Closing off Mental Health Awareness Week, and by popular request, Yoga Quota is thrilled to be offering a new class for referral clients from our charity partners.
Yoga for Wellbeing | Thursdays | 2:30pm
Yoga for Wellbeing will create space for people living with mental health conditions to enjoy a yoga practice with a focus on how specific yoga, breathing & mindfulness techniques can help support common wellbeing concerns. This class will be taught on a rotational basis by an amazing group of Yoga Quota studio teachers and badgeholders. If you think you or someone you know would benefit from Yoga for Wellbeing, then please email email@example.com
Thank you so much for following along with us during Mental Health Awareness week.
For additional resources on mental health visit the Mental Health Helpline list provided by the NHS, which has an extensive list of support for you.
In yoga, we use different breathing techniques (pranayama in sanskrit) for various reasons. Today, we're introducing two different techniques that we typically use to help release stress, since that's the theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week. If you've never tried any controlled breathing techniques before, don't worry if it seems difficult at first. Over time and with practice you'll (hopefully) notice your breath becoming smoother, easier, and longer. As with anything, it takes practice so be kind and gentle to yourself.
Three Part Pranayama / Full Yogic
Three-part pranayama is a basic but powerful method for introducing the practice of controlled breathing, and awakening accessory muscles of breath. The goal is to produce a consistent, deep rhythm of breathing, where the inhalations and exhalations are approximately equal in length and volume. Inhalation begins in the pit of the belly, travelling up into the lower half of the rib cage, and finishes in the upper chest beneath the collarbones. Exhalation begins in the collarbones and travels back down through the lower ribcage before ending in the belly.
The breath here does not necessarily have to be audible (in comparison to ujayi), and the focus should be on slow, focussed and controlled movements in the accessory muscles of breath & the diaphragm.
Begin in a comfortable seated position; it may be nice to sit on a block or cushion to elevate the pelvis. Exhale completely, drawing in the abdominal muscles. Inhale from the belly button, puffing the belly out as you do so, continue inhaling into the rib cage, expanding in out in all four directions, finally draw the breath into the upper chest, visualising your collarbones moving apart. As you exhale, let the collarbones come back together, then the rib cage contract, and finally the belly draws back in.
Find a comfortable seated position. Take the index finger and middle finger of your right hand to the space between your eyebrows, letting your thumb rest beside your right nostril and your fourth finger rest beside your left nostril. Close your eyes and exhale through both nostrils. Close your right nostril with your thumb, and inhale through your left nostril. Close your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, and exhale through your left.
This constitutes 1 full round (beginning and ending with the left nostril). You may practice as many rounds as you like — perhaps first aiming for 5-10. Try not to force or push your breath, though you may like to try and breath roughly evenly across both nostrils.
Let us know if you try either of these techniques and what your experience was like in the comments below!
At Yoga Quota, we're proud to be partnered with so many incredible charities in our effort to spread yoga to vulnerable groups. The benefits of yoga are amazing, but often the people who would benefit most can't access it. Through our quota system at the studio, we are able to offer free and accessible yoga classes all over the UK with the help of our amazing badgeholders.
As part of our ongoing Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to spotlight some of our charity partners that work with mental health. These are all charities that we work with to provide free yoga for. Some are hosted at our own studio in Oxford and others are hosted throughout the UK and led by one of our badgeholding teachers.
In the middle of the week, when the stress and pressure are ramping up, going to Yoga Quota lets me drop everything for an hour and just be present. I leave each class with a smile on my face, full of energy, and feeling good about myself again!
As part of our ongoing Mental Health Awareness Week posts, we're going over some stress management techniques that you can keep in your toolbox.
According to the NHS, If you're stressed, whether by your job or by something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause.
Once you know what the source of your stress is, how can you solve it?
Here are some suggestions for managing your stress...
This had to be our number one choice for how to manage stress. Research into the benefits of Yoga is still ongoing, and difficult to tease out as Yoga combines physical exercise with breathing and meditation. However, preliminary studies are promising and show some intriguing effects, such as the reduction of stress. Headspace has some great research into the benefits of meditation and there are numerous studies out there that shows how physical movement can aid in the reduction of stress. Yoga is a combination of all of these things.
Looking to get started with yoga? Try booking into a class with us at the studio or locate a badgeholder in your area.
I thought this was a post about stress management techniques? It is, but a lot of people stress about time. It's a very common reason why people say they can't practise yoga: "I don't have enough time."
According to research, time management is considered a primary intervention or a preventative for stress.
Following some simple time-management techniques, such as the Eisenhower Method, can help you focus on what's important to you, prioritise your day, and find room to add relaxation.
3. Practice Self-Care
Taking care of yourself is critically important. Self-care is completely different to each individual and no one can tell you what your self care looks like. Your self care needs might even differ every day. Listen to your body and what YOU need.
Here are some suggestions you may try:
The options are limitless for self-care. It's also crucial to remember that self care isn't all about frivolity or indulgence. "Sometimes self-care is about survival. It’s about doing what you need to get through the day. It’s about taking five minutes and thinking about what you need." Kat Nicholls has some fantastic basic self care ideas on her blog such as just making sure you drink enough water throughout the day or saying no to plans or extra work commitments.
How do you manage your stress?
If you're a student in Oxford, we've joined up with Sweaty Betty to bring you a Stress Busting Workshop on 3 June 2018. Find out more here.