Recently I’ve been trying to get myself back into the swing of meditation and yoga, all in the vein of helping me unwind, stretch out my kinks and help my gut. And so far, it seems to be working.
Let’s start with meditation shall we. First off I am now an advocate for box breathing and have been harping on about it to everyone. It’s a simple concentration exercise which I find helps calm my nerves, keep my anxiety at bay, and clear my mind. You inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale to the same 4 count and hold again for 4.
I like to close my eyes and really shut myself off from the outside world and concentrate on connecting with myself and body. I’ll repeat the breathing sequence for a couple of minutes or until I can feel my shoulders slowly unwinding and my mind stop racing.
What I like about this technique is that you can do it absolutely anywhere, at home in the morning to set you up for the day, on the tube when you’re been squashed into someone’s armpit or in the loos at work before a big meeting. Anywhere. Trust me, I’ve tried.
I also have the Headspace app on standby for those days when my mind is whirling at a 100 miles per hour and there’s no chance of it slowing down. I know you’re supposed to practice mindfulness while sitting down, connecting with the ground, but I really like laying in bed, completely flat, with my eyes closed. I find the voice soothing and the routine comforting. Each practice lasts for 10 minutes but I’m normally fast asleep after 5. That’s how relaxed I am.
Yoga is a relatively new one for me. I’m a group-sport girl at heart as I need that push from others to motivate me to play harder or shake my tush more. But I also know that yoga is all about connecting with yourself to find what feels good for you as an individual. Plus the stretching is definitely good for my knots and my IBS.
My YouTube instructor of choice has to be Adriene. She is instructional, realistic, attainable and after watching one of her videos, you’ll want to be her BFF. I’ve been trying out a range of her videos, from six-pack abs to yoga for when you’re in a bad mood, and feel genuinely great afterwards. There’s even yoga for couch potatoes, I mean, how can you not like her?!
Admittedly, going straight in for a 40-minute intense ab workout might not have been my wisest move – I ached for days – but it did make me feel ready for anything. I enjoy the sense of moving your body fluidly from pose to transition and like the feeling of giving my gut a good stretch in the process.
So for me, meditation + yoga + IBS = Happy body and happy mind. That’s what it’s all about.
And yep, that is a picture of a cat mid stretch. Because that’s a lot cuter to look at than me doing the same.
Image source: Pixabay
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