3 Playful Poses Guaranteed To Make You Smile

When you’re in the middle of a gruelling vinyasa flow it’s easy to forget that yoga should be fun. Introduce an element of playfulness to your practice with these five poses – there’s no way you won’t crack a smile at least once!

Dhanurasana – Rocking Bow (forwards and sideways)

There are two ways you can make your bow pose more dynamic – by rocking from side to side or to the front and back. If you’ve ever done these poses in class, you’ll know that either variation means you’ll be getting friendly with your neighbours! This pose opens up the entire front of your body – it is super intense though so take some deep breaths in savasana on your front afterwards.

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby

Go back to the good old days with this pose – lie on your back, grab the insides of your feet and rock gently side to side, slowly pushing the knees into the armpits if you can. This is a great hip opener and releases the lower back. Gurgling noises optional.

Paripurna Navasana – Rocking Boat

You can probably guess what happens here. Take your boat pose to the next level by rounding your back and rolling back onto your shoulder blades. Roll back up as slowly as possible for a great core work out and repeat! Enjoy the ride (but move anything breakable out of the way first)!

Bring the laughter to your mat and get a greak workout too!

3 Daily Digestion Habits You Can Start Today

Your body is a miracle machine. Day in, day out, we can rely on our amazing bodies to get us through anything – running around the office with a to-do list as long as your arm, lugging a million shopping bags home or a hardcore Jivamukti class (sometimes all in the same day). But how much attention do you pay to how you’re fuelling this incredible engine?

We are all guilty of snaffling a meal-deal sandwich at our desks or cramming in a Macdonald’s when it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, irregular stools, lethargy, and lowered energy levels are probably not worth the few minutes you save. After all, that super-high priority must-have-done-by-end-of-play task is going to be a lot harder when you’re feeling sluggish and tired.

Here are three solid changes you can make to get your digestion in order – starting today!

Start the day with a hot water and lemon

So simple, and so good for you. Drinking a hot water with lemon in the morning before breakfast will help to kick-start your digestive system for the day ahead. Lemon juice has the effect of stimulating the liver to produce bile, which helps keep food moving through your gastrointestinal tract smoothly. The acids found in lemon juice also encourage the body to process the nutrients in food more slowly, which helps to keep blood sugar and insulin levels balanced. For those who get bloated among us, this is a life saver!

Have breakfast every day

Make breakfast a priority. It’s easy to make the excuse of not having enough time, but breakfast should be as important as brushing your teeth or getting dressed in the morning. Avoid refined, processed, sugar rich foods, as this will send blood sugar levels and energy rocketing sky high, and then crashing, setting you up for a slow day ahead, and reaching for the biscuits over and over again. Aim for some protein (eggs, lean meat, fish, maybe a scoop of protein powder), healthy fats (salmon, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butter, chia seeds, coconut oil), and complex carbs (oats, buckwheat, quinoa, fibrous veggies). If you tend to hit the snooze button a little too often, make sure you buy portable breakfasts for those days when you are really in a rush.

Eat a variety of fresh, colourful whole-foods

Ever looked at your plate and seen a sea of beige? Time to switch it up! Try to fill your plate with as many different colours of fresh produce as possible, as it’s often the colour pigments that contain all of the important nutrients that we need for healthy gut function. Eat a rainbow! You’ll be amazed at how much less sluggish you feel after eating once you mix in a bit of colour. Plus it looks way better on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more digestion tips from our in-house nutrition expert Sophie Higgins. Sophie works with our members to help them understand how to nourish their bodies to their full potential. Interested in a little nutrition revolution for yourself? Give us a call and start your journey towards wellbeing.

3 Simple Tips To Clear Out Negativity

As the long, dark nights get shorter and shorter, this is the perfect time for a mental spring clean.

Although it’s not time to bust out the sunnies just yet, things are starting to look decidedly less grey. If you’re still feeling sluggish, these 5 minute practices are sure to blow away any cobwebs and inspire some much needed energy!

