6 Self-Care Tips

Rituals of self-nourishment are the invisible binds that hold our lives together, without them we begin to unravel and fall apart.

Self-care isn’t selfish – it is essential. 

In taking care of ourselves, we are better able to care for others. I like to think of self-care as filling our glass. When our glass is replenished our hearts become full. This loving kindness then over-spills towards others. When our glass is empty, we have little left to give.

Self-care teaches us to fill our own glass first so we can give others the best of us, rather than the rest of us.

6 self-nurturing tips you can begin to use today to fill your glass:

1. Set healthy boundaries for yourself and others 

I struggled with this concept for a long time. I was your classic ‘people-pleaser’ and found myself agreeing to things I didn’t want to do. I also allowed people to consistently disrespect my values, and forgave and forgave and forgave. But knowing when to say ‘Yes’ and when to say ‘No’ can be the difference between feeling aligned or feeling off balance.

Healthy boundaries are an essential part of self-care. When you respect yourself, your time and your health you teach others to do the same. You can still be generous and kind without becoming a continuous ‘go to’ or doormat for others.

Before you agree or disagree to something, sit with your feelings. Choose ‘alignment before action’ so that your response is authentic and true to your wishes. Be clear about your thoughts and feelings. Others will appreciate your honesty, and if they don’t – well they may not be the best company to keep anyway. Which leads me to my next tip…

2. Surround yourself with good company

I used to be too polite and scared of rocking the boat. Even if someone offended me, I’d still find it hard to say ‘no’ and give up my time for that person. Today, I am much more selective with who I choose to spend my time with.

It takes practice to navigate relationships. Each person we meet teaches us more about ourselves, our boundaries and our core values. At times, those boundaries will be tested. Release anyone who continuously disrespects your values, wish them well, and move on.

In time, you will learn to forgive and release any relationships no longer nourish you. This will leave you with more time and energy to cherish those that do.

If you stay true to yourself and maintain healthy relationships through open, honest communication, you will naturally surround yourself with like-minded people who emanate the true vibe of your tribe. Be the type of person you wish to meet.

3. Make health a priority

Health is wealth. We rarely realise how important our health is until we lose it. Many claim they lack the time or money to be healthy, yet squander precious time and resources engaging in activities that aren’t nourishing; fast foods, reality television, gossiping, retail therapy, working longer hours than necessary – these are just a few of the ways we ‘zone out’.

We are all guilty of indulging from time to time. Hey – who can resist an episode of The Kardashians? The idea is that we maintain balance and don’t allow unhealthy habits to consume too much of our lives.

Vow today to take better care of yourself. Eat well and nourish your body – hydrate it, exercise it, stretch it, move it and relax it. Your body is your sacred home – treat it well.

4. Trust your intuition and honour yourself

One of the ways we can honour ourselves is by trusting in our intuition. Our inner wisdom connects and guides us to our higher self. If we neglect to listen to our truth, we become unsettled, confused and anxious.

Honour yourself by listening to your hearts whispers. In doing so, you will begin to navigate life with more grace and ease.

To differentiate between your intuition and your ego, feel for the answer in your heart rather than in your head. You can tune into yourself more by engaging in peaceful activities such as walking, spending time in nature, yoga, meditation and by simply being with yourself.

5. Be gentle on yourself

We are often our own worst critics. For a long time, I’d beat myself up for not getting things perfect. Today, I much prefer to remember that it’s about ‘progress, not perfection.’ Life is rarely ever perfect, and mistakes will happen.

Promise to treat yourself as you would a small child. Accept that you will make errors and forgive yourself for any flaws. Speak to yourself in tones that reassure and uplift, rather than berate and chastise.

We are all here to learn and navigate life together. It becomes much easier when we practise unconditional love and compassion for all, including ourselves. So be gentle on yourself and others.

6. Laugh and play

Let us not forget that life is for living, so make it a priority to live, laugh and love a little more each day.

Life is full of diverse people and rich experiences. Most of life’s true treasures are free; embrace someone you love, sip on a warm cup of tea, dance like no-one is watching, crank up your favourite tune, walk bare foot on the grass, and belly laugh with loved ones!

You can nourish your soul by carving out time each day for laughter and play. Nobody ever on their death bed said: ‘I wish I’d worked more…’

Be kind towards yourself, and remember not to take life too seriously!

In love & light,

Hayley xx

What are your favourite ways to ‘fill your cup?’ I’d love to hear your comments below!

 

 

 


5 Simple Steps Towards Letting Go


I have been experiencing a lot of change in my life recently. My partner and I of six years have decided to go our separate ways. Letting go is never easy, but I have managed to reach a place of acceptance and peace, despite my world being so uncertain right now.

We can never quite be sure why things don’t always work out as ‘planned’. We may have our hunches as to why we lost that ‘one special person’; or missed out on the ‘perfect job opportunity’; or why we didn’t receive the recognition we were hoping for. We may spend days, weeks, months even, dwelling and deliberating over all of life’s perceived ‘failures’ as we convince ourselves: “If only I were ‘slimmer’, ‘smarter’, ‘worthier’ or ‘different’.”

The truth is, we can never fully comprehend the greater plan. Divine timing is at work in each of our lives and we must trust that everything is in Divine order.

So I thought I would share these ‘5 Simple Steps Towards Letting Go’ that have served me. It is my hope that they will help you in some way.

Accept Things As They Are

When we choose acceptance over resistance, we take back our power. That is why acceptance is the first step towards letting go. There is a peaceful awareness that falls over us when we let go of the struggle and accept things as they are.  Acceptance paves the way for peace – peace within ourselves; peace towards others and peace with our current circumstances. It is from this place of peace that healing begins.

However difficult it may be to come to terms with things, try to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What are the benefits of holding on to the person or situation in question? What freedom can be found in letting go and accepting things as they are?

Find The Blessings

With any kind of loss there are usually personal growth lessons involved, especially when experiencing bereavement through the loss of a loved one. When my Dad passed away, as terribly painful as that was for me, there were many blessings that I received. Over time, I began to appreciate life more and the people in it. I learnt how to show more love and to be more courageous in life. I am blessed to still have a relationship with my Dad, it is just a different kind of relationship that exists in the non-physical.

If you are experiencing the loss of a job or a relationship, questions to reflect upon are: Were we compatible? Had the situation turned toxic? Did this environment bring out the best or the worst in me? Was I nurtured or appreciated enough in my career or relationship? Once we recognise what wasn’t working, we can shift our attention to what we wish to receive more of moving forward. Recognition? Respect? Equality? Love? Appreciation? Kindness? There are many hidden blessings that come with loss, one of them being clarity. Bless the past with love for the teachings and lessons it brought.

Forgive

Learning to forgive allows for growth and expansion. It is often in our darkest moments that we discover our light; our inner strength and commitment to oneself. Whether that commitment is to heal; to learn; to accept; or to be kinder to ourselves as well as others, change commands for us to dig deep and seek the light of Truth. To shift our perspective from one of anger, pain and blame, to one of peaceful acceptance and awareness.

In order to forgive we must be willing to look beyond our grievances. People don’t usually set out to intentionally hurt us. When we look passed the character flaws of another and discover the perfect soul within, we become less emotionally attached to the pain that was caused. Our aim is to reach a stage where we can say to one another: ‘The soul in me sees the soul in you.’ – regardless of how much hurt and suffering has been caused. That is how we forgive – that is how we love; ourselves as well as others. Forgive yourself and others and make peace with your past.

Let Your Friends Help You

Whatever difficulties you are facing in your life, be kind to yourself. Be honest with yourself and others. What do you need right now? Quiet space? Welcome distraction? Time to heal? Support and assistance? We sometimes feel that we are alone or don’t wish to burden others with our troubles. But you will be surprised by how many people are willing to help when you reach out.

For a long time I was ashamed of how things were going in my relationship, and I kept my feelings to myself. But when I finally found my voice and shared what was going on, I discovered that I had a much bigger support network than I realised. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to let your friends help you.

Have Faith and Trust in the Process of Life

Even in our darkest of moments we must have faith that everything is working out for our highest good. As painful as it is to let go, when we surrender our past we pave the way for an even brighter future. As one door closes, another one opens. Be present and trust in the process of life.

The quickest way to freedom is to face fear head on; to embrace it and invite it in. Find the courage within you to seek what is waiting for you on the other side. And keep the faith. For ‘we must be willing let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’ – Joseph Campbell.

