Notes From my Yoga Journal – Paschimottanasana (Sitting Forward Bend)

I’ve finally done it! After years of research and at-home practice I am finally registered on a Yoga Teacher Training Programme and I couldn’t be more excited! Those of you that have read my post A New Path to Wellness you will already know my affinity to Dru Yoga – a soft, flowing form of yoga which teaches the asanas as continuous movement or, to quote their own phrase; ‘stillness in motion’ and the effect it has had on my life. In short, I’ve gone from feeling empty to feeling utterly fulfilled, spiritually, mentally and physically by the virtue of yoga.

I spent yesterday on day one of my course (although I’ve actually missed the first few sessions so have a little catching up to do!) and woke up this morning inspired to roll out my mat and practise what I learned. The learning materials that accompany the course have given me deeper knowledge of asanas that I thought I was familiar with and my journal has served as a great reminder of quotes, conversations and my own feelings from the day. One asana that thoroughly stood out to me yesterday was Paschimottanasana, or ‘sitting forward bend’ to you and I! I had no idea that such a seemingly simple and everyday pose held such greatness. It can certainly be described as a ‘master pose’, with its positive effects on attachments and stress helping to fulfill the Yamas of Brahmacharya (Self-restraint) and Aparigraha (Non-grapsing). ‘Using the senses wisely’ was the turn of phrase that I felt really encapsulated the benefits of Paschimottanasana.

When done correctly Paschimottanasana:

  • Helps to release fear and amplify courage
  • Controls dominating desires
  • Calms the swadhisthana chakra
  • Awakens the spirit

Plus has the following physical benefits:

  • Stretches the hamstrings and lower back muscles
  • Tones abdominals
  • Strengthens pelvic floor
  • Stimulates the kidneys, liver, pancreas and adrenal glands
  • Helps with conditions such as diabetes

How to do Paschimottasana

Sit upright with your legs outstretched in front of you. Focus on sitting on your sit bones (You may need to physically hoick your buttocks out from under you!) and extend your spine upwards towards the ceiling.

Breathe in and bring your arms up above your above your head so that your palms face down and your fingertips just meet. Exhale and re-engage your core whilst relaxing your shoulders.

Inhale and stretch your spine upwards towards the ceiling and then on an exhalation hinge from the hips (Not the waist!) bringing your chest down towards your legs. Keep extending (Inhale) and lowering (Exhale) until your torso is closer to, or resting on your legs. You may not get this far comfortably so do not over stretch or fold at the waist in earnest – it is better to ensure an extended spine and hinging from the hips, than to force your body down by curving the spine over.  Stop where you naturally reach and grab hold of your feet or further up your legs and rest here, continuing to extend and lower discreetly as you inhale and exhale.

Paschimottanasana-forward-fold

I would recommend this pose as something to practise regularly – perhaps as part of your daily yoga or to heal and de-stress when you need help with something overwhelming.

I hope you enjoyed this extract from my yoga journal, I hope to write more posts like this as I journey through my training. Please let me know how you get on with Paschimottanasana in the comments below.

Jaime xx

 

Image credit: Care2

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#reasonsforbeinghappy – week 7

Running = endorhphins = happiness.

I’ve recently got back into running again and alongside my tri-weekly yoga practice, running keeps me incredibly fit and allows me to enjoy the outdoors in a purposeful way.  Need an excuse for getting out and exploring the local area? Go running! I love discovering new routes and tracking my progress with the Run Keeper App, it truly is a great way to get those happy hormones flowing and the perfect compliment to any yogi’s fitness schedule.

Week 7

1. New running kit!

A friend recently recommended Asics as a good start point for decent running shoes.  My old Nikes were not providing my weak arches with enough support and I was getting referred pain in my knees every time I ran, and so it was time to replace them with something more effective. The staff in my local Asicis store were knowledgeable and helpful and along with chatting about my running regime and history they provided a gait analysis, which allowed them to match the footwear perfectly to my needs.  The trainers I chose had built-in arch/ankle support and good shock absorbency for my knees, and I’ve really been enjoying getting out for a run in the fresh air again.

