Do you ever get stressed out on your commute? Rush hour traffic, delays, packed out trains, platforms, tourist and people walking too slow! At times just getting to work can be unpleasant and doesn't exactly help us get our day off to a great start.
So what can we do? If leaving before or after rush hour isn't an option and we must navigate through the dreaded tube or subway system we can try our best not be reactive to all the stress and energy around us. One of the simplest things we can do is breath awareness and infact this simple exercise is great for all stressful situations whether we are stuck in traffic or having heated debate. Both external stressors and our emotions and state of mind affect our breath.
How to practice breath awareness on the train...
Breath awareness exercises can be refined over time. After a while you may start slipping it into your daily routine, allowing you to stay calm and centered.
Until Next time.. Happy Commuting
We all have different patterns and relationships with our Yoga practice. Maybe we practice once or twice a week. Maybe we go through periods of practicing and going to class or self practice everyday and then go through a time of yoga drought for long periods of time. What if it gradually becomes harder to motivate yourself to get on the mat? All of these things are normal. The question is how can we ensure we build a loving, rational, steady and long lasting relationship with our Yoga practice? Below are a few attitudes we can be taking during our Yoga practice, that are sure to keep you in a great and loving relationship with your practice, your body and yourself.
Congratulate yourself for getting on to your mat, whether it be at home or in a class. Showing up to practice is the most important step you can take. Sometimes it's not easy. A million things on the 'to do list', feeling tired, feeling unmotivated, there can be so many physical and phycological hurdles to jump over until we finally arrive on our Yoga mat. Then from the moment you begin, give yourself a big and wholehearted 'well done', after all what could be more important than taking time for you to look after your body and soul.
Unconditinally listen, appreciate and love your body
Listen and appreciate your body as it is today. Maybe it feels tired, tight or sore. Maybe it feels great. Either way do not expect, demand, ignore or judge your body during your class. Yoga aims to firstly connect, become aware and accept. After this, a way to transform into the expression of the posture will surely arrive. Image if one day you can easily touch your toes, then the next day you can not. The most loving and Yogic way to go about this is to simply accept that today you are in a different place. Enjoy that new place and the different stretch. Don't ignore the facts and force yourself to go further which could leave you feeling like a failure which certainly is not achieving anything good. Love, accept and enjoy your body in each posture, no matter what. This is surely key to a loving, long lasting and fruitful relationship to your Yoga practice.
No competitions and no judgements, just be as you are
Never compare yourself to other people in your class, pictures or videos on social media or yourself as you where 10 years ago. A yoga class or practice should be a space where you feel you can focus on you. What others think and what others can and cannot do is completely irrelevant You are there to enjoy, breath and feel good for yourself. Yoga is not a competition and you should not allow yourself to feel judged by yourself. Rest assured that your teacher will not be judging you as they will know and understand the Yoga ethics. Be kind to yourself always. Checkout our article about Ahimsa.
'To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.' Thich Nhat Hanh
Smile, shine and be happy!
Yoga can seem oh so serious at times! You know it is absolutely ok and fantastic to smile and even have a giggle at yourself. Allow yourself to feel good in a pose, breath deeply and express the pose to your full potential, which includes your whole wonderful being. No need to shy away and shrink your body in the corner, you are here now and you are wonderful. Send yourself love, approval and positive vibes during your practice and you will feel how your body responds in amazing ways. If you notice any negative thoughts, congratulate yourself for noticing and replace with far more useful self approval and love!
'You are amazing, just the way you are' Bruno Mars ;)
How to Practice Yoga at Home.
There are so many benefits of going to a regular Yoga class but sometimes life happens and we can't make it. As we practice more regularly we become more aware of how we are feeling and reacting to things. In a home practice we can choose what our body needs in that particular day or moment. Here are a few tips to getting started and staying consistent in your home practice.
The third Chakra (energy centre) known as the Manipuri Chakra relates to our willpower, ambition and ability to take action. It is located just below the rib cage and above the navel. Manipuri is also the place of our intuition, it is our 'gut instinct'. When something is wrong we often feel the tension in our guts or when things are just right we feel warm and fusy inside. With the Manipuri Chakra out of balance we may have low energy, doubts, feel out of control of our lives, worry what others think or be overly critical towards others.
In a physical yoga practice core work, spinal twists and warrior poses help to ignite the inner fire (also known as Agni), helping us to access the energy within our Manipuri Chakra. We get a great workout and burn off impurities in the body and also in the mind. Next time you do a warrior pose, focus your on your solar plexus and see if you can feel the power within you. Doing this can simply remind us we already have the ability, strength and knowing inside us to live a life true to ourselves.
Here are some tips to get create vitality, energy, action and balance the Manpuri Chakra.
Thanks for reading.Until next time.
Lots of Love
Hana & Aya x
There are seven main energy points (Chakras) in the body which run run vertically upwards along the spine. Muladhara is the first chakra, located at the base of the spine and is also known as the root chakra. This chakra harnesses our ability to feel safe, steady and grounded. It connects us to our physical bodies, environment and the Earth. Our root chakra can be out of balance when we don't have this sense of stability in our bodies or our lives we may feel as if we are slipping and sliding all over the place, we may feel unsafe or fearful.
A physical Yoga practice helps us reconnect deeply with ourselves. When everything in life seems to be in a constant state of of flux, simply stepping onto a yoga mat, moving the body and listening to breath can give us a great sense of being grounded. Feeling the soles of the feet and sending energy down into the earth is almost like the roots of tree reaching down to allow the tree to withstand the wind, rain and elements.
Having a sense of stability is an anchor that allows us to handle change be it positive and exciting or not so fun. Here are few other ways to help balance the root chakra:
So lovelies, trust and love your beautiful bodies and feel the earth supporting you in all you do!
Om Shanti xoxox
Balancing poses have many wonderful benefits. Balancing postures require concentration which can simply and effectively reduce brain chatter almost instantly! Your to do list, what to eat for dinner, your life crisis or worries can almost vanish as you focus your mind on the posture. This concentration brings you into the present moment as you centre yourself and regain your sense of calm.
Here are some top tips to try during balancing postures.
Until next time. Happy Balancing.
1. Renew your passion and get specific
Yoga workshops are a fantastic way to renew your passion or get really specific about certain elements of your Yoga practice. Regular drop in classes are usually open level and work to give a general all round practice, rather than focusing on a particular theme or posture. If there is certain element of your practice, pose or area of the body you want to work on, a Yoga workshop could be ideal. Getting specific and taking a workshop on something you are interested in or might need some help with could open the doors to new solutions and insights. Yoga philosophy, anatomy, specific asanas, backbending, inversions, hamstrings, partner workshops, detoxing, the options are endless! If you have an idea yourself or have a few friends or Yoga buddies that would like to work on a specific thing, why not ask your teacher or studio if they could set up a workshop?
2. Practice in a safe environment
Workshops are normally longer than regular classes, lasting around 2-4 hours long. This ensures that everyone has the space, equipment and support to try out new things without the possibility of crashing down to earth and the Yogi next to you in a packed out group class! There is more time to set up, learn how to use props to help improve the poses for your body. You can recreate and reuse the ideas at home or in your regular class without fiddling around for ages. Wondering what on earth to do with that strange foam block in your Yoga kit? Well now you know!
3. Question time
Yes, you have a chance to ask questions. I cannot guarantee enlightenment from the answer, however when a workshop takes place, the teacher has a real experience of the subject matter. They may have struggled with what they are now teaching. As they say 'every master was once a disaster'
'Every master, was once a disaster'
This is my all time favourite quote and I struggled and still struggle in many things. This lead me to search and find extra tips, tricks and explanations on how to do and teach things better. Often the teacher has accumulated mountains of tips and tricks to achieve a posture over their lifetime and this has been condensed for you into a fabulous workshop of a few hours.
You can always ask google a Yoga question and it will throw out a zillion answers, some very helpful some not so. The benefits of being at a workshop environment and asking questions is, you actually get to try things out then and there. People can demonstrate, assist, ask a follow up question or two or three. Every body is different, so being able to get tips for your body's needs is just fab!
4. Community, friendship and fun
Oh my, it all sounds so serious but it's not at all! Yoga workshops can be so much fun. You get to be around other fabulous people. You can share your knowledge and experiences. Maybe you get to do some partner yoga or some assisted poses. Having a giggle with someone as you get stuck going into a side bow can be a great way to make new friends. Maybe you actually get to say more than hi to people you see every week at your regular Yoga class. Maybe you discover they are neighbour you can enjoy a cup of tea with, make a new best friend or maybe they even hook you with up your dream job! Who knows, the possibilities are endless at a Yoga Workshop!
