IN THIS our third week of Just One Thing – the Fermanagh Herald feature that encourages readers to engage in one thought or one action every week for the rest of lockdown – we are excited to bring you the expertise of Ederney yoga instructor, Dr Anne Monaghan PhD.
We explained to Anne that people may need to do more physical exercise but not everyone wants to join a Joe Wicks HiiT session, and she got it!
Instead, when we asked Anne to tell us just one yoga exercise or one breathing exercise that would help us physically and mentally power through pandemic boredom and fatigue, she threw it out to her many online followers and Fermanagh clients. Here’s what they told her:
You can do this pose either standing up or sitting in a chair. Have the feet straight, heels slightly turned out, fold the arms over and just hang forward like a ragdoll. If you are standing up you will want the knees locked as much as possible and if you are sitting widen the legs and hang through them.
This pose lengthens the calves, hamstrings, glutes, lower back muscles, back, shoulders and arms relieving stress and removing acid from the body which causes inflammation and pain!
Keep looking up and down to move the neck breathing in as you move up and out as you move down and fold your arms over in the other direction every so often for shoulder balance. If you are very tight up the back of the legs bend the knees to relieve the stretch but then go back into the pose.
The NHS recommends at least four minutes of CONTROLLED breathing every day. Remember to breathe in and out through the nose as much as possible as nasal breathing creates nitrate oxide in the sinuses which is a powerful healing molecule. Also, it can take as little as 90 seconds controlled breathing to break a disturbing emotional thought pattern. You can do your breathing exercises anywhere at any time if you are feeling anxious or panicky and no one will know!
Two simple exercises are the 4, 4 & 4 and the 4 & 8.
For the 4-4-4 put your hands on your tummy and breathe in through the nose for four with the tummy out filling up the lungs, hold for four and breathe out for four letting the tummy go in.
For the 4 & 8 put your hands on the tummy and breathe in through the nose for four with the tummy out and then out through the nose letting the tummy slowly come in for 8. The longer exhale helps switch on your calming nervous system.
A message from Dr. Anne: “This lockdown has been the toughest yet, and we hope it will be the last! To get through tough times – not just lockdowns – yoga and the breathing and meditations we do in each session are beneficial. A yoga session will give you space and time toreflect, to be aware of your thoughts and to come out of your busy mind and to relax. Yoga is not just about flexibility or strength or balance, it is the mental health benefits that it has brought me and so many people that mean we keep practising.
Also, the breathing exercises we do strengthen the lungs building lung capacity.
The great news too is that anyone can do yoga especially people with mobility issues.
Remember to hold your pose for about a minute – and for longer as you practice more – and breathe deeply in and out of the nose. Holding the pose and nasal breathing, especially a longer exhale, have a beneficial impact on our nervous systems!”
The Fermanagh Herald recommends you check out Dr. Anne online and see how yoga can help anyone tackling anxiety/depression; mobility or mental health issues and even cancer and long Covid. Alternatively, join her growing following just because well, you’re well worth it!
Dr. Anne Monaghan is a Yoga teacher and therapist and holds weekly classes via zoom.
Visit her Facebook page Well Worth It for more details. Anne also teaches FREE yoga and self-care classes through the OAK Healthy Living Centre every Tuesday night at 830pm and through Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network every Thursday at 12. Book through both those organisations.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition