Health

The Basics of Yoga

Getting to this time of year, I do wonder how many people are still using there gym membership they bought in January. A new years resolution that stuck until February… March? Well I was one of them… I even had a personal trainer but without accountability I didn’t continue to use the gym after my 10 sessions.

So I have been a loyal investor of £10 a month to Exercise4Less until now… when I quit officially. I find home exercise much more appealing, especially in the winter months. In my opinion its too cold and dark to venture out. Sometimes even a home HIIT session is too much for me but Yoga… I always have time for yoga.

I wonder if anyone else has a favourite fitness… for some its running, gym, HIIT but ofr me it’s definitely yoga!

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So what is Yoga?

 

Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines poses, controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation. It was developed in India over 5000 years ago!

  • The poses or postures are a series of movements that increase strength and flexibilty
  • Controlling your breathing helps control your body and quietens your mind
  • Meditation is where you learn to be more mindful and be present in the moment

A number of studies have found that Yoga…

  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • enhances your mood
  • creates a sense of well-being
  • improves your balance, flexibility and strength
  • reduces risk factors for chronic disease like heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Helps alleviate conditions such as depression, pain and insomnia.

Plus…it’s an exercise that almost anyone can do too!

In my Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we took a yoga pose each day to master and I invite you to take a look too.

 

 

Foundations of Yoga

The foundation to yoga is simply breathing. This connects your mind and body

Let’s say your at work and your boss critics your work, your not meeting deadline or don’t have the right equipment to do your job. You tense up, you feel your head pounding, your jaw tighten… this is a perfect moment to practice by just breathing.

  • Take a few moments
  • Sit in your chair, feet flat on the floor and observe your breathing.
  • Don’t change it just observe it. Your heart might be racing or you may be holding your breath.
  • Then try to gently lengthen each breathe on each inhale and exhale.
  • Count silently to three… then four… then five.
  • Your heart rate will slow
  • Your neck, shoulder and jaw will loosen
  • You may even say your relaxed

This frame of mind will be able to handle the situation much better. May be worth a try the next time life pushes your buttons.

Childs

 

Let’s start with Childs Pose…

  1. Kneel on the floor… touch your big toes together and sit on your heels
  2. Separate your knees about as wide as your hips
  3. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs
  4. Lay your hand on the floor alongside your torso, palms up

This is a resting pose that you can stay in from 30 seconds to a few minutes

Why do Childs Pose?

  • It stretches the hips and thighs
  • It calms the brain and relives stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain
  • Stimulates your digestion

Step further?

  1. T o increase the length in your torso, stretch your arms forward
  2. Lift your bum slightly away from your heels
  3. Reach the arms longer while you draw your shoulders back
  4. Without moving your hand, sit your bum back on the heels

Cat Cow

 

Cat-Cow Pose

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips
  2. Point your finger tips forward
  3. Centre your head and look downwards
  4. Cow Pose – Inhale as you drop your belly, lift your chin and chest and gaze upwards
  5. Cat Pose – Exhale as you draw your belly up and round your back towards the ceiling (like a stretching cat)
  6. Release your head looking towards the floor but don’t put your chin yo your chest
  7. Repeat 5-20 times and then rest by sitting back on your heels and moving into Child pose for a few minutes

Troubleshooting

  • If your wrists hurt, place your forearms on the floor
  • If your knees hurt double over your mat or put a blanket under your knees

Benefits of acting like a cow?

  • Strengthens your abdominal muscles
  • Stimulates the kidneys
  • Calms the mind
  • Develops postural awareness and can reduce back pain when practised regularly

Warrior

Are you a fierce warrior?

  1. Begin in a tall strong posture (Mountain Pose)
  2. Step or lightly jump your feet apart
  3. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and out to the sides
  4. Turn your right foot to the right slightly and left foot the left 90 degrees
  5. Turn your left thigh outward
  6. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle
  7. Stretch your arms
  8. Pull your tailbone in
  9. Turn your head to the left and look over your fingers
  10. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute
  11. Reverse the feet and repeat on the right side

Apart from feeling super powerful the warrior pose is great for

  • Strengthening your legs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backache
  • Improves circulation

 

Tree

Want to improve your sense of balance… tree pose is for you!

  1. Start in your mountain pose and focus on your breathe
  2. Once settled, shift your weight slightly onto the left foot and bend your right knee
  3. Reach down with your right hand and clasp your right ankle
  4. Draw your right foot up onto your inner left thigh
  5. If you can press the right heel into your inner left groin with toes pointing down
  6. Rest your hands on your hips
  7. Then slowly press your hands together and faze at a fixed point in front of you
  8. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute
  9. Step back into mountain pose and do the same on the other leg

Troubleshooting

  • If you feel really unsteady and wobbly, stand with your back against a wall

This pose it great for improving your balance!

Take it a step further…

  • Practice with your eyes closed
  • Stretch your arms straight up
  • or form a V with your arms

Within the Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we shared our poses to build up a sense of accountability to practising daily! I hope these poses have given you a taster into the world of yoga. A rug is all you need to do yoga from home.

I personally love Yoga with Adriene’s you tube channel, I regularly see her in my morning’s and I have continued to increase my flexibility, core strength and balance as well as peace of mind throughout her sessions.

Go the Distance for your Health and Wellbeing

Health

Drop a Pumpkin in 4 weeks

So me and the mister are celebrating our year anniversary this weekend… and what a year it has been. We have slept in over 20 different beds in over 10 different cities and we have had the best time!

But like in all great relationships, the waistline can begin to grow as you become more and more comfortable with one another. That’s where I was at. I have never been able to put on weight, I have a super metabolism and can literally eat what every I want. But… a year of this meant I gained a muffin top! Nowhere else… just on my stomach, the last place you want it to go!

Regardless of the muffin top, I still had a slim figure but i felt lethargic, sluggish and quite frankly a bit crap. I have had some crazy symptoms that have resembled fibromyalgia with pains going down one side of my face, arm and leg. I had no energy and was tired after a 8 hour working day in the office. My mood had times of being so low and my anxiety sometimes sky high. I knew something wasn’t right but no amount of medication, trips to the doctor, blood tests seemed to figure out what an earth was up with me.

It wasn’t until I was two weeks into Clean Eating that I had a lightblub moment. The rubbish I had been feeding myself was having such an effect on my physical health.

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So what have I been doing?

Me and the mister took on a four week clean eating plan that is supported by safe supplements. Eating clean means…

No gluten, no dairy, no caffeine, no sugar, no processed food, no alcohol.

I replaced my non-existent breakfasts with a meal replacement shake, had two healthy meals and supplements that supported digestion, fibre levels, energy and brain function.

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Our bodies knew exactly what to do with all the goodness we gave it. In total we lost 10lbs … the exact weight of this pumpkin! I must admit we did look rather strange in Sainsburys weighing all these pumpkins to find the right one!

I lost 19 cm from my waist and hip measurements and 4lbs. The mister lost 16 cm from his chest, waist and hip measurements too and 6lbs.

You can find our before and after pictures here, on our Healthy and Happy support group. Whoever said that the last place it comes off is your stomach was wrong. That’s where all of our weight came off. I was rather pleased that none came off my boobs I must admit!

But it was a challenge… I had the funniest cravings for the strangest of things for a good two weeks. Anything I wasn’t allowed I craved for and the tuck shop at work was a reminder every day! I was grumpy for the first week and felt hungry even though I was eating more than ever.

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However, everyday I looked forward to my herbal tea instead of a cuppa with two sugars and I even looked forward to my breakfast shake.

Being accountable to the Mister definitely helped. I genuinely don’t think i would have stuck to it without him. He has amazing determination and sticks to things by the letter and I do love him for that.

The social support I feel is the most important part of taking on a clean eating challenge. If you, your partner and family are doing it together it will integrate into your lifestyle much easier. It will become a way of living and will be sustainable for the future, as you live by the 80/20 rule. This is why we have created a support group for all those people wanting to create healthy habits.

We welcome people from all over the world who have a desire to become Healthy and Happy (click the banner to find our group).

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Go the Distance for your Health