Start and end your day right with these simple three-step habits

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Monday, 10 December 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

Do you wake up in the morning and drag yourself out of bed? Maybe you go to bed at the end of a day, feeling drained and worrying about what the morning will bring?

Whatever situation you’re in and whatever your circumstances, starting and ending your day right will ensure you’re feeling happier, will help build your positivity and guarantee a better night’s sleep.

Start your day right

This simple three-step habit is a great morning ritual. Carry out these steps as soon as you wake – and before you’ve got out of bed.

Give your body a good stretch – Stretching in bed gives your body a boost. It awakens your muscles, helps get the blood flowing around your body and leaves you feeling connected and ready to embrace the day ahead.

Ensure your first thoughts are positive – Getting into the habit of having positive thoughts begins with those very first thoughts you have when you wake up. This is essential, if you want to improve your general mood and wellbeing throughout the day. Make “I’m going to have a great day” your mantra every morning.

Clear your head – Whilst playing a favourite piece of music, write two pages of whatever is in your head. This helps to clear the mind fog associated with worry and anxiety, and also leaves room for more positive thoughts. The music will help to get you started and will, over time, serve as a key to allowing your thoughts to flow easily from head to paper.

End your day on a high

Carrying out this simple three-step evening ritual will enable you to end your day in a positive frame of mind, whilst clearing your head and easing yourself into a better night’s sleep.

Gratitude exercise – No ritual would be complete without a gratitude exercise. When you first start practising this exercise, start with writing down just three things – over time you can work up to ten a day. Be grateful for anything – from a great mug of tea to landing that promotion – and everything in between!

Write down your worries and reminders – Get down onto paper any worries you may have on your mind and/or things you need to remember for the next day. This gets them out of your head and allows you to have a clear mind, ready for switching off.

Focus on your breathing and happy things – Now your mind is clear, you can focus on taking slow, calm, deep and long breaths to allow you to fall off to sleep. Whilst you’re drifting off, think of all the happy things that have happened throughout the day. If you’re struggling to find happy things, focus on happy things that will be happening over the coming days and months.

Follow these two simple three-step habits and you’ll find it so much easier to switch off at the end of each day. You’ll also find your sleep pattern improves and, you’ll not only be looking forward to bedtime – you’ll also be embracing the coming day ahead too!

Image courtesy of nenadaksic/Dollar Photo Club

The Tree Pose: simple, elegant AND important

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

The Tree Pose, or Vrikshasana, is a simple, elegant and important pose in yoga. Derived from the Sanskrit words ‘vriksha’, meaning tree and ‘asana’, meaning pose, the Tree pose is a basic yoga position, that teaches us all about stability and balance.

It gives you the perfect opportunity to strengthen your body, whilst giving yourself a valuable time-out, in an otherwise busy day – enabling you to find your own inner peace and focus.

There are so many benefits that can be gleaned from this deceptively simple-looking pose, and some are detailed below.

Muscle toning and stretching

Vrikshasana builds inner and outer strength – especially the lower half of your body. Muscles, tendons and bones all benefit, including those in your feet, inner thighs, groin, calves and buttocks. It also strengthens the bones in your hips and pelvis.

It also stretches your back and arms. If you have high blood pressure however, you can still do the Tree Pose, but should avoid holding your arms above your head. Those with low blood pressure or suffering from insomnia or migraines, should avoid doing the Tree Pose altogether.

Focus and concentration

As with any yoga pose, the Tree Pose helps improve your focus and concentration. It brings your focus back to you and your body, as you feel it stretch those muscles and concentrate on not toppling to one side.

You can take the opportunity to have a valuable time-out, to let go of any physical and emotional worries and issues. You’ll feel your shoulders relax and can focus on getting your breathing even and regular.

Relieves sciatica

The Tree Pose can also benefit those suffering from sciatica, as it helps open the hips, relaxing and stretching the muscles in that area. As a side note, it is also said to help reduce flat feet too!

Get additional support

One thing to bear in mind is this pose isn’t as easy as it looks! It takes practice to balance steadily and gracefully on one leg! So, when you first attempt it, you may find it easier to stand with your back against a wall, until you have the strength and stability to carry out this pose independently.

As with many yoga poses, the Tree Pose isn’t about just getting into the position – it’s about maintaining it, long enough to allow it to benefit you. Take your time to get into this pose AND to stay there a while, to further build on those benefits!

Want to learn more about Yoga? Carry on your journey HERE.

Image © Dasha Petrenko/Dollar Photo Club

Benefits of the triangle pose

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 11 April 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

The triangle pose (or TrikonasanaTrikona, meaning triangle or three angles and sana meaning pose) is a great pose for stretching out various muscle groups, improving digestion and for helping to reduce symptoms of various ailments. So let’s break it down and see exactly why the triangle pose is an important asana to add to your yoga workout.

Strengthening

As with all yoga asanas, Trikonasana helps to strengthen various muscles in your body. Both your lower and upper body areas will benefit from the triangle pose, including your chest and arms, abdomen, legs, knees and ankles.

Stretching it out

Again, stretching muscle groups is a fundamental part of any yoga pose, with the triangle pose focusing particularly on the following areas: your groin, hamstrings and calves. However it’s also a great asana to stretch out your shoulders, spine and chest too – and it also opens out your hips, bringing a wealth of additional health benefits, as mentioned below.

