SEPTEMBER 6, 2019
It’s easy to lose ourselves and let some of our self-care goals fall by the wayside. Are you in this boat right now?
As neighbours, Yoga Santosha and Neal’s Yard Remedies have teamed up this month to bring some grounding and revitalisation to your life. We want our beloved clients and customers to benefit the most from this partnership – bring a receipt from NYR to Yoga Santosha and receive a FREE yoga class, and then take your receipt from Yoga Santosha back to NYR for 20% off your next purchase!
We also wanted to offer some advice and insight into ways everyone can ease into this high-pressure time of year. Lisa Tierney, Communications Manager and Yoga Instructor for Yoga Santosha; sat down with Kristen Rehn Adema, Marketing Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies, to discuss some strategies for easing anxiety and releasing stress with yoga and wellness practices you can do easily, every day.
Kristen: Let’s dive in, we all know that yoga can be relaxing and restorative but what about dealing with the stresses of transitioning out of summer and into a potentially stressful fall? How can it help us both ground ourselves and connect mindfully?
Lisa: Yoga allows us to connect to ourselves. Yoga is a moving meditation infused with mindfulness. There are, of course, many different ways that we can enter into a mindfulness or meditation practice. We can sit, we can walk, we can chant, we can run, or we can truly choose anything and with intention create present moment awareness. Hatha Yoga, which is most of the yoga we practice in the West regardless of all the different names we might label it, is meant to move us through the sheath of the body so that we can comfortably come to our seat and move into a deeper space of meditation. When we can rest into both our body and our mind, we reach a space of peace. If our bodies are feeling tight or weak then creating newfound flexibility and strength can bring a sense of ease. The better we feel in our bodies, the better we will naturally feel within our minds. Yoga becomes a work in. Sure, we might feel the element of a workout as we are led through different poses and the ultimate goal is one of contentment.
Navigating our way to that place is our modern-day challenge.
I think most of us get lost in our to-do list or ‘I should have, could have, or would have’ list. It’s endless and exhausting. We have something like 80,000 – 100,000 thoughts a day and 80% of them are recurring. That’s a bit of a staggering statistic. How many of those recurring thoughts are negative or positive? How many are in the past, the future, or the present? Most of us get lost in our thoughts until they seem to take control. I know that for me I need to shift it. I need to stop and take the time to remember. To remember that I am not all these thoughts circling around in my head. Getting into this very moment is the gift that can move us out of the cycle. Getting on our mat and feeling our body and breath and connecting back in can bring us to this sense of peace. Under the umbrella of Hatha Yoga there are a variety of classes that you can practice. There are vigorous flows and deep held restorative classes.
We just need to start somewhere and let it grow. Whenever we can do something consistently over an extended period of time, we shift into a new habit. And we can watch that habit grow. We raise our vibration to this space and this place. Yoga is one of the pathways.
Lisa: What do you suggest as overall wellness and self-care practices that we can all do now?
Kristen: Well, it’s so important to always practice self-care during times of stress and transition, we can’t be our best selves as employees, parents, or partners if we haven’t made the effort to recharge our own batteries. From an internal wellness perspective, the most important steps we can take are simply to address our basic needs of proper sleep, nutrition and hydration. These can be very challenging to make time for when we’re getting used to a new schedule or recovering from the lazy days of summer! This might be the best time of year to develop a new routine in both your professional and your personal life, since it’s all in flux anyway. Give yourself a bedtime. Make Sunday Meal Prep your new thing so that your weekdays require minimal effort. Make appointments for your workouts in your daily planner or calendar, block that time off for yourself and don’t cancel! Buy a big water bottle that you can literally write hourly goals on with a sharpie (drink up to ‘here’ by noon, by dinner, etc.), and though the recommendations for water intake has changed to ‘drink when you’re thirsty, and drink more if you’re elderly, a child, or ill’, I still find that a whole day can fly by when I’m busy and all I’ve drunk is coffee all day! Good hydration can affect mental clarity, skin health, joint function, cardiovascular health, and much more.
Once you’ve got a handle on your basic needs and you feel settled into a routine, make meditation and exercise a daily priority. Getting back into a work routine and adjusting to a new school schedule for your kids can be a whirlwind, and millions of thoughts, plans and self-criticism can be swirling around in your head. Taking the time to ground yourself through mindful meditation can bring clarity and calm to the storm around you, and actually minimize your perception of the size of the storm itself! It doesn’t matter how long your meditation session lasts, as long as you make the time for it in your day you’ll notice the benefits of this rewiring in your mind such as better focus, less anxiety, more compassion and improved memory – here’s a 3-minute mindfulness practice you can do anywhere, then do longer ones when you find the time!
Kristen: Of course, exercise is another huge part of this – what’s an easy way to get back into your Yoga practice if you’re a little out of practice?
Lisa: I truly believe the power of the mind makes it so hard to shift into healthy and mindful habits. Most of us are so exhausted, and we already have a story around what will or won’t work. We get a little lost in that. Between work, family, friends and our home lives it can easily feel like there just isn’t the time to do anything extra. There is a saying that reminds us yoga does not take time, it gives time. I know if we were to look at a clock on the wall this would not be true and yet when we are more focused and calmer, we are far more efficient and effective. We move with a deeper sense of ease and purpose.
I think whether you are getting back into your practice or just beginning, starting is often the hardest part! I know it is for me. Setting yourself up to succeed is the best way to go. Know yourself with all your amazing strengths and with your places that need a little more attention and love. If you are not a morning person and you declare that you are going to do class every morning then this might lead to dropouts. Growing into something is the best. As you already mentioned, sit down and look at your week and find the times that work. Write it down. We often forget to make time for ourselves or don’t feel like we can. Our relationship with ourselves is the very most important relationship we have. Yoga Santosha offers 97 classes a week between our two locations and so there is something that will fit for you. You can choose from flow, yin, restorative, therapeutics, the yoga wall, nidra, ashtanga, and more. If you have a friend, co-worker, partner, or family member that would come with you then bring them too! Anything we can do to up our commitment to show up is a good thing. When we run our 35-day yoga challenges, students put up a sticker on a chart for each class that they attend. Why not get some stickers for yourself!
Be sure to ease your way in. You don’t have to start with practicing every day. We do recommend visiting two to three times a week to see the benefits of increased strength, flexibility and decreased stress. Once you start to feel all the physical and mental benefits you will keep showing up. And, if you don’t get to your mat one week, forgive yourself and come back the following week. I think we can be so hard on ourselves and that we need to remember to bring kindness and compassion into all things that we do. I also think we need to keep taking that first or second or third step and keep showing up.
Kristen: Where would a person start if they’ve never practiced yoga before?
Lisa: If you have never touched a toe on a yoga mat, it can be really hard to take that first step. Doing something new is crucial to our existence. We have to move out of stagnation and step out of our comfort zone in order to flourish. We offer a 6-week registered series at our Mission studio on 4th Street that will guide you through the basics of the practice and give you the confidence to spread your yoga wings and venture into other classes as you are ready. The registered series classes are small groups that give you an opportunity to wade into the studio and the practice.
There are so many different practices and therefore so many different choices. You choose what fits for you. At Yoga Santosha, our goal is to give everyone a beautiful place to connect with themselves and with others. Community is part of it. That’s why you and I are sitting here today. Connecting with both ourselves and with others is part of the gift at the studio.
If you want to start into multiple classes right away, our one-month intro offer is a great option to jump start your practice. Our schedule will show you what classes are considered to be beginner-friendly. If you do not have a yoga mat you can use one of ours. Dress in comfortable clothes, bring a bottle of water and we will meet you on your mat.
Lisa: Do you have some suggestions for things we can do that ground us but that can just happen in the background?
Kristen: Yes, aromatherapy! If someone out there hasn’t gotten on this train yet because it seems woo-woo, just think about how you feel when you smell a fresh lemon, or walk by someone that smells just like your beloved grandmother, or get a whiff of the ozone when it’s about to rain. Smells affect us! And the practice of mindfully choosing which scents we have available to us during the day, changing our mood using different scents, is aromatherapy.
If you’re new to aromatherapy and don’t want to have the patchouli-scented office at work, start by using a roll-on oil. Take an organic base oil like jojoba and add a few drops of any of the following organic, sustainably-harvested essential oils, add to a roller ball container and throw it in your bag to use anywhere! You’ll find that many of the oils listed here have a woodsy scent, which makes sense because there’s nothing more grounded than trees rooted in the earth. Try pairing these with a bright citrus or uplifting floral scent like neroli (but if another oil calls to you then trust your intuition!):
• Clary Sage
If you just want to try out this method without investing in larger bottles of oils, pick up our Remedies to Roll – they’re formulated for a variety of benefits like Energy, Relax, Study and Night Time. And we just launched TWO NEW formulations – Meditation, and Women’s Balance.
Other ways to use aromatherapy are in your everyday skin and body care products. Choose shampoos, cleansers, and moisturisers that feature these scents, or add lovely scented bath salts to your evening bath. Try our relaxing Beauty Sleep line to help you get better quality sleep – this is simply spritzing the pillow spray, or applying the gorgeous body cream.
Lisa: I love aromatherapy, we use it in the studio at Yoga Santosha. Where can our clients start when learning how to do this themselves?
Kristen: There can be so many benefits to creating our own products – you dictate scent profiles and get to decide the right oils for how you feel. There are some lovely books you can get from the library or add to your collection that give you all the information you could want to get started with your new homemade self-care products. Obviously we think our collection is ideal for anyone, but there are so many other qualified professionals that have written books on the subject that you could learn from!
If you don’t feel comfortable yet investing in the ingredients, or just want to try your hand at blending to see if you like it, Neal’s Yard Remedies offers two events per month where you can create your own bespoke products! Come and learn about aromatherapy, essential oils, blending, and creating lovely products like facial oil, bath salts, and moisturizers. They are perfect gifts for Christmas and birthdays and are relatively inexpensive to make, it’s worth it to learn so you can share the love and relaxation with your friends and family. Our website lists all these events, so choose your favourite and bring a friend, you’ll get tea, free samples, and a discount to shop after!
We wish our clients all the wellness, joy and love possible during the transition to fall in Calgary, drop into Yoga Santosha (at either location: 320, 1800 4th St. SW, and 821 14th St. NW) and Neal’s Yard Remedies (at either location as well: 130, 2207 4th St. SW, and 101, 1111 10th St. SW) to learn more and make the most of our September partnership!
Free Yoga: Bring in your receipt from Neal’s Yard Remedies and receive one free class at Yoga Santosha Mission or Kensington from September 1-30th.
For Santosha clients: Visit Neal’s Yard Remedies, show them your MB receipt and receive 20% off your next purchase!
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*One free class per client per month.