This World Yoga Day we hear from the lovely Mariel, our special guest Blogger, Yoga Teacher and Life Coach Mariel of mindfulsonder.com. In her article she'll guide you though a series of movements and intention setting to energise you in the run up to Spring. But first...:
MEDITATION APP GIVEAWAY!
To celebrate World Yoga Day we've teamed up with Silatha to to give away a year's access to their amazing meditation app to 3 lucky winners!
The app includes eleven different series of 21-day meditations created to inspire calm and a lasting balance, each tailored to the intention you wish to encourage. Head over to our Instagram to enter!
Winter can be a challenging time of year, particularly when you live in a country that turns cold and the days turn short. We place unnecessary pressures on ourselves to start the year “right”, that we quickly fall into that trap of guilt should we happen to fall off the wagon too soon. Yet as the winter draws to an end, we are able to invite fresh energy ahead of spring, reminding us that self-care is a year round thing where every passing moment is an opportunity to start again and change things for the better. And what better way to get into that right frame of mind than with some energising yoga? Here is a quick 10 minute guided practice with some great morning stretches you can do from the comfort of your own home – ideally in front of your Lumie bright light!
Starting in a nice comfortable seated position, inhale both arms above your head. Exhale as you allow your left fingertips to reach for the ground to your left as your right hand cups the left side of your head, drawing your right ear towards your right shoulder. Take a few breaths here, stretching out the neck (particularly your left trapezius muscle). Repeat the same thing on the other side, using the affirmation “Everything I need already exists within me.”
Inhale both arms over head and exhale your hands behind your head. With each inhale, draw your elbows back, open up your heart and lift your head to the sky. With every exhale, draw your elbows towards one another and your chin towards your chest as your round through your back. Repeat 5 times with the affirmation “I draw in love and light and release that which does not serve me.”
Inhale both arms over head and exhale your right forearm to the ground on your right side as the left arm reaches overhead towards the right side, lengthening the left side of your body. Your gaze can go towards the ground or up towards the sky, depending on what feels best for your neck. Repeat on the other side using the affirmation “I feel connected, my mind is relaxed and clear.”
One last time, reach your arms overhead as you inhale. As you exhale place your left hand on your right knee, your right hand behind you as you twist. Open the right shoulder as you turn behind you, allowing your gaze to follow the direction of your shoulder. Hold for a few breaths before repeating on the other side, using the affirmation “I alone am responsible for my own happiness.”
Place the palms of your hands on the ground in front of you, rolling over your knees to come into a table top position. Hands are shoulder distance apart and directly underneath your shoulders. Your knees are directly under your hips, hip distance apart. As you inhale, lift the head and tailbone, drawing your belly towards the ground and the hands and knees energetically towards one another. You should feel a nice stretch along your abdominal wall. As you exhale, tuck your tailbone, draw your chin towards your chest, and press the ground away as your round through the back. Move through your cat/cow poses 5 times (or more if necessary) repeating the mantra “Energy fills my life.”
Tuck your toes under, press into your hands and lift your hips, coming into downward facing dog. Feet are hip distance apart, hands at least shoulder distance. Press into the hands, grounding through all ten knuckles. Melt your chest towards your thighs, draw your navel towards the spine, and tilt the pelvis to the sky as you draw the heels towards the ground. Remember, if your hamstrings are tight, keep a gentle bend in your knees. Feel free to peddle out the feet, bending one knee deeply and then the other. Float the right leg to the sky as you inhale and on the exhale place your foot between your hands. Inhale lift your right arm to the sky coming into a simple twist and exhale it back down to the ground. Inhale as you step your left foot to meet the right, lifting your gaze and finding a flat spine as you lengthen through the crown of your head. Exhale to forward fold.
Take your feet hip distance apart, if they are not already, and grab on to opposite elbows. Relax your upper body towards the ground, shifting your weight towards the balls of your feet. Feel free to sway from side to side of bend one knee and then the other. Come back to center, take an inhale and as you exhale, release your hands to the ground. Gently bend the knees, draw your chin to your chest and roll up – vertebrae by slow vertebrae. As your head comes up last, lift your shoulders up, back and down. Bring your hands to prayer at heart center and repeat the affirmation “I am enough.”
Moving your body for as little as 10 minutes a day not only has amazing physical benefits, but strong mental ones too. You will find that it helps to enhance your mood, perfect to tackle the day ahead. Using affirmations together with your physical activities can also greatly help to improve the quality of your life. As Robert T. Kiyosaki said, “It's not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it's what you whisper to yourself that has the most power.”
Mariel Witmond - Bateman is a 500hrs Yoga Teacher and Life & Integrative Health Coach; born in Puerto Rico to a Mexican mother and English father, Mariel has lived in Connecticut, England, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Argentina, Malaysia, Mexico, India, NY, and LA. She currently resides in London. You can check out her schedule here. For daily doses of inspiration, follow Mariel on Instagram.