Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Yoga to rebalance - replenish your energy

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance- replenish your energy'-on my YouTube Channel.



Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

At this time of year our energy levels can be low.  This may be beccause kapha is the dominant dosha of the winter season.  If you are affected by the shorter daylight hours this can also exacerbate the problem. 

The intention behind this week's yoga video is therefore to get moving to balance kapha dosha, and to reduce stress - nothing zaps energy more than stress.  To this end we will be practicing Sun Salutations to generate heat and energy.  You may wonder why we are spending energy to be more energized.  It's a bit like putting money in the bank which then generates more money.  We will also include some a more gentle flow to relieve stress.  Chest openers help bring more oxygen into our bodies where it can be used to release energy and enliven our minds - chest openers are at the same time energizing and calming for the mind.  Our practice also stimulates digestion so that we can derived better nutrition from our food thereby increasing our vitality.

For our meditation we will simply be with the breath in order to calm the mind.  By relieving stress in this way, we will find our energy levels increasing.

Namaste,



Sunday, 29 January 2017

Happy Chinese New Year!



If you are celebrating Chinese New Year you may want to have a look at the recipe on my 'sister' blog for 'Vegan Tofu Chow Mein'- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-vegan-tofu-chow-mein.html

This week on 40plusandalliswell


To celebrate the Chinese New Year I have made this Chow Mein dish. Traditionally made with chicken, this vegan version is made with tofu but equally delicious. The crispy rice noodles make a great contrasting texture. Aside from the marinating time the dish can be made in a matter of minutes. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-vegan-tofu-chow-mein.html This blog post was included in the online paper 'Vegetarian Food Explorer Daily'- http://linkis.com/paper.li/foodiegourm/Z8UyR

It's Burns Night and here are two recipe ideas for your vegan celebrations. Please see my 'sister' blog-
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/vegan-ideas-for-burns-night.html

If you regularly do not have enough sleep, it may stop you losing weight. Learn more on the blog plus tips to help you have a good night's sleep. Please see my 'sister' blog- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/whats-stopping-you-reaching-your_27.html

Becky loves giving desserts a healthy vegan makeover- and she find that with a little creativity, a few bananas and a pinch of fairy dust (well, stevia powder anyway), there aren't many desserts you can't give the healthy-vegan treatment.
See my 'sister' blog for her recipe for 'Mint Choc Chip Breakfast Nice Cream'-Yum! -http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/treat-yo-self-mint-choc-chip-breakfast.html

With a little help from a friend - Boat pose


Having a friend to help you with some poses can help you move deeper into those poses, feel supported, help you trust others and bring a sense of fun into your yoga practice.  With Valentine's Day coming up, it is the ideal time to introduce your partner to yoga - it can strengthen the bonds between you.  

It is also important when practicing partner yoga to keep talking to each other so that you can make any adjustments you need to feel comfortable in the pose - this has the benefit of increasing your communication skills.

So let's get going - this week we are buddying up for Boat pose - if you find it difficult to move into the straight leg variation of this pose, you will find this makes it easier.  

Sit opposite you partner with your knees bent, toes touching.  Make sure that there is nothing to bang your head on if your boat sinks! Take hold of your partner's wrists and pressing the sole of your right foot to your partner's left foot straighten one leg.  Repeat the process with the other leg, lift your chests.  To come out of the pose, lower one leg then the other - don't let your boat sink.  

Have fun!

Namaste,



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Starting a meditation practice - calming your mind

Many 'newbies' to meditation think that they cannot meditate because they cannot stop thinking.  Let me tell you a secret, this happens to even the most practiced meditators - our minds are meant to think, its what they do!!  The trick is not to get caught up in your thoughts and build on them but just let them go.  

But if your mind is active flitting from one thought to the next, it is often helpful to do a few mind calming yoga poses before you meditate - chest openers, gentle inversions and forward bends will bring calming oxygen rich blood to your brain.  Try the sequence below before you meditate if you find it difficult to calm your 'monkey mind'. You will need a rolled up blanket or towel and two blocks.

Reclined Chest Opener - lie with a rolled up blanket or towel under your shoulders to gently open up chest. Allow a little time for your chest to open, your breath to become more expansive.



Rolling Cat - come to all fours, breathe out and arch through your back, take your bottom back to your heels, breathe in, bend your elbows out to the sides and come forward to return to all fours.  Continue in a smooth rolling motion working with your breath.  


