Yoga and Breath: In The Words Of A Master Yoga Instructor

The Breath is the most important aspect of a yoga practice, as you must maintain a steady rhythmic breath. With a focus on quality, its training can allow you to calm the mind and bring awareness to the present moment. This awareness is in essence the heart of yoga.

Breath is our life-force, it nourishes our cells and our tissues, bringing life into our bodies.  

Human beings breathe on average 15 times every minute of every day, and this respiration fuels the burning of oxygen and glucose producing the energy needed to power every muscle contraction, every heart beat and every mental process.  

Slow, deep breaths stimulate a calm and content state of mind and body.

However, most of the time, we are not aware of our breathing and limit the breath to the chest rather than all the way down to the abdomen.  It is this deep belly breathing that is vital for our overall well being and often times requires retraining in order to return to a full, deep and complete breathing pattern. This is important because breath work is the starting point to breaking the viscous cycle of all stresses, injury or emotional disarray. 

With the practice of yogic breathing the true muscles of respiratory (diaphragm and intercostals) will improve in mobility, strength and ultimate efficiency of gas exchange within the lungs; thus allowing for the purification of the bloodstream, cleansing of the sinuses, soothing the nervous system and calming of the mind.

Full, natural breathing occurs when we can find balance of effort and ease, grounding and surrender, freedom of movement and alignment of postures.

Join Malisia Hopkins during her Slow Flow Vinyasa class Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm in order to further your personal yoga journey as well as gain a deeper understanding of how to utilize yogic breathing to enhance the quality of practice.

 

If you're interested in taking our Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga Class and live or travel to the East Side of Milwaukee, then check out Malisia Hopkins at Mindful Matters Wellness Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm. 

"Yogic breathing may sound complex, but have no worries as I will break it down step by step, simplifying the process in a way that anyone can understand"

With intention to navigate and teach, I hope to see you in class!

XOXO,

Malisia Hopkins

Welcome Kathleen Keegan!

Having taught yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings for over 10 years, Kathleen brings amazing knowledge of anatomy and modifications to her sequencing in order to create a positive movement experience for every client, no matter the level of experience. 

Grateful to be able to share the positive benefits of yoga to all those who take her classes, Kathleen is also an avid traveler.

With her favorite destination being Jamaica, she enjoys brining the relaxed and easy going island culture to the Milwaukee yoga scene to provide an escape from the everyday grind.

Her love of yoga shines brightly through her teaching style, and if you want to start your mornings off feeling centered, energized and at peace, you will love her Morning Yoga Flow, which is now on our class schedule.

Want a Sneak Peak of one of Kathleen's Classes?

Check out our newest video below of one of Kathleen's Morning Yoga Flow Classes.  Her use of imagery will guide you through each pose and take you on a journey to peace, ligh and harmony!

So come check out Kathleen's classes! We know you'll enjoy her style as much as we do!

-The Mindful Matters Wellness Team

Mindful Matters Wellness Welcomes Kathleen Keegan As Our Newest Yoga Instructor. Register for her classes at www.mindfulmatterswellness.com/class-schedule

Restorative Yoga (Not Your Typical Yoga Class)

Are you #stressed? Experiencing #anxiety? Have difficulty managing your work/life balance? But enjoy #sleep, #relaxation, or having someone massage your shoulders, head or neck?

If you said yes to any these questions then I have a tool to help you destress, decrease your anxiety, manage your work/life balance, improve your sleep, decrease head, neck and shoulder tension AND help you relax both physically and mentally. We have a class for that, its called Restorative Yoga.  

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When you hear the word yoga do the images below come to your mind? 

Thanks to social media, we are inundated with images like these.  Now I don't know about you, but I remember being that first time yoga student and the experience was nerve racking. Between the expectations and nerves it's no wonder I lot of people struggle with gaining the confidence to even step on a yoga mat, let alone find a relaxed mental state during a class.

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It's no secret that the asanas, or yoga postures, are practiced to help your body prepare for the mental practice of meditation. However, a lot of the yoga messages out there are overwhelming the idea that the practice is mainly about stretching to increase your flexibility.  Although is this a benefit, it's not the primary goal.

Yes, with an everyday physical yoga practice you will see improved strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility, but we wouldn't continue this routine practice without the best benefit of all, which is the mental benefits.  Experiencing decreases in stress, anxiety, depression are just a few of the mental benefits yoga can bring. 

So, how do you start the practice of yoga while decreasing the fear, self-judgment, and expectations?

What if a yoga class consisted of poses like the ones below? 

Instead of focusing on holding poses with your muscles, restorative yoga provides your body the support it needs with props such as blankets, bolsters, blocks, straps, chairs etc., which in turn calms your nervous system, deepens muscle relaxation, and allows you to hold a pose for longer durations, all the while challenging your mind to focus on your breath and being present in the moment.  Classes usually only go through 5-7 restorative poses within a 75 minute class, and can be enhanced with gentle massage, trigger point release, soothing music, and aromatherapy.  

Teachers of this type of class are very attentive to modifying poses to suit your body needs and is a great way to start a yoga practice that emphasizes your experiences over your fellow students.

