Yoga Questions Answered
Nov 15th 2018 | RUTH STEEL
Hello lovely Yoga community, welcome back to the Blog.
I asked you some questions to assist me in creating tailored Yoga for You, you answered - because you’re amazing! Keep reading for some of these answers shared to get to know each other better in this community, help other Yoga teachers & find out what your fellow Yogis also find challenging within their own practice plus what’s NEW, up and coming with BrawYoga.....
There are so many reasons for why we practice Yoga, these were just a few examples. Of course, many of us practice for all the above but in my own experience, if you’re a beginner – you’ll likely practice for one or two reasons and maybe even feel like you’re not making much progress but fear not, we all feel like that at times. Keep on practicing, finding new teachers, classes, workshops & retreats.
Keep showing up each day in your own practice, for no one other than YOU.
Unsurprisingly the top 28% of you practice Yoga for Strength & Flexibility and though this is amazing, it can be a hard goal to stick to in the long term on those days you’re feeling unmotivated. Keep showing up for YOU and these fabulous abilities will become by-products of the true benefits of Yoga. Let go of how you think Yoga ‘should look’ and know that we are all right where we need to be, in this very moment.
I shared a B.K.S. Iyengar quote recently on my personal Instagram (@iamruthsteel)
“Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.”
I just adore this quote and my interpretation of it allows for so much letting go of perfectionism, aesthetic, worry & fear within one’s Yoga practice – for whatever happens, even if you’re having one of your worst days, feeling like you’re unworthy, not good enough, climbing uphill – it is still just moments, impermanent like all others and showing up to practice for yourself, no matter what it looks like or how challenging it may be, IS progress for what it teaches us in sustaining positive change. Whether you practice meditation only, asana, pranayama or all the eight limbs of Yoga, keep on sustaining the changes you have already made to your life. You can do it!
This was a surprising outcome but so useful for myself and other Yoga teachers, seeking to create great Yoga…..watch this space.
Likewise, I get a lot of tension stored in the Head & Neck. This can be due to many contributing factors. Most of us nowadays spend an alarming amount of time hunched over a desk & our phones. This puts unnecessary strain on accessory muscles in the shoulders, neck, upper chest & head. The problem is, if we do not move in new ways and counter pose enough to contrast the majority of our body’s stationary movements, new supporting tissue forms around the muscles and we become ‘stuck’ in that habitual pattern and body form.
If you spent 8 hours hunched at a computer for work then come home and spend another two hours hunched with your phone, that’s a whopping 10 hours of shoulder, chest opening, inversions needed to counter pose all that built up tension. Now it’s a little unrealistic to counter pose equally, when thought of in this way so what can we do to start relieving some of this regular tension we all build up daily?
What has worked best for me, instead of searching for yet more hours in your already overflowing day, to ‘fit in’ your workout or ‘drag your ass’ to the gym. (This frame of mind is the biggest challenge to change but arguably the most important.) Start finding a few minutes here and there, THROUGHOUT your day to take a few deep breaths and counter pose your body in whatever time you have.
From student feedback, I understand that it may be challenging to remember all the Asana (Yoga poses) or sequencing of a flow to repeat when you’re at home but instead of even worrying about that, take a moment to inhale and exhale deeply & just feel – HOW DOES YOUR BODY FEEL? Chances are, if you’re feeling hunched and closed off, shoulders rounding, heart protected, head and neck aching then even if it feels vulnerable at first, allow your body to move in the opposite way. Sit up straight with chest proud, arms behind your back, hands holding elbows, breathe here, open your heart and soften that stored tension.
This could be done at work, sat on the toilet, on the tube, waiting for the kettle to boil, pretty much anywhere! Setting yourself a reminder, such as, ‘Each time I go for a pee break, ill counter-pose my body’ or ‘Each time an advert plays on TV, I’ll counter-pose my body’ can be useful to remind you as well.
In this way, when we take bite sized movements and fit them into our day and schedule, it is much more manageable, beneficial and accumulates to the same amount of time you may have planned to work out or move but previously given up on as you put too much pressure on yourself or simply ‘didn’t have time’.
