What if i told you you could retreat right where you are whenever you wanted?
I have created a beautifully presented e-guide which supports you on how to do just that!
I’ve been working on this for a long time and i’m so excited to share with you.
My new e-guide provides you with ways to enhance your retreat at home. Filled with over 60 pages of worksheets, exercises, recipes and beautiful pictures.
Retreats have been a big part of my life for a while now, I’ve taught on many, attended many and had all sorts of wonderful experiences. My NEW BOOK; Retreat At Home, takes you on your own retreat journey that can be created wherever you are and whenever you want.
Within this e-guide you will find:
What a retreat is
How to prepare for a retreat
A retreat schedule to follow
Recipes for meal times
…AND SO MUCH MORE!
Available to download as a pdf on your digital device or print off and use as a workbook.
First up if you’re thinking..”my what system“that’s ok. A lot of people are unsure on what this actually is..
The lymphatic system is made up of nodes, ducts and fluid. It runs close to your skin, it helps remove products of metabolism and serves as a pathway for the cells of the immune system.
In short it’s closely linked to our immunity, health and happiness. It is especially important in times of stress on the body and mind, so if you’ve been unwell, are recovering from surgery or are burnt out, some therapeutic yoga focusing on the lymphatic system may be of benefit.
In general yoga is good for keeping the lymph actively working, here are some simple and gentle things you can do to get the lymphatic system moving:
Reach your arms up in the air and take a few breaths then relax them back down
Elevate your lower body with props and take some slow deep breaths:
Standing side bends.
Plant your feet firming on the earth, slightly apart.
Reach one arm up in the air. Stay here if that feels enough or if you would like reach up and over to the side.
Breathe in to come back upright and relax the arm down.
Always listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right stop. Enjoy moving slowly and safely.
Our mind and bodies are made up of elements just like the world around us. Learn how to access simple hand gestures designed to help with overall well-being.
In Yoga and Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science: the knowledge of life) it is explained that we have each of the five elements within our body and through the changing seasons, lifestyle, diet and personality we can have more of one or two (dominant).
One way to balance elements within the body is by practicing something called mudras. A mudra is a gesture/shape made with the body, a hasta mudra is a gesture with the hands.
In the picture above I’ve labelled each finger to show which elements they represent. This is the same for both hands.
Before practising any mudras, make sure your hands and the joints are warmed up by trying the following exercises:
Warm up those joints
curl fingers into a fist and squeeze, then open and spread fingers wide (repeat a few times)
You can try clapping to remove any stagnation (clapping also evokes joy, think about when you usually clap!)
Rub palms of hands together for 10 seconds or more
Anjali mudra/ Atmanjali mudra (gesture of prayer/gratitude)
This gesture brings harmony, balance, silence and peace.
Bring both palms together in front of the chest, gently press/rest the thumbs into the chest. Take 10 slow breaths and concentrate on your hands, when you feel ready to finish gently bow your head towards your heart and take a moment to think of something you are grateful for.
This mudra makes it into most yoga classes as a lot of teachers use it as a greeting to open or close a session. In terms of the elements, it symbolizes a balance and a coming together of/ union of all the elements. All fingers gather together at one central point. It also helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. A great mudra for balance, inner reverence and a great opportunity to give thanks.
Chin mudra/ Jnana mudra The gesture of knowledge/consciousness
Supports memory concentration, relaxes the mind, encourages a sense of grounding.
Bring the tip of your thumb and first fingers together, all other fingers stretch outwards slightly. Relax the back of your hands on your knees, close of soften your eyes and focus on your finger tips.
This mudra brings together the fire (thumb) and air (index finger) elements bringing a balance to the mind and is said to connect us to our higher self. For that reason this mudra is used a lot in meditation practices.
There are many mudras that can help with your overall well-being if you’d like to know more or if I can be of any service to you personally then do get in touch 🙂
It is written in the ancient yoga texts that performing this gesture diverts flow of prana (energy) from the hands to the heart. The heart is the centre of emotion.
HRIDAYA MUDRA can help to release pent up emotions and unburden the heart. It can be useful during emotional conflict or crisis. – simple, safe and easy, even in acute situations!
BENEFITS that you may feel from this practice:
– A release or calming of emotions
– Giving yourself time to process and deal with emotions
– Energy/ sensations in your hands/arms/chest
– A slightly clearer head
– A pick me up/ energiser/ recharger (could replace your afternoon coffee with it?)
Place your index fingers at the root of your thumbs, join the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the tips of your thumbs. The little finger remains straight.
Place the hands on your knees or lap, palms upward.
Sit up tall and take a few breaths
Close your eyes if you like.
Try to relax your body slightly.
Focus your attention on the sensation of energy moving from your hands up towards your heartspace.
Stay for as long as you feel comfortable, try for a minute or two and see how it feels. (If this position isn’t available on your body you can use the wonderful power of your imagination)
The sound of the water boiling, the feel and smell of spices. The sense of making magic. There is nothing more satisfying to me. As a kid I used to love making mud pies and fairy cakes in the garden and I guess the act of making teas and decoctions reminds me of that magic.
Anyone who knows me and has mentioned their digestion is probably sick of me talking about this herbal tea recipe. I drink it daily and especially when im trying to cleanse my digestive system a little (after one to many donuts the week before ha!) So here it is in all its glory.
Ayurvedic CCF tea
You will need:
2 cups of water
1 tsp each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds.
