Posts tagged mindfulness
Airport Yoga Is Taking Off

Travelling can be extremely stressful at times, can’t it? By the time you’ve packed, sorted out all your documents, itinerary, accommodation, found someone to look after your pets and water your plants, and finally rushed to the airport (fingers crossed there’s no traffic!)… here you are, about to embark on your trip. Not exactly a stress-free way to start a day or holiday, let alone a business trip. And, by this time, you haven’t even had to deal with check-in queues, security, passport control and sitting in cramped seats for hours. Given how exhausting air travel can be, it seems obvious why more and more airports are taking to the idea of airport yoga with a dedicated space. After all, yoga is known to be relaxing. There are several good reasons why airport yoga is a great idea, here’s a list of a few:

  • The muscle stretching encouraged by yoga postures is a good way to cool down after walking, or other aerobic conditioning, while deep breathing and meditation also help;
  • It can help manage stress;
  • Space devoted to relaxation allows you to take time to unwind and stretch before and between flights and enjoy a calm, quiet space;
  • It gets your circulation going after remaining inactive during long flights;
  • Last, but not least, yoga not only benefits your body but also your mind.

If you are already into yoga or thinking of taking it up as a practice, you may be interested to know that recent studies published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology also indicate that continuous yoga practice lowers heart disease risk as much as conventional exercise, which, in turn, lowers cholesterol. This way you can keep up your practice even when travelling, so what’s not to love?

Furthermore, Statistics Canada estimates that the number of global yoga practitioners is as high as 250 million, with 2.5 million in the UK alone. With such high numbers, many argue that if smokers have their own designated area, why shouldn’t yogis?

So, which airports offer these yoga rooms? This is a brief, and by no means comprehensive, list but it will give you a bit of an overview.

SFO International Airport San Francisco, California Terminal 2 This is the world's first airport yoga room.yoga-large-1

DFW International Airport Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Hallway between Terminal B and D

BTV International Airport Burlington, Vermont Level Two

ABQ International Sunport Albuquerque, New Mexico Level One

RDU International Airport Morrisville, North Carolina Terminal 2

HEL International Airport Helsinki, Finland ORD Chicago O’Hare International Airport Chicago, Illinois Mezzanine Level of the Terminal 3 Rotunda; near the Urban Garden

LHR London Heathrow Airport London, UK (coming soon)

Tip: if your airport doesn’t offer a yoga room, you can still benefit from some mindfulness. Simply download the Head Space, Insight Timer or Happiness App (just to name a few; there are many more out there).

Safe travels!

What changes with mindful parenting for just 6 minutes per day?

mindful parenting The short version?

  • They sleep better
  • They confide more of their feelings in you
  • They calm down quicker (no, mindfulness is not the way to have calm children all the time, sorry if that's what you want!)

I was intrigued by evidence that children need mindfulness as much as adults do, so I decided to spend five minutes a day (sometimes less) using mindfulness techniques with my children, and began to notice tangible changes within just a week. Keep reading to find out more about the techniques I used and how they worked.

The longer read...

I have four children; a teenage girl, a pre-teen boy and two young twin girls. I've been practising mindfulness for 12 years but only began practicing with them over the last two years.

Lets begin with the main reasons I actually moved from wanting to practice with them to actually practicing with them.  I'd started to feel like there was always one child missing out on some attention. I worried that when the children were sad or anxious, I didn't really understand an effective way to help them release their anxiety. I also felt like I was failing because I couldn't empower them with a way to help themselves when other children were unkind at school. I found myself growing increasingly frustrated by the fact that at least one of them would get up every night, and my lack of sleep meant that I felt unable to be as kind as I would like to be and had no "space in my head" to work out a way to make it better.

