December is a stressful time of year. And while the excitement of Christmas is, well, super exciting most of the time, for many people it also comes with a hefty dose of anxiety, dread and apprehension around the pressure and requirements of upholding festive expectations.
So in the spirt of trying to stay sane and take a bit of time to ourselves, I went to TriYoga to give their Meditation + Mindfulness class a go.
I'd like to say that I've tried to meditate once or twice but I couldn't tell you if I was doing it right or not. I've downloaded mindfulness apps to try and help with my anxiety but most of the time end up more frustrated than I was to start with for not being able to focus my mind in the right places.
So, as skeptical as I was about trying it with an actual human telling me what to do instead of my phone, I was hopeful that having some IRL back up would help me get to the right sort of head space.
How difficult is it?
That's a very difficult question, isn't it? I suppose it depends on what you're trying to achieve from the session. And how ready and willing you are to try. Mindfulness and meditation are those annoying sorts of things that take time and practice and patience. You know, all that important stuff that we like to roll our eyes at. The first time, therefore, isn't easy. At least, I didn't think so.
Do I need a working knowledge of exercise beforehand?
Nah I reckon you just need to be pretty open minded about what you're about to do because I felt really vulnerable when I walked into a studio of strangers who all (I'm assuming) need some guidance on how to manage their thoughts. Also, properly understanding what meditation is would help. Clue: it's different for everyone, you can do it sat down, lying down, kneeling, with your eyes opened, with your eyes closed - whatever. It's entirely in your hands.
Can I fit it into a lunch break?
Yes and I highly recommend you do. The TriYoga class is 30 minutes long so perfect to slot in in between meetings. And while I don't think I quite nailed the 'concentrate on one thing that's bothering you, let it be and acknowledge how you feel about it thing' (my mind likes to think about all the things at once, you see), it was SO good to take a short amount of time out of my day and dedicate it to thinking about anything but work.
Could I take a mate?
Honestly, I'd say no. This is about you, pal. Go at it alone.
What should I wear?
Literally whatever you want. Probs not jeans though because that's not very comfortable. I turned up in yoga gear but there was another guy in there wearing a hoodie. Anything goes.
Was it fun, though?
Fun isn't the word I'd use. But it was enlightening. Kind of. I think I'd need to go back a few times before it felt like I knew what I was doing and thinking with some real purpose.
Yoga poses by Roxy Shahidi
Yoga poses by Roxy Shahidi
BEST FOR: Toning the thighs and developing the gluteal muscles.TIP: Lift the toes to help drop your weight back, increasing the intensity of the pose.HOW TO:1. Stand straight and bring your feet together2. Inhale and stretch your arms above your head3. Exhale, bend the knees and sit down in your imaginary chair4. Try to keep the chest lifted and press your weight into the heels of your feet5. Drop the shoulders away from your ears bringing your hands into prayer position and breathe deeply for five breaths6. Twist your upper body to one side, hooking your elbow onto the outside of your knee making sure your knees stay aligned and take three deep breaths8. Return to the centre9. Now twist your upper half to the other side, hooking your elbow onto the outside of your opposite knee and take three deep breaths9. Return to the centre and standREPEAT the sequence three times
BEST FOR: Breaking down fatty tissue whilst sculpting and toning the waistTIP: Keep the core engaged and draw the elbows backHOW TO:1. Stand straight with your feet together2. Inhale and stretch your arms over your head3. Exhale and interlock your fingers behind your head4. Inhale and lengthen the spine5. Exhale and tip your upper half to the right6. Inhale and return to the centre7. Exhale and tip your upper half to the leftREPEAT the sequence ten times and aim for three rounds
BEST FOR: Strengthening the core and toning the abdominal musclesTIP: Keep the chest lifted to lengthen and intensify the poseHOW TO:1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and place your hands behind your hips2. Slowly lift your legs off the floor and bend your knees3. Make sure your spine is tall, inhale and lift your arms to shoulder height4. Exhale, engage the core and tip back holding for five breaths at your point of balance5. Drop your shoulders away from your earsREPEAT the move three times OPTIONAL MODIFICATION: You also have the option to place your hands 6 inches behind your buttocks fingers facing inwards
BEST FOR: Toning arms and working the whole backside of the bodyTIP: Increase the speed to get your bloody plumping OR reduce the speed and control to toneHOW TO:1. Come onto all fours on the floor, placing your hands flat and tipping your toes2. Inhale and look forward, reach your heart forward and move into upward facing dog3. Keep your shoulders over the hands, exhale and lift back into your downward dog4. Let the hips lead and inhale.5. Drop the hips and let your heart lead, lifting back into upward dogREPEAT this sequence ten times and aim for three rounds
BEST FOR: After an invigorating routine allow your body and mind to relaxTIP: Focus your mind on three things you like about yourself. Repeat them to yourself three times either aloud or in your mind.HOW TO:1. Lie flat on your back2.Let your feet fall open and rest your arms by your sides, palms facing upwards3.Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth4. With each exhale feel your body relaxingREPEAT five times with each exhale‘Yoga for Weight Loss by Roxy Shahidi’ is available to buy now!
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.