Get the latest content and program updates via The Insider from Life Time.
The Mind-Body Connection: Tapping in to Mindfulness Through Movement
With Jessie Syfko
Season 6, Episode 21 | May 9, 2023
The mind-body connection refers to how our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings either positively or negatively influence our physical bodies — and vice versa. It can be a truly powerful resource to tap into. In this episode, Jessie Syfko explains more about this connection, the benefits it provides, how we can grow it, and the integral relationship it has to our fitness efforts.
Jessie Syfko is the director of fitness, as well as the creator of the MB360 signature group training program, at Life Time. She is a doctor of traditional naturopathy, registered yoga teacher, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and functional movement specialist.
For anyone looking to begin integrating the mind-body connection into their movement habits, Syfko recommends the following:
1. Start with your breath. Create awareness of how you’re breathing: Are you breathing into your chest? Or do you breathe all the way down into your diaphragm?
Take five to 10 deep breaths and observe any shift or change you feel in your body and state of mind. Mindful breathing can anchor you in the present moment.
2. Create a space of nonjudgment. Don’t put expectations on yourself. Free yourself from any judgment or past experiences and instead think, This is who I am. This is how I am in this moment. I’m going to create space to listen and serve my best self. Your breath can be your doorway for creating that space.
3. Instead of having opinions, ask yourself questions. Rather than ruminating on unhelpful viewpoints, ask yourself better questions, such as: What in me is showing up? What in me is teaching me? What am I choosing?
Studio, Cycle & Yoga Classes
Move and be moved together in innovative studio, cycle and yoga classes at Life Time, all designed to help build a healthier you.
More Like This
The 3 Cs of Lifelong Fitness
How to Build Body Awareness Using Fitness
Transcript: The Mind-Body Connection: Tapping in to Mindfulness Through Movement
Season 21, Episode 21 | May 9, 2023
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Life Time Talks. I’m Jamie Martin.
And I’m David Freeman.
And in this episode, we are talking about the mind-body connection and how it’s ever present in our lives, and we’re really excited to introduce you to our guest.
Yes, Jessie Syfko. She is our Life Time Director of Fitness, creator of MB360. Jessie is a doctor of traditional naturopathy. Her credentials include being a registered yoga teacher, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and functional movement specialist. So you’re all in, Jessie. How are you feeling today?
I feel fantastic. I’m great.
Well, we’re excited to talk to you. You joined Life Time what a year, a year and a half ago now– it’s been a little bit– and have really been championing this idea of the mind-body connection and bringing that into our health and wellness spaces. So let’s talk about that. What does mind-body connection mean to you personally and professionally?
Yeah, I’d be happy to. Thank you for having me, first and foremost. The mind-body connection is life. I think of it as the big picture. It is how our thoughts, our beliefs, our attitudes, our feelings can either positively or negatively influence our body, and back and forth. So the communication, the intersection, and the integration of how we experience life stimulus, change, adversity from the inside out and from the outside in.
I like it, I like it. So those listeners and watchers right now, Jessie, does everybody have mind-body connection or is it something that has to be established over time through experiences?
If you’ve been born, you have a mind-body connection. In some capacity, you have an awareness. So very simply stated, you could ask somebody, well, have you ever had a headache so bad after being angry? Or have you ever been so worried about something you couldn’t eat or your stomach was tight? So that could be a very simple understanding of it.
But it’s also just how you look out into the world, and you might see something on the news, and you notice that you start to shift and change. You’re shifting based on what you are visually digesting. All of that is part of that mind-body connection. The nervous system, which is responsible for either our fight, or flight, or flee, or our rest and recovery is being triggered all of the time, whether it’s something we see, or something that we read, or something that we’re thinking about, something that we eat, and so it’s that intersection that we all have to some capacity.
The brain is going to work two ways. It’s going to work consciously or unconsciously. How well you train, and educate, and empower yourself to make conscious decisions is going to change the outcome of your life, but so much more of what we are doing living and choosing from is unconscious. That’s still a mind-body connection, but just layered.
