Thursday, 19 April 2018

Hello and welcome!

(Photo Credit: Jane Beadnell Photography (http://janebeadnellphotography.co.uk/)



Over the years I've loved sharing my knowledge of wellness and yoga with you all. I've wanted to share as much as possible, so I have been posting six times a week over the two blogs. However, I'm planning some new and exciting projects to share with you, and to give me the time to work on these, I won't be posting quite as frequently. I'll still be here though, and I look forward to continuing on our wellness and yoga journeys together.

Thank you for your support- sending my love to you all.

Please see below for my latest post!



Sunday, 15 April 2018

This week on 40plusandalliswell


April temperatures can be a little up and down – one minute you are thinking in terms of tee-shirts, the next it’s out with the jumpers again. This soup is perfect for those cooler April days with its warming spices. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/meatless-monday-hearty-mulligatawny-soup.html

Are you worried about getting enough calcium for healthy bones? The blog post on my 'sister' blog may reassure you - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/the-vegan-diet-and-healthy-bones.html


If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. Please see-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html 

Thank you

Friday, 13 April 2018

Yoga for self-care - Finding your true self - Part 1 - Awareness



Finding true self is not easy in today’s busy, busy world.  It’s hard to turn inward when so much is demanding your attention outside of yourself. But just like the sun is always there but you can’t always see it for the clouds, your true self is always there ready to be discovered by you.  Your true self connects you with the divine, the universe or whatever higher force you believe in.  We may only see glimpses of it and that is why it is important to continue practicing the turning inward that will help us connect with that part of ourselves that is all seeing, all knowing, truthful and loving. 


In this first part of this our search for our true self we will increase our awareness of ourselves in order to take our focus away from daily distractions and begin to move our awareness in for a glimpse of true self.  We will focus on sensations in our bodies, the breath and thoughts in order to be present to what is. 


Try the following sequence to increase your awareness and take you a little nearer knowing the divine that resides inside of you.  You will need a block and a bolster or rolled up blanket.


Moving breath meditation – sit in a cross-legged position on a block or on a chair with your hands resting on your thighs.  Inhale bring your left hand to your chest, exhale turn to the right.  Inhale come back to centre, exhale lower your left hand back down.  Repeat second side and continue closing your eyes if that feels right for you.  After several movements just sit with your eyes closed noticing your breath and any thoughts that come into your mind.



Bananasana – come to lying on your mat.  Inhale take your arms overhead, shuffle your upper body to the right.  If you prefer you can hold onto your elbows overhead and support your arms on a bolster or cushion.  Where are you feeling your breath?  What effect is the pose having on your mind?  After 2-3 minutes come back to centre and repeat second side.


Cat/Cow – come to all fours.  Inhale lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin and arch through your back.  Continue working with your breath noticing if your spine feels more flexible with each repetition.  After several movements come to lying on your belly.

Cobra – first lengthen your lower back.  Rest your head on the back of your hands.  Tuck your right toes under and press your heel back before bringing the top of your foot back to the mat.  Repeat with the left foot. Bring your hands to armpit/chest level.  Inhale and using your back muscles come up.  If there is any pinching in your lower back, lower or if this feels good, lightly press into your hands to come up higher.  Hold for a breath or two then breathe out to lower.


Extended Child’s Pose – come to the back of your mat, big toes touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward bringing your forehead to the mat or to a block.  Keep your elbows lifted and press your tail bone back as you extend forward.  Become aware of your breath and watch your breath as it moves in and out of your body.   


Downward Facing Dog to Lizard Variation- from Extended Child Pose and keeping your hands where they are inhale and come onto all fours.  Exhale lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Become aware of your hamstrings and if they feel tight ‘walk the dog’ alternately bending each knee deeply. After a few moves, inhale bring your right foot forward between your hands, exhale lower your back knee.  Walk your right foot out to the right bringing your right hand inside your right foot and turning your right toes out.  This may be your pose or to go deeper lift your back knee.


Child’s Pose – from Downward Facing Dog, inhale drop your knees, take your bottom back to your heels as you bring your forehead to the mat and sweep your hands back to hold your heels.  If you prefer stack your fists and rest your forehead on them.  Feel the breath in your back body.


Screaming Toe Pose – when you are ready bring your hands forward and press into your hands to come to all fours.  Tuck your toes under then slowly come up to sit on your heels.  Breathe into any intense sensations (if the intensity is too much let the pose go).