Burn it

Super simple, but very cathartic. Write down anything you want to let go of on a piece of paper (a bad memory, a person – anything you want). Fold it up and set it alight in a flameproof bowl or in your kitchen sink (where you can douse the flames if the ritual gets a little to hot to handle!). There’s something about watching those negative vibes burn up into nothing that makes you feel a) free from them and b) like an awesome fire goddess/god.

Sweat it

Now this one should be pretty simple for you yogis out there! Take a class that you know will make you sweat (a la Jivamukti, Rocket or Vinyasa) to release any toxins built up in your body. Dedicate your practice to someone for a mental release – it could be to yourself or it could be to someone that you’re really not seeing eye-to-eye with at the moment. Pounding out the sun salutations is a great way to release any frustration!

Celebrate it

Once you’ve released your old negativity, it’s really important to give yourself a massive pat on the back for doing so. You have just done the most amazing thing for your mental health and you damn well deserve a treat for it. Book a massage, go for a long walk in nature or just bask in your general awesomeness with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.  Never underestimate what these small steps are doing for you.

These rituals are easy to make part of your routine, but don’t feel like you’ve failed if you don’t do it for a while. Just jump back on the bandwagon and get clearing!

 

4 Simple Cures For The Winter Blues

Winter making you woeful? You are not the only person who can’t remember when it wasn’t dark in the mornings. These five essential tips will help you to get out of that winter slump just in time for spring

  1. Eat carbs and fish.

Ever wonder why all you want to do in winter is hide away and eat pizza? It’s because carbohydrates promote the production of serotonin in our brains (the happy hormone)! If you find you are craving carbs, go for it – just remember to gorge on the good stuff. Popcorn, pretzels and potatoes are all great sources of carbohydrates to boost your mood. If you’re finding you’ve eating three bags of popcorn, seven baked potatoes and still fancy some pretzels, it may be that you need more protein – found in oily fish!

  1. Go outside

For the most part, the sluggish feeling you get around wintertime is down to lack of sunlight. If you can, get out in the sunlight for at least twenty minutes a day. Yes, I know that London is not the sunniest place in the world. But those twenty minutes will boost your vitamin D significantly and remind you that you are not actually living in Middle Earth. Spring is coming!

  1. Yoga

You knew it was coming, right? Yoga and exercise in general will boost your energy, mood and keep you sane (no guarantee but I’m pretty confident). Exercise causes changes in your brain chemistry which elevate your mood – and that’s not even counting the amazing self-esteem, pride and ability to overcome obstacles that comes with nailing a good asana.

  1. Do something just for you each day

As in, not for anybody else. Not even remotely related to another human being’s interests or needs. Sounds easy, but can be quite hard (especially if you are the lovely person I know you are). Dance. Sing. Watch TV. Eat a Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bar (drool). Whatever it is, just make sure it is what you want.

5 Tips To Help You Commit To #yogaeverydamnday

#yogaeverydamnday

You must have seen it. The hashtag that has taken over the planet – but what’s the secret behind turning your weekly dash to Jiva into a daily habit?

Here are some tips for home practise and for taking your practise off the mat when the physical side just doesn’t appeal.

  1. Buy a mat.

Seriously. Downward facing dog on the shag carpet is neither safe nor comfortable. If you really want to make a go of it, you’ll be needing a mat. No need for a super duper fancy self-cleaning mat with tassles – just get yourself a basic, comfortable mat for your first foray into home practice.

  1. Make a space for said mat

While you might not be able to create your own mini-studio in your London-sized and priced apartment, make sure that when you do unroll your mat that you’re not surrounded by piles of bills/washed laundry never to be put away. We’re going for zen, darling.

  1. Scented candles or other nice-smelling things

This is a great way to tell your brain, “Hey! It’s yoga time!”. Candles are great so long as they are at a safe distance, and you could also invest in other means of yummy scents, for example Palo Santo, a scented wood you can burn around the house.

