Don't Just Spend Your Time - Honor It! How to Make the Most of Your Most Valuable Resource

In our last post, we discussed how to stay mindful in an age of distraction. It’s easy to get lost in the motions of life, between our daily obligations, staying current with news and social media, needing time to socialize and more.

One way to stop the motions is to adopt practices that honor your time, not ones that just pass the time. Life is not meant to just pass us by, but that often happens without us even realizing it.

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From the moment we wake up, we begin to anticipate what’s coming up that day. Once we begin to push through our day, we are trying to get to dinner plans that night. Once that is over, we head home, and numb our minds with television and technology. We fall asleep, wake up, and do it all over again. We are always living for the next moment, always hoping for something that hasn’t happened yet.

“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. Your life is only ever now.” - Eckhart Tolle

How can we slow things down? How can we maximize our time so we can get the most out of our lives in every moment?

Accept Where You Are Right Now
We can become consumed in the thoughts of, “When I do this, or accomplish that, then I will be happy.” When we get that promotion, move to this city, find a partner, lose ten pounds, is when we feel our life can truly begin! But life is happening right now, and when our minds are focused on what we need in the future, we miss out on what can be done in the present.

... but know it’s not forever, and don’t settle
Where we are right now is not necessarily where we will be in six months, two weeks, or even an hour. The only constant is change. If we do want that promotion or that healthy lifestyle, we need to start with what we have. You receive a promotion for working hard and working effectively, so, start doing that right now. You can live a healthy lifestyle by nourishing your body and your mind, so, start doing that right now. When we think about big and lofty goals, we tend to overcomplicate the present. Just begin.

Stop Doing Things You Hate
There is a lot of power in saying no. If you don’t want to go to that birthday party, take on a new project, or collaborate with a colleague, I’ll tell you a little secret - you don’t have to! It’s natural to want to be polite and please everyone, but being a people pleaser in the moment can lead to suffering later on.

Allow yourself to politely decline any offers that won’t contribute to your overall well-being, and use that time instead to focus on yourself. Make productive, positive habits that will really pay off in the long run. Take the time to get organized and set intentions. The possibilities are endless, and the power to choose is YOURS!

Connect By Disconnecting.
At Work From Om®, we believe in the the value of connecting to what matters, and disconnecting when needed. We have endless options to occupy our brains -- social media, a 24/7 news cycle, “Netflix and chill” -- you get it. But when we emphasize taking the time to connect, we don’t mean by commenting on your acquaintance from high school’s engagement announcement. We mean in the present moment, with the people and places right in front of you. Put your phone away during a family meal, turn off the television on a weekend afternoon, or designate certain hours for social media and checking emails. Disconnect from the world inside developing technology and connect to the world all around you.

Meditate and Move.
It’s also important to take the time to connect to the world within you. Meditating is a vital practice that can help you cultivate a sense of stillness and ease in your everyday life. Sit and focus on your breath for just one minute every day, eventually moving up to five minutes, ten minutes, and so on. As you continue to practice and build your meditation muscles, you’ll see you can act more mindfully as you live each day.

So, we sit still for the well-being of our minds, but we move for our bodies. We know that regular exercise can aid in increased energy levels and weight loss, but it can also reduce your risk of disease by stimulating blood flow, and strengthen your organs like the heart and lungs. Regular movement is just as important for a healthy body as it is for a healthy mind. So instead of sitting idle, mindlessly watching television to pass the time, get out there and move!

If you'd like to learn more ways to honor your time in every moment, let's work together. Check out our Intro to Mindfulness and Breathing Meditation workshop, and get in touch!

 

To Achieve Mindfulness in an Age of Distraction, Try the Work From Om® Digital Diet

To Achieve Mindfulness in an Age of Distraction, Try the Work From Om® Digital Diet

Digital detoxes may be all the rage these days, but for most of us it is as unrealistic to disconnect entirely as it is to survive through a juice cleanse. Instead, adopt the sustainable Work From Om® Digital Diet by setting rules around your own interactions with technology. From designating screen-free time to turning off unnecessary notifications, you can eliminate stressful stimuli, increase your ability to focus, and profoundly improve your mental well-being. We’ve cherry picked some of our most accessible tips to share with you below.

