Why is Yoga an excellent stress reliever?

Stress is commonly defined as tension being applied to an object. Within the human body this can manifest emotionally, mentally, physically, or more often than not, all three. Stress is your body’s way of reacting to and coping (or not coping) with what it perceives as a threat – this could be an event (or events) or individual(s) that result in you feeling anxious, angry or frustrated.

Yoga is a fantastic and cost effective stress buster. While there are many strains of Yoga, most include a combination of physical poses (asanas), controlled breathing (pranayama) and guided relaxation (nidra) or meditation (Dhyna) to bring about a more harmonious mind-body connection. How important is this mind-body connection in stress alleviation?

When we are stressed our fight or flight reflexes kick in, knowingly or unknowingly draining the body as our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) switches on and our adrenal glands begin running on high alert. Breathing is impacted when we are stressed – often becoming shallower, we may even momentarily stop breathing and then struggle to take big gulping recovery breaths, further exacerbating our anxiety and leaving us feeling drained on a physical and mental level.

By mindfully looking to establish a stronger more controlled harmony between movement and breath we can significantly reduce perceived stress, and even lower our blood pressure and heart rates, coaxing our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) into action. The PNS has a wonderful counterbalancing effect on the drain of the SNS being on for often much longer periods than it should be. As the PNS kicks in, the body begins relaxing into the movement, our breathing deepens – calming us, while supplying more oxygen to the body, making for clearer thought and action.

As an added bonus Yoga is non-judgemental, so there is no added pressure making you feel that you need to compete – simply modify your movements as needed – almost anyone can do Yoga.

Consistent Yoga practice fosters greater body awareness, enabling us to identify the physical manifestations of stress and consciously allowing us to “let it go”. Yoga provides an excellent opportunity to learn to leave our worries behind while we focus on ourselves and what we are doing on the mat. Learning to be more in tune with yourself and your limitations, lets you work through discomfort with greater ease and makes success that much sweeter and better appreciated – this translates into everyday life (whether you are aware of it or not).

That’s it for now – see you all for playtime on the mat😉

Till next time – Keep it Light😘

Louise

 

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About Nicky Oram

Nicky enjoys ‘swanning’ and ‘horsing’ around and has been invited to Mexico with a rather unusual travel guide.

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
TRIYOGA and pose is SWAN

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
I started an interest in yoga at Virgin in Kloof where I attended Triyoga classes with Bindu Lovell.

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
Horse. I have loved them all my life! They are free spirited and are one with the outdoors.

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
Ride my horse, hike and enjoy nature.

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
Ummm, thats a hard one as things have been too serious lately!

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Travel Channel. I would love to travel more and this is one way of doing it.

7. What’s your favorite drink?
Coffee!

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
Ole!! I have come to fetch you to board the plane to Mexico. He is my travel guide!

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About Nana Wen

Nana is a creative bird of paradise  who likes to Zumba with a penguin!

Nana Wen

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
As a Gemini, I like to explore different physical movements at different pace and levels– ranging from general HIIT, to Ashtanga series, to Iyengar, to functional movements, to Tai Chi, to Pilates, to fascia flossing. To me, having variety is healthy – so I guess im just my own style? Lol. In terms of energetics and mindful practices, I embrace teachings from Taoism, Buddhism and Ayurveda.
At the moment, my pose is Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) using a sofa 😊

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
I was on a brink of burn out and losing sanity after caring for my first born without much physical support – I started doing online videos at home in the beginning, but felt so good after a few weeks I decided to look for a physical class – I needed a peaceful yoga environment for time out.

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
Hmm. I guess it would be some colourful birds of paradise? I like being creative – exploring through movement and painting, adventurous and free, and possessing sharp eyes

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
Zumba (and dance fitness), Painting, Hiking and walking in forests, having tea/coffee with friends that share the same frequency as me.

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
Having to use a funnel neck sweatshirt to cover my face while waiting on the road side as I forget to wear a mask. So embarrassing!

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
My Octopus Teacher on Netflix – it was recommended by friends.

7. What’s your favorite drink?
Homemade chai tea😊

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
Care for a tango?” (with sexy stare) – Asking me to dance!

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How to keep your yoga mat clean?

