Invite the Punch

Typically, when we defend we tense up to protect our self. In the Ring, in Everyday Life, If an attack is perceived a first Reaction is usually one of tension. This tension is more of a resistance to what is going to occur than a response to the degree of severity of what we are dealing with.

Learning to Invite the Punch begins with becoming familiar with the Tension Pattern we use in a moment of crisis.

One common Tension Pattern used to protect the self is a Shoulder Slump, when both ends of the Shoulder Girdle collapse forward. This brings the head and neck forward, making us more vulnerable to being hit.

Another common reaction to a punch is to shove the arms forward in a rigid flinching manner. This typically is accompanied by holding the breath and sometimes closing the eyes.

Trying to resist or get away from a punch only compounds the potential danger of the situation. Our fear of what is happening or going to happen overwhelms us and creates freezing sensations. The key to unlocking this Reactive Behavior is to actually feel what is happening. Tension is tension. Defensiveness is Defensiveness. Once a person becomes more familiar with what, exactly, these moments feel like in the body, the Options for other choices become more apparent.

Inviting the Punch provides us with the opportunity to Practice feeling what is actually happening. Boxing is perfect for providing many, many opportunities to get inside of our Tension Patterns. The Shoulder Slump gradually is redirected into a confident Lat Flare, and Flinching becomes an opportunity to load the Sling Shot and return to the present.

What is Yoga Calm?

As an RYT 200 hatha yoga instructor with a teaching certificate in Yoga Calm, I am asked regularly to answer the question, “What is Yoga Calm?” Hopefully, this week’s post will answer this question and inspire you to sign up a child in your life for a class or get certified to teach one yourself.

Although Yoga Calm does involve practicing yoga with kids, it’s really so much more. This research supported curriculum integrates simple yoga-based activities; mindfulness exercises, and social and emotional skill building games that help kids/students improve their focus, learning readiness,behavior skills, physical health and emotional stability.  Yoga Calm is an integrated approach to physical, mental, and emotional health for kids that has over 60 activities and lesson plans that are guided by wellness principals. Yoga Calm can be taught anywhere to anyone.

As a public middle school teacher, I frequently use Yoga Calm in the classroom.  Instead of spreading out yoga mats, we practice “chair” yoga. We routinely start our lesson with some calming breath work. We move on to our “active” portion of our Yoga Calm which may include  balancing positions , a “mountain to mountain” chair flow, or a game. We wrap up our lesson with another “calm” relaxation. Today in class our wellness principle was “Listening.”  Our guided relaxation script brought us to a beautiful tropical paradise where we experienced the beauty and wonder of nature. My students were able to talk about the importance of “listening” to their bodies and hearts.

Students/children today are so busy. I see how overwhelmed and stressed out they can be by life’s hectic pacing. When my students walk into the room on Yoga Calm days and see my lights dimmed and the yoga music paying, they all smile. They absolutely love doing yoga and frequently request it. It has helped cultivate feelings of community in my classroom and has given my students tools for communication, self-regulation, and stress reduction.

This program is showing great success around the country and in public schools. It can be used by anyone who works with children: parents, teachers, counselors, phychiatrists, physical and occupational therapists, yoga instructors, etc.

I will be doing my next Seattle Yoga Calm training workshop August 10th & 11th. I will be posting this workshop soon on the Yoga Calm website by June 1. To learn more about Yoga Calm, click on the Yoga Calm link on my bio page and visit the Yoga Calm website.



What is “Enough”?

There is a hole in many of us that will never fill up. For some it’s love, for others it’s money, for others it’s recognition. For me, it’s worthiness. I never feel like I’m good enough, have accomplished enough, or checked enough stuff off my to-do list. I realized that at some point, I started to tell myself that I’m lazy. This created a bizzare dynamic in my life that I have fought for at least thirty years, without even realizing I was fighting it. For the people who know me, they are probably thinking, “You are the least lazy person I know next to Oprah, and possibly the President.” Isn’t that ironic? On the outside, I’m not lazy … I’m actually a “git ‘er done” kind of gal. Yet this comes from my need to prove to myself (and everyone else) that I’m not lazy.

I had the opportunity to really experience the impact of what it’s like to constantly prove to the world I’m not lazy. I know for myself, my experience of the world is much like Scrat in “Ice Age”. I’m always rushing around, frenetic, wondering if I’ve forgotten to do something, or if there is something else I should be doing, jaw clenched, pulse racing, blood pressure pounding, neck in knots … it’s NOT a fun place to be. I also realize that even when I get stuff done, it’s never enough! Sure I got that task done, or that big project, but that’s just one thing. If I’m not careful, I’ll turn into a sloth overnight. And for the people around me, it must be exhausting! When I take on more than I can do on my own, to prove how not-lazy I am, they get to help me out with what I can’t get done. When they try to praise me for doing a great job, or for all the hard work I do, I dismiss them, “Yeah, sure, thanks … it’s just getting something done.” Around me, there is no time to just chill and relax, or when I do try to relax, you get my guilt trip as an uninvited guest!

I realized that I can let this go. I can take on being relaxed, peaceful, and happy as a way of approaching my life. Instead of trying to prove to everyone what I’m not, I can take on living my life in this way. What this means is that my exercise routine can be fun! It can be a way to spend some “me” time. The kick off event for Mentoring Movement can be a party, instead of a mad dash where I’m trying to handle every detail.

Let’s support each other’s efforts to take on our life afresh. Our exercise journey doesn’t have to be the same old slog. Let me know if this speaks to you. Are there any areas in your life you work to prove to others how different you are? Are there areas you try to fill up and never get full?

Thank you for reading and sharing. Together we all grow.

Morning Yoga & Mindful Moments

Starting your day with yoga is an opportunity to practice mindfulness.  Mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, without filters or the lens of judgement. It is about cultivating awareness of the mind and body and truly living in the here and now. The present moment is the only place where life can be fully lived, yet we often miss the present moment because we are rehashing the past or worrying about the future. All you  need for morning yoga is a mat, a strap for stretching, some time, and yourself. I like to play soft, relaxing music without lyrics. I take time to connect with my breath and to really pay attention to how my body feels. I usually start on my back and warm up my core and do some stretches before rolling to my hands and knees and eventually up to warrior poses for some sort of flow. Each day is different, and I pay attention to what feels good in my body and what I need for that day. Research shows that as we find ways to practice mindfulness in our lives that we start to sleep better, are better able to handle stressful situations, and generally feel better about life.



Longevity is the New Normal!


I’m very happy to join the Mentoring Movement Community and look forward to meeting all of you soon! I look forward to sharing information on Tai Chi (Taijiquan) and Qigong (Ch’i Kung) with you: what it is, how it works, who all can do it (EVERYONE!) as well as all the latest in East/West Medical research.

In the meantime enjoy this article where “longevity is the new normal!”


Kimberly Ivy
(206) 789-0993