Posted in Yoga

Tips for Avoiding Yoga Injuries

Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are ― Jason Crandell

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Do you think that yoga is an injury free practice and that there is no way you to get really hurt moving so slowly? Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Without theI’m proper care and planning, yoga injuries can be quite common. In order to protect yourself, I put together a few pointers and keep you safe.

#1 Listen to Your Body

Depending on your personality, the yoga instructor, and your fellow yogis, it can be easy to get somewhat competitive. Pushing your body too far on any given day can quickly result in a painful injury. 

Understanding that some days will be better days than others and that your sleep, diet, and focus can all affect your performance in some way. Instead of thinking “I was able to do this pose last week,” or “Heidi is rocking this pose, I need to push myself more,” listen to what your body is telling you. If it’s a day to challenge yourself, fantastic! If it’s a day to hold back, then listen to what your body is telling you. 

#2 Choose a Knowledgeable Yogini

Yoga is an extraordinarily popular practice and there are classes in just about every community in the world. The immense growth of yoga studios means a tremendous increase in the number of instructors too. Be aware that not all instructors are not created equal – some are very skilled while others still learning. 

Amateur instructors can unintentionally cause injuries by pushing students too far or by positioning your body into a pose that you’re not ready for. Pay attention to your instructor’s attitude and practices. How do they handle beginners? Are they willing to talk to you before or after class to give you some one on one pointers or attention? Additionally, you should review their accreditation and talk to fellow yogis to get their opinions on the. Many yoga studios put Bios of their instructors on their websites and you can usually find some reviews in local facebook groups.

#3 Give Yourself Time to Learn

Everyone starts yoga at the same place, as a beginner. Allow yourself time to be a beginner and ease into the practice. It is your journey and it will be more valuable if you take the time to absorb what is happening around you and how it makes you feel. You need to know that it can take some time to find the right instructor, studio and yoga type that fits your needs and personality. Grant yourself time to learn and give your body time to adapt.

#4 Develop a Routine

 Also, give your body time to warm up before and cool down after class. As you ease into and out of each class, you’ll give your body time to adapt and do what you request of it. That also means going into postures slowly and coming out of them slowly, too. This routine will help you be in the moment and help you be conscious of the mind/body connection.

In order to get the most benefit out of your practice, it’s very important to be consistent in taking at least one yoga class once a week. The more time you give your body to practice the movements, become flexible and strong, the better your experience will be. Most importantly you’ll reduce your risk of injury. Yoga is wonderful for your body, mind, and spirit. Take it easy on yourself and prevent injuries so you can enjoy your practice all year round.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

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 Mental Health, Self Care

Choose a Kick-Ass Self-Help Book With These 7 Tips

If you don’t have the courage to change yourself, then nothing will ever change around you. – Unknown

You will reach points in your life where you will need a little help and guidance. Of course, you can turn to your tribe, but occasionally you will realize that the type of help you need isn’t the type of support your friends and family can provide you with. Most of us turn to a good self-help book at one point or another to encourage and inspire us toward a range of possibilities for growth. Looking inside yourself and deciding to make a change is the first step towards improving your life. You will want a book that can provide you with the best advice but there are often too many to choose from.

Here is a list of what to look for in a self-help book and how to choose the best one for you:

Time for some soul searching…

1. Look for a book that focuses on a limited range of problems. The books that tend to rank the highest are the ones that have only focused on one specific disorder. 

2. Review the author’s credentials. Before purchasing a self-help book, you’ll want to get a book that has up to date information and is backed with research and knowledge. Look for books that are ranked high or are written by doctors and professors. 

3. Avoid books that contain claims that you know are too good to be true. You probably already know how to spot these types of grandiose fabrications, but it is especially important to be cognizant when it comes to you counseling yourself. For example, if a book claims to banish your anxiety issues forever, don’t get sucked in!. Unfortunately, a book cannot guarantee you with relief from anxiety, or any other mental or physical health issue, forever. 

4. Is the book you’re looking at based on scientific evidence? This is often hard to tell right off the bat, but you can rest assured that the books that are ranked highest usually have some sort of data and/or experiments to back up their credibility. 

5. Look for a book that helps you monitor your progress. Having this type of guidance and help allows you to see how far you’ve come, which is something wonderful within itself. You can visually see and feel how far you’ve come and how much you’ve changed since the beginning of your self-help journey. If the book has an accompanying workbook this will definitely help you stay on track and provide you with a place to record your insights about yourself.

6. Flip through the book or tables of contents (if it has one) and see if it ever discusses the possibility of relapse or any setbacks. Only about half of all the self-help books published allude to a sense of setbacks or relapse and how to bounce back from them. The goal is to resolve the issues, however, sometimes it takes more than one attempt to find the right recipe for you.

