calm, calmness, breathing,

Create your own sunshine

calm, calmness, breathing,

It is so important in life to find your joy within. No one else is responsible for your happiness but you so, create your own sunshine! You choose how you view the world and you choose how you react to the challenges that impact you. Put simply …

Positivity comes from within!

During pregnancy it is vital to try to stay calm and positive to give your growing baby the best possible opportunity to thrive in the womb. An incredible sense of calm comes from realising you have that power inside yourself. The great thing is it doesn’t have to be hard! By using all the tools you can learn here with breathing techniques, mindfulness and yoga sequences and applying them to your daily life you can train yourself to adopt a healthy attitude to life, people and events that slam themselves in your face!

Staying calm is your super power!

When you need extra help to stay calm, try to stop any internal panic by taking a deep breath, getting some perspective and tap into some breathing techniques to help you cope better and stay calm.

Have a great week and remember …

Create your own sunshine and radiate positivity!

It’s easy when you learn how x
simple calm breathing

Simply breathe deeply

Ever feel that you’re not great at remembering to simply breathe deeply when you’re stressed? Maybe you just haven’t learnt the right skills to tap into so you can calm yourself with your breathing? The simple act of slow, deep breathing has a physiological response in our brains, learning a few simple breathing techniques has been clinically proven to start to calm us. This makes it a really valuble life tool.

Get perspective….

If a situation is stirring us, we have anxiety about something or we are suffering from over thinking things and starting an internal panic, sometimes all we need to do is stop and slowly breathe deeply. After a few simple, slow, deep breaths ask yourself, is this situation going to effect me in a week, a month, a year? What would the best version of myself do in this situation? How can I help myself through this challenge? Who can I tap into to help me through this calmly?

Surround yourself with the right people

Whether it’s a really difficult situation or a small challenge that we’re distressed about, whether it’s to do with our pregnancy, the birth, raising our new born baby or something unrelated to parenthood, during challenges we need to surround ourselves with people, friends or family that we know will give us good advice and encourage us to act calmly and rationally rather than spiralling the situation and your feelings out of control.

You have more strength than you realise

Help from people outside ourselves can often be invaluable however, sometimes your own calm council can nip things in the bud early before they build. In these sorts of situations you need to have the art of simply breathing deeply locked into your psyche. So you can calm yourself to help yourself to think rationally and be the best version of yourself by dealing with the situation in front of you as best as you can.

 

Here is a short video to help you learn how to simply breathe deeply. When you’ve watched it you may like to view other breathing techniques to calm the mind and centre yourself.

 

Add engaging your pelvic floor into your Daily routine

Have you ever wondered how to engage your pelvic floor properly? Have you been wondering how, in your busy life, you can easily add engaging your pelvic floor into your daily routine? Watch this short video clip for some helpful suggestions on simple ways to make this essential daily exercise part of your daily routine

 

If you found that useful you may like to download the full free tutorial below.

Hope this is helpful, enjoy your yoga!

 

 

 

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Are you suffering from tight hamstrings, calves or hips?

If so this yoga pose, Prasarita Padottanasana, might be a lifesaver! The pose will help strengthen your core and stretch your hamstrings, calves, hips and lower back. If you choose to add the upper body twist, Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana explained below, the pose will also help strengthen and release tension in your lower back.

Key Benefits

This pose, Prasarita Padottanasana, stimulates the abdominal organs, improves your digestion and helps to detoxify your body. This pose also helps by massaging nutrient rich blood around the reproductive organs and to your growing baby.

 

Important Notes

If you suffer from low blood pressure make sure you come out of this pose very carefully to give time for the blood to return to the brain.

How to do the pose

From a standing position, step the legs wide and raise the arms up shoulder width apart. Bend the knees slightly and then tilt the hips forward taking the hands down to hip height on a wall, down to a chair seat or to the floor. Breathe slowly here, lifting the kneecaps up and, regardless of which variation you are in tuck your chin in towards your chest to lengthen the back of the neck.

If your palms are on the floor you can take your hands off the floor and fold your forearms and just hang down. Stay here for 10 breaths.

Second stage option

You can add an upper body twist to help alleviate back ache. To follow a guided video on this visit

Now, from all variations, bend the knees, take the hands to the hips and slowly come up to standing, wiggle the feet in slightly and then step the feet hip width apart. Finish with 2 deep, slow nurturing breaths.

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Why practice prenatal yoga?

