Do you fear growing old? If so, why? At what age were you when you first noticed signs of aging? What were the signs? And what were your reactions? What are your thoughts about maintaining a youthful appearance? For many of us who teach Yoga, it is not our only professional responsibility, and frequently we teach at the end of the day. This can affect the energy we bring to our Yoga sessions. Ideally, it is important to allow time before the class begins to give oneself time to review the agenda, set an intention to find ways to settle into acknowledging the currency of the moment (such as tiredness, excitement, or anxiety), and to let go of expectations of how the class will go. Useful ways for the teacher to stabilize a focus on the present moment and reinforce this intention include allowing time for her own short practice, such as a ten-minute breath-awareness practice, or a Three-Minute Breathing Space if time is short. If there is recognition of a lot of busyness of mind or fatigue, then a moving practice can be beneficial; if there is a sense of needing to take some time to be quiet, then a sitting meditation will be helpful; if there is hunger, then bringing a snack and practicing eating meditation will be nourishing. What are your thoughts about the benefits of aging? What actions are you taking to help slow down the aging process? Which antiaging superfoods are already in your kitchen? If you do not have any, then which ones are you going to purchase? Which self-care best practices are you willing to commit to in order to feel and look your best as you age? Can you see yourself becoming a super-ager? If not, why not? Wash the dishes immediately after every meal. Make your bed every morning without fail.

Cut out a couple of cups of tea or coffee that you normally have at particular times of the day. This strategy of saying "I get to see my patients today" is not the same as a mind game using my imagination to fool' myself, like the treatment center director job. <a href=''>This</a> is an example of what ther-apist's callreframing', putting a different slant on something. The second view about my work, the privilege of seeing my patients, is actually more realistic, but that's not the point really; it's more useful to me. I can start the day in a better mood, with more energy and enthusiasm. The realistic' is in the eye of the beholder. <a href=''>We</a> have some choice as to which way we choose to think about something, or to talk to ourselves about it. <a href=''>So</a> now I don't say "have to" but "Today I get to-", and I don't call it "work". <a href=''>Carry</a> around something tempting. <a href=''>It</a> doesn't need to be for an entire day, but for long enough that you will be truly tempted. <a href=''>By</a> consistently sayingno', you will increase your ability to resist other temptations. Only going up a few floors? Don't take the lift, walk up the stairs. Get off the tube or bus one stop earlier or park your car 10 minutes from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Focus on sitting up straight every day. Change what you say. Say hello' instead ofhi' or hey'. <a href=''>Or</a>I will' instead of I'll' orI am' instead of I'm'. <a href=''>You'll</a> find it takes willpower to consciously go against your instincts. <a href=''>It</a> doesn't matter how you correct your speech, as long as you change your natural speech habits. <br /><br /><a href=''>I</a> can use imagination to change my perception and attitude. <a href=''>Some</a> years ago, back when we had four young children, I would put in a hard day's work and couldn't wait to get home so that I could relax. <a href=''>When</a> I arrived home, my wife would meet me at the door with the latest stories of what the kids had done wrong today that I was going to have to take care of right now ("You just wait 'til your father gets home!"). <a href=''>I</a> resented this and it caused a lot of conflict between us. <a href=''>So</a> I decided to imagine that times were hard for us (not a stretch of the imagination) and that I'd had to take a second job to make ends meet. <a href=''>This</a> imaginary second job was as the director of a residential treatment center for disturbed children. <a href=''>When</a> I finished my first job, the day job, I would commute to my imaginary second job at the treatment center, where the nurse would meet me at the door and give me the day report, with the problems that I needed to address. <a href=''>As</a> weird and silly as this sounds, it worked for me. <a href=''>I</a> was able to let of go of the illusion that I was entitled to a restful evening and of my resentment about not getting it. <a href=''>Things</a> went better. <a href=''>Another</a> technique isreframing'. A while back I found that some mornings I was saying to myself, "Oh, I have to go to work today," or "Oh, I have a lot of patients to see today." Notice that those are have to's. It put a gloom on the day to start with, a sense of being tired, burdened and even somewhat misused. Fortunately, once I started seeing patients, I usually enjoyed it, and the negative feelings left, but it was a poor way to start the day. Then one day I realized that I was going to spend most of the day visiting with and having interesting conversation with a number of people that I liked and enjoyed, and further, that I was going to get paid for it. How blessed and lucky is that? When your body has changed due to pain and health conditions, it can be hard to know how much movement is safe and healthy. You can think of this "just right" amount of movement as the "therapeutic window." If you do too little movement, your body can become stiffer or weaker (this is sometimes called deconditioning), and you may experience more pain when you try to do your daily activities. If you do too much movement, you may overuse your muscles and joints or irritate nerves, which can lead to more pain. The "just right" amount gives you enough activity to benefit, without making your pain worse.

