Posts In: wellbeing

Dine In, Take Out

29/03/2020

We asked, you answered!

We asked how many of you prefer eating in or taking out, 76% of you said you prefer to make your own meal at home and dine in, and 26% said you’d rather take out! Well we’ve got you covered for both. We’ve got some more ideas for simple things you can make at home, inspired by our very own yogi Kiera. Alternatively, you can check out our favourite local businesses who are still offering takeout services. Lets support each other and our community!

If you didn’t catch Kiera’s Yogi Takeover on our Instagram on Saturday, here are a few of Kiera’s favourites what she’s been cooking up over the weekend! Have a look and give them a try!

Smoothie Breakfast Pots

Put the avocado, mango and banana through a blender to create your smoothie. Choose your mixed berries or base to put in the bottom of your bowl, pour the smoothie on top, and finish with granola, or extra fruit and nuts of your choice!

Simple Side Salad

Super simple and super good for you! Chop together raw carrot, cabbage, onion, pepper and kale. For the dressing mix together greek yoghurt, Dijon mustard and fresh lemon. Top with crushed walnuts and dried fruits!

What are your dine in favourites? Let us know in the comments below!

Takeout Treats

For any of you wondering what’s still available as that weekend takeout treat, here’s some local businesses that are still delivering. Why not show them your support and take a night off from cooking?

Wild & Wild

For all our Vegans out there, Wild & Wild have launched their new menu. It looks amazing and even though we can’t get there to try it out, it is all available for takeaway! Dine out whilst dining in! We love this local cafe’s ethos prioritising plant based and sustainability, and providing for the community though this rough time. If you are struggling to get your supplies during isolation, supermarkets sold out, or you need to stay at home, check out their One Box! Delivered straight to your door, contact free, you can top up your fruit and veg selection, receive (our favourite) oat milk, toilet paper and even freshly made smoothies!

To view their menu, check out the One Box option and read all about what they are doing through Covid 19 click HERE

Health Gainz Kitchen

Recommended by our very own Natalia, high protein healthy meals to support your home workouts, delivered straight to your door! With 10 meals delivered, you wont have to worry about meal prep all week! More time for online yoga classes and Netflix series..

For orders and more information on their prep packages check out their Instagram below!

The Garden

Missing out on your daily juice fix? Us too! Luckily The Garden in Hale are still delivering all your favourite healthy juices and smoothies! Keep your health in check and your nutrient intake high with these super tasty juice cleanse packages. Contact free delivery straight to your door!

Check out the website HERE to order.

Stay healthy, stay happy!

Peace&Love

www.thestudiocheshire.com

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

Your Friday Flow

20/03/2020

Sun Salutations With Jane.

Todays video from The Studio is with our lovely Jane

Join in as Jane shows you how to perfect you Sun Salutations giving you variations to progress and perfect.

Join in as Jane shows you how to flow through your Sun Salutations giving you variations to progress and perfect.

Top Tip: Complete the flow a few times back to back to increase your heart rate and strengthen and tone the whole body!

We want to hear from you! Show us your at home set up with your favourite tutorial and tag #SHAREYOURACTIONS on instagram

Enjoy, and if there are any other tutorials you would like to see comment below and we will do our best for you.

Peace and love

x

The Studio Team

We all have those tins in the cupboard that have been there since the beginning of time. Bought in moments when we promised ourselves we would cook more meals from scratch, but then struggled to ever find the time. Instead of putting more strain on the supermarkets by bulk buying, we encourage you to USE UP WHAT YOU HAVE. Get creative and see what you can put together.

If you need a helping hand we’ve found some recipes using staple, longlife cupboard items you might have lying around.