One thing you’re kind of alluding to when you’re talking about that kind of butterflies in your stomach feeling or all of that is there is a connection between our brain and our body. It’s called the vagus nerve, and it really intersects. Can you speak to that at all, and the importance of that, and how we can nurture our vagus nerve or take care of it?
Yeah, you think of it as emotional, spiritual or physical digestion. So you all the way in and all the way down, and then that creates a chemical change, so hormones change, neurotransmitter change, nervous system change. So like all of these effects are being had.
So the more connected you are to rest, relaxation, intentionally nurturing I like call it an internal wellness state, the happier your brain is going to be. So something as simple as you’re ingesting a lot of processed foods, for example. So the excitotoxins that are making you love said food right– I don’t want to throw any brands under the bus– is actually stimulating your brain through your gut, through your vagus nerve, and it’s going to make an effect and then a change. And so the more aware we are of the things that we are actually processing through, the more we can affect in a more positive way our overall health and wellness.
I vibe so much with it. Obviously, I have my own saying. I’ve been saying it for quite some time now. I say mind right, body right, and it relates to the way you think, dictates the way you act, and what usually yields the results that you get. And so much is centered around the mindset. So when it comes to your perspective and your experiences, somebody who utilizes mindfulness in so much of your movement practices, tell us how you bring that to life?
In the movement practice or in life?
Yeah, these are great questions, and this is actually the catalyst for where MB360 started, far before I realized where it was beginning. I started as an athlete very, very young. And you start learning as an athlete that it’s not talent that’s going to get you all the way. It’s your mindset, it’s your work ethic, it’s how you validate adversity, how you value pain or value struggle, and all of that types of things that is going to set the trajectory. It’s all the little things.
And within that you start to add, as you get older, this idea of creation of your own life. You’re not being told by your mom, or your dad, or your teacher, or your coach anymore what to do or why to do it. You start to become an adult and you start empowering decisions. Well, mindfulness is giving you access to, whether it’s in your body, how do I want to feel? How do I want to look? What do what do I want this vessel of my body to be?
I add mindfulness so that I can be more intentional with the present moment, where I currently am, and where I’m going to go based on this moment, this decision, this thought, this pattern, not dissimilar to how it is in athletics. If you have a vision of where you want to go, I always say, start with the end in mind. It’s not mind. It’s just it’s something said.
If you want to hit peak athleticism, if you want energy, vitality, longevity in your health and well-being, then right now’s pain is probably not going to feel as hard as it is as if that you have no connection to your why, your purpose, the intention. And so that mind-body connection and mindfulness, although they overlap, they’re not totally the same thing. Mindfulness is in awareness of our surroundings. It’s utilizing this moment, quieting the mind, using the senses, feeling into the moment, and observing the surroundings.
From my athletic standpoint, we were always looking at how do we optimize both mind and body to come together in high stress moments, high peak moments in that game, or in that match, or whatever the sport was, to bring the best version of yourself forward. They always say the best athletes are the ones you want in the game with 3 seconds left that you’re going to give the ball. Because even in that high stress environment, high nervous system response environment, they have a gear, they have an unconscious connection to their excellence. That’s training mind-body connection.
So whether it’s from stillness, and observation and mindfulness, or meditation, all the way up to I want to be as optimal in my running form because I’m sprinting 100 meters, they’re both about mind-body connection. It’s just a difference in how I train that to show up.
I want to talk a little bit about you mentioned both mindfulness meditation and how mindfulness is different than the mind-body connection, but a lot of people still confuse mindfulness with meditation. And there’s a perception around what meditation is, but mindful movement and moving meditation are options for people. And how do we bring that to life? And so for someone who wants to begin integrating the mind-body connection, mindfulness into their movement habits, what would you recommend?
