8 tips for a Stress-Free Xmas!

  1. BE OK WITH THINGS BEING OKAY.

If you’ve been coming to the recent Yin yoga sessions I’ve held in Elstree, Herts, you’ll have heard me talking about the perfectionist in us. Around Xmas time this gets even more heightened with the pressure of things to do and people coming round! Take a moment to realise that you are doing your best – and that’s okay!

2. SMELL SOME LEMONS

…and drink them too! Scientists say that smelling lemons boosts your mood. And drinking lemon water will help you stay hydrated and help you detox as we enter binge-eating season!

3. STICK TO YOUR DAILY RITUALS – ESPECIALLY VITAL FOR YOUR SELF-CARE!

Our everyday practices help calm and centre us. If you like having a fresh morning walk, sitting in meditation or breathing, or putting on a face mask before the day begins, take time to do that! You may want to reduce the time for it but DO do it!

4. SELFLESS SERVICE OR SEWA AS IT’S KNOW IN SANKSRIT

Pay it forward,  do something for someone less fortunate that you.

Next week I’m teaching yoga to the homeless as part of the volunteer group at the charity Crisis for Christmas in and around London/Herts. Are you involved with any local charities in the Radlett,Bushey, Herts area? If so let’s chat

This is the time of giving so it’s a good time to do something for others  – maybe visit an elderly relative or neighbour.

5. BE SOCIAL!

Having an attitude of gratitude (you can get this by doing Point 5!) will put you in a great mood. Being thankful for what you have and celebrating this time with your loved ones is what’s most important. So enjoy it!

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6. SCHEDULE A BREAK

Even if it’s taking 5 minutes to dance to your favourite Xmas tune, take some time out for you. YOU deserve it 🙂

7. WALK IT OFF

Okay – you’re absolutely stuffed from Xmas dinner so you go for a stroll to feel better. If you feel tensions rising stand up and take yourself out for some fresh air. Both you and the person you are talking to will feel MUCH better afterwards!

8. TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Without a doubt giving your family a person who is grounded, peaceful and present is the very best gift they can ever receive from you and they will LOVE you for it!  Take a moment to take some deep breaths in and out, close your  eyes.

Let’s chat– What are your tips for a stress free holiday season?

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How to get a good night’s sleep.. Part 1…

Does it take you ages you to drop off to sleep? Is your mind buzzing around about the thoughts of the day, or the to do list for the next day? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night either worrying or unable to get back to sleep? If this is you, keep reading!

Lack of sleep influences stress. Not only does our physical health require rest but our mental and emotional states depend on sleep.

Here’s what you can do to help you sleep like a baby:

  1. Ditch the technology.                                                                                                                                           

Switch off your phone, TV, Ipad and computer at least 45 minutes before you go to sleep. Ideally do this 60 minutes before you sleep.

By switching off these devices you are allowing your body and mind to calm down.

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Scientists have found that light from electronics has the potential to disrupt sleep, because it sends alerting signals to the brain.

In particular, blue light which is given off by electronics like computers and mobile phones, has been shown to delay the release of the hormone melatonin which helps you relax. In other words, electronics could keep you feeling charged past bedtime!

Protect your evening wind-down time by reading a book for instance.

I went to university with a girl who always switched off her phone at 10pm and would not look at it until the morning. The result…..

A very relaxed, uninterrupted sleep and a fresh faced beauty in the morning. I was super jealous (I know, very un-yogi of me) but she seemed so rejuvenated!

2. Practice breathing exercises

Using yoga breathing exercised you can actually re-pattern your habits to take less breaths per minute and ensure deep diaphragmatic breathing.

This creates a shift from breathing that stimulates fight or flight (the release of cortisol) to rest and restore (the release of serotonin to melatonin). By doing this you can support the body’s natural optimum environment through the relaxation response.

 

Focusing on the breath also brings our mind into the present moment so we can find more clarity in our current situation instead of mindless reactivity.

Breathing exercises also have an impact on stress levels, anxiety, fatigue and a lack of physical energy – these are all symptoms and consequences of improper rest.

Its a great tool to help you either fall asleep or fall back into sleep if you’re suffering with restlessness.

