Posts In: yoga

here are some healthy, yogic ideas to help you create positive sleep habits!

by Jaccy

Like the end of class, the beginning is always quiet and introspective.  A moment to leave the busyness of the day outside.  Taking deep, nourishing breaths as you allow yourself to arrive on your mat.

After those few minutes of settling into practice, we have the opportunity to connect with our own dedication for practice.  In yoga we call this a sankalpa.

A sankalpa is a positive, life affirming statement, allowing us to create the life we want to live.  It’s similar to a new year’s resolution that we’ve all set at some stage, however a sankalpa starts with “I am…”.  And it doesn’t have to be set on 1 January 😉

Your sankalpa helps to provide a direction for life and honour the deeper meaning of your existence.  When the mind is calm and quiet at the start and end of practice, we connect with this heartfelt desire, that which honours our highest truth.  

I love this quote from Swami Satyananda Saraswati: “The resolve you make at the beginning of the practice is like sowing a seed, and the resolve at the end is like irrigating it”.

Here are three steps to setting your own sankalpa to create a more balanced, happy and fulfilled life.

1 – Keep it short and simple

Choose one short and simple sankalpa, something that you will remember for every practice.  Your sankalpa doesn’t have to be an elaborate affirmation that’s shared with the world!  Your sankalpa is yours to treasure.  For inspiration on what your sankalpa might be, see how these resonate for you:

“I am aware and compassionate”

“I am in perfect health”

“I am radiant and energised”

“I am abundant and successful in all areas of my life”

2 – Stay with the same sankalpa

Once you’ve planted your seed, you want to keep watering it until it germinates and flourishes.  So too with your sankalpa.  Plant the seed at the start of practice, allow the flow of asana, breath and meditation to honour your intent, and feel everything integrate and settle during savasana.  Once your sankalpa has manifested in your life, it’s time to plant a new seed.

3 – Positive language

Repeat to yourself “I will eat healthy” and then “I am caring for my being be eating healthy food” – do you feel the different energy these two statements create in your being?  When setting a sankalpa, it’s important to use positive language, and to state our intention in the present tense.  This helps to remind ourselves that we already hold within us the capacity to transform our life in a most amazing way.

As Wayne Dyer says, “Our intention creates our reality”.  Create a beautiful intention, and you’ll have a beautiful reality.

Peaceful Sleep Masterclass - Mala Yoga, Fremantle Perth

by Jaccy

We all know the importance of sleep. Even without understanding all the processes and systems in our body that benefit, we know that too little sleep leaves us feeling blah. Too little sleep and you might feel drowsy, foggy, heavy eyes. The right amount of sleep and you wake up feeling rested, positive, energised for the day ahead.

Ensuring we have the right amount and quality of sleep helps our body to heal, it supports the immune system and helps with learning and memory. It can help wth health and longevity, stimulate your creativity and lower your stress.

Did you know there’s over a third of adults in our country who have inadequate sleep? A 2016 study by The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health revealed that 33-45% of Australian adults, across all age groups, experience daytime consequences from not enough or low quality sleep.  If you too feel as though your sleep quality could be improved, here are some healthy, yogic ideas to help you create positive sleep habits!

Breathing

Lying on your back, close your eyes and start to direct your breath into your belly. “Watch” (with your eyes closed) and feel your navel slowly rising… and slowly falling. Belly breathing can help to lower the effects of cortisol, lower your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.  

Quieten the mind

Meditating can help you to relax before drifting off to sleep. After a few rounds of belly breathing, allow your attention to float back to the breath. Sitting or lying, allow your attention to stay with the inward and outward flow of your breath. After a few minutes, release your inner attention and notice any sensations that arise. 

Another great practice to find inner quiet is through yoga nidra (yogic sleep, a guided visualisation).

Relax the body

Yin is the best pre-sleep yoga! Longer holds in poses gives us more time to find all the places where you are holding on and allow these to release. Dedicate ten minutes before bed each night to move through these relaxed and familiar postures.  This will allow your body to find stillness and peace within.

Balasansa – child’s pose. Big toes touching, knees any comfortable distance apart. Breathing out, walk your hands in front until you are in your forward bend and relax your elbows on the floor.  