Tuna and Sundried Tomato Pasta Bake

Serves 6. Prep Time; 10 Minutes. Cook Time; 15 Minutes
Ingredients
500g dried rigatoni (or any other short pasta)
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
300ml double cream
280g jar sundried tomatoes, drained and quartered
198g can no-added-salt sweetcorn, drained
3 x 120g cans tuna in spring water, drained
100g cheddar grated
50g parmasan grated

Method

  1. Heat the grill to its highest setting and put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil. Tip in the pasta and cook for 1 min less than the pack suggests.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by simmering the tomatoes in a pan with a little seasoning and the thyme for about 5 mins. Pour in the cream, stir and simmer for another 4-5 mins.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water, and tip back into the saucepan. Pour over the creamy tomato sauce, the sundried tomatoes, sweetcorn and tuna. Layer into a baking dish (ours was 22 x 29cm), scattering over the grated cheddar between layers. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and put under the grill for 5 mins until bubbling and golden.

Saucy Bean Baked Eggs

Serves 2. Prep Time; 5 Minutes. Cook Time; 20 Minutes.
Ingredients
2x 400g cans cherry tomatoes
400g can mixed bean salad drained
200g baby spinach
4 medium eggs
50g thinly sliced smoked ham torn
Wholemeal rye bread to serve (optionl)

  1. Tip the tomatoes and bean salad into an ovenproof frying pan or shallow flameproof casserole dish. Simmer for 10 mins, or until reduced. Stir in the spinach and cook for 5 mins more until wilted. 
  2. Heat the grill to medium. Make four indentations in the mixture using the back of a spoon, then crack one egg in each. Nestle the ham in the mixture, then grill for 4-5 mins, or until the whites are set and the yolks runny. Serve with rye bread, if you like.

Recipes from BBC Good Food

One Pot Smoked Tofu Stroganoff (Vegan)

Serves 2. Prep Time; 10 minutes. Cook Time; 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
100g green beans
100g white mushrooms
1/2 packet smoked tofu
600ml water/or vegetable broth
180g pasta
120ml canned coconut milk
60ml water
1 tablespoon potato starch
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
Salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Heat the coconut oil on a medium/high heat, and add minced ginger, garlic and onion and sautee for 3-5 minutes. Add the beans, mushrooms and tofu and sautee for a further 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in 600ml vegetable stock or water, and soy sauce. Add the paprika.
  3. Add the pasta and stir to combine.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for around 7 minutes
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper
  6. Mix the potato starch and coconut milk and pour mixture in to the pan. Stir and simmer until the sauce thickens.
  7. Serve immediately

Cauliflower and Spinach Curry

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed 3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated 2 tbsp medium tikka curry powder 2 tbsp tomato purée
900g pack frozen cauliflower florets 500g frozen spinach
400g tin chopped tomatoes 1 vegetable stock cube, made up to 200ml 240g long-grain rice

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 mins, until the onion is starting to soften, then add the tikka powder and tomato purée and cook for a further 1 min.
  2. Add the cauliflower, spinach, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pan and increase the heat to high. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 mins, until the cauliflower is tender and the spinach has wilted.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the rice and cook for 15 mins until tender. Divide the rice between 4 shallow bowls and top with the curry.

Recipe from Tesco

Happy Cooking!
Stay Well.

www.thestudiocheshire.com

At The Studio, our community safety and wellbeing is our top priority. The recent outbreak of Coronavirus, highlights the procedures we have in place, and we encourage everyone to prioritise their health and wellbeing at this time.

Our hygiene standards will remain at the highest level. Our front of house staff will be frequently disinfecting surfaces and door handles inbetween classes. Mats will be cleaned and changed over frequently, and studio cleanliness prioritised. We encourage members to help us with this by adhering to following these extra procautions.

Studio Procedures

  1. If you feel unwell with any of the following symptoms;
    – a high temperature
    – a new continuous cough
    We ask you that you refrain from coming to classes until you feel better.

For extra information on symptoms, how to avoid catching or spreading the virus, and advice on what to do if you need to self isolate, please visit the NHS website.

2. Please wash your hands upon arrival to The Studio, before and after your yoga class with the soap provided.

3. After you have finished your practice please makesure to spray down your mat with the antibacterial spray and blue roll provided in the Studio.