Warrior 2 to Sliding Squat to Warrior 2 second side to Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend – from Screaming Toe Pose slowly make your way to standing in the middle of your mat.  Take your legs wide and bring your hands to your heart.  Turn your right leg to the right, the toes of your left foot in. Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, exhale bend your front knee, look down the fingers of your right hand, draw up through your pelvic floor. Hold and breathe into any intense sensations in your arms and legs.  After a minute or two bring your hands down to the mat, by the big toe of your right foot, lower your hips. ’Walk’ your hands to the left, inhale come up turning your feet to the left for Warrior 2 second side.  Hold for a minute or two just being aware of any sensations. If you have knee issues, bring your hands to your thighs to ‘slide’ to the left.  Inhale, straighten your front knee, exhale bring your hands to your hips, turn to face forward.  Inhale lift your chest, exhale fold to flat back, releasing your fingers to a block or the mat.  Stay here if you have heart, blood pressure issues etc.  If not, inhale and as you exhale release the crown of your head down and walk your hands under your hips.  Feel the effect of the pose on your mind.  Hold for a few breaths then exhale bring your hands to your hips, inhale and come up slowly.   


Apanasana to hamstring stretch- lie back on your mat with your knees bent if you have back issues.  Inhale draw your right leg in towards your chest, holding on behind your thigh if you have knee issues or onto your shin if not.  Hold for 5 breaths.  From here straighten your right leg and holding on behind your right thigh, press your heel towards the ceiling.  Hold for 5 breaths then release and repeat second side.


Reclined Twist – come to lying with your knees bent.  Take your arms out to shoulder height.  Press into your feet to lift your hips then lower your hips a little to the left.  Inhale and as you exhale lower your knees to the right.  If your left shoulder is lifting support your knees with a block or two or a bolster or a rolled up blanket.  Hold for 5 breaths enjoying the twist.  To come out inhale back to centre and realign your spine.  Repeat second side then hug your knees in.


Spend a few minutes in savasana just noticing any sensations, your breath and any thoughts that occur.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html 

Thank you 

Namaste,





Sunday, 8 April 2018

This week on 40plusandalliswell


It’s Bank Holiday Monday but here in our village the weather is awful. All thoughts of outdoor Easter egg hunts, egg rolling, barbeques etc have been put to one side. This week’s Meatless Monday however will bring a smile to the day.
Recipe for 'Tofu schnitzel with pea pesto and noodles' on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/meatless-monday-tofu-schnitzel-with-pea.html

Join me for the 40plusandalliswell guide to spring detoxing.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/spring-detox.html

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. Please see-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html 

Thank you

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Yoga for self-care - gut biome


We have already given our digestive systems some TLC in this series but yoga can go deeper to benefit the micro-organisms that inhabit the gut.  This year there has been a great deal of focus on this little world within us and we are discovering more and about the benefits of keeping it healthy.  The gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain’ and it has been known for some time that the gut produces up to 90% of the serontin in the body.  This neurotransmitter is also produced by the brain and is often referred to as the ‘feel good’ hormone.

An unhealthy gut flora can lead to all sorts of problems – poor immunity, migraines, weight problems, chronic fatigue, IBS, acne, skin problems such as eczema and acne as well as many other health issues stemming from inflammation. 

One of the main reasons that our gut flora become unhealthy – lacking in diversity so that ‘bad’ bacteria proliferate – is through a poor diet.  Such a diet may include sugar in all its guises, junk foods containing additives and unhealthy fats.  A poor diet would also be lacking in fibre from fruit and vegetables and wholemeal grains.

In combination with a good diet, yoga can help in two ways.  Firstly exercise in any form has been shown to increase the diversity of gut flora which in turn reduces inflammation which is at the root of most, if not all disease.  Secondly yoga reduces stress which negatively affects the beneficial gut flora allowing the not so beneficial bacteria to grow. 

Try the following sequence to improve the health of your gut flora by reducing stress

Start in Extended Child’s Pose with your big toes touching, your knees wide.  ‘Walk’ your hands forward bringing your forehead to a block, cushion or the mat.  Close your eyes and settle into your physical body then watch your breath as it moves in and out of the body.  If any thoughts pop into your head, acknowledge them then let them go and return your attention to your breath.  When you are ready, breathe in and come to all fours.

Cat/Cow – have your hands directly under your shoulders, knees directly under your hips.  Inhale, lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin, arch through your back and continue working with your breath for several movements.


Thread the Needle – come back to all fours.  Inhale, stretch your right arm up, exhale, bend your left elbow and ‘post’ your right arm through the gap made by your left arm.  Inhale stretch your right arm up again and continue working the pose dynamically for several movements.



