Healthy early morning practices.

early morning imageI love my sleep and we all can agree that sleep is vital in maintaining optimum health.

For those of us working 9-5, trying to fit in family, commitments etc, optimizing our time is paramount.

I have come to the realization that really, even if you can fit in a little of what you want to do everyday, it counts.

It is said that, it is not what you do once in a while that counts, but what you do, day in, day out.

early morning practice 2So carving out 20-30mins in the morning can reap the rewards.

We need to look at what we need, which activities enhance our well being?

We must look at our physical aspect, our mental aspect and focus also upon reducing stress levels.

Upon wakening you could either do 5-10 minutes of yoga, stretching or rebounding.Dancing would work too.

Next, you could focus upon goals for the day, which then lead to goals for realizing your ideal life.

A positive state of mind creates a positive focused person who radiates energy and enthusiasm.

Listening to affirmations, doing some visualization can have an immeasurable positive impact upon your day.

Louise Hay encourages people to take a hand mirror and look into their own eyes and affirm ‘ I love and approve of myself.  Everything I need comes to me.All is well’

What a beautiful and empowering statement.

Through encouraging a healthy self image, we can face the world smiling and be true to who we are.

Self love and love to others is crucial in being the best version of yourself.

early morning practice 3Those are a few tips and ones which I am currently implementing in my own life.

I can say, without question, the days spent taking time to do these practices are great days. I notice their impact upon my life.

Embracing Now

happinessWe plan, we reflect, we worry, we feel guiltMeanwhile we miss the very moment in doing so.

How often can we say we are fully, wholeheartedly immersed in that very moment, that second, that activity?

I am fully guilty of this as well by the way.

Having an awareness to bring yourself totally back to the present, has so many benefits.

Instead of missing out on precious words said, potential memories, you get to fully embrace your precious life.

Meditation and mindfulness and the practice of these, cultivates a life of being ‘present in the moment’

Time is so precious, it truly is.

happiness 2The ‘present‘ is exactly that, a gift.  We each have our joys,our sorrows, that is the cycle of life.  We have our light and dark.

Even immersing in whatever sorrow you have, will help you get through to the other side.

Yoga, a union of exercise and relaxation.

yogaFor anyone out there  who hasn’t tried yoga in some shape or form, I would say try it.

Yoga  has that unique blend of being an all body workout combined with a deep  level of relaxation.

Yoga consists of movements and stretches whilst the person consciously  takes slow, deep breaths.  This enables oxygen to reach practically every cell in the body.

One consistency throughout the various types of yoga is that there are standing postures, seated postures, balancing postures and inverted postures.

warrior positionAn example of a standing posture would be the ‘Warrior‘.  This is where the person stands with their feet 3  feet apart, in  line with each other.  The arms are at shoulder level and outstretchedThe person bends one leg, so it is at 90 degrees and looks towards the 3rd finger of the outstretched hand.  This pose is great for building strength in the legs, the arms and also in helping  balance. You would do alternate legs and hold each posture for about 3-4 rounds of breath.  The key element is to breathe into a pose and breathe normally for a few rounds of breath.

alternate leg pullposeA seated posture could be the ‘alternate leg pull’The person sits on the mat, both legs straight out in front, back straight, hips on floor. One leg is then gently pressed against the floor, to where it is comfortable for the person. The foot should rest against the other leg, with the remainder of the leg folded against the floor.  Raising the arms above the head,the person stretches forward, meanwhile being fully aware and practicing intake and outtake of breath. The person should stretch forward as far as is comfortable and stay in that position for 3-4 rounds of breath.  This is a great posture for developing and maintaining flexibility of legs and hips

Those are some examples, there are many more.  Yoga may appear to be a very mild form of exercise and many may believe it would not be able to help people lose weight or tone.  In fact the contrary is true.  Through carrying out the various poses.the body builds and tones muscle. Various poses work upon the glands of the body, namely the ‘Shoulder stand’ which helps the thyroid gland function optimallyThe thyroid gland is instrumental in maintaining a balanced and healthy metabolism.  Yoga elongates your shape, helping to develop that infamous yoga, streamlined shape.

If that wasn’t enough, the deep breathing calms and relaxes the mind. It frees the body from low energy, anxiety and breathing difficulties.  It allows people to be present in the moment.

