5 Simple Mindfulness Tips for Everyday!

This time of year can be overwhelming with so many places to be, things to do, and emotions. Here are some simple mindfulness tips to help you stay centred to maintain your well-being, peace & joy!

 

Start Your Day off Right

Taking 5-10 minutes at the start of every day to gently move and come into a meditation makes a world of difference to the rest of your day. Don’t believe me? Try it for a week! Meditation can be as complex or as simple as you make it. You can simply focus on your breath – taking deep belly breaths, you can draw in mantra, visualization, energy work, and so much more. If you are new to meditation or mindfulness, I would suggest just closing your eyes and focusing on inhaling through the nose, bringing the breath into the belly, feeling your chest expand. On the exhale through your mouth or nose, allow your jaw, neck & chest to relax.

 

Take a Moment

I often recommend to clients who are starting to practice mindfulness or meditation to find something that reminds them to reconnect to themselves and their breath. It can be as simple as a red light. When ever you come across a red light, bring your awareness into your body, and take five deep inhales and exhales. If you’re not driving you can even close your eyes!

 

Check Your Breath

We often breath in such a hurried state and aren’t even aware of it – I know I can do this too – bad habits we’ve developed over years… but with practice we can become aware and catch ourselves to ensure we get full breaths. If we aren’t taking full-breaths, we are only getting a portion of the oxygen our bodies and brains need. Furthermore, a shortened or shallow breath makes our body believe we need to be in fight or flight mode. The best part? The reverse is also true! By focusing on bringing the breath into our belly, then into our chest – think of how a baby breathes – we tell our body we are safe and can relax. We are able to get a nice full breath to nourish our nervous system. Now try taking 5-10 of these deep, soothing breaths. Try this with your kids before bed and they’ll soon be off to lalaland! This is a very important aspect of yoga & meditation, called pranayama.

 

Thoughts Become Words, Words Define Our Path

We are deeply complex beings full of memories and stories that create how we see ourselves and in turn affect our lives. Mantra is a powerful way to become conscious of our words and to help develop new, healthy habits and pathways in our brain. You are welcome to use the mantra in the image above, or create your own! What qualities do you already or wish to embody more of? Repeat this mantra to yourself during your morning and evening meditation or quiet time. You can also do this with little ones!

 

The Power of Scent

Mindfulness is all about being in the moment and engaging our senses – being aware of what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. Scent is a particularly powerful way for us to reconnect to ourselves and memories. Give yourself a little gift of going for a walk in the forest or by the ocean – we have no excuse here on the shore! Take a deep breath in, really feel & smell it. What does it smell like? How does it make you feel? If you enjoy using essential oils, you can bring your favourite calming scent with you where ever you go.

 

Upcoming Events to Help You Reconnect & Restore: 

Dec 8 – By-Donation Crystal Bowl Sound Bath with Essential Oils

Dec 9 – Create Your Own Essential Oil Gifts using the purest oils on the market

Jan 13, 20, 27 – EFT Workshops*

Jan 16-Feb 13 – EFT for Kids*

Or join us for one of our many soothing weekly classes; Restorative, Kundalini & Gong Bath, Hatha, Yin & Crystal Bowl, YinYang and many more! We have a special Christmas Pass on sale for $69 (save $99) for Dec 17-Jan5.

*Early-birds on new year workshops & spring break camps until Jan 6th. Use the code #healthiswealth for 10% off weekly classes before Jan 6th!

 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out: Katie@yoganorthvancouver.com

We hope this season brings peace, light & joy into your hearts!

 

 

 

November Full Moon Insight + Meditation

Energy Healing

This is an interesting Full Moon – meditation and yoga are definitely in order! We’ll explore the aspects at play, followed by a little meditation and yoga sequence you can practice at home.

The Moon is at 0* in Gemini, a particularly creative and sometime fickle sign, so you may feel pulled in many directions. 0 also represents our infinite creative potential. This is wonderful energy to have with us as we reflect on the growth and changes we have made over the year, and begin to prepare for another year. The image I saw this morning in my meditation was stepping out of my skin like a snake – major shedding for major growth to come. It’s important to recognize and give gratitude to what was in our lives, what brought us to where we are, and at the same time be able to let go to make room for more growth and greater alignment. Release stories and your shadow aspects that no longer serve you – guilt, shame, fear. This was also a theme for November’s New Moon – forgiving and letting go. Forgiving others and most importantly ourselves, surrounding ourselves, situations and others with loving energy. Take time to nourish your nervous system through yoga, meditation, art to connect to and allow your intuition to thrive. Trust your heart. I find by taking the time to reflect and connect to our intuition, we are able to make healthy changes in our lives before they seem forced upon us.

Full Moon Astrological Aspects:

  • Moon squaring Mars – Watch your words & how others words affect you
  • Moon opposing Jupiter – This amplifies confrontational energy from Mars, particularly when we’re vulnerable
  • Mars squaring Jupiter – Enjoy your energy but try not to be impulsive with thoughts, words & actions
  • Moon conjunct to Alcyone – This fixed star has a feminine influence, but in the picture of what’s going on astrologically it points to cruelty & potential out-lashes by ourselves or on the receiving end

 

Full Moon Meditation & Yoga

Oils and crystals for this meditation could include Cedarwood, Palo Santo & Copaiba for clearing & calming the nervous system. I love sticking with my Obsidian & Clear Quartz when there’s a lot going on, perhaps bringing in a Rose Quartz. 417Hz is for clearing energy, so you may want to listen to something like this.