How can you actually incorporate these breathing exercises into your day? Find out in Part 2….

 

5 reasons not to go to a yoga class

1. You are so happy as a person, you couldn’t be happier. There genuinely is no more room left – you are ultimately content with your health, physical and mental well-being.

If you are in this place, what are you doing? Comment below as I would love to experience it!

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2. You hate it when the teacher comes round to give you adjustments

Most yoga including myself use yoga assists and adjustments to help students get deeper into yoga poses and also ‘correct’ or ‘adjust’ their alignment.

Often times teachers ask whether you’d like to be adjusted and you can politely decline if you’d rather not be adjusted.

3. You want to sweat and yoga classes haven’t given you that 

A dynamic Vinyasa yoga class with high and low push ups, fluid dynamic movements doesn’t make you sweat at all and you find it all way too easy. You want a challenge and you’ve tried every type of yoga out there and it doesn’t challenge you in any way. Frankly its all a waste of time.

(If this is you share your experience I would LOVE to hear it)

4. You don’t have the money and believe yoga is WAY too expensive for the value it gives you. 

I hear you – you’re looking to get quick results in say maybe 1 or 2 sessions and something tangible for your money when you spend it.

Eg. buying a toy or going for dinner – that’s money well spent , right?

The idea of being  more relaxed, fit and healthy and being able to be calmer with your loved ones and be a better mother/sister/friend are just not worth it in your eyes.  You don’t need a boost to your self esteem to help you look and feel fabulous – in your heart and mind, you already believe you look and feel great so practicing yoga is a waste of your time.

 

 

PLUS – Your looking for a well qualified teacher who has trained in reputable schools to give you amazing advice, attention and support – but believe they don’t deserve money for the energy they have put into giving you this value.

5. You like having a buzzing, restless and irritable mind and losing your temper with your kids and family, not to mention your boss.  

Yoga could help you manage the above and become calmer overall as a person. It has done that for me so much so that there is a marked change in my personality and ability to react (or not react) to every situation.

Do you agree with the above? Send me a message or comment below.

 

35 AND OVER? FIND OUT THE MUST HAVE FOR GREAT SKIN….

That’s right ladies. The penny’s dropped.  Like me, you’re probably out of your 20s… and let me tell you…. there has never been a better time to take care of your skin for ultimate radiance and vitality. 

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The appearance of wrinkles and ageing spots on skin can be due to different reasons such as genes as well as external factors such as pollution or sun exposure.

Wrinkles and sagging of skin occur generally due to loss of collagen (a structural protein that maintains a firm tissue), loss of fat tissue and gravitational force acting on the skin.

If you see signs of wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots and hyper pigmentation fear not my friends! Let me introduce to you me beloved remedy…….

TURMERIC!

 

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Curcuminoids present in turmeric are strong antioxidants – and you needs tons of these for great skin! Curcumin has antioxidant activity comparable to that of Vitamin C and E.

  1. Pimples: Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and eliminate the formation of pimples.
  2. UV Damage: Turmeric can also help in protecting skin from UV damage – a common cause of skin issues.
  3. Ageing spots: can be used topically to reduce signs of ageing spots

Apply it as a Face Mask. Add it to your curries and a pinch in your scrambled eggs!

Drink it as a tea: bring four cups of water to a boil. Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup, add honey and/or lemon to taste.

Note: Avoid internal use if you have a history of gall stones or are on blood-thinning medications. Turmeric can stain so take care when using it and wash off thoroughly when applying to skin. Otherwise you might have an orange tint!

Have you used turmeric? What is your best natural anti ageing skin product from your kitchen? Comment below….

 

6 TIPS ON HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOU- the SELF!

SELF CARE KEEPS YOU BEAUTIFUL

You might have noticed that I’ve been posting less on the blog the last few weeks…. to be totally truthful I was taking care of myself! If you’ve been exposed to the science of Ayurveda you may know that as the seasons change the body goes through an adjusting process and what you need now may be different to what you needed at the height of summer.

I know that I have invested hours into learning more about yoga every week and worked on creating challenging and fun classes for my students. I also make myself available to my students for any questions or to catch up.

