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4 Ways To Stop The Critic Inside

shame-799094_640Who is your biggest critic? Your partner or boss? No. Your critic is staring right back at you through the mirror. No one has more power to criticize you as that little voice inside.

We all know how it starts: “You are not good enough. You don’t know enough…. And it never stops, does it? No matter what happens there is always something that you find to criticize on yourself. Now what would happen if somebody else would give you the same treatment? Most probably you would stop them sooner or later!

Why is it that it is so much easier to stand up for ourselves when others criticize us but we keep listening to our own belittling voice inside?

Keep reading to find out four ways that you can send that cynical noisemaker packing.

4 Ways To Stop The Critic

Box up your negativity – literally. This is great exercise especially if you are deeply impacted by your own negative thoughts. In the grand scheme of our life, each problem holds only a small place overall. Seeing it as small minimizes its power over you. Get an empty box or buy a fancy box if you would like. The box needs to be small. Whenever you are plagued by a negative thought about yourself for the way you handled a problem or because you made a mistake, write it down on a piece of paper. Put it away in that small box. See your issue diminishing in size. Why not have a special, extra small box for the office so you can immediately deal with the “work critic”.

Treasure all the good in you. Now get a big box (can be a shoe box that you decorate nicely if you wish) to keep all your achievements, strength, wonderful experiences in one beautiful place. Write them all down and put it into your treasure trove. When you feel negativity bubbling up in you, just look at all the goodness your big box contains!

Accept your imperfections. Oh, yes, you are not perfect. Nobody is. You might procrastinate or forget about your yoga class. You might not be able to do a headstand. Or you might lack effective communication skills. First there is something you can do about these things. Act proactive and find ways how you can improve those imperfections! The baseline is that all the less than perfect parts are still a part of you – the good, the bad, the ugly and the peculiar. Love who you are and then move on to making changes in your life.

Talk to somebody you trust. Explain the situation that makes you feel so bad. Allow a friend or co-worker to console you, counsel you and challenge that negative thought pattern that is condemning you. Depending on the situation, you might think about getting a personal or success coach help you. Many companies offer coaching support to their employees.

Many times stepping away from a situation that triggers your inner critic is the smartest choice.

Why not take advantage of a corporate yoga class to create that distance between you and the mean voice inside? At St. Louis Corporate Yoga we would love to support you so just give us a call at 314-630-1677 to see how a corporate wellness program will benefit your company.

Live and Love Your Imperfect Life

wisdom-92901_640We have a fascination with perfection. Instead of finding nirvana, most people find disappointment, anxiety, judgment and a face in the mirror that is not truly their own.

Let the vision of the perfect life go! What you need is courage, compassion and connection to create a fulfilled life. How can you experience these valuable traits in your life? Just follow our tips below.

Let go. Letting go is very different from giving up. What you need to let go of is the expectations of others for your life. Set goals for your life and challenge yourself. The most important is that you follow your own dreams and goals. Don’t use someone else’s measuring stick to chart your path.

Love everyone, you included. Would you rather play the shaming and blaming game, jump on the bandwagon and try to fit in than getting attention paid to our flaws and shortcomings? Too many people will compromise their values and beliefs to fit in and not be ridiculed by others. Don’t settle for this!
Invest in yourself by taking the time to accept who you really are. Then and only then can you find places and people to whom you “belong” as an authentic “you” and not a cardboard cutout.

Perfection? Just a pipe dream. We all have our own vision of what’s important in life. Concentrate on your vision! Find ways to live your life living up to the highest vision of yourself. Find out how to be the best person that you can become in the time you have on this planet.

Transform yourself. Everyone evolves over time. The person you were yesterday is not the person you will be ten years from now and that is how it should be. What it shouldn’t be is you chasing an unrealistic expectation based on society or friends who would rather you reflect them instead of who you are. If you desire changes in your attitude, your body, your career or your family life, do so from a position of acceptance and love of the current state of things and not to impress someone else.

Trust yourself. Who knows you better than you? Take a step in a direction. If it doesn’t work, then change course. Have faith in the process that is your life. Take the time to get to know your likes, dislikes, dreams, hopes, pet peeves and the rest. All of your other relationships stem from the one you have with you. It is hard to truly give to another person if you don’t first have these things within yourself.

