Daily Rituals & Routines for a Healthier Life

Who does not want to feel healthy and begin their day feeling full of energy and vitality? Over time I have adapted my Dinacharya or Ayurveda daily routine to fit as many of the rituals below in as possible. It’s a great way to begin and end the day as Ayurveda is all about self care and aligning with your Prakriti or true nature.

Wakey wakey!

Ideally wake up before 6am as after this time the Kapha cycle begins, which tends to feel heavier. Rising during the vata time will lend itself to a lighter and clearer nature. (there are some exceptions here, for example small children and their parents)

Better out than in.

Upon rising it is important to eliminate toxins and the previous day’s waste as this build up can affect our mood, digestion, and immunity. Elimination is done through urination and bowel movement. Drinking a cup of warm water may help with this process.

Cleansing the senses

Washing the eyes with water, using a neti pot to clean the sinuses and using a tongue scraper and oil pulling (gargling oil such as coconut) to clear excess ama or digestive impurities from the tongue.

Self-Massage

Abhyanga or self-massage is a great way to tone the skin and muscles whilst calming the mind and soothing the nervous system. Using your preferred oil (I like sweet almond) massage the head, face and neck. Follow this by massaging the arms and legs using long up and down strokes. Use a circular motion going clockwise over the tummy finishing with up and down strokes along the feet. It is also a good idea to wait a few minutes before showering to allow the oil to soak in.

Yoga & Breathing Exercises

Now it is time for your daily exercise or Vyayama. Exercise is a great way to get the blood flowing and endorphins released. Your exercise could be a brisk walk, some yoga, a bike ride or basically anything that gets you moving. Pranayama techniques can be quite varied so it might be helpful to practice these with a teacher or just begin with diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing), breathing in through the nose for a count of 3 allowing the tummy to expand then breathing out the mouth slowly for a count of 3 as the tummy gently moves back down.

Be here now

A meditation practice is essential if we are to discover who we really are. The amount of time spent in silence increases our capacity for self-awareness. Daily practice is essential in cultivating this field of silence, as it is not possible to stop our thoughts, but we can learn to ease the fluctuations of our conceptual mind. Meditation brings us to an understanding that we are more than our thoughts, actions, and feelings, creating distance between our thinking mind and what we may refer to as our soul or jiva. We see beyond our perceived reality learning to connect to our awareness and live more in the present moment.

Bathing

Daily bathing is another way we can look after our body as it removes dirt and sweat, keeping us refreshed and energised. A warm shower in the morning is a great way to refresh and start the day.

Break-that-fast

Ayurveda tends to favour warm cooked nutritious food. Understanding your dosha and acknowledging the season is important as it means we are nourishing the body with the necessary seasonal foods. This will support our own internal homeostasis and our external environment.

Work it out

Mid-Morning is a great time to be productive. Whether it is work or study this is a time when the energy from the sun is rising, peaking around lunchtime. We can harness this energy from mid-morning to early afternoon utilising this to get focused and busy on our projects.

Lunch Break

Lunch is best taken when the sun is at its highest as it is also believed that our digestion works best around this time. Making lunch the biggest meal of the day may help if you struggle to digest a heavy meal later. Remember an Ayurvedic diet prefers cooked foods over lots of cold salads and juices so perhaps planning your meals ahead of time will help ensure you eat healthy.

Afternoon Pick Me Up

Many people notice a dip of energy mid-afternoon. Energy from the sun is beginning to dwindle around this time and Ayurveda encourages us to notice the elements and how these affect us. It might help to take a walk-in nature or take rest with yoga nidra. Either one of these will boost your energy and may be more beneficial than a caffeine or sugar filled snack which will affect sleep patterns later.

Evening Meal

Eat dinner before the sun goes down, which can differ during the winter and summer seasons. Aiming for around 5pm and no later than 7pm is a good option and will help will digestion and sleep.

Time for bed

An ideal bedtime should be no later than 10pm. This will ensure you get the adequate 7-8 hours rest. Slowing down in the evening, lessening screen time and the temptation to work will help improve sleep. Creating a calming space will also help, so no television or bright lights. Filling your bedroom with soothing scents like lavender and vetiver and using cotton bedsheets and supportive pillows will make your nights rest as comfortable as possible.

Remember this is a general guide to live by, helping you to maintain a routine that supports your wellbeing. There may be days when your routines differ such as when you travel so it is perfectly ok to just do a few of the steps if the whole routine feels too much or does not fit your schedule.

I hope you enjoy establishing a new routine and that this brings you more energy, health, and happiness.

Maria

‘my path to self discovery’

An honest post on how I got into yoga (contains subjects around domestic violence)

A tiny hut in Key West is where my yoga journey began. I remember my first class well – the tightness in my body, my arms shaking in downward facing dog and thinking how the teacher looked so graceful whilst I felt like I could hardly move. The feeling I got after the class though and what I experienced during savasana had me hooked. I remember thinking “I want to teach this I need to tell other people how amazing yoga is.”

This was 1997 and I would not embark on my teacher training until 2010. Why take so long? Well there are many reasons as to why I took this stop gap and I would like to share just a little bit with you about my own personal journey. Many of us have our issues growing up and it is rare to make it to adulthood completely unscathed. My issues centred around feelings of abandonment, loss, rejection, and abuse. Being adopted, the traumatic loss of my adopted dad at 13, plus years of mistrust and abuse that followed. This all left me with an exceptionally low opinion of myself and a lack of self-worth, which then led me to a violent relationship. 

Why am I sharing this? Well part of me wants people to understand how ‘ a nice girl like me’, as has been said to me numerous times, can end up being the victim of domestic violence. I also want to share how powerful yoga can be in the journey to healing the past. 

I never wanted to be seen as a victim I knew how much strength it had taken to leave this relationship, but without the distractions and chaos that this brought I was left alone to face my demons and it wasn’t easy. I turned to drink, another abusive relationship and behaviours that would mean I did not have to feel what I was experiencing, which was physically painful and mentally challenging. Through my yoga practice and counselling I began the road to recovery. It was tough and there were times when I wanted to run out of the room. I would miss sessions by practicing avoidance, convincing myself I no longer enjoyed the class or did not like my counsellor anymore.

I kept going though. One of my favourite inspirational quotes is by Winston Churchill “if you’re going through hell, keep going”, and that is exactly what I did.

The word yoga means to be present and to be embodied, to notice what is really going on both physically and mentally. You cannot escape you. I enjoy this practice now – noticing how my body feels physically, where I am holding my tension and how I am feeling emotionally. I listen to my feelings and responses with a sense of curiosity and interest. Through yoga I understand that I am not defined by my past and these experiences have actually equipped me with a huge understanding and empathy towards others, an ability to bear witness to the stories of other peoples’ pain.

It is my belief we can all heal from our past, whether you are on a journey like myself or want to increase your sense of wellness and are curious how yoga movements and mediation can help. The teachings offer us all an insight into how we can help ourselves and navigate our way on our true path.

I wish you well on your journey,

With warmth,

Maria

Cheshire Yoga Babies New 2021 Term Times


Explore, play & relax – enjoy the benefits of Yoga for you and your baby. * Babies from 6 weeks to 12 months 

Class Times & Locations

Tuesdays 1130am (babies from 6 weeks) then  1pm  (babies from 12 weeks ) held at InHale Yoga Studio, 1st Floor Progress House, Cecil Road, Hale WA15 9NZ

Thursdays 10am (babies from 6 weeks) held at Lymm Heritage Centre, 1 Legh Street, Lymm WA13 0DA

New Term Times for Spring & Summer Terms

Tuesday Hale Classes (1130am &  1pm) 

Spring Term  20th April – 25th May (last class)*FULL

Summer Term 8th June – 13th July (last class)

Thursday Lymm Class Term Times

Spring Term  22nd April -27th May (last class)*FULL

Summer Term  10th June – 15th July (last class)

 

Visit the online store below to book your place. Classes last for 60 minutes and include baby massage, sensory and yoga and post natal yoga for mums (terms can be joined anytime subject to availability)

Cost for either 6 week term £54 includes Free Post Natal Recovery Course – Yours to Keep!