We would love to provide you with the experience of Restorative Yoga at one of our weekly class offerings. Check our schedule for classes.  Or, if your interested in learning more about restorative yoga and how it can help you with your stress, anxiety, depression, or insomnia schedule a Discovery Visit. We are happy to share additional information and answer any questions that you may have. Eee you in the studio!

Namaste!

The Perfect Adult Mommy & Me Date - Mother's Day Spa Night

Every year I struggle with what to get my mom for Mother's Day. My Mom is one of the most difficult people to get gifts for.  I've tried asking want she wants, or if there is anything she needs.  And I don't know about you, but this is the typical answer I get... "don't worry about me" or "I don't need anything" or "your love is enough". 

So how do I show this amazing women that I get to call Mom my love and gratitude for everything she has done for me?

I've figured out over the years to ditch the material objects and instead choose to spend time with her, and to take her out on an adult Mommy & Me dates. Not only do we both get to share a new experience together, but I also get to give her what she truly wants the most.

So to help people celebrate their Moms, Mindful Matters Wellness is hosting the perfect adult mommy & me date just in time for Mother's Day Weekend!  

Our event will start with a restorative yoga class the will ease the stress of motherhood, followed by individual myofascial release sessions for every attendee, make-up trials brought to you by Beautycounter, food, drinks, giveaways and raffles. 

For $35.00 you can give your mom, wife, sister, friend or yourself a wonderful evening of relaxation that is, lets face it, probably well overdue.  If you want to set up your adult Mommy & Me date or enjoy the night out for yourself or with the girls...Sign up on our Events and Workshops Page to reserve your spot.

Namaste in Bed...

Ever struggle with finding time to meditate? Well, I have figured out a solution that works great for me and could help bring a more reflective and balanced state of mind to the rest of your day.  All it takes is dedicating a set time to practice meditation, and in this case it’s first thing in the morning, from your bed!

Over the past year, I’ve come to realize meditation doesn't have to be a time-consuming practice. Nor do I need to be in front of a shrine, sitting cross-legged, or in some remote location. It can simply be in the comfort of my home, while lying in bed for a few minutes a day.

To make this meditation practice work you do need to add 10 minutes to your daily morning routine, and set a timer dedicated for a meditative practice.  I personally use a free iPhone app called Meditation Time - A Beautiful Meditation Timer by Daniel Wuerstl. I like this app because it allows me to set timed intervals of gongs to keep my meditative practice on task and I feel it provides the best resonating gong sound I could find on my iPhone.

Step One - 10 Deep Belly Breaths

After setting your meditation timer, begin with 10 deep belly breaths.

On average we breathe 23,000 times a day and because of this, we tend to take breathing for granted and form bad breathing habits like shallow breathing, or using unnecessary muscles.

So, what is a belly breath?

It’s breathing that is initiated from your diaphragm muscle so when you inhale you can visibly see your belly rise, and as you exhale, or release your diaphragm, it then “falls” to a resting position.

Inhale Deeply

Inhale Deeply

Exhale Completely

Exhale Completely

Step Two - Body Scan using Visualization

Switch your breath at this point to its own comfortable pace, visualize different parts of your body, scanning from one region to the next, and attempt to relax particular areas you may feel are holding stress or tension. This is your time to check in with your physical body and gaining awareness of its needs.

Step Three - Training to Clear your Mind

Take the last few minutes of your practice to clear your thoughts of internal chatter, expectations, or reservations about your day.

Letting go of one particular thought may be difficult.  If that becomes the case, return your focus to your breath and visualize its pathway throughout its full cycle. Redirecting focus to your breath will divert your attention, allowing lingering thoughts to pass subconsciously.

Step Four - Daily Affirmation

I’m sure many people have heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’, but in this context ‘you are what you think’.  

Daily affirmations are conscious thoughts to carry with you throughout the rest of your day.  They don’t need to be long, or complicated; the only requirement is that they invoke positive emotions, thinking or actions.

Creating an affirmation is personal, and if you are struggling with creating your own check out this link to an article by Huffington Post that provides 35 affirmations for inspiration.

When it’s all said and done…

I was able to create my meditative practice by simply adding 10 extra minutes of lying in bed to my morning routine, and have been able to enjoy it on a daily basis.

If this meditative practice interests you, remember, don’t snooze but instead set a timer, breathe, scan your body for tension or stress, clear your mind, and formulate an affirmation to carry with you throughout your day.

Over time you will see the many benefits that a routine meditation practice can bring your life. Plus, if you’re like me you will enjoy staying in bed for an extra 10 minutes in the morning.

Namaste and have a Mindful Day!

P.S. Want to experience an example of a 10 Minute Meditation? Checkout our 10-Minute Meditation Video and challenge yourself to spend an extra 10 minutes meditating the next time you’re in bed.

10-Minute Meditation Video

Watch this video for an example of a quick 10-minute meditation that can improve positive thinking, decrease anxiety and improve mental clarity with a daily meditative practice.

This video is a guided meditation, with timed gong intervals that places emphasis on belly breathing, body scan with visualization, mental clarity training and affirmations.

Want more guidance on mediation and mindfulness, join us in a class.