Well first and foremost, I would start with the breath, so an awareness practice of how you’re breathing. Are you breathing into your chest? Do you breathe all the way down into the diaphragm? Observation of what is the shift in change in your body, in your state of mind, after you’ve taken five or 10 deep breaths. So starting to layer the most important thing that we do every day, which is breath, into your body, so it anchors you.
Secondly, to me how I add mindfulness into my practice is A, I create a space of non judgment. I’m not here going, this is what I expect, and this is the hard line. I’m not putting all these big expectations on myself. I’m actually freeing myself from any judgment or past moment that is bringing me here, and saying, this is who I am, and this is how I am in the moment, and I’m going to create space to listen, and I’m going to create space to serve my best self.
And so the breath is the doorway for that space, which is actually what meditation is. Is it gives you a practice to start creating space for yourself between the thoughts, between the distractions. Giving you the ability to feel in rather than to think through.
We have a very human control need to think our way out of problems, to control our way out of problems, and actually mindfulness and movement or meditation is about the opposite. It’s about unpacking our beliefs and our control to find space for faith, for hope, for the unknown, for these other things, and creating an environment through our movement. If I’m able to be present with myself, if I’m able to activate a deeper level of focus with my body, and then let’s say I start moving.
Whatever the movement is, I’m going to be attuned to what feels good and what doesn’t feel good. I’m going to be more attuned to the behavior and/or the motivation behind why I’m moving that way. Am I here to punish myself? I’m more aware of that. Or am I in pain but the person next to me is doing it, so I’m going to do it, and I’m going to do it, and I’m going to create insanity along the way.
So mindful movement could be walking outside, just observing your environment, listening to the sound of the breeze, feeling your feet hit the mat, connecting more fully with your mind, with your senses, and your body to the moment. Mindful movement can also be picking up weights, doing a bicep press, feeling into the form, finding your way into more optimal range of motion and sensation, and ideally a really amazing emotional state perpetuating joy, and love, and freedom, and gratitude, and more of those expansive emotions.
So starting, I always say find space for yourself to breathe. Feel into the body. Number two, layer intention to feel into what serves your highest self. And instead of having a bunch of opinions, the third thing I tell people is start asking better questions. What in me is showing up? What in me is teaching me? What am I choosing? Just an example of questions that you could start layering in to make movement more mindful.
Can I do a little mid-podcast challenge?
And the reason why I’m throwing it at you because you said there’s connections to feelings, to experiences, to words. So I’ll say a word, and I just want to see the response, and this response usually is probably through an experience that you’ve had that now relates to the word. So I’m going to I’m going to just do 4. Is that OK?
All right, passion.
I had to do that because I think any and everybody that’s listening now they hear that word and obviously they hear what you say, but they should have their own whatever comes up in their head and their mind from being present through their experiences. And I think it can always evolve. What you answer today, if we were to ask you a year from now, it could be totally different.
So through practice, we hear this word practice, practice, if you practice. I think we need to clearly define what practice is so people can now act on this. So when we say practice, what does practice look like?
Practicing is showing up. I think it’s being willing to improve, but it’s not having these big expectations for yourself. Meaning if I’m showing up today, if I’m practicing mind-body connection today, I’m practicing mindfulness today, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The variables are going to change. What is constant is me.
So in MB360 one of the philosophies is that the map becomes your life laboratory. So my practice is listening. My practice is to be open-minded. My practice is to be a student of myself, the experience, and to master a more consistent approach to the action that is going to take me where I want to go.
Now, it doesn’t mean that every day feels good. The practice isn’t perfection. The practice isn’t even always progress. It’s more progress than it is perfection, but the practice is being open and being willing to do what is necessary in the moment right.
And people use words like sacrifice and discipline, and that’s great. To your point, it has a frequency, it as an energy based on how you’ve received that information in the past. It could be positive, negative, something, nothing. You have nothing connecting to it.
I tend to empower things that to me are going to reframe. So cognitive reframing is taking a different viewpoint of an exact same situation or a word and positively or in a different way putting a lens over it. So I like to use the word practice because I’m like, it doesn’t have expectations.