Yoga works deeply on a mental, physical and emotional level. By practicing prenatal yoga during your pregnancy you help open and strengthen your body and relieve aches and pains. This can then help improve your much needed sleep! Practicing prenatal yoga increases the oxygen levels in your blood and therefore the amount of oxygen that passes to your baby through the placenta. This increased oxygen is really important for the healthy development of your baby.

See my ‘7 poses for a deep nourishing sleep blog

The breathing exercises and visualisations you learn in ‘Bliss from within DVD’s’ Prenatal yoga sessions help you bond deeper with your unborn baby. If you have moments when you are feeling overwhelmed about your new adventure, you can take a moment to calm and center yourself with these visualisations, consider the child growing within you and what that child means to you and your future family.

Yoga literally means union, and I believe that the essence of prenatal yoga during pregnancy is a woman discovering the greatest union of all, the union of a mother and her child.

Visualisations for Pregnancy

 

 

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Restless aching legs driving you mad?

Relieve your restless aching legs in 6 simple poses!

Are your legs twitching or aching and it seems impossible to keep them still???

I know exactly how that feels! Try this, I really hope it helps you as much as it helped me!

Remember to breathe slowly and deeply through your nose and if you’re familiar with Ujjayi breathing use that technique. If not read my blog on breathing techniques to calm the mind.

Stay in each pose as long as you feel comfortable to make the sequence as long or as short as you need on any given day. Each pose offers different stages so follow the picture that best suits you today.

Pose . Dog pose/Adho mukha svanasana with a bolster.Resting the forehead onto a bolster regulates the endocrine system, relieves stress and alleviates headaches

Pose 1 . Dog pose/Adho mukha svanasana with a bolster. Gently rest the forehead, above the nose, onto a bolster and do micro circles with your head. This regulates the endocrine system, relieves stress and alleviates headaches.

Option 2. Dog pose/Adho mukha svanasana - unsupported. Draw your heels to the floor and draw your shoulders away from you ears and roll them outwards

Option 2. Dog pose/Adho mukha svanasana – unsupported. Draw your heels to the floor opening the back of the legs. Then draw your shoulders away from your ears lengthening the neck and roll the shoulder blades outwards

Pose 2. Wide Legged Pose/Prasarita Padottanasana - hands to the chair. This stimulates blood flow to the legs and takes the weight of the baby off the pelvis and lower back - Amazing!

Pose 2. Wide Legged Pose/Prasarita Padottanasana Hands to the chair seat, chin in, legs wide, heels to the floor. This stimulates blood flow to the legs and takes the weight of the baby off the pelvis – Amazing!

Resting the head in Wide Legged Pose/Prasarita Padottanasana

Pose 2, option 2 Resting the head. This is great when you’re  low on energy and need to release your legs and back. Remember to draw your shoulders away from your ears and keep your shoulder blades rolling outwards

Pose 3 - Half King Pigeon Pose/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Stage 1draw one heel at a time to the opposite hip.

Pose 3, Stage 1 – Half King Pigeon Pose/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. Draw one heel at a time to the front of the opposite hip. Stay upright, draw your shoulders away from your ears and lift your chest opening your heart space

Stage 2 This pose lengthens the mussels around the hips, groin and buttocks and stimulates blood around the pelvic region and the baby.

Pose 3, Stage 2 – Come to the elbows if right for you. All stages of this pose lengthen the mussels around the hips, groin and buttocks and stimulates blood around the pelvic region and the baby. Do both sides.

stage 3 - Stay at the stage that feels most comfortable for you. I found this pose to be AMAZING in relieving sciatica, lower back pain and throbbing in the legs

Pose 3, stage 3 – Release down to the floor. I found all stages of this pose to be AMAZING in relieving sciatica, lower back pain and throbbing in the legs. Stay in the pose, breathing slowly, as long as you feel comfortable.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend/Janu Sirsasana Stage 1

Pose 4. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend/Janu Sirsasana
Stage 1 – use a belt around your foot if you cant comfortably reach your toes. Draw your toes back lengthening the back of the leg. Repeat the other side.

