#SavasanaSeptember

#SavasanaSeptember

Savasana for 20 minutes. Every day. For 1 month.

If I suggested that you put your lengthy to-do list to one side and lie down for twenty minutes right now, what would your response be?

This September marks 5 years since I embarked on my #365Savasana Project (which I wrote about at the time for OM Yoga Magazine)
when every day for 1 year I practised Savasana for 20 minutes – a slightly crazy idea which turned out to be transformative!

So this September I am going to be practising Savasana every day for 20 minutes. I’d love you to join me!

• Get comfortable using as many cushion and blankets as you need;
• Set a timer;
• Ideally cover your eyes with a soft scarf or eye pillow (as light can be an irritant);
• If your mind wanders (which is completely normal) guide your awareness to the steady rise and fall of your breath.
• Try not to judge how you are doing. Practise allowing yourself to Be.

(I think I can hear you shouting that you are too busy from here! But if you’re feeling frazzled or generally rushed off your feet it may be just what you need.)
Savasana (or Corpse Pose), lying down in a comfortable position (usually) on your back, is often described as the easiest pose to do but the most difficult to master. Lying still for twenty minutes a day may seem unimaginable. But you can start small with just a minute or two and work your way up.
A restorative Savsasna allows your body to properly rest – something we rarely experience in our day-to-day over-stimulated existence. More than a little nap, Savasana helps to shift the nervous system into the parasympathetic state (calming the ‘fight flight’ response and switching on the relaxation response)
Just some of the benefits of Savasana include:
• Promoting proper physical rest and regeneration by stimulating the ‘relaxation response’
• Improved sleep quality
• Calming a busy mind
• Lowering blood pressure

Over the course of September I’ll be sharing some tips and different Savasana variations on my Instagram account (@ucanyoga1). If you do choose to join me I would love to hear how you are finding the experience by using the #SavasanaSeptember hashtag.

Joyful & Open: A Late Autumn Yin & Yoga Nidra Workshop

Joyful & Open: A Late Autumn Yin & Yoga Nidra Workshop

Saturday 10 November | 2.00pm to 4.00pm | £25

Join me for this upcoming seasonal workshop at Embody Wellness in Vauxhall.

In Chinese Medicine there are Five Elements that are central to nature’s cycles and are reflected in the cycles of our bodies. They are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth, and each element is connected to a specific season, organ system and emotion.

Metal is linked to Autumn and to the lungs and large intestine – and is all about transformation. Just as Autumn is a time when nature begins to draw its energy inwards to prepare for the colder, darker months ahead, precious metals can be found deep in the earth ready to be discovered and transformed without ever losing their true essence.

Part one of this workshop will be a lung and large intestine yin yoga practice, where physically the focus is on moving deeper into the connective tissues of the body (ligaments, tendons and fascia – the cling-film-like ‘tissue’ which holds our muscles together). Imbalanced lung and large intestine Qi (energy) can manifest as respiratory problems, sadness, fatigue, low immunity and colds. When lung Qi is balanced we feel present, optimistic and more able to face life’s ups and downs with acceptance and courage.

In this slow practice, we remain in each yin yoga pose for three to five minutes. We will then move into part two of the workshop – a blissful, extended yoga nidra to leave you feeling refreshed, restored and rebalanced.

This workshop is open to all levels, however it is not suitable for pregnant students.

You can book your place via the Embody Wellness website here or call Embody on 020 7099 0048.

Loving Kindness Meditation – Cultivating Compassion for Self and Others

Loving Kindness Meditation – Cultivating Compassion for Self and Others

What is Loving Kindness Meditation?

Metta Bhavana is the original name of this practice originating from the Buddhist tradition, which can be practised by anyone regardless of religious affiliation. Metta means (non-romantic) ‘love’, kindness, or friendliness: hence ‘Loving Kindness’ for short. Bhavana means ‘development’ or ‘cultivation’. Research shows that Loving Kindness meditation has numerous benefits from reducing self-criticism and depressive symptoms (Shahar et al 2014) to increasing positive emotions such as joy, love, gratitude, contentment and hope (Frederickson et al 2008)

I have recorded this Loving Kindness meditation for you to help cultivate a deeper sense of kindness, compassion, goodwill and appreciation for yourself and the world around you.

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.

 

Restorative Yoga for Depression

Restorative Yoga for Depression

Restorative Yoga for Depression Workshop – Saturday 25th November 2017 2.15-4.15pm at Embody Wellness

Depression can impact our entire being. What we think about, how we feel, how we behave, all altered as dperession creates a state of dysrgeulation 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.