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Yoga is good for you but going to a yoga class with 60 experienced yogis might seem quite daunting, plus you can’t really find the time in your busy day and a daily yoga session at a studio can get quite expensive. So what to do?
Have you ever thought of ‘Home Yoga’? A home practice allows you to get your yoga in at a time that suits you. It also gives you the opportunity to really listen to your body and do the postures that feel right for you on the day. You have the chance to be your own teacher.
SAFE YOGA AT HOMEDo you know what to do? Is doing yoga on your own safe? Here are a few tips to get onto your mat, in the comfort of your home, and be safe doing it:
Set a yoga scheduleWe set aside time for gym so why not set up a yoga schedule? Do this for the week. Where possible plan and set the exact day. If you have it in your diary as a ‘me-time-meeting’ then you are less likely to schedule in something else.
Just get onto your matI often say that the hardest part of yoga is getting onto your mat. We make so many excuses, even when we are on our mat our mind often takes over and tells us we are tired or stiff or hungry, trying to convince us to stop. Give yourself an allocated amount of time and do your practice until the end. Even if you are exhausted and just do a few stretches and take deep breaths, you will feel so much better afterwards. It is worth it! Your body (and mind) will thank you for it.
Use the time that you haveWe don’t all have one hour for yoga and 20 minutes for meditation every day. However if you use the time you do have, be it 15 or 20 minutes, it is still better than doing nothing. Eventually start building up to 30 to 60 minutes. Once you start feeling the benefits, believe me, you will soon make more time in your busy schedule to get onto your mat.
Keep it simpleHave an intention and purpose for your class, for example, ‘I want to feel more energised’ or, ‘I want to de-stress and feel calm.’ Once you know your purpose then you can structure the poses around what your intention is. Keep it simple. The less your mind has to over-think, the better.
Watch your boundariesIn a class setting the teacher can guide you further into postures that you may not have mastered yet. In order not to injure yourself, when doing yoga at home, always listen to your body and be your own guru.
It is good to try out a few more advanced postures; however it is not good to feel pain. Be aware of your body’s boundaries and where your vulnerable areas are. Always check in with your body and be mindful of how your knees, ankles, hips, spine and neck feel in each posture. If you are feeling a deep stretch, then great; however if you feel sharp shooting pain then gently adjust, soften and come out of the posture if you need to.
Yoga is a life-long practiceRemember that you will feel immediate changes such as feeling energised or calm after your session. However, if you want to become strong and flexible and gain the long-term benefits, then being consistent and getting onto your yoga mat regularly is the only way to see and feel changes over time. It is a process. Living the yoga lifestyle is a life-long practice. Have patience. You will notice progress and changes along the way.
Don’t give upIt is easy to try out something new and then get bored and decide to try something else. At that point when you think you want to give up – think of the reasons of why you are doing your home practice in the first place. If you are feeling bored with your routine then change it a little bit, or get a yoga DVD or watch some YouTube clips for inspiration.
Enjoy your practiceMost importantly, you must enjoy what you are doing. Yes, alignment is important and you obviously don’t want to injure yourself. Nonetheless, don’t get too caught up with, ‘Am I doing this properly?’ Your body will talk to you if you are not. The main point of your home practice is to enjoy it and savour the moments of peace and quiet.
GROUP AND HOME BENEFITSThere are many benefits of going to a group yoga class. You get the experience of a teacher who can adjust and show you what to do, you get the feeling of a community, if the classes are small enough you get personal attention and nurturing energy.
And yet, there are also many benefits of doing yoga at home. You get to do it in your own free time, you can listen to your body and give yourself a session that is right for you, you can keep that Zen vibe and don’t have to deal with traffic after your session.
CONCLUSIONIn the end you must choose what works for you. Perhaps a combination of a group class once a week and then home practice for the rest of the week when you can fit it in? Or maybe get a private yoga teacher to come to your home for a session or two to show you a simple routine which you could continue on your own. No matter what you decide, what is most imperative, is that you enjoy what you are doing and that you are getting your yoga practice in.
As Ashtanga Yoga Guru Pattabhi Jois said, ‘Practise and all is coming.’
So, the more you practise the more you will cultivate a calm mind, healthy body, and reach that place of peace, bliss and happiness that we are all striving for.
‘While the connections between the microbiome and the immune and metabolic systems are well appreciated, research into the role gut microbes play in shaping the nervous system is an exciting frontier in the biological sciences’. ~ N Soux (professor of microbiology)
Live, good bacteria, or probiotics, play a vital role in how well your immune system and brain function. During foetal development in utero, the brain and stomach are the first organs to develop together. Probiotics are essential in the digestion and absorption of our food and actively synthesise nutrients. Your digestive system is like a mini-brain, affecting mood and appetite.
Distributed in the wall of the gut is a network of neurons known as the enteric nervous system. There are in fact more nerves in your gut than in your spinal column! So it makes sense that we should take better care of our gut health.
DO YOU NEED TO SUPPLEMENT?
PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTSEnsure you choose a well-known, good quality probiotic supplement as various factors affect the life of probiotics. Supplements are available in powder, tablet, capsule, oil, gum and lozenge form.
Side effectsLess than 1% of people may have bloating and I suggest you lower the dosage. You cannot overdose on probiotic supplements and they are safe for pregnant and lactating women and very beneficial for children and the elderly.
When to take This depends on the label. Some are taken with and others without food; it depends on the supplement coating used.
How long is treatment?Usually two to three weeks or until symptoms disappear.
How frequently?Supplementation depends entirely on your condition and the general suggestion is to supplement every four to six months.
PROBIOTIC FOOD SOURCESProbiotic food sources include yoghurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk, kefir, aged cheeses, lebne, miso, tempeh, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, and pickled foods. But I have to add: food may or may not contain probiotics after processing, transportation and storage. Lesser-known probiotic foods available in other parts of the world include kermavilli (Finland), kimchi (Asia), curtido (Central America) choucroute (France) and lassi, dadhi, maziwa lal, and chach, which are popular in India.
CONCLUSIONTo maintain good gut flora between bursts of supplementation, consume fermented foods and other probiotic-rich foods mentioned above; avoid sugar and processed food and eat soluble fibre (prebiotics) to feed the probiotics.
Research into the benefits of probiotics is ongoing. Our cosmetic industry incorporates probiotics in skin and hair products. But that is a topic for another article. And lastly, especially when travelling, don’t leave home without a good probiotic!
We know that a mother’s nutritional status at the time of conception, and in the first few weeks that follow, is the single most important determinant of a baby’s growth in those critical early stages. Following the diet and supplement plan we recommend will help you optimise your nutrient intake.
Hairballs are common in cats and often result in constipation. Dr Alex Niven relates his encounter with Betty the constipated cat in a shortened excerpt from his book The Cow at the Window.
The consultation began, ‘Please, please Mr Vet, you have to help me, my old cat cannot make a poo!’ Mandy Thompson’s plea was a common one.
When the temperatures drop and the daylight hours are shorter, energy levels can take a big dip, right along with mood. Children might be less active in the cold, winter months, making it extra important to focus on adequate nutrition at this time of year, not only to restore vitality but to ward off colds and flu as well.
Children and winter: It’s pretty much a tissue company’s dream. The snotfest is accompanied by a relentless hacking cough that’s more of a constant companion to your children from May to September than their invisible friend.
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