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

Beginners Yoga with MIO Skincare

I recently teamed up with Mio Skincare to bring you the 5 top Yoga Poses for Beginners.

Mio have a wonderful range of products including their Liquid Yoga candles and I’m absolutely in love with their dry body brush which I use daily (sometimes twice) along with my own handmade Pure Bliss aromatherapy body oil.

So check out the blog from myself and Mio below and enjoy the benefits of Yoga and beautiful skin.

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS

Yoga has been recognised worldwide as one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and relax your body. It not only helps lift you into a cloud of zen but it helps muscle tension and flexibility. Anyone can do yoga from young to old and the more practise you have, the easier it becomes and the more your body gets used to it. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, yoga is a great way to take a moment out of your day to focus on your body and your breathing. So mio caught up wtith the wonderful yogi Maria Kelly to give you 5 of the best yoga positions for beginners.

Child’s Pose

miochilds-poseChilds Pose – a grounding restful pose that has a soothing effect on the brain. Here the feet, ankles and legs are stretched whilst hips are gently encouraged to open and the spine lengthened. This pose is perfect for those days when you’re physically tired but the mind is still busy. Stay here for a few minutes to feel the full benefits.

 

 

Downward Facing dog

miodogDownward Dog – practising downward facing dog regularly will help to elongate and lengthen the spine benefiting the central nervous system. This posture also stretches the backs of the legs. Whilst strengthening the arms and shoulders.

 

 

High Lunge Pose

miohigh-lunge

High Lunge Pose – Stretches and tones the legs. It lengthens the spine and stretches the chest muscles making it easier to take deeper breathes increasing lung capacity and stamina. It can help relieve sciatica.

 

 

 

Mountain Pose

miomountain-pose

Mountain Pose – the most important pose for all beginners to practice. Mountain pose improves posture by creating an awareness of unhealthy postural habits. It helps to strengthen the legs, bum and abdomen which creates better stability and balance. Standing tall opens the chest muscles encouraging deeper breathing which calms the mind.

 

 

Triangle Pose

miotriangleTriangle pose – when performed this yoga pose increases mobility in the hip joints. Lengthens the spine and tones the legs, stimulates the flow of blood through the entire body improving cell growth and internal organ function this encourages healthy skin and aids digestion. Proprioception (spacial awareness)  is also experienced along with an increased sense of balance.

Understanding Gratitude……..

Understanding Gratitude….grateful

If you’ve been to class recently you may have heard me mention showing gratitude or being thankful for our practice. Well there’s a reason for this as after some recent research it appears that being grateful really does have a positive effect on our emotional brain. In fact it’s a sign of emotional well being and intelligence. Even the process of thinking and searching for something to feel thankful about enhances the production of serotonin and dopamine(feel good hormones) automatically lifting our mood and making us feel better. Although this isn’t a natural process for most of us we have to remember to do this. So why not get yourself a gratitude jar…..a friend brought me one of these a few years ago which you fill with notes of anything that you’re thankful for. Or pop a reminder on your fridge…What am I Grateful for today? Try asking yourself this now. For me it’s having an opportunity to help out a friend and fellow yoga teacher this morning by covering his class last minute, having food in my cupboards and time in my day to practice Yoga.

Gratitude requires thought but it’s by giving it some attention that we begin to feel it’s benefits. Perhaps take a moment to sit with these thoughts of thankfulness in meditation you’ll be surprised how good it feels. And lastly our deepest sense of gratitude comes through grace and being humble, if you can cultivate these feelings alongside whatever your object of gratitude is placed on you’ll find it quite impossible to feel negative, no matter how hard things get there is also something you can find to feel grateful for.

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.

 

 

Trataka Candle Gazing Meditation

Trataka (Sanskrit) actually means to look or to gaze at an external object. Fixing your gaze upon something and concentrating on a single point is a form of meditation which can help develop concentration, strengthen the eyes and calm the mind.candles silver

I’ve found candle gazing an excellent way to practise Trataka and regularly use this at home after a Yoga session. It helps me to calm my mind (which is often over active and bombarded with a million thoughts) and find that moment of clarity in my day where all seems peaceful and still.

