At Food + Mood NYC, we create and lead customized wellness programs for our clients, which range from individuals to corporate employees. Now more than ever, wellness – from food and fitness to spirituality and social life – is critical as we navigate this unprecedented and stressful time in which home and office are one and the same, lunch breaks are non-existent, and downtime is hard to find.
One of the things we recommend to clients as we guide them on their wellness journey is Mindfresh, a fusion of mindful movement, meditation, and breathing techniques. This mindfulness program is perfect for anyone needing a mental cleanse during the workday (and who doesn’t?) and the benefits are plentiful, including increased energy, lower anxiety, better circulation, improved confidence, and a recharged body and mind.
We sat down with Mindfresh founder, Jen Kluczkowski, to learn how she incorporates mindfulness into her everyday life. Plus, we share one of our favorite Mindfresh sequences for you to try.
Can you tell us a bit about Mindfresh and its benefits?
The mission behind Mindfresh is simple: bring more peace into offices in our digital age. There used to be a time when we had plenty of opportunity to take care of our wellbeing outside of work. With 24/7 connectivity, it’s time we integrate wellbeing into our dynamic and expanding workday.
How do you start your day? What is your morning ritual?
I used to have a very different morning ritual before I became a mother, but now I start my day playing with my sons and making them breakfast. I try to be as present as I possibly can with them so I can carry that awareness into whatever follows. I do meditate for 15 minutes minimum each morning … but the time varies based on my schedule that day.
How do you end your day on the right note? What’s your evening ritual?
Putting my boys down for bed, followed by dinner and a glass of wine with my husband. I try to savor each of these moments.
What are three Mindfresh techniques we should all do everyday?
1. Try to avoid thinking about what you will say next when someone is speaking to you – just listen. 2. Feel your heartbeat with your hand on your chest for just a few seconds – just say “thank you” for life today. 3. Take a lion’s breath (loud open mouth exhale – maybe even with the tongue out!) when you hit the wall – just to remember “this too shall pass.”
Besides Mindfresh, how do you take care of yourself on and off the plate?
I eat a mindful plant-based diet that’s good for me, the environment, and the animals. I like to study texts from spiritual masters. I chant mantras to get me out of my head and into my heart.
Our favorite Mindfresh sequence
One of Food + Mood NYC’s favorite Mindfresh sequences is Standing Spine Release and a very simple but very powerful breathing technique called Even Part Breath. You can use this technique anywhere, anytime!
Standing Spine Release: This pose opens the front of the chest, reverses desk slump, and brings movement into the spine. This is a helpful pose for those who experience back pain from sitting all day.
Have your feet a little wider than hips distance apart (a short straddle). Toes pointing forward. Stand up tall and press down through your feet to lift through the crown of your head. Interlace your fingers and have your palms facing down toward the floor. Inhale and sweep your arms up along side the ears and open up the front of your chest. Exhale and round everything forward and bring the hands and face toward the floor. Repeat this movement six to eight times.
Even Part Breath: The idea is to create a mind that is more steady. This is our go-to technique to slow down a racing mind.
• To begin, gently close your eyes or gaze at the floor.
• Inhale for the count of four through your nose (1-2-3-4) and exhale for the count of four (1-2-3-4) through your nose.
• Try it and see how it feels. If it does not feel good let go of the count and breath consciously.
• Try to keep your inhale and exhale even and conscious.
• As you’re doing this, your nervous system is beginning to unwind and you’re moving out of a fight or flight state, which most of us reside in all day long. The Even Part Breath will move you into a much more calm space known as rest and digest to make space for your creativity to bubble up.
• Continue this for 1-3 minutes.
• At the end of the 1-3 minutes, let go of the count on an exhale and come back to your natural breathing.
• Take a moment to observe how you feel in your body and mind.
To learn more or if you’re interested in booking a Mindfresh session for yourself or your business, visit Food + Mood NYC’s website at www.foodandmoodnyc.com – and be ready to breathe a little easier.
By Molly Burke & Tamara Martucci email@example.com