Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners

Students often ask for meditations to practice at home, so I thought I would make some articles about starting to incorporate a practice into daily life. Also, including a meditation to practice independently from the comfort of home.

There are many benefits of guided meditations, such as:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Internalizing thoughts and emotions
  • Decluttering the mind of thoughts
  • Increasing mental wellbeing
  • Lowering blood pressure

    Just to name a few!

However it is important as we progress in practice to start learning meditation independently.

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Mindfulness Meditation is a way of training the mind. It is a practice that teaches the mind to:

  • Let go of negativity
  • Slow down racing thoughts
  • Calm the mind
  • Invoke rest and relaxation within the body
  • Promote healing, both mentally and physically
mindfulness meditation

How does Mindfulness relate to Yoga?

Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodha – Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind

Patanjali – Yoga Sutras, Sutra 1.2.

As this sutra states, Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations the mind. Learning to still the mind is the primary aim of yoga. Everything else is just a wonderful side effect of practicing this Sutra.

Mindfulness Meditation – both on and off the mat

Meditation and mindfulness, both on and on the mat play a vital role in attaining a still mind. It must be practiced daily and be at the forefront of our practice. If we just practice asana, without this element, we lose the essence of what Yoga truly is.


It is really important to marry both movement and postural (asana practice) with meditation techniques, to have a whole, well rounded practice.

A Mindful Meditation to practice at home

This simple meditation can be practiced anywhere, for as long as you wish.

Part one – gentle breathwork

Inhale from the base of the spine to the throat, slowing the breath to an extended count of four.
Pause, retain the breath for a count of four.
Exhale from the throat to the base of the spine for a count of four.
Pause, retain the breath for a count of four.
Repeat as many times as you wish.

Remember, you can return to a normal breath then practice again if you wish. This is your practice and your time.

Part two – Mindfulness Meditation

Become aware of the breath – what happens to the belly, chest and ribcage as we inhale? What happens as we exhale?
Feel the sensations associated with air entering and exiting the body.
Pay attention to the rise and fall of the belly.
Bring a focus to each breath.

After a while, return to a normal breath.
Just be still. Listen.
Become aware and listen to sounds around you, without putting to much emphasis on them.
If thoughts come, don’t put too much emphasis on them, just return to the awareness of the breath then let the breath return to normal.

Stay in the practice for at least 10 minutes.

Yoga classes in Middlesbrough, Guisborough and Stockton

Aimee teaches an array of classes in Nunthorpe, Marton, Norton and Guisborough, and across Teesside. Mindfulness is always incorporated into classes.

Tuesdays in Norton / Stockton

Yoga & Meditation – 7:00-8:30pm Ragworth Community Centre, St Johns Way, Stockton-On-Tees TS19 0FB .

£6.50 for a drop in or a block of 4 lessons for £20 (£5.00 per class) .

Fridays in Nunthorpe / Middlesbrough

Yoga & Meditation -9:30- 11:00am St Mary’s Church Hall, Morton Carr Lane, Nunthorpe.

£6.00 for a drop in or a block of 4 lessons for £20 (£5.00 per class) 

Email amala.teesside@gmail.com or contact us for information & bookings.

Do you use mindfulness meditations in your practice? Is it something you wish to incorporate? I would love to hear from you!
Warm regards, Aimee

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Bereavement: Positive ways Yoga and Meditation can help.

Yoga Middlesbrough – How Yoga and Meditation can help with bereavement and grief….

Losing a loved one is never easy. My father recently passed away after a long fight with cancer. The emotions, shock and myriad of other emotions stirred up within us and family/friends are difficult to process. As well as having our own emotions to process and work through, we support others through this period of mourning too.

My much loved father and his adoring fans!

My Dad is, was and always will be very loved. He was a true family man and was a pillar of the local community, as well as a loved colleague by those he worked with. My brother, sister, mum and I were at his side when he passed.
I have never experienced heartbreak like it, seeing my family go through that same anguish is also heart-breaking.

I have found a lot of peace and solace in my practice, especially focusing on the breath and being still. It brings a lot of peace and clarity to the mind.

