My beautiful feet.

Here are my feet, they have generously served me without much complaining for the best part of 60 years!

As you can see they are crooked, slightly gnarled and my now permanent black and blue toenails have a daily challenge of hanging on for dear life - I like to think of them as sweet black grapes ready to ripen and drop off the vine (gross). My feet tell a story and instead of being embarrassed by how they look I am now proud and grateful of how they have and still do continue to serve me.

As a four year old they helped me climb aboard a rickety wooden stool in preparation for reciting, dancing and singing “The death of poor cock robin” to the amusement and entertainment of my extended family whilst inside I cringed with embarrassment. However climbing up and down that stool gave me great abs and a head for heights.

In my early teenage days they assisted me in running around a hockey pitch whilst avoiding shin cracking and propelling me through the water during many swimming competitions (most of which I usually came second place). Around this time my parents thought it would be a really cool idea to join a local walking group of which the nicest part was dropping asleep in the back of the car on the way home from extreme tiredness or when there was a couple of distressing incidents when my sister nearly drowned someones dog and my Dad fell in the river and had to drive home in just his underpants - 20 mile hikes were not unheard of.

Then came the disco dancing in the most ridiculous platform shoes. Whilst I grooved and moved to Boney M, the Bee gees and Candi Staton my feet were always there, faithful, loyal and firmly attached to my legs.

When I was 14 I started working in a rather busy hair salon in Leeds on a Saturday ( my ruse to get out of the family walks) and here is where the real test came, tight narrow shoes, high heels and the beginnings of the dreaded chilblains and baby bunions. I used to get out of bed on a Sunday morning and my poor feet grumbled as I put all my weight on them but as courageous as they were they soon recovered and I was ready for the next disco.

I continued to stand on them for the next 21 years as I ran my own hair salon and very rarely gave my poor feet a rest and I have to admit during this time I really did abuse them with no thought or appreciation for the rather sterling job that they continued to do. My vanity and Ego refusing to wear sensible shoes as I was more interested in how I looked and how much taller than my 5’ 2” I was. Both my long suffering parents gave up on trying to make me wear what I thought were those hideous Scholls (I actually still think they are hideous).

They were the only friends that hung around whilst I pushed a colicky baby around the village at the first light whilst many pairs of feet were warm and snug in bed (mainly my ex-husbands).

My feet have carried me many times 25 miles over the Yorkshire 3 Peaks where I have witnessed glorious sunrises, magical sunsets and awe inspiring vistas. They once did object greatly and I limped down Ingelborough crying quietly whilst Gareth force fed me jelly babies and vowing never to do that walk again (you have probably guessed that I did).

My loyal feet have taken me up Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike plus many other mountains and several hundreds of miles in my time and my relationship with my feet continues to deepen as I now teach Yoga, balance on my paddle board and continue my sometimes rather gruelling journey which has also included two 50 mile cycles which I will never ever repeat as long as I draw breath.

They have been steadfast and loyal through tropical searing heat, force 12 gales, torrential downpours and minus 10 degrees when they did actually feel as if they had left me.

And as a chick that would never date a man that wore slippers (believe it or not, it was a total deal breaker) my soft, grey sheepskin slippers call softly from the back of the wardrobe like a long lost lover every time I come home, their reassuring words sounding like the Pied Piper leading me to slipper nirvana.

This year will see my feet raise more than £500 for charity as we take on The Great Northumberland Hike, walk the Nidderdale Way (52 miles), attempt an obstacle race where we plunge into muddy bogs and the race supervisors set our hair on fire and perhaps just maybe another 3 Peaks challenge!

Only last week we walked 26 miles along a canal, after 22 miles my mind was screaming GET ON THE BUS! but I distinctly heard my feet say “don’t you dare - we have come too far together, we can do it baby”.

And now I care for my feet, they get treated to a weekly salt bath, spend most of their day barefoot or encased in comfy trainers and every night I lovingly massage them with coconut oil.