Stage 2 Improve the circulation in the legs and pelvic region and relieve aching in the legs and back

Pose 4, Stage 2 -hold your toes
All stages of this pose improve the circulation in the legs and pelvic region relieving aching in the legs and back

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend/Janu Sirsasana Stage 3

Pose 4, Stage 3 – release your face towards your shin and lengthen the top of your head, as if on a string, toward your toes

Wide Seated Forward Bend/Upavista Konasana Stage 1

Pose 5. Wide Seated Forward Bend/Upavista Konasana Stage 1 – Reach forward to a bolster and stay upright. Remember not to hunch the shoulders up around the ears

Wide Seated Forward Bend/Upavista Konasana - stage 2

Pose 5, Stage 2 – reaching forward to a bolster and releasing the head down between the arms. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and flex your feet

Wide Seated Forward Bend/Upavista Konasana - To the chair seat

Pose 5, Option 3 – Reach forward to a chair seat. Draw your shoulders away from your ears, feet flexed

Sideways Wide Seated Forward Bend/Parsva Upavista Konasana - with a bolster

Pose 6, Stage 1 Sideways Wide Seated Forward Bend/Parsva Upavista Konasana – with a bolster. Lengthen forward to one side and then repeat on the other side.

Sideways Wide Seated Forward Bend/Parsva Upavista Konasana

Pose 6, stage 2 reach your hands to your toes, flex your feet and lengthen your spine drawing the top of your head to your toes.

Hope it helps!
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7 poses for a deep nourishing sleep

Is your mind racing with emotions about the baby and the birth when you’re just trying to fall asleep?

Are you woken in the night (probably needing to pee or settling another child!) but then you just can’t get back to sleep for hours?

I know exactly how that feels, believe me, so I’m sharing this sequence with you – it was a life saver for me! Every time I found myself staring at the ceiling or tossing and turning I’d make myself get out of bed and follow this simple sequence. It’s actually just as good post pregnancy too so this is a tool you’re learning for life!

Stay in your PJ’s and keep the lights low. Remember to breathe through your nose and if you’re familiar with Ujjayi breathing use that technique. If not follow this blog and I’ll be covering breathing techniques to calm the mind in my next blog!

We’ll start with two standing poses, because sometimes we firstly need to charge our muscle fibers with some pressure to be able to wind down and settle into the rest of the sequence and ultimately sleep!

You can stay in each pose as long as you feel comfortable to make the sequence as long or as short as you need on any given day. Once you’re in the poses just breathe deeply and melt into the pose – Yummmm I love that feeling!

Pose 1 & 2 – Dog Pose – Adho mukha svanasana

Option 2. Dog pose/Adho mukha svanasana - unsupported. Draw your heels to the floor and draw your shoulders away from you ears and roll them outwards

Pose 1. Take a few breaths with bent knees, then draw your heels to the floor, shoulders away from your ears and shoulder blades roll out. Tuck your tailbone under to open up the vertebra at the base of the spine.

Option 1 . Dog pose/Adho mukha svanasana with a bolster.Resting the forehead onto a bolster regulates the endocrine system, relieves stress and alleviates headaches

Pose 2 . Rest the third eye, the area above the nose, onto a bolster and apply gentle pressure in micro circles. This regulates the endocrine system, relieves stress and alleviates headaches.

Poses 1-4 take the pressure away from the lower back by shifting the baby’s weight off the pelvis, they also rejuvenate the legs by stimulating their blood flow – Amazing!

Pose 3 & 4 – Wide Legged Forward bend- Prasarita Padottanasana

Pose 2. Wide Legged Pose/Prasarita Padottanasana - hands to the chair. This stimulates blood flow to the legs and takes the weight of the baby off the pelvis and lower back - Amazing!

Pose 3. Now take your feet wide, palms to the chair seat, lengthen your spine, tuck in your tailbone underneath you & roll your shoulders away from your ears and away from each other.

Resting the head in Wide Legged Pose/Prasarita Padottanasana

Pose 4. Now move towards the chair and rest your forehead onto the seat. Massage your third eye with micro circles for a few breaths then just melt into the pose!

Pose 5 – Head-to-Knee Forward Bend – Janu Sirsasana

This pose improves the circulation in the legs and pelvic region and also relieves aching in the legs and back. Deepen the breath as you release and stay here for 5 – 10 breaths or as long as you feel comfortable. Then release and repeat on the other side.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend/Janu Sirsasana Stage 1

Pose 5/stage 1
 Take your right heal to your groin, press your left leg down into the ground, draw your toes back. Use a belt if needed.

Stage 2 Improve the circulation in the legs and pelvic region and relieve aching in the legs and back

Pose 5/stage 2 – Inhale the arms up then exhale the hands to the feet or a belt. Look forward and lengthen out of your spine as your inhale and release as you exhale.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend/Janu Sirsasana Stage 3

Pose 5/stage 3- On an exhale lower your face and draw the top of your head, as if on a string, to your toes.

