Inspire 2017

Seven Steps to…INSPIRE

This week, our word asks us to breathe deeply. As we inspire (inhale) our divinity, we find the space to expire (exhale) our toxicity.

INSPIRE is a word of willPower that aligns our action with our highest intentions. We put our spirit in the driver’s seat and energize the purest parts of ourselves.

As I think about this week’s word, I draw parallels with my first experience skating outdoors. When I was little, my mother would not allow it – not because she was afraid I would fall through the ice – rather, she didn’t want the rough ice to “ruin my blades”. Custom figure skates and blades cost a small fortune and I needed one pair for each of the three disciplines I practiced. So, the only place she relaxed her stance was in Lake Placid where the Olympic speed skating oval had ice of the same resurfaced quality as the indoor ice surfaces.

Olympic Skating Oval, Whiteface Lake Placid
Olympic Skating Oval, Whiteface Lake Placid

Unlike indoor skating rinks, though, one element was different: the presence of the wind. With the long length of the speed oval, the element of wind became quite apparent. When the wind was behind me, I could soar with minimal effort. With the wind in my face, I had to work hard for every inch of movement. The same holds true with inspiration.

Inspiration changes the wind from foe to ally in our acts of willPower. What previously seemed like drudgery becomes enlightened…with purpose and intent. The intent to express, evolve, and connect.

We must take care, though, for the dual edge of the ego and higher self when we practice this word of willPower. Ego will wear a mask when we say we wish to inspire others. The ego’s intent is to show superiority often through an act of considerable effort, hard work, or some type of sacrifice.

Higher self prefers to be inspired. If others are inspired by our example, that is fine, but it’s never the guiding force behind our actions. We realize we are merely an instrument of spirit showing others a side to themselves they already possess.

Higher self knows we are all one in-spirit…and that is the true meaning of INSPIRE…to feel, act, and be in-spirit. With that as our intention, let’s practice this week’s Seven Steps:

1. Move with your breath.

To honor the element of “air” in the definition of the word, INSPIRE, work to connect with your breath this week. Move with your breath in sun salutations allowing each pose to persist within the in-breath or the out-breath. Practice our exercise of the week (the sweep) and notice how natural it is to “inspire” (inhale) as your arms lift up or how unnatural it would be to “inspire” (inhale) as you sweep down. While lifting, inspire (inhale) as you open the muscle and expire (exhale) as you exert and contract. In any of these acts, notice how the breath enhances your session when you move with the breath rather than against it.

2. Contemplate what inspires you.

Bring to mind a breathtaking landscape or painting…an inspiring story in a book, movie, or personal account…the witnessing of someone acting in-spirit as they cross the finish line, hit the stage, or talk excitedly about their job, hobby, relationship, or an aha moment.

3. Reflect on a time you were inspired.

What / who was present? What was unique about the situation? What were the inspiring elements…and, where are they now?!

4. Notice the difference between inspired effort and forced effort.

Look for ways to eliminate the latter this week. How can you make your various to-do’s more inspired? Hint: activate gratitude.

5. Fuel properly for inspiration.

Food has an energy behind it. Eat low-vibration food like junk food and expect to vibrate at a lower level with little inspiration. In contrast, notice how your body responds better when you start to introduce cleaner foods into your system. Carbs for energy, protein for strength & recovery, and modest fats for flavor, satiation & an inspired glow!

6. Create an inspiring playlist for your next workout or downtime.

Psst, willPower instructors: use the musical element of inspiration to change the atmosphere in class this week. Help your class participants envision, dream, and infuse an element of inspiration into their Hot by June (HBJ) practice.

7. See your acts of willPower as part of a plan and progression to a stage of sorts.

Today’s work may not be glamorous, but it is leading you somewhere. And, if it is not… why are you doing it?!

Need more “inspiration”? Keep reading here.

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit