Fingers forming heart at sunrise, wearing mittens


Some people sometimes have ‘one of those days’, while others only have the odd good day. Whatever category you fall into, lockdown and the general world atmosphere over 2020 is bound to have gotten to you. And that is why we wanted to share with you some simple stretching techniques that can really help you to boost health AND level up your good mood.

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit 'Yuj', meaning 'to join' or 'to yoke' or 'to unite'. Yoga practices are intended to create harmony between the mind and body, and union between our individual consciousness and Universal Consciousness.

Yoga is a mind-body exercise. It is a wonderful way to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, to calm and uplift both the body and mind.

There are over 300 positions in the practice of physical yoga, but home practice does not have to be complicated, you can gain much benefit from doing a few minutes a few times a week. Use the postures to help raise you energetically, to uplift your mood and give you a brighter perspective.

Start with 15 minutes in the morning, and you may find that to be enough, or that you enjoy it so much you naturally spend more time as you go on.  

So, here are 3 simple basics to get you started! Remember to listen to your body and modify your stretch to suit – yoga is about extending the comfort zone a bit, but most importantly it is about getting benefits!

Before we begin, let’s look at the yoga breath, so important it could be said it is half of the work…  

Ujjayi Breath – The Basis Of Yoga Breathing.

Here are your Step-by-Step Instructions from the brilliant site verywellfit.com 

Sit up tall with your shoulders relaxed away from your ears and close your eyes. To prepare, become aware of your breath without trying to control it at all. Then begin to inhale and exhale through your mouth if you have been breathing through your nose.

Bring your awareness to your throat. On your exhales, begin to tone the back of your throat (your glottis or soft palate), slightly constricting the passage of air. Imagine that you are fogging up a pair of glasses. You should hear a soft hissing sound.

Once you are comfortable with the exhale, begin to apply the same contraction of the throat to the inhales. You should, once again, hear a soft hissing sound. This is where the name of the breath comes from: it sounds like the ocean. (It also sounds like Darth Vadar.)

When you are able to control the throat on both the inhale and the exhale, close the mouth and begin breathing through the nose. Continue applying the same toning to the throat that you did when the mouth was open. The breath will still make a noise coming in and out of the nose. This is ujjayi breath.

Now start to use this breath during your practice. If the teacher tells you to move on an inhale, make it an ujjayi inhale. If you need a little something extra to support you while holding a pose, remember this breath and apply it. 

And now... lets get to the poses!


Viparita Karani ~ Legs Up the Wall Pose  

Problem:
The chaos of the outside world and the changes that your life has no doubt encountered, can have you stressed out and agitated, and it seems harder and harder to calm your mind.

Solution:
Switch the nervous system over to rest and digest mode, calming that overactive mind. This pose almost instantly releases all tensions from the body.

How To:
1. Lie down on your back with your butt as close to the wall as possible.
2. Swivel your body till you are able to extend your legs up the side of the wall, perpendicular to the floor. (If you need to ooch a little further from the wall, thats ok. You do not need to be right against the wall for the effect of this pose.)
3. Open your arms to the sides, palms up.
4. Gently flex your feet, bringing your toes downwards as far as you can, and feel that lovely hamstring stretch.
5. Keep your breathing deep and even. Relax your face. Enjoy!
6. When you’re done, melt over to your side, and get up slowly onto your elbows for a moment before sitting up fully.  


Dhanurasana ~ Bow Pose  


This pose can be done using a soft bathrobe tie or scarf around the feet, so please don’t be intimidated! Using an extender like that helps you to get the benefits no matter how new to this to you are. Only go as far as you can, never push or force. Always work within your comfort zone!

Problem:

Negative emotions cause us to close our chests by collapsing our upper bodies. We also hold on to the past, to hurts and disappointments, and that is another reason we tend to fold inwards in our postures as well.

Solution:

Opening the entire front of the body! Opening the heart centre! Allowing our bodies to release pent-up, old, stagnant ‘stuff’ as the pose helps massage the digestive organs. This gives our bodies a good boost in the old bathroom area, and allows our psyches to shake loose and release a lot of old internal thoughts too.

How to:

1. Begin on the belly.
2. Reaching back, gently get a grip with your palms around the tops of the feet, reaching around the outside of the feet, from the pinkie side.
3. Hold on to the feet.
4. If this position is hard, you can use a strap – something like the soft tie-belt of a dressing gown will do nicely.
5. Relax your chin back down to the floor.
6. Relax the glutes, in order to keep the hips relaxed.
7. Now begin a deep inhale, and as you do so, start to lift.
8. Tightening your glutes, allow your body to raise into position
9. And begin a slow inhale and exhale for however long you can hold it
10. Before gently releasing yourself back to the floor.
11. Swim the hands forwards, one on top the other and palms to the floor, and rest your forehead on the back.
12. Do this 3 times if possible.
13. When you're done, take a few moments to rest and restore.

Balasana ~ Child Pose  


Problem:

You’re feeling overworked and fatigued, but also overthoughtful and anxious. This pose is also wonderful for if you are feeling dizzy – and with everything going on, who among us isn’t, just a bit.

Solution:

Calm and energise the body at the same time, when you lengthen and stretch out your spine, hips, thighs and ankles, and all the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee. Do some strong and steady breathing, in a brilliantly relaxing position.

How To:

1. Start on the hands and knees, centering the breath.
2. Keep your big toes touching while spread your knees wide apart
3. Rest you bum cheeks on your heels.
4. Lengthening your spine, exhale and bow forwards, with your chest on your thighs.
5. Allow your forehead to come to the floor, and extend your arms as far as you can ahead of you.
6. Allow your back to soften and broaden, and the tension in your shoulders, arms, fingers to flow out of you.
7. Take your focus to your deep, easy, measured ujjayi breath.
8. When you are ready to rise, walk back with your hands till you are back on your heels. 

Woman reclining in bath

Uplifting From The Inside  


And there are other ways to uplift yourself and help your body deal with modern-day stressors: our favorite of all being a quiet moment with a cup of turmeric tea!

We are always singing loudly about how Turmeric combats inflammation, because it is the favourite secret weapon of many yoginis and those who incorporate exercise into their daily lives. One reason we use it in ALL our tea blends is because it is famous for reducing inflammation in our joints and body systems. If you have overworked your body, or are simply feeling the results of tension, turmeric will go to work right away to prevent chronic inflammation from settling into your joints and muscles. Plus, it will speed the recovery process faster.

What’s even more exciting is that taking Turmeric before any type of workout can help prevent muscle fatigue and damage!

This is great news for those just embarking on a new routine.

So this is our loving health advice to you – make Taka teas and blends an essential element of your self-loving health routine.

Do all of the above, and you will be bound to revitalize your energy and love of life!   

CLICK FOR THE
TEA-SHOP!

So, keep yourself in tip-top health over this crazy time:
1: wear your mask
2: wash your hands
3: watch your distance
4: & keep it stretchy!  

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. . .

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IMPORTANT NOTE:  Before adding something new to your diet for medicinal purposes, make sure to check with your Physician .

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Article credit : Taka Turmeric Tea

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