Yoga: Empower Flow

Yoga: Empower Flow

The below flow sequence is designed to empower you and feel great in your skin. This is a great sequence to do in the mornings or before a special occasion, when you need a bit more confidence.

  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
    How To: You can stand either with your feet flash together or hip distance apart. Standing tall, growing into the space above you. Place both hands on your heart and connect with yourself. Lift up through the crown of your head, releasing your shoulders down. This would be a good place to set an intention for yourself.
    Release both hands next to your body, palms facing forward, shoulders released down. Take a moment to bring your awareness inward. Stay here for 5 breaths.
  2. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
    How To: Leaving your feet as they are, bend your knees and shift your weight into the heels. Inhale to reach the arms and chest up, exhale to lower your sitting bones down. Broaden the collarbones, lift through the sternum and shine your heart to the sky. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
  3. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
    How To: Keep your legs in Chair Pose and extend your arms at your shoulder level. Bring your left arm over your right arm bend the elbows and wrap your arms. Either the outside of your hands can meet or your palms. Lift the elbows up while softening the shoulders down and away from the ears. Ensure that you keep your spine and neck long. Lift your right leg up, bend the knee and wrap it over your left thigh to come into full Garundasana. Squeeze the thighs and press your standing foot down. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
  4. High Lunge with eagle arms
    How To: Keeping your arms wrapped up, unwind your right leg and step it back into High Lunge. Engage your core as you lean forward and hover over your front thigh. Hug your inner thighs together for more stability, ensuring that you keep your front knee over your front ankle. You can lower the back knee down if you get tired or building up to high lunge. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
  5. Warrior 3 with eagle arms (Virabhadrasana 3)
    How To: Keep your arms as they are and lift your left leg up from the inner thigh into Warrior 3. Keep the breath strong, stay here for 3-5 breaths.
  6. Revolved half moon (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)
    How To: From Warrior 3, unwrap your arms and lower your right hand onto the mat. You can use a block to bring the ground closer to you. Turn your chest to the left, keeping your hip parallel to the mat. Inhale your left arm up towards the ceiling. If it feels comfortable in your neck, look to the left. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
  7. Crescent Lunge
    How To: Lower your right foot back onto the mat and lift your arms up by your ears, releasing your shoulders down. Inhale to lower your knee towards the floor (don’t let your knee touch the floor, keep it a little off the floor), exhale to straighten the leg again. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
  8. Revolved Crescent Lunge (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)
    How To: Bring your hands together in your heart centre, lean your torso forward and twist, bringing your right elbow on the outside of the left knee. Open up through the chest, bringing your left shoulder back. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
  9. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
    How To: Bring both hands to the top of your mat, framing your front foot and then straighten your front leg. Keeping a slight bend in both knees, don’t lock them! Inhale to come onto your fingertips, lengthen through the spine and exhale to extend over your front leg. Stay here for 3-5 breaths. Slowly coming back up to a standing position and step the back foot forward to meet the front foot.
    Repeat steps 1-9 on the other side.
  10. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
    How To: You can stand either with your feet flash together or hip distance apart. Standing tall, growing into the space above you. Place both hands on your heart and connect with yourself. This would be a good place to set an intention for yourself. Release both hands next to your body, palms facing forward, shoulders released down. Stay here for 5 breaths.

Yoga styles explained

Are you new to yoga or just want to see what different types of yoga there are? Don’t look any further. Below is a breakdown of some of the different yoga types

Hatha

A gentle, slow-paced style, focusing on controlled breathing and holding poses for a short time.
Ideal For: Beginners. The simple stress-relieving poses are a good starting point.

Ashtanga

This style is faster paced and physically more demanding.
Ideal For: Seasoned yogis. This style requires strength and endurance to get the most out of it.

Vinyasa

This style focuses on breathing paced with the movement through poses. Vinyasa improves strength, flexibility and tones the body.
Ideal For: Building strength. This style is faster paced and focuses on the body-mind connection.

Iyengar

Blocks and straps are often used to provide proper alignment to support joint and muscle health.
Ideal For: Relieving back or neck pain.

Kundalini

Involves chanting mantras and breathing through energising movements.
Ideal For: A spiritual experience. This is one of the more unique yoga types

Bikram

Aka hot yoga is a 90-minute practice of moving through 26 poses in 105-degree heat.
Ideal For: Flexibility. The heat and extended period of stretching boosts flexibility and strength.

My Meditation​ practice

During my yoga teacher training, we touched a little bit on meditation but I always found it very hard to sit still and just be with my thoughts. Well, letting thoughts pass and just concentrate on my breathing. That was the main sort of meditation that we practised. It was only later that I got to explore different kinds of meditations. During that exploring, I started to really enjoy them and make up my own ‘rules’.

Whereas traditionally it’s said to switch off your mind and let any thoughts go, I didn’t seem to be able to do that. So I decided to embrace that fact, rather than get frustrated about it. Letting go of that has really improved my meditations and I started to really enjoy it. One morning, I even managed to think up a whole sequence for one of my classes and I had some great ideas on other mornings.

