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Yoga and Meditation To Build Resilience

We are living in uncertain times far beyond our imaginings. Who would have thought that in our lifetime we would be social distancing everywhere we go!

This new way may continue indefinitely, nobody knows?... The very idea is daunting, sometimes we may fear our future. We may feel anxious and trapped about what the future holds and worry about ever living a normal life again!.

How do we adapt to these new changes? We need to find strength, resilience and positive vibes to manage our fears.

A mind filled with negative thoughts and worries about our uncertain times can often affect our sleep. Continuous sleepless nights can alter the way we function during the day, causing daytime fatigue. Getting anxious and stressed tends to trigger the sympathetic nervous system which will manifest through increased blood pressure, tensed muscles, lack of concentration and faster breathing.

Yoga and Meditation helps to calm down all these issues and boost the immune system. Not only that, but both these practices will help to build strength and resilience in mind and body.

Here’s a short meditation to lift your spirits, calm your thoughts and bring clarity into your life.

Meditation for Positive energy

Sitting comfortably cross-legged on the floor or a straight back chair.

Rest your hands together in your lap, palms facing the sky.

Tune into your breath, in and out through the nose and settle with your natural breathing rhythm.

Slowly take a deep breath in and slowly breathe out and sigh, releasing all the air out of your lungs.

With next breath in say to yourself – “Breathing in I know I’m breathing in” “Breathing out I know I’m breathing out”.

“Breathing in I feel the air nourishing my body” –

“Breathing out I feel my awareness expanding”.

“Breathing in life force energy”

“Breathing out in the present”

“Breathing in I know this is a wonderful moment”

“Breathing out I feel alive and free”.

Continue this meditation by saying to yourself “Life is good” for five more minutes.

Slowly bring your awareness back to your surroundings and when you are ready gradually open your eyes.

Yin is a more passive style of Hatha yoga. It offers us the chance to be still, be present and work within ourselves, while we breathe and stretch deeply. In Yin we hold the poses longer for two to three minutes, this allows us to go deeper and create more space in the mind and body.

The slow, soothing meditative style practice targets the deep connective tissue, joints, fascia and ligaments in the body. It also focuses on stretching and stimulating different pressure points through our energy channels.

Here's a short sequence of Yin Yoga poses to help calm the nervous system and relieve muscular tension. The sequence brings deep stretches of Yin poses to the upper body, facilitating profound release in muscles, fascia, tendons and joints to help improve overall flexibility, circulation, mobility and the balance of chi energy flow.

1. Begin in child pose on your mat and slowly come up onto all fours. Check your alignment that knees are directly under the hips and hip width apart. The hands are directly under the shoulders and shoulder width apart. Keep your hips above your knees and slowly walk your hands forward to place two blocks in front of you on the mat.

2. Coming into extended Puppy pose with prayer hands. Begin by lining up the blocks across the mat side by side in front of your head. Bend forward and rest your elbows on the blocks, bringing your head down to rest behind the blocks. Slowly take the hands behind your head, bringing them together in prayer at the back of your neck. Stay there for ten breaths and feel the stretch along the spine as your chest sinks a little deeper into the pose.

3. Seated shoelace with folded eagle arms. Sitting down cross your right leg over the left leg. Bend the knees and keep the cross over tight at the knees, bring your feet to the side of the hips.

Cross your left arm over the right, tight at the elbows. Bend both elbows and cross the hands with palms facing one another. Take a nice deep inhale and as you exhale suck in the belly and slowly begin to fold forward, using the breath to take you deeper into the pose and lower your head over your knees. Stay here for ten breaths.

Slowly begin to lift your head and chest, coming back to seated shoelace pose. Use the right hand to hold the left thumb. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale begin to raise your crossed arms upwards.

Stay with the breath and keep lifting as your eagle arms soar to the sky.

5. Continue to sit in seated shoelace. Take a block and place it to the right beside your left foot. Clasp your hands together behind your head. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, slowly bend over to the right bringing your right elbow and upper arm to rest on the block. Turn your head to the left to gaze under your left armpit. Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side for ten more breaths.

6. Cross arm sphinx pose. Coming back to centre, release the arms and then uncross your legs and swing them round behind you as you lay on your front along the mat. Preparing for cross arm Sphinx. Take the block and place it under your head. Lift your chest and cross both arms under your chest with the backs of the palms on the floor. Shift your weight bringing your chest down over the arms and slowly lower the forehead onto the block. Stay here for ten breaths.

7. Half Dragonfly pose. Remove the block and reach out for a bolster or rolled up blanket to place under your ankles and feet for support. Keep the right arm stretched out to the left under your chest and straighten the left arm out along the floor in front of your head. Stay here for ten breaths.

8. Cross arm sphinx. Release your left arm and place the block back on the mat under your forehead. Change the cross-over of the arms under the chest ready for cross arm sphinx for ten more breaths.

9. Half Dragonfly. Remove the block with your right hand and keep the left arm stretched out to the right under your chest. Then straighten your right arm out along the floor in front of your head. Stay here for ten breaths.

10. Open wing pose. Release both arms down to the side of your body as you lay on your front. To come into Open Wing, take your left out along the floor at shoulder height and slowly begin to roll over onto your left side, bending both knees together. Use your right palm pressed into the floor in front of your chest to push you over onto your side. Then take your right arm behind your back. If your knees are uncomfortable you can place a support between the knees. Stay here for ten breaths.

Roll back over onto your front and take the right arm out along the floor at shoulder

height. Slowly roll over to your right side and repeat the position with knees bent.

Stay here for ten breaths.

11. Twisted root pose. Roll onto your back and release the arms beside your body, ready to come into twisted root. Bend your left leg under your right leg and take hold of your left foot with your right hand. Take hold of the right knee with your left hand and slowly ease it over to the left side without strain. Stay here for ten breaths.

Repeat twisted root on the other side and stay in the pose for ten more breaths.

12. Coming into savasana, release the legs out along the floor a little wider than your hips and bring your arms beside the body and about six inches away with the palms facing the sky. Settle here with your breath, tuning into your natural breathing rhythm for five minutes in savasana.

Yoga In The Park - Friday 26 June

I shall be leading Yin Yang Yoga Flow in Hurst Park Open Space (East Molesey) Friday 26 June 10.30-11.45am.

I’m so looking forward to sharing this wonderful outdoor space with you, right by the river.

We will move and flow for 75-minutes embracing the natural elements around us, connect with the earth and breathe in wonderful fresh air while we salute to the sun. The practice will begin with a short meditation and finish with a blissful relaxation.

You will need to bring your own mat and water. Places are limited due to social distancing, so message me ASAP to book a spot.

Hurst Park Open Space is situated in East Molssey. From Hampton Court bridge turn right into Hurst Road and take the third exit off the first roundabout along Hurst Road.

Follow the road into the car park. Yoga class will be in the space on the left of the car park. Class fee £12.

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