sitting for Success, you will learn how to sit better with improved posture and less pain. Click here for the FREE video course. I have also created a mini-course that addresses back and neck pain called 5 Ways to Heal Back Pain you can get that here. I have also written an Amazon bestseller Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence. The book is interactive with 40 videos that help you learn how to move better. You can access the videos with a free app called QR code reader or if you buy a Kindle version you can access the videos on an iPad or computer. You can purchase the book from Amazon here.


Let me know how you get on! I love hearing from my readers!

 

How I can Save You Up To $1495 on an Office Chair!

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This is no joke.

I just GOOGLED “ergonomic office chairs” and found chairs that cost upwards of $1500!

Photo: Unsplash: Florian Klauer

Here is the secret: you don’t need one.

You can find a perfectly good chair at a local store or better yet recycle one from a friend’s garage sale and paint it if you must.

This is what to look for and it may surprise you.

  1. Find a chair like a kitchen or dining room chair.
  2. Make sure that the seat is firm. You do not want a rush seat. If you find that the chair is too firm and uncomfortable you can put a cushion on the chair. You know the ones I am talking about. They have little strings on them so that you can tie them to the chair back. You can find these cushions at hardware stores or home good stores
  3. The seat should be flat. It should not be hollowed out nor should it slope backward. This is very important. Backward sloping chairs make you slouch.
  4. Chair heights vary. The height of the chair should allow your feet to touch the floor. Your whole foot does not need to touch the floor, just some part is enough. If you are very tall find the highest chair possible.
  5. Buy your self a sitting wedge- you will be forever grateful. Your hips like to be higher than your knees. A sitting wedge is higher on one side than the other. You sit on the high side and this raises your hips. You want the wedge to be firm and not too squishy. The height of wedge should be about 3-4”. Here are 2 wedges I like: the first is the Desk Jockey Car Seat but I also like it at my desk. Desk Jockey also makes a really nice lumbar support that I highly recommend   My other absolute favorite wedge is the Gymnic Movin. It is inflatable so you can adjust its firmness. It also moves so it makes your sitting more dynamic. Your body likes to MOVE and the Gymnic Movin’ allows for Dynamic Sitting! However, this wedge is not for everyone. If you have balance issues opt for the Desk Jockey instead. Just click on the pictures and you will be taken to the product. If you want to splurge here is a great adjustable chair. It actually is a chair for cellists but I use it in my studio they also make one for taller people. Just click on the image and it will take you to the site. 
  6. If you must sit on soft furniture place a cushion behind your back to support better sitting. The pillow will prevent you from slouching and will provide a bit of support.

So I have just given you some easy and inexpensive solutions to sitting problems.

Remember small changes can have big impacts. Sign up for my FREE video course Sitting for Success here.

Or you can purchase a longer course 5 Ways to Heal Back Pain here.

Let me know how this works for you- I would love to hear from you!

 

My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a fitness and movement coach. My methodology is the Alexander Technique, a mindfulness-based practice that teaches you how to move better. When you move better you feel better and when you feel better your whole life improves. You can get my Amazon best-selling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence here.

 

1.Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_cherezoff’>cherezoff / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Out In The Day

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Why am I posting this video and what does a cold, bleak, stormy day at the beach have to do with feeling better and less stressed?

I think that it is fair to say that we all feel better when we get outdoors. A walk on the beach, or in the park, or even down the sidewalk changes your mood and boosts your spirit.

But for us in the Northeast of the United States when December sets in and the days become long and dark and the wind can howl or the rain and snow can fall getting yourself outside can take heroic strength.

Right? Just watch the video again. I really had to talk myself into going outside that day. But I am so happy I did! It was exhilarating. I felt whole and free.

The wind howled and the waves crashed. It was beautiful.

Getting outside and going for a walk even a short one to the mailbox will change your mood. Getting outside and walking calms you down and lifts you up especially on a cold dark winter’s day.

Year’s ago when I lived in Dublin, Ireland I had a friend and colleague Frank Kennedy who also taught the Alexander Technique. He was an avid hill walker and would walk the hills around Dublin in the dreariest of days. As you probably know Ireland can be pretty rainy and cold. Frank used to say that you had to get “out in the day.”

I love that expression “”out in the day.”

No matter what the weather may be. Rain or snow, wind or cold you have to tell yourself to get out in the day. This is a sure way to build more calm and quiet into your life.

Thank you for reading my post. I have created a FREE short video course called Sitting for Success you can get it here and feel free to share it with friends. My holiday gift to you : https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/25548/about

5 Ways To De-Stress Your Holidays

Do you find the month of December challenging?     

The expectations, the family obligations, the social gatherings can really add up to some serious stress!

That is why this year I have created a mini course to help you counter the stress of the holiday season.

5 short videos that teach you simple but powerful and effective ways to be happier, feel lighter and less stressed out!

I have been teaching the Alexander Technique for nearly 25 years and one of the amazing effects of a an AT lesson is that you feel incredibly calm afterwards.

I just had a new student start with me last week and she remarked that she can not remember a time has ever felt so relaxed.

In this short video course I teach you several of these stress- busting practices. You can get the course here! https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/25154/about

How to Change Your Trajectory

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Do you want to hear a surprising truth?   

You don’t have to take a 180-degree turn to make a change in your life. To change all you need to do is move one degree away from where you are right now and you will be on a new trajectory.

This is important. Many people think that change has to be radical like a total make-over, a do-over, a transformation from a cocoon to a butterfly.

It is hard to change radically. Humans like consistency and change needs to be subtle or else it is too overwhelming.

We live in a culture that places enormous value on extremes and because of this often times the complex is heralded and the subtle is overlooked or even dismissed.

For instance, you may think that the only way to get rid of back or neck pain is with strong medicine, a shot of cortisone or surgery. All of these options are extreme.

There are alternative ways that are more subtle and very effective.

Perhaps just changing the way that you sit, stand and walk could lessen or eliminate your pain and change your life for the better.

As an Alexander Technique teacher, this is what I do. In very subtle ways I teach you how to change the way that you move and even the way that you think.

Here is a testimonial from Rosemary who had watched a short video I had made about the importance of releasing unnecessary muscular tension in her body.

I often tell people to think about not clenching their tongue and jaw.

Clenching your tongue and jaw is harmful to the head/neck/spine relationship and this compromises the way that you move and live.

Mary, I just wanted to let you know how much better I am sleeping since watching your video a month ago.

You said to unclench your teeth. I didn’t even know I was doing that until you pointed it out.

Now, as I am dozing off, I tell myself “relax your jaw” and poof off to sleep! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

So, for Rosemary, here was a simple and subtle solution to address a common problem. Releasing the jaw to calm down so as to be able to easily fall asleep.

This is how the Alexander Technique works. An Alexander Technique teacher gives you cues either with verbal instruction or with their hands to

teach you how to release unnecessary muscular tension and to redirect yourself through space.

This excessive muscular tension interferes with the way that you use yourself or in other words the way that you move and even think.

As a result with less clenched muscles, you move more freely, with greater ease and very often with less or no pain.

Why don’t you give it a try!

There are many ways to study and learn with me. I teach privately in Little Compton, RI. Or you can purchase my Amazon bestselling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence here, Or you can sign up for my FREE video course Sitting for Success here https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/25548/about

Get in touch! I would love to hear from you! You can send me an email at maryderby1@gmail.com

Photo: Unsplash, Sean Stratton

What is this sign, What is the Alexander Technique and Why Does it Matter?

Earlier this summer my name was included on Primary Care Partnership’s sign.

See! That’s me on the bottom shingle Mary Derbyshire, M.AmSAT.

It is such an honor to be included on the same sign as these other practitioners! Dr’s Cathleen Hood and Karen Ottenstein have selected a few allied partners to provide alternative methodologies alongside their traditional allopathic practice. It is not unheard of traditional doctors reaching out to acupuncture or massage therapy but it is highly unlikely that there are doctors who would reach out to an Alexander Technique teacher. Most doctors haven’t even heard of the technique and that is a real shame.

For those of you who do not know about the Alexander Technique, it is a mindfulness based practice that teaches you how to move better. Most of us habitually bring way too much muscular tension to our activities. This muscular tension interferes with the way that your body moves.

Often times pain and stiffness and poor coordination result from this excessive tension.

An Alexander Technique teacher teaches you how to prevent this unnecessary tension and as a result, you move more freely. Pain and stiffness are decreased or eliminated. Your balance and coordination improve.

You feel better in your skin!

And because your mind and your body are a unified whole what you do with your body affects the mind. Your thinking improves. Your clarity improves. You feel whole and connected.

I first met Dr.Cathleen Hood a couple of years ago. I will let her tell the story of how we met.

