1. Practice Daily Gratitude
Take time each day to think about things that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t matter how small or simple it is, it could be hearing birds when you wake, feeling the soft touch of air whispering on your skin, enjoying the taste of something delicious or feeling grateful for the support of your family, friends and neighbours during this current global crisis. It has been proven that focussing on gratitude makes us feel happier within ourselves. Each morning on waking think of three things that you are grateful for and do the same when you go to bed at night. You will soon start to notice a positive shift in your mental attitude.

2. Deep Belly Breathing
The yogis have been practising breathing techniques (Pranayama) for 1000s of years to improve their health and well-being. Deepening the breath improves lung function, increases mental agility, lifts flagging energy and also soothes and calms the mind and central nervous system. Why not try it now. Sitting or lying on your back, place your hands on your belly and begin to slow down your breathing, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. As you inhale notice your belly rising  and as you exhale notice your belly relaxing. If there is anywhere in the body that you are holding onto tension, allow it to relax on each exhalation. Practice for at least 10 rounds daily.

3. Legs Up Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
This is a restorative inversion pose where you lie on your back with your legs straight up a wall or loosely wrapped over your sofa. The key is that the legs are higher than the head and heart. This pose has many benefits including relieving anxiety, soothing an aching lower back, easing tired legs and feet and also calming the mind. It’s a very simple technique: sit sideways to the wall, exhale and in one smooth motion swing your legs up the wall and your back, shoulders and head to the floor. Adjust so that your sitting bones rest near to or on the wall and your back and head rest on the floor. Slow down your breathing and rest in this position for up to 10 minutes. Contra-indications are if you are menstruating, have high blood pressure or glaucoma of the eyes. If your hamstrings are tight rest your lower back on a cushion to lift your hips higher than your shoulders and if you feel your head is rolling back then place a small blanket behind the head.

4. Daily Meditation
Sitting in stillness daily even if only for five minutes can be a helpful way to improve your mental health by boosting your mood, enhancing a feeling of well-being and reducing feelings of overwhelm (anxiety?). As you sit in stillness you may begin to notice the same thoughts and feelings unfolding in the mind regularly. If you detect sneaky, unhelpful thoughts, begin to replace them with more positive thoughts or affirmations. Meditation can help you identify and accept your emotions as well as manage your stress and anxiety. Take time daily to sit for 5-10 minutes. You will find that the mind is busy so choose an anchor point such as the breath moving through the nostrils or sounds outside. Each time a thought arises notice it then let it go and return to the anchor point. After some time the thoughts lessen and you begin to enter into quieter spaces in the mind. 

5. Movement
Take time to move your body every single day. Use yoga, dance, walking or running as a way to get the energy moving. If you find yourself sitting on the sofa streaming hours of television you will begin to feel sluggish and overwhelmed by the lockdown. Getting up and moving can cause a big shift in the way you feel physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically. Join an online yoga class, find a PT or dance session on YouTube or go for a walk or run in the local woods or park. All will make you feel better and you’ll get fitter too. 

Lisa Powell is a Hastings based yoga teacher who has been teaching yoga and meditation for 20 years. Her aim is to bring about positivity even in the midst of challenge, to feel grateful for the simple things in life, and to be kind to herself and others. 

Lisa is offering the following for online home yoga practice:
FREE Friday Movement and Meditation session10.00am – 10.30am on Zoom
FREE Tuesday Bedtime Yoga & Relaxation session 10 -10.45pm on Facebook’s Isolation Station Hastings 

To find out more about Lisa and what she has to offer check out her website www.lisapowell.co.uk

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.