Time to Reset Your Body Clock

The Body Clock, our bodies natural rhythm runs in a daily cycle.  Energy moving from one organ to the next in a set sequence so that our bodies can operate at their optimum.  Each organ carrying out it’s functions at a set time each day – the most appropriate time – and resting and restoring in between.  But all too easily in our busy lives our body clock can become out of sync.

The stomach has most energy in the morning, the best time to digest a nutritious breakfast to set you up for the day, whereas energy goes to the liver and gall bladder overnight when we are resting so that the body can process all the toxins from the body so that they can be expelled by the body.  Following the liver and gall bladders active time, energy passes onto the lungs and large intestine so that they can then eliminate all the waste from the previous day.

Do you ever experience that 3pm slump – this is when the energy passes to the kidneys to recharge.  The kidney’s, home to the adrenal glands, act as a battery pack and as the energy moves here we can feel that slump as they recharge.

Late nights/early mornings, little sleep, shift working, eating late, skipping meals, eating the wrong foods, alcohol, drugs, medication, travelling to different timezones, external pollutants & toxins……..all take their toll on the body.  Our bodies get confused and don’t work so efficiently and the organs have to work harder, depleting the energy reserves.  We can then get into a vicious cycle  – using caffeine, sugar, alcohol, drugs to keep us going, which the liver then needs to work harder to process, reducing the energy even more.  The cycle continues.

But you can get your body back on track…..

  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins from the body
  • Cut down on sugar, alcohol, caffeine
  • Don’t eat too late at night
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast to set you up for the day ahead
  • Take walks into nature – breathe in the freash air, absorb vitamin D from the natural light

In addition, you can use yoga to reset the body clock – by using poses that stimulate the meridians of each organ in sequence we can get the body back on track.

With the clocks changing next weekend this is the ideal time to reset your body clock.  Join me on Friday 3rd November at Seasonal Yoga Academy where I’ll be teaching a restorative body clock sequence followed by a guided relaxation.  A great way to set yourself up for the coming months.

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Time to Roar

I always feel that new moons are a great time for stating afresh, setting some new intentions.  Yesterday saw the new moon in Leo which is said to be a very fiery time – “stoking the flames of our potential …..Courage to be our true selves, To find strength in our vulnerabilities , our truth and our rawness and to live from the inside out……….ultimately it is up to us to tend to our own heart flame by kindling it with what will bring it expansion and illumination” (Mysticmamma.com)

i am certainly feeling that this is a week for getting stuff done.  i woke up this morning with more energy than i’ve had in ages and even after a productive day i’m writing this blog at 10pm.  It could also be that it has been a scorcher of a day – Glasgow seems to have found the memo that it is summer!  Hurrah!  Whatever the reason, when these waves of productivity arise they have to be put to good use and not wasted.  SO….. more productivity for the rest of the week to bring some exciting new projects to life.

I’ve been manifesting these projects for a while now, they just started with a little seed of intention and have been growing slowly with a lot of nurturing and care.  I love this process of setting intentions, developing them and seeing them grow.  Taking my life in the new direction that i have planned.

What will you be doing over this new moon cycle?  It’s time to roar!!

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There’s also spaces still available on my Arran retreat 21st & 22nd August – treat yourself to some time dedicated to you.

Although we don’t want to think about summer coming to an end I’ll be back at Prana Yoga in Hamilton on 2nd September for a Later Summer Mini Retreat.  Late Summer is a time of returning to the earth, harvesting all the good things we  planted earlier in the year. Reflecting on what we have achieved & building up our sense of self worth.  It is a time to nourish yourself both physically & mentally so give yourself this time to slow down, go inwards & rediscover your self.

Guided Relaxation – Why should I use it?

I am a great fan of guided relaxations which allow your body and mind to completely relax and have just released my first collection of guided relaxations to download – Earth & Sky (Available on iTunesCDBaby Amazon & Google Play

In our current lives we are pretty much on 24/7 and I find through my yoga classes that people find it very difficult to relax.  It’s not something people are used to doing out with sleep and it’s not something people tend to consciously make time for.  I love seeing the effects on people when they’ve experienced a guided relaxation during class – the sense of lightness and calmness in their faces and bodies – and I wanted to share this collection so that people can receive the benefits more often.

It’s incredibly important that we find time to properly relax.  In this 24/7 busy and stressful lifestyle our sympathetic nervous system is switched on a lot of the time.  This is our fight or flight mode.  Whether it is work, family life, financial pressures, anxiety over the future, there are a whole host of stressors which trigger this fight or flight mode.  When the sympathetic nervous system is engaged our heart rate increases and our breathing rate is increased in order to get oxygenated blood to the major muscles to react to the stressor.  We make short terms decisions based on the information we have to hand to get us away from the stress.  With the blood supply busy transporting oxygen to the major muscles our digestive system doesn’t get what it needs to function properly.  If we live too much in this state it has a negative impact on our bodies and our lives.

