CategoryPhilosophy

The “Magical Art of Tidying” can help your Yoga

I recently treated myself to the phenomenal global bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, written by Japan’s expert declutterer, Marie Kondo.

Within minutes of starting to read it, I leapt up and had every single item of clothing in a shockingly large pile on the bed. Three bin bags later, my wardrobe was looking fabulously empty and organised. Consequently, this has been a very hard article to write, because every time I sat down to research the piece, I found myself sorting out yet another area of my home.

Image Credit: Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash.

Included in my epic clear-out were some dearly-loved old yoga clothes that I’d had from the beginning of my yoga journey. Like a talisman representing the epic scale of my journey, they were well-worn from hours on my mat. A grey pair of cotton leggings, they were paper thin, had a hole in the knee, and a little darned patch where a moth had nibbled a hole.

I hadn’t been able to part with them, and kept them just to wear at home, but Kondo discourages this.  What she suggests is that we acknowledge all the hard work our things have done for us, and then, we feel able to let them go. True to the KonMari method, I earnestly thanked my knackered leggings, and put them ceremoniously in the bin. It worked.

This clothes-cleanse got me thinking about how this radical tidying method could be applied to all areas of yogic life. So, here are five ways the KonMari Method (named after the first halves of the author’s name, spliced together) can be applied to your yoga practice.

1. Actual Yoga Stuff

Considering the Yogic principle or Yama of Aparigraha, which means non-hoarding, it is ironic that yogis can and often accumulate a vast collection of yoga stuff. This is despite the statement by B. K. S. Iyengar in Light on Yoga that: ‘The yogi reduces his physical needs to the minimum, believing that if he gathers things he does not really need, he is a thief.’

There’s the leggings, tops, under-layers, over-layers, yogic wraps, equipment, books and the accompanying yoga ephemera such as mala beads, incense burners, yoga coasters, scarves and so on.

We invest in these things as a way of believing that they will somehow make us better at yoga, or turn us into more of a serious practitioner. But in the end, the only thing that makes us better at yoga is practice, and in order to practice, we need very little:

  • 1 mat
  • comfortable, non-loose clothes

Kondo encourages us to really free up our yoga practice by simplifying our possessions down to the bare, joyful essentials, and in that way, bring ourselves back to the purity of the yoga itself.

2. Discarding the Past

Kondo emphatically states that to order the world around us, ‘discarding must come first’.

Are there habits in your yoga practice that you can get rid of? Are there things that have gone way past their sell-by date, but that you cling on to because they’re familiar and comforting?

For example, I have got into a habit of starting my yoga practice by folding down onto the mat into child pose. This is a calming way to start a yoga practice. However, recently I’ve realised that I’ve stopped doing my standing poses as much as I used to. These are the basic building blocks of our yoga practice, and if we stop doing standing poses, we lose the strength in our legs, as well as endurance. If I started with Tadasana then there would be a more natural transition to standing poses.

Also, especially in forms of yoga that use props, it is easy to get into the habit of taking the prop offered, be it a belt for gomukhasana, (cow-face pose) or two bricks for Uttanasana (standing forward fold). But if we always take the props, then in a way, we are blocking our progress. Try ‘discarding’ the prop next time and just see what happens.

3. Keep Only Things that Spark Joy

Image Credit: Saffu via Unsplash.

Once you become a yoga teacher or start on the path to becoming a yoga teacher, it is very easy to lose that spark of joy that yoga brought you. Your practice can become habitual, formulaic, and focus all on lesson planning and sequencing.

Kondo’s tidying method requires that you physically hold your possessions in your hands, and only then decide if it sparks joy in you or not. This can also apply to our yoga practice. When you’re on the mat, are you really in touch with your body? Are you inhabiting the pose, or is your body going through the motions, while your mind remains elsewhere?

Joyfulness comes from being fully engaged with the unlimited bliss available to us at any given time, which reflects the Niyama, Santosha – contentment. Rather than worry about spending a certain amount of time on the mat, or ripping through a long list of yoga poses, simplify your practice down to just a few poses and only move on to the next one once you’ve connected to the essence of each pose.

4. Choosing What to Keep, not what to Give Up

A breakthrough moment for the author came when she realised that ruthlessly getting rid of things is not the answer. What she needed to focus on was what she wanted to keep.

The same can apply when it comes to yoga.