Most of my working life has been spent on projects which help organisations and people to create habits for increasing effectiveness and satisfaction. This meant that I had learnt from various scientific studies that anything I did would have to meet this criteria;

  • aim low
  • feel easy
  • do at same time of day
  • had already been proven to work by others so I really believed in it - motivation

I started by asking the children to practice as part of mealtimes, before pudding, as an incentive. This took the form of a Tiny Pause - 4 mindful breaths. This went okay, but felt more like an opportunity for the children to demonstrate how ridiculous they could make 4 breaths sound/be/last. Plus my plan of fitting into a daily routine meant that none of them were really getting the high quality attention they needed, or thought they needed, from me.

My next plan was bedtime. I would do a guided mindfulness practice with them (all parents taking our Mindful Parenting learn to do this, its really quite simple once you have the technique). I would do this at bedtime for the youngest three (individually, apart from the twins). This initially lasted 10 minutes or less, which I shortened to around 5 minutes because I felt too tired.

This worked really well - mindfulness lends itself to a moment when children naturally want to relax. Within four days they were asking me to do it! Within a week I noticed that they were all sleeping through the night (wake up times before had been 3-4 times per night, first week of mindfulness this dropped to just once a night).

I was so pleased with this promising start. But I also wanted them to confide in me the stuff they were anxious about. (You know when your child is anxious and you ask them if they want to talk about it and they just shake their head? No matter what you do for them, in that moment you feel like you're failing, you feel like the truth is out, that "I am a rubbish parent"). The technique of mindful listening would be my next approach.

I decided that aiming to do this everyday with all children was unrealistic for me. So I just aimed for one child a day. After school before supper, I would sit down, ask them to sit with me. Wait and listen. (Mindful listening is a recognized practice with an incredibly easy method). This was much harder than I expected as I was very tempted to ask, or prompt them in some way. Sometimes we would cuddle, sometimes we would just be next to each other on the sofa. No screens on around us.

So if I could keep from trying to guess the root of their problems or asking them all the questions I had tried before (its amazing how as parents, we know some things aren't effective but we just keep repeating the same behaviours hoping, like a miracle, it will change the outcome). Anyway with my lips kept firmly shut and my attention focused on them, something magical began to happen...

They would just start telling me stuff. From what they had just been building with lego or who had done what/ said what at school both funny and sad things.  This continued. They began to express more of their feelings. The quieter I kept, the more they would share. Although sometimes they would ask me, "Dad, why are we sitting here?", I would reply “ because I love you and want to be with you", with the simple reply "Oh, ok." And then after a short pause, "I'm going to go and play".  So this moment of mindful listening would last between 1-5 minutes, depending on what they felt like saying. I would always leave it to them to end that moment (although I confess to sometimes finding my attention drifting, to what I will make for supper, or why the school couldn't do choir at a time that meant we could get to swimming, or why was there new bit of pen on the wall...you know the drill).

And I noticed something else. I felt better. I felt better because I was making it clear, really clear through my actions, that I loved them, that I was making time to give them high quality attention. Sure it was short. But I least I did it and it was definitely an improvement from “ yes thats lovely", while work my way through house chores or “ I'm just in the middle of something can't you go and play? “ hoping, but knowing, they really don’t understand why I couldn't just be with them.

Although it may seem obvious, it's important to understand that part of the success was down to me feeling a bit better about me. Less internal criticism meant a reduction in exploding moments, when I shout because I’ve had it up to here (imagine my hand well above my head!) with all parts of life; work, play, relationships.

It's now routine for us, and has helped with exams, best friends falling out school, new teachers, general arguments, school productions, even football matches.

Click here to find out more about Mindful Parenting at Camyoga

Focus On: Yin + Meditation

andrea The latest addition to Camyoga's schedule, Yin and Meditation offers a fully rounded practice with a mindful approach. Yin yoga is a slow paced, floor- based practice which focuses on releasing the pelvis, lower spine and hips, freeing up the flow of energy ('qi') in the body. It was first taught in the 1970s by Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zinke and has since been developed by prominent teachers Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Unlike Zinke, who posited the practice as a complete method in itself, both Grilley and Powers emphasise passive Yin as a complement to other, more active forms of movement and exercise.