Paschimottanasa – forward bend. Feet together, knees bent.  As you breathe out, slowly allow your body to melt forward, belly towards thighs. You can take chin to chest if this feels good, close your eyes and let your hands relax on the floor.

Viparita karani – legs up the wall. Sitting with your hip against the wall, swivel so your spine is on the ground and your legs are resting on the wall. Bed head, couch, or chair are also great alternatives to rest your legs on 😊

Essential oils

If you’ve been to class with us, you will have already experienced the benefits of essential oils. Nature has provided us with many options to help us sleep so you can find the ones that work best for you.

Our favourite oils are Lavender and Vetiver applied to soles of the feet, pulse points and chest before heading to bed. Other oils to explore are ylang ylang, patchouli, cedarwood and frankincense. Apply the oils to your body, mist onto your pillows or diffuse in your room.  Essential oils help to create an environment of deep tranquility and relaxation.

Ready to explore?

So how do you learn more?  Join us at class 😊

Our most popular Masterclasses are the sleeping inspired ones! We learn about relaxing, meditation and yoga nidra, and you can find more details on what’s on here.

Each month we have sleep and stress support classes that focus on using essential oils.  You will learn about and can take home essential oils to help you experience restful sleep. Check out our next dates here.

And if you’d like a little Yin, we have classes during the week (see our Class Menu) for your regular inspiration. 

What everyone out to know about yoga and flexibility @ Mala Yoga Fremantle Perth

We often hear new students share with us that they aren’t flexible enough for yoga. For many of us, being inflexible is the very reason we start yoga! To help our bodies feel freer, so we can move with ease and feel tall, strong and energised.

I didn’t practice yoga when I was in my teens, yet it would have been the best thing for me. Do you remember the sit and reach test? I did a lot of sport when I was at high school but my flexibility was terrible! So much measuring and comparing at school, and PE (physical education) was not immune from this. One of these was the was the sit and reach test – feet against the box with a ruler measuring how far you could reach. I didn’t even get to zero, to my horror I was a minus 🙁 Minus five to be precise, the only female not to touch her toes.

For some reason this day has always stayed with me. Even though my hamstrings still feel tight and I’m not the super bendy yogi in the magazine, I remember how far I’ve come. And also to bend my knees a little – it’s how it is for my practice 🙂

Everyone can enjoy a yoga practice. The simple act of being still and focusing on the breath is a great place to start. You can do this seated, standing, lying down or walking. Our Yin classes are the perfect place to experience this connection. Taking your time to melt in to the postures as you focus on your breathing. Finding softness and release as the minutes drift by.

What everyone out to know about yoga and flexibility @ Mala Yoga Fremantle Perth

Yoga is not only about the physical benefits (of which there are many for you to experience). One of the things I love most about yoga is that it allows us to improve our wellbeing on many different levels. Increased mental clarity, emotional balance as well as improved physical flexibility, strength and posture.

Our vision has always been to create a space where students are respected and accepted exactly as they are. Your own range of motion, whatever that is today, is all you need to start benefitting from yoga with us.

Your yoga is completely different to the student that is standing next to you, and that’s what makes it such a beautiful, individual experience.

Tell us in the comments below – what is it that you most appreciate your practice? I can’t wait to hear from you 🙂

Kids yoga at Mala Yoga Fremantle Perth

Two minutes. I learnt about this in my training but I wasn’t prepared for the reality. Kids can hardly sustain two minutes in savasana. They were so excited to finally relax! Yet some of them almost immediately started to fidget upon lying down.

It was one of my favourite parts of our first Kids Yoga class last month. Seeing their peaceful faces, eyes closed for that short amount of time… and then they were up, ready to finish their drawings!

Not having children of my own, I took a step way out of my comfort zone to guide and look after this group of young people. And their questions! The moment we closed the door, it started. My mummy does yoga. Are we going to do boat? Is there a dinosaur pose? I can do dog!

Teaching kids required quick thinking and adaptability on my behalf. Working as a team that day we discovered ways to share, talk and move together. It was an amazing experience!

