July 26, Sunday, and yesterday was our day of rest this week, so today we will focus on strengthening our whole body using multi-plane functional movements: bicycle crunchs or abs, squats, lunges, and burpees. The base of this workout is 100 moves: 40 bicycle crunches, 30 squats, 20 lunges and 10 burpees. If you have time or want to make this exercise tougher, then aim between 300-500 moves, by repeating the 100 moves 3-5 times. Aim to keep lovely form as you do each exercise. Bicycle crunches start on your back with your knees up, and your hands behind your neck. Reach your left elbow towards you right knee and then alternate and reach your right elbow to the your left knee; all the while trying to keep your back sealed to the floor and careful to not over stretch the neck. Bicycle crunches give us that excellent “cross the midline of our body twist” which is so good for our brain and nervous system. Bicycle crunches also engage the sides of your core, our oblique muscles. When we do our squats, we want to focus on a neutral spine and braced core, pulling our belly button back towards the spine and imaging we were wearing a corset. Initiate the movement with your hips; trying to keep your chest open shoulders back throughout move, and keeping your knees behind your toes during the whole movement by letting your bottom go back. Imagine that you are screwing your feet into the ground without actually moving your feet, but feeling the torque of the slight twist out. This screwing your feet into the ground will stabilize your hips, knees and ankles. For our lunges we also want to initiate the move starting with our hips, not our knees, and we will protect our knees by keeping them behind our toes the whole time. We will maintain a straight tall back by engaging our gluts (bottom muscles) and squeezing our shoulder blades together. For the burpees, start with your hands beside your feet and jump back or walk back so you are in the top of the push up position, if you can, do a push up (if not, use your knees or just skip if this is too much, jumping the feet back and forward without the push up is known as a squat thrust.) After the push up jump the feet ( or walk) back up to the hands and then jump up in the air and clap your hands over your head. Even if you skip the push up part, the burpees will still be a challenge. If you can’t jump at least clap hands over head. Burpees really push the heart because you are moving between so many different levels. Talk about creating strength and power everywhere! My day of rest helped me create some peace in my grieving heart. My day of rest did include quite a bit of movement: hiking, paddling a canoe, swimming, and gathering wood. Being outside in nature helped me quiet myself; and as I would think of my friend, a butterfly, a frog, a heron, a breeze would pop right up and say I am still with you, I am here in your heart and mind. I felt her in the liquid ease of the warm lake, in the glory of the sunset, and the every changing dance of the fire. So today’s self care suggestion is to do one thing that makes you feel really happy to be alive today.