A little self-reflection is never a bad thing, but self-criticism is. The difference? Self-reflection is where we take compassionate responsibility for ourselves. Our inner critic however, sabotages us with no compassion. Our inner critic has nothing to do with reality, and here are some ways to silence it as soon as you wake up, by replacing it with real life positive sensations.

The Living Art of Chi Kung

The Living Art of Chi Kung

· A simple free form stretch.

Stand with your feet parallel, about hip width and notice how you feel.

Breathe deeply (especially the out-breath) throughout this exercise, and move in any way that opens your body the most. Reach up and stretch in any way to open your arm pits (some really important acupressure points in here), move the sides of your ribs, lengthen the sides of your waist as if trying to untuck any clothes. Make as much space in your sides as you can – add an inch to your height one side at a time. Then open your back, move your arms and body however you need to, gliding your shoulder blades over your ribcage, away from your spine, towards your spine, up and down your back, moving easily over your ribs. Stretch open the front of your ribs, your breast-bone, collarbones – even see if you can remind your ribs that they’re not welded together, space between them all. Stretch until you’ve opened as much as you can.

Stand still and breath, notice how you feel, and how it compares to before. Do you feel freer, more space, more capacity? Is it easier to breathe? Remember any positive sensation as an image (a colour, or shape or scene – whatever comes to you) or a word; enjoy it until it starts to fade.

You’ve shifted stagnant energy, and as new energy flows through you you’re filled with possibility and positivity.

· Deep standing –feed your confident warrior – a very strong stance.

Step really wide, with a deep bend in your knees – a wide squat. Tuck your tail underneath you as far as you can, push your knees outwards, opening your inner thighs. Lift your pelvic floor and pull your sitting bones in towards each other; pull your lower belly in and backwards; draw your shoulder-blades down your back, shoulders away from your ears, and have your arms really low in-front of you, curved around an imaginary beach-ball. Your gaze is ahead and soft, your jaw and neck relaxed, crown of your head moving towards the heavens.

Hold this for 2 minutes (work up to it if you need to), and then relax, shake out and notice how you feel.

Hard work but absolutely worth it. Embody strength and confidence.

· To finish, stand still with your palms over the point 3 fingers below your belly button for at least a minute. Feel the area beneath your palms – this is your centre, your Dan Tien. Here there is no internal chatter, just the centre of your body. Go here with your feeling senses, your awareness and practise balancing and living from here.

Lizzie Slowe is a well-being expert, fully qualified Equine Therapist, Chi Kung Master and author of The Living Art of Chi Kung, available now priced £12.00.

Lizzie was inspired to write this book as guide to help her students understand the ancient and classical teaching of Chi Kung without the need to bury themselves in ancient dry texts. A practical no nonsense guide to the ancient teachings and exercises that will enable everyone - from the humble beginner to expert practitioner to hone their practice and benefit from this beautiful well-being art