We practice in in a safe, inclusive, non-judgemental environment. Everybody is welcome! We also combine postures and movements with the breath. This makes the practice a work-in as much as a work-out. Simple meditation techniques and homework mean you can incorporate what you learn in class into your life.
Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK. Aimee teaches in Norton, Stockton, Middlesbrough, Guisborough and Redcar and Cleveland, as well as offering online classes.
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 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.
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
Appetite changes – loss or comfort eating
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 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?
Helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Helps internalize thoughts and emotions
Declutters the mind of thoughts
Increases mental wellbeing
Lowers blood pressure
Invokes relaxation at a deep level
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.
Mentally and physically preparing for the easing of lockdown, as well as the return to face-to-face classes.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?
-Continuing online and transitioning back to in person classes –
AMALAwellness – Yoga in Teesside will be staying online during the easing of lockdown. Until the Government announces we can return, we will keep Zoom classes running. This is looking like May 17th.
– What classes are still available online? –
Our classes will still run as normal till we can return to in-person classes. See our timetable below.
– Looking after yourself as lockdown lifts –
As lockdown lingers on, many of us may be feeling stressed, anxious or exhausted right now. Even with light at the end of the tunnel and the hope that the worst of the pandemic was behind us. If this is you, you’re not alone. The premise of staying at home should be easy, all this free time! No commuting! – However the reality is not as simple as that. Too much alone time can feel overwhelming, or underwhelming. Whether you live with your partner, family, housenates, dog, cat or by yourself. The first lockdown demonstrated to us that we all face different challenges. As things start to lift, getting used to the new normal will be challenging for us all. Make sure to look after yourself as we start to transition.
Yoga, meditation, Gentle exercise, relaxation and creating a stress-free home environment is so important, now more so than ever. At AMALAwellness we have a regular class timetable designed to help deal with the lockdown blues, maintain good mental health and keep active.
– Transitioning back to classes in person –
There will be some changes to our schedule in person coming out of lockdown and moving out of lockdown. Our schedule is updated on an as-know basis and can be found here.
We should be truthful in thought, action and in speech. Our expressions and actions should be true, whilst causing the least harm and influencing positivity. What we say, both internally and externally has an effect on our mind and consciousness.
– How often are we truthful in daily life? –
This is a really difficult thing to practice, if we pause and reflect most would be surprised how often we revert to telling white lies, or falsehoods. Whether it is in our mind internally or externally speaking to others. Exaggerating a situation, belittling ourselves, telling stories, etc. I am sure we can all think of an example when this has occurred in daily life.
Small, white lies can also have just as much effect as big lies too. Or avoidance of speaking the truth. Sometimes, its better to be honest and word things in a way to avoid causing pain if possible. Sometimes, its just better to stay quiet also, rather than cause hurt. However, this is all a fine balancing act, which is why practicing Satya is very challenging.
On the mat, off the mat and Ahimsa…
We practice Satya on the mat, being truthful with our abilities in Asana. Realising our limitations and not pushing too hard, or not beating ourselves up about progress (practicing Ahimsa). When we start to open up and progress, we realize a lot about ourselves and our behaviours on the mat. Rushing through certain postures, avoiding things that may be challenging.
It starts to transfer to off the mat too and when we pause an reflect we notice truths we maybe avoid, maybe we should speak up about, or we are aware of and should not speak up due to the pain it may cause. It’s like balancing Satya with Ahimsa (non-violence in thoughts, actions and speech).
Do you resonate with this post? Do you incorporate Satya in your life? I’d Love to hear from you!
This accessible yoga pose is suitable for most practitioners and has many physical and mental health benefits.
– What is Viparita Karani? –
Viparita Karani is one of my students (and my) favorite poses. It’s a rejuvenating, relaxing pose where it is easy to invoke calm within the body. Switching the nervous system from flight or fight mode (sympathetic nervous system) to rest and relaxation mode (parasympathetic nervous system).
Its a restorative pose where we put our legs up the wall for 5-10 minutes, usually at the end of class. It has a whole host of benefits and I regularly encourage students to practice it in their own time to compliment their practice outside of class.
What are the benefits of Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose)?
– Physical benefits –
The physical benefits of Viparita Karani include:
1.Allows your muscles to relax.
