Health & Wellness January 2021

Small & Easy Changes for Fitness & Well-Being

by Judi Bar, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT

Judi Bar, a speaker at Symposia Medicus’ annual conferences on Integrative Medicine in Women’s Health over the last three years, offers ways to start the New Year with small, easy changes for fitness and well-being.  

We have come off quite a year. Mostly everything has changed, although you might have noticed there are some blessings mixed in. One of those, perhaps, is the time for creativity we have discovered in ourselves around work, home, family, children, and self-care. This has been a time to rethink what is important—and our fitness and well-being are a big part of that. When we feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally, we are not only good for ourselves but also even better for others. It can be hard to switch from big classes and personal trainers because of the accountability that it affords. This time has asked us to be accountable to ourselves about our mind, body, and spirit. 

This time feels reminiscent of earlier days when I was a youngster and remember life being centered on our home and yard. I’d watch my mom do exercises on the living room floor with Cleveland TV personality, Paige Palmer. We’d go for a walk after dinner. We’d go for Sunday rides after church through parks and get ice cream and laugh. We’d sit on the front porch and say “hi” to neighbors, use muscle in the garden and on yardwork, and have time for some social activities. It was a simple time with much gratitude for what we had. Here is the key: it was a balanced life of family, exercise, social time, quiet time, and perhaps church—with gratitude.

How can yoga help? Mindfulness and gratitude.

We know that the New Year is a wonderful time to start new endeavors. Let’s look at how to put more balance in our life—mind, body and spirit—with the practice of yoga. 

Video: Yoga Practice with Judi Bar

You may choose to follow along with the entire video in one session or break it up into two parts. The first section focuses on seated and standing yoga; the second moves into more traditional, more challenging yoga poses and practices (about 23 minutes in).

Mind-Body Takeaways:
  • Practice…  
    • being present with others and with yourself
    • minding your posture
    • remembering to breathe consciously
    • gratitude for simple things
    • compassion, non-harm, and no judgment
  • Walk more
  • Spend a few minutes in nature daily
  • Do 5-10 minutes of yoga a day 

Judi Bar is the Yoga Program Manager & Lead Yoga Therapist at Cleveland Clinic Wellness & Preventive Medicine and the Director of the Cleveland Clinic School of Yoga. She lives in Bay Village, Ohio.