“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.“
– Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Breaking old habits
Well, none of us should be feeling sluggish and in a bit of a lifestyle rut already, with a million events to attend, societies to join and new people to meet. But don’t worry if you are, because September is about finding your feet, and managing a healthy balance comes a bit later…
In an attempt to achieve this balance, and feel more energetic for early morning lectures (and because I am living with two insane Dance students), I decided I was very lazy, and that I needed to Do Something.
Anybody who knows me knows that I am not the most New Age/yoga-ish of types; in-cooperating stretching like a cat into my morning routine instead of a latte is not very me and I mostly tend to ignore my body, which means I am, in fact, the exact kind of person in need of a yoga class.
Recently, I have been reading books based on wellbeing, such as Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which is about a young woman who, after a loss, decides to hike across America alone. I really recommend it for anybody who is prone to falling into bad habits like me, rather than being selective and mindful of the student lifestyle. The books Eat, Pray Love and Wild relate the significance of exploring what it is to stay afloat, to choose a lifestyle actively, to be happy.
Choosing a lifestyle
So, anyway, my pushy housemate Harriet woke me up to attend our yoga class at the DMU gym.
The Yogafit class description is as follows: “A workout for weight loss, toning, strength, flexibility and balance. Incorporating Yoga moves, this class delivers an invigorating yet vigorous workout that will burn calories whilst leaving you feeling supple and energised.”
The gym, which Laurie Ingham reviewed here http://www.demon-media.co.uk/lifestyle/the-health-and-fitness-lifestyle-gyms-in-leicester/ offers membership-holders classes for free, or £4 for non-members. Straightaway I felt relaxed in the yoga classroom, because there was a soothing New Age-y playlist on in the background and the lights were dim, which was great because my socks didn’t match, and I didn’t want anybody to look at me flailing around upside-down, or something.
Trying Yoga as a Daily Routine
I felt so relaxed after the yoga class that I resolved to make it a part of my daily routine, on the spot, every morning, for the rest of my life, forever. Great. Sorted.
Sadly this has not happened for some reason, but here are some yoga exercises you can practise in the comfort of your garden/halls of res before class:
The Cobra (good for your back)
Lie on your stomach, propping yourself up with your forearms, and curl your back as far as it can go, lifting your head up. Hold for a couple of minutes – you should feel a good stretch.
The Child’s Pose (good for your back)
Place your knees on the floor and rest on your heels, with your arms stretched across the floor, right out over your head. This should elongate your back.
The Pigeon Pose (good for your hips)
Sit with your legs crossed in front of you, but elongate your right leg behind you, curling it slightly so that you feel a stretch in your hips. Keep your left leg in its position in front of you, and if you can, reach behind you to hold your right ankle.
The Downward Facing Dog
Begin with your palms spread on the floor, your feet on either side of the yoga mat – it’s easiest to slip into this right after Child’s Pose. You should end up like an upside-down ‘V’ shape, with your knees slightly bent to feel it in your spine.
If there’s any exercise routines or wellbeing tips you have too, let us know at #iamdemon!