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Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

It doesn’t matter how much of a positive person you are, the reality is that the world out there can be pretty negative at times! That’s why its really important that the first thing you do every day is raise your personal energy and your mindset so that you have the resilience to deal with whatever the world throws at you!

Its so easy to get up and dive straight into your day without ever actually taking the time to ready yourself for the challenges that lie ahead. But the truth is, if you start the day half empty you’re not going to get beyond lunchtime before your resources are depleted and you just don’t have anything left to give. At best you only achieve half of what you intended. At worst, you have to resort to some energy vampire techniques just to get you through the rest of the day!

So how do you start the day up?

There are three areas you want to focus on energising. Mind, Body, Focus. Success expert Jack Canfield says we should devote just ten minutes a day to energising each of these areas and that can make a phenomenal difference to how we experience our lives and our results.

Research has shown time and time again that meditation benefits us in all areas of our lives. It can help us deal with stress, it can make us more focused, and it can even help us deal with physical illness. It can make us calmer, more creative, it can improve our relationships and it can help us learn. In fact its difficult to find any reason why we should not make meditation a regular part of our day. How you choose to meditate is entirely up to you, there are so many different ways so play around until you find one that works for you and that you WILL do every day. Here’s a great one to start you off! Get into the habit of doing just 10 minutes every morning as soon as you wake up and watch your energy levels soar!

Starting your day off with some physical exercise is a great way to remind your body that its alive! Movement is life! And yet we spend so much of our modern lives stuck in front of a computer, in a car, or on a comfy sofa in front of the TV. The fact is we are made to move, and movement is one of the ways our body integrates learning so any movement you do is actually making you more intelligent! Again, what you choose to do is up to you. What’s more important is THAT you do it! Yoga is a great way of starting off your day and it doesn’t need to take long. Here’s a really great sequence to lift your mood.

If you don’t fancy yoga, then even a quick walk round the block will get your blood flowing, and if you have a dog to walk, even better because they will not let you have a day off!

And once you’ve woken up your mind and your body its time to focus on what you want to achieve today. So often we float through a day responding and reacting to other people’s demands of us and the reason for this is we have never taken to time to focus on what WE want from the day. Take just 10 minutes to think about it and make a list of what you intend to do with your day, even if its just relax and have fun. That way you get to live your day on your terms and according to your goals not someone else’s! Staying focused on what you want to achieve means you will use your time wisely and on purpose. Just taking that 10 minutes to plan your day can make all the difference between having an unproductive frustrating day and a wonderful, purposeful and productive one. And even if your day goes completely pear shaped (yes we all have days like that!) having an action plan means that least you will end the day with more energy and focus than you would have done otherwise! But more importantly you will know exactly how far off track you are so you can get back on course easily and quickly.

So tonight go to bed early and set your alarm clock 30 minutes early and start your day UP!

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A friend asked me yesterday how it was possible to set goals according to our own standards since human nature dictates we will always be comparing ourselves with others.

Here’s my take on it:

Say I decided that I wanted to do a yoga headstand as effortlessly as my friend Noura El Iman. Well, for starters I don’t actually know if it is effortless for her, and if I asked her she would probably tell me that it has taken her years of training and study and practice to do it and in fact it is still a really challenging position – so that’s not a good goal at all.

So say I decided that I wanted to look as elegant as Noura in a headstand – well, I’m never going to look “like” her, we are completely different shapes and on top of that she is at least fifteen years younger than me so I’m always going to be playing catchup in the wrong direction!  And what exactly do I mean by elegant? Its a judgment call and really hard, in fact impossible, to measure. That’s not a good goal at all.

So say I decided I wanted to be able to hold a headstand position comfortably for as long as Noura. Now we’re getting somewhere! I can ask her how long she can hold it comfortably, I can measure how long I can hold it comfortably now (right now about a nanosecond!) and compare the two. That gives me my perfect 10 and my potential – the gap between where I am now and my perfect 10.  And “comfortably” is my judgment, not anyone else’s, only I can ever know what’s comfortable for my body. That’s a good goal.

A good goal has to be measureable, otherwise its totally subjective and how can you ever know you’ve achieved it? And if you don’t know you’ve achieved it how do you know when to celebrate?

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As I’m still having a chilled out weekend, and feeding a whole bunch of people curry tonight from my new cookbook (yes, I love to experiement on my friends!) I thought I would post a link to one of my favourite places online – elephant journal – its full of great articles, lots about yoga but plenty of other interesting stuff too. Check it out and let me know what you think.

And talking of elephants – here’s one I met last year!

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Really! Life’s too short not to have a sense of humour and when it comes down to it, none of us are getting out of here alive!

I used to do a yoga class on a Friday morning (for those of you not in Dubai, that’s a weekend day for us) and the yogi in charge used to call us his Happy Class because more often than not we would all, including the yogi, end up in fits of giggles as one or more of us got stuck in unlikely positions. Every so often a new person would join the class and then complain that we were not taking yoga seriously enough. They were dead wrong, we were taking yoga very seriously, we just weren’t taking ourselves too seriously!

I see it so often that people don’t really get the difference. Taking yourself too seriously is classic Inner Reptile behaviour – I mean, when did you last see an iguana telling a joke? Its not exactly their forte.

In fact keeping a sense of humour in a crisis is actually one of the most effective ways to make sure that your Inner Reptile doesn’t get a hold of your brain. Being able to laugh at a serious situation does not mean you are not taking things seriously, seeing the funny side just means you still have full acces to all of your brain.  And in a difficult situation I’d suggest that’s a good thing.

Humour is very much a front brain activity so the ability to laugh at yourself is in fact a sign of intelligence!

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