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 Holidays, Stress Reduction

How to Say No at Christmas

The oldest, shortest words – “yes” and “no” are those that require the most thought. – Phythagoras

From the toy aisle to the dinner table, the holiday season is full of “no’s.” It’s important to be able to say no when it comes to things that you can’t do, do have time for or even don’t want to d at all. Unfortunately, expectations run high during the holiday season which makes saying no to friends, family, or even complete strangers very challenging. After all, everyone knows that Christmas is all about giving and thinking of others before ourselves. Don’t be afraid of coming across like a Grinch because its important to take care of your mental and physical health too. I’ve put together some tips to help you say no – even at Christmas time.

Stay Positive

Even if you need to say no, you can still state your case in a positive way. If someone is asking you to organize a holiday party, bake or to set up decorations, try to highlight the benefits of doing things a different way rather than the negative aspects of their plan. You could suggest a girls day to tackle the tasks together. Like John Heywood said “many hands make light work.” You can also propose getting the kids involved in baking, decorating and meal prep.

Be Confident

People can often tell when you’re feeling unsure of yourself and this can make them less willing to take no for an answer. If you want people to take you seriously, it’s important that you project confidence and speak assertively. When you need to tell someone no, say it with clearly without wavering so they can see that you’re serious. This doesn’t mean that you need to be aggressive or rude. Just be firm and concise, and stand up for yourself.

Find a Better Solution

If you’re telling someone no about something but you don’t have an alternative to suggest, the person you’re talking to isn’t likely to come up with a new plan. Instead, they will probably try to find a way to make their initial suggestion seem more logical to you. While a compromise may be better in some situations, you’ll still end up doing something that you didn’t want to. Instead, try to come up with an alternative plan for the person to consider. They just may go along with it, and that way you can avoid their request without actually saying no.

Avoid an Argument

Any disagreement can turn into an argument at any moment, especially during the stress-filled holiday season. With tensions running so high, even the smallest issue can turn into a Christmas confrontation. If saying no causes an argument, ask if you can discuss the subject once things have calmed down. Arguing isn’t likely to lead to an agreeable solution, and can also cause feelings to be hurt unintetionally.

Stick to Your Guns

Stick to your guns, no matter how hard someone tries to sway your decision. Remember that you don’t need to feel guilty about saying no. There’s no reason to be upset about it either. The majority of the time, it really is in everyone’s best interest. Simply explain that you’re not saying “no” to be mean or difficult. Reiterate the reason or reasons why you’re saying no, as gently as you can.

Yes, believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to say “no” at Christmas. Armed with all of the tips listed above, the task is probably easier than you think.

Inhale. Exhale

Violet Buddha

Posted in Self Care, Stress Reduction

8 Self Care Tips for Dealing with Everyday Stress

I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that don’t work out, that’s when I’ve really learned. – Carol Burnett

Stress invades our lives all the time, even on a daily basis for most people. Life gets hard and it can be challenging to juggle all the things that the universe seems to be throwing our way. It’s important that we get our stress levels under control because constant high levels of stress are actually toxic to our body and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Stress also has a negative effect on our mental health and can appear as memory problems, confusion, brain fog or as an inability to concentrate.

Thankfully, it’s easier than you think to implement some strategies to help yourself decrease rising stress levels. 

Just follow these simple steps:

Reduce Alcohol, Caffeine, and Nicotine

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and do not decrease your levels of stress; they actually increase them. Alcohol is a depressant when consumed in large amounts and a stimulant in small amounts, making it bad for you to take as an option to relieve stress. Instead of reaching towards alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, grab some water or herbal tea. These are hydrating and will provide you with stress relief.

Physical Activity is your Friend

Try taking part in physical activity every day – a simple walk around the block on your lunch hour or 30 minutes at the gym will release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Releasing these hormones throughout the day can help your stress levels to go down.

Get your ZZZ’s

Get more sleep to allow your body and mind to recharge. Lack of sleep has a direct correlation to high-stress levels. However, stress sometimes prevents us from relaxing enough to fall asleep. Below are my go to activities to set myself up for sleep – pick one or two to try 30 minutes before your target bedtime.

  • Take a warm bath with Epsom salts, bubbles or essentials oils
  • Read a magazine or chapter of your favorite book
  • Go to bed at roughly the same time every night
  • Sound Bath with Tibetan bowls
  • Guided sleep meditations

Find Time to Relax

Try relaxation techniques. Every day, try a different stress-reducing technique. You can try self-hypnosis as this is very simple and easy to do anywhere. You could also attempt saying one word repeatedly to yourself that holds meaning for you. Don’t worry if these relaxation tips don’t work right off the bat. Relaxation is a skill that takes time to master.