I started meditating on a regular, daily, basis end of summer last year when I took part in a meditation ‘challenge’. 11 minutes twice a day, every day. I didn’t quite complete this challenge to be honest, partly because I went on holiday and then when I got back, life took over and 22 minutes seemed a lot of time to take out of my day.

I kept my meditation practice up, though less regular. Sitting down every day, even just for five minutes, and just listening to my thoughts, is really helping me stay centred and focused. It’s a great way to looking after your mind. At the beginning of this year, I decided to sit down every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, and meditate. So far, I’m sticking to the challenge I set myself and it’s making a difference already. I seem a lot calmer when I meditate and less high strung.

I mix up my meditations between just sitting down in silence, with some background music, guided meditations and visualisations. To me, there are no rules anymore when it comes to meditating. As long as I sit down and take a few minutes out, that’s all that matters to me as I feel the benefits.

What does your meditation practice look like? Comment below.

Pose of the week: Downward Facing Dog

Pose of the week: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downdog

Instructions:

  1. Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly underneath your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your fingertips, middle finger pointing straight forward and tuck your toes under.
  2. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. Push into your hands for resistance, bend your knees and rest your belly on your thighs. The heels are away from the floor.
  3. Start straightening your legs, hips pointing up higher to the ceiling, heels grounding towards the floor. If the hamstrings are tight, keep the legs bend as much as you need to. Continue pushing into your hands, shoulders away from your ears
  4. Stay in this pose for 1-3 minutes, then lower your knees down and come into Child’s pose

 

Tips on how to do it:

  • press mat away so arms are long and body is an upside down V shape
  • actively press the heels towards the mat (heels don’t have to touch the mat)
  • no tension in the neck
  • pressing evenly into hands

 

Things to avoid:

  • not actively trying to lengthen legs
  • collapsing weight in the shoulders
  • tension in the neck
  • weight in outside edges of the hands

 

My weekly truth #10

Another week has gone by and today I’m writing you from the train to Brighton. There are track works going on this weekend so I have to take the long way down to Brighton. I was annoyed about it at first as this means this nearly doubles my time to get to the studio but after thinking about it and putting it into perspective, it’s really not that bad. I get to do what I love, so how bad is it really? It’s only another 40 minutes of commuting time. Plus it gives me some time to write a couple of posts and get some time to reflect.

 

This week has been quite full on for me and I have been quite tired. The tiredness might have something to do with me changing my daily routine rather than being busy at work. I set myself some goals for this year and the best way to achieve them is to get up earlier and work towards them then. So far it’s going well and I have been getting up early every day (apart from the weekends) I’ll give it to the end of the month to ensure this is part of my daily routine. Then I will make another few changes and hopefully incorporate them into my daily routine too.

 

If you haven’t set yourselves any goals yet and are stuck with how to set them, lululemon have a lovely worksheet #18in18 that helps you set 18 goals for this year. It’s broken down into different sections, which help you to easily set your goals. Here is the link to it, make a cup of tea, take some time out and fill in the worksheet to keep you focused this year. You can also download the worksheet below.  

 

I started teaching a new class on Monday and even though I was really nervous, it paid off. The venue is great, it is quirky which I love and the students that came were absolutely amazing. Today I have a couple of hours between my classes rather than teaching four hours back to back. This means I get some time to record one or two meditations to go onto my website. This has been on my to-do list for ages but more urgent stuff seems to come up so recording the meditations keeps moving down the list.

 

I’m off work on Monday and my to-do list is already huge. I know I have to be realistic, I won’t be able to do everything but knowing me I will give it my best shot to get everything done that’s on my list for Monday. Luckily tomorrow (Sunday) I get some time to rest and some quality time with the boy. I hope you all had a good week.

 

Talk to you next week
Jen x

 

Here is the downloadable #18in18 goal setting worksheet: lululemon 18in18 goalsheet

Yoga: 9 poses for Self Love and Compassion

Do the following poses when you need some compassion, self-love and self-acceptance. These poses will help you open your heart and start connecting with yourself again.