Yin poses are typically held for several minutes, allowing the practitioner to cultivate a deep sense of inner silence. As such, it is a practice which works very well in conjunction with, or as a precursor to, meditation. Whilst the poses are being held, the teacher typically engages in what is known as a "dharma" tallk, comprising philosophical teachings, thoughts and sometimes poems. Although many Yin poses will be recognisable to practitioners of other styles of yoga, in Yin they are given different names, to emphasise the fact that they should be performed in a different (passive) manner. Camyoga's Yin and Meditation class is suitable for all students with an existing flow-based practice.

Click here to view our Yin + Meditation classes

GREAT FOR: flexibility, relaxation, sports people.

Dr Emma Tiffin talks mindfulness, healthy eating, and more!

Mindfulness As you might have read recently in the Cambridge News (read article here), Camyoga are teaming up with Woodlands Surgery on Bateman Street to offer Mindfulness sessions to the general public. After GPs at the surgery tried Mindfulness with Camyoga they simply had to get behind these sessions and offer their support. The first session, an Introduction to Mindfulness workshop, costs just £20 and is open to everyone. Click here to find out more and to book your place.

This week we met up with Dr Emma Tiffin, of Woodlands Surgery, to ask her a few questions about her experiences of mindfulness. Here's what she had to say!

1. Hi Emma! How long have you worked for NHS?
23 years.
2. What is the surgery's main aim and what makes it so special compared to other surgeries?
To promote the health and wellbeing of all our patients and our local community. We have a beautiful, spacious new building which enables us to host an extended range of health and wellbeing service.
3. Why offer Mindfulness in surgery?
We believe that the mental health of our patients is as important as their physical health and that both influence each other. We see the effects of the pressure of modern life and value therapeutic strategies based on relaxation and dealing with stress.
4. How do you keep fit?
Yoga, gardening, using stairs instead of the lift at work, smiling and maintaining a positive attitude!
5. What's the biggest challenge of surgery?
Increased workload, more demands on the health service, shrinking financial NHS pot
6. What do you think is the biggest misconception general public have about GP's?
During the working day (averages 11 hours probably for most of us) and between clinics, GPs are relaxing, playing golf!
Actually we are catching up on administration (hospital letters, blood test results, home visits, phoning patients to answer queries etc) and having to run a business (GPs are independent contractors, ie. mini businesses that have to be financially viable.
7. Based on your experience, what are the 2 main potential benefits of doing Mindfulness?
Managing personal stress during the working day better. This facilitates better team working and a positive attitude with others.
8. If you didn't work for NHS where would your dream job be?
The NHS is my dream job, I live, breathe, sleep medicine. However I am also enjoying my regular radio slot on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and being a PR girl!
9. Tell us in 1 sentence 2 simple things the general public can do to help them maintain good health.
Think positive, eat a balanced diet.
Click here to find out more about Camyoga's Introduction to Mindfulness Workshop at Woodlands.

Our Favourite Inspirational Quotes

Our Favourite Inspirational Quotes

Language can be a very powerful thing - it's amazing how what others say or write down can capture our hearts and imaginations, then linger on in our minds. Everyone loves an inspiring, quotable quote, so this week we share with you our favourite inspirational words. Some of them might be familiar, and some of them less so...We'd love to hear your top quotes too, so add to our list by posting below.

Louise, founder of Camyoga

"Don't be careful. You could hurt yourself." - Byron Katie

Katja, receptionist

"Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness." - Frank Tyger

Jim, scheduling

"80% of success is showing up" - Woody Allen

Chris, studios manager

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill

Luca, assistant manager

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in square holes....the ones who see things differently - they're not fond of rules...You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things...they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do" - Steve Jobs

Sam, chef

"Get on with it. There is plenty of time to sleep when you're dead" - My Nana.

Rachael, media & communications

"I had tried singing once back in Berlin. They threw tomatoes. After the show, I had a nice salad." - Hedwig & the Angry Inch.

Sam T, business development

"' My actions are my only true belongings" - Thich Nhat Hanh.

Elma, Central manager

"If  you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?" - Rumi.

What are YOUR favourite inspirational quotes? Please share them below!