Credit: Claire Ryann/Youtube.
Yoga can change your life. It has been around for thousands of years, but only now have we discovered the benefits of practising yoga on a regular basis. We often use the excuse that we are ‘too busy’ to find the time for yoga in our daily lives but yoga is so much more than just asana (practising yoga positions and postures).
One of the common misconceptions about yoga is that in order to ‘do’ yoga, you have to go to an hour and a half long class at a studio. But that’s far from the truth. There are so many ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life, whether it be living in the moment, focusing on your breath or stretching on your lunch break at work, make time for yoga and you will soon see the amazing benefits that everyone has been talking about.
Here are a few ways you can make yoga a part of your life every day:
If there is one main thing yoga teaches you, it is to live in the present moment. Every moment you spend on the mat, you are learning to be more patient, compassionate, dedicated and kind. To take those lessons you learn and incorporate them into your daily life, you need to learn to be mindful. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds, honest. Learn to step back and appreciate the smallest moments of your life, become aware of how your mind works, be concious of all of your actions in different situations and work towards being the best version of yourself.
Most of us don’t pay attention to our breathing pattern. Having a shallow breath can cause anxiety and stress and trigger other physical sensations in the body and many of us are unconsciously breathing this way. Find time in the day to try a few full, deep and mindful breaths. Start by breathing in through your nose, making sure you breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest. Count to four, hold for seven and breathe out slowly for eight. Being in tune with your breath is essential for yoga practice. Pranayama is a type of yogic breath awareness and regulation exercise designed to help control one’s vital energy. Notice how calm and centred you feel after just a few mindful breaths.
Spending more time outside will allow you to connect with everything around you. The word ‘yoga’ means union. Nature will teach you everything you need to know about learning to let go and appreciate what is around you. In modern life, it can be difficult to disconnect and truly be. If you feel you have lost the deep connection between you and the earth, step outside, breathe and observe everything around you. You can do some yoga outside if you find the perfect spot, or you can do yoga inside and have the curtains open so the sun can shine in.
Practice Five-Minute Meditation Every Day
The word ‘meditation’ can often fill people with dread, they will say that they ‘can’t meditate.’ It’s hard to still the mind and it takes a lot of practice. Start by spending five minutes each day in silence. You don’t have sit in any unusual pose, you don’t even have to close your eyes. Just focus on your breath and try to silence your mind for five minutes each day, preferably in the morning. Once you feel comfortable doing five minutes each day, slowly increase it and let all of your troubles melt around you.
Stretch It Out
The great thing about stretching is you can do it anywhere! Don’t think that the yoga mat is the only place you can practice. Try stretching on your lunch break at work, do a few twists in your office chair. Start the morning off by doing a quick full body stretch before you get in the shower. By doing a simple back arch, you can stretch tired muscles and eliminate physical and mental fatigue.
Written In The Stars
What does spring have in store for you?
We all hope that we will have a better future, will our financial situation be better? Will we find our true love? Will it be the year that we get our dream job? Zest For Life has predictions for each zodiac sign for the next few months as winter ends and spring begins.
As we move from winter to spring, you will go through a variety of changes in different aspects of your life Aries. In February, everything will develop in the best possible way, especially in terms of business and career. The first twenty days of February will be a great time to experiment with something new and by the end of the month, everything will fall into place. The stars also recommend that you recall what passion is Aries. Don’t suppress your emotions, feel what you want to feel, open up your heart, if you succeed with this in February, you will find out what happiness can feel like. If you don’t, fate will give you another chance to find love later on in the year. You will definitely experience some positive vibes in March, especially with your finances. When we reach April, you will put career aspirations to one side and focus on your relationships. Show love to everyone you care about and possibly search for a new love or friendship to add to your life. Expect a lot of changes good and bad in your life over the next few months, embrace them, remember that Arians love to be first.
