The benefits of yoga has long been explored and there is a widespread understanding that it is a safe and effective form of exercise that can improve strength, flexibility and balance.
Through a range of exercises that focus on posture, breathing and strength, Yoga can help boost physical and mental wellbeing.
Evidence also suggests that practicing Yoga can be beneficial for people with high blood pressure, aches and pains, and stress.
The study of yoga is vast, there are eight main styles of yoga, and every practitioner will have their preferred style and way of teaching.
“For me, the physical practice of yoga is mindfulness in motion, flowing, breath-led sequences that open up layers of perception and remind us that we are embodied souls walking alongside others just like us.”
Naomi Annand from her book Yoga: a Manual for Life
Here’s a short session for you to try, it’s slow and gentle and designed to relieve stress, cultivate a clear mind and a strong body.
Research around stress and health carried out by leading scientific expert on Gratitude, Robert Emmons, has found that gratitude effectively releases stress hormones and increases positive emotions like happiness.
Studies have indicated some of the main benefits of Gratitude:
What are you feeling grateful for?
The Positive Psychology blog have put together a list of gratitude exercises and activities that are proven ways to help practice and enhance your gratitude.
Here are two ideas for you to try:
Gratitude Flower -
(This could be drawn or made by cutting out as these instructions suggest)
Start by cutting out a circle from coloured paper. Yellow is a popular colour for this piece since it will be the center of the flower.
On the circle, write “Things I’m Thankful For”
Next, use a template or freehand cut to create flower petals.
You can use several different colours for a bright and vibrant flower, or the same colour for a more uniform looking flower.
On the flower petals, write down things you are grateful for.
Glue or tape these petals to the center to create a flower and you’ve successfully made your own gratitude flower!
Gratitude prompts –
Gratitude prompts are a helpful way to get you started. They provide various ways to begin a gratitude statement, with endless possibilities for completion. They cover multiple senses, colours, people, and things.
The goal is to identify at least three things in each category that you are thankful for.
I’m grateful for three things I hear:
I’m grateful for three things I see:
I’m grateful for three things I smell:
I’m grateful for three things I touch/feel:
I’m grateful for these three things I taste:
I’m grateful for these three blue things:
I’m grateful for these three animals/birds:
I’m grateful for these three people:
I’m grateful for these three things in my home:
Use as many or as few of these prompts as you wish, change them to suit you and add your own.
Others activities can be found here.
Sing it loud!
The benefits of singing and music have been the basis of many scientific studies. Music Making is a successful way to exercise the brain as well as the body but singing has been found to be particularly beneficial for improving breathing, posture and muscle tension.
A report put together by The University of Oxford underlines how singing can improve our sense of happiness and wellbeing. Research has found that people feel more positive after actively singing than they do after passively listening to music.
Do you enjoy singing? Do you fancy giving it a try?
This might be the ideal time, as Gareth Malone is in the process of setting up a national choir and is giving people the opportunity to contribute their voices and instruments to his new digital music project.
The Great British Home Chorus aims to bring together both amateur and professional performers from around the country during this time of social distancing.
To be a part of this initiative you can sign up here to receive all information and sheet music etc. Or you can dip in and out and join in when you want through his singing practices on YouTube.