Going on holiday is supposed to melt all your stress away. Unfortunately, the preparations and unpredictability of holidays can sometimes result in the exact opposite. One way to beat this is through the simple concept of mindfulness – being aware of the present moment and just appreciating it for what it is. As deceptively elementary as it sounds, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a scientifically proven method of combating stress in its many forms. Here are some of the easiest ways to apply the principle of mindfulness in your quest to enjoy your hard-earned time off. [Read more…]
There is a huge debate going on regarding the integrity of modern Yoga and what it is evolving into. Documentaries, social media posts, articles and even in discussion amongst yoga teachers and those who practice yoga. Who is in the right? As a fairly recently qualified Yoga Teacher I can testify how easy it is to train and gain insurance to enable one to teach what is termed ‘Yoga’. The course that enabled me to teach was, I felt, lacking somewhat in philosophy & spirituality and so I sought out another course that is now offering what I seek as, firstly a lifetime student and hopefully an effective teacher. [Read more…]
Improve your wellbeing with these 7 things that you can do in just 7 minutes.
Could you spare 7 minutes a day to improve your wellbeing? Considering that each day consists of 1,440 minutes, 7 minutes is just .49%. It is madness if we can’t allow just a few minutes to help our own wellbeing.
Starting now, why don’t you ensure that you take just 7 minutes to de-stress & improve your wellbeing each and every day. It doesn’t sound long, but you will be amazed how much you can fit in.
Listed below are 7 ideas we have, but we would also love to hear yours, so please don’t be shy to share them with us on social media.
Mindfulness – So what exactly is it?
You may have seen it on our timetable, heard the term mentioned numerous times, but what actually is mindfulness in layman terms?
We are not going to over complicate things by writing a long winded article, we are keeping it simple so you can stay in the moment….see what we did!
Basically, mindfulness is a meditation practice, focusing on the body, breath and sound, training the mind to be present in the moment.
Like any form of exercise, meditation can feel boring, uncomfortable and darn right difficult at times! Try to think of mindfulness as a “mind gym” where you learn to build your ability to pay attention like a muscle. A well-honed muscle of attention helps us make the right decisions, and will help to implement into our daily life.
5 everyday mindfulness tips:
You wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon if you hate running and have only actually ever run for a bus…keep it simple and choose an activity you do each day and, for a few moments while you’re doing it, try to pay attention to every sensation – sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch – go on check in with your senses.
Choose a piece of food you really enjoy. Cut whatever it is into bite-sized pieces. Place a small morsel in your hand. You may feel utterly ridiculous…just go with it, focus on what the food looks like, as if this the first time you have ever seen it. Using your senses begin to notice the colour, the edges, the shape. After a minute or so, pop that tasty morsel into your mouth, chew slowly and notice what sweetness or bitterness tastes like. Notice what the urge to swallow feels like.
Ask yourself “What does the water feel like?” Whether you are in the shower or bath, experience the movements you make while soaping up and washing the soap off again as if this is the first time you have ever washed! Notice when your mind drifts off and you start thinking about your to-do list for the day, then bring your focus back to the feel of showering.
3. The ritual of tea:
Being British we are a nation of tea drinkers. This is a great one to be in the moment with. Slowly, try to experience the details…the sensation of pouring the hot water into the teapot or cup, stirring the tea spoon round and round, smelling as you bring the cup to your lips, tasting and enjoying that first sip of the day…bliss!! Ok to try with coffee too if you are a) not British or b) Not a tea lover.
4. At your desk:
First up check your posture, notice are your shoulders hunched? Rounded forwards? Hello people, channel your inner Pilates goddess and melt those shoulders down your back, open your chest and lengthen your spine. Now tune into what the sensations are of tapping your fingers on the keys. Are you a loud tapper, or quite gentle? One finger typer or do you own that keyboard like a concert pianist? Come off autopilot and notice when your mind demands you type something new and, when you do, come back to the feeling in your fingertips.
