I can be a very anxious and nervous person at times. My story is not different than anyone else I guess but the truth is in some periods of my life, I have left anxiety get all of me, from my energy to my creativity and more importantly my happiness. I’ve always admired stress-free people and how they can cope with stress so well. Being a perfectionist to my core, I tend to be really harsh on myself at times, imposing myself unrealistic goals and achievements, leaving me quite poorly satisfied. We all have to live with our flaws and learn to accept them of course but this is not something I could have achieved without the practice of Yoga and meditation.
Zalando came on point with their WE LOVE YOGA campaign as I have meant to talk to you about my pratice of Yoga and meditation to you for so long. It was the perfect opportunity, even more considering I got the chance to take a few snaps of my Yoga practice during my holidays in Dubai, along a deserted beach. An amazing place for practicing I find. The beach is my happy place. Any time I meditate I picture myself as a start on the beach, just sitting there, looking at the infinite horizon and the never-ending to-ing and fro-ing of the waves. There is something so relaxing to it. A feeling that whatever happens in your life, some things will just go on forever and never stop. This picture also helps me to take some distance from this mad hectic world we are living in, making me realise how little we are on this planet.
HOW I PRACTICE YOGA
I have been practicing a mixture of Yoga and meditatetion on a regular basis for a year now. Yoga was quite straightforward to me in the sense it didn’t require as much focus as meditation. It helps me working on my flexibility which is much needed for some of my body parts considering my height (seems like my harmstrings didn’t really follow my growth as a kid so this has been my main focus!). As I already practice HIITS three times per week with my fitness coach, I am dedicating time to my Yoga practice on waking in the morning. I have developed a little routine of 15 min, allowing me to gently wake up each of my body parts and activate my energy for the day. I find it also reassuring and soothing to follow a regular routine in the morning. If you’re a nervous person like me, this is something I would recommend for you. A routine gives you a basis, some stability and confidence.
You will have understood, I am not practicing Yoga as a challenge to my body but rather as way to reconnect my soul with my body. I am progressing each day of course from the practice but I do not set goals or at least unrealistic ones. I just let things evolve slowly but surely. Who knows one day I may be able to practice Acroyoga and do the beautiful poses I see everywhere on my Instagram but if that time comes, it will be just be because it was meant to be.
For the Yoga lovers or the rookies looking to get more information on Yoga, you should definitely check Zalando’s We Love Yoga website. It’s a rather comprehensive compound on Yoga, the different types of Yoga, together with some exercise videos, and life inspirations . I really enjoyed the little quizz they made to help you figure out the type of Yoga that corresponds best to you. I go Bikram Yoga as a result, which I’m now very curious to try out! And I also got myself lost in their amazing Yoga outfit selection. As a fashion blogger, obviously having a nice fitness outfit helps a great deal when practicing. It adds some motivation to it and makes me feel even better. Do you feel the same too? Nothing worse that practicing any kind of sport, looking like your worst version of yourself, right? On top, it’s typically on those days that you’ll bump into your ex-boyfriend :p I’m taking no risk whatsoever here…
HOW I PRACTICE MEDITATION
Meditation has been a real revelation! Let me tell you, when you have a very nervous nature and can’t stop (over and over) thinking, practicing meditation is a huge challenge. Yet, this has been the one thing that made me changed my behaviour towards stress. With my busy agenda, I sometimes forgot to take breaks. I just start my day, doing this and that, to realise around midnight that it might be a good time to stop and lay down… Clearly not the best approach in terms of stress management or productivity. So I have set this schedule which I try to observe as much as I can – admitting totally that it is not always possible depending on my agenda. Every three hours, I take a break of 5 to 10 min to meditate. Meditation helps me reconnecting to the present and being more productive during my day. A win-win situation which I’ve come to love so much.
At first, it was all but easy. I would get easily distracted by anything around me or start thinking about work or my personal life at some point. This is totally normal and this should not discourage anyone willing to try meditation. So what, you got distracted and realised it? Get back to it! With practice, focussing gets easier and it grows on you. At the beginning and I still do that at times when I feel like too – remember no rules here! – I would either focus on my happy place at the beach or just focus on the sounds I would hear, from my home and the outside world. Like the noise of singing birds outside, a car passing by or the snoring of my precious doggie. Anything actually that would keep me from thinking about work/my personal life.
I still get small anxiety crisis sometimes, when I just feel I have too much on my plate but I found a way to deal with them and this is my best victory.
A BIT ABOUT MY FAVOURITE EXERCICE: HYPOPRESSIVE LOW-PRESSURE FITNESS
What on earth is that? That was my reaction when I first heard about hypopressive low-pressure fitness. A rather very obscure word that kept me puzzled. If you don’t know about that fitness practice yet, you should keep reading what I’m about to say because it will probably become your best friend ever!
I find HLP fitness is midway between yoga/pilates and meditation. By exercicing low pressure on your core muscles while holding your breath simultaneously, you not only work on tonifying your body, you work on your cardio and also find yourself in some sort of a forced meditation mindset. While in apnea, your body is solely focussed on preserving your energy and ensuring your survival, making it impossible or extremely difficult to actually think about anything else than what you are actually doing. Try it now, you’ll see 😉
Doesn’t this look like the perfect combo? Initially, the practice of hypopressive exercices was developed as a therapy to help post-natal women prevent and/or recover from pelvic floor dysfunction. The result on the body were so amazing that it evolved into a low pressure fitness programme used for both men and women, whatever their age, seeking to develop their core inner muscles. We all want the chocolate tablet pattern on our abs but seeking this goal will get you no where if your core muscles are weak and floppy. Even worse, practicing regular abs exercises may even cause injuries to your body, for the simple reason that your core muscles aren’t there to support your body in an optimal way.
HLP fitness “reduces pressure to the thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities, where traditional exercises, abdominal training, gravity, as well as the majority of our daily activities are HYPERpressive – they increase intra-abdominal pressure. (…) If there is segment of the core that is not functioning optimally then the core as a whole will break down. (…) The hypopressive exercise technique is a safe and effective way to train those muscles needed to withstand any problematic pressure that can result from our everyday living or exercise, and allow us to safely and confidently continue doing the activities we love.“(Coreset Fitness)
I took some pictures of me doing the HPL fitness. This is just to show you the basic movement of the belly. It’s not so straightfoward at first and it can take time to figure out how to do the technique properly. Once you get it, you can vary the poses and exercices. Take a deep breath to inflate your belly as much as you can then slowly exhale until you get into apnea. Once there, it is all but a movement of your diaphragm that you need to push inside your rib cage, letting all your supericial muscles at rest. To understand the technique, you can also check the video of Low Pressure Fitness on Youtube. It will be easier to grasp.
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