Yoga for daily life: Cultivating a daily practice

During our retreats, we always place a lot of importance on the power of the morning ritual. How do you start your day? Checking emails or Facebook? A good old cup of strong coffee? By running through your mental list of what you need to achieve that day? All of this outside stimulation means you are already disconnecting from yourself, from your own energies – and you are already ‘borrowing’ energy from external sources.

And as we know, what we borrow, we must give back!

A morning ritual or practice can be so simple, but makes huge shifts in the way your day goes. In fact, it can change your life. Checking in with yourself, feeling where your energy is today – and more importantly, where it’s coming from. Cultivating a practice to open your energy channels and your body and also learning to protect yourself from all the outside stimulations and messages we experience on a daily basis. Literally millions. This is all about self-care and self-love.

Practical tips
* Use an alarm clock with natural sounds to wake you gently – get your phone out of your bedroom to avoid any temptation
* Replace your morning coffee with hot water, lemon and turmeric (amongst other things, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory)
* Set up a temple space – a place where you can take your tea, sit and just begin to be. Make this space comfortable – dress it with colours that make you feel positive and calm, or pictures and photos that inspire you.
* Your breath is your life-force energy and it tells you all you need to know about what’s going on inside. If your breath feels calm, you feel calm. If the breath is short and ragged – this reflects in your thoughts and therefore actions

Introduce a gentle 20-minute meditation and stretch practice into your day. In all of these practices, we are cultivating SPACE. Space in our breath for even, calm breathing, space in our minds for calm thoughts and space in our bodies with the yoga asanas themselves. In creating space, we offer ourselves an alternative to how we live our lives. The alternative of response rather than reaction. Reaction often comes from a place of fear or anger. Responses are mindful and considered and infinitely more skillful!

Why not take a 7-day challenge? See the benefits for yourself. Contact Ibiza Retreats for guidance or a 1:1 session via emailing info@ibizaretreats.com.

Yoga for daily life: Warriors of Light

The warrior sequence of postures are probably the most well known and loved – with good reason. They cultivate strength in the body, increase stamina, open the chest, hips and groins, lengthen the spine, ground us – but for all they offer physically, they offer the same and more for our hearts, minds and spirits.

When we think of the traits of the warrior, we think of power, patience, integrity, strength of mind, courage and determination. These are all traits we can develop and grow with our practice and then the yoga becomes part of our daily life and we can also feel the benefits off the mat.

We all have a warrior inside us. Here’s how to find yours.

1. Stand with your feet wide (wrist over ankles)
2. Turn your front foot 90 degrees
3. Make sure your hips are open and as you exhale, bend your front knee.
4. Inhale your arms up to shoulder height and BREATHE
5. Take 10 breaths here, just thinking about the qualities you wish to cultivate

To bring more integrity to the pose, make sure your front knee is flowing over the middle of your toes, keep your spine straight as you exhale into the pose and tuck your tailbone under to open the groin further.

Next time, when you are faced with a tricky situation in real life, think how a warrior might approach it and see if you can give yourself more space in mind to respond with skill and integrity!

Namaste.

To cultivate your yoga on and off the mat, come ands join us for a retreat! See our full list of yoga retreats here.

Yoga for daily life: Let’s go outside! 

Sometimes it’s all about changing the perspective. Shake things up and shake out the body to release stagnant energy, and Mother Nature offers us many gifts which can deepen our concentration and help guide the body within our yoga practice. So why not take your yoga practice outside? Ok, you might not be in Ibiza right now – but the sun can be shining in your heart!

Featured yoga pose: We love the good old Warrior 3! It strengthens the whole body, especially the legs, around the hips and most importantly, the core. It focuses the mind as you need the concentration to keep the energy flowing from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes. And today, we are going to try Warrior 3 against a tree.

  1. Begin in mountain pose, rooting down through your left leg
  2. Inhale and draw your right knee up towards your chest, hands on hips
  3. As you begin your exhale, lean forward, hands on the tree and extending your right leg back, hips square, energy between your hip bones
  4. Activate you whole body from toe to body perpendicular to the floor, keeping the core strong. Keep breathing here – take five to ten deep breaths up and down your spine, finding the space inside you
  5. Then inhale and bring your right leg back to standing – keep the leg up! And exhale back

Ask someone to stand behind you whilst you do this to ensure your hips are square. It may help to try to strengthen from the inner thigh rather than the outer thigh. They can even offer you their own thigh to press against – so you are using the tree and the other person to really activate the very core of you. Now you should feel the power of the warrior…

Book a one to one yoga session with our private instructors

Yoga for daily life: Purifying Breath Techniques

The essence of yoga is really all about purification. Keeping the body pure and healthy through the physical asanas, detoxifying the mind of negative thoughts and emotions and creating space in the breath for this ‘prana’ or life force energy to flow.

Featured breathing technique

Nadi Shodhan. We introduce this gently purifying ‘pranayama’ (breath) technique to help clear out blocked energy channels in the body, which in turn calms the mind. ‘Nadi’ means subtle energy channel and ‘Shodhan’ represents cleaning and purification. This can be done anytime of the day, not just on the yoga mat – we suggest two to three times daily to really experience the benefits.

  1. Sit comfortably with your spine long and shoulders relaxed
  2. Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, thumb on the right
  3. Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left
  4. Now breathe in from the left nostril, close the left nostril gently and breathe out from the right
  5. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. This is one round – try nine
Other benefits of purifying breath techniques?

Our minds have a tendency to regret or glorify the past or get anxious about the future. This helps us to stay present. It helps harmonise the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personalities. This breath technique prepares the body and mind for meditation, so try a short meditation afterwards.

Yoga for daily life: Postures to open your heart

Tightness around the chest and shoulders is often put down to the stress and tension of daily life, but it can also be the body’s natural defence against our hearts getting hurt. Heart-opening postures can help to gently open your heart through yoga – to new loves, life experiences and feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

Featured posture

Setu-Bhandu (bridge pose). As well as being a beautiful heart-opening posture, this also strengthens the spine, improves spinal flexibility and stimulates the thyroid gland. For the ultimate in restorative healing, use a block underneath your lower spine (just where the top of your buttocks start) to work with the adrenals and deeply relax the body.

  1. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet parallel
  2. Lift hips up
  3. Interlace fingers behind your back, drawing your shoulder blades together
  4. Lift the hips higher
  5. Draw the chest toward the chin
  6. Release the hands and peel the spine back to the mat
  7. Rest, allowing the knees to come together

After practicing heart-opening postures like this, you will feel lighter, brighter and more receptive to the beautiful things around you – especially to love!

Why not try Anusara yoga, which is a yoga philosophy completely dedicated to opening the heart? Make sure you focus on your breath when undertaking any posture or practice, for the breath will tell you all you need to know… when you learn to listen.