Hi, I hope that you’ll join our all level Fitness Pilates, Fitness Yoga & resistance/weights classes
in Craiglockhart & Colinton, Edinburgh this week/soon.
Details of our classes are on the Classes page of my website.
HEALTH and LIFESTYLE
Interesting/Did you know that…
I was reading that ‘new findings suggest yoga can inhibit cognitive decline’ and ‘the results suggest that practicing yoga in the long term can change the structure of your brain and could protect against cognitive decline in old age’. Good to know while we’re strengthening and stretching our bodies as well as brains.
We shouldn’t compare ourselves to anyone else in class. We’re all different and unique and some are strong in certain ways or in a particular exercise and the same person may be weak at or have to ‘work at’ improving in a different aspect of fitness or flexibility. So remember that we’re in class to work out for ourselves and to improve and progress in our own way. Sometimes we feel strong and at other times, we may feel that a particular class or exercise seemed easier ‘the last time’ but remember also that when we’re feeling great, have lots of energy, are focussed and confident, we feel that we can sail through our workouts and feel fab.
At other times, we may feel tired, have lots going on in our lives, not feel 100% or are tired and it’s then that we feel the workout was harder or that we were ‘clock-watching’ (does that happen? – it all goes by so quickly for me). Anyway, don’t give yourself a hard time. Take time to recognise how you’re feeling, try and focus, be positive and if you’re tired or struggling a bit, then ease off, do what’s right for you and when you’re feeling more focussed and relaxed, then ‘go for it’ and enjoy. Does that make sense?
As many of us are extremely busy, trying to fit in as much in to our day as we can, with all our work, family and other commitments, lack of sleep can lead to headaches, stress, anxiety and general aches and pains. It can also be difficult to concentrate and we feel that we don’t have very much energy. So it’s good to get ourselves into a good routine before bed, try to relax and let go of all the stress that may have been building up. You may like to read a book before bed, have a warm bath, drink some night-time or chamomile tea or do some deep breathing, meditation or stretching. It’s good to get quality sleep and in order to do that, the body needs to produce the hormone melatonin. It’s created in the brain when there is no light hitting the back of the eyes – the retina. So you can see why it’s important to have the room dark when you go to sleep. If the lights are on or you use your mobile phone or laptop in bed (those lights can be bright), the body stops producing melatonin and you wake up and are alert and you find it hard to get to sleep and switch off. I don’t like to watch distressing news or a violent film late in the evening as I find it hard to relax and sleep. I also find that drinking alcohol really disrupts my sleep and as I’d rather sleep and try and get 8 hours, I limit myself to a couple of glasses of wine one evening a week at the weekend.
There are many ways to relieve stress and anxiety by including exercise, getting quality good sleep (as above), great nutrition and some form of meditation or mindfulness. Something as simple as focusing on your breath can have a great effect on calming your mind and body. If you’re sitting comfortably in a chair, you could either close your eyes or focus on something ie a piece of fruit in a bowl or a plant or flower and notice it’s shape, colour and texture. You may want to breathe deeply in for a count of maybe 4, noticing that your ribs are moving and you’re taking in more oxygen. You may want to think about breathing in a word ie ‘relaxation’ or ‘calm’.
You could maybe hold the breath just for a second or 2 then breathe out, again for the count of 4 and you could focus on a word ie ‘peace’ while you exhale deeply. Try this ‘exercise’ 3 or 4 times and notice how you feel afterwards. Homework!
You know that I like to make chocolate mousse using an avocado, banana, medjool date/s, cacao powder and some almond milk to loosen off? Well, I found this version of a similar choc mousse but this time, instead of avo, it’s replaced by a cooked sweet potato which gives it some fibre and vitamin A too. I haven’t actually tried it yet but will do this week so thought I’d pass on the recipe (from the MBG website) so that you can try it too – let me know what you think (also, it says it serves 2 people).
Bake a large scrubbed sweet potato and when cool, remove the flesh from the skin and add it to a blender and then add: 5T cacao (or good quality cocao) powder, ¼ cup maple syrup (I’d probably only use 1T), 3T coconut cream, 1T coconut melted coconut oil and 1T ground chia seeds. Blend to a mousse consistency and serve in glass bowls or jars and you could sprinkle some flaky sea salt through or on top.
I did a tiny fitness yoga warm up which you might like to try if you’re about to do any running, exercise or stretching. Copy and paste the link to watch it at
‘think positively, exercise daily, eat healthy, work hard, stay strong, worry less, dance more, love often, be happy’
remember to ‘strive for progress, not perfection’.
I love this one: ‘if you still look cute at the end of your workout, you didn’t train hard enough’!
Contact me by email: email@example.com (type: ‘Pilates/Yoga or Fitness’ in the heading thanks).
I look forward to seeing you and working out and exercising with you this week.
See you soon