If you have some green areas around you, you´re lucky! Not all of us have. Living in a big city can make it difficult to reach the nature. But maybe you have a park close to you that you can visit. It doesn´t have to be big, just a park with grass and plants. Be creative and explore your surroundings this summer!
Here are my summer tips:
Be mindful in the nature
Go to a place that is as quiet as possible with as much nature as possible. Sit down on the grass or on a rock. Close your eyes and take some big deep breaths. Drop your shoulders and relax. Listen to the sound around you. Maybe you hear birds, flies or water running. Notice your skin how it feels. Does the sun shine on it or the wind touches it lightly? Notice the scent around you. Do you sense any from flowers, the water or the grass? Just rest for a while in total mindfulness here and now. (This is an exercise me and my women circle did a couple a weeks ago. So relaxing!)
Walking barefoot on the ground can have a very healing affect on you. To be in contact with the earth reconnect us to its energy. This has a very balancing and calming effect on you. All you need to do is to be barefoot directly on the ground. You don´t need to walk if you don´t want to, you can just sit on a chair with the feet on the ground.
I try to be barefoot as much as possible during the summer and have noticed that it makes me very calm. Try it!
Be in the sun
The sun has had a bad reputation the last couple of decades or so. We are told to protect our self from its dangerous beams to prevent us from getting cancer. This has led us to use sun protection that in itself has bad ingredients and also prevents us from producing and absorbing the very important vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important for our immune system, hormone balance, mineral absorption, hair and skeleton etc. Research has shown that we only need to be in the sun for 30 minutes a day to have enough vitamin D. So before you put sun protection (preferable natural), be in the sun for 30 minutes.
The sun is also important for our daily rhythm and sleep. To be in the daylight helps our pineal gland to produce more melatonin during the night so our sleep becomes better. Having a good night sleep is a well known fact for our health.
Have a picnic with friends and family
To be with our near and dear ones is also very good for our health. It makes us happier to interact with people around us. So my last summer tip is to arrange picnics this summer. It doesn´t have to be complicated with a lot of food, it can be as simple as bringing some strawberries and ice tea, or why not bringing some delicious raw dessert, crispy salad or just a bunch of fresh cherries.
So what are your plans for this summer? Please share your summer tips with us!
The first time I got in contact with yoga therapy, as a client, was 6 years ago. I had a tough time in my life and didn´t know where to go. Knowing my yoga teacher had a big network, I thought I´d ask him for an advice. But when I asked him he suggested I´d come to him for an individual yoga therapy session. I´d never thought about that but I said yes. The session was around 2 hours. He asked a lot of questions about my life, my health, emotional problems, my childhood etc. He gave me a yoga set to do every day for 40 days. When I walked out I saw the cherry trees blossom and I remembered walking out of there thinking “This was the first day of a new beginning”. I started the yoga set as a very dedicated student, every day for 40 days. I didn´t miss it once. Some days were tough, resistance showed up all the time, but I kept up. I got angry at the poses, but I continued. But sa they say: It´s not the goal in itself that is the goal, it´s the jorney that´s the goal.
That summer I went to a yoga festival, shortly after the 40 days had ended. I noticed I felt so much bliss! The difference in how I felt before the challenge and how I felt inside of me after was huge! I felt peace, love and a calmness I had not felt in years. Since then I have yoga as a part of my daily life. The first thing I do in the morning is yoga. Of course I miss it sometimes, life is like that sometimes.
What is yoga therapy?
Yoga therapy is what it sounds like: You have therapy session with a therapist. You talk about your health, normally I ask a lot of questions, and you answer. Depending on the answers you give me I decide which yoga poses and meditation is best suited for you. So the tools you get are yoga poses and meditations: a yoga program you can do at home. The program is designed for your particularly problems, addressing what you need to work with, just for you. We are all different, even though we can have the same diagnosis, it doesn´t mean that we can use exactly the same tools. That´s what is so great with having an individual session. I also include other aspects of things that can help you even more for your health, like food suggestions and other lifestyle changes you can incorporate in your life. You do the program for 40 days and after 40 days we have a follow up how you´re doing and if you need to change anything or continue.