– Grief is natural –

Unfortunately, grief is something we all have to experience some time in life. Grief can be physical as well as emotional. Especially a really strong sense of tiredness and fatigue. This is how I have felt since my father passed.

crop pitiful black woman embracing knees on bed
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Everyone experiences grief differently and there is no right or wrong way to process grief.

Symptoms of grief…

A few common symptoms people experience when processing a bereavement are:

  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Longing and pining
  • Headaches
  • Appetite changes – loss or comfort eating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty doing day-to-day things
  • Aches and pains
  • Lack of focus

Although this list does not describe everyone’s experience and some may experience other symptoms when grieving.

People can also worry that they are becoming mentally unwell, or that they are starting to overcome the grief. However, often ‘grief intrusion’ can occur, where someone or something triggers a memory, where they feel like they have returned back to the beginning stages of grief. This is normal, as grief is not a linear process.

Grief intrusion can happen when shopping, or when practicing. Basically at anytime of the day. It can catch us off-guard, but this is a part of the grieving process.

How Yoga and Meditation can help us process grief and bereavements.

Grief can become very overwhelming. A regular Yoga and Meditation practice can help us work through and explore feelings that arise when grieving. From gentle movement and stretching in Asana practice, a focus on the breath and practicing stillness and a sense of community within the Yoga and Meditation world, we can start to work through our grief.

– Choosing to look after ourselves –

By practicing even for 15 minutes a day, you can free up some of your physical and emotional energy. This helps the body and mind relax and recuperate. Giving ourselves time to process grief is really important and the time we get in Yoga and Meditation sessions really has a positive impact. Also, when we dedicate time to our practice, we naturally start to slow down and this starts to reflect off the mat too.

– Creating space in our lives –

As well as time, we need space. I found that I needed to give myself space daily to process things and reflect. When I had too much planned, or had too much work on, I felt overwhelmed very easily. One of the main signs of grief that isn’t talked about much is exhaustion of the body and mind. Its something that can take months to pass, so it is so important to give ourselves this time. Even if it is doing something we enjoy, like a gentle walk with music, or reading a book. This time is essential.

– Gentle exercise and movement is good for the body and soul –

– More resilience –

Research shows that asana (posture) and gentle breathwork can improve our mood and soothe our nervous system. It helps us operate in the parasympathetic nervous system (a state of relaxation) , rather than the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) . When we practice this regularly, it helps us happier and calmer, and therefore more resilient during a bereavement. It also helps us look after our physical well-being.
Sometimes, the gym or strenuous exercise can seem daunting at this time, but gentle yoga can help us stay mobile, active and help us improve our flexibility, whilst soothing the mind.

– Meditation helps us process grief –

It can be difficult to accept that a person has gone, but they wouldn’t want us to remain sad and upset and continue to suffer. They would want us to continue living life to the fullest and remember good times, happy memories and celebrate their life.

There can be a period where it seems we cannot move on, or find a resolution. Meditation allows us to sit with our feeling and emotions and process them. It allows us to practice forgiveness, send loving kindness to ourselves and others and to find peace and clarity with the situation. it gives us space and time to process grief.

Some good meditations to try…

I am a massive fan of Burgs and his work. He does a series of free meditations on his YouTube channel.

This meditation is wonderful to do in bed or lying down, when feeling exhausted.

Cruse Bereavement are a wonderful charity to contact to seek support if you are having challenges processing grief.


I hope some of the advice here helps you to process grief and bereavement.

Do you have any advice for people? I’d love to hear from you.

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Turmeric & Black Pepper – 8 amazing health benefits

A winning combination to combat inflammation in sore joints.

Recently, I have had a pain in the side of my left knee. I looked up supplements to help my knee to heal and came across turmeric and black pepper supplements. This article addresses the benefits of using turmeric for inflammation in joints, as well as a whole load of other benefits for the mind, body and soul.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is an Indian spice, common in many Asian foods. It is an edible root from the Curcuma longa plant of the ginger family. It is often ground down and added to food to add flavour and spice.

healthy spoon orange cooking
Photo by Karl Solano on Pexels.com

It’s health benefits are widely known and is often taken as a supplement, to help reduce inflammation within the body.

