Tag Archives: wellbeing

Spring Detox Part 4 – Body

This week’s detox focus is what we put on our bodies.

The skin is the largest organ of the body.  It is a semi permeable barrier and offers a line of defence against germs and toxins.  It also allows toxins to be released from the body via sweat.  But what about the products we put onto our bodies willingly?

Some products just penetrate into the layers of the skin, the molecules too big to pass deeper into the body and into the bloodstream.  Other products are able to be absorbed deeper into the body and into the blood stream.  Drugs in the format of HRT patches or nicotine patches show that products can be absorbed directly from the skin deeper into the body and into the bloodstream.

So what about all the various beauty products that you put onto your skin?  Whether it’s in the form of makeup, body wash/lotions, suncare, haircare.  Do you know what’s in them and whether they are harmful to your body?  Have a look through your products and see what’s in the ingredients.  Do you know what those ingredients are?

The body has to deal with toxins that come in via the skin in just the same way as it deals with toxins that we ingest directly.  Ultimately they end up at the liver to be broken down and processed.  So you might unknowingly be giving the liver more work to do

My bathroom used to look like an aisle in Boots but over the years I’ve become a lot more conscious about what products I use on my body.  Where they come from, how they are tested and whether they come from natural sources.

There are now many brands offering natural organic products – ranging in price from reasonable to ridiculously expensive!

I like Neal’s Yard & Korres but I also often just use plain coconut oil or some almond oil mixed with a drop of essential oil instead of body lotion.  Tropic skincare has recently been recommended to me on my search for a decent natural deodorant that works but I’ve yet to try this one.

Whatever your budget though your body is worth looking after.  So take time and look at what you are putting on your body and search for alternatives if needed.  It might take a bit of time and effort but your body, and the environment, will thank you for it.

Spring Detox Part 3 – Digital Detox

This weeks detox focus is on what you consume digitally.

Social media, TV, internet. They all have an impact on how we feel. These are the things we do to relax but are they really relaxing us?

We get totally caught up in the programmes we watch on TV. Sometimes it might be feel good dramas, but it can also be dark dramas that can induce a sense of fear. You sit down to watch the TV ready to relax, drop your filters and you’re tranced out, absorbed in the drama before you realise it.  Distorting your view of how life is without you realising it. Not to mention the adverts in between – utilising this lovely tranced out space you’re in, convincing you that all you need is that new car, that particular perfume or that shampoo in your life to make you the hottest thing alive!

Social media – the edited highlights of everyone’s life. You pop on to facebook for a few minutes and before you realise it you’ve lost an hour of your life, maybe two hours! You started off in a good frame of mind but you’ve now started comparing your life to someone you don’t really know who’s life looks amazing. And then before you know it you’ve become lost in an array of you tube videos of cats performing tricks, goats dancing……….& suddenly you think “how did I end up here”.

Or there’s the attention seeking post – it’s just one line that is waiting for comments……..
You don’t want to give in and ask what’s happened but secretly you’re intrigued so you scroll through all the comments from other people: “are you ok honey?”,     “what’s happened”,    “don’t let them get to you”.  You’re still none the wiser about what’s happened and you’ve lost another hour of your life!

And there’s also the fitbit (or similar digital device) – designed to make us healthier and fitter by logging every aspect of our lives – you’ve counted your steps, logged what you’ve eaten, analysed your sleep pattern over the last week.  Are you healthier as a result or more stressed because you’ve not done enough steps, not eaten enough vegetables/protein/carbs, not drunk the requisite amount of water, or not had enough REM sleep?

Can you switch off from digital media? The majority of us use it in everyday life but are there times when you don’t need to use it and you could do something else instead.

Maybe set a curfew to switch off digital devices for periods each day. Set time limits and stick to them. How much time would it free up?

Witness how much time you spend on digital media – does it make you feel good or does it leave you feeling lacking and inadequate?  Curate your social media feeds – you can “snooze” or “hide” posts from certain people if you don’t want to completely unfriend them!

Try it for a week.  Notice what happens when you can switch off from digital devices.  Do you sleep better? Is your mood more positive? Does it affect your relationships?

