Posts In: mindfulness

Mindful Moments

24/03/2020

Finding comfort in the chaos can be easier said than done. As our lives become mainly online based, our screen time might be through the roof as we rely on our phone screens to connect us through this tough time. If you start to feel overwhelmed and need a moment for yourself, put the technology to one side, and go old school with our favourite activities to find your mindful moment.

And as we know, with the majority of shops being closed right now, remember you can still support your favourite stores by shopping online! We’ve provided handy links to our favourites, if one of these ideas is calling out to you but you don’t quite have what you need.

Piece by Piece

One of lifes simpler satisfactions, inserting the last piece of jigsaw into its place completing the finished picture. A cosy cottage, a New York skyline, dogs playing cards round a table, or whatever you’re into! Immerse yourself in an (annoyingly) addictive yet relaxing pastime and improve your visual perception, memory and critical thinking. Now, which piece goes where?
Get the family involved! Need a way to keep the kids occupied for an hour? Get them to join in! Set them simple mindful challenges such as finding all the edge pieces, finding pieces of a certain colour, or pieces containing a certain object. This will give them something to focus on and give you a helping hand to find the piece you need!

Check out top Jigsaw brand Ravensburger online HERE. For a wide range of children and adult friendly puzzles!

Colour yourself happy

Something you maybe haven’t done since you were a child, but remember how the hours would pass by in a blissful blur of concentrated focus, as you tried to stay between the lines of a brand new colouring book? Its a favourite child hood pastime but how does it benefit me now?
Well did you know..? There have been several studies to prove the health benefits of colouring including reduced blood pressure and lowering stress and cortisol levels. Expressing yourself creatively helps to clear the mind, as it tunes in to focus on the task at hand. Calming the mind of worries and bringing you into the present moment, it has similar effects to your meditation practice. So if you are missing the mindful benefits of your yoga practice, why not leave your phone in another room. Give yourself a half hour break away from social media and news headlines, and express your inner child, we won’t tell if you go out the lines!

For gorgeous intricate designs and patterns to suit any theme you might fancy check out the great selection at Waterstones HERE.

Mindful Mind Games

No we’re not talking about messing with someone’s head. We’re talking word searches, sudokus and crosswords! You know we are all about growth here, so why not work on growing your vocabulary whilst keeping your brain active! A great way to develop patience to overcome challenges and persevere through frustration, while enhancing mental sharpness and problem solving.

Check out The Works HERE, for budget books to keep you busy on a rainy day.

Bake the World A Better Place

Something we all know and love, Food. With the mad rush of people buying bread in bulk, have a go at making your own! Relish in the feeling of creating nourishing food for yourself from scratch, evoking each of the senses for a true mindful experience.
Its a sensory experience. What do you feel? Think about the texture and the movement you create with your hands. What can you smell? Our sense of smell can literally transport us to a different time or place. What do you hear? Become aware of the sounds created around you, the perfect crackle of a crispy bread crust. And most importantly how does it taste! Its so much more rewarding to eat when you worked through the process of making it. Other ideas for simple bakes are cupcakes, flapjacks and brownies!

Check out our previous blog post on Store cupboard cooking HERE, we think a fresh home made loaf would go perfectly with the Saucy Bean Baked Egg recipe!

(If shopping for ingredients, shop mindfully. Remember to only get what you need, keep your distance from others and share a smile with the staff! Spread love within your community 🙂 )

Dear Diary,

Possibly one of the best forms of self care we could possibly take during this time. Creating a regular journal practice.

If your new to Journaling and don’t know where to start or what to write, The Studio’s Donna recommends following these simple prompts from the book Calm: Calm the Mind, Change the World by Michael Acton Smith. Follow these journaling prompts to get you started;

1. What made me feel calm today?
2. What am I grateful for today?
3. What were the 3 highlights of today?

Let these be the foundational thoughts to guide you before going into deeper reflection. A journal is literally a space for you to ‘brain dump’ any stresses or worries, and put your thoughts and feelings on to paper. Often when we see our problems written down, it allows us to become less attached to them. This gives us space to workout either how to resolve them, or to let go of them. We can also use journaling to stay on top of our goals, dreams and desires, an important tool to stay motivated through hard times.

What are your favourite ways to create a mindful moment for yourself?
Stay Well

Peace&Love

It’s pretty self explanatory. Show yourself some love.