In the West we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to give things up – alcohol, sugar, smoking and so on. But perhaps this constant attention on what we shouldn’t be doing acts as a distraction, and we can spin the perspective to what we should be doing.

What can we take up more of in order to feel healthier, stronger and lighter? If, every time we are faced with a good and not so good choice, we think to ourselves, which one would make me feel better – in the long term? In this way, we can choose to keep the parts of our yoga practice that really bring joy. And then feel completely happy to let the rest go.

5. Cherish Who You Are now

Image Credit: Form via Unsplash.

There is a strict order to the KonMari Method to achieve long-lasting tidiness. The last thing on the list is photographs. This is because they represent our memories and are the hardest thing to part with.

But Kondo has a very convincing argument encouraging us to get rid of most of our photographs too. “It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure.”

Similarly, in yoga. Perhaps we used to be thinner, fitter, or able to do an advanced pose that we can no longer even attempt. Perhaps we look forward to a time when we will be able to do a free-standing handstand or get into padmasana (lotus pose) without feeling our hips creak.

Kondo reminds us that both sentiments are unhelpful: ‘We live in the present. No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now is more important.’ By freeing ourselves from the possessions we no longer really need, we allow our minds to focus on what we love. And through that, rediscover the joy and freedom of the yoga we are practising right here, right now.

Poppy Pickles

YogaLondon and Oxford joining forces

YogaLondon’s exclusive course on the Philosophy of Yoga is run jointly by YogaLondon (YL) and the prestigious Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS). We talked to our very own co-founders, Edward Serrano and Rebecca Ffrench, who gave us the inside info on this new partnership.

  1. How did the partnership between YogaLondon and the OCHS come about?

Edward: A couple of years ago, when Rebecca was half-way through her MSt at Oxford University, she skyped me sounding pretty excited about a conversation she’d had with one of the Executive Directors of the OCHS. She asked me what I thought of an online learning partnership between YL and the OCHS. My response was ‘Of course!’ Of course I want to pair up with Oxford University!

Do I want to have a microwave meal of yoga or a gourmet entrée of yogic delights?

Because with the OCHS that’s exactly what we’d be offering.

  1. How are YogaLondon and the OCHS a good match?

Rebecca: YL and the OCHS are really well matched. We both have a passion for our particular area of study and strive to be the best that we can possibly be.

Edward: It’s an evolving partnership. Although the OCHS is a recognized branch of Oxford University, they get little or no funding, so they have to go out and make their own money, which is where their online courses come in. The online courses enable them to fulfill their ultimate aim of furthering Hindu studies throughout the UK.

And I think the motivation for the OCHS was that they’d seen that YL had been around for a while, and most importantly, work exclusively in yoga education, rather than a smorgasbord of everything and anything to do with yoga. To put it simply, we were able to provide the type of audience they needed.

  1. What does the OCHS bring to the YL learning experience?

Edward: To be frank, we’re the only yoga teaching company in the world that we know of to have an alliance with OCHS. We have an opportunity to introduce Oxford University trained tutors to our students, which adds more world-class knowledge to our teaching staff, which has always been our focus, providing our students with the best tutors.

I think that the quality that the OCHS brings in their knowledge of Hindu studies and the philosophy of yoga is unlike anything else that one can hope for in London. I don’t mean to demean the work that anyone else is doing, but when you’ve got a powerhouse like Oxford University with experts who’ve dedicated their entire lives to a particular subject matter, it really makes for an incredibly deep and powerful learning experience.

  1. What will the joint ‘Philosophy of Yoga’ course involve?

Rebecca: Because ‘The Philosophy of Yoga’ is an optional part of the 500-hour Advanced teacher-training course, it includes curriculum elements for it to count towards those 500 hours.

Photo by Diego Duarte Cereceda on Unsplash

The theoretical content is delivered over a weekend by an OCHS teacher actually in front of you, which leads to an exponentially greater learning experience. For one thing, you get to ask them anything. The practical content will be delivered by our experienced YL teachers, balancing the theoretical experience with expert practical tuition.

  1. Doesn’t YL already cover these subjects?

Rebecca: On the 200-hour teacher training course we include ‘introductions’ to a variety of philosophical topics, but on this course the experts at the OCHS give a much deeper perspective on how the vast patchwork of ideas and philosophies, from Vedanta, to Tantric practices, to the Bhagavad Gita, have evolved into the yoga of today.

