Sunday, 30 October 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Pumpkins are in season right now. Last week we made a vegan cottage pie with pumpkin mash. This week we are making a supereasy, warming pumpkin and lentil soup.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/meatless-monday-pumpkin-and-lentil-soup.html

'Forest bathing' simply means spending time in a forest.
Read about the benefits of 'forest bathing' for anxiety and immunity-
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/immunity-boost-forest-bathing.html

This week in our 'Fragrant healing' series we look at how essential oils can help improve circulation.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/fragrant-healing-essential-oils-to.html

Breathe through anxiety




If you are getting anxious over something- even to the point of having a panic attack- you might notice your breath becoming quick and shallow.  However, this can actually can make your anxiety worse. When you breathe in this way, blood flow to the brain is restricted, causing the brain to trigger 'danger' responses.  Your Sympathetic nervous system is activated, triggering the 'fight or flight' response and the breath becomes even more quick and shallow. However if we can consciously start to take deeper, slower breaths, signalling to the brain that all is well, the Parasympathetic nervous system, sometimes called the rest and digest nervous system takes over and your mind becomes calm.  If you feel anxious or are beginning to panic try taking a few deep breaths through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth.  

The problem is that if anxiety becomes chronic, quick shallow breathing can become our habitual way of breathing. The following breathing techniques, practiced regularly, will help prevent and deal with panic attacks by slowing and deepening the breath.  This signals to the brain all is well and your Parasympathetic nervous system takes over.

Abdominal breathing - lie on your back with your knees bent and let your breath settle.  Place your hands on your tummy so that your middle fingers touch at your navel.  Without straining direct the breath to the area under your hands.  Notice how calming this is for your mind. 

Ujjayi breathing - by tightening the throat Ujjayi breathing causes the breath to slow. To practice Ujjayi breathing first try breathing out through your mouth with a 'ha'.  Notice how this causes a tightening in your throat.  Then try tightening the throat in this way as you breathe out through your nose.  Now try to create that tightening as you breathe in as well as when you breathe out.  You should notice the breath makes a sound- some people say it is like a baby snoring, others say it is like the ocean. This sound is also calming for the brain.

Similarly Humming Bee breath calms the mind by setting up a soothing, vibrating sound that permeates the head. To practice Humming Bee breath, breathe in through your nostrils and as you breathe out make a 'hmmmm' sound like a bee. To enhance the effect press lightly on your ears.  

Alternate Nostril Breathing balances left and right hemispheres of the brain and calms the nervous system.  To practice Alternate Nostril Breathing please see 'Oh no, it's Monday - breathing technique for calming'- https://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/oh-no-its-monday-breathing-technique.html

You might also like my to view more on anxiety on my YouTube Channel-
https://www.youtube.com/user/flexiladiesyoga

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A Flexiladies Halloween Kids' Yoga Adventure


This yoga practice is a great way to spend time with your children. You can make it even more fun by dressing up and face painting if you like.

We have met Gwendoline the witch before (Up Salute variation) - stand with your feet slightly apart, take your arms up and bring your hands together over your head to make the witch's hat.

Since you last met her Gwendoline has got a new cat, a playmate for Abigail who she has called Darkness (Cat pose) - come onto all fours, breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out and arch your back like a Halloween cat.



Now Darkness could not settle with Gwendoline and Abigail in their cosy hovel.  He was bored - he wanted adventure, to be owed by a witch who cast evil spells but Gwendoline hardly ever cast any spells these days.  He decided to run away to find adventure.  One night in October when the wind was howling and Gwendoline and Abigail were fast asleep, Darkness tiptoed out of the hovel and made his way into the Forest of No Return (Tree pose) - stand with your feet slightly apart and take your weight into your left foot, bring the sole of your right foot to your left ankle, shin or thigh.  Breathe in and lift your arms to make your branches. Repeat second side.



It's pitch black - the only light was from a crescent moon (Crescent Moon Pose) - stand with your feet slightly apart.  Breathe in take your arms up, join your palms, breathe out lean to the right to make a crescent moon shape. Breathe in to come back to centre and repeat second side.  



What's that screeching sound? An Eagle comes swooping down from a nest high in the trees (Eagle pose) - take your right arm under the left and bend both elbows.  If your arms allow, take the left arm in front of the right and join the palms. To modify the arm position you can have the backs of the hands together with the right arm under the left, or simply have the elbows and palms together. Lift the elbows level with the shoulders and find a drishti, a gaze point.  Softly bend both knees and take your weight into your left foot.  Take your right foot to the outside of the left, or take the right foot to the outside of the left calf or tuck the right foot behind the left calf.  Repeat 2nd side. Quickly Darkness dives under a clump of ferns - phew that was close.



