Hello, devoted newsletter readers! (All two of you.) I hope you are having a fun and exciting summer. I know I am. I have been truly blessed this summer with some really good things happening in my life, and thinking about that prompted me to dedicate the subject of this month’s newsletter to a facet of fitness that many people may either take for granted or just not think about at all.

Let’s face it, when most people think of fitness they think of exercise, nutrition, and physical fitness, right? They usually think, well you are either in shape or not…healthy or unhealthy. But in reality that is only covering the “body” and “mind” part of fitness.

However, there is a huge missing piece of the fitness pie that is being ignored with this definition of fitness. What would I be talking about? Body, mind, and—all together now—soul or spirit! That’s right, I’m talking about our spiritual fitness. I truly believe it is impossible to be completely physically fit without tending to your spiritual fitness through nurturing your soul.

I've always found it so interesting to learn about the different ways people do this. I for one am an avid meditator and hugely into the law of attraction and positive thinking stuff, so I am constantly reading those types of books. Just love it and can't get enough of it.

I believe we are co-creators of our lives, along with God; therefore, we create our own realities. I also believe thoughts become things …so we should always try and choose the good ones. These are all mantras of mine, and when I take/make the time to meditate daily and read books on these subjects on a regular basis, I find it keeps me centered and in a good space for creating happiness in my life. This happiness then spills over into the lives of those I come into contact with on a daily basis. Just as with an unhappy and cynical person, that unhappiness is toxic and also spills over into the lives of everybody they come into contact with.

Now, there are obviously just as many ways to skin this cat as there are souls in the Universe. What floats my spiritual boat may not float yours, right? That is the beauty of diversity.

I truly believe that if we could all just relax and stop thinking as if there is only ONE right way to nurture your spirit and that we have found the one and only right way…well I believe if we could open our hearts to the possibility that all the different religions are truly like many different rivers that lead us all to the same sea (God, Truth, Source, Universe, or whatever you choose to call it) then we would finally be able to live in peace and create heaven on earth instead of violence and chaos.

But I digress. My point here is that we should all be taking the time to nurture our spirit. Pray, meditate, do good deeds, be of service to others, play a musical instrument, sing, dance, write, read, study, teach, pet your favorite creature, lead, follow, walk on the beach, walk anywhere, do your cardio, workout, mow the lawn, garden, grow flowers, give money, give time, hug somebody, let somebody in front of you in traffic or in line, smile more, call a friend, do a favor without being asked…there are so many ways to tap into your spiritual energy and foster spiritual growth and happiness that will spread like wildfire to all you come into contact with.

Often people think you have to go to church to feed your soul. I don’t see it that way, though that is certainly one way, and there is nothing wrong with that. I just happen to think that random acts of kindness or simply taking the time to be grateful for your blessings is another awesome way of lining up with the good things God has in store for us.

So go ahead…try it and see how it pays off. When you go to bed tonight, take 15 minutes to bask in thankfulness for all your blessings before going to sleep. Then, set your alarm clock 15 minutes early and just lay in bed thanking God for all your blessings before even getting out of bed. I’ll wager this will produce so many more blessings in your life that you’ll be amazed. Set the course of your day towards recognizing your existing blessings and you’ll attract even more of them. Now, go and nurture your spirit and have a blessed day!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

Every body looks better with nice shoulders, don't you think? Nice shoulders can make the hips and waist look smaller and heck, they are just great to look at. Not to mention strong shoulders are less likely to end up injured or painful for any reason. Here's an exercise that's sure to pretty up and strengthen your shoulders quite nicely!

Primary Muscle Group Worked:

For a video demonstration of this exercise, click here.

Preparation: Stand with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Grasp dumbbells with palms facing each other and arms hanging to side. Keep a slight bend locked into the elbows throughout the move.

Execution: Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height, trying to keep everything parallel to the floor at the top of the move. Slowly return to the start position and repeat for desired amount of reps.

1) Avoid urge to bend or straighten elbows during the lift. Keep a slight bend locked in the elbow as if arm is in a cast and envision a flapping-wings motion.
2) At the top of the move, slightly turn dumbbell so that pinky finger is slightly higher than the thumb and then pause before lowering the weight.
3) Keep a slight bend in the knees.
4) Go slow and controlled.
5) Only raise weight to between shoulder and ear height.
6) Never sling the weight up (two seconds up) and go twice as slow in lowering the weight (4 seconds down).

Always, always, always go slow and controlled! Remember form and technique trump heavy weights any day of the week, so keep this exercise light enough that you can execute perfect form. Choose a weight that makes the last two of 8-12 reps very challenging yet still doable in good form.

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

I am reading an excellent book right now called, "EXCUSES BE GONE!" by Wayne Dyer (one of my heroes) and the title is pretty self-explanatory so this video truly jumped out at me. I don't know about you but it sure makes me realize how small my problems really are. Not to mention it makes me think twice before complaining or making excuses for not being able to do anything! At the very least, it reminds me to be grateful for all my blessings and vow not to take them for granted ever again. It's something worth working on anyways.

Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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