3 SIMPLE YOGA POSES FOR RELAXATION & SLEEP
There are so many different types of yoga practices. Personally I have always loved the gentler types like yin- and restorative yoga because it helps me balance out my busy everyday life by tuning in to myself and finding my inner calm.
Today I want to share with you 3 super simple yoga poses that are great to in the evening before bed or whenever you need to de-stress. Yoga should never be painful so don't do anything that doesn't feel right to you. Remember to breathe, be present and kind to yourself when practicing it.
This is really two poses combined and they blend perfectly together.
Start this pose by standing on all fours with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders (called the neutral table top position). Engage your core stomach muscles and as you inhale, go into CAT pose by slowly tucking your tailbone and belly in, and gently arching your back. Your neck follows naturally so you look in towards your stomach. Imagine the movement starting at your tailbone, travelling naturally up the spine and ending at the top of your head.
As you exhale, we go into COW pose. Gently tilt your pelvis, push your heart forward and up, lifting your gaze to look straight ahead. Push your shoulders away from your ears. Take your time and engage your whole body. Repeat 3-5 times.
I love this pose because it can help stretch and strengthen your back, massage your internal organs and reduce stress.
Walk your hands a little in front of you and widen the distance between your knees. On the next exhale, push back with your hands and send your sitting bones back to kiss your heals. Let your chest melt down and rest your forehead on your mat, relaxing your arms. You can put a pillow between your legs here if you feel any discomfort. Take a few deep breaths in child's pose.
Child's pose is a gentle resting pose that stretches the hips, thighs and legs while calming the mind and relieving stress and tension.
I like to end with a short meditation.
My husband took these photos at the beach last summer. When I'm surrounded by toys in the living room I like to close my eyes and imagine I'm right back there. Yoga doesn't need to be about fancy headstands or practiced in a luxurious resort to feel good! Sometimes its just about taking a few minutes to tune in to yourself and find your calm.
Wishing you a relaxing evening and great night sleep tonight.
WHAT'S YOUR MAMA MANTRA?
A mantra is a word, sentence or phrase that you repeat to yourself frequently. We use them a lot in yoga and meditation as it can help you stay in the present moment and shift your focus to how you want to think or feel. They're also great for training your mind to be more positive, confident and calm.
I like to use them as little reminders of how I want feel that day and in moments of stress or frustration. Like today when my toddler had his second mini meltdown before 7am and refused to put on his shoes... It was just one of those mornings where I needed to take a deep breath and remind myself to keep calm and just relax.
Mantras are only words so for them to actually have an impact, you need to say them with intention, feel it in your heart and even try to visualise whatever it is you want to feel. I simply close my eyes, breathe and repeat my mantra while imagining that I see myself however I want to feel or be. The more often you do it, the more you believe it!
So today I want to share with you a few of my favourite mantras;
Whenever I feel anxious and like I need to control everything, I use the mantra; "When I let go, I let love in"
When I don't feel like I'm doing or being enough; "I am doing my best and we are all learning" or "I have enough, I do enough, I am enough"
When I can't seem to stop thinking ahead and just be present; "Life is happening now, enjoy it"
And when I catch myself being negative or complaining, I like to remind myself of the quote I once read; "Did you have a bad day, or just a bad 5 minutes that you milked all day?"
So pick your favourite quote or phrase (or use one of mine if you're stuck for ideas) and make it your own mantra. Write it down and place it somewhere (like the fridge, your mirror or workspace) where you can easily see it everyday and be reminded to think or say it out loud.
You are amazing, always enough and the best mama to your child(ren). In the everyday chaos that sometimes is motherhood, I think we all need a daily reminder.
Lots of love
CHOCOLATE LOVE FOR VALENTINES DAY
We don't really celebrate valentines day, but any excuse to indulge in some chocolate and do something lovely for yourself and/or the one you love, is always a good idea!
Anyone who knows me knows that chocolate is my weakness and I love to bake. So this morning I carved some me-time out of my busy schedule to make a quick and simple chocolate mousse that I decorated with dried edible lavender and rose petals, to surprise my boys with tomorrow.
