Yoga blog

7 Tips for Setting up a Daily Meditation Practice

Set aside a time to meditate

Meditation is great in the morning, although equally it can help people get off to sleep. Personally, I like to meditate in the afternoon to avoid the slump and feel rejuvenated. We’re all busy and we have commitments to family, work, friends etc. etc. so choose a time that works for you and stick with it.

 

Make a place where you feel safe and will be undisturbed

We can’t all build yurts in the garden, but if you have a busy house go into your bedroom and shut the door. Be comfortable. You could use a cushion or stack of blankets to sit on, or lie down on the floor or the bed. Make your own little ritual around getting comfortable, it will trigger your mind to relax and make the meditation easier over time.

 

Ensure that you are comfortable (at least at first)

At first it can feel like your mind and body are fighting against the meditation. As soon as you close your eyes your nose itches or you start thinking about what to cook for dinner. That’s normal, don’t beat yourself up about it. But learning to sit with a moderate amount of discomfort is really valuable. In life we can’t always be comfortable, sometimes our muscles might ache from being used, or our joints might ache from wear and tear. Coping with small amounts of pain and discomfort is part of life. And the same goes for mental pain, we can’t be happy all the time and things will sometimes not go the way we want them to. When you get started with meditation sit or lie down and be comfortable, but then start to challenge yourself – try sitting crossed legged without moving. If you feel an itch don’t immediately scratch it, if there’s some slight noise in the background don’t flick your eyes open. Sit with those feelings telling you to stop and move beyond them.

 

 

Use resources to help you

Well you’ve read this far into the guide so that’s a great start using resources!! And this is really the tip of the iceberg, there are loads of books and websites with advice (please see the resources section of the guide). Different strategies work for different people so hunt around and find what works for you.

 

Connect with others trying to add this into their lifestyle

I’d love to hear how your meditation journey is progressing and for us all to bond and connect, working towards being happier, healthier individuals. So why not join my Facebook group and keep in touch. You can also use the #hollysbreathingspacemeditation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And why not start a little meditation circle with your family or friends?

 

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day

We’re human and we’re busy. Adding meditation to your life shouldn’t be a chore like taking the bins out. If you missed your time one day because any number of things intervened (or even just because that day you really did not feel like you could be present in that moment and it just didn’t happen for you) that’s ok. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

 

Do come back to it if you miss day

Don’t be hard on yourself, but do come back to it. Building a new habit takes time and effort, but it’s so worthwhile. Get in touch with others to help keep you motivated. Think about why you wanted to start this in the first place. And be thankful for whatever progress and positive change you’ve already seen in your life since starting.

 

Enjoy your meditation journey. If you have any questions or want to share you experiences with me, please do!

Yoga blog

My OM Yoga Show Experience 2018!

I had to write this while I was fresh with the inspiration and excitement from attending the OM Yoga show this weekend at Alexandra Palace! It was an amazing experience for me and I loved every second of it. I wanted to share a little of what I discovered while at the show and my huge gratitude to all of the wonderful people I met there, learned from and practiced alongside. Especial thanks to the lovely ladies I trained with, always lovely to catch up ❤

  1. You Are Full of Loving Energy

OM show 2018

I’m quite a scientific person. Before becoming a Yoga Teacher I was a researcher, so when someone makes a statement to me my natural response is ‘what are your three peer-reviewed sources to back that up?’ So when I accidentally wandered into a 1-1 meditation class from Sahaja Yoga Meditation and was told by a blissful, smiling man that I was just made of ‘loving energy’, I was sceptical. Then he asked me to sit down and he slowly guided me through a meditation for self-love, followed by love for everyone. Afterwards he told me to love myself and to let go of any angry thoughts about others. It was a very simple message and it was beautiful in its sincerity. I thought he would then try to sell me something, but instead he gave me a leaflet with information about free meditation classes all around the UK. He was right, inside all of us is the capacity for huge love, great kindness and to let go of anger, I think we all know this, but I suppose for me anyway it didn’t hurt to be reminded of it.

 

2. You Don’t Have to Be Comfortable All the Time

aerial

I had an amazing Yoga Teacher in Dublin, Chris, who sometimes told us ‘you don’t have to be comfortable all the time’ and this message came back to me at the OM show this year. Yoga is so often discussed in relation to healing – relieving back pain, strengthening arthritic joints etc. And yes, Yoga can do wonders for the physical body! But it can also change the way your mind responds to things. In your Yoga pose you never want to feel pain, but learning to accept moderate discomfort is such a valuable life skill which in modern life we seem to have lost. At the show I put my heart and soul into everything, from a workshop on the splits (which I can’t do and may never be able to do… but now I know that’s not the point, the point as Sabi Kerr so wonderfully named the workshop ‘is the journey’) to attempting aerial Yoga poses. I have done so many vinyasas this weekend, but what’s a little discomfort for three of the best days of your life?