He decides to lie low here for a while but as he starts to settle he jumps up - a hedgehog is sharing this spot with him and his prickles are really sharp (Child's Pose) - sit with your bottom on your heels.  Bring your forehead to your mat and take your hands to your feet. Breathe in when you are ready to come up.  



Taking a step back he stumbles over a snake  (Cobra pose)- lie on your tummy with your forehead on the mat. Bring your hands by your shoulders and tuck your elbows in.  Breathe in and lift your head and chest.  Breathe out when you are ready to come down.  Darkness was lucky, he stumbled over a smooth snake which is non-venomous - it would have been very different if the snake was an adder. Can you hiss like a snake?



Tears in his eyes, he moves on but his ordeal is not over.  The silent wings of a tawny owl clip his ear - will he be eaten? (Warrior 3 variation) - stand with your feet slightly apart and stretch your arms wide.  Breathe our and lift your right leg as your hinge forward with your upper body. 



Once again Darkness is lucky - the owl swoops down and gathers up a frog in its talons (Frog) - stand with your feet slightly apart and turn your toes out, breathe out and bend your knees out so that you can bring your hands to the floor.  Can you croak like a frog?



Ah what is that tickly sensation on Darkness' back.  Don't panic Darkness its only a harmless spider (Dead bug pose). Can you pretend to be a spider on a ceiling? Lie on your back, knees bent and lift your hands and feet up - wriggle like a spider.  



By this time Darkness is in tears.  Through his tears he sees two yellow eyes, a fox (Downward Facing Dog) - come onto all fours.  Breathe in, tuck your toes, breathe out lift your hips high. 



Darkness runs through the forest, stumbling as he goes.  Around his head bat are flying (Baddha Konasana) - sit on a block or cushion, bring the soles of your feet together and bring them in towards you.  Flap your knees up and down like bat wings.  



Just then he hears a whoosh in the trees.  It can't be - it is!  Gwendolene coming to rescue him (Humble Warrior variation)- come to standing and step your left foot back, turning your left toes out.  Breathe in and bend your front knee, breathe out extend your arms out, palms together.  Point your fingers down and lower your head.  



Home again and cosy in his hovel with Gwendolene and Abigail, Darkness will never leave home again but maybe he will still find adventures that aren't quite so dangerous.

Happy Halloween!

Namaste,

You may also like 'Halloween Special - Kids yoga'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/halloween-special-kids-yoga.html 












Monday, 24 October 2016

Yoga for anxiety - yin yoga sequence to create an awareness of thoughts and emotions

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - yin yoga sequence to create an awareness of thoughts and emotions ' on my YouTube Channel.



Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

Please note-Please consult your doctor if you are having severe panic attacks or chronic anxiety - there is much a doctor can offer you that would complement your yoga practice such as Cognitive behaviour therapy or counselling which you could do alongside yoga. 

Yin yoga is complementary to the Hatha yoga you usually practice on this blog which is yang. Yin and yang come from Taoist thought of yin which is stable, unmoving and yang which is changing and moving.  Yang yoga focuses on the muscles whereas yin yoga involves longer holds (3-5 minutes) in order to move deeper into the connective tissue- ligaments, tendons and fascia. Yin yoga stretches and strengthens these tissues which may become shortened and weakened over time.  In order for this to happen the overlying muscles need to be relaxed and for this reason some yoga poses which do require muscle engagement are not suitable for yin yoga  - these include standing posses, arm balances and inversions. Yin yoga poses focus on the pelvis, hips and lower spine, areas where negative emotions are stored. To distinguish them from their yang equivalents they are given different names.  

In our fast paced, 24/7 society we may find yin yoga difficult because we are conditioned to be always doing, indeed it is often thought of as boring.  But it is also important to 'just be' noticing any sensations, any thoughts or emotions that arise.  When thoughts and emotions arise yin yoga give us an opportunity to 'take a step back' to observe them. If we practice doing this on the mat, eventually we will be able to do the same off the mat when anxious thoughts arise or fear which often triggers anxious thoughts.  This is also what we practice in meditation. Do not think that if you cannot empty your mind, you cannot meditate.  Minds are meant to think and thoughts will arise - just don't get caught up in them and they will pass by. In this week's yoga video we do several 'mini meditations' as we observe our thoughts and emotions while we hold the poses.

