10 simple ways to create more peace, space and contentment in your daily life

As we enter this new year of fresh possibilities sometimes our expectations of ourselves and what we want to achieve or change can be too high or too demanding, and often lead to a sense of failure when we don’t manage to do those things. Rather than setting the bar so high, instead try being kinder to yourself and just make some simple changes that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and will have a very positive impact on how you feel.

As we enter this new year of fresh possibilities sometimes our expectations of ourselves and what we want to achieve or change can be too high or too demanding, and often lead to a sense of failure when we don’t manage to do those things. Rather than setting the bar so high, instead try being kinder to yourself and just make some simple changes that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and will have a very positive impact on how you feel.

  1. Each morning on waking take five long, deep, calming breaths and bring your attention to your body. Take a few minutes to move your attention through each part of your body, thanking each part. Be grateful for this body and your health.
  1. Take a moment to be thankful for another day. Remember each new day really is a gift, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
  1. As you shower or get dressed think of a positive mantra or affirmation for your day. And then keep this with you as you go about your day.  A few examples of positive affirmations are:
  • I know that there is a deep peace within me and I can connect to it at any time.
  • I notice the beauty in all things.
  • I am free of worry and am at peace with who I am. 
  • I appreciate the power of stillness.
  • I am grateful for all that I have.
  1. Rather than rushing your breakfast whilst checking your emails, instead really focus on what you are eating and drinking, the taste and smells of your food, and appreciate this moment to nourish your body and to pause before your day gets going.

  1. Try to change your route to work whenever possible, at least the part that you do on foot. Even walking on the opposite side of the street allows us to see the world around us with fresh eyes and a new appreciation. Look up rather down, be aware of the vastness of the sky above you. Walk mindfully, really feeling the connection of your feet to the ground, and be aware of the world around you rather than just being caught up in your thoughts.

  1. Punctuate your day with a few deep calming breaths and take a moment to refocus your awareness in your body, noticing what sensations and emotions you are feeling right now. You can do this anywhere, at your desk, on the tube, walking outside. Soften the tension in your face and jaw and stay present with the rhythm of the breath for a few moments.
  1. Be kind to yourself and to others. Smile as you go about your day. Notice how this makes you feel, and how small acts of kindness make others respond more positively.
  1. Nourish yourself in some small way each day: a quiet walk in nature, a walk in the park or by the river, a meal eaten slowly and mindfully, buy yourself some flowers, take a long, relaxing bath. Notice how it feels to take care of and nurture yourself.
  1. Take time to relax when you arrive home – just 10 minutes, lying on a bolster, or with the legs up the wall or simply flat on the floor, using an eye pillow to relax the eyes. Practice calming breathing in this pose. Allow yourself 10 minutes just ‘to be’. And notice how refreshed you feel afterwards.

  1. Keep a small journal by your bed. At the end of each day before going to sleep, write down 2 or 3 things that you are grateful for today. It can be anything: a delicious meal you ate, a beautiful sunset you saw, a good book you read, a kind gesture that someone made, your health, the comfortable bed you are in, your friends, your partner. A regular appreciation of the things that went well in our day can really start to bring about a shift in how we see and feel about our life.

Just give these simple things a try and notice the different they will make to your quality of life.

Sarah teaches regular Sunday afternoon workshops focusing on slowing down and finding more inner space and tranquility through the practice of restorative yoga, yin yoga, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation.

The next one is on Sunday 11th March.

To find out more and to book a place: www.yogacreation.co.uk/workshops.php

She is also available to teach 1-2-1 restorative sessions.

Lemon Basmati Rice (white or brown or half and half)

Serve with any vegetables in season- steamed broccoli, roasted butternut squash, as a side dish to any main or on its own for some healthy vegan gluten free carbs.

Serve with any vegetables in season- steamed broccoli, roasted butternut squash, as a side dish to any main or on its own for some healthy vegan gluten free carbs.

Ingredients:

2 TBSP Rice Bran Oil
1/2 TBSP black mustard seeds
1 roughly chopped green chilli
1/2 TSP or more ground turmeric
grated fresh root ginger to taste
250-300 g of cooked fluffed basmati rice
1 small freshly squeezed lemon juice
dried crushed curry leaves
chopped fresh coriander leaves

Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds and chilli. Lower the heat and add the turmeric and ginger. Add cooked rice, stir well to infuse the flavours. Add lemon juice, stir some more and then turn off the heat. While the rice is still warm mix in curry leaves and cover the rice with a lid for 20 minutes to absorb all the spices. Once ready to serve garnish with fresh coriander.

Serves 2-3 people

Healthy sweet snack for extra energy

Roasted chestnuts immune boosting, rich in calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, gluten free.

Roasted chestnuts immune boosting, rich in calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, gluten free

Ingredients:

Fresh 10 chestnuts

Wash chestnuts under the cold water. Don’t dry. Pierce a cross through each nut with a sharp knife. Place on a heated baking tray in the centre of fan assisted oven heated up to 190/200c. Roast 10-12 minutes. Once baked allow them to cool down for a few minutes before peeling and devouring them.

Bon Appetit!

Posture of the month: Shoulderstand

Turning your body up side down builds strength and elasticity in the musculature, ligaments and connective tissues of the spine and rib cage. Improves posture and energises our vital organs.

Salamba Sarvangasana : supported Shoulderstand pose

In yoga Headstand is sometimes called th King of yoga and Shoulderstand the Queen of yoga. The postures are so beneficial in whole that it is no wonder they’ve been called King & Queen of yoga.

Benefits:

Turning your body up side down builds strength and elasticity in the musculature, ligaments and connective tissues of the spine and rib cage. Inversions help  improve posture and energises our vital organs.

Physical level: stimulating the endocrine glands and the thyroid. Helps rebalancing hypoactive thyroid. Relieves reparation problems such as asthma congestion and sinusitis. Reduces stress to the musculature and organs of the torso, improving digestion, respiration and circulation. Inversions bring relief to tired, strained legs. Reduces water retention in the legs.

Mind level: calms the mind

Emotional: relieves stress and can helps with mild depression
Chakra: awakens vishuddhi chakra (throat chakra)

Cautions:

People suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, enlarged thyroid, during menstruation or excessive toxins in the system shouldn’t attempt inverted postures. If you are pregnant and you have practised sarvangasana before your pregnancy regularly you can do the asana, but listen to your body as every woman experience it differently.

How to:

  1. Lie in a relaxed supine position
  2. Then bring the legs together, palms of the hands on the floor beside the body
  3. Raise the legs, bringing them a little behind the head, so that the back rises, and support the back with the hands
  4. Raise the legs in the air, feet towards the ceiling
  5. Support the lower back with the hands, keeping the elbows behind on the floor
  6. The hands can be adjusted so that you are steady, elbows can come towards each other
  7. Keep neck long
  8. Concentrate on the throat centre

Coming out: slowly lower the back onto the floor, keeping the legs raised. Keep the palms of the hands on the ground and slowly lower the legs.

The posture is more intense if you apply Ujjayi breath.

Modifications:
Vipareeta Karani (upside down): Major difference to shoulderstand is the angle of the back to the floor. In sarvangasana the back and legs should be perpendicular; in vipareeta karani the back is at a forty-five degree angle to the floor and legs.


More modifications:
Variation I:
  

Variation II:


Next step
:
Niralamba shoulderstand : unsupported shoulderstand

Try to maintain same angle back to floor as in the supported shoulderstand, but place the palms parallel on the floor with straight arms.