Short Read: The Zen Habits Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness (ebook)

Mindfulness Guide

By Leo Babauta

I’m happy to share with you a new “short read” ebook that I’ve written: the Zen Habits Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness.

I’ve written this for absolute or near beginners, who would like to bring mindfulness into their lives … or who are struggling with:

  • Procrastination
  • Creating better habits
  • Frustration, disappointment, feeling stuck
  • Relationship problems
  • Being content

I’ve found that mindfulness is the fundamental skill to deal with any of these struggles. And in this short ebook — which you can read in one sitting if you feel like it — I not only talk about why this is true, I share some simple exercises for developing the skills to deal with any of these struggles.

I don’t promise miracles, and you’ll have to do the exercises to get decent at these skills. But they work, in my experience, and I hope they help you.

The Short Ebook & the Package Deal

I’ve written this intentionally as a “short read” … and so I’m pricing it low ($4.99), so more people will be able to buy and use it.

But I’ve also created a package with the ebook (in 3 formats) along with three guided audio meditations that go along with the exercises in the book.

You can buy just the ebook here:

Buy the Ebook

Or buy the package with the audio meditation downloads here:

Buy the Package

Who Should Buy This

This is aimed at beginners to mindfulness, and anyone who is struggling.

Don’t buy this if you:

  1. Have years of experience meditating
  2. Are great at creating habits
  3. Don’t procrastinate
  4. Are content and happy
  5. Know how to deal with stress and anxiety
  6. Won’t actually read the book

However, do buy this if you:

  1. Are new or fairly new to mindfulness
  2. Struggle with changing your habits
  3. Tend to procrastinate
  4. Would like to start working towards contentment and peace
  5. Are ready to take action and read the book and do the short exercises

The book won’t solve all of these problems, but it will help you develop skills that will be helpful in all these areas. It’s a great start, at the very least.

Book Formats

I’ve written the book in PDF, Kindle (mobi) and iBooks (epub) formats. You can buy them all in one compressed file here for $4.99:

Buy the Ebook

If you just want to buy the book from the Amazon Kindle store, you can buy it here for $4.99. That will only be the Kindle format, though. I would love it if you gave me a good review and/or rating! (Note: It’s available in all of the global Amazon stores.)

If you just want to buy the book from the Apple iBooks store, you can buy it here for $4.99. That will only be the iBooks/epub format, though. And again, I would love it if you gave me a good review and/or rating! (Note: It’s available in all of the global iBooks stores.)

Finally, I have the three formats (PDF, mobi, epub) plus a package of three audio guided meditations for $9.99 that you can buy here:

Buy the Package

Table of Contents & Sample Chapters

If you’d like to see the table of contents, plus the introduction and first chapter, you can download/open the PDF here:

Table of Contents & Sample Chapters


You have questions, I have answers.

Q: What do I get when I buy the ebook?.

A: If you buy it using the blue “buy the ebook” button above, you’ll get a compressed zip file … when you decompress it, there will be a folder with the PDF, epub (for iBooks) and mobi (for Kindle) files. If you buy from the Kindle store, you’ll just get the Kindle book. If you buy from the iBooks store, you’ll just get the epub version. And if you buy the package deal, you’ll get the three formats plus links to download three audio guided meditations that I’ve recorded.

Q: Is there a print version? What about an audiobook version?.

A: No, sorry. This is only being released as an ebook.

Q: I bought the package, but where are the audio files?.

A: Open the “Read me” PDF file in the folder you downloaded … there are links to download the audio files in the Read me PDF.

Q: Did you do the design yourself?.

A: No, I wish! The cover was designed by Dave of Spyre, and the interior was designed by Shawn Mihalik.

Q: I’m hugely disappointed and want my money back!.

A: I’m sorry to hear that. There’s a 100% money back guarantee on all my books. Just email and we’ll give you a full refund. I don’t want unhappy customers.

Original Source: Short Read: The Zen Habits Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness (ebook)

Why You Can’t Just Smash Your Muscles for Better Squats: Part Deux

Written by: Kevin Cann

In my last article I explained how our tight muscles are a defense mechanism to provide us stability when we have lost optimal control of joint movement. We find the instability, we correct it, and the tightness will go away.

Just smashing our tissues may help for temporary relief due to some increased blood flow, but we will have to continuously do this to get relief if we do not identify the instability. In order to identify the instability we need to have a thorough assessment performed by a professional that understands the human movement system.

One of our elite lifters here at Total Performance sports is a perfect example of what I am talking about. She has been experiencing lower back pain in the area of her QL and the top of her glutes in conjunction with some tightness in her mid-back that she feels is having a negative effect on her squats.