What’s the best way to keep my yoga mat clean?”, “How often should I clean my yoga mat?” and “ How do I prevent my yoga mat from becoming stinky and tacky?” are questions I regularly get asked.

From a hygiene perspective, it’s obviously most beneficial to have your own personal yoga mat that only you use (as opposed to renting or using publicly accessible mats that most studios make available).

If you own the mat, you can ensure that it is in fact cleaned after each use (which cannot always be guaranteed in the studio environment) – this is the best way to ensure that your mat not only stays clean, but also odour and bacteria free.

So how to go about cleaning your mat?  The quickest and easiest method is to spray down and wipe off your mat after each use.  There are so many fantastic commercially produced yoga mat cleaning solvents that can be used  – alternately you can whip up a quick DIY preparation that costs next to nothing.

I like to use a solution of 100ml water to 100ml white vinegar (i.e. 1:1 water to vinegar ratio) and 10 -15 drops of tea tree (depending on how strong you like your brew). Both the vinegar and tea tree oil have excellent antibacterial and antifungal properties – keeping your mat clean and odour free.

I keep this preparation in a spritz bottle. I always have one bottle at hand in my home yoga space, and use a smaller travel size spritzer in my yoga bag when traveling between studios.Glass, is best, but a recyclable plastic spritz bottle will do in a pinch:-)

A quick shake and spray on the mat, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth (I keep a cotton face-cloth handy – make sure you launder it regularly), or use paper towel if you prefer. Leave your mat to air dry, before you roll it up.  Be sure to not only wipe the top side of your the mat, but the underside as well.

That’s it for now – see you all for playtime on the mat😉

Till next time – Keep it Light😘

Louise

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About Lauren Pinnoy

Lauren is a fairy who likes to live in her forest with a nostalgic Robin Hood

Lauren Pinnoy

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
Slow flow and yin,  Wild thing, Trikonasana and Childs’ pose

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
My mom was a yogi and its saved me a few times during challenging times in my life.

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
Not an animal but most people that know me would say a fairy. Personality, love a forest and nature and try not live too much in the real world.

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
Read, paint, sleep & cuddles , meditate or movies. 

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
(We didn’t get a response to this one).

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Old school Robin hood animated movie.. was feeling nostalgic.

7. What’s your favorite drink?
Coffee with chocolate almond milk
Mango juice
Gnt
Water

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
(it seems the penguin did not arrive)

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About Marrion Clarke

Marrion is a wise owl, but has no idea why there is a penguin on her doorstep!

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
This is one of the reasons I will always stay curious about this ancient practice.
There is a variety of styles, and my preferred choice would be dependent on my mood,
and same would go for the asana I prefer….it all depends on where I am on my
personal yogic journey.

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
I needed to make lifestyle changes in order to find me again…I decided to do my YTT
in this year of slaying those dragons. The change it brought for me keeps me passionate
in sharing the wisdom with like-minded spirits.

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
I have always found myself intrigued by owls. They are widely recognized as observers.
Owls employ their deeper spiritual senses to guide them and have a deeply philosophical
bent.

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time you will find me in nature with my people. Travelling, family, art and music
is my soul food.

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
There have been so many online moments during lockdown where I have had to laugh at
myself. The children’s classes in particular kept the humour going…I continue to learn from
the little people as they show me the lighter side of life.

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
I have found humour an excellent therapist during this pandemic, and spent many happy
hours watching “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. Comic Jerry Seinfeld hosts this
unique series that feature vintage cars, hilarious conversations and you guessed it….coffee!

7. What’s your favorite drink?
 A good chai tea and coffee

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
I have no idea why this penguin made it to my doorstep or how, but after a year like 2020
nothing surprises me anymore….😉

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About Louise van der Walt

Louise is a busy bee who veges out on popcorn after looking for her next BFF (just bring her something exotic to fill her tummy).

Louise van der Walt

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
I am eclectic & love to mix things up. I do not take myself too seriously, so try to keep it light on the mat & have fun every time I come to the mat.  In a pinch I would say vinyasa- go with the flow:-)
Favorite pose? Ooh that’s a tough one, let’s go with Crow. I always feel light & carefree in this pose (and each time I go into the pose I remember how amazingly kick-ass I felt the first time I actually nailed it).

