The Art of Relaxation

Relaxation is a valuable self-care tool. It is a NECESSITY if we want to maintain or return to optimal well-being.

Whatever is happening in the world you can create and maintain stability in your little world – room or home, and in your inner world – your body, mind and emotions.

✔Create a routine with little activities or breaks to look forward to.
✔Draw, paint or buy pictures, photos, or ornaments that evoke stability and/or joy
✔Focus on something positive – resume or take up a new hobby
✔Grow plants or vegetables
✔Reduce screen time and choose positive content.

These will reduce anxiety levels and help the nervous system settle into relaxation.

Here is a simple process to help relaxation response become active, homeostasis to return and create a sense of well-being.

  • Lie with legs bent or sit
  • Notice how your body feels, get really curious – your body holds much wisdom, what comes into your awareness
  • Watch your breathing, is it fast, slow, steady, erratic, etc
  • Focus on your exhale
  • Gradually increase the length of the exhale while maintaining a comfortable inhale remains (up to twice the length of the inhale)
  • It is natural for the mind to wander, when you notice this use loving awareness to return your focus to the exhale
  • Avoid judgement, criticism or blaming a trigger person or event
  • Check in with your body regularly inviting any tense areas to relax
  • Stay for 5 minutes, longer if you have time especially if feeling anxious/agitated.
  • Make regular time in your schedule for this practice and take mini 3 breath practices as often as possible during the day.

Online relaxation connection community

5 Ways to help you stay calm, sane and connected!

1. Routine
Create a daily routine, plan times to start and finish activities. This will give you some predictability, control/power and help keep you grounded in the present rather than with thoughts of what might, should, or should not happen. New habits can take a while to become established and you may benefit from the support of a friend to help create your time table and keep you on track, celebrate success, and support you through any challenges.

2. Connection
Connection is especially important if you live alone. Plan time every day to speak with a colleague, friend, family member or support group. Online communication with visual as well as audio gives a deeper connection than phoning, Facetime, Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom etc are all free and pretty good. I have been having a monthly online lunch date with a friend for a couple of years and it’s great! Join me at one of the tea break or tea & chat sessions (see above).

3. Nature
Where possible spend some time daily in nature. Walking barefoot is a my favourite. If you can’t get out at all or as often as you would like, bring nature into your home with flowers, plants, perhaps try sprouting, planting a container or window box. Open windows and doors to clear the air regularly.

4. Exercise and diet
Exercise regularly, daily if possible, anything to move your body, feel the strength you have. Walk, dance or your guessed it do some yoga :). My Yoga classes are now online and the new term starts 20th April. If you would like to book and/or to receive a short yoga practice to do on your own email me.

Eat nutritious food, as fresh and unprocessed as possible. Treats are fine, too much sugar and starchy foods may feel good initially but are followed by an energy dip and put extra strain on the body to process and digest, so be as moderate as you can. If you deviate from the plan be kind to yourself and get back on track as soon as you can.

5. Create a Sanctuary
You may need you to get creative, but it is possible to create a harmonious space to connect with yourself, your calm centre and intuition. Be realistic, how much space do you have? For most of us a dedicated room is not realistic but if you have one great. If not how about a temporary space where you can place a chair, mat or blanket when you use it.?

If you are living in a busy household, choose times to visit your sanctuary when you are least likely to be disturbed. Negotiate quiet time with others or consider headphones with white noise.

Make an intention for this space to be your sanctuary – when you set it up and every time go there. The energy will build and you will associate it with positive qualities.

Choose an object to evoke a the quality of sacred, whatever that means for you – a photo of a deity, or teacher – a crystal -something from nature – anything of special significance. These may need to be portable and put in place every time you use the space or you may have a shelf, window ledge, a small table etc.

I have something to represent the elements, water, fire/candle, air/feather and earth/crystal. You may like to focus on the senses and play gentle music, use aromas, a soft cushion. Be guided by what you have and your intuition.

I would love to see a picture of your sanctuary, please post it on my Facebook page or email me.

Yoga Healing Aylesbury

Tips to prepare and support you over the holiday

As we come towards the winter solstice our natural tendency is to go inwards to reflect on the year gone and plant seeds for the year ahead. The arrival of Christmas with its expectations, commercialism and family gatherings is the exact opposite! Here are some ideas to help you keep calm and enjoy Christmas.Stress yoga aylesbury

Tips to prepare and support you over the holiday

Take an active role in planning:

  • Start a new tradition
  • Choose what works best for you – an activity, venue, timing, catering etc., start and end time.
  • Schedule a walk or create space for those who need time out.
  • Set a positive intention for the event.
  • Decide to make the best of a less than ideal situation.