2. Lighter, brighter evenings.

Arriving home from work in daylight is just so relieving. The heavy hug of Winter darkness is finally waning, and just like Spring bulbs which are sprouting everywhere here in Kent; I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel – It’s the 1st of March and Spring is almost here! That also means its time to get into the garden and get ready for a fruitful Summer growing season.

3. A growing blog – progress at last!

This week since the big migration I have seen a vast improvement in my stats, more followers and the beginnings of a pinterest following.  Its been really inspiring and whilst I still struggle to balance the home/work/blog balance, I have lots of exciting new ideas in the pipeline to improve Green Dreams and Yoga – thank you all so much for the continued support! As a relatively new blogger I need your help more than ever to grow and improve – don’t forget you can also find and follow me on  facebook, twitter, pinterest, bloglovin and please keep sharing with your green friends!

What are your #reasonsforbeinghappy this week? Please share them below for us all to enjoy!

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#reasonsforbeinghappy – week 6

Happiness is our natural state – the human default if you like.  Just look at the children around you; unaffected by learned cynicism, prejudice and judgement, they are free to enjoy life and all that their world has to offer them.  Children aren’t bound so tightly by societal norms, niceties and routines; they are free, to an extent, to be who they are and express themselves as such. When you consider how life begins, it’s such a monumental shame that we as society, strip our children of their default state; their happiness, by squeezing those happy little individuals into clearly labelled boxes and packing them off for a life built on adhering to ‘the norm’.

It’s a difficult cycle to break! We need society and modern life with its rules,regulations, niceties and comfort, of course, but we can relish in snippets of childhood wonder and punctuate our lives – however normal – with those things that make us most happy. Those things that bring us back – even if just for a moment – to our default state.  Happiness.

Week 6

1. Roses are red

Its more than a week after Valentines Day and the beautiful deep red roses which arrived, husband-in-tow, the evening before the 14th are still flourishing in their cream-enamel jug. Flowers maketh a happy human.

2. Catch up with a close one

My beautiful friend Naomi came to visit this weekend all the way from sunny ‘saaf’ London. Being a busy mum and teacher, 24 hours of high-quality adult company and help keeping the small ones entertained,  was utter bliss. We get so caught up with the drudgery of everyday life – especially if family and friends are far away, so visits like these are the perfect antidote to sadness.

3. Blogging like a pro…almost!

The big site migration! I feel like a wildlife trekker following migrating birds as they navigate their way across hemispheres in search of warmer climes. Except it’s not the natural world but the virtual one, that has had me on the edge of my seat this week.  Yes, I have finally taken the plunge and in addition to my new domain name, I have now moved away from the wordpress.com platform and am officially self-hosted at Godaddy! (Yay!) I must say, it wasn’t without its hair-pulling moments and flashes of gritted teeth, but lots of tea, a Twitter plea, plenty of phone calls and two square eyes later – I have just about finished rebuilding my site. I’m sure it’s not without it’s hiccups and I’m still updating/adding my widgets – please let me know if you come across any errors when viewing the blog!

#reasonsforbeinghappy from across the blogosphere!

@007nai: “I’m happy that despite having an exam next week, I know exactly what to do to relax – great friends like you and the gym!  ”

@amyloves_: “For some quiet time on my own so I can enjoy long meditation ” (www.amy-loves.co.uk)

Indulge in your #reasons this week and find that default setting. Find your happy.

Jaime xx

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Seasonal Yoga – Winter

I was lucky enough to find a new class this week. Housed in a beautiful local environment centre, I’d been to this place lots before with my children; where we’d walk, forage and stop for hot chocolate on chilly afternoons. This week I followed up on a poster I’d seen on one such afternoon and grabbed a spot in a Kundalini Yoga class. My previous yoga experience has mainly been with Dru Yoga (and of course my beloved Yoga Studio app) so I was excited to branch out and develop my practice. I learnt so much in that first session and having spent the past 24 hours rolling the new wisdom around in my mind, I want to share a mantra that really stood out to me; work with the seasons.