I hope you have found something here that has eased the pain of letting go and helped in some way. What tips do you have to come to terms with loss? I’d love to hear your comments below.

In love & light,

Hayley xx

 


3 Tips To Get Clear About The New Year


With each New Year, opportunities for change and renewal arise; a time when fresh ideas, hopes and wishes are born. It is true that we can ignite change at any moment in our lives – that we needn’t wait until the first of the month, or Monday, or for the elusive ‘perfect moment’ to begin – but there is something wondrous and welcoming about the start of a New Year; a blank canvas for which our dreams and creativity await form and application.

But when faced with a blank canvas, what should we paint? What hues should we select and what if we run out of colour halfway through? Worse still – what if we stare woefully at the blank page before us, a sense of rising dread as we consider our forgotten finesse for creativity?

In answer to these very real and experienced questions, I invite you to cast your mind back to when you were a child. Rarely, as children, did we ever stop to ponder our ability to create when faced with fresh pots of paint and paper. Instead, with little hesitation, we’d dive in, barely stopping to roll up our sleeves as we repeatedly dipped our brushes, in and out. It didn’t matter if the colours became mixed or the paper became saturated and soaked. Nor did we care if our brush strokes were sloppy and without direction. After splashing a myriad of colour in every which way, we’d pause – and then confidently state our masterpiece, even if it looked nothing of the sort: “Look – a house! A sun! A crocodile!”

Children don’t analyse their visions and dreams, they simply create according to their own unique perspective.

So don’t fret if, as you pen down your wish to lose fifteen pounds or more, you are nibbling away at the left over Christmas chocolates, or dousing your front with fallen crumbs of turkey and cranberry sandwiches. Today is for creative dreaming, the doing will surely follow.

3 Tips Get Clear About The New Year

  1. New Years resolutions are a thing of the past, with many choosing to embrace a word or theme for the year ahead, something that embodies all aspects of our lives; Mind, Body and Spirit. For example, my focus this year is CONNECTION. I would like to be more connected to myself and my spiritual practice. I wish to be more connected with my body’s needs and to listen to it’s subtle whispers when it come to my health. And of course, I would like to strengthen the connections I have with friends and family, as well as forming new connections that inspire and uplift. Will you embrace a theme for the year? And if so, what word will you choose?
  2. Journal Activity: Take a notepad. Give one page each to the following categories: Health, Possessions, Leisure, Relationships, Creativity, Career, and Spirituality. Like a child faced with fresh pots of paint and paper, move out of your logic mind and into the creative mind! List ten wishes in each area, and allow yourself to dream a little here!
  3. As well as embracing the new, it is important for us to release the past. We can thank the past for the wisdom and lesson’s it has brought, but with renewed clarity comes the opportunity to let go of anything that has been holding us back. Is there something or someone you would like to release? This could be a trait, a habit, or even a toxic relationship? For example, mine is PROCRASTINATION. I am so over procrastinating, and am willing to let this debilitating trait go moving forward. Other things to consider are: refined sugar, excessive alcohol, your negative friend who only ever calls to moan about her life…! Whatever it is, choose one thing to release moving forward and feel how wonderful it is to LET GO.

I hope you found some of these tips useful! What are your tips for getting clear about the new year? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Hayley xx

 

 

 

 


Top Tips To Get Through The Holiday Blues

In the wake of the Christmas mayhem, we may find ourselves feeling run down and depleted. A combination of rich foods and beverages, seasonal stress and holiday overwhelm can all begin to take their toll on our wellbeing.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, so I wanted to share some of my top tips for surviving the post holiday blues.

1. Be Extra Kind to Yourself

Post holiday blues can leave us feeling like Ebenezer Scrooge. To avoid appearing like a complete misery-bags, we dawn a false smile in hope that no-one will notice. After all, it’s Christmas, we’re supposed to feel happy right? But it would be naive of us to think that just because it’s Christmas, all of our worries and frustrations will simply melt away. Granted, there’s no need to take our feelings out on others, but we can be extra kind to ourselves during the holidays. If you need some time out, go for a walk, take a bath, or nestle down with your favourite book. Allow yourself the time to do nothing. The holidays are as much about connecting with yourself as they are about connecting with your loved ones. Your family will much prefer you happy and rested over frantic and crazy! So relax, and go easy on yourself.