To book your place visit the online store below or  contact info@mariayoga.co.uk

The Benefits of Mother & Baby Yoga

For Baby:

Helps settle baby, improving your baby’s sleeping patterns

Interactive and physical activity helps to strengthen & aid your baby’s development

Stimulates the baby’s bodily systems, including digestive and nervous systems

Aids digestion, which can help to ease constipation, wind and colic

Bonding – enhances the relationship between you & your baby

New challenges helping your baby to cope with new situations

Helps strengthen your baby’s body including their spine

Promotes muscle strength and joint flexibility

Introduces techniques to help your baby relax and become a natural self-soother.

For Mum:

Improves your posture, strength and flexibility which will help with lifting and carrying your growing baby

Post-natal exercises to tone the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor

Release physical and mental tension with Yoga stretches and breathing

Relaxation techniques to help you to cope with the stresses of new parenthood

Bonding – spend special time with you and your baby exploring new challenges and having fun

Get to know other mums, dads or carers and share experiences.

Testimonials

This class has been my favourite, I’ve loved it all and feel I have genuinely improved my pelvic floor. I’m now more aware of doing my exercises etc. So just wanted to say a massive thank you! You’re great! – G.C.

5 Immune Boosting Tips

This time of year can be especially difficult to keep the bugs at bay. It’s been so cold and wet recently I’ve felt my immune and lymphatic system has been pushed to it’s limits.

If you’ve been feeling the strain then here are 5 handy immune boosting tips that I use to help restore some balance and encourage my immunity to thrive.

1. Sleep ….ah the elusive sleep. I’ve had my fair share of sleep deprivation which has made me realise just how important this is. That and reading Why we Sleep by Matthew Walker (highly recommended). Amongst other things our body heals and repairs when we sleep. If you’re finding it difficult to get your full 8 hours then try yoga nidra (awakened sleep) this will help you rest and recharge even if you practice for 20 mins. Visit my free mediations for a guided yoga nidra practice.

2. Warm foot baths. My latest obsession to give my lymphatic system a boost. I was recently made aware of the benefits of these foot baths and now do them when either working on my laptop…yes my feet are submerged right now or when watching the tv. Our lymphatic system is mainly stimulated when we move which isn’t great for sedentary workers. However soaking your feet in warm water (I like to add lavender and epsom salts also) helps to boost our lymphatic flow, remember this system is part of your immune system helping to fight infection.

3. Exercise. Whether it’s yoga, boot camps or walking that you prefer. Make sure you get some exercise. This is so beneficial to our immunity. When we exercise we also secrete happy hormones these help to counteract our stress hormones which break down our immunity. Exercising also stimulates our respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

4. Fresh Air. It’s free and usually fresh…. depending on where you live of course! Getting outdoors definitely lifts my mood even if it’s just a brisk walk to the school gates. Being outside and also around nature can help to put problems into perspective and give us a deeper understanding of ourselves. Whether it’s the beach or a woodland find some time to get outdoors.

5. Vitamins and Probiotics. Yes I’m a fan of supplements, gut health is so important for our immunity. Its not always easy getting the right balance through our diets so I believe supplements are necessary. If your not sure contact your local nutritionist for more help and advice.

So Hum Mantra

Enjoy this free recording of the Mantra So Hum. This mantra can be used during your meditation or yoga practice as a way of quietening the mind. So Hum translates to I am that – I am that ultimate reality or ever pervading presence that exist within us all.

Begin by chanting a few rounds out loud then go into silent chants mirroring the breath to each sound. e.g So – on the inhale and Hum – on the exhale

Take as many rounds as you like, then sit for a while at the end of your practice to soak all the sensations from this mantra in.