In Winter, we naturally want to hibernate. We plump up to keep warm and as the sun rises later, so we find the waking harder, forcing our feet to find the chilly floor in the cave-like room, like early daffodils eager to bloom in the midst of January. The midst of Winter. We spend our evenings curled up with blankets and we slow down, a little, saving big plans for Spring holidays and long summers. Well this week my sleepy eyes were opened; we can, and must, extend this mantra into our practice. Don’t fight Winter, go with it. We are naturally less supple in the cold and for most of us, the last thing we want to do is wake ourselves up with a dynamic set of poses. Like birds who stop singing in Winter, we too need to conserve energy to survive the winter hardship, save the exertion for the Spring and for now, hibernate. Give in to the season and give yourself time, check your awareness as it flows from the top of your body and into your feet in soft waves. Do this in abundance. Now is the time to indulge in you and indulge in the still and the quiet.

In terms of yoga, Winter is not the time for ferocious challenges, for a billion rounds of sun salutations or for contorting your rigid muscles into new poses. Save it. Save it and be glad to know that you can tackle these with joy in the sun-blessed mornings of Spring, but for now be rested. Meditate and keep a soft, flowing practice, indulge in savasana and bring your focus back to the gentle fizz of awareness in your body.

Light a candle for your practice this weekend and lay still, check your awareness from top to tail and then hug your knees to your chest, gently pivoting them forward and back as you breathe in time. Compress – breathe out, release – breath in, letting your tummy fill deeply with air. Compress, release, compress.

Indulge in you this winter.

Jaime xx

Image credit: www.bevitality.com

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#reasonsforbeinghappy Week 3

Ok, so it’s not strictly week 3 but thanks to a busy start-of-term, I’m only just catching up on the blog! Anyway, labels, timekeeping and routine have never been strong points of mine! I’m here to champion the chaotic, the spontaneous and the late. Spend your time having the fun, rather than being punctual in documenting it. That’s my blogger motto anyway!

Here are my latest happy things:

1. Wildlife Walks
It’s been a gorgeous start to January here in Kent. Mornings lay heavy with grey-white mist and afternoons soon warm with low Winter sun-beams, penetrating the cold air in long, golden strands. We’ve had some lovely walks this week and have explored some new beauty spots in our local area; like Bedgebury Pinetum and our local favourite; the Ashford Community Woodland. Boots thick with mud, red noses and misty breath, all synonymous with glorious Winter walking.

2. Young Poet in the Making

My eldest daughter stood up in front of the whole school this week and impressed us all with her poem about the colours of Mexico, beautifully read and wonderfully written. I love poetry and I’m so pleased my children are also inspired to write; it’s good for the soul! Huge proud mummy moment!

3. Saving Orphaned Rhinos
On Monday, I had the pleasure of introducing a speaker from conservation charity OSCAP, at school assembly. She spoke of the imminent threat to South Africa’s wildlife, particularly the rhino, and what we could all do to help. In response to this we have begun a colouring competition at school and have also been selling beautiful rhino pins and bracelets in order to raise money for a new rhino ambulance. These ambulances are specially designed to pick up orphaned rhino calves in the wild who tend to stay close to their murdered mothers and then invariably die due to starvation/dehydration or predation. I am so pleased we can help this wonderful cause. If you would like make a donation or purchase a pin/bracelet please get in touch!

What are your #reasonsforbeinghappy this week?

Jaime xx

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#reasonsforbeinghappy

Week 1

Welcome to my new weekly feature! I have begun this weekly treat, to encourage us to seek out the positives in our lives and to show gratitude for the things, people and experiences we already have and value most. It carries a catchy hashtag as it’s title, which I will use to discover the happy-making events shared on twitter and the blog’s Facebook page, and will include some the best ones in the post each Sunday.