You’re here. There is going to be growth. How open you are to it, that’s the question. How willing you are to take that growth and apply it in a future moment, I don’t know what that future moment is, I don’t know, but showing up is the practice.
Just hanging on to that for a second because what I’m hearing there too is there’s a consistency that’s within that practice, but it’s also meeting yourself where you are at any given day. We often talk about how my body today is different than my body from yesterday, or my legs might feel different today than they do tomorrow on my run. And so there’s the practice, the consistency, and showing up as you’re saying, but giving yourself that grace to meet yourself where you are and learn in that too. That’s how I–
100%, 100%. And I’m actually glad you said that because this morning after class I had another teacher in there and she’s digesting things in the class and then asking questions. And one of the things was she was talking about how she loved the grace that is given through the messaging of MB360 for everyone to show up as they are. And I think particularly in our culture, we celebrate all this go, top, push, all in, high intensity, and we tend to create a culture of one gear.
Well, here’s the thing– we don’t have a lot of compassion, or forgiveness, or grace for ourselves in those moments that we’re not. And now I look at it is that we start to discriminate against a huge part of human existence, a huge part of human experience. We put things on like well, this is the good side and this is the bad side.
How I personally practice mindfulness and awareness is to remove the duality from the experience and say, what can I learn from this? What in me is listening? How am I going to deliver to myself? My relationship to myself is what matters the most because it is the doorway for my relationship with everything and everyone else.
So if you find in your life that there’s people that are hypercritical, they’re judgmental, they’re perfectionists. It’s always got to be one level or they’re angry. It’s always got to be here it’s a failure. That is an internal practice. That’s an internal mind-body relationship, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, that they have that is projecting out into the world. Through mind-body training and practice you can release some of this judgment, some of these edges.
We want to soften those edges and to create space for imperfection, to create space for mistakes, and to be able to move on from them without them traumatizing us like they do so often. And so often they’re very minimal. In the grand scheme of things, would you look back to your 15-year-old self and choose to hold on to one person who you don’t even remember their name who told you that you weren’t pretty enough? But we do.
Yeah, it’s there.
But we’re human.
I want to create space on what you just said, if I can, and then I’m going to pass the ball right back to you, Jamie. So once again, staying in the Cs. I’m hearing a lot of Cs, right?
So force rank these three Cs, and I actually got this from one of our articles, Jamie, Experience Life. The three Cs of life, and it spoke to consistency, curiosity, and compassion. I want you to force rank those how you see it currently in your life. Compassion, curiosity, and consistency. How would you rank those?
I think number one– compassion. I think if you were to ask the 20-year-old version of me, it would have been consistency, because I was a ninja, and I was in the middle of training and in the athletic world. And it was all in, all in, all in, and there was no other level. But as I’ve gotten older and experienced a lot more adversity, and a lot of life changing events, and also being a mother, I find that compassion is a far more important piece to life than anything else.
I’d say number two it would be consistency because if I’m going to stay compassionate to myself, to my friends, to my coworkers, to my child, to my husband, all the things, then I need to be consistently choosing that compassion because compassion isn’t a decision you make once, just like falling in love. They always say when you get married, you don’t get married and then you get married. You got to choose every day to be married. It’s a choice.
I think lastly, it’s curiosity, and I think that’s what keeps life interesting, and I think it keeps us excited, and it keeps us in the practice of change and growth. I believe that I would add a C to your Cs. Number one would be coffee. I’m just kidding. That’s not for [? business. ?]
OK, so that’s a side C. But what I would actually add is choice. And I think that we are so powerful, and we can be so painful, and we can be so powerful, but it’s choice.
And that’s really, to me, how mindfulness and this connection to ourselves through this mind-body awareness, through our body, through our mind, through our digestion, through our reading, throughout all of these things empower us to be compassionate, and consistently there, and curious about things that are outside of our wheelhouse that keep us open, that keep us humble, that keep us human, so that we can continue to choose something maybe new and all of that. I love the Cs and I love the rogueness. The left turn Clyde, like here we go.
