The power of pranayama

I’ve been spending more time working with my breath recently, 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. And I’m enjoying hearing my beginner students’ reflections and reactions as they explore how breath affects their bodies and their state of mind too.

Self care: When what you want is not what you need

You’re feeling tired but wired, and all you can think about is sleeping, mindlessly watching TV, scrolling through your social media feeds, or stocking up on chocolate, caffeine, or a nice glass or two of wine. Sound familiar? It does to me.
Read on for a few ideas about how to figure out what you need rather than what you think you want (as well as an embarrassing insight into my occasional toddler-like tantrums!).

What is the vagus nerve?

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!

Less is more: Slowing down for stress relief

A vigorous yoga practice has never been my thing. What I love is a strong but slow Hatha yoga class, with plenty of mindfulness, and lots of attention to micro-movements and alignment. So that is what I teach. 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.

Stress: It’s not all in your mind

It’s National Stress Awareness Day on the first Wednesday in November. Now, I know we’re all very much aware of stress – but there is less awareness about what the wider impacts of stress can be, and what we can do to support ourselves and others to deal with stress in healthy ways.

Why is it so hard to do what’s good for us?

Confession time. As I write this, I’m going through a phase where I have only managed to get myself on my mat at home once a week. This is a hard thing to admit as a yoga teacher in training. But it is a common pattern for a lot of us – we are least likely to take proper care of ourselves when we most need to. So why is it so hard to actually do the things that are good for us?