When you take the courage to be free and present yourself as you are, unconsciously, you give others the permission to be themselves as well. And that’s a win-win for everyone.

7 Relaxation Tips Before Falling Asleep

macro-800236_640Do you find it hard to relax at the end of a long day? Do you find falling asleep a challenge? Are you worrying and stressing over situations in your life instead of enjoying a good night’s sleep?

The following 7 tips will help you relax before you go to bed, so you naturally sleep restfully and start each and every day at your fullest potential.

Routine is your best friend

Develop a set pre-sleep schedule of activities. Let your brain know it is time to shut down. This means limiting stressful thoughts and outward influences before bedtime. “Wind down” by consistently reading for 1 hour before bedtime. Your brain will eventually recognize that 60 minutes of reading in the evening is a signal that sleep is approaching.

Same time every day

You go to work at the same time, eat lunch and dinner about the same time, and have several consistent daily routines. When you go to bed and awaken at the same time consistently, you program your internal clock to shut down your busy brain and wake up on a given schedule. Putting your sleep pattern on autopilot will help you relax and you don’t have to anxiously try to force yourself to sleep.

Exercise but not too late

Exercise and other forms of physical exertion immediately deliver a boost of energy. Soon after, your body tells you that you need rest and recuperation. Exercising in the evening, 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed, signals your brain for rest and recovery, rather than a stressful “how will I go to sleep” mentality.

Start counting sheep or … apples

There is a good reason the sheep counting strategy works to help you go to sleep. What you are actually doing is replacing stressful and worrisome thoughts with a simple and boring, repetitive mental exercise. You can accomplish the same by thinking of objects or foods whose names start with each letter of the alphabet. Your brain only focuses on one thing at a time, in this instance a simple mental exercise instead of stress and anxiety.

A moment of gratitude

Before falling asleep, think about all the reasons you have to be grateful. It is hard to be anxious and stressed out when you realize you have so many things to be thankful for. Praying can also be a very valuable tool in creating calm before sleep. Doing this right before falling asleep implants positive thoughts on your nighttime brain.

Meditate

Mindful meditation focuses on the present moment. You concentrate on your breathing and your present state. Give no room for focusing on past problems or future issues which have yet to arrive. Lifelong practitioners of meditation can even slow down their heart rate and fall to sleep quickly, enjoying a healthy night’s rest.

Clear the chaos

Ideally, the place where you sleep should have minimal distraction so no consumer electronics, cell phones, MP3 players in the bedroom, please. The fewer pieces of furniture in your bedroom the better. As you are preparing for bed, your mind unconsciously takes in all of the distractions and objects in your environment. This can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep.

 

The Secret To Success?

norway-772991_640Persistence! We all instinctively know this: a big part of success is simply not giving up. Perseverance is continuing to walk down to the path of our dreams no matter what. Even if it feels hard or uncomfortable. Even if everybody questions your sanity on the way.

Sometime not giving up the hardest thing to do. We know days when staying is bed seems the only option. When you would rather curse your dream than risk another failure. When your comfort zone is singing its siren song to keep you in your assigned box: safe but unfulfilled.

Enjoy the inspiring selection of poems below if you feel your perseverance is wavering. Copy and print out these poems and keep them in your notebook or purse. Remember to keep on keeping on!

Don’t Quit!
by Anonymous

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

 
 

Keep on Keeping on
by Michael Sage

We’ve all had times, when the going gets tough
The smooth ride suddenly, feels bumpy and rough
The good times are gone, it’s all rather gruff
You let out a sigh and exclaim – “I’ve had enough”

We are all entitled at times, to gripe and to moan
What’s happened to my life, you say with a groan?
My backpack seems weighed down, by a very big stone
How do I move away, from this miserable zone?

When a curved ball hits you, through a trick or a con
Remember the good days, when the sun always shone
Go forward with the belief, that you already have won
The best advice I can give, is to keep on – keeping on

 

Did you know that persistence is also the basis of your yoga practice success? Our most successful corporate yoga students keep practicing consistently and not missing classes. We all need at least 12 weeks of consistent practice to reap the benefits yoga offers.