So I propose a national feet adoration day a bit like we celebrate the birth of Christ, Mothers, Fathers and the attempted burning down of the Houses of Parliament ( time for another one me thinks). We could all post photographs of our feet and send them over priced cards and cheap manicure sets for no apparent reason except that they deserve to be recognised for their truly wonderful qualities and unstinting forgiveness.

OH FEET - HOW I LOVE YOU.

Transitioning into a plant-based life.

Being a yoga teacher it is often expected that I’m a vegetarian but the truth was that I ate everything - meat, fish, dairy and chicken and I felt proud that I only bought higher welfare, organic, I thought I was doing my best and I was according to my knowledge at the time.

Since last summer though I was feeling uneasy about the impact that animal products had on my health and I was also becoming aware of animal welfare and how we were destroying the planet with our human greed of always wanting more.

I decided that by October I was ready to go plant-based and my partner Gareth decided to join me as the lovely supportive man that he is. After researching recipes and getting organised we embarked on our journey with no expectations but just a commitment to last for a month.

Eating at home was easy peasy but eating out was too much of a minefield in our early days so we just stayed in! First challenge came on bonfire night, my sister Jude always has a family get together where we walk down to the local park, watch the rather impressive firework display and then snaffle huge pork pies covered in mushy peas and mint sauce and there was a part of me nervous about standing out and being a bit of a nuisance wanting something different or putting others to too much trouble so I originally decided to go along with the usual fare.

However I felt some dissonance as the event loomed nearer and decided to go with what I wanted and sent Jude a message asking for Gareth and I a couple of baked potatoes - I even offered to bring them. She had no problem with that whatsoever and I relaxed over my decision. She put them in the oven rubbed in olive oil and sea salt and they were absolutely heavenly! Doused with a butter substitute and the mushy peas I couldn’t have enjoyed them more.

What was interesting was a few negative comments coming from a couple of people. One person said her niece was a vegan and extremely pale, thin and full of spots, someone else remarked that we are now part of “the extremely boring club” I did feel a bit uncomfortable but decided to laugh it off and was happy with my decision.

During this time the thought of eating meat didn’t really turn my stomach and I was prepared (or so I thought) to eat meat if it meant being sociable or not putting others out.

Next challenge was that before I decided to go plant-based we had invited a couple of friends for dinner and they are both big meat eaters. Gareth cooked a leg of lamb, a greek salad and some steamed rice - this was at the end of November and I admit I was looking forward to eating some meat after nearly 8 weeks but I was getting more and more uneasy as the day arrived. So what did I do?… I admit I had a small amount of the lamb but the experience was not the best and I happily went back to plants the following day.

Over Christmas and the New Year I had 2 more slip ups, I wasn’t really far enough into my new lifestyle to navigate them properly but that was then and this is now. And one thing I know to be true is to not feel regret just keep looking forward and learning.

Physically I am in the best shape ever, my gym workouts are more intense, my own yoga practice has been supercharged and I have so much more energy that I have even started doing the local parkrun. The best thing though is my sleep, it was always really quite poor but now I’m sleeping like a baby. Another advantage is my weight - it never budges from my ideal whereas before after a heavy weekend I had to spend all week counting calories to get back on track. I always wake up with a lovely flat stomach and have no digestive or bowel issues whatsoever, I feel lean, light and energised.

I also have to add that at the moment I’m in “dry” January so that has also benefitted my health and wellbeing.

Originally I embarked on this way of eating for my own health benefit but getting through the day without relying on the demise of another being has given me an awareness of all that suffer on this planet which has led to greater feelings of compassion, kindness, gratitude and deep love so all in all a win win situation.

Some thoughts on New Years Resolutions.

I just Googled ‘New Years Resolutions’ – guess how many results turned up?
Over 24 million.
I’m not particularly surprised. Coaches and lifestyle guru’s right around the world are espousing the need to make ‘realistic’ resolutions and offering all kinds of ways to stay on track with them.
Not me.
Let’s face it — it’s pretty pointless waiting all year to decide on one or two things that you kinda, sorta want to stop doing, but that you know full well you’re not really committed to following through with anyway.
How crazy is that?

