Monday, 8 October 2012

PGC 2012 Day 6: Yoga

Yoga. It's not really my thing. All that stretching in really bizarre and compromising positions, lots of warm fuzzies with a group of complete strangers...

So it's not really that bad. You can do it by yourself. And many of the positions are actually the sorts of odd stretches you do in the morning when you wake up and don't want to get out of bed.

And so, without further ado:

The Overview

Throughout the challenge, we ask you to think, to act, to question and incite change. Important as these actions are, it is equally important to make time for relaxation, introspection and balance.
How do you relax and decompress from the stress of school, papers, friends, parents and relationships? Our challenge today poses that question to each of you and suggests a solution, YOGA! Deep breathing, balance, calm, peace. Studies show that yoga soothes the nervous system and improves your mood while providing a respite from everything going on around you. 
So with this challenge today, take some time to learn and practice yoga techniques. Even a short yoga session can rid you of the stress and anxiety that can typify our daily routines.

Green Challenge

To get you started, here is a great resource from Whole Living Magazine for simple yoga poses that you can hang up in your dorm room or paste in your planner.
- Pick one pose and try it outside in a really beautiful place (if possible).
- Which pose did you choose? 
- How did it make you feel?


I chose the seal pose. The Whole Living guide describes this as:

“Lie on your stomach with your legs and feet relaxed. Then, reaching your arms forward along the floor, straighten them just enough to lift your torso into a gentle backbend. Do not strain or force; this should be a very passive and subtle stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, then release. Repeat for 1 to 5 minutes.”

This is actually a pose I like to lie in quite often. In fact, I was surprised to find that several of the poses in the guide were poses I take up quite often. So these are yoga poses?

As for the location, I was on the bed at the time, which I believe is a very beautiful place. It’s warm and comfortable and I’m also surrounded by things I like. I know the challenge asked us to head outside, but I couldn’t resist…

I like this pose because it stretched not only my back but also the backs of my legs and my neck. After repeating the stretch a few times, my back feels less tense and I get a rush of blood in my legs, which makes me feel more alert.

Greener Challenge
While you are in a thoughtful frame of mind... reflect on these questions. 
- If you could change just two things, practices, or habits in your daily life right now that would contribute to healing you or the planet, what would they be?
- Will you commit to these practices for the next 30 days? yes or no?
- If yes, what are two keys to success for each change?


1. Stop consuming dairy products
This would contribute to my wellbeing, as I suspect I might be slightly lactose intolerant. Also, there are environmental and social issues tied up in the production of milk. For example, large grocery chains have been trying to force farmers to produce milk as cheaply as possible so they can compete with each other in ‘price wars’.

2. Ride my bike or use my rollerblades more
In addition to making me fitter, I wouldn’t have to keep asking my dad to drop me off at the train station all the time, which would save fuel and produce less greenhouse gases. Win!

Of course, I would definitely stick to these practices! In fact, I’ve already begun trying to cut down on milk products already. I have also dug my rollerblades out of my cupboard and given them a few test rolls around the place.

The way to be successful in changing habits is firstly, to start the new practice, and then, if there is an urge to go back to the old habit, do as The Spill Canvas sing in ‘Self Conclusion’: “You see the trick is that you're never supposed to act on it”.

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