Finding the therapeutic window is not easy as it may be very small at first, especially if you have not been moving regularly. With time, you can open the therapeutic window bit by bit. This means that you will be able to do more without aggravating your pain. If the answer is "no" to each question, then it is likely that you can do the movement or activity without causing injury to your tissues, and the pain levels may readjust over time. Ask yourself these two questions regularly throughout your activity to check in from time to time with how your body is doing. It's also important to breathe continuously during the movement or exercise in order to keep the body relaxed and well aligned. If your answer is "yes" to either of the two questions, it's a good time to pause and either adapt and adjust the exercise, or consult an expert before progressing. Professional advice can be very helpful as you try to find a safe level of challenge, but it's good to keep in mind that you are the world's leading expert on your body. Because you know how you feel better than anyone, you will get the best results when you take an active role in the trial-and-error process of finding your therapeutic window. The end of this chapter has some tips on how to adapt the activity so that it suits your body best at this time. Discipline is not a very popular word in our culture. In fact, sometimes it seems like it is almost a dirty word. In our schools, parents often side with their children instead of teachers when Johnny acts out in class or doesn't complete homework. In workplaces, one of the most persistent complaints around employees is that they lack discipline and don't work hard. The list goes on and on as people blame bad judgment, behavior, and choices on other people or circumstances; the individual who's acting out is too often not held accountable. This mindset is particularly harmful when it comes to self-care. We join health clubs in January and after a few months rarely go back. We are lured by instant gratification when it comes to fast food that we know is not healthy for us. We indulge in behavior that hurts our relationships, families, and, most importantly, ourselves. Here, however, is the simple truth: You cannot transform your life if you don't do the hard work every single day.

That calls for discipline. And here's another observation: The more you practice discipline in your life and see the rewards, the more you will yearn for it. You will increase your sense of worthiness and get results. That is what's in it for you. Focus on one small task at a time. Don't do too many things that you don't really want to in any one day. Don't, for example, make yourself wash up, take the rubbish out and skip sugar in your tea all at once. You'll only overload your brain! Each decision you make during the day dips into your willpower reserves. Follow Obama's example: cut down the number of decisions you make to a minimum, and focus on the most important ones. Having discipline is the core foundation and structure that will benefit you in every area of your life. Whether it is emotional or physical, it all boils down to self-discipline. Just know that when you surrender to intentionally practicing bottomless discipline, you will create the solid-rock foundation you can count on when you are working toward achieving any goal. Where do you start? First, you must know specifically what it is that you want. Once you know what you want, then you will be ready to press the reset button on your life and shift your thoughts to a brand-new paradigm. Then you must be committed to going after what it is you want to accomplish. Plan for the times when you know your self-control and willpower are going to be low. For example, if you've got several meetings that will need all your tact and patience and you also have to revise for a test or exam, don't expect to make decisions about holiday plans when you get home that evening. Do that instead on a day that you know won't be quite so mentally draining.