Resolutions don’t work for 4 reasons.

They’re all about what you think you should do.

Stop smoking? Start exercising? Eat healthily? More work/life balance?
These all sound good on the surface, but typically a resolution is based on what you think you should be doing, rather than what you really want to be doing.
Too often, resolutions are decided upon by looking at other peoples expectations or by reading a magazine that tells you how to ‘get fit by summer’.
Nonsense – forget about what you or other people think you ought to be doing and look at what you really want.

2. Resolutions are like goals.

Some resolutions are like goals in that they’re about getting more of something. The trouble is that goals – which have been pushed down our necks by the self-help industry for at least the last 20 years – rarely work.

The problem is that as soon as you set yourself a goal you’re saying to yourself that you want more in your life than you have right now. The very nature of goals make you look forwards at what’s next, never at what you’ve got right now.
Goals have the tendency to make you feel less-than, because there’s something you don’t have now that you aspire to have in the future. Goals introduce a gap between where you are and where you’d like to be, which instantly makes part of where you are right now a place you don’t want to be – and this is how the very nature of having goals can hurt your self-confidence and self-esteem
Most people tend to think they need to set themselves goals and objectives to see things happen, but that’s missing the point. Show me a goal-hungry person and I’ll show you someone who’s always wanting something better to come along, someone who’s convinced – albeit perhaps not consciously – that reaching their goals will lead to their happiness. Even if that person reaches a goal it’s all too likely that it lacks meaning and personal relevance, and so the hunt for meaning, relevance and happiness goes on.
Once you reach a goal, what’s next? Gotta have another goal. Then another, then another. When do you get to stop and just enjoy life right where you are?
The real gold and real value is in the experience, NOT in the end result.

3. There’s no motivation or commitment.

Over a third of resolutions don’t make it past January and over three quarters are abandoned soon after. The reason?

No commitment.
The problem is that you’re taking something that doesn’t mean anything to you and trying to make it happen. Resolutions lack a foundation of meaning and personal relevance that makes sure they run out of steam.
Sure, you might get an initial burst of motivation that gets you started, but that never lasts. Motivation is like the big rocket boosters on the space shuttle – it gives you an initial spurt of energy to get up and get moving, but it’s just not sustainable.
What you need is something more fundamental, more central and more important to you. What you need is something that comes from the inside, something that’s based on what’s important and what matters to you.
That’s the only way to get behind it, have confidence in it and keep the motivation and commitment going.

4. The timing’s all wrong.

Not only are you coming off the back of the holidays and getting back to the harsh realities of the world, but you see the whole of the year stretching ahead of you and summer’s a whole 6 months away.

It’s not exactly an inspiring picture, is it?
And what kind of person waits all year to make a choice about something anyway? Why wait for one particular day to make a decision, when there are 364 other equally great decision-making days available to you?
So forget about making New Years Resolutions.

Living a full life isn’t about making some woolly, half-hearted decisions that don’t really mean anything. That’s not what truly confident people do.
Instead, make confident choices based on what really matters to you, and just jump in with both feet!

Avoiding seasonal sniffles with Ayurveda.

The cold and flu season is upon us but there are many Ayurvedic practices that can help boost your immune system to help you stay healthy through the coming colder seasons.

Understanding your body’s natural needs - how to eat, cook, cleanse and heal will help you navigate the autumn and winter with ease.

So heres a couple;

  1. Make a turmeric paste

    Turmeric, which is harvested in the autumn for the winter, is an immune-boosting spice. Just take equal parts organic turmeric powder and raw honey and mix it into a paste. At the first hint of a cold, take 1 tsp of the paste every two hours until you're feeling better. To make the formula more potent, mix 16 parts turmeric to 1 part black pepper and make a paste with equal parts ghee and honey, and you’ve got an amazing, kick-ass remedy. 