Puppy pose - come back to all fours and keeping your hips lifted walk your hands forward, bringing your forehead to the mat.  Melt your heart towards the mat to create a back bend.  If the pose is hard on your shoulders, try taking your hands further apart or interlace your fingers above your head.  To come out of the pose walk your hands back to all fours.


Extended Child Pose - come to the back of your mat, big toe touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward and bring your head to the mat, a block or a cushion. Press your tail bone back and stretch forward to lengthen your spine after the back bend.  Stay here for a few breaths then inhale and come to all fours.



Intense side stretch - from all fours, inhale tuck your toes, exhale lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Breath in and step your right foot three quarters way forward.  Take your hands to blocks, breathe out press into straight legs and release your head down (no lower than your heart if you have issues with blood pressure or heart problems).  To come out of the pose, breathe out, bend your front knee and step back to Downward Facing Dog. 
Repeat second side then walk your feet forward and slowly roll up.



Tree - stand in the middle of your mat.  Take your weight into your left foot.  Take your right foot to your left ankle, or shin or reach down and bring you right foot to your left thigh.  Find a dristi, a gaze point, breathe in and lift your arms up. Hold for a few breaths then breathe out to release.  Repeat second side.




Supported Bridge - lie on the mat with your knees bent.  Breathe in and lift your hips and place a block under your hips at the level of your tail bone.  Bend your elbows and rest them on the mat so that the palms are facing, fingers spread and open.  To come out of the pose, remove the block, and lower the hips.  Hug your knees in and rock from side to side.
Rest in savasana for a few minutes.



Happy meditating,

Namaste, 



Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Yoga to rebalance - a good night's sleep

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance- a good night's sleep'-on my YouTube Channel.



Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

A good night's sleep is important for hormonal balance.  Growth hormone, necessary for normal body maintenance, is secreted during slow wave sleep.  Sleep is also important for the correct balance of the hormones that regulate appetite (we will be looking at how sleep affects weight loss on the wellness blog, 40plusandalliswell, later this week).  

Your brain also consolidates information during sleep, storing memories to be accessed at a later date.  Even so, sleep is restorative for the brain which can function better during the day when properly refreshed. You can see then that without proper sleep you quickly become unbalanced.

So many people however do not have a good night's sleep.  Life is so busy these days.  Even when the working day is over, we are still connected with our smartphones, iPads and laptops (see Anxious? Try a digital detox! https://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/anxious-try-digital-detox.html)  As a result when we go to bed we have not had a chance to 'wind down', our minds are active and sleep doesn't happen.  The more we then panic about not sleeping, the further away sleep slips.

This week's video is intended to break that cycle.  We will be releasing the tensions that have built up in the day in our physical bodies and in our minds.  We will also be gently opening the chest bringing calming oxygen into our bodies.  We will also include a gentle inversion to bring that oxygen to the brain which is very calming to the brain.

The pace of the class is slow and gentle to help you 'wind down' ready for sleep.  We end with a yoga nidra after which you can go straight to sleep if you so wish.



Sunday, 22 January 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Here in Yorkshire, it is raining heavily and cold but today's Meatless Monday is just the thing to bring a touch of Mexican warmth to a cold winter's day. It's also Blue Monday today, supposedly the most depressing day of the year, but the chilli in this dish has been shown to improve mood.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-vegan-mexican-tortilla.html

You have been dieting and exercising but the weight is not shifting - how frustrating is that!? 
The blog post on my 'sister' blog may help- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/whats-stopping-you-reaching-your.html

In this occasional series 'Eat a rainbow', in which we look at fruit and vegetables in season, we are on the colour orange. Read about the health benefits of sweet potatoes and there is also a recipe for 'Tandoori Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Mint Drizzle' for you to enjoy!
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/eat-rainbow-sweet-potato.html

Ayurveda winter tips


In Ayurveda terms winter has kapha qualities - cold, heavy and moist which may lead to us feeling sluggish.  On the other hand winter can have vata qualities of cold, windy and dry which may lead to feelings of anxiety.  Here in Yorkshire we can have both types of weather in one day!

In terms of diet, we need cooked food preferably with warming spices to offset the cold.  Our food should also provide us with oils to keep us warm- our digestive fire is strongest in the winter to enable the digestion of these foods.  For more on Ayurveda winter diet and yoga practice please see 'Ayurveda winter'. Warming teas made with ginger are also good at this time of year. You may have 2 cups daily if you wish. Please see the blog post on my 'sister' blog, 'Superfood-ginger' for instructions on how to make the tea.