I'm also throwing a dinner party on Saturday so now dessert is done too, yeay!
It's all about balance so this weeks tip is to make or buy yourself and the one(s) you love, something yummy!
Wishing you a day full of love and happiness.
P.S. Got a few questions about what recipe I used and it was a super quick and simple one by a Norwegian baker. But whenever I want to indulge in some delicious (but also nutritious) treats, I love love love Deliciously Ella. Check her out if you haven't already!
WHY I LOVE DRY BRUSHING & HOW TO DO IT
The days I remember to dry brush before stepping into the shower or relaxing in the bath (note to self - leave it out so I see it and remember tomorrow), I always feel more energised and connected to my body. It's a self-care practice that I'm keen to make a regular habit this year.
If you're new to dry brushing, it is just that - gently brushing your skin. Starting under the soles of your feet and legs, you use gentle long brush strokes from the outer parts of your body, inwards towards your heart. I like to spend about about 3-5 minutes doing it.
Apparently it can help remove dead skin cells without damaging the skin, prevent cellulite, smooth the skin, increase energy levels, and stimulate the nervous system, blood circulation and lymphatic system. Um yes please.
I use the natural body brush for my body and a smaller gentler one for my face, both by Karameju that I love and recommend.
So this weeks self-care tip; take a few minutes to yourself and dry brush your skin before taking a relaxing shower or bath. And remember to re-hydrate after to help your body flush out the toxins...
Lots of love
3 ESSENTIAL OILS FOR RELAXATION
I have been using essential oils for a few years now in everything from homemade cleaning products to massage oil. But my favourite time to use them is in the evening when I need to relax...
So a little self-care tip for whenever you need to relax and unwind is to put a few drops of Lavender, Bergamot or Chamomile essential oil in the bath water, on the floor of your shower or in a diffuser. You can also dilute them in water and spray around the room or on your pillow before bed. Ahh I can feel my shoulders relaxing as I'm typing.
Choose whichever one you like the best, in my experience its usually the one I need the most. You can buy single or ready blended oils for different uses depending on how you want to feel. (Just remember to follow the instructions on how to use them because they are strong!) I've also come across a few Etsy shops that sell ready diluted room and body sprays!
Take care, Lots of love
FINDING THAT BALANCE WITH YIN MOMENTS
In Eastern philosophy we talk about Yin and Yang and how there must always be a balance. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life with busy schedules and long to do lists (Yang), we need to have a balance and find the time to slow down and care for ourselves (Yin). Yin is the Feminine, Calm, Nourishing, Nurturing and Loving, and how to practice this is something that I have come to call Yin Moments. It's about taking moments out of your day to love and care for yourself to relax, centre yourself and re-charge.
This is essentially what I have been talking about with my clients for years now in my acupuncture sessions and yoga classes. And the past year I have really wanted to find a way to be able to share this knowledge with as many mama's as I possibly can in a creative way, because I truly believe that having this balance is key to our happiness and wellbeing.
Lots of love
5 HEALTHY MORNING HABITS FOR A CALM & HAPPY MAMA
Creating my own morning routine has ultimately transformed the way I feel and go about my day. This used to be me: Snooze, drag myself out of bed, rush around like a crazy person, run out the door a little half put together and feeling like I was somehow behind on everything all day... (this got a little worse after having my son...).
So about a year ago I created my own personal morning routine - a fixed set of positive habits that help me start my day feeling focused, present, calm and happy, and I want to share them with you! It requires a bit of self-discipline, but its oh so worth it.
We are all different and need to find what works for ourselves. But here are my 5 top healthy habits for a calm and happy mama who's ready to take on the day!
1. Get up 20-30 min before you need to (with no snoozing). I have always been a snoozer... but the past year I have forced myself to get up the moment the alarm goes off so that I can have a some me-time. Simple things like taking an extra long shower, do my makeup and put on "nice" clothes (not half dirty sweatpants) or simply enjoying a cup of coffee in peace before the rest of the world wakes up, makes me feel like a person.
2. Re-hydrate first thing in the morning. Our bodies have been hard at work cleansing our system while we've been asleep so I always drink a large glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice to re-hydrate and cleanse my body.