2.  Give yourself an Ayurvedic self-massage every day
The skin has millions of sensory neurons on it, so the nervous system is exposed. You can calm and de-stress the nervous system by using your skin as therapeutic access to the nervous system. Self-massage with immunity-boosting, warming oils like sesame dampens and calms the nervous system on your skin and allows you to handle stress better, which directly relates to immunity. Plus, the oil helps prevent eczema and rashes, and it's great for skin health and radiance.


3. Put oil in your ears.

Putting a few drops of warm oil in your ear at night—sesame oil, mustard seed oil, or ear oil—lubricates the upper Eustachian tube and the cervical lymph nodes in the neck. Your lymphatic system carries your immune system. If the cervical lymph nodes get dry, you get swollen glands, which means the immune system is stuck in traffic. You want to keep the nodes lubricated so the glands are more effective at getting rid of any bad bacteria that might accumulate

Autumn and the Doshas.

Autumn is a time of transition for nature which includes us as humans. When the temperature drops and the daylight becomes less our blood vessels constrict slowing down our blood supply so our core takes the vital energy leaving our skin and extremities like our hands and feet with less than normal, that’s why woolly socks will not necessarily keep our feet warm, we have to keep our deep core warm.

Around us the trees and plants are subtly undressing whilst the green land turns golden brown.

After a long hot summer there is definitely a hint of crispness along with the smell of woodsmoke replacing that of new mown grass.

And then there is the wind, slowly gathering strength leaving the signs of winter in its departure. The autumn can sometimes leave us feeling a little exposed and raw but it’s also a time of new beginning, a time too when we can strip down to a quietness and stillness through simplicity.

Autumn brings with it a predominance of air element and Prana (life force) it can be rough, windy, erratic, cool, subtle and clear - all these qualities are shared by Vata dosha and because like increases like autumn is considered Vata season. So we can balance ourselves with a few changes to help us navigate gracefully through this change to make it tremendously beneficial.

Beginning to be aware of our environment empowers us to respond to both daily and seasonal fluctuations. Most of already put into practice seasonally appropriate habits without even being conscious of doing so. For example in summer we wear lighter and brighter clothes and enjoy salads and fresh fruits whereas now we are looking forward to roast root vegetables and grounding soups and in my case October is Christmas cake baking month.

Opposites balance so if we consider Vata to be cool, light, dry, windy and unpredictable we need to be looking at warmth, oiliness, deep nourishment, loving relationships and a sense of stability and routines.

Your diet is a powerful way to sooth Vata during the autumn so look to nourishing foods that are high in protein and healthy fats brought to life by warming, stimulating spices, these will go a long way towards maintaining your internal reserves of moisture and keeping you grounded.

Think breakfasts of cooked grains like oatmeal, rice and tapioca made with coconut milk and generous amounts of ghee. Lunches and dinners that include steamed vegetables, hearty grains, stews and soups and baked apples with nutmeg and cinnamon but be careful not to overeat!

Mirror the season and chose vegetables like pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and roast beetroot. Use warming spices like cardamom, turmeric, cloves and saffron.

Also establish an effective morning routine and try to do the same things (waking, exercising, eating and going to bed) at the same time every day. If you need to calm the nervous system massage your skin with organic warming sesame oil daily and favour natural scents like geranium, citrus and rose.

Vata is aggravated by fast, frenetic exercise so look at walking, swimming, cycling, yoga and tai chi and remember to balance your activity with adequate relaxation and sleep to rejuvenate properly.

A seasonal routine is an investment in your own health and wellbeing and we all can benefit from aligning ourselves with the rhythms of nature throughout the year. This autumn embrace the unique gifts that it brings and enjoy it with stability, humility, appreciation and gratitude.

Namaste

Muscle Memory.

I talk to my new yoga students who haven’t done any kind of movement for a while about “muscle memory” So I thought I’d do some research to give you all a bit more information. 6 weeks and five days after giving birth after a caesarean section and a full seven months since I’d even looked at a windsurfing board I squeezed into my now rather tight wetsuit and took to the water. After quite a few wobbles and dunking in the rather murky lake I was soon up and flying along. With five years of experience my muscles just knew what to do and how to perform for the task in hand.