5. Keep an open mind
One very wonderful experience which I had as a participant. An older man in our group effortlessly got into a headstand. I think he really surprised himself and said out loud "I can't believe I'm doing this, I can't believe I'm actually doing this!" It was so great. I was smiling on the inside. It was like a magical moment for me even though it was this guys moment. Sometimes we put limits on ourselves and make ourselves believe we can't or won't be able to do certain things. Be it Yoga poses, triple pirouettes, running a marathon or even just allowing ourselves to be happy! Well this moment for me was a little reminder to keep an open mind not just in Yoga but in life. A lot of things may seem impossible. For this guy, standing on his head did, yet with some tips, support and practice it was more than possible. He inspired us all, and being there to share this moment was great. Keep the faith!
So stay open, believe in yourself, enjoy life and go to a Yoga Workshop!
Namaste gorgeous people xx
Stop, Drop and Savasana!
In times of stress and struggle, triumph and joy, transition and change and basically in any moment of our lives Savasana can be key to gathering ourselves together and coming home. Savasana can create the time and space for us to let go, move on and surrender to whatever is happening in the wonderful world around us . In fact in times of stress, if everyone in your workplace would just stop and lie on the floor in silence for 5 minutes, we are sure that the world would be a better place! We would say, when in doubt, 'Stop, Drop and Savasana!'
Benefits of Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Despite its grim name, Savasana can be one of the most uplifting and feel good postures there is. Yes it is an actual Asana (Yoga posture) rather than just lying on the floor! Here are some benefits;
Stress Relief- The body holds stress in the form of muscle contraction. As you lie on the floor and relax, the body can begin to let go of this tension. No need to hold yourself, or hold anything at all, let the floor hold you. This can leave the body and mind feeling safe, calm and free.
Decompress the spine - Gravity is pushing down and compressing our spine everyday. Sitting at a desk for long hours and carrying heavy bags (especially on one shoulder) can really take its tole. The poor body needs to be decompressed. When you lie down, gravity will be pressing down on the whole body in your favour (spreading you out, rather than squashing you down from the top of your head), making space in the spine and your joints.
Self Acceptance - After working so hard in your Yoga class, or your day at work, savasana is a moment where you can just be. No need to do more or do anything at all. Just be in your body, in this moment and breathe.
*Keep the back on the neck long, lightly tuck the chin towards the chest.If this is too difficult you may need a block or pillow behind your head.
*If you have a bad lower back, you maybe more comfy with the knees up, or an extra mat under the knees. See the picture above.
*When coming out of the posture roll to the side first and use your hands to help you up. See below.
So why not add a little savasana into your daily life? Its so simple, easy and so worth it. When you have 3-5 minutes to spare, simply stop, drop and Savasana. It can leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for anything!
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Plank, also known as a high Chaturanga is one of the simplest and best core and whole body strengtheners and we love it! Here is why;
Alignment is very important to do pose safely and effectively. As in all dynamic Yoga postures direction is key. Checkout Aya in the picture below.We are lifting away from the floor are thinking about a horizontal direction. These directions can transform your plank from feeling like heavy lump to feeling long, strong and light.
Once everything is in place you will feel the burn in all the right places!
Checkout the George Hood setting the Guinness World Record of holding a plank for 1 hour, 20 minutes and 7 seconds. Amazing! Anyone up for beating this? (not me!)
Aparigraha is one of the Yamas (morals of Yoga) from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It can be transalated as,“non-hoarding”, “non-possessiveness” and “non-attachment” This Yama can be related to so many situations in its meaning. Anything from hoarding to many shoes, clothes and lovely things to being over possessive in our relationships, or too attached to our status or jobs. The one phrase I would say best describes Aparigraha is to 'let go'. We can remind ourselves to practice Aparigraha in our physical Yoga class by letting go. Whenever we remember to stop clenching our jaw when balancing, or holding on for dear life by crunching up those toes, and stop holding our breath, we are practicing Aparigraha.
When we learn to phyically let go of what is not needed in our yoga practice, we can stop trying too hard. We can get out of our own way and just let it happen with ease and enjoyment. This concept can be seen in our daily lives too. Have you ever struggled with the following? We certainly have at times!
There's an important difference between giving up and letting go.