Mindfulness can help you de-stress this Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and that means you might be experiencing quite a few emotions from excitement to anxiety, stress or depression.

Christmas has always been portrayed as a happy, joyful time, where we spend the day with family and loved ones, but it’s not always easy. If your budget is tight, then the weeks leading up to Christmas Day can be very worrying too. Read more…

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  • Ayurveda Tips for Good Digestion

    Are you eating on the go? Or are you tired after a meal?
    Try these simple Ayurveda tips for good digestion.

    Ayurveda relies on balance of the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha – for good health.  A healthy digestive system therefore relies on balance of the doshas and in particular – pitta, which governs the metabolism and digestive system.

    Digestive problems are common and usually caused by a combination of poor diet and eating ‘on the go’. Many people rarely take the time to eat a good breakfast, usually eating a slice of toast in the car on the way to work, or not eating anything at all. Lunch time is much of the same with people eating at their desks or wolfing something down quickly before their next meeting.

    Ayurveda can help improve our digestive health by not only focussing on what we eat but how we eat it. Ideally we should eat in a comfortable, relaxing environment or at least sitting down without distractions. This helps us to focus on the food, the taste and smell, and when we focus, we eat slowly, which helps digestion.

    Another way to aid digestion is to stimulate the digestive fire or ‘agni’

    Another way to aid digestion is to stimulate the digestive fire or ‘agni’, which is controlled by the pitta dosha. If the agni is weak, then this can make us tired after eating. If it is too strong, then it can ‘burn’ the food. Ayurveda recommends finding a balance so we can digest efficiently. To boost your digestive fire, try eating a 1-inch pinch of fresh ginger with a drop of lemon before meals. Read more…

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  • Cheap Air Tickets for Spring and Summer

    When you’re planning your next spring or summer holidays, you’ll want to make sure you get the best deal on flights. But how far in advance should you book your plane ticket?

    Skyscanner and CheapAir analysed over 200 million flights over three years and came up with a formula that lets you know the answer to the question we all like to know:
    When is the optimum time to book my flights?

    The formula for cheap air tickets

    According to the research, the optimum ‘window’ for bagging cheap air tickets is from 29 days – 104 days before date of departure.

    The research shows that the cheapest time to book flights in advance from the UK is as follows:

    Spain – 5 weeks
    USA – 21 weeks
    Italy – 6 weeks
    France – 6 weeks
    Greece – 3 weeks
    Turkey – 13 weeks
    Portugal – 5 weeks
    Germany – 9 weeks
    Cyprus – 4 weeks
    Croatia – 6 weeks

    However, air fares can fluctuate and so it’s advisable to sign up for price alerts so you know when the lower prices become available. Nonetheless the research is interesting and we decided to try it ourselves. Read more…

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  • A detox retreat can help you feel rejuvenated

    It’s normal to eat and drink to our heart’s content over Christmas and New Year. But come January, most of us want to cleanse our bodies of the damage and be healthier again. One way to do this is to go on a detox retreat.

    Chef Heston Blumenthal recently went to Bali where he spent four days on a detox retreat to recover from …‘exhaustion’…

    He lost 8lbs and said it was ‘amazing.’ He also enjoyed yoga and meditation. You can read about his adventure here. Read more…

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  • Get Cheap Train Fares this Christmas

    Will you be travelling around Christmas or New Year? – Do you want to find the best cheap train fares?

    Travelling around Christmas and New Year can be expensive but instead of forking out huge amounts, you can save money – we’ve done the research for you. Cheap train fares are available, you just have to know where to look.

    Did you know you can actually split your journey in half and buy two tickets instead of just one for the whole trip? It’s called split-ticketing and it’s completely within the terms and conditions of train operating companies.  Read more…

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  • HRT: a safe and healthy supplement?

    By Jane Feinmann

    If menopausal symptoms strongly interfere with your daily life and your sleep then you may be considering HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

    Most women apply a skin cream before bedtime. My daily regime is a blob of oestrogen gel, a hormone replacement therapy that my GP has prescribed on the NHS ever since I went through the menopause. Yoga and a healthy diet has kept me healthy enough in my sixties.

    But it’s the HRT that stopped hot flushes, mental fog and other menopausal problems – and given me strong bones postmenopausally. That’s not just my view. There’s evidence that it works.

    But surely, you ask, there are huge health risks in taking HRT? Read more…

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  • Do you look for silence on retreat?

    Do you sometimes long for silence amidst the hubbub of our busy lives?

