WOLLONGONG YOGA

6 YOGA + LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP

6 YOGA + LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP

In an age of busy-ness it’s no wonder that as a society we are just desperate for ways to take time out, get better sleep, or at least enjoy the rest time we DO HAVE.

The great irony is that although so many of us are starved for rest and relaxation, when night falls - the mind may feel overly anxious, unable to wind down - further perpetuating the cycle of exhaustion.

One of the BEST side effect of a regular yoga practice is the allure of better quality of sleep.

Research shows that yoga can help us connect with our rest and digest or ‘relaxation response’ more readily. To give us the skills to observe when we are in a state of fight or flight and the tools on how to move from a state of feeling wound up, anxious or distracted to being more readily able to let go.

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know the do’s and dont’s for better sleep. But in my experience it’s easy for the downward spiral exhaustion and an overactive mind to make it even more challenging to change our habits (can’t sleep - watch screen - stay up late - need a pick me up in the morning - enter caffeine - can’t sleep)…. you get the drift.

You might even have convinced yourself that you LIKE living this way….

“I’m a night owl”

“I’m more creative when it’s late”

“I get my best work done when the kids have gone to bed”

“I can’t imagine my life without coffee”…..

“I thrive on being busy all the time”

Sound familiar? If it feels like I’m reading your exhausted mind it’s because I literally have at one stage said ALL those things. And hey - there’s no denying that some of us are just wired to prefer the solitude and stillness that night time avails….. but let me ask you this…

How’s that working out for you?

  • Do you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning?

  • Do you feel bloated and puffy?

  • Do you feel exhausted… or just TIRED…. ALL THE TIME?

  • Are you out of sync with the rest of your family’s rhythms?

  • When was the last time you put yourself to bed with a book instead of a screen?

As a reformed night owl and ‘always busy’ business owner, I definitely have some tips on how to turn your sleep patterns around and trust me…. once you’ve settled into some more conventional sleep patterns its amazing how other areas of your life click into place.

TIP #1

MEDITATE + DO YOGA NIDRA
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax. Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia. Why not try an evening Guided Meditation or Yoga Nidra practice before settling into bed?

TRY THIS >> Here is a free guided meditation practice to do tonight before you get into bed. Try using a prop for ultimate relaxation like an eye pillow (we love local brand Mukti’s organic cotton eye pillow) or a sleep mask to block out harsh lighting.

TIP #2

CHOOSE YOUR PRACTICE WISELY
Whilst a regular yoga practice will most likely help you to sleep better, if you are SUPER sensitive, you might want to look at what type of practice you are doing. You’ll notice at the studio our yin classes tend to be in the evenings or afternoon - and that’s because a yin class is energetically geared to helping you connect with your relaxation response.

Strong backbends or inversions late at night are likely to have an energising effect on the body - so it’s best to balance out stronger night practices with a decent savasana or yoga nidra (see audio above) to help your nervous system wind down.

TRY THIS >> Book an evening yin class or listen to our yoga nidra track if you do an energising practice in the evening. Restorative poses like legs up the wall, shoulderstand, reclining over a bolster and forward folds are all calming for the nervous system - so incorporating those at the end of your yoga practice will help ease you into rest and digest.

TIP #3

MINDFUL MORNINGS
I grew up in a household where sleeping in was the norm. So it was never in my DNA to get up early. I bumbled my way through school and uni like this and it wasn’t until I did yoga teacher training that I established a regular habit of getting up at 5am. I think the key to getting up early - is you need to know that it’s going to suck big time at first (especially if you are still staying up late at night). The other thing is that it’s super hard to get your body clock to chop and change, BUT if you give mindful mornings a go - you WILL start to notice your body is ready for rest when night comes.

TRY THIS >> Buddy up with a friend and commit to trying a mindful morning routine for a week or two weeks. Trust me when I say that you WILL usually get out of bed when someone else is depending on you. I recommend getting up at around 5.30am, heading to a 6am yoga class, doing a beach walk, going for a swim, or something that is going to get your body moving in a nurturing way. On yoga or workout mornings I will usually have a cup of tea, or beach walk mornings I’ll usually have a weak coffee.

TIP #4

HAVE A SET BEDTIME ROUTINE
This follows on from Tip #1 (because essentially the two go hand in hand).