Here’s our last really simple one. Nobody is too busy to walk through a door way. Entering class at The View Studio, I know for a fact you will walk through three doorways! This one again takes 30 seconds to a minute. Each day when you go through a doorway, you can home in on just one particular doorway to make it even easier. Use this doorway as a reminder to notice what’s going on around you; the sounds, smells, sights and the feeling in your body. Check in with your senses again.
There you have it, 5 simple steps to adding mindfulness into your day. Come on, no one is ever too busy to eat!
Taking time to breathe!
During times of stress I often say to my husband, “Just breathe! Inhale for 3, exhale for 5.” We tend to take sips of breathe when stressed and incorrect breathing can lead to low back pain. Recent research now indicates that taking a deep breath does indeed help to ease stress and help you become more emotionally aware, but only if done properly. Inhale through the nose and out through the mouth not in through the mouth and out through the mouth.
The power of active breathing and breathing correctly helps to control our breathing rhythm. Slow deep breathing can help to calm the nervous system by reducing our heart rate and activating the parasympathetic nervous system, actively reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. By doing this our bodies start to calm and our minds also begin to quiet.
Being aware of whether you breathe properly is essential, so many people carry out dysfunctional breathing. Dysfunctional breathing patterns reduce oxygen delivery to the lungs, as well as posture and stabilisation of the spine , resulting in fatigue and a whole host of other health issues. This sets you up for a viscous circle, where the longer you breathe in this dysfunctional pattern, the harder your body has to work.
Here are some reasons why people don’t breathe properly:
- Smoking, along with any other medical conditions makes breathing laboured.
- No one else breathes properly. Shallow breathing is a bad habit, imitating bad posture and movement habits learned as infants.
- Breathing is emotionally stimulating and expressive, many people avoid this like the plague.
- Sitting, with so many of us in sedentary jobs, – the hips are flexed to 90 degrees and the ribs sit down in the abdominals making it extremely difficult to breathe laterally.
Breathing has a vital role in its effects on movement quality and stability of the core and spine. When breathing normally or “functional breathing”, posture and stabilisation of the spine will be maintained in a healthy manner.
Take the plunge and focus on breathing properly!
The diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle for all of us! It is a thin, wide sheet of muscle that separates the rib cage from the abdomen. It is shaped like a dome which flattens out when it contracts. It is important to understand, when the diaphragm contracts, the dome flattens and pushes downwards on the viscera, like a piston or a plunger. The watery viscera cannot be compressed, they have to move outwards. So, when you inhale with your diaphragm your rib cage expands.
Breathe in through the nose to the sides of the ribs, letting the rib cage expand out to the sides working the intercostal muscles in between the ribs. This allows you to get a deeper breathe from your lungs.
As you exhale out through the mouth, imagine you are blowing out of a straw, draw the rib cage across and down.
As you breathe make sure your feet are hip width apart, your shoulders are relaxed and with each inhale ensure you are not lifting your shoulders. Feel your spine straighten, lengthening through the crown of the head with each breathe.
For many the concept of exercise means pounding the pavements, cycling at extreme speeds, HITT or anything else that is high intensity. Nobody is saying that these exercises are not good for you, especially if you enjoy them, but sometimes it is beneficial for your body and mind to slow things down. Mixing your exercise regimes up, is a great way to enhance your whole body and mind.
Studies have shown that slow exercise practice like yoga, Pilates, Barre, mindful movement have amazing benefits that include stronger muscles, improved cardiovascular and greater immune function.
A fast-paced workout allows the mind to drift, a slow controlled practice allows one to focus on the movement and breath. This allows one to consider feelings, thoughts and actions and helps to achieve that goal to live a peaceful life. Our values can be readdressed within a slow, controlled practice.
Everyone should allow for peace and solitude in their lives, but how many of us actually take time for this? How much do we really miss what is going on around us with our family, friends and community by constantly rushing around with no time to absorb? Do you appreciate each day, listen to the birds sing, feel your lungs fully with fresh air or even just appreciate your family and friends for who they truly are? Doing too much, too fast and spreading yourself too thin doing unimportant things, means that you are not allowing time for the things that are important.