4. If you have your own yoga mat/block/strap/or bolster please bring it with you to class.

5. Teachers may not be offering hands on adjustments throughout classes at this time, so please listen carefully for verbal cues and watch demonstrations of postures carefully. If a variation of a posture is too difficult or you are struggling, remain in the posture you are comfortable in. Remember you can always come to childs pose at any point throughout the class.

How can we help?

During this time, if you cannot make it to class but wish to continue your yoga practice with us, we will be sharing links to classes guided by our amazing instructors, that you can follow along with at home, as part of our online series.

Check out our first video – Power Vinyasa Flow guided by our instructor Natalia.

Stay well!

The Studio Team

The 7 Chakras

13/03/2020

What is The Chakra System?

A Chakra is an energy centre, a whirlpool of energy. The knowledge of the chakra system has been known to humans for thousands of years, cultures such as the ancient Egyptians considered the chakras and the glands to be two words describing the same thing. The chakras are wheels of light metaphysically overlaid nerve plexus at various locations of the body, each nerve plexus directs the secretions of the glands of the endocrine system creating chemical reactions within the body. Using the chakra system as a guide it makes it easier to locate the source of specific issues with stress and mental illness.

Think of it as a map to human consciousness and psychological development, the brain is like the software that processes what’s happening in the hardware that is the body. The secretions of the glands are guided by the inner workings of the unconscious mind dealing with mind state, digestion, breathing, and all other autonomic bodily functions. If our energy is flowing smoothly between Chakras, we feel well. If there is a blockage of energy, we can start to feel an inbalance.

What are the Seven Chakras?

Below is each chakra in its English name which refers to where abouts in the body it is located. Its Sanskrit name and associated colour.

  1. Root Chakra / Muladhara / Red
  2. Sacral Chakra / Swadishthana / Orange
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra / Manipura / Yellow
  4. Heart Chakra / Anahata / Green
  5. Throat Chakra / Vishudha / Blue
  6. Third Eye Chakra / Ajna / Indigo
  7. Crown Chakra / Sahasrara / Purple

Root Chakra (Muladhara)

Root means base, so this chakra is located around our tailbone. When this Chakra is balanced it helps us to feel grounded and secure. If you suffer with panic or anxiety, this could be due to an inbalance. A posture to heal and restore energy within this area is a seated thunderbolt position, to reconnect and ground through the earth.

Sacral Chakra (Swadishthana)

Located below the navel, the energy here is responsible for emotions and feelings. A blockage of this chakra can cause anxiety and depression. If the energy is strong within this chakra it promotes life longevity. We can heal this chakra through practicing savasana, childs pose, cobra, cat/cow, bow pose or wheel.

Solar Plexus (Manipura)

This chakra is located at the navel, the energy here provides us with our self belief, confidence and ego energy. Signs of an inbalance in this chakra include digestive issues such as indigestion or constipation. Flowing through a few rounds of Surya Namaskara or Sun Salutations can help to heal this chakra.

Heart Chakra (Anahata)

The heart chakra is the seed of love and love for others. People who struggle with self love and appreciation towards themselves have a blockage within this area. To heal this chakra practicing inversions such as shoulder stand or headstand to increase blood flow will help to take pressure off the heart.

Throat Charkra (Vishudha)

The throat chakra is located within the throat, and it helps our energy to flow upwards towards the crown, linking the lower chakras to the chakras in the head. This chakra is responsible for our self expression, if this is something we struggle with, showing our emotions or speaking our truth, we may have a blockage of the throat. We can heal this chakra through opening postures such as fish pose, plough or camel.

Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)

The third eye chakra is located between the eyebrows. This chakra is responsible for our intelligence, intuition, dreams, imagination and our memories. This is a common focus point during meditation. Do you struggle getting a good nights sleep? This could be down to an inbalance with this chakra. Improve your sleep by working on this chakra through meditation and gazing at a focus point.

