Friday, 28 April 2017

Surviving the Exams Season for Teens: Part Three

Trying to balance schoolwork, friends, hobbies and possibly part-time jobs can all be a bit overwhelming especially when exam season begins. 
At times when you are feeling overwhelmed Child's Pose can be extremely helpful.

Pic courtesy of

Most yoga teachers will offer Child’s Pose as a resting pose whenever you feel you need to take a break during class. There is a very good reason for this as it is a gentle and calming posture. It is great for relieving back, shoulder, neck and hip strain.

How to Do Child's Pose

Begin by kneeling on a yoga mat or the floor. Bring your knees together and your buttocks to your feet. 
Exhale and slowly rest your torso over your thighs so that your forehead touches the mat or rest it on a book. 
You can keep your arms in line with shoulders over your head or rest your hands, palms facing up by your feet.
You can also try putting your big toes together and taking your knees as wide as your mat on either side for a bigger stretch.
Stay here for 5-10 deep breaths maybe adding a gentle sway form side to side.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Surviving The Exam Season For Teens: Part Two

Revision is not always the most exciting time of year but it can be the most rewarding when you sit down at your exam desk and those hours spent consolidating your knowledge are now deeply embedded in your brain for easy access.

When you are going through the revision process it can sometimes feel as if your brain is crammed and fit to burst. Generally, experts who have analysed revision techniques have found that little and often is best and taking regular breaks is much more effective to allow those layers of learning to settle.

When you do schedule your revision, try to add some breathing breaks.
Alternate Nostril Breathing is a great way to create a sense of calm balance within your body and mind enabling you to improve concentration levels and focus.

How To Practise Alternate Nostril Breathing

Sit comfortably with your legs crossed and raise your right hand to make the Vishnu Mudra by folding down the index and middle fingers. If this is difficult just place your palms together and your thumbs at the tip of your nose. Close the right nostril with the right thumb and exhale completely through the left nostril. Inhale completely through the left nostril, keeping the right nostril closed with the right thumb. Release the right nostril and exhale completely. Inhale fully through the right nostril and then release the left nostril and exhale completely. This is one round. Aim for 10 rounds and then rest your hands on your lap taking a few gentle breaths in and out using both nostrils. Rub your palms together to create some heat in your hands and gently place them over your eyes as you gradually open your eyelids and return to your studies refreshed.

The science bit

A 2011 study of engineering students demonstrated how alternate nostril breathing boosted academic performance by improving feelings of well-being, memory and stress relief.

Find out more about the research here

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Surviving the Exam Season for Teens: Part One

It's that time of year that brings the darkest clouds on the sunniest of days: EXAMS!
But don't panic, you can create your own sunshine and find light at the end of the tunnel by applying the yogic magic to the season.
Over the next few posts I will be introducing a series of simple yogic practices you can do whenever you take a break which will bring an instant sense of calm (and perspective).
One of the most relaxing poses is Viparita Karani or Legs Up The Wall Pose.

How does it work?
This is an inversion where your legs are above your head and you gain the same benefits as if you were in a headstand or handstand.
This is a powerfully restorative pose that will rejuvenate tired legs, relieve mild backache and calm an anxious mind.

Avoid if you have serious back, neck or eye problems.

Lie with your buttocks as close to the wall as possible and extend your legs up the wall. Position your palms to your abdomen or arms out to the side.  Alternatively, arms overhead with elbows softly bent.  Allow the shoulders to soften and relax into the floor. Keep the back of the neck long.  Stay here for up to ten minutes, breathing deeply through the whole body. Alternatively, you can let the legs fall out to a wide “V” shape to stretch the inner thighs.
Another great use for your heavy text book is to place it on the top of your feet as it will help you feel more grounded.

Visit next week for another pose to help ease you through the exam season or join Teen Yoga every Tuesday at Life Balance Studio, Harington Road, Formby between 6pm and 7pm.

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