What makes Turmeric anti-inflammatory?

– Curcumin –

Turmeric contains a bio-active compound known as curcumin. This can help relieve symptoms of inflammation within the body. It has been shown in many studies to be:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-Fungal

As well as being a powerful anti-oxidant. It’s no wonder it helps with a myriad of joint problems.

Why should Black Pepper be taken with Turmeric?

golden spoon with mix of herbs and spices
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The active ingredient – piperine is an extract found in black pepper. When taken with curcumin, it helps boost absorption. This improves absorption rates. Curcumin on its own is difficult for the body to absorb, this is why it is important to take black pepper with turmeric.

– 8 health benefits of this wonder root –

  1. Boosts cognitive function in the brain
  2. Eases aches and pains due to its anti-inflammatory properties
  3. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is also good for the heart, cardio-vascular and respiratory systems
  4. Anti-oxidants in turmeric means it is anti-ageing, helping to fight wrinkles and ageing
  5. Curcumin found in turmeric is known to fight inflammation markers within the body
  6. The liver is supported by turmeric, aiding detoxification of the body
  7. Turmeric can help to stabilise mood
  8. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, turmeric is known to support weight loss

Why does this wonder root support a yogic diet?

As well as the benefits noted above, turmeric when taken with black pepper, helps to support the body when healing from yoga practice. It helps to ease inflammation in joints, muscles and promotes healing. It helps to stabilize mental and physical wellbeing, making it an amazing supplement to use in your practice.

Do you use turmeric in cooking? Do you take turmeric supplements?

I’d love to hear from you!

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

The importance of Meditation in Yoga – Guided Meditations for beginners to practice at home.

I often practice guided meditations at home. They are a wonderful way of practicing meditation in smaller sessions. Meditating in this way helps the mind stay on track. The mind focuses on the voice leading the meditation, known as a one-point focus. This really helps to focus and train the mind.

Yoga and the importance of Meditation

Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodha – Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind

Patanjali – Yoga Sutras, Sutra 1.2.

As this sutra states, Yoga is the stilling of the mind. Everything we do from postural practice, to meditation and breathwork is to help fulfil this Sutra.

What are the benefits of guided meditation?

photo of a man sitting under the tree
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on Pexels.com
  1. Helps reduce stress and anxiety.
  2. Helps internalize thoughts and emotions
  3. Declutters the mind of thoughts
  4. Increases mental wellbeing
  5. Lowers blood pressure
  6. Invokes relaxation at a deep level
  7. Rewires neurons in the mind – changing the way we think and behave

Sometimes, it can be tricky to know where to begin with meditation. Here are some of my favorites to kickstart you on your meditation journey!

– Two of my favorite Youtube Meditations –

Beginners Spoken Guided Meditation – By Jason Stephenson.
This meditation takes you through a guided tour of the Chakra System. It is designed to help you feel balanced before you fall asleep.

Stillness with loving kindness Guided Meditation – By Burgs.
This meditation takes you through a Buddhist Loving Kindness Meditation.
Burgs is a Buddhist Meditation teacher, he is wonderful to listen to.

Do you use guided meditations in your practice? Is it something you wish to incorporate? I would love to hear from you!
Warm regards, Aimee

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Blogging – A new opportunity to work with us!

Blogging can be challenging to break into. Let us help.

We offer guest posts with a backlink to your site, as well as opportunities to backlink phrases to well-written content in our blogs.

If this interests you, please get intouch.

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Calling all Yoga, Meditation and Wellness bloggers!

If you would like to guest blog for us, or collaborate in different ways, please contact us on


Tea: 10 wholesome quotes about the nations favourite brew

Quotes about Tea, one of the favourite beverages in Middlesbrough…

I’m not going to lie, we love a good brew at AMALAwellness. (Especially me!)
From Green Tea to Yorkshire Tea (even butterfly pea tea), we are tea-addicts.
Through good times and bad, tea seems to play a crucial role in Brit’s lives.
I dug out some of my favourite quotes on the Nations favourite brew.

