By Katie Garnett – Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher Trainer, Yoga Teacher and owner of KatieYoga in Fig Tree Lane Busselton
Well, aren’t these times of uncertainty and dramatic change? With so much happening on a local, national and global level it’s not uncommon to find ourselves in moments of disbelief, fear, grief, anxiety and stress.
We can’t change what is happening in the world around us, but we can change how we respond to it. This is YOGA: the practice of reducing the suffering we create for ourselves.
We have a choice:
we can respond in a state of stress or anger, which may exacerbate the situation we are in;
we can be consumed by our grief which isn’t helpful; or
we can calm ourselves down and respond in a mindful way.
Let’s talk about how to do the latter.
When you experience an emotion or stress, think of it as a storm cloud that is covering your head. We want to get out of that storm cloud. To do this:
Notice how you’re physically affected, for example if it is stress, you might notice tension creeping into your neck and shoulders, your heart might start racing, your hands might start to sweat and you may experience butterflies in your stomach.
Label what you’re feeling for example say to yourself “I feel stressed” or “I feel grief” or “I feel anxious.” Be present with your feelings, you’re allowed to feel stressed, you’re allowed to feel grief, heck you’re even allowed to feel angry! How you respond to that emotion is what is important. If you go out and fist fight someone, not cool. If you go for a jog or have a vent to a friend, that’s cool!
So, once you’ve noticed your emotion and labelled it, you can start to do the deep belly breathing in the video. Breathe slowly and deeply down into the belly. The belly should expand on the inhale and release on the exhale. Exaggerate the movement of the belly. This will draw the breath into the lower lobes of the lungs which triggers a relaxation response (a.k.a. parasympathetic nervous system activation). In other words, this breath will calm you the #*&! down.
These three steps should help pull you out of the storm cloud and bring you back into the clear, still blue sky. The emotion or stress cloud may still be there but it won’t be consuming you or impeding your judgement because you recognise that you are separate from it. Just like there is a clear blue sky above every storm, we can connect with that place of equanimity within us, no matter what emotion or stress we are experiencing. Through this practice you will come to understand that you are not the emotion or stress, because you can detach from it, you can witness it and you can choose how you respond to it. Reside in the vast expansive blue sky of awareness and let that storm cloud pass by.
Good luck everyone and remember we can’t control what is happening around up, but we can control how we respond to it. We all have the freedom to choose our response.
If you’d like to learn more about how yoga can help us destress, and improve our coping strategies and resilience please get it touch! We have high quality online live streamed yoga classes and pre-recorded yoga classes for everybody and every level (including Chair Yoga).
Reducing overall anxiety & keeping some sense of normality despite being at home :
In times like these we need to be mindful of keeping our nervous system in balance. The nervous system maintains homeostasis by controlling and regulating all the body systems. Practicing Yoga is a great way to achieve this, it helps us get out of our busy minds, into our body and aware of our breath.
(Feel free to join us for a LIVE Online yoga session anytime – we also offer yoga for over 50’s!)
I would like to share a simple breathing exercise which we often practice at the end of our asana practice (physical yoga practice) which you can use anytime..
Alternate Nostril Breathing ~ Nadi Shodhana
There are several different styles of Nadi Shodhana, but they all serve the purpose of creating balance and regulating the flow of air through your nasal passages. In fact, the term Nadi Shodhana means “clearing the channels of circulation.”
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing
With just a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing, you can restore balance and ease in the mind and body. Sometimes when we feel frazzled or find ourselves doing too many things at once, it’s because energetically, we are out of alignment. This breath is great for restoring that necessary balance.
In addition to calming the mind and reversing stress, alternate nostril breathing also:
Improves our ability to focus the mind
Supports our lungs and respiratory functions
Restores balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and clears the energetic channels
Rejuvenates the nervous system
Whether you’re nervous about a project or presentation, anxious about a conversation, or just generally stressed out, Nadi Shodhana is a quick and calming way to bring you back to your center.
Nadi Shodhana Practice
Next time you find yourself doing too many things at once, or you sense panic or anxiety begin to rise, move through a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing. It’s a great way to hit the reset button for your mental state.
Take a comfortable and tall seat, making sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.
Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.
With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. The fingers we’ll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause.
Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
Inhale through the right side slowly.
Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).
Open your left nostril and release breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
Repeat 5-10 cycles, allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.
Steps 5-9 represent one complete cycle of alternate nostril breathing. If you’re moving through the sequence slowly, one cycle should take you about 30-40 seconds. Move through 5-10 cycles when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or in need of a reset button.
Tip: Consistency is helpful, so try to match the length of your inhales, pauses, and exhales. Start with 4 counts in and 4 counts out and a short pause between breaths.
Blog content kindly provided by Claire McDonnell Liu Nutritionist
Homeschool Food Tips
When the world seems to be spinning out of control and stress triggers are at an all time high thoughts of maintaining good nutrition can easily slide to the bottom of the list. However keeping up with healthy eating habits can help you and your family to maintain good immunity, deliver energy and stabilise fractured moods.