The best news is that you can start today! Call Michelle at 314-630-1677 to design the perfect corporate wellness program for your employees. Or just come to Clayton Yoga Studio and take a class. Till the end of this month we have an unlimited yoga class deal3 months of unlimited classes for $150 plus you get the month of December for free. Get the details at our studio site here.

 

Yoga Testimonials From Our Students

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 3.38.24 PMFor the following blogpost, we chose to capture the most positive testimonials we hear from our folks. We featured several new Clayton Yoga student testimonials telling everyone about the many benefits of yoga they are receiving. We hope especially for beginners that you are inspired to start.

Natalie Warren, Office Representative with St. Louis County tells us for example that yoga, provides her with the much needed time to practice meditation. She finds that she can now practice using her conscious breathing in everyday difficult situations. That this breathing stuff really works! She also says that she now seeks out alternative ways to ensure that I get plenty of rest, and eat well. “I understand no one is perfect and when I do eat a potato chip or something I know I shouldn’t, I find I can let it go much easier and start again with go healthy lifestyle choices.” http://claytonyoga.com/corporate-yoga-benefits.

Lisa Watson, associate editor for Ladue News and fabulous yoga student with Clayton Yoga who talks about the amazing benefits of yoga. Recently, Lisa was set back with a minor car accident and found her back was very tight. Within 48 hours, she decided to try a yoga class with Linda and felt it was very challenging. The next day, however, she woke up feeling much better. Lisa feels she is much more confident in her body’s own healing mechanism and is 90% better and on the road to perfect health once again. http://claytonyoga.com/lisa-watson-talks-about-the-amazing-benefits-of-yoga

Walter Jones has been a housing specialist with St. Louis County for 18 years. Walter found some success with weightlifting, bodybuilding and even Pilates. But in all honesty, he was looking for something that did not build bulk, but rather helped him to feel lighter and more flexible. In practicing yoga, Walter Jones really enjoys the relaxing and soothing breathing and the conscious way he notices how to listen to his body. He likes the fact that at work, his energy levels are very high. The social community that he finds with co-workers is also fun as everyone else apparently really enjoys participating in the yoga program as well. The yoga classes relieve lots of tension and stress during the workday. Walter Jones also states that he feels renewed and more relaxed at work. http://stlouiscorporateyoga.com/walter-jones-corporate-yoga-testimonial

Samantha Eulk, a Yoga Teacher currently in Training at Clayton Yoga. “Yoga came into my life at exactly the perfect time. I didn’t quite know it then, but looking back, it was when I needed it most. I had lost myself for many years, losing my drive and motivation in life, then almost six and a half years ago, I came to the realization that I needed change”.

Jamie Danieli says: “I’ve really enjoyed my Monday evenings at Clayton Yoga. Teachers here are very open to suggestions on what people want to focus on for the evening and willing to change up the class at will. It’s a different type of yoga studio than what I am used to because it feels a lot more informal. I think everyone in the class has a nice time and it’s a very personalized experience. If you are a beginner or someone who has not taken yoga in a while and are trying to get back into it, this is a good place”.

Stop by for a yoga class at Clayton Yoga soon! Check out our class schedule here, www.claytonyoga.com and if you are interested in setting up a corporate onsite yoga class, please call us immediately at 314-630-1677! N.a.m.a.s.T.e.

 

Garland Pose with St. Louis Corporate Yoga Teacher Alyssa Ward

alyssaMy name is Alyssa Ward. I have been teaching as a yoga instructor at Clayton Yoga since 2010 after I received my 200-hour certification. I typically teach an open level Vinyasa flow class on Friday evenings from 4:30-5:30pm. I would love to have more students drop by and try out my class! I have previously written a blog post about pigeon pose. In this post, I will discuss garland pose, which in Sanskrit is called malasana.

I like garland pose because it is accessible to all levels. It can be modified by sitting on the edge of a chair if needed. If you are able to squat all the way to the floor, but the heels lift up off the mat, you can roll a mat underneath the heels for support. I like that this modification only requires a yoga mat because I can use it in my corporate classes where I typically do not have props available to practice with as well as in the studio.

To prepare for the pose, yoga journal suggests trying baddha konasana (butterfly) to open the hips and stretch the groin. It can be performed seated or supine (supta baddha konasana). You could also prepare for garland pose with upavistha konasana (dragonfly) or virasana (hero). After finishing garland pose, uttanasana is a good counter pose.

To get into the pose, come to a squat with the thighs wider than the torso, lean forward with the torso keeping the spine long, press the elbows into the inner knees and bring the palms together in prayer to open and lengthen the torso.

There are many benefits to garland pose. It helps to counteract the effects of sitting in beds, chairs, or cars for many hours at a time, like most of us tend to do. When we sit in chairs for hours, we often use poor posture and over time, we can lose mobility in our hips and back. Garland pose opens the hips. It strengthens the back torso, ankles, and groin muscles and tones the core. In addition, it is great for pregnancy. It helps to prepare for labor and delivery by opening the groin and hips and also aids in digestion. It can also be used during labor and even during delivery. In this pose, the birth canal is in an upright position for delivery enabling the baby to find its way out more easily. For labor, it can be modified using ropes or sitting against a wall.

While in garland pose, it is possible to add a twist, pressing one arm against the thigh as the other arm opens to the ceiling. If I am working on arm balances for a class, I often rest in garland pose before having students balance in crow. I think the transition between those two poses is very smooth.

Garland pose has many benefits, great for prenatal yoga, aids in digestion, and stretching the hips, finally strengthening the back torso, ankles, and core. I would suggest making garland pose (malasana) part of your practice.

Would you like to join us for a yoga class at Clayton Yoga? Everyone welcome. Please go to our website, www.claytonyoga.com, find a suitable class time, and feel free to simply stop by our studio. Life is a stretch!

 

Clayton Yoga Now Serving up 13 Corporate Classes Weekly!

red-112329_640Clayton Yoga now offers through its subsidiary company, St. Louis Corporate Yoga, 13 weekly yoga classes throughout St. Louis. In addition, we offer daily drop-in yoga classes, yoga teacher trainings, and corporate on-site wellness programs since 2003. We are the experts in this field and would love to help you get started.

Summer days are here in full measure. The light can feel long, heat oppressive and pressure to have all that darn fun! Here are some additional helpful tips to help you get through the “dog days” of summer!

Three good reasons to keep up yoga this summer:

1. You need the energy boost yoga gives you in the summer! Heat and humidity can make you feel sluggish. Just thinking about getting in the car and drive to the studio might seem too difficult. In reality, you will walk out of the yoga class energized so it is totally worth the extra effort to get to class. You might want to take early morning or late evening classes during summer if your schedule can accommodate these times.

2. Don’t give up on “me” time! Especially if you have kids, your summer can get even more stressful now that the kids are out of school. Organizing activities, carpooling, managing higher expectations…. And who is at the end of all the lists you produce? You! Keep your yoga class once or twice a week sacred.

3. Keep up good habits! Don’t give up on your good habits even though this might be the easiest solution to manage your busy summer schedule. If you do, it might happen that by the time September comes around, it will be very difficult to get back into the habit of yoga classes. You worked hard to establish this good habit in your life, don’t let it disappear this summer!

To read more about what we offer and do, please click on one of our helpful yoga blogposts here:

http://stlouiscorporateyoga.com/get-unplugged-for-more-serenity/

http://stlouiscorporateyoga.com/what-exactly-is-meditation-and-can-i-begin-practicing-in-the-office-too/

http://stlouiscorporateyoga.com/how-to-deal-with-stress-in-your-workplace/

Our yoga classes are all level style and a great fit for both brand new beginners to yoga as well as those who are more advanced.

Corporate Onsite Yoga Special Promotion

Become a Corporate Yoga Ambassador and receive $100 Amazon Gift Card. Simply refer a new client to us and after three months, we will gladly offer you a way of saying thanks! We also are excited to announce the growing momentum of our corporate yoga 13 corporate wellness yoga classes each week.

Our corporate yoga clients report a much greater overall level of joy, life satisfaction, vitality, and improved energy.

We would love to schedule a complimentary phone consultation at your earliest convenience. Let us help you bring yoga to your workplace – call us 314-630-1677.

Namaste!

How To Be A Likable Person To Work With?

