Shiatsu Massage & Yoga Studio

Shoulder and Upper Back Tension Release Tip

Use this rolled towel technique to release tension in the upper back and shoulders at home. You can try it while meditating, during Savasana at the end of your yoga practice or just relax for a ten minute cat nap. In the video I explain how to set up your towel, level with the lower edge of your scapula (shoulder blades). Move the towel slightly up or down from here until you find your comfortable spot!

While lying on your back consciously release and relax your back muscles, surrendering to the support of the floor and towel beneath you. Every time you exhale, release and relax at little more.

Listen to your body. If it becomes uncomfortable simply remove the towel. If your back is very tense slowly work up from just a few minutes towards ten minutes at each session. Always stop if it becomes uncomfortable. Enjoy.

Ask questions or let me know how you got on in the comments below.

Last Years Egg Bounty

The Rescue Chickens Are Laying

Rescue Hens - Before

Rescue Hens – Before

Rescue Hens - After

Rescue Hens – After

It’s a special day of excitement at home because the rescue hens that I gave a home to during the winter have started laying eggs.

They arrived with very few feathers, looking scrawny, combs flopped to the side and very pale (they ought to be pert and bright pink).

One of the poor girls was in such as state I had to make her a jumper from an old dressing gown. Having lived in cages their entire lives they had no idea what to do with the perch, so I lifted them both up onto it for the night to roost. We wondered if they’d make it through that first night. They did.

So today is a special day. Four months later – a picture of health, fully feathered and laying eggs. I had some for lunch. Fabulous and delicious. Bright yellow yokes like a dollop of sunshine. These birds are lucky to be alive. They survived factory farming and were given a second chance. Without the rehoming rescue scheme these birds would have been put to sleep to make way for younger birds with higher daily egg production even though these girls have a lot of life and eggs left in them yet. Does that seem right to you?

I’m glad they made it. I’m delighted my children watched them come back to full health. I’m grateful we will have free range healthy happy eggs to eat. I’m thrilled the hens have had a second chance, even if the fox gets them, at least they’ll have seen daylight, felt the sun on their wattle and combs, spread and flapped their wings, pecked at grass and heard the birds sing.

Yoga off the mat includes extending compassion to fellow humans and creatures. Chicken yoga :)

If you’re interested in re-homing rescue birds check out Little Hill Animal Rescue.

 

raw food pyramid

20 Edible Ways to Holistically Boost Health for Fertility

In order to give yourself the best chances of conceiving you need to provide your body with the most nourishing foods possible for optimal health. Whether or not you are hoping to boost fertility, boosting your general health baseline is one of the key factors to achieving health and staying healthy. If you are not 100%  healthy your body is will not invest precious resources into various bodily functions that will deplete your health further, the reproductive cycle is one such system that your body will not invest in if circumstances are not optimal. Wholefoods can help your quest for improved fertility and overall health. You’ll need your health to sustain a pregnancy and the energy to care for a baby, so embarking on a health quest prior to conception (for at least 3 months) makes a lot of sense. With a few small changes to your daily diet you’ll begin to feel amazing, look great and enjoy having lots of energy.

raw food pyramid

But don‘t take my word for it, give it a go and you’ll experience the benefits yourself. Once you do, you won’t want to go back. In fact, you’ll be so enthusiastic about your new found health and energy that you’ll probably be inspired to continue researching and changing your lifestyle, little bit by bit.

  1. Have a breakfast, it sets up healthy digestion for the day. Organic porridge is great value and delicious with chopped fresh fruit.
  2. Eat as much organic food as possible to reduce your toxic load.
  3. Replace white pasta and rice with whole wheat pasta and brown rice for prolonged energy and fullness feeling.
  4. Replace white bread with wholegrain brown bread.
  5. Eat less pasta and bread – limit pasta to once a week and bread to one slice a day.
  6. Instead of pasta and bread eat a wider variety of other carbohydrates such as rice, potato, butternut squash and quinoa.
  7. Reduce the amount of highly processed food you consume.  If there’s an ingredients list, the fewer the ingredients the better and ideally there should be nothing on the list other than food items you recognise. The longer the shelf life, the shorter yours.
  8. Eat a lot of salad. Then eat even more salad. Eat salad with every lunch and dinner. The enzymes in living raw foods assist with your digestion of all foods, especially helpful in digesting cooked foods you eat at the same sitting.
  9. Eat two pieces of fruit for your morning and afternoon snack.
  10. Cut out coffee and tea, replace it with dandelion coffee, rooibos tea or other caffeine free alternatives (but not decaffeinated tea or coffee).
  11. Replace fizzy and sugary drinks including sodas and fruit juices with filtered or spring water.
  12. Replace sugary processed sweets, chocolate and confectioneries with healthy treats such as dried fruit, banana or berries.
  13. Sprinkle a variety of chopped fresh herbs over each meal.
  14. Avoid any sugar free or low fat products.
  15. Cook using coconut oil.
  16. Use olive oil for salad dressings.
  17. Use coconut oil as a butter replacement or use organic butter from grass fed cows.
  18. Keep costs down by growing some herbs and greens at home. They do very well even in containers.
  19. Drink plenty of water to assist all of your bodies systems. Avoid tap water if possible, especially if it contains flouride and choride. Opt for filtered or spring water.
  20. Anyone trying to conceive should take a folic acid supplement … talk to your local health store for advice.

