Defining, Designing and Directing

As we move into a new year in just a few days It’s important to take time to take stock of how far we have come and reflect on the things that are inspiring us for the future.

I have been working towards leaving behind the things that no longer serve me and stepping into the New Year with new energy and enthusiasm!

Here are the 3 D’s to follow to get you set up to do the same!

Define– What are your goals? what are your dreams? Where do you want to be by the end of 2018? Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Take some time to sit down and really think about your bright plans for the future. Switch off distractions, maybe take some time in nature to reconnect with silence and stillness.

This process may take some time and to be honest it can be difficult, you probably won’t define it all. And that’s fine, it should be a work in progress because as you move forward your goals should and will shift and evolve.

Design– So now that you have figured out what your goals are you can start to think about the practical stuff, the small but vital steps you can start taking today to make those goals a reality.
You should aim to have a weekly check in with yourself when you sit down and have a think about what you are doing and more importantly what you are not doing and when and how you will make time for these things.

You can get really organised about this and design a calendar grab your highlighter pens and go wild. Or if you are a bit more easy-going like me you can start a journal. I ask myself 5 simple questions at least twice a week and I write it all down so I can assess my present situation and devise my future intentions.

Direct- So this is where the magic happens! You need to make sure that your energy is directed at your goals. This may sound obvious but it is crazy how certain mental limitations can stop us from moving forward. You probably don’t even realise you are doing it. We might say one thing but our actions describe something else. You need to get the alignment correct.
You need to make your goals a priority. Instead of excuses dedicate that brain power to thinking about the things that you love.

In yoga we learn that energy flows where attention goes. This is such an obvious concept but in a world where our attention is constantly being diverted it can be difficult to put into practice. Take time to switch those distractions off and reconnect with your own greatest teacher-yourself.

And lastly begin to believe that you already have everything that you are working towards.

Because you already do!

Feel at ease

Ana Maria

Check out my IG and FB for daily yoga,massage and wellness inspiration @awaytolivewellfullsizeoutput_631

 

30 minute restorative practice

Step away from the busy activity of daily life and go inward.
Restorative yoga is a practice which allows us to slow down and find stillness in each supported posture. This stillness and support allows the body to switch into the parasympathetic nervous system ease the sympathetic nervous system and so encourage a deep sense of wellbeing and calm.

The following are just some of the benefits of the practice.

*helps provide physical and mental balance
*prevents stress and anxiety
*helps to prepare the body for a deeper more restful sleep
*Allows the body to release tension and strain
*Refreshes the mind and the body

How to:                                                                                                                                           Practice each of these postures for up to 5 minutes each.

What you will need:                                                                                                                          You will need a bolster, 2 pillows and a blanket.If you do not have a bolster you can use a thick rolled up blanket.

Enjoy!

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Slow down,feel at ease.

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Breathe calmly and steadily.

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Move slowly and kindly.

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Feel at ease.

Ana Maria

Choosing the best yoga mat for you and the planet.

I spent a number of years using a standard mat run of the mill mat,partly because I was living in a country where the choices were limited and partly because I had never experienced the comfort of practicing on a better quality mat.

Since then I have tested a few mats with some of my main criteria being firstly that it has been sustainably produced and that it will not add to the growing waste problem when it comes time to retire it, secondly comfort and grippy’ness and of coarse value for money is a factor.

In my opinion there are a few items that are truly worth the investment good shoes, a good jacket, a good mattress and a good mat.

If you are still having trouble deciding check out this review site https://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mat/

My favourite the Manduka pro lite gets a mention.

Have a wonderful practice!

Check out my class schedule to join me for some enlivening yoga vibes in London

@awaytolivewell

How to accentuate the benefits of Yoga,massage and nutrition!

Answer: Create synergy!

In this post I would like to share with you just a few of the therapeutic benefits of yoga and massage and how certain foods can increase your in take of certain foods to boost these benefits for an all round improvement in health and wellbeing.

I came to massage after discovering that similar benefits to those achieved through practicing  yoga could be attained and shared on a more individualised healing level through body work therapy i.e. massage.                                                                                      And therefore I found a way to share these benefits more broadly with people who don’t have a practice but could benefit from the effects.
I grew up on an island on the West coast of Ireland, experiencing organic home grown vegetables and fresh caught fish as the norm, I was raised with an appreciation for the amazing nutritional quality and exceptional flavours of natural unprocessed foods, which I now value more than ever. I also grew up seeing and helping my mum share her cooking skills and inventive healthy and wholesome meals with the customers in her restaurant on the island. It  has always inspired me to  create my own recipe’s and to want to share the gift of nutritious food with others as well.

Flexibility
Massage and yoga both work in a way which encourages the steady development of flexibility in the body. Through yoga the muscles are encouraged to gently lengthen in each asana. And during a massage the therapist works the muscles warming and lengthening connective tissue to improve flexibility.
Increased range of motion and greater flexibility in the joints and muscles helps to promote better posture and can help towards improving breathing.
Sesame seeds are considered highly beneficial for muscle and bones they are naturally high in calcium and easily digestible.