Take it as it is. So building on this, we’re talking a lot about mindfulness during movement, but mindfulness is also a form of self care that shows up that we can utilize in our everyday lives. When we’re going through challenges, or we’re facing stress, or there’s trauma.
And I just want to give you a chance to speak to that a little bit because I think we want to bring mindfulness not just into our movement, but that’s a great way to practice it regularly. To get consistent and be curious within it. But then how do we bring this into our daily lives when things are hectic, when we’re thrown curve balls in life, when the unexpected is in front of us?
Yeah, that’s a great point, and that’s actually where it lives way more of the time. Even if you are a diligent mover, what is that an hour a day, what happens the other 23 hours a day? And so I think how you do anything is how you do everything. And so when you start to get curious about mindfulness and you start to get curious about the connections and the integrations that we have access to as humans, you’re going to start to see that it’s everywhere and it’s everything that you do.
So from waking up in the morning, and giving yourself some time to wake up, to be grateful, to meditate, to pray, to read. Starting your day off right, that’s mindfulness. That’s I know I’m a better version of myself starting my day with a little ritual. Mindfulness of what I want to put in my field right. What am I going to read?
So social media is a very interesting topic for me because I watch people all day long whether it’s drive, or work, or not be at the dinner table with their family because everybody’s distracted on their phone. You pick up their phone, it’s everywhere. And you think about how not mindful that is to be connected to what really matters– the people you’re with, the task at hand– to bring a better version of yourself because we live in this world of distraction.
So just mindfulness of how distracted are you allowing yourself to be. Mindfulness of who you follow on social media, and is there content, whether it’s a picture or a word, triggering you, or exacerbating negativity, or adding fuel to the fire of something like violence. Or are you elevating humanity? Are you elevating mindset? Are you adding value.
I mindfully am not on social media very much at all. I’m mindfully not. And it’s not because I think social media is bad. I think there’s a lot of great things about social media. But for me in my life, I’m really focused right now on the real version and the real life, and so I try to spend as much time in my mind, in my body, fully present in the physical space that I’m in.
Now that’s probably going to shift and change just like anything, but everything that we do can be mindful and everything we can do can be mindless. We could go through an entire life, and work an entire career, and not like anything about it, and not make a change. Not ask ourselves if it served us, not ask ourselves if we needed something else. Or we could do the opposite and go with the flow of where we need to be, and listen, and take risks, and be courageous, and connect to that self. And if today my body says, you don’t need to work out, you’re exhausted, I say, great. My self care today is going to be to take a day off.
So all of the decisions we make– the books we read, the food we eat, the water we drink, the supplements we take or don’t take, the exercises, the conversations we engage in, the experiences we choose– all of these things start to more effortlessly become mindful once you engage. Because it’s in you when start to ask yourself different questions, better questions, hopefully.
That self-awareness and being intentional in all things that you do, I like the power that comes with that. Let’s get into a class that you founded here at Life Time, MB360. Because you set the foundation, how we kicked off this whole podcast here. And understanding all the inner workings and pillars that go into what I would say is all that you preach within MB360. So for those who might not know or be aware of MB360, take us down a little journey of what that is.
Yeah, so MB360 is mind-body training practice, it’s a program. So similar to other programs that are written where every day is a little bit different, we built that component in. So Monday through Saturday, Sunday is rest day, is your day. But what we use in the physicality is mobility training, which is flexibility plus strength right. So that’s the movement patterns of increasing range of motion and strength at the end lines of our range of motion to create more energy and vitality in the body.
Functional strength and conditioning, so the patterns that are going to build strength to build a better posture, a better alignment, better balance between all of the sides 360 degrees around our body so that we can do the activities that make us happy. And then meditation. So breath work, presence, receivership of the information, and the integration.