We don’t make our children have a set bedtime for no good reason, right? Having a set bedtime helps to regulate your body clock, avoid the release of stress hormones, improve your body’s ability to heal and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

Try sticking to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, (yes, even on the weekends). I personally have Sundays as a sleep in - which means that I’m usually still waking up around 6am, taking it easy with a cuppa, reading or just enjoying the slow pace of Sundays.

TRY THIS >> Set a bedtime notification to prompt you to wind down for the evening. A checklist of the same night routine will also help your body get into the ‘wind down’ habit.

FOR ME IT LOOKS A BIT LIKE THIS:

Evening dinner > Family bed routine > Clean up dinner + shower > Get ready for tomorrow > Read or Downtime > Bed

My evenings USED to end around 12am-2am (no joke)… but over the past 6 years I’ve slowly wound it back to between 9pm-11.30pm which works well for me personally. Having an early morning ritual has definitely helped the night time situation.

TIP #5

BED IS FOR SLEEP, NOT SCREEN TIME!
Are you guilty of this? I’m SO guilty it’s not funny. So there I said it. You can’t be good at everything. BUT let’s face it - we know it’s not the best right? Do you find yourself settling into bed for the night, only to spend an hour either watching Netflix or using your phone to scroll through emails, reply to messages and catch up on social media? Your mind needs to associate being in bed with sleeping rather than watching TV, using your computer or phone. 

TRY THIS >> Option 1: Put your phone on charge in another part of your bedroom, or even another part of the house thirty minutes before you plan to go to bed. This way you wont be tempted to reach for it. (If you’re like me and need your alarm then this might not be an option unless you invest in a separate alarm clock)

Option 2: Weaning yourself off your phone habits might be another way to go. For me personally - I don’t check work emails or social media… but I’m still guilty in binging on a bit of netflix.

Option 3: Commit to reading a real book as the last thing you do before you switch off the light.

TIP #6

AVOID CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL IN THE AFTERNOON AND EVENINGS
Caffeine consumption and alcohol can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening. Relying on a coffee to wake us up in the morning, another in the afternoon to keep us going and then a wine or beer to help us ‘wind down’ in the evenings isn’t uncommon, but really detrimental to our sleep, overall health and wellbeing.

If you put yourself to bed with a glass of wine and wake up with a strong coffee - chances are you’re going to burn out at some stage. It might be sustainable for the short term but in the long run something has to give. Broken sleep can have a whole host of side effects - weight gain - inflammation - increased stress response - moodiness.

TRY THIS >> Decide whether going cold turkey is sustainable or not then choose your pathway!

Option 1: Go cold turkey.

I think cutting everything out at once can be hard to sustain if there are other issues at hand (like family members not being on board or trying to make too many changes at once). Usually the hardest part is the first 1-7 days (prepare for 1-2 days of hardcore headaches when giving up caffeine). The benefits of going cold turkey is that you then see pretty immediate results within about a week.

Ditch the afternoon coffee for a herbal tea or a spiced chai latte, and try to limit alcohol consumption to special occasions only. Try it for one week and see how much better you sleep!

I personally prefer alcohol free days but you have to find what works for you. If you are used to using alcohol to help you sleep, know that initially it’s going to get harder before you start to see the benefits.

Option 2: Cut back + modify your habits.

If you are wanting to make gradual changes over time, this makes the most sense and you might find yourself less likely to give up.

Replace the 3pm coffee with a cup of tea or short walk instead - maybe option for your full strength coffee first thing in the morning when it is less likely to affect your sleep patterns.

For alcohol - look at what the triggers are and when you are likely to pour that glass of wine. Spritzing, cutting back or saving alcohol for the weekends or special occasions are all options.

wollongong yoga top tips for better sleep younga yoga studio


YUMMY ASIAN VEGETARIAN SLAW RECIPE

Image: www.feastingathome.com/asian-slaw/

Image: www.feastingathome.com/asian-slaw/

SICK OF SOGGY SALAD? TRY GIVING CABBAGE A GO FOR THE ULTIMATE LUNCHBOX CRUNCH.

Russ and I have been on a bit of a cabbage binge the last 12 months. If you're tired of kale & english spinach - maybe it's time to give this versatile veggie a go?