We’re being asked to stay home where possible, so that means more meals at home. Some of you have already sent comments in and asked questions on how to manage this: How to stop the kids, and yourself, from endless snacking; How to cope with the extra rounds of cooking, washing up and cleaning; How to come out of this without ageing 20 years.
Here are some food tips to help you keep your fridge contents and your sanity intact:
1. Packed Lunch
Prepare or help children to prepare their own lunches and snacks for the day, place them in a cooler bag with an ice block or in the fridge. This way children maintain a routine similar to school by helping themselves to food from their pack-up through the day and we avoid the fridge getting raided. Include the adults in the house as well, to cut the snacking and the food prep time.
2. One Cup Rule
This is the same as the time above but with drinks. Keep a water bottle for each of you with your packed lunch. This avoids a pile up of multiple cups and glasses used and left around the house.
3. Go Easy
Make food simple and stress free by cooking basic recipes with fewer ingredients, such as homemade soups, omelettes or a salad snack bars.
4. Little Chefs
Include food preparation into your homeschool day, by encouraging children to get involved in reading recipes, weighing, mixing, beating and cutting ingredients, setting the oven temperature and timing cooking. They will love learning these hands-on skills and tasting the results. Learning with no worksheets or tech required!
5. Healthy Cheats
Many frozen, dehydrated and some pantry foods retain nutrients, are long lasting and easy to cook with. Make life easy for yourself as much as possible, these are testing times! Some timesavers that don’t compromise food quality, try: dried herbs, garlic pastes, diced frozen onions, mixed frozen vegetables.
6. Order Fresh and Delish
You may need to cut down on the shopping trips, i.e. if a partner is away or you and your family are isolating. We are not going to run out of food, so definitely don’t need to stock up to the point that our garage resembles a Coles distribution centre. There’s been an increase in our local shops, restaurants, stores and markets delivering groceries and freshly prepared meals to your door. Consider taking advantage by changing your shopping habits to deliveries from local providers stepping up for their communities; supporting our local restaurants sending out high quality homemade meals and cafes offering takeout options.
7. Community Spirit
The South West is an amazing vibrant place, made special by our coast, landscape, produce and people. We are a real community and are here for each other. Shout out if you need some support: with shopping; where to order deliveries from; or if you just need let off some steam.
Claire McDonnell Liu
Blog content kindly contributed by Trevor Lawrence-Brown -Down South Physio & Sports Rehab
Strive to Revive!
Due to the current pandemic these past few days have been some of the most thought provoking of my career. Not in terms of normal “clinical” problem solving, but for strategies to assist our community, the staff, fellow colleagues, local businesses and all our patients as a whole.
As an experienced Musculoskeletal and Sports based Physiotherapist I am usually face to face with 25-30 different people daily. Applying skills for diagnosis, injury mechanisms, manual therapy, anatomical pathology, pain status, rehab plans and mental health.
COVID – 19 has driven us to suspend all normal hands on appointments and rehab sessions. This has driven us towards “Telehealth” – meaning online video consults and phone conversations. These are not new concepts and have been used effectively by healthcare professionals for quite some time. It is mostly a shift in terms of the requirements for delivering physiotherapy treatments, as we move towards social distancing and controlling the viral spread.
I want to stress that Physiotherapy practices and other Allied Health clinics are not all closed, more adapting to the situation. We’re hoping to continue support for frontline Hospital healthcare workers and GPs, as well as following the guidelines for recovery of this health crisis. Over the next few weeks we will provide updates for:
the development of Telehealth
How the community can gain access to this service.
How Injuries and chronic pain conditions can be managed effectively through video link
The specifics of self-management for your musculo-skeletal health.
It goes without saying that maintaining connectivity is also vital for our social well-being…..more so than ever!
I would like to extend my gratitude to Emma Morgan and Justin Liu for setting up this resource. These situations can have a silver lining due to increased efforts for our fellow persons.
Any queries please see the contact information listed on the website.
Blog content kindly provided by Shelby Foster from The Movement Fitness and Wellbeing
Your gym is closed and you have decided to self isolate or reduce your social footprint.
You are thinking to yourself “sh*t what am I going to do now?”
We are here to tell you – not exercising, not moving and not eating well are not the answers!
Common issues we are all facing:
Lack of motivation and routine.
No-one to hold us accountable to exercise or eat well.
Lack of gym equipment.
Kids not allowing you any time to yourself.
Guess what? We have ALL felt like that at some point in the last two weeks and it’s ok to feel like that more than once. However, we don’t know how long this is going to last so the sooner we can create some healthier habits the better.
We are offering some solutions to the problems above.
Lack of motivation and routine.
We work from home, the only people we see are in our home, we have our training sessions at home, we have our downtime at home. Everything is in the one space and that may become more difficult to deal with.