Here are our top 10 quotes about tea…

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis.

“In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem.
Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea.
Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea and a biscuit.
Your entire family has been eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has travelled through a space/time portal? Nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. Possibly a savoury option would be welcome here too, for example a Scotch egg or a sausage roll.”
― David Walliams

white ceramic cup on saucer

“A cup of tea would restore my normality.”
― Douglas Adams

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”
― Lin Yutang

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
― Bill Watterson

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
― William Ewart Gladstone

photography of blue ceramic coffee cup

“Where there’s tea, there’s hope.”
― Arthur Wing Pinero

“Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”
― Sydney Smith

“Tea is the magic key to the vault where my brain is kept.”
― Frances Hardinge

“Tea … is a religion of the art of life.”
― Kakuzō Okakura

What are your favourite tea quotes? Did any of these relate to you? We’d love to hear from you!

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Gentle Yoga Flow and Meditation Course – Online

Mentally and physically preparing for the easing of lockdown, as well as the return to face-to-face classes.

Yoga Alliance - Aimee Bell Yoga Teacher Middlesbrough Stockton Teesside

 Aimee is running an exciting new five week online course, VIA zoom, starting Thursday the 13th of April 2021. A taster session will run next week (6th of April) so that you can try before you buy.

Taster Sessions - Try before you buy, middlesbrough, stockton, teesside, yoga and meditation

Gentle Yoga Flow – get fit, moving and active again after lockdown…

There will be a free taster session next week for our upcoming 5 week online Gentle Yoga Flow Course ran VIA zoom, from the comfort of your home.

As the end is hopefully in sight, preparing for a more active lifestyle is as important as ever. Especially looking after our physical and mental wellbeing moving out of lockdown. We know there are many benefits of practicing Yoga and Meditation. Our gentle movement and exercise classes help to open up the body and tone muscles in a safe, inclusive environment. We also practice gentle breathwork, meditation and relaxation. This helps the body to relax, reducing stress, anxiety and improving mood. We also include philosophy within the course, learning about body’s reactions to stress and how to alleviate this. We learn the theory and philosophy of relaxation and how to access this anytime.

When will the Gentle Yoga Flow course run?

The taster class will be on Thursday the 6th of April at 7:00-8:15pm. The classes will run for five weeks. It will run Thursdays 7:00-8:15pm every week from the 13th of April to the 10th of May.

If you sign up to the full course, here will be weekly emails and articles to help you develop a home practice. It will include tips of how to improve mental and physical wellbeing. This is really important as we start to approach the easing of lockdown restrictions, as many are finding the transition a challenge.

How much will the course cost?

The course will cost £17.50 for the 5 weeks, that is £3.50 a session plus support to develop a home meditation and yoga practice.

Drop ins will be available at £3.50 per class, however you will not get the emails and support to develop a home practice during the time the course runs.

What will I learn on the course?

You will learn gentle flowing yoga to help improve flexibility, respiratory fitness, balance and strength. This will be done with lying, seated, kneeling and standing postures. You will also learn how to incorporate movement into your daily life in bitesize chunks. Also, you will get advice on developing your own routines for day to day life. Incorporating 5-10 minutes practice of meditation and breathwork, for example, can make a massive difference to our day-to-day life.

Do I need specific equipment to join the Gentle Yoga Flow course?

Just a yoga mat, a peaceful quiet room and enough space to stretch out. Also, a blanket and comfy clothes are a must!

Gentle Yoga Flow, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Teesside

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

If you or a loved one would like to sign up for taster session, the process is simple. Just email Aimee at amala.teesside@gmail.com and I will send you a health registration form, then you just log in using the link at the top of the screen (located in the ‘classes’ tab). It is essential the health registration form is filled in prior to joining any classes.

What classes will be running face to face, when restrictions lift?

Click here to see our Yoga classes in Teesside.

Hope to see you all virtually, soon!
Warm regards, Aimee

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Binaural Beats: What are the benefits?