So, if it’s so simple why does it often get pushed to the back burner of our minds?

Maybe because it’s not important, maybe we’re too busy, maybe everybody or everything else comes first, etc, etc. But it doesn’t take much to show ourselves a little love each day. Even the tiniest steps can make the biggest differences. We just need to be aware.


Give it a go with these simple self love steps we’ve put together!

STEP 1

  • Recognise that you are an individual in this world. No two people are the same. Each of us are unique in our own beautiful way and that’s what makes us, us!  So be proud of that!
Top Tip:- Take a moment to digest that each and every day!
If you practice yoga, you could build a self love mantra into Shavasana.

Check out 10 Powerful Self Loving Mantras, use these or create your own based on what’s important to you!

https://www.gaia.com/article/10-powerful-self-loving-mantras

STEP 2

  • We can only ever do our best, and if we truthfully put 100% effort into everything we do, we can’t possibly give anything more or anything less. We do exactly what we are capable of doing in that given moment. So, getting annoyed  because you hit a wall, or didn’t quite overcome an obstacle in the way you’d have liked is pretty useless. Instead of beating yourself up about it, embrace it. Embrace the journey you are on and any mistake you make and know that you are learning at each and every moment given to you.
Top Tip:- Try changing your perspective on obstacles. Instead of being an obstacle, maybe they’re a stepping stone to get you to where you want to be.

STEP 3

  • Everyone has a different view on what’s important in life and focuses all their energy into those things. There’s certainly a few things we often experience through our lifetime and it may be the fact there’s so much to do, so many people to care for, and many things we need to take into consideration within our busy lives. More often than not, we forget to stop and realise our own significance in the universe. In the midst of caring for everybody else, we forget to care for ourselves! Self-care is important so don’t put it off, or wait until you can fit it into your schedule.
Top Tip:- instead apply it each and every day. For each day – write down something in the form of self care that you’ll do for you! To make sure you take care of you!

STEP 4

  • Remember, everybody has their imperfections and nobody is perfect. There are strengths and areas to grow in all of us, so don’t sell yourself short and try not to make comparisons because by doing so this can make us feel low about our worth.
Top Tip:- Start celebrating your strengths and begin to see your ‘weaknesses’  as opportunities to grow!

STEP 5

  • Sometimes, the person that gives us the hardest time is in fact ourselves. We’re hard on ourselves, and we get away with it too! So it becomes a constant cycle of negativity.  We’ve all heard the term ‘treat people the way you wish to be treated’ So put this into practice and treat yourself how you’d expect others to treat you. Sometimes the things we say to ourselves are the most awful, demeaning things anyone could ever say. Instead of drilling into yourself how rubbish you are, reframe—and use language that builds you up and creates those positive feelings!  
Top Tip:- Practice being kind to yourself like you would to others, and talk to yourself in a loving way

STEP 6

If you’d like a little more guidence then you’re in luck, because we’ve got an afternoon dedicated to self love at The Studio! Indulge yourself in an afternoon of all things you. Take the time to appreciate and indulge your mind body and soul with a feel good few hours just for you! Leave The Studio feeling empowered, rejuvenated and LOVED!

Top Tip:- Click the link below to reserve your self love spot!

https://thestudio.gymmasteronline.com/portal/account/bookclass/39

PEACE & (SELF) LOVE

X

Mindful meditation for everyone

Top 5 Best Meditation Apps

If we are sure about anything in January it’s how manic it can be after all those festive shenanigans! We are all trying hard to stick to our resolutions and be our fittest, healthiest, best self. More often than not this becomes exhausting and results in us giving up.

Sometimes all we need to take a moment to relax, take a deep breath and ground ourselves. Giving ourselves the space to breath and create a clear and focused mind to make the most of each day. Meditation is a simple exercise to intergrate into your routine with huge benefits. Studies suggest using this practice on average 5-10 minutes a day can reduce stress, improve your emotional health and enhance self-awareness. Therefore, below we have included some of The Studio favorites and the worlds best meditation apps ready to help prepare you for the new year ahead.

