Archive for the ‘Yoga & Meditation’ Category

Top #10 Ways to BEAT the WINTER Blues….

November 22, 2011

During the Winter months, your sleep patterns, energy levels and mood usually change and you may already be feeling low during these long periods of grey days.

However, see our tips below for how you can start to BEAT your WINTER blues! 

Be warm – don’t make things worse by being cold!! Dress for the season and buy uplifting, bold colours for your winter wardrobe – especially your hats and scarves!

Enjoy the Winter season – remember when you were a kid – what did you love most about Christmas?  Make a list of 5 Festive Season things you’ll really look forward to this year – “Making Footprints in the Snow”, “The Smell of Warm Mince Pies”, “Watching The Snowman”… 

Always leave major projects until next year – don’t start anything stressful now – just focus on YOU – this is YOUR Christmas and you’re going to enjoy it!  See What’s On in your area and put your calendar together!

Try to get a good sleep pattern – sleep increases your serotonin levels and helps you maintain a healthy eating pattern, and it takes years off your face!

 

Walk – Sunlight reduces your sleepy melatonin levels – by getting outside & taking a short walk each day you’ll feel more alert and awake throughout the day (find a walking group near you www.whatson4me.co.uk)

Inside – and if you have to be inside – open the curtains and allow as much light in as possible.  Sit near windows when you can to give yourself an extra boost of sunlight

No unnecessary stress – plan NOW for Christmas – all the presents, meals and social occasions need some planning, so do it now.  And learn the all-important relaxation techniques for if plans go awry (see our Yoga & Meditation Feature)

Take regular, moderate exercise or physical activity, especially in a social group to boost your seratonin levels – even 10 mins each day can give you a boost to last all day (see www.whatson4me.co.uk to see what’s on in your area)

Eat a well-balanced diet.  Feel full, but not bloated and make sure you get all your bug-defending vtamins & minerals!

Redecorate your home in light colours – put the dark cushion covers away and make way for some yellows and gold a reflect the little bursts of sunlight around your room.  Make sure in the evening you use subtle lighting just before bed to induce a feeling of relaxation just before bedtime.

Start making changes NOW – and you’ll BEAT those WINTER blues!  And for what’s on in your local area over the Festive Season see www.whatson4me.co.uk

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The Value of Kundalini Yoga in Beautiful Surroundings

November 17, 2011

Guest Blog by Anette Siri Simran Mulkerrins from the Simran Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

I was introduced to Zen meditation at the age of 10 and yoga at 18, which is quite a few years ago, and so I have plenty of hands on experience of Kundalini Yoga, which I love sharing with people who are ready to learn. 

Kundalini Yoga is for all levels, is always de stressing and balancing, with  ‘yogic’ techniques for keeping ‘cognitive functions’ at an optimum, and a focus upon how to access health on all levels.   

Kundalini is a way to deal with modern day stress and the joy from connecting with the eternal now.

We provide classes and courses in beautiful Stockholm, thus combining yoga and a travel experience to this friendly and exciting city.

Also yoga travel to amazing Connemara, Ireland. Staying at historic Renvyle, by the Atlantic coast.

Thus, a healing experience that is enhanced by the intense beauty of the surrounding landscape of sea, un spoilt beaches and purple mountains.

Click here to see our Special Feature on Yoga & Meditation  on What’s On 4 Me

A nip in the air….

November 17, 2011

Guest Blog from Safia Bowley of Yoga-Life Studio in Eastbourne

Brrrrr..I kept my coat on when I came home from the school run this morning and was finding it hard to warm up even after my cup of tea and sneaky biscuit. So, how to warm up on a cold but beautiful crisp autumn morning… Rubbing my hands together and then remembering a kundalini trick of raising the arms and shaking the hands vigorously while lowering them again seems bizarre but I can feel it doing wonders for my circulation. Then realising that I’ve been tensing my shoulders against the cold, eagle arms (taking off my coat first, which made it much easier!), while visualising breathing in to the space between my shoulder blades helps to ease out the tension around there. Must remember to keep those shoulders down and away from my ears, even when it feels chilly again later… Off to look for more woolly scarves and cardigans now. Enjoy the autumn sunshine, and stay warm! Safia x

Is Yoga Really for Everyone?

November 15, 2011

By Diane Francis, Bristol & Somerset What’s On 4 Me

Here at the What’s On 4 Me office, we get a lot of feedback from our fans about the types of  activities they are looking to get involved in. One activity that comes up time  and time again is yoga. I am the first to admit that my knowledge of yoga is limited! When we decided a few weeks ago, to start a one year long feature on yoga and meditation, I knew it was the time to get better acquainted with yoga!

The excellent article Marilyn at What’s On 4 Me put together, gives us a  great understanding of what yoga is all about and the many different styles of yoga we can practice. This then lead me to conclude: could yoga really be the exercise for me? So this blog aims to provide you with the answers I’ve found to some of the questions I had about exactly who can practice yoga!

Is yoga just for women?

This is one of the first misconceptions! Yoga is not something that is immediately associated with men and yoga is often (wrongly) perceived as exclusively ‘female oriented’. In recent years though, a number of high profile male celebrities, including footballer Ryan Giggs and musician Sting, have explained the benefits they’ve received from practicing yoga. Sting was introduced to yoga at his late 30s. Since then he has mastered complex asanas of Ashtanga Yoga while also practicing a special variety of Jivamukti yoga. Sting says his aging process is reversing thanks to yoga. Overall, he and his wife praise yoga for maintaining their well-being and the high energy levels. In Ryan Giggs case, Hatha yoga has proved a balm for those persistent hamstring injuries,  prolonging a career that has now taken on an  unusual reverse trajectory: a player who with age has suffered less rather than more with injuries.

