Ibiza yoga blog: Setting intentions for 2013

The start of any new year can be a real anti-climax. The intentions are there (on and off the yoga mat!), but often we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and we set ourselves unachievable goals. And then it’s a vicious circle.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! The good news is, yoga is a really good way to get some focus (without overly pushing yourself). You can start small, but the best part is, you see results really quickly! 

Yoga gives you a way to bring your body, mind and breath all into the same place. Often we have so much going on in our minds, that (as one teacher once said to me), ‘we live a few feet away from our physical bodies’. Always one step ahead of ourselves, or one step behind.

So how can you set realistic intentions and stick to them? Firstly, it’s never too late to start. So what if you’ve already broken all your new year’s resolutions? There’s nothing you stopping you from starting yoga right now. Here are some tips:

* Create a good yoga space for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big space, it can be a little corner, but it must be YOURS!
* Invest in a yoga mat and find a warm blanket and some handy cushions to help with your practice and relaxation
* Make the space comfortable for you – so you want to go there! Maybe hang some inspiring images on the wall – or add a Buddha to the space – anything which makes you feel calm and focused
* Before you begin your practice, have a think about your intentions for the coming year. Be realistic and make sure your goals are achievable. Write them down and stick them up on the wall in your space – so you always have your goals in focus.

If you have never done yoga, the best way to begin is to just get to know your body. Observe the way it moves and works. It’s really worth taking the time to prepare properly. Sit comfortably in your space and just watch.

Watch your breath and see if you can make it long and even. Try counting where you breath currently is  – for example, for five counts and then work to lengthen and deepen that breath. Keep the inhalation and the exhalation the same length.

Just begin by stretching your body. Inhale and open your body and exhale to close and deepen a stretch. Just spend 20 minutes noticing any particular areas of tightness or tension. Note any painful movements. Observe any movements your body particularly enjoys! Or that feel really good, and aim to use as many muscles as possible to find those ‘sweet spots’ in a stretch.

It’s important to note that you ARE doing yoga just doing these stretching exercises. Once we know our bodies and our strengths and limitations, we can move on to refining the postures.

Enjoy getting to know your body, as our next Ibiza yoga blog will look at how to build a practice. For some inspiration before then – try looking at these key poses:

* Arda Mukha Svanasana (the downward dog to extend the spine and a million other benefits!)
* Vrkasana (Tree to ground and strengthen)
* Sukasana  (The ‘easy’ pose which isn’t so easy if your hips are tight – so a good hip opener and desk / computer counteract)
* Dandasa (The staff pose to get the hamstrings going)

Enjoy & Namaste…