Remember:

  • Nothing is every personal.
  • It is not compulsory to take part in the drama.
  • You don’t always have to be right.
  • Other opinions are allowed!
  • Its ok to say “that doesn’t work for me”.
  • Your response or reaction is the only thing that you can control.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my expectations realistic (life is not idyllic as portrayed in the media)
  • Will it matter in an hour, a day or a week?

Be kind to yourself:

  • Avoid too many commitments.
  • Schedule some me/couple/treat time.
  • Take a one or two minute break and breathe deeply, inhale love, exhale negative thoughts.
  • Do things that make you smile/laugh.
  • Give yourself a hug or pat on the back – sometimes getting up/through the day is a major achievement.
  • You are the best you in the whole universe.

Simple treats:

  • Self-massage with warm sesame oil
    Sesame oil is widely used in ayurveda and can help ground and calm promoting sleep. It is widely available in independent health food shops and online. Avoid the toasted variety unless you want to smell like a stir fry! Coconut oil or specialist ayurvedic massage oils are also available.
  • Treat yourself to a good book, or film
  • Listen to some relaxing or inspirational music
  • Light scented candles, or vaporiser
  • Take a candle lit bath.
  • Book a yoga course and relaxation events 🙂

Spring 2020 Events

  • Sound & Voice Meditation with Suzan – Friday 24th January 28th February & 27th March
    Buckland Village Hall, Buckland Village, HP22 5HU
  • Mini Relaxation Retreat with Suzan – Sunday 26th January – Haydon Hill Community Centre, 10 Dickens Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8SR
  • Yoga & Sound Bath with Suzan & Barbara Dancer – Sunday 2nd February – The Barn at Chartridge Lodge, Chesham, Bucks HP5 2TU
  • Yoga & Sound Bath with Suzan – Saturday 29th February – Haydon Hill Community Centre, 10 Dickens Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8SR
  • Mini Relaxation Retreat with Suzan, Sunday 29th March – Haydon Hill Community Centre, 10 Dickens Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8SR

Retreats 2020

  • Pancha Maya Yoga Retreat with Suzan & Barbara Dancer – Learning and Practices to Support Your Daily Life
    Saturday 14th-Sunday 15th March – Chartridge Lodge, Chesham, Bucks HP5 2TU Options
  • Pranamaya, the energy of self-healing with Suzan & Barbara Dancer
    A fun weekend, discovering the invisible energies that affect every aspect of your life and how you can use these energies to enhance well-being. Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th June – Chartridge Lodge, Chesham, Bucks HP5 2TU

1:1 Sessions

  • Yoga therapy
  • Sound therapy/healing
  • Personal development/healing with Suzan
    Are you at a crossroads? Navigating challenging changes and transitions? Looking for answers and meaning in your life?
    Suzan will support, guide & empower you to make lasting, positive.

From Overwhelm to Calm in 5 Minutes

  • Stop feelings of overwhelm, irritation and powerlessness
  • Activate your rest and digest system
  • See clearly
  • Become empowered

Try this 5 minute breathing practice (5 minutes and 22 seconds)

Why?
Focused breathing is powerfully transformative.  It allows the nervous system to settle, the mind and body to calm and harmony to be restored.

When?
Daily – there are 1440 minutes in a day.  If you don’t manage daily do as often as possible.  In an emergency take 3 conscious deep breaths wherever you are.

What people say

“When I am stuck in traffic I use the breathing practice and the stress vanishes”. Lynne

“Dear Suzan   Just to say many thanks for the breathing programme.  My blood pressure readings are down, so no visits to the doctor for 3 months and no increase in medication.  I also feel a lot calmer and don’t get those feelings of panic which were very unpleasant.
yours with many thanks”. Betty E

“I was progressing with my Scuba diver training last weekend was struggling to maintain a level easy breath and as a result using far too much air. So 40 feet below the surface the following day I was thinking about concentrating on my yoga breath whilst trying to master the skills of diving, it worked!” Guy K

“I wanted to let you know I enjoyed the classes and used the breathing techniques throughout the pregnancy and during labour which was a huge help, so thank you” Clare P

If you would like to work deeper with breath and movement I have a range of online yoga groups and private sessions to support your specific needs and availability.  Email me.