We love cabbage and always have some in the fridge for the following reasons:

  • lasts longer than most other salad staples

  • easy to prepare in advance

  • doesn't go soggy (no more gross slimy lettuce greens)

  • great in salad, slaw, pickled, stir fried and fantastic fillings for wraps and rolls

One of the other great things is you can prep a whole cabbage at the beginning of the week and just have it ready to grab and go. If you love salads you can swap dressings and toppings to avoid getting bored! Give these dressings a go:

  • asian inspired (think soy, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, lime, chilli & sesame oil)

  • on the sweet side (mayonaise, honey, apple cider vinegar, mustard)

  • lemon, avocado, pepper + pinenuts with your choice of protein

Aside from rotating the dressings, you can try swapping out your toppings for:

  • toasted almonds

  • maple peacans

  • pan fried tofu (use the asian inspired dressing to stir fry)

CHECK OUT OUR GO-TO FAVE CABBAGE SLAW RECIPE!

  • 6-7 cups of mixed slaw - we usually prep a whole red cabbage + a whole white cabbage a week in advance then store in an airtight container in water in the fridge. Use a mandolin for the finest most awesome cabbage. Bulk it out with finely chopped carrots, brocolini and you’re good to go.

  • 3 scallions, sliced

  • 1 cup coriander

    DRESSING

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar

  •  3 tablespoons brown rice syrup, agave or honey

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or GF alternative like Braggs or Coconut Aminos)

  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced ( use a garlic press)

  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes or chili paste ( optional)

Get the full recipe at: https://www.feastingathome.com/asian-slaw/

YOGA ASANA 101 :: FINDING FREEDOM, FLEXIBILITY + STRENGTH IN TRIANGLE POSE [TRIKONASANA]

Image: Todd Barnes

Image: Todd Barnes

FINDING FIRM FOUNDATION + FREEDOM IN TRIKONASANA [TRIANGLE POSE]

Triangle or trikonasana is one of yoga's most well known & practiced postures. Physically it helps to unravel the hamstrings & adductors (inner thigh). Symbolically the upward pointing triangle represents firm foundation, stability, exploration, creativity & transformation.

In this article we look at some of the key alignment tips that when mastered over time can help you find firm foundation & strength + freedom in the body & mind.

KEY ALIGNMENT TIPS FOR TRIKONASANA

FOOT PLACEMENT >>>

Place the feet in a generously wide stance (about as far apart as the wrists are wide - when outstretched).

Heel of front foot in line with the arch of the back foot - right foot (front foot) in line with your mat.

Back foot parallel to the back edge of your mat - or slightly turned in.


KEY ACTIONS >>>

Front leg rotates outward and upward - lift through the arch of the front foot - lift the knee cap up to create a sense of muscular tone & strength through the legs.

Back leg rotates inward - allowing the natural curve of the lower back.

Visualise the quadriceps drawing upward as though the muscles are hugging the leg bones to help create a sense of ‘drawing in’ or muscular tone in the legs without hyper-extending or locking the kneecap.

Even though there is a slight internal rotation of the back leg - balance this out by pressing into the little toe edge to form a stable base of support through the inner AND outer edges of the feet.


ARM PLACEMENT >>>

Right hand comes to the floor (or a block if it helps you to find more length through the spine).

Variations are to hold the big toe (ashtanga) / Use a block (beginners) / Or prop on fingertips for more buoyancy + space.

The top arm can settle on the hip (often good for beginners), or in the full expression of the pose lifts up and away from the midline of the body. Both arms extending outward - to create a feeling of space & organic expansion.


TORSO + PELVIS >>>

When I started practising around 15 years ago - I learnt this pose by visualising my body between two panes of glass. The problem with this approach is that it results in a lot of stress for the Sacro-Illiac - so ideally - visualise the natural curve of your lower back and honour that!

Imagine the pelvis like an anchor point - and from there press down through the legs toward the edges of the feet.


TIPS FOR BEGINNER STUDENTS >>>

If you’re a beginner and new to Trikonasana - you might wonder if you will ‘ever’ feel a sense of ease and freedom in the this posture. It might feel like your hamstrings are screaming at you - or that the floor feels too far away.

TRY >>>

Taking a slightly longer stance (often by lengthening the stance you’ll feel less ‘choked up’).

Bending the front leg to help you bring the hand to the floor.