I love what I do and its BECAUSE I want to be there for other people and serve that I remember to take care of myself as well.

So what do I do for Self Care? Some tips below….

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6 Tips for Self Care

Create a morning routine

My day goes more smoothly when I stick to my morning routine. I wake up, use my Neti pot to clear out the airways, make some hot lemon water with honey and then spend some time on my yoga mat for my practice.  Sometimes this could be 20 minutes or pranayama, meditation and yin stretches other days it’s a hot and sweaty 60-90 minute practice. I always end with some time in contemplation – this is like a body and mind reset for me to start my day fresh.

Drink plenty of water

Its so simple but so effective!

Your skin improves, the digestive system functions better (Especially if you drink warm water), and you have higher energy levels.

Take a bath or have a spa evening. 

I love going the spa and yes I don’t go as often as I would like but there’s nothing like making your own home spa! Lighting some candles and settling into the bath tub. Keep some essential oils to hand for extra relaxation!

The warm water soothes my muscles and mentally I can really wind down.

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Spend time with people you love

Have a laugh! Have some comic relief  – laughing can actually relieve stress! (side note have you done laughter yoga? Comment below)

There’s no place like OM. 

Take 5 minutes out to sit quietly and breathe.

Whenever I start my day with just a few minutes of seated meditation I feel so much better. It can be challenging to do when you have a lot on your mind.

This is a sort of an egg before chicken as you want to meditate to be calmer but because you may have a lot of things on your mind and aren’t calm to begin with its a challenge. You can achieve this – comment below or send me a message  – lets chat about this!

Pay it forward

In yoga I talk about finding what feels good for you.

To me, helping others just feels good. There is something amazing about doing something for someone else. It teaches you to be present for someone else because for the time you are helping them, your focus is on that person.

These last few weeks I’ve been offering yoga for free and although some teachers would argue that you should never do this, for me it has been rewarding!

It also fills you with a magical feeling when you know deep down you done something good – whether you receive credit for not is irrelevant.

Just participating in the act of service itself, or Sewa can lead you to a place of contentment 🙂

Have you got any tips for self care? I would love to know so leave me a comment below.

6 TIPS FOR STARTING A MEDITATION PRACTICE

 RUSSELL BRAND AND KATY PERRY ARE DOING IT.

oprah is doing it.

steve jobs did it daily. are you doing it?

“Meditation is helping you to tap into something that’s already inside of you… that’s you, in essence. That’s something that was super-empowering for me once I grasped that.”Cameron Diaz

There is no magic “list” for what to do when beginning the process of ‘sitting’, so, here are some beginner tips:

1. Sit down with your back straight—ideally without a slouch in the spine and keep the head centred.

use a cushion or chair to sit on if you prefer.

Remember we aren’t perfect – everyone has to start somewhere – so commit to doing it!

2. Cross your legs in a position that you can reliably sit in for 5 minutes. (Over time you can build up to 20 minutess or more)

Personally I love sitting cross legged, sometimes on a cushion.

In a chair, sit so your legs are at a 90 degree angle, hands on thighs or in lap.

3. As you begin, the mind will probably not want to be there.

The idea is that you are here to learn to notice the thoughts. What thoughts pop up, how do you physically react to them?

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.” – Steve Jobs

4. Pay attention to the breath

This is a great way to anchor yourself in your practice.

Focus on your breath flowing in and out of the body, like an ocean wave.

There are many ways to use the breath to aid in meditation – you may have learnt or experienced some of them if you have come to my free classes recently. 

A simple practice you can use at home is focusing on the warm air as it enters the body, and the cool air as it leaves the body.

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5. When a thought appears, simply look at it (use your attention) and return to the breath.

If you get completely caught up in a thought, you will soon notice. Just return to the breath, don’t judge yourself, don’t say “I can’t do this, I should stop.” That is a continued creation of the mind.

We’re looking for the peace, and equanimity (I got that word from Deepak Chopra) that comes with sitting with all of these thoughts and choosing to do nothing.

6.keep practising and allow yourself to quit being perfect!

