Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yogic Rest & Relaxation Tips

Are you getting enough Rest & Relaxation?

When was the last time you really rested? I’m talking no phones, no laptops, no work, no chores, no kids, no nothing?? Just total uninterrupted rest?

I was lucky enough to do this recently for 7 whole days at a beautiful yoga retreat at Mangrove Mountain. I felt like a completely different person by the time I floated out of there. It got me thinking how much rest and relaxation do we need and how can I incorporate more into every day (not just save it up for a once a year treat)

I watched and experienced how the fabulous yogis lived and came up with 5 top tips for increasing energy and decreasing stress daily.

As you can imagine the lifestyle at Mangrove is one of simplicity and beauty. Back in the “real world” it’s not always so easy. But I noticed there were a number of simple changes I could implement back home that really do make a difference. For all you non yogis out there – you’ll be pleased to know not one of them involves even so much as touching your toes J.

6 top tips for rest & relaxation (including chai!!!)

1. Regular Routine

I used to think being able to do what you want when you want was the ultimate freedom. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m not one for rules and regulations but routine, I’m discovering is different. Routine actually creates freedom. When you know what needs to be done and you create regular space to make it happen you actually reduce stress. It’s easier to get in the right headspace when you know what’s in store. You can plan better and allocate your energy accordingly. Routine gives a sense of being on top of things – which is a great antidote to stress. Plus, when you are finished your scheduled activity and your have moved into downtime – you can really relax as you have clearly designated boundaries between work and play.

2. One thing at a time – you’ve heard this before but it really is true.

At Mangrove, when you’re eating, you’re eating. Not driving or walking or answering emails or making school lunches. You are simply sitting and eating so you can taste each and everyone of the wonderful flavours on your plate. And because you are focused on your food, you chew it properly, you savour it and lo and behold you notice when you become full before you’ve over eaten. At the end of a meal at Mangrove you are guaranteed to feel satisfied…not scanning the cupboards for a little something more. This is just one example of how doing one thing at a time heightens your experience and makes it more rewarding. It’s the same with work. You are far more likely to get a better result if you focus on one thing at a time. Give the first thing on your list your full attention and you’ll complete it quicker and more effectively than if you try and juggle 2 or more things at once. Then once your done move onto the next thing and give that your full attention. Try it for a day and notice how different it feels.

3. Start the day in a positive way

Yoga class at Mangrove starts at 5:30am. Yup you heard me right 5:30am! At first this seems counter intuitive. Why get up so early when the idea is to rest? What I noticed though was that moving my body gently in the morning actually gave me more energy for the rest of the day. By doing something positive before getting caught up in what “needs” to be done you set yourself up in a relaxed frame of mind that seems to make everything else flow more easily. You don’t have to get up at 5:30 either. Just getting up half an hour earlier or even 15 minutes earlier and doing some stretches or a meditation will make a difference.

4. Get outside & move

At Mangrove you eat all your meals outside. There is plenty of time for lying around on the grass and reading or staring at the clouds. And a favourite pastime of all the visitors is walking amongst the beautiful surrounds. This is very enlivening. It feels like you live more outside than inside, like we do normally. Just being in nature is uplifting. You’ve got the sunlight, the fresh air, all the plants and flowers, natures beauty is subtly reflecting to us the inner beauty inside us – and it’s hard not to feel good when we connect with this. I noticed too, the more I moved the less sluggish I felt. The irony is that when we are tired we are less likely to want to go outside and go for a walk, yet it’s the quickest way to change our state and increase our energy.

5. Enjoy your "chai time" - whatever that may be

Of course being a yoga retreat (otherwise known as an ashram) Chai is an important part of the lifestyle. And of course they know how to do it properly. At Mangrove they hand grind the spices too and simmer in big pots, just the way chai should be. Everyone hangs out to enjoy their treat, savouring the aromas and tastes, while laughing and talking in the sunshine. There’s no rush. It’s all about enjoying your senses. No wonder I love this Mangrove. No wonder I love chai. My daily Real Chai ritual gives me a little bit of time out to reconnect with myself. We don't always have hours to while away reading under a tree *sigh* but by taking a few minutes out here and there to simply stop, take a few deep breaths and do something a little nurturing we can really re-energise. Of course, it doesn't have to be chai either, it could be laughing with your children, admiring some beautiful flowers, singing away to your favourite song. It's these little things that are often the most precious and really make you feel great. if you want to try RealChai today - click here for our special offer.

6. Yoga Nidra - guided relaxation

What if I told you there is something you can do that gives you the equivalent of 4 hours sleep in just 30 minutes. Well apparently there is! If you can manage to set aside 20-30 minutes a day for some deep guided relaxation you can recharge your batteries and help calm your nervous system at the same time, in less time than if you were actually asleep - amazing huh! This has got to be one of my favourite tips. I have to admit for some strange reason I do find it difficult to actually lie down and do this, but whenever I do I feel fantastic.

Even if you implement just one of these things I'm sure you'll feel some benefit. So why not pick one and start today.

Happy Relaxing!

Anthea (aka the chai girl)

No comments:

Post a Comment