How to maintain high energy throughout the day

Maintain Energy Meditation
 

I get overwhelmed. I get stressed. I have a massive to-do-list and don’t know where to start most days. I am sure you have days like that or maybe weeks. We could blame bad planning or even hormones, but still, these days happen. Meditation is lovely. It definitely helps to have a regular practise. However, there are these times during the day where you just want to scream. Or maybe you do scream, and maybe at someone else.

Revelation

At the beginning of this year, I listened to a podcast by Brendon Burchard. He explains that to keep our energy high throughout the day, we need to take regular breaks every 45 to 60 minutes or when we transition between tasks, whichever comes first. When changing between tasks our mind continues to mull over the old effort and we are expending an un-necessary amount of energy to transfer to the new project. That is one of the reasons why multi-tasking doesn’t work. Some research says that we need up to 20 minutes to arrive in the new state of mind when transferring between tasks.

A transition between tasks can be for instance when you leave the house to get on the bus to go to work. You transition from home to public and then to work.

When doing the exercise below we are letting go of whatever we have just done and focus on the new. It is like a mini-meditation.

Just imagine yourself sitting on a desk for three hours straight, you are not going to be as energised or focussed as you were at the beginning of that task. You are sitting bend forward, shoulders up to your ears, your whole body rounding and tensing, and brain fog has probably set in long ago. The same thing happens after a meeting, during physical work, studying, driving a bus. A few minutes of deep breathing, moving and re-energising can keep your energy levels high for longer.

Set yourself a reminder every hour and do this little

Mini-meditation:

1) Get up and about. Change the scene. Grab some water. Go to the toilet. Do some yoga. Or just stand up from your desk and look into the distance.
2) Do some deep breathing. Fill your lungs with air. Long deep smooth breath in and then a long deep smooth breath out. Repeat that for a minute or so.
3) Then start saying the word ‘Release’ over and over again, silently to yourself.
4) After you have done that for a minute or so, set yourself an intention. An intention of how you want to feel like for the next hour or task.
5) Then continue with your new task.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Recorded Relaxation

recorded relaxation recording of relaxationBelow you can find a recording of the relaxation I sometimes finish my yoga classes with. My regular students find it very relaxing and have mentioned they would like to have a recording of it. For instance, the recorded relaxation could help you (or your loved ones) to get to sleep. And remember rest is almost as good as sleep. If you are waking up during the night, instead of worrying about being tired the next day, a big meeting or similar, you could listen to this relaxation instead. At least you will find some rest.

So here it is! If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know. You can reach me under my email address yoga.carolin@gmail.com

You can also subscribe below to my newsletter to hear more from me.

 

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How to tackle stress

How to tackle stress

Stress is attributed to most GP visits and can be associated with the biggest health problems we face these days. Starting with cardiac diseases but also mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

How do we get stressed?

In his book Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers Robert M. Sapolsky explains why we get frazzled by small things and animals seem to be able to brush off the anxieties of being hunted all day every day. Of course, zebras can get stressed, they are a prime target of crocodiles, hyenas, and leopards after all. Animals react with the fight, flight or freeze response when stressed and when the incident is over they move on and forget about it.

However, as humans, we can keep a stressful experience alive purely as a function of our minds. Our bodies can’t determine whether a threat is real or whether we are creating an incident in our minds. By repeating worrying stories to ourselves we can create a panic response, which creates a downward spiral and we can end up for instance with digestive issues, sleep problems, or depression.

How can you tackle stress?

Mindfulness and yoga can help with reducing stress and associated problems. For instance, slow and deep breathing tells your body that the stressful situation has passed and that it’s time to relax. How often do you actually relax during the day? There is usually something going on. Our work is stressful, family life can be frantic, and usually, we fill every minute of our days with something to do, like our phones or television. By merely being still and breathing deeply and slowly five times, we can change your bodies perception of your environment and calm you down.

I find breathing techniques one of the most important tools in yoga. In my classes, I teach the three-part yogic breath which takes advantage of the full capacity of the lungs. This involves breathing into your belly, chest, and ribs. Filling all parts of your lungs with air and breathing out from your ribs, chest, and belly. Doing this regularly can make breathing fully a habit.

I am starting a new 4-week course on Wednesday 21st November 2018 called Gentle Yoga for Stressful Lifes where we will learn how to breathe fully and gently release tension.

 

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You can’t release tension against resistance

Have you ever told an angry person to calm down? How did that go? My guess is, the best it went was they looked at you in disbelieve and the worse was they became even angrier. That’s exactly how it works for muscles. An angry, aggravated muscle will not let you stretch and lengthen it.

