Nanou is a certified Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Mindfulness Instructor and Reijukido Therapist, with a background in Education.
She teaches children, teenagers and adults and she absolutely loves seeing them evolve through their practice. She is also an advocate for establishing Mindfulness programs in schools.
Nanou has been kind enough to adapt some of her yoga and mindfulness techniques for Unbridely to help time-poor and stressed brides and grooms.
As many of us sit for lengthy periods at a desk, it's only realistic to have access to a sequence that can be practised practically anywhere when you have a spare 5 minutes. Print it out, stick it next to your screen and feel better right now.
Stretch, breathe and enjoy - thank you, Nanou!
How often are you fully present in your daily activities?
Do you manage to find time for yourself on top of the wedding planning?
Stretching mindfully throughout your day is an excellent way of diminishing stress and increasing your sense of well-being.
Mindfulness is a practice that can be easily incorporated in your daily schedule and can help you keep perspective during this highly emotional time.
What is Mindfulness?
It means that you are not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. The definition of Mindfulness is to focus on our present experience and observe, like a witness, our thoughts, feelings, sensations and emotions, as they are.
Whatever we are feeling or thinking is neither good nor bad; it just is.
The benefits of Mindfulness are awesome and include:
- feeling more relaxed and peaceful
- reduced anxiety and stress
- becoming fully present and engaged in your activities
- being less preoccupied
- an increased ability to deal with challenges more calmly
- an increased ability to respond instead of react
- developing a deeper connection with ourselves
- changing thought patterns and how you approach life
- savouring every little moment in life (so important for your wedding day!)
- supporting you in feeling more satisfied and fulfilled
- improving emotional intelligence and mental clarity
- helping you to experience a sense of peace and calm.
In addition to this impressive list of benefits, even 5 to 10 minutes of mindful stretching or breathing makes a huge difference to your mindset and how you feel for the rest of the day.
By taking the time to frequently pause what you are doing, you can develop the habit of exploring your breath and can connect with yourself more meaningfully.
The following strategies can used at work or even at your desk when you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or stressed and have no time to take a proper break.
1. Focus on your breath
Lengthen your spine, by lifting the crown of your head towards the ceiling, and close your eyes. Take a long, deep breath in through the nose and a long exhale out through the nose. Repeat 3 times and notice how the air comes in and goes out of your nostrils. Observe your breathing for a few moments. You will notice a change in your body and mind almost immediately. This exercise is helpful to quickly pause the chatter of your mind and feel more peaceful.
2. Release the tension
Continue breathing through your nose, using long inhales and long exhales, as in the above exercise. As you inhale, lift your shoulders up to your ears and drop your shoulders on the exhalation. Don’t hold back, just drop them. Repeat at least 3 times. By linking the movement to your breath, you help your mind to focus and release any tension kept in your shoulders.
3. Use reminders
We can practise mindful breathing anywhere and at any time during the day. Write and stick a reminder note on your computer or desk with the word ‘Breathe’ or ‘Mindful’ or even the number 3 (for taking 3 deep breaths in and out). Every time you look at the note or sticker, stop what you are doing and do the breathing exercises above.
In addition, when you add mindful stretching to these breathing techniques, the tension you hold in different parts of the body can also be released. Below is a short sequence of yoga poses to stretch and relax your whole body.
You can easily do these at your desk, as the only prop you’ll need is a chair!
With thanks to Nanou from The Box of Happiness
If high levels of stress continue for a long period of time, or are interfering with you enjoying a healthy life, it is worth seeking professional help. A mental health professional, like a psychologist, can help you identify behaviours and situations that are contributing to high stress, and help you to make changes to the things that are within your control. Seeking help can be one way to manage your stress effectively.