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Keep Calm and Connected

Issue: TW11 April '14

HOW CAN YOU REMAIN calm in your mind and relaxed in your body throughout the day? Especially when you have so much going on and no time to do it all or you are feeling too tired or have started the day in the wrong frame of mind, all of which lead to a feeling of disconnection.

Many people live their lives never knowing how to really connect with who they truly are while pretending to be what society expects them to be. They become caught up in a web of day-to-day problems, negative thoughts and
media pressures.

What if when you wake up one morning you do know who you are. You feel good about yourself, positive, refreshed and ready to confront the day ahead. To your friends and colleagues you appear to be a different person, radiating a happier, calmer, more energetic personality.

So how can you effect this miraculous change in temperament and disposition? One of the most successful tried and tested traditions comes from yoga philosophy and is about understanding that the small points of life are closely linked to the bigger issues.

Developing daily rituals, no matter how small can have a profound effect on your mind, body connection. If you can manage to make the smallest of changes and keep them going as regular habits you will be on the way to achieving a more balanced way of life.

A typical ritual day can evolve by splitting parts of the day and making some simple yet
effective changes.

An early morning routine can keep you be your best self all day long. Set a standard for the day with a positive thought or short reading. Start the day with three simple stretching exercises, such as forward bend, spinal twist and shoulder stretch. Build up focus by doing rituals with care, such as washing, brushing hair, applying makeup. Bringing consciousness to your actions in the here and now.

Mid Morning concentration is valuable for relatively short periods – effectively for about an hour. Take regular short breaks. A few minutes relief will actually heighten your capacity to understand and remember things. Don’t think ‘you’re too busy to stop’ as this will usually end in slapdash results. Often stressful mental concentration and physical tension go together. For a few minutes give yourself some breathing space. To help bring the focus to your being (and not doing) breath deeply into your belly for four counts and out for six, repeat three times. Remember the importance of opening up the breath, de-tensing and stretching. Give yourself a relaxing neck stretch.

This can be quite a hazardous time! Digestion becomes a slow process. Millions of people these days work in front of computers. This effects posture, diminishes energy levels and interferes with the effective working of the muscles. Make sure you stand tall for a minute with feet together, lower your shoulders, engage the tummy muscles as if you are pulling the abdomen into the lower back, lengthen the neck lifting through the crown of the head, look forward and keep the face relaxed.

Early Evenings
For many people this time is a transition period, moving from work into evening activities. This is one of the best times to combine an aromatic bath with relaxation, candles and awareness of the breathing to induce a meditative state. If you have a family consider eating high tea with the kids and doing this ritual after they have gone to early bed. Allowing yourself ‘me time’ once or twice a week can make one feel like a new person. Energy is topped up and the rest of the evening becomes far more enjoyable.

Bedtime preparation requires getting the mind into a relaxed state so that sleep can follow naturally. By creating a pre-sleep ritual, you’re establishing a clear association between certain activities and sleep. Some gentle stretching helps to start the process, followed by a few minutes of calm, rhythmic breathing.
Or if you read before going to bed, your body knows that reading at night signals sleep time. If you take a warm bath before bed every night, your body recognizes that it’s time to slow down and relax.

Many of you may think that such simple, everyday rituals cannot make a huge difference. But you will be surprised at how effective it can be to establish a simple but useful pattern of daily rituals and then notice how your major activities and challenges are dealt with in a more calm and connected way.

‘In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you’
Deepak Chopra

Annie Moore at Vidatherapy Spa,
6 Church Road, TW11 8PB