In yin yoga and in meditation eventually you will experience release from the thoughts and emotions that weigh you down. If you have chronic anxiety it is a good idea therefore to include them in your weekly yoga practice. 

Please be aware that these yoga practices may take you to an emotional edge that can be very painful if you suffer from severe anxiety. Just as with a physical edge, you should back off if the emotions get too intense.  I would strongly advise you to check with your medical practitioner before undertaking these yoga practices.

Namaste,




Sunday, 23 October 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell


This week's Meatless Monday is a 'Vegan cottage pie with pumpkin mash'. The pumpkin mash makes a lower calorie alternative to mash potato which is good for you and in season right now.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/meatless-monday-vegan-cottage-pie-with.html

It is blackberry time! Find out how these berries are so good for you and maybe try my delicious recipe for 'Blackberry, raspberry and apple cobbler'.
Blog post and recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/berry-good-for-you.html

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month please see my 'sister' blog's featured post- 'Love your breasts'- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/love-your-breasts.html

In this blog post we find out how essential oils can help prevent colds and flu and also ease the miseries of colds and flu if we do succumb-.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/fragrant-healing-essential-oils-for_23.html

Balancing vata dosha for autumn anxiety


Autumn with its drying winds is dominated by the vata dosha.  This means we can become fatigued and anxious if we do not bring vata into balance especially if vata is our dominant dosha.  Earlier this year I did a series on the elements and within that series we practiced a sequence to balance vata dosha with the earth element which would be great to practice at this time of year. Please see 'Balancing vata dosha with the earth element' for the blog post and yoga video-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/balancing-vata-dosha-with-earth-element.html 


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Four prep poses for better balance

Standing balances are wonderfully calming for the mind and so great to practice if you suffer from anxiety but many of us find that we cannot stay in balance poses long enough to reap the benefits.  If you have a tendency to wobble and fall out of poses these four prep poses may help.

Tadasana - stand with the feet together with the outside edges of the feet parallel (for most of us this will mean separating the heels). Lift your insteps (if you can lift your middle three toes, this will help). Lift your kneecaps to engage your thigh muscles and give you the strong foundation.  Lengthen your tail bone down towards the floor to create space in the spine, lift your chest and roll your shoulder blades back and down.  Your chin should be level with the floor, the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.  Your arms should be relaxed by your sides, your fingers gently curled. Try to find the point where you feel your weight is spread evenly through all four corners of your feet - the little toe side, big toe side, inner heel and outer heel.



How does this help? This pose increases your awareness of your centre of gravity which is important as the centre of gravity changes as you move into standing balances.

Challenging Pose - stand with your feet slightly apart.  Take your weight into your left foot, lift your right foot an inch or two off the floor and take your arms out.  This is the easy part.  Now close your eyes and see if you can remain balanced.  



How does this help? This feels a 'safe' balance - all you have to do if you feel unsteady is put your foot back to the floor.  It also demonstrates the importance of drishti, gaze point.  

Awkward Pose - stand with your feet slightly apart and take your arms forward at shoulder height.  Breathe in bend your knees, breathe out, engage your core and lift onto the balls of your feet.  Hold for a breath or two then breathe in lower your heels, straighten your legs, breathe out lower your arms.



How does this help? This pose strengthens the legs which is important for standing balances. It also helps strengthen the core which will help you hold standing balances.

Warrior 2 stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet as wide as is comfortable.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in 45 degrees, lining up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot (men) or heel with heel (women).  As much as possible have the hips level with the front of the mat but do not force the back hip point back because this will strain the SI joint. Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, exhale bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand.  Hold and breathe - see if you can hold through any intense sensations (any pain however, let go). To come out of the pose, inhale straighten the right knee, exhale hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side.



How does this help?  Warrior 2 helps with focus and concentration.  It increases body awareness which is useful in standing balances and strengthens the legs.  

You might also like-
'Yoga for seniors - improving your balance'- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/yoga-for-seniors-improving-your-balance.html

Please see also- 'Yoga for anxiety- An introduction and yoga video' - 
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/yoga-for-anxiety-introduction-and-yoga.html and 'Yoga for anxiety- Starting to calm the mind'- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/yoga-for-anxiety-starting-to-calm-mind.html

Namaste,
Janet x



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Yoga for anxiety - starting to calm the mind

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - starting to calm the mind' on my YouTube Channel.



Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

Last week we worked on releasing physical tension.  This week we start to calm the mind by drawing energy down from the upper dantien (energy centre in the head) to the lower dantien located in the lower abdomen.  So many of us 'live in our heads' so that excess energy accumulates here leading to anxiety.  Our grounding practice draws energy down to our lower energy centre.  Here is located the gut which is often referred to as the body's 'second brain'.  There is good reason for this - here 90% of the body's serontin is produced which is the body's mood balancing hormone.  

As well as bringing energy down a grounding practice also connects us to the earth which has the effect of making us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves which has a calming effect.  Another way you can do this is to spend a few minutes standing on the grass without shoes and socks.  

We end this week's video with a meditation counting the breath.  Meditation is proven to reduce anxiety so if you do suffer from chronic anxiety try to meditate daily.  

Please be aware that these yoga practices may take you to an emotional edge that can be very painful if you suffer from severe anxiety. Just as with a physical edge, you should back off if the emotions get too intense.  I would strongly advise you to check with your medical practitioner before undertaking these yoga practices.

Namaste,


Sunday, 16 October 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell


I'm back after my break from the blogs with a Meatless Monday, Stir fried kale with barley and mushroom risotto made using kale from the allotment. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/meatless-monday-stir-fried-kale-with.html

On the 40plusandalliswell allotment we have been harvesting parsnips and cavolo nero, a type of kale. See my 'sister' blog for planting tips and recipe suggestions- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/harvesting-parsnips-and-cavolo-nero.html

To accompany the yoga series on anxiety which has just started, on the wellness blog we are looking at essential oils that can help with anxiety. Please see my 'sister' blog- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/fragrant-healing-essential-oils-for.html

Autumn sequence to balance lung and large intestine meridians


The lung and large intestine meridians are both associated with the metal element which in turn is associated with sadness.  Many people do indeed become sad at this time of year but balancing the lung and liver meridians will help support us through this time by helping us let go of the summer so we can enjoy the autumn.  

If the  lung and large intestine meridians are out of balance our immune system may become compromised and we are more likely to catch colds and flu and suffer autumn allergies. The large intestine works with the sinuses and throat as well as the bowels which can be troublesome for some people in autumn. Out of balance the large intestine will try to rid the body of the sadness and as a result bowel movements may become irregular.

The following yoga sequence will help balance the lung and large intestine meridians.

Three part breath - lie down on the mat with your hands on your tummy, middle fingers touching, your elbows rested on the mat.  When your breathe becomes slow and deep, direct your breath to the area under your hands without straining.  Continue for a few breaths then move your hands up to your ribcage so that the middle fingers touch where your ribs form a V.  Breathe into the area under the hands.  Continue for a few breaths then move your hands up so that your fingers are on your collar bones and your hands rest on your upper chest. Breathe into your ribcage once more and if you can without strain breathe a little more deeply so that you feel some movement in the upper chest, the area under the hands.  Continue for a few breaths.  Finally place one hand on your abdomen, one hand on your ribcage and breathe into all three areas of the lungs so that as you breathe in your abdomen rises, your ribs move up and out and your chest expands then as you breathe out, your abdomen releases back to your spine, your ribs move in and down and your chest releases.



Apanasana - draw the right leg tight into your chest holding behiind the thigh if you have knee issues or otherwise the shin. Hold for a few breaths then  breathe in to release and repeat with the left leg.



Flip the Cat  come onto all fours and take the right leg out to the right.  Extend the left leg and take the left arm up and. over.  'Flip' back to all fours.  Repeat second side.



Puppy - from all fours walk your hands forward, keeping your hips high, your elbows lifted and bring your forehead to the mat.  Take your hands wide if your shoulders are uncomfortable or bend your elbows to interlace your fingers behind your head.  To come out of the pose walk your hands back or if your hands are behind your head bring your hands to the mat and press up. 



Cow Face arms - sit back on your heels or if this is not comfortable for you sit on a block with your legs crossed. You can also come to standing. Place a yoga strap or dressing gown tie over your right shoulder. Inhale stretch your right arm up, exhale take your right arm down your back.  Inhale stretch your left arm forward, exhale externally rotate your left arm up your back to meet the right hand  in a yogic grip, fingers curled around one another or if your hands do not meet hold onto the strap.  Hold for a few breaths then release and roll your shoulders up by your ears and back a few times.  Repeat second side. 



Camel variation - come onto your knees folding your mat over if you need padding for your knees.  Bring your right foot forward and take your left hand to the back of your left thigh.  Breathe in and raise your right arm, breathe out as you slide your left leg down your left thigh as far as feels comfortable for you.  Breathe in to come back up, breathe out lower your right arm.  Repeat second side.  Take a Child's Pose then make your way to standing.