Here are mine this week:

1. A beautiful, fun, relaxing half-term week with my girls. As a busy primary school teacher I rarely get to spend quality time with my children during term time. I am however, lucky enough to work at my children’s school, so during those long busy days I at least get to snatch hugs and waves as we cross paths throughout the day. Although nothing beats being ‘mummy’ during the holidays.

2. My brother’s home! After seven long seven years away my wonderful younger sibling has now returned. It’s been really special getting the chance to catch up in the flesh and having him spend some time with his nieces. They adore their ‘Uncle Dan’ and as a wondering spirit, no matter how far away he may again go, we’ll always treasure the bond we have.

3. My amazing husband returned home with delicious chocolates on our third ‘monthiversary’ this week! We were lucky enough to have had a beautiful summer wedding in July and it still feels as though we are on that same high we felt many weeks ago. He’s a very special man, I have a feeling his name will be making regular appearances on my #reasonsforbeinghappy list.

#reasonsforbeinghappy from around the globe:

@JessLMontgomery:

getting to spend some quality time with old friends this weekend #reasonsforbeinghappy

@_SugarRose_:

spending the day decorating cakes and working on marshmallow recipes- veggie option too! #reasonsforbeinghappy

Amy of Amy Loves:

#reasonsforbeinghappy – I’m surrounded by love & support, every single day which makes me very happy x

Did your #reasonsforbeinghappy appear this week? Thank you for sharing with us and spreading the joy!

From the most dazzling sunrise, the bluebells in Spring or reading bedtime stories with your children, showing gratitude; taking stock of how lucky we really are, is a one-way street to wellness, enlightenment and most of all, happiness. So tell me, what are your most precious #reasonsforbeinghappy this week? Please share your lists below, with as many reasons as you like, and spread the gratitude!

Jaime x

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Purple Healing Juice

I love this time of year. The world around us is filled with the colours, sights and sounds of Autumn and best of all, we are reeping the rewards of the Summer’s vegetable harvest. With the change in seasons however, come some familiar battles. Our skin and hair may begin to suffer as the sunlight wanes and central heating clicks on for those chilly, misty mornings. Colds and viruses too, cling on and linger in the cool, damp air and chesty coughs can seem to last forever. I always feel tired this time of year, the heat and fun of Summer are a distant memory as we begin to wake up in the dark and plan for the coming festive season.

Diet plays a huge part in how we feel, so in addition to your hearty vitamin-packed soups, fresh local fruit and plenty of water; I’ve created a fabulous seasonal juice recipe to heal and refuel this Autumn.

Pomegranates are incredibly high in vitamin C and potassium. Pomegranate juice is also high in three different types of polyphenols, a potent form of antioxidant. The three types – tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid – are present in many fruits, but fresh pomegranate juice contains particularly high amounts of all three.

As well as all the vitamins, beetroot juice has been proven to have beneficial effects on blood pressure and fitness output. So instead of your usual caffeine hit, feel energised, refuelled and refreshed with the juice of this beautiful Autumn vegetable.

As a natural anti-inflammatory, a large dose of ginger is the perfect antidote to the lingering coughs and colds of Autumn and will help to soothe the worst of the seasonal aches and pains away. I love ginger and try to drink it steeped in warm lemon water as much as possible, but here it makes an appearance in another delicious juice recipe.

You will need:
1 pomegranate
1 – 2 medium sized beets
Minimum 1/4 inch piece of Ginger
1 carrot
1 apple
A large handful of dark leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale or cavolo nero all provide excellent nutrition and a large boost of chlorophyll)

To Prepare:
1. Wash and soak your greens.
2. To open your pomegranate; cut a circle at the top of the fruit about an inch wide around the brown ‘nib’, remove this lid. Then, make five or six (depending on the size and shape of your pomegranate) cuts down each ridge on the main body of the fruit, but take care not to break the plump seed pods contained inside. Carefully remove all the seed pods and pop in the juicer. (For a clear step-by-step on preparing your pomegranate, click here, for a handy fact sheet by Waitrose.
3. Wash, top and tail your beetroot and carrot and add to the juicer.
4. Pop the soaked greens and slice of ginger into the juicer and juice, finishing with your apple to push through any remaining pieces.

