2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: yoga

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day!

As I am sure most of you know, tomorrow is the day allocated to Mental Health. This year’s focus is on suicide prevention, which we are lucky not to have much personal experience with. I do realise we are all not so lucky, and I think it is great that it is being highlighted. Here is a link to the World Health Organization site with more information and suggestions on what you can do to take part. It is shocking to hear that every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. 

There are a lot of ways to help someone, or yourself, who is not feeling mentally well. We want to share our own experience using our chosen outlets: cycling, Zumba and boxing for Helen, and yoga and nature for Rosita.

Helen

As many of you know I like my fitness and exercise. It keeps me happy and keeps me fit. However, it is also an outlet for me when life gets stressful. I do many kinds of exercise as well. My top three would have to be (in no particular order) cycling or indoor cycling, Zumba and boxing. These are the main ones that keep me happy.

Cycling (or indoor cycling)

First, it is how Rosie and I met. We would cycle around the parks in London, eat ice cream and chat. I like how cycling can take me places. It can take me from A to B as a work commute, it can take me to a place I have never been before or it can take me on a night-time cycle ride for charity. There is nothing better than huffing and puffing to get up a vertical hill and then speeding down the other side while you catch your breath.

While I was at PT school, I had the chance to do the indoor cycling qualification. I thought with a love of cycling it would be a good thing to do. I love my spinning whether it is my own class, or I am taking part in someone else’s. The variety it has from sprints to hills to jumps to whatever the instructor can squeeze in before cooling down and your legs are about to give up.

Zumba

Whoever has read my Zumba blogs will know that with my two left feet, lack of coordination and terrible balance I still give Zumba a good try. The music, the way the body moves and all the steps it must create the dance is enough to put a massive smile on my face. Even better is when I am facing away from the mirrors in the gym and I can pretend I know exactly what I am doing. That is the thing. You don’t need to be good at it, you just need to try.

Boxing

This is an interesting one as I do boxing both as a personal trainer taking a class/client and as part of my own workout. I find it is a great stress buster for both clients and myself. I mean where else can you hit something and not get told off for it. Imagine you have had a crazy day at work. Your manager is demanding the report in for five o’clock that evening and you lets you know at a quarter to five. Your partner has just called to say they will be late home from work which means that dinner reservation you had now needs to be cancelled. The childminder has just texted to say your little one is sick and needs to go home urgently and reception have just emailed to say that your business client is waiting for you downstairs. Stressful? I would think so. Now take all of that stress down to the gym and put on a pair of boxing gloves. Hit the boxing bag, hit it again, and again and again. Now how do you feel? All the stress has been left in the bag and you start to feel better. It’s as easy as that. Once you have let go of the stress then you can start working on technique, the moves, the cardio side of the exercise, the core (abs) side of boxing and so on. It takes time but it is fun at the same time.

An outlet

Here is my point. Mental health can make us feel unwell, not wanting to do anything, angry, upset and so on. But when you have an exercise outlet (in my opinion) you can switch it around to feeling awesome!

-Helen

Rosita

There are a lot of things I can do to try and stave off my depression and anxiety, however there are 2 main things: yoga and nature. 

Yoga

Going to a yoga class is something I wish I could do every day. I do yoga at home but it is not always the same, and some days you really need someone to tell you what to do! What I like about yoga is the physical workout, and also the breathing. Physically I feel amazing afterwards, it feels as if the body has been reset and I can do anything. The breathing helps me relax, and it is something I use at other times too, particularly when I get anxious or stressed. Taking a few seconds out to breathe and relax the mind is so beneficial. It might sound corny to you, but I urge you to give it a try. When I say breathe I mean inhaling through the nose for 4 seconds whilst allowing your belly to rise, then exhaling through your mouth for 4 seconds. Next time you are stressed or anxious, why not give it a go? 

Nature

Nature has an amazing way of helping me feel relaxed. Most of the time it does not matter what I do when I am outside. It can be a mixture of things, physical outdoor activity or simply sitting in the sun. Going outside when I’m feeling a bit down or anxious really does help me feel better. 

Another contributing factor is the me-time that comes with both yoga and being outside. It helps me to look after myself, which is also so very important. Having spent a lot of time looking after others, I am now getting better at looking after myself.

-Rosita

#MovementForHealth #yoga #WorldMentalHealthDay #meTime #Zumba #boxing

Yoga

I believe most of us have our own views of what yoga may be and that is absolutely fine. When I first tried yoga a long time ago, it had this secrecy to it. I almost felt I had to pass some kind of test to get accepted. Certainly, the other yogis seemed to be from another planet, managing to do all these weird and wonderful poses (asanas). I did not understand much at the time, but I knew I liked how it made me feel afterwards. The feeling of leaving the yoga class was a great boost. I had a clear head, a loose body, great posture and you walk like you own the world. It makes me feel great and ready to take on the world.

New to yoga

If you are new to yoga and wonder what it is all about, then I will describe it. You attend a class with a certified instructor who leads from the front. They will show you exactly what to do while providing you with different levels of difficulties, from beginner to advanced. Breathing, and at the right time, is very important in each asana. Again the instructor will tell you exactly how to breathe and when. The class starts with a warmup, then the asanas, then relaxation at the end. Depending on which kind of yoga class, there are other elements too, but this is a great place to start. Some classes focus more on the spiritual side too, however that is not my cup of tea.

Yoga versus Pilates

The main difference between the two is that yoga focuses on the spiritual side. My personal opinion is that yoga makes you more flexible due to how you work your body compared to Pilates. They are both very good and have great benefits.

Yoga teacher training

I completed my yoga teacher training in 2017, 200 hours in total. One of the highlights was the practical at the end, where we had to teach asanas to a class. Helen, the other Spud, came along as my volunteer. She took part in most classes that day so spent 6.5 hours being taught yoga. She reminds me of as often as she can about this. Now Helen likes anything that is fast, such as spinning, circuit training and boxing. Yoga is a lot of things, but I would not describe it as fast. So, it really took a lot of effort on her part to remain serious and do what she was taught. She is usually the one giggling as she can’t get into the asanas. She did a great job and admitted to feeling a lot more flexible afterwards. This lasted about 2 days and apart from a few fun days out she has not one any yoga since.

We are all different

What works for me might work for you, but then it might not. I consider myself a yogi. However, if you were to ask others, they might think that I am not a “true” yogi. I say this as I do not embrace everything that is associated with yoga. I have simply picked out the pieces that work for me. Which is really important to do with everything in life.

Stress-buster

Taking part in a yoga class relaxes me. It relaxes my poor brain, as well as my body. To me, I can really measure the benefits from doing yoga, both mentally and physically. At the moment I have some niggling in my wrists, so I adjust the asanas accordingly. It doesn’t stop me though.

Your decision

I am not here to tell you what to do. If you have not tried yoga before I hope this post makes you feel a little more at ease. I would encourage you to try a class. If you are anywhere near me in Scotland and want a session, please get in touch.

-Rosita

NB. 2 Spuds is based in the Glasgow area.

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