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True Life: Kitchen Essentials. Part Two.

Namaste, OMies! Maggie, here. We are back with Part Two of my ride or die kitchen essentials. Part One covered the pantry, and this week we are taking a very exciting deep dive into my refrigerator. Never thought I would be typing that sentence, but I'm excited nonetheless! 

Every day I'm guiding clients to work from their own OM, and in order to effectively do that, it's important that I myself am operating from a place of truth. This, to me, means ensuring my body and mind are nourished with the proper nutrients, which can get a little tough with such a hectic schedule. 

After years of trial and error, I have finally found what I deem to be a sustainable balance. As with my pantry items from last week's post, these refrigerator staples allow me to make quick and easy meals, some of which I can eat on the go and others I can come home after a long day and have ready in 10 minutes.

Having said that, here are my Top 5 FRIDGE ITEMS:

*Disclaimer - I am not by any means a nutritionist or doctor. This is just what works for me, and I encourage you to find what works for you.*

Photo courtesy of  Raw Pet Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Raw Pet Kitchen

 

FRUITS

I could literally eat an entire pineapple if given the opportunity. I. Love. Fruit. Even in the dead of winter! I always have bananas and blueberries somewhere in my kitchen, and when I’m feeling it I’ll throw in some pineapple chunks, mango, strawberries, raspberries and/or blackberries. I try to reserve my fruit consumption to earlier in the day (not always successfully, but alas) so I have ample time to use the energy and digest the natural sugars.

*Pro tip*

Throw some fruit in the freezer, and when you want a sweet little treat, eat by itself or blend with choice of milk and nut butter. Sweet tooth = satisfied.

 

SUPER SEEDS

Chia, flax and hemp seeds are a part of my daily routine. I call them “super” because, yes, they are considered “superfoods,” but I also put them on a very high pedestal and credit them with making me feel SUPER.

I mix all three in a mason jar and store it in the fridge for freshness, and put them in smoothies, on oatmeal, salads.. really anything that makes remotely any sense. These are another source high in Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which can also improve heart health and cholesterol levels. They provide a good serving of fiber, antioxidants, and are a complete protein.

 

ALL OF THE GREENS AND VEGGIES

This doesn’t need much of an explanation. We know that greens and vegetables fuel a healthy life, and I am all aboard that train. I restock my greens and vegetables supply every week, and typically go for spinach, arugula, romaine, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. This can change with the season, but they all give me a lot of room to mix and match for my meals.

 

PRE-MADE DRESSINGS AND SAUCES

I am all about that meal prep life. I don't have a designated day to meal prep (though Sundays are a solid choice), I just do it whenever I have a few hours at home. This includes roasting vegetables, washing greens, cooking grains and proteins, and... mixing up my favorite dressings and sauces, because what is life without condiments? It's a sad life, that's what. 

But instead of using ketchup with mystery ingredients, prepackaged dressings with all of the oil and sodium, etc., I've started making my own! I know what you're thinking, "Maggie, that is too complicated, I'm not down with this." But let me tell you, if I can get down with it, then you can too. 

My favorite salad dressing is simply a mixture of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sometimes I will put a serving of tahini in there, and it has a faint resemblance to caesar dressing. My favorite sauce is a vegan cheese sauce I found on the Instagram; a blend of cashews, olive oil, water, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt and pepper. Sometimes I will throw in some spinach to get those extra greens, too! It's creamy, it's delicious, it's everything. I will prep a batch of both of these and store them in the fridge for the week. If you have questions on exact recipes, PLEASE ask, because I can talk about this stuff for hours.

 

NON-DAIRY MILK

I tend to avoid dairy. I’ve discovered I just feel lighter without it! So, in comes non-dairy milk, typically almond, for smoothies, oatmeal, coffee, and any recipe that calls for milk. I was never much a milk drinker, I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a full glass, so I suppose I don’t know what I’m missing by choosing this substitute, but it keeps my tummy happy!

