Get back into it – part 2 (Yoga at home)

Following on from the theme of ‘getting back into it…part 1’

Habits

For me, exercise is like any habit that we get out of because ‘life’ gets in the way.  But when will we make our positive habits our life?  As a Hypnotherapist, NLP coach and with my previous 13 years career in learning and development industry as a senior manager across the Middle East and Far East, I have always been interested in the mind and behaviour. Working alongside 250 nationalities in Dubai I had my belief systems shaken and stirred in the most wonderful way, which opened my mind to other possibilities.IMG_7195

We can easily lose something but we can easily get it back too.  I have found over the years that I’ve been in and out of exercise habits; the most difficult part being the decision to get back into it.  Doing it is not actually that hard, especially when I’m we’re the zone, but the thought of it? Dreadful.  Yet it’s only a thought.  Therefore, knowing myself well and observing my patterns I decided to take a different approach to my habits and have applied it to all parts of my life in order to build a healthy and balanced life

Going extreme doesn’t work

I found that two things are essential for it to work; convenience and positive reinforcement.  How many times have you found yourself berating yourself for either promising yourself you will go exercise and ‘failing’ to do it, or not doing enough?  The bark is worse than the bite. When we decide to take a new habit up we take it to the nth degree.  We never make the statement:

‘I would like to become healthy and balanced by taking one step a day and taking it easy on myself, with the appropriate amount of pressure that works for me as this will be the most impactful, long term’.

No we say:

‘I’m going to be so fit that no one will even believe me at first sight, and I’m going to do it in 3 weeks!  First I’ll cut out all bad food and work my body like a dog!’.

Balance

This is why I don’t do ‘diets’ in the sense of the word when it’s used for the purpose of losing weight.  In this instance I don’t even use the word.  I still have wine, I still eat pizza and have a coffee here and there and this is what works for me.  What works for you might be something different but it starts by getting to know yourself and having a balanced and logical conversation with yourself about this when you’re feeling calm and practical, not when you are in the middle of negative self talk when emotions are ruling your heart and mind.  Balance is the key and a balanced mindset reflects the balanced approach to your overall health and well being and then nutritional choices fall under this automatically.

The Selfish/ Selfless Cycle

In Yoga we take the teaching from various Gurus and Buddha being one of the main ones would say that there is a cycle in everything that we do in life and peace comes when we can take ourselves out of that cycle. For example, we try to work towards being a selfless person so we give and give until we feel we are taken for granted and then we take back and take back.  Then we feel guilty for being selfish and so we give and give again to overcompensate.  We get stuck in this selfish-selfless cycle.   There is only yourself who can determine what the balance is for you – by going within and taking time out to understand, observe and continually work on yourself in that path towards peace.  It’s the same with attachment-non-attachment and working hard/ resting because the human experience is filled with duality; night and day, male and female and love and fear.  

So when it comes to building back any kind of positive habit, it helps to first approach it with a positive mindset and balance.  We always want the fastest results but long-term it’s not effective.  If we can step back enough to see this and have patience we can achieve anything.  (see part 1 on running).

Yoga is more than a physical practice

Yoga postures or asanas are only 1/8 of Yoga, the rest is… ? You guessed it,  it’s mindset and way of life. So you can apply Yoga to anything.  Meanwhile, the Yoga postures in themselves are initiated to not only strengthen the body but also the mind.  While practicing postures you are constantly observing the mind and how you react to the postures and the challenge; only you know when to push yourself and when to let go.  They also allow you to be able to calm that mind for you to understand yourself more, allowing you to make calmer choices in life that not only bring peace but draw you closer to the life you want.  So how can this be applied slowly and with positive intension?  The absolute best thing about Yoga is as long as you have a mat and space for 1 single mat, you can apply it anywhere and anyhow. Part of Yoga is even learning to drown out external ‘noise’ – metaphorical and real. And if you can practice this when doing Yoga then you can also take it into the workplace or at home when you need to drown out the noise a little.  You can watch videos or follow below but the main thing is that you find your yoga vibe.

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How to do yoga at home?

I recommend starting with your favourite postures for just 5-15 minutes in the morning or before bed. You will immediately feel the benefits because the trapped energy will move around your body which will feel wonderful and you will give yourself positive self talk and reward. As you naturally become drawn into it when you begin to feel the blood pumping more smoothly around taking goodness to where it’s supposed to go, with the added benefit of rejuvenation of your mind and body.  After regularity you will naturally become more interested in postures and sequencing your Yoga and that’s where the below can help.

Below are two small Yoga sequences for you.  In addition you can find millions of Yoga sequences that focus on specific body parts, benefits, feelings and more with different styles; meditative, strength building, mind focus www.yogajournal.com is one of these websites and another is Jen Review.  Check out this article from them on Yoga for Constipation.

  • Say Om x3 (AAAUUUUUUMMMMM). This is the frequency of nature and resonates in the body as healing.  Inhale deeply, exhale completely.  On the next exhale, use the word ‘Om’ as your exhale until all the air leaves your body.  Repeat x 3. It’s best to do this kneeling or cross-legged seating but if you have any difficulty you can sit on blanket or seat
  • Seated yogic breathing (breathe into the belly first, then chest, then collarbone.  Release the same way; imagine deflating like a deflating balloon).  This is the same way babies breathe.
  • Neck warm up (slowly turn to left, right, down, up, right ear to right shoulder, same on left, rotation clockwise and anticlockwise).
  • Cat-cow (go onto all fours; hands shoulder width apart and under shoulders, knees under hips, hip distance apart. Inhale and arch back and look up, breathe out and round the back, pelvis under.  Move with the speed and motion of your breath for about 5 times).
  • Stand up; hip rotations (hands on hips, feet hip width apart-  push legs out to one side as far out as you can push your hip, then push all the way to the back with a flat back so that you feel the stretch in the hamstrings.  Then push the hip out to the far other side and round to the front with hips pushed slightly forward – stretch as far as you can so you can feel in the inner thigh, lower back and stomach too. Repeat both clockwise and anticlockwise).
  • Standing spinal twist (right hand to left shoulder, breath in to lengthen and out to twist as the left hand goes behind the back and holds onto the right hip or waist.  Try to go deeper with each exhale.  Head and neck follows the twist around but neck parallel to the floor).
  • 2 x Sun salutations (full right and left leg x 2).  See the image for instructions.

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sun salutations from http://hopesyoga.com/warming-up-with-sun-salutations-c-surya-namaskara-c/  CLICK IMGAE for clarity

  • Floor – leg raises (raise the right leg up for 4 counts and hold with foot flexed as though walking on the ceiling.  Then clasp hands around the back of the thigh, hold and stretch hamstrings with head to knee and rotate ankles both ways.  Same on the left and repeat twice for both legs.  Then both legs up together for a count of 10 and down for ten.  If you would like more stomach you can write your name with both legs in the air)

Yoga in a rush

For when you have about 2-3 minutes only!… simply do 2 full sun salutations!  There IS time.  Remember that each part of the body is connected so stretches release many stuck and stiff areas that you didn’t even realise.  The body is connected to the mind, so hence your connection to peace and joy.  Enjoy your journey towards the union of the mind, body and soul and if you’re looking for a class you can attend, try www.yogaclassnearyou.co.uk.  Sometimes it can be beneficial to attend one class just to get posture and alignment correct.

Click here for a sample video of our yoga classes

 


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