  1. Is the course exclusive to graduates of the YL teacher-training course?

Rebecca: No, this immersion weekend course is for absolutely anyone. You don’t even need to be a yoga teacher to attend. It’s open to anyone who loves yoga and is interested in the philosophy behind it.

  1. Will YL continue to work with OCHS?

Edward: Beyond the quality of the OCHS it’s an opportunity for YL to really show its commitment to the education of yoga. By partnering up with OCHS we’ve made a powerful statement that we’re really serious about education – education is who we are and what we will always be.

We’re also excited about the opportunity for the partnership to develop. Since the initial contact, the relationship has metamorphosed into a far deeper, much more collaborative one. Now, as well as promoting their online courses, we’re working and teaching together on the ground. Just as exciting, if not more, is the potential for the relationship to evolve – who knows what will happen next!

 

For more information about this course, please click here. Additional information is also available for YogaLondon’s 200-hr teacher training, our advanced trainings and in-studio workshops. Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies offers a number of online courses which can also further your yogic knowledge. Learn more today…

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Why bother learning Sanskrit Pose Names?!

Image Credit: Patrick Hendry via Flickr.

Why do we need to know the Sanskrit names for yoga poses? Why not just call them by their translated name? The Sanskrit terms for poses are often difficult to remember, as well as a mouthful to pronounce.  It can put some students off, as they shy away from the ‘yogic’ side of things and just want to have a good stretch.

However, knowing the Sanskrit words for yoga poses can be a link to the vibrant and living history of yoga, as well as giving students key clues to mastering the pose.

Here’s a lowdown on the ‘amazingness’ of the Sanskrit language and a whole host of reasons why it’s worth putting in the extra effort to get to know (and love) it.

1. A VERY ancient language

Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language, and, apart from the Basque language, every single language spoken in the Indo-European countries today has their origins in Sanskrit. TRUE.

Founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, Dr. David Frawley, says of Sanskrit that “by most conservative accounts it has been used continuously since 1500 BC; by more liberal accounts it was in use before 6000BC”. Arguably, Sanskrit is the earliest of the ancient languages, including Latin and Ancient Greek. The oldest literature in the world, The Vedas, was written in Sanskrit, and is still studied today in the same form as it was written, thousands of years ago.

2. A Beautifully organised language

The Sanskrit alphabet consists of 48 sounds, called ‘varnas’, meaning the ‘colour’ of language.

According to Gabriella Burnel, Sanskrit scholar, and resident YogaLondon expert, these sounds are “systematically structured to take you from the inner to the outer – literally – from the throat to the lips”. Also, amazingly, “even just sounding the vowels (known as ‘swaraah’ meaning self -luminous, shining by oneself) can have a calming and cleansing effect”.

Every word in the language is based on root syllables, which (Gabriella again), “holds within it the essence of the meaning of that word.” So, like modern-day German, words can be formed by linking root syllables together. “Take kr, which is the root of ahamkaara, samskaara, karma. The root ‘kr’ means ‘doing’, therefore you know that all these things involve ‘doing’. The root gives you a sense of the word on a deeper level.”

Sanskrit grammar is incredibly well-organised and apparently, scientists in the NASA space station love the Sanskrit language for its sound and its clear grammatical structure.

There are in fact a whole host of words in use today, such as avatar, candy, cot, crimson, jungle, orange and of course, yoga, which are directly descended from the original Sanskrit.

So, although Sanskrit may sound unfamiliar to Western ears, the language we speak now is directly linked to this ancient language.

3. The stories

Image Credit: Satish Krishnamurthy via Flickr.

Through learning the Sanskrit names of the asanas we practice, we are connecting, across the ages, to the yogis of the past, as well as the myths and legends of the Hindu culture, from which yoga originated.

The beautiful and advanced pose, Hanumanasana, is named after the monkey god, Hanuman. Hanuman was a son of the wind god Vayu, friend and servant of Rama, protagonist of the epic tale, The Ramayana.

The story goes that when the evil demon King Ravana kidnapped Rama’s wife, Sita, Rama enlisted the help of Sugriva, King of the monkeys, and his general, Hanuman. Hanuman found Sita and took the news to Rama and his brother Lakshmana, and a great battle with Ravana raged, during which Lakshmana was terribly wounded, and only the juice of a life-giving herb that grew in the Himalayas would save his life. Hanuman duly leapt across the seas in one leap, retrieved the herb, and saved Lakshmana’s life.