Your workplace success depends on how well you are able to work with your colleagues and the management of the company. The good news is that it is all learnable! You can improve your communication skills. Most companies offer training to employees around negotiation, speaking and communication skills. Do you want to take your own initiative? There are lots of free resources available to you!

We compiled a few resources for you below to help you improve your communication skills! Enjoy the infographic, a few videos and a book recommendation!

How To Be A Likable, Approachable Person To Work With

Brian Tracy on 3 ways to improve communication skills

Marie Forleo’s 3 second communication solution

Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques- Workshop recording from Stanford Graduate School of Business

Have you read this classic book on communication? Solid, time-tested advice in Dale Carnegie’s famous bookHow to Win Friends & Influence People”

Have fun working on your skills then creating wonderful conversations that lead to success and happiness in your work and private life!

Inspiration Station – Summer 2015 Edition

Do you feel inspired today to deliver your best work? Or do you feel a bit like a losing steam and sinking into a bad mood? Are you fearful or worried? Or feeling as a victim of your circumstances?

We all have less than inspired days! But don’t forget you have a choice: you can elevate your inspiration level or you can sink in deeper into negativity? Which one will you choose?

We have gathered the most uplifting inspirational quotes and put it into an image for you to enjoy. Feel free to print out the images and put them up where you see them.

There is a list of quotes separately at the end of this blogpost, too. Enjoy!

inspire7 inspire1

inspire9 inspire12 inspire13 inspire16 inspire22 inspire26 inspire34 inspire36

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill

Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone

We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale

The mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey

Either you run the day, or the day runs you. –Jim Rohn

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success. -Swami Sivananda

Be faithful to that which exists within yourself. -Andre Gide

 

Meditation For Beginners

candle-230445_640With all the benefits meditation add to your life, we know you would like to begin practicing immediately! Here are our best tips for beginners!

When you start practicing meditation, you may face two challenges: it might be difficult to sit for an extended period of time and emptying your mind might only function for a few seconds. Distractions are bound to happen and you will need to deal with them in a proactive way. You need to overcome this initial phase with great determination and discipline.

The easiest way to get over the initial problems is to start meditation by focusing on the breath. You will be able to learn this technique during our yoga classes.

Sometimes, you may find hard to concentrate during meditation. Recognizing that you are not concentrating is the first step. You can bring back your focus to the breathing process and slowly but surely, you will learn how to focus for an extended period of time.

Two meditation techniques for beginners:

1. Concentrative meditation technique will teach you how to focus on a single point. Concentrating on a single point, sound or activity can be practiced by repeating a mantra or a single word, listening to a repetitive gong, looking at a candle flame, counting beads on a rosary, watching the breath.

Focusing for an extended period of time can be a daunting task. Beginners should meditate for only a short period of time in the initial stages. Focusing for a prolonged period of time should be attempted in a gradual manner.

During meditation whenever your mind gets distracted with other thoughts, you will refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention. This simple technique will teach you how to avoid pursuing random thoughts and your ability to concentrate will get improved considerably.

2. Mindfulness meditation technique will motivate a beginner to observe the wandering thoughts as they pass through the mind. The aim of this method is not to judge wandering thoughts or getting involved with them, but to be aware of each mental note as it arises. Then let those thoughts pass without expectation or emotions.

When a beginner practices mindfulness meditation, you will be able to see how your feelings and thoughts tend to move in certain patterns and gradually, you will become aware of the human tendency to judge experience as pleasant or unpleasant. As a beginner, when you practice this technique regularly, you will be able to develop inner balance.

Best posture

The best body posture for practicing meditation is to sit cross legged on the floor, keeping the spine straight and relaxed. As a beginner, you may find this body posture quite demanding or even extremely uncomfortable.

If you feel uncomfortable during meditation, you can select a posture that you are most comfortable with like sitting straight on a chair.

Don’t give up!

During meditation, your mind may get distracted with other thoughts 100 times and you should bring it back to your focus at hand 100 times. You should be prepared to bring it back for 101 times as well and such a method of approach will help you get over all the difficulties during the initial stages of meditation.

Learn how to manage the initial problems and meditation will become an integral aspect of your life. As a result, quality of your life will undergo a tremendous amount of transformation.