Yoga Flow at Dusk

Practicing yoga in the evening is a fantastic way to reset your stress levels and invite some peace and relaxation into your mind.

Any of us may have a bad day for any number of reasons and it is important to accept that this is going to happen from time to time. The important thing is how you choose to deal with this negativity, and whether you allow it to follow you into the next day.

Ending each day by hitting the yoga mat is an incredible way to release negativity. Doing so can set you up for a good night’s sleep followed by a peaceful and positive morning.

Yoga for Relaxation

When you engage in a regular yoga practice you are likely to notice that your stress levels decrease, anxiety is experienced less frequently (or to a lesser degree) and also that you generally feel more at peace during your days. But, why is this?

As you flow through a yoga session you are going to naturally clear your mind of worries and concerns as you concentrate on the activity at hand. Also, as you move through the poses, you will be encouraging the flow of blood around your body and releasing tension from the muscles.

The deliberate and conscious way in which you breathe whilst practicing yoga is key to the relaxation benefits that you will enjoy! So, be sure to pay attention to your breath, especially during the moments when you are holding each pose.

Meditation

A normal yoga session will often involve periods of meditation, which has been shown to seriously aid stress release and support a positive frame of mind. When you make time to meditate daily – even for a short amount of time – then you are giving yourself permission to solely focus on yourself and your emotions. This is an incredibly powerful thing to do and can help you to connect to yourself.

The following video demonstrates a sequence I created to guide you through a 30 minute daily flow. You can really practice this at any time of the day, but I believe it is especially useful in the evenings! If you enjoy this video then be sure to head over to my YouTube channel for more!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we move towards the end of 2017!

Winter Immune System Health

As the winter season begins to settle in it becomes all the more important that we pay attention to the health of our immune systems. Consciously supporting your immune system should be seen as giving yourself a helping hand to stay healthy through the winter, and always close to the top of your priority list! 

There are several small things that you can do to give this aspect of your health a boost, and doing so can not only protect your body from illness, but will also help you to maintain your positive mood. When we begin to get ill our happiness can suffer, and this can lead to increased levels of stress as we struggle to find the energy and the motivation to get things done. This can become a cyclic problem as higher levels of stress can further compromise the immune system!

Get to Bed

Getting enough sleep can sometimes feel impossible. We all have our different reasons for not always getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep at night – but whatever your reason, it is important for the health of your immune system that you work to resolve the problem.

You can try going to bed earlier, avoiding caffeine or other dietary stimulants in the evening, meditating before bed and creating a more peaceful sleeping environment for yourself.

Eat for Digestive Health

The health of your digestive system is closely connected to your immune system function, and this is something I discussed in my previous article on Gut Health and your Diet.

Cutting out highly processed foods and those that are high in sugar is a great place to start. Additionally, taking a daily probiotic can help to encourage the presence of good bacteria in the gut.

Want to learn more about how eating more plant-based foods can enhance your health in other ways too? Click here now to check out my starter guide!

Pay Attention to Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most commonly known for its role is protecting bone health, but it is also important for the health of your immune system. Your body naturally creates vitamin D from the sun, and getting outside into the sunshine is a simple way to make sure you are producing enough. However, this can become a problem during the winter months due to the grey weather and shorter days.

Fortunately, many foods are fortified with vitamin D and it also occurs naturally in quite a range of foods. Therefore making the extra effort to include vitamin D rich produce during the colder months will help to keep your immune system functioning properly.

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

Alternatives to Meditation

The benefits of regular meditation are seriously not to be overlooked! It can help to combat stress, soothe anxieties and aid your mind in the process of dealing with emotions and past experiences – to name just a few great benefits. But it is true to say that traditional meditation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea…

If you find it hard to partake in meditation then there is no reason that you need to miss out on the benefits of this mood enhancing activity. Maybe you find it difficult to sit still for extended periods of time, or perhaps you struggle to create or find an environment that is conducive to this peaceful practice.

The key to enjoying the benefits of meditation, without necessarily engaging in a seated, eyes closed meditative practice, is to quieten your mind, focus on your breathing and simplify your thought process. This is something that you can do absolutely everywhere, and in any moment – you do not need to put time aside to spend a few moments doing these things.

Incorporating basic meditation concepts into your day is an easy way to enjoy the benefits without engaging in the actual practice. For example, when you are walking to work, take a few minutes to clear your mind, breathe deeply in and out, and bring your focus to concentrate solely on your breathing. As thoughts about your day try to invade this process, acknowledge them and then release them from your mind to bring your attention back to your breathing. Doing this each morning before you reach the office can help you to start your day with a relaxed and peaceful mindset.

Paying attention to your breathing throughout your day helps to settle the mind similarly to how meditation would. Breathing deeply from the very bottom of your lungs is the way to enjoy this – in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Try to keep your shoulders loose and do not let any tension build up in any part of your body while you are doing this. This is something that you can do regularly during your day for between two and ten minutes each time. You will soon notice that you are more prone to breathe in a deep way naturally, thereby better enabling your mind to tackle anxiety and keep stress at bay!

This month on my wellness for women community website we are talking about the best ways to avert anxiety! You can click here to join us now and start on your journey to a happier, healthier version of yourself!

How to Follow Your Path of Passion

Living the life you want is much easier said than done and there are several things, both external and internal, which can prevent you from doing so. Fear of the unknown is one of the biggest things that can hold you back when you are trying to follow your passion to find happiness. Even though it can be difficult, there are certain things that you can work towards and certain concepts that you can embrace to make this process much easier.

