Wednesday, January 30, 2013

5:2 Diet, Fasting Craze, Yoga & Healthy Eating

Wow, you might even think that there's been a diet and slimming break through, from all the news, articles and focus on the I.F. Diet, the 5:2 Fasting programme, the Alkaline Diet, etc etc etc. The next latest 'diet' craze setting in . . .

Well as many others already know too . . . it's nothing new, it's been around for years ~ in different forms, under different guises. In the Times yesterday the article read about how certain religions & cultures naturally encourage their followers to have a fast day once a week, or at the least drop down to simply prepared light meal ~ thereby resting the body, cleansing the soul, keeping us healthy.

So, if you're wondering what all this has to do with Yoga (and maybe you go along to a regular weekly class already) . . . Yoga is not simply a weekly stretch of the body alongside maybe a clear of the mind if you practice meditation and pranayama in your classes too ~ but it is all about a healthy lifestyle.
Everything in balance.
Everything in moderation.
Healthy Mind. Healthy Body. Healthy Soul . . . and that also includes what you EAT!

* A classical Yogic diet is Vegetarian (mainly Alkaline forming foods, so light on your stomach, healthy for your bones, heart, digestive system and peace of mind . . . non-harm to animals). It's good for you in many ways.
* Yogis avoid alcohol and toxins so they can be clear in body, mind and spirit for meditation, asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).
* Yogis are recommended to avoid over-eating and Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh suggested that the stomach be only half full of food, leaving space for a quarter for water and a quarter for air (prana or breath). 
* For enhancing heath, wellbeing and for deepening their spiritual practice, it is suggested to have a fast day one day a week. Giving your body time to absorb what is needed to maintain optimum health and optimum energy. And you can have a day off, from planning, cooking or thinking about what you are going to be eating ~ giving your mind a rest too. It's actually proven to be good for your brain to have a rest day or low food intake day, helping to keep the brain energised, focused, gaining more clarity of thoughtfulness, mindfulness, peacefulness. 

There are so many reason's why I chose to become a Vegetarian nearly two years ago ~ mostly because of my Yogic values and choosing to deepen my spiritual practice, but along the way I feel healthier, happier in myself, more energised, physically fitter (alongside my Yoga practice), calmer more peaceful, and can honestly say have never missed meat since! And my added bonus was that I lost any excess weight and find it easy to maintain it too. So a great win win for me personally. 
I have in the past dabbled with 'trying' to be a vegetarian, which I have to admit had been challenging 10 - 15 years ago due to lack of options, lack of knowledge and lack of restaurants/friends/family being able to cater for the 'veggie' . . . "Oh, what shall we cook???? How does Beans on Toast sound or a Mushroom/Cheese Omelette!"
But thankfully the culinary world has changed and there is an abundance of choice nowadays to make it easy for all to embrace a few meat free days.
Meat traditionally was for special feasts, festival days, celebrations . . . it wasn't a daily meal. Meat is the hardest protein to to able to absorb, digest and assimilate into our bodies. Can you imagine how long it can take to leave your stomach from the moment you ate it? It can be anything from 10 hours to a couple of days . . . so if you think about that and you have meat more than one meal a day, you could potentially be loading chewed up meat on top of chewed up meat on top of chewed up meat in your gut and that makes your energy sluggish, leaving you feeling tired, bloated and for some even constipated.
So if you have been intrigued by the benefits of fasting days where you reduce your calories down to 500 calories for a woman and 600 calories for a man on the 5:2 fast plan, then give it a go.
If you fancy having a few veggie days in your week . . . then give it a go (your body and gut will thank you ~ and so will your energy too!)
. . . you never know you may even like it and wonder why you've not done it sooner . . . Oh and benefit from losing weight too!

