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Countdown to the end of 2020

Thank you!

A HUGE THANK YOU for joining me this month. I’ve really enjoyed putting this together and sharing the non-mat related yoga. 

If you want to learn more about the Yamas and Niyamas that we dipped our toes into between days 2 and 13, they are from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. One of my favourite parts of the teacher training I did.

Be present, give yourself permission to spend time with you. You are the most important person in your life.

Now all that’s left for me to say is ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS! Look after yourself and your family. xx

The table below will link to each of the days that we’ve covered this month.

15 minute for you – savasanaInvite silence and stillness
2The YamasAttitudes towards our environment
3Ahimsa – Non-ViolenceFind empathy and compassion
4Satya – TruthfulnessFind authenticity and be true to yourself
5Asteya – Non-StealingQuestion your needs and how you fulfil them
6Brahmacharya – ModerationEnjoy more of life by living it moderately
7Aparigraha – Non-HoardingLetting go to create freedom and energy
8The NiyamasAttitude towards ourself
9Saucha – PurityCleanliness of the mind and body
10Santosha – ContentmentAppreciate what you have right now
11Tapas – DisciplinePersistence and routine
12Svadhyaya – Self StudyObserve yourself
13Isvara-pranidhana – SurrenderSubmit to your higher power
14Gauge yourselfCheck in on yourself before others
15Body ScanConnect with yourself
16GroundingBecome present
17GratitudeAppreciation 
18BreathBecome centred 
19Intention/MantraInvite positivity
20RestTake time out
21ReflectSearch for the good stuff
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Countdown to the end of 2020

Reflect

We’re coming to the end of our countdown. It’s 21st December, the Winter Solstice. Not only the shortest day of 2020 but also a day to pause and reflect. What a year!

It might be easy to think about what we lost this year but today I encourage you to turn this around. Let’s end on a high and find some positivity. What did 2020 give you? How did you grow this year? From every part of your year, month, weak or day, each breath you take, movement you make, activity you do, there is an opportunity to learn and grow. Keep learning. Keep growing. Check in tomorrow for a few reminders of our journey.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Rest

In any way that suits you and only for 5 minutes, if that’s what you can spare. It doesn’t have to be in Savasana or even on a mat. Pick a comfy spot and your own position then take that moment just for you. Recognised that you are allowing this time for yourself. You deserve it. If you think you might struggle to quieten your busy mind, you could run through my grounding and/or body scan audio. If you find more time after the audio, spend it with your breath letting your mind feel the nourishment and release.  

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Intention/Mantra

We get a two in one day today.  Setting an intention and a mantra are different things but we’ll combine them today to see how they work together. Firstly, I invite you to find an intention. Something that you want to be more of. Just a little word of warning here. Please be very careful not to create something that might cause any negative thoughts later. Something that might bring feelings of failure, something you might not achieve. Let’s start small. This is only one day and you can set any number of intentions after this. My favourite two are to be more calm and present so my intention would be “I want to be more present” or “I want to feel calm”. You might want to feel more love or less pressure. 

Now let’s look at how you can build this intention into your day. We’ll take it and set it into a mantra, something very simple that you can remember and repeat. We’re going big on positivity here so we’ll start our mantra with “I am…”. My intention to be more present would become “I am here”. This would remind me to be more present throughout my day or during my practice on the mat. My intention for calmness would become “I am calm” to encourage a feeling of peace. The other options would become “I am loved” or “I am enough” because you are and you just needed a reminder throughout your day. Use your mantra today. Repeat it to yourself often. At the end of today, let it go because tomorrow is a new day and you can start over again.  

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Countdown to the end of 2020

BREATH

If there is one thing to be grateful for today, make it your breath. At some point today, see if you can find time to connect with your breath. Spend a minute being aware of your breath, not changing it in any way, just feeling it entering the body and leaving. Maybe where it travels to in the body and where it leaves from. 

  • Focus on your inhales for 10 breaths.
  • Focus on your exhales for 10 breaths.
  • Focus on the u-bend, that moment where you end an inhale and you begin your exhale.

Think of your inhales as nourishing the body and your exhales as releasing, letting go. Let you belly be soft and take a full, nourishing inhale through your nostrils, filling up the body. Exhale fully and audibly out of your mouth, feeling a release.  Repeat as often as needed.  

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Gratitude

We’re bringing back a little Santosha from day 10 today and finding some gratitude. You may already do this on a daily basis. If so, this is just a reminder.

Before you day gets going or you’re too busy to stop and think, see if you can come up with three things in your life that you’re grateful for. These can be possessions, people or something less tangible. Maybe write them down. Later on, around evening or bedtime, you could add to these with three things that have happened today that you’re also grateful for.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Grounding

Here is something we do to a degree at the beginning of each class.  We make a subtle switch as we step onto our mat to prepare us for our time there. To immerse yourself in your practice, requires some letting go. The first area that we can let go of is the outside world so we can allow ourselves to wholly connect with our body and mind.      

This can be done any time, to enable you to become present, whether it is for a yoga class, a sit down with a cup of tea or any number of reasons where you may wish to come back to you.  The whole process of yoga will support further grounding.  We’ll take the first few steps here.  

