We all need a bit of a release from reality from time to time, right? Demanding job, messy apartment (or house, no exclusions here), maybe you’re a student that’s drowning in unfinished work, or perhaps you’re one of the super-mums among us. Another problem with this busy schedule is lacking the time to get our daily dose of exercise in order to stay fit and healthy. No room in that jam-packed life for an hour down at your local gym? Don’t feel guilty – this is understood. However, there is a way you can get the best of both worlds; have your cake and eat it (although cake kind of defeats the object of fitness and exercise…). Have you ever thought about taking up Yoga? It’s one of these things that you hear about and see talked about around social media maybe, but trust me when I say it’s one of the best things you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Just humour me – read to the bottom of this post and see if I can give you an insight into its wonders – you’ll thank me.
You’re not alone. Sleeping disorders are incredibly common among both young and older adults, with up to 10% of the whole population suffering from insomnia. There are many remedies for sleeplessness, and many of them work too; keeping a notepad by your bed so you can jot down all the things whirring around your head and stopping you from relaxing and drifting off, or even listening to operatic music has been known to work for some people. But when it comes to relaxation (which is, let’s be honest, key in the process of drifting into dream land) nothing beats yoga. There are many different yoga positions and exercises you can do just sitting on your bed, or lying on your bedroom floor, and they will help you reach a state of physical relaxation; loosening your muscles and lessening your state of stress.
The Savasana, or ‘Corpse pose’, for example, is particularly beneficial for relieving stress as well as any physical pains that may be keeping you awake – such as back pain, for example. You simply lie flat on your back, with your feet shoulder width apart on the floor, arms relaxed by your sides, palms facing upwards, shoulders relaxed away from your ears and your chin very slightly tucked in.
Another one of my personal favourites is the ‘legs-up-the-wall’ pose; pretty self-explanatory, just lie on your back with your legs resting at a ninety degree angle up a wall, you’ll be surprised how relaxed you feel within minutes!
There have been thousands of scientific studies that prove mediation is extremely beneficial for mental health (think of it as a work out for your brain) as well as lowering blood-pressure and heart rate which causes thickening in the pre-frontal cortex (this is good if you’re not sure about translating the scientific jargon). Meditation is about improving your inner well-being and getting yourself mentally to a place that’s healthy, happy and calming. It will allow you to be in an all-round better mood and can help prevent you from getting in a tizz’ about life’s small stresses that burden day-to-day life. Sounding good so far…?
This alien word basically refers to breathing techniques when doing your yoga. It directly translates as ‘breath control’, and it’s important not to underestimate the power of breathing manipulation when getting yourself into a state of ‘inner-peace’. So when doing your sessions of meditation, or bed-time poses, remember to keep your breathing slow and steady, but deep too. Inhaling deeply…holding it for a couple of seconds…then exhaling steadily is a sure way to calm your mind, lessen your stress, and relax those tense muscles all over your body.
How can you happily slip yoga into your life?
Easy! You could buy a DVD and play it in your living room, or find videos online and set yourself up on the floor of your bedroom with your laptop if you have one. In terms of time, all you need is half an hour out of your day, maybe the best time is late evening; you’ve finished your busy day, you’ve been on full power mode for 12 hours so take the time to wind down. It could be just before you go to bed, or maybe when you first wake up would be more beneficial for you. Getting yourself into a state of relaxation before you go out and tackle that busy schedule you’ve planned may help to keep your stress to a lower level throughout the whole day; better-equipping you to handle all those unfinished projects and errands, or all your deadlines at work. Just give it a try, see if it fits into your life, you may grow to swear by it…