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Keeping on the path

We are well into 2017 now and I hope you are still focussed on your health and wellbeing goals. In my experience it can be hard though to keep your resolve after the initial flurry of enthusiasm has passed! In this new year blog, I’m going to explore some yoga ways of giving your will power a boost.

First up I think it is so important to accept that you will “slip”, that’s ok. Don’t be cross with yourself or be disappointed, much better to show yourself love and kindness, you’ll get a much better response. Thank yourself for noticing any “slips”, be aware of how this behaviour has affected you (meditation is great for this) and be grateful that you want to move forwards and make changes. Reset your buttons and decide to start again.

When I need to reset my behaviour buttons I often use sun sequences to help me. Traditionally practised at dawn, each time I practice I imagine a new dawn, a new start. I can move away from any past behaviours, they are not who I am in the present moment.

According to yogic philosophy our will power and determination reside in our fire centre, the third chakra, manipura, so it makes sense then to practice yoga that will positively effect this chakra. Strong backbends such as the Bow are perfect if you are ok to practice them. Remember to counter with a forward bend. Also strong twists and the triangle pose.

One of my favourite postures for strengthening resolve is Camel. One of the reasons it’s called Camel is because it helps us to let go of our desire for something, just as the camel has to when it goes without water. It allows the free flow of energy from those low dynamic centres, up to the heart, giving us a shot of self esteem too, which in turn will help you to make the best, most loving choices for yourself. You can also do this sitting in a chair too, so accessible to all, holding on to the chair not your legs. Here’s the first stage, ask your tutor if you would like to practice the further stages in class.

  1. From a high kneeling position, slightly contract your gluteals, draw your navel into your spine and lift the pelvic floor region, keeping the tailbone long.

  2. Lengthen your spine, moving the rib cage away from your tummy. Swoop your right arm round to rest on the back of the right thigh, and the left arm to rest on the left thigh.

  3. Keeping your tailbone long, so that it’s pointing towards the floor and not behind you, core engaged, lift your rib cage and your sternum, rolling the shoulders gently back and down, keeping the chin tucked in.

  4. Breathe here, feeling how your breath gives solidity and strength to your torso.

  5. When you are ready to come out, release your hands and fold forwards into the child pose.

In quiet times or when it’s not possible to get into a yoga posture! (I’m thinking here of when I’m shopping and being tempted by the biscuit aisle – camel not so practical 🙂 ) try one of these mudras, which help us to set an intention and focus our energy. Hold them for a few breaths, until you feel yourself settle. See photos.

Removes obstacles

Use to shift unhelpful emotions and thoughts

Garuda Mudra : Helps to cultivate self discipline. With palms facing uppermost, cross right hand over left and interlace the thumbs.

Ganesha Mudra : Removes obstacles, so that could be an unhelpful thought pattern or emotion. Bring palms together, at heart level. Swivel so that fingers point towards opposite elbow (right palm facing you). Slide hands across each other until you can interlock the fingers.

I hope these help you stick to your wellbeing goals. Let me know how you get on or if you need some more ideas! Ix

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