You could visualise this by making a tight fist and then try to gently move your fingers away from the fist. Not that easy right? Especially if you don’t want to damage your fingers. Then make your hand into a relaxed fist and, magic, your fingers move away quite easily.

Muscles tense for a reason. Most of the time it’s a good thing otherwise you wouldn’t be able to move. And sometimes they try to protect themselves and their surrounding area. And when they get tight and can’t release anymore they will most likely to start hurting.

How to release tension?

To release tension you could come into a position where you don’t use those muscles anymore. Do you have lower back pain? You could lay on your back, feet wider then your hips, knees pointing up and relaxing towards each other. That position hurts you? Turn around into child’s pose. Hips towards your heels, head relaxes down. You see, it is very difficult to relax when you are in pain. Rambo may have been able to breathe through the pain, but that took him a long while to learn.

When you found your relaxed pose, start to breathe. Fill the belly with air, the chest, the ribs and then visualise the area where you can feel tension filling with air. That rhythmic movement will calm your muscles and your mind. When the body notices there is no harm coming from you breathing it might even relax more.

And when you have found a relaxed state of long, deep, slow breathing, you might want to start adding some movement. Slowly. If you are lying on your back you could start shifting your pelvis from left to right, tilt it forward and backward, lift the hips up for an inhale and lower them down for an exhale. Slowly and mindfully. In child’s pose you could take both hands over to one side for a side stretch or shift the hips from side to side. Whatever tickles your fancy. Notice how it feels.

Just remember, if you can’t take full deep breaths because you are feeling the tension, back off.

 

Autumn Equinox

autumn equinox
autumn season harvest equinox

Summer is drawing to an end, with days shortening, temperatures slowly dropping and some trees already losing their leaves. As much as we enjoyed the summer, autumn isn’t far.

Autumn Equinox is the astrological start of autumn when day and night are the same lengths of time. This is one of only two days (spring equinox being the other one) on which the sun is rising precisely due east and sets due west. After that day our days are shorter than the nights and you could get the feeling that we get up when it’s dark and come home when its dark.

I have always loved the changing seasons. After all, you can only enjoy the light and warm days of spring and summer when you had a dark and cold winter. Lighter days are for being bright and airy, to do things outside and to be active. Longer nights are to regain energy, nourish yourself, read a book, reflect on what has happened and plan for things to come.

The Autumn Equinox is a chance to celebrate a new season, to contemplate on what has passed and look forward what is to come.

As the days become shorter I am stocking up on herbal teas and scented candles. We have been blackberry picking and I have made some crumble in my slow cooker. And on Sunday, which is the actual day of the Equinox, I will get out my journal and reflect on my hopes and fears and celebrate everything I am proud and grateful for.

This year the Autumn Equinox will be on Sunday, 23rd September.  Perfect timing to meet up with some friends for a walk and enjoy the changing colours of the season.

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How to stay mindful throughout your day

Your spine is an amazing structure, stacking one vertebra on top of the other and then aligning them in an S-shape curve to stay upright. Without this intricate structure, we wouldn’t be able to stand up. On top of our spine balances our head, which is pretty heavy. It’s a masterpiece of engineering.

But did you know that your head becomes heavier to carry when it isn’t aligned properly on your spine? Try holding something heavy (maybe a bottle of laundry liquid) close to your chest and then hold it out straight in front of you on chest level. Your arms will get heavy quicker holding it out in front.

Now, look at your posture throughout the day. These days we spend a lot of time in front of a PC or looking at a smartphone, or driving a car. Sticking our head out in front can cause muscle strains and pains, pinched nerves or even wear and tear on the vertebrae.

In the beginning, we may have noticed when sticking our head forward, however muscles adapted to this unnatural posture and hence it feels normal. How can we know how it should feel like?

What is good posture?

Try to balance a book on your head. Use a substantial one like one of those cookery books with lots of lovely photos. Place the book on top of your head, where it naturally flattens. If it stays, that’s the posture you are aiming for.

You can’t go to the office with a cookery book on your head? That’s where it becomes tricky. How do you remember throughout your day to stand tall?

How to stay mindful throughout your day?

Let’s introduce a mindfulness trigger into your day. A mindfulness trigger is a situation which triggers you to be present, to be mindful. Let’s say you are going into the kitchen to make yourself a tea, therefore boiling the kettle can be your mindfulness trigger to stand straight and with good posture.

Have both feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Lift the chest without overarching your lower back. Relax the shoulders. Lift the top of your head towards the ceiling with your chin slightly tucked into your chest, just where you start to get a double chin. That should give your neck a little stretch and then you relax your shoulders a bit more.

Make this a habit every time you make a tea and at some stage, this will become a habit and you can add another trigger.

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