Even practicing for 10/15 minutes a day is sufficient to reap the rewards.  Although to get started I would recommend attending a class to establish the basics.

always gain so much benefit from doing yoga.  When I neglect it I notice stiffness creeping in and also anxiety. In my mind it offers solutions to our everyday living, a chance to simply be and enjoy the wonder and magic of our bodies.



An encounter with a Guru in Nepal

yogaThree years ago I went on an adventure to a place near Kathmandu in Nepal.

I wanted to train in the practice of yoga.  I wanted to go to the Homeland, get a true feel for the practice.

Not knowing anyone there, I took two flights and landed in a foreign land, somewhat uneasy I might add.

Getting into a vehicle which had seen better days, I took in the surroundings, the smog, the madness in the traffic, though it was strangely exciting, entering the unknown.

Upon arrival at the Ashram, as the light faded, I was introduced to the Guru.

I am unsure how this Guru came to be a Guru but he held respect in the village.  He was revered.

He also was not particularly keen upon debate, specifically with a Western woman.  Possessing little English could also have been a factor in that.

Now I don’t wish to pass scorn upon this man, I did like him.  I could see the good in him.  I had respect for the culture.

Buddhist-Chanting-Morning-PrayersWe had a set programme.  Early chanting at 6am, no lie ins here.  Yoga at 7.30, then breakfast Yoga Nidra at 11, then a break until 3 for a meditation sessionYoga again at 5.30, then dinner.  Chanting again at about 7/7,30 before lights out at 8pm.

It was working with the natural cycle of natural light.  Chanting involved some truly beautiful and touching songs/chants.  Yoga Nidra was one of my favorite parts.  Yoga Nidra is known as psychic sleep, very deep relaxation, on the cusp of sleep.  It is extremely healing and powerful.

I will also say in the initial phases I was extremely keen upon leaving.  Whether it was the conditions, the lack of home comforts or uncomfortable feelings surfacing, I wanted to go home.  I muddled through and came out the other end.

It was a powerful and memorable month in my life.  An indelible mark, a story to be regaled time and time again.

I will forever hold the image of the Guru as he stood one night, struck against a full moon as the incessant barking of dogs reigned.


Finding your inner peace

sun rising meditationFinding peace within is not always permanent, it is transitory, dependent on moods, dependent on circumstances.

We all know what it feels like to be content.I am sure we can all recall moments where we felt totally relaxed, absolutely at peace with where we were at that moment.  Holding onto those feelings can be tricky.

It is not always a bad thing to have those moments from which we want to escape from.  It is in having those moments that we sometimes can get clarity on what we truly want.  There is always the dark to enhance the light and both have their place.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that it is all right to feel, whatever it is we need to feel, at any given moment.  If we need to feel anger, if we need to feel sad, then so be it, embrace that and allow it to follow it’s course.

It is better to acknowledge a dark feeling rather than ignore or stifle it.  It can be experienced, in some cases quickly and then we can reach for a better feeling place or emotion.

At times when we are sad, angry or unhappy, we should address the underlying reason for that.  If that circumstance is within our control to change, we should do our utmost to change that.  If it cannot be changed, we can support ourselves in being equipped to deal with it. We can put ourselves in the best possible position to not merely survive the circumstance but thrive upon it, if possible, dependent on the circumstance.

As we go on this journey through life, we all see the world through the prism of our experiences.

Each moment we have the potential, through awareness, to embrace the moment and see the good, or struggle with it and see the bad.

Be your own best friend and choose to have conscious awareness in any given moment.

Choose happiness, choose peace, choose to live the best life for you.

This fast paced life, why we need to take Five or Ten

stress-management-mindmapCycling up the road today I was struck by the absolute frenzy of the cars which sped past.  Moving from A to B, caught up in their own world, as I was too.

Everything is expected to be done yesterday, nowadays.  We are expected to meet the mark, yet often fall short. Often left feeling inadequate, incompetent and stressed.

We can’t change that about this world we live in but what we can do is empower ourselves to meet these demands more readily and easily.

It is not selfish to look after ourselves, to take time to relax and simply be, as opposed to do.  Instead this is simply recharging our batteries and enabling us for the future.

woman meditationWhat I would highly recommend is to take time out everyday.  Whether this is walking in nature, spending time in a quiet room, or whatever suits and appeals to you.   The main stipulation would be that you are alone, and the place is conducive to relaxing and letting go.

