Going through the motions

Amy J C Cuddy PhDThe expression “going through the motions” connotes doing something without enthusiasm or sincerity, but that might be okay. Sometimes just going through the motions can get you where you need to go.
For his project, “Touching Strangers”, photographer Richard Renaldi has been creating intimate portraits of strangers for the last six years. I saw his fascinating story on the CBS News show 60 Minutes.
Renaldi poses two or more strangers in settings and postures usually reserved for lovers, close friends, or family. That alone is interesting, but it is not what got my attention.  What makes Renaldi’s work fascinating is the emotional component. In the CBS story, Renaldi explained that while he is responsible for positioning his subjects, the emotion generated in the portraits comes from the people in them, and, furthermore, appears to be genuine.
According to 60 Minutes’ Steve Hartman, “At first, Brian Sneeden, a poetry teacher, saw no rhyme or reason for posing with  95-year-old retried fashion designer Reiko Ehrman, but eventually he, too, felt a change.”  The teacher told Hartman, "I felt like I cared for her.” He added, "I felt like it (embracing each other in the photo) brought down a lot of barriers."
After looking at some of Renaldi’s portraits and watching a few of his photo sessions on TV, I will say that the emotion of some subjects does seem to be genuine.  And yet the portraits capture the awkwardness of two strangers embracing, which makes them no less fascinating or compelling. Nor does it negate Renaldi’s work. It stands to reason that different people from different backgrounds will not all react in the same way. It would be odd if they did. What is both fascinating and surprising is that simply embracing another person can, for some, be the beginning of a bond.
But that would not surprise Dr. Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor of Psychology  at Harvard.  At a TED talk she explained how “power posing,” or standing in a posture of confidence even when we don’t feel confident, can actually change our body and perhaps our chance for success.
Cuddy’s research focuses on the judgments of the individual and group.  She also studies power and dominance. She contends that the body influences not only how other people see us, but how we see ourselves.
After a series of experiments using power poses – poses that mimic the body language of powerful, confident people — she and her colleague concluded that adopting the body language of more powerful and confident people could help less confident people perform better in high-stress situations, such as exams or job interviews.
What struck me watching Cuddy’s “power poses” is how similar many of them are to the Warrior Sequence in yoga. The Warrior pose is not about aggression but strength, balance, and confidence.
Numerous studies show that the regular practice of yoga can improve balance, mood, and confidence.  The best yoga teachers constantly remind their students that yoga is not about getting a posture perfect or worrying about how it looks. Yoga, for a large part, is about getting on your mat, setting an intention, and going through the motions.
Maybe there is more to be gained than one might think from just through the motions.
* From the TED website: “TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.”  It holds two annual conferences, where there are many “TED” talks.

Get the mind -body connection!

Students flock to yoga classes, but many teachers are concerned they may be missing the important mind-body benefits of the age-old practice.
“There are several disciplines of yoga, and with its rich history, the beginner can easily get lost – or worse – injured,” says Mary Jo Ricketson, an experienced yoga practitioner, health care specialist, and author of Moving Meditation: Experience the Good Within (www.thegoodwithin.com). A registered nurse, Mary Jo also holds a Master’s degree in Education from Northwestern University.
Here are few of Mary Jo’s tips for getting more from your workout:
1. Cardiovascular (aerobic) training: As with meditation, focused breathing is a cornerstone of mind-body training. Aerobic means “with oxygen” and aerobic movement increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, including the brain. Cardiovascular training is the single most important aspect of the physical training because it keeps the heart open and strong.
2. Core and strength training: This includes the students’ abdomen and buttocks, and the lower back region, which extends to the base of the skull. Here is where strength, stability, and balance originate.
3. Flexibility training (yoga postures): Stretching simply feels good, and it reminds students to become more flexible in one’s body, but also one’s mind. This step allows us to move (and live) with greater ease.
4. Adequate rest: Sleep is a necessary part of life, and sufficient rest is needed for energy and equilibrium.
5. Life-giving nutrition: Making the right choices in food allows yoga students to achieve an optimal, balanced state. This includes nutritional foods consumed in moderation.
6. Family/community/church: From Epicurus to modern science, study and observation show that we find greater happiness with access to friends and family.
7. Written goals and a plan of action: Goals and stated intention act as a road map to achieving balanced well-being.

Look svelte for the holidays

Dr. Brian AlmanWould you like to lose a little weight before the holidays, but lack the willpower to meet your goal? Dr. Brian Alman of TruSage may be the answer. Dr. Alman developed TruSage after helping thousands of people at Kaiser Permanente lose weight and keep it off. TruSage is mind-body support system designed to support any weight loss system you are currently using.
On the TruSage system, you answer a carefully-detailed questionnaire. You will then receive interactive calls from Dr. Alman three times a week, designed to help you overcome your blocks to permanent weight loss. He’ll help bolster your resolve with material designed just for you and your needs. The program adapts to your responses, needs, and progress.

To learn more about this interesting and proven approach, do not miss a word of this exclusive interview with Dr. Brian Alman. Dr. Alan is also the author of the bestselling book Keep it Off.

