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Yoga, Yoga & Meditation

How to Start a Self-Yoga Practice

January 30, 2019 • By

Self Yoga Practice

 

For a long time now having a self-yoga practice has been associated with devout practitioners, yoga teachers and those with super advanced practices. Whilst it may be true that teachers and long-time yogis have a committed self-practice it is also true that practising yoga in the comfort of your own home has never been easier.

If you are a self-conscious beginner you may feel more confident trying out a few moves at home before heading out into the big world of yoga classes. Maybe you are short of time, a full time parent or shift worker who just cannot physically get to a class, why should you have to miss out on that juicy yoga high?

You shouldn’t. And that is why it is perfectly okay to practice your yoga at home.

A few bits of advice if you are new to yoga but want to practice by yourself:

– Listen to your body: Your yoga practice may be challenging but it should never be painful. If at any point you feel pain, stop.

– Find a video to follow. There are lots of beginner’s yoga classes on YouTube now. Find one you relate to and practice using it as your guide.

– Don’t give up. Yoga is a beautiful, life changing practice but, like all the good things in life, it can take time to reap the rewards. Keep going, flowing and I promise you’ll soon be floating around on a cloud of good vibes.

If you already have a steady yoga practice and regularly attend classes but want more yoga in your life (who doesn’t), here are a few tips on starting to practice at home:

– Try and get a designated space. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a yoga room at home but if you can find a quiet area to do your yoga in then keep that same space continuously. If possible keep your mat rolled out, if you see it you’re more likely to practice. If the space is inviting you will want to spend time there. Add candles or little trinkets that you like. Make the area as peaceful as possible so every time you step on your mat to instantly feel calmer.

– Find an online video that introduces you to things that aren’t generally included in your weekly class. Try a handstand or new balancing pose without the pressure of a big group ‘watching’ you. Make it fun and challenge yourself.

– Continue to practice the poses your teacher gives you. You will advance further if you spend more time perfecting the poses done in class. Your body will become more comfortable and therefore reap more benefits from the practice.

– Give yourself a really long Savasana. Don’t you just hate it when you’re super comfortable in your final relaxation pose and then, in no time at all, the teacher is bringing you back to reality. One of the many perks of a self-yoga practice is you can take as long as you like in your Savasana. Bliss!

Remember to always practice safely. Learn to listen to your body and never go beyond your limitations by yourself.

If you would like to practice in your own home with me, for free then meet me over on my YouTube channel. CLICK THE BUTTON! Don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Keep on practising!


Wellness & Lifestyle

World Mental Health Day 2018

October 10, 2018 • By

World Mental Health Day

If you’ve taken your daily scroll through social media today you will have realised it is World Mental Health Day. A day designed to raise awareness of all mental health issues.

For my contribution to raising awareness and supporting those that I am able to reach I wanted to share some things that help me become more mindful in my own mental health journey.

Firstly, let’s talk about the term ‘mental health’. What does this term mean to you? What do you think of when you hear it? Depression? Sad songs? Psychiatric wards? Pills? Tears? Loneliness?

It can mean a lot of different things to each individual. Oxford English Dictionary defines it as:

‘A person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being’

Which in layman’s terms means your mental health can either be good, or bad. It also means it is ever changing, you will not always feel what you are feeling now. However, when you have a mental health issue your clever mind makes you believe you will feel this way forever. Clever little bastard, isn’t it.

The term ‘mental health issues’ covers so many different illnesses, to name but a few:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • OCD
  • Eating disorder
  • Post-traumatic Stress
  • Psychosis
  • Bipolar Disorder

World Mental Health Day 2018

As you can tell this is a broad spectrum of conditions. I’m sure you’re aware this blog is not a medical blog and I am not medically trained. I have, however, suffered from anxiety issues in my past and I am aware that depression and anxiety is on the rise. I cannot talk about psychosis, PTSD, Eating disorders or OCD, but I can talk on depression and anxiety issues, from experience and from my yoga training. However if you or someone you know if experience mental health problems talk to your GP.

If you are currently experiencing symptoms of anxiety or panic I want you to pause right here and take one deep inhalation via your nose. Really slowly. And when your lungs are full breathe in a little more (there is always more space!). Now slowly purse your lips are allow the breath to exit the body via the mouth.

Do this as many times as you need and at any point in your day. It brings you into the present moment. Anxiety and panic only exist in past or future tense, never present.

World Mental Health aWARENESS Day

Now let’s share some tips that will help you take control of your mental well-being. Try them all and find what works best for you. Give yourself time, understand this is a working progress and you are getting better each day, it is a journey to wellness.

  • Breathe: Like I just described above, becoming aware of your breath is the best way to bring you into the present moment. It also slows your heart rate, which is no doubt beating super-fast due to the adrenaline your anxious body produces. Inhale for a count or 5, exhale for a count or 5. Download one of these apps to guide you until you feel confident enough to go it alone.

 

  • Get off your phone! Ever noticed when you start to feel a little anxious you reach for your phone? Like a little security blanket that phone will help distract you from all the symptoms you’re currently experiencing but you’ll no doubt end up on Google with Bilateral frontoparietal polymicrogyria (don’t Google that). What I’m saying is if you pick your phone up every time you experience anxiety symptoms then how are you ever going to overcome them? You have to be brave, fearless and sit with them. When you sit with them you learn how to take control over them, and when you take control over them they become weaker. Remember how powerful your mind is. You can either work with it, or against it.

 

  •  Get Outside! Seriously, nature really is the best medicine. Scientific studies have actually shown your blood pressure reduces the more into nature you get. No matter what season it is, rain or shine, it is good for you to head outdoors. Walk, run, climb, sit, anything that gets fresh air into your lungs and daylight onto your skin. I make sure I spend a little time outside each day and get out for a big hike at least once per week.

 

  • Get Creative! You don’t have to be Picasso to pick up a paint brush and you don’t have to be 80 years old to knit. There are hundreds of ways you can bring your mind to one point of focus each day. Mediation works for some and painting works for others. You can knit, cross stitch, bake, write, sing, play music, crosswords, board games, books, photography, anything that takes all your attention. By bringing your mind to one point of focus you strengthen your ability to overcome symptoms of panic. Find something that you love doing, I for example like to paint. I’m terrible at it but I enjoy it so I do it, and no one else see’s so what does it matter! It gets me away from work, my phone, social media, TV and allows me to completely switch off. Before I know it 3 hours have gone by and I’m ready to sleep soundly. It’s bliss.

World Mental Health Awareness

We shouldn’t just be talking about our mental health today, we should talk about it every day. Even when we feel really good tell someone, ‘I did this and it made me feel great!’

People with mental health issues often suffer in silence for a long time, but trust me you don’t have too. No one will judge you for speaking up, if anything it’s a sign of strength. Don’t let that clever bastard mind of yourS make you believe your false reality is real.

When you walk in the rain, you feel the rain but you are not the rain. You are not your mental health issue, it is just a part of you that you can begin to control and overcome, in time, with support.