Tag Archives: yoga

What’s your arms only rope climb equivalent?

 

SimoneBiles

Fitness is a funny thing. We might get injured or distracted. Things we’d previously worked up to and got to the point of doing with, if not ease, then less struggle, suddenly feel impossible again.

This might be lifting a particular weight, a speed you’ve not matched, a yoga pose you’ve not done for a while… Just as getting stronger, fitter, more flexible and powerful has a positive impact on our confidence and mood, getting out of the habit can have a detrimental effect.

I often wonder how Simone Biles is doing.

After her phenomenal performances at last year’s Olympics, the image that stayed with me was of her daily workout’s inclusion of climbing a rope ladder using only her arms.

She made it look – like her gymnastics – like FUN.

You can see her brief pre-Olympic interview with Ellen DeGeneres, including some gymnastics clips and the infamous rope climb HERE.

‘It’s very easy,’ she tells Ellen as if she means it. ‘I do one rope a day like that.’

Every so often, when psyching myself up to cycle to the pool, I wonder. Does she still do it? What would happen if she had a week off?

I’m not an athlete (although, when I had a whole lane to myself at the Olympic pool in Stratford when it opened to the public, I did imagine – for a few seconds – being an Olympic swimmer).

Even so, I notice that if I don’t cycle for a few days, I feel the effort more when I do again. My 3 or 4 swims each week (sometimes I only manage two) are almost always for an hour but I notice that when I’m more on top of things and going more often, I’ll swim faster. Some of them – many of them – are pretty leisurely. I’m no Olympian but I love being in the water.

Injury means that for almost a year, my yoga practice has been lighter on the upper body work. I crave certain poses but know I’d be foolish to try them again before I fully heal (I have delayed the healing by not being so patient in the past). I’m also aware that I might not be able to do them again and that saddens me.

And this is another key, when recovering after injury or getting back into any kind of training: Being friendly to our bodies and appreciating what they can do today. Not beating ourselves up remembering through rose tinted glasses how we could do more in the past.

What do you do quite effortlessly? How often do you test yourself to keep it going?

What’s your arms only rope climb equivalent?

How’s your self-talk when you’re in that zone?

What are you building up to?

What helps you be kinder to yourself when illness, injury or other obstacles mean you can’t reach your fitness goals?

I am regularly awed at how quickly I start to feel like an amoeba if I don’t swim enough and then, it’s like magic how much better it makes me feel when I get back into the pool and sea.

Do you notice an impact on your mood when you’re working out well and when, for whatever reason, you’re not?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

 

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Working with our changing energy levels

What helps you feel most strong, fit and healthy-

When I’m on fire (feeling strong, fit and healthy), I think practically nothing of cycling the four mile round trip to get to the gym, do a (yoga, Pilates or Body Balance) class, swim for an hour and head home.

When I’m at my strongest, I do this three or four times a week. I feel like ‘Yaaaaayyyyy! Am really getting somewhere. I can feel myself getting stronger, more toned, more flexible and even [often right before I fall over] more co-ordinated!’

And then, maybe I get my period or a cold or injure myself or simply fill my schedule with too much work and I lose that momentum.

Three or even two times a week then feels more like hard work. And yet, I know myself – If I don’t get my two or three swims a week, I start feeling more amoeba than human. Swimming for me is more yogic than yoga. Even so, I do at least a little yoga every morning after my meditation.

Again, this varies a lot. Sometimes it’s a ‘proper’ practice, other times, just a few gentle poses. And (when feeling more amoeba than human) sometimes, maybe just Child pose. The important thing is that I do some yoga every day.

On other days, I’m generally walking a fair bit or cycling to run errands and go back and forth from work. Yet it feels as if I regularly cycle between feeling like I’ve got this routine down as habit and meh.

While I’m more at ease with the ‘on top of the world’, ‘getting stuff done’ part of my cycle, I’ve learned to honour all parts. That’s not to say that when I’m feeling ‘meh’, I don’t wish I could snap myself out of it.

Sometimes, self-care means pushing myself and doing more (like going for that swim I’m planning during a break between sessions today) and other times, letting myself off the hook.

How do you manage your energy cycles and fitness routines? 

What helps you be kind to yourself wherever you are in your cycle?

What is your ‘ideal’ exercise schedule for a strong week?

What about when you’re feeling much more ‘meh’?

Feel free to share below.

love,

Eve

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Are you letting strangers tell you you *should* be feeling blue?

 BlueMonday
Apparently, Monday’s ‘blue Monday’. Maybe, if you’re already feeling blue, knowing you’re not alone helps? Perhaps you’re bewildered as you’re having a brilliant 2017?
Today, Monday and everyday, let yourself feel however you actually feel. Amazing or really low, it’ll pass.
If you’re feeling a bit fragile, be extra kind to yourself. This means different things for all of us – ask yourself what might help you most right now.
If you want to lift your mood, notice how you want to move. If you enjoy yoga, gentle backbends can help us feel happier. You might want to play with these: Click here for Restorative Fish,  here for Bow and here for Camel.
Ultimately, every day of the year (of your life) you know yourself best. Tune into what you need instead of being swayed by others’ perceptions – especially when they’re worse than how you might actually be feeling.
Do you buy into Blue Monday?
When do you notice low mood?
What helps YOU?
How might you do more of those things?
Feel free to post below.
love,
Eve
(PS – I’ve tried editing this several times but can’t correct the formatting)
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My (and others’) tips on using yoga to boost mood in Surrey Occasions (published October 2016)

SurreyOccassionsYogaDepressionAnxietyOct16

Click here to read it

Thanks Karen Glaser for including my tips on using yoga for anxiety and depression.