If it feels good, why not keep it going

 

Meditation

I know the idea of meditation scares a lot of people.  The idea of being alone with your thoughts when there is so much going on in your head.  It can be an overwhelming concept.  I also hear people saying to me that they can’t meditate as their minds are just too active and they can’t quieten it down enough to meditate.  Trying to meditate and not being able to quiet the mind can be another stick to beat ourselves with!

The practice of meditation though is just that – a practice.  The more you practice the more you can train your mind to become quiet.  Some days it happens, you get moments of peace, calm, serenity.  Other days the mind flits from one thing to another, to another, to another, to another…………

When you practice meditation you become the witness, and when you can rein the mind back in you can observe the thoughts.  From this position of neutral observer you can be objective about the thoughts and notice whether they are of use to you or not.   You can let go of anger, judgement, resentment, shame, inferiority and much more when, from this place of neutral observer, you see that the thoughts are only causing you suffering.  Only you can hold on to these thoughts, and you also have the power to let them go if you choose.

There are many different forms of meditation and the ultimate aim of meditation is finding bliss.  Sat Chit Ananda – truth, consciousness, bliss, as the yoga sutras say.  Ultimate awareness of reality, resting in our true nature.  The act of meditation is not the same as achieving sat chit ananda. Through meditation we might have glimpses of this blissful state.  If we practice long enough and become skilled enough we might achieve samadhi, that place of truth, consciousness & bliss.

But how to meditate?  Withdrawal of the senses and single pointed focus (pratyahara and dharana, respectively,  in the 8 limbs of yoga) help us.  Having a point of focus such as the breath, a candle to gaze at, or focussing on the pressure of the feet on the ground in a walking meditation.  These allow us to transcend the mind and become the witness, to see things as they truly are, dive deep into meditation and maybe attain Samadhi – the state of pure bliss.  You don’t need to be able to site in lotus pose or even cross legged!  There are many different way to bring that focus.

It is not a scary place to be – it is quite the opposite.  Allow yourself to be curious and to explore.

If you’re interested in learning more about mediation join me for my Finding Stillness Workshop 28th April or 26th May.  We’ll be exploring different forms of meditation alongside yoga practice and pranayama techniques to help support the meditations.

Both sessions take place 3-6pm at Seasonal Yoga Academy, Glasgow

You can book here or contact me for further detail fi@fishepherd.com

 

Spring Detox – Part 1 – Food Focus

Spring is now here, lighter evenings, rising energy.  in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the liver and gallbladder are associated with Spring and so this is the ideal time to show your liver some love and give it a detox.

The liver performs many functions in the body – it is a temporary energy store, breaks down toxins in the body, breaks down spent hormones and medication and stores vitamins and minerals amongst other functions.  The liver does most of its work over night between 1am and 3am when we are asleep and the body is resting.  Foods rich in chlorophyll are ideal for detoxing the liver – think rich vibrant green foods such as spinach, kale, spring greens,  broccoli, green beans, peas etc.   these foods are rich in vitamins and minerals and the fibre helps eliminate the toxins from the body.

Juicing is great as the weather gets warmer but if you feel it’s not quite warm enough yet for juicing try having some delicious green soups instead – simply cook peas, broccoli and spinach in some vegetable stock and then blend.

Also cut down on processed foods with high levels of salt and sugar.  As the liver is a temporary energy store excess sugar goes to the liver for storage in the short term before being converted to fat if it isn’t utilised.

Get more vegetables into your diet – simple stir-frys are great in Spring when we aren’t quite ready for salads but want to move away from the heavier, comforting foods of Winter.

Plus, drink lots of water to flush the toxins out of the body.

Reset Your Body Clock

Spring has arrived and with it the clocks have sprung forward.  We are moving  into the more yang, higher energy seasons and leaving the reflective yin seasons behind for now.  It’s a time when we should feel like we have more energy.  The Spring and Summer months are the time when we should be at our most productive and active.   But are you feeling like your energy isn’t quite there?

