Secret Three: Top 5 Secrets Successful Living

After exploring Secrets One and Two – working regularly with the ‘light shower’ and inviting the attitude of gratitude into your life  – you should be feeling pretty good every morning!

How would you like to feel empowered, grateful, expanded, healthy and wise every minute of your day? I most certainly do!!! That’s why Secret Three is so crucial to your total health and wellbeing!

book-now-manTo become a master at anything – even living – we need practice. We need small doses of consistent effort.

We all know that going to the gym once a month and doing a 4 hour workout – is not going to get you far in achieving your ultimate fitness goals. But a small amount on a regular basis is what will get you there. The same applies to living a successful life!

In this third secret we’re going to explore how you can – very simply – bring your awareness into your day – helping to prolong the amazing feeling of light and gratitude from Secrets One and Two (if you haven’t done these yet, please follow the links and spend a few days exploring these concepts – it will make this technique even more powerful and effective!).

GOOD HABITS… BAD HABITS…
Have you noticed that things and times of day can become habits? How we brush our teeth, which shoe we put on first, how we make our tea…. Habits are often given bad press – especially if we think they are not ‘good’ habits. However, habits can also be really, really helpful! If we could get into the habit of taking a walk everyday… of attending a yoga class once a week.. or even of checking the diary before you book the holiday… we would be creating a much healthier lifestyle, and reducing our stress levels!

For Secret Three to work we need to create a positive habit to help us expand our awareness beyond those few minutes after waking up. To do this we need some kind of trigger. Here are some examples of triggers we can use:

> TIME OF DAY: Every day at 7.30pm or 15 mins after you get in from work etc.

> PHYSICAL PLACE: Every time I walk into this room, sit on this cushion, walk past this tree…

> BODY SENSES: Every time I see this picture, hear this bell, listen to this piece of music, smell a rose, light this candle…

CHOOSE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO…
The second thing we need is an action – a small something we’ll do when triggered by whatever it is we choose. This can be a wide range of things – but keep them small and easily achievable to start with. This action should be tied in with your long term visions, dreams and goals. So if you are actively wanting to work on your health – make your action correspond!

There are 3 main areas of action which can help you get started:

> PRegal-Coby-Runner-300x244HYSICAL MOVEMENT: when you’re working on your physical health think about using a short movement based action for example; a yoga posture or sequence, dancing or a quick run up and down the stairs!

> MEDITATION & PRANAYAMA: if you are looking to focus more on your energy levels and reducing stress, why not have a simple breathing exercise (pranayama) where you focus on your breath for 3 or 4 minutes? This can be done sitting or standing, and is very effective for bringing you back into the present moment and building your inner energy levels.

> AWAREFUL LIVING: when you can’t just ‘stop’ what you are doing, how about choosing to be totally awareful in all your actions for 5 minutes? Every foot step, every word, every mouse click… what does it feel like physically? Then try to feel a sense of gratitude permeating through your body – “Wow! I have hands that can click the mouse!”

Advanced option – a higher purpose

A powerful practice is to dedicate your action to someone/ something else. You can dedicate your action towards a specific person or a group of people. You can also focus on peace between communities and nations and also towards the earth and animals – whatever is close to your heart and needs your energy and love.

How do I hold an intension?
Just before, during and as you complete your action, have an intention that this person/ situation will feel happier, more loved, healthier as a consequence of your action. If you can’t quite ‘get’ an intention simply use words or a feeling of gratitude or giving. You might also be able to visualise the final ‘happy’ or ‘resolved’ situation. This is a very powerful technique in the process of manifestation.

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
Start small and get good at doing one small action regularly! Try to choose a trigger that you are not going to be doing ALL the time (for example putting on the kettle, getting into the car). Thinsg we do too regularly are not likely to be good triggers as we often won’t have time/ remember to do the action. By not doing the action associated with you trigger – you will dilute the process, and it will no longer be an active trigger. If you find this happening – choose a different, more unique trigger.

radha-tree-300Once you’ve chosen one action and you do it regularly – try adding in another one! Build an array of good habits so that they soon become integrated, natural and spontaneous!

Remember you need to be committed to doing the action EVERY time you see/ interact with the trigger. For example; sitting on ‘that’ cushion means its time for you to do ‘X’ or every time you get the hoover out you take 3 deep slow breaths and fill your home with light and positive vibes for the benefit of your family.

