Monthly Human MOTs… Personal Trainer and Yoga SE16, Amanda York’s tips

Amanda York, Personal Trainer and Yoga Coach in SE16, London has these tips for you to stay in tune with yourselves and aligned with your goals (part-published in Natural Health magazine) :-    

MINI MONTHLY HUMAN MOTs!

It is well-known that modern times have sped up with modern technology and we are becoming more frazzled and time poor as a result, yet the minute still has 60 seconds; the hour 60 minutes; the year 12 months etc.  So in reality, we should be in control of time and therefore the following ‘Mini Monthly Human MOTs should help you regain a sense of control over your clock and assist in hitting the pause button without letting modern times press your fast forward to such an extent that life becomes a blur and you wind up wound up in a flat spin.

Make these MOTs your own. STOP THE CLOCK!

JANUARY               – INTENTIONS & TREATS

Why not spend New Year’s Eve meditating on the ups and downs of last year, observe them, learn from them then let them go and set intentions for this fresh New Year, however large or small.

To get through this tough month line up a daily or weekly treat, however large or small; you’ll get a great boost from planning these things as much as doing them. Think of anything that makes you happy and book it in your schedule to avoid the anti-climax of Christmas and New Year.  Here are some ideas:-

  • Massage; so many varieties to suit your mood or ailment
  • Day trip; outside good, amongst nature even better
  • Dining out with friends in favourite restaurant
  • New magazine, book, food or nail varnish to give that little new lease of life
  • Transfer £ in to holiday account to keep you motivated
  • Reflexology to relax nervous system

FEBRUARY            – PROTECT YOURSELF
During the month of love, St Valentines, ensure that you look after and love yourself by protecting yourself. Here’s how:-

  • The Euro Heart Journal stated that “2 to 3 hours of overtime per day increases risk of Heart Disease by 60%”; so don’t give in to peer pressure or unrealistic deadlines
  • Run through our 5 layers morning and night; ask yourself, “how do I feel? Physically, Emotionally, Energetically, Mentally, Spiritually?”
  • Don a beloved pendant and twiddle to calm. Keep a tiny photo of a loved one inside a locket or douse yourself in your favourite smelling body oil/butter/perfume which could invite a favourite sense of nostalgia or make you feel invigorated or nurtured
  • Visualise violet light from the crown of your head shielding you all the way down to your toes
  • For every energy stealing negative thought, turn it in to a positive one, eg write down all the benefits of your job if you’re having a bad day
  • Find the nearest health food store and stock up on goodies to protect your health. Positive steps will make you feel positive mentally and positive eating physically

 MARCH                  – COLOUR THERAPY
Colours have frequencies which we absorb so use them to best suit, enhance or change your mood. Wear them or surround yourself by them or buy some flowers, jewellery etc. to give yourself a colour induced boost:-

  • RED                power, strength, confidence, passion, love
  • ORANGE        joy, enthusiasm, creativity, happiness, determination
  • YELLOW        sunshine, intellect, energy, cheerfulness
  • GREEN           growth, harmony, freshness, fertility, safety
  • BLUE              stability, loyalty, trust, wisdom, faith
  • PURPLE         nobility, luxury, ambition, extravagance, mystery

APRIL                     – RECONNECT WITH NATURE
Disconnect with technology; exploit technology to work for us, not against us. Use it only at times when it will make our tasks fast and not sucking us in whilst slowing us down. With the lighter days imminent it’s time to come out of hibernation and reconnect with your planet. Try these notions:-

  • Feed pigeons or ducks, sit on patch of grass, walk bare footed on the ground draining any negativity away or go ahead, hug a tree!
  • Watch clouds form and decipher weather systems, be curious about what’s up there and beyond
  • Feel sun on skin, wind in hair, air in nose; delight your senses
  • Bring nature in to your home or office; flowers, plants, herbs etc. or use an image
  • Marvel at an insect or bird going about their daily business
  • If you’re STILL on line, check out www.projectgreenhands.org

MAY       – HEALTH SCREEN
So we’re feeling fine and fresh as spring morphs in to summer but let’s make sure all is well inside and out:-

  • Make use of company annual screening or DIY by researching via GP
  • Take a day off for eye, teeth, ears, private parts, injuries, niggles and any other health checks
  • Use your mirror, bed and shower time to screen for irregular lumps and bumps
  • Chew food fully to digest in the mouth first and take pre/probiotics
  • De-tox your fridge and cupboards; discard dated products and stock up with fresh goodies following a balanced meal plan
  • Keep water to hand everywhere so that you’re always fully hydrated

JUNE                       – PERFECT YOUR POSTURE|
With the warmer days in play we want to avoid protracting shoulders and stand tall and proud in our vest tops and strapless dresses. Here’s how:-

  • Build posture in to your subconscious by consciously building techniques and awareness in to your day; the spine loves to twist, laterally flex and extend plus forward bend and backward bend
  • Attend yoga or Pilates to educate and gain proprioception, eg a sense of where each body part is positioned
  • Organise a desk assessment at work and follow suit at home to avoid RSI and back ailments
  • To search for imbalances use a plumb line and colleague or PT or use photos drawing lines through bodily planes or observe in changing room mirrors then make a flexibility/strengthening programme from the results
  • Use laptop rucksacks to prevent hunching and lop-sided shoulders; wear shock absorbing shoes, carrying heels in bag for post-work drinks only
  • Check this website frequently for advice and tips http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/