You need to take a moment to sit down, with intention, and have no goals. You can’t force meditation to “do” or “be” something more than what it is on that given day, but accept it for what it is.

Being present in the moment is the challenge. But it is possible.

The time you’re sitting with your thoughts  – know that this is the practice. Hence why it is called a ‘practice’!

Often, I still get caught up in my reactions and find mental chatter. But, it’s okay. I am human. The main thing is, committing to your practice. Are you doing it?

 

7 tips for your first yoga class!

Yoga is suitable and beneficial for all, despite your age or fitness level.

Are you preparing to go to your first ever yoga class? Here are some things to remember:

1. Arrive to class 10 minutes early

This will allow you enough time to fill out any paperwork (probably just the first or second time), get your belongings set down at the side or back of the room and begin to connect with the idea that this is specific ‘me’ that you deserve!

Also, this will help you to place your yoga mat in a comfortable place in the room without disrupting others!

If for some reason you are late, try and make eye contact with the teacher to check it’s okay to enter the room and be respectful of your fellow classmates – place your mat down gently so you don’t disturb the class.

2. Eat light food before yoga class

Keep the day of your first yoga class light and simple by having healthy food at least two and half hours before class. Try and steer clear of saucy, fried, fatty, spicy, and high-acid food as they take longer to digest.

If you want to eat a quick snack a couple of hours before class, grab yoghurt, fruit or vegetables.

3. Drink plenty of water before and after the class to keep you hydrated.

In a typical yoga class, you will lose water weight. Better if you start drinking water at least two hours before your class since your body needs time to absorb the water properly for hydration.
Over time, you’ll learn how much water your body needs before and after the class.

4. Wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict your movement:

You don’t need to wear long trousers or leggings although you can – just wear something you feel relaxed and confident in.

Remember that unlike running or other gym exercises, you will be bending and stretching a lot, so loose clothes tend to fall in your face during downward poses and it will become difficult for the teacher to check your alignment.

Take your shoes off! Yoga is practised barefoot; shoes and socks are generally not permitted unless they have grips underneath. Being barefoot allows more grip on the mat in various poses.

If you have any problem being barefoot, invest in a pair of yoga socks!
(I’ll be doing a review of my Toesox pretty soon so stay tuned!)

5. Talk to the teacher!

Have a brief conversation with the teacher before the class starts: Many people are shy or uncomfortable talking to the teacher, but please understand that they want to help you 🙂

This will enable you to have the best experience possible during your first class. And believe me, a teacher will provide adjustments and more detailed instructions if you tell them you’re new!

Make sure to let your teacher know of any limitations and medical conditions you have that might affect your practice. Most yoga poses can be adjusted to your needs and the teacher can help you modify.

6. Keep your mobile phone off!

Maintaining a sense of clam and stillness in the room is difficult when someone’s phone is ringing and—it’s distracting for others too!

7. Let go of the ego

There is no place for comparative thinking in yoga. If you are practicing in a place that makes you feel judged then this is not the right place for you to be.

No one is going to judge you here.

As a yoga practitioner I myself am real and human – with my limitations and struggles too. I understand that everyone has their own physical mental, or emotional needs which come into play in their practice.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t yet do the specific pose or your body is not super flexible.
Always honour your body — and work within a pain free range.

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Happy learning, newbie yogis – See you on the mat!

5 tips to bring Ayurveda into your home

Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga.

 

The word Ayurveda, when translated from its sanskrit form, technically means the science of life. Beyond that it’s a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that teaches you how to live in harmony with the laws of nature.
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Here are some simple ways you can start adapting to live a life more in line with the ayurvedic principles.

 

1. ditch the table salt, instead go for Himalayan salt.

Table salt is highly processed— it  has few nutrients and can cause fluid retention.  Himalayan salt has lots of trace minerals and regulates fluid balance in the body!

2. Instead of ground black pepper, try a pepper grinder.

Black pepper helps relieve indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, parasites and respiratory congestion. Personally I love making chai and including Black Pepper in my tea to help clear out the sinuses and help me breathe more easily. Personally, pre-ground black pepper doesn’t deliver. It lacks the potency of freshly ground black pepper from a pepper grinder, which is why it’s never very pungent.