  1. Childs Pose (Balasana)
    How To: Kneeling on your mat, bring the two big toes together and bring your knees as wide as the mat. Start walking your hands up your mat, away from you. Start melting your heart towards the mat, bring your forehead to the mat or onto a block. Close your eyes and soften and relax in the pose. Stay here for at least 3 minutes, concentrating on your in- and exhales.
  2. Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
    How To: Coming on to all fours, knees hip distance apart, directly underneath your hip points. wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Pushing into the space between your shoulder blades. Making sure your back and neck are long. On your inhale, drop your belly, look forward and open through your chest. On your exhale round through your spine, pull your navel to your spine and push the mat away. Do this for five rounds then come back to a neutral spine and long neck.
  3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
    How To: Tucking your toes, pushing into your thumb and index finger and push your hips up to the ceiling. Make sure that your feet are hip distance apart, shoulders are away from your ears. You can peddle through your feet or do any movements that feel good here. Close your eyes and come to a place of stillness. Hold this pose for 5 breaths then slowly walk your feet to the top of the mat and roll up to a standing position.
  4. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
    How To: You can stand either with your feet flash together or hip distance apart. Standing tall, growing into the space above you. Place both hands on your heart and connect with yourself. This would be a good place to set an intention for yourself. Release both hands next to your body, palms facing forward, shoulders released down.
    Stay here for 5 breaths. (You have the option to move through a vinyasa here) Then move down into Downward dog. Hold this pose for 5 breaths.
  5. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)
    How To: From Doward Dog, inhaling your right foot up behind you and then stepping it in-between your hands, making sure that the right knee is directly over your right ankle. Release the left heel onto the mat (outside of the left foot is in line with the back of the mat), opening through the left hip then bring your upper body straight up. Bring your arms parallel to the floor and look over your right fingertips. Hold this pose for 5 breaths then straighten your front leg, parallel your feet, switch sides and repeat on the left side
  6. Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)
    How To: Start in Tadasana, plant both feet onto the floor and start rooting down evenly. Shift your weight into your left leg. Bend your right leg, lift the foot behind you and grab the foot with your right hand. Square your hips to the front of the mat and start pushing your foot into your hand, slowly moving into a backbend, bringing your upper body parallel to the floor. Stretch your left hand in front of you. Hold the pose for 5 breaths. Then, with control, release the leg back down to the floor and repeat on the other side.
    Move down into Downward Dog and hold for 5 breaths.
  7. Camel (Ustrasana)
    How To: From Downward dog, bring your knees down, walk your hands in and bring your upper body straight up. Ensure that your knees are hip distance apart. Place your hands onto the back of your pelvis, fingers pointing down. Start pushing your hips forward and lean back, opening your heart to the sky. Reach back slowly to grab your heals or keep your hands on your back. Hold this pose for 3 – 5 breaths.
    To come out of the pose, slowly raise your body back up, placing your hands on the lower back for support. Come into child’s pose
  8. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
    How To: Lie down on the back. Hug your knees into your chest. Bring the soles of the feet up to the ceiling with your knees bend. Grab hold of the outer edges of your feet with your hands and gently start pulling down on the feet, bringing your knees closer to your armpits. For a deeper release you can gently rock from side to side. Stay here for 5 breaths.
  9. Savasana
    How to: Extend your legs away from you, spreading out as much as it feels comfortable for you. Bring your hands either to your side, palms facing up or down, or bring one hand to your heart and one hand to your belly. Close your eyes and start softening through your whole body and release any tension in your body.
    Stay here for at least 3 minutes.

Do this sequence anytime you need a little self-boost. Keep your mind and heart open throughout this practice. Let any emotions come up in the practice and if you want to do a small journalling session after this sequence.

Let me know in the comments how you like this sequence.

5 favourite podcasts

With the amount I’m travelling, as well as reading, I love listening to podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to learn new things, get some inspiration, new ideas or just connect with a topic that you are interested in.

I only got into Podcasts in the last year and am wondering where I have been all this time and what I’ve done without them. 🙂

Below are some of my favourite podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis

  • Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
  • The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes
  • From the heart by Rachel Brathen aka Yoga Girl
  • Yoga Talk Podcast by Yoga international
  • Love Teaching Yoga by Michelle Linane

Do you listen to any of these podcasts? What are your favourite podcasts? Comment below and let me know

30 Journaling prompts

Writing in your journal is an exciting exercise. Just taking some time out for yourself to explore new angles and putting down your thoughts. Below are 30 journalling prompts to give you new ideas for your journal entry.

  1. What are you thankful for?
  2. Five things you’d like to do more?
  3. What was the best thing that has happened this week?
  4. A book that has influenced your life?
  5. What do you love about yourself?
  6. Something you are excited about?
  7. How have you changed in the past year?
  8. What are your favourite movies right now?
  9. Something you are proud of?
  10. Write down one regret.
  11. What do you feel strongly about?
  12. How do you relax?
  13. A few small things that make you happy?
  14. Best book you read this year?
  15. Write a letter to your teenage self.
  16. 10 Places you’d like to visit?
  17. What is your dream job?
  18. What were your highs and lows this week?
  19. A fact about you, that you don’t often share?
  20. Something you want to remember?
  21. How would you like people to describe you?
  22. What is your favourite song to sing?
  23. Share one of your earliest memories.
  24. Name one way you’d like to grow in the next year.
  25. Write down 5 weird things you like.
  26. Write about something that scared you.
  27. Write down one thing you dream of doing.
  28. Sum up what you believe on one page.
  29. Things you love about this time of your life
  30. What would you be doing if money was no object?

Are there any journal questions that you like, that you use when you’re journalling? Comment below with your favourite journal prompts.