Part of our vision has always included kids and sharing yoga with them. Meeting young people in class, their parents shared how they were dealing with anxiety, stress, lack of self-confidence. It broke my heart knowing what these beautiful beings were already experiencing. And so started Mala Kids.

Kids yoga at Mala Yoga Fremantle Perth

I bet you are curious what we actually do in a kids yoga class. I was too! Here’s five things you most likely didn’t know about kids yoga.

1 – Parents get time for themselves

Once your child is calm on their mat, ready for class, it’s time for you to leave! While we look after your child, you get 30 minutes to yourself. Have coffee (we have so many great neighbours who can help with that!), browse the shops, read a book, go for a walk. While your child experiences valuable time on their own, you also have a moment for self-care and time for yourself.

2 – Kids learn all the same things adults do

In class, we teach the kids breathing to energise and breathing to calm. We practice asana (postures) – some you will even be familiar with! Downward dog, warrior 1 and cobra all make an appearance. How about Flower? A seated balance posture that the kids effortlessly get into, it can take a bit of manoeuvring for us adults!

3 – Kids also need to learn tools for relaxation, stress relief and building resilience

It’s not only adults who get stressed. Kids also need to learn techniques to relax mentally and physically and deal with stressful events. Yoga combines active movement with relaxation. And research is showing that this combination can trigger a deeper relaxation response than only relaxation practices. Yoga can also help to increase self-compassion and self-awareness, tools we can all use to help deal with stress.

4 – Yoga can help your child to sleep

Ever been to an evening class and had the best sleep of your week that night? Kids too can experience periods of decreased sleep quality. Yoga helps this by tiring the body and mind and increasing relaxation. The calming breathing techniques that children learn in class can also be practiced before bedtime to help fall sleep. Studies are showing that a regular yoga practice can improve sleep quality by decreasing sleep onset time, increasing total sleep time and reducing the number of awakenings.

5 – It’s not all singing and dancing

Yes we play in class – it’s so important for everyone to play! Class also allows time to explore creativity and develop motor skills. Kids also create a sense of identity and cultivate positive body image.

If you and your child are ready, we’d love for you to join our Mala Kids program 🙂

We create a fun and inclusive environment for your child to learn mindfulness, movement and social emotional learning. Course dates are always online.

And if you have any other ideas, we’d love to here from you! Leave a comment below to let us know – what would you like your child to learn at yoga?

Mala Yoga it's just different

Gems of wisdom appear everywhere. There’s always the possibility of encountering them throughout our day 🙂

This particular piece of wisdom was a gift from Steve, a lovely Californian we meet last month. We were talking about driving and I made a comment about the challenges of being on the “wrong” side of the road. In the most charming way possible, he let me know that there’s no right or wrong, it’s just different.

No truer words have been spoken that can also relate to our personal yoga practice. The ego is a tricky thing and it likes to interrupt our feelings of zen with comparison. How come my hand isn’t on the ground in side angle? Why can’t I touch my fingers when we bind? Why is their torso so low in triangle pose and I’m still upright?

The mind kicks in and these unnecessary and unsupportive thoughts come rushing through. We attribute a right and wrong to our poses – assigning an end state or goal. When I can get my hand to *insert location*, then I’ll be doing the pose right. When I can straighten my legs, then it will be perfect.

Mala Yoga it's just different

But that’s the thing. There is no right or wrong. And we are all different. My history, my physiology, my being is completely different to yours. So while I need a block to prop my hips in hero’s pose, you might be able to sit comfortably on the ground. Neither of us is wrong or right, it’s just different. We are expressing the essence of the pose in our own unique way.

Yoga helps us to be humble and connect with ourselves, so that we can quieten the mind chatter and let the ego go. Know that at Mala you’ve found a community free of judgement and comparison. Here you can practice acceptance and appreciation of your amazing being. Differences and all.

Is there someone in your life that could benefit from this message? We’d be honoured for you to share by email or online by clicking one of the links below. And leave us a comment below – what is your difference that you embrace the most?

Five plane friendly yoga postures

It seems that our holidays coincide with escaping from the cold Perth winters. Yes I said cold – we do get below 5 degrees here and yes jackets are essential!!  Last month we had the pleasure of discovering California in the summer.