Meditation to Calm the Mind

Enjoy this Buddhist inspired meditation using the mantra Om Ah Hum for inner peace and calm.

The mantra is chanted silently with each sound representing a different part of the breath. The sound Om is chanted in the inhale and held at the heart centre to cleanse our physical body. Ah is then for the speech and chanted between the inhale and exhale the awareness of this sound is held at the throat for clarity in our speech, and finally the Hum sound is for the mind inspiring a sense of peace and chanted silently on the exhale.

Listen below for further guidance and this blissful mantra that purifies our body, speech and mind

Mantra Meditation for Grounding

The Ganesh Mantra one of my favourite mantras and one I use for when I personally feel unsteady and in need of grounding.

Ganesh is the god of beginnings and the remover of obstacles. We turn to Ganesh when we feel we need guidance on our path.  Perhaps there’s a lot of change occurring in your life or you’re going through some kind of transition, making you feel unstable and in need of grounding. If this is the case then this mantra is perfect for grounding us back down to earth.  With the head of an elephant on the body of a teenage boy, Ganesh represents, strength, courage, willpower and wisdom as he uses his trunk to clear the way of obstacles from his path. You too can embody the qualities of this deity to find your own inner power.

During this meditation we’ll recite the mantra Om Glaum Gam Ganapataye Swaha 9 times however you can do this for the full 108.

Enjoy listening

Maria

Summer Solstice Guided Meditation

Free Guided Summer Solstice Meditation

Summer Solstice on the 21st June is the longest day of the year marking the beginning of Summer and the mid point of our seasons, this is an ideal time for contemplation and reflection.

This is definitely one of my favourite times of the year, and a piviotal moment to really notice what I’ve learnt and achieved over the last 6 months. We all want to grow and flourish but sometimes its worth sitting and listening to our inner voice, especially when we’re not being influenced by external forces.

During this guided meditation we focus on Samana Vayu and Manipura Chakra as these both reside at our core and the centre of our being. A place where we balance our mind and emotions of everything we have taken in, from the food we eat to the information that we listen to, basically all we imbibe. Here we have the power of discernment, and by keeping a sense of harmony within we can use it to guide us on our path. Now is the time to really listen to ourselves understanding what we have learnt over the last 6 months. What is it that we need to cast aside? What do we want to carry forward that will help us continue to grow?

All you’ll need for this meditation is a comfortable place to sit and perhaps a journal and pen to write down any reminders for the months ahead.

Happy Summer Solstice Maria x

3 Simple Steps to a Calmer Life

3 Simple steps to a calmer life  Santa Monica Cape Verde

By Maria Kelly on 2nd May 2016

 

Step 1. Take a deep breath….

 

Breathing – it’s simple enough, we do it all the time and without much thought. This automatic breathing will get you through the day sure enough, however deep conscious breathing will lead you to a place of inner calm helping to deal with stress and the effects this has on our wellness.

 

The quality of our breath is a great indicator into our physical state of wellbeing. Shallow breathing is when our diaphragm doesn’t move fully and this shortening of breath is quite common when we are stressed. We end up breathing into our chest and shoulders creating tension in these areas and limiting the amount of oxygen that we get.

 

The deep breathing performed during yoga asanas (postures) helps the body to function more efficiently, relieves tension and has a calming effect on the body and mind as a whole.

 

Diaphragm (Yogic) Breathing.

 

Begin by either sitting or lying in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and bring your awareness on to your breathing. Place one hand onto your chest and the other onto your tummy. Take a deep breath into the tummy noticing how this rises on the inhale and then how this falls on the exhale. Pause for a moment between each breath noticing the stillness in this space. Continue this, deepening the inhales and exhales by counting to 3, then pausing for 1. Do this for 5 minutes or longer if you have time.

 

Step 2. Learn to love the mundane…..

