S is for . . .
Stretching is good for us. Sometimes it can be a great feeling to step a little out of our comfort zone, stretching our minds, our bodies and our potential. So limber up! You ready? Let’s get stretchy!
Meet Adriene (and Benji)
We’re starting off simple today with some stretching that you’ve all heard of before – yoga. Now, if you’ve never tried yoga before it can look a little intimidating – all that super flexible twisting and bending. But it’s actually very simple. You go at your own pace and can tailor the type of yoga you do to what it is you want to achieve, from improving fitness or increasing flexibility, to meditation and improving mental health issues like stress and anxiety.
A great place to start when you’re practising yoga from home is Yoga with Adriene.
Adriene (often accompanied by her adorable pup Benji) runs a YouTube channel with over 9 million subscribers and currently has a library of over 500 completely free yoga videos, suitable for all ages, abilities and experiences – including complete beginners.
Take a look at one of her yoga for beginners videos below or the 30 day breath journey - click on the links below to open in You Tube:
Stretch your potential
While you’re spending more time at home, why not take the opportunity to stretch yourself by learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby. Spending time doing something you enjoy has huge wellbeing benefits – it can make us feel less stressed and happier overall, not just when we’re doing the activity. Plus, it's a great way to keep your brain active and growing, improving cognitive functions and speed of learning.
Here are a few ideas of you could try at home:
Cooking – If you’re not much of a whizz in the kitchen, never fear. Rather than struggling along solo, why not join in with a live cook-along, like the ones run by Tiffany Macedo-Dine aka Brakefast at Tiffany’s. Tiffany’s page is all about tasty but simple cooking, and her cook-alongs are a friendly, welcoming place to learn how to prepare great family meals and delicious desserts. Take a look at some of our favourites below:
Or may be knitting, crochet and macramé are more your thing– If you’re looking for a pastime that can help you relax and wind-down, then these three ideas might well be for you. All of them start off simple and are very accessible for beginners, but they have the potential to become more complex and creative as your skills progress.
Take a look at some of our favourite beginner video guides below:
Books to stretch you
Whether you’re stretching your mind, body or your possibilities, check out some of our top reading recommendations below:
Unlike our first entry in today’s blog, here’s a type of yoga you may not have heard of before. Laughter yoga is a fairly modern notion that started in 1995 with Dr Madan Kataria, and it involves prolonged voluntary laughter. It’s based on the belief that voluntary laughter (aka forced or fake laughter) provides similar physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter, triggering happy hormones in the brain and reversing stress hormones. Once you get going, the fake laughter that you started with becomes real and before you know it you’re buzzing! Classes usually involve breathing techniques and lots of playfulness to elicit those big, belly laughs that are so good for us. Want to get a sense of what laughter yoga is all about? Check out this clip with Holly and Phil from This Morning, where they try out a few laughter yoga techniques:
Against all odds
We’re finishing things off today with a little pick me up – proof that they who stretch themselves can achieve amazing things. That’s right, we are OF COURSE talking about Bill Bailey winning Strictly.
Despite starting the show with odds of 50/1 to win, Bill Bailey danced his way to the glitter ball with a lot of hard work (and the help of his fantastic partner Oti). So, enjoy these clips from the show and have yourselves a wonderful day!
Some clips below for reminders of how Bill started the show and a look how far he’d come just 8 weeks later.