JULY                       – EXECUTE EXERCISE
With summer in full swing we should be peaking in our fitness, eating clean and looking lean. Exploit these long and bright days to their max:-

  • For an effortless hard core, sit on a Swiss Ball at work switching to your usual chair when you feel the need to alternate
  • Join a lunchtime running club or boot camp; even better, start one!
  • Commute or part-commute by foot or bike
  • Don’t be shy about using stairs! Build endurance flight by flight for a great kcal burner and bottom toner
  • Check out gym and corporate memberships; block classes and split body part gym sessions in Outlook or book a PT
  • Keep fit and exhilarated on land, water and in air partaking in outdoor adventure sports – http://www.ukactiveoutdoors.co.uk/

AUGUST – STOP THE CLOCK
The summer days should still be giving us paramount pleasure so let’s not become complacent and make the time to enjoy every moment:-

  • Should-could-would – only start the ‘could’ if you’ve completed the ‘should’! ‘Would’ can wait
  • Make action lists for each day of the week to suit time, energy and priorities to become time efficient
  • At the beginning of the day, plan your food / exercise / down time / and when to go to bed time!
  • Instil a laptop curfew before bed time to truly unwind noting that the body starts to repair itself after 22:30
  • Try to eat outside at lunchtime and take a calming breath before every mouthful; read ‘Yoga of Nutrition’ by Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
  • The parks will begin to close earlier each week as the nights draw-in so be sure to enjoy those picnic gatherings and take your frisby or rounders set along with a healthy basket 

SEPTEMBER           – MEDITATE
With the vibrant autumn imminent let’s shed any baggage like a tree sheds its leaves by using meditation, leaving us mentally and emotionally lighter and ready to enter a new season fresh. Try these methods:-

  • Upon waking, visualise how day will become before it’s begun; how do you want it to be?
  • Set an intention each day and consider it to be an arrow shooting towards a target; practice Archer’s Pose (below); face any barriers that arise and decide how best to deal with them so that you can reach your target
  • If commuting is stressful by tube, bus etc., study a raisin, nut or berry, observing it’s texture, taking time to really taste it, smell it, ponder on how it came to be in your hand before you bought it; you won’t notice the journey
  • Take moments throughout the day to engage your senses which will keep you present; a mental and sensual gift
  • Before bedtime, sit comfortably and quietly and reflect on any problems that arose today; consider them as challenges that will help you grow; it’s how you deal with problems that counts
  • List at anything that’s on your mind at night to stop it going round in circles; if it’s still present when on your pillow, try a yoga nidra DVD or link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-7aTSPsK5k

OCTOBER               – STRETCH
A tight, bound up body steals energy when a flexible body can flow freely through the day and ease the mind, particularly now it’s chillier. Remember to:-

  • Practice regular yoga to remove stagnation and blockages hence creating free space through which positive energy can then flow
  • Lengthen those muscles at the bus stop or train station; you could set a trend
  • Stretch as soon as you get to work after the commute; lock yourself in the loo for a few minutes and sit on the lid bending over your legs to stretch your lower back, exhale the commute and inhale your priorities for the day
  • Take a sneaky stretch in the Starbucks queue, no one will notice
  • Take desk stretches every 30 minutes; enter a calendar reminder in Outlook. Use this link for ideas – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/office-stretches/MY00921
  • Fetch water regularly which will not only hydrate you but prompt you use the loo for another sneaky stretch!

NOVEMBER           – MOBILISE
The body stores mental tensions so try to spend 5 minutes of ‘you’ time at the start and end of each day mobilising your joints which could make all the difference to your physical and mental well-being, seeing you through to the end of the year:-

  • Think neck, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, ankles and mobilise them in this order to wake up or before a workout
  • Do your neck and shoulders instantly tense when riled or under the cosh, walking through busy street or watching the news? Be conscious and relax them with a calming exhale
  • Posture can take years off one’s appearance and prevent expensive physio bills, increase range in chosen sport and add symmetry to figure so mobilisation of joints will make you attuned with your posture
  • Prevention is better than correction and it feels so good to move; why would you deprive yourself?
  • Take up Tai Chi to promote health and well-being whilst moving gently through your joints
  • Whenever you feel the need, take mini mobilisation minutes at your desk, make it a habit then lifestyle 

DECEMBER             – BREATHE
With those festive family gatherings looming, deadlines before the holidays and sharp elbows in the shops it’s easy to become zapped, ungrounded and stressed. De-stress don’t distress trying these:-

  • Use longer exhalations to signal to the nervous system and muscles to relax. This technique can be used whilst commuting, during or prior to a Board meeting, before replying to a terse Email or before opening your mouth to respond to a snappy boss
  • Practice yoga; realising that in being able to breathe through difficult postures one can breathe through a difficult situation; mentally revisit your mat in times of need
  • Get out in the fresh air if only for 5 minutes and feel the oxygen replenishing your energy and cells
  • Lay in Savasana (Corpse Pose) at the end of the day and imagine breathing in calm positivity whilst exhaling negativity, draining it out of your body, through the mat and down in to the ground
  • Close your eyes when in need and breathe in the mantra LET; breathing out the mantra GO; whatever it is, LET.IT.GO
  • Place your hands on your belly feeling it rise upon an inhale for a count of three and deflating upon an exhale for four; this is the correct way to breathe, not sucking our abs in

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