Then, once your hand is grounded to the floor or a block - straighten the front leg and think of an upward outward spiral.

If the top arm or shoulder feels tense - try bringing your top hand to your sacrum and focus on lifting and lengthening through the torso & relaxing the jaw. Draw the head of the arm back to create space and openess through the chest as you open the ribs outward and upward.


Image: Todd Barnes

Image: Todd Barnes

TIPS FOR EXPERIENCED STUDENTS >>>

So you’re feeling somewhat comfortable in trikonasana - time to refine…

TRY >>>

Lifting the toes and spreading them to create muscular tone in the legs.

Dragging the heel of the front foot backwards without actually moving it to activate and strengthen the hamstrings (especially useful for those with attachment injuries).

To activate a slight jalandara bandha before turning the head to look up - creating length through the back of the neck.

Focus on expanding out from the pelvis down to the soles of the feet & out through to the fingertips & crown of the head as you visualise the dance between stability & freedom in the your body.

Don’t jam the pelvis forward here - honour the curve of your lower back.


CREATING STABILITY TO FIND FREEDOM >>>

Once you feel grounded & stable - focus on extending down through to the soles of the feet + expanding out through to the fingertips. When we think of the body expanding in this way - it offers a chance to connect with the divine, to experience the flow of prana or lifeforce through the body + invite spaciousness, creativity & joy.


WHAT TRIKONASANA CAN TEACH US ABOUT LIFE OFF THE YOGA MAT >>>

As a standing posture with a wide base + narrow top, trikonasana is a pose that represents strength and stability coupled with exploration, creativity & ascention to a higher connection to spirit.

By taking the time to set our foundation up in a methodical and stable way - using support if needed - we then give the body permission to be creative, expand + take risks.

In the pose - this might be the simple action of turning the eye gaze up toward the ceiling, or by playing with variations such as a heart opening bind behind the back, or to re-create this shape in other more playful ways in the practice.

Off the mat - when we feel strong in our foundation - taking the time to set good habit patterns - it gives us the freedom to play & break the rules knowing that at anytime we can return to this sense of stability + foundation.

Like the chef who starts with recipes to form a solid foundation before finding the freedom to experiment with flavours…

Like the child who starts with routine & structure at home in order to feel safe enough to find independence & create relationships with others….

Like the musician who must first spend thousands of hours training the ear, body & brain to learn chord progressions before graduating to improvising….

Like our relationships that benefit from boundaries in order for love, trust & expression to evolve…

The lesson of creating a stable foundation before finding freedom & expansion goes way beyond the mechanics of the physical body.

YOUNGA YOGA WOLLONGONG :: NEW LOOK SCHEDULE 2019

Image: Deb Young @youngayogastudio

Image: Deb Young @youngayogastudio

NEW LOOK SCHEDULE 2019

“What I like most about change is that it's synonym for 'hope'. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, 'I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.” - Linda Ellerbee

2019 is well and truly upon us and we’ve given our timetable a little tweak for the year ahead!

After 13 years as studio owners - we know that sometimes these changes are welcomed with open arms and sometimes not - but really - like the quote says…. the fact that our gorgeous community, studio and schedule continues to change and evolve over time… means that we are just as committed to our practice and our community as when we opened 13 years ago.

This past year… we’ve noticed the trend across the yoga world (here in Australia and in the US) in reducing class times from the traditional format of 90mins, down to 75, down to 60.

It will ALWAYS be our intention to honour the yoga practice beyond the physical…. which is why we will always include pranayama, savasana & mindfulness in every practice - BUT we also understand that not everyone has 90mins for the luxury of a yoga class.

So we’ve decided to keep a spectrum of all three length of classes on the timetable to help those that are time poor, as well as honour the longer format (which means we don’t have to skimp on savasana and pranayama).

WHAT’S NEW + WHAT’S CHANGING?

✔︎ Monday schedule remains the same.

✔︎ TUES 10AM will move to 8AM -9.15AM (STARTS TUES 26TH FEB). We are using this as a chance to test an earlier day class timeslot - leaving you free for the rest of the day. Please support this class if you like the idea of slightly earlier day classes.