The Body Clock, our bodies natural rhythm runs in a daily cycle.  Energy moving from one organ to the next in a set sequence so that our bodies can operate at their optimum.  Each organ carrying out it’s functions at a set time each day – the most appropriate time – and resting and restoring in between.  But all too easily in our busy lives our body clock can become out of sync.

The stomach has most energy in the morning, the best time to digest a nutritious breakfast to set you up for the day, whereas energy goes to the liver and gall bladder overnight when we are resting so that the body can process all the toxins from the body so that they can be expelled by the body.  Following the liver and gall bladders active time, energy passes onto the lungs and large intestine so that they can then eliminate all the waste from the previous day.

Do you ever experience that 3pm slump – this is when the energy passes to the kidneys to recharge.  The kidney’s, home to the adrenal glands, act as a battery pack and as the energy moves here we can feel that slump as they recharge.

Late nights/early mornings, little sleep, shift working, eating late, skipping meals, eating the wrong foods, alcohol, drugs, medication, travelling to different timezones, external pollutants & toxins……..all take their toll on the body.  Our bodies get confused and don’t work so efficiently and the organs have to work harder, depleting the energy reserves.  We can then get into a vicious cycle  – using caffeine, sugar, alcohol, drugs to keep us going, which the liver then needs to work harder to process, reducing the energy even more.  The cycle continues.

But you can get your body back on track…..

  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins from the body
  • Cut down on sugar, alcohol, caffeine
  • Don’t eat too late at night
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast to set you up for the day ahead
  • Take walks into nature – breathe in the freash air, absorb vitamin D from the natural light

In addition, you can use yoga to reset the body clock – by using poses that stimulate the meridians of each organ in sequence we can get the body back on track.  With the clocks having changed its the ideal tie to reset your body clock.  Join me on Sunday 7th April, 3pm,  at Seasonal Yoga Academy where I’ll be leading an energising body clock sequence followed by a guided relaxation.  A great way to set yourself up for the coming months.

Book Here

The Art of Manifesting Part 2

Another full moon this weekend so another excuse for some manifesting! Following on from last months blog on manifesting this month I’m exploring what happens when you’re not sure what your goals are.  Some people set out on things with no idea where it will lead.  They have some vague idea or notion but can’t yet get clear on what the end result looks like.  It feels like too big a commitment to say “that’s definitely what I want”.  There may be too many options to consider which all look appealing.  How can you choose a definite path?

So this month I’m working with “this is where I’m heading for now”.  Taking things one step at a time, see where things lead.  Remember nothing is permanent and things can change. And they will change!

Look back across your life and see how many changes you’ve been through – new homes, new jobs, new relationships. So just because you manifest something into your life it doesn’t mean that you can’t then make changes in the future.  It’s an ongoing and evolving process. And the more you do it the more skilled you’ll become so when you are ready to make those big changes you’ve had plenty of practice.

We need to commit to our goals and visions. If we go into them half hearted the end results will reflect that. But there will always need to be tweaks, we may not get things quite right so we can continually adjust and fine tune. And once in a while you might see the need for a complete overhaul. Don’t stress about it! Let it flow.  

My life has twisted & turned through varying jobs, careers, friendships, romances, interests & hobbies. Each one manifested from what I put out and each one an opportunity to learn and evolve. Some of them stick with you for life, some don’t. It is all part of life’s rich experience – and you are the creator of your life.

Spring – Detoxing & Energising

Spring has Sprung

Spring has finally sprung and with the clocks going forward last weekend we now see the lighter nights.

Winter always seems so long, just when you start to notice the longer hours of daylight and think spring is finally here – bam, a deluge of snow, a beast from the east!  But finally, some lovely sunshine over the last few days, spring bulbs sprouting up from the earth, new leaves forming on the trees.

Spring is a time for growth, rising energy pushing up from the ground.  The organs associated with Spring are the Liver and Gallbladder – the liver removes toxins from our bodies so it’s a great time to be thinking about spring cleaning – home, body and mind.  The gallbladder is our decision maker so it’s a time for getting clear on your goals for the year, setting some objectives and starting to take action move you forwards.

