Monthly Archives: June 2013

Yoga To Help You Sleep

India 2011 280If you find your mind over active in the evening, if you have difficulty switching off and drifting off  then I am writing this blog post for you. Following are my favourite asanas in yoga to help you sleep.

(I have put the Sanskrit name of each asana so you can easily look it up on line.)

Make sure you are dressed warmly with socks on.

1. Write down everything that is on your mind and make a list of what you need to get done tomorrow. Then close the book and put it in another room. This will help to get all out and let it go for the night.

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana) for at least 5 minutes, breathing in and out deeply through your nose. Child’s pose is great for calming your mind, helping your focus to go inward and releasing any tension from your back and buttocks. The more deeply and slowly your breathe the more calming and better for your back muscles it is.

3. Slowly rise from Childs Pose and lie back coming into Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose). It can feel nice to have a bolster under your knees, pillow behind head, blanket over tummy and warm socks on. Hands can be resting by sides or over head for an even more open pose. This pose opens the whole front of body, which we usually protect. it gives you a lovely feeling of just surrendering, letting go.  Again at least 5 minutes breathing deeply

4. After this bring your knees together and roll over to foetus position on your right hand side. You may like a pillow under your head so there is no tension in your neck. Rest here enjoying the comforting feeling this posture gives you.

5. Slowly rise and and make your way over to a wall to bring your legs up to Viparita Karani (legs up against the wall).  You might like to have a pillow or blanket under your head, something to cover your eyes and if it feels good then put a pillow under your hips to raise them slightly. Just lying with your legs up against the wall completely calms down your nervous system. Fresh blood will nourish the brain, hormones and blood sugar levels will be balanced. Stay here for at least 10 minutes up to 30 minutes.

6. When you are ready slowly bend your knees and come to foetus position, rest here again.

Finally just lie on the floor in Savasana, legs and arms outstretched from body, close your eyes and release your whole body to the ground. You may just find yourself snoring!

Enjoy x

Develop Self Awareness Through Yoga

India 2011 127Close to the time I started practising yoga I remember a teacher in a class saying something like “how you are on your mat is how you are in life”. It stuck with me as I realised that day how true it is.

Thinking about your yoga practice consider a few things:

  • Do you take time to really synchronise your breath to each movement or do you sneakily skip that bit to rush on to the next?
  • Do you force yourself into positions before your body is ready?
  • Do you only practice the poses that require least effort?
  • Are all the poses you practice challenging?
  • Do you compare yourself to other people in the class?
  • What do you say to yourself whilst practising? Is it kind or critical?
  • In savasana (corpse pose/ relaxation) do you allow your body & mind to full let go and relax?
  • Looking at your answers, then ask yourself where in life are you like this also?

These are just a few examples of things to notice whilst practising. There is no right or wrong of course, it’s just a great tool to develop self awareness and the opportunity to explore if that way of being works for you or not.

I’ve mentioned it in previous posts that I have tendency to rush ahead, as a result I really have to slow myself down to focus on my breath when I move. I am currently practising a super slow home routine which is calming my whole system down and causing me to slow down in life off the mat too.

I’ve also challenged myself and not given up until I have succeeded, for example my mastery of the head stand last year. This was a fantastic confidence booster and reminder anything is possible once you set your mind to it. On the flip side I pushed myself so hard with my yoga all round last year that I ended up getting an injury, too much force in life and something is going to give.

Yoga is not about competition, vanity or being something you are not. It’s a practice to help you to connect body and mind, with your inner self, to nourish and care for your body.

I’ve noticed the more I have practised yoga the more aware I am of the diet I eat, the thoughts I have and the actions I take. This is all from a developed self awareness, on and off the mat. It’s also led me down a spiritual path, which a few years ago I never would have believed.

I am excited to announce I am starting a new yoga class this Thursday, 10.30am-12noon at Revitalise 86 Church St, Hove. Hope to see some of you there!

Namaste x