5 steps to wellbeing: yoga for radiant living
Have you ever wondered how to take yoga “off the mat” and into your daily life?
Do you want to develop your own yoga practice but don’t know where to start?
Or maybe you would love to start yoga but can’t find the time?
Below I have chosen some of my favourite practices to promote radiant health. They can help you to develop an awareness of and appreciation for your body, steady your mind, and rejuvenate you after a tiring day. They are quick and easy and need no special equipment. They are suitable for whatever age and stage of life you are in. You can dip into them to calm you on a busy day or use them as a starting point for your own home practice.
So if you would like to find out how you can move with ease, breath with ease, and live your life with ease. Read on…
The ancient yogis developed a system of wellbeing that encompassed 5 different aspects of health and happiness. When these layers of our wellbeing are thriving then our overall health is radiant and robust. When they are not our health suffers.
The 5 levels of awareness (or koshas) are:
- Physical layer – do you have a body that is strong and mobile?
- Breath layer– is your breathing free, easy and nurturing?
- Emotional layer – do you have the ability to calm and soothe your mind?
- Intellect layer – can you make wise decisions?
- Bliss layer – are you able to access the still point within you that is your true self?
1. Physical wellbeing
Our bodies are designed to move. Moving develops strength and flexibility. It also develops a strong heart and lungs. Yet with our modern lifestyles it is all too easy to forget this. Building in regular activity and movement is therefore essential to keeping your body and body systems healthy and robust. It also helps to flow the prana (or life force) around the body which in turn helps to increase vitality.
- Go for a walk out in nature
- Develop daily yoga practice
- Build in regular movement breaks into your day to break up long periods of sitting
- Nurture your body through Thai yoga massage
2. Breathe easy
Your breath has the power to nourish your life force, energise you from within or to promote deep relaxation. It is one of the simplest ways you can affect your body. Try this simple technique to encourage deeper breathing, increase oxygenation to your body and calm the nervous system.
Breathe like a baby:
- Lie on your back, with your feet on the floor and your knees bent.
- Allow your body to relax, and then tune in to your natural breathing pattern. Just let your breath flow easily.
- Place your hands on your abdomen, with the fingertips touching at the navel
- Imagine that you can follow your in breath down into the belly and back out from the belly as you breathe out.
- Feel your abdomen expand and rise with each inbreath (you might notice that the fingers gently separate)
- As you breath out be aware of the abdomen softening and releasing downwards (you might notice that the fingertips come back towards each other)
- Practice for a few minutes at a time
3. Balance emotions
It is very easy to get caught up in your own feelings, and thoughts about those feelings. There is a natural tendency to be drawn to what you like and avoid what you don’t like, and this tendency might not enable you to make the best decisions. Recognising the pull and push influence of your emotions can help you to move past this point to a place of balance and understanding with how you feel.
A simple technique to bring about a sense of grounding and steadiness with our emotions and thoughts is the mountain posture.
Stand strong like a mountain:
- Stand with the feet hip width apart, with the spine lifted, and the shoulders relaxed.
- Let your feet feel settle and “plant” into the ground beneath you.
- Allow your weight to be evenly distributed between both feet.
- Now imagine a golden thread is attached to the crown of your head and let this thread gently lift you upwards.
- As you breathe in feel your spine lengthen and as you breathe out relax into this lifted position.
- Next, take your awareness to the centre of your chest, to your heart space
- Quietly affirm to yourself “I am a mountain of strength; nothing can pull or push me as I stand in this place of stillness.”
4. Choose wisely
The intellect layer works as your managing director and oversees and guides the choices that you make. When you are aware and listen to the
cues from your body, breath and emotions you are provided with the right information on which to determine your choices. The first step in taking any action originates with this layer, with the intention to do something. Once the intention is set you can then apply your thoughts to find a solution and take right action. One of the quickest ways of creating space to listen to the messages from your body, breath and mind is to connect with the breath. This short practice allows you to both listen deeply and to honour the wisdom of taking the right action. It can be done sitting, standing or even walking.
Breathing with intention:
- Spend a few moments becoming aware of your breath. Notice the inflow and out flow of breath and allow your breathing to become smooth and regular.
- When you feel that your breathing is settled then use the following affirmations on the in breath and out breath. “Breathing in, I listen to my body, breath & mind. Breathing out, I take care of my body, breath & mind.”
5. Reside in stillness
When all the layers are balanced it creates an opportunity to find the Dru still point. That point of peace and bliss that yoga philosophy says resides in us all. A place where the soul says “ah.”
Connect with your still point with this meditation on light:
- Sit in a comfortable position, with your spine upright and then allow your body to relax into this upright position.
- Become aware of your breathing and allow your breathe to become smooth and regular.
- Allow your awareness to flow down to the heart centre and notice the gentle expansion of the chest on the inbreath and the releasing of the chest on the out breath.
- Imagine a warm, golden light in your heart. As you breathe in visualise this light getting stronger and brighter so that it starts to fill the whole of the chest.
- With each in breath let this light continue to expand so that it flows to fill the whole of the body.
- Let the warm golden light expand out around your body and see yourself surrounded by a circle of light.
- As the light shines in and around you, feel yourself connected to all layers of your being and enjoy the sense of wellbeing that comes as the light enfolds and upholds you.
I truly believe that yoga is the perfect tool to help you to live your life with ease. Over the 15 years that I have been regularly practicing yoga I have used it extensively to support me with the many changes I have been through, from pregnancy, post-natal recovery, parenthood and into perimenopause. This has led me to develop a passion in applying yoga techniques to improve women’s mental and physical health as they move through different ages and stages of life.
Want to know more about how yoga can help you to live your life with ease then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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