Focused breathing will support you whatever is going on in your life – stress, the blues, living with change and uncertainty. Give yourself the gift of 5 minutes a day for a month and let me know the results.  I would love to hear from you.

Please email me  with any feedback or questions.

lungs-breathe

In an emergency just 3 conscious breaths will change the way you feel.

Five Ways To Reduce Stress

On a level of 1 to 10 where 10 is highest, how stressed are you right now? Make a note and check in over the next week to monitor your stress level.

Most of us experience stress from time to time and it is a normal event which has its places. But what about the long term effects?

The fight or flight response is designed for short term emergencies. It hasn’t evolved since the days we needed to run away from wild animals! It doesn’t even distinguish between real and perceived events! When the stress response is constantly in active due to high levels of stress, we become familiar with stress hormones and body chemistry preparing us to fight, flight or flee. It becomes our normal. And the familiarity may mean we are more likely to subconsciously search for stressful situations and drama, when life begins to be calm.

Long term activation of the stress response can cause health problems including disrupted sleep, raised blood pressure, obesity, suppressed immune system, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, anxiety and depression.

Here are 5 simple ways to reduce stress:

lungs-breathe

Focus on your breath – as few as 3 conscious breaths can completely change the way you feel.

fresh-air

Connect with nature.  Open a window, go for a walk, have plants in your work space and home.

lady-side-stretch-pink

Yoga helps reduce stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol and stimulates the production of endorphins, the feel good chemicals in the brain.

meditation

Let meditation wipe away the day’s stress, just 5 minutes can bring inner peace.

its-ok-not-to-be-ok

We think the causes of stress are outside our control.  What if we decide that it’s okay not to be okay?  This leaves us free to focus on making positive changes.

 

The Benefits of Therapeutic Yoga

The appropriate practice of yoga unifies all aspects of the system.  It works on many levels and can be adapted to suit a wide range of needs.  The key is REGULAR practice – The more regularly you practice the sooner you will see results

Physical – improves:

• Posture
• Breath length which helps with lung function
• Balance – helps prevent falls
• Improve or maintain mobility
• Improve or maintain strength and flexibility
• Improve or maintain bone density
• Rehabilitation, can reduce pain including chronic pain, especially effective for reducing low back pain
• Energy levels
• Sense of well-being
• Digestion/elimination

Reduces:
• Heart rate
• Muscle tension
• Flight/flight syndrome
• Blood pressure
• Stillness and pain

Cognitive – improves:

• Concentration
• Focus
• Mental clarity
• Memory
• Staying present
• Dexterity
• Co-ordination
• Reaction times

Emotional – improves

• Mood
• Resilience
• Awareness
• Anger control
• Mind-body connection

Reduces:
• Stress
• Anxiety
• Trauma
• Fear

Social

• Reduces sense of isolation
• Group support
• Make new friends
• Improves confidence

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council states that “Yoga can help with a wide range of disorders and stress related problems. Including back and joint issues; breathing disorders; issues during PMS, pregnancy and menopause; emotional issues such as anxiety, depression; injuries, surgery and illness. It may also enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases”.

I am currently working with clients experiencing fibromyalgia, MS, ME, cancer, arthritis, back/neck pain, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, IBS, osteoarthritis, & crohns disease

Yoga therapy can be used alongside conventional medicine and other complementary therapies.

back pain forward bend semi suppine chair twist

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy – Viniyoga approach

Yoga therapy is a holistic therapy to optimise our health and well being on a physical, energetic, mental/emotional and spiritual level.   Often when thinking of yoga it is the physical aspect and perhaps breathing that comes to mind, however, yoga incorporates a wide variety of tools, as well as postures and breathing these include: diet & life style advice, meditation, relaxation, affirmations and visualisation; personal ritual, mantra, chanting and study of yoga texts which date back thousands of years.

 Yoga postures are adapted to suit individual needs rather than forcing the body into various positions.  This can help develop strength, flexibility, ease and balance in the body; reduce weakness and structural pain according to need.  Moving in time with the breath helps spinal movement; it can ease spinal compression and lengthen the spine increasing range of movement and comfort.  This emphasis on the spine has a positive effect on the nervous system, it helps calm the mind and reduce anxiety which is further developed with seated breathing practices, meditation, chanting etc

What is involved?

Yoga therapy involves taking an active part in your own healing process.  The therapist devises a practice, taking into account physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs interests, lifestyle and living arrangements.  To gain maximum benefit, you are encouraged to practice at home on a regular basis.  It does not need to be as long as a group class, just 20-30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week will be very beneficial.  In acute cases you may be given a shorter practice to do twice daily.

