Morning. We’ve been battling colds and coughs here for the last week which has inspired today’s post as it feels like we’re not the only ones! The colder weather as of late has been throwing up all sorts of persistent little bugs which we wanted to find some nice natural ways of dealing with and ditching ‘over the counter’ syrups and sweets. Thus allowing us to BREATHE again!
Hope you find this useful and we’d love to hear any of your natural tips too.
Drink This | Cough Buster Thyme Tea
We love this tea. For some it might be a little hard to stomach but works wonders at breaking up a dry, tickly and persistent cough.
- Steep 2 tbsps of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp of dries thyme) in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. The add….
- 1tbsp of Honey
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp of grated ginger
- 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice and drink 3 to 4 times a day
Open your chest and upper back | At this time of year we find ourselves more hunched in colder weather and tensing up to stay warm, practising some exercises that extend your spine and open up your chest will help to keep things moving and free. Yoga and Pilates are the perfect way to do it, so head for your local class (or come and see us!) and we’ll sort you out.
Sweat it out | If you’re not feeling like a hot yoga class or jumping around to get sweaty then take yourself off to the local sauna or steam room to relax. Most pools and gyms have them but we love to indulge a little at SpaLondon in Bethnal Green and the City. Pay £25 for 3 hours and full use of the spa, sauna, steam room and resting area. http://www.spa-london.org/york-hall/thermal-spa-york-hall/
Home steam | If you can’t make it to the spa then try some home steam inhalation. The hot steam moistens the nasal passages, thus clearing your blocked nose and opens up congested sinuses allowing you to breathe more easily. Pour some boiling water into a bowl and add some tea tree and eucalyptus essential oil drops (which can easily be bought on-line) Cover head with towel over the bowl. Stay there for as long as you can and inhale the vapours.
Get to bed early | The importance of sleep goes way beyond boosting your mood. Getting a good nights sleep will boost your immunity and allow your body to function properly. If you struggle getting to sleep and staying asleep, have a read at our guide ‘How to Tune Out last thing at night’
We hope this helps. We’d love any more tips too!
Breathe easy x
Autumn is in full swing and isn’t she beautiful!! The combination of sunny weather and gorgeous colours of the trees are getting us right in the mood for Autumn. And in preparation for our Urban Day retreat in Walthamstow, we’ve been been getting our craft on and making some samples of the macrame plant holders, which we will be making on the day…which I have to say are looking amazing dotted around my house now!! I guess this would be a good point to mention why we add a crafting element to our weekend and day retreats. We feel that adding something fun and crafty, that gets you using your mind and body in a creative way is not only incredibly satisfying and useful we think, it plays an important role in the tuning out process. Its completely optional on our weekends retreats, but its great fun if you do. You learn a new skill and take something home that can be gifted or kept as a memory in your home of your time with us. You never know, perhaps you’ll find a new passion along the way…
Onto today’s post. Did we hear someone mention Christmas?? Its true, its just around the corner and it got us thinking…GIFTS! Nothing beats a homemade gift. If you’re short on time then there’s loads of options that don’t take so long (scrubs, flavoured booze, fudge) and most of these are really cheap to make too! Much quicker and easier than that mad dash around the shops buying stuff for your loved ones that they don’t even like! So here’s our round up of our favourite homemade gifts for this year. Click for the links for how to make and yes family/friends you can expect these in your stockings this year!
So our top 10 homemade gifts to get cracking on with are…
1. HOMEMADE TERRARIUM
2. PLANT HOLDERS.
3. HOMEMADE SUGAR SCRUB.
4. TYE DYE SOCKS.
5. CHOCOLATE SLABS.
6. BATH FIZZES.
7. FLAVOURED BOOZE.
8. LEMON CURD.
9. KNITTED WOOLY HATS.
10. HOMEMADE CANDLES.
(Squeezing in a last one..) 11. FUDGE, TRUFFLES and OTHER TREATS!