 

You can also choose to do a certain action for a time period of days or weeks, and then replace it with a different one. This helps you to work with a variety of different actions and can certainly keep you on your toes!!!

This technique is a very powerful way of combining your mind, thoughts, emotions and body. Integration in this way helps us to find a more positive balance in our lives and live a more congruent lifestyle. These small changes on a regular and consistent basis are what will add up to make BIG steps forward in your personal growth.

Good luck in bringing your awareness more fully into your day!

 

Anouschka Dack

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August 2013 – the crane

bakasana-for-blogThis posture helps the circulation of the blood to the head as it falls into the inversion set of postures. It helps to strengthen the spine, the pelvic girdle and the legs and it also helps with physical balance.

The actual performing of the posture allows lots of muscles to be in use at the same time – the hamstrings are both stretched and contracted, the forearm flexor muscles are stretched, the gluteus maximus muscle and the core stability muscles are also contracted.

Because it is an inversion posture it helps on the mental / emotional level with releasing stubborn habit patterns. It creates a wonderful flow of energy through the spine activating all the chakras.

Who shouldn’t do this posture:
Although the benefits of this posture are excellent you need to make sure, as with all inversion postures, that if you are suffering from high blood pressure, have a hernia or a detached retina, have spinal disc problems or are pregnant then you should not do this posture.

Body preparations:
It is really important when doing this posture, especially for the first few times, that you do not over extend the raised leg causing the hips to twist. Having a partner to guide you until you become more aware of the flat lower back when in the posture will help you. To prepare for this posture you will need to strengthen the Gluteus Maximus muscles and work on stretching the hamstrings.

How to do this posture:
1. Stand in Tadasana. Place hands flat on thighs, breathe in and as you breathe out slide hands down legs towards the floor making sure you are bending at the hips.
Place both hands on the floor about two hand lengths in front of your feet (bend your knees if you need to).

2. Raise the right leg behind as high as possible but making sure the hips and lower back are flat and trying not to twist the pelvis (get someone to watch and check this for you until you can feel that you are in the correct position). Allow the stretch to extend from the hips to the toes.

3. Slowly lower leg down to original position. If this is uncomfortable you can always bend the knee and then place the foot on the floor.

4. Uncurl spine raising up to Tadasana before completing on left side.

The beauty of this posture is that even if you can’t get your hands down to the floor you can use blocks to assist. You can also use the back of a chair or the seat of a chair. If you use the back of chair you just need to lift the knee, pushing the heel away behind you whilst holding onto the chair. If you use the chair seat for support, lift the knee and push the heel behind you. It is just as important to make sure the pelvis doesn’t tilt when using any of these modifications.

Top Tip:
This is an excellent inverted posture to do, especially if you are not comfortable with shoulder stands as it allows you to fully experience the magical effects of the chakras moving throughout the body whilst you are in total control of the posture. Have fun with this and play around with the modifications too.

July 2013 – the child

child-for-blog

Pindasana, or the Child Pose, is a calm, quiet posture which helps to free tension in the area between the shoulder blades and along the whole length of the spine.

On a mental / emotional level you may experience a feeling of security and inner peace, as well as feelings of humility and child-like innocence.

Energetically, this posture allows for a resting phase on the earth, creating a wonderful circle of energy flowing over the top of the head and neck, shoulders, arms and hands to the feet, legs and over the back.

Who shouldn’t do this posture?
Although there are no recognised contra-indications to this posture, heavily pregnant women should take care, work with their own bodies and adopt one of the modifications below.

How to do this posture:
Get yourself a couple of blankets ready and some blocks (or books) to support the head.

From Vajrasana (kneeling, with the weight back towards the heels), bend forward and bring the forehead to the floor close to your knees. If the forehead does not reach the floor or you place the top of the head on the floor, then use a block. This is not a type of headstand – it is a relaxing posture! You can place a block under the forehead or alternatively bring your hands into fists and rest the forehead on your stacked fists.

In this posture, the buttocks should ideally rest on the heels, if they don’t, fold up the blankets and place them on the heels and the backs of the calves. Play around with the folds of the blankets to get them just right to correspond with the forehead on the floor.  If it’s more comfortable you can also take the knees apart slightly to allow your abdomen to rest between the thighs – this is especially useful in pregnancy.

Once you have sorted out the blankets and blocks allow the arms to relax by the sides of the body. Breathing in focus at the base of the spine and then feel the breath moving along the spine towards the neck. As you breathe out relax the whole area of the shoulders, neck, arms and hands. Rest in this posture for several minutes, and slowly raise up when you are ready.

