Did you wake up in a really good mood on Sunday morning, full of motivation and positivity? It could be because last Sunday the 14th July was the Happiest Day of the Year!
July 14th is the midpoint of the year, we’re in the midst of sunshine and blue skies, summer holidays and longer evenings. The extra hours of daylight and more sunshine means were getting that all important Vitamin D, that we miss out on through the cold and dreary months of winter. We feel more energised and like we have more hours in the day to get things done. We get to slow down and spend more time outdoors, sipping in that fresh air. So no matter how you spent your Sunday, whether you felt the joy of the happiest day of the year, or whether you didn’t even know it was happening, we can use it to reflect and review what brings us happiness and how we can spend our time doing the things that bring us the most joy!
You know how much we love Yoga here at The Studio, so why not grab your mat and reconnect to nature and spend some time flowing outdoors. Give thanks to the sun above your head with a few rounds of Sun Salutations, and relax and reconnect with the environment around you. What sounds do you hear? Focus on the feeling of the sun on your skin, the breeze blowing softly against you, the smell of the grass. Focusing on our senses helps us to slow down and enjoy the present moment. We all wish the year would stop speeding by when it gets to Summer, with the onset of the nights drawing in and the cold months looming. So slow down your mind and time will follow.
The summer months are a great time to get active as you feel the extra energy the sun provides. So why not try out a new hobby? A morning run, a round of badminton in your local park, swimming in an outdoor pool or lake, or yoga on the beach. As the daylight hours are longer, some of us find it more natural to wake up earlier as our rooms are pouring with morning sunlight from about 5am. Instead of hitting the snooze button, jump out of bed when the sun is up and use those extra hours for something you enjoy before starting your working day.
Spend time doing the things you LOVE!
Whether its picnics with the kids, reading quietly on a sun lounger outside, walking the dog on your lunch break or jetting off to your favourite holiday destination. By making time to prioritse these things into your day, you can makesure the happiest day of the year is all year round! By keeping a positive mindset we can learn to flow with change and enjoy each day as it comes, whatever it brings.
‘They don’t know they’re born’, ‘Best years of your life’, ‘You don’t know what stress is’ are just some of the clichés about teenagers we hear regularly. As both a School and Yoga teacher I have witnessed an alarming decline in the mental health of our young people and can assure you that none of these statements ring true!
The teen years have been well documented as a time of heightened emotion, exploration and boundary pushing… ’The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole & ¾’?? It is not accurate to believe that all teenagers are self-absorbed narcissists oblivious to the turmoil’s of our modern world, most of the young people I have had the privilege to teach care deeply about others and the World around them but can feel overwhelmed by the life choices they are making from subject choices and friendships in school, political views, future careers… to what to wear for the party of the year on Saturday night. The struggles between parents and teens can feel relentless (for all involved) but are merely the tip of the iceberg when compared to the daily internal battles being fought by our teens.
The search to belong… aka finding a tribe
The apparent oxymoron of the teen state of mind is the desire to become an individual whilst also finding a place to be accepted and belong in a tribe of likeminded friends… And then there’s socialmedia… primarily a tool for growing communities and building connections, perfect for an unsure teen to connect with friends quickly and easily at any time and from any place. Social media can be a wonderful source of inspiration and community but increasingly the constant bombardment of perfected images of ‘perfect’ people with ‘perfect’ lives, are seriously damaging the mental health of our young (and not so young) people, we need to guide our teens to develop life skills that allow them to build positive relationships with themselves, each other and the wider world.
Yoga practice… not perfect
I’m not advocating a ban on social media, we have to be able to live well as part of our modern world, I suggest some simple approaches to support your teen as she navigates her constantly changing world…
Develop MINDFUL use of electronic devices
Talk to your teen to establish some ground rules for her use of devices… try a day free of technology, daily time limit or no devices in bedrooms after a set time.
A quick chat or journalling in the morning can help your teen to set a mindset for the day, this could be something she needs to tick off her to do list or maybe about her emotional approach to the day.
Pit & Peak
This is one of my favourites and for us usually happens at the dinner table or in the quiet half an hour before bed. So simple… each family member describes their pit (low point) and peak (high point) of the day… a negative event may have overwhelmed her feelings and it’s nice to find the positive from the day.
Regular, nutritious meals are essential… water and greens… teaching her to prepare some simple meals will empower her to cook for herself and understand her bodies needs.
School, homework, exams, goals, dreams, ambitions, friendships, relationships, socialising, hobbies… our teens have so many wonderful opportunities and can feel pulled in many directions. Set time aside to organise her commitments together… be sure to build in down time.
A regular Yoga practice can help to give your teen a safe place ( on the mat) to breathe and feel grounded…..we can’t take away the external challenges but we can offer practices that can build the foundations for a healthy and emotionally resilient life.
We are delighted to offer our ‘YogaTeens’ monthly practice for your teenagers… A safe space of yoga, meditation, relaxation, and more
Don’t just take our word for it… here’s what our teens said after we launched our YogaTeens practice in May 2019
‘Before I arrived I was very nervous and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it, but I quickly relaxed and began to find the poses easier to do’
‘It helped me to let go of things that I had been holding onto’
‘It was a very tranquil environment’
‘Helen is so kind and doesn’t push you too far out of your comfort zone’
‘The snacks were delicious & I liked how they were homemade?’
‘I expected it to be really relaxing….and it was!’