When I work with my Cognitive Hypnotherapy clients who come to see me for weight loss, I explain that it is a life-style change, a new way of being. Because we all know, that if you keep doing what you've always done  . . . then you'll keep ending up with what you've always had . . . so it's important to change . . . it's good to change . . . change is the one thing that will get you to your goals and maintain being slimmer, healthier and fitter.
Diets don't work if they are just for a short term quick fix, because the moment you go back to eating "normally" (i.e. what you used to eat ~ chocolate, pasta, bread, beer, sweets, crisps etc) the old weight creeps back on . . . plus a little bit more for good measure ~ so you just get on a cycle of yo-yo dieting, which is damaging for your internal organs, your scales and ultimately your self-esteem!
So being successful in losing weight healthily and maintaining that way of being . . . is exactly that, you discover the healthy lifestyle, foods and exercise which suits you best, which you can embrace as a new way of being. Putting you in the driving seat and in control of who, how & where you want to be. 
Even though I made a life choice 2 years ago to stop eating meat, I was already well on my way there, as I have my own veggie plot in our garden and have been an avid veggie grower for many years. That being the case, at home we would often make veggie based meals 3 - 4 times a week as the norm ~ finding ways to be creative with excess courgettes, runner beans, broad beans, tomatoes and so on . . . so out would come the recipes books and it was amazing what we found.
My favorite veggie recipe books at the moment are still ~
Brilliant, inspiring, modern, easy, tasty . . . you can forget the meat altogether . . . even share them with friends and family meals ~ they are that good!  So no need to have to have something different, as everyone will love the look and smell of your food from these two books.

If anyone would like to share their favorite Veggie cook book's at the moment then please do here . . .
For more info on Cognitive Hypnotherapy and weight loss please visit my website at

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Learning to Relax helps you Be at your very Best!

Stress . . . Busy . . . Work . . . Family . . . Friends . . . Un-well . . . Time . . . Pressure . . . Study . . .
We all live such busy lives in this day and age, often forgetting the importance to take some quality time-out every now and then to relax, de-stress and re-charge our batteries. Which is essential for us to function at our very best.
To maintain our health and wellbeing we need a good combination of physical exercise/activities, mental relaxation, balanced diet, fresh air for healthy oxygenation in our lungs, good quality sleep, time for ourselves, and that feel good factor of emotional wellbeing by keeping in good company of family, friends and loved ones.
You always know when things are starting to get on top of you, because you can begin to feel run-down, tired, irritable and become more prone to illness. How many times I hear of people who have just been so busy with work and deadlines etc, working themselves almost silly up until the moment that they know they are going to have some time off, perhaps planned holidays . . . and off they set, finally ready to have some well earnt time off . . . only to find themselves coming down with a cold or being un-well for part of their holiday time. It's like the body is finally given permission to rest and has decided it will make you rest and slow you down even more through sickness. Your body does need rest! Not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually too. We are made up of energy ~ so to maintain our energy ~ we have to look after it.

As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master therapist and Integral Yoga Teacher, I can fully appreciate that everyone ultimately needs time to rest, re-couperate and re-charge on a regular basis. I can sense the energy and dynamics of the majority of my Yoga students as they filter in for their weekly classes . . . their needs to stretch, breathe and then allow themselves to relax . . . gradually throughout the class seeing their energies change, re-align and let go of the things they no longer need . . . so by the time they lie down for the Yoga Nidra relaxation at the end they are in the right space and zone to drop into a deep and peaceful place.
For some people, Yoga is not for them, they need quick, fast, energetic activities ~ which is great, we are all different. But one thing I'm always mindful of is that ultimately we all need the same . . . the ability to relax and relax deeply is essential to us all (perhaps even more so for those who are fast paced souls).
So if you are wanting to discover just how beneficial learning to relax is for you, then I run monthly Deep Relaxation Evenings in Oundle, Northamptonshire. The first friday every month from 7pm - 8.30pm at the Joan Strong Hall, for £7 a session. Everyone is welcome, no experience is necessary, you will be guided through different layers of relaxation, meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques), so you can practise them at home too. All you need to bring is a yoga mat or something to lie down on, a cushion for seated comfort in meditation and pranayama breathing practises, and a warm blanket to put over you in the longer Yoga Nidra relaxation.

