Everybody knows self-care is important and this year, even more so. It comes in endless shapes and forms – having solo time, going to bed early, putting a limit on screen time, setting boundaries and the list goes on. An upcoming event in Maroni, Larnaca focuses on some of the most common self-care practices; exercise, good nutrition, meditation and mindfulness.
“Self-care is absolutely essential,” says fitness professional and event organiser Melanie Smith, “if we are to take responsibility for our wellness: especially at high-stress times like 2020 has proven to be. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and the community at large to maintain good immunity and mental health.”
Involved in the fitness and the wellbeing world for the past 13 years, Briton Melanie has always focused on getting people to move physically but it has as much as to do with the mind as the body. During the pandemic taking care of our emotional and mental health has become a priority around the world.
“We have obviously experienced the most unusual year,” Melanie told the Cyprus Mail, “with a lot of uncertainty and this leaves people feeling very ungrounded and fearful. Bringing some self-care practices into our lives can enable us to better cope with stress, to manage our emotions and respond rather than react to situations we find ourselves in. Chronic stress causes a continuous circulation of stress hormones around the body, which have lasting and damaging effects: by relaxing the mind and body we can turn on the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress hormones and counteract their effects.”
Her event on October 18 at her studio in Maroni will involve a series of movement classes, breathing exercises, a plant-based lunch, meditation and relaxing by the pool. A total of 12 participants can attend, given the current covid-19 measures and only eight spots are left.
Several different kinds of yoga sessions are on the agenda and as a fully qualified Pilates and Yoga instructor, Melanie likes to mix her sessions up and create flowing sequences. Yogalates shall be the most physical of the sessions with strength building, dynamic flexibility and also mindful somatics where participants develop techniques based on their own personal internal sensations. All movements will have different levels of difficulty to allow the participant to work to their own ability.
“Pranayama or breath practice,” said Melanie, “has long been known to have incredibly relaxing effects on the body and mind: and also affects positively the brain, heart and digestion and immune system: and all simply from breathing!”
Next on the day’s itinerary is Yin Yoga, one of the more modern forms of yoga that aims to effect change on the connective tissues of the body rather than the muscles themselves. For this reason, in Yin, each shape is held for a long period of time and to really sink into it. “All of the postures are done seated or lying and for this session, we will use a tennis ball to stimulate relaxation of fascia and connective tissues,” she added, “hopefully seeing some changes in the end range of movement but more importantly in our sense of relaxation. Yin asks us to open ourselves up to the opportunity to just do less… something our busy minds struggle with…”
The day will end with Yoga Nidra or Yoga Sleep. This is a guided relaxation done lying on the floor. “It’s where our brains are awake but thoughtless… just focused on my voice, the inner sensations of the body and the present moment. Absolute bliss!”
You don’t need to be a yogi to attend the event, the desire to get back in touch with yourself or spend a day looking after the body and mind is enough. “Each participant will probably come with their own specific goal personal to them also,” said Melanie, “but hopefully by the end of the day everyone will have found a new level of peace and maybe some insights into their own inner personal world.
“These sorts of events are really only just the beginning… it may be that you are regularly practising self-care or this may be completely new… but whatever the case I hope that it will encourage people to take their self-care, mental and physical well-being seriously and to make time for themselves in their busy lives.”
Yoga, breathing exercises, meditation and more. October 18. MindBody, Maroni village, Larnaca. 10.30am-3.30pm. €30 per person to be paid in advance. Registration deadline: October 16. Register by calling 99-729239 or emailing [email protected]