DD: Why did you create TruSage and how does it work?
Dr. A: I created TruSage because almost everyone knows what they should do but they have not been able to make themselves do what they know they should – specifically as it relates to losing weight and keeping it off.  
When it comes to losing weight and other goals, it’s not a lack of information that stymies success. In fact, if anyone wants to get more information on carbs, calories, fat content or diet programs, ask an overweight person. They know everything about weight loss!
And yet, a startling statistic from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in 2009 states that 98 percent of people who lose weight end up gaining it all back, and more. It’s because of this discouraging success rate that I invented TruSage.
It’s scientifically proven that everyone needdaily follow-up, accountability, prodding, support, new tools to deal with emotions and stress, feedback, interaction, personalized solutions and experiential learning. And that’s what TruSage provides.
TruSage delivers right to your phone when and what you need most to help you lose weight and keep it off, stay motivated and active, deal with cravings, minimize emotional overeating and develop an honest, healthy body image that will be with you forever.
After 1years of research and expirence, I learned that the last 10 percent of the process that moves people from failure to long-term success is often the critical missing piece. TruSage is that piece needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle as it pertains to dieting, exercise, counseling, group therapy, medication, surgery and/or medically-supervised weight loss programs.
I tried doing the follow-up live, but we had such a high demand that we couldn’t handle it – even with six full-time staff.
With help from the experts in medicine, psychology, software, algorithms, personality, coding, interviewing, automation, wireless technology and research, we worked on this program for 15 years to reach achieve the most effective communication with the content and technology.  
DD: Will TruSage work to support any type of weight loss program?
Dr. A: Yes! Every weight loss program may be helpful, yet they are all missing the same thing, the support necessary to keep people motivated to keep it off for life!
TruSage delivers personalized, interactive, daily experiential support to keep people motivated. It helps them become successful, resourceful, positive, and friendly towards themselves and their bodies, while integrating the proven "how-to’s" that break the old, unwanted patterns. 
We have worked with people on every diet, from Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers.  We support all healthy diets and exercise programs.  We know that how you feel about yourself and how you take care of yourself emotionally and physically on a daily basis is the best predictor of your abilities to lose weight and keep it off.

This is because no matter which weight loss program you are on, it is secondary to the relationship you have with your body and your self – which is the number one predictor of success, both immediate and long-term.
DD: Why do most people fail at weight loss?
Dr. A: They never figure out why they gained weight in the first place. But the pent-up emotions that likely caused the weight gain still sits with them and affects them every day.  
Resolving emotional issues requires learning new skills and tapping into inner resources for self-acceptance, letting go, and developing new successful solutions. 
People who battle with their weight don’t make the connection between the emotions and the stress that can lead to overeating. So they miss out on resolving the underlying problems.
Often this causes them to struggle with reaching their potential in relationships. So, food becomes the replacement for love and overeating is the result. This is the number one reason for gaining weight — trouble with trust, love and acceptance in primary relationships. It is also why people regain the weight even after trying so hard to lose it.
The most important relationship we can cultivate is the one we have with ourselves. When those struggling with weight loss don’t reach their potential in their relationship with themselves, overeating is the next best thing. 
It’s a vicious cycle. With the unwanted pounds, overweight people continue to have a hard time learning how to be loving toward themselves, their bodies and their souls. Love is defined as being friendly, caring and compassionate to both ourselves and others. And loving oneself is the master key to losing weight and keeping it off.
DD: So many people who lose significant amounts of weight regain it after a year or two. They become discouraged. Can TruSage help these individuals too?
Dr. A: Yes. TruSage has helped these individuals too. 
Most people who lose weight and gain it back have done it by dieting and exercise.  Those are two legs of the stool, but people need to "add on" the third leg — the self-care elements that are integral to TruSage, such as self-acceptance, TLC, friendliness to your body and more.
We have worked with many people who had to lose 100 pounds or more.  They had lost weight many times before and had always gained it all back.  After TruSage, they lost the weight and kept it off for good.
DD: Is Trusage only for those with a lot of weight to lose, or does it work for those battling the pesky 10-15 lb. weight loss too?
Dr. A: Whether it’s 10 pounds or 100 pounds, we all deserve to be healthy and happy.
The TruSage calls and emails facilitate self-acceptance emotionally and physically, letting go of extra weight physically and emotionally and integration of positive, healthful, life-long habits. 
Our bodies are the outside of our emotions.  We overeat for two main reasons: to change our moods and to protect ourselves. 
As soon as you learn how to love your body and your emotions, you will start losing weight and you will keep it off. As long as people are mad at their bodies and emotions they will not help the enemy.
TruSage calls for a shift of your mindset from the old, unwanted focus of, "what’s wrong with me, my body and my life?" to "what’s right about me, my body and my life?" It’s amazing how something so small can make such a big difference. It’s amazing how so much can grow from one seed. It’s amazing how the lighter you feel emotionally, the lighter you are physically. Of course, the opposite is true too.
DD: Can Trusge help you to become confident and effective in other areas of your life?
Dr. A: Yes!  First, things happen on the inside and then they happen on the outside. TruSage will help with getting your mind, body and emotions in synch, in harmony and in positive health. TruSage has been, and still is, a very valuable tool that has helped people from every walk of life who face a wide-range of challenges, whether addictions, pain, relationships, medical conditions, sports, pregnancy or parenting. http://trusageinteractive.com/reordernow/TruSage%20Definition.html


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