Yoga Teaches You Mindset

I went to a yoga workshop many years ago and the teacher, at a point when we were all holding a really hard pose, said, you know why I encourage you to keep calm and breathe steadily?

We all raised our eyes, like yeah, really? When are we going to be released from the pose (this was Iyengar, which is much more formal than vinyasa and you stay until the teacher tells you to come out of the pose), already?!

She said, when you train yourself to breathe long, slow, calm breaths, when you’re in a difficult, stressful physical pose, you’re teaching your nervous system to keep calm under pressure. Wow. This was profound for me and such an off the matt lesson. Yoga, if practiced well teaches you many things, but keeping calm under pressure, training yourself not to overreact was not something that had occurred to me before. Next time you’re in a difficult situation. Breathe slowly & deeply.

Yoga Poses for Different Moments in Your Life

I sometimes like to categorize yoga poses according to the effect they have on me, for example:

Standing poses – strengthening, fierce (in the Bey way)

Inversions – energizing (except, when you’ve been practicing a long time and headstand and shoulderstand are put in a restorative sequence in an advanced Iyengar Yoga class – I was surprised!)

Backbends – stimulating (like a cup of coffee)

Forward folds – cooling, soothing

Balance poses – you have to be strong and aligned in your body, and this will teach you… Errrr…  balance

So, if I need some energizing in my life, I will backbend.

If I need some chillaxing, I will do some forward folds or restorative yoga (grounded poses on props on the floor, where all your limbs are supported).

What is your Keystone Habit?

What’s your Keystone Habit?

#keystonehabit #habitcreation #selflove #stressmanagement #positivechange #mindfulness

Categorizing Yoga Poses

In yoga asana – the physical practice of yoga, there are a number of different ways to categorize the poses.

One is by their names – eg. animal poses (e.g. downward facing dog, scorpion, eagle), sage poses, (vishvamitra, virhaba) shape/anatomy poses (triangle, intense stretch, head-to-knee).

Another is directional, twists, folds, inversions, back bends etc.

Anatomical categorizations is another way to consider these poses – which muscle groups are they opening etc. This one is particularly crucial, in my view for sequencing a yoga class effectively so you can go into the peak pose with the correct muscle groups opened.

Procrastination

Are you a procrastinator?

#stressmanagement #selfesteem #selfhelp #healthyhabits #healthcoach #overwhelm #lifecoach #detox #habits #procrastination

Self Love

Are you practicing Self love?

#stressmanagement #selfesteem #selfhelp #healthyhabits #overwhelm #habits #selflove

What is Healthy?

In Yoga and Ayurveda, we are thought to be made up of koshas or sheaths. These sheaths, when functioning well are stacked on top of each other, like Russian stacking dolls or the layers of an onion.

The first is the physical body – the anamyakosha.

The second is the mental body – the manomyakosha

The third is the breath body – the pranamyakosha

The fourth is the intuitive or wisdom body – the jnanamyakosha

The fifth is the bliss body – the anandamyokosha

Inside this can be found Atman – the true self, the soul, the deepest core of who you are.

To be well, that is healthy, we need to be seated in the self – this definition of healthy SEATED IN THE SELF (swastha in Sanskrit), is different to the Western notion of healthy which is absence of disease!

The Word Yoga Comes From…

…The stem yuj, which means to yoke or bind? There are different interpretations of what is binding or connecting. Some yogis consider it to be more about connecting the mind with the body, through the action of breath.

As humans, our brains are constructed in such a way that it is easy to spend too much time in the future or the past. So, in the physical practice of asana, and in meditation, for example, we are practicing connecting our minds to our bodies.

Other yogis consider the practice of yoga to be more about connecting to the divine, or to source, or to your community at large. The notion that we do not operate in a bubble and that all our actions have a ripple effect on those around us.

Me? I consider yoga to be about both (and more!), because, why pick when they both make sense to me!

Breath – the Flow of Life

Breathing is managed by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which means you don’t have to think about it.

Now, what makes breathing unusual and different to a lot of other functions that are controlled by the ANS, is that we can also control it.  Ancient yogis found this really fascinating and developed lots of different breathing patterns (pranayamas) to create different effects in the body.

When you’re stressed out, your breathing rate increases. Do you notice this? Your palms also get sweaty, your heart rate speeds up, cortisol and adrenaline flood your system and your body starts to move towards a state of Fight, Flight or Freeze.

Your body and your mind are intimately connected, by the breath. So, when you get stressed, you can use the breath to help pacify the physical responses to stress that are harder to control, which, in turn will calm the mind. The best way to do this is to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System, AKA the Rest & Digest system, by doing long slow exhales.

Fake it Till You Make it: Manifestation for Neuroscience Nerds.

Yes. I really just wrote that: Fake it Till You Make it!

Why?

Because sometimes you need to start embodying the person you want to be.

This is grounded in Neuroscience. You may have heard of that expression – what fires together wires together. This is true – the more events, thoughts etc are connected, the stronger that connection becomes, the axons are myelinated – which is similar to the insulation on an electric cable. It strengthens the connection.

When we are working towards something new, something different, a new way of living, being, seeing, understanding, we need to start making these new connections. And this is hard. So, if we want to move forward, we have to FAKE IT, so our brains can start seeing the future that we want and then… the connections start to strengthen and then it’s more likely to happen.