✔︎ TUES PRENATAL now starts at 4.30PM (already active)

✔︎ WED 12.15PM class will finish up FEB 20th. Thank you to all who have supported our Wednesday lunch classes over the years. We have decided to remove this class as attendance is quite inconsistent - and use this a chance to add an additional Saturday class to ease our waitlists that often occur on that day. If you would like to organise a private corporate lunchtime class - we are more than happy to accommodate your needs - just get in touch with details about preferred time, expected numbers and we can provide a quote.

✔︎ THURS 5.45PM will now run for 75mins and be a regular vinyasa class with strength drills included. This is an all levels class - and actually perfect for those that would like to strengthen key muscle groups after recovering from an injury. This class is taught by Russ Young - Exercise Physiologist.

✔︎ THURS BEGINNERS will start 15mins earlier 7.15PM-8.30PM (effective from next course start date - March 14th)

✔︎ Friday classes remain the same.

✔︎ NEW SAT 6.30AM (STARTS SAT 2ND MARCH) This is a fitness based class with CORE, HANDSTANDS + HIIT with Russell Young.

Wollongong Yoga Timetable

CORPORATE CLASSES AT LUNCHTIME:

Still keen for a lunchtime class? For those of you who work in town - why not get a group of your colleagues together for a workplace class or let us take care of you at the studio. Just send us through your preferred day, time and number of participants and we’ll send you a quote.

If you have any questions about the new schedule - please phone the studio on 4227 1997 (if we don’t pick up we’ll call you back) or alternatively email us at: info@youngayogastudio.com.au 

YOGA NIDRA :: GO WITH THE FLOW

Image:  @nicole.derooy  + @muktimats (avail in studio)

Image: @nicole.derooy + @muktimats (avail in studio)

YOGA NIDRA WORKSHOP WITH LANA GO WITH THE FLOW OF LIFE

"Going with the flow is responding to cues from the universe. When you go with the flow, you're surfing Life Force. It's about wakeful trust and total collaboration with what's showing up for you" - Danielle LaPorte

It is said that much of human suffering comes from wishing things were different rather than accepting (and working through) what is. In this workshop we will meditate on acceptance, non-grasping, going with the flow and finding peace in riding the river of your life.

IN THIS YOGA WORKSHOP WE WILL

✔︎ Learn simple centering Pranayama techniques to energise, focus and centre the mind
✔︎ Gently move and stretch your body, increasing awareness, presence and preparation for comfortable meditation.
✔︎ Explore your own resistance to what is. Locate and release fear and doubt, invite trust, courage and peace.
✔︎ Rest comfortably as you are guided through a systematic Yoga Nidra meditation, resulting in a sense of peace, ease and wholeness.
✔︎ Enjoy an opportunity to meet like minded people and ask questions regarding Yoga philosophy and techniques.

Yoga Nidra is an immensely powerful meditation technique and is one of the easiest yoga practices to develop and maintain. This gentle practice is accessible for everyone, from children to seniors, beginners and experienced yogis alike and focuses on multiple levels of well being.

It is said to be the most profound level or relaxation possible. Reported benefits include; reduced anxiety and stress, reduced blood pressure, emotional healing, improved sleep quality, improved mental focus, decision making and memory, increased self awareness and a deeper feeling of inner peace and connection with all life.

WHEN:

Sunday March 24th // 6.30pm - 8.30pm 

INVESTMENT:

$45 per person 

Image:  @bonezfilmz  for Younga Yoga Studio

Image: @bonezfilmz for Younga Yoga Studio

MEET LANA:

Lana is well known for her strong yet steady strength based vinyasa Yoga classes & blissful meditation workshops - held regularly at Younga Yoga Studio. 

She completed her training at Life Source in 2011 with Christina Brown and Richard Allen and has continued to train, learn and grow with a variety of incredible teachers since, including Annie Carpenter, Flo Fenton, Duncan Peak and Ana Forrest.

Lana believes modern Yoga offers a mental break from our busy lives and an opportunity to connect with our peaceful, inner self, resulting in a sense of calm perspective. 


REFUND POLICY:

Due to the nature of the course we are unable to provide refunds, transfers or rain-checks - all purchases are final - please check your diary before enrolling. 

BOOKING WITH A FRIEND?

If you are booking into this course with a family member or friend, please make sure you register and enrol separately. 

Purchasing multiple tickets on the one account will only enrol the person who made the purchase.

If you have any questions about this phone the studio on 4227 1997 or email info@youngayogastudio.com.au