This does not mean that you are giving up on a great idea. It means that you're not limiting your chance of success by focusing on just one way to accomplish it. Do you see a vision of a new healthier you yet? What do you see? Do you have a support system? If not, create and then list your support team. Remember to ask for help by people who are credentialed and have a proven track record of success in reclaiming their health. Are you excited about starting your new wellness journey? What's exciting about it? Are you ready to write down your plan? When will you finish it? You attract particular thoughts and experiences not as a result of the workings of the universe, but as a result of the workings of your brain. Having things that you want to do and achieve - having goals and aims - can give you a positive path to follow, but you do have to follow up your positive thinking by doing something, taking positive action. Knowing you have options gives you the power of choice; you get to decide what way forward would work best for you. Taking a step-by-step approach is the most positive way forward because it means you set yourself up for constant successes by achieving small targets along the way. And see yourself getting closer to getting what you want. So it is with most anything I start to do. I need to ask myself, "Is this really useful? What is the purpose? Is this the best use of my time?" Sometimes the purpose is recreation, which is useful.

However, recreation is best when it's done with intent and awareness: "I'm doing this now because it's recreation and I need recreation and it's good for me." So the recreation has a purpose other than just avoiding or escaping things. Even computer games could be good for this if I could have any control over how much I play them. When I'm going to take a break, to do something for recreation, I can intentionally choose what I want to do instead of drifting into some time-passing pastime. Watching TV or just sitting doing nothing are fine if that is what I have chosen to do. I need strategies to keep the break limited to the time I chose for it. Red flags can be warnings of danger or just a signal to alert us to something. When I hear myself saying that, it's a signal, a red flag. I need to stop and ask myself, "Could I just do it right now?" Often, I could. Then it's done. I don't have to put it on a card; I don't have to remember to do it. It's no longer hanging over my head. I don't have to put something - a bill to pay or a letter to respond to or an item to take out to my car - on the coffee table where I can see it, because otherwise I won't remember, because if I can't see it, it doesn't exist. But if I put the item where I can see it, then my wife, who likes things neat, will put it away neatly. So the coffee table will be neat, but then I won't see the item, and then I won't remember it and it will never get done. On the slim chance that I do remember I will have no idea where it is and will have to spend a lot of time looking for it. But if I heed the signal, the red flag, and ask myself, " Can I just do it right now?" often I can just do it in less time than it would take to pull the cards out of my pocket, and decide whether it belongs on the red or the orange, and see if I already have five things on the red card (I probably do), and write the note on the appropriate card, and check to make sure I wrote it legibly, and then put the cards back in my pocket. And I don't have to put something where I can see it. If I just do it, it's done, and my life is one step simpler. And it only took a little bit of time. Everyone has their own patterns with stress.

Sometimes, it may be very clear why you are stressed; perhaps there has been a big change in your health or a conflict with someone in your life. At other times stress may come from a lot of smaller troubles happening all at once, and sometimes you may even feel stressed but not know for sure where it all comes from. It is easier to be ready for stressful times if you know your patterns and plan ahead. I always knew that after a family gathering I had a lot more pain. This time, I recognized that I started feeling stressed about 30 minutes into the party, so I left to go rest upstairs. I was able to come back down later and my pain was manageable the next day. For the teacher, it means modeling a gentle, kind acceptance of the tendency to repeatedly ruminate on what has just happened. Embodying a compassionate evenness in these moments, the teacher supports for himself and promotes in the participants an awareness that encourages an understanding of how painful rumination and clinging can be and how freeing it is to let go. Curiosity. Bringing curiosity to each moment is an essential component to exploring experience from an observational stance. This is a critical skill to develop in Yoga as it allows one to be less immersed in experience and to develop a different relationship to it that is less reactive, allowing for a wider range of responses. Being interested in what is occuring in any given moment requires an active engagement in exploring the field of experience. By bringing curiosity to these moments, it is possible to notice the arrival of a particular sensation (here defined as any component of that experience--thought, emotion, body sensation), investigate it, and acknowledge its disappearance when and if it does. For the teacher, it means embodying a steadiness and interest in what a participant is discovering in experience and directing attention to not only what is being noticed but to following how that shifts and changes. Tracking your stressKeeping track of your stress can help you see patterns. This can help you plan ahead, so you're ready for the next time a particular stress comes up. For example, Renee knew that she was stressed but could not figure out what her patterns were until she did this tracking record. What patterns do you notice in Renee's stress log? Using the stress management strategies helped me to cope better with a difficult day. I got through stressful moments more easily by using breathing, movement, planning and communication.

I relied less on comfort food because I had other things to try first. It still wasn't easy, but it was such a difference to feel like I had a plan--like I was more in control. Compassion. Compassion grows through the experience of allowing and meeting each moment, even if difficult or painful, without judgment. Mindfulness practices in the Yoga program encourage being with (noticing, accepting) and tuning in (acknowledging, being curious, exploring) to the difficult. This encourages understanding that how we relate to the difficult or unwanted can be a choice. For the teacher, novel learning for participants comes from a teacher's embodying a willingness to turn toward moments of struggle, resting in whatever is arising, with whatever degree of compassion is available in that moment. By his turning toward and staying with these moments of suffering, he is demonstrating for participants that it is possible to empathically attend to the experience and know there may be nothing that needs fixing and that simply being present may be enough. Nowadays people are living longer, with the expectations of living a healthier and more vigorous life. Modern technology helps sets these expectations by the advances in medicine as well as the multibillion-dollar cosmetic, fitness, and supplements markets. Additionally, we live in a new world that is obsessed with finding and keeping the fountain of youth at all cost. Vanity and the obsession of maintaining a youthful appearance cut across all ethnic groups, ages, and genders around the world. Both men and women are willing to spend outrageous sums of money to undergo cosmetic surgeries such as facelifts, skin reduction, tummy tucks, liposuction, breast enhancement, butt lifts, Botox, and so on. What most people don't understand, however, is that they can discover their own fountain of youth, vitality, energy, and beauty as a side effect of having good health. The real treasure of aging well is to embrace aging head on and not give yourself any excuses. Every day get up, get out, and keep on moving, exercising, meditating, having a positive attitude, and eating foods that are bursting full of antioxidants. All of these treasures will help assist you as you age. I am not suggesting that anything is wrong with elective surgery for beauty enhancement. But what I am saying is that no operation can help you maintain your youthful appearance as well as transforming your life through self-care. Tapping into your deep beauty and inner worth and learning all you can about self-care will, in fact, help sustain your beauty as you age.

Of course, what happens as we age varies from one person to the next. But the commonality is that it starts with understanding the aging process. Before we examine the science behind what happens as we age, I would like to take a moment and share with you some real talk: my reality of the aging process and the slight telltale physical signs and changes I noticed in myself over time. My story could be your story. You've probably heard a joke where the punchline is `The light bulb has to want to change.' But whatever it is you want to do, whatever goals you're aiming to achieve, it's quite possible that despite your good intentions, you can't get yourself started or you can't keep motivated. Maybe you haven't put money aside for savings (you've seen something you want to buy first). Perhaps you didn't make a start on all that paperwork last night (there was something good to watch on TV). And you're certainly not going to go for a run today; it's cold outside! Perhaps there's something you want to do but you're waiting for something or someone in your life to change before you take positive action. Maybe you think you need to be more knowledgeable and confident, prepared or secure to move forward with what you want to achieve or do. You may hear yourself say some of the following: These excuses can often sound quite convincing. But if you believe them, if you stay in your comfort zone, doing the same old activities and tasks on autopilot and not trying anything new, you could well be missing out. Nothing will change and you won't get what you want in life. Whatever you want to do or achieve, there will always be a new problem standing in your way, or something you need to do before you can fully commit yourself. You can sit around and plan, waiting for everything to be just right, but nothing is ever going to happen until you actually start getting on with it. So how to get motivated and stay motivated? By thinking positively, of course! First of all, keep in mind the good reasons. You must have a reason to achieve what it is you want. Why is it so important to you?