Hi, I’m Beth Johnson, Leeds based Personal Trainer, Online Fitness Coach and Nutritionist.
I am a big advocate of a ‘balanced’ lifestyle, one without restriction or obsession. I believe in creating a lifestyle that balances all the complex areas of your life, definitely not one that’s under the thumb of your diet and training, or that evermore present 24/7 grind mentality.
No carb-less diets, no endless cardio sessions, no ‘oh I’m sorry I can’t go out for dinner, I’m on a diet’ moments - you get the idea. Your nutrition and training should work around you, not the opposite.
I am constantly educating myself, and growing as a professional, along with offering something a little different than others in this ever-competitive world of fitness.
For me, training and nutrition are the foundations of self-care; I move my body because it feels good, and I nourish my body so it thrives. These two things are an investment, a little effort everyday, for a long term reward of being healthy and happy, not forgetting that they soon become habitual.
I digress, in order to fall deeply asleep we need our para-sympathetic nervous system, AKA our ‘rest and digest mode’, to hop into the driving seat and take over from our sympathetic nervous system. There are multiple ways to to enter into this state, spending time in nature and having a massage are two ways, but they are not always possible just before bed.
This is why I have created a short and accessible yoga flow that focuses on restorative asana and deep abdominal breathing, both of these factors will help to slow down your sympathetic system and enable you to enter into your para-sympathetic system.
Although the clip is only 5 minutes long please feel free to hold each pose for as long as feels comfortable for you. I’d say a minimum of 10-15 breaths per asana will help to relax the muscles enabling your body to melt and deepen the pose.
Remember too, breathe deeply in through the nose expanding the belly and out through the nose bringing the navel to the spine.
Breathing deeply using the diaphragm for a prolonged time coupled with moving your body mindfully will help to slow the heart rate and calm the activity in your mind, preparing the body for sleep not sheep. Love and light.
Thankfully stress and mental health is being talked about more and more over the last
few years, sadly though over the past months stress has become an almost daily factor
in many peoples lives.
There is a bright side though and that is Yoga. Yoga has been scientifically proven to help lower your blood pressure and in turn your heart rate. I have first-hand experience of how stress can gradually creep up on you and slowly unfold all the different areas of your life you spent years arranging all neat and organised like a mental version of ‘the home edit’, but without all of the plastic containers.
How do you combat stress, my advice is to be kind to yourself. If that means buying a new smelly candle then do, a 45 minute bath or turning the music up really loud and having a dance party for one then jump to it.
We all need different things in our life to make us happy and feel in-control. For me it was yoga and lots of sleep, but mainly yoga. Yoga isn’t just about the ‘asanas’ (the poses). Yoga is like an octopus, it has 8 limbs. These are the Yamas (abstinences), Niyamas (observances), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (absorption).
Like an octopus you engage all 8 limbs to enable you to reach your goal. By allowing my self-practice to develop naturally using poses (including the ones in this weeks video) and adopting over time the different elements of yoga, I could feel my mind gaining control again and slowly, piece by piece, I’ve learnt how to build my self up again.
So, when I feel stress turning up uninvited I roll out my mat, stop and breathe… or take my self out of the situation and stand on one leg and pretend I’m a tree.
Love and light.