– Sleep / Therapy / Meditation –

I have listened to music to help me sleep, study and learn to meditate. There are lots of studies around music and the positive effects they can have on both physical and mental wellbeing.

Today we look at the benefits of this style of music, how the frequencies are caused and how they can benefit your Yoga and Meditation practice.

How are binaural beats caused?

Simply put, binaural bears work by playing two soundwaves of differing frequencies in earphones. Research has shown the difference of each frequency to each ear can alter the state of brainwaves.

This type of sound must be listened to through headphones or it won’t work efficiently.

It can help the mind to relax, invoking a state of relaxation and prepare the body for deep sleep. People often use this method to access lucid dreams.

How can this type of music help your mind?

There are many benefits of incorporating music into your Yoga practice. Especially if using music and sound to alleviate stress and anxiety or improve overall mental wellbeing. Listening to music of certain frequencies, especially at differing frequencies, can help improve symptoms such as:

  • Reduced stress levels
  • Increase in concentration and focus
  • Improved mood
  • Boosts motivation
  • Reduces sensations of anxiety
  • Relaxes the mind and body

The binaural tones help to create a rhythmic, hypnotic beat which has an effect on brainwaves and the mind. This helps both the mind and body to relax. The brain reacts to the differences in frequencies and sounds, creating a hypnotic trance and elevating inner consciousness. The effects you feel depend on the frequencies played. This can aid with concentration, relaxation or alleviating symptoms of migraines and headaches.

What is 432Hz Solfeggio Frequency?

Music tuned to 432hz is said to vibrate with the frequency of the universe. It is often referred to as natures healing frequency. This frequency helps the body to relax and enter a state of deep rest and sleep.

What effect can binaural beats and 432hz have on Yoga and Meditation practice?

There are many studies to suggest that binaural beats can have a positive effect in reducing anxiety and stress. I often use this technique in meditation and yoga and find it have a positive effect, however it would be best to experiment for yourself. I found that it reduced my stress levels when I practiced meditation and fell asleep with binaural beats/432hz music on my MP3 player. My students enjoy using this technique, both in class for final relaxation and in person. If you are looking for a way to learn to meditate and focus the mind during yoga, but find silence distracting, then this could be the right tool for your practice.

What are your views on Binaural Beats? Will you incorporate them into your practice?

I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Stop smoking – Overcoming Addictions

One of my students who regularly attends yoga classes recently asked me about using Yoga and Meditation to stop smoking. Although Yoga and Meditation can help us overcome bad habits and replace them with good ones, there needs to be an approach that works both on and off the mat. There is a myriad of information online to help people quit, however there aren’t many personal stories of what people found useful and triumphs.

Quitting smoking – A how to guide.

There are many resources to help us quit smoking. However, a lot of them don’t seem to help us kick the habit long term. In this article, we examine some of the quitting techniques people use. We also interviewed and asked people in the process of quitting what they find useful in aiding their smoking cessation.

– Struggling to stop smoking –

Many people lead a healthy life in many ways, but struggle to kick the habit and quit smoking.

This is an issue for many people, from lecturers at university, accident and emergency doctors, yoga teachers to fitness instructors. Many who are fit and healthy in many ways still struggle to kick nicotine to the kerb. Many struggle when having an alcoholic drink, or a night out.

– Why do people struggle to stop smoking? –

I spoke to one of my friends about the issue. She was a dedicated Yogi, getting up at 6:00am to start her Ashtanga Yoga practice. Skipping social events and nights out to be a good dedicated practitioner. However, she was still struggling to stop smoking. She could go cold turkey for two or three days , then would find herself having secret cigarettes again on her balcony.

She was feeling, guilty disappointed in herself and giving herself a really hard time. According to her, smoking was the only vice left to kick, but the most challenging. She was unhappy with herself. She often stated she did not enjoy smoking anymore or the anxious feelings she would get after having a cigarette. However, nicotine still had a hold over her.

– The Science behind Nicotine Addiction –

Why was she struggling so much? The reason – nicotine dependence.