She had tried multiple things to loosen up her mid-back with no avail. She was performing a lot of soft tissue work that was just not helping the matter. The fact that she had tried this and it did not work makes my job a lot easier because I can write off smashing the tight tissue as a means to fix this issue. This is not an exact science and often times you try something only to realize that it did not work. This is why we are constantly assessing and re-assessing.

The first part of any assessment should be learning a little bit about the person and their lifestyle. I happen to be familiar with this individual so that helps quite a bit. She just finished law school and studying for the bar exam. She spent far more time sitting down with her face buried in a computer or book then she has in a very long time.

This is valuable to know because we all know the problems that prolonged sitting can cause. One of her other complaints was that she feels she cannot turn her glutes on. Sitting down all day long does have a tendency to send our glutes on vacation and it can also change the shape of our spine.

With that said, it is much too early to draw the conclusion that her issue with her glutes is from sitting down. All I have done is ask a few questions. I need to see her move around for me to make a better guess as to what her issue is.

I have a specific assessment that I use and it includes pieces of the FMS and SFMA. I assessed her cervical spine range of motion, single leg stance ability, her ability to touch her toes, her multi-segmental extension (backbend), shoulder internal and external rotation, as well as t-spine rotation while standing.

She moves pretty well for a 74kg lifter that deadlifts over 450lbs. I assessed her hip ROM as well as strength and compared the two sides. Nothing very telling yet.

We continued the assessment by checking her active straight leg raise, which was symmetrical and adequate. It got interesting from the next assessment. I checked her t-spine rotation in the quadruped position with her shoulder in external rotation. There was far less range of motion here than there was when she was standing.

What changed between the standing t-spine rotation test and the quadruped version? The quadruped version requires much more shoulder stability. She had adequate t-spine mobility with her arms in the most stable position, down by her side, but far less when we got into the quadruped position.

Remember what I had said earlier that all tightness is a loss of stability somewhere. If we cannot stabilize our shoulder joint appropriately our mid-back will tighten us around our shoulder blades to provide us with that stability so we do not get hurt.

I gave her a couple of exercises to see how this would help. The first is a twist on the classic windshield wiper exercise. She laid on her back and squeezed a foam roller between her thighs while her hips were flexed past 90 degrees. She held a kettlebell over her shoulder with her elbow locked and her shoulder stacked. Maintaining this shoulder position she rotated her knees to the opposite side of the hand holding the kettlebell. She touched the knees on the ground and returned to that start. It is key to breathe through this exercise.

After we performed a few of these she said that it felt a little better. From there I wanted to re-establish appropriate communication of our posterior oblique system. Rolling patterns are great for this however; I wanted to improve this function while forcing shoulder stabilization. We performed a few kettlebell armbars in each direction and the tightness went away.

Our job is not done at this point. These are minimally loaded exercises being performed while she is laying on her back. I want to see her perform some loaded movements as part of my assessment. I prefer to see the movement that causes the most pain.

I watched her squat and noticed that she loses her packed neck when she comes out of the hole. This can also lead to tightness in the mid-back. We want our cervical spine to be stable. If it is mobile through the squat we will lose mobility in our thoracic spine to give us that stability that we need.

Her lack of stability in both the shoulder and the neck are leading to tightness in the mid-back. In order for that tightness to go away we need to fix both scenarios. As she performs her exercises and works on keeping the chin tucked during the squat, the mid-back will be able to relax and go back to being more mobile. Once we have corrected the stability issues we can add in some soft tissue work to help offset the increased sitting that she has been experiencing on a day to day basis.

This is why having a thorough assessment is important. Often times people will just feel tight and rollout those tight tissues, feel better, and think everything is ok. Only to find that those muscles just tighten right back up. All tightness is a lack of stability somewhere. Find that instability, correct it, and your soft tissue work will be much more effective.

Original Source: Why You Can’t Just Smash Your Muscles for Better Squats: Part Deux

Episode 332 – Dr. Drew Ramsey – Healthy Nutrition


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This episode we have guest Dr. Drew Ramsey. Dr. Ramsey is a practicing psychiatrist, and author of The Happiness Diet, 50 Shades of Kale, and Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health. Join us as we talk general healthy nutrition, feeding kids, and even a little farming.


Download Episode Here

Guest: Dr. Drew Ramsey


Twitter: @DrewRamseyMD

Facebook: DrewRamseyMD

Instagram: DrewRamseyMD





30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

Buy the book


Original Source: Episode 332 – Dr. Drew Ramsey – Healthy Nutrition

An Overlooked Factor in Creating Positive Change

By Leo Babauta

I’ve created more positive changes in the last 11 years than I can count: from health and fitness to mindfulness and happiness; from productivity and finance to clutter and relationships.

