An energising breath practice for you!

It is starting to get colder and energy levels are dropping, I know not only from my own experience but from the difficulties I’ve been having lately getting my kids out of bed each morning.

As per my post last week I am planning a Beat those Winter Blues Workshop which will include practices designed to help you warm up when needed and give you the energy you need to get out of bed and through your day. (When you need to, an occasional indulgent sleep in during the winter months can be nice!)

One practice that I might include is the very simple one that follows, give it a try and let me know how you find it. Great first thing in the morning before you climb out of bed!

This breath works by extending the inhalation which is the energizing part of your breath. The great thing about it is that it can also be used in reverse (substitute inhale for exhale and vice versa) to help you wind down and relax, great for the end of the day when it’s time to sleep.

To begin introduce a count to your breath, notice how long the inhalation and exhalation are and which one is the longer of the two.

If you find the in breath is already longer then you simply extend it a little further, as an example if your in breath is 5 counts long, out breath 4 counts long you can try inhaling for 6 counts for a few breaths, then 7. Make sure it always feels comfortable – you lose any benefits from your breath practices if you are not comfortable with them. For most people two to four counts longer is okay but always listen to your own body and never push beyond what feels okay.

If you find the exhalation is the longer part of the breath you work in the same was, extending the in breath by one count every 3-4 breaths, gradually bringing the breath into balance and then gradually extending the inhalation.

You might find the exhalation also wants to extend a little, let that happen if this does occur, as long as the in breath is the longer part you will be energized by the practice. You can move from in 6, out 4 to in 8, out 6 or whatever ratio is comfortable for you.

A few minutes of this will have you feeling much more ready to face the day, it is also great for mid afternoon energy slumps.

If at any time you feel uncomfortable then release the breath practice and allow your breath to return to its own comfortable rhythm.

Happy Breathing.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Winter is coming…

I know, that line is from Game of Thrones and I use it with respect as I am a fan of both the books and the television series.

The truth is however, that winter is coming. As I write this my children have headed back to school with umbrellas and jackets on (well the younger two have, the oldest doesn’t feel the cold and was in his usual attire of shorts and shirt!), the rain is falling constantly outside, not heavily but with stamina as though it has set in and isn’t going anywhere soon and the temperature has dropped enough that even inside I have long pants and a hoodie on.

A seed of an idea has been growing in my mind since the beginning of Autumn, the idea of a workshop to help us deal with the changes winter brings. Of all of the seasons it is for many the most challenging. Summers heat can be stifling at times and Spring and Autumn have their transitional variations in weather that I enjoy but winter is different. In nature winter is a time of dormant hibernation, everything slows down or stops completely including our bodies and energy levels. Many people experience SAD or seasonal affective disorder to one degree or another, some are very aware of it while others might not know the cause of their experiences. Symptoms include depression or feeling down, low energy levels , fatigue, hopelessness, increased need to sleep, lowered interest levels in daily activities and withdrawal from friends, family and lifestyle.

I feel that many of the challenges I personally experience in winter arise from resisting the winter energy, humans do not hibernate but we do need to slow down sometimes and in our society that doesn’t always happen. We still have to get up each day and get things done despite the fact that it is increasingly difficult to do so. Many people do not even see sunlight as the shorter days mean they both arrive and leave work in darkness and spend their day under artificial lighting.

So my workshop idea was to share a few yoga practices that I find very useful to beat those winter blues.

Firstly to work on practices to warm up and energise the body so that getting out of that warm bed is less of a challenge and we can feel productive and achieve what we need to get done.

Secondly to honour the invitation winter gives us to go with rather than fight against the need to deeply rest and to take some time to withdraw from the business of life. Restorative yoga followed by deep relaxation allowing students the opportunity to relax and restore completely and fully.

Details of the workshop can be found here, if you have any questions or would like to book in please contact me at Belinda@yogatogrow.com.au and I will reserve your place. If you know anyone who you think might be interested in attending please invite them along!

Stay warm!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Yoga Conference Reflections…

I was lucky enough to attend Yoga Australia’s Joy in Yoga conference over the weekend. So many benefits in going to this type of event, from the many different speakers to the networking with other yoga teachers to the varied workshops with teachers who I otherwise would be unlikely to have access to.

What I love most about yoga is that there are so many styles and teachers within styles that everyone can find one to suit them. This was reflected in Lindy Burns presentation as she shared her yoga story from a students point of view. She told the unfortunately quite familiar tale of going to one yoga class, not having a great experience and not going back for years afterwards. Luckily when the stars aligned she did go back, to a different teacher in a different place and has now found the yoga that suits her.

I was lucky enough to attend a beautiful pranayama practice with Leigh Blashki, one of the extraordinary teachers I trained with, two workshops with Peter Mulholland whose approach to yoga is beautiful in its simplicity, a chanting workshop (Yum) with Dr Sherelle Shanti Connaughton, a Thai Yoga massage taster (double Yum and inspired me to maybe look at training in this modality…) and many other speakers, workshops and practices.

I caught up with friends I trained with and friends I have met at other yoga events and workshops and made a few new friends. The energy in a place with over 250 yoga teachers is quite inspiring in itself even without the wonderful content of the presentations!

Exploring joy was a wonderful theme to work with, I certainly found lots of joy myself over the weekend and hope to spread that joy through my classes out into the world.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

On being forty

As mentioned in my post a couple of weeks ago, I have recently turned 40.

We often tend to think of these big “0” birthdays, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and so on as milestones or turning points in our life and it is nice to take the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed when they come around. Looking back ten years to my 30th birthday I can see how much I have grown and changed over that time. These past ten years have included the birth of my youngest son, my yoga teacher training, saying my final farewell to my beloved Pa, renovating our house, my older two children starting high school and many other life changing events. Each one of these experiences has helped me to learn more about myself and the world around me. The good times and the bad, the struggles and the highlights, each has its own gifts to offer which make me feel much wiser and more in touch with myself and my world at forty than I was at thirty. Who knows what the next ten years may bring and where fifty will find me? I look forward to finding out!

40th Birthday 307

I celebrated my birthday with my close family with a weekend away and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I love to get back to nature, to spend time with family, to take time out to relax and step away from the busyness of life and our weekend at Clearview Retreat gave us all of the above and more. Above is just one of the beautiful views we took in and below are some of the companions we met over the weekend.

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Love and light,

 

Belinda

xxx