Extended Child Pose to realign your spine after the twist.

Downward Facing Dog 2 part – from Extended Child Pose, inhale onto all fours, exhale lift your knees about 8 inches from the mat and press your chest back towards your thighs.  When you have got the lengthening of your spine you can then work towards straightening your legs.  Hold for 5 breaths. 



Standing Forward Bend – from Downward Facing Dog, inhale and walk your feet towards your hands.  When your shoulders come over your wrists, bring your fingertips to the mat and work towards straightening your legs.  Use a block if you need the floor to be nearer and if you have heart or blood pressure issues extend forward bringing you hands to your shins.  

Tadasana – from standing forward bend, breathe out, take your hands to your hips, breathe in and slowly come up.  Stand tall with your shoulders back and your arms relaxed by your sides, your tail bone moving down.  

Sun Salutation A x3 – please see 'Yoga Pose Gallery'

Sun Salutation B x3 – please see 'Yoga Pose Gallery'

Triangle- stand in the middle of your mat with your hands to your heartand take your legs a leg length apart, outside edges of your feet parallel to the short edges of the mat.  Turn your right leg to the right, and the toes of your left foot in at 45 degrees.  Inhale stretch your arms out to shoulder height.  Exhale extend over your right leg bringing your right hand to your right ankle, shin or thigh.  Gaze can be straight ahead or up at your left hand.  Hold for  5 breaths then inhale to come up bringing your arms to shoulder height, exhale turn your feet to face forward, bring your hands to your heart.  Repeat second side.

Wide leg standing forward bend – take your legs a little wider than for Triangle and line up the outside edges of your feet with the short edges of the mat.  Bring your hands to your hips, inhale and lift through your chest, squeezing your elbows behind your back.  Exhale come to flat back bringing your fingertips to the mat or to a block if you need the ground to be nearer.  Stay here if you have blood pressure issues, heart problems, glaucoma etc otherwise release the crown of your head down towards the mat as you walk your hands back under your hips.  Hold for 5 breaths then inhale back to flat back if you are practicing the full pose.  Exhale bring your hands to your hips, inhale come up, step your feet together.



Shoulder Bridge – come to lying on your mat with your knees bent, your arms by your sides, palms down.  Inhale lift your hips and bring your hands to support your hips – ensure your thumbs are on the outside.  Hold for 5 breaths (do not turn your head while holding) then exhale slowly slide your hands away as you dot your spine down. 

Reclined Twist  - lie with your knees bent.  Inhale, press into your feet to lift your hips, exhale take your hips a little to the left and replace your hips on the mat.  Inhale stretch your arms out at shoulder height, exhale release your knees to the right.  If your left shoulder is lifting off the mat, support your knees with a block or cushions.  Hold and enjoy the twist.  When you are ready inhale come back to centre, realign your spine and repeat second side.

Legs up a wall (no wall variation)  sit with your knees bent, and your right hip next to a chair with the seat facing you.  Swing your legs onto the chair and lie back on the mat.  Close your eyes and relax for 10-15 minutes.  When you are ready to come out of the pose, open your eyes, and roll onto your right side.  Rest here for a minute before breathing in and slowly coming up.


Alternate Nostril Breathing – sit cross-legged or in a chair.  Rest your left hand on your thigh with your first finger and thumb joined.  Bring the first two fingers of your right hand into your palm and hover your right thumb over your right nostril, your right ring finger. Close your eyes. Take a few centering breaths then close your right nostril and breathe in through your left.  Close your left nostril as you open your right and breathe out through your right nostril.  Breathe in through your right nostril.  Close your right nostril as you open your left and breathe out through your left nostril.  Continue in this way for up to 5 minutes then return to normal breathing.  When you are ready open your eyes and stretch before continuing with your day. To see the breathing technique demonstrated please follow the link to my YouTube Channel-'Oh no it's Monday! Breathing technique for calming'.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html 

Thank you 

Namaste,





Sunday, 1 April 2018

Have a Happy Easter!


This week on 40plusandalliswell


Here’s a treat for you that just goes to show that you can indulge a sweet tooth even if you can’t have or don’t want sugar. Now blondies are usually made with brown sugar but here this is substituted with Medjool dates. These give sweetness but because they also have fibre do not cause blood sugar ‘spikes’. The recipe is also gluten free.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/vegan-blondies-with-marzipan-easter.html

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. Please see-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html 

Thank you