Drink fresh and feel revived!

*Tip: For maximum output, I always rehydrate my leafy greens (especially if they’re pre-cut) in a bowl of cold water for around 15 mins prior to juicing.

Jaime x

Image Credit: The Jolly Beetroot

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Seven Steps to Sustainable Living.

Ok, so reading this won’t turn you into an off-grid permaculturalist, but I hope it will give those, still unwavering slaves to major brands, some simple steps to going a little greener. It’s easy to be green. Going green, or greener, doesn’t have to be hard work or expensive. In fact, it is often far cheaper to buy ethically, or even make your own, with many basic products. Stop! Don’t panic, I’m not asking that you go and whip up a batch of cleaning spray, but just to ‘stop and think’, with every purchase or habit – could this be done more sustainably and possibly more cheaply in another way? It’s about change and growth and new ideas; yes you’ve always used that brand of deodorant, but could you be missing out on one that is more effective and better for you? Perhaps that supermarket you shop at is draining more that just your bank balance, and although your local farm shop cannot claim to compete with these giants for quantity, it sure can on quality. Who on earth needs a billion food products wrapped in plastic anyway?!

Below is a list of seven really, really simple ways to go greener and improve not only your own health, but the health of those you love and you’ll help to save the planet while doing so!

1. Buy recycled toilet tissue.
This to me, seems a complete no-brainer, I genuinely have no idea why there is a market for luxury loo roll, but millions of Britons everyday, still feel the need to spend lots of their hard-earned pounds on quilted, patterned and frilly rolls of toilet tissue that is simply going to be flushed away seconds after use! For the same money or at times even less (depending on where you shop) you can purchase loo roll that has been made from recycled material. For all your guilt-free bottom wiping needs!

2. Visit your local farm shop or farmers market.
We have two glorious farm shops nearby; Pluckley Farm Shop which also has a fabulous range of local preserves and handmade goodies, and The 4 Seasons Farm Shop which in addition to the usual veggie-shaped wares, sells homemade gluten free cakes and even stocks coconut oil! Whilst you may not be able to – or want to – do your entire weekly shop at your local farm store, you will be surprised just how much you can purchase and it’s fun too! I regularly take my children to visit farmers markets in the local area and really enjoy meeting other like-minded families, visiting the gorgeous places they’re often held in and seeing what’s actually is season. [You will not find strawberries in February] Remember organic isn’t fancy – it’s the original way to shop and eat; our grand parents didn’t have ‘organic’ food because their shopping was intrinsically more seasonal, local and organic than it is now. They also didn’t do ‘big shops’ – they shopped locally and regularly. Plus, as my grandfather did; most families grew at least some varieties of vegetables at the bottom of the garden.

3. Walk or cycle more.
It’s a sign of the times and we are all guilty of jumping into the car for those short journeys that really could be walked or cycled. We live busy lives these days and it’s often due to time constraints that we resort to burning petrol, as we have a million and one things to get done in that half hour we have before starting work. To offset this, try spending time in your local area at the weekend or on holidays, exploring on foot or two-wheels when you do have time to roam. My children and I recently discovered a whopping great blackberry bush not far from home whilst out walking together, so we now have even more beautiful free fruit to pick, as well as saving the planet by spending our family time in this way! Result!

4. Try crafting!
It’s a simple, productive and therapeutic hobby. I save up pretty jars, lovely card fronts and ribbons from gifts I receive and turn them into beautiful hand made items for future gifts (or my own enjoyment!) At christmas I did hampers for my mother and mother-in-law, each filled with some paid-for farm shop produce and some handmade items such as chutneys and jams, inside reused jars. Many of us claim not to have time for such endeavours but I challenge you to drop a TV program (or three) each week and try it! We are all far more creative than we usually give ourselves credit for so try a new hobby, save money and help the planet while you do so!