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Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)

The final of the seven chakras, our crown chakra is in charge of our universal energy, our spiritual and divine wisdom. To clear this chakra and find harmony here, practicing inversions such as headstand or handstand will increase the blood flow and stimulation of this chakra. Living with Self discipline and Social discipline will help this energy to move freely.

Interested in learning more about the Chakras?
Join us at our event “Pranayama Breathwork” with Kev Deaves
this Sunday 15th March at The Studio Manchester!


Click to book HERE

https://www.thestudiocheshire.com/

Step into Spring

02/03/2020

Spring has sprung! The Winter season is coming to an end (finally!) and the season of blooming, blossoming and growth is upon us. Daffodils start to sprout, blossom starts to bloom and the days start to draw out with lighter mornings and later evenings. Our bodies work in tune with the seasons whether we realise it or not, so as we shed the hibernation season we can begin to feel more energised, rejuivinated and ready for action!

Clear space, Clear mind

‘The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we dont.’

We have all heard of Spring Cleaning before, so why is this something we do at this time of year? During Winter its natural for us to be indoors more, the heatings on, windows are left closed and we try to cultivate that comfy, homely environment to hibernate in. Come Spring we should take time to declutter things that no longer serve us. Clear space, make room, throw open the windows and let some fresh air in. Living amongst chaos can create feelings of stress and disorganisation, so keep your space minimal and tidy to promote peace and tranquility. Throw out/recycle/donate anything that you no longer use, that doesnt serve a purpose or that doesnt bring joy or add value to your life. You can apply this process to your wardrobe, kitchen cupboards, kids toys, general belongings and your MINDSET.

Spring cleaning doesnt just mean your home. Use this time to clear out negative thinking, self doubt and anything that is holding you back. How can you change your thoughts? Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations! Do something to challenge yourself and take yourself beyond the limits of what you think you can do. Physically doing something challenging boosts your confidence into believing you can achieve more than you thought you could.

Challenge yourself with something new!

Check in with your goals

‘Goal – The object of a persons ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.’

Its common to lose motivation over winter and lose sight of your goals. What better time than now to recheck in with yourself and your values and get back on track with what you want to achieve. The days are slowly starting to draw out bringing more daylight and dare we say more sunshine. Which means our energy levels can start to rise. Use this to motivate yourself to get up that little bit earlier or to make use of your time after work. Take some time to think about your goals and how you can break them down into smaller actionable steps. Are your goals still realistic? Achievable? Something that you want? Check in with yourself and get clear on what you want! Start by asking yourself these questions everyday or whenever you feel yourself losing focus.

– Does what im doing/how im spending my time make me feel good?
– Is this action taking me closer towards my goal?
– Am I living in alignment with my values and what I think is important?
– Can I change my current situation to bring more joy/success/money/family time/rest/free time/less stress?
– Am I acting out of fear or love?

Keeping a clear image in mind of how you want to spend your time and whats important to you will help to stop you from burning out, doing things you dont enjoy and acting out of intention instead of stressed action.

Our Goals Tree in The Studio, its not too late to add yours!

Are you feeling ready and raring to go this Spring? Let us know!

Great British weather, we’ve been having a rough old time recently. But dont let a bit of wind and rain keep you indoors. With Spring just around the corner, why not layer up, dig out the walking boots and head outdoors! Spend some time reconnecting with nature and appreciate the seasons as they change. Check out these super local short walks and see if they giev you any inspiration for how to spend a rainy weekend.

The Edge, Alderley Edge

Super local, why not head over to The Edge in Alderley Edge. Choose a loop path to walk along and enjoy the views over the lookout point pictured above! Be wary of muddy trails after you start walking downhill. We wouldnt recommend walking this one in flip flops (learn from our mistakes.) Pay to park.

Macclesfield Forest, Macclesfield

Trees have a calming effect on us, so what better place to visit than a forest full of them! Take a stroll round the resevoir and up through the trees. Free parking.

The Cloud, Congleton

Have you been up to The Cloud in Congleton? A short inclined walk up to the top of the hill for panoramic views across Cheshire. Want to make the walk harder? Dont drive up the hill and park at the bottom and get some extra steps in. Free parking.