By following some or all of these guidelines your overall health will benefit and you gift yourself with the best chances of conceiving as your body balances in health and vitality.

Let me know which of the above changes you’ve implemented and how you’re getting on. Share any of your own simple wholefood changes or tips to the comments section.

Yoga tips for weak legs in class

Wobbly Legs In Yoga Class? How To Stabilise Your Legs.

 

Yoga tips for weak legs in class

Click on the poster above to enlarge the image

It’s really very important to ensure that your legs feel strong and stable when you are going into, in and coming out of any yoga pose. In particular for the standing poses the weakest joints may be vulnerable to injury if they aren’t consciously stabilised during a pose. This image will help to remind you of a checklist to mentally run through every time you practice at home. Your yoga teacher will be reminding you of these during your class and it’s important to have attended some classes before you begin to develop your home practice.

1. Root down through your feet
How? Bring your full attention to the soles of your feet. Feel the texture of the mat on the soles. Evenly distribute your weight on your feet.

2. Hug the muscles to the bone
Hug the muscles of the whole leg to the bone from foot to bum. It’s a gentle hug, like embracing a friend, rather than a iron grip!  This action stabilises the joints.

3. Draw foot to foot
Engage the muscles of your legs as if you were trying to scissor your feet together. If you were wearing socks on a slippy floor, your feet would slide together but the sticky mat keeps your soles where they are and the muscles you have engaged as to do this are now aligning your hips correctly.

4. Constantly listen to your body
Be fully present and aware of all physical sensations. You need to know when your body is tired. Stay in your zone of effort but do not cross the line into struggle, pain or tension … there is no benefit from this zone. Know when to come out of the pose, your teacher can’t know this for you.

Enjoy developing your home practice. It’s an exciting time.  Comment (link to comments below the title heading above) or  post on Facebook, let me know how you got on and ask any questions.

yoga poses for stronger legs

Four Yoga Poses For Stronger Legs & Self Love

yoga poses for stronger legsNot only will these asana help to improve the physical strength of your legs they are also a great way to bring your focus into the present moment , help you feel very grounded and clearly form your personal boundaries. Use them to increase your confidence levels and to decrease stress hormones.

Strike a Warrior 2 when you need to tap into your inner confidence, a Vrksasana tree pose to embrace your sway/balance, Trikonasana the triangle to help find a different perspective on life and Parsvakonasana for clarity. Any pose helps you to observe your self talk in a challenging situation, be kind with yourself, stay present, accept the challenge because stress arises when we can’t accept the reality of a situation that we are unable to change. Accept the now, with self love and trust that the rest will evolve and follow. Listen to the needs of your body, respect it’s limitations and be grateful for whatever level of pose you can move into today.

These are all strong poses that require guidance from a teacher until you know how to get into and out of them safely, so find a local teacher and then use reminders like this one to trigger your memory for your home practice.

How has yoga helped you?

 

Walking Meditation For Peace of Mind

Meditation is a very accessible way to calm and balance your nervous system, bringing a sense of peace and clarity. There are many different meditation techniques so if sitting quietly and focusing on your breath just sounds like torture to you then you could try a more active form of meditation, like this walking meditation. In this short video I guide you on a walking meditation along the beach but the setting really doesn’t matter (as long as you are safe and stay safe!), what matters is that you keep bringing your focus and attention back to your feet, the process of walking, the sensations in your feet, the movement of your feet. Keep coming back to that. If it helps include the mantra I suggest ‘I have arrived, I am home’, a favourite of Thich Nhat Hanh. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

Fertility Infograph

Maximise Holistic Health to Maximise Fertility

Everything we do from the moment we are born affects our fertility and general health.  We are what we eat but I believe in taking that a little further to include ‘we are what we do and what we think‘ too.  When a decision has been made to start a family there is no greater incentive to clean up your life – physically, mentally and emotionally as part of your preconceptual care programme. Three months is often suggested as a good length of time to embrace these changes because it takes that long for sperm to be produced. Eggs are present in women from before birth but each month one or more eggs reach maturity.  So after three months of healthy living, conception can then occur with eggs and sperm which have been exposed to your new healthy lifestyle choices and you will also be feeling like a new person, fit for pregnancy and parenthood.

Once you implement some changes you will see and feel the benefits within days and within a few months your reproductive system will be responding well too. If you’ve been trying to conceive for quite some time it might be time to dig deeper into appropriate life changes that can significantly improve your chances of conception either naturally or during assisted conception procedures.

Fertility Infograph

For our bodies to function optimally in all respects, not just for reproduction, we need to get some very basic things right. This is a list of areas to review in your life where improvements could enhance fertility naturally. Which of these areas need the most attention and improvement in your life?

  1. Ingest enough high quality nourishment to optimally run and repair your body processes.
  2. Eliminate refined and processed foods that are damaging to your body.
  3. Nurture and reinstate your gut flora with live probiotics and prebiotics.
  4. Excrete wastes effectively from your body so toxins don’t accumulate.
  5. Get enough sleep.
  6. Address stress by activating your relaxation response because stress switches off or downgrades certain body processes including the reproductive system.
  7. Physical movement will amplify the benefits.

In another post next week I’ll be making some suggestions to address some of these points.