Posted in Meditation, Self Care, Yoga

5 Important Tips for Yoga Success

Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment

Matthieu Ricard

Yoga has been proven to relieve stress by using exercises, in the form of poses, to unify the mind, body, and spirit. If you are a newbie to yoga, expect a little bit of a learning curve to get used to the positions and their names.  It takes consistent practice to find your groove and be able to follow along with the other yogis comfortably – this is absolutely normal. Before you start, do a little homework to ensure that your yoga lifestyle begins with success!

1. Talk to your doctor

Explain what type of yoga poses you would like to practice. Show your doctor pictures of the poses for illustration. Your doctor may rule out specific poses if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, a history of retinal detachment, or heart disease. Make sure you follow your doctors recommendations.

2. Search Yoga Studios

Find a yoga class that best fits your abilities. Talk to prospective teachers, and decide whether of not you can handle a program before you sign up. Its very important to take it one step at a time. Try a few beginner classes before you attempt more vigerous classes. Dont move ahead too quickly. Allow your body to adjust to your exercises.

3. Body Talk

Listen to your body and be aware of your physical abilities. You don’t want to hurt yourself. Make sure the instructor understands your level of experience and any limitations you may have. Dont allow anyone to push you ahead too quickly. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

4. Yoga Buddy

Find a friend to take the class with you. It’s nice to practice alongside someone you are comfortable with and it will help reduce injuries. It’s also a great way to keep up your enthusiasm and interest. You will make other connections with your fellow yogis and teacher but I find the bring a friend approach will help you stay accountable while you are setting up your routine.

5. Snacktime

Eat lightly before practice. Wait at least two hours after meals before yoga class or practice. An empty stomach is best, but don’t let yourself get too hungry to think. You won’t be able to focus on the poses or enjoy yourself during the relaxation or meditation portions.

If you need more guidance then consider private lessons to start. You can book one-on-one sessions with a teacher in your area and have the focused support to design the right poses and sequences for your yoga goals. You can always take group lessons or practice at home after you’ve had private lessons and learned the basics. There are so many books, programs on YouTube, and DVDs available to help you get started. Search for the best products on the Internet and be sure to read reviews. Talk to others for recommendations.

Now it’s time to grab your mat and a towel and get the most out of your yoga journey.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Meditation, Stress Reduction, Yoga

Can Yoga Help you Sleep?

“Sleep is the best meditation.“

Dalai Lama
Take action to create a sleep routine!

Many people believe that yoga is all about experiencing alignment of mind, body, and soul. The majority of yoga teachers would agree that apart from providing relaxation and serenity.  Yoga is about the limitless ability of a person to control and unite with their inner self. With this in mind, more and more people with high-stress levels, mental health challenges, and insomnia are turning to yoga in order to alleviate some if not all of their symptoms.  Most yogis believe that in one way or another, the ancient discipline makes it possible for the breath, the mind, and the senses to merge in creating balance.

The Yoga/Sleep Connection

More and more people are practicing yoga so that they can get better sleep. Other reasons why many people practice yoga is because they can explore the limitless possibilities of yoga types to find the right. They can also explore yoga into its depths as a meditative practice, as a spiritual discipline or use its philosophies as an exercise to be fit and healthy.

Yogis agree that the potential benefits of yoga may include the increase of strength and flexibility, creation of balance as well as the improvement of breathing and overall posture. On the spiritual aspect, yoga can serve as an exercise that can help you soothe your nerves, calm your mind while increasing your focal and concentration skills.

Before starting your yoga practice, please schedule an appointment with your Doctor. A check-up is important for you to discuss with your physician the advantages and disadvantages of yoga in your overall health and well being.

If you are aiming to get better sleep through your yoga practice, please make sure they listen to your needs, discuss your physical and emotional limitations, and guide you to the best type of yoga for you to practice. Ensure that you begin with the basic yoga poses then slowly advance to the more challenging positions. Now go get some gear: clothes, a colorful mat, foam blocks, and a yoga pillow so you can catch some much needed ZZZ’s!