Top Tip: 
It is worth taking the time to get yourself sorted for this posture, playing around with the height of any blocks you need, checking whether the hips touch the buttocks, in this way you can experience the amazing relaxation this posture brings.

June 2013 – the triangle

triangle-for-blogThe extended lateral triangle posture or ‘Utthita Trikonasana’ is invaluable for developing strength and flexibility in the trunk and thighs. It helps to mobilise the pelvic girdle, extend the spine and tones the abdominal, upper back and shoulder muscles.

The posture is also excellent for releasing stuck energy from the sides of the torso and can help us to perceive a wider picture in our lives. On an energetic level this posture activates the earth energies in the base chakra, and encourages it to raise upward, enhancing our artistic ability, creativity and powers of expression.

 

Should I do this posture?
As this posture creates a strong stimulation to the lower two chakras, it is not recommended during menstruation, pregnancy and for the first three months after giving birth. If you have back, knee or hip problems please exercise caution in performing and holding this posture.

If you have weakness in the lower back or abdominal muscles, you can do this posture with more ease by bringing your feet even closer together and bend your knee when moving into the posture.

Preparing the body
The triangle is generally quite demanding physically and therefore ensure that you have warmed up the body with some activations (one great way to get warmed up is to put your favourite music on and dance!) It would also be advantageous to stretch the pectorials and adductor muscules.

How to do the posture
1. Stand in tadasana. Allow your joints to be soft and relaxed and feel your connection with the earth.

2. Adopt the standard triangle base as follows:
 Separate your legs by two to three feet. Turn the right foot 45 degrees to the right by pivoting on the right heel. Now pivot on the ball of the right foot to bring the right heel in line with the toes. You should now find that your right heel is in line with the medial arch of the left foot. Push the left heel slightly to the left to allow you to anchor the left foot to the floor when you move into the side bend.

3. Pause and check that when you bend your right knee that the shin vertical. If its not – adjust your stance to bring your feet closer together – or if the legs are already too narrow, adjust the width between your feet accordingly.

4. Refresh your core stability. Breathing in, raise your arms sideways to shoulder height, palms facing forward. As you breathe out, reach towards the right extending from the base of your spine and then down towards the floor. Keep your body in one plane—the torso does not come forwards.

N.b. Keeping in one plane will restrict your movement considerably but it is more useful to bend just a little to the side with correct alignment than to bend a lot more but incorrectly.

5. Once you feel perfectly balanced, become aware of your arms. Rest the back of your right hand against the right calf or ankle. Stretch your left arm upwards and feel as if you are lifting from the armpit. Allow your left shoulder blade to relax towards the right shoulder blade. Elongate your neck and turn your head in order to look up towards your left hand.

6. To come out of the posture, reverse this sequence as follows:
Look forwards, bend your right knee and on an inhalation slowly raise your torso upwards, contracting your pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles to help with the lifting movement. Arms remain out sideways at shoulder height. Once in the upright position lower both arms.

7. You may wish to rest in a relaxed forward bend position before repeating on the other side.

May 2013 – the bow

bow-for-blog

Dhanurasana or the Bow is an amazing backward bend, which also opens the chest and stretches pecs and quads. This posture gives a complete activation of the whole spine, helping maintain both its suppleness and strength and also of the hips.

In the final rocking stage the bow gives a gentle massage to the abdominal organs, obviously aiding digestion.

In this posture the Manipura chakra (the solar centre) and Vishuddhi chakra (the throat centre) are activated. As a consequence we find that on a mental / emotional level this posture helps us to become more able to express yourself.

The bow is a very powerful posture for helping us to train the mind. In the practice of archery it is said that the concentrated focus on a target helps the subject and the object to become one.

Contraindications:
If you are suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure or have had recent abdominal surgery please avoid this posture. Women who are pregnant or are menstruating should also avoid this posture.

Body preparations:
It is really important to prepare the body for the stretches this posture brings. Use the Quadriceps stretch (stand on one leg and hold the other foot close to the buttocks – keeping the knees close together and the sternum lifted), the Iliopsoas stretch and the pectoralis Stretch (take a yoga strap – or your hubby’s tie – and hold onto it with your arms about 1m apart – then lift up and over your head, so your arms are stretched out behind you).

