SEVEN STEPS TO DEVELOPING THE PRACTICE OF DEEP BREATHING ON A DAILY BASIS FOR YOUR HEALTH…

Here is a great infographic from Develop Good Habits which I found on Pinterest and which explains in simple terms a seven-step process on how to develop the practice of deep breathing on a daily basis, something I think we could all benefit from during this COVID-19 outbreak.

SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND YOGA FOR INSOMNIA, BOOK REVIEW…

Yoga for Insomnia, 7 Steps to a better Sleep with Yoga and Meditation is a book written by Kayla Korin, a Yoga therapist and writer who has been committed to helping people with chronic health conditions to feel better with Yoga. Kayla sent me this book to read and write a review on it.

I enjoyed Kayla’s book very much. She writes in great details about feeling tired from lack of sleep as she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when she was young. She tried everything in the book to help her sleep and then while working at an environmental health clinic, the Doctor she was working with suggested she should try a mindfulness course. The course included mindfulness and yoga and after a few months Kayla was able to sleep much better.

Even with a busy lifestyle she found yoga helped her to sleep well and decided to write this book in a step by step format so that what Kayla learnt from studying yoga, meditation and psychology could help others along the way.

There is a full chapter in all you need to know about sleep, good sleep, bad sleep, REM sleep and your heart rate. “The goal of yoga or meditation” she says, “isn’t to stay relaxed all the time, but to be able to switch between the systems if needed.”

Yoga and how it works is described well and how it can work to help you sleep. Creating a healthy sleep environment is discussed well as Kayla has travelled far and wide and understands how jet lag affects your sleep and writes about mental relaxation and darkness in your bedroom. Plus diet and creating a routine which is essential for a good nights sleep.

Kayla talks about meditation for better sleep. Mindfulness is explained very well and the goal setting is very achievable. She writes further on breathing techniques for a better sleep which is something my local pain team want to teach me.

There is a great chapter on yoga positions shown in detail with pictures to help you to try different positions to help you sleep.They are simple to do as I could manage a number of them but do check with your Doctor first before you try them out.

The final part of the book is all about building a lifestyle for a better sleep which is explained fully. I really liked this book and have it next to my bed to refer to if I’m struggling with my sleep. The book is available from Amazon.

FINDING A MEDITATION TO SUIT YOU…

While waiting to go into the Doctors I sat reading a Good Housekeeping Health Living magazine. It had a brilliant article on finding the right type of meditation to suit your mood. These are some of the tips to help you find the techniques that work best for you.

  • If you need flexibility then look at the apps that are available for help with all kinds of needs from performance to sleep. They recommend Headspace or Happier and Calm apps.
  • Headspace also runs bite-size guided meditations for anyone who is busy (who isn’t?) All you do is sign up for a free trial at Headspace or you could find meditation courses online but they state they can be expensive from
  • If you are having trouble sleeping (that’s me) then they say there is evidence that mindfulness works. The technique that has the most mental health studies supporting it is mindfulness-based ‘Cognitive Therapy‘, and there is an abundance of details online.
  • If you prefer to be taught personally then they recommend Vedic and Transcendental Meditation which are courses you can start with a one-to-one lesson when you’re given your mantra. Find Vedic and Transcendental Meditation from this website.
  • If your feeling angry or lonely then they suggest you try loving-kindness meditation, where you repeat a positive mantra. Visit Ten Percent Happier for details on this.

THE MANY HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGA…

Although I’ve never personally tried yoga I do envy devotees of the exercise. I think it’s something I really should at least try as I keep reading the many health benefits to Yoga.

They say that an hour on the mat may lead to a better night’s sleep, which we could all do with. It doesn’t just tone your body it cares for our bodies as well as our emotional well-being.

Studies show yoga can also help to lower blood pressure, ease migraines and back pain and even reduce some of the symptoms of the menopause.

Yoga will improve your flexibility and balance and with a number of poses focusing on breathing it will also help to lower your stress levels.

There are a number of different styles of yoga, Hatha can be gentle or dynamic but because of its slower pace, it’s the first choice for new starters of yoga.

Others include Vinyasa flow, which is great for anyone who loves to dance. It’s a flowing yoga which is suitable to all levels even if you have not done yoga before.

Lyengar yoga is a slow paced style of yoga with some tricky poses but age and flexibility are not an issue.

The other well known Bikram yoga is suitable for the physically fit with a demanding 26 pose sequence which takes place in a very hot room.

Ash tanga is a series of short-held poses and breathing techniques that will need a good level of fitness.

Kundalini, they say is for the soul-seeker as it features chanting, breathing, and rapid movements.

Finally, Restorative yoga is for anyone who is stressed out as this type of yoga is all about relaxation and rejuvenation. Most of the poses involve lying down and staying still for a while so it won’t take long before you feel completely relaxed and stressed out.

NEVER NEVER GIVE UP – MANTRAS TO HELP YOU FEEL BETTER…

One of my closest friends gave me this lovely tile with the words ‘Never, never give up’ to help me on my hardest days. I have it where I can see it every day to inspire and motivate me when I’m down.

Four simple words is all it takes to work for me but I have to admit I use mantras from inspirational people. I would repeat and repeat the saying when I go to bed. Like some people count sheep to go to sleep you can always repeat your mantra over and over again as you drift off to sleep.

According to Wikipedia a mantra is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers. Mantra meditation helps to induce an altered state of consciousness. A mantra may or may not have a syntactic structure or literal meaning. Wikipedia

You can find a number of videos on mantras for pain on YouTube to keep repeating to yourself and you can also buy this book, Healing Mantras on the subject, which you can also listen to. Healing Mantras by Thomas Ashley-Ferrand which has four star reviews and one review saying, I love this book – it provides a really interesting insight into the power of sound and its significance to different religions and ethnic groups. The mantras are fun & satisfying to learn and come with background information, explaining the meaning and origin of each. He also gives examples of how they have been used by himself or others & the perceived results. Overall it’s a very positive pursuit & gives any reader another tool with which to influence their own life.

Health.com say as little as 30 seconds of using a mantra can dampen unpleasant sensations, says Ellen Slawsby, PhD, director of Pain Services at the Benson Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Slawsby recommends a picking neutral or positive word or phrase rather than a sound. 

“That’s using something inborn, an internal mechanisms to elicit your own endorphins or endogenous morphine,” she says.

Simple words and phrases have the power to interrupt negativity and invite change in life. Discover how mantras can affect your well-being. Sonima explains how They have been around for at least 3,000 years, but mantras are having a mainstream moment. We meditate on them. We find them in pop songs that encourage us to “Let It Go” and get “Happy.” We tape them to our fridges and computers, pin them to our Pinterest boards, InstaQuote them on Instagram. On her website she has nine empowering mantras to shift your mindset.

Putting healing words into our thoughts is a personal thing but if we find any benefit from this type of meditation then it certainly has to be worth trying.

‘What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do’ – Timothy Ferriss