“I first heard about Mary from a patient. The patient’s story is remarkable. At an advanced age, she suffered a fall and fractured her neck, resulting in what the neurosurgeon deemed an unstable situation. He offered a surgical fixation so that slippage would not cause quadriplegia, but the patient declined.

She did not want to be impaired by the side effects of narcotics, so she called her friend Mary, who through the Alexander Technique gave her the tools to control her pain.

She was also regaining range of motion, and it was healing slowly by itself. With no drug side effects, she was mindful not to trip or fall again. I thought I need to meet this person!”

This story is so important for many reasons.

First, the Alexander Technique is not only effective at getting rid of pain but it can also be very effective in controlling pain. In these times of opioid addiction, there is an alternative to drugs and their extremely harmful side effects. For some, The Alexander Technique (AT) can be that alternative and should be taken seriously by the medical community.

Years ago I had an older student who was scoliotic and had severe pain her entire adult life. AT got her out of that pain. Her husband a rheumatologist at Mass General Hospital was so impressed he said that “every Dr. should have access to an AT teacher in his or her practice.” I am thrilled to be the Alexander Technique teacher for Primary Care Partnership!

Secondly, the Alexander Technique teaches you about self -care. A series of lessons will teach you the tools to be mindful of how you move. I love it when students return for their second lesson and remark that they are so much more aware of how they are moving.

Self- care is health care and self -awareness plays a part. How can you change and improve if you do not recognize what you are doing in the first place?

Thirdly embracing the Alexander Technique represents a paradigm shift. It says “Use” matters. What do I mean by “Use?” (Use is pronounced as loose) Use is the way that you use your body and your mind. How you sit, how you stand, how you walk, how you run, how you think it all matters to your health and well being! A LOT! And here is the thing- only you can change your use. I can help you or another Alexander Technique teacher can help you, but your use will only change and improve if you attend to it.

What do you think? Are you ready to change for the better? Click here to schedule an appointment https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=12624320 

Click here http://amzn.to/2fsZsnQ to purchase my Amazon best-selling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence 

Feel free to email me with any questions! maryderby1@gmail.com

Joy, Why You Need It!

Check out this photo of Gary surfing. Look at the size of that wave! Do you see joy? I do!

Image of a man surfing a big wave expressing joy.

This is January in New England folks! Cape Cod to be exact.

There is no stopping him!

Surfers are a rare breed.

Living in a town that is considered a surfer’s paradise, I have worked with many over the years.

No matter what the weather, when the waves are big they surf.

They surf when the air is frigid. They surf when the winds are howling.

They surf when the rain is lashing.

You can sign up for my course by clicking on the photo above!

On days when you or I wouldn’t dream of venturing outside, they surf.

And here’s the thing: they relish the wild weather that creates their waves!

From a surfer’s perspective the bigger the waves the better, and the storms that deliver those waves are celebrated.

I know Gary- he loves to surf. He might even say there is nothing on earth he loves more. He finds joy in surfing.

You can see the joy in this photo. Look at how light and open he is on his surfboard. Look how balanced he is on that wave! He is one with himself, his surfboard, the wave and the universe! He has found joy!

Joy is a motivator. Finding joy makes the impossible possible. Joy can be a new point of view!

In Born to Run author Christopher McDougall introduces us to the Taramahura tribe. These people can run barefoot 100 miles a day in the searing heat of Mexico’s Copper Canyon.

McDougall determines that this feat (no pun intended) is due to joy!

Yes! To them running 100 miles is an act of joy.

“Glee and determination are usually antagonistic emotions, yet the Tarahumara were brimming with both at once as if running to the death made them feel more alive”1

Gary surfing off the New England coast in January, people running barefoot for 100 miles in the sweltering heat, these feats could never be accomplished if they were considered a drudge.

The one element is joy!

But you need to find joy. You need to be open to it. You need to welcome it! You need to cultivate it!

One way to cultivate it is to sign up for my video course Joy! Body/ Mind De-stress. In this short and fun course, you will learn very practical ways to de-stress so that you can cultivate joy! You can sign up for the course here.

 

 

How You Move Matters! You can learn how to move better with my Amazon bestselling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence.  My book is illustrated with 40 videos that you access with your iPad or smartphone! You can purchase it here.

Photo of the author Mary DerbyshireMy name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a fitness and movement coach. My methodology is the Alexander Technique, a mindfulness-based practice that teaches you how to move better. When you move better you feel better and when you feel better your whole life improves! Let me know what you think or ask a question! I love to hear from my readers! Feel free to post in the comments section below.

 

 

 

  1. Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009) p.91