The wellbeing benefits of Yoga and the perfect home environment to practice within
Our homes are so important to us, especially in this time of isolation. Not just a place where we eat and sleep but also where we exercise, work, entertain ourselves and take care of family. That's why it's a good idea to create a self care space. Your self care space at home is where you can shut the outside world out and tune inward. Having a space where you can relax and take care of yourself is so important in times like these. So, if you don't feel like you've got a space like this, now is time to start thinking about how it would look and provide you with a relaxing environment to disconnect in order to reconnect. That may be somewhere to sit in a comfy chair and read a book, a tranquil spot to reflect or a calm place to connect with nature.
We recently chatted with Yoga Teacher, Diana Laker, who kindly shared the wellbeing benefits of yoga and her perfect home environment to practice within.
As a fitness instructor and someone who has enjoyed the full benefits of exercise both physically and mentally, yoga was an activity I had never tried. Luckily 15 years ago a friend introduced me to Bikram Yoga and that was it – I was completely hooked! I fell in love with both the practice and philosophy of yoga.
As I was already a qualified fitness instructor I had studied and taken my anatomy and physiology NVQ Level 2 qualifications already which helped with my yoga teacher training. The training starts with 200 hours of instructed yoga practice which included 7 days in Morocco fully submerged in yoga asanas/postures, philosophy, yoga history and the benefits of yoga and meditation.
I started teaching yoga in 2016 and now teach between 10 – 20 classes per week. Due to the current lockdown, these take place online, in my conservatory!
Yoga is a huge part of my life, not just the physical practice but also the meditation and spiritual peace and quietness it brings to my life.
I’m pleased to say I am still teaching yoga during lockdown. I teach free online classes via Facebook live from my lovely bright and airy conservatory.
My tips for anyone who is interested in practicing yoga is to find a friendly welcoming beginners class and don’t give up looking for the right class and teacher that you can connect with. There are now so many yoga classes both online and in all cities, towns and villages. You may even want to start just with online classes first and then when you feel confident you can Google yoga practices running in your own home town.
All you need to start practicing yoga is a mat, an open mind and don’t worry what you or your practice looks like. Our bodies need to move, flow and stretch to keep you strong and healthy, both physically and mentally.
I find the best place to practice yoga is in my conservatory as this style of room helps you stay closely connected to nature and natural light. In the evening you again have that natural connection to the moon and stars which helps to calm the mind and our nervous system. This helps with our own natural balance, allowing us to stay calm, peaceful and tranquil.
Practicing yoga has many health benefits for both mind and body. The physical benefits range from stronger muscles, increased bone density and the stretching of tight muscles which in turn helps joints such as the lower and upper back to become far less painful. Yoga can help strengthen the immune system by ridding the body of built up toxins caused by stress, bad food habits, smoking and too much alcohol. The mind benefits from slowing down and connecting with the body rather than the outside world but more importantly the slow breathing technique used in yoga helps to kick in our parasympathetic nervous system which helps deal with stress and anxiety.
Both mindfulness and meditation play a huge role in yoga and are far more important than the physical side of the asana/posture. Yoga means to unite and that’s what mindfulness and meditation is all about. To slow the busy chattering mind down so that the mind/brain can unite with the natural rhythm of the heart, body and nature. It is also important to consider your surroundings; this is why if possible I recommend the light airy environment of a conservatory.
There is no age limit to starting yoga. You can start as a child or as somebody in their 70’s/80’s.
To be honest my only advice would be to definitely start doing some form of yoga. Whether it is a physical practice or just learning to sit quiet and still, ready for meditation. As yoga has huge benefits for both the body and mind, especially living in this crazy busy world full of uncertainties. Yoga will teach you patience and in turn you will learn how important it is to quieten the mind and connect back to the true nature that we are a part of.
Thanks to Diana for taking the time to chat with us, we hope you found the interview interesting, and if you’re not practising yoga yet may now be inspired to do so.
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