Yoga When You Are Busy

 

Isn’t it funny how often the things that help and support us the most go out of the window when we most need them?

Yoga, meditation, prayer, journaling, affirmations…..are all amazing tools to help us navigate our way through life but often when a busy or stressful time hits they can easily be the things to be “too busy” for.

This is the time when they are most helpful!

I have just had a crazy busy month, aside from all my yoga classes I’ve taught on a retreat, I’ve run two  3 day corporate training courses up North, I’ve run a workshop and I’ve been up in Manchester sorting a lovely lady out with her winter wardrobe (I’m also a personal stylist!). It’s been a month of focus, time management and energy management! Amazingly I feel connected to my own yoga practice more than ever.

I’ve taken my yoga mat to hotels and practiced before work and I’ve gone to classes in the

Yoga in my hotel room!

Yoga in my hotel room!

evening (a treat as a yoga teacher who teaches most nights!). As well as the physical practice helping to keep me clear headed, calm and body relaxed, what has also helped is to remember all I have learnt through yoga through out the day whilst I am busy :

To stop and breathe deeply

To notice when my body is tensing and consciously relax it

To stretch and move about through out the day, even if just for a couple of minutes

To trust in myself, even when I feel a bit out of my comfort zone to know I am enough

To be myself, the moment I feel like I have to be something I am not, to put on an act, my body tenses and I don’t feel as confident

To listen to what I need, to rest when I can, to practice yoga to help me feel in my body and grounded

To be kind to myself and everyone I meet

To be aware of what I am putting in my body, eating nutritious food that will give me energy and keep me healthy

To set an intention of what I want to focus on that day; being relaxed/ being brave/ being playful/ being creative – what ever will help me most that day

Hopefully this will serve you on the run up to Christmas, a special time that can sometime leave us pulled in different directions!

If you’d like some help creating a self practice I am running a workshop on this in January, 9th, 2-5pm. Bookings through me!

Namaste, and Happy Christmas!

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Yoga for Autumn

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Just as nature is changing all around us so are we. Our energy shifts through out the year which leads to natural shifts in our yoga practice. Sometimes we favour something powerful, dynamic, or maybe something new, or something quiet, peaceful and slow.

After the busy months of the summer we begin to draw within. There can be a feeling of change in the air, I personally relate it to that back to school feeling.

Work can become busy again after the summer months but perhaps our energy levels are a little lower.

Autumn is the time when we start to draw inwards in preparation for Winter. The Indian medicine system of Ayurveda relates Autumn to the Vata dosha, which is the elements of ether (space) and air. Qualities associated with this are lightness, dry, brittle, movement, change. Think of the leaves on the tree changing colour, drying out, falling lightly to the floor, crunching under your feet.

When our Vata energy is out of balance we can feel scattered, up in our heads, skin can be dry, stiff in the joints and we can experience excess wind or bloating.

Autumn is also linked to the lungs which emotionally is related to feelings of grief and loss. Just like nature is letting go we may also experience this. If you are feeling like this allow it to come up, feel it and let it go once you are ready. Practicing loving kindness to yourself the whole way through. Do what ever you feel you need to do, trust your inner wisdom.

I just taught at an Adventure Yogi Autumn Ayurvedic retreat and shared yoga there that helps to nourish us this season. Here are a few things you might like to consider for your practice this season:

  • Slowing down. Still practicing sun salutation but in a slow steady way.
  • Utilise the deep yogic breathing to energise the lungs and to nourish you deeply.
  • Vata energy collects around the lower tummy and hips so forward bends (like paschimotanansa and butterfly) and hip poses (like Pigeon/sleeping swan) are good to do.
  • Help ground your energy by practicing standing poses like the Warriors and really focus on  your connection to the earth.
  • Sitting in Sukasana (easy sitting pose) imagine inhaling the earths energy up through your sitting bones to your heart centre and then exhaling letting go of anything you don’t need down into the ground.
  • Balance your body and mind by practicing balances, even better go outside and do a tree pose under a tree!
  • Cutting down (or out) raw fruit. Instead of morning raw juices switch to something warm (porridge/ stewed fruit) and nourishing. Drink warming herbal teas through out the day, personally I love the Yogi Tea range.