An Ayurveda self-massage, abhyanga, first thing in the morning, before you shower will give your circulation a boost and energize you for the day.  Apply warm massage oil and leave for 5 minutes. You may add a drop or two of an invigorating essential oil if you wish - I like lemon and peppermint or for a further boost to circulation, geranium essential oil. After 5 minutes massage the oil in with a light, circular motion on your head, face and joints and light even strokes on your limbs.  Pay particular attention to your feet.  Relax for 10-15 minutes before having a bath or shower (take care that you do not slip).   Exercise is another way to boost your circulation.

To balance the cold of the winter, Ayurveda recommends you dress warmly, covering your neck, shoulders, ears and head to balance kapha.  This makes sense since up to half of your body heat is lost through your head.  Also wear some cosy socks to keep vata in balance.

If you do succumb to a virus drink plenty of warm water or herbal teas to flush out the virus and stay warm.  You could also have a turmeric tea - warm some almond or rice milk and stir in 1/2 tsp turmeric. Sweeten with a little stevia if you need to.  Do not have more than one daily.

Eat nourishing soups and avoid cold foods. Avoid dairy and refined carbs especially sugar which increase mucus and eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C such as oranges, lemons, kiwi fruits, peppers etc.  

Gargle with warm salt water.  This will ease a sore throat, loosen mucus and kill the viruses lurking in your mouth.  A salt pipe or lamp will deal with any viruses in your lungs.  Please see the blog post,'Salt pipes and lamps' on my 'sister' blog.

My favourite herb for treating a cold is sambucus nigra (black elderberry) but another Ayurveda herb for immunity is astragalus. Please see my 'sister' blog 'Natural winter remedies'. 

Stay healthy,



Friday, 20 January 2017

Starting a meditation practice - staying awake

When we start a meditation practice we often start by watching our breath as it moves in and out of our bodies. Let's face it - the breath is not the most riveting of subjects and if you are feeling tired, it can have a similar effect to 'counting sheep'.  There are ways of overcoming this tendency to sleep.

Firstly, make sure you are sitting with a straight spine rather than lying down which has associations with sleep. By sitting up tall, you facilitate the lungs filling with energizing oxygen. Sitting up straight also has the effect of opening the central energy channel, the sushumna to allow the prana to flow. Also you may find it is better to meditate first thing in the morning when you are fresh.  Try not to meditate shortly after a meal when a blood sugar rise can be followed by a low energy dip.

If you are falling asleep regularly in meditation, are you getting enough sleep for your needs? 

Another solution is to do a short practice to build focus and concentration.  Try the following practice.

Start lying back on the mat and take a stretch to release any tension.  

Shoulder Bridge - bend your knees so that your heels are close to your buttocks.  Breathe in, lift your hips, take your arms overhead, breathe out, lower your hips, bring your arms by your sides.  Repeat several times then inhale lift your hips, 'walk' your shoulders towards your heels and interlace your fingers under your back, keeping your arms straight. Hold for a few breaths then release your fingers and lower your spine slowly.  



Balancing Cat - come to all fours and take a few Cat/Cow (inhale lift your head, exhale arch your back tucking your chin).  Come back to all fours.  Breathe in, bring your right knee towards your chest, breathe out take your right leg back - flex your right foot and level your hips.  Keep your gaze down on the mat as you breathe in and lift your left arm.  Hold for a few breaths then breathe out to lower your left hand, draw your right knee into your chest then lower your knee to the mat.  




Tadasana - stand with the feet together with the outside edges of the feet parallel (for most of us this willl mean separating the heels).  Have your weight spread evenly through all four corners of the feet, the little toe side, big toe side, inner heel and outer heel.  Lengthen your tail bone down towards the mat, lift your chest and roll your shoulder blades back and down.  Your chin should be level with the floor, the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.  Relax your arms by your sides, your fingers gently curled. If you feel balanced, close your eyes or you may lower your eyes.  Try to find a place of stillness where you feel balanced.

When you are ready open your eyes.  Breathe in, lift up onto your toes as you take your arms out and up.  Breathe out to lower your heels and take your arms out and down.  Repeat twice more then hold in the lifted position for a breath or two before lowering.

Tree - stand in the middle of your mat.  Take your weight into your left foot.  Take your right foot to your left ankle, or shin or reach down and bring you right foot to your left thigh.  Find a dristi, a gaze point, breathe in and lift your arms up. Hold for a few breaths then breathe out to release.  Repeat second side.