You will come across a number of tricky situations in February Taurus, if you deal with these problems alone, the balance in your life will eventually be restored, however, if you drag other people down with you, these situations could do more harm than good. Despite the strong negative vibes coming your way, you will experience some great memories during the month of February with those you are closest to. Whether it’s a significant other or a friend, hold them close and be thankful for them. This year will also be the perfect time to resolve underlying issues in your relationships and move forward. It’s important for you to focus on the present during February, wait until March begins to start making plans for the future. People will see you differently this year, in the first few months of 2016, you will be more confident and you will learn to be happy with yourself, flaws and all. March will be the month of money, your top priority will be to secure your finances, to prepare for the next phase of your life.
The beginning of the year might not be the most dynamic and positive time for you Gemini, but don’t lose hope! Things will get better as spring begins. In February, make sure you find some time to yourself, focus on you, your inner world and your deepest feelings. You know there are unsolved problems in your life at the moment, all you have to do is think things through for a while and you will know what to do when we reach the second week of March. You are searching for intellectual stimulation at the moment, it has been a long time, when this desire is filled you will be the happiest person on the planet. March will be the month that everything changes, career opportunities, money and love will all be positive during this time. Spring will be the season of success for you Gemini, take your time and enjoy the new direction that your life is going in. March is the time to not only stretch your mind but your social life, make plans with your close friends and family members.
The first few months of 2016 will be the perfect time to achieve all of your goals. You need to learn to harmonize your emotions and doubt, believe in your own abilities and you will succeed. February will be an especially exciting time, there will be no time to relax in front of the TV if you want to make things happen. March will be a positive month, changes might happen out of your control, don’t look to see the problem, the universe has a way of telling you what you need and when. Put away your fears and start seeing life from a whole new perspective. You no longer want to be a caterpillar in 2016 Cancer, you have an inner desire to have freedom, you will turn into a beautiful butterfly when the time is right. A career change could be on the horizon, apply for positions that have a great interest to you. As spring approaches, you will have a sudden wanderlust to go to new places and meet new people, February would be the perfect time to plan a trip.
A person from your past will make an appearance in February, possibly March. The problem is Leo, this person is afraid to tell you how he or she really feels, be patient with them. You will have the opportunity to make your decision, depending on the situation. You might choose to try again and see where this new relationship takes you, spring is a chance to try something new. If you decide to pass on the relationship, spend lots of quiet time by yourself and figure out exactly what you want. Your positive energy will increase as you become more passionate about what you are doing. February is a month that you need to focus on your health, start exercising more and choose healthier foods options, you will soon feel better. March will be the month that you need to pay close attention to your finances Leo, you often make decisions quickly with money, think twice and ask yourself if you really need it or you just want it.
Excerpt from the first issue of Zest For Life Magazine. Click Read More to view the full article…
Credit: High On Life/Youtube.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more charitable. I know this is something I should always be thinking about, but I have decided this year to make more of a conscious effort to send more positive vibes out into the universe and try to do little things to make people happy and to really make a difference.
A charity that I heard about whilst at University, that I have made numerous cards for over the years and which I think is a really great cause, is Post Pals. Post Pals is a UK charity that helps children aged 3 – 17 who are extremely ill and in need of support, and also helps the siblings of these children who also struggle with their brother or sister being unwell.
If you visit the website (www.postpals.co.uk) you can see all the children that the charity help, and there is a page which features those that are especially ill and are currently in hospital and need extra support. As the name suggests, volunteers send post to whichever of the children they wish to. You can write a letter, make a card, write a poem or a story, or send little gifts. The website contains guidelines for writing post if you are unsure of what to say, and there is information on what the children like such as their favourite colour or cartoons so it is easy to make something that will be special and personal to them.
This charity is so nice because it is so easy to help make the day of a child’s life just a little better. If you like arts and crafts (even if you’re not amazing at art, it really doesn’t matter, anything you send will be appreciated!) then this is something that will be perfect to contribute to. For example, I spent a fun afternoon in December watching films and making Christmas cards for those children that were in hospital and going through an especially tough time.
It’s so easy to do something special like this, and being creative is such a fun activity that just making a card for a child definitely benefits both of you. The father of one of the girls I made a Christmas card for got in touch in the New Year and informed me that she was out of hospital and doing well, and it made me so happy to hear that she was doing better.
You can also donate to the charity to help fund things like days out for the families, but posting a little something special is more than enough to make a difference and make a child smile!
Words by Ally McLaren