First of all, always try to listen to the feelings in your heart instead of the concerns in your mind. From the day you are born you are constricted by rules of what you are allowed to do and expectations of what you should be. It is essential to remember that these are put upon you by other people and are not necessarily the things you want for yourself. These rules and expectations can be applied to literally every aspect of your life, from how you should behave to how you should look and the milestones that you should achieve in life. There is no one right way to live your life and living it the way you want will inevitably bring you endless happiness.

Secondly, knowing what you want is the first step towards getting what you want. If you are not sure what your passion is yet then don’t stress about discovering it and following it. Through self-reflection and with the natural progression of time your path will become clear and you can then begin your journey towards it. It is not important to have your passion or passions set in stone and it is completely normal for your feelings to change along the way. This is not indecisiveness, it is the natural occurrence of growth and self-discovery.

Finally, know that fear is a feeling that we all have inside of us and it can surface at any time. The important thing is not to let this fear take over you and to find ways to bring peace and positivity back into your life. At the very essence, our negative emotions actually exist to help us. We fear things that might harm us and we are anxious of situations that may breed deeper negativity. When you accept that these feelings manifest as part of the greater struggle to become a happy person full of passion, then you can use them to your advantage on your journey through life.

Adopting these basic principles into your consciousness will help you to see the life-affirming lesson in every single experience. Even situations which you may consider too damaging to recover from will eventually just become distant memories. These memories may never go away completely but the negative feelings associated with them will, and you will then be better equipped emotionally to deal with similar situations in the future!

Life lived without following your passion is not the true life that you were put on this earth to live. You are entitled to your happiness and you must take it upon yourself to discover it!

The Path to Happiness

In our modern day world you would be forgiven for thinking that it is impossible to be truly happy if you don’t have a continuos source of pleasure in your life. It has become a common misconception that true happiness can only be derived from pleasure, whereas in reality the two do not always have to be connected. In order to understand why this is true, it is helpful to look back on ancient perspectives of happiness and how people through the ages have attempted to interpret its meaning.

The idea that the mind is completely responsible for happiness is one that has been explored extensively. The essence of this concept is that perception is everything and by finding ways to believe that happiness surrounds you will in turn breed feelings of persistent happiness. In order to achieve this it is essential to find ways to have a positive response to every situation and experience that you encounter. This can of course be a difficult rule to live by as the majority of us can never have complete control over all of our emotions! So, for those of us who can’t, I’ve put together the following list of simple concepts that can help us to strive towards a place of peace positivity.

First of all, I encourage you to accept the fact that happiness is not something that will appear overnight. It is a journey that we take which requires our attention and effort. Don’t see happiness as something that you are entitled to, but rather something which you earn through your behaviour and treatment of others. As you spread happiness, it will come back to you. Be grateful for the happiness that others extend to you and show appreciation for those who do so.

Secondly, work to adjust your perceptions of the things that happen in your life. Allowing yourself to have your mood dragged down by negative events beyond your control plays straight into the hands of sadness. Try to see light in every dark situation and understand that with every setback you are growing as a person. Your character is dependant on the way you conduct yourself in the world and refusing to let negativity in will go a long way to aiding you on your journey to happiness.

Finally, spend some time contemplating the things that are important to you and the things that you believe to be true in terms of a basic belief system. Do you want to eradicate cruelty from all aspects of your life? Do you want to be moral and virtuous in all of your interactions? Do you want to be kind and thoughtful to everyone you encounter? Once you know how you want to live, it will be much easier to implement this lifestyle. It isn’t until you truly do so that you will be able to reap the happiness that doing so brings!

Bring Meaning to Meditation

Finding ways to focus your meditation is a great way to keep your practice fresh and to continue to get the most benefit from this time. When you sit down to meditate with a purpose, you are actually focusing your mind on the things you want to achieve as opposed to giving your mind the potential to wonder.

Only when your meditation has a purpose will you be able to find real power in what you are doing. As you continue to address this purpose in each session you will be able to deepen your experience and unlock thoughts and feelings that are connected to this purpose.

Meditating on forgiveness is a common purpose for this practice. When someone in your life has done something that negatively affects you this is often cause for unhappy emotions. Even if this person has sincerely apologised to you, there may be some residual feelings of resentment on your part. It is important to address these feelings instead of just pretending that your relationship with this person has completely returned to normal. In order to meditate on forgiveness you must sit in your usual position and then envision the person in front of you. As you take a deep breath in imagine what you want to say to them and as you breathe out say it to them with meaning. Repeat this sequence several times and then end your last breath out with a finalising forgiving statement such as, “I truly forgive you”.

Another worthwhile purpose for meditation is your own self-love and self-worth. This is a great time to use any affirmations that you adopt regularly and is also a good time to come up with new ones. Remember that the point of this type of meditation is to build your confidence in yourself. Choose short but meaningful affirmations, say them in your mind as you breathe in and then feel this thought flow through your entire body as you breathe out. You can either do this with the same affirmation over and over again, or have several in mind that you can go through in turn. It is important that you really try to feel connected to each affirmation as you use it and believe each one as you say it.

Focusing your meditation in these ways can help to bring a greater sense of peace and well-being into your life and allows you to make the most of your meditation time.