Apps

Calm

Price: Download for free with optional in-app purchases

Google Rating: 5*

This app is perfect for those who are new to the world of meditation, offering a seven day beginners program with simple calming exercises to help focus on your breathing techniques whilst clearing your mind. They also provide a ‘calm Kids’ section for those aged between 3-17 years old so your children can feel relaxed too. Furthermore, they include a library for ‘sleep stories’ so you can fall asleep feeling content.

Headspace

Price: 14 day free trial (optional subscription after)

Google Rating: 5*

This app creates personalized plans based on information you provide focusing on balancing your life with their mindfulness techniques for daytime use, focusing on training your mind and body to fulfil a happier lifestyle. To make full use of this app they also provide sleep music tracks and nature soundtracks to help give you a blissful night sleep

Aura

Price: 7 days free trial (optional subscriptions after)

Google Rating: 5*

This app provides you with a personalized plan based on questions asked at the beginning of your experience. Aura presents you with a daily meditation practice based on your answers. This app is also compatible with the ‘Apple watch’ and aims to reduce stress and increase positivity.

Insight Timer

Price: 7 days free trial (optional subscriptions after)

Google Rating: 5*

This app gives you the most hands-on experience when it comes to practicing meditation compared to all other apps. It also includes discussion groups and community features, known as “a social network for mediators”. Including ambient music and soundtracks to calm the mind.

10% Happier

Price: 7 days free trial (optional subscriptions after)

Google Rating: 5*

This app was created to motivate those who might lose sight along the way due to their busy lifestyles with weekly updates, so it never feels like a chore. Daily videos and guided meditations teach you what to do in the simplest way possible, including a range of content showing ways to manage stressors such as anxiety

For further tips & tricks check out our ‘Studio Blogs’ which covers further insight into the world of the Studio, Yoga, health, and a happier lifestyle!

The Studio Team x

Pranayama

25/10/2019

Breathing is important, of course it is. In other words, it’s what keeps us alive. But how often do we take time out to focus on our breathing? Probably not a lot unless you have been instructed to do so by your yoga teacher! We are all great at breathing none the less, and how clever of our bodies to take care of this without us even thinking about it. Pranayama is our life force, our breath. One of the eight limbs of Yoga, it is an important part of practice we can bipass thinking about as we focus on nailing the different asanas.

But, there are plenty of techniques you will be interested in adding into your practice;

Breathing Techniques

  • Breath Retention
  • Channel Cleaning Breath
  • Ujjayi
  • Conqueror Breath
  • Dear Seal
  • Lion Pose
  • Root Bond
  • Single Nostril Breath
  • Skull Shining Breath
  • Sama Vritti Pranayama

Our very own Jane says:- Bhastrik Pranayama is her favourite breathing technique to use in her classes and describes it as the ‘sniffing dog’. Bhastrika is a small short breaths performed fast. A common position to do this in is a forward facing plank.

You may of come across some of these techniques in your classes already and wondered what the benefits are. If the breath is quick and shallow, this can trigger a panic response within the body as it thinks its under stress or in danger. For example, the body can switch into fight or flight mode, and bring forward feelings of stress and anxiety, even if we aren’t actually in a dangerous situation. However, focusing on slowing the breath, taking longer and slower inhales and exhales, actually calms the nervous system, creates awareness and focus on the present moment, and is a form of meditation. Mindful breathing is the simplest way to lower stress levels, and it can be done anytime, anywhere.

The most common breathing techniques you probably come across in class are;

Sama Vritti Pranayama (Equal Part Breath)

Becoming aware of the breath we start to increase the length of each inhale and exhale to a count of 4 (this number can increase throughout practice). We inhale for four, pause for four, and slowly exhale for 4. Keeping all parts of the breath even.

Ujjayi (Ocean Breath)

Known for its soft soothing oceanic sound, breathing through the nose creating a ‘HAA’ on the exhale. The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. It is an energising and relaxing breath to help guide you through your practice.

So what movements benefit what breath?

When we are forward folding or twisting, this is on the exhale as as the lungs empty, it creates more space. The muscles also relax more on the exhale, sinking down. Therefore you can stretch, reach or twist slightly further.

When we are lifting or opening in a posture, this is when we should inhale. Inhalation is energising the body as its taking the oxygen inwards. As the lungs expand the heart can project forward more.

Breathing techniques can be practiced anywhere, on the go, in class or at home. Anytime you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed, turn your attention inwards and focus on the breath.

https://www.thestudiocheshire.com/