What can you do to keep your mental health in check and make the most of this situation?
Try to have different spaces for different activities. I know that may not be possible for some. If you sleep in your bed, eat in your bed read in your bed and work from your bed..you get the idea..its not healthy. Use a desk for your work, create a space to train. Eat your meals mindfully and properly at a table.
Keep your areas separated and clean. It will make a MASSIVE difference.
Struggle with snacking while you are home? Stick to meal times. Set yourself snack times or if you need the motivation with work, have snacks for when you have completed a task.
I have seen a lot of memes about us eating all our covid/ emergency snacks the first day we’re self isolating and while they’re all funny, a lot of us will be put to the test now with our food relationships.
Don’t punish yourself when you don’t eat as well as you would like. It’s okay to eat for enjoyment and comfort. But try for most of your meals to have a variety of fruit, veg and proteins. Take the time to cook proper meals for yourself.
You don’t have to be super strict in setting yourself a schedule, but having a routine makes your day easier. Try to get up the same time each day and don’t sleep in forever. Have a breakfast/ morning routine. Set aside time to get some work and chores done. Give yourself free time to relax.
No-one to hold us accountable to exercise or eat well.
Why do you exercise? Why do you eat well? For everyone its different. It may be because you want to look in the mirror, feel good about yourself, because you want to be able to run around with your kids everyday, you’re training or in a competition or simply because it makes you feel good!
Figure out YOUR WHY! Once you have this figured out, then exercising becomes easier to say yes to on the days you lack motivation. Remember how good that session felt, remember how 6 months ago you couldn’t even run around with your kids, but due to regular exercise, now you can. Use these internal and external motivators to keep in you in “I can” mindset.
Although we are isolated we can still stay connected and things are easier when you’re doing them together. One way to stay motivated with your eating and exercise is to do things with others, get your partner involved, message your friends and get them on board or join an online community to keep you accountable!
During these times of isolation, loneliness can be a major factor and it has big implications on your physical health, mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health is the big factor we need to be aware of if we are self isolating! Many of us out there are on our own and rely on a face to face physical connection to feel that belonging. Even those with families or those who are isolated with friends or room mates might find themselves feeling lonely.
The first thing we need to do is become aware of it and accept it, once we do this we can start putting things into action. Get connected! We are so blessed to live in a world so technologically advanced that we can connect via the click of a button! So set up video chats, call your mates, join an online community. We need to maintain and even build our relationships up during these times. Connection is the single most important factor to sustain mental health!
Loneliness can lead to a lack of motivation, especially with exercise and nutrition, but if we follow the steps of – awareness, acceptance and actions we can begin building connections and being in a better head space. This then leads us to building our healthy exercise and eating habits.
One last point – we all live in a fast paced world where being alone is actually a rarity for some. So getting an opportunity to be alone, be still, be calm, quiet that mind, lower the adrenaline, experience silence and have space is also good for mental health. It might be the first time in a long time for a lot of people. Its all about balance.
Lack of gym equipment.
“Got a door, got a gym”……surely everyone heard the adverts of those pull up bars you can stick between door ways? While i do not recommend them the message behind it is a good one!
Got a back pack…got a gym.
Got a rock…got a gym.
Got a chair…got a gym
Got nothing…still got a gym.
What i’m trying to get out is that the body doesn’t know whether your holding a barbell, a kettlebell, a rock or a plank of wood. The body will just respond to the fact that it now had resistance and you are adding movement! Which will increase both fitness and strength!
Doing a kettlebell swing with a kettlebell is the same as doing a kettlebell swing with a backpack. Doing a squat with a barbell is the same as doing a squat with your kid (just slightly more wriggly).
Now if you need or really want equipment you’ve got plenty of options; look online to see if you can buy anything, ask on your community page or even make your own.
Still can’t find any equipment? Body weight exercises not only require no equipment but they also get you extremely strong and fit. Think about increasing your intensity but either adding more volume, more repetitions or adding tempo to your movements (time under tension)
Kids not allowing you any time to yourself.
Parents for you this is probably the biggest one. As parents ourselves we know how hard it can be to get anything done with kids running around, let alone exercise. We realise everybody’s child is different but we want to share with you a few tips that might help you:
If your situation allows it, ask your partner for help
Get the kids to join in
Keep them distracted with an activity
exercise early in the morning before the kids are up
exercise when they sleep if they’re little
These ideas might work, but we need to accept that we may need to stop from time to time to be present with our children before getting back to those burpees! Have realistic expectations with this and it will help to reduce your stress.
We have created an online community called The Dunsborough Fitness Community. It is an online fitness group that gives you five workouts to do each week. We hold you accountable, connect with you and guess what – you don’t need any gym equipment! Most of the workouts can be done within 30 minutes – they are fun and the kids can join in too! Head to https://the-movement-fitness-wellbeing.triib.com/signup/membership/38179/ to sign up!