As Pilates teachers, its important for us to keep up our self practice. In a bid to get a little stronger, I’ve recently been trying out lots of different classes at studios near to where I live. And it got me thinking about how much variation there is out there. Not only the type of Pilates (there are loads!) but the style in which they are taught, the individual style of the teacher that day, the class plan, the equipment used, etc etc. Personally, I think its a good thing to keep mixing things up in terms of exercise. Not only trying out new things that will keep you fit, healthy (and interested) but when it comes to say a Pilates class, not to stick with the same exercises all the time, and in my classes I like to throw in different variations, combinations and keep things fresh. It not only challenges a different part of the body (that maybe hasn’t been woken up for a while!) but also focuses the brain and therefore allows some time to switch off from your normal thought patterns. BUT sometimes Pilates can get a little over complicated. I experienced this recently at a class, when being told to ‘hold this piece of equipment, whilst doing a squat on 1 leg and twist around to the side.’ WOW! What am I actually getting from this apart from twisted up like a bad pretzel. Which brings us on to today’s post. Don’t forget the basics. These exercises are classics because they just work and do a good job. That’s why teachers go back to them time and time again. Like me.
So some advice for anyone trying to stay fit and healthy. Keep it simple, Get sweaty a few times a week, and add the below exercises into your routine to build strength. They just work!
PS. Thanks to East of Eden studio for allowing us to do some filming. I can be found teaching there Tuesday nights and Thursday mornings. Check out their online timetable for more classes.
Remember to take your time (the video are sped up!), and connect with your core and breath throughout. People working with an injury/condition should visit your local teacher first before trying these out.
The Hundreds. Kick start your breath and lungs, make your core hot and stretch your spine. WIN WIN. Keep looking down, keep curling in and up and lengthen your tail bone towards the ground.
Leg Kicks. (variation) Keep moving your hips to the ground during the kicks and don’t lift the head too high. Think of length throughout. This ones going to make your back and bum strong! Plus stretching your hips and torso.
Side Lift. Working the obliques (waist) as well as lengthening and stretching the other side. You’ll get strong arms and a tight waist. Remember to keep moving the front ribs to the hips.
Its true! Its on its way. How you feeling about that? Personally, we’re suckers for a season change, especially Autumn. Everyone comes back to their Pilates classes…yay, and we do love to get all organised in a back to school kind of way. But more seriously, the cold, wet and darker days can have a REAL impact on our health and well being. After all we are a part of nature ourselves and therefore we’re going to celebrate the turning of the seasons with a little tuneout guide to preparing for the Autumn.
Are you suffering from post summer burn out? Yep we’re feeling it too. Its great to enjoy the summer and lets face it, its pretty short lived in this country so we’ve got to make the most of it! But all those late summer nights, after work drinks and festivals can take their toll on our bodies leaving us needing a little pick me up. So here goes…
- Be boring. In our ‘do it all‘ culture and constant updates on other peoples lives via our smart phones the pressure is always on to get more stuff done and be a better version of you. And that’s great, its always good to be inspired and strive to be your best but when taken to the extreme that can have the opposite effect on our health creating a bit of a multi tasking monster!!! So maybe for a little while could you try doing LESS stuff? It might just be a couple for days or even a week, until you feel less wired and more tuned in to YOU. Try eating simple, uncomplicated, clean foods, go out less, drink less, exercise slowly with some Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi, finish work on time, turn your technology off, read and potter. And once doing so hopefully allowing some space not only in the body but mentally too for the start of a lovely new season…
- Mix it up. Could you change your daily routine? We love doing this as its stimulates the brain, leaving us feeling revived and refreshed.
- Get to bed earlier. With the darker nights, we’re not going to feel bad about sneaking off to bed at 9:30pm. Nope. If you struggle with getting off to sleep you could try our recently posted ‘How to Tune Out…last thing at night’
- If you’re getting to bed a little earlier, could you get up earlier in the morning? Try re-setting your alarm to allow for an extra 15 minutes, which might allow some time for the following – a 10 minute Headspace meditation. A morning stretch. A hot water and lemon. A mindful breakfast.
- See sunlight. Whatever you’re day entails, try to get outside. In your lunch break or hopping off your commute a stop early and walking the rest of the way.
- Make some plans. Sit down and think about who you’d like to see over the next few months, things you’d like to do and see. Life can move so fast sometimes we get caught up in the day to day and those special moments can pass us by. Catch up with some old friends, book a retreat (!) workshop or start a new project.
- Bring your green inside. The garden might be on the turn but there’s still loads of homegrown veggies that you can plant up in your container garden just now. Or you could buy some indoor plants and help to detoxify the air with these species.
- Mix up your midweek meals. Have you been eating the same things for a while? What about cooking some new recipes or checking out your local farmers market for some inspiration and the best fresh seasonal food.