Start by taking up a comfortable position.  Allow the sit bones to drop into whatever you’re sat on, and the spine to grow tall, shoulders dropping away from ears, with the crown of the head reaching upwards.  Close off the eyes if comfortable, or at least drop the gaze to reduce visual stimulation.  

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Body Scan

Running through a body scan can provide you with a number of benefits.  It’s a great way of switching off from the outside world, connecting with yourself and checking in, giving yourself time notice and hopefully relax. Here is one of my nourishing processes that I mentioned yesterday. 

Start by finding a comfortable position, laying down or seated are both options here, just make sure you can drop into the position and maintain it for a while. As we’re focusing on the body, we want to eliminate as many external sensations as possible. A quiet location will help and bringing your eyes to a close will support your focus to move from what’s going on outside to what your body is feeling on the inside. This is all about you so perhaps give yourself permission to be here, to observe and notice. 

As you’ll have your eyes closed, I’ve recorded the process for you to listen to.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Gauge Yourself

Continuing with the ability to observe and notice ourselves, we’re going to practice some self-awareness again today. 

Here is your invitation to check in on yourself before you start your day. How full do you feel mentally/emotionally? How much spare do you have to give to others today? If you’re feeling super-confident and raring to go, you’re likely to be pretty full. However, if you’re unsure, maybe feeling somewhere less than 70%, think about taking care of yourself first and not giving too much of yourself to others. If you’re feeling a little empty, possibly anything less than 30%, beware of those draining situations, maybe avoiding them all together today and finding some time to nourish yourself. We’ll explore some options for nourishment over the next few days.    

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Isvara-pranidhana

Surrender

Our journey through the Yamas and Niyamas are almost at the end. (We’ll still be counting through December for a bit longer though.) This is our last and is possibly the hardest to analyse. Isvara-panidhara is to surrender or submit. Often translated as surrendering to God but instead let’s use ‘higher power’. This doesn’t have to be an external higher power although it certainly can be. Search inside yourself and you might find your own, your inner self or maybe your divine self. You don’t need to label it, just know it is there. This is what you can surrender to, to accept.

If all this seems too much to take on, maybe today you can let go of something, possibly expectations. You can’t always control results but if you do your best, know that you’ve done your best and maybe surrender to the outcome. This can bring a sense of peace and calmness, when often the unknown brings the opposite.

Surrender yourself to your practice on the mat. Give yourself full permission to be there, feeling present and engaged, allowing you to be the best version of yourself.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Svadhyaya

Self-Study

Exploring Svadhyaya today is the process on self study. Observing yourself. It is OK to be critical of ourselves but bring balance and find areas that serve us too.  

You have a number of options as to how you invite Svadhyaya into your life today. Maybe check in on yourself throughout the day, notice how you feel, whether you’re working in harmony with yourself or against. Alternatively, Svadhyaya encourages the growth of knowledge. Is there an area that you want to gain more knowledge on, something that fascinates you? How can you pursue this? 

During Asana, your posture on the mat, practice Svadhyaya to find space, allowing yourself to feel and notice.    

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Tapas

Discipline

Tapas is our third Niyama. Loosely translated Tapas can be described as discipline or persistence.

Invite this into your day in a way that suites you but invite it with enthusiasm.  Perhaps working that little bit harder to see a job through. This could even relate to tidying a space in your house or cleaning a room.

By showing up to your yoga class each week or stepping on your mat each day you are practicing Tapas.     

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Santosha

Contentment

Today we look at Santosha or contentment. One of my favourites! Appreciate what you have right now. There is no need to give up on your dreams. You can continue to strive. Use Santosha as a reminder to to come back to contentment, not to always crave more, to live your life in the moment. Santosha allows you to find peace, happiness and enjoyment from the simple things as we no longer hang onto the past, nor do we allow our future to dictate today’s emotions.

You might wish to invite Santosha into your day by finding things to be grateful for today. Try to avoid possessions though.

Bring gratitude into your practice on the mat by finding appreciation, perhaps for your body and breath or the movement it gives you.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Saucha

Cleanliness & Purity

Our first Niyama is Saucha, cleanliness/purity. Here we look at our health, physically and mentally. This is not only about what we put on and in our body but also the thoughts we chose to dwell on. 

Choose wisely today.  If you wish to focus on the purity of the mind, perhaps work on removing negative tendencies such as jealousy or inflated pride. Alternatively, you could become more aware of what goes into your body and plan your food and drink to replenish and provide you with sense of control.

Taking Saucha onto the mat is to be aware of your thoughts. Start by checking in with your emotions before your practice. How can you support these emotions?  Be kind to yourself.   

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Countdown to the end of 2020

The Niyamas

Attitude toward ourself

We’re a week in! Thank you for sticking with me. I hope you enjoyed exploring the Yamas. Our journey is now moving from the external to the internal, our environment to ourselves. Over the following five days we’ll delve into the Niyamas.  These again are a set of values but instead of exploring our relationship with the world, these can guide your personal interactions, your behaviour towards yourself.  