Warrior 2 - stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet as wide as is comfortable.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in 45 degrees, lining up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot (men) or heel with heel (women).  As much as possible have the hips level with the front of the mat but do not force the back hip point back because this will strain the SI joint. Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, exhale bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand.  Hold for several breaths.  To come out of the pose, inhale straighten the right knee, exhale hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side.



Supported Shoulder Stand in and draw he - lie on the mat with your knees bent.  Breathe in lift your hips and place two stacked blocks under your hips.  Breathe out to lower.  Lift your hips again and draw the top block halfway towards you.  Lower your hips as you raise both legs - the top block should tip and support your lower back.  Your toes will come over your head.  Stay here for a minute or so breathing steadily then lower your feet down to the mat.
Lift your hips to remove the blocks then hug your knees in over your chest and rock from side to side.  



You should now be ready to meditate - alert but relaxed - so come to a seated position and get yourself comfortable. 



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Yoga to rebalance-Willpower

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance-Willpower'-on my YouTube Channel.



Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

It's mid-January and for many of us, those well intentioned changes we promised ourselves we would make this year, may be starting to slide.  Time to use our yoga practice to draw the strength and determination to continue to work towards making our intentions a reality.

The video this week therefore focuses on building internal strength to see through your intentions.  We could not do an asana practice to cultivate willpower without including the Warrior poses.  Think of the qualities of a warrior - strength, determination, an ability to see things through, willpower and yet a true warrior also acts from a place of compassion.

The poses this week may be a little challenging - remember to listen to your body and if the pose is too much for you, take a rest. Your breath is a good indicator  - if your breath becomes strained, come out of the pose.  It is important never to sacrifice the breath for a pose, you will lose all the benefits of that pose.

We finish the video with a meditation in which you visualise your dreams, your intentions as already happening.  

Namaste


Sunday, 15 January 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


This 'Tex-Mex Vegan Hot Dog' will bring a little sunshine to your January!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-tex-mex-vegan-hot-dog.html

On my 'sister' blog I look at the benefits of sweet almond oil for winter skin and anti-aging-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/sweet-almond-oil-for-winter-skin.html

If you feel in need of a pick me up now we are half way through the winter, this juice may be just what you need.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/sweet-almond-oil-for-winter-skin.html

And now for something a little different - the Tibetan rites

It's good sometimes to introduce something different into your practice - it makes your brain sit up and take notice and create new neural pathways in a process known as neuroplasticity.

The Tibetan rites are around 2,500 years old and have similarities with the more familiar yoga that originated in India. They are a series of five movements and the benefits are many.  They strengthen the vestibular system preventing age related dizziness and loss of balance.  They also relieve stress, stimulate digestion, improve core strength, strengthen and stretch the muscles.

Can't wait to try them?  Let's get going

Please note these Rites are best practiced in the morning.

Rite 1 - stand in the middle of your mat and stretch your arms out at shoulder height.  Turn in a clockwise direction 21 times.  Your gaze should be down your right arm to prevent dizziness. Breathe steadily. If you do start to feel dizzy stop.



Rite 2  - lie back on your mat with your legs outstretched, your arms by your sides, palms down on the mat. Breathe in and as you breathe out lift your head as you raise your legs, keeping the backs of your legs straight.  If you can, without bending your knees, bring your legs over your body.  Repeat 3-5 times. To finish hug your knees in and rock from side to side.



Rite 3 - kneel on your mat - you may pad your knees with a blanket or rolled up mat.  Place your hands on your outer thighs and tuck your toes. Breathe out, tuck your chin, breathe in, lift your chest and head as you slide your hands to the small of your back. You may release your head back if you are sure of your neck. Breathe in to come back to your start position. Repeat 3-5 times. To finish take a Child's pose.



Rite 4  - sit on the mat with your feet facing the short edge of your mat, your hands by your hips, fingers pointing forward.  Breathe in, breathe out and lift into reverse table top position, releasing your head back if you are sure of your neck.  Breathe in to lower, take a few breaths and repeat 3-5 times.  To finish sit up and roll your shoulders up by your ears then back and down.



Rite 5  -  come onto all fours, breathe out and lift into Downward Facing Dog - take your feet a couple of inches back.  Breathe in, come into Upward Facing Dog, breathe out to return to Downward Facing Dog and repeat 3-5 times. To finish take another Child's pose.

As you become more practiced at doing the rites you may wish to build up (SLOWLY) to complete sets of 21 repetitions for each rite.



Namaste,

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Starting a meditation practice - are you sitting comfortably?