Cleansing and Detoxing

Greens are great for the cleansing the liver.  Try vibrant green juices with spinach or kale or make simple stir-fired greens.  The liver works hard to process toxins from the body, processing alcohol, drugs, excess hormones etc.  If the liver becomes overloaded the toxins build up in the body so it’s important we give the liver some TLC and ensure it’s in tip top condition.

Detox your environment too.  Spring clean your home, car, office space.  Get rid of things you don’t need and also consider the quality of your environment – get some plants to improve your air quality.  Have a look at the cleaning products you use – are they creating more toxins in your home environment and the environment as a whole?  Have a look at switching to eco-friendly products.

Detox your self-care routines – have a look at what you are putting on your body as well as in your body.  Your skin absorbs products you put on the skin so make sure they are full of natural ingredients and not leading to more toxins in your body.

Detox your mind – how toxic are your thoughts?  Take some time to cultivate a positive mind set, maybe keep a gratitude journal, have a digital detox and step away from social media, meditate.

Goal Setting

Over the winter months we’ve had time to reflect on what we want and don’t want so now is the time to start putting some thought into setting goals.  What do you want to achieve this year?  How are you going to get there?  Big goals can be overwhelming but when we start to break them down into smaller goals they start to seem possible.  Set some clear visions, create a clear and vibrant picture of that vision in your mind, see it through all five senses so it becomes so compelling your unconscious mind starts looking for ways to make it a reality.  Create a vision board that you see everyday to remind you of what you want to achieve.  Then start taking positive action to achieve your goals.  It’s only through taking action that your goals will materialise.

Finding Time

So many people say to me that they really want to do something but don’t have the time.  My response is always the same – if you really want to do it you’ll find the time.  The question is how much do you really want to do this thing?

Whether it’s getting to an exercise class, eating healthily, making time for friends or family, learning a new skill, finding time for yourself.  Work takes up so much of our time and so our “free time” is extremely precious.  But do we act as if it is as precious as it is?  Do we fritter the time away – wonder where the weekend’s gone when we’ve binged on the latest boxset and then we beat ourselves up because we really wanted to get to the gym/out for a walk in the fresh air/spend time with a friend……

Let’s put things into perspective:

There are 168 hours in a week

  • If you sleep for 8 hours per night that leaves you with 112 hours
  • You might work for 40 hours a week, deducting this leaves you with 72 hours.

72 hours of free time, that’s more than the hours you work in the week!!  It’s 3 whole days!!  What could you do with all that time?

Okay, so you might work more than a 40hour week, you might have a long commute which eats into your non-work time, you might need more than 8 hours sleep a night (and you might need less giving you some more free time!) and you need to eat within some of that time.  Sit down and work out how much free time you actually have, then consider how you spend it.  Do you spend it wisely?  Take 5 minutes out of your day to figure out how you spend your time and how you could use it more wisely.

I’ve spent the last year changing my life around to work more flexibly so I have time to do the things that matter to me.  But that still means getting up early and doing meditation, sometimes going to an early morning yoga classes at 6:30am, studying late into the evening.  My yoga practice matters to me because it helps me develop for both my teaching and for my self-development.  Learning is also important to me, again for my teaching and for my self-development, so I’d rather spend time learning than watching TV.

Where can you make changes in your life to fit in the things you really want to do?  Can you get up 20 minutes earlier to get in some exercise?  Can you utilise a train commute for learning something new?  Is your life working for you or are you working for your life?  How committed are you to doing the things that you say matter to you?  Will you look back on your life wishing you’d watched more netflix?

I’m not suggesting that you need to fill all your time but if there are things you want to do you have to make time for them.  That might mean saying “No” to some things and prioritising.  I believe whole-heartedly that if you really want to do something you will make the time for it.  Do you keep putting things off saying “when I have more time”,  “when the kids are older”.  Yes, we need to consider events in our lives, but where can you make even the smallest bit of time to do the things that matter to you.  Even if it’s small steps that start you on the path.

What could you do with 3 whole days?  What will you do with that time?