* Foods which may decrease flexibility-alcohol, and food that is processed or refined.

 

Circulation
A good massage and a good yoga practice can increase the movement of oxygen and nutrient rich blood through the systems.
The increased free flowing movement of blood throughout the body has been shown to beneficially lower blood pressure which an overall positive effect.
Some foods to consider if you are trying to improve circulation ; Ginger-this warming root is energy building it has a stimulating effect on the blood circulation and it has an added anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic effect.
Oranges and other citrus fruits that contain high vitamin C are natural blood thinners and are said to strengthen capillary walls.

Stress less
Too much stress has been proven to have a detrimental effect on all systems of the body. We can’t remove stress completely from our lives in fact some amount of stress is necessary however we do need to find ways to manage our stress levels and to turn stress responses off when we don’t need them, yoga and massage and a healthy diet can be key elements in contributing to stress regulation. A regular yoga practice and regular massage can have the kind of effects that help to improve sleep, increase your ability to relax quickly and efficiently and improve physical and mental performance therefore helping you to cope more easily with potentially stressful situations.
A food which is highly regarded for it’s beneficial effects on improving

Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, vegetable that boost levels of this mood-enhancing nutrient include dark leafy green vegetable, Brussels sprouts asparagus, dried beans, peas and nuts.
Like you need an excuse to include more avocado in your life-they contain B vitamins which are essential for healthy nerves and brain cells, they also reduce tiredness and fatigue due to their important role in cell metabolism. No wonder it makes me so happy to eat them!

I hope you have found this helpful.

Please feel free to send me any questions or comments!

Feel at ease

Ana Maria Conneely

@awaytolivewell

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Your Yoga

It is your practice, wherever you might be, in class, at home, with friends, following a video etc.

You are your own greatest teacher. Listen to that and honour it.

Practice for the joy and love of the practice.

 

Rise and spinal stretch

Even when it feels like there is no time-you could probably set aside 2 minutes for some nourishing spinal stretching.

*Handy tip-leave your mat  layed out beside your bed so that you can step right into your 2 minute morning practice.

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Balasana-(childs pose) Sit the hips back to the heels, feel the spine lenghthen from tail bone all the way to the neck. Releasing between the shoulder blades.

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Marjaiasana (cat pose)-Press the pelvis towards your armpits, engaging the core and lengthening the back of the body.

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Bitilasana (cow pose)– Allow the belly to relax towards the ground allowing for a nice even curve in the spine not just squashing your spine at its most flexible point.

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Adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog)-Round your outer shoulders towards the ground, hips go high, sitting bones press towards the heels, gaze towards your belly button, and breath into your belly, stay firm but calm.

plank

Kumbhakasana (Plank pose)-keep  the top of your pelvic bones moving forward and your heels reaching back, pressing upwards between the shoulder blades-alternatively come onto hands and knees flat back kneeling position.

Repeat these simple postures 2 to 3 times before breakfast.

Have a beauitiful day!

Clean up your practice!-All natural mat cleaner

Okay, yes there are a lot of natural mat cleaners on the market and yes it’s very convenient to just purchase one item instead of several, however in the long run it works out cheaper  and is more sustainable to make your own.
You can also create your own signature scent by combining your favourite essential oils not to mention that undeniable sense of pride you will get from making it yourself, you can even design your own label if you are so inclined.

You will need;

A dark glass bottle (blue or amber) this is necessary for maintaining the essential properties of your precious essential oils.
Apple cider vinegar- this stuff is absolutely magic
Distilled water
A selection of essential oils.
I recommend as a must have ingredient either tea tree for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties or lavender for its anifungal, antiseptic properties or lemon for its detoxifying, antiseptic properties.

I recommend not mixing more than three essential oils for your recipe. I mostly use only two. Check out this page for some excellent tips on blending http://www.growingupherbal.com/blending-essential-oils-for-beginners/

Method

1 1/2 cups water or enough to fill (I use a 500ml bottle, but whatever you have handy is fine)
5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar more if you wish, less if you prefer.
5 drops of tea tree
3 drops of lavendar

Mix all your ingredients into your spray bottle, simple as.

Here are some suggestions of blends that I have tried that I believe go really well together.

Lemon (detoxifying and antiseptic) and Lemon grass (antimicrobial, antipyretic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, antifungal) This combination is uplifting, refreshing and soothing at the same time.

Tea tree (powerful antiseptic) breath deep when your mat smells this fresh and
peppermint (antiseptic and decongestant)

Lavendar (antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial)and Ylang Ylang (antiseptic, sedative substance) For a relaxing blend, I like to use this in the evenings when I have finished my evening practice and getting ready to wind down for the night.

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Please note: I have my beloved manduka eko yoga mat and prior to this I used less well known more economical brand name mats. This mat spray has served me well on all of these mats however you should check out the mat care guides for each specific brand as each is made differently. Jade mats for example recommend not using any oils for the cleaning of their mats.