The health benefits of the triangle pose

When it comes to health benefits, the triangle pose improves, stimulates and reduces! Firstly, it improves your digestive system. How? Well it stimulates those abdominal and digestive organs, making it a great reliever or constipation and digestive upset. It also massages the muscles and nerves in the pelvic area, releasing stiffness and helping with any aches and pains, plus it helps reduce the symptoms of women going through the menopause.

As the triangle pose opens and stretches the hip area, it also helps relieve symptoms of sciatica and back pain. Oh, and it’s also great for those who have flat feet!

Yoga has long been known to reduce stress levels, anxiety and depression, and the triangle pose is no different.

When to avoid the triangle pose

There are a few contraindications that need to be taken into account, before you attempt the triangle pose. Those with low blood pressure are best avoiding this pose, as are those who are suffering from back and/or neck injuries. It’s also best avoided, if you’re suffering from a migraine or upset stomach. Finally, those with high blood pressure CAN use this pose – however, I’d avoid holding your hands and arms above your head, as this will increase your blood pressure.

Find out more about Dru Yoga HERE.

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The right way to use affirmations

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

Affirmations are a popular buzz word amongst those who want to make positive changes in their lives. They’re often seen as something that works for some, but not for others. But there is a right and wrong way to use affirmations – so how can you use them the correct and ensure they actually work for you?

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is simply a formal declaration of something. It’s usually linked to a goal, intention or potential you want to achieve – so something like ‘Every day I joyfully live life to the fullest’ or ‘I am a money magnet, money flows to me effortlessly’. Affirmations allow the filters in your brain to filter out the unnecessary stuff whilst becoming more aware and focused on those things that make your affirmation real to you.

The problem most people have with affirmations is the fact they can feel unreal, false and uncomfortable to start with, as they’re not your current reality – but this is how you know you need them! You see, the statement is currently uncomfortable to you, as your current reality is vibrating at a different level. The affirmation wording and subsequent filtering, will cause you to either raise your vibration (and current situation) to match the wording – or you’ll drop the affirmation altogether.

How to use affirmations the right way

So how can you use affirmations the right way? Here are seven steps to get you started:

Tip #1: Ensure your affirmation uses present tense

‘I can’, ‘I will’, ‘I am’, ‘I know’ and ‘I love’ are all great examples of using present tense at the start of your affirmations. If you struggle with the resulting affirmation, you can use phrases to help cover the transition from current situation and future reality – such as ‘I am learning to…’ or ‘I am getting better at…’

Tip #2: Make your affirmation positive

This will naturally happen, if you’re using present tense, as you’re making a statement about what you already have. But positive also means wording your affirmation positively too – so no ‘I am no longer…’ or ‘I am getting out of debt now’ – as they’re using negative words.

Tip #3: Add emotion wherever possible

Use wording to emphasise the emotion, such as ‘joyful’, ‘pleasure’ and ‘happy’.

Tip #4: Use only a few at a time

To make it easier for yourself (and your brain!) look to only use a few affirmations at any one time and use them until they sit comfortably and easily with you.

Tip #5: Make them visible to you

You want to write out your affirmations and put them somewhere that will catch your attention – on the fridge, bathroom mirror, bedroom wall etc.

Tip #6: State them out loud, several times a day

There’s something special about stating something out loud – it seems to cement them in somehow. Look to say them out loud at least three times a day and state them firmly and loudly!

Tip #7: Continue with them for at least 21 days – 1 month

It’s said that it can take up to 21 days for something to become a habit, so aim to use your affirmations for at least 21 days – or go the whole way and use them for a month.

Affirmations don’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. By following these seven tips above, you’ll be in an ideal position to reach those goals, dreams and a more positive frame of mind in no time at all!

Continue with your joy journey HERE.

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The benefits of a simple smile

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 04 April 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

Smiling and being happy has a huge range of benefits for both you and those around you – whether you’re whistling whilst you work or attempting to turn a frown upside down!

But happiness, and more precisely, smiling, isn’t just something we do to illustrate our joyful mood – it has a range of health and wellbeing benefits too, PLUS it can help you build rapport with those around you. So what are those additional benefits?

Lower stress and anxiety levels

Smiling actually lowers your heart rate which, in turn, will lower those stress and anxiety levels.

Release those endorphins

Endorphins aren’t just released when you exercise or have been running – they’re also released when you smile! Endorphins help diminish stress hormones in your body, they make you feel happier AND they lessen any pain you may have!

Help your immune system

Smiling actually helps strengthen your immune system too. It increases the white blood cells in your body, enabling your body to react faster when invaders attack your immune system.

A smile is both contagious and attractive

Smile and the whole world will smile with you – well, ok, at least 50% will! But smiling will cause those around you to at least crack a grin with you and it is SO much more attractive to the opposite sex.

Approachable and trustworthy

As mentioned in the above point, we find those who smile attractive. That in itself is great – but we’re also more likely to approach a smiling person, as we trust them more – making it great for those who need reassurance, those who want to build their credibility and those who want to get to know you better!

Great for leadership and productivity

A person in authority who smiles, is more likely to be liked, trusted and admired by his team – and your team are more likely to want to approach you with any problems and issues they may have. But having a team that smiles is important in the workplace too, as it helps to increase their attention span and their focus – leading to an increase in productivity.

Finally, putting a smile on your face, whether it’s a forced or genuine one, helps you feel more positive, especially in unfamiliar surroundings. And if you want to break the ice or ease embarrassment – guess what? A smile will help you there too. So get smiling!

 

Want more than a smile? Try Laughter Yoga

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