A lot of what we do in MB360, because of the free flow of movement that we begin and end with, is about releasing the fascia. So the fascia is the soft connective tissue in the body, it’s everywhere right. So it’s on the top, it’s on the bottom, it’s in and through. And it’s our emotional body. And so the reason why we start with breath, and we anchor in, and the movements are the way that they are, and we end the way they do is so that we can do the best case scenario. Give ourselves a fascial reset so that our body can do what it is inherently designed, which is heal, and strengthen, and shift, and change in a way that when we walk out of the practice, instead of feeling exhausted, or defeated, or in pain, we actually walk out feeling elevated, empowered, and energized.
And that’s actually one of the most common things that people will say is like, the class is really challenging. It’s as challenging as someone makes it. But how do I have so much energy afterwards? What’s going on that I work that hard in my mind, in my body, and then afterwards, I actually feel better.
And I think that’s just a testament, too, to how we connect, how we anchor, how we enter what we do in the middle, and then how we exit in a very mindful way so that regardless of what you’re going through, whether it is trauma, or it is emotional, or it is physical, or whatever it is, you have given this great space to be able to process. And then at the end, it should have alleviated a little bit. You should have found some freedom, you should have found some positivity, you should have found a moment where you saw the light at the end of the tunnel. And when you walk away, that gives you hope and that gives you energy.
I think the other thing is this. Is that mind-body training and MB360 it actually is a little emotional. It’s so funny because people will be like, I’m so sorry I cried. And I’m like, A, never apologize. Crying is one of the best ways to release emotion on the planet. I cry far more often than I ever did before. And not because I’m in pain, but because I’m compassionately in my heart. And I think that that’s something that’s really, really cool.
The other thing about release is I’m a trauma survivor and it doesn’t just heal. You think you get a wound, and you get a cut, and then a couple of days later you have a scab, and then a couple of days later that scab turns into a scar, and then it might actually go all the way away, and you might forget. Trauma is different, and it hits us differently. And after experiencing some major traumas in my life, I started to really value the wave of release that you get through consistent movement, consistent practices like that.
And so for a lot of people, they’re carrying all the types of trauma, like big all the way to little trauma, and it’s living in that fascial system, and it’s living in that emotional electricity of the body, and you don’t even know it’s coming off, but it comes off and you’re like, why am I crying? Or why am I giggling? Well, it’s just the emotional response to the release, and that is very, very, very powerful.
And so it becomes really beautiful. And a lot of times, you’ll do both in the same class, and you have no idea why. Because your body is so smart at containing it, and holding it so that you can continue to move on, but once you tap it, and once you breathe into it, and the energy is in there, and it starts to let go, you didn’t know how good you could feel because you didn’t know how tight, or how constricted, or how heavy what you were carrying. It was unconscious.
So much of what you’re speaking to. This goes back to there’s a lot of research around this, right?
And growing. So there’s a lot of research. And here’s the thing that’s interesting. Up until 300 years ago, all healing practices were mind, body, and spirit. They all were. 300 years ago, we started to compartmentalize them. We’re going to do this, we’re going to do that.
And so what we’re training isn’t new. This isn’t new. So I have zero credit. I just packaged things in a way that I needed, I needed for me, and I couldn’t find in the market, that I also felt compelled and purposely called to give to other people. And so what I have found is that you either find what you need or you’re destined to be the one to create it. So I’ve just packaged things together because I didn’t want just something still. I didn’t want to just sit in meditation.
Also, particularly time. Time has become such a huge deal and commodity in our lives. It’s that, oh my gosh, if I had all the time in the day, would I do [? bread ?] meditation, and then yoga, and then my strength training, and then therapy, or then church, or what. If you look at how that would line up in your day, that would take up a lot of time. So I said, well, what if we could do it in one big experience and also together.
For me in my own life, I always feel far more empowered together, and the human body isn’t the end of the human body. We have this huge energy field around us, which is why separation doesn’t feel good long term. When you come together with people, you’re like, why is it so much more empowering? Why is it so much more inspiring to be in the room with the people?