2. Stay Nourished

Many of us forget that the shops are only closed for one day over Christmas. We fill our cupboards with enough food to feed a football team for a week, and then end up gorging on left overs in the days that follow. It’s ok to loosen the reigns (and trouser buttons) a little over the holiday period, but as soon as possible, try to get back into a normal eating routine. Rich foods and beverages are devoid of nutrients, and contrary to what many believe, alcohol is a depressant. Too much is likely to prolong our holiday blues and leave us feeling despondent. So remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. If you really don’t want to waste all of that food, try freezing some. Or consider making up some food parcels to gift to those in need. You’ll feel much lighter in body (and spirit) for doing so!

3. Set Healthy Boundaries

We can often find ourselves overcommitting during the holidays. Before we know it our schedules are jam packed with outings, visits and gatherings galore. This can leave us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and cranky. It’s important to set healthy boundaries, especially with your time. If you want a day to do simply nothing, say so. Self-care isn’t selfish, it is essential. You needn’t explain your reasons, nor do you need to make up excuses. Be firm. You can communicate your wishes with love without feeling guilty about it. And you’ll also be reminding others that it’s ok to rest during the holiday too!

4. Spend Some Time In Nature

Nature is therapy. One of the quickest, fastest, surest ways to feel replenished again is to spend some time outdoors. Whether it’s a short stroll around the block, resting on a park bench, breathing in the salty sea air or hiking in the hills – there’s something about Mother Nature’s healing vibes that revive and uplift. Often the holiday blues has us cooped up inside, especially if we live in the Northern Hemisphere. But whatever the weather, spend some time in nature today and feel those holiday blues melting away.

5. Be Thankful

For some of us, the Christmas season can leave us feeling blue, especially if we’re remembering loved ones passed, or attempting to relive our childhood memories of Christmas. But just as surely as the seasons change, so do our experiences of Christmases past and present. We should try to release our expectations of what a good Christmas should be like, and instead focus on the things that we are grateful for. You might even want to write your gratitude list in a journal and read over it whenever you’re feeling wishy washy. Maybe you can  invite others to share one thing they are each grateful for over dinner? Focusing on the things that make us feel joyful and happy is a great way to shift our perspective and feel better about life.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in feeling this way. The holiday blues are a normal part of adjusting to the changes in our routine as well as the seasons. So be kind to yourself and others. As much as possible try to count your blessings and look for the small things to be grateful for. If you really can’t shake your blues, be sure to reach out to someone you can trust and let that person know how you feel.

I’d love to hear your tips on how to feel better about the post holiday blues!

In love and light,

Hayley xx

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How To Avoid Affirmation Frustration

I-forgot-the-words-to-my-affirmation.jpg

Some people go into panic mode when they realise the power of their emotions. They attempt to tie a noose around their negative thoughts and walk around affirming positive statements that simply aren’t true (yet).

I am not denying that affirmations are a powerful and effective tool for manifestation; because they are and that is why I use them myself and encourage others to do so. However, I am suggesting that we choose our affirmations carefully. If we affirm something that is too far from our current personal reality, this may lead to further frustration.

If there is too great a discord between where we are and where we’d like to be in our affirmative statement, then our good intentions could, in fact, have the opposite effect and lead to blocks.

For example, it’s no use saying ‘I am slender’ on days when we feel like a beached whale. That statement will only remind us of what we are not yet feeling. And it’s a sure fire way to have us running for the spoon and jar of peanut butter! (Or is that just me???) peanut-butter-meme-700x700So on days when our self esteem and joy are somewhat waning, rather than attempt to bridge an impossible gap, it is much more effective to reach for thoughts and feelings that improve our current state of mind.

This is usually something closer within our reach, for example;

  • I feed my body with foods that help it thrive.
  • I love my workouts once I get going.
  • I know that my body is capable of reaching a healthy weight.
  • I am progressing towards a healthy body.
  • My next meal will be healthy and nutritious.
  • There are parts of my body which I love.
  • I am further along than I think.

From here, we are able to build some positive momentum. These statements are achievable now. We can take action.

You see, it is not what we say, but how we feel when we say it.