How quickly does it work?

Positive results are often seen within a few weeks, sometimes within days, the key is regular practice. The more regularly you practice the sooner you will see results.

What conditions can Yoga therapy help?

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council states that “Yoga can help with a wide range of disorders and stress related problems.  Including back and joint issues; breathing disorders; issues during PMS, pregnancy and menopause; emotional issues such as anxiety, depression; injuries, surgery and illness.  It may also enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases”.

I am currently working with fibromyalgia, MS, ME, COPT. scoliosis, PTSD, cancer, arthritis, back/neck pain, stress, & anxiety.

Yoga therapy can be used along with conventional medicine and other complementary therapies.

Further information

https://www.suzanjoywells.co.uk/2014/01/the-benefits-of-therapeutic-yoga/

 

https://www.suzanjoywells.co.uk/2014/01/yoga-therapy-sessions/

http://www.pranamaya.com/blog/special-features/qa-gary-kraftsow-on-yoga-therapy-and-your-mood/http://www.cnhc.org.uk/

http://www.viniyoga.com/about/what-is-viniyoga

http://www.viniyoga.com/about/what-is-yoga-therapy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwK7AAo7VxI

http://www.viniyoga.com/_blog/American_Viniyoga_Institute_-_Blog/post/Viniyoga_for_Low_Back_Pain_New_Study_Results_Released/

How Healthy is Your Heart ?

Latest news and research about the heart, click on each link for more information

  1. Is it a HEART ATTACK or CARDIAC ARREST?
  2. Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer
  3. Most deaths from heart disease are caused by a heart attack
  4. Heart disease kills more women than breast Cancer
  5. An under active thyroid, can raise blood pressure and so be an issue for heart health
  6. Men who don’t have breakfast are 27 per cent more likely to suffer heart attacks or heart disease
  7. ’Broken heart’ syndrome usually occurs in women, and can be triggered by stresses such as bereavement
  8. The UK spends nearly £2 billion each year on the healthcare costs of treating coronary heart disease
  9. heart in bodyCarbohydrates/Sugar, is the Root of Heart Disease
  10. Saturated Fat Does NOT Promote Heart Disease
  11. Taking exercise, eating a healthy diet and being aware of dangers such as smoking, drinking, high blood pressure, and stress are all important for your long term heart health, whether you currently have heart disease or not.

 

Staying Grounded – 3 tips to keep you centred

images

Getting back to nature and following the seasons as in days of old really helps us stay connected, grounded present and aware.  Our routine and diet should reflect the season

Ayurveda is considered a sister science to yoga.  It is one of the world’s oldest healing systems, originating around 3000 years ago in India; it was used alongside yoga to support the body.

It says that our constitution and stage of life, the seasons and time of day comprise one or a mixture of dosa:- vata, pitta and kapha – the tridosa.

In autumn vata predominates.  Vata is linked to the elements of air and ether; it is light, subtle, dry, mobile, rough and cold.  If vata is predominant in the body autumn will aggravate it further.  You may feel off balance or ungrounded.

Suggestions to help ground and balance include:

1.  Eat foods that are warm and moist (soups, stews, steamed vegetables) to reduce and calm vata.

2.  A warm oil massage

3.  A slow, steady, grounding, consistent yoga asana practice.

7 Ways to Keep that Summer Feeling

A beautiful summer lifts our spirits. Here are 7 ways to bring the summer feeling of energy and wellbeing into your daily life:-

Field of Summer Flowers

Field of Summer Flowers

 

  • Nature: Spend time in nature, just 10 minutes a day is beneficial.  A plant on your desk will bring nature into your workplace.
  • Food: Eat as healthily as possible.  Reduce processed items and increase fresh produce.  Make time for breakfast.
  • Exercise:  Daily gentle yoga stretches or qigong will keep the body and energy moving.
  • Sleep:  Aim for 8 hours a day.  If you have problems going to sleep or wake during the night start a calming routine before bed including some long deep breaths focussing on relaxing as you exhale.
  • Meditate:  A few minutes in reflective stillness during the day will help calm, relax and focus the system.  Make sure you are comfortable, its fine to sit on a chair, just check that the back is upright.
  • Gratitude:  Express thanks for the wonderful summer and for the coming joys of autumn and winter.  A positive outlook makes a great difference.
  • Laughter: Look for the humour in difficult situations, spend time with happy friends and smile and laugh often.