The pose, which is the lateral splits, represents the prodigious leap that Hanuman took to save the life of another.

Yoga students practising this pose today can channel their inner monkey god, being brave, selfless and extremely flexible! It is also a reminder that yoga isn’t all about practising for ourselves and our own glory, but should be the cultivation of discipline and self-care, that allows us to give more freely to those in need around us.

4. The heroes

When we do yoga, many of us often feel very far from heroic. We feel distinctly lacking as we struggle to locate our dorsal spines or touch our toes.

But the Sanskrit names of the poses act as a reminder to – in the words of M People – ‘search for the hero inside yourself’, and emulate the heroic qualities of the Hindu heroes and legends.

Take, for instance, the warrior Virabhadra, the namesake of the poses Virabhadrasana 1, 2 and 3. The three warrior poses are named after him and as we hold the poses and strengthen our feeble legs, we should think of him and emulate his mighty prowess.

Again, there is a story that comes with the poses. Virabhadra (vira, meaning ‘hero’ and bhadra meaning ‘friend’) was the warrior of the god and yogi Shiva. When Shiva’s wife, Sati, died due to the cruelty of her father Darksha at a party, Shiva sends Virabhadra to avenge her death.

  • Virabhadrasana 1 represents the warrior appearing before Darksha by breaking through the ground, rising from the earth, brandishing a sword in both hands.
  • Virabhadrasana 2 represents the moment that he spots his target from across the room.
  • Virabhadrasana 3 symbolises the slaughtering of the guests at Darksha’s party, before beheading Darksha himself.

This rather bloodthirsty tale is also a symbolic one, as Shiva represents the higher self, Sati represents the heart and Darksha is the ego. So when we are teetering in Virabhadrasana 3, focusing like mad on balancing, we are really slaughtering our ego at the request of our higher self. All in a humble yoga practice…

5. The clues to yoga poses

Image Credit: The Yoga People via Flickr.

Some of the names of the yogasanas (yoga + asanas) are literal in meaning.  In this case, it is still worth studying the full name of the pose in order to gain valuable insight into the key elements of the pose.

Take Utthita Parshvakonasana, literally ‘extended side angle pose’.  Broken down into its component parts the utthita means ‘extended’, parshva means ‘side’, kona means ‘angle’ and ‘asana’ is pose. There are many aspects to the pose as every part of the body is engaged, so  the bent leg knee needs to be in line with the ankle, the back leg foot needs to press down to engage the thigh and so on. But the most important thing is that the side of the body is extended at an angle, i.e., in one continuous line from the little toe edge of the back foot, all the way to the fingertips of the top arm.

6. It’s fun!

The Sanskrit names are also fun and funny. One of the most important poses, Adho Mukha Svanasana means ‘downward facing dog’. This is a reminder that we need to have fun while doing yoga, emulating the natural bending and stretching of our pet dogs. A personal favourite, Pavana Muktasana, means ‘wind-relieving pose’. And it really works.

To conclude…

It’s not easy getting your head round the Sanskrit names of the poses, as I found out when I had to learn them all (very quickly) during my yoga teacher training course. But once you know them, they become an extra dimension of the pose, adding character and depth to the physical pose, and linking back, through the mists of time, to the very first yogis, who observed the spirit of each pose and named them, for us.

Gabriella Burnel perfectly explains her infectious love of Sanskrit below:

” The same feeling I get when visiting a sacred site like Stonehenge, walking through a forest of ancient trees, entering a church or a temple. That feeling of sanctity, magnificence and comfort – that’s what I feel when in the company of Sanskrit.”

Poppy Pickles

Nigella Lawson’s ‘SECRET’ weight loss

Between 2010 and 2017, celebrity chef and eponymous domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, has gone from a ‘voluptuous’ size 16 to a ‘svelte’ size 12. These are not my words, but the words of lifestyle magazines and tabloids, who have endlessly focused on the way that women in the public eye, like Nigella, look.

Image Credit: rawpixel.com via Unsplash.

It’s a trend that seems unlikely to change, but Nigella has credited one particular form of exercise for her ‘miraculous’ weight loss – that’s right, yoga.

