Zen Party

It’s been some time since I had the pleasure/challenge of organising a hen do but I remember the pressure of trying to find something everyone would like, could afford, was a bit different and had more substancethan just drinking all day.  For that reason this Spring I’m launching my Zen Parties.   Pilates based exercise is low impact and so is accessible to anyone with a basic level of fitness.  It can also be made into a gentle, slow, stretch and relax style with an accompanying mellow sound track for a Zen Pilates session along with lavender eye masks and aromatherapy scents.  Or for ladies that want to share more of a workout together the pace can be increased and I’ll use the more dynamic moves with funky tunes playing.  Optional extras will include flower crowns, pamper packs and of course bubbles!

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So if you know of anyone planning a hen do or girlie get together point them in my direction for an experience with a healthy twist. X

#zenparty #girlsgettogehter #partywithahealthytwist #connections #nourishmindbodyandsoul #pilatesandprosecco #zenergyactive

We want better sleep but struggle to get it – 5 tips to help

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Today is World Sleep Day: according to the World Sleep Society’s global survey 35% of people feel they don’t get enough sleep, impacting both their physical and mental health. ‘There is a growing understanding that lack of sleep is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes and we’re more prone to infections after a period of reduced sleep’ according to Public Health England.

Breathing, relaxing, stretching, calming the mind and the body are all great ways to improve your chances of a great night’s sleep.  Sounds so simple yet finding time to do it is far more challenging.

That’s why I created my Zen Pilates concept – to enable busy people who are struggling to make time for themselves to be able to outsource their self-care. The Zen class also transforms gentle relaxation from a task into a mini spa style treat.

In Zen Pilates we first unfurl the body and only then do we unwind the mind. In a room full of tea lights infused with calming aromatherapy scents we gently stretch the whole body using Pilates inspired low impact but strongly impactful stretching and mindful movement. A soundscape of ambient music fills the room transporting us further into a place of relaxation and peace. Once our bodies are unwound and deeply relaxed we do a group guided relaxation in the candle light and under cosy blankets. Each week I curate and conduct a blend of visualisation, sensations and guided imagery along with a carefully selected breathing technique to sooth our souls and further

When I asked my client’s to tell me what benefits they were feeling from the class improved sleep was number one.

“The classes are perfect for the end of a long day and have certainly helped me sleep really well.

“You leave feeling calm and ready for a good night’s sleep.”

“The first time I slept through the night in ages”

“I’m not a great sleeper and so the deep unbroken night’s sleep I get after Laura’s Zen class is so cherished”

If you can’t make the class here are my top 5 tips to help get a great night’s sleep:

1. Try and create a regular bedtime routine so your body knows you’re preparing for sleep – avoid bright lights in the bathroom and turn a landing light on instead
2. Try and set a regular bedtime and wake-up time – catching up at the weekend is a myth
3. If you are in the habit of taking naps, don’t exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep
4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many fizzy drinks, as well as chocolate.
5. Activate your iPhone’s Night Shift mode. This reduces the blue light on your screen which has been proven to mess with your hormones and disturb sleep patterns so filter it out. Here’s how to do it

Useful articles:

Public Health England: Are you too tired to do your job?

Thrive Global: Celebrate World Sleep Day 

What is intuitive eating?

5C3D8821-2439-4CA9-9958-E708A8DFCEB6Last week I went along to Live Well London a wellbeing, health and fitness event in the City.  There were so many great classes, exhibitors and experiences to try out that I’m still absorbing everything.  One take-out that’s really stuck in my mind was a panel discussion on nutrition where the subject of intuitive eating came up. 

It really resonated with me as it’s a complete rejection of diet culture and calorie counting both of which I’ve witnessed be destructive and futile.  This approach is about tuning into your body’s needs to look for cues as to what, when and how much to eat and rejecting the notion of ‘good and bad foods’.   I was then serendipitously sent this article by a friend that sums it up brilliantly.  As a result I’ve tasked myself with gently observing why I’m eating just to ensure I’m not mindlessly picking up snacks that won’t actually make me feel great, being more mindfully joyful when I make and eat deliciously nutritious food and most importantly not over thinking it!  Read the GoodHousekeeping article here

Radio interview: ‘February and healthy New Years Resolutions’

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I was lucky enough to be invited onto Wycombe Sound FM this week with my friend and life coach Tracy James from Big Yellow Coaching.  We were invited to talk about New Years resolutions and how to stay on track and why many wellness related resolutions have often gone out the window by now.