Getting to anywhere that isn’t South East Asia is an epic journey. Our combined flight time was 22 hours each way, not including stopovers, delays, getting to the airport, getting to the hotel… the joys of travel!  So finding ways to cope and maintain our sanity was important!

The excitement of food, no internet access and endless TV and movies started to wear thin. My lower back was tight, sternum felt compressed and all I wanted to do was lengthen my spine and twist my insides. Movement in a plane is  limited at the best of times – so a full round of sun salutation A was not going to go down well with my fellow travellers.

Enter the friendly flight attendants! After meal services we’d sneak into their kitchen area to move our bodies.  

My first move? Forward bend to let my spine waterfall forward and decompress – bliss! Hands sitting on top of my feet (I’m a germaphobe so no hands on ground happening here!), knees bent to give my tight hammies some relief. And then it was time to get creative with the props available!

You’ll see that slippers come in handy to keep those hands clean 😀

Hips need some loving? Always enough space for malasana (yogic squat)!

How about testing that balance miles above the earth, little bit of wobble to fire up the core muscles?

And my favourite downward dog modification – using the wall!

But the fun didn’t stop there! Back in the chair, more forward bends and then some twists – binding to make sure there were no elbows where they shouldn’t be. 

And once we hit the ground? Heading straight to the studio for class 😍  

Where we’d love to see you too! So you can learn asana (yoga postures) to keep your energy flowing and body feeling great as you move through life. We’d love to know your favourite travel asana – leave us a comment in the box below!

Next week I’ll share with you my must have essential oils for travel – I may have overpacked but it was worth it 😊

Entertaining the thought of committing to your practice and investing in your own yoga mat?  Trust us, you will never look back after you have your very own space to practice on!

We have had many mats over the years, from the most basic version through to the best (in our opinion!) money can buy and have discovered there is something quite special to having your own mat.

1 – Your personal sanctuary

Some days, practice looks like rolling out your mat and lying in butterfly pose for twenty minutes.  Or just standing in tadasana and seeing what happens.  That simple act of gently unrolling the mat, stepping on to that space and breathing is the spark we need to move into our practice.  We develop a special connection with ourself and our practice by having something that is just for our yoga.  Stepping into that positive energy, the mat represents truly committing to ourself and wellbeing.

2 – It’s always with you

Yoga happens everywhere.  At home, on the plane, in the park.  Hotel room, on the beach, in the studio.  Having your own mat allows you the opportunity to practice whenever, wherever.  

3 – Cleanliness 

We move, we sweat, we laugh, we cry on our mats.  It’s all a part of your practice.  So it’s comforting to know when you nestle into child’s pose, forehead on the mat, that you are connecting with you.  Your efforts, your energy, your scent.

Our favourite mats

The mats that we personally use are JadeYoga mats.  JadeYoga mats are made in the USA and appeal to us on so many levels.

Firstly, they are eco-friendly – made from natural rubber, a renewable, sustainable resource.  This means the contain no PVC or synthetic rubbers and are 99% latex free.

Secondly, every time someone buys a mat, JadeYoga will plant a tree!  In collaboration with Trees for the Future and the receiving community, our purchase helps to provide environmentally and economically sustainable projects.  

So far, the warm and fuzzy box is definitely ticked 😊 But what about performance?

JadeYoga mats are the only ones we’ve practiced on that pass the “slip test” – those moments in class when your heart is beating strong, you’re hot, sweaty palms and moving in to (what feels like the fiftieth!) downward dog.  The natural rubber helps your hands and feet to stay put, safe, secure and comfortable.

And they are durable!  When you know your mat will last you 5, or even 10 years, supporting you through a daily practice, you know you have made the right investment. 

And lastly, just like us, JadeYoga is a family owned company ❤

Ready to commit?

Want to try before you buy?  We have JadeYoga mats available for you to trial at the studio.  You are welcome to use these during class or come down during our studio open hours for a test stretch.

So, what are you waiting for? We have JadeYoga mats in stock in a range of beautiful colours so you can personalise your practice. Visit our website to put your name on one today.

We just know that you’ll love your very own mat and will appreciate the subtle motivation seeing your mat in the corner of the room gives 🙏

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