How to breathe in the sun salutations

It can get confusing, knowing when to breathe in or out in a home practice. There's no teacher there to guide you (unless you're using an online one of course). My advice on doing a home practice is to start with something simple. The sun salutations are a series of postures linked together by breath. Once you get the hang of them (and there are lots of different ones to choose from), it can be a nice flow to do in the morning when you get out of bed. 

Some people get confused about the breathing in/breathing out part of the practice so here's a short video to help you along.

I recommend going to 42 seconds for the most direct understanding of it. For some reason, my video went all weird at the beginning

Being a yoga teacher

It’s a fine balance being a yoga teacher. When I first started, I was working full time and teaching late into the evening. I taught as many classes as time would allow. I loved what I was doing and I couldn’t wait to leave the day job. I did the calculations on how I could make that happen and it meant teaching a ridiculous amount of classes per week.

 

Determined, I made the move and was happy for a while. Then I realized I had reached ‘burnout’. I felt depleted. Not ideal. How did my dream turn into this?

So here are my top tips to prevent burnout:

1. Self-love – this is of utmost importance. We are teaching others to love themselves, we have to lead by example. Treat yourself to a great class, workshop, holistic treatment at least once a month. Do a swap if you can’t afford to pay for one. Keep your own teacher and make sure you go to class.

2. Eat Well – nourish yourself with good fats, protein and lots of green vegetables. Smoothies, green juices, whatever it is that makes you tick well. We are warriors and need to nourish our bodies well.

 

3. Rest – if you’re tired, sleep. Do relaxation and yoga nidra.

4. Say no – don’t feel the pressure to accept every invitation, learn to listen to your inner guidance and do what calls you.

5. Take on another job – if you are struggling to make ends meet then get resourceful, find another way to make money. This does not make you a bad yoga teacher.

6. Take on a life coach or mentor – this is one of the best things I’ve done in the past couple of years. I’ve watched my life turnaround, not just how it looks but how it feels.

7. Meditate. Don’t do it to ‘get better’ at it. Do it because it’s your practice, time to go within and be with you.

 

8. Get inspired – get into nature, lie down on the grass, walk in the woods, swim in the sea. Go online, go offline, go wherever you need to go to get inspired. TED talks have some great links as well to talks to listen to when you need peace.

9. Speak to your community – grab a tea with your favourite people and talk to them.

10. Slow down – make a list of everything you are doing and then scrub off half of it, find a way to make space and be loving to yourself.

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Namaste beauties, you’re doing an amazing job.

This piece was originally written for Teach.Yoga.

 

Embrace Your Essence

Tomorrow Ill be filming part of the "Embrace Your Essence" series for Movement for Modern Life

This is the culmination of 20 years study into yoga and more recently into the act of self-care and love. This series is an ongoing exploration into the self, our true essence and I'm honoured to be able to share these teachings. I have been creating this series (unbeknownst to me at the time) over all this time. I have created some intention cards and a book is in the making. It's a big and beautiful subject.

Coming up this year you'll be able to join me in workshops and retreats as I share these teachings in more depth through meditation, movement, deep rest, energy management and discourses.

Our society has certainly evolved but has it really helped us to evolve? Or has it made us more anxious and depressed? What if the true medication was slowing everything down and taking a step back.

Our fast foods, email, the internet has not done us any favours in terms of our nourishment mentally and physically. Social media is starting to replace that feeling of 'community', I believe there is a benefit in it (I've met some awesome people through it, for a start) but if you aren't careful you miss out on the real community of human interaction, sangha.

If you're finding that you're checking emails over and over, or constantly on FB or any of the other sites for that matter and it's getting out of hand (ie checking more than once an hour - although I feel even that is too much), ask yourself what is it you're missing? What are you looking for as you check and look? Are you trying to numb uncomfortable feelings out? Is there something you want to avoid?

In this series I will approach some of these situations.

My first bit of advice is if you want to take charge of your life and lead a more fulfilling one then take a step back, meet with people and limit your daily social media interaction, do yoga nidra every day (yogic sleep) and reset your nervous system. That way you can act from a place of deep knowing, your higher self, your essence.

I look forward to sharing the tools and insight in the coming months. 

I'd also love to hear from you about your thoughts on this subject, how do you honour yourself? Do you put everyone else first and end up drained? 

Need more energy?

  • find a comfortable seat where your lungs feel open and free. Seated on a chair or against a wall is fine or on the floor if you're used to that. 
  • take a few deep clearing breaths exhaling out through the mouth, imagine it like a release of all you don't need inside, stale air, old emotions, tiredness etc. 
  • check in with the body and make sure you are as comfortable as you can be. Get all your fidgeting out now.
  • listen and watch your breath, breath in and out through the nose. No need to change what is occurring with the breath,  observe. You may need to yawn or sigh, let that happen spontaneously. 
  • deepen your breathing and allow the belly to relax. Imagine filling up your whole chest and belly with air like a balloon then release. 
  • repeat for 5-10 minutes
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Happy Navratri

The festival of 9 nights begins today, the triumph of good over evil. How auspicious it begins on this new moon as well and Mercury is now in retrograde. 

It feels like it's been an intense time for lots of people and lots of blow ups have happened unexpectedly. 

This festival is all about celebrating Durga in al her forms. Use these next 9 days to focus on all that you wish to bring into your life. I've started using my DailyGreatness Journal to focus and enjoy some new projects. Head to the shop section if you'd like one too. 

Triumph of good over evil

Triumph of good over evil

Practice however you want

A practice is just what it says, a practice. It's something you keep doing. I commit to my practices 5 days a week and do them whether I feel like it or not. I don't do them with the intention of getting better at something. For example I don't meditate to try and get better at it. I practice to accept whatever arises. Sometimes the storms come, sometimes it's blissful, sometimes it's just bloody irritating to sit still when I've got loads to do. But it's the practice-to sit with whatever arises. You'll see me post about practicing certain things to get better-I limit those things to 1 min a day. Just so I don't get caught up in this desire/striving mind that can take over my asana practice. The pressure of seeing people doing incredible things with their body can promote competitiveness in me or it an deflate me. My ego says 'I need to be able to do that' and then my heart reminds me that I don't, yoga is not about that, whether I ever do the fancier poses or not is irrelevant. How I choose to approach my moment by moment, day by day living is relevant. I like to enjoy moving my body and enjoying the process, or accept that I'm not enjoying it if I'm not in the mood. The practice. This is why I do it, to be in the moment, to be with what is #kirstynortonyoga #brightonyogi #thelifecentre #londonyogateacher #instayogi #fearlessheartmudra #movementformodernlife

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