So if we are affirming that we are sexy hot like Beyonce Knowles, but feeling like we are sexy NOT like Princess Fiona, beyonce-knowles-and-shrekthen the only emotions we are emitting to the ethers are those of lack, inadequacy, frustration, and disappointment. It is much more powerful to reach for something that makes us feel better NOW! (And no – that does not include the Haagan Daaz Cookies and Cream ice-cream!) That’s a temporary feel good. Trust me – I know… 😉 It means reaching for an honest thought or feeling that allows us to feel vibrationally aligned again in this moment.

Once we feel empowered again, then we can embrace the more assertive ‘I Am…’ present moment affirmations – such as:

I Am *insert desire of choice*
eg. toned to the bone/in possession of the job I seek/the shizzle McNizzle!

If we affirm our I Am statements whilst already feeling good, rather than in an attempt to feel good, then guuuuuurl we can be all that and more! (And you fellas!) Heh hem – all this Beyonce talk has got me feeling like Beyonce! Maybe this whole post was wrong after all? And all we gotta do is fake it till we make it?!

Affirm your awesomeness loveables. And remember – you are beautiful – Beyonce bootay or not!

Word.

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My Top Tips for Calmer Kids & How to Encourage Meditation

As a teacher of yoga and mindfulness in schools, I can honestly say that the transformation I witness blows my mind every time. More mindfulness in schools = calmer kids. And more importantly – HAPPIER children.

It’s our responsibility to provide our young ones with the tools they need to build positive and peaceful relationships with themselves and those around them. Teaching children how to be calm also provides them with coping strategies for dealing with difficult emotions and stress. Because lets face it – with the demands of the curriculum, homework and the pressure to keep up with their peers, children can become stressed out too!child-meditation-dalai-lama

But what if your local school has yet to establish a mindfulness/meditation practice with their students? You could suggest that they incorporate this into the curriculum. There are a couple of ways this can be done; schools can book in specialised programs that usually spend a term with the school establishing a yoga or meditation practise. If the school’s budget does not allow for this, an inexpensive way could be through the use of meditation apps such as Smiling Minds or My Light Shines Bright.

You may want to begin a meditation practise with your children at home, and the best way is to lead by example.

Here are my top tips for meditating with your children at home:

Create a peaceful space

It is important that children feel safe when meditating. One way to do this is to create a peaceful place for them to meditate and take some time out. However, it is important that this space is not used as punishment for naughty children. meditation-for-childrenThis is a sacred space for your child to feel comfortable and at ease with themselves. This is a peaceful place where they can remove themselves from the stresses of school or the hustle and bustle of communal areas. For that reason, choose a corner of the house free from televisions and other noisy distractions.

Peaceful props

To encourage your children to use their meditation space, decorate it with some peaceful props. Like adults, children are drawn to beautiful ornaments and items that make them feel happy and comfortable. Some suggestions are:

  • colourful cushions and fabrics
  • statues or framed images of fairies, unicorns, mystical dragons or other items of interest, such as a favourite teddy
  • crystals or colourful glass pebbles
  • a portable stereo with a choice of relaxing, calm music
  • a special lamp safe for children’s use, such as a salt lamp or a night light
  • singing bowl or chimes

Encourage, don’t force

Children are naturally intrigued by anything new, therefore, meditation should be encouraged, rather than forced. If your child wants to get up and leave – allow them to, they will return in time. But as a general rule of thumb, experts recommend children meditate for one minute per year of age eg. 5 years old = 5 minutes. However, each child is different and so in the beginning, I suggest taking a ‘mindful minute’ and then slowly increasing the timeframe until you reach an amount they feel comfortable with.

mother_daughter_meditating

Children also learn from those around them. So encourage gentle discussion about why meditation is good for us. eg. ‘It helps us to feel calm, peaceful, healthy and happy etc’  ‘Especially when we have difficult emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness or when we’re having trouble sleeping etc’ This will allow your child to develop an understanding of why we practise mindfulness. Children love to contribute their ideas, so ask them: ‘When could we practise this? How does it make us feel after we’ve taken a mindful minute? What difficult emotions could this help us with?’ You will be surprised at how quickly children come to know the benefits of meditating.

