Focus on your breathing to release stress

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Tuesday, 08 December 2015
Written by Sarah PJ White

A hectic lifestyle will inevitably lead to stress. Unless you’re lucky enough to work for yourself or work from home, there’s the commute into work and back again, the queues and traffic, and the general feeling that everything and everyone are just too busy to slow down or take a breather.

And sometimes, we just want the pace to stop, or at least slow down enough so we can catch our breath and our bearings!

Why you need to take a breather

You may not be able to change your work situation or the general busyness of others – but you can release that pent up stress.

Giving yourself a 10-20 minute timeout to focus on your breathing will enable you to do just that, as well as allowing you the space to calm down and take a step back from your life.

Breathing is just breathing… right?

You see, breathing itself is automatic to us all – but that doesn’t mean we’re actually doing it right! Stressed and busy people tend to shallow breathe – taking short, shallow breathes from their upper chest area. This can quickly lead to hyperventilation, anxiety and panic attacks, plus it can also prolong the associated feelings – especially as shallow breathing is actually part of the typical stress and fight or flight response.

Abdominal breathing, on the other hand, aids relaxation and promotes stress relief – meaning lower blood pressure, a steadier, slower heartbeat, reduced stress levels and an increase in your energy.

By breathing slowly, deeply and evenly through your nose you’re ensuring you have a balanced oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood – and this leads to an improved immune system and reduced lactic acid build-up in the muscles of your body.

Practice better breathing

  • Sit comfortably and raise your ribcage to expand your chest.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Feel how they move whilst you breathe.
  • Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five just yet, keep practicing until you can).
  • Allow your chest and lower stomach to rise.
  • Breathe out through your mouth for a slow count of five.

Get yourself into a routine of practicing this breathing technique twice a day for 10-20 minutes a time and you’ll soon start to notice an improvement in both your mood and your energy levels.

Image © bertys30/Dollar Photo Club

The importance of grounding and protecting your energy

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Tuesday, 01 December 2015
Written by Sarah PJ White

Grounding helps you control energies that flow through you. It helps to keep you tethered and focused on the here and now – and this is especially useful when you’re working on visualisations, angels and guides. But it’s not just the more ‘spiritual;’ people that need to ground – it’s beneficial to all of us.

If you’re spending a lot of time feeling generally lost and unsettled, forgetful and/or shaky, the chances are you’re not grounded. Like an electrical current needs earthing, people need to ‘earth’ their energy too.

What can grounding do for you?

Grounding is so important to your emotional, physical and mental health. It helps promote a positive feeling of wellbeing and connection, helping you to feel settled, confident and secure. Grounding can also help improve your sleep pattern and your overall energy throughout the day.

How to ground – a simple exercise

  • Place both feet flat on the ground
  • Take a couple of slow, deep breaths in and out
  • Imagine tree roots extending from your feet, down into the earth. These tree roots go right down into the earth’s core.
  • If you wish, you can then release negative or excess energy and stress from your body, by taking it down and out through the roots.

Protecting your energy

Healers, coaches and therapists who work with other people on a regular basis need to protect their energy, as they often have to deal with clearing negative energies. But we all interact with different people on a daily basis, meaning it’s vitally important for us all to protect our energy.

Why you need to protect your energy

Have you ever been in a room with someone and felt drained when you left? Your energy is what helps you feel alive and connected with the world – but if you don’t protect it, other people can drain it from you – leaving you feeling energetically drained.

But we also absorb other people’s energies – again, leaving us with unexplained mood changes and feeling really tired. We interact with the vibrations of everyone around us, so protecting our own energy helps prevent this happening – especially with the lower, heavier vibrations of negativity and heavy emotions etc.

How to protect your energy

  • Imagine yourself surrounded by a protective bubble of white light, completely enveloping you from head to foot.
  • You can fill the bubble with this light and positive energy, surrounding you with love and joy.
  • Now picture negativity and/or dark, heavy emotions as arrows coming towards you. These arrows simply bounce of your bubble and fall gently to the ground.

This simple visualisation technique can be carried out throughout the day, prior to spending time with negative people or in busy offices etc. – basically any situation that feels like you need some extra protection.

Image © andreusK/Dollar Photo Club

Find your courage with the Warrior pose

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Thursday, 05 November 2015
Written by Sarah PJ White

The Warrior pose is a fundamental pose (or asana) in yoga. It’s also a great one for beginners and advanced yoga practitioners alike, as it’s both approachable and less intimidating them some of the other asanas. It’s also a strength-building one too – for both your mind and your body.

In Sanskrit, the warrior pose is ‘virabhadrasana’ – derived from the word ‘Virabhadra’ – the name of a great warrior in Indian mythology. The warrior pose is said to bring you similar qualities to that of the great warrior – spirituality and enlightenment.

The Warrior pose enables you work on both your strength and steadiness – and with three variations of the pose – your ability to feel the benefits isn’t dependant on your level of fitness and flexibility. All warrior asanas allow you to build strength and body awareness, whilst also increasing your overall confidence levels. Each of the poses improve your circulation and energises your body.

But it’s also important to remember that yoga poses not only help your physical body, they also mirror the benefits internally, so they also help improve your mental and emotional wellbeing too. All three variations offer you the following benefits:

Physical benefits

As with all yoga asanas, the Warrior pose will improve the strength and flexibility of various muscles and joints. This includes:

  • Legs – including the muscles in your thighs, hips, ankles and feet
  • Your bottom and hips – as well as hip rotation
  • Core muscles and stabiliser muscles
  • Your upper body – including chest, spine, shoulders and arms
  • Endurance building – especially if you practice holding the position for longer periods of time
  • Your overall balance

Mental wellbeing

The Warrior pose makes you more aware of your body and what’s going on with it – for example, where you’re holding tension and stress, along with the ability to release them. It also practices the art of concentration, relaxation and better breathing.