In two separate interviews with Good Housekeeping magazine, in 2015 and 2017, she was repeatedly asked about how she had lost weight. She replied that it is her yoga practice that has helped to keep her in shape, but Nigella also kept trying to steer the conversation away from how she looked and what she weighed, instead responding about how doing yoga has made her ‘feel’.

In 2015 she told the magazine, “It’s certainly true my weight went up – that happens in life sometimes”.

But, she said, “I have never been on a diet to try to lose weight. I feel like I haven’t lost weight, but I’m possibly in better shape. I am doing a rather slow form of yoga now called Iyengar.”

She emphasised this again to the magazine when she said, “As you get on in life, you value feeling well as opposed to looking well. Yoga certainly makes you feel great, and you want to carry on feeling great. I just do a bit in a very slow way. Sometimes, lying down!”

Feeling well, not just looking well

Nigella has hit the nail on the head with her response that she values ‘feeling well as opposed to looking well.’ It’s taken some time, but I’ve now come to the same conclusion as Nigella, as well as some other stars, such as Kate Winslet.

In a recent Graham Norton show, Kate revealed that she hadn’t weighed herself for twelve years and it was ‘much better for the mood’ not to know.

But how many of us can put our hands up and honestly say we started yoga to ‘connect with our inner calm’ or some other mindful reason? Probably not many. Most of us, myself included, started going to yoga as part of a personal campaign to ditch the flab and tone up. Many of us, inspired by the endless pictures of insta-yogis looking ‘abs’-olutely fabulous on a beach makes us think that if we do yoga, we too could look like that.

It’s only once we commit to yoga that the true motivation for sticking to the discipline reveals itself: internal well-being.

Feel Happy, Look Happy

Image Credit: Jon Tyson via Unsplash.

The truth is that real beauty and health come from the inside first. Beauty radiates out of every pore of someone who is content. B.K.S. Iyengar, the father of Iyengar yoga – the style of yoga that Nigella has said that she practises, says:

A great boon of yoga, even for relative beginners, is the happiness it brings, a state of self-reliant contentment.

He doesn’t say, that a great boon of yoga is that you will ‘lose those extra pounds’, or ‘look svelte for your selfie‘. The fact is that if we stop looking for happiness by changing the way we look, we find happiness by changing the way we feel.

In 2017, the same questions on weight loss came up, and Nigella answered,

I do yoga three times a week,’ she said. ‘I have to do something I enjoy, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.” Again, she stressed her commitment to her yoga practice, and the way that it makes her feel – NOT the way it helped her look.

Yoga DOES help with Weight Loss

The fact is that most forms of yoga are an excellent way to keep fit and burn off extraneous calories. But yoga helps your physical health in many ways, not just through the strenuous physical effort involved.

In an article for LiveScience, Beth A. Lewis, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology in Minneapolis, states that ‘yoga can increase one’s mindfulness and the way one relates to their body. So, individuals will become more aware of what they are eating and make better food choices.’

Through yoga the mind and body become more in tune, which often leads the student of yoga to adjust their lifestyle. Personally, I have completely given up drinking any caffeinated drinks due to the effect it was having on my body. I ignored the symptoms for years, but after taking up yoga, I found that I became hyper-aware of the negative physical and mental effects.

Lose Stress first, the rest will follow

Image Credit: Mike Pellinni via Unsplash.

The fact is, when we are out of balance emotionally and mentally, the body will also be out of balance. Our attitude to yoga should be that we should address the internal imbalance first, and the rest will follow.

Beth A. Lewis again:

“Additionally, many individuals eat more when they are feeling stressed and yoga can help combat stress, which can influence one’s energy intake.”

In the high-octane, busy modern world that we live in, there are more and more ways that we can get stressed. We can stress about our jobs, about our relationships, our children and the way we look. But stress only adds to the unhealthy cocktail that leads to weight gain and long-term to disease.

As B. K. S. Iyengar says,

‘the essence of yoga is not about external display but internal cultivation.’

If we cultivate our inner balance, the external display looks after itself. Just like Nigella.

 

Poppy Pickles

The Yogi’s Guide to Self-Care (Without Breaking The Bank)

Image Credit: Fabian Møller via Unsplash.

Do you ever find your yoga practice slipping away from what your instincts tell you is yoga? Are you rushing to class in a frenzy, or feeling like practice is yet another thing to tick off the to-do list? If that feels familiar, chances are you might be in need of a little self-care.

