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Celebrating Yoga Day

Monday, June 21 2021

Prenatal Yoga Tips

If the past year has taught us anything, it's the importance of our health and wellbeing. Although 21st June is typically Summer Solstice for us in the northern hemisphere, it is also celebrated as International Yoga Day. The word ‘yoga' derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

Here at Tiffany Rose, we are yoga enthusiasts so we asked our yoga guru or Yogi, Lindsey Brown of Live Yoga, to share her top 3 trusted tips to start your journey towards improved health and wellbeing.

Celebrating Yoga Day with Live Yoga

Lindsey Brown, yoga specialist at Live Yoga

Celebrating Yoga Day with Live Yoga

Here are Lindsey's Top 3 Tips to promote a truer sense of wellbeing:

Celebrating Yoga Day with Live Yoga

As a trainee yoga therapist our first port of call (in most cases) is the wondrous breath! Breathing effectively is a must for your well-being toolkit. How do we know? Being aware of where we are breathing in the body, i.e. chest or diaphragm is a really good place to start as we may not realise, we are breathing ineffectively. I for one didn't pay any attention to my breathing until I started yoga in 2010. Due to the pace of modern life and simply not knowing any better we often breathe fairly shallow, using about 30% of our lung space, and often breathe higher up rather than lower down. Chest breathing is where we default to during periods of stress and anxiety and often the breath presents this way through periods of illness (chronic or otherwise). Understanding how and why we breathe in a certain way is an eye opener and you may find you have some a-ha moments!

- The diaphragm (located between our chest and abdomen, place your hand above your belly button) is our main respiratory muscle, breathing diaphragmatically is key to our well-being both physiologically (see below) and mentally. Take a moment now, place your hand as above and take some slow, deep breaths into your hand. Do you become aware of a deepening sense of calm?

- Physiologically, breathing into our lower lungs is where we have oodles of juicy air sacs (picture bunches of tiny grapes) and is where our gas exchange takes place (CO2 is removed and replaced with O2). Now these stretchy tiny ‘grapes' become less and less prevalent as we move higher into our chest space decreasing the body's ability to do this effectively, another good reason ‘to bring the breath down'.

- Diaphragmatic breathing also increases the amount of O2 in the blood. Thanks to the prevalence of air sacs in the lower lungs we have a higher level of oxygenated blood to infuse our organs, tissues and cells, all of which need O2 to function effectively hence improving our well-being by maintaining proper functioning of our various systems. Another good reason ‘to bring the breath down'!

Celebrating Yoga Day with Live Yoga

This next one I think is the hardest one as we live such busy lives and are constantly on the go but it is so key to our well-being as we often live in a more sympathetic state which is our fight and flight response. Naturally in modern life we're not running from a tiger so when we're feeling stressed, even low levels, we don't action the fight or flight response as it's not always appropriate for the situation. This means we spend more time in this ‘threat' mode rather than our parasympathetic aka rest and digest state. This state is where all our different functions of the body are encouraged to maintain balance (homeostasis) and we're more likely to procreate, socialise and feel calmer.

How do we experience this state? Breathe effectively and find time to stop. There are so many wonderful apps to help facilitate this whether it's 5 mins a day, 10 mins twice a week or longer/more often if you have time. I appreciate time is an issue for many of us so it's important to not put ourselves under too much pressure and find what works. There are many varieties of breathing practices (known in yoga as pranayama), guided meditations (mindfulness based, body scans, yoga nidra) and walking meditations so you really can find what suits your energy levels and mood, i.e. do you need a lift or do you need to feel calmer.

Celebrating Yoga Day with Live Yoga

Set and reset your CLOCK gene daily! Say what? Our CLOCK gene helps to regulate our daily circadian rhythm.

If you're a snoozer it might be useful to know we can help set it by bringing light into the eyes but it needs to be within 30-45 mins of waking (open blinds/curtains, go outside, light box in winter). The brain registers that we're awake and releases cortisol to provide us with a boost of blood sugar for energy to get us up and moving as we've been effectively fasting all night and it also helps to reduce inflammation. Cortisol gets a bad rap as it invades the body during stress/illness but we need it in normal levels.

To reset at night, melatonin, our sleep hormone, needs darkness hence the oft given advice to reduce screen time at night, even being mindful of lights from alarm clocks. Lights tell the brain we're still awake which affects the release of melatonin. Getting into a regular rhythm with sleep can improve how effectively our body uses cortisol and melatonin which has a positive effect on mood and in fact, everything.

More about Lindsey Brown:

Lindsey began teaching in 2011 and is currently training to be a qualified Yoga Therapist. Her passion to nurture and empower individuals through the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness whilst also offering tools to ensure we keep an optimum level of well-being both mentally and physically. She professes that she thrives on assisting each and every student she teaches, guiding them on their own path of personal growth and transformation.

Celebrating Yoga Day with Live Yoga

Celebrating Yoga Day with Live Yoga


Facebook: @lindseyliveyoga

Instagram: @liveyoga


And now breathe...

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