In my toddler’s Sing and Sign classes we learnt a version of the “if you’re happy and you know it” song which addresses all the big emotions: if you’re angry and you know it stamp your feet; if you’re sad and you know it have a cry; if you’re tired and you know it go to sleep, and so on. I love it, because it’s a great way to teach children about emotions and also how to express them – a lesson we adults could do with reminding ourselves of. Continue reading
Here are a few myths about yoga you might be carrying around with you…and some yoga magic to help you on your way.
If you’ve ever thought “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga”, this one is for you. Continue reading
You’d be forgiven for thinking that yoga is all about making you happy, being positive, and looking on the bright side (well, either that or having a workout, but that’s a topic for another time). You might even find yourself thinking you must be doing it wrong if you’re still getting stressed/anxious/sad/angry etc.
But here’s the thing. Yoga is about becoming present and at ease with your deepest truest self. And that includes ALL the emotions, thoughts and feelings swirling round your mind and body at any given time. Continue reading
We often try to cultivate a “beginner’s mind” in yoga. Approaching your practice anew each time helps you become fully present and encourages a deepening of your experience as you notice subtle shifts and sensations. This is the opposite of going through the motions of familiar poses to “get to the end” or thinking “I know this…and I know what’s coming next”. Continue reading
We’ve all experienced that familiar feeling of anxiety rising up, although what tends to trigger it will differ for each of us. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness give us valuable tools to overcome anxiety, by overriding the accompanying stress-related “fight or flight” response.
Here are my favourite strategies to cope with anxiety. Continue reading
For various reasons, including this hot summer weather, my physical yoga (asana) practice has taken a back seat over the last few weeks and months. I’ve taken the opportunity to spend some more time working with my breath, revisiting familiar pranayama practices and exploring new ones. It’s been a wonderful reminder of the power of breathing for shifting energy, changing thought patterns, and finding balance and calm. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I introduced you to the vagus nerve, that fascinating wandering nerve responsible for our calming ‘rest and digest’ and ‘tend and befriend’ responses as well as being a communication channel between body and mind. Read on to find out about the signs of a weak or strong vagus nerve and how make this nerve as healthy as possible to keep us happy and resilient in the face of life’s stresses. Continue reading
And what’s it got to do with yoga?
Yoga makes us feel good. And scientific research is just beginning to discover why. Over the next few posts I’ll introduce you to the vagus nerve, which is a key player in balancing the calming and activating sides of our nervous system. Read on to find out how this single nerve can help us with health, emotional wellbeing, happiness, memory, digestion, and social relationships. It’s fascinating, even if you’re not a science geek like me! Continue reading
For over a decade, yoga has been my number one way to deal with stress, and my experience of what works influences my teaching. So I teach a strong but slow Hatha yoga practice, with plenty of mindfulness, and lots of attention to micro-movements and alignment.
Here are a few reasons why I love to slow my yoga practice down and why less can be more, especially when it comes to managing stress. Continue reading
It’s National Stress Awareness Day on the first Wednesday in November. Now, I know we’re all very much aware of stress – we all experience it, to the extent that it’s almost considered normal. This makes people reluctant to speak up if they are struggling with stress. But there is less awareness about the wider impacts of stress, and what we can do to support ourselves and others to deal with stress in healthy ways. So here are my key pointers for how to spot stress and what to do about it. Continue reading