How to do this posture:
You can perform this posture on a blanket if you need to cushion the hip bones. You may also find that you need to use straps to perform the individual stages of this posture. If your hands don’t reach your feet easily then please take care not to over-stretch – use a strap or a sash hooked around the ankle. It is important to gain the benefits of the posture without any pain.

Stage 1 (preparing the knees and thighs)
Lie in the prone position with both hands extended in front and the forehead placed on the floor. Bend the right knee and bring your right hand back and take hold of the foot. Draw the foot towards the right buttock so you can feel the stretch along the front of the right thigh.

Then bring the left hand also to the right foot. Breathe in and as you exhale raise the right thigh by pushing the front of the right foot into your palms and moving your heel away from your buttock, whilst at the same time lifting your head and chest off the ground. Hold for a few seconds, breathing normally. On an exhalation lower your head and chest to the ground and release hold of your right foot. Make sure you release hands and feet gently back to the floor.

Rest in Makarasana for a few moments before repeating with the left leg.

Stage 2 (full posture)
Remain in the prone position, bend both knees and take hold of the right foot with the right hand and the left foot with the left hand. Breathe in and as you exhale raise both the top of the body and the legs off the ground. As the body balances on the abdomen it rocks gently with each breath (the breath will be faster than normal in this position).

Your arms are like the bow-string which tenses to bring the body back into the shape of the bow.

Top Tip: 
It is important to follow this posture with some forward bending postures. Either the knee-to-head posture (Janu Sirsasana) or the sitting forward bend (Paschimottanasana) would be ideal.

Yoga and Walking

mouli-for-blogIt’s not just because the dog needs a tree that we should head out into the big green yonder… it’s because it’s actually vital for our full health and wellbeing. Here at Dru, we try to get out and about for a walk every day – read on to find out why!

1. Lift your mood
Simply by heading out for a 20 minute brisk walk your body starts to release endorphins – or the ‘feel good’ hormones. This in turn helps us to feel positive about our lives and enthusiastic about our day ahead.


2. Get fit
Brisk walking is also beneficial aerobic exercise for helping to promote weight loss. By getting out and about you are naturally using more energy and therefore helping those extra calories from that sneaky packet of crisps to be used up with exercise – rather than sitting on the hips!

3. Get a change of perspective
When we are out of our ‘normal’ environment it becomes much easier to see things from a different perspective. Those things which seemed too big or overwhelming can now become more clear and can feel more manageable.

 4. Dedicate those positive vibes
When we walk with an awareness of gratitude it can become a powerful act of dedication. When we think about how amazing it is to be able to walk, run, play and get easily from A to B, we can then choose to dedicate that great feeling to others who may be less fortunate than ourselves. We can hope that someone close to us may also feel the beauty of movement today, or that those who are not able to walk will feel some improvement in their health.

Why not give it a try next time you’re ‘pounding the pavement’!

5. Keeping it up…
It’s not necessarily easy to keep up your daily walk… When it gets really busy at work, or you get home late and you are tired, a walk round the block can feel like the last thing in the world you want to do! At these times the best thing is to put on your shoes (without thinking too much!) and just walk out the door!!! You’ll find that once you start – it’s much easier to keep going.

Here are some great ideas about how to integrate your walk into your daily life to get you started!

  1. Park about a mile away from work – then you have to walk there and back again!
  2. Don’t get enough milk… (This is a crafty one to get the other half out the door!)
  3. Have a ‘walk buddy’ – when you are with another person you can help each other to keep up the good habit.
  4. Use the stairs instead of the lift.
  5. Walk the kids to school.
  6. Make it a family habit to go for a stroll after dinner every evening.

 6. Yogic walking?
The literal translation of yoga is: ‘to unite’ and when we walk with awareness we have a wonderful opportunity to be able to connect to nature and our surroundings.

As we allow ourselves to fully enter into the joy of walking we start to experience other potent benefits. For example, it can help us to tap into a more subtle part of ourselves, allowing us to feel more emotionally balanced, physically energised and to enjoy a deep sense of connection to inner self and the world around us. Discover more about yoga and walking at one of our yoga weekend retreats in Snowdonia.

If you are familiar with some of the yoga asanas and sequences, you will also find that to practice them out of doors will bring a added dimension for you to enjoy. Learn some asana in this blog under our ‘posture of the month’ category or visit us at the Dru Yoga Online Studio here.

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Discover the amazing benefits of walking today!

Anouschka Dack


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