5. Reuse and redistribute some of the waste water in your home.
This really is so easy and so valuable, especially during Summer when thirsty plants and lawns need daily watering. So much waste water is simply poured down the drain each day in the UK, but it doesn’t have to be difficult to harvest and use more of the grey water in your home. Grey-water recycling systems are wonderful and I certainly have one on my wish list but in the meantime, I keep a pretty jug out on my kitchen windowsill ready for filling and distributing waste water at any time; be it from my morning kettle, washing-up bowl or tumble dryer, it can be used to keep those plants and veg patches happy! Oh and set up a water butt outside, they’re brilliant!

6. Buy ethical brands.
Ok so not all of us have the time or inclination to make cleaning products from scratch and we all want results right? Just buy from greener companies and you can have your fix of ready-made, shop bought products but at much less of a cost to the earth as your traditional choices might be. Ecover is not without its faults, but is a great go-to-brand for easy greener cleaning, with typically much less harsh chemicals that it’s relatives on the shelves and its a company that at least has the right idea. Selecting a weekly food box from an online company such as Abel and Cole, not only gives you an organic health boost and saves time but also contributes your money to companies who are at least trying to work in a sustainable way. They even stock all your store cupboard essentials, including a growing vegetarian/vegan range and lots of the cleaning range from Ecover.

7. Save on heating.
Please don’t switch on your heating system yet!! It’s the end of August and I am already hearing people say that they’ve turned on their heating in order to stay warm. This is not ‘staying warm’. This is complete unnecessary indulgence and it’s costing you money as well as burning fuel that harms the planet. Save the heating for the depths of snowy winter and instead, for now, shut your windows, put on a jumper and keep warm by moving more; perhaps by doing your new greener hobbies or a daily yoga session. You’ll keep fitter, feel happier and sleep better. Anyway central heating is notoriously bad for your health so again, reap the benefits of choosing a more sustainable way to keep warm!

Well there you have it! Seven sustainable living ideas that are so simple you can get going right away. So go on, change your life today, give yourself a challenge and see where this new direction takes you.

Jaime x

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Yoga and Meditation at Home

There is nothing better than expert advice and support from your local yogi or meditation group, but how are we to improve and develop our practice if we don’t expand on things at home? The truth is, it can be extraordinarily difficult to practise yoga and mediation at home, particularly if you have a busy job and/or family life. As a bit of a newbie, full time teacher and mother of two, I have myself become stumped, when trying to recall my favourite yoga combination a day or two after class. As for meditation; I would spend the entire 10 minutes or so asking myself rhetorically when time was up, or replaying the days events or simply fidgeting and readjusting my position with every twinge or niggle. I just could not achieve mental quiet on my own; in fact at times, the more quiet and still the environment, the more alone I was, the louder my inner thoughts became; I just couldn’t find stillness. This is the most bizarre juxtaposition but it’s more common than you’d think.

There are a myriad of home yoga and meditation apps for desperate beginners to download and use at will but are they any good? I feel as though I have tried them all, but here are reviews of my two current faves: Yoga Studio and Pranayama – Universal Breathing.

Yoga Studio £2.99

This app has been the answer to my at-home yoga dreams! Yes it costs a bit more than the typical £0.69 download but for a couple of pounds you are getting a fantastic resource absolutely brimming with poses, combinations and ready-made classes that you can download and play at your leisure. The poses are demonstrated by a single, simply-adorned female yogi with pleasant calming music accompanying each video, and a voice to guide you through the routine. You can use the pre-set classes or be creative and make your own – perhaps inspired by new poses learned at your recent yoga class. This app will help you to remember and recall those poses in order to practice them properly at home. To enhance this creative process even further, the app can automatically provide ‘linking’ poses to help you move fluidly from one pose to the next – they really have considered everything. One of the best features of Yoga Studio is that once you have downloaded your favourite classes, you can play them anywhere, no wi-fi connection required. Yoga in the park anyone? I am incredibly impressed with this modern, sleek, easy-to-use app, which has transformed my yoga and shaped the way in which I can develop my practice at home.

