Strong and Balanced – Breathe Deep

Yes, this is yet another blog post about how important it is for us to breathe.  Why? Because we forget.  We do breathing exercises for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, and then what happens?  Life, stress, and our daily grind get in our way.  So consider this your public service announcement for breathing for good health.

Now, I know you are busy, so I will get straight to the point.  Doing some form of breathing exercise can help you with the following:

  • Stress Reduction
  • Proper Organ Function
  • Decreased Inflammation
  • Better Sleep
  • More Endurance, Stamina, and Energy
  • Increased Flexibility, Tension Relief
  • Reduced Spinal Pain, Better Posture
  • Better Brain Function, Clarity
  • Decreased Anger
  • Strengthen the Immune System
  • Promote Good Digestion
  • Strengthens the Heart

You get the point, right?  It is one of the best things you can do for your well-being.

So, let’s get practicing.  Below is a video from my friend and amazing body-worker and life-coach, Emily Wishall.  In this video she goes over a few different ways to use your breathe to help you achieve your goals.  Whether you are trying to fall asleep or trying to gain some more energy in the afternoon, this 10-minute videos goes over simple exercises you can start incorporating into your daily life.

Also, check out Emily’s 10 Simple Steps to Jumpstart Your Day.

Happy Breathing!

Strong and Balanced – Community

When I opened my 2nd personal training studio in 2012, I wanted to build something larger than just a gym.  I really wanted to establish a place of community.  I wanted to be an informational resource for our town, to provide a space for people with common goals to come together and support each other, and I wanted to create a learning environment for the other trainers in the studio.  5 years later, there is definitely a strong community at Koa Fit AND it is something that I try to foster, care for, and grow every week I am in business.

Community = COMMON Purpose + Values + Experiences

Being part of a community, whether you seek it out or it finds you, is one of the most important pieces to living a strong and balanced life.  There are the communities we attach ourselves to because we have a common interest or purpose (think sports teams, weight loss groups, networking, etc) and then there are those we are part of because we share common values (non-profits, religion, political groups, etc.).  And then there are the communities we may just find ourselves in due to our life experiences (support groups, travel, neighborhoods, etc.).  You have probably found yourself in at least one or all 3 of these communities at one point or another in your life.  Being part of a community allows us to have a sense of belonging, provide mutual support, and have greater influence in our society.  It is important for us to not only be part of a community, but to be ACTIVE  and INVOLVED  in that community on a daily basis.


One of the biggest benefits of being active in a community is the support that you get and give.  Working together, supporting each other through life’s challenges not only helps you bare the burden, but also fulfills the want to be needed as you help others.  As you give assistance to someone, you expand your capacity to be compassionate, patient, and generous.  You will also experience more in your life as you look at situations from someone elses shoes or help them get through a particularly trying time.  Your reality and view of the world can be expanded when you support those around you.


As you engage and support people as a community, you will also better understand others.  You will understand where they came from, what they value, why they made certain decisions, and what they want to do in their life.  These insights into people’s lives create an atmosphere of understanding, so that even if we disagree, we can UNDERSTAND the other person’s viewpoint.   Understanding leads to patience which leads to compassion which then leads to trust.

This understanding also expands our own knowledge and gives us the opportunity to teach others.  This give and take is a much more valuable life education than anything we can pick up in a book or a classroom.

Connection and Trust

The biggest reason people join a community is to make connections.  It could be as simple as you all enjoy reading books or riding bikes, or it could be more complicated, like trying to conquer an addiction.  Whatever the reason, connection is something every human requires.  Connection leads to friendship and intimacy, and gives us the sense that we are on a team and that people have our backs.

These connections that we make in our communities also lead us to trusting one another.  It helps create a camaraderie in our society that allows us to walk down the street feeling safe and secure.  The more people you can connect with, build a relationship, and ultimately trust in your community, the more peace we can have in this world.

Move the World

Communities can create movements.  Obviously, as a group you have much greater influence than you do alone.  But bigger than that, the power a community can cultivate is exponential.  The motivation and inspiration that feeds the community is only doubled and tripled as the group expands.  This is literally the “power” of a community.  Giving your attention to something larger than yourself can help move attitudes, beliefs, and policy.

The Magic of Walking

I am sad to say that the last week I suffered from a mild head cold.  It turns out it was a huge bummer because I also happened to be in San Diego where the weather was perfect, the humidity was just right, and there are miles and miles of boardwalk along the water to run on.  Not wanting to exasperate my symptoms (stuffy nose, congestion… you know the drill) I decided to walk instead of run.

If you have spent any time with me, you will know that walking as exercise is not really my thing.  Why would I walk somewhere where I could run, or even faster, bike?  That was definitely my attitude.  However, after spending the week forced to slow down a little bit, I was surprised at my enjoyment of the walk.

Here’s the thing…normally if I am going to exercise and exert myself, I need a little pep talk.  A little bit of “You can do it!” or “You will feel great when you are done!”, but with walking, I just put on my headphones and wander out.  It is so relaxing and so gentle, one could even say delightful.  I never had to “convince” myself to do it or that it was a great idea.  It was just so easy.

The second thing I noticed was that I could do it for long periods of time, multiple times a day.  I had no problem walking for an hour in the morning and in the evening and then sneaking out after the lunch break (I was attending a conference).  It was just so nice to listen to music or a podcast and take in the scenery, the people, and just the general action that was happening.  I wasn’t constantly thinking about how any more miles I had left or the rate of my cadence.  It was a nice little break from the usual “pressure” of my runs.

Me, walking in the shadow of the Maroon Bells in Aspen, CO.

Third, it helped my mind.  I could process so much on those walks.  Business goals, meal ideas, life revelations were all processed on these walks.  I could organize, plan, and execute all the ideas that usually just swirl around in my head for days on end.  It was very liberating.

The last thing was that it disconnected me from my usually distractions.  Yes, I listened to podcasts (which, by the way, I have been meaning to “get to” for months), but I did not text, check social media, or read emails.  I just listened and walked.  It brought my stress levels way down and it helped me be more alert and clear through the rest of my day.

Now that I am healthy again, I have gone back to some of my usual workout routines, but I have continued my walks.  I just enjoy the time outside and away from responsibility so much!  During these times of high intensity interval training and 60 hour work-weeks it is important to just have some stress-free time.

So I challenge you this month, to start a walking routine.  Scratch that.  Not a “routine”, jut get out and walk every once-in-a-while.  I know we get tired, I know we have a lot on our plates, but take some time to get outside and enjoy nature.

  • Instead of sitting at the television right after dinner, head outside for a 10 minute walk to help your meal digest.
  • Set your clothes out the night before, wake up 15 minutes earlier, and head out in the morning to help you wake up and clear your mind.
  • Spend part of your lunch break walking.  Walk to a local park, eat, and walk back.  Or if you buy lunch, consider walking to the restaurant instead of driving.

This is not about weight-loss or burning calories.  It is about moving your body everyday, using it for what it was designed to do.  It is about taking ourselves out of our routine, away from our screens, and checking in with our surroundings.  It is about bringing a sliver of balance back to our hectic lives.

Happy Walking!