 

Ok, so not many of us enjoy doing house hold chores but we realise it is one of many necessary evils. So instead of viewing them as chores, why not try to find a way to enjoy them. Taking enjoyment in the little things can have a very large impact on our general outlook. Think about it, if we spend our day rushing from job to job only focusing on getting them done, then it’s no wonder we’re worn out by the end of the day and in need of that reward…..cue chocolate bar and glass of vino!

So next time it’s your turn to do the washing up try to enjoy the process and actually be in the moment. Take pride in seeing your plates clean, perhaps they were a gift from someone you care about. Notice your breathing and posture whilst you’re doing this – it is here that you create that tension rushing to get the job done! And remind yourself of this Buddhist saying……. “If the simple things in life don’t put a smile on your face then you will never truly be happy”.

 

Step 3. Get you Yoga on……

 

We have been designed to move and yet we have created a sedentary lifestyle, albeit with the good intention to make our life easier. However instead this has made our bodies inflexible and our minds overworked. Once you understand the importance of movement and how great this makes the body and min feel you begin to understand why it’s such a good idea to get up off that ass..ana!

By practicing Yoga you’re bringing not only movement but also the deep breathing and mental focus into your lives. By being present in each of the postures you’re able to focus and enjoy the process of learning to let go. Understanding where you hold the physical tension also shines a light on your mental outlook (remember the rushing from task to task). The deep breathing enables you to relax and release this built up muscular tightness. During this process we mentally become more in tune with ourselves, connecting once again to our true nature and bringing about a sense of joy and freedom in this journey that life most certainly is.

Maria Kelly

Sunflower Dancer

Maria is a Yoga Instructor based in Cheshire specialising in Vinyasa Flow, Pregnancy, Post-natal and Baby Yoga (www.mariayoga.co.uk) . Along with her husband she also owns Tranquillite Retreats (www.tranquilliteretreats.co.uk), a yoga retreat set on the edge of the Dordogne in south west France. It is their mission to show that keeping life simple can lead to a happier more tranquil you.

 

 

Yoga breathing to calm the mind

Yoga Breathing to calm the mind pranayama-yoga-breathing-techniques

Are you breathing properly? This may seem like a strange question to ask but it appears most of us are not. Of course you know how to breathe you’ve been doing it all your life. Breathing occurs to us naturally, even when we are not aware of it. So it seems odd to think that you might not be breathing properly.
However if you suffer from any of the following it might be because you are not breathing correctly and getting enough oxygen.

Nervousness,
anxiety,
sluggishness,
irritability,
lack of energy,
fatigue,
depression.

Poor breathing can happen over time as we pick up unhealthy habits without being aware of it. For example if you sit at a desk all day long and assume a slouched positions this can effect lung capacities and will result in you taking shortened breaths.

So how can Yoga breathing help?

Ujjayi breathing can assist as this is a diaphragmic breathing technique (pranayama) meaning that you breath deeply into the belly increasing lung capacity, improving oxygen levels to the blood which helps to eliminate toxins and allow internal organs to operate more efficiently. Typically Ujjayi breathing is performed during Yoga asanas however this calming and balancing breath can be used whenever you feel this is needed. I usually practice this for a few minutes in the morning to restore my nervous system and to set me up for my day ahead.

How to perform Ujjayi breath.

1. Begin sitting in a comfortable seated position preferably cross legged or on a bolster making sure you’re sat up tall, lengthening the spine.

2. Inhale and exhale deeply through the mouth making a ‘ha’ sound as you breath out.

3.On the exhales, begin to slightly constrict the passage of air at the back of the throat – imagine that you are fogging up a mirror.

4. Once you are comfortable with the exhale, begin to apply the same constricting of the throat to the inhales. Ujjayi breathing is an audible breath and you should notice it. The sound is reminiscent of the ocean (or a similar sound to Darth Vadar!)

5. When you are able to control the throat on both the inhale and the exhale, close the mouth and begin breathing only through the nose. Close the eyes and sit for a moment listening to the oceanic sounds of your Ujjayi breath.

deep-breathing