    Previously we wrote about the rise of digital detox retreats. What’s also becoming popular is Vipassana meditation retreats also known as silent retreats, where, essentially, you don’t utter a single word for as long as you’re there. The days are filled with meditation, short breaks for meals and rest, a brisk walk – all in complete silence. Interaction with anybody else is prohibited.

    Vipassana means ‘seeing things as they really are’ and is one of India’s most ancient techniques. These silent retreats are designed to help you focus on the connection between mind and body through self-observation, resulting in a balanced mind.

    Overall the effect of being surrounded by silence can initially stir thoughts and over-thinking, but soon comes inner peace. We have an overload of information and too many distractions in our lives that we easily feel out of touch with ourselves. Silence can bring you back ‘home’.

    Are silent retreats right for you?

    While silent retreats are successful experiences for some, they are not necessarily the right thing for everyone. Sitting still in the lotus position may not be the best option for some to start with, and not for several days without speaking a word.

    There are different ways to find silence that gradually help you find it easier to sit or move in silence for longer, e.g. from the meditation part of yoga classes like hatha yoga and Kundalini yoga, pranayama breathing practices, or tai chi and qi gong that is practiced in silence, or taking part in silent walks. Ironically, chanting meditations (making your own sound) can assist with finding inner silence.

    If you’re looking for silence, you can simply go to a place that is off the beaten track or somewhere that is a technology-free zone. You might be surprised how much peace you find without a phone in your hand.

    What retreat may be right for you? Read more…
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  • Half term retreats – where will you be relaxing?

    This half-term why not treat yourself to a getaway where you get to do nothing but relax, walk or practice yoga?

    Neal’s Yard Holidays has a number of half term retreats available during this October and we’re featuring a selection of them below. If you’d like to see the full range of retreats available this October, visit this page.

    At this luxury retreat in Marrakesh, practice yoga and Pilates and stay in the middle of the old town. What’s great about this retreat is, you won’t miss any of the sites – you can have guided tours of the souks and Imperial City. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains, escape with yoga, Pilates and a Hammam. From 27 October – 15 November. For more info see this page.

    Visit the Spirit of Life Centre in southern Greece and practice yoga and Pilates surrounded by the beautiful mountains and olive groves. This retreat also offers a number of other activities includes horse riding, cycling, and walking (see photo).

    For a half term retreat a little closer to home, Read more…

  • Posted in Where to go on holiday in October, yoga retreats
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  • Ayurveda Tip: Drinking Water

    There’s actually an art to drinking water to make sure your body gets the most out of it.

    Drinking water in big gulps and chugging it down will mean that most of it does not get absorbed. Instead, it’s important to sip water throughout the day at a steady rate. Here are some Ayurveda tips to get you started.

     Ayurveda tips for drinking water
    • Sit down to drink
    •  Take small sips
    •  Sip throughout the day
    •  Do not drink too much during meals
    •  Avoid drinking water straight after a meal
    •  Drink when you’re thirsty
    •  Drink warm water
    •  Drink a glass of warm water upon waking
    •  Sip hot water for a hot water detox
    •  Ensure you do not get dehydrated

    Drinking warm and hot water has long been a practice in Ayurveda. Sipping it between meals can help flush out toxins and prevent digestive problems. It is also known to enhance the radiance of the skin and calm skin conditions. Read more…

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  • Walking Holidays

    Walking has a number of health benefits and is something that everyone can do. Walking holidays can be a great way to boost your health and energy levels while relaxing away from home.

    Walking lowers risk of disease

    As an exercise, walking is low impact, meaning it’s kind on your joints but it’s also weight-bearing, which means it strengthens bones and muscles surrounding the joints. It’s recommended that we walk 10,000 steps a day to keep our hearts healthy and lower cholesterol and risk of type 2 diabetes. But even a brisk 30-minute walk everyday can dramatically reduce the risk of disease. A 15-minute walk after eating can lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar.

    Getting out and about for a walk can help tone your whole body and reduce body fat. Though it may not be as effective for fat burning as a more vigorous exercise minute by minute, it can certainly help. It will just take longer!

    Walking improves mood

    Walking is also great for getting a boost of much needed vitamin D, which most of us are deficient in.  Exercise is a renowned energiser, and walking is perfect for that. A walk can improve circulation and increase oxygen supply to the brain, which will make you feel more alert and improve concentration. If you ever have a low mood, then walking can help improve this. Exercise releases endorphins, which makes us happy, so even a 10-minute walk is enough to make you feel happier. Read more…

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