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety, Meditation, Mental Health

9 Ways to Attack Anxiety and Panic!

Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options.

Simon Sinek

Everybody experiences anxiety from time to time in their life. You can’t always just breathe through an anxiety attack either. Anxiety attacks affect people in different ways. Some people have trouble breathing, their heart races, they get flushed skin and even chest pain. If you have frequent anxiety attacks, try these self-help tips for dealing with them.

You’ve got this!

Exaggerate Your Biggest Fear

Talk to a friend about your biggest fear, whether it be giving a presentation to your class or riding a roller coaster. Make it as dramatic as possible with lots of descriptive words and plenty of your raw emotions. Then when it comes time for you to do that thing that scares you, it won’t be as horrifying because you’ve already ruled out all the possible horrible things that can happen to you. After talking to your friend about this a couple of times, your stories and exaggerations will start to become very silly and something you can laugh about together.

Distract Yourself

In your scary situation, just don’t think about where you are or what you’re doing. It seems easier said than done, but with practice, it’ll almost be like you aren’t even in the situation that causes your anxiety.

Work It Out

Stress and anxiety both release the same hormone: adrenaline. When you exercise, you are releasing this hormone, making your anxiety levels go down.

Drink Responsibly

Do not consume too much caffeine or alcohol. Both are stimulants and will only make your anxiety worse. Instead, turn to drinks like milk and water. Some general foods that are good to bring down your anxiety levels include nuts, berries, yogurts, legumes, and dark orange vegetables.

Say, Om

Meditation can help calm you down and simply focus on your breathing; nothing else. Tune out everything going on around you and count each breath you take.

Break It Down

Break down the days into minutes. Instead of stressing yourself out about what you’re going to do in the next three hours, focus on the seconds and minutes you are living in right now. This will help to eliminate some worries and anxiety you may have for a certain part of your day.

Anchors Away

Use visual anchors. If you feel yourself getting anxious, find something that brings a sense of calm to you and just focus on it. For example, if you find yourself stuck in traffic, you can look up at the clouds to help you feel calm.

Use The Echo

Repeat a basic mantra, such as “I am strong”. Simply repeat it over and over in your head or using a comforting phrase can bring you calmness and peace. A sample could also be, “I am enough” or “I can do this.” Building yourself up is often a technique people use to relieve some of their anxiety.

Personal Love Letter

Write a love letter to yourself. This is just like what you’d do if you were repeating a mantra. Write down on a piece of paper all of the things you love about yourself. Then when you’re having an anxiety attack, read the letter. This, once again, will help relieve some anxiety.

You are not alone…

Rember that you are not alone in this world. Millions of people suffer from anxiety thorughout their lives. These tips given may not all work for you and that’s okay. There are other tips out there for you to try, as well as doctors and other professionals that specialize in anxiety and will be there for you to talk to anytime.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety

3 Ways to Quiet your Mind

“A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.”

Yvan Byeajee
Find time to quiet your mind.

Nowadays, we are so overscheduled and our days are so packed full of activities that we barely have enough time to sleep. Consider yourself the exception and not the norm, if you have accomplished a sense of balance in this hectic society that we all share. For many reasons, we overextend, overachieve and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. Taking on too much can not only hurt our body but also stresses the mind. 

I realized my mind was hurting in the Fall of 2018.  It started slowly, headaches and insomnia crept into my life, I had aches and pains in my neck and shoulders and I was super jumpy.  I would overreact to regular everyday noises – the phone ringing, a door squeaking, even someone clapping their hands or laughing – would send me into a fight or flight response. I was overtired, unable to focus and my memory was failing.  For several weeks I made excuses for what was happening, I thought that if I could just get a good night’s sleep or make it to the weekend, my symptoms would disappear. It didn’t happen of course and what started out as seasonal depression evolved into a serious anxiety disorder that I could no longer deny.

I’m sharing these simple changes that can really have a positive impact on your mind and reducing the stress you encounter on a daily basis.

Its up to you!