Often, we only realise what is important when it is too late or has reached crisis point. This is not a healthy way to live. Constant work life pressures, force situations to arise, and before we know it we are so busy that we haven’t stopped to think about the implications. Most of us would never consciously put ourselves in this scenario, but many have arrived here and do not even realise it. Take a minute, sit down and just consider the above. Are you in this trap?
Running constantly on that hamster wheel of life is not feasible twenty-four seven. Looking after everyone else, ensuring that everything is completed and done for everyone else and neglecting yourself is not a long-term solution to any situation, it can only ever be a short term fix especially for you. What happens when you go under and can’t keep it up as the neglect to yourself reveals itself in one form or another? At that point, everything crumbles and that will intensify the pressures you already have to cope with.
The L’Oréal Paris brand use the phrase ‘because you’re worth it’ and this is so true, you are worth it and you deserve it. See the bigger picture and ensure that within your day you take time for you. Relax, focus on what you have and not what you don’t and appreciate everything good in your life and surroundings. You will benefit and these benefits will also be felt by everyone around you.
Why not try one of our mindful movement classes. We currently offer two lunchtime classes. The first is on Thursday at 1.00 p.m. and the other is Friday at midday. By taking the time at lunchtime, just 45 minutes, you should be able to continue most of your schedule for the rest of day. These classes are a win, win for everyone. Make sure you book today and use these classes to help you observe how you feel about your experiences, both good and bad. Allow the class to help give you the tools to manage stressful situations and to experience overall well-being. The slow movements focus on breath and body awareness and are combined with a mindful mediation practice throughout. What are you waiting for?
Shiatsu massage what do we mean by that?
Shiatsu massage, why would we need to that add to our lives? If you think it sounds a bit woo, woo! Think again!
Do you feel frazzled by the endless to-do lists and worries on a repeat loop in your head? Long term build up of stress and tension? Or feeling angry, frustrated, sad, anxious, overwhelmed, or just plain out of sorts?
Does this ring any bells?
Have you just nodded your head in agreement to any of the questions above?
Holding onto stress can often appear as niggling aches and pains in our body. Is you body and mind crying out for some TLC?
Treat yourself now!
This ancient therapy, practiced on a futon and fully clothed, really is great when it comes to how you feel in your emotions and your mind, helping to free pain from the past.
Clients find Shiatsu massage a comforting resource during times of transition and change – moving house, bereavement, divorce, career changes, life direction challenges, times of stress, lack of confidence and just not feeling like yourself.
It can also be a wonderful, beneficial addition to your health and wellness activities,
Still not sure it’s for you?
Shiatsu bodywork is great for relaxation or to help with a specific set of symptoms for a certain period of time too, as well as being a part of your regular self care routine. It helps with a wide variety of physical conditions.
• 89% of Shiatsu receivers felt calmer & more relaxed
• Up to 60% of regular Shiatsu receivers slept better
• 86% said that Shiatsu was effective in treating stress and tension, structural and postural problems, low energy and fatigue
Wow! How does Shiatsu do this?
It’s the magic of the energy systems in your body and the power of positive touch! Plus acupressure and gentle stretches to move and balance these energies in your body, taking you to places of stillness and spaciousness. And in this space your body rebalances itself and you start to feel better.
A note from, Helen
I am looking forward to working with clients at The View Studio, helping you to look lighter, brighter and more in touch with how you are feeling. The 10 minute head and shoulder massage will be an opportunity to gift yourself some TLC, help you feel less frazzled and ask me questions about future hour long sessions.
I specialise in women’s health including menstrual health, fertility, and menopause. I have also completed advanced Shiatsu training in pregnancy, birth and beyond, including teaching techniques to birth partners.
Mark your diary on Thursday 13th October, there will be FREE Shiatsu taster sessions (10 mins head and shoulders) between 11.30am-3pm and 4pm-7pm, pop into The View Studio for some well deserved Me Time, or sign up before then via our sign up sheet at the reception desk.