Learning to truly relax deeply takes time and practise, so each month, you'll find yourself being able to let go more and more, going deeper and deeper into the most relaxing place for you to rest the most. Relaxation makes you feel fit for life!

Some of the benefits of Relaxation are:
* Can help to alleviate the signs of stress
* Help us feel more emotionally settled and peaceful in ourselves
* Let go of un-needed worries or fears
* Release excess muscular tension
* Aids healing process
* Rests our heart and helps reduce High Blood Pressure
* Deepens our breathing, strengthening our lungs, aiding respiration
* Improves our sleep
* Improves our over-all health and wellbeing
plus much more . . .

For more details on coming along to the Deep Relaxation Evenings, then please go to my What's On page at

I will look forward to welcoming you on Friday 1st February for your journey into peaceful relaxation.

Best wishes
Mind & Body Wellbeing

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fertility Success with Hypnotherapy

There's a great article in today's Daily Mail about a fertility success story, where a lady contacted Paul McKenna after hearing him talking about Hypnotherapy and the mind on a radio interview.
Read more here :~

Great work Paul and thank you for spreading the positive message about Hypnotherapy.
As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist myself, I fully appreciate the journey my clients are going on, whether they are seeing me for weight issues, fertility, confident childbirth, phobias, self-esteem or other concerns, I help them to un-lock the blocks in their minds which get in the way of them progressing themselves and help them move forwards towards the successes they are looking for.
It always amazes me how much can shift and how quickly clients can move on, once these stumbling blocks have gone.

As explained in the article, fertility is about helping reduce fears, worries and stress, enabling the positive flow of energy to be conceived. As with most things in life, the more you worry about something, then the worse it often gets. So changing this starts that shift, so that positive visualizations of you holding your baby can feel more real and achievable.
Some of my fertility clients who are on an IVF program come and see me to help them overcome a phobia of needles, or anxiety around the birth. In helping them through these, they feel more prepared and excited about the process.

If you'd like more information on how I work with fertility using Cognitive Hypnotherapy, then please contact me via my website

I see clients in Harley Street and Northamptonshire.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year Qualities ~ What would you choose?

I'll start this Blog, by wishing all of my readers a very Happy New Year in 2013 and invite you to reflect upon this year ahead. . .
There's so much interest in New Year's Resolutions (often not kept for long!) that I like to change the focus towards something that you can nuture and create throughout the year, in a mindful way.
Every New Year, I invite my Yoga students at their first class back to reflect upon a quality or qualities that they would like to invite into their lives that year ahead. It maybe something that their Yoga practice may bring them or something that they want to work on developing more of.

Some of the beautiful examples given along the way are :~
  • To Feel more Contented
  • Inner Peace
  • Strength and Motivation
  • Fun and Laughter
  • Flexibility and Balance
  • Patience
  • Gratitude for all that I have
  • Positivity
How wonderful are those!

So what qualities would you choose for yourself in 2013?
What would you like to nuture, develop and have more of?
What would change in your life this year by allowing those qualities to become part of your life?

So once they've chosen the quality they'd like to invite into their lives, I then ask them to close their eyes and imagine that if their quality had a colour, what would it be?
So as they imagine that colour, they then imagine they can breathe it in, with every in-breath and let every out-breath release what they no longer need from the previous year.

So try that for yourself too now . . .  by closing your eyes, tuning into your breath and allowing yourself to be open to receive this quality that you'd like. And, if that quality had a colour for you, what would it be? Then connecting to your colour and being open to it's flow, imagine you can breath it into your being with every inhalation and with every exhalation imagine you are letting go of the things you no longer need from 2012. Do that for a couple of minutes every day and then be mindful of this quality and practice using it more and more.

You just might find it becoming more and more part of your life.
Remember what you think, so you become. What you focus on you attract.

So enjoy and be open to receive it's flow.

If you'd like to share some of your qualities and colours here, then please do . . .

For guidance on how to change your life visit