Nicotine Addiction Stop Smoking: Overcoming addictions stockton middlesbrough
Ing Source: https://www.doc2us.com/smoking-why-is-it-so-addictive

As we can see from the diagram, smokers have lots of nicotine receptors in our brains. There can be hundreds to thousands of these receptors scattered through the mind. When these receptors are supplied with a nicotine hit, they respond by releasing dopamine to the body. Conversely, when we don’t smoke, these receptors crave nicotine, which causes the symptoms that people report when trying to stop smoking. The more we smoke, the more of these receptors we have. The receptors can take up to 6 weeks to start to dissipate after we stop smoking. totally freeing the mind of them can take months or years.

Now My friend is determined to call herself an ex-smoker; it’s been quite a while since her last cigarette. Although she still has her struggles, her mindset has totally changed. She has put a lot of time and effort into re-programming her mind and body through:

  • A devoted and regular meditation practice
  • Devotion to her Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga practice
  • Focusing on healthy and nutritious food
  • Drinking two litres of water a day
  • Being aware to avoid ‘triggers

This approach is do-able but takes strong will power. There are lots of resources to try when trying to stop smoking and unfortunately not one size fits all. It will be a hard slog of trial and error to see what works for you.

Would you like to stop smoking? Here are some pointers that helped people when quitting once and for all…

– Download a Stop Smoking App –

Smoking apps are brilliant. They have a lot of information to help keep you informed on things such as:

  • Money saved
  • Health improvements
  • Cigarettes passed
  • Time stopped smoking

A lot of smokers find these a really useful tool to help focus the mind. The Easy Quit Smoking App is free to download and has helped many smokers stay quit.

– Read Allen Carr’s ‘ The Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ –

Allen’s book has helped many people to quit smoking and stay quit. He used to be a heavy smoker for decades and talks openly and candidly about his struggles and how he came to quit. Many people state they smoked whilst reading the book, but when they finished it they didn’t smoke again. Would it work for you? One way to find out!

Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking book: Overcoming addictions stockton middlesbrough
img url: mumsnet

– Cravings –

Cravings can send the most calm person reaching for another nicotine hit. When we try to stop smoking, cravings can drive us up the wall. They are very unpleasant sensations that make us feel like we need a cigarette. The mental unease it causes can make us reach for a tab, unless we focus our mind on the reason we wish to stop smoking. There is a lot of evidence that suggests cravings last for no longer than three minutes. Once people learn this, it makes it so much easier to ride out craving. Just focus the mind on something else and it will pass.

– A Reason to Stop Smoking –

Peaceful Stop Smoking: Overcoming addictions stockton middlesbrough
img source: Slantedonline.com

One great tip in the journey to quit smoking: focus on a reason to quit that is greater than your craving to smoke.

There are many reasons, such as:

  • Improving our health – Breathing better, better circulation, hair, skin, nails etc
  • Not smelling of smoke at work, or around our partner, for example.
  • Improving lung capacity for sports and activities.
  • Saving money (smoking is an expensive habit, especially in the UK!)

Find a reason that top trumps the reasons you feel you need to smoke. Make a comprehensive list and keep it around. When you get a craving, look at it. Remember the reasons that outweigh the need to smoke when times get tough.

– Avoid Triggers to help you Stop Smoking –

Mind trigger Stop Smoking: Overcoming addictions stockton middlesbrough
img source: iStock

Are you aware of what  triggers you to smoke? Know your triggers and avoid them as much as you can. Certain social situations, daily habits, routines, friendships, smells and even coffee can trigger a craving.

Get togethers where people are smoking and drinking can also trigger cravings. If you keep a record and monitor what causes cravings, you can plan ways to avoid these situations whilst you focus on quitting.

– Will Power is needed to Stop Smoking –

We can read all the literature, come up with an epic game plan and have all the resources at hand. However, if we don’t have will power, we will struggle to quit. Will power is a necessity in the battle to stop smoking.