Marbury Park, Anderton

A little further out is Marbury Park in Northwich, watch the sail club on Marbury lake, walk through the rows of trees, and look at everyone cute dogs being walked. Pay to park. Dog Friendly.

Tatton Park, Knutsford

A crowd favourite, take a loop walk round the lake, or check out Tatton Hall or Tatton farm. If you want a longer walk start at the town entrance and walk straight down to the farm and back. That will definitely get you your daily steps in! Pay to park.

Pickmere Lake, Wincham

And if your looking for somewhere to catch a pretty sunset at the end of the day, Pickmere Lake in Wincham is a beautiful lake. Take a seat on one of the benches, or see if you can find one of the two jettys and stand on the water. Its also a popular spot for outdoor swimmers, so if thats your thing then dont forget your wetsuit and a towel! Free parking.

Have any favourite walks you would recommend? Let us know!

Heres to exploring!

Its crazy that in this life, only one thing is guaranteed.  That nothing can stay the same.  Everything natural is created to grow, evolve and to move.  Yet change can still be one of the most overwhelming things we as humans can go through, even though its a part of us.  As soon as we enter the world change is the first thing we experience, the move from inside to the outside world.  As we grow up we see change in our environment, change in seasons, change in our skills, interests, personality, change in the people that surround us.  We are taught that we change our clothes for each occasion, change our hairstyle, change our minds .  As we are growing into ourselves we live for change, always looking for new ways we can reinvent ourselves and what else we can discover through changing our daily routines.  We crave the excitement and new experiences.

Yet when we get older, its like it gets harder to leave your comfort zone and change becomes more of a hindrance than an excitement.  The longer you are in a routine for, the harder it is to get out of.  Our brain has learnt that change is inevitable and that it must constantly learn to adjust and carry on, but yet we still mourn for the life we could of had.  When a situation doesn’t go our way, how we wanted it to all turn out, part of us still resists.  We dig our heels in to the ground, begging for life to pause for a moment so we can bury our heads in the memories of what we just lost.  The moments that we cant get back, and the people that were only meant to pass through our story for a brief period of time. The scariest thing is never knowing whether you have already experienced the best of something that you can never get back. Our fears will try to tell us that without what we have lost, we are less than what we were. Even when we know that it is all connected as part of a bigger picture, when you cant see the end result its hard to appreciate all the trials, heartbreaks, false hopes and things that didn’t work out as part of your journey.

“Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as being stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”

If only it was easy to recognise that we have created new space to move forward, without clinging on to what we have to move past.  Everyday we are presented with more choices, opportunities and feelings.  Our brain decides which it wants to take, and most of the time our heart is left to suffer.  We flow through each part of life recognising that every different level requires us to level up ourselves, we’ve seen it so many times, we’ve felt the hurt, and we’ve celebrated making it out the other side, only for the process to start all over again.

So why is change still so hard for us to grasp as inevitable. Why can we accept it and acknowledge it, but when we experience it every fibre in our body tells us to stop, while only a tiny part of us tells us to go?  Why is it so hard to tell if we are running away from something or running towards something? Imagine it to be so simple as to just flow freely through life with open arms, letting go of the past with ease and welcoming the future with an open heart.  As easy as inhaling and exhaling.  We are more connected with the past than we are with our hope for the future.  We are obsessed with being in control, like the way we try to take control of the planet when really the planet is in control of us.  To relinquish our control we feel is to relinquish our power.  We hold on to anything that brought us comfort as so if we never feel it again, we can always remember the moments where we felt content, before our lives were upturned once more.

What is the true meaning behind yoga?
Yoga means unity or union. The ultimate goal of yoga is to establish a relationship with the self, the soul. Manifesting our highest and truest self and living as that person everyday. In the West we mostly focus on the physical side of yoga. We use it to help us lose weight or to tone up or to help improve our flexibility. But there are so many other parts to our yoga practice that we are missing out on. By practicing all aspects of yoga in our daily life and routine, we can live more fulfilling and wholesome lives.