Outside of the yoga studio the Warrior pose gives you a better understanding of your posture and body awareness generally, along with the ability to keep your focus on the present – especially in difficult situations.

Emotional benefits

The emotional benefits of the Warrior asana include the strength to stand strong, with an open chest and heart, enabling you to summon up an inner strength and courage. It really is a ‘loud and proud’ pose – something that can feel odd if you’re used to being timid! But it also enables you to find that inner stillness of mind and body, enabling you to better balance your emotions and find the inner courage to stand strong in uncomfortable moments.

 

If you are starting out with your yoga practice why not check out my DVD? Buy direct from me and from my website here

Image © Paul Hakimata/Dollar Photo Club

Is your wheel of life imbalanced?

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Friday, 27 November 2015
Written by Sarah PJ White

The wheel of life is a really popular coaching tool – and is it any wonder? It gives both the coach and the client a visual, easy to understand view of your life and what areas need addressing. The great thing about the wheel of life is you can actually work on it by yourself too.

Why a wheel? Well, it gives you a smooth, easy ride if your wheel is even. However, if it’s uneven – you’re in for a bumpy, wonky journey!

If your life is leaving you wanting clarity or if you want to know which areas you need to work on, read on to find out how creating your own wheel of life can help.

The different areas of the wheel

The wheel of life comprises of 8 sections, each one representing an area of your life. The different areas are:

  • Health
  • Money
  • Personal growth and learning
  • Family and friends
  • Career
  • Physical environment
  • Fun, leisure
  • Significant other/romance

You can also tailor the wheel to match the unique areas of your life, by changing the areas to match specific areas you want covered.

What’s important to remember about the different areas of your life is they all interact and affect each other. For example, you may feel that your career isn’t where you want it to be, so is making you unhappy. That unhappiness and discontentment will have a knock-on effect on your money, health and possibly even your significant other, family and friends.

How to compile your own wheel of life

Draw a circle and divide it into 8 equal sections. You then need to mark numbers 1 through to 10, starting from the inner part of the wheel (as illustrated above).

You can then mark each area on a ‘satisfaction/happiness’ score of 1 to 10 – with ten being the most satisfied or happy.

The end result will show you which areas you need to improve or work on, in order to make your life more rounded and positive for you.

Working with a life coach to even out your life areas

Sometimes the results shown by your wheel of life will highlight areas that you are unsure of how to solve. This is where a life coach can help. They can help you get clarity on what you want, as well as how to get the results you wish to achieve in these specific areas – leading you to find a more balanced, healthier and happier life.

If you want to work with me, I offer 1:1 coaching as Finding Your Joy Formula and a 4 week course The Joy Journey or just send me an email and we can arrange a discovery chat. I'm excited to talk with you.

The 7 health benefits of the Downward Facing Dog

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Thursday, 08 October 2015
Written by Sarah PJ White

The Downward Facing Dog pose is known as the ‘anchoring’ posture. It is one of the master positions, taught in most styles of yoga. Traditionally known as ‘Adho Mukha Svanasana’, the Downward Facing Dog is great for experienced and novice yoga fans alike. There are a number of health benefits you gain from practising this yoga move – the main 7 are listed below.

When practising the Downward Facing Dog it’s important to engage your core muscles. Your body should form an inverted V – without allowing your shoulders to sink or your upper body to collapse down. You’re aiming for long, lean and stretched. It’s also important to make sure you don’t hyperextend your knees – so draw up through your quads.

Digestion

To take full advantage of this pose, aim to pull your navel into your spine as you stretch into this pose. This encourages your digestive organs (liver, spleen and kidneys) to function better.

Energising

When it comes to increasing your energy and feeling alive, the Downward Dog is one of the best poses to include in your routine. Spend at least 1 minute in the pose, to ensure maximum benefit – this is especially welcome, if you’ve had a hard day at the office!

Circulation

Like any other pose that puts your heart above your head, the Downward Facing Dog encourages the blood flow throughout your body. This not only helps regulate your blood pressure, it can also help flush out toxins and keep your immune system in good order.

Muscle toning (upper and core)

Practicing the Downward Facing Dog pose will help you maintain the flexibility and tone in your upper muscles. It also helps you tone your core muscles, as pulling in your navel encourages your abdominals to engage and support your spine. Remember to also push down through your heels, to maximise the stretch in your quads.

Release tension and stress

The Downward Facing Dog pose is especially beneficial to those who suffer from shoulder and/or upper back pain. We hold so much tension in these areas and, they in turn, can cause our neck muscle to tighten and result in tension headaches or migraines.

Bone density

This pose is an especially important one to use as we grow older, as it can help minimise our risk for osteoporosis. The upper body muscle take the weight of your body, causing them to shake and giving your bones a bit of a rest!

Taking a much-needed pause

Whether you need to stretch out the aches and pains in your body or give yourself a mental timeout – the Downward Facing Dog pose enables you to take a much-needed pause. This makes is the perfect pose to add to your daily routine – whether you prefer evening or morning yoga routines.

 

If you are looking for a way to get into a regular yoga practice but aren't sure how to start, my Yoga For Beginners DVD is a perfect place to start.