Honour the seasons in nature and in you, we are all part of the same. It’s perfectly natural to be feeling a little tired, to feel like you want to stay in a bit more, to want to slow down. Listen to your body, trust what you need and do that. It’s when we push on regardless that our bodies start to react to force us to stop……it’s not a coincidence so many people get ill around Christmas time!

Enjoy this beautiful change in season.

Namaste

Louise x

Yoga for When You’ve Been Standing All Day Long

Last week I had a days work which required me to stand all day long, with just half an hour for lunch.  After 7 hours of standing my hamstrings, gluts and lower back had completely seized up! Thankfully from other experiences after work like this I knew what yoga poses would help, I got on my mat and my body was back to normal in no time.

If you have days when you stand a lot here are my top tips for yoga when you’ve been standing all day long to release those stiff muscles:

First things first – legs up against the wall pose/ viparita karani.

Sit close to a wall, with your right shoulder against it and then slide round so your legs are leaning up against the wall. Lying back you could place a cushion under your hips so they are higher than your head. Open your arms out to the side, palms up. Close your eyes, listen to some calming music and hold for about 20 mins. Allow the blood flowing in the opposite direction to release tension in your legs, to calm your mind and activate your parasympathetic nervous system (that’s the one where you feel relaxed). To come out bend your knees and slowly roll to the right had side, lie there for a bit before sitting up.

This may even be enough for you. If you’re feeling like you want some more:

Childs pose

Cat Cow slowly to warm up your spine, move mindfully as you might feel more stiff than normal after standing.

Downward facing dog. Peddle legs then hold stretching out the whole of the back of the body.

Step to front of mat and hang cupping elbows with hands, rag doll. Bend the knees, allow the tension to slip off your back. Then roll up to standing.

2 or 3 classic sun salutations, the ones with lunges.

Child pose.

Pigeon pose, come down to resting upper body/ head on the floor to really get into those tight gluts.

Butterfly pose to stretch the back.

Sphinx to get into the lower back.

Lie on back in Constructive Rest Position for 10 minutes or so, the longer the better to help the hips and lower back release. You could listen to a recorded Yoga Nidra to help you relax after a busy day.

Let that tension melt away.

Namaste

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Experience Faith Rather Than Understand

God, the universe, higher power, what ever you choose to believe ( if you do at all) can be very hard to understand with the brain.

Sure there are plenty of books to read, courses to go on and people to speak to. From my experience though its something that grows from with in. If you open up to it.

From the moment of being in an ashram in India where I had a strong sense that there was a God and decided to be open to exploring it, my journey has been from within.

It’s like something has taken over my heart and is leading me.

Of course I’ve read, chatted to others, church, and been on courses but the most powerful way I have found is to take it all and then listen within.

The choices I make are different, I’m kinder, more loving. I make healthy choices. I give more. I choose to meditate. I choose to go to church. I feel when something is right for me to follow.

I get an inner twinge when something doesn’t feel right to me, when I feel it doesn’t have a light energy around it. So I know to not go down that path.

I feel a nagging when I have done something that doesn’t serve me or others. In fact the number of times I do anything like this have significantly reduced which is also part of being guided to make loving choices.

I still get confronted by belief, how ever it’s from when I hear a talk or some one speaking about God that doesn’t feel right to me. It challenges me. I get angry. I feel let down. Then I return to that feeling of love inside and know that is all that matters. People have different interpretations, different ways of explaining things and sometimes it inspires and sometimes it attacks the ego. Often it’s when I am challenged that I learn even more. What ever, it doesn’t matter as we’re just humans, we all have our own ways to be in the world and this is something so much bigger.

So I guess I am just writing this to say, if you have a curiosity from within to explore faith just be open. Go with where your feelings lead you. Pray to be led, to draw closer and to learn and then just see where the journey takes you. It’s not immediate, as with life it will just flow over time with some ups and downs along the way!

Namaste

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