What we can achieve through Yoga.

  1. Change the habits of the mind
  2. Learn to travel within the mind
  3. Remove evils already existing in the mind

In this modern world we are living in, mental health is no joke. Our minds have become our enemies, and we are their slaves. Whatever the mind says, goes, whether its detrimental to our wellbeing or not. Through the practice of yoga we can learn to control our thoughts and our mind, only after this can we see the true nature of everything.

The nature of the human mind

  1. The mind is unstable. It cannot stay focused in one place.
  2. Mind is invisible, we cannot see our own mind
  3. The mind is very fast
  4. The mind always runs after the things it likes, and runs away from the things it dislikes
  5. Mind cannot distinguish between whats real and whats not.

Yoga Science provides us with The Eight Limbs of Yoga to help control our fluctuating minds. Something we can live by and incorporate into our daily routines. If we practice each of the first seven limbs we hope we can reach the last limb, Samadhi and live in the ultimate state of bliss. But what does it take to get there?

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Yama – Social Discipline
There are five social disciplines we should follow through the practice of yoga. These are; Non violence, reacting to any situation with non violence is our weapon. It helps in purifying the heart and mind. Truthfulness, our true nature is within truth, lies are adopted qualities that are not our own. Non stealing, stealing is witholding something that doesnt belong to you. The nature of the human mind is to desire what others have. Within the process of stealing there is a fight between divine consciousness and our mind consciousness. Sexual Continence, this means to be in control of our desires and not let our desires rule over us. And non posessiveness, this means to only keep and live with the things that add importance or value to our lives. Incorporating these ways of living into our lives even a little can help us on the way to becoming our higher self.

Niyama – Self Discipline
There are five self disciplines we should try to live by. These are purity, we often focus on purification of the outer body, but forget about the inside. We can make our mind pure through meditation. Contentment, yoga teaches us to live in society and how to live alone. Being happy with what you have now. Contentment is the control of desires. Endurance, our selfless service doing good for others without any expectation in return. Self study, this is purity of the mind and the softening of the heart. There are two types of self study, going deeper within yourself and outside learning. Complete faith in God, this doesnt mean faith or religion, this is our faith in the divine consciousness.

Asana – Physical Posture
Asana originally meant to be in a seated position which is firm but relaxed or steady and comfortable. A posture which we could work on to become used to staying seated through long periods of meditation, this was the goal. Only later did it become a more physical practice based around more dynamic moving postures and stretches. In the West this is the main part of yoga we focus on above all others.

Pranayama – Control of Breath
Pranayama is the movement of Prana or energy throughout the body. Prana is our life force, it moves in and out of our body with each inhale and exhale. Only with the breath can we learn to control the mind. We do the various asana postures so that our prana can flow with ease into all areas of our body. Breathing techniques can be added into your practice or meditation, to bring a moment of calm into your day.

Pratayahara – Control of Senses
Pratayahara is our withdrawal from the senses. You might of come across the term in your yoga class when the teacher tells you to close down your eyes. This is to take your attention from observing outside distractions and to return the focus within. Our senses are our minds best friend, as the mind is fed by the senses. Where the senses go the mind will follow. The more we try to withdraw from our senses the more we can learn to trust ourselves and our instincts.

Dharna – Concentration
These last three limbs are the foundation from which yoga science is built. Concentration means the engaging of the mind on a particular area or point. This is something we must practice to improve at. As we practice more we train the mind to become more concentrated. The concentration becomes fixed, the mind is not moving. This improves our inner and outer focus, allowing us to become more in tune. This is then meditation, which leads us into the next limb.

Dhyana – Meditation
Meditation is the continuous and unbroken flow of intense concentration of the mind. We meditate to learn how to make our mind obey us instead of us obeying our mind. Meditation is an important stage in calming and controlling the mind.

Samadhi – Realization
Samadhi is the ultimate realization, the complete concentration of the mind into bliss. Becoming the highest version of ourself through the practice of yoga.