How Was It For You?

I’m curious as 2014 draws to a close, how was it for you.

So many people at the start of the year have big dreams, goals and New Year’s Resolutions for the coming year. ‘This is the year it’s going to be different, I’m going to change in so many ways……’ Sound familiar.

So did you, or did life get busy and it took a different unexpected turn for you. Trust me, wherever you are right now, is right where you need to be on your own journey of life, with all its twists and turns, celebrations and mishaps. It’s all meant to be in it’s own perfect timing. So whatever goals you set at the start of the year and have achieved and/or not achieved, just take a minute of gratitude for where you are right now.

This is a great time of year to reflect on what really went on for you in 2014….. the good, the bad and the ugly.

Below are a few questions I ask myself to reflect on the past year, and to let go of it, before planning for a magical year ahead.

Reflective Questions

  • What did you love in 2014?
  • What are some things that worked in 2014 that you want to continue next year?
  • What was challenging in 2014?
  • What do you want to stop doing?
  • What did you learn from these challenges?
  • Why are these lessons so valuable to you moving forward?
  • What dreams and goals came true for you in 2014 that you are proud of?
  • What are you now willing to let go of moving forward into 2015?

​Enjoy your reflective time

And remember

Wish it … Dream it … Do it!

Sue xo

Why Yoga Is Great For Your Running

Yoga has been around forever, and is now a part of lives not only in the East, but also the West, from celebrities to everyday people. Do you practice it daily too?

I’ve floated in and out of practising yoga, having sampled the various types from hatha, ashtanga and bikram. Looking back whenever I did, it really made a difference in my running and my life and here’s why….

Firstly for those of you who don’t know much about yoga, it means ‘union’ linking the body and mind, which is important for runners. Yoga postures (asanas), are a form of functional exercise which help to improve performance, muscle balance and stability, lowering the risk of injury. All three are important for runners.

So the main reasons why yoga is great for running are :-

Improves Your Breathing 

Some runners, especially when starting out, have trouble with their breathing, often feeling quite short of breath, finding it difficult to get in the zone. I know that was how I felt, when I began.

As well as this, most of us live a very fast life, spend more time sitting in cars and/or have a desk job, have increased stress and poor posture. All of these combined factors have resulted in many of us breathing from the upper parts of our lungs.

Taking shallow breathes into the upper ribs and collarbones causes shoulder tension increasing our stress levels. Yoga teaches a number of breathing techniques including diaphragm breathing and nasal breathing. By improving your breathing you will increase the oxygen flow to your body putting less stress on your body.

Improves Your Speed and Power

The connection to running is that for our muscles to achieve peak performance, they need to pre-stretch to their full length first. Think of it this way.

If I asked you to jump in the air twice, firstly from a standing position and secondly from a position where you bent your legs first then jumped up into the air, which do you think would make you jump further? The 1st one or the 2nd one? The 2nd one will give you more power and flexibility, so imagine how this will translate to your running.

Biomechanics also play a part in how fast you run. If your body is tight or you have a faulty technique as a result, yoga can help to improve these imbalances such as tight hip flexes, unstable balance through your feet and knees.

Improves Your Mental Focus

Your mental attitude is a huge part of running, and if you’re not in the zone, it’s difficult to get the most out of your running, with your thoughts racing away. Yoga helps not only your body, it also helps to settle the mind too. The breathing and energy exercises helps to focus and calms your mind thus reducing your ‘inner battles’.

Practising yoga also teaches the power of using mantras, which are perfect for runners to utilise during their runs. Mantras, a word or phrase that’s repeated over and over, can be as simple as ‘Om’, a great yoga mantra, or ‘I am calm and relaxed’, ‘I can do this’

Helps To Prevents Injury

Running increases the overuse of leg muscles making them short and tight and more prove to injury. Yoga helps to lengthen these muscles, making them more flexible and stronger through counter stretches. e.g. stretching your quads whilst simultaneously strengthening your hamstrings and glutes, improving your body and muscle balance.

As yoga is performed barefoot, it enhances balance in your feet and ankles which is critical for the perfect foundation for a runner. Yoga also targets your core, which is the powerhouse for all your movement.

Where To From Here

There are many different types of yoga and they are widespread in most cities across the world as well as accessible online. So trial the different options to find the best one that works for you and your body.

Ashtanga – Improves flexibility, stamina, strength and breathing through challenging poses.

Bikram – Carried out in a heated room to enhance your breathing, flexibility and stamina. The heat aids to thin the blood, improves circulation and heals injuries in the ligaments and joints.

Hatha – Excellent for beginners to learn yoga postures and breathing techniques.

I found this great resource on You Tube today and I followed through the yoga today at home – it was awesome. You can see it here – Enjoy.

 

When Was The Last Time You Stopped….I Mean REALLY STOPPED?

As we’re a month away from Christmas, and the countdown is on, it’s a great time just to STOP and take a deep breath.

Stop Sign1At this time I seem to hear the same conversations….

- I can’t believe Christmas is round the corner

- Where did the year go…

- It’s just flown by

- I’m so exhausted I need a break

Can you relate to this, has it gone quickly for you too?

For me the past 2 months have been insanely challenging from a health perspective and a huge wake up call in my life. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be a dramatic event in your own life for you to STOP, slowdown and reflect, it could be something you hear on the news, a friend, something at work. Just to stop and reflect how grateful you are for everything in your life.

There is a tendency to go full steam ahead, taking for granted our bodies, our health, our ability to be, do and have things in our life, our possessions around us, our family and friends, business/work, money and the list goes on and on.

So if this resonates with you, then I encourage you on a daily basis, to take a deep breath, STOP and really appreciate all the things in your life, that over the years you’ve gradually taken for granted, thinking that they will always be there. One day they might not …..

So slow down, STOP and reflect. What are you grateful for in your life today?