ZEN TIP TUESDAY #11
For ZTT #11 – I extend a big welcome to Marita Dortins. Marita has been a yoga teacher since 2001, encouraging people to breathe, to stand tall, and to live with compassion. Today Marita shares her knowledge on yoga and meditation and specifically on establishing it as a morning routine.
If you’re linking up for ZTT Link-Up #009 – thank you and welcome!
I’ve found over the years that the way I begin my morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. If I get up at the last minute and rush around frantically getting ready to race out the door, my whole day feels chaotic and messy. If I start mindfully and consciously, my day flows with ease.
As a yoga teacher and long-time yoga student, it’s probably no surprise that my morning ritual is a yoga and meditation practice. I honestly believe that everyone would benefit from starting their day with yoga and meditation. It doesn’t need to be complex or advanced. In fact, I think the beauty lies in the simplicity – all I’m really talking about is starting your day with a bit of stillness and a bit of movement.
My recommendations are general and won’t necessarily suit everyone. If you’re unsure I suggest going to some classes and then asking your teacher for a few recommendations for a simple morning home practice, particularly if you’re working with injuries or specific concerns. Practicing 15 minutes of yoga every day is more beneficial than practicing for an hour once or twice a week, so keep it realistic by starting small.
If possible, find a dedicated place in your home for your practice. It can just be a quiet corner if you don’t have the luxury of a whole room you can dedicate to your yoga.
Sit comfortably, and begin to feel your breath. Notice the sensation of the breath in your nostrils. Observe the rise and fall of your belly. After a few breaths, start to label the breath: ‘I am breathing in’ on each inhalation; ‘I am breathing out’ on each exhalation.
Each time you notice a thought has entered your mind, acknowledge it; let it go; and return your attention to your breath. Continue for five minutes to start with. You might find over time that you want to increase the time.
Know that it’s completely normal for your mind to wander – the nature of the mind is to think. Gradually, you’ll learn to notice each thought and release it, without getting caught up in the story that lies behind it.
- After your meditation, practice a gentle seated twist to the right then left, holding for around five breaths on each side.
- Then make your way to a four-point kneeling position for a few rounds of Cat/Cow before moving into Downward Facing Dog.
- Take your time feeling your way into Down Dog, peddling your legs out and wiggling your hips side to side. Then settle into stillness for a few breaths, keeping your knees bent to allow your spine to lengthen.
- Walk your feet to between your hands, roll up through your spine to standing, and practice a few Sun Salutations, moving mindfully and always connecting movement to breath.
- After your Sun Salutations, either lie down for a few moments in Savasana (relaxation) or rest in Child’s Pose for a few breaths. Notice the effects of your practice on your body, your mind, and your emotional and energetic states.
As a gymnast from a young age, Marita realised early on that she’s happiest upside-down, and when she found yoga, it was love at first Downward Dog. Nearly 20 years after that first class she still finds joy within each practice.
She began teaching Iyengar-influenced yoga in 2001 and now focuses on guiding the next generation of yoga teachers through teacher training, continuing education and private mentoring.
Here’s where you can connect with Marita: BLOG | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE
ZTT LINK-UP #009
Hi Min & Marita! I love starting my day with yoga and I’ve finally also accepted that with my Meditation it is okay if my mind wanders. I just accept it and then return to the breath. Have a Zen day and thanks for #ZTT.
I’m yet to get a morning yoga & meditation routine established but I want to and I intend to! Marita’s post is very timely and helpful. Have a great day Sue and enjoy the rest of the week (though I know it will be very busy for you)!
Hi Min, thanks for sharing at #MLSTL. I do think having a morning routine that is calming can really set you up for the day. I don’t always get it right but as long as I’m trying that’s the main thing. Enjoy the rest of your week. x
Yoga is something I have tried over the years. I have had challenges with it from a physical perspective thanks to arthritis in my hands and have had surgeries. My arms/wrists cannot support me through some movements. However, I will check out what I may be able to do in a different form. Thanks for reminding me about Yoga, Min and Marita.