Practicing Gratitude

It’s so easy to get frustrated when things don’t go your way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock the keys in the car, and forget our lunch on the kitchen counter, a spiral of negativity results in a downward tailspin. However, we have the choice to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate the rest of our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives that have gone as planned.

Have you ever noticed that when something great happens, we tend to smile briefly and then move onto the next moment like nothing happened?  However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will listen how bad things are. It’s in those exact moments of unhappiness that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and it is then and only then that we will pull ourselves out of the negative zone. 

Staying focused on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of what’s happening around you. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, enables your mind the break it needs from stressors to stay active and healthy.

Nothing is a Choice

Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a known fact. We all have created our schedules to overflow and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves to rest, recharge and reflect on the day. Take a good look at your day or week so you can see what you can remove and what you can delegate to someone else. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just like you care for your body. You need your mond, body and spirit to align in order to live your best life.

The best tip I can give you for quieting your mind is prioritize self care in schedule. Put it in big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do during the week. Make time for family and friends, a visit to the spa for a mani/pedi or massage and partake in activities you enjoy.  Take some deep breaths, find a calm place to meditate and be thankful for the blessings that occur all around you throughout the day.

Taking One Minute

Being in the moment has become a cliché; but if you really take the time and trouble to learn what that truly means for you, then you will learn how to quiet your mind in no time at all. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it. 

In this way, you are focused on the moment at hand and not two days from now when something big might be happening. These are just three helpful tips for quieting your mind.

A great app to get you started is called One Moment Meditation.  You can download it from the Apple or Google Play

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety

Zen Your Way to Work

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs

Getting up and going to work can be a real challenge. When you are returning to work after an extended leave or illness can be overwhelming but it doesn’t behave to be! There are small changes or additions that you can incorporate into your routine that will help keep you in a positive mindset and create a comfortable work space when you arrive at your desk.

One day at a time…

Below is a list of zen ideas to help you transition back into the office:

  1. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual – allow yourself time to press the snooze button, ease your feet to the floor and lift your head off the pillow.
  2. Take time to sip your favorite morning drink. Whether it’s a cup of hot water with lemon, a fruit smoothie or a steaming cup of coffee, let that first sip be a moment of self care for the day.
  3. Dress the part – keep the goal in mind. Of course there are days that I wear my jeans to work with a nice top but for the most part I dress like a boss. The key to incorporating some zen into your wardrobe is picking out the articles or accessories that make you feel good. Wear a comfy pair of colorful shoes, a funny pair of socks, stacks of bracelets or your favorite printed scarf. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual – allow yourself time to press the snooze button, ease your feet to the floor and lift your head off the pillow.
  4. The commute to work can be quite stressful as we need to do drop offs at school and/or daycare, make our way through traffic and various weather conditions. With a little advance planning, you can create a playlist of tunes, download some podcasts or listen to audio books to shift your focus elsewhere during the commute.
  5. Add 1-2 family pictures to your desk area along with a green plant ( or more of you have a green thumb!) occasionally bring in flowers to freshen up your desktop.
  6. Keep your work area clean. Remove piles of papers, extra office supplies. Make a point of dusting and wiping down the desktop at least once a week.
  7. Get an ergonomics assessment done to ensure you have all the office furniture and supplies you need to be comfortable, productive and efficient.
  8. Consider a happy light! If you are in an office with no natural light, a happy light for seasonal depression can be your savior. Even if you have a window office, it can be a great tool for those dark Fall and Winter days that are part of many time zones.
  9. Determine if music helps or hinders you. I have never been able to study or work In silence – I need background noise. I have a small radio at my desk to energize me with some tunes to keep me on task.
  10. The sense of smell is connected to our emotional center, so adding a scent that evokes pleasant memories can calm your nervous system. My personal favorites are fruit incense stick in grapefruit, lemon and strawberry. Peppermint, cinnamon and rosemary can help with energy and focus. If you share an office and can’t have essential oils or candles, you can make a cup of tea with these ingredients have the benefits.

I hope that some of these ideas will help you while you start your progressive return or restart your daily work routine.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha