Hi there! It's beetee. It's been one year! 24 editions of the Yoga Quick Dive have been delivered to your inbox, numerous questions, comments and friendships made through these stories. To celebrate this occasion, I will give a free 20 minutes one-on-one yoga session for the first person who reply to this email with the right password to unlock his gift. The password is somewhere to be found in the letter below...
This week's quick dive: Half Pigeon Pose, Mental Health Awareness Day and The Five Languages of Love.
Yoga Pose of the Week: Half Pigeon Pose
To help with or prevent lower back pain, stretching the hip flexors is essential. There are many ways to do it, one of which we talked about two weeks ago in the Yoga Quick Dive #23, with Anjaneyasana Crescent Low Lunge. This week, let's explore Half Pigeon Pose.
Why is it called Half Pigeon Pose? To be honest, I have no idea. If you know, please tell me! I have tried to look at it from all the possible angles, yet from no position I can see the resemblance to a pigeon, let alone half of it. Is it based on an ancient story, similar to the story of the warrior poses? Is it a derivative of another pose name? For me, this remains the greatest yoga myth so far.
Why is it good for lower back pain? For one, an upright position of Half Pigeon Pose (meaning, you are not folding your upper body forward) stretches the hip flexors, which helps with lower back tightness (we talked about this in the previous Yoga Quick Dive #23). Another argument is the so important fact that everything in your body is interrelated; therefore, a pose that stretches your glutes and externally rotates (hence opens) your hips certainly has a positive effect on the flexibility and mobility of the lower spine, which is right above the pelvis area.
In half pigeon pose, pay attention not to focus on performance: you don't need to have a 90-degree angle in the front knee if your hips are not open enough. That could hurt your knee joint. Focus instead on equally distributing your weight between the left and the right sides of your body and the juicy stretch in those glutes.
Be careful! If you stay too long in a forward-folded Half Pigeon Pose with some appropriate music background, it can be quite emotional...
World Mental Health Awareness Day
Since 1992, the World Health Organisation made October 10th - Monday this week - World Mental Health Day.
For me who grew up in a what used to be a third-world country, mental health issues was perceived as a First World problem. It did not feel like a real issue. Not until I experienced it myself in different levels throughout different stages of life. Then I realised, it is as real as my physical lower back pain, or my hungry stomach. In 2019, before the onset of the Covid global pandemic, the WHO estimated that one in eight people globally were living with a mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorder, bipolar disorder, etc.
I'm sure for a lot of us, not just October but Every Month is Mental Health Month. Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Sometimes, if you pay attention and observe, you can notice some emerging signs of mental health issues from the people around you.
Personally, the best and simplest way to fight anxiety, depression and mental health issues is to get on my feet and start actions. Those actions could be to do a workout, to clean the house, or to take a refreshing walk. It could also be an action to help the less fortunate ones, so that we realise how lucky we already are.
Yoga can help any many ways, with a great variety of gentle body movements, breathing and mindfulness techniques. But it is not the only way. See a therapist or just talk to your friends and family could make a great change. Give a helping hand to people who you think might experience difficulties. Listen. Care. Be kind.
Anything above the Earth and below the Sun is Life. Hopefully something useful to you, or at least something that will bring a smile to your face. 😊
The 36 Questions That Lead To Love & The 5 Languages of Love
Maybe you want to help someone with a mental health issues, but you don't know what to say? The Japan Times last month ran an article about what to do when you observe a colleague experiencing mental health issues (perhaps with suicidal thoughts). The New York Times has its own lighter version of how to connect with someone. Here are some ideas.
The 36 Questions That Lead To Love was a study by psychologist Arthur Aron who came up a specific set of questions designed to bring two strangers closer. The idea is based on sustained, escalating, reciprocal and personal self-disclosure that fosters closeness. Some of the questions from the set are so, if I may, raw and revealing.
When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven't you told them yet?
Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be?
Then, once you are able to get into someone's tolerable personal space, it is quite a useful thing to know their Language of Love. The premise of The 5 Love Languages is quite simple: different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways. Some people feel loved and cared by just spending time together, some needs a physical touch. Learning to recognize these preferences in yourself and in your loved ones is useful when interacting and dealing with different personalities. The 5 languages, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, are:
Acts of Service. For these people, actions speak louder than words.
Receiving Gifts. For some people, receiving a heartfelt gift is what makes them feel most loved.
Quality Time. This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
Words of Affirmation. This language uses words to affirm other people.
Physical Touch. To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate physical touch.
You can do a little quiz here to reveal your own language of love. Please let me know the results, and let me know if these tools are useful to help someone around you who needs to be listened xx
Thanks for reading! But don't leave just yet!
Ask me TWO questions or leave me TWO comments below. I'd love to hear from you.
Until then, take a deep breath and keep your worries away!
Yoga Quick Dive is a series of bimonthly newsletters that should take no more than 5 minutes of your reading time. Let's deep dive quickly into 3 topics: Body, Mind and Life.