Reach out to your Tribe

Talk to someone you trust and who can help. Letting someone know how you feel is a great way to reduce your stress. Many people have said that it’s like a weight being lifted off their shoulders. Stress can cloud our minds and prevent us from thinking clearly. Talking through your situation with someone can help you figure out a solution to what you’re stressing about.

Keep a Journal or Diary

Keeping a diary and writing down your thoughts and emotions will help you become more aware of what you’re feeling. Write down the date and place the stressful event occurred. Also include what you were doing and how you felt, both emotionally and physically. Writing everything down will enable you to avoid another stressful situation and you’ll discover some new coping mechanisms.

Time Management is Key

Manage your time. Many people experience stress when they run out of time to do important things. With a schedule to follow you can ensure that you get all of your important tasks done in a timely manner. Having all your work done on time will help to decrease some stress.

Two-Letter Word – No!

Learn to say “No”. It’s easy to believe that you have all the time in the world and can juggle one more thing in your life. But sometimes you need to remember that you have so many other important things that need to be juggled. There’s only a certain amount of hours in a day, making it hard to get multiple things done.

Take care of yourself. Stress invades everyone’s lives but dealing with stress is manageable. Know that everything will get better and the thing that’s causing you so much stress won’t be a worry to you down the road.

Share what works for you below…

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Mental Health, Self Care

Journaling is easy as 1, 2, 3!

Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time. – Mina Murray

Ready, Set – Journal!

I started small.  I found a great lined notebook with a purple cover to capture my day, a blank notebook from the Dollar Store to doodle in when I was stressed or anxious.  I was lucky to find an app – on my first search – to track my symptoms and also another one to do my daily gratitude practice.

I was reluctant to start a journal when I experienced my anxiety and panic attacks.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to explore the triggers or assess how I was feeling both emotionally and physically.  The thought of reviewing those more difficult days wasn’t high up on my priority list. I focused on the positive side and tried different ways of capturing my thoughts, feelings, symptoms and accomplishments.

Here are my suggestions to start journaling on paper, electronically or even both!!  There are a few things to consider in order to make the habit stick:

  1. Get a notebook that you will want to write in.  It can be your favorite color, have an inspiring quote on the cover or is unlined so you have the option to add drawings instead of just words.
  2. When a quiet moment arises that you are alone, do a quick check in:
    • How are you feeling?  Happy? Sad? Anxious? Annoyed?
    • What happened during the day that brought forward these feelings?
    • Write down your thoughts on the cause and then take 3 deep breaths to let the feeling go.
    • Close the Journal and continue on with your day, try to let go of those emotions. Consider the feelings you jotted down and you can reflect what you wrote down at the end of the day. Only do this if you feel the need because the feelings are lingering.
  3. Did you know that multiple journals can also be very helpful?  Here are some addition journal types that could inspire you:
    • The PMS Journal: Track how your cycle affects your physical, emotional or mental health.
    • The Food Journal: Track you food choices, calories or even physical reactions to certain foods.  I used this type of journal during an elimination diet so that I could follow if my symptoms improved as I made different food choices in relation to dairy, wheat and eggs. This was a tremendous help for both my family doctor and allergist.
    • Gratitude Journal: This type of journal is fantastic for staying in a positive mindset and be thankful for the people that have an impact in your life. As I mentioned, I have been using the thankful app on my iPhone because it also allows me to include pictures in my entries. I am a visual person so the images trigger memories and evoke strong emotions.
    • Dream Tracker: Do you thrive off of looking into the meaning of your dreams?  Do you like interpreting the experiences and gain insight on your dream patterns.  A dream diary can definitely help you reflect and learn more about your personality.
    • Pregnancy Diary: As an adult, this was my first real attempt at journaling.  Tracking my pregnancy experiences was rewarding and has enabled me to compare each experience (I’ve had 4 pregnancies!!) to see how unique they all have been.  Another benefit is the ability to share this information with my children as they get older. In fact, my oldest daughter just had a baby and was so appreciative to be able to look at my pregnancy experience with her.
Doodle Art

Countless Benefits

There are plenty of reasons to keep an online journal or diary. The most rewarding can be in regards to your emotional health.

Mental health benefits from journaling:

  • Reduces overall stress
  • Increases happiness
  • Keeps you on track to achieve goals
  • Increases your emotional intelligence
  • Develops self-awareness
  • Improves memory
  • Allows you to emotionally heal from trauma
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Gain clarity on confusing situations

I suggest that you have some kind of schedule in order to make journaling a habit and incorporate it into your lifestyle.   Journaling throughout the day helps me capture all the various emotions and experiences I encounter. I aim for upon waking up, mid day, while cooking dinner and before bed. Just a few minutes per day has improve my mindset, gratitude and appreciation for all people and things that contribute to my journey through life.

Do you Journal? How has it benefited you? I’d love for you to share YOUR experience with the Violet Buddha Tribe and help others incorporate journaling into their daily To Do list.

Hellow Sunshine Journal

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha