We’ve just launched our first Health and Happiness collection, aimed at helping you be your healthiest, happiest you, and as part of that we’re sharing recipe ideas, tips and hints to inspire you. We’re excited to welcome yogi and fitness blogger Cat Meffan to the Cath Kidston blog – she’s exclusively shared her favourite simple, mindful yoga poses aimed at relaxing your mind as well as your body. Take a moment for yourself, breathe and unwind – here’s Cat Meffan to show you how!
“January is always full of new workout plans and ways to burn off all the yummy food we consumed over Christmas, but what about taking care of our minds? I think sometimes, given our busy lifestyles, it’s easy to forget to nourish our bodies and minds in other ways. We can take small steps towards making big changes, and a great place to start is with simple things like breathing, stretching deeply and making time for mindfulness.
“As a yoga teacher it’s extremely important that I do my own practice as well as teaching others. Naturally in life there will always be days when it gets slightly too hectic and I don’t have time for a long yoga session, so I have to keep it short and sweet. When I’m short of time these are a few of the stretches and postures that I tend to do, as they are simple yet so great for the body.
“This is my go-to pose when I’m feeling a bit run down or stressed. You have the option of keeping your knees wide and taking your arms out in front of you (as I’m doing above) or keeping your knees together and placing your arms down by your sides. Placing your forehead onto the mat or floor will give you a grounding feeling, and that connection has a soothing effect on the brain. Child’s pose (or Balasana) also works on your hip joints and elongates the spine, giving you a beautiful restful but stretching feeling.
“Another posture that will help to relieve stress, but because we’re standing up here we get a grounding sensation from our feet. Find your centre of gravity by spreading your toes and even rocking gently back and forth to find that sweet spot of balance. This posture will stretch out your hamstrings, spine and neck without being harsh on the body. Take your forward fold to a Rag Doll by swaying your upper body from side to side and you’ll feel instantly less stressed. Take a deep bend in the knees if you have tight hamstrings.
“I do these low lunges every day – I love them. The feeling of opening up through the hips is great; the slight ‘pain’ I get from the deep stretch is actually something I look forward to! We hold a lot of tension and emotion in our hips, so taking a little time each day to open them up and let go of some of that emotion is extremely beneficial.
“Personally my yoga routines and sessions wouldn’t be complete without a spinal twist (or Ardha Matsyendrasana) or two. Twists have a ‘wringing out’ effect on the digestive system, helping to cleanse the internal organs and detox your insides. This twist is especially great if you struggle with bloating or digestive issues. It also helps to tone the abs and oblique muscles, which is a nice bonus!
“Give these four poses a go and see how you get on. Hold each one for five deep breaths, trying to breathe into your tummy area; in and out through your nose. You don’t need to have done yoga before or to be a fitness pro – the beauty of yoga is that it’s available to everyone and can be enjoyed in comfort of your own home. And most importantly: smile while you do it! Smiling has a powerful effect on the mind and has an incredible way of making you feel instantly more positive.”
With thanks to Cat Meffan.
Cat Meffan is wearing a sports vest and leggings from our new Health and Happiness collection. Shop the collection and look out for more healthy, happy posts on the blog and social.