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Returning to form with Jasmine St Cliere

Tips on adjusting to life after lockdown

Jasmine St Cliere is the Resident Yoga Teacher at our Bamford Wellness Spa in Brompton Cross, London. She began her holistic healing journey and trained as a Yoga teacher in India, and later furthered her training to include Reiki and has taught workshops and classes across the globe.

With the season of spring starting to reveal itself, we are excited to get more of our lives back and return to the studios where much of our personal care and healing takes place. It is important to remember that we have all been in a hibernation of sorts and to keep in mind change of any degree can be stressful.

Considering most of us will have been more sedentary for the past few months, these tips are intended to ensure you have the tools you need to gradually ease your body back into regular mindful movement; encouraging a smooth transition until it can once again become part of your daily or weekly routine.

Accept the change

Treat your body with compassion and kindness when returning to classes by considering a lower point of entry. Try not to expect your yoga practice to be at the same level it was before lockdown: unless you have been participating in a lot of virtual classes with attentive practitioners, it is safest to assume your body may have changed as your pattern of movement has changed too.

A benefit of accepting this is that you are more likely to stick to practising regularly if it is gentler, by avoiding burn out and fatigue. You can also feel a sense of achievement as you build your strength again gradually without jumping in at the deep end. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or brand new, child’s pose (Balasana) is a nurturing and gentle asana that you can always move into if you need to rest, knowing you can remain there for as long as necessary without any pressure to keep up with the offerings of the class.

Consider taking a different approach

Now is a great time to experiment with varying the movement and meditative styles that you practise. This can be as simple as observing how your body responds to a Vinyasa practice in the morning to set you up for the day, compared to a restorative class such as yin yoga or a sleep meditation in the evening. Not only will this variety keep your practice interesting, but it will create a harmonious balance between more challenging physical activity and productive rest – both of which are necessary to keep the mind, body and spirit in a balanced state.

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Set realistic expectations

Our perfectionistic tendencies may make us feel that multiple daily classes are what we should be doing to return to our best form, but on top of the many other obligations that will resume over the coming weeks and months, this transition may be stressful and overwhelming for the body.

While a regular routine is key to maximise the benefits of a yoga or movement practice, an overwhelming amount of pressure can cause us to feel like we have failed if we skip a day rather than achieved something wonderful each time we step onto the mat.

Here are some suggestions you might like to consider to manage stress...

1. Breathwork

Coming back to your breath is a really simple way to calm a racing mind. By emphasising and elongating the exhale, we begin to activate the parasympathetic nervous system known as our ‘rest and digest’ mode which is paramount to healing and harmony in the body.

To experience this first-hand, try breathing in for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 8 – after four rounds of inhale-exhale, take note of how you feel.

2. Amethyst

Consider carrying an amethyst crystal around with you, which is known for its healing properties, spiritual growth and protection. This powerful stone is known as the ‘anxiety alleviator’ and can nurture your energy by removing stress and attracting positive, calming vibes.

Learn more about the healing power of crystals

3. Lavender

Scents directly (and almost instantly) impact our limbic system, the part of our brain responsible for our mood and emotions. Lavender promotes calmness and wellness by reducing anxiety and encouraging healing, bringing you out of your ‘fight or flight’ stress response and into ‘rest and digest’ mode.

With the optimism of spring in the air and the promise of a brighter time ahead, we have the opportunity to use this positive energy as momentum to fuel constructive and progressive change for us, our personal health and collective wellbeing.

I look forward to seeing you in class.

We look forward to resuming studio classes with Jasmine and other practitioners at our Brompton Cross Wellness Spa in line with government guidance. Jasmine is currently teaching a selection of virtual yoga and movement classes as part of our weekly online classes schedule.

Key takeaways:

• Your body will have been under consistent low-level stress this past year and may have changed as routines and exercise habits have shifted – keep this front of mind as you return to studios or exercise.

• Varying your wellness routine will keep it interesting and also create a harmonious balance between your sympathetic (‘fight or flight’) and parasympathetic (‘rest and digest’) systems through a combination of higher and lower intensity movement. When both of these systems are in balance, it is known as ‘homeostasis’.

• Extending the exhale when you breathe is a simple and effective way to activate the parasympathetic system, while amethyst crystal can provide a sense of protection and smelling lavender can also promote calmness.