Through meditative yoga, you can learn to turn off the noise inside your head and focus on your breathing, an incredibly calming activity. John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, has been leading a study on the link between yoga and the reduction of stress and disease on the body. Denninger says that "the kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.” Meditative yoga helps you inject the silence you never knew you needed into your otherwise busy life. Just try not to fall asleep in Shavasana pose (easier said than done!). When you think of exercises that can help you relax, yoga is often the default. This is because yoga is all about remaining calm while maintaining some uncomfortable positions that slowly become more comfortable the longer you practice. Yoga is even a great way to help kids relax, as it can decrease stress and improve attention and behavior, according to a study by Wayne State University. And heck, if yoga can help even children find their calm, then you know that’s powerful stuff! Calming yoga is wonderfully beneficial in clearing the cobwebs from your mind and helping you to find your center. Moving Meditation by Julie Montagu
1. Moving Meditation
Mediation is a way for us to quiet the mental chatter we have in our minds and focus on being present in the here and now. Through this practice we can start to feel a sense of inner peace and calm as we realise that we can simply observe our thoughts without judging them or ourselves. In this Happy Yoga session, Julie will guide you through her Moving Mediation sequence which has been design to bring you back to your breath so you can start to feel more balanced as you let go of any worries that are preventing you from experiencing happiness.
2. Yoga for Better Sleep
Ensuring we are able to experience a deep, restorative sleep each night is one of the most important elements of living a healthy, happy life. When we are sleep deprived our stress levels increase and we may find it difficult to be productive and effective during the day. Yoga is a wonderful way to wind down after a busy way and relax before bedtime. In this session, Julie will guide you through a soothing yoga sequence that will have you feeling stress-free, calm and primed for a great night sleep.
3. Positive Affirmations for Confidence
Positivity goes a long way in helping you to build a happier life. An affirmation is a statement we say to ourselves in order to re-wire our thoughts. Much like exercise, the repetition of positive affirmations can raise our level of feel-good hormones and completely change our mood. In this session Julie will share with you, four of her favourite positive affirmations for greater confidence, self-love and gratitude.
4. Mindful Walking Exercise
Mindful walking is an active meditative practice that requires you to be consciously aware of your environment as you walk. The practice of mindful walking brings you closer to nature and to your own body. It also helps to strengthen your concentration and boost your awareness of the world around you. In this session, Julie will discuss the many benefits of mindful walking and her simple tips for getting started.
5. Julie's Simple Happiness Pose
For those times when we are feeling not-so-great, practicing an inversion or ‘legs up the wall” pose can be an effective way to increase our energy levels, lower stress and boost our mood . In this session Julie will guide you through her “happiness pose” that she does each day to feel more energized, focused and present.
6. Body Awareness: 5-Minute Relaxation Technique
For times when you are feeling a little overwhelmed or anxious, this five minute body awareness exercise will bring you back to the present moment and free you from stressful thoughts. This relaxation exercise can be done at any time of day and is most effective when you sit in a chair with your feet firmly on the floor; but find the most comfortable seated position that works for you. Give yourself this little break to feel calm, happy and balanced.
7. Restorative Yin Practice
Being over stimulated and anxious can cause irritation and imbalance in our body systems. This wonderful yin and restorative yoga class will help nourish your senses and center your energy. Enhance your experience by lighting some candles, rubbing lavender essential oils on your pressure points, and grabbing an eye pillow.
8. Joint Relaxation Vinyasa
Heavy emotions can translate into tense energy that can collect throughout your body. In this vinyasa practice, you'll focus on rotational movement throughout all your major joints to reduce any congestion or stiffness you may feel. It is also great for reducing heart and chest tightness associated with feelings of anxiety and panic attacks.
9. Find Focus and Be Present
When you feel anxious, chances are you've been worrying in circles. This practice will help you shift into a focused state through the use of balancing and standing poses. The goal of this focus is to bring you back to the present moment, dissolving any attachments to fear-based thoughts and busy thinking.
10. Tension Reducing Vinyasa
This vinyasa practice is all about reducing tension that can take a tight grip on your heart and chest, and is ideal for when feelings of anxiety become overwhelming. The class begins by easing you back into your breath with qigong techniques, then moving you into a gentle and calming vinyasa flow.