The SPOTTED DOG BLOG
Transform Your Entire Day
Guess what!? There are 10 little tweaks you can do to your normal morning routine that will greatly impact the rest of your day.
Researchers have found that self-control and energy are not only intricately linked but also finite (limited), daily resources that tire much like a muscle. Even though we don’t always realize it, as the day goes on, we have increased difficulty exerting self-control and focusing on our work. As self-control wears out, we feel tired and find tasks to be more difficult and our mood goes downhill.
So when is self-control the highest? In the most important hours of the day, the morning!
But does that mean I have to spend my morning hours just working? Nope!
The morning hours should be used for doing the right things which will help your energy and self-control last longer throughout the day.
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’” And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” – Steve Jobs
Ok so what should you be doing? Glad you asked.
The following tips will help set the right tone for the rest of your day.
1. Start with exercise
Researchers found that people who exercise during the workday have more energy and a more positive outlook. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. Exercising first thing in the morning ensures that you’ll have the time for it, and it improves your self-control and energy levels all day long.
2. But first, lemon water
Drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up spikes your energy levels physically and mentally. Lemon water gives you steady, natural energy that lasts the length of the day by improving nutrient absorption in your stomach. You need to drink it first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) to ensure full absorption. You should also wait 15–30 minutes after drinking it before eating (perfect time to squeeze in some exercise). Lemons are packed with nutrients; they’re chock full of potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Don’t drink the juice without water because it’s hard on your teeth.
3. No screen time until breakfast
When you dive straight into e-mails, texts, and Facebook, you lose focus and your morning succumbs to the wants and needs of other people. It’s much healthier to take those precious first moments of the day to do something relaxing that sets a calm, positive tone for your day. Jumping right into electronics has the opposite effect—it’s a frantic way to start your day. Exercising, meditating, or even watching the birds out the window are all great ways to start the day.
4. Eat a real breakfast
Eating anything at all for breakfast puts you ahead of a lot of people. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese, they have more stable blood-sugar levels, and they tend to be less hungry over the course of the day. And these are just the statistics for people who eat any breakfast. When you eat a healthy breakfast, the doors to a productive day swing wide open. A healthy breakfast gives you energy, improves your short-term memory, and helps you to concentrate more intensely and for longer periods.
5. Set goals for the day
Research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control. Setting goals specific to the day puts everything into motion. Narrow your goals down to a few achievable ones that can easily be broken down into steps. Vague goals such as “I want to finish writing my article” are counter-productive because they fail to include the “how” of things. The same goal re-phrased in a more functional way would read something like this: “I am going to finish my article by writing each of the three sections, spending no more than an hour on each section.” Now, you have more than simply something you want to achieve—you have a way to achieve it.
Getting your morning started off right at home is important, but it’s only half the battle. Here’s how you can maintain a productive tone once you hit the office:
6. First, clean your workspace
Even though it’s a pain to clean right when you get into work, it makes a big difference to your ability to concentrate. A Princeton University study found that people who worked in a clean workspace out-performed those who worked in a cluttered one because clutter pulls your attention away from your work. In fact, the effects of clutter on concentration are not all that different from the effects of multi-tasking.
7. No e-mail until you’ve eaten three frogs (Wait, WHAT!?)
“Eating a frog” is the greatest antidote to procrastination, and the most productive people know the importance of biting into this delicacy first thing in the morning. In other words, spend your morning on something that requires a high level of concentration that you don’t want to do, and you’ll get it done in short order. Make a habit of eating three frogs before you check your e-mail because e-mail is a major distraction that enables procrastination and wastes precious mental energy.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
8. Keep morning meetings on schedule
Meetings are the biggest time waster there is, and they can ruin an otherwise productive morning. People who use their mornings effectively know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient. Keep your morning meetings on time, and your entire day will stay on track.
9. Don’t multitask
Multi-tasking in the morning—when you have lots to do, tons of energy, and it feels like you can do two or three things at once—is tempting, but it sets your whole day back. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus adequately on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.
10. Finally, say no
No is a powerful word that will protect your precious mornings. When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them while your mind is fresh. Research conducted at the University of California Berkeley showed that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood as well as your productivity.
The trick is to be intentional about your mornings, understanding that a.m. hours are precious and should be handled with care.
-Dr. Travis Bradberry
Play Hard Love Big
Light Up! Teacher Training
Spotted Dog Yoga’s “LIGHT UP!” is a unique and exciting 200 Hour Teacher Empowerment Program where you will learn to share yourself powerfully and authentically!
Whether you’re interested in becoming a yoga teacher or not, this program was designed to empower YOU to be a fearless and bold leader. You will be given the tools to let go of what you don’t need and recreate a strong foundation that will allow you to live to your greatest potential. This training will transform your life and leave you with a powerful new understanding of your true self and what you value from the core.
Play Hard Love Big
Experience LIFE! Teacher Empowerment Program begins October 20th
Athletic Benefits of Hot Yoga
Athletes only train in gyms right? Wrong!