  1. Make a schedule

Literally schedule a time for home yoga in your diary and treat it like you would a class in a studio. This is time for you and ain’t no random colleague’s leaving do going to take that away from you. Sometimes you will find that other plans are more appealing – just make sure you give your home practice the same weight you would a studio class.

  1. Take it off the mat

OK, so you’ve tried all of the above and you just can’t say no to that beautiful glass of merlot waiting for you at the end of a long Friday – go ahead and enjoy it! Just take your yoga with you and spread the love. Yoga is not just physical, and small acts of kindness can take your practice to a higher place than you thought possible. Give compliments. Chat with strangers. You’ll feel better, I promise. 

5 Random Acts Of Kindness You Can Do Today

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Imagine the scene: you’ve spilt your artisan matcha latte, your on trend white converse have turned out to be a terrible choice for traversing London in the rain and the tube is rammed. Enter the kind soul who tells you that your matte lip colour totally complements your jumper. Day saved.

Friday 17th February is Random Acts of Kindness Day and believe me – you don’t have to make much effort to take part. Here are seven surefire ways to bring some good karma to the world today.

  1. Pay a stranger a compliment.

Yes, it’s embarrassing at first. But once you’ve taken the plunge and complimented someone on their impressively deep warrior stance or just on their awesome leggings, you’ll be addicted to the sudden smiles you get. You never know how someone’s day is going – you could make a whole world of difference with one small comment that’s as lovely as you are.

  1. Smile at people.

Very simple – just don’t go overboard or people with think you’re coo-coo bananas. Smiles transform both the wearer and the recipient. Who knows? Maybe that cheeky grin will open up some surprising doors for you.

  1. Ask “How are you?” and mean it.

Really listen to the answer as well! People will open up to you in ways you never thought possible and the beautiful thing is they will want to know how you are too. Let’s make small talk interesting again!

  1. Leave a love letter somewhere odd.

This one is from @sharetheloveletters over on Instagram – a beautiful idea that involves writing a nice note and then addressing it to “You. Yes, you!” (a random member of the public). The best part is that it’s anonymous, so you can be super cheesy and none of your cool cynical friends will ever know.

  1. Pay ahead for the next person.

In a coffee shop, on the bus, wherever the vendor will let you do it! You don’t need to break the bank (but if you’re paying ahead at Harrod’s, let me know) – just a simple americano will make the next person feel very special indeed.

Take your pick. The best part? You can do this any day of the week and you’ll find that good karma comes back to you in more ways that you could imagine!

 

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5 Ways to Practise Self Love

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I love those shoes! I love that little dog! I adore savasana!

While we might proclaim our love for beautiful heels and cute puppies daily, how often do you say those three little words to yourself?

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, what better time to embed some self-love into our routines. Learning to love yourself for who you are can take time, but with these daily rituals, you’ll be worshipping the ground you walk on in no time!

  1. Wake up and write down one good thing about yourself. There will be days when the best thing you can think of is your killer tea-making – it still counts. And by jove you can’t beat a good cuppa.
  2. “I love and accept you for who you are.” In the mirror, every day. Personally I like to whisper this in the bathroom mirror after a shower so that my partner doesn’t think I’ve gone nuts.
  3. Give yourself a massage. Seriously! Give your poor old tootsies a rub or grab some moisturiser and do your own facial. Take two minutes and makes you feel a thousand times better.
  4. Cook a romantic meal for yourself. Look up a recipe you’ve always wanted to make, get the ingredients in and make a big deal of preparing something delicious just for you to enjoy. No guests necessary – this hot date is between you and your peri-peri chicken.
  5. Write a list of things you find fun and do one a day. No need to go overboard – my list includes writing with a nice pen and wearing comfy clothes. Including just one thing from your list into each day can completely change your mood!

There you have it – five quick fix tips to love yourself more that cost nothing, take barely any time and will transform your outlook on life.

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