Simple (yet creative) breathing techniques

Since breathing is such an important aspect of mindfulness and meditation, children will need to be taught the basics of focusing on their breath.  Children are very visual, so here are some fun and simple techniques to encourage calmness of breath:

  • ask your child to place their hands on their tummy and say; ‘Imagine you have a balloon in your tummy! What colour is your balloon? Now imagine that as you breath in, you fill your balloon with air and it gets bigger, and as you breath out, you let the air out and the ballon gets smaller. Breath in, your balloon fills with air, breath out, your balloon empties…’ Encourage this for a few breaths, or one minute.
  • Get creative! Imagine you are in a jungle! Can your child do a lion breath? ‘Breath in and make a proud lion chest – now do a silent roar as you let the air go. Let’s do a Daddy lion, now a Mummy lion, which is softer, now a baby lion which is ever so gentle. Now lets continue breathing like baby lions for one minute…’
  • For older children, the analogy of using their breath like an anchor is helpful. ‘When a boat drifts along the water, the anchor helps it to become still. Sometimes our minds drift off, but we can use our breath like an anchor to help our minds become calm and still. Lets practice focussing on our breathing. Shall we count our breaths silently in our heads? In for One…out for Two…in for Three…’

Make it fun!

Mindfulness can be fun, not a chore! There are many ways to make mindfulness fun for your children. Get creative, choose some calming music to play as you meditate together. I recommend a song called A Breath of Stillness which can be found on Spotify, YouTube or downloaded. For younger children, practise other animal breathing techniques, all of which can be found on YouTube such as ‘bird breath’, ‘bee breath’ or ‘dragon breath’. Once the basics of breathing are established, you may want to practise Sun Salutes together and other simple yoga movements, since yoga is simply meditation in movement. But most of all, make it a happy time for you and your family to share and enjoy together!

I hope these techniques have provided you with some ideas to get started. I’d love to hear your contributions about what has and hasn’t worked! So feel free comment below, or share this post with your friends and family if you feel they may benefit from some of these practices.

Namaste,

Hayley

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Five Reasons To Love Yoga

I wanted to dedicate a post to the wonderful practice of Yoga. I have been venturing in and out of my yoga practice for almost 6 years now – sometimes engaging consistently each morning, at other times using yoga to cool down after an intense workout. However, it is only in the last three months that I have fully come to appreciate and understand the immense benefits of this incredible lifestyle.

Thanks to meeting a very inspiring yoga teacher who trained in India, I now know that yoga isn’t just a range of movements designed to aid with stress, relaxation, breathing and stretching (although yoga certainly does achieve all of these!) – in short, Yoga is a way of life.

Originating in India, the Sanskrit meaning of Yoga is ‘union’. It is through the union of mind, body and soul that we connect to divine consciousness (Brahman). Yogis believe that this connected experience moves us closer to liberation and enlightenment. (If the spiritual concept of yoga overwhelms you at this moment in time, do not feel discouraged!) For regardless of your spiritual or religious beliefs, yoga is sure to leave you feeling happier, less stressed, more in tune with your body and your personal needs, as well as the needs of others. Here’s why:

  1. Yoga is a journey to the self. When we connect our mind, body and spirit through our practice (with the aid of the breath), we move closer to our true, authentic nature. By letting go of the demands and stresses of our every day life, we are given the opportunity to regain some clarity and perspective over things. Through this connection to our deeper selves, we begin to see improvements in many areas of our lives, from improved relationships with others, as well as the relationship we have with our self.Yoga-spiritual-journey
  2. Yoga improves our overall sense of happiness and well being. As we learn to disconnect from our busy lives – our moods are lightened, our ability to remain composed under pressure increases and we leave our mats feeling a greater sense of peace and calm. Not to mention the fact that your body will feel stronger, leaner and more balanced. Nothing feels better than the feeling you get from being in complete alignment with your self and your body. Yoga helps us to achieve this.i-really-regret-that-yoga-class-today-said-no-one-ever-811e8
  3. Yoga helps us to remain present. Much of our time is spent fretting over the past or worrying about the future. Yoga reminds us to breathe, to let go of the burdens of the past and the uncertainty of the future so that we can embrace the present moment. When we truly connect with our yoga practice, every thing else just seems to melt away. That feeling of being present can stay with us long after we have left the mat and can remain for hours, even days afterwards.yoga-present-moment
  4. Yoga teaches us about ourselves and the way we respond to life. Much of yoga is about learning how we react and cope with every day circumstances. How do we behave when we can’t hold a pose? Do we become frustrated? Do we shut down and give up? Are we critical of ourselves? Yoga is about becoming aware of our physical and emotional reactions and teaches us to work through them. In short, yoga can be a little bit like therapy. Stuff comes up that we didn’t even know was there – and when we leave our yoga practice, we can come away feeling much lighter having recognised and released some of the habits and blockages that have been holding us back.yoga-touching-toes-learn-way-down3
  5. Yoga is a great way to connect. Whether you prefer to practice on your own at home or to seek out a great class to attend – yoga connects us. Discovering a shared love of yoga with others is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people. Taking your yoga outside is a great way to connect with nature. Even when practicing alone, we are connecting with the divine. Yoga is just that – a union; of body, mind and soul, as well as a connection to the greater collective whole.

