Sitting at a desk all day, staring at a screen and spending your time sorting things out, your body feeling unhappy, sore, tight, achy, your mind feeling tired and cloudy, especially in the afternoon and no doubt stress and pressure are regularly present states of being.
Sounds familiar? Did you know that stress and a sedentary lifestyle are one of the major contributing factors to a decline in health and all major decease in the modern world.
Good news though, the practices of Yoga can Help!
So many people have the impression that yoga is for the flexible and the skinny. Not so, yoga is for everyone. Fitness level, flexibility level, strength level are not obstacles. Yoga meets you where you are at and there is a practice and a variation to suit everyone. Many of the practices in yoga have been shown to improve health and a sense of wellbeing across numerous populations.
One of the main focuses in yoga is breathing. When we take time to bring our attention to the breath we can create a sense of calm and clarity. We can refresh the body and mind, settle the nervous system and generally improve the way we feel. When we combine movement and breath together we create the magic that is Yoga.
We all know that movement makes us feel better and stretching feels so wonderful, especially when you have been stuck behind a deck all day. In my world, movement is medicine and there is nothing better than being present in my body with a bit of hard work, a little sweat and a good stretch.
Going to a yoga class can be great, especially when you find the right class for you. You like the style, the pace of the practice and the teacher. If you can get there once or twice a week, brilliant! But it’s not always possible and navigating a studio or class at the gym can be hard or feel intimidating at first. Luckily I have 3 practical and easy tips for you to get started on your own and at your desk.
Breathing is super important, we need it to live, but how often do you tune in and really feel and notice how you are breathing? How we breath effects our mood, changes our blood chemistry and can tell us lots about what’s going on in the body. When we are nervous or stressed our breathing becomes quick and erratic. When we are calm and relaxed our breathing is calm, smooth and steady. By simply taking some time to be quiet, still and watch our breath we can relieve stress, find clarity and recharge our energy.
Following is a simple breath awareness meditation to help you begin to tune into your breath, notice how you are feeling and send a wave of calm through your body.
Sit comfortably in your chair. If you can, take your shoes off and rest your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and begin to listen in to your breath. No need to change your breath, just watch and notice how you feel, what is happening for you right now? As much as is comfortable breath in and out through your nose, if you need exhale through your mouth.
When you are ready, count your inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4, count your exhale. Do they match? Keep breathing and with each breath you take, breathe in comfortably and slow your exhalation to be longer than your inhalation. You can count the breath, inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. You can alter the count to be comfortable for you so long as your exhale is longer than your inhale.
Take 10 breaths in this way then come back to comfortable, normal breathing. Notice how you feel. When you’re ready, open your eyes and continue your day.
You can use this breath technique at any time. You can even use it in a meeting or when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, just keep your eyes open and count your breaths whilst staying present in the moment. You may find that you are able to handle the situation with more ease. It is particularly helpful when the heart is racing and a sense of overwhelm is present.
In Yoga we use mantras to help invoke a sense of being or to manifest and cultivate a certain aspect of self. Much in the way one would use a positive affirmation. Often we have intention to recite these affirmations or mantras each day to help nurture these qualities within ourselves. But how often do we forget to do it?
Do you drink enough water during the day? One of the best ways to stay healthy, hydrated and mentally active is to make sure you drink enough water each day.
One way I have found, to not only nourish my body with the water it needs but also to nourish my soul, is to combine the two together. When you take a drink of water you can recite your mantra or affirmation in your mind. This will not only make you more mindful when drinking but also give you plenty of opportunities to tune into your body, mind and being. Let your water drinking be a mindful and considered process. Feel the water as it travels down your throat and moves into every part of your body. Let this be a few special seconds just for yourself. At the same time reciting your mantra or affirmation, that way you are reminding yourself of those ideas, positive self-talk, strength and drawing that energy into your life.
Following are a few mantras that might help get you thinking.
You might be something like:
Sometimes all we need, and this is one of my favourites: LET GO!
You might come up with many of your own and they may change depending on your circumstances. Just let them be positive and “as if now,” see and feel yourself embodying the qualities of your mantra.
Sitting at a desk all day, staring at a screen, holding a phone to your ear are all not things your body is built for. You might find your neck and shoulders getting sore and achy. Lower back niggles and maybe even sore hips. No doubt when these things hit you hope up and go for a bit of a walk and move around if you can.
Following is a simple sequence you can do at your desk to ease out some of this tension.
Sit towards the edge of your chair. Feet flat on the floor, if you can take your shoes off. The physical practice of yoga has us use breath and movement together. So tune into your breath, just like you did in Tip 1. Then we can add movement. Inhale lift your chin, exhale bring chin to chest, do this 3 times. Inhale come back to the centre after the third set. Exhale, drop your ear to one shoulder, inhale back to centre, exhale to the other side. Do this for 3 sets inhale to come back to centre. Exhale turn and look over one shoulder, inhale to centre, exhale to the other shoulder, do this 3 times either side. Tip your head over to one shoulder and drop your chin towards your chest on an angle. You should feel some sensation on the back corner of your neck. Keep your head on this angle and inhale lift your chin up towards the ceiling, open the front corner of you throat. Exhale chin towards the chest again and repeat 3 times on one side, then switch and repeat 3 times on the other side. To finish bring chin to chest in the centre, lift your chin to the ceiling and then return to the centre, neutral spin. Take some time to notice how you feel. You can do this in your spin as well, twisting either side, moving with your breath, bending side to side and then opening and closing the chest. Just move and breath together. When you are done take a few breaths to just sit still and rest and let that settle in your body, notice how you feel.