The truth is, no one has time – we must make the time, throughout the day, every day, here and there to sustain our transformational change. Become curious about the way your body moves and stands still. Do you hunch over the sink whilst cleaning your teeth? Ask yourself WHY? Habitual patterns can hold us back as well as propelling us forward. Why hunch over the sink when you can soften the knees, sit your bum back with a flat back, finding a juicy 2-3-minute hamstring stretch twice a day!? Sore body and habitual patterns or relieved body and new movement patterns, I know which one I prefer to choose, it’s your body, your choice. I believe in You.
Some more quick tension relievers for those of you in the 42% of head and neck tension carriers is, SELF-MASSAGE. Get those fingers and thumbs involved and massaging where ever you need it most. Inhale and Exhale deeply, slow down and enjoy this freebie anytime, anywhere!
Stand a legs distance from and facing the wall. Forward fold, with bent knees, arms holding elbow to elbow over-head. Whilst in you forward fold, take mini steps towards the wall until the upper back touches and can rest against wall. Relax the neck & Head completely here and feel free to look left and right or lightly ‘jiggle’ the head, literally like jiggling out and letting go of that stored tension. If it feels good for you, release the arms and self-massage head, neck & shoulders again. You can thank me later!
Again, this is great to know for sharing content and classes but in terms of your own practice and sticking to it. Getting moving first thing in the morning is SO beneficial. Not only does it get the metabolism moving, heart pumping and promote better sleep for the coming night, it gets the body moving and calms that racing mind! It’s the mind that often deters us later in the day/evening when we become less motivated and filled with energy, so moving and breathing, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes in your bed in the morning, avoids the slacking & invites a movement filled day into the mind & body.
Set you alarm 20 minutes earlier, set your intentions and stick to it. I believe in YOU!
Fantastic NEWS! I am soon to be releasing a NEW two-week challenge in the form of an E-book.
‘The Easy VEGAN DETOX’ – is jam packed with 14 Meal Recipes, breakfast, lunch and snack ideas to improve your gut health, boost brain function and prevent illness.
On top of that, this educational E-book offers insights into health benefits of a plant-based diet and answering you curiosity about just how good your body & mind can feel, in practicing a conscious diet & detox.
To join my mailing list and find out more about the two-week Vegan Detox challenge, visit: https://www.ruthsteel.co.uk
To pre-order your copy email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How good will you feel with new diversity to your gut health!? #easyvegandetox
The truth is, no one has time – we must make the time, throughout the day, every day, here and there to sustain our transformational change. Become curious about the way your body moves and stands still. Do you hunch over the sink whilst cleaning your teeth? Ask yourself WHY? Habitual patterns can hold us back as well as propelling us forward. Why hunch over the sink when you can soften the knees, sit your bum back with a flat back, finding a juicy 2-3-minute hamstring stretch twice a day!? Sore body and habitual patterns or relieved body and new movement patterns, I know which one I prefer to choose, it’s your body, your choice.
For limited knowledge & confidence. There is SO much FREE Yoga online now, ‘Yoga with Adriene’ is a great place to start, likewise ‘Cat Meffan’ also has an awesome Yoga channel with lots to offer all abilities.
No excuses. Just do it. The proof isn’t in the pudding, it’s in THE PRACTICE. 😊
I believe in YOU!
I asked, you answered!
I can not THANK YOU enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to offer your experience and opinion. It is hugely helpful. I have lots more tailored Yoga plans coming up and of course, I would love to get a YouTube channel up and running with free weekly classes and tutorials you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
In all honesty, this scares the shit out of me. Yup, I have that doubting mind chatter too. We’re all in it together!
I have recorded classes already and not got around to editing them because I’m a recovering perfectionist and this is one of my own hills to climb - practicing being less judgemental and kinder to myself each day and ‘putting myself out there’ in what feels so vulnerable. But I can do this, and I will do it for this wonderful community.
Bear with me, all is coming! <3
Thank you again for your time and all that you are.
All my Love