Triangle variation - take your feet a leg length apart. Turn the whole of the right leg to the right so that the knee and foot point the same way and turn the toes of the back foot in 45 degrees.  The heel of your front foot should line up with the instep of your back foot for men or line up heel to heel for ladies.  Inhale raise your arms to  shoulder height, lift your chest. Breathe out and bring your right hand to your right leg, left arm up towards the ceiling. Gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left thumb, depending on your neck. Take your left arm behind your back, holding onto the right thigh if you can.  To come out of the pose, breathe in windmill your arms up, breathe our turn your feet to face forward, hands to heart. Repeat 2nd side.



Intense side stretch with Reverse Namaste - step to the top of your mat and have your feet at hip distance. Take your left leg back and turn your left toes out.  Bring your palms together behind your back then turn your hands up for reverse prayer.  If this is not available to you hold your elbows behind your back. Level your hips to the front of your mat. Inhale lift your chest, exhale fold to flat back, lengthen forward.  Stay here if you have blood pressure issues or if not, inhale here then breathe out to bring your chest towards your thigh.  Hold for a few breaths then inhale to come up.


Reverse Namaste



Dancer - stand with the feet slightly apart and find a gaze point,a drishti.  Take your weight into your right foot and raise your right arm. Bend your left knee and take hold of the outside of your left foot or your left ankle.  Use a belt looped around your foot if you cannot reach. This may be your pose, or if you can, press your raised foot up and back as you hinge forward from the groin. Inhale to come back to an upright position, exhale as you take your foot back down to the mat, lower your arm. To modify, practice with a wall, bringing your raised hand to the wall as you hinge forward. Repeat second side.



Seated twist - sit with the legs outstretched on a block or a blanket. Bend the right knee  and draw the leg close into the chest. Take the right foot to the outside of the left thigh. If you can keep the right sit bone and right foot grounded bring the left foot to the right hip, otherwise keep the left leg extended.  Take your right hand to the mat behind your right hip or to the block on which you are seated. Breathe in and lengthen your spine. Breathe out and wrap your left arm around your right leg.  Work with the breath to deepen the twist.  Inhale, lengthen through the crown of your head, exhale start to twist from the abdomen, then the ribcage, then the shoulders, keeping the chin in line with the breast bone.  As you hold the twist, work with your breath.  With each inhale lengthen, with each exhale, you may have room to twist a little more.  If you have a good twist through the spine, slowly turn your head to look over the right shoulder. Come out of the pose in the same way as you went into it. Inhale lengthen, exhale release the neck, the shoulder, the ribcage and finally the abdomen. Repeat second side.  



You might also like 'Ayurveda and autumn'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/ayurveda-and-autumn.html which makes recommendations for your diet in autumn as well as your yoga practice.  

Namaste,





Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Anxious? Try a digital detox!


When my daughters were growing up use of the internet was just starting to become more common in our homes.  It cost 1p per minute and while the internet was on, the phone line was blocked.  Since then the advent of internet providers mean that we can be online not only in our homes but on our smartphones any time we want.  In many ways this has enriched our lives but we are also beginning to notice the negative effects of internet use. 

Many of us spend hours each day gazing at a screen and this means our energy is all in our heads where it can lead to anxiety.  A grounding yoga practice would help and this is what we will be doing next week in our yoga video as we continue with our series on anxiety.

The fact that technology has enabled us to access emails anytime and anywhere means there is no longer a demarcation between work and home life.  This means that we spend less time with family and friends, something that is important to our mental health.  There is also a correlation between smartphone use and poor sleep quality which is also linked to anxiety. This is because use of smartphones suppresses melatonin production which affects the circadian rhythms that control sleep. 

Social media too can cause unnecessary worry especially if you are prone to anxiety.  People only post what they want you to see so you get a skewed view of their lives.  

Try limiting your technology usage when you are at home say in the evenings and at weekends and notice if there is a lowering of your anxiety.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Yoga for anxiety - an introduction and yoga video

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to help anxiety-Releasing physical tension' on my YouTube Channel.



Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html


Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Anxiety is not the same as stress which is what we feel when life puts us under pressure creating negative effects which include anxiety.  With anxiety the dominant emotion is fear and constant worry over things that might happen, scenarios we create in our heads.  