Can  yoga help me lose weight?

Any style of yoga helps tone, lengthen, and strengthen the muscles, which can contribute to the sculpting of the body, but not necessarily to weight loss. The most obvious physical benefits of yoga include loosening of muscles that have been tightened by inactivity, tension, and stress. Yoga also increases the range of motion of joints, enhances flexibility, and can help correct postural problems that may have resulted from weight gain.

Yoga also offers psychological benefits. Weight gain often brings with it a great deal of harsh self-judgment. Through yoga, this can be counteracted by reconnecting with our bodies and quiet the counterproductive messages that often arise in our minds. Re-engaging in physical activity can also foster a renewed sense of control over our lives, a quality that sometimes diminishes as one’s weight refuses to budge!

On a physiological level, certain styles of yoga can be more appropriate for people who have weight loss as a primary intention. Vinyasa-style class, where movement and breath link poses together, can build heat and potentially result in greater calorie burn. This style of practice can supplement other aerobic exercise that you’re involved in, such as walking, running, biking, or swimming.

Am I too old to take up yoga?

In short, no! One of the most appealing aspects of yoga is its ability to be practiced by people of all ages. In other words, it’s never too late to start studying.  In particular, older practitioners find that there are amazing health benefits to yoga. From lowered blood pressure to regulating cholesterol  levels, yoga helps the body live to its utmost and healthiest potential. In addition, yoga works wonders to alleviate depression, and even increases a general vitality that helps us live more active lives at any age.

Do I have to change my lifestyle to practice yoga?

Again the answer is no! Yoga is not a religion. It doesn’t require that you fast or abstain. You don’t have to become a vegetarian or change your eating patterns. Nor do you have to give up drinking or smoking. However, you might notice that your tastes change after you begin to practice yoga. As you become healthier and more in tune with your body, you MAY feel differently about the impacts overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol have on your body.

I’m pregnant, is it safe for me to do yoga?

Studies have shown that women who exercise (moderately and safely, of course) during pregnancy may feel better during preganancy, labour, and delivery compared with sedentary women. As with any new exercise programme, you should check with your Doctor before you start. Yoga during pregnancy, particularly after the first trimester, does require some special considerations. You should look for a pregnancy yoga or prenatal yoga class. As you get bigger, use more props such as blocks and straps, to help you work  through poses, and use a wall or a chair to help you keep your balance when you’re doing balancing poses.

After delivery you’ll be getting a new and different kind of exercise from bending, lifting, and carrying a baby. But these activities can leave you with stiff muscles and stress, not to mention sleep deprivation. Yoga is one of the best exercises to do after pregnancy because it provides an outlet for the physical and emotional stress associated with caring for a newborn. Whether you want to return to your pre-pregnancy yoga practice or you want to start doing yoga as a way to slim down and start an exercise programme, be sure to ease into your yoga practice and focus on restorative postures. Focus on releasing tension, which will help you deal with the stress of being a new mum.

Can I do yoga as I suffer with mobility problems?

People with mobility difficulties (paraplegia, quadriplegia, osteoporosis, arthritis, obesity or those who are frail and worried about falling or have lower limb injuries) have greater challenges in making active living part of their lives. For those of us with mobility difficulties, being active may sometimes require more planning and organisation. But it’s worth it. Physical activity is key to a good quality of life and offers both short- and long-term health benefits. In order to have a positive experience from your first yoga classes, try a beginner’s level gentle hatha practice. Kripalu, Viniyoga and Integral are good choices because the teachers are trained to work with differing abilities and body types. Chair yoga is also a possibility for those with limited mobility. You should speak to the yoga teacher before your first class to ensure that you are comfortable and the teacher will be prepared to offer modifications and props as necessary. If you do not feel ready for a group class, private yoga sessions maybe the way to go. This can be a great way to learn basic poses and gain the confidence to use props in an effective way before joining a group practice. Becoming knowledgeable about yoga is the best way to ensure that you will feel at ease.

One of the quotes I’ve come across whilst researching this blog is “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” Since yoga is ultimately the connection of body, breath and mind, anyone can do it and everyone can benefit from a well designed practice. So what are you waiting for?! If you  fancy giving it a go, let us help you find a local class!

Yoga & Meditation – what’s it all about…?

November 14, 2011

A whole new Blog is starting on Whatson4me – all about Yoga & Meditation – to complement our year long Yoga & Meditation Spotlight Activity Feature

Because from recent discussions, our www.whatson4me.co.uk fans would love to know the “real” benefits and experiences of Yoga & Meditation.  

So if you are an instructor or practitioner, then we’d love to hear your stories and/or what you can offer! 

You could tell us about about introducing yoga and meditation to the very new, success stories for experienced yogi’s, enticing retreats that you may run, training courses that may lead to our fans running their own businesses,…..you TELL US!!! 

The floor is YOURS!!

If you want to be included and give your advice to our WhatsOn4Me fans, then get in touch now – we’d love to hear from you!

Contact Jenny on jenny@whatson4me.co.uk with your details!


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