Namaste

Hayley xx

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How To Pull (Oil) Like A Pro

Oil pulling is one of the weirdest (yet most fascinating) of the detox practices. But I have to admit, it is one of my favourites. Here’s why!

Health benefits of oil pulling:

  • brighter, whiter teeth
  • healthier gums
  • no more bad breath (a bonus if you are actually trying to pull!)
  • improved sleep
  • increased energy
  • clearer sinuses
  • clearer skin
  • improved lymph system
  • reduced PMS symptoms (I used to have awful cramps – however, since oil pulling and cleaning up my diet, my symptoms are greatly reduced!)

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual and is simple, yet effective.

Here’s how to ‘pull like a pro!’

Upon waking, on an empty stomach and before brushing your teeth:

  • Put 1 tbsp of oil in your mouth. (I use organic coconut oil because it tastes delicious and is a super beneficial oil in general!) But traditionally, sesame seed oil or sunflower oils are used.
  • Swish it around your gob for 15-20mins!
  • Spit it into the bin. (Nice!) I recommend disposing of the oil in the bin to avoid clogging your drains!

Sounds a bit yuck right? But believe me, the health benefits of oil pulling are far too good to pass up on this wonderfully wacky morning ritual.

Bonus pro tips for pulling:

Whoa! Slow down. There really is no need to gargle or swish the oil so fast that your jaw begins to ache. A slow, simple sucking between the teeth and around the mouth will suffice, and if you’re pushed for time, this can be done as you take a shower or get dressed.

If Kate Winslet can spit like a man - so can you!
If Kate Winslet can spit like a man – so can you!

Find your (inner) bloke… Oil pulling does draw out some nasties and toxins, so be prepared to gag a little in the beginning. But stick with it and you’ll soon be hoiking up like Kate Winslett in Titanic. Yes – ladies can spit too! Which brings me to the next point…

Spit – don’t swallow!!! Whatever your pulling preferences, in this instance – make sure you spit and not swallow! The swishing of the oil draws out a host of bacteria, debris and toxins from your body through the mouth membrane and this is definitely NOT something you want to digest! I also suggest rinsing your mouth thoroughly afterwards and then brushing. You might even want to keep a separate toothbrush for the purpose of post-pulling.

Spice things up! Why not add a drop of oregano essential oil to the mix to further enhance the antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral effect?

Follow these four tips and you’ll be pulling like a pro in no time!

Lastly, Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing believes that ‘All disease starts in the mouth.’ He states that oil pulling can heal even chronic diseases such as intestinal, heart, kidney disease and more!

So for such a simple, inexpensive detox ritual, why not add it to your morning routine and try for yourself?

Happy pulling!

Organically Yours,

Hayley xx

 

*Header image via popsugar.com

 

 

 


Why Switch To Organic?

Would you feed yourself and your family toxic, poisonous chemicals? Whilst this may sound extreme, the reality of the matter is that each time you consume conventional fruits or vegetables, you are doing precisely that in the form of pesticides and herbicides. These harmful chemicals are known carcinogens (cancer causing). Don’t even get me started on processed foods – that’s for another post entirely!

Exposure to, and the consumption of pesticides has been linked to a number of health related issues, including:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Fertility issues
  • Birth defectstoxic-apple-dont-panic-go-organic-pesticide
  • ADHD (in children)
  • Cancers (ovarian, prostate, breast and others)
  • Damage to immune system
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Low IQ (in children)
  • Neurological disease, and more!