Well, it’s because we all start to connect, and we all start to elevate, and we all start to do our work in our own selves, and it actually is doing the work for everybody else, but you can actually feel it. So it’s like this life changing thing of, hey, I’m doing the work, they’re doing the work. If I do the work for me, and they do the work for them, we all rise up. So the rising tide lifts all the shifts. And so that’s where the community is equally important, and we, in the class, from the beginning all the way to the middle to the end, connect the people and build a community because it is imperative. It is imperative in your life to find happiness, and fulfillment, and go through adversity, and to be well, and all these things we care about. To do it in a community because we are so impacted and influenced.
And if you want to make it hard on yourself, then don’t have a community of positive, inspiring, health-focused, compassionate, curious people. If you want your life to feel a little bit better, find your groups, your crew, your team that is going to be able to hold space for you and [INAUDIBLE] and inspire you to be able to get out of life what you want. And that’s what we do with MB360 intentionally from beginning to end– is link you to other seekers looking to create an optimal experience.
We’re not looking for average. We’re not here to do the minimum. We’re here to do the necessary. We’re here to do the foundational work to take us all the way to the top of that mountain, and then know that we’re not going to be there very long, and to build the stamina to do it again over, and over, and over.
Well, you hit on that community element of this. And by all means, your program, MB360, has not scaled across the entire Life Time ecosystem yet, right? To all of our athletic country clubs. But where it is in existence, the community is strong. And you hear about that. You’re seeing that community and that energy shared out across social media, and you’re hearing about it after a class and all of these things.
And so I think credit to you bringing all of those elements together. That’s a lot of elements. Like you said, we could spend a whole day going from one appointment to another, one class to another. You’re like, we get a lot in this hour, hour and 15 minutes. And people are noticing and feeling better from all accounts that I’ve heard so far. So congrats to you on bringing that to us.
Well, I’m very passionate, as well as my team, on the mental health and performance side of life more importantly. Because also, just so critical in our time, this time in humanity right now, and giving attention to it, conversation to it, words for it. To David’s point before, ways to process it, ways to think about it. Normalizing it that it’s not about perfect, it’s not about pretending that you’re great, it’s about real.
And real, authentic human experience is going to have a mental health challenge to whatever degree many times through our lives. And I think that’s what is really powerful about community is you start to realize you’re not alone, and then you can ask for help easier because you have a trusted resource of people that will be there for you and with you. I know that in my hard times, if I didn’t have my community to be there, and love on me, and also just to lift me up, it would have been a lot heavier lift for me to get through those moments.
Yeah, we need our people. We need that community.
We need our people.
Is there a practice that we could put into play right now that somebody could take with them, even if they’re listening and they need a little bit of support?
Absolutely. I think just a practice of breath. I think the easiest thing that somebody could do is a song, and listening to the song that makes them feel the way that they want to feel. It lifts them up in a way that they could just listen to and breathe. I think there’s so much power in the vibration of song, and it’s easy, so it’s an easy start.
I think sometimes the way in which we think about meditation or mindfulness is daunting because we think, if I don’t sit for 20 minutes in silence and not think a thought then I’m not doing it right, and that’s not that’s not the truth. So to just start is that even if it’s putting on orchestra or like Enya-style music, something calm and meditative and just giving yourself a moment to start that practice.
And then feel into the body. You could literally put your hands on the body and just check in. Very simple things that people can do. One of the things– a little bilateral stimulation. You got a little stuck in the bod, whatever it is. You do a little bilateral stimulation, whether it’s walking, or biking, or tapping– right left, right left, right left, it starts to get your brain to be able to process through, and that could be a very simple doorway.
I would also just say this– the most simple thing that people can start doing is prioritizing movement. Movement in the body creates movement in the mind and movement in life. And it doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to be intense. Find movement in your life.
