Having come from a corporate background where I was sat at a desk all day and often burning myself out, I know only too well how this affects your brain and body. There's never been a more crucial time for businesses to invest in helping to keep their employees mentally & physically well. You might be wondering why as a business you need to do this and what exactly the benefits are , so this is what I want to talk about.
Key reasons to bring yoga into your business!
In an article by Thrive Global How a Quick Stretch Break Benefits Your Brain and Body (thriveglobal.com) it highlights that even light movement in small doses through the day can reduce the harmful consequences of sitting at a desk all day. Stretching boosts your mood and energy levels increasing your well-being at work.
Yoga which includes stretching and mindful breathing practices has been proven too reduce stress and release tension within the body, improve posture, increase focus and morale and improve regulation.
Through Thankful Flow Yoga's on demand hub of classes, live zoom/teams sessions and in person workplace classes in Sussex you can bring a touch of wellbeing into your business and reap the benefits. You can experience yoga classes from someone who was once sitting where your employees were in an office environment. Thankful Flow Yoga can tailor lunch break stretch sessions or early morning or evening classes depending on what your business needs, delivering sessions that will be relatable and helpful to you.
Director -Thankful Flow Yoga
Consistency Is Key
Creating new habits is never an easy task and sometimes it feels like there's many barriers in the way. Something I've learnt on a personal level from being a yoga student and teacher is that consistency is HUGE. Little and often has a big impact when trying to change or introduce a new healthy habit and breaking it down into manageable junks can make it feel more realistic.
Traditionally yoga classes would always be 60- 90 minutes long, which as wonderful as this is and I do agree that there are many benefits to this it's not realistic for a lot of us to keep this length of practice up. It is also recommended that to see the best benefits you should practice yoga at least twice a week if not on a daily basis. A lot of my personal yoga practice or exercise tends to be 30/45 minutes but very regularly. There's lots of reasons why this is important but you have to find a way to be consistent that works for you and your lifestyle to save falling off the bandwagon completely and giving up.
Aside from the physical reasons for consistency which include maintaining and increasing mobility and strength, there are huge mental benefits from taking regular Savasana's (relaxation at the end of class) and/or meditation and breathwork. Getting used to being in stillness takes time for most of us , it varies from person to person but again from personal experience and feedback from students having kept a consistent practice they have reported beginning to find more relief from their "busy mind" and being able to settle and tolerate mind and body stillness more easily.
Here are a few ways that could help you to keep consistent whether that's in your yoga practice or otherwise
1. Find a daily/weekly time slot and commit to it
2. Be realistic with what you can and can't fit in
3. Create a specific goal to work towards
4. Be organised and plan your time in advance
I hope you've found this helpful, part of my passion is to make yoga classes accessible to all and this is why I offer a membership that includes yoga videos of different duration's suitable from beginner to intermediate level. Classes can be accessed at anytime to suit your life and include things like; anti-desk stretches, restorative, power and chakra focused flows.
The Science Behind Yoga & The Mind
So we know that Yoga is good for our bodies one way or another but do we understand how it affects the mind and what the mental benefits of yoga really are? Have you ever been to a yoga class and wondered why exactly your are putting your body in a certain position or balancing on one leg? I hope to bring some science backed answers to some of this in this blog using references from Science of Yoga - Ann Swanson (annswansonwellness.com).
Yoga offers an 8 limb structure giving the practice a multidimensional and holistic approach. The brain throughout life develops neural connections and becomes conditioned based on experiences and choices. Therefore the more you practice certain thought patterns and physical activities the more these networks in the brain are created. Just the same way exercise affects your muscles your brain tissue adapts depending on how stimulated it is and how many connections are being formed.
The most effective way to stimulate and shape your brain is through behavioral changes that are encouraged through yoga practice. So without using too much science terminology here a key part of our brains (the frontal cortex) is proven scientifically to be strengthened from yoga and mindfulness practice helping you to not only recognise but regulate emotions. I know that I personally can 100 percent vouch for the fact that yoga has benefited me with emotional regulation and use it daily to regulate myself emotionally and physically.
Yoga practice has been proven to lower the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in your brain which can help improve your memory and neural connections as mentioned above. It's also been proven that yoga helps reduce amygdala volume on the brain which is usually associated to negative emotions and fear.
Finally researchers believe that somatic practices (movement practices that emphasise perception) such as yoga are useful for helping people to process trauma without re-triggering because they help us to release tension in the body.
I hope you've found the information in this blog as interesting as I do. The science and studies behind yoga and meditation only become more and more fascinating as we discover the depths of what this practice can really offer and this blog today only really touches the surface of the studies and science that's out there.
To discuss your practice or if you are interested in beginning your yoga journey and want to find out more about yoga in Peacehaven or yoga online then please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Surviving Or Thriving ?
As part of my path with yoga alongside reading and research that I've done over the years I've come across many times the idea that many of us live in a survival mode for most or part of our lives rather than allowing ourselves to thrive.
I've certainly lived in survival mode before, I'm sure I still do in certain ways and it's a natural part of life. But if we are looking to really thrive, we can start to observe perhaps that the survival mode is attached to an internal belief system as well as the physical reality of feeling the need to survive in the modern world including getting through each day, watching the clock and always looking to the next thing , the next action, the next task.
So what does it mean to thrive within yourself and in your life. Self care, self love and awareness are some of the key ingredients for this. In order to thrive and take yourself away from survival mode you need to become intentional with yourself, your choices and your life. Start to get to know yourself, your passions, your boundaries and prioritise your overall health and well-being. Create space to do this and act on your thoughts and ideas, it all starts with you.
Some tips for making self care a top priority are as follows :
- Learn a self regulating technique (such as yoga, breath work, meditation or whatever works for you!)
- Create space and time for daily reflection and healing where needed
-Accept that change is inevitable, understand what you can and can't control
-Create strong boundaries and get used to saying 'No' sometimes, be protective of your energy and where it's spent
-Do activities that make you feel alive
-Surround yourself with a positive support network whether that's family, friends or other
Take a look at my website to see my yoga classes, online and in person in Peacehaven. During my practices we look at overall well-being and self care in a physical, emotional and mental sense.
Director- Thankful Flow Yoga
How And Why This Yoga Journey Started ...
Hello and welcome to the website launch! I thought I'd start by explaining a little bit of the journey behind how Thankful Flow Yoga and the online yoga membership came about. You may have already got a feel for me, my yoga teaching and practice by looking through other pages on my website www.thankfulflow.com or coming to classes.
However I wanted to let you in to some of the story behind how and why my teaching and this online offering came about and the meaning behind it. Ultimately my aim as a yoga teacher is to guide and support you in your yoga practice and journey of reconnecting and rediscovering more about yourself. I have personally experienced this benefit me profoundly on many levels throughout life and hope to share this with you.
II have been practising yoga for many years now, but my first experience of online yoga was during the Covid 19 lockdown. Like many others I used exercise and movement as a way to regulate myself and find a positive focus during such a challenging and difficult time. For the last 6 years I had consistently exercised in the gym and maintained my personal yoga practice squeezing in my sessions wherever I could.
Suddenly I found myself with lots of extra time but no childcare and no gym to go too. This is where I started my practice online and it didn't take long before it became my rock and I started to learn more about myself than ever before. My 6 year old son started to join me sometimes in my practice, I felt stronger physically and mentally and I had the freedom to access little pockets of time whenever I could and recenter while the world around me seemed the most uncertain it had ever been.
As a single working parent I generally always found that giving time to myself was more of a luxury than a necessity and I know many other people whether parents or not feel this way. We live in a busy world and lead busy live's jumping from one task to the next on a daily basis. Through my yoga practice becoming more accessible to me I started to see the profound effects within myself that I'd created through yoga asana, breathwork, meditation and to put it simply time for stillness and reflection.
I felt more present with son than ever, and there was a feeling of space that wasn't there before. As a result i noticed my ideas and creativity started to increase and I began to realise there was a different way to contribute to others through my 'work'. I started to think of a way I could create a community for other people to join and practice yoga knowing the value it could have.
As part of the Thankful Flow Membership I offer a library of classes accessible for anyone whether you are new to yoga or experienced. There's a mixture to chose from of everything from restorative flows to more challenging ones and I've included a live class every Sunday via Zoom for those who want to come together live and connect. The membership is ever evolving and there will be more added and I'm always keen to hear requests and feedback of what you want in future videos and content as I believe you are as much the creators of this community and experience as I am!
As a celebration of this Launch I am offering a FREE live Zoom Class for all this Sunday the 5th of September at 9:30am for all levels. Please contact me Elly@thankfulflow.com to receive the link and flow with me.
I also thoroughly enjoy offering in person yoga classes in Peacehaven and East Sussex alongside 1-2-1s and separate yoga zoom classes. I hope I can assist you in your practice through the connection of body, mind and breath bringing a holistic approach to your well-being and health.
Director- Thankful Flow Yoga
Brilliant article with some great tips here. I especially like the part regarding the fact that Neuroscience shows we can lower the stress hormone in our body by focusing on our breath rising and falling for even as little as 60 seconds.