I don’t know about you – but I think I’d rather eat an insect or two?! 

Like most people, for years I shunned the idea of going organic on the basis that it was ‘too expensive’ – but after doing my research and learning of the rise in cancers and other food related diseases, I was finally shocked into detox and made the full switch to organic this year. I haven’t looked back since.

Can’t we just wash our vegetables?
The short answer is: no. Even if you wash your vegetables in water and scrub them with a brush, it is not enough to remove the harmful buildup of toxic chemicals on your produce, especially since pesticides can be soaked up by the plants roots and absorbed into the flesh of the fruit or vegetable. Consumer Reports confirm that the USDA measure pesticide residues after the produce has been rinsed and edible peels have been removed. Therefore, your safest bet is to buy organic.

Three ways to rationalize making the switch to organic:

  1. Find your ‘why’ and prioritise.
    Whilst, for a long time I professed that organic vegetables were too costly, that’s mostly because I was comparing them to their cheaper counterpart. Who wants to buy something that looks exactly the same for double the cost? However, looks can be deceiving. Once I discovered the harmful effects of pesticides, I concluded that conventional produce is not even worth the lesser price tag; fruits and vegetables are supposed to heal, not harm. I no longer compare cost since there is no comparison when it comes to health. So if you are still ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ – ask yourself this: Can you afford to become seriously ill and lose your health?
  2. Where there is a will there is a way.
    If you are serious about your health, you will find a way to protect yourself and your family. Most people have ‘non-essential’ outgoings, which, when reduced, free up extra funds to invest in their health and wellbeing. Things to consider cutting back on include: internet shopping, alcohol, unnecessary TV packages/add-ons, taking transport when travelling shorter distances, takeaways/fast food, high tech gadgets and games. If you are really struggling and have access to an allotment/garden – you could consider growing your own vegetables at a fraction of the cost – safe and rewarding.
  3. Bless – Don’t Stress
    After the initial ‘whoa’ moment of my first organic shop, I began to bless the farmers and stores offering safer produce, rather than stressing over the price tag. I now pay my bill with love and gratitude, silently thanking Mother Nature for providing meals that heal. Despite my fairly low income teaching as a contractor, I soon became accustomed to the increase in my shopping bill and so will you. It is simply a case of eliminating the non-essentials. This increase can range anywhere between 25-50% depending on how savvy you are at shopping organically. Whilst it may, at first, feel heavier on your pocket, believe me – it will feel much lighter on your soul.

Here are my top 3 tips for savvy organic shopping:

  1. Timing.
    If you shop towards the end of the day, you will sometimes find reduced stock which has lost a little of its freshness. If you plan to use them straight away, this isn’t a problem. Also, find out when your local store renews their stock. Older produce is often reduced beforehand to free up room for the new delivery. And stock up! If something is on special or reduced, can you bulk buy it? This will save you money in the long run and is particularly handy when purchasing dry stock such as quinoa or lentils etc However, even fresh produce such as veggies and meats can be frozen until a later date.
  2. Quality vs. Quantity.
    Before making the switch to organic, I would happily throw an entire pepper/onion into a recipe. I now consider using half instead. Since organic vegetables provide more bang for buck, I choose quality over quantity. I feel just as full and satiated because I am providing my body with a healthy dose of nutrient dense foods.
  3. Beans beans are good for your heart the more you eat the more you ..?!
    Since switching to organic, I have gradually moved towards a plant strong diet, filling up on quinoa, lentils, nuts, seeds and legumes. I have found that reducing my meat intake frees up funds for other tasty (and beneficial) foods that are just as rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Experiment with different recipes (you can find some on my recipes page) and discover what works for you!

If you are still struggling with cost, make the switch to organic gradually. Even if you purchase some organic vegetables and others conventional, you are still consuming less pesticides then you would have previously. This guide is published each year and provides information about the safest conventional produce. When purchasing from the dirty dozen list, try to always buy organic. Foods from the clean fifteen list can be purchased conventionally at a much lower risk.

dirty-dozen-list-don't-panic-go-organic

What’s your take on organic vs. conventional? Are you pro organic? How do you justify the higher price tags and do you have any tips for cost saving?

Organically yours,

Hayley xx