It's a phenomenon aptly called muscle memory. Simply put, when you teach your body how to do something—ride a bike, surf, strike some yoga poses, run a few miles—it creates a physiological blueprint. So even if you take some time off, you'll get back to where you were faster than it took you to learn the exercise in the first place. 

"Muscle memory stems from your body's learning not just how to perform a task, but also how to break down muscle tissue and then repair and rebuild it," explains William Kraemer, Ph.D., a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. "That physiological knowledge lets you come back from injury, surgery, and even pregnancy faster, easier, and often better than before," he says.

Athletes have taken advantage of muscle memory for decades. Exercise scientists have been studying it just as long. But you don't need to be an Olympian or have a Ph.D. to know how to reap the rewards. Here's how you can tap your muscle memory and enjoy the lifelong body benefits.


How Your Muscles Remember

Not surprisingly, the process of forging muscle memory originates in the brain. When you learn something new, whether it's how to do a deep squat or how to snowboard, your brain fires up all the right motor units (nerves that signal muscle fibres to kick in) to help you perform the movements.

Once your muscle fibres get the memo from your brain to move, they start sending messages back. "When you move, you activate sensors (called proprioceptors) in your muscles, tendons, and joints that constantly give feedback to your central nervous system about where your body is in space, so it knows what muscles to fire next," says Adam Knight, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomechanics at Mississippi State University. It's a continuous feedback loop from your brain to your muscles and back. Your brain creates pathways through your central nervous system, and movements become automatic. Those well-worn pathways essentially become your muscle memory.


The more regularly you use these pathways, the more your muscle memory solidifies, even if you slack off for a while. Ohio University researchers put a group of women on a two-days-a-week strength-training program for 20 weeks, then let them lounge around for eight months. When they called them back to the gym along with a group of women who'd never lifted before, they found that the previously trained women had retained most of their muscle fibres. When they started pumping iron again, they made gains more rapidly than the women who had no history of strength training.

The same principle applies to any exercise, if you lay off an activity for too long, you'll get rusty, but those patterns are locked in, that's why, even after 10 or 20 years, you can get back on a bike and ride.”


Until recently, researchers believed that these ingrained neuromuscular patterns were the primary reason for the rebound-after-a-layoff effect. But Norwegian scientists recently discovered something else that may be a game changer in the way we understand how the body gets—and stays—fit. Turns out, exercise also triggers longterm, possibly permanent, changes in your cells. In a study of mice, researchers found that after just six days of simulated strength training, the mice generated new nuclei in their muscle cells. This is a big deal, since these nuclei contain the DNA blueprint necessary to make new muscle. And months after the mice stopped training, even though their muscles had shrunk, those newly formed nuclei were still hanging around, waiting to be reactivated by exercise, says study leader Kristian Gundersen, Ph.D., of the University of Oslo. "It's not unrealistic to suspect that human muscles respond as quickly and that those nuclei last for decades, or even a lifetime," he says.


The more exercise you do, the more memory you can bank and the easier it is to make deposits. It's like a health savings account, and as with any savings account, it's best to start early—like now. Gundersen's research found that the ability to make new muscle decreases as you age. The earlier you start and the more you build, the better off you'll be later in life.


Your Body Never Forgets



WHY WE PUT OURSELVES LAST AND WHY SELF-CARE SHOULD BE A PRIORITY.

Many of us struggle with the idea of self-care. Most of us were brought up to put others before ourselves and ignore our own needs - that it is somehow arrogant or self-centered and nobody wants to be labelled "selfish"

I too have had this misconception and in the past have run myself ragged over trying to please everyone (impossible) busy saying yes to others which left a big fat NO for myself. This just leads to resentment and probable burn out and then you are not in a fit state to help anyone.

Here I'm going to share that self-care ultimately benefits everyone around us as well as ourselves and I will dispel a few myths around being selfish.

