My journey into yoga seemed to happen so quickly! After graduating from Napier University in 2013 with a music degree, needless to say, I suddenly felt pretty lost. Thrown into the world of self-employment, I now had some important choices to make, and many responsibilities I had never known before. It was overwhelming, and I secretly didn’t handle it well at all.[Read more…]
New Year’s Resolutions – we make them, we break them, we guilt ourselves about them – but what if this year we made a resolution that we could feel good about and actually keep?
The truth of the matter is that you can make and re-make resolutions at any time – not just in January! For example, I like to establish or re-affirm my intentions in tune with the lunar cycle, which allows me to continually assess what is and isn’t working for me throughout the year. [Read more…]
Going on holiday is supposed to melt all your stress away. Unfortunately, the preparations and unpredictability of holidays can sometimes result in the exact opposite. One way to beat this is through the simple concept of mindfulness – being aware of the present moment and just appreciating it for what it is. As deceptively elementary as it sounds, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a scientifically proven method of combating stress in its many forms. Here are some of the easiest ways to apply the principle of mindfulness in your quest to enjoy your hard-earned time off. [Read more…]
Being a new mum to a 9 month old baby boy alongside running my own business, and working my way through all the domestic chores as well as not forgetting to walk our two dogs leaves me feeling frazzled. I have friends who are now onto their third and fourth child and I think, boy oh boy their lives must be even more hectic. One friend described it as, ‘happy chaos’
Finding those moments of calm, can feel like finding a needle in a hair stack most days. However, fitting in a little ‘time-out’ does help to improve mental clarity, improve memory and increases concentration helping us make coping with life as a mum or busy individual just that little bit easier.
Here are 10 REALISTIC tips to press pause
Taking time to breathe!
During times of stress I often say to my husband, “Just breathe! Inhale for 3, exhale for 5.” We tend to take sips of breathe when stressed and incorrect breathing can lead to low back pain. Recent research now indicates that taking a deep breath does indeed help to ease stress and help you become more emotionally aware, but only if done properly. Inhale through the nose and out through the mouth not in through the mouth and out through the mouth.
The power of active breathing and breathing correctly helps to control our breathing rhythm. Slow deep breathing can help to calm the nervous system by reducing our heart rate and activating the parasympathetic nervous system, actively reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. By doing this our bodies start to calm and our minds also begin to quiet.
Being aware of whether you breathe properly is essential, so many people carry out dysfunctional breathing. Dysfunctional breathing patterns reduce oxygen delivery to the lungs, as well as posture and stabilisation of the spine , resulting in fatigue and a whole host of other health issues. This sets you up for a viscous circle, where the longer you breathe in this dysfunctional pattern, the harder your body has to work.
Here are some reasons why people don’t breathe properly:
- Smoking, along with any other medical conditions makes breathing laboured.
- No one else breathes properly. Shallow breathing is a bad habit, imitating bad posture and movement habits learned as infants.
- Breathing is emotionally stimulating and expressive, many people avoid this like the plague.
- Sitting, with so many of us in sedentary jobs, – the hips are flexed to 90 degrees and the ribs sit down in the abdominals making it extremely difficult to breathe laterally.
Breathing has a vital role in its effects on movement quality and stability of the core and spine. When breathing normally or “functional breathing”, posture and stabilisation of the spine will be maintained in a healthy manner.
Take the plunge and focus on breathing properly!
The diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle for all of us! It is a thin, wide sheet of muscle that separates the rib cage from the abdomen. It is shaped like a dome which flattens out when it contracts. It is important to understand, when the diaphragm contracts, the dome flattens and pushes downwards on the viscera, like a piston or a plunger. The watery viscera cannot be compressed, they have to move outwards. So, when you inhale with your diaphragm your rib cage expands.
Breathe in through the nose to the sides of the ribs, letting the rib cage expand out to the sides working the intercostal muscles in between the ribs. This allows you to get a deeper breathe from your lungs.
As you exhale out through the mouth, imagine you are blowing out of a straw, draw the rib cage across and down.
As you breathe make sure your feet are hip width apart, your shoulders are relaxed and with each inhale ensure you are not lifting your shoulders. Feel your spine straighten, lengthening through the crown of the head with each breathe.