And while you’re discovering new depths of calm you’ll also aid losing weight and building strength. Your future health begins right here…
Staying trim and healthy can be a bit tough at times, especially when that niggling self-talk gets going. But what if we told you that you can flip the script? There is a way you can stop criticising your body and start caring for it – nourishing it instead of depriving it – with the accent on self-acceptance. And it can begin with yoga. The latest studies show that the meditative practice, best known for its ability to promote flexibility, ease aches and pains and calm nerves, can instil a self-nurturing attitude that will help you feel your best.
“Yoga helps shift your relationship with your body so you naturally start making healthier choices,” says yoga instructor Amy Ippoliti. “One of the beautiful things about yoga is anyone can do it, even if you’re struggling with pain or fatigue or feeling out of shape.”
“Think of your practice as ‘me time’ – a sacrosanct period when you’re able to unplug, move gently, and breathe,” she says. “It takes only 20 minutes to tap into a wellspring of clarity and calm that gives you the energy to handle the challenges in your life, including your relationship with food and your body, with more skill and finesse.”
YOGA FOR DEEP CALM
This restorative practice will help you see how relaxing and rejuvenating gentle poses can be. “As you move through the sequence, breathe naturally and stay connected to the present moment,” explains Ippoliti. “When your mind starts to wander, gently return your focus to the physical sensations of your body.”
What you’ll need: A yoga mat, two blankets or towels, and a yoga bolster or pillow.
Supported Legs Up the Wall
Stack 2 blankets or towels, folded into rectangles, against the wall. Curl into a ball on your right side and scoot forward until your butt is touching the wall. Roll to your left and onto the blankets while bringing legs up the wall. (Your butt should be elevated on the blankets and your legs up against the wall, so your body forms an L.) Hold 5 to 15 minutes.
Place a bolster (or rolled blanket) lengthwise on the mat and sit in front of it. Bend your knees out to the sides and bring the soles of your feet together. Take a thinly rolled blanket and place the centre over tops of your ankles and the ends under your knees as support for your shins. Holding the ends of the blanket in place, lower your back onto the bolster. Place your hands at your sides, palms facing up. Hold 5 to 15 minutes.
Supported Child’s Pose
Kneel on a soft surface (either a yoga mat or carpet) with a bolster or rolled blanket in front of your knees. Open your knees wide with your big toes touching. Press your hips back to your heels and bend forward so your chest and head are supported on the bolster or blanket. Hold 5 to 15 minutes.
Supported Chest Opener
Roll the blanket so it’s a few inches thick. Lie on your back with your knees bent and position the blanket just under the bottom of your shoulder blades. Plant your feet and push into them to roll over blanket until backs of shoulders are firmly touching mat. Place backs of arms on floor at shoulder height with elbows bent 90 degrees and palms facing up. Straighten and relax legs. Allow chest to open as you melt into blanket. Hold 5 to 15 minutes.
© Prevention Australia
First published: 3 Feb 2020