Do I really have to do yoga every day for 40 days?
How you want to use your yoga program is totally up to you. Some of my clients do the yoga set every day for 40 days. When you do something for 40 days your habits will change. It is habits that actually affect our life and health, and to get in yoga as a routine as a habit can take 40 days. When you practice yoga every day you´ll notice the effect yoga has and of course you´ll have better benefits and results.
But you can also use the program as an individual yoga set you can do a couple of times a week. Or maybe only do some poses every day. Research has shown that only doing yoga as much as once or twice a week gives good results in your health.
So you see, it´s totally up to you. We all have different conditions in our lives. Some of us have the time it takes to do it every day and some us can´t seem to get it into our busy lives. But the most important thing is to try and to figure out how you can incorporate yoga into your life.
Which results can I expect?
Well, that depends how much yoga you do and what you want to focus on. But many say that it affects their stress levels and they become calmer. Many notice big difference when it comes to their health problems such as pain, headaches, back problems and anxiety. To do yoga as a daily practice and practice over time can make a big difference in your behavior patterns and also affect you in a spiritual way. I would describe it as this: imagine that you´re an onion and that the layers on the onion are peeled off the more you practice yoga. When you have peeled off all layers you have reached your inner soul, your higher true self.
But the only way to find out what yoga doesreally is to try it yourself! To experience the practice and what it does for you is the only way to find out.
What is included in my yoga therapy packages?
The 1-on-1 is on Skype. It works very well doing a therapy session on skype. You don´t have to go anywhere, you can be at home anywhere in the world!
Have you noticed if you contract muscles in your body without thinking about it? Where is your pain? Begin noticing if your muscles in this area are tense and contracted. I have noticed that I contract my pelvic muscles sometimes. And that of course doesn’t help me in my endometriosis illness. The blood needs to circulate freely there. Another example is headache. It´s a well known fact that the muscles in neck and shoulders often are contributing to headaches. You can try this Mini Yoga set for Headaches here. I´ve suffered from headaches for years, and I´ve noticed that shoulders are often involved, but there can be even other muscles involved like the tongue. And of course other problems like bad digestion, food sensitivity etc.
When muscles are tense the blood stops flowing in that area and you are in a constant fight or flight mode. Over time the result is often pain. In the old times we needed this stress response that tightened our muscles when we needed to escape from a lion or other danger in life. We needed this to escape and survive. But today the chances are not so high that you need to run, except if you need to run to catch the bus or have to move quickly avoiding to get hit by a car. Still we are so stressed and anxious. And that has consequences in our life and health. But don´t worry there is something you can do about it!
Be aware of it
The first thing is to be aware of the problem. Notice and sense in your body what´s happening. Are the muscles tensed or relaxed?
There are some techniques for this:
- Scan your body from top to toes.
Notice if you´re contracting the muscles. Be aware of every muscle in your body, even the muscles you would not think about. The jaw, tongue, shoulders, pelvis, buttocks… Take a couple of deep big breaths and relax in the area that is tense. When you have scanned a couple of times you´ll soon notice if you have any specific problem areas, so when you continue your daily body scanning you can only focus on the them. Try to do this a couple of times a day, as a break in whatever you´re doing.
-Contracting relaxing technique
Sometimes, especially if you´ve had the tension for a long time, it can be difficult to sense if you´re tense. What you can do then is to use a technique that is contracting/relaxing muscle by muscle. This is how you do it:
Lie down on your back. Begin to contract your right foot for 5-10 seconds. Relax the foot for 10-20 seconds (double the time as when you contract). Continue with left foot in the same way. Contract in 5-10 seconds. Relax 10-20 seconds Move your focus to your legs. Contract-relax. Continue through your whole body: Buttocks, pelvis (not if you´re menstruating), belly, chest, back, shoulders (push them up towards your ears), grimace your face, push your tongue upwards in the mouth. Relax a couple of minutes when you´ve worked through your whole body. Try to do this at least once a day.
Please share your thoughts and experiences with us!
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”