Like we did when we started the Yamas, you might want to take today to study yourself, your attitude towards yourself.  Then tomorrow we’ll start with the first Niyama.   

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Aparigraha

Non-Hoarding

Our last Yama is Aparigraha or non-grasping.  This can relate to both objects or maybe even relationships.  Anything that you can become possessive about.  

Feel free to analyse your relationships today. However, I’m going to make this a little more tangible by suggesting that you to evaluate an area in your home that is cluttered. That kitchen drawer, the cupboard under the stairs, or a box in the garage that hasn’t been opened since you moved in (I think I have one of those).  Have you been hoarding?  What can you let go of that might create some freedom and energy for you?  

During your practice on the mat you might wish to let go of any thoughts you have around how you should look on the mat and allow your mind to focus more on how it feels on the mat.       

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Brahmacharya

Moderation

Brahmacharya originally translates to celibacy. We’re going to translate this a little further, thinking of it as moderation and how you direct your energy instead of total abstinence and we’ll relate it to any sensual activity.

Think of activities that stimulate the senses, for example eating or drinking. Brahmacharaya allows you to enjoy more of life by living it moderately. How can you bring in more balance to your day? How are you going to choose to use and conserve your energy?

Now let’s look at how we can practice Brahmacharya on the mat and the difference between excess and moderation. We’re looking for a sweet spot here where maximum benefit is obtained. This isn’t likely to be found by pushing yourself to excess but by practicing moderation. When moving into a posture it could be more beneficial not to go all out but to hold back a little allowing you to maintain that posture for longer, giving time for the mind and body to connect and explore.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Asteya

Non-Stealing

Asteya is our third yama and means non-stealing. This doesn’t apply only to possessions but also thoughts, ideas and time.

To practice Asteya today, firstly question your needs, then how you fulfil them. Practicing Asteya could be thinking of environmental issues and being aware of what you don’t need, only taking what is essential and what is available from the planet. Alternatively we could twist this around and ensure that no-one steals from you by setting boundaries that limit what you give.

To apply Asteya to you practice on the mat think of respect. Understand your motivations and cravings. If the person next to you is standing on their head, do you really need to do this too?

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Satya

Truthfulness

The second of our Yamas is Satya or truth, to refrain from lying, eliminating exploitation and manipulation. 

Today, see if you can recognise instances of untruthfulness, not from others but yourself. This isn’t always in the form of speech but can also be how you adopt or portray yourself. Also, listen how you speak to yourself.  Find authenticity and be true to yourself.  

On the mat this can mean listening to your body as we did for Ahimsa yesterday.  Interpreting messages as they are meant, not manipulating them. For example, you feel discomfort in a part of your body.  Do you go ahead with a movement because that’s what you were able to achieve last time or do you adapt because today is a different day with different feelings and abilities?  

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Ahimsa

Non-Violence

The first and possibly the most important of our Yamas is Ahimsa, which translates into non-violence in our mind, speech and actions. 

Today I ask you to find empathy and compassion in those situations that might benefit from them, maybe even going as far as finding forgiveness, love and at the very least kindness. If at any point during today you find tension building up from something you thought, heard or saw, recognise it and maybe search for compassion.


If you wish to adopt Ahimsa into your Asana (your practice on the mat), listen to your body, listen to where it wants to go, if any parts are asking for attention and only go as far as it feels right. In addition to this, recognise negative thoughts in your practice, work on understanding them so you can maybe let them go.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

The Yamas

Attitude towards our environment

I hope you found your five minutes yesterday.

Over the following 5 days we will take a look at the Yamas. A set of five restrains that can also be thought of as ethical values which can help guide our interaction with the world. 

Before we start on the first one tomorrow, you might want to take today to observe yourself. As hard as it might be, try not to judge yourself. There is no guidance today, simply the invitation to be aware and observe yourself. No need to change anything, just notice.       

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Countdown to the end of 2020

5 minutes for you

Savasana

Thanks for joining this journey! We’ll take our first day nice and slow. Today I ask you to give yourself five minutes.

Find a position that works for you. This might be the traditional Savasana, laying with your back on the ground, palms up, allowing toes to drop to the outside. Lying in bed is just as good or even sitting in a chair that supports you. Invite silence and stillness. You might find a feeling of nourishment on your inhales and offer some release on your exhales.

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Countdown to the end of 2020

Let the countdown begin

I’ve put together a little treat for you. Whether you want to explore a deeper yoga practice or understand a little about how I tick, I’d love you to be part of this. No mat, props, movement or even set postures are involved. This is accessible to anyone and everyone. It is an introduction to how yoga can support you OFF the mat, although you always have the choice of bringing any of this onto the mat too and I’ll give some options as we go along.

We’ll count through the days of December until the holiday and I will provide you with daily snippets of yoga that you can explore and maybe build into your day ahead.

To get the most out of this I ask that you check in on these post at the beginning of your day. This way if you chose to explore them further you have the whole day ahead to build them into your day. There is absolutely no pressure to run through every one of these so skip any you’re unsure of or maybe don’t feel comfortable with. You can contact me to ask me questions too. Keep in touch! Let me know how you get on and maybe give me a thumbs up if you think you’ll join in.