PROS AND CONS OF ONLINE YOGA CLASSES

PROS AND CONS OF ONLINE YOGA CLASSES

PROS AND CONS OF ONLINE YOGA CLASSES

Let’s start with the pros:

1. You save SO MUCH time doing classes at your home. You can literally roll out of bed 10 minutes before the class and still be ready on time!

2. You can do it from anywhere! You can take your instructors, your beloved studios and your favourite classes with you on your holidays, family visits or work trips! How cool is that!?

3. MONEY SAVER! Online classes are much cheaper then in-studio classes. If you live in a big city like I do (London is so pricey!), it shouldn’t be big surprise to you that drop-in studio class prices are quite high… In London it might cost you from £16-£30 per class! That’s a lot of money for a 60 or 90 minutes class. When you practice online the average classes are £8-£10 and let’s not forget, you will save money on your commute too!

4. No one can see you. Do you know that fear of not being able to do downward dog, crow pose, handstand or tree pose in a group full of people who are so strong and graceful in each pose? The beauty of virtual classes: NO ONE CAN SEE YOU! With online classes you can say goodbye to the constant internal comparisons, fear of judgment or embarrassment.

Moving onto cons:

1. You can’t practice next to your friends (well, unless you own a big house that fits you all in).

2. Journey to the studio. I’m not going to lie… Despite the fact that the journey to a yoga studio can be time (and money) taking, I like the ritual of going. The moment I leave the house I get my mind ready for the practice. It can be also great way of getting your daily steps up!

3. Fewer distractions! You don’t have to stop your practice because the postman knocks at your door, or your kids, flat mate or partner needs something from the room you are in. You won’t get your practice interrupted at the studio unless there’s an emergency or the fire alarm goes off (let’s hope that never happens!).

4. Hot Yoga room. If you are a fan of a hot yoga, you might struggle with recreating the studio environment at your home. It would take a lot of time (and energy) to heat your house to the temperature of the hot yoga room (around 37 degrees).

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TOP TIPS FOR ANXIETY

TOP TIPS FOR ANXIETY

TOP TIPS FOR ANXIETY

I used to suffer from terrible panic attacks and anxiety. Here are a few things that helped me out:

1. Cutting down caffeine. I honestly feel so much better when I reduce my caffeine intake. I sleep better and have more energy, which helps me function better and I feel less anxious.

2. Daily movement. Whether that is my daily walk to Dulwich Park, yoga practice, or a fun HIIT session, I feel so much better when I move. It helps me feel more confident and calm.

3. Breathing techniques (Pranayama or Breath-work). Different breathing techniques can help you to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system (the opposite of fight and flight mode). It can be as simple as breathing in for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 8.      You can try it with me now!

Inhale for 1, 2, 3, 4,

Exhale for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Inhale for 1, 2, 3, 4,

Exhale for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Inhale for 1, 2, 3, 4,

Exhale for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Inhale for 1, 2, 3, 4,

Exhale for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Get professional help. One of the best ways of coping with anxiety is to ask for help.

If anxiety is disturbing your life or disallows you function normally, contacting a specialist (therapist or your doctor) might be the most helpful step to take

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3 GREAT STRETCHES FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

3 GREAT STRETCHES FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

3 GREAT STRETCHES FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

Lower back pain is a fairly common health issue, partly because so many things can cause it! Regardless of what is causing your lower back pain, these 3 stretches can help you reduce the pain!

1. Child’s pose (or any other “knee to chest” pose):

  • Sit back on your heels and hinge at your hips to fold forward
  • Walk your hands in front of you or along your body
  • Rest your belly on your tights
  • Make sure your tights and knees are together (it will create extra length in your lower back)
  • If your seat bones are not resting on your heels, pop something between your glutes and legs; allow your seat bones to sink in deeper
  • Focus on the deep, relaxing, soft breath.

2. Seated spinal twist (you can also do it lying down):

  • Sit on the floor (or pop the cushion or block under your buttocks) with legs extended out in front
  • Bend your right knee to your chest
  • Lengthen through the spine and twist to the right
  • Wrap your left arm around your right leg to help you go deeper
  • Keep your right palm behind you (close to the base of your spine, it will give you extra support)
  • Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.

3. Cat-cow stretch:

  • Come to your all fours position (table top, hands and knees on the ground)
  • Bring your wrists underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips
  • Inhale and lift your chest, lift your head, draw the shoulder blades back and bring your heart forward
  • Exhale, bring your chin to chest, arching your spine like an angry cat
  • Continue moving with your breath
  • You can also hold ‘cat’ or ‘cow’ position for a few seconds each instead of moving with the breath.

If you need to use extra cushioning under the knees, use a blanket or pillow.

All of the above should help you mobilize the spine, stretch your chest, neck, and shoulders! Enjoy.

 

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5 GREAT YOGA POSES TO IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE!

5 GREAT YOGA POSES TO IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE!

5 GREAT YOGA POSES TO IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE!

Having good posture is essential if you want to avoid putting stress on your muscles and ligaments, which can lead to many injuries and body imbalances!

Good posture is not only about looking good, it will help you develop strength, flexibility, balance in your body, and reduce any existing tension.

My favourite (and very simple) stretches for good posture are:

1. Child’s pose (or any other “knee to chest” pose):

  • Sit back on your heels and hinge at your hips to fold forward
  • Walk your hands in front of you or along your body
  • Rest your belly on your tights
  • Make sure your tights and knees are together (it will create extra length in your lower back)
  • If your seat bones are not resting on your heels, pop something between your glutes and legs; allow your seat bones to sink in deeper
  • Focus on deep, relaxing, soft breath.