Pranayama – Universal Breathing £4.99

Before you run away screaming at the price tag, I know, it’s pretty expensive. I have actually only just downloaded the full app at this price, as the free version is just so brilliant in itself and absolutely perfect for beginners. For those unsure, pranayama, universal or diaphragmatic breathing, is simply the art of breathing fully, inhaling deeply, filling your lungs to capacity and releasing the waste air slowly. More expert modifications include sustaining and/or retaining this air between in/exhalations. There are a few key tips to remember when practising your diaphragmatic breathing at home (or anywhere!)

– sit or stand comfortably, relax your shoulders and focus on your lower tummy area; your diaphragm should move out and in quite noticeably as you inhale and exhale deeply.

– it’s not the amount of breaths, but the ratio! Even if you start small I.e. Two breaths in four breaths out, the key is to breathe out for much longer than your breathe in. The perfect ratio for optimum benefit and relaxation is 7:11. I.e. 7 counts in, 11 counts out.

– unless otherwise directed, always perform this kind of breathing through your nose.

The Pranayama app completely guides you visually and aurally through this process and keep count for you, as well as accompanying the exercise with pleasant music. There are lots of different ‘themes’ to choose from for this background music depending on your mood, but I tend to stick with the classic option which I find really soothing. I have also found this practice a real antidote to my early meditation problems and I can now apply the restorative breathing techniques, especially when needing a tool to focus or relax. A must-have tool for any budding yogi or meditation newbie.

Download them here; Yoga Studio, Pranayama – Universal Breathing (free version)

Photo credit: yoganonymous.com

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Coconut Oil – the Hair Miracle?

Having a mixed ethnic origin has meant that I’ve always had tricky, changeable hair. From jet black and poker straight to light-brown, fine and wavy, my hair has morphed into many versions of itself over the years, but settled after adolescence into a fine, slightly wavy form that until I had my second daughter, seemed to have stuck.

Since then, my hair has begun to change slightly; to my horror I have been finding more and more coarse, rough and spiky strands of hair which are quite different to the rest. They are thick, untameable and unsightly and as well as straightening and blow drying to within an inch if my poor hair’s life, I have recently been pulling them out. In fact, this has become a bit of a bad habit and it occurred to me recently that I should probably seek another way of dealing with them. Everything I was doing so far had only added to the stress that it seemed my hair was reacting to and if I was careful, I would end up with a bald spot.

I have dabbled in natural hair care over the years, even soapnut liquid for a while, but haven’t found any method or product that I am completed enamoured with, though I probably haven’t given any method a fair try.
I read a blog post recently on Mind Body Green about bicarbonate of soda for hair washing and it got me thinking about natural hair care again. I have lots of my current shampooing products left so I haven’t tried the bicarbonate of soda method yet (more on that next time!) While I wait for those to run out I wanted something natural to try, something to add to my hair to beat the frizz and nourish it from root to tip; I wanted coconut oil.

I have recently been using coconut oil on my face as a makeup remover and also on my lips as a soothing balm. One morning after towel drying my hair I rubbed some coconut oil through the ends of hair, left it damp and went out for the day. An hour later my hair had dried and was soft, wavy, smooth and completely frizz free. It felt like an actual miracle! Up until now I had never once left my hair damp and gone out for the day – this was a huge test and I am so glad I did. It is such a treat to not have to blow dry my hair everyday and I am now able to embrace my natural hair which as a busy mum is also incredibly practical.

My next trial will be the bicarbonate of soda method, I will post results here soon.

So go on give coconut oil a try! You need to buy unrefined, raw, virgin, coconut oil and it will say this on the jar – if it doesn’t then it isn’t!

Share your results below!

Jaime x

Image credit: Lucybee.co

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