– Remove Yourself From Situations Where You May Smoke –

Drinking alcohol, social situations and stressful situations can cause craving and relapses. If you keep track of situations where you may smoke and do something else instead, this will really help you keep on track.
If you are doing well in your journey to quit smoking, the last thing you want to do is relapse. Stay strong!

– Drink at least two litres of water a day –

A wonderful tip to consider when quitting smoking is to always have a bottle of water on your person. When you feel a craving coming on, drink water! It really helps soothe the nervous system and calm the mind. Drinking water really helps cravings to pass quickly, plus it keeps us hydrated!

– Dispose of All Cigarettes & Lighters –

Getting rid of all smoking paraphernalia, as well as any remaining cigarettes, can help you to quit. You cannot be tempted to have ‘just one more’ when you have cravings, unless you drive to a store to buy some. Hopefully by this point, your cravings will have passed.

– Give up Alcohol –

For many smokers, ex smokers and those trying to quit, alcohol and cigarettes go together like peas in a pod.

Many cannot enjoy a drink without smoking. A lot of people have this experience, so if you feel this way you aren’t alone.. There are many benefits of giving up alcohol, so it might be something to reduce the intake of whilst quitting. Many people ntroduced alcohol back into their lives la few months after quitting and remained smoke free.

– Focus on fitness and nutrition –

When you smoke, nicotine receptors release endorphins into the body. When we exercise, the body also release endorphins. Other feel good hormones are also released that help you relax. This means you’re less likely to smoke. Eating healthy and avoiding coffee, alcohol and other things likely to cause cravings mean you are more likely to stay quit.

I’m fond of the phrase: ‘We are what we eat’. Our body and mind use vitamins, minerals , proteins, carbohydrates and other compounds from our food to construct our cells, tissues, bones, mind and body. Our food enables us to re-build our bodies from a cellular level. Not only is what we eat inportant for out physical health, it is important for our mental health and to help us battle cravings. When we have a consistently healthy diet, we have usually do not to want to un-do the hard work. This is why focusing on health and nutrition can be a wonderful tool in smoking cessation.

yoga and meditation can help with this. As well as being good for the physical body, yoga and meditation really help calm, still and focus the mind. This helps to reduce cravings, as well as the intensity of cravings.

Focus on gentle breathwork

Breathing really helps soothe the nervous system. When cravings strike, focus on calming the breath and lengthening the outbreath. This helps turn off the body’s fight or flight mode and helps the nervous system to return to a state of relaxation.

– Research : What does smoking do to your body and mind? –

A quick google search can reveal to you what happens to your mind and body when you smoke. It causes changes your brain chemistry that can take months or even to reverse. Smoking damages your lungs and when you smoke, you arepoisoning yourself with carbon monoxide. Also, it causes your muscles and organs to not function to the best of their ability.

Its worth noting the effects smoking has and how detrimental it is to your physical and mental wellbeing. Also researching the benefits of stopping smoking and the timelines of how health improves when we stop is beneficial.

The tobacco in one cigarette causes upto 10,000 DNA mutations, that thought should be enough to help us start to progress on our quitting journey.

– Tell Friends & Family –

Tell people, especially non-smokers and ex-smokers. They will happily support you and do social things where smoking will not be on other peoples agenda. Its also good to have people to talk to when cravings become unbearable. Its also good to have people to cheer you on when things are good!

– Sleep Hypnosis & Guided Meditations –

img url: brightenyourmood.com

There are some wonderful Sleep hypnosis and guided meditation resources on Youtube. Listening to these recordings before bed, during sleep or when meditating during the day.

These resources are free through YouTube and they are a really good way of keeping cravings at bay!

I would recommend Michael Sealeys short guided meditation and sleep hypnosis  to stop smoking by Thomas Hall.

Meditation and deep relaxation is a wonderful way to still the mind and calm the nervous system, which helps reduce cravings and their intensity.

– Be gentle to yourself –

Many people relapse before quitting fully. Please don’t be too hard on yourself if you find you relapse. It is all part of the process. Make sure to give yourself time to adjust and do things that are relaxing for the mind.
Spend time in nature, have a long bath, buy a new book. All of these things will help you in your quitting journey.

