HEALTHY LIVING - MY COLLABORATION WITH CLARINS AUSTRALIA

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I was fortunate enough to be approached by Clarins Australia to help launch their new skincare range and share how I feel meditation and yoga can improve our overall health & well-being along with the right nutrients on our skin; that can help deliver a healthy glow. Which we all want, right?

I believe meditation helps greatly with memory and concentration which are two very important life tools for overall health. Having worked within a fast paced environment prior to starting my own Yoga and Meditation business a few years ago now, I would notice a difference not only in my stress levels but also my sleep. Feeling well rested, I was fortunate enough to experience first hand a healthier, clearer and inspirited me; and could see a glow on my face that I wanted to be contagious. I therefore started to focus on the inside out and overall healthy living.

However; even with Yoga and Meditation being my chosen career, it’s still something I need to work on. Life gets busy however it might be as simple as waking up and doing breathing exercises in bed prior to the household waking.
Yoga asanas, are traditionally a set of poses to assist in sitting for meditation so I believe it’s extremely important to practice yoga two to three times a week. I roll out my Mat either in the living room or on our deck while our daughter sleeps - even if it’s just for thirty minutes. It is possible to fit it in - it’s just having the motivation behind you to start. I’m lucky I have my own business as this encourages me to take time out everyday to be able to share, teach and assist others where I can.

I’m a big believer that once you start something it becomes easier with time and my tip is to nurture yourself as often as you can through meditation & yoga as it may help soften our appearance and create that natural radiance; with the added bonus of alleviating tension in our busy lives.

I'd love to hear your healthy living tips as I'm forever a student in life!

FIVE YOGA POSES TO DO AT YOUR DESK

In need of a stretch but don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself at your desk?

Try these 5 simple yoga stretches:

1.     Seated Childs Pose

Make sure both feet are flat on the floor hip width apart and sit tall & straight with the spine. Tuck chin, roll down vertebrae placing forearms on thighs and forehead on arms. To go deeper place hands towards the floor either side of your legs and rest forehead on knees.

Inhale letting your belly rise and exhale releasing tension. Continue for 5 breaths.

Benefits: To relax the nervous system and release any tension in the lower back and neck.

2.     Seated Spinal Twist

Place feet flat on floor hip width apart and sit tall. Inhale first, as you exhale rotate torso to the right side turning head with your body to look over the right shoulder. Place hands on the side of the chair. Continue your inhale and exhale up to 5 breaths. Release neck first then come back to centre. Repeat to the left.

Benefits: To massage internal organs along with stretching ribs and torso.

(Note: Do not twist if you are pregnant)

3.     Shoulder Rolls

Sit tall with a straight spine, feet flat and hip width apart on the floor. Inhale to begin lifting your shoulders simultaneously to your ears. As you exhale, roll shoulders down and back. Continue this movement for 5 breaths.

Benefits: To link your breath to movement to form a concentration. This pose also softens shoulder muscles to release neck and upper back tension.

4. Chest/Shoulder Opener

Sit on the  front edge of a chair with feet firm on the floor and hip width apart. Interlace fingers behind your back with your palms facing each other. Inhale first and as you exhale move your torso forward over your thighs lifting your clasped hands toward the ceiling. Release the neck and stay for 5 breaths.

Benefits: To release tightness in the middle of your back and open your heart naturally releasing tension in the chest and stimulating the immune system.

5.     Hip-Opener

Sit on the front edge of the chair with feet firm on the floor and hip width apart. Stack ankles under your knees being careful not to let the knee go forward over the ankle. Cross right ankle over your left ankle with right foot on the floor and allow right knee and hip to fall open to the right. For a stronger stretch, place right ankle on left knee instead of the left ankle in the shape of the number 4. Sit tall whatever level you’re doing and inhale. On your exhale slightly move your heart and chest forward toward your knees. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat other side.

Benefits: To open hip flexes and align shoulders.

Try and do the above 5 poses daily when if the office. Alternatively, if you have a lunch break organise corporate yoga with a group of works friends or your team.

Exercise in companies in general is on the rise to create work/life balance positivity within businesses. This allows employees to focus and direct energy in the right place, making the business more efficient with an increased energy and overall calmer work environment.

TAKING YOUR MIND BACK

As soon as I wake up in the morning - I feel my mind start... "what appointments do I have today? Is it cold? What time do I need to leave? I forgot to get milk..."

Can you relate?

One of the first things my teachers taught me when meditating in Sri Lanka was to stop your mind starting as soon as you wake. Very hard to do... but I am now starting to take control, instead of my mind taking control of me. I open my eyes and think about how fortunate I am to have a cosy bed (especially this Winter) and a loving partner next to me. I try and think about the actual moment rather than the meeting I have at 2pm that afternoon. 

 Photo credit: Chantell bianchi

Photo credit: Chantell bianchi

I honestly start to bring my awareness, first thing in the morning, back to my breath. I take a deep breath in as I wake, so my body gets the complete inhale from top to bottom, enjoy the comfort of my pillow and blankets for a second more, before jumping out of bed. 

I'm actually silent prior to my morning meditation. When in Sri Lanka, we were taught to come to the Shala in silence, having no eye contact or morning conversation with a friend and this meant that I didn't speak for almost 4 hours by the time breakfast started at 10am. It was actually very therapeutic, even though it was quite hard at first.

So, even though it's not "no speaking" for 4 hours every morning now back home in Sydney, I try and stay focused prior to my meditation seat with no speech, so no thoughts or chores come creeping into my mind before I start.

If you don't meditate or haven't tried it yet, you can just start your day by focusing on your breath, relaxing into your day and stopping your mind wondering as soon as you open your eyes. The mind is very smart, so try and take control back and arrange it how you want. Your day starts and ends with you and it's a decision you make. You make your choice. Sure, difficult things happen and also days can start off badly... but it's how you deal with it and what you decide you're going to do with it for the rest of the day.