You’ll leave feeling lighter, calmer and more balanced.
It’s nearly time to open up, St Andrews.
With one week to go, we’re pretty chuffed about OPEN DAY, giddy to welcome you all to our seaside studio. Spots in the FREE 30-minute taster classes (Barre Fit, Pilates, Ashtanga & Vinyasa yoga and Movement & Mindful Meditation) are beginning to fill. In preparation for the event, we interviewed members to discover what they love about The View Studio. And in the spirit of #openupstandrews, we asked them to reveal something they’re open to try this year.
First up is Emma Ward, Nursery Early Years Practitioner and mum of two.
MY FAVOURITE CLASS: “Pilates. I really enjoy the deep stretch and alignment awareness this class gives me. When I skip a class, my body misses it and doesn’t feel right. I think sitting on teeny chairs at work doesn’t help either.”
I LOVE THE VIEW STUDIO BECAUSE: “When I visit The View it is my chance for ‘me time’, my chance to escape from the endless tasks I need to be doing at home. Those tasks can wait an hour or so. The small class sizes are great and with the sea view, I feel like I could be anywhere. Concentrating on the view outside surely takes my mind off the jelly leg barre tasks.”
THIS YEAR I AM OPEN TO: “Trying gin again! In the past I’ve never got the taste for it but I am determined to like it as I’d love to be able to order a g&t – then I’d know that I’m a proper grown-up lady!”
Thanks, Emma. We’re open to helping you reach those gin-tasting goals too.
Say hello to Donna Renton. In her words, she is addicted to The View and “is owned by one laid-back lab and one nutty spaniel.” She is also a wife and a mother of three teenagers.
MY FAVOURITE CLASS: “4.15pm barre because it signals the start of the week’s classes for me even though it always gives me jelly legs!”
I LOVE THE VIEW STUDIO BECAUSE: “I meet people whose paths I perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise crossed. I love the different abilities and ages, the chats before and after class and most of all, the laughs during! I love the fact that as soon as I get there, just for that hour or two, it’s ‘me time’.”
THIS YEAR I AM OPEN TO: “Replacing red wine with water but failing that (which is highly likely) I’d like to build enough confidence and strength to achieve a headstand in Iyenger class before my next milestone birthday!”
Remember this face because you’ll likely see her every time you attend a class. (She is really addicted. It’s true.) And if you turn up to the 90-minute Iyenger class on a Thursday, you may be able to help her make her headstand dream come true. We love you, Donna!
Meet Cheryl Dochard, mum of three and Administrator for the Royal Economic Society. Cheryl has a quick wit and has been known to have people in stitches by the end of class. It’s wonderful – except when you’re trying to hold a Teaser in Pilates.
MY FAVOURITE CLASS: “Barre Fit, for sure! Abs tight from the first beat, leg shakes and great instructors!
I LOVE THE VIEW STUDIO BECAUSE: “It’s a workout with friends and A1 instructors. Throw in the sea view…pure bliss!”
THIS YEAR I AM OPEN TO: “Embracing my inner ballerina!
Meet Alex Shaw, a fourth-year Business Management student hailing from Florida. Alex is a prolific beach expert (if that’s a thing) and a mastermind behind a lens. This year Alex plans on completing her degree whilst taking on major creative endeavours for a not-so-tiny event called DONT WALK.
MY FAVOURITE CLASS: “I love Vinyasa Flow on Saturday mornings because it is the perfect way to unwind from the hectic week and energise myself for the fun things of the weekend!”
I LOVE THE VIEW STUDIO BECAUSE: It is such a peaceful space to have a great workout in. There’s definitely a reason why it’s named ‘The View.”
THIS YEAR I AM OPEN TO: “Trying out the 7AM Ashtanga!”
Early mornings have nothing on you, Alex. Rest assured that the good people at Taste will be ready to brew your coffee at 8:03. (It takes roughly two minutes to hit Taste after a class. Bonus.)