1. We think self-care means being selfish.

In fact it means the opposite as it strengthens us which puts us in a better position to support others. If we are depleted of energy we are no use to anyone. Self-care is an antidote to stress as it builds emotional resilience (see my blog on saying no) so we can cope with challenges in a more effective way.

2. We confuse "rescuing" with caring.

When we "help" others we are basically saying that we don't trust their judgement, we think we know better and that's selfish. Who are we to decide that we know what's right for them? Others have to learn their own lessons in life no matter how uncomfortable that is. By running around and picking up after them we are denying them the right to grow and mature, we also keep them in their place of helplessness. This isn't the same as never helping someone in genuine need but support (when asked for) is much more helpful.

3. In our society we are used to relationships based on neediness and not real love.

Life isn't a Mills and Boon novel and loving someone doesn't entail giving your everything to that person as a requirement for them to stay with you or love you in return. Ernest Hemingway wrote "The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much and forgetting how special you are." Don't confuse love with dependance, taking care of ourselves makes us more independent and less needy for attention or affection from others.

4. We don't realise that we teach others how to treat us.

We do this by our own actions and attitude towards ourselves. Putting out signs that we are here to rescue and sacrifice ourselves will only attract needy and dependant people who want to be rescued - it's all about them and therefore will lead to an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship and you will spend your time attracting people that take advantage of your giving nature. Also ask yourself do you always want to be the "nice guy." People pleasing is a short term strategy to bring some pain further down the line.

5. We expect others to take care of us.

Whilst we may believe that our actions are caring and kind, are we actually expecting something back in return? If you chose to give to others but give yourself nothing you can't really expect anything in return even gratitude or appreciation. Maybe you are giving because your own self-esteem is low and you are trying to fill a void. Self-care is your own responsibility nobody else's.

6. We don't see our own worth.

Ultimately it comes down to the fact that we think others are worth more. If we are confident in our love for ourselves and treat ourselves as worthy then that's what we will attract back. Yes that old chestnut - self-love again!

So, what does self-care look like on a practical level? Below is my personal list of (some) self-care practices and I hope it will help you to start your own list.

1. Preparing and eating three healthy meals a day.

2. Getting outside in nature every day.

3. Practicing yoga, meditation and pranayama as often as time allows.

4. Spending time with positive people and loved ones.

5. Gratitude - I go through a list every morning of stuff I'm grateful for.

6. Having fun and laughing more - not being too serious.

7. Getting a good nights sleep.

8. Minimising alcohol, caffeine and processed sugar.

9. Spending time alone.

10. Candle lit bubble baths.

I could go on but you get the idea so make your own list and start valuing and caring for yourself.

NAMASTE.

How breathing revitalises and slows the ageing process

 

 

How Breathing Revitalises and slows the ageing process.

 

Every day, about 35,000 pints of blood pass through your lung capillaries in single file, corpuscle by corpuscle, while exposed to oxygen on both surfaces. Your blood absorbs oxygen and releases carbon dioxide from toxic waste matter gathered from your entire system.

 

Unless you get enough fresh air into your lungs, your blood will not be sufficiently purified or regenerated to maintain optimum health. It will assume a bluish-red colour, and your complexion will acquire an unhealthy pallor. Blood impurities will manifest disease.

 

In contrast, when your arterial blood contains about 25 percent oxygen, your body functions optimally. Every cell, tissue, muscle, and organ is invigorated, nurtured and strengthened. New, pristine, healthy cells and tissues are easily manufactured. Oxygenated blood, generated by deep breathing, increases body warmth, strengthens resistance, and brings proper food assimilation and waste.

 

Prana is the breath and pranayama is control of the breath so by practicing pranayama we can heal and regenerate the whole human mind and body.

 

Just spend 5 minutes a day slowing and deepening the breath - always in and out through the nose, make the in breath and the out breath the same length. After a bit of practice then try holding the breath at the top of the inhale for about the count of 5 and hold the breath on the end of the exhale to get maximum oxygen into the system. Counting the breath will bring focus and stop your mind wandering onto random thoughts.

MIDDLE AGED SPREAD AND HOW TO FIGHT IT.

