Is my home yoga practice long enough?
I get asked this question a great deal by students and friends and especially now during these changing times of uncertainty and upheaval for us all. How long should we dedicate to our physical and mental practice on the mat? When we are spending a huge amount of our day at home we are pulled in many different directions through family, work, chores and life in general. By rolling out our mat and sitting and moving we are creating headspace for ourselves and free time to move a little or alot. If you have 5 or 10 minutes in your day you can stretch working through some supine spinal twists and a couple of Downward Dogs – which is a wonderful all over body stretch. It’s also invigorating for the body and mind but not over stimulating. I know from my own personal practice I end up doing something completely different to what I had planned to do but that’s ok! It may be that I want to have a more dynamic yoga flow but I switch to a slower, softer flow. Practice and enjoy what your body and mind wants on the mat at this particular time in the present moment.
Are you Yin?
I teach at the beautiful boutique studio Yin & Yoga based in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire.
Yin is a practice designed to stretch the connective tissues around the joints accessing the deep layers of fascia. The poses are held for 3 to 5 minutes with a focus on around 7 poses per class with themes such as hips, spine, shoulders, liver and kidneys. It’s a wonderful practice and will set you up for a super restful evening afterwards.
Come and join me on the mat on Sundays (every alternate one) at 9am and Mondays at 7.30pm. To book head to https://www.yinandyoga.com or via the Mind Body App.
Here’s a short stress-releasing exercise I wrote for the Asquith blog. I would love to hear your thoughts so get in touch! Practice at anytime of the day to de-stress and de-clutter the mind or try it at the end of your yoga practice before final relaxation. Happy practice!
Before I started practicing yoga I never really thought about how I breathed. In my first few yoga classes when practicing some breathing exercises I realized I was reverse breathing some of the time – on my inhale I was drawing my belly in rather than filling it up. Breath is essential to our lives and breathing in the proper way is so beneficial for us – it decreases feelings of stress and anxiety, helps us be present in the moment, increases our energy levels and lowers our blood pressure.
Here’s a simple but effective breathing exercise to do at any time of the day, you only need 5 minutes out of your day!
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position, perhaps sit with your back to a wall so you are as comfortable as possible and on a cushion. Let your hands rest on your knees palms face down, having a long spine, relaxed shoulders and soft face. Let your eyelids become heavy. Notice how your mind/body feels at this moment in time. Begin to tune in with your breath, starting to focus on your inhale and exhale. Now take a big inhale through the nose and a big exhale through the mouth, repeat a couple more times. Then let the breath become easy and relaxed, beginning to let your body settle being present in the moment. If thoughts arise keep bringing your awareness back to your breath. Continuing to breath easy. On the inhale the belly rises, the diaphragm goes down, on the exhale the diaphragm rises.
Inhale through the nose, belly rising, exhale through the nose, belly deflating. Now begin to count the breaths. Inhale for the count of 3, exhale for the count of 4 – starting to slow down the exhale. Continue with this for a few minutes. Then let the breath return to normal. Continue sitting still. Notice any subtle changes to how you feel in your body and your mind. Crack open eyes, clasp hands in front, take a nice big inhale and reach arms up over the head, exhale, release the arms and smile. Don’t rush, come out of your cross-legged pose slowly.