If you want to start a meditation practice in 2017 but are concerned that you cannot sit comfortably to meditate, these poses may help.  The last thing you want when you are trying to meditate is your physical body to be a distraction.  Many of the postures used to meditate are not best comfortable, even the so-called 'Easy Pose'.  The problem is that in the west we are not used to sitting with open hips.  We sit on our sofas with our knees forward, at our desks and driving our cars.  In order to avoid backache also you need to be strong in your core.  Your shoulders need to back and down to keep your shushumna, central energy channel, open.
`
Did you know that yoga asana practice was actually born out of a need to sit comfortably to meditate for hours on end?  Now I am not expecting you to meditate so long but if you can meditate a little several times a week, you will experience the benefits. 

The following sequence will help you prepare for meditation.  You will need a block or cushion and a belt.  

Supta padangusthasana - If you have lower back issues bend your left leg, otherwise press the back of your left leg into the mat. Take the strap around the ball of your right foot and holding the strap in both hands start to straighten the back of your leg.  Work with the breath with each inhale press through your right heel, with each exhale you may be able to draw your leg closer in.  Continue until you find your 'edge' - that place where you feel a stretch but not a strain. If your knee starts to bend, release your leg back a little.  Now hold both sides of the strap in your right hand and place your left hand on your left hip.  Breathe in and as you breathe out engage your core and take your leg out to the side and up.  If you cannot get your leg higher than your hip, bend your knee slightly.  To come out of the pose bend your right knee, breathe out, engage your core and draw your leg back to centre then down on the mat.  Repeat second side.  



Keyhole stretch - lie with your knees bent, block under your head and bring your left foot onto your right thigh with your foot flexed.  The nearer your foot is to your groin, the more intense this pose will be.  Reach through the gap made by your left leg and hold the back of your right thigh if you have knee issues or right shin if you can reach comfortably..  You could also use a belt.  To avoid neck strain, place a block or cushion under your head. Hold and breathe then breathe out to release the pose from your body.  Make your way to all fours.



Cat/Cow - breathe in and lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back and continue working with your breath.  After several moves make your way to lying on your belly.



Sphinx Plank - from a prone position tuck your right toes and press your right heel back to lengthen your spine. Repeat with the left foot then stretch the arms forward.  Breathe in slide your elbows under your shoulders.  Tuck your toes and as you breathe out, draw your navel back to your spine and lift, pressing your heels back.  Hold for a breath or two then move into Extended Child's Pose.



Extended Child's Pose - sit back on your heels, big toes touching, knees wide. Walk your hands forward bringing your forehead down onto the mat or block.  Press your tail bone back and stretch forward from hips to armpits, from armpits down to your fingertips.  When you are ready breathe in and come to all fours.   



High lunge - from all fours, breathe out lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Breathe in and step your right foot forward between your hands.  Keep your back heel lifted, inhale and lift your arms up.  Work your back leg strongly.  To come out, breathe out take your hands down, step back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then walk your feet forward and slowly come up.  



Tree variation - take your weight into your left foot, softly bend both knees and reach down to bring your right foot into your left groin (if you have knee issues, bring your right foot onto your left ankle, left shin or reach down and bring your right foot to your left thigh).  If balance is an issue take your left hand to a wall otherwise find a drishti, gaze spot to help with balance. Breathe in and reach your arms up.  Hold for a few breaths then breathe out to release. Repeat second side.



Boat Pose  - come down onto the mat and sit with your knees bent.  Breathe in and as you breathe out, bring your shins level with the ceiling, while lifting your chest. Either hold onto the back of your thighs or stretch your arms forward.  Hold for a few breaths, drawing your navel back to your spine. Breathe out to lower.




Baddha konasana with forward fold - sit on your block and bring the soles of your feet together and close into your body.  Hold onto your feet, take your elbows into your knee creases and hinge forward.  Release the crown of your head down ad take 5 breaths.  



You are now ready to sit Easy Pose to meditate - sit with your legs crossed so that your feet are below your knees.  If your knees are higher than your hips, sit on a cushion or block.  Make sure you are on your sit bones - remove any excess off to the side.  Sit tall with your shoulders back.



You might also like 'Easy Pose - not so easy' -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/easy-pose-not-so-easy.html and
'Meditation - ancient help for  21st century stress'-
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/meditation-ancient-help-for-21st.html


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Yoga to rebalance - love your liver

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance-Love your liver'-on my YouTube Channel.




Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

Your liver may have been working very hard over the festive season when our normal diet can be forgotten and we may drink alcohol.  Foods containing saturated fats or worse, transfats can increase your cholesterol which makes for an unhappy liver. 

Keeping your liver happy is important because the liver works hard for you - it has many functions in your body which include detoxification, controlling the levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in your blood, breaking down hormones, making enzymes and proteins which are involved in blood clotting etc  - see 'About the liver'- British Liver Trust https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/liver-information/ for more.  On the wellness blog, 40plusandalliswell we are looking at ways in which you can pamper your liver- please see 'Pamper your liver' http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/pamper-your-liver.html  

We can also use our yoga practice to benefit the health of the liver.  The liver is located on the right side just below your ribcage.  In this week's yoga video we will be working on the liver meridian as well as stimulating the liver area directly.  The liver meridian runs from the inside of the big toe, over the top of the foot, up the inside of the leg then across the abdomen, up the side of the ribcage.  Our practice therefore focuses on inner thigh and groin openers, with a lateral stretch, back bend and twist included to stimulate the liver directly.  Working on the liver meridian frees any blockages in the liver meridian ensuring optimum wellbeing of the liver.

The meditation at the end of the video focuses on releasing any physical or mental toxins that have built up in your body as a result of the liver not working at an optimum level.

Please note if you suspect that you have a liver problem please see you medical practitioner - the video is not intended as a cure for liver disease but for maintaining optimum health of the liver.



Sunday, 8 January 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


This week for our Meatless Monday we are whisking ourselves off to warmer climes and making empanadas which hail from Latin American countries. They are often sold as a street food.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-argentinian-style.html

Your liver may have been working very hard over the festive season when our normal diet can be forgotten and we may drink alcohol. 
Read on my 'sister' blog about how to make your liver happy-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/pamper-your-liver.html

If you indulged in sugar-rich desserts over the festive season, you may find that even though you have returned to normal eating, you crave sugary foods. 
On my 'sister' blog we look at how you can 'kill' these cravings- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/kill-sugar-cravings.html

Yoga moves for tight winter shoulders

Here in Yorkshire we have just had a cold snap. I have found myself hunching my shoulders against the cold with the result that my shoulders have been achy.  To remedy this I have put together the following yoga moves.  You will need a yoga strap or dressing gown tie or similar.

Shoulder stretches - sit back on your heels or in a comfortable cross leg position.  Fold the yoga strap in two and hold either end.  Breathe in, lift your arms up, breathe out lower and repeat twice more.  
Unfold your strap and take you hands wider.  Breathe in, lift your arms up, breathe out, take them down so that the strap comes behind your body.  Breathe in, lift your arms, breathe out lower to your start position. Repeat twice more then come to standing.  
 Standing shoulder releases - start in the middle of your mat with your legs wide, your toes turned out.  Bend your knees and circle your right arm up as you breathe in and straighten your leg, circle back down as you breathe out and bend your knees.  Repeat second side and continue for several moves working with your breath.



After several moves, bring your hands to your thighs.  Breathe in and as you breathe out, bring your left shoulder towards your right knee for a twist.  Breathe in, come back to centre and repeat bringing your right shoulder towards your left knee.  



Continue for several moves then turn so that your hips face the short edge of the mat, front right knee bent, back toes at 45 degrees (Warrior 1 legs).  Take your hands behind your back, interlace your fingers.  Breathe in, lift your chest, take your arms away from your back (Standing Cobra).  



Turn to face forward, keeping the front knee bent.  Breathe in, bring your right elbow to right thigh, breathe out circle your left arm down and up by your left ear (Side Angle Pose).  If you wish continue to circle the top arm or hold, keeping the top shoulder moving back.  To come out, breathe in, bring your arms to shoulder height, breathe out, bring your hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  



Wide leg standing forward fold variation with Cow Face Arms- have your yoga strap over your right shoulder.  Breathe in raise your right arm, breathe out take your right hand down your back.  Breathe in extend your left arm forward, breathe out externally rotate your left arm up your back.  If your hands do not meet take hold of the strap with your hands and creep your fingers towards one another.  Do not pull on the strap which will drive your hands further apart.  Breathe in and as you breathe out fold (into a flat back position if you have blood pressure issues or heart problems).  Breathe in to come back up, turn your toes out and repeat the whole sequence on the second side.  If you wish you can do some shoulder rolls between sides - roll your shoulders up by your ears then back and down.



To finish sit on your mat and take a soft forward fold over bent legs.  Spend a couple of minutes watching your breath.



Namaste,