Latest science confirms that it is harder to lose belly weight as we age but getting older doesn’t mean that we have to get fatter.

Have you developed bingo wings? Can you pinch more than an inch and is it harder to see your feet as your belly is in the way?

Even naturally slim people can succumb to the dreaded “middle age spread”

But getting older doesn’t have to mean getting fatter, losing the fat is a lot more manageable than we think.

Once you understand why the weight gain is happening there are plenty of ways to outsmart it.

HOW HORMONES WREAK HAVOC WITH OUR WAISTS.

As early as our thirties a fall in hormone levels for both sexes begins to slow our metabolism so that we burn less energy and store more fat.

The female body has a delicate balance of progesterone and oestrogen throughout her fertile years. High levels of oestrogen increase fat tissue but when we are younger this is offset by high levels of progesterone.

From the age of 35 levels of both hormones decrease however progesterone levels decrease faster leading to fat tissue to form around the belly and can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

These hormone drops lead to a reduction in muscle mass and because muscle tissue consumes glucose in the body it means less glucose is used so any excess is stored around the middle. Less muscle mass also means your body doesn’t process carbs efficiently so eating too many triggers weight gain.

So….

Make sure your diet includes healthy sources of protein as protein is the building block of muscle and cut out or minimise refined and processed carbs like white bread, pasta and baked products especially those made with white flour.

Only eat sugar in it’s natural form i.e. fruits.

Work those muscles - the more muscle you have the more calories you burn even when your’e not exercising. As you age it’s important to incorporate weights to keep those muscles strong. I add small weights to many of my yoga asanas like the Warrior 1 and 2. Use weights that exhaust your muscles at 8 reps.

Eliminate stress - juggling awkward teenagers, demanding parents and high pressure jobs cannot always be avoided but stress causes high levels of cortisol which has been linked to midriff fat accumulation so make sure that you allow some time for yourself find a small yoga group or take a mindful course.

Use every opportunity to stand and/or walk. Standing burns twice as many calories as sitting. Being sedentary decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase which helps burn fat around the middle.

Make sure you are getting enough sleep, when you are short of sleep your appetite increases leading to eating more than you actually need, try setting a soothing bedtime routine maybe a warm bath and some herbal tea. Avoid any tech in the bedroom including a TV.

So there you go there’s no need to tolerate that spare tyre anymore now you are armed with a few simple facts.

NAMASTE.

How to say no Kindly and gracefully.

Last week I blogged about how most of us have trouble saying or hearing the word no.

I decided to find a quick process on helping people to navigate this issue simply and easily, I found this article from Dr Joanna Martin on this subject, it made perfect sense so I thought I would share the concept in my own way. 

Bear in mind we are only saying no to the request and not the person especially important when saying it to people we have a long term relationship with like family, friends and some co-workers.

 Say "thank you" first and foremost to acknowledge them - for example a co-worker bringing you a problem that is not really your remit and you have plenty of stuff to get through yourself, you could say "thank you for thinking that I could solve this, however this isn't a good time for me to deal with this"- no long explanations needed. Don't say you are busy as this is referring that their stuff isn't that important. Then offer them a choice to maybe help them out like "Marjorie in accounts maybe able to help you" or "If you are still struggling I have some free time on Thursday around 4pm ( providing you have ).Or maybe your mother invites you for lunch on a Sunday and you just don't feel like it you can say the same thing "That's really thoughtful Mum but this Sunday just doesn't work for me ( again no excuses or explanations needed) but how about the Sunday afterwards?" That way you are helping them out with a solution.

However if the person you are saying no to is a random stranger even less words are needed. Using the example of someone collecting for a charity gone are the olden days when it was just some sweet old lady rattling a collection box, now it is quite a regular occurrence to be accosted by some young hip dude whose clearly on commission to get you to sign your life away with a monthly direct debit to a donkey sanctuary or sponsoring a dolphin.

Look at them directly, smile and say "no thank you"- end of conversation.

Hope you've found this helpful I certainly did.

NAMASTE.