How to perform trataka using a candle….

1. Find yourself a candle preferably one that doesn’t omit any toxic fumes (personally I love NEOM or generally candles made from beeswax) and place this either on the floor or on a table a couple of feet in front of you.

2. Next make sure you’re sat comfortably. We can’t all sit in Lotus pose (this includes myself) so if sitting on the floor is not comfortable then try padding yourself up with cushions or failing that sit on a chair. The main thing here is that you’re supported with good posture, spine is upright and the arms and shoulders are relaxed. You want to be able to sit in meditation without any distractions coming up so it’s important that you’re settled.

3. Now that you’re seated comfortably allow your body to relax, take a few deep breaths sigh a little, then close your eyes and watch your inhales and exhales as they come and go. When your breath has settled down and you feel relaxed and more present open your eyes and begin to gaze at your candle flame. Try not to get involved with any thoughts or other objects around you, keep your gaze steady and on the flame without blinking for as long as possible.

4. Continue gazing until you feel your eyes water once this happens you can close them. With the eyes closed visuale the flame at the point between the eyebrows at the centre of the forehead also known as Ajna Chakra or third eye centre. Keep this image in your mind for as long as possible then when ready bring your awareness back to the breath watching every inhale and exhale as it comes and goes for around 10 breaths.

5. Now open your eyes leaning forward to blow out your candle flame, either repeating a mantra or letting go of any emotions or mental tensions as you do so.

candleyoga02

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy Yoga Flow Routine

pregnancy dancer outsideI’ve been practicing Yoga all the way through my pregnancy and have found this incredibly beneficial with helping to support my changing body, keeping my mind calm and finding that special time where I can relax and focus on my baby. I thought it would be great to share this with you so here’s a quick Yoga Flow workout for you all to enjoy during pregnancy. * always consult your GP or midwife before you commence in any exercise program.

 Pregnancy Yoga Flow Routine

The Sun Salutations have been adapted to accommodate your changing body and bump. Feel free to hold postures slightly longer perhaps 5 to 10 breaths and repeat the sequence between 3 – 6 times. Always let the breath lead you into the Yoga asanas (poses) and practice breathing consciously (Ujjai Breath is ideal), never force the postures this should feel like your gently opening the body up. Be mindful of your own posture drawing attention to pelvic alignment, keeping a slight lift in the pelvic floor and feeling like your gently hugging your baby towards you. Allow your shoulders to draw back slightly so that your chest is open and keep your jaw and facial muscles soft and relaxed.

You can relax at the end in Savasana either using cushions or Yoga bolsters for support and lying on your left side if lying on your back is no longer comfortable, close the eyes and visualise your baby happy, peaceful and content as you also rest feeling completely relaxed and at ease.

Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga

Pregnancy Kneeling Yoga PoseBenefits of practicing Prenatal Yoga?

Yoga strengthens the body helping it to cope with the extra weight of carrying your baby. Yoga poses focus on correct postural alignment helping women to understand the changes and effects pregnancy can have on their bodies.

Regular practice can help relieve physical tension and stresses from the body, which often build up as a result of the baby growing, circulation is improved so that swelling due to the extra fluid and blood flow is less likely, this also assists with lymphatic drainage enhancing immunity and creating a healthier environment for you and your baby.

Practicing Yoga whilst pregnant can help to lift your mood at a time when you can feel overwhelmed. Yoga helps you to accept and understand the changes that may be occurring hormonally and the effects this can have both physically and physiologically.

Pregnancy Yoga incorporates various breathing techniques to calm the nervous system helping you to feel more relaxed through pregnancy, these breathing exercises are also beneficial during labour helping you to stay calm and in control no matter what path the birth takes.

Meditation and Visualisation exercises help deal with anxiety and quieten an over active mind aiding relaxation, better sleep and an overall greater sense of wellbeing.32044  2015 copy 2

Yoga for Pregnancy – One to One sessions available

Each session lasts for 1 hour and costs £40 or alternatively see offer details below on block bookings.

Gift vouchers are available.

Block Book 5 sessions for £175 – sessions to be used within 6 weeks.