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3. Instead of butter, try ghee.

Ghee is clarified butter. It is highly regarded in Ayurveda for its healing properties.

Ghee has more medium and short-chain fats than butter, and has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol! It nourishes the body tissues and improves immunity, memory and intellect, stimulates the digestive fire and improves digestion—can you honestly say the same about butter?

Side note: I remember growing up as a little girl peeling packs of butter ready for my mother to heat to turn into ghee! Stay posted for an upcoming post on how to make your own ghee!

4. For cooking try coconut oil.

Coconut oil has many benefits and is a good replacement for any cooking oil, especially canola and ‘vegetable oil.’

Use in moderation thats the key! Coconut oil can withstand high temperatures—making it great for cooking—for all my vegan friends a great alternative to ghee!

5. USE JAGGERY INSTEAD OF REFINED WHITE SUGAR

White sugar is processed with chemicals and bleaches which reduces its nutritional content. Jaggery is a more raw, less processed form of sugar that contains calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and some B vitamins.

Ayurveda talks strongly about improving one’s digestive fire and jaggery is a greatly beneficial here and encourages healthy bowels.

This enables the flow of prana (life force) as the body is able to eliminate waste and digest existing food effectively.

Remember that there can be too much of a good thing so moderate your intake – just because the above are healthier than other options it is all about finding balance for your body 🙂

Over to you……!

How do you us ayurvedic herbs and spices in your kitchen? 

Would you like to learn more about how to use yoga in order to balance your ayurvedic dosha? 

Comment below…

Bedtime yoga sequence

This is part of a special request video series which I created for one of my private clients who was happy for me to share this here.

If you have trouble sleeping or just need a little help winding down, this yoga video is for you. It’s a before bed yoga sequence that’s designed to quiet the mind and includes a gentle inversion.

As with any inversion Viparita Karani should be avoided if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma.

Note: If you have serious neck or back problems only perform this pose with the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Variation: If your feet begin to tingle during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.

Let’s talk Do you have trouble falling asleep? What do you do when you have difficulty sleeping?

Last thing If you haven’t already, subscribe to my newsletter for more videos and tips!

5 Ways to use Coconut Oil and see the benefits!

Coconut oil is growing in popularity. here is why:

  1. Scientific research has proven that despite being high in saturated fats, it is actually extremely good for us! Although it is still a saturated fat, coconut oil contains a type of fatty acids called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which are more efficiently metabolised by your body, boosting energy levels! To retain the properties it is best not to heat the oil to high temperatures.

2. Facial Cleansing!

Now coconut oil is becoming the chosen substitute for almost everything in the bathroom cabinets. You can use coconut oil to remove make-up and cleanse your skin! Apply some to a small part of your skin and use warm water and a flannel to gently remove any impurities. If you have no adverse reactions use on a larger area of the face. Using the flannel with the oil acts as an exfoliator!

3. Moisturise!

Are you tired of having to read all the ingredients on creams? The best thing about using coconut oil is that you don’t have to worry about any unnecessary and harsh chemicals causing reactions and irritating the skin.

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4. Mouth wash.

Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic method for keeping the mouth clean. It involves putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and allowing it to melt before pushing and pulling the oil between your teeth for about 20 minutes.

It may sound crazy and its hard to get used to initially, so start of with 5 minutes and build up. You can give your teeth a brush afterwards but remember not to swallow the oil.

It is the lauric acid in coconut oil which gives it its antibacterial properties and what makes this Ayurvedic technique so effective in keeping the mouth clean. This technique can help prevent tooth decay, plaque build-up, bad breath and gingivitis. For me it reduced my tooth sensitivity and I noticed my gums become much healthier.

5. Boost immunity 

If you’re looking to boost your immunity naturally, simply eat a teaspoon of coconut oil a day. I have seen huge benefits from doing this and I have seen the number of everyday coughs and colds reduce since starting to use it.

Which brand to buy? Tune in to the blog soon for a review of different oils. Have a question? Contact me to ask!

Ideally, use organic, unrefined and extra virgin coconut oil to guarantee quality and as little processing as possible to give maximum natural benefits.