Brighten up with yoga (1)

If you, like me, are finding yourself feeling down now and then, because of the pandemic and numerous lockdowns, there are a few ways to dispel the feeling of being drained and spiritless.

Because the COVID-19 situation may not be dispelled soon, the best thing is to try to brighten up ourselves and deal with the cards we’re dealt with. Other than that, things is really beyond our control (stay tuned for next week’s blog post on dealing with what’s in our own control).

If you are feeling a little lethargic in body or mind, you can view a previous post on dispelling lethargy with a few yoga poses.

But yoga can go beyond just fixing lethargy. Certain yoga poses, yogic breathing (pranayama) and yoga philosophy and stories can truly help to brighten you. Sometimes you may need to pause and reflect, but you may well leave your practice wondering why you were feeling down in the first place.

Anytime Fitness, 8 Kinrara

Why yoga?

Yoga is an option that works for many, and it’s available to you as well – so long as you have a comfortable space on the floor and an open mind.

However, there are other ways to help brighten your mood. Any cardiovascular exercise can help you feel better. Setting out on your tasks or hobbies can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated once done. Experiencing aromatherapy or connecting with friends or family are all options that may help you feel better.

Options to brighten your mood

What yoga can offer is a whole package – the mindfulness practices (where else did mindfulness come from?), the breath practice, the movement practice and the option of philosophy or stories to grow.

Let’s begin with the breath.

Breathe to brighten.

The breath is one of our bodily systems that can help us de-stress and also brighten our mood. If each cell gets its optimum levels of oxygen, and therefore prompted to dispel its toxins appropriately, we’re left feeling better, brighter, calmer and clearer.

Here’s a little breath practice that may help brighten you.

Breath practice to brighten your mood:

This short breath practice can be lengthened or shortened based on your schedule accordingly. You can change the lengths of each segment as you wish.

Begin either by lying down on your back or sitting comfortably crossed leg on the mat or a cushion / yoga bolster. If you’re new to meditation or sitting practices, download a timer app that will notify you of each minute (or two minutes etc.) that passes.

  • 1 min – body awareness (beginning from your grounding points upwards to crown of head).
  • 1 min – breath awareness (the easiest way to bring full awareness to breath is to count the breath).
  • 1 min – exhale focus (allowing exhales to relax you).
  • 1 min – inhale focus (connecting with a sense of expansion as you inhale).
  • 2 mins or so – greater focus on inhales (lengthen out your inhales according to an appropriate count vis-a-vis your exhales).
  • 1 min or appropriate time according to you – no focus, just being.

This short breath-focused sitting practice may help you feel better and brighter, and all you need is yourself and a timer.

Sweaty Yoga

Let me know in the comments how this has helped.

Get excited about the next post on brightening up with yoga, when we’ll discuss yoga movements to help brighten you, and a short yoga sequence you can practise on your own.