Many of us already know that athletes use yoga all over the world to benefit their athleticism. And it’s not breaking news that yoga increases flexibility in your soft tissues so you are less likely to strain or sprain any joints or muscles.
However, some new ideas about the benefits of yoga for athletes center around the idea that when you spend much of your time exerting yourself physically, you need to apply some movements that are not just rejuvenating for your body, but also for your mind, and for your inspiration to stay on track.
Here are a few ways that yoga benefits athletes.
1. Listening to Your Body
As an athlete, your body is not just a place that you live in. It is a place that you work from, also.
Athletes need to be completely in touch with their bodies physically in order to know when to slow down, speed up, work harder, or take a break. The biggest lesson in yoga is that of being able to listen to your body carefully and know its cues.
In being able to listen to your body in this way, yoga teaches us to be in the present moment. This level of concentration without distraction can be vital during a sport of any kind.
3. Building All-Over Strength
When you solely practice one sport, you may be building strength in just one or two areas. Compliment your sport with yoga and you will become stronger everywhere.
4. Calculating Your Next Move
Being able to control your breathing pattern plays into keeping you cool and calculating when performing. Oxygen is calming, after all, and when your adrenaline is pumping it can be hard to think clearly.
Yoga is so good at suggesting that you move with your breath at all times, that it becomes second nature to take that off your mat and into your sport. This helps athletes calmly plan the next move at a moment’s notice without needing to stop the action.
5. Stress Relief
Being an athlete can come with added anxiety, stress, and pressures.
Yoga helps rinse those stress hormones out of your body more quickly so they don’t burn you out and detract from your natural energy level.
A great yoga class inspires its students to be better in all realms of their life, whether it’s with mantras or deep assists, postural workups, or simple breathing exercises. This kind of inspiration is exactly what sports teams and independent players need to win.
7. Increased Enthusiasm and Energy
As an athlete there will be occasions when you lament having to be physical. Using yoga in these moments will reinvigorate your want to play, while giving you a break from the drills of your sport.
Yoga naturally loosens physical tightness, and expels lactic acid build-up from the muscles, which in turn will lift your spirits and raise your energy level.
All athletes stretch before and after training. Yoga adds a little extra boost to this area. It is the next step towards excelling in your sport both physically and mentally.
There are many benefits to doing yoga as a team including:
- Improved energy and focus, leading to a boost in performance levels
- Creating a sense of teamwork and connectedness
- Reduced stress
- Improved decision making, creativity, and productivity
Contact us to book a yoga session for your team!
Play Hard Love Big
Overcoming Your Fear Of…
How many of you have heard the words “Hot Yoga” and cringed? Why in the world would anyone want to intentionally put themselves in the HEAT!? Better question, why do they go back?
Many people who have never experienced hot yoga usually comment, “I would love to do a yoga class but I can’t handle the heat”.
For the majority of people, regular practice of hot yoga mentally takes them places they have never been before. Now you don’t normally spend your day’s in a 90º room with about 40% humidity, performing edge-pushing postures.
So really, people’s biggest fear isn’t even the heat, it’s the fear of the unknown.
Because out there in the unknown, there’s confusion, room to get hurt, let down, disappointment. But that’s only if you let those things in.
Think about your favorite thing to eat, even if you shouldn’t eat it. Can you remember the first time you tried it? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, that item was a part of the unknown at one point in your life. How did you know you were going to like it? How did you know it wasn’t going to make you sick? You didn’t, but you TRIED IT.
Keyword here, tried!
That’s all you need to do, to give hot yoga a chance before you say you can’t handle the heat. Give it a try!
5 Ways To Overcome Your Hot Yoga Fears
1. Embrace The Heat
Studios open 30 minutes before class so get there early to lie down and acclimatize to the heat. Still challenged by the heat? No biggie! Just sit out a few of the postures – what matters most is that you had the courage to attend class.
2. Believe In Yourself
The mind is powerful; what you think, you become. Yoga won’t only transform your body, it will transform your mind – but you need to enter into it with the strong mindset that you can do it.
3. Strengthen Your Focus
Don’t take your thoughts into class. Thinking about work or those errands you have to do isn’t going to contribute anything positive to your practice – the 60 minutes is all about YOU.
4. Own Your Breath
In all forms of Yoga, emphasis is placed more on the breath than on the postures. It’s important to remember to maintain a slow and steady breath through your nose. Mastering your breath is what’s going to make your practice all the more rewarding and enjoyable.
5. Prepare Your Body
What you do before and after class affects your overall Yoga experience:
- You’re going to sweat a lot so make sure you prepare yourself by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to your first class. And after class, rehydrate yourself with water and electrolytes (coconut water is an excellent source of natural electrolytes).
- When class is over don’t immediately pick up your mat and bolt for the door. Lie still for a few minutes to allow your body to cool.
- Don’t jump into a cold shower straight after class; it’s important that your body cools itself down naturally.
The benefits of Yoga are many and endless. In the short term you will sleep better, feel happier and have a more energetic and toned body. And in the long term, you will have overall improved physical and mental health.
If you have told yourself that you “can’t handle the heat”, I hope this has inspired you to strengthen your mind, overcome your fears and give it a try.