 

And that’s that! I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my everyday life and it gave you some inspiration to find what makes YOU feel good! I’d love to hear your feedback or any questions in the comment section below, or reach out on Instagram.

 

Love you all,

Maggie

 

 

5 Companies Crushing The Wellness Game

workplace wellness

Thanks to a growing yoga industry, holistic health obsessions and hundreds of trending articles circulating the internet about living your healthiest life in mind and body, “wellness” is one of the biggest buzzwords of 2016. But meditation advocates and organic farmers aren’t the only ones jumping on the wellness train; companies have begun to mix up their health program offerings to stay up to date on these changes.

So why do companies have a vested interest in workplace wellness? The obvious answer is that they care if their employees are healthy. The other reasons are based on facts proven by successful wellness programs. Companies that have more robust wellness offerings experience lower employee absenteeism and reduced healthcare costs. By offering yoga or group fitness classes, you will not only see an improvement in overall employee health but increased engagement and productivity during work hours.

Obviously some companies have caught on sooner than others. Some organizations are knocking the wellness game out of the park with unique and plentiful offerings to keep employees fit, healthy and productive at work. Check out these five companies who are ahead of the workplace wellness game:

  • Greatist — This wellness publication sure knows how to practice what they preach by treating their employees right. From monthly team sweats to weekly yoga and a fitness stipend, every Greatist employee is sure to keep their body healthy and happy. That way, they know how to write about wellness and set an example for the rest of the world.
  • FitBit — By creating custom programs for tons of other organizations, FitBit has figured out how competitions and gamification can improve employee overall health and ultimately lower company health costs. It’s no surprise that this 9 year old fitness company has fitness and wellness incentives for their employees. Their “Workout Wednesdays” give employees the chance to participate in various workouts throughout the day and you guessed it, they also have step challenges running throughout the year with seriously awesome rewards for winners.
  • Google — No one’s surprised to see this tech giant here. Google is known for being an amazing employer and offering the most sought after employee perks. They surely encompass wellness initiatives such as on-campus fitness classes and gyms, massage stipends and most importantly, free and healthy food options all day every day!
  • General Electric — This age-old corporation might be older than your grandma, but they sure know how to stay up to date with wellness offerings. Besides offering a stellar health coach program and employee and family health counseling, they use social media to create a buzz around their #GetFit competition which has reached over 25 million participants per year.
  • Sprinklr — This NYC-based startup offers a top notch insurance options in addition to gym membership discounts. But why stop there? Sprinklr also offers in-office yoga with a Work From Om teacher on a regular basis. Plus, who wouldn’t want to join a company who calls their employees “Sprinklrites?”

This Is Your Brain and Body on Yoga and Meditation: 4 Powerful Scientific Findings

By Sarah Vaynerman
This article first appeared in The Huffington Post

The many benefits of yoga, a 5,000-year-old discipline, are finally getting support from modern science.

If you've ever taken a vinyasa class or spent time meditating, you may be familiar with the even-keeled buzz often referred to in the yoga world as "yoga bliss" or "yoga high." As it turns out, several recent studies support that this feeling of mind-body nirvana is not just a fleeting sentiment, but rather an indication of some very real physical responses that could lead to better health, reduced stress and increased productivity.

Yoga gets on your nerves, in the best way

The human body is an incredible, interconnected web of life, but one key player doesn't get nearly enough credit. Many people are entirely unaware of the vagus nerve, which extends from the base of the brain and branches out through the neck, chest and abdomen. It is essentially the command center for regulating the homeostasis of many vital organ systems including the heart, lungs and digestive tract. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine presented evidence that yoga helps to regulate vagal tone, or the homeostasis of these systems, by stimulating and increasing the activity of stress-blocking neurotransmitters.