What helps you feel better naturally (this is NOT about not taking prescribed medication or getting medical help and advice from your GP – complementary not alternative)?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

 

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Plough pose benefits

plough

Plough can help digestion, alleviate stress, headaches and backaches.

From Shoulder Stand, simply bring the toes to the floor behind you, pausing for a few complete breaths, noticing how this feels.

From lying on the mat, bring the arms alongside the body, bend the knees and gently lift the legs so the soles of the feet are facing the ceiling. Grounding through the arms, allow the knees to come towards you so the buttocks and hips lift.

As you roll more onto the shoulders, move the hands to the lower back. Straightening the legs as they come towards the back of the head, place the hands back down to the ground, bringing the toes as close to the floor as feels good. Keep the hips lifted by grounding through the arms.

If the toes don’t reach the ground, you can continue supporting the back with the hands. Notice the breath and, if comfortable to do so, aim to hold for five complete breaths. Also notice if you’re holding any tension in the tongue or throat and release that.

Avoid if pregnant or you have any neck issues or untreated high blood pressure.

Do you like Plough pose?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM

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Camel pose benefits

Camel

From a high kneeling position, tuck the toes under (unless you want a deeper back bend) and take the hands to the lower back / sacrum. Gently open the heart centre as you tilt the chin and head and lean backwards.

This may be enough of a backbend for you or, if you want to go further, take the hands to rest on the ankles, keeping balanced, and reach the head towards the feet as you continue to open the heart centre upwards.

Notice what’s happening with the breath and, as well as aiming to continue with your longer exhalation and lower abdominal breath, Camel can be great for training the breath to the back of the lungs encouraging full thoracic breathing.

If it feels good, stay for five complete breaths.

Camel can help bring us new perspectives as well as offering the mood boosting benefits of backbends.

What do you like most about Camel?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM

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Bridge

Bridge

Harvard neurophysiologist and yoga researcher Sat Bir Singh Khalsa recommends Bridge (done early in the day) for insomnia.

Lying on your back with head, neck and spine aligned, have arms alongside the body, palms down. Drawing the feet towards the torso with bent knees over the ankles, gently inhale rising up and exhale back down.

After a few breaths like this, you may want to hold the pose, lifting the hips towards the heavens, opening the heart centre and noticing the breath. Don’t have the feet so close to the torso that the hips jut forward.

Keep the inner thighs active (maybe using a block) and when you’ve had a few (maybe 5 if that feels good) complete breaths, gently come back down to the ground and stretch in whatever way feels best for you.

It’s a balancing pose, both grounding and energising. The heart is open and it helps build power and lung capacity as well as relieving lower back tension.

Holding it for a short time (or simply inhaling lifting up and exhaling down) can be helpful for high blood pressure.

It also helps us ponder gaps (between where we were and where we want to be) we’ve already bridged in our lives, encouraging us to do the same with current obstacles.

Do you like Bridge?

What has it helped you with?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

butterflysiglogo

IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM

 

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Outdoor yoga (my and other tips in Your Healthy Living)

YogaOutdoorsYourHealthyLiving

Click here to read the whole piece.

I’ve often practiced outside over the years. Mostly in the garden but sometimes, in more exotic locales.

We had outdoor classes in Spain many years ago (I was running the coaching element of some wellbeing retreats and really enjoyed the daily yoga and pilates overlooked by actual mountains and orange groves). And when I studied yoga in India*, that was outside, under the palm trees.

Last summer was my first time teaching outside (by the River Brain) and I’m still in awe of those students (seemingly) happily doing Lion alongside the River Walk.

What are your favourite outdoor yoga spaces?

What about asanas (poses?)

What about other outdoor exercise?

Top tips?

Feel free to share in the comments below.

love,

Eve

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*howling. Was in Goa and booked a private class. It was long before I ever considered becoming a yoga therapist myself but the idea of studying yoga in its birthplace tickled me

 

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Sphinx benefits

Sphinx

One of my favourite heart openers, Sphinx allows much of the body to remain grounded so the heart can open but in a protected, safe way.

If you want to try it, start by lying on your belly with your head, neck and spine aligned. Maybe consciously release any heartaches and blocks through the heart centre, into the earth, knowing they can be recycled for the benefit of the planet.

Take the elbows so they’re under the shoulders and lift the heart centre and the eyes so you’re looking ahead. Drop the shoulder blades and notice your breath.

As well as helping us lift our mood, Spinx strengthens the spine and abdominal muscles. It’s a gentle back bend so we can really tune into the level that’s right for us at any given time.

Similarly, when it comes to opening your heart off the yoga mat, you can become attuned to the degree of intensity you choose at any time.

love,

Eve

butterflysiglogo

IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM

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Up Dog benefits

UpDog

Part of many Sun Salutations, Upward Facing Dog (I love imagining having a dog and saying, ‘Up Dog’, encouraging sofa and furniture use) is a great way to strengthen the spine, arms, wrists, shoulders, chest, lungs and abdomen.

Incredibly heart opening, it also helps strengthen the internal organs (including training lung capacity) and can lift our mood as well as energising us.

From lying on your belly, come up onto the palms of the hands (which should be below the elbows and shoulders to avoid any pressure for the lower back) extending the arms and lengthening the neck as much as is comfortable.

Ideally, just the tops of the toes and palms of the hands touch the mat as you open into Up Dog. In the Sun Salutations, come from Up Dog into Down Dog or, if practicing it on its own, come back to rest on your belly, noticing the breath and how you feel during and afterwards.

Does Up Dog help you feel more energised?

What do you notice about your breath in it?

Feel free to share below.

love,

Eve

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