Using breathing techniques or simply attuning to nature can be exceptionally calming and restorative.

For those who say they don’t have time, it only requires 5/10 minutes.  Obviously more time is better but if that is all which can be spared, then even that will reap the benefits.

.Go on, take five!!

The Power Of Positive Thinking To Get What You Want In Life

By Carin Rockind for

“Live your best life!” “Create your own destiny!” “Manifest your dreams!” Bumper stickers, Facebook posts and magnets promise a better future, but is there any truth to it? Can you create your own reality?

The short answer: Yes. Vision boards, mantras and writing down your dreams in explicit detail can help to actualize your desires. Ask Kanye West, for nearly a decade he’d wanted Kim Kardashian and last weekend, he finally married her!

Years ago, The Secret was all the rage. The book promised that if you clearly, deliberately, intentionally envision what you want, eventually it will be yours. Desire a plush beach house? The book said it will become your reality. Want a million dollars? You can have it. Coveting a midnight blue Mercedes? You get the idea. I loved this idea, but my inner pragmatic skeptic voice questioned it.

The Secret is based on the law of attraction, the belief that “like attracts like” — positive thoughts lead to positive reality and negative thoughts lead to negative reality. This is true, but not because the blue Mercedes you’ve been coveting will simply appear at your doorstep. Rather, manifesting works because of your brain’s wiring. There’s a science to this.

Here’s how it works. Your brain is like a massive, massive computer. It holds more than 100 billion bits of information from every moment of your life on electric cells called neurons. Neurons fire together to tell the rest of your brain and body what to do. However, the brain can’t possibly recall every bit at once, so it creates shortcuts (called neural pathways) to remember more. The more you experience something, the stronger the pathway. For example, every time you see a hard surface attached to four legs, your brain immediately identifies the object as “a table” without you having to stop and think about what it is. The same is true of a habit. If you’re a social smoker, your brain has developed a strong pathway between drinking, nightclubs and cigarettes. That’s why it’s hard to quit.

Fortunately, the brain can create new neural pathways. This is why we can form new habits and commit new learning to memory. The more you focus on something, the stronger the pathways.

For months, I’ve wanted a Mini Cooper Convertible. An image of me riding around in a white one came to mind a few weeks ago (desire). I kept thinking about it, over and over (creating a strong neural pathway). So every time one was near, my brain more easily spotted it, as though the road was filled with signs that I needed one (confirmation bias, a term that means your brain is looking for or interpreting information to confirm its beliefs). For fun, I searched the Internet and — voila! — there was one for sale nearby. Did I manifest the car? Perhaps. Did I prime my brain to find it? Perhaps. Either way, I created my reality.

When your brain focuses on something, it thinks you want more of it and moves to action in that direction. So if your brain is focused on getting a raise, it will create the plan to get it in order to get confirmation that you have earned one. And if we think back to Kanye, he couldn’t magically make Kim fall in love with him, but maybe he took every positive interaction as encouragement to pursue romance.

Here’s the key: You must take action. When I saw the car for sale, I had to call the owner. When you see the man of your dreams, you must say hello. When the business opportunity arises, you must step forward and say, “YES!”

Here are a few tips I use to keep my dreams front and present in my mind:
Post-It Promises: Inside of my kitchen cabinet are a dozen sticky notes of my deep desires written in the positive, such as “I am a healthy, wealthy TV talk show host” and “Convertible! Yes!” Write each of your desires on its own page and look at them every day.

One-Minute Visioning: I take one minute every day to envision something I want — the relationship, home, work experience or travel I desire. I envision it in full color, using every sense. So if you want to go to Italy, smell the olive trees, feel the sun, hear the beautiful language in the open-air market. One minute a day.

Verbalize Your Desires: I was raised in a very superstitious home where I was taught that if you say what you want, you are calling in the evil eye to jinx it. I’ve learned the opposite is true. When you talk about what you want, other people will help you get it. That’s how I got this column. I told people that I dreamt of writing motivation for women. Turns out one of those people knew the YouBeauty team. I then had to contact the editors repeatedly, but I contacted them so many times, that I became part of their neural pathways and here I am!

Happy manifesting.