It was a great opportunity for me to talk about why I founded a wellness business that’s about more than just weight loss.  I wanted to get across that with so many people suffering from stressful jobs and busy lives it’s so important that everyone finds time to check in with themselves to recognise how they are feeling and if they are feeling out of balance or stressed they need to have a tried and trusted way to be able to rebalance and restore energy, calmness and relaxation.

I was able to explain how I’d found the breathing and mindful movement involved with Pilates based exercise totally life changing when I felt overwhelmed and stressed a lot of the time in my marketing career.   I’d started my journey to find a way to cope with my job through the physical symptoms of stress – I was fed up of wearing my tension in my muscles particularly around my neck, shoulders and back.  I hadn’t realised that those were physical symptoms that could be eased through relaxing my mind as much as relaxing my body and that’s what Pilates based exercise did for me – helping me manage and rebalance the mind and body.

I know Pilates based exercise isn’t for everyone and not everyone needs stress relief, Pilates based exercise is also brilliant for simply wanting to move better, feel stronger and more agile for day to day life as well as getting a competitive edge in your other sports.  Pilates based exercise keeps your joints strong and supple,  stretches and strengthens the smaller supporting muscles as well as the larger muscle groups of your core and leaves you feeling strong, long and toned.

If you’re feeing stressed or wondering if you’re are stressed, I found this article really clear and concise about spotting the signs of stress to and some advice on how to handle it.  I encourage you to find a quite space and just breathe gently and scan through your body and let your mind settle and see if any of these resonate. If they do, I really encourage you to find an outlet whether that be simply walking in nature, going for a jog, trying a yoga or pilates class or a creative pursuit but find something that brings you joy and keep doing it even when you feel at your most stressed – in fact especially when you feel at your most stressed!

Article: How to recognise and deal with stress

If you’d like to have a listen you can hear the interview at 2.16 here:

Radio interview: click here

To get in touch with Tracy about her life coaching expertise, you’ll find her at: www.brightyellowcoaching.com

 

 

 

Zen Pilates – tea lights, lavender eye masks and aromatherapy scents for relaxation and improved sleep

Quality sleep is as essential to survival as food and water. Poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

Just as stress and anxiety trigger insomnia and other sleep problems, lack of sleep increases stress and anxiety. Poor sleep makes us more vulnerable to the symptoms of anxiety, including irritability and short temper, feelings of being overwhelmed, struggles with motivation, increased emotional reactivity etc.

Relaxation exercises have been shown to be highly effective in reducing stress and improving sleep, the key techniques being:

• Breathing – Deep breathing kicks off a series of physiological changes that aid relaxation, including reducing muscle tension, slowing breathing rate and heart rate, and lowering blood pressure and metabolism.

• Cultivating sensations of warmth and heaviness in different regions of the body – using visual and verbal cues to alter the sensations we feel in our bodies we can generate relaxation and quiet one’s thoughts.

• Guided imagery – Guided imagery exercises engage all the senses in a focused period of imagination engaged in a soothing, restful guided image journey.

• Progressive relaxation – Progressive relaxation involves working, one at a time, with different areas and muscle groups of the body, first tensing and relaxing them.

Finding the time and creating the right environment to implement these techniques can be really challenging. That’s why I’ve developed a Zen Pilates class to complement my more Energy/Cardio classes to help people in my local community to experience the benefits of both unfurling the body with Pilates based exercises combined with relaxation techniques to unfurl the mind. My favourite feedback so far has been ‘that’s the best 45minutes I’ve spent in the past 3 years, it was a mini spa experience!’.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201701/5-relaxation-techniques-better-sleep

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep

Lavender eye masks, aromatherapy, blankets and tea lights
My Zen Pilates class, Cookham and Wooburn Town, Bucks