Mindfulness meditation can literally change your brain

A team of Harvard researchers compared MRIs of meditators to non-meditators before and after an eight-week course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, where participants practiced meditation on average for 27 minutes a day. Meditators showed a significant increase in gray matter in the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory, and a decrease in gray matter in the amygdala, which is associated with anxiety and stress. The non-meditating control group showed none of these changes in brain structure.

A few deep breaths really do go a long way.

 A study published in 2013 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that participants showed a significant reduction in blood pressure following 10 minutes of alternate nostril breathing and 10 minutes of breath awareness compared to a control group. The study concluded that alternate nostril breathing is associated with improved focus and attention while keeping anxiety levels low. This is significant because tasks requiring focus and attention are usually associated with stimulating the nervous system -- a response that can be dangerous for those with conditions such as hypertension and high stress levels.

Not all exercise is created equal

Think yoga is just one way to get the benefits of any aerobic workout? Think again. A University of Illinois study concluded that 20 minutes of Hatha yoga improved participants' ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information significantly more so than after 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. In fact, participants showed no significant improvements on working memory and inhibitory control scores after activities like jogging, while reaction times and accuracy on cognitive tasks following yoga increased.

Work From Om Welcomes an Urban Monk!

Work From Om Welcomes an Urban Monk!

It’s not every day that you have the pleasure of sitting down with a true monastic (over some delicious, home-prepared vegan treats), to discuss shared beliefs and ways to bring those beliefs into the mainstream of New York City office-dwellers. But that’s precisely what we have had the fortune of doing in the last few weeks with the newest member of team Work From Om®, Gadadhara Pandit Dasa. It is with full hearts and overflowing excitement that we welcome Pandit’s expertise in the fields of meditation, stress management and conscious leadership. We are honored to have Pandit on board as we rollout premium Work From Om® Mindful Business Workshops in the lineup of our current offerings.

Pandit spent 15 years as a practicing monk and maintains 20 years of experience with the science of meditation. He has gone on to lead workshops at Google, Bank of America, Intel and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. He has also led lectures at esteemed institutes of higher learning such as Harvard University, Columbia University, Duke University, Princeton University, University of Southern California and Illinois State University.

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Sit smarter with these yoga-inspired tips for office workers and business travlers

Sit smarter with these yoga-inspired tips for office workers and business travlers

This last week has been a blur of airports and cities, cars, buses, metros, etc. Not to be misunderstood, I do sincerely love to travel, but there is no denying that it can be an incredibly grueling, exhausting process on both the physical and mental bodies. The hours spent sitting on planes, trains and in cars alone are enough to cause some damage that even the busiest tourist or traveling business person cannot simply walk off.

You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking, or you may have taken notice of the recent surge in demand for standing desks in progressive offices across the country, but the unfortunate truth is that many of us do not yet have access to these desks, or spend much of our work lives traveling, and cannot avoid the act of sitting entirely.

With this unavoidable health risk facing us as we work and travel, how can we limit the repercussions of a highly sedentary lifestyle? I’ve copied some of the best nuggets of advice that I’ve collected in the following infographic, explained in more detail below it.

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Work From Om - A Word From Our Founders

Work From Om - A Word From Our Founders

It’s official: yoga has reached the tipping point. Long viewed as a light form of exercise for new age hippies, the mainstream has come to embrace the teachings of the 5,000 year-old practice as a powerful tool for self-improvement, overall health and general well-being. Unlike many health and fitness fads that have come and gone over the years, however, it’s not just fitness enthusiasts, celebrities and media personalities that are getting on board the zen train. The corporate world has taken notice of the positive effects that yoga, meditation and a mindful approach to business have proven to have on employees and, in turn, the bottom line.

Study after study has found that these practices reduce stress, improve focus, build camaraderie and contribute to a higher functioning workplace, and our New York City startup is aiming to lead the revolution. Allow us to introduce ourselves: we go by Work From Om, but our goals and intentions are set by myself, Ashley Mancuso, and co-founder Sarah Vaynerman. We’re two certified and passionate yoga teachers here to serve the souls of professionals working in one of America’s most stressed-out cities by providing yoga, meditation and mindfulness training for the workplace.

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