There are lots of factors that are incredibly important in creating any positive change: starting small, taking small steps all along the way, finding motivation and accountability, finding the support of people around you (or finding it online), learning to mindfully notice your urges to quit.

These are all super important. But there’s another factor that most people overlook: how you feel about the change.

This is what I’ve learned in the decade-plus since I’ve been doing this, for myself and helping other people:

  • If you’re not in the mood to take the small steps you need to make the change, you’ll probably procrastinate. Same if you’re overly tired.
  • If you feel excited about the change, you’ll take the steps.
  • If you miss a couple of days, you feel discouraged and are likely to not even want to think about it. We’re very good at avoiding thinking about uncomfortable things.
  • If you can keep the good feeling going, you’ll form a habit or make the change you want to make.
  • Other people can be discouraging, or they can be encouraging. This makes a lot of difference.
  • We ourselves can talk to ourselves (in our heads, what I call “self talk”) in a positive, encouraging way, or we can talk to ourselves in a negative, discouraging way.
  • It’s easy to get stuck in a negative mood, where you just don’t think you can do it and give up caring. Our minds tend towards the negative. We put up resistance whenever we think about making changes.
  • It’s also possible to get into a positive track, where you’re feeling great about the changes and want to keep going. This is amazing. But it doesn’t always last forever, so you have to be mindful of how you’re feeling.

You can see from all of the above how important your attitude is, your mood, your feeling about the change. You can see that it’s affected by how you’re feeling each day, your tiredness and stress levels, how encouraging or discouraging other people are toward you, and how you talk to yourself.

So putting all that together, let’s talk about some actions you can take to get better at this overlooked skill.

How to Be Awesome at Feeling Awesome

It’s not possible to always feel positive and upbeat. I don’t even recommend it — lots of us try to block out or avoid any negative feelings whatsoever, and this means we’re rejecting a whole range of feelings. I used to buy into this idea, but now I let myself feel down. I let myself feel discouraged, sad, frustrated, irritated — and accept these parts of myself instead of rejecting them.

That said, you can take actions to put yourself in the mood for positive changes. It’s helpful to be mindful of your mood and what effect it has on you.

Here are some actions you can take:

  • Practice mindfulness of your feelings and self talk. When you’re procrastinating or resisting taking steps you know you should take, turn inward and notice how you’re feeling. Are you tired, discouraged, stressed? Are you saying things like “I can do it later” or “I deserve a break”? Become aware of what’s going on inside and how it’s affecting you.
  • Be accepting of your mood. Instead of rejecting or avoiding your discouraged feelings, just stay with them. Be a good friend to them. Notice that you’re having a hard time, and give yourself love. In this way, you develop a trust in yourself, and you see that the mood isn’t anything to panic about, it’s just a passing feeling.
  • Learn what puts you in a positive mood. By practicing mindfulness, you can see that some activities get you in a funk, while others might make you feel great. For me, going for a walk or doing a workout always make me feel great. Taking a shower, having a cup of tea, and meditating are other great ones for me.
  • Find encouragement. Surround yourself with people who will support you, hold your feet to the fire, give you positive vibes. When you have a friend like this, hang out with them more. Negative people, hang out with them less. I’ve found they just drag me down. Look to online communities if necessary.
  • Be mindful when you miss a couple days. This is a danger zone, I’ve found. Missing a day is no big deal, but missing two days often feels discouraging and people quit at this point. Ask friends for help if you’ve missed two days. Take the smallest step to get moving again.
  • Take small positive steps. When I’m in a funk, the smallest positive steps are all I need to get myself in a positive mood for taking more small positive steps. Identify the smallest step you can take, and put everything you have into it.
  • Be forgiving. You’ll mess up. We all do. That’s OK — it’s not a straight, linear process, but a messy one. There’s learning, there’s missteps, there’s lots of starts and stops. That’s how life works, be less attached to doing it perfectly and instead grateful to be doing it at all.
  • Find joy in every step. You’re not doing this to get to some great destination at the end. Each positive step can be a joy in itself, a place to smile and breathe and find gratitude. What a wonderful thing to be where you are!

In the end, none of this is easy. But by shining a light on this process, we can take it from an overlooked area that’s holding us back, to something we explore with curiosity and wonder.

Original Source: An Overlooked Factor in Creating Positive Change

Chilled Italian Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Salad

This delicious, light shrimp and tortellini salad can be served as a side or main dish, perfect for summer potlucks or pool parties, or anytime you need a pasta salad that isn't weighed down with heavy mayo

This delicious, light shrimp and tortellini salad can be served as a side or main dish, perfect for summer potlucks or pool parties, or anytime you need a pasta salad that isn’t weighed down with heavy mayo. Great to make ahead as the flavors get better the longer it sits. Leftovers are perfect to pack for lunch!


Original Source: Chilled Italian Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Salad