We’re a culture of sitters. We are a culture of park as close to the grocery store entrance. We are a culture of don’t do anything extra then you need to. Reverse that. Park at the end of the parking lot. Take the stairs, not the elevator. We’ve lost these steps that we would take over the last 60 years.
If somebody would just walk 10,000, 20,000 steps a day and not even exercise. Release the idea that movement is for weight loss and/or for appearance. Make movement about moving forward in your life more freely. Look at movement with a different lens. And that would be the number one thing that I would tell people. It’s my go to. It’s why this is my passion, and my purpose, and my everything.
I don’t want to do this, I need to do this. There is never a day that I regretted moving my body, and connecting to my breath, and allowing myself to show up. Not one day. So I cannot be the only one, and I just don’t believe that anyone else wouldn’t benefit for that.
I always end with mic drop moment. And whatever comes organically to me is what I usually come up with. I try to sometimes prep, but then I’m like, no, whatever comes in the moment is what makes the most sense. So you say you do what you do because it’s just you at this point through your experiences that have shaped you this, that, and the third. So when was it within your life that it was the change that was sparked for you to be able to arrive at who you are now?
The easy answer to that is there was not one moment David, but there was 10 million moments. And I think in the moment of the 10 million moments, I had no idea. In hindsight, I look back and I go, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
I think more accurately, here’s how I’ll finish that. I almost died having my child three years ago. And when I came back from that, I made a commitment to myself that I would only do what I loved the most, and I would love people harder, and I would love through my purpose and passion in a more profound way.
And so through the question of how much time do I have left, and how do I want to live in the time, and the value that I want to not only get, but give to the moment, I started using this love litmus test. And if you had asked me back in the day, this was weakness, this was silliness. But what I have found through that love is that my vulnerability, my ability, and my practice to tap that part of myself is my unstoppable superhero power. It is what makes me me, my extraordinary bigger, my superhero stronger, my legs bigger and more powerful, all that stuff.
And so it got me here. I think that was a huge doorway for me to say, I love movement the most. I love messaging, and positivity, and inspiration, and raw authentic life experience. Being OK in a way that we get to show up as humans in every form of ourselves, and we’re not going to judge, we’re not going to criticize, and we’re going to love people better. So that was the biggest moment for me, and that was only three years ago, but I have not looked back.
And the thing about it is that I almost lost my life a second time that I did not know was going to happen one year ago, and it just edified that anchor even more. And I just said, I have never sacrificing a moment, a day, a week, a year doing something I do not like. I am not creating misery. I’m not choosing suffering. I am going to create what I love. I’m going to step into it, and I’m going to surround myself with people that make me feel that power and add value to that power. Otherwise, you are a subtraction. So that was the biggest moment.
And so here we are three years later. I am loving Life Time. I am loving it MB360. I am loving all these people that are passionate about creating a healthy life, and creating a space for people to grow, and to change. And I think when I look back in 10 years or 20 years, I will know that that was the door. But there were many, many things that got me to that moment, I’m sure, right? Probably a lot of decisions that I would have been like, why did I do that?
That was good. I like it. I like it. And thank you for sharing that, too.
And Jessie, you can feel this. I feel like we can feel that. We’re not all in the same room. We’re not all in the same state right now, but like the energy, and the positivity, and all of that you’re bringing, I know that it’s just having a huge impact know at Life Time and well beyond.
So thank you for what you’re doing, and thanks for being with us today. I know if people want to follow you, they can find you on Instagram at jessie.mindbodylife. And you do share some content there that’s really inspiring, and it’s also you’re sharing where you’re teaching and what’s up next. And so we want to make sure people know as MB360 starts to spread, there’s going to be more opportunities to take part in that, whether it’s with Jessie, or other instructors and performers who are doing this.
So that’s what we got. We’ll share links to different show notes. We’ll connect to your social, but thank you for being with us and sharing this with us today.
Thank you, my pleasure.
We’d Love to Hear From You
Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.