Place the water and the spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn it down and let it simmer for a few minutes. turn off the flame let it steep for another minute, strain and pour. Top of with a squeeze of fresh lime and some ginger if you fancy. This tea is a digestive and isn’t sweet, you can add some sweetener of choice, although for its benefits its better to have without.
You can pour this in a flask and sip between meals.
Do you want to practise yoga but fear you can’t get into some of the bendy shapes?
Or do you already practise but find theres not really any support or options for certain postures in your body?
Yoga should be accessible to all adn I’m on a mission to make my classes a little more inclusive. (If you have any info or ideas on how I can improve my skills and offerings as a teacher do let me know!)
1. If you suffer from sore knees, pad the knee with a blanket or whatever you have handy in a class (a jumper or scarf works well too, or an extra mat). For support you can use two blocks either side of your front foot to hold on to.
2. If you have access to a chair sit on the edge of the side and slide one leg back. Press into both feet and either hold the back of the chair or reach both hands up.
3. If you are in a class and there’s no props, use the wall. Place one foot towards the wall, step the other back and press your hands into the wall for support.
I’m a British wheel of yoga teacher who is trying to make general yoga classes a little more accessible and inclusive. Let me know what you need more of in a yoga class!!
The ability to breathe is known as a normal function of the body. We don’t think about it, we don’t have to put any effort in, the body just takes in and expels air on its own. It’s not something we are taught as children, like tying our shoes laces. It just sort of happens. (And when you think about it, it’s an unappreciated miracle!)
However, what we are unaware of, is how we are breathing, especially in times or stress, panic, anger or upset.
Often we aren’t breathing at our lungs full capacity and this can have a huge impact on how the mind and body function.
Learning how we breathe; TRY THIS SIMPLE EXERCISE to learn how you are breathing:
-Begin laying down on the floor/ bed/ sofa and take a moment to notice where you feel your breath move in your body. You don’t need to do anything, just observe how your body receives and lets go of each breath. Notice where there is movement when you breathe. If possible, breathe in and out through the nose.
-To help you feel your breath, place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest. Notice the gentle movement beneath your hands for a few breaths. Keep observing.
-Then see if you can start to deepen the breath by taking a longer inhale and a longer exhale. Notice how this feels.
See if on your next exhale you can breathe right to the end of your breath, getting rid of the last drop of air in your lungs.
Then taking a longer in breath, filling your lungs with fresh air. (This should feel really good! If it doesnt, you might be over-straining yourself.)
-Continue this process of a long exhale and a long inhale for 4 more breaths. Then relax your hands down beside you, return to your natural breath and observe how you feel.
Do you notice any difference from before and after? Are you aware of where your breath moves in your body? Do you feel you breathe more into your belly or your chest?
Sometimes it’s as simple as learning how we are breathing in a situation and seeing if we can take a deeper longer breath.
Savasana, known as the “corpse pose”, is practised as a relaxation at the end of a yoga class. For some this can be the hardest posture as it involves staying still, relaxing the areas we sometimes naturally hold on to and trying to slow down the mind.
At a symbolic level, savasana represents the death of our limited beliefs. The process of yoga is said to dissolve these limited beliefs and the suffering associated with them.
To making the process of relaxation a little easier here are my top tips for RELAXING LIKE A QUEEN 🙂
Support your body with props! Props can become your best friend if used correctly!
If you find your chin is pointing high up to the ceiling and the back of your neck is compressed, try placing a folded blanket or a thin yoga block under the back of your head.
Can’t keep your eyes closed? If you are in a class and a teacher offers you an eye pillow say yes! Eye pillows gentle soften tension around the whole eye area. A little bit of weight around the eyes stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system the “relaxation response” in the body.
BACK PAIN? Keep the knees bent! Trying placing a rolled up blanket/towel/ pilow or bolster under your knees to help you relax but take some tension off of the back.
PREGNANT? Try lying on your left side, knees bent with a folded blanket or pillow between your knees.
MIND WANDERING? For me a good savasana has a little bit of guidance to help you relax, some teachers leave a complete silent space and for some this situation can be even harder to relax in. If that is the case, focus on your breath and add a count of 4 to your inhale and exhale. Each time your mind wanders off, take a deep breath and focus on your exhale relaxing each part of your body.
When used correctly props really can make yoga so much more enjoyable and ACCESSIBLE! Yoga is not about what shape you make, but how it feels for YOU in your OWN BODY!
If you know you can safely use essential oils, choose some to help you relax like lavender or clary sage.
If you are touch sensitive and respond positively from touch, ask a teacher for hands on adjusments to ease the body into the earth more. Try these tips and let me know if they make a difference to your relaxation time.
How we spend the first moments when we rise can have a huge impact on the rest of our day!
In yoga and ayurveda it is advised to clean the mouth and tongue when waking before drinking any liquids. This is done using a metal tongue scrape to remove any build up that has occured over night. This helps to reduce “ama” which is the accumilation of toxins.
After you’ve scraped your tongue and given your mouth a rinse, it’s best to start with warm to hot fluids.
Starting the day with cooled hot water with a slice or squeeze of lemon is said to stimulate the “agni” which is your digestive fire! It basically starts to get the digestion in motion.
STRETCH AND SWAY:
Whilst the kettle or pan of water boils, take the opportunity to press your feet firmly into the ground reach your arms up in the air and have a big stretch. Relax the hands down by your sides and then sway and twist from side to side; waking up the spine gently.
Once the water is heated, pour over a slice of lemon.
Find a comfortable seat, inhale the scent and steam from your cup.
Take 30 seconds to take a couple more deep breaths and then pick ONE small thing you are grateful for.