 

  1. Even When You’re in the Wrong Place You Can Still Work on Being Your Best Self

 

david sye workshop

 

On Sunday I did a workshop with Sarah Ramsden on common Yoga injuries and how to teach to avoid them. I was so interested to learn from Sarah and was looking to then implement practical strategies in my teaching to further support and care for my participants. So you can imagine my surprise when a rather flamboyant man burst onto the stage, told us to all close our eyes and walk around the room. When we’d bumped into three people we then had to dance with the third person. Then we group hugged for an unsociably long time with our eyes closed. The session proceeded with thumping pop/rock playlist, wiggling in Downward Dog and giving a total stranger a massage. It was only when I got home that I realised I had done a workshop by David Sye on ‘The Infamous Yogabeats Revolution’ because I was in the wrong room! As someone who twelve months ago was so anxious I couldn’t make it around Tesco without crying I honestly can’t believe I spent an hour and a half hugging and touching perfect strangers and dancing with my eyes closed. I would argue that David Sye was teaching Yoga for injury at the OM show, just as he teaches it in Israel, Palestine and Syria – Yoga for one of the greatest injuries any of us can suffer from… fear. As he put it: this could be our last day alive, we don’t know, so let’s love and live right now.

Have a beautiful week!

Namaste

Hx

Yoga blog

6 Tips to Set Up A Daily Yoga Practice

I practice Yoga everyday, multiple times a day often in classes I attend, classes I teach, and on my own. I love my practice, I never come away feeling low. It may be gentle exercise but I find it energising and I’d love to share some tips for how you can get a daily practice going 😊

  1. Go to Yoga Classes

If you go to the class you can’t stop your practice early and you can gain energy from the other people around you. It’s always helpful to get tips from a teacher. I still go to Yoga classes myself. And if you really want to switch off and get deeper into your practice having someone tell you what to do is lovely, no worries about sequences etc.

 

  1. Invest in Your Own Mat

It doesn’t have to be the most expensive mat in the world. Do some research, read some reviews and choose one that sounds right for you. Don’t go for too thick (stick between 4 and  8mm). If you find it painful kneeling a little bit more cushion might be helpful. You don’t need to buy straps and block straight away, sofa cushions, books, ties and belts can substitute. Don’t worry about not having much space, anywhere you can lay down your mat you can practice, just be careful if you’re doing balancing poses not to knock the TV over!

 

  1. A little Goes a Long Way

Just because you’re practicing Yoga everyday doesn’t mean that every home practice has to been an intense hour and a half. Some days a bit more meditation and a bit less movement can be just what your body needs. And the more you practice, the easier it will be to listen to your body and know what it’s telling you. Even if you just do Sun Salutations in the morning, you’ve done something. But try not to miss Savasana, even if it’s just a minute of relaxation.

 

  1. Don’t Feel Guilty for Looking After Yourself

You’re the most important person in your life. You can’t be the best friend, daughter, mother, father, son etc. to anyone else if you aren’t taken care of first. Make time and take time to introduce your Yoga practice. Do the poses you enjoy and relish the challenge of the ones you don’t love as much yet.

 

  1. Keep a Yoga Journal

I first began recording my practice during my Teacher Training. It transformed my practice and my approach to it. Don’t just write a bland explanation of what you do in your practice, talk about how you feel. Any self-discoveries you make. Record your goals for your practice, then you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing yourself achieve them. It’s easy to forget the struggle of getting into poses when they’re attainable and to always focus on the next challenge, the journal reminds you it’s all a journey.

 

  1. Don’t be too Hard on Yourself if You Miss a Day

We’re human and no matter how hard we try we live in a busy, modern world. Things come up, family get sick, some things can’t wait. So, if you miss one session just get back to it the next day.

 

Please share any tips you have 🙂 And get in touch with any questions ❤ Hxx

Recipes

Camembert, Beetroot, Asparagus & Red Onion Tart

Ok so this is quite a naughty mid-week meal with the cheese and the pasty… and the short cuts I’ve taken to make it super fast and easy, so make up for this by serving it with a lovely green salad 🙂

Ingredients:

Light puff pastry

Caramelised Onion Chutney

1 Camembert

1 packet of asparagus

125g steamed beetroot

1 red onion

salt & pepper

1 teaspoon oil

1 knob of butter

Tart Before Cooking

Method:

  1. Unroll the pastry and turn the edges over to make them slightly higher than the middle.
  2. Spread a layer of caramelised onion chutney over the pastry.
  3. Chop the beetroot into little chunks and spread them out on the pastry base.
  4. Fry the red onion for about 3-5 minutes in a teaspoon of oil until softened. Season to your taste. Spread the onion over the pastry base.
  5. Cut the Camembert in half, then chop each half into chunks. Place the chunks around the pastry.
  6. Fry the asparagus in a knob of butter until just cooked. Season to your taste. Then spread over the pastry base.
  7. Season the tart with some pepper
  8. Cook in the oven at 180 degrees for 18 minutes or until the pastry is lovely and golden and the cheese has melted.
  9. Enjoy served with a beautiful green salad.