2. Helps calm the nervous system, relieving stress and anxiety.
3. Helps relieve fatigue.
4. Releases tension and stress. (Especially in the legs and lower back)
5. Lengthens your hamstrings passively.
6. Relieves tired legs and feet (great for after exercise)
7. Stretches the glutes, hamstrings (also, if legs are apart, the hip adductors).
8. Helps improve blood circulation.
9. Helps encourage drainage of excess fluid from the ankles and feet.
This pose relaxes the shoulders, abdomen, lower back and legs. It’s great for relieving symptoms of sciatica, releasing the muscles and nerves associated with the symptoms.
It’s also great for those suffering with menstrual cramps, allowing relaxation and relief.
– Mental Benefits –
This pose really helps to calm the nervous system, thus having a calming effect on the body and mind. It helps switch on the parasympathetic nervous system, where the body can enter deep rest and relax. It is a really soothing pose to practice when feeling anxious or stressed.
What are your favorite lockdown poses? Is it also Viparita Karani?
From weight loss, to improving flexibility, strength, feeling a sense of community to alleviating the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Everyone’s Yoga Journey is unique to them.
There are many benefits to engaging in a regular Yoga and Meditation practice, but where to start? Start your Yoga Journey here!
Whether you choose to start at home due to lockdown, or to start at a studio, these tips and pointers will help you in the right direction.
1. Finding the right teacher and style for you.
Having a daily practice and devoting your time to learning meditation and philosophy will facilitate positive changes in your life. Find a teacher who doesn’t have a gym focus with body aesthetics in mind. Find one that is focused on philosophy and meditation as well as asana practice. This will help to guide you in your yoga journey and aid in developing a regular yoga practice.
There are many different styles, some much more physical and stronger (such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga Yoga). Some styles of yoga are some are more gentle (Dru Yoga / Yin Yoga / Gentle Yoga).
Dependent on what style you are looking for, the elements of Asana (posture practice) , meditation and philosophy should be intertwined within a class.
There are many teachers and classes out there, teaching various styles. A quick google search can help you to find teachers in your area. Chat with them 1st, to see if their teachings and style is what appeals to your Yoga Journey.
I currently teach online VIA zoom (Hatha Yoga and Meditation) as well as Gentle Yoga, Chair Yoga and Move It or Lose It! classes. I also teach across Teesside in person, as well as being available for personal tuition.
My Teacher and Friend (Maria Dowson) (www.yogateesside.com) offers Ashtanga and Sun Power Yoga, which are a bit more physical but still wonderful modalities of Yoga.
We both teach at My Core wellbeing in Guisborough which offers an array of different classes and styles to suit all needs.
2. Finding a good quality Yoga mat.
There are many good yoga mats out there, but also many ones that aren’t really suitable for the job. The key is to look for non-slip ones TPE ones.
When looking for mats, check reviews and make sure they are non-slip, especially when you practice Ashtanga or Vinyasa type classes.
I personally love Liforme mats, but I know they are expensive. If this is something you wish to keep up and devote a lot of time to, its worth buying a trust-worthy mat. However, when beginning, a non-slip mat will suffice.
3. Bring a hoodie, blanket and pillow to practice.
Usually, the body cools down when we meditate and come into final relaxation. The mind will not settle if we are cold, so its beneficial to bring some things to keep us warm during this time. Also, its nice to have a pillow to rest the sit-bones on, if your not used to sitting for extended periods. Its also handy for poses when we balance on our knees.
You will be grateful for bringing these things when it comes to final relaxation, meditation and savasana.
4. Making your environment ready for practice , both mentally and physically.
Whether you’re coming to class in person at a studio, gym or community centre, or perhaps logging in VIA zoom, prepare your space both mentally and physically before practice.
Take time to arrive 5-10 minutes early, so you can settle down into the environment before practice (Both online and in person!)
Sometimes we cannot help being late, however being late for in-person and online classes can cause disruption for students and the teacher. Showing up early is not only good for our mind, allowing us to settle in and prepare for our practice (setting out our mat, placing our blanket or warmer clothes near us, say hello to our teacher, for example) it is good practice to respect our fellow students and teacher.
If at home, it is nice to have enough space, perhaps light candles, have blankets at hand. Making our yoga space into a spiritual haven for practice.
5. Come to class with an open heart and an open mind…
Trying something new can be scary, daunting and a little weird if its something we haven’t participated in before. However, with an open mind and heart, placing trust in your teacher to guide you… you will see how wonderful the world of Yoga is for mental and physical well-being.
Are you looking to start your Yoga journey, but don’t know where to begin? We would love to hear from you and help you find your way!