These three tips are all pretty easy to do and easy to weave into your day. You will be amazed at how quickly they become a part of your day you look forward to. Your will see the benefits weave into all aspects of your life, as your mood, the care and relationship you have with your own body and your productivity all improve.
You can add to this with regular daily exercise, a yoga practice and healthy eating regime. Remember your body and mind are one, nourish your body, nourish your mind. Speak kindly to yourself, don’t justify poor decisions and laziness. Treat yourself as a god/goddess and others will see you as such. Remind yourself every day how wonderful you are, how complex and infinite your body/mind is. Let go of drama and negativity, they do not serve you anything useful, they just serve to bring you down, clutter your mind, pollute your body and breed negativity and sickness.
Step into your power, step into your greatness and be all you want to be!
Sadly, due to the current situation, CYS, like many other business, has had to close the doors to our physical space and place a hold on face to face classes.
This does not mean that you will go without your classes.
I have been working hard for the last week to try to make this transition quick, smooth and as easy as possible. When you log into our timetable you will now see our Online Timetable on your MindBodyApp. The new timetable reflects our old timetable but now comes to you at home. When you book into a class you should receive an email receipt with the instructions to get into that streaming class.
Simply log into MindBody, go to Classes. find your class and Sign Up.
We have 2 great options for you.
Single class streams only $8.50 or
$25/week unlimited online subscription.
We want to keep you practicing and connecting not just for your physical health but for your mental health as well. These are tough times and caring for ourselves is paramount.
We are using Zoom so in readiness you might download the free app and create an account, This will save you some time and give you chance to work out how to use it. We are streaming in Webinar mode so you will be able to see and hear the teacher but they won't be able to hear or see you. Other students will also not see you so its private and secure.
You can send your teacher a wave to let them know you are there and type into the chat also. Feel free to greet others on the chat and connect. Let's keep our community connected.
We are all potentially going to begin to feel isolated over these next few month so its important we stay connect and keep moving. As you all know yoga is like glue that keeps us together and feeling whole. So with this extra time on our hands, less rushing about, less driving etc we can spend more time nourishing our soul and connecting with our family and friends in different ways.
Myself and the teaching team are here to support you, we want to stay connected with our students and share yoga as widely as we can. We know the world needs it now more than ever. I will be creating private Facebook groups for the classes so you can ask questions and stay connected with your teachers.
Please be patient while we set things up and roll out the kinks. None of us have taught in this way we are all still learning. I have somehow managed to work out the technology to make this happen, link everything up and have it working but there still may be some hold ups and technical frustrations. Stay calm, relax, all is coming.
This crisis is the great equaliser, never before has the modern world felt a suffering together like this, no one is immune, no one will be untouched, everyone is feeling the distress of uncertainty and sadness. In this, I feel, we will gain a greater sense of compassion for our fellow humans. This can be humility at its finest. It is my aim, that through this online platform we encourage more people to the practices of yoga, to help enliven and enhance this sense of compassion across the globe. When we come out on the other side humanity will be changed for the better, so that we realise our sameness and discard our differences. We will all be left with a share sense of loss, with an understanding that we have all felt the same way. We are on the edge of change, let's make it for the better, let's not let the loss of lives be for nothing, let us evolve and wake up.
I look forward to seeing you on the web, and meeting new challenges, facing the sadness and finding the truth in it all.
Students attending classes at CYS are advised to:
As you will know Coronavirus is spreading rapidly around the world. I have been asked what we are doing to minimise risk at the studio.
I feel it is important not to over react and become alarmist about this health issue but it is important to acknowledge that this virus can have minimal symptoms for many people but spreads very easily. This post will cover a few points that I hope will help to minimise our risk, help reduce the spread of this virus and keep those vulnerable in our community safer.
This a great time to invest in your own mat. We strongly advise this.
We do still have mats that are shared with other students. If you use one, you must clean it before and after use with the spray provided. You must also wipe blocks and other props down before and after use.
Please bring a towel to put to provide another barrier of protection between you and shared props.
Please use a tissue over your eye pillow to protect your eyes, this is good general practice for the eye pillows anyway.
I am not a fan of hand sanitiser as it actually increases your risk of bacterial infection and the generation of super bugs, but I have opted to provide it at the studio at this time should you choose to use it. I have only been able to get a small bottle so please use spearingly. If anyone has extra at home and would like to donate it to the studio it would be much apporicated.
Please use best practice as advised by the world health organisation, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after class, avoid touching your face and please stay home if you feel you may have come in contact with the virus or exhibit and flu like symptoms.
We are exploring all avenues available to keep classes going during this time.
Together as a community we can help stop the spread.
Many Thanks and wishing you all the best.