However I think it's important to note that connecting to your own breath for some of us is a skill that needs practice, patience and guidance. In the modern world relaxing and just 'breathing' can be considered a luxury more than a necessity and for many is not something we are used to accessing.
To say the past year has been unprecedented is by now a cliché, and yet, it’s also true. And women might be feeling the strain most of all: According to a recent study, 53 percent of women report that their mental health suffers to the point of burnout due to their job. Burnout can manifest in so many ways: There are, of course, the more obvious signs of burnout, like being exhausted, or even sick, more frequently. But there are more subtle symptoms as well, such as the inability to focus and be fully present with others. One of the most insidious things about burnout is that it compromises our judgment, including our judgment about ourselves. So you might think you’re doing fine, but if you’re not getting the sleep you need, or if you’re spending day after day in back-to-back virtual meetings and in front of screens, it’s very likely you’re not doing as well as you might think you are.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, women were already shouldering extra responsibilities, including housework. And whether we're still working from home or going back into the office, that disproportionate burden on women has only gotten worse. A study from LeanIn.org found that in 2020, women experienced the symptoms of burnout at twice the level of men. That could be one reason why we're seeing a mass exodus of women from the workplace. When everything about how we live our lives has been turned upside down, just getting through the day can be stressful.
But there are steps we can take to beat burnout and even thrive during this historically difficult moment. It might sound like a paradox, but the way to navigate uncertainty and stress during times of change on a massive scale is to make very small adjustments in your own life—what I call microsteps. This allows us to control what we can control...and it turns out, we can control quite a bit about our immediate world. When we go small enough, these changes allow us to make big improvements to our physical and mental well-being. That’s the foundation of Thrive Global’s new book, Your Time To Thrive. It’s a guide based on a whole-human life plan and behavior change system that will help you enhance every aspect of your physical and mental well-being, performance, resilience, and relationships.
By making microsteps too small to fail, we can incorporate them into our daily work and home lives right away. Even—and especially—during times of stress and uncertainty, it's important to take charge of your well-being and mental resilience. Below, are five microsteps you can use to beat burnout right now.
Neuroscience shows that we can course-correct from stress in as little as 60 to 90 seconds. That’s why one of my favorite microsteps is to simply focus on the rising and falling of your breath, even for 60 seconds. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is one I use as a reset throughout the day— before meetings, after meetings, or even during me
Habit Stack Your Gratitude
One way to create a new healthy habit is through what researchers call “habit stacking,” which is to attach a new habit onto an existing one. This is how I do my favorite combo-microstep: Every time I brush my teeth, I think of three things I'm grateful for. Gratitude is one of our most powerful emotions, and the science shows it helps lower stress and anxiety. Doing it while brushing your teeth is an easy way to bring the amazing benefits of gratitude into your life without requiring any more from an already busy day.
Of course we all want to be informed—we’re still living with a public health crisis and being knowledgeable and up to date can help us feel more prepared. But as many of us found out during the 2020 election, doomscrolling through the 24/7 news cycle can just add to our stress. We can break this by setting a news cutoff time for ourselves. This allows us to unplug and recharge by connecting with friends or loved ones, or have some downtime to connect with ourselves. It also helps us get a better night’s sleep, which in turn helps us put stressful news into perspective. And don’t worry—if you want to know what you missed, the news will still be there in the morning.
Schedule Active Time
Put time on your calendar for exercise. We don’t miss meetings—even if they’re on Zoom—that we consider important in our lives, and we should give the same priority to getting some kind of movement throughout the day. Research shows that even just a few minutes of movement can have a big impact on our physical and mental health. It's easy for the day to fill up unless we block out that time ahead of time, so at the beginning of the week, in the mornings, or whenever you're filling out your calendar, don’t forget to pencil-in your time for exercise.
Don't Use Your Phone Right Before Bed
We all love our phones. We know where they are, and how much they’re charged all day long. But our phones are repositories of everything we need to put away to allow us to sleep—our to-do lists, our inboxes, the never-ending demands of the day. Plus, the blue light they emit suppresses melatonin, the hormone connected to sleep regulation. So pick a time at night to turn off devices—and remove them from your bedroom—to wake up as fully charged as our beloved phones.
I have a background of over 7 years experience in Recruitment and Sales prior to qualifying and starting my yoga business Thankful Flow Yoga. I am passionate about health and well-being especially in the workplace and look to create a safe space whether it be in person or via zoom where you can unwind whilst building strength and mobility in the body as well as experiencing the vast mental benefits of yoga practice.