Pose of the month and thoughts of the year

After three and a half months in Vietnam, I think back to South Korea during the start of my first year when all I wanted to do was leave!  But I pushed on and eventually realised that I needed to be put out of my comfort zone, and I learned so much being in that country.  I know now that doing things outside of your comfort zone keeps you feeling alive.   Even if it doesn’t work out quite as you’d hoped, you’re always the better person for it.   Life should be about occasionally taking risks and change is something we should embrace.  The things that we fear, including the fear of the unknown, can be what makes us when we look back.

Not necessarily crazy, wild ones, just steps of varying size towards an end goal… to enrich your life; to fill it with people you want to spend time with; to learn new skills; to help someone else achieve something; to see new places and have new experiences.

365 days ago today, I connected with the right person at the right time; someone who in such a short space of time has taught me so much more about myself and who has even managed to make me stronger, more compassionate and more self-confident.  In 221 days time, we will be husband and wife 🙂

As I turn 33 today, I realise that the only way to live is to love and that isn’t just romantic love, I mean the love for everything around us.  If you open your arms to life, life will hug you back.

And not forgetting loving and respecting yourself.  Which for me includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle, wellness remedies, clean food, daily workouts, learning new skills, living in the moment and encouraging crazy, fun vibes is a long term, sustainable goal.  Balance is key!

Like I told someone today (my lovely mum-in-law to-be), living away from loved ones and being in a foreign country is challenging and I find I’m constantly having to focus on staying positive.  It’s not easy but the end goal makes it all worth it.

There’s so much to be thankful for this past year… I now have a wonderfully bright and exciting future to look forward to with my fiancé, an EWA International Certificate in Wine & Spirits added to my credentials, new-found motorbike driving skills, greater professional development in teaching EFL, new friendships and a growing bank of beautiful memories and experiences shared with my lief.

Enough about me, let’s talk more about yoga.  My favourite asana this month has been navasana (boat pose).  I find it one of the best for strengthening and defining the abs.  Trust me, you will see results with this if you practice it regularly.

How to do it?

  1. Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.  Hands behind you, fingers pointing towards the feet.
  2. Lengthen the spine, draw the belly in and widen the collar bones to open the chest.
  3. Lean back on the tripod between sit bones and sacrum and lift your feet off the floor, bringing the shins level with the floor.  Keep your knees bent at first. This is half boat pose.  (Your torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine round.)
  4. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle if you can do so without losing the integrity of your upper body. You want to keep your torso as upright as possible so that it makes a V shape with the legs.
  5. When possible, straighten the legs out, still keeping the lift through the spine.
  6. Balance on the sit bones.  Stay for 2-5 breaths, work up to 10 breaths.

Beginners’ Tips
You can hold the backs of your thighs with your hands if that helps you keep a straight spine.
Don’t be in a hurry to straighten your legs. Keeping the back straight and away from the floor is more important.

Advanced Tips
To increase core strength, try some boat crunches: Lower the legs and torso simultaneously towards the floor and hover there just before your feet and head touch the floor. Come back up in full or half boat pose like a sit-up. Repeat this five or more times.

navasana

Image: https://yogaanatomy.net/navasana/
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