People & Place

Most of us have the desire to feel well, and we even know what it takes to do so. Moderate, physical exercise, a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits and proteins, and the ability to let go of stress is a simple formula, yet often difficult to maintain. What keeps you consistent in your fitness and health routine? That is the question I have asked of Montana residents from around the state. People of all ages and demographics have shared their inspiration and motivation for maintaining habits that bring health and well being to their bodies, minds and spirits.

I first posed this question to a group of women (ranging in ages from 30-67) who gather at my home in Bozeman once a week for meditation and mindful conversation. Leona shared that she leaves her yoga props set up in her bedroom as it then beckons to her to lie down and put her feet up the wall, which is a wonderful balance to her active lifestyle. Jennie, like many other women in their 50s, has realized that most of her adult life has been about taking care of others. She now takes the time to make the choices that are best for her own health and happiness.

Integration is the key for Marlisa who finds moments in the day when she can simply take few breaths or stretch out her kinks. “Sometimes I take five minutes to stand on my head, which activates my energy with a whole new perspective.” Gloria manages her mental and emotional health with a mantra, which is the practice of repeating an affirmation to focus the mind on a chosen intention. She explains, “My mantra is ‘Surrender Attachment’ which reminds me to let go of control and allow life to unfold as it should.” Community was found to be a common motivational tool. Making plans with friends or small groups to share healthy activities lead us to a balanced lifestyle. Whether it’s time on the trail or in an exercise class or sharing a workout for body and mind our souls are rewarded.

There are many ways and means for maintaining and enriching our well-being. May we all be grateful to live in a state where the beauty of nature abounds, as this seems to be a common inspiration and motivation for consistent habits that support and sustain our health, fitness, and peace of mind.

Integration is the key for Marlisa who finds moments in the day when she can simply take few breaths or stretch out her kinks. “Sometimes I take five minutes to stand on my head, which activates my energy with a whole new perspective.” Gloria manages her mental and emotional health with a mantra, which is the practice of repeating an affirmation to focus the mind on a chosen intention. She explains, “My mantra is ‘Surrender Attachment’ which reminds me to let go of control and allow life to unfold as it should.” Community was found to be a common motivational tool. Making plans with friends or small groups to share healthy activities lead us to a balanced lifestyle. Whether it’s time on the trail or in an exercise class or sharing a workout for body and mind our souls are rewarded.

Kathy O’Connor, located near Livingston, works as a Medical Safety Reviewer. With heart disease on both sides of her family she lives with high blood pressure despite the fact that she has eaten a healthy diet low in oil and sodium for many years. To continue eating well, she decided to hire a personal chef who goes into her home and cooks four weeks of food, stocking her freezer with individually labeled portions so it’s easy to prepare. “I love the food, and eating this way keeps my energy levels balanced and I can eat what I want knowing that it is all good for me.” Kathy, 59, also hikes, bikes, kayaks, climbs, and skis. Her secret to physical and mental well-being is the practice of yoga that she started 17 years ago. She gushes, “I loved it. Nothing relieved stress more, grounded me more, caused me to be in the moment more than my yoga practice. No matter how busy I get, I remain committed to that time on my mat as it is where stress, troubles, worries, concerns either seem less concerning, melt away, or sometimes, during deep relaxation, the perfect solution arises.”

Jane Adams is a Yoga Teacher in Kalispell who plays in the great outdoors to bring fun into her fitness regime. Yoga has helped her to tune in to the needs of her body with right food choices, rest and recognizing signs of imbalance so she can heal them before they become a problem.

Residing in Columbia Falls, Linda Miller works as an Occupational Therapist who also teaches Gentle Therapeutic Yoga for seniors up to the age of 88 years young! They are fully committed to attending twice a week due to the benefits they are gaining by improving their strength, agility, and confidence. They learn how to modify in areas such as shoveling snow without back pain and playing 18 holes of golf again.

Susan Reddig works as an esthetician and Health Coach in Billings where she maintains her health by following what she calls an “Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle.” Being a cancer survivor has motivated her to reduce stress and negativity in her environment, relationships, and her foods, which in turn supports her immune system and reduces inflammation. She eliminates sugar, soy, dairy, and corn while eating more vegetables. A top motivator for Susan is plenty of sleep each night with the privilege of not having to wake up to an alarm.

As a mother of an 11 and 13 year old, the executive director of Watson Children’s Shelter, Fran Albrecht of Missoula fulfills her goal of three cardio and weight workouts each week with yoga practice woven into each day. “The inherent stress of my work sends my shoulders up to my ears. I work on the awareness of how I am holding my tension, releasing it with my breath and letting go, which allows me to focus more clearly and lead more effectively. By slowing down my pace, I am more thoughtful and present to creative possibilities.” A secret remedy for Fran is to add something that is a positive treat for herself onto her long list of to-dos, like a massage or a weekend away with the family.

Rick Burrows has happily retired in the Bitterroot Valley. He enjoys mountain climbing, wilderness hiking, bicycling, all types of skiing, horse riding, and more. “The clincher for my retiring here was the world class fitness center, The Canyons. I find that sticking to the same time each day helps with consistency so I start my day with exercise as it stokes the metabolism for the rest of the day. I’ve had so many injuries, that if I don’t exercise for three or four days it is like my body starts collapsing and I become sore and kinked-up.”

Living in Hamilton Riparian Ecologist Tom Parker, age 47, says that having a goal keeps him motivated. He enjoys competing in long distance mountain bike races. In his daily exercise routines he continues to build strength and stamina while “blowing out tension and stress.” Tom finds his entire workout of rowing, biking, weight lifting and yoga to be a mindful meditation. Because of having had two back surgeries, he sees consistency as a must for avoiding pain. He also sees his responsibility to health and fitness as a responsibility to his kids, family and co-workers.

World traveler, Hannah Johansen of Big Sky, keeps her life in order by being clear on her priorities and listening to her inner voice. Before she gets out of bed each morning, “I do a brief meditation, a quiet time where I sit and listen to what my spirit wants to tell me. During those times that I find myself waking up around 3 a.m., I do the same thing. I don’t fret about not being able to go back to sleep. I sit up, empty my mind, and “watch the movie.” This is the time I often have the most powerful insights and ideas. Soon after, I slump down in the pillow and go back into a blissful sleep.”

There are many ways and means for maintaining and enriching our well-being. May we all be grateful to live in a state where the beauty of nature abounds, as this seems to be a common inspiration and motivation for consistent habits that support and sustain our health, fitness, and peace of mind.

President and Founder of YogaMotion® - School for Well Being Nancy Ruby currently offers extensive Life Enrichment courses and Yoga Teacher Trainings in conjunction with classes, workshops, retreats, and private training throughout Montana and Hawaii. Her calling is to educate and motivate others to embrace a life of health, happiness and well being. 406-581-5041, www.yogamotion.com.

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