Posts

Meditation – Why we should all be doing it!

When I first thought of meditation, I pictured a Monk at the top of a mountain overlooking forests and lakes, legs crossed, eyes closed, the picture of serenity… I was sceptical about it and It was a side of Yoga I showed the least interest in. I only wanted my Practise to be based on postures and breathwork as that’s what I believed was the most important when in fact these are only 2 out of the 8 limbs of Yoga.

In a class setting of 60-75 minutes once a week it can be difficult to approach the aspect of meditation but it really is if not more important that Asana. The only reason we practise Asana (postures) and Pranayama (breathwork) is so we can ready our body and mind for the meditation that should follow.

The reason that it is so important to practise mediation is that it makes you present, makes you a more grounded and calmer person, brings self-awareness, gives you the gift of inner peace and is the best thing you can do for your mental health.

It can be really challenging in this day and age to find thirty minutes plus to sit in silence with our throughs to meditate, there are many many great apps and programmes that can help us but even that can be overwhelming. As soon as we try to silence the mind goes in to overdrive thinking about the most bizarre things like a meal we once had on that holiday to Crete in 2005! This is all part of the process of Mediation and entering Samadhi (a state of divine bliss) but for myself personally I found different ways to enter meditation when it is not possible to find the tranquil environment I craved.

1. House Hold Tasks – Washing up and dusting can be really amazing ways to quiet the mind, it calms the nervous system and mindlessly focusing on the task of cleaning gives the mind a chance to become quiet. So next time you are feeling frazzled grab a duster!

2. Walking in Nature – This one is my absolute favourite! Walking mediation should be made compulsory in my eyes! Walking underneath the canopy of ancient trees feeling the earth underneath your soles, permitting your ears pick up the sound of nature and letting your feet wonder is the most amazing way to quiet the mind, process thoughts and feelings and take in some much-needed fresh air. Mother Nature is truly awesome!

3. Sketch, Doodle or Paint – When I have had a trying day, I find that getting the creative juices flowing really helps to calm me down. Sitting comfortably away from the distraction of technology with a pencil and a scrap of paper and mindlessly letting my mind guide my hand to create shapes and designs brings me focus and clarity. It’s like I am doodling out all the distractions, doubts and blockages that have been buzzing in my brain leaving a much more centered, concise being behind!

4. Music – putting my Headphones in closing my eyes and listening to my favourite music is an amazing way to calm the mind as there is no room for buzzing thoughts when your ears are full of music!

5. Pamper – Lastly, I have found that when I want some peace and quiet and some time for quiet a bath is a gift sent from heaven! Light some candles put some gentle music on and relax.

If you want to learn more about meditation private classes are available, get in touch here!

New to Yoga? What to expect from your first class.

I remember attending my first yoga class after months of wanting to go then chickening out because of thoughts buzzing round my mind saying I would not be good enough, flexible enough, they would all be better than me and judging me because I can’t sit cross legged or touch my toes!

That’s the hardest part of getting to Yoga overcoming the fear of taking those first steps in to the unknown. In our class there is no judgement or competition (we were all a beginner once) we bring awareness inward so there is no need to take notice of what anyone else is doing. Classes with Solis Yoga are light hearted and full of humour, we don’t take ourselves too seriously!

Class normally starts by a few minutes of silence, to connect the breath with the body and give the mind a rest then it’s time to set our sankalpa (intension for the class). We may then practise pranayama(breathwork) moving on to gentle stretching and movement to limber the body. Every class I teach is different and the theme will be discussed at the beginning there will be a mixture of Sun salutations, Balances and sequences that all benefit the body and mind in different ways.

I am always here to help and to ensure practise and alignment is safe, we try to move with our breath and instructions are continuously provided. The most important thing that I remind my students is to ‘listen to the body’ and to show ourselves respect. Its no good to force yourself in to positions where the body is protesting or where we could potentially cause injury and there is no harm taking a little time resting in child’s post or sitting if you need it, every week is different some weeks you may be full of energy and achieve all poses with ease, the next you may feel differently and have a harder journey achieving them. And that is OKAY!

We cool down the body with some gently stretches and twists then come in to our relaxation (Savasana), this may be followed by a guided meditation or some more pranayama. We end our class with an OM or Namaste feeling refreshed, carefree and nourished knowing we have provided a great service to our bodies and minds.

For any further information please contact me at info@solisyoga.uk

Lots of love Emma x

The wonder of Ujjayi Breath

The wonder of Ujjayi Breathing

Muscles trembling, mind wandering, thinking about work that day or what to have for dinner that night, sweat beading on my brow, and wondering how an earth I can hold this posture for a second longer! I am sure anyone who has practised yoga has experienced this… then the teacher reminds me to come back to my Ujjayi breath and suddenly everything seems so much easier, the tension is lifted, my mind is focused on my body and I feel strong again.

There are so many types of breathing (Pranayama) in yoga. Whether it be heating, cooling, energising or relaxing, each one aids your body and mind in different ways. Since teaching I have been starting many of my classes practising Ujjayi breathing. Ujjayi breathing helps create warmth in the body, oxygenises the blood, brings a stillness to the mind, aids concentration and makes holding asanas for a period of time less strenuous.

Solis Yoga students practising Lotus Padmasana

Ujjayi Breathing Technique:
1. Make sure you are sitting comfortably; your back should be straight, long and keep your shoulders away from your ears. (tip – if your back is rounding or your knees are too much off the floor place your sitting bones on a block or a cushion).
2. Close your eyes and breathe naturally for a few minutes letting your mind settle and your breathing come in to an effortless rhythm.
3. Once you feel ready to start, inhale deeply constricting the muscles at the back of your throat as you would do if you were fogging up a window or whispering and on exhalation. Your breath should be audible sounding like an ocean or a sleeping baby (maybe a bit like Darth Vader!)
4. Continue your Ujjayi breathing through your nose letting your mind focus on the sound of inhalation and exhalation.
5. Using Ujjayi breathing throughout your practise really helps to keep your concentration, balance, grounding in the asana and makes meditation so much sweeter.

If you have never practised Ujjayi breathing before, why not give it a try and see the benefits it brings to your practise!

The wonder of Ujjayi Breath