Episode 12 – Sue & James chat to Yogaia teacher Craig Norris about how Yoga helped him to overcome many years of depression
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Before I write up the Show Notes for our podcast episodes I always listen to each show again and makes notes as I go. I’m so involved with the recording and chatting to our guests that I don’t have time to do it when we’re actually recording. I always enjoy listening to each podcast and I learn loads but this podcast actually had me laughing out loud!
Our guest for this show is Craig Norris who is a yoga teacher with our favourite 24/7 online yoga classes company, Yogaia (www.yogaia.com). Craig started teaching yoga following on from a lifelong interest in spirituality. After a few months of practising yoga he began to get real insight into himself and realised that he had been depressed from a young age. it wasn’t until he took up yoga that he began to feel so much happier in himself and was, as he puts it, laughing authentically.
He explains that a combination of yoga exercises and meditation gave him a lift to his whole body system which, in turn, greatly improved his quality of life. Craig says that all need some stress in our lives but it;s when we allow that stress to take over that it becomes a problem. We can feel stress physically in different parts of our bodies such tension in our head, neck and shoulders. Sometimes even pulling faces gives our stress away. When you put your camera on and take part in one of Craig’s live yoga classes he is able to pick up on where you are holding your stress and give you bespoke advice to you as he teaches. Craig has experienced so many of the symptoms of stress and depression himself that he can really relate to his class members.
One thing it is important for us all to be aware of is that when our self-esteem is low we can sometimes confuse teaching with criticism so always keep that in mind when your teacher is giving you advice. They are ‘teaching’ you not criticising you.
Craig says that if you are experiencing stress then yoga will really help and you may also like to try listening to the sessions on our SELF App which will boost your self-esteem, self-confidence and self belief. All of this will help you to be more confident, relaxed and less anxious.
We asked Craig how stress contributed to weight gain and he explained that when we’re stressed our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can cause cravings for sweet food and junk food. When we are stressed we are less aware of our need to be mindful when we’re eating. By calming yourself down with a walk or a yoga class or relaxing with a mindful meditation session (there is a free relaxation session on our Chill Pill app you will reduce your cortisol levels and as your cortisol levels come down your cravings will reduce.
Stress can also contribute to speeding up the ageing process so watch out for our new Younger Looking You app which is coming soon. One of the sessions on this new app is specifically for stress reduction.
Yoga helps to reduce stress by regulating your breathing. Craig explains that directly effects your emotions. When you become stressed your breath becomes short, tight and jagged. Controlling your breath calms your emotions. Yoga exercises relieve the physical symptoms of stress and tightness in your body. Focussing on your yoga practice helps to clear your thoughts and change your limiting beliefs.
Craig has a class on Yogaia called ‘Yoga for Stress and Anxiety. This gentle, flowing class enable students to connect with the breath and is 45 minutes long. Perfect for beginners. He also has classes for guided meditation. If you would like something more challenging then Craig’s Forrest Yoga class would be perfect for you.
Craig suggests trying lots of different types of classes when you’re starting out with yoga and find the one that suits you best. He says that the more you practice the better you get and there is no limit to how much you can improve! The most important thing is just to ‘get on your mat’, at home or in a class, it doesn’t matter. Yogaia is perfect because you can do it in the comfort of your own home and there is no-one to compete with or feel judged by.
If you want to get started with Yogaia for the first time just sign up at www.yogaia.com using your code ‘WOW12’. When you sign up using your code you will receive a whole month membership to all classes completely FREE! Ozlem recommends starting with a level one class if you have never experienced yoga before. Its just like having your own private teacher. If you put your camera your teacher will be able to see you and give you help if you need it. All the friendly team of yoga instructors at Yogaia are extremely experienced. You can watch on your laptop, phone or TV screen so it’s very convenient whatever your lifestyle.
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