Anxiety is epidemic in our society.  Symptoms include feelings of panic and fear that reaches the point where it interferes with everyday life.  We build up imaginary scenarios in our minds then get upset about them.  As panic sets in we can feel tight in our chests, short of breath, have palpitations and feel dizzy.  Long term this can lead to endocrine imbalances which cause nausea, low immunity, fatigue and muscle tension leading to pain in the body.  It is telling that use of pain killers has increased dramatically over the last decade.    

For the purposes of this series I am working with the premise that anxiety comes from disconnection from your true self - for when we come to know our true self, your inner guide will influence your thinking and you will find yourself feeling more relaxed and happy as you realise who you are and your purpose in life.  The world will no longer feel a threatening place as you come to recognise that we are all the same.  

Overcoming chronic anxiety is not going to happen overnight.  In this series we start by releasing the physical tension that accompanies long term anxiety. This is because if you have tension in your mind, it will create tension in your body due to the mind-body connection. We tend to hold tension created by anxiety in our necks, shoulders and hips and these are the areas we will work on in this week's video.

We will go on to release emotional tension and calm the mind by cultivating the ability to be in the present moment.We will increase our awareness of our thoughts so that we are aware when we slip into habitual thought patterns or perceptions that cause us stress.  It is only when we are free of distractions from pain, negative emotions and thoughts that we can start to hear the inner guidance inside us.  Our series will include a grounding practice to bring our energy away from our heads where it is being used to create anxiety. We will also look at improving sleep quality since being short of sleep can cause our bodies to activate the sympathetic nervous system triggers the stress response. We will refresh our adrenals which secrete stress hormones and will have been overworked if you have been suffering from chronic anxiety.  We also need to set boundaries in order to limit the things in your life that are causing you anxiety. We will learn the importance of the breath in helping us overcome anxiety. We will also cultivate acceptance and gratitude.  We challenge the thoughts that lead us to become anxious and use our practice to help us promote positive thinking. Finally we uncover our purpose and achieve peace of mind. Like all my series however the 'tale often grows in the telling' so don't be surprised if I bring in other ways to help anxiety. 

Please note-Please consult your doctor if you are having severe panic attacks or chronic anxiety - there is much a doctor can offer you that would complement your yoga practice such as Cognitive behaviour therapy or counselling.  
Please be aware that these yoga practices may take you to an emotional edge that can be very painful if you suffer from severe anxiety. Just as with a physical edge, you should back off if the emotions get too intense.  I would strongly advise you to check with your medical practitioner before undertaking these yoga practices.

Monday, 10 October 2016

World Mental Health Day-10th October


Today is World Mental Health Day. Mental health covers many conditions including schizophrenia, general anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) etc. There will be more on SAD on the wellness blog http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/ soon but here I will focus on depression.

Many of us at some point in our lives become depressed. It is not very helpful to be told to 'snap out of it'. This is like telling a person with a broken leg to run a marathon. Although we all get a little low at times, depression is characterised by low energy, lack of interest in things that used to be pleasurable, poor concentration, fatigue,sadness that doesn't go away, loss of self confidence and self-esteem, appetite changes etc.
Depression affects different people in different ways as the videos below illustrate. Some people who are depressed become lethargic and have feelings of hopelessness, while others become anxious and have feelings of panic.

Yoga can help-see the videos below:-
These videos form part of my Flexiladiesyoga, YouTube playlist for the series 'Yoga can help heal'.

Depression 1-Part 1: Yoga can help heal series  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebt0_bbx4fA&list=PLS4Wjf00I4uzH4yJja1uNUL48idl2NjH2&index=15

Depression 1-Part 2: Yoga can help heal series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76u7312N3D8&list=PLS4Wjf00I4uzH4yJja1uNUL48idl2NjH2&index=16

Depression 2-Part 1: Yoga can help heal series  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX-8GtKTeKE&list=PLS4Wjf00I4uzH4yJja1uNUL48idl2NjH2&index=1

Depression 2-Part 2: Yoga can help heal series  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23VMy_hgY3Q&list=PLS4Wjf00I4uzH4yJja1uNUL48idl2NjH2&index=2

Yoga for Mild Depression Finding your Dharma Part 1  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-vkRbr4tc0&list=PLS4Wjf00I4uzH4yJja1uNUL48idl2NjH2&index=17

Yoga for Mild Depression- Part 2- Finding your Dharma https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdS_WGGb9a0&list=PLS4Wjf00I4uzH4yJja1uNUL48idl2NjH2&index=18

On my YouTube Channel you will also find a playlist to help with stress-https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLS4Wjf00I4uzH0r_7p5O4pV1mlF5Rikjo

This week we are starting a brand new series to help with anxiety.