2. Seated spinal twist (you can also do it lying down):

  • Sit on the floor (or pop the cushion or block under your buttocks) with legs extended out in front
  • Bend your right knee to your chest
  • Lengthen through the spine and twist to the right
  • Wrap your left arm around right leg to help you go deeper
  • Keep your right palm behind you (close to the base of your spine, it will give you extra support)
  • Hold for few breaths and repeat on the other side.

3. Cat-cow stretch:

  • Come to your all fours position (table top, hands and knees on the ground)
  • Bring your wrists underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips
  • Inhale and lift your chest, lift your head, draw the shoulder blades back and bring your heart forward
  • Exhale, bring your chin to chest, arching your spine like an angry cat
  • Continue moving with your breath
  • You can also hold ‘cat’ or ‘cow’ position for few seconds each instead of moving with the breath.

4. Chest opener:

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart (you can also be seated)
  • Bring your hands behind you and interlace your fingers with palms pressed together (you can grab a strap if your shoulders and chest are tight)
  • Lift your chest, neck and spine.

5. Downward-facing dog:

  • Lay on your stomach, bring your hands under the shoulders, tuck your toes under
  • Press the ground away lift yourself up and start bending your knees
  • Bring your feet hip distance and make sure your palms are shoulder distance apart
  • Send your seat bones towards the celling
  • Keep your knees bent, press your chest towards your legs
  • Lengthen your spine
  • Relax your head and neck
  • Keep pressing the ground away

All of above should help you open up your chest and lengthen your back muscles! This should bring you closer to the good posture you desire.

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DAILY SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES

DAILY SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES

DAILY SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES

Self-care is something you can (and should) practice everyday. It can help your personal growth and emotional wellness. It can be as simple as eating your favourite meal! As much as I want to encourage you to self-care, I know that at times it can feel very overwhelming! I prepared 6 activities you can do daily without overcomplicating things. Hopefully you will resonate with some of them and start practicing what works for you!

1. Take a walk. It’s a magical way of resetting your mind and body and it’s relatively easy to incorporate into your daily life!

2. Morning journal. It’s a great way of starting the day. Write down how you feel, your thoughts, what you dreamt about, what you are grateful for or angry at, no wrong or right… It’s your journal after all! Self-care isn’t just about physical activity, it’s also emotional and mental movement.

3. Take a nap. Do I even have to convince you that this is a good thing? If you’re struggling with “power naps” (I do! I find it hard to allow myself to nap during the day), check out Yoga Nidra. It’s a body scan technique that helps you travel between the state of awake and asleep. It will help you relax your physical and mental body. Whether you are taking a nap or a yoga Nidra session, when you finish you will feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

4. Movement practice. Yoga, Pilates, strength training, HIIT sessions, dance class, going for a walk or run, any movement is a beautiful way of caring for your body and mind. Find something that suits you and makes you feel good!

5. Eating a variety of foods. When I feel stressed I like to get lost in creative cooking. I treat myself to foods I usually don’t buy and come up with different ways of using them in the kitchen. Playing with new flavours and ingredients can be a great de-stressing experience (and your gut health will love you for it!).

6. Pranayama (breathing techniques). These are wonderful tools for daily self-care. There are plenty of different techniques to choose from. From grounding, energizing to calming, you can pick the one you might need the most, depending on how you feel on that day. Once you master breath control you are more likely to control what you give your energy to, which is an amazing self-care skill!

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HOW TO MEDITATE

HOW TO MEDITATE

HOW TO MEDITATE

There is so much confusion about meditation. The main/basic description of meditation is: it’s an internal focus (opposite to external focus). We are in stillness (most of the times, but there are also different techniques that involve moving) eliminating external distractions and focusing on our internal experience.

There are different types of meditation techniques. Here are some examples:

  • Mindfulness
  • Mantra Meditation
  • Mudra Meditation
  • Kundalini Meditation
  • Guided Visualization
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Qi Gong

Just to name few!

So what are the best ways to meditate? And what are the best techniques for beginners?

The most important part of meditation is your focus and your intention. I recommend checking out all the types mentioned above and see which one you resonate with the most! Let me give you an example of an easy way of meditating. Follow these steps and see if that works for you!

  1. Sit comfortably (cross legged, on your shins, on a chair, on a cushion).
  2. Ensure your spine is long (back upright).
  3. Close your eyes and rest your palms on your thighs.
  4. Focus your attention on (options):
  • your heartbeat
  • your breathing
  • your mantra
  • your affirmation
  • your emotions, feel the emotions in your body (for instance when I feel sadness, I feel heaviness around my eyes. Can you feel the effect of emotions on your body? Focus on linking physical experiences with the emotional ones)
  • body scan
  1. If you catch your mind drifting of, know that’s normal so without any judgment bring your attention back to your chosen focus technique.
  2. When you finish meditation just gently reconnect yourself with the environment around you. Slowly ease into your daily activities.

Alternatively, I recommend using meditation apps, taking meditations classes, or using meditations from YouTube or other platforms. Do whatever works for you. I will list a few meditations apps below. Good luck!

Meditation Apps:

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • MyLife Meditation
  • The Mindfulness App
  • Breathe

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