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
Needed to find my Zen – juggling family life & a busy corporate schedule was draining me out & messing with my mojo.

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
Hummingbird – always busy & on the go – I can also eat half my body weight & drink eight times my body mass in liquid (so I have to keep busy or I’d blow up like a blowfish).

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
On a veg out, hide away from the world day – definitely eat copious amounts of popcorn & binge watch Netflix (or read a trashy romance novel) until my eyes bug out.

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
I’m constantly doing silly things & making a bit of a tool of myself, so I’ve learnt to take it with a pinch of salt, roll with the punches & chillax (BREATHE).

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
“Jamestown” – awesome period series, full of strong women, overcoming incredible odds to “make it work” while forging a strong sense of self.

7. What’s your favorite drink?
I am a teetotaler, with a propensity towards exciting tea blends (go figure). Hibiscus, peppermint & ginger/lemon are always staples in my tea caddy (no ceylon – far too bitter- herbal is the way to my tummy). Hit me up with something exotic & you’re my new BFF.

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
Cricky, I’m terrible with jokes – I always mess up the punch line, here goes nothing:
Shuffle, shuffle, waddle, waddle, front door bangs open, penguin squeaks: “40 below outside, froze the freaking worm in my tequila – penguin salutations required STAT to heat things up”

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About Penny Slein

Penny is a White Tiger who loves mint tea after Standup Paddle boarding and before her nap!

Penny Slein

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
I love hatha and sirsasana or any variation of inversions

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
I suffered terribly from lower back pain and yoga always eased my pain and helped to strengthen my body

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
The White Tiger – because it is rare, fearless and yet their energy holds a serene kind of power. White Tiger or…chimpanzee lololol

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
Stand Up Paddleboard…or nap

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
All the downlights in my bedroom turning themselves on at 3am!

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Vikings! Because you just never know what is going to happen next or who is going to get taken out

7. What’s your favorite drink?
Mint tea #soexciting

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
Well good day sweetheart. I am from the fifth dimension where anything is possible! Or maybe I’ve just popped out of the deep dark depths of your subconscious and come up to say
namaste and have a sunshine day!

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About Chade Moore

Chade loves a tipple of gin while watching Formula 1 and being cuddled.

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
My favorite yoga style is Vinyasa as I love how this practice can be so strong, yet so meditative as well as you maintain and move with a connection to breathe. I don’t have a specific favourite pose, however I love a deep lizard pose/runners lunge & I love practicing handstands.

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
When I was still in school I would religiously practice yoga once a week and it was the one thing I did that would always rejuvenate my mood and soul.

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
I want to say a dog, because I love a good cuddle, walks/runs outdoors, playfulness & the unconditional love that they have.

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
If I’m not doing yoga, then being at the beach or doing something with friends!

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
I feel like if I try to explain it it won’t be funny, because lets be honest the funniest moments are those that cannot be explained.

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Formula 1, going through a bit of an obsession with the sport after watching Drive to Survive on Netflix. Can 100% recommend!!

7. What’s your favorite drink?
Not going to lie, I love a good gin. Else it’s a good almond milk cuppa for sure!

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
He says ola and he’s there because I’m most likely having a dream about a Mexican party.

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About Chandre de Jager


Chandre loves the sun and getting sweaty, but lets penguins visit her daughter (hopefully not wearing her husbands clothes)

Chandre de Jager

1. What is your favorite Yoga style and pose?
I love getting sweaty, so my favorite yoga style would definitely be vinyasa power flows and my favorite pose is not crow pose.

2. How did you get interested in Yoga?
My mom taught yoga in the 1970’s so it has always been part of my life.

3. If you could compare yourself to an animal, which would it be and why?
A cat. I love the sun, I scratch when angry and purr when I’m happy.

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to walk and read and spend time with my family.

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
I thought I had caught Covid-19, turned out I had started menopause. OR
My daughter got married on Wednesday last week and the groom left his wedding outfit at home so ended up getting married in my husband’s clothes.

6. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
We don’t own a TV.

7. What’s your favorite drink?
Iced coffee

8. If a penguin wearing a sombrero walks through your front door, what does he say and why is he here?
Hi where’s the rest of the gang? He is probably visiting my daughter.

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