Wide Seated Forward Bend/Upavista Konasana - To the chair seat

Pose 6 . Now take the legs wide apart, flex the feet, draw the toes back towards you and press the underside of the legs down into the ground. Inhale the arms up and exhale them down to the chair seat

Wide Seated Forward Bend/Upavista Konasana - stage 2

Pose 6/stage 2. Lower the hands down to a bolster. Keep lifting the chest to lengthen the spine and tuck in the chin to lengthen the back of the neck.

Pose 6 & 7 – Upavista & Parsva Upavista Konasana – Wide Seated & Sideways Wide Seated Forward Bend

 

Pose 7/Stage 1 - Turn your chest to the right, either hands to foot, hands to belt around foot or hands onto a bolster. Draw your face towards your toes, lengthen your spine, tuck your chin towards your chest. Repeat the other side

Pose 7/Stage 1 – Turn your chest to the right, either hands to foot, hands to belt around foot or hands onto a bolster. Draw your face towards your toes, lengthen your spine, tuck your chin towards your chest. Repeat the other side

Pose7/stage 2 - If it's comfortable for you release your face towards your shin and draw the top of your head, as if on a string, towards your toes. Deepen the breath and melt into the pose

Pose7/stage 2 – If it’s comfortable for you release your face towards your shin and draw the top of your head, as if on a string, towards your toes. Deepen the breath and melt into the pose

 

 

Relaxation Time!

There are 3 choices here. Once you are in you relaxation pose, try and withdraw all thoughts of past and future and just focus on this special time for you and your baby here and now, while the two of you are still one.

ENJOY!

 To follow a guided sequence with me buy Bliss from within DVD or download one of visualisations

 

Not safe for fragile knees. Lie back onto a firm bolster with a pillow under your head, and possbily an extra blanket under your lowerback so your fully supported. Knees wide, buttocks between your heals

Not safe for fragile knees. Lie back onto a firm bolster with a pillow under your head, and possbily an extra blanket under your lowerback so your fully supported. Knees wide, buttocks between your heals

Sit with your back supported against the wall, knees bent and the soles of your feet touching. Try and draw your heels as close to your body as possible

Sit back supported against the wall, knees bent, soles touching. Keep your heels close to the body

Lying on your left side with your top knee bent and supported by a pillow. You can also place a long pillow or stacked blankets under your belly and a pillow under your head.

Lying on your left side with your top knee bent and supported by a pillow. You can also place a long pillow or stacked blankets under your belly and a pillow under your head.

 

 

 

Hopefully you’re now ready to fall into a deep and nourishing sleep! ENJOY!

 

If you’re interested to learn a little bit about the science of sleep, read on ……..

During pregnancy a woman’s body and hormones go crazy! The science of sleep requires that we have a calm central nervous system and a balanced endocrine system that is not over stimulated. Forward bends and poses where the head is supported help to calm the central nervous system by lowering the blood pressure. Seated poses help to flood the pelvis with oxygenated blood maximizing the function of the uterus. They also help us calm the breath by alleviating the pressure on the diaphragm allowing for deeper slower breathing, this helps us calm the mind and the central nervous system by increasing the level of oxygen in the bloodstream and in turn the level of oxygen delivered to the baby via the placenta.

Light pressure or massage to the third eye (the place between your eyebrows above your nose) helps to regulate the pituitary gland calming the endocrine system. The endocrine system needs consideration in the quest for a deeper sleep as it is responsible for secreting our hormones. Some of the hormones released by the endocrine system are estrogen, progesterone, adrenalin, endorphins and the steroid cortisol. And they are released into our blood stream through many glands (some of which are in the ovaries and the pancreas, the thyroid and parathyroid glands, the pineal, adrenals and pituitary glands). These hormones influence our behavior, firing us up, giving us energy but also making us wired when we over stimulate them. A busy day and high stress levels can hyper activate your glands and this can catapult you into a vicious cycle of over stimulated alertness and sleeplessness.

So, for a deep nourishing sleep we need well regulated endocrine system and a calm central nervous system, we also need to release the physical stresses and strains the body has built up throughout the day.

End of science!

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A little bit of love goes a long way!

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Recently I received an email from a mum who had loved using my prenatal yoga DVD. Not only did the content of the email make me bubble up with joy, it reminded me of how important it is in life to take the time to make little comments or give compliments to people to brighten up their day. You can never underestimate how much joy a bit of positive reinforcement can bring!

Here’s the message I received …..

Dear Zoe, I just wanted to tell you how much I loved your prenatal yoga DVD! I was extremely anxious and determined to avoid natural child birth by having a Caesarian with my first pregnancy. In my mind this seemed less painful and traumatic than all those ‘stories’ you hear about having a baby. At 26 weeks I brought ‘Bliss From Within’ purely to find relief from sciatic and inguinal varicose vein pain and it changed my entire birth experience and mindset. I did a complete 360. I wanted to have a calm, natural birth and I didn’t want to be scared to give birth. My daughter was born in 3 hours and 10 minutes. The pushing phase was 4 contractions. I didn’t need stitches or pain relief after. I used so many of the techniques I’d learned from the DVD during my labour, it made all the difference because I just felt prepared. I’m now in the early weeks with baby number two and felt that immediate calm and readiness after getting back into your DVD. Thank you so, so much for creating such a wonderful resource! Kind regards, Tanyika

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Loving now!

Loving now is so important because life is all about the journey! Whether this is your first or last pregnancy, your first or your last baby or anything in between, try and remember the importance of ‘right now’. This very moment that you can never get back. It’s so vital to enjoy this moment. Try not to keep wishing for the baby to be born now or wishing your newborn would grow quicker and crawl, talk and play because the time while they are growing inside of you is so special, you’re growing a human being. The time while they’re suckling as a new born is taxing on you as a mum but it’s beautiful and fleeting too. You won’t make your pregnancy quicker by only thinking of the birth either but you do wish away loving now.

A friend once told me, ‘love your first pregnancy, you’ll never have that experience again.’

That was such great advise. If you have more children you’ll always have other little beings dictating your day. So have that cuppa and read that book when you want to, and savour loving now! Likewise when you have a little one in the world try an inhale the magnificence of it all. It doesn’t seem like it when you’re battling sleep deprivation and sore boobs or endless bottles but they grow up so quickly, you blink and all that enchanting preschool and baby phase is behind you. Then you’re rushing around to after school activities and juggling lunch boxes and homework help with reading stories and making dinner! But even that phase we must cherish, as I know all too soon I’ll be looking back on these days and my awesome little troupers will be all grown up and not needing the same simple love. The issues will be more complexed, the love will be as necessary but we won’t always be their number one.

So I strive to try harder to live loving now, whatever phase that is as I know I can never get it back and all too soon that phase will be behind me as a fond and cherished memory.

 

 

For calming breathing techniques or visualisations to help staying in the now visit Downloads or Shop DVDs

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What’s a ‘pregnancy visualisation’ & how can it help you?

What’s a ‘pregnancy visualisation’ & how can it help you?

A pregnancy visualisation is essentially a meditation where you are guided by a calming voice through a journey. Most pregnancy visualisations will be enhanced with gentle background music. Firstly the narrator will guide you through closing your eyes, finding a comfortable position to sit in. Next you will be guided through clearing your mind of thoughts of past and future by trying to picture images associated with a story. This story will have a specific meaning, in everyday life visualisations can be about empowerment, acceptance, and resilience. In pregnancy visualisations and with mums of newborn babies you will focus more specifically on embracing your wonderful journey. Preparing through pregnancy visualisations for your upcoming challenges in birth and early parenting can be very powerful and bonding with your baby whether bubs is in the world or still in your womb is invaluable.

 

Right here and right now!

Birthing Visualisation

Sometimes we simply need a visualistaion to remind us that  today, right here and right now we are ‘enough’. Not when we are faster, smarter or better at something but ‘enough’ just the way we are. In pregnancy we may need a visualisation to help us calm anxieties about the pregnancy and to help bond with our unborn baby. Visualisations are also extremely powerful in helping women to prepare for the experience of birth. During labour visualisations can help clear the mind of panic and come into a more restful state of acceptance. This is really fundamental in birth becasue the delivery of the baby is inevitable, so when you can find a state of calm acceptance through the contractions your body opens and releases. Conversly, if you tense up with every contraction and focus only on the pain, your body is resisting the natural flow of the labour. Creating tension and tightness is the opposite to what your body really needs. I created a birthing visualisation to help with acceptance and release during delivery after I found it to be such a powerful tool.

In parenthood visualisations are excellent tools for self forgiveness and non judgement. Sitting calmly and breathing through a guided visualisation helps us to accept that we are doing the best we can most of the time. When we don’t get it right, which will happen, its usually not from lack of trying. In this way a pregnancy visualisation helps to reset your perspectives, perhaps forgive yourself and release any unnecessary guilt which is not serving you. This allows you to move forward with your day with a stronger sense of who you are and the confidence that you are enough, just the way you are.

 

For guided pregnancy visualisations visit my downloads page or visit the shop DVDs page