3. No technology for the first hour of the day! It's so easy to reach for our phones and start checking our social media and emails the minute we're awake. But we're really only filling our minds with other things going on in the world before I've even had a chance to check-in with myself. So my 3rd tip is to be present with your family and to tune in to yourself first. The rest of the world can wait...
4. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for a few minutes. Ask yourself: how am I feeling today? Focus on 3 things you are grateful for.
5. Movement. I personally don't like to exercise early in the morning (I'm always amazed at those who manage to squeeze in a spinning class first thing), but its just not for me... However doing some gentle yoga stretching or going for a short walk in the fresh air helps clear my head and get focused.
I hope you find these tips helpful!
Take care, lots of love
HAPPY CARDS WITH POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Cuteness overload! I recently purchased a box of Happy cards with positive affirmations and inspiring quotes that I have fallen in love with. Every morning, my son and I pick a new card and I leave it on my desk all day as a reminder to smile and relax.
These are by a Norwegian designer called Camilla Pihl and are currently only for sale in Norway and Sweden. However I have found two other options for you!
Daily affirmation cards can be a great way to remind ourselves to be kind, loving, appreciative and generous towards ourselves and those we love.
Just a little tip for a bit of everyday magic.
Lots of love
The past year I have become aware of how powerful setting goals and intentions can be. It helps me focus on what really matters and so it becomes easier to plan and prioritise how, with what and with whom I wish to spend my time.
I think my problem in the past has been that the goals I have set haven’t been specific enough or I haven’t actually added HOW I'm going to achieve them. So I wanted to write what I have learnt and how I go about setting goals, in hopes that it can help you too to plan and go in to the new year feeling confident, relaxed and happy.
So beautiful mama, when you have a moment to yourself, make a cup of tea, grab your journal or a piece of paper and pen and get comfy.
Before actually setting any goals, I like to reflect on the past year. It goes by so quick that we often forget to stop and check in with ourselves about how we feel and where we are now. It’s so important to let go of any challenges or disappointments we may have had, celebrate our wins and focus on all that we have learnt and evolved along the way.
A few questions I like to ask myself is:
Did I have any challenges in 2018 and if so, how did I deal with them and what did I learn?
What would I like to leave behind, let go of or stop doing in to 2019?
Did I step out of my comfort zone and grow as a person, as a mama, in my relationships and in my work life?
What am I most proud of for having achieved this year?
What am I most grateful for having experienced this year?
I truly believe that we all have the ability to change any circumstance we are in and achieve our dreams and goals whatever they may be, but we need to take small actions steps daily to achieve them. And to do so we need to know what we really want so we can make a plan as to how we are going to get there.
So next, with an open heart, I ask myself:
What do I want my everyday life to be like, really? Not what society or social media says your life should be like or what other friends are doing with theirs…
What do I want to do spend my time doing?
What do I need to do?
What inspires, motivates and brings me joy?
What areas of my life do I wish to focus on? Is it nourishing my body with healthier foods, being a more present mama, doing more fun family activities, building a stronger relationship with certain people, develop a personal skill, or advance my career?
I try to be specific, realistic and kind with myself when setting goals. They should make you feel excited, motivated and inspired, not stressed or overwhelmed. Avoiding vague statements like “be super healthy, i instead try to think; “focus on nourishing my body with healthy foods that make me feel good and full of energy” or “move my body for min 30 minutes a day either with walking, yoga or going to the gym so i feel relaxed and happy”.
Lastly, what action steps do I need to take to make them happen? The more specific you are, the easier it is to measure when you have achieved your goals...
I hope this inspire you to take a moment to reflect on the past year and get clear on what you want and need :) Happy New Year!
Lots of love
Popping in to wish you peaceful and happy holiday! And to remind you (as much as myself) to relax, let go and enjoy the present moment with family and friends.
Remember to take a few deep breaths if the stress levels are high, and prioritise some (much deserved I'm sure) me-time to care for yourself and to re-charge.
Lots of love from us
This is pretty much what all our family photos look like at the moment with our busy two year old ;)