Are you quitting smoking at the moment? Would you like to quit? Are you an ex smoker now? Can you think of any other tips or pointers to quit smoking cigarettes?

I’d love to hear from you!

Peace and Love… Aimee Lou 

About The author:

woman practicing lotus with petals and chakra points - AMALAwellness - Middlesbrough stockton teesside , yoga meditation and gentle exercise
Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

The Yogi Dictionary – 6 useful words heard in Class… Yoga in Teesside

Some regular terms we hear in Yoga Class

When we are in class, we often hear the teacher say some phrases and words that are hard to decipher.

‘Focus on your drishti!’ / ‘Feel your Prana flowing’
What do these phrases mean? How can they benefit your practice? The Yogi Dictionary can help!

In this post, we look at some common phrases heard in a Yoga Class and break them down, making them easily understandable, with advice on how to incorporate them into your practice.

– The Yogi Dictionary –

1.Drishti is a point of focus that helps us to balance.

The Yogi Dictionary

When we practice an asana posture that requires us to balance, have focus, and be stable, our teacher usually tells find a point to fix our gaze our upon. This helps us stay both physically and mentally steady. ‘Drishti’ can be a point on the wall, our thumbs, a hand, our big toe, to name a few!

the most common time I use this term is when students are practicing Vriksasana-Tree pose.

2. Pranayama is the flow of energy within the body when we practice breathwork.

The Yogi Dictionary

Prana – our vital life force, our energy and breath which gives us energy and sustains and vitalises the body; 
Ayama – “ extend, draw out” meaning to extend and draw out.

In class, we often do breathwork techniques to encourage the flow of Prana and bring a soothing calm to the nervous system.

3. Prana – our vital life force, our energy and breath which gives us energy and sustains and vitalises the body.

4. Nadis – Energy channels through which Prana flows.

Nadi is a Sanskrit word which translates to ‘tube, pipe, nerve, blood vessel, pulse’. It is is a term for the energy channels through which Prana flow. The Nadis are said to connect at special points of energetic intensity, known as the chakras

5. Mudra – the hand positions used in poses and meditation practice.

The term mudra translates to ‘seal, mark or gesture’. It is defined as the use of hand gestures during meditation and Yoga Asana Practice that help with channeling the flow of energy and Prana within the boy. 
A common mudra is Gyan Mudra – the Mudra of Knowledge.

6. Ahimsa – No harm – No violence in thouse and action.

Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word which translates to ‘no harm’ or ‘no violence’ in English. 


It can be found in the 1st limb of Ashtanga Yoga and is one of the five Yamas. (Yamas are ethical standards and a  code of conduct in the Yoga Sutras).

As well as The Yogi Dictionary , we have some other useful related blog posts for you to read to delve deeper into Yoga Philosophy.

Asthanga means the eight limbed path. (ashta = 8, anga = limbs).

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras state that to live a meaningful and purposeful life, one should follow ‘Ashtanga’. Ashta translates to eight and Anga translates to limbs in Sanskrit, so the word Ashtanga means the eight limbed path.

There are eight limbs to Ashtanga Philosophy, which focus on self-control, self-discipline and moral and ethical codes we should live by as Yogis.

They give advice on staying healthy, cleanliness of self and environment, meditation and physical asana practice.

You can read more about the Eight Limbed path in our beginners philosophy blog.

Ahimsa is one of the most important aspects of Yoga.

 Ahimsa means no harm. This means to any living beings, including yourself In both action and thought. 

Peace begins with no violence and no harm. To be truly at peace, you have to be at peace with yourself and others, internally as well as externally. 

I wrote a previous blog post which goes into Ahimsa in more depth, it can be read here.

Learning philosophy and Sanskrit will really benefit your Yoga Practice both on and off the mat.

I hope you found this article insightful.

Did you find The Yogi Dictionary useful?

Are there any terms you find challenging? Do you actively learn Philosophy and Sanskrit along side your practice?

I’d love to hear from you!

Aimee is a Yoga and Meditation teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

Find AMALAwellness yoga and meditation classes in Teesside and online.