But before you google ‘self-care’ and become bamboozled by such articles as ‘45 Simple Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul’ (45? really?), here are a mere 8 ways to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Oh, and not break the band while you’re at it.

1. Breathe. Observe. And make a list.
Not glamorous, but it won’t cost you anything, and taking ownership of your well-being can give you an instant boost in itself. Ask yourself how you’re doing, what taking care of yourself might look like, and then make a list of things that usually bring you joy. Keep the list handy, and do whatever you need to do to help it seem enticing. Illustrate it, put glitter and fancy stickers on it, stick it to the fridge… the key is finding what works for you. Then, just choose one thing at a time from the list to do when you feel the need for a bit of decompression.

And if you’re stuck, here are a few ideas:

2. Essential oils bath.

Essential oils optional, of course, but this can be a quick and pretty cheap way to make bathtime feel like a treat. You can easily pick up a bottle of say, lavender oil, for as little as £1.99, which, spread over the dozens of baths you can get out of a 30ml bottle, represents great value for money. Lavender can be a great sleep aid, but of course you could choose whatever essential oil most appeals. AromaWeb have a helpful list of the benefits of over 120 oils.

3. Go for a walk, unplugged.

Image Credit: Zack Minor via Unsplash.

Take a backpack, pop your phone on silent, zip it into an inner pocket and let your senses take in your surroundings. Don’t try too hard to control your mind, but set yourself a challenge to remember at least three novel things you noticed and enjoyed about your walk. How did the weather change while you were out? What was the temperature of the air on your skin? What was the texture of the ground like underneath you?

4. Call a friend.

Don’t message them, actually pick up the phone and connect. If you’re anxious about disturbing someone, ask yourself how you’d respond to a friend calling you if the situation were reversed. And if you still feel like they might not want to hear from you, then call someone else. Enjoy the nostalgia to be had in just picking up the phone – the feel-good factor is surprisingly more instant than instant messaging.

5. Do something you wouldn’t normally do.

Doing new things can be a great way to give yourself a boost. Of course, bear in mind your energy levels, but sometimes doing something like rock-climbing, or wild swimming can be a great mood boost. When you’re feeling down, doing something new can be a great way to send a message to your subconscious that you are worthy of kindness, patience and generosity. Imagine yourself as a stranger to whom you’re being hospitable and generous as you embark on your new experience.

6. Do the yoga your body wants.

Unplug your mind for a second, and listen. Your body knows what it needs, and as soon as you can recognise that, a whole new way of practising opens up. Yoga becomes yoga when we detach ourselves from feeling the need to do the yoga we feel we should be doing, and free ourselves up to do the yoga that will actually benefit us. Very often, the yoga we feel we should do is the opposite to what we actually need. So, allow yourself the space to be curious, and for your practice to take care of you.

7. Make a self-care kit.

Image Credit: Ben Blennerhassett via Unsplash.

Why not get together with a friend and spend an evening making yourselves each a box of self-care goodies? The activity itself – compiling together whatever ingredients you associate with your chosen self-care rituals… essential oils, a killer bar of dark chocolate, whatever little things make a difference for you – can be a fun and heartening exercise. And the added bonus is that you now have, in addition to your list, a whole box (crate, pillowcase, stocking, hamper…) of things that mean something to the you that likes to be nourished. Again, none of these need be hugely luxurious or expensive. Sometimes all that is needed is a hot water bottle, a magazine and a cup of tea, and the simple act of assembling these things together can make all the difference when you need a pick-me-up.

8. Acts of kindness.

It might sound trite, but being nice to people makes you feel GOOD. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but doing at least one little thing in a day to make someone else’s better can have a significant impact on your own. Again, it sounds cheesy, but just committing to making an effort to, say, smiling at people you pass over the course of a day can make a difference. Have you ever noticed that other people seem more positive, friendly and agreeable on the days when you feel like that? It’s not a coincidence. What we give, we receive. Be kind, and discover the kindness of others. We’re all in this together, so take care of yourself by thinking of others, as well as by letting others take care of you.  

Zen Monkey, a sub-division of YogaLondon, is an online conduit for yoga students and teachers to share ideas and develop a catalogue of content that is informative, creative and fun. We are a community founded from the collection of writers and yogis we've mentored, worked with and been inspired by. Together, we are building a tribe that shares the tools, the inspiration and the motivation to lead a healthy, mindful and sustainable life.