It is therefore important that we ensure we make time to rest and engage the parasympathetic nervous system.  This allows our heart rate to slow down, the circulation system to deliver blood and nutrients to all the organs to allow the body to function optimally and repair itself.  When we are in a more rested state we are able to take longer term decisions, have the space to step back and find creative solutions to problems and be able to respond rather than react to events.

My guided relaxations are written to allow the body to come to complete muscular relaxation while staying awake and aware.  The conscious mind can switch off.  I like to think of these as a away for your mind to do a bit of file sorting – if the mind is continually busy it it can get overwhelmed with the filing of information and information gets filed in the wrong place or distorted.  When we allow the mind to relax it can have a bit of a tidy up and process information effectively.

In the relaxations you also have the option to utilise a sankalpa or resolve.  This is a short phrase, intention or affirmation that you can say near the beginning and end of the relaxation for something that you wish to change.  As you relax your mind can take in the intention so that it can act as a reference point for future actions.  Here are some examples:

  • I am beautiful and loved. I am proud to be me
  • I trust life to unfold in positive ways. The universe loves me and supports me
  • I choose to see everyone and everything with joy and love
  • Life is change. I adapt easily and accept the past, the present and the future

Any phrase or affirmation you use should be short and simple so that it is easy for you to remember.  It should be in the present tense ie said as something that you are doing now rather than something you have done in the past or will do in the future.  It should also be in positive language, bringing positive things in to your life rather than being about giving something up.  For example “I choose to eat healthy and nutritious food” rather than “I am giving up food that is bad for me”

Using sanklapas and affirmations in this way when we are going about our daily life our mind will look for ways to support these beliefs which will help to make positive changes if you choose.

Earth & Sky album is available to download on iTunes, CDBabyAmazon & Google Play.

Having Fun with Aerial Yoga

This week I’m talking about “Having Fun”

I was going to dive a little bit deeper into meditation and its wonderful benefits in this weeks blog but after a fun  aerial yoga class this week I changed my mind – let’s talk about having fun instead!  I’m not suggesting that meditation isn’t fun, it’s all about having the right tools in your toolbox for every situation and this week we are putting fun and laughter in the toolbox.

Aerial yoga utilises suspended hammocks to support the body during the practice.  I’ve been to a few aerial yoga classes before and know the benefits – the effects of gravity and the support of the hammock allow you to get deeper into postures providing a great stretch and challenge to the body.  I’d forgotten though just how much fun it is and therefore the psychological and physiological benefits that come from simply having fun and letting go.  It all ties in neatly to my previous blog where I was talking about relaxation and how we’ve forgotten how to relax.  Similarly, as adults, we forget to have fun – everything is so serious. It’s good to have some childish silly fun every now and again!

In the aerial yoga class we were sitting in our hammocks as if on a swing in the park, utilising our core abdominals gently to get us moving but once we got going we were all aiming our toes up towards the ceiling, leaning back, remembering how it was to swing in the park, going higher and higher.  Feeling a breeze across our faces as we reached higher and higher, willing our toes to touch the ceiling (I’ll just add that no ceilings were harmed during this practice!).  We laughed at how if we’d been in the park the children would be giving us a stare to get off their swings!

We worked our abdominal muscles through the postures as well as through laughing.  Releasing endorphins, the happy hormones that bring about the feel good factor and which counteract the stress hormones.  And in aerial yoga you don’t just get to swing back and forth – there’s also the opportunity to hang upside down, lengthening & decompressing the spine, a wonderful feeling if you spend a significant proportion of your day standing or sitting.  Utilising gravity you can find yourself in postures you didn’t think were possible.  A session generally works into all of the major muscles – as well as some muscles that you might forget you have on a day to day basis!

You don’t need to practice aerial yoga to release the endorphins but find something you enjoy which brings about a sense of fun and laughter.  But I can strongly recommend an aerial yoga class to connect to your inner child! It’s great not to take ourselves too seriously from time to time.

If you are interested to find out more about aerial yoga check out these wonderful teachers who run aerial yoga classes, workshops (and some also do aerial yoga teacher training) in and around Glasgow:

Some of them will also be teaching taster aerial yoga sessions at the Om Yoga Show Glasgow (25th/26th March)  so pop along and find out more http://www.omyogashow.com/glasgow/