I’ve done two lots of beginner yoga classes so I know the basics but haven’t continued going afterwards as I can’t afford to on top of what I pay for my 3 x weekly Pilates classes. So, my plan is to try and establish a home practice using an app or YouTube to guide me. I have limitations with yoga too Denyse – some of the moves I just can’t do but I find an alternative and do my best. I loved the classes when I was attending and always left feeling so much more calm and relaxed to when I arrived. So this is something I’d like to get established into my life and daily routine. Have a great week!
I’ve never done yoga – for some reason I haven’t been able to find a class locally and I don’t get inspired by watching videos. I think mindfulness and yoga/meditation go hand in had though and one day I’ll get there.
I think you have to actually do and experience yoga to fully understand why it’s so popular and what it has to offer. I hope you can find a place local to you. It’s well worth trying out! All yoga classes end with Savasana (I hope I got that right) which is a period of relaxation/meditation. I love that part! 🙂 xo
I’m going to keep looking Min – maybe the senior cits will offer $3 yoga classes one day – I’ll be the first to sign up!
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂
Good luck Leanne, and thank you!
I enjoyed reading this and although I don’t do yoga I do enjoy quiet times and mindfulness. I’m doing Chiball once a week, at the moment, which is a mix of various forms ,like pilates, yoga, tai chi, dance. It is a nice gentle way of exercising. #ztt
You’ve mentioned Chiball before Deb and I have never heard of it before. Sounds fascinating though. I’ll have to Google and learn more!
This was refreshing to read, Min and Marita…coming to you from #MLSTL! I really need more yoga in my life, not to mention more meditation. I do attend a wonderful Friday morning yoga class at our gym and love every second! Very inspiring and doable, thank you!
Lovely to hear you attend yoga classes Terri and so glad you enjoyed the read! Thank you!
I so agree with Marita that the beauty of yoga and meditation lies in the simplicity. I’ve been practicing and enjoying meditation and yoga for a long time. Thank you, Min, for introducing Marita here. There is a Wellness Wednesday link up on my blog on April 10. The optional prompt is Healthy Mind. Please feel free to join in. #MLSTL
Thanks Natalie! I’ll be linking up with your Wellness Wednesday. 🙂
Very nice. I do my meditation as I am walking to the bus stop in the morning. I find that I can think clearly in the morning as I walk. Also, when I get to work I get there about an hour before everyone else so I can sit and do some work in a meditative state. It is so peaceful. #MLSTL
That’s wonderful that you manage to meditate as you do activities. I try to make an effort to be more mindful when I do some activities. Like when I wash up the dishes – really feeling the soapy water against my skin, noticing what sounds I can here, things like that that draw you into the present moment. It’s so good for us!
I so agree with Marita’s wise words – especially “How we begin our morning sets the tone for the rest of our day.” 🙂 #MLSTL
I agree with that quote of hers too!
So timely as I needed this! I currently meditate. Not every morning, although I know I should. But when I feel the stress coming on, I’ll make time. It’s imperative for me. I know many who do yoga and I am pushing myself into trying sometime in the near future. I know there are so many benefits from it. As someone who deals with anxiety on a daily basis, anything to help alleviate it, is welcomed. Thank you for sharing this! Definitely inspiring!
I’m glad you enjoyed the post Bren. I suffer with anxiety now and then also so I love any activity that brings a sense of peace, calm and contentment to me.
Hi Min and Marita, Loved the post. I do yoga every morning to stretch out my body, ground, tone, and energize me. Meditation is another way I set the tone for my day. Visiting you at MLSTL. My post is Lori La Bey Healing Dementia Patients and Family. Hope you’ll spread the word.
Good for you Nancy for making yoga and meditation part of your daily routine! Sounds like you’re enjoying the benefits of doing so too. I’ll go check out your post shortly!
I love the detail for the morning routine. I’m going to try it. Thank you.
Fabulous! I’d love to hear how you go and what you think after you’ve been doing it for a while! 🙂
So simple and yet so effective. #MLSTL