Finally, meet Jane Carswell, Founder and Owner of Capercaillie Escapes (a wee tour and events company for bespoke trips around Scotland)
MY FAVOURITE CLASS: “Monday lunchtime barre – nicely breaks up the first day of the working week. It’s always a busy class and just has a great energised feel to it.”
I LOVE THE VIEW STUDIO BECAUSE: “I love The View for many reasons: the beautiful setting by the water which I always find inspiring, the warm welcome that Sam and the instructors always provide, and the genuine escape from things for an hour.”
THIS YEAR I AM OPEN TO: “Becoming a leaner, healthier person in mind, body and soul (with a little bit of help from my friends.) I’m also open to trying a new activity or seeing a new place every month.”
What about you? What are you open to this year? Come tell us in person on Saturday 17th September. The party starts at 9am. See you there!
To book a spot in one or more of our 30-minute FREE taster classes, sign up online.
To get up-to-the-minute information, follow us on Twitter.
Get in on the conversation by liking our Facebook Page.
Get complete event details on our Facebook OPEN DAY Event Page.
Mindfulness is a buzz word right now – from the corporate boardrooms to Marie Claire magazine, and we’re also talking about it in classes at The View Studio. Mindfulness is a way of being in the moment, ‘fully present’ with what’s going on with you and your world – as opposed to thinking about the past and the future. Mindfulness is an attitude of accepting things just as they are (right now) with no judgement.
You may already have experienced being mindful, for example when you are lost in a good book, when you’re in an exercise class and you (even for a moment) are simply just being there and not thinking about making dinner or what happens next in your busy life! You may enjoy arts and crafts – perhaps colouring in – and get really focused on the colours, and the sound of the pencil on the page. Or maybe you are mindful on a walk outdoors – appreciating the sunshine, wind, air, nature, and really not thinking about anything else. It’s very easy to be mindful and not even realise you are already doing it!
The opposite of mindfulness is sort of like being on autopilot – we’ve all eaten a bag of sweets absent mindedly and been surprised when we reach for the last one and there’s none left, or driven a familiar route and just arrived without any recollection of the journey. Some people can also find themselves on a negative autopilot – over worrying, or moaning about little things that might never happen,or always talking about the past and what could have happened.
Mindfulness is most talked about in the context of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a very simple way to practice mindfulness. All you do, wherever you may be, is focus on your breath, pay attention to the inhale and exhale of your breathing, you will become ‘mindful’ and present. (We’ll cover more about breathing and meditation in another article.)
None of us are perfect – and we all have autopilot moments, where we catch ourselves having a bit of a moan, or even being overwhelmed at the thought of what needs to be done. If you’re stressed, and running on autopilot, put the breaks on and simply breathe!
Come to class, and cultivate mindfulness. You won’t need to meditate (although we welcome you if you do) – think of it as being present in your practice. Your focus, your attention will be on what you’re doing and experiencing in the moment and you can get deliciously lost in it – and the great news is that there are loads of health benefits too.
How can it help?
A mindful approach can help to relax your whole self. It will restore your wellbeing, help you to respond to what’s going on more calmly, and turn the volume down on your knee-jerk reactions to stressors. When you become mindful, you get peace of mind! Your nervous system switches to it’s ‘rest and digest’ mode, and your brain changes to be better able to focus and exercise self control. That means you can observe what’s going on in your world, keep calmer about it, and be more in control of the way you respond.
Interestingly, science is now able to support this ancient wisdom and provide evidence of the benefits of mindfulness meditation. Science can provide evidence of changes in brain chemistry – even with acute cases of anxiety and depression.
So mindfulness – staying in the present – is super restorative, and here at The View we highly recommend that you make a start on bringing mindfulness to your day. Even if it’s one breath at a time.
So how do you start? Well, there are apps like Headspace that can help you, but there’s nothing better than coming to class and being in the right company to get the best results.
For more info on how you can bring mindfulness to your practice, simply contact us.