Knitting for Stress Relief – Stress Awareness Month

Knitting for Stress Relief – Stress Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month?

One of my favourite ways of to manage stress (besides yoga!) is knitting.

I’m a newish knitter, currently making this cowl (pictured) to practise knitting in the round on double-pointed needles. I find the process of knitting meditative and calming. Not only is it brilliant learning a new skill, it is very helpful for stress relief and my mental health. And I’m not alone. It has been shown in research over many years that knitting (and crochet) has physical and mental health benefits. Just last month there were calls to prescribe knitting on the NHS. Charity organisation Knit for Peace (www.knitforpeace.org.uk) carried out a widespread review on the health benefits of knitting after receiving testimonials from their 15,000 volunteers about how it had improved their lives.

Sounds like a perfect reason to get knitting!

(P.S. If you’re interested in finding out more about the work of Knit for Peace and supporting their work by donating knitted or crocheted items or cash you can find more information at their website.

 

May You Be Well

May You Be Well

 

Loving-Kindness (Metta Bhavana) Meditation

Metta – (non-romantic) love, friendliness, kindness

Bhavana – cultivation or development

 

To begin your meditation, find a comfortable place to lie down or sit. Your eyes can be open or closed.

Start by offering Loving-Kindness to yourself by reciting silently several times:

“May I be Well, May I be Happy, May I be Safe, May I Live with Ease”.

It is perfectly normal for the mind to wander – for distractions to arise, for thoughts to pop up. When this happens, just guide yourself back to reciting:

“May I be Well, May I be Happy, May I be Safe, May I Live with Ease”.

Now think of a family member or friend – someone close to you. See them in your mind’s eye as clearly as you can. Offer them what you have just offered yourself by silently reciting, several times:

“May You be Well, May You be Happy, May You be Safe, May You Live with Ease”.

Now, think of somebody who you know is having a difficult time and with this person in mind, continuing to recite, again several times:

“May You be Well, May You be Happy, May You be Safe, May You Live with Ease”.

Next, think of somebody you feel neutral about. Someone you neither particularly like or dislike and wish them well by silently reciting, several times:

“May You be Well, May You be Happy, May You be Safe, May You Live with Ease”.

Now, bringing to mind a person you do not like. Offer Loving-Kindness to this person:

“May You be Well, May You be Happy, May You be Safe, May You Live with Ease”.

If it feels too hard to do the latter, then return to offering Loving-Kindness to yourself, silently reciting:

“May I be Well, May I be Happy, May I be Safe, May I Live with Ease”.

To complete your meditation by thinking of all these people, yourself included, and then extend your offering of Loving-Kindness to everyone around you. To everyone far away. To all beings everywhere, silently reciting, several times:

“May All Beings be Well, May All Beings be Happy, May All Beings be Safe, May All Beings Live with Ease”.

If you like this meditation, you can find find my downloadable meditations and yoga nidras here.

 

 

 

Yin Yoga: Half Saddle Pose

Yin Yoga: Half Saddle Pose

If the full version of Saddle Pose feels too much then give Half Saddle a try. Like the full version, Half Saddle can also be a satisfying stretch for the quads and hip flexors. This pose also provides a gentle opening of the front body, a release for the upper back as well as extension in the lower back – a lovely counter to sitting for long periods with a rounded back.

In this short video filmed at Embody Wellness I show you some propping options for this pose. On an energetic level, this pose stimulates the Kidney, Urinary, Spleen and Stomach meridian lines.

NB – Proceed with caution if you have knee or back injuries. If any numbness is felt while here then carefully come out of the pose. (Numbness can be a sign that you are putting pressure on your nerves.) Also, if your knee lifts off the ground, then ease yourself out of the pose until your knee is touching the ground again.

Aim to remain in your Half Saddle Pose for 1-3 minutes on each side if you are a beginner or 3-5 minutes if you are an experienced practitioner.

Enjoy your yoga practice.

You can join me here at Embody Wellness every week for Sunday Flow & Release (yoga flow + yin yoga) and Friday Flow & Restore (yoga flow + restorative yoga + yoga nidra) 6-7.15pm.

NB – Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, speak to your doctor before practising yoga.

Winter Yin Yoga: Saddle Pose

Winter Yin Yoga: Saddle Pose

In this short video filmed at Embody Wellness in Vauxhall I am showing you Saddle Pose.

On an energetic level this yin posture stimulates the Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridiansassociated with the Winter season – and also the Spleen and Stomach lines. Here I’m using a bolster propped up on two blocks to provide extra support.

Aim to stay in your Saddle Pose for 1-3 minutes.

Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, speak to your doctor before practising yoga.

You can join me here at Embody Wellness every week for Sunday Flow & Release (yoga flow + yin yoga) and Friday Flow & Restore (yoga flow + restorative yoga + yoga nidra) 6-7.15pm

Not able to make it to a class? Find more of my yoga videos here.

A Second Restorative Yoga for Depression Workshop

A Second Restorative Yoga for Depression Workshop

Restorative Yoga for Depression Workshop – Saturday 3rd February 2018 2.15-4.15pm at Embody Wellness

After a number of requests I am repeating this workshop. If you missed it last time or think this may be of benefit to someone you know, here are the details. No previous yoga experience is necessary:

Depression can impact our entire being. What we think about, how we feel, how we behave, all altered as depression creates a state of dysregulation in the nervous system. On a physiological level, the whole body, including the respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular and hormonal systems are affected.

In this 2-hour workshop we will practise restorative yoga poses with an emphasis on helping to balance depression.

Although some forms of depression include feelings of anxiety or agitation, more often is the experience of symptoms such as fatigue and lethargy. Because depression can be exhausting, restorative practices have the capacity to play a potent role in cultivating emotional balance and wellness. The props suporting the body in restorative yoga poses allow both body and mind to feel safely held and grounded, and to feel properly rested.

It is not that one pose or workshop will ‘cure’ depression, but the practice can provide us with an active role in moving towards healing. In this workshop we will experience restorative poses that can be used together or separately, along with focussed breathing as part of your own toolkit when you need them. (I will share tips on recreating poses for yourself at home).

 

About the the teacher: An experienced Restorative Yoga teacher, Paula Hines is an Advanced Relax Renew Trainer, having studied with Judith Hanson Lasater and has found Restorative Yoga to be an effective tool for addressing her own depression and anxiety.

Numbers are limited to a maximum of 8 people. You can book your place via the Embody Wellness website here or call Embody on 020 7099 0048.