Begin by settling into your space, clearing or smudging if you like. I like to have a shower or bath with the oils first to cleanse my skin too. Getting comfortable and coming into your body, bring your awareness to your Root chakra and begin to ground your energy with an easy breath perhaps visualizing roots traveling from you into the Earth. Call in your protection in a way that speaks to you or begin to fill your body with white light with every inhale.

Once you feel grounded, begin with Sufi Grinds moving gently with the breath. After a minute or two in each direction, begin with Spinal flexes, hands on the ankles, then flexes with hands on the knees. Inhaling reaching your chest forward, exhale rounding the spine. This Kundalini warm-up helps to lubricate the spine and wake up the nervous system. Once you feel warmed up, bring your awareness to your Crown chakra and begin with gentle neck rolls, moving with the breath.

Let’s begin with Nadi Shodana – Balancing Breath. Covering the left nostril, inhale through the right. Cover the right, exhale left, then deep inhale. Cover the left, exhale right, inhale and continue. Allow your belly then chest to fill on the inhale, your shoulders, chest and belly to relax on the exhale. This breath slows our energy, improves focus, and with the belly breath tells our body we are in a relaxed state to bring us into a greater relaxed state primed for meditation. Continue your breath for 5 minutes, returning to an easy inhale and exhale through the nose bringing your focus to your Third Eye and Crown Chakras. Stay in meditation as long as you need, thinking about what you would like to shed and what you would like to bring into your life. Or simply surrender to your breath and allow what’s meant to flow to you to come. If you would like to repeat a mantra, Sa Ta Na Ma is an appropriate one: Infinity, Life, Death, Rebirth. 

 

You are more than welcome to join us Thursday for Yin & Crystal Bowl 8-9pm at the Studio for a Full Moon session, or to dive even deeper into release and connecting to your intuition, Linda is hosting EFT & Creative Art Therapy this Sunday.

If you’d like to learn more about pure essential oils, you are welcome to email me or join our Dec 2nd event ‘Make Your Own Essential Oil Gifts.

 

Have a lovely Full Moon. Sending love & light,

Katie

 

10 Reasons to Practice Yoga if You Live In North Vancouver

Yoga North Vancouver

Most of us in North & West Vancouver lead active lives outdoors, including participating in extreme sports. When the mountains and ocean are right at your back door, how can you not want to be outside hiking, mountain biking, skiing, swimming, climbing, going for a soothing trail run or road bike?! While these more strenuous forms of exercise are great for an exhilarating rush and often require you to be in a meditative or focused state, more and more of us are realizing the need to balance our outdoor passions with gentle forms of yoga for our longevity. Here are the top 10 reasons to practice yoga:

 

  1. Yoga encourages you to focus on the breath – during classes we work with the breath or pranayama to increase lung-capacity and breath control, which supports your cardiovascular strength & stamina. If asthma or allergies are a concern for you, pranayama can also help encourage full breaths and a strong respiratory system.

2. Yoga targets large muscles – by holding strength building poses in classes such as Vinyasa, we target our larger muscles in balanced and safe ways to support us and our posture. This helps you build greater endurance for your favorite sports.

3. Yoga builds strength in fine muscles – when we hold poses we activate the finer and often under-used muscles which are needed in our daily activities and for balance. These fine muscles support our larger muscles and the integrity of our bodies.

4. Yoga helps strengthen bones – by placing pressure safely on bones it causes the cells to regenerate, which keeps bones strong, helps to prevent osteoporosis and helps to reduce inflammation in some forms of arthritis.

5. Yoga encourages flexibility – this surprisingly to many, is not the goal of yoga, but rather a by-product of allowing our tight muscles and fascia to lengthen, which in turn helps to prevent injuries…and feels good! Many of us have very tight low backs and legs, which if not effectively stretched gently in classes such as Yin and Restorative, can cause tears, strains.

6. Yoga helps to balance our nervous system – through breath and mindfulness exercises or meditation, we learn simple techniques to calm our nervous system and release emotional tension. This allows us to be more self aware, less anxious, and get better sleep.

7. Yoga helps with greater self-awareness – you will notice you become more attuned to your body and what is happening around you, helping you stay present, focused, and better able to handle and mitigate potentially stressful situations.  

8. Yoga supports hormone balance – by learning simple tools to support the nervous system, get better sleep, live more mindfully and mitigate or better handle challenging situation, we allow our hormones to come into greater balance. Less cortisol is also present, which helps with weight concerns.

9. Yoga can help improve your relationships – by being more present, more objective, and understanding our stress responses, we are in greater control of our reactions and able to really be there for those close to us, which strengthens our relationships.

10. Yoga helps boost your immune system – by nourishing your nervous system, we reduce inflammation and stress hormones. This helps us to stay healthy so we can enjoy being outdoors in our beautiful city!

 

You can practice many of these techniques at home, such a simple slow breath work or pranayama – inhaling and exhaling for a count of four. I strongly recommend taking a few breaks to do this every day, and watch the difference in your sense of peace over a month.

While yoga can also be practiced at home, many find it more peaceful to come to a space dedicated to this practice, with a seasoned yoga instructor who can offer suggestions in order to help your alignment and relaxation. Many of us are used to practicing in large studios where it can be challenging for the instructor to support each student, and ensure the integrity and safety of poses. Smaller studios are able to dedicate the energy to the well-being of clients. This is particularly important to us at Studio 202, and one of the aspects we feel sets us apart. Our team is passionate about supporting your well-being, physically, emotionally, and spiritually in our North Vancouver oasis. Come check out some of our classes to help you stay strong and healthy for all of life’s adventures!