7. Does the book discuss when you should seek professional help? Sometimes you can’t overcome all the underlying issues that led to the problem or you may face some unsettling emotions on your self-help journey. If you reach that point, it is important that you get the support you require from someone who specializes in your problem. 

Photo Credit: Ellieelien on Unsplash

There is a large variety of self-help books available to help you along your journey of learning more about yourself. The key is that you purchase a book that can provide you with as much value and guidance as possible. Don’t go for books with flashy covers and taglines just because you like their look. If need be, look into each book and provide yourself with the best chance of being rejuvenated and inspired to grow.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety, Stress Reduction

3 Ways to Quiet Your Mind

A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear – Yvan Byejee

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 Mental Health, Self Care

The 24-Hour Mental Health Vacation

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” – Earl Wilson

I know the positive benefits that a night away has on my mental health.  No hubby, no kids, no pets, and a bed all to myself equals a good night’s sleep. Most importantly, the one or two nights of freedom without any responsibility enables me to focus on self care without any interruptions.  I am able to fill my cup and recharge.

Here are 4 vacation suggestions that will help you feel refreshed and restored.

  1. The Zen Seeker
  2. The Creative
  3. The Outdoor Enthusiast
  4. The Lover

The Zen Seeker

This 24-hour vacay is the most challenging of the four.  It takes a lot of commitment on your part but will be the most revealing.

  • Disconnection
    • Technology break for 24 hours (no TV, Radio, computer or phone)
    • Book a manicure or pedicure – or both!! (yes, guys can do this too, you can thank me later!)
    • Call the local yoga studio and sign up for a free trial – take you first yoga class
    • Go out for dinner and/or brunch with your friends
  • Movie Madness
    • Watch 3-4 movies in a row that you have on your wishlist
    • You can do this escape with the hubby or a group of friends
    • Pick a theme is you want – romance, horror, comedy, favorite actor/actress director.
    • Do not answer the front door until the take out guy arrives – this is the only exception…
    • Take note of what you enjoyed about the movie or have a discussion if you are doing the activity with others.
  • Ladies of Leisure
    • Get a bunch of you girlfriends together and hunker down at someones house or rent an air B&B for the weekend.
    • Your goal is to do some or all of the following:
      • Stay up late talking, reminiscing and joking around
      • Eat your favorite candy
      • Sleep in
      • Shop til you drop
      • Enjoy great food – Plan a menu or pot luck that everyone can contribute to
      • Connect with your tribe!
  • Bookworm
    • Grab a book you’ve been wanting to read – read it without interruption from cover to cover.
    • Find a great place to read – the park, a local garden, poolside or cozied up with your favorite blanket.
    • If you want a connection and ability to discuss the books you are reading, check out online book clubs or set one up with your book loving friends or coworkers!

The Creative

  • Dancer, Dance, Dance
    • If you don’t like a late night but still love dancing with the girls, then invite your besties over and get dressed, do hair and makeup and much on some great appetizers with a glass of your favorite cocktail.  If you prefer a mocktail – try this one (LINK)
    • Hit your favorite club and dance until your tootsies hurt
    • Sleep in the next morning and spend the day in your PJs recuperating.
  • Beautiful Artiste
    • Visit a local gallery, take time with each painting and absorb the creativity required for each piece of art.
    • On you way home, visit an art supply store and choose an inspiration project to paint, sculpt or draw
    • If you have kids, then include them in the art project and display everyone’s work at the end of the day.
  • The Foodie
    • Sign up for a cooking course and learn some new culinary skills.
    • Explore the local outdoor market and treat yourself to a new ingredient, fruit or delicacy.
    • If you prefer to consume more than create, enjoy Breakfast, lunch and dinner in a new city.  Do you research, read some foodie reviews and let your appetite me your guide.

The Adventure Seeker

  • Explore your own city
    • Visit your own backyard with fresh eyes – Make a list of places or activities that you have not visited in the city where you live.
    • Attend local events or festivals
    • Visit the museum, aquarium or walk the canal
  • Learn something new
    • Whether its a single day course or over a few weeks explore:
      • Skydiving
      • Water Skiing
      • Glass-Blowing
      • Pottery
      • Horseback riding
      • Rock climbing
    • Immerse yourself in the pursuit of your new skills as you made need a change more than some extra rest.
  • Into the wilderness
    • Grab a tent, sleeping bag and enough food for 24 hours and find the nearest campground to explore. (if you are not a camper, many locations have cottages or teepees you can rent)
    • If you forget to pack something, no worries, you can do without for 1 day!
    • Hike during the day, float in the lake, cook over the fire and soak up the stars in the nighttime sky.
    • Breathe in the fresh air and nature sounds.

Share your favorite mini vacation spot or getaway idea in the comments below and inspire the Tribe.

Share a pic to Instagram at #violetbuddhatribe

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha