Freedom in Isolation

I’m finding it hard sitting here writing this, I feel I should come out with some words of wisdom or advice.  This whole thing is so enormous and so terrifying it’s difficult to put it into perspective.

The fear of falling ill, of loved ones becoming sick, the fear of financial ruin and the fear of loneliness and isolation are very real for many people including myself.

I’ve spent the last twenty years practicing self-cultivation, many hours spent alone in meditation, studying philosophy, psychology, martial arts and of course practicing yoga.

I feel so grateful for this now as I have a great relationship with my family and with myself.  I know who I am, what I’m about, what I want and what I need.  I have many interests and hobbies to occupy my time and when I don’t, I’m happy to be alone and enjoy silence.

Many people at this time will struggle with this.  The sick, the vulnerable, people already struggling financially and those who are already isolated will suffer greatly.  Even those who on the surface appear to have a great life filled with exciting activities, full work schedule, activities with friends and family all nicely structured and ordered, may now find that they don’t have the great relationship they thought they had with their kids and partners.  They may now feel anxious or angry that they can’t play golf, go to the gym, go and see friends in the pub or get to that yoga class.  They may find now that the things that have so far kept them happy and fulfilled are useless and they are left feeling empty and scared.  This will be hard for us all.

This is the time to dig deep into your inner resources and find out what you’re really about and to find the joy in just being.  

We’re lucky that we live in this electronic age and that there’s so much available on the web to help us.  I will, as promised to the clients I teach there, be posting some of the practices from my classes at Mind in Haringey and Rethink on my YouTube channel, I hope that some of these help.

Please try this Yoga Nidra for sleep, pop some earbuds in and listen to it when you’re in bed and ready for sleep.  Even if you don’t think you have problems with sleep, try it for five days in a row and notice any changes in how you feel, you may be pleasantly surprised!

As worrying as this situation is…

…it will pass.

Boosting immunity with yoga and massage

People are quite rightly worried about the Coronavirus and at this time we really need to ensure our immune system is as strong as possible. Time and again massage, yoga and other mind body therapies such as mindfulness and meditation have been shown to boost immunity and reduce inflammation.

In a recent review of clinical research on 15 randomised controlled trials specifically on whether yoga practice could strengthen the immune system and reduce chronic inflammation, scientists found that yoga has a promising anti-inflammatory effect on the body and that yoga practice may exert further beneficial effects by enhancing cell-mediated and mucosal immunity (1).

Various studies on massage have shown that natural killer cells and natural killer cell activity (cytotoxicity) have increased following moderate pressure massage (2)(3).

Natural killer cells are noted to ward off viral cells, bacterial cells and cancer cells.

Massage stimulates pressure receptors under the skin which increase vagal activity. This produces a parasympathetic (relaxation) response which reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels and thereby saves immune cells in as much as cortisol kills immune cells (4).

So the more stressed we are the weaker our immune response is, it’s as simple as that.

It’s great to have these scientific studies to back up what we already know…Yoga and massage make us feel good!

We’re all fully aware by now that we have to follow simple rules such as washing our hands thoroughly, avoid touching our faces and sneeze or cough into a tissue.

If you’re feeling unwell, get plenty of rest as sickness is your bodies way of telling you to slow down so listen to it. Check out my YouTube channel for Yoga Nidra and restorative practices you can try at home.

References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29429046

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16884341/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15256294/

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19283590/

Mind In Haringey – Yoga, Meditation & Mindfulness

My new yoga class has proven to be very popular and I now have a meditaton and mindfulness class too.
In this class we explore the breath, mindfulness techniques, self massage and of course meditation, you dont need to do any stretches or wear any special clothing and this class is generally done seated although you can lie down if you want.
triyoga have very generously donated some yoga mats and we hope to get some more props soon so that we can have a restorative class in the near future.
If you’d like to attend please contact Mind in Haringey and self refer.
They have lots of other activities there too so check out the timetable, even if you want to just have a cup of tea and a natter you can do that too!

Sal Mubarak! (Happy New Year).

Yesterday was Hindu New Year and so I spent the day celebrating with my wife’s family and I’d like to take this pportunity to wish a happy (belated) Diwali & New Year to all my Hindu friends, family & clients.
One of the highlights was this poppadom tree at my mother in-laws temple so if you’ve ever wondered where poppadoms come from now you know!

This week you can find me as follows!

Today

Rethink Harrow
Yoga for mental health (NHS, personal budget only)

Wednesday

triyoga Camden 
Yoga for stress 2.15-3.30
Myofascial massage and yoga therapy clinic from 5-9

Thursday
triyoga Shoreditch 
Vinyasa Flow open. 3.30-4.45

Friday
Mind In Haringey  (contact them to self refer)
12.30-1.30 Yoga for mental health
12.45-1.45 Mindfulness & meditation

Sunday
triyoga Camden
Myofascial massage & yoga therapy clinic 3.30-7.30

Please contact me for a private yoga or massage session or see me at The Workshop Gymnasium at the beautiful Bulgari Hotel Knightsbridge, FitSPace Chelsea or BodySpace Knightsbridge on request.

World Mental Health Day 2019

It’s World Mental Health Day 2019 and this years focus is suicide prevention.
20 years ago a close friend of mine committed suicide and this was the driving factor for me sorting myself out. I felt particularly bad over his death as I knew how lonely he felt, how misunderstood and how isolated he felt but because of my own issues I couldn’t bring myself to ask him round or meet up for a coffee. I remember his cremation so clearly, the room was packed with people standing outside and most in tears, some inconsolable. This was the funeral for a guy who was abandoned by his sisters (who had all been fostered to other families), a guy who never knew his dad and his mum who tried to murder him on several occasions was in secure psychiatric care. He grew up in care homes and I won’t mention the horrors he suffered there. This was a guy who grew up alone, a guy who family wise was completely alone and yet there were so many who loved him, so many who cared and were totally devastated by his passing. We have people who are there for us though sometimes not at the right time or in the right way and even if they are maybe we can’t see it.
I was lucky as Rickys passing showed me this and at that point I vowed to sort myself out, I didn’t want my parents or family to feel about me how I was feeling looking at the coffin of my friend.

We live in times where aggressive and inflammatory language is now the norm, people shouting down anyone with a different opinion from theirs and using bullying tactics to put their point across. We live in a world where people use terms like ‘snowflake’ to intimidate people into silence and to not show their feelings or voice dissent.

We need to be nicer to people, just look around at the homeless people, the people on the street who are clearly suffering from mental health problems and have no services to help them due to the vicious and unnecessary government cuts in recent years.

But there is hope, there are good people out there who will help, community groups and charitable organisations who are having to fill in the gaps left by the decimated NHS.

If you or someone you know are suffering from mental health problems please contact your G.P. for advice and the community mental health team but please also get in touch with your local Mind and Rethink, there may be other local charities to you which may provide counselling or even a group where you can meet for a chat.

We have to stick together as a people, the more the uncaring the world becomes the more caring we have to be.

Rest in peace Ricky Lambert and thanks mate. X

Every Mind Matters

Today sees the launch of a new campaign by Public Health England to raise awareness on mental health.
Have a look at their website and take the quiz here.

Stoptober or Gosober?

This month gives us two very important public health campaigns Go Sober for October and Stoptober.
Macmillan Cancers Go Sober for October urges us to give up alcohol for a month to raise money for cancer research. You can read my blog on how yoga can help with addiction here, to put it very simply if you think it will be hard for you to give up for a month then it’s something that you need to do. They have some really nice tips to help you on your journey of sobriety and if you think alcohol is harmless check out the NHS website on the dangers that alcohol use brings.

Stoptober is NHS England’s campaign to give up smoking for 28 days. I was a smoker for many years and the first two weeks was awful but then after that much easier and now I cannot believe I used to smoke, it really is a terrible habit. Yoga tells us when working with addiction that we need to break the cycle of addiction with another habit and I’ll be posting a video on my YouTube channel later this week with one of the techniques that I regularly use to help addicts deal with cravings.

If you’re taking part in either of these campaigns then I wish you all the best and if you’re not that’s fine but maybe take a moment to think about the effect your smoking and /or drinking has on not only your health but the health and well-being of those around you.

Global Yoga Therapy Day 2019

Today is Global Yoga Therapy Day!

This is a day where Yoga Therapists worldwide get together to share their skills and experience to help people through the power of yoga therapy.
Yoga therapy is more than just yoga, yoga therapists work with their clients to create a practice that can help them with a wide range of symptoms and conditions such as functional disorders (IBS, Fibromyalgia etc), migraines/headaches, insomnia, addiction, stress/mental health, physical injuries and restrictions and much more.
In a typical yoga therapy session you would be expected to complete a thorough health questionnaire, which the therapist will go through with you. The therapist will then complete a postural assessment and then watch you breathe and then move. After that they will create with you a personalised practice which can include a variety of techniques such as meditation, asana, pranayama and mantra, whatever is needed and whatever YOU feel works. This practice is then scribed (or maybe videod) for you so that you can practice at home at an agreed time.

Come to my yoga for stress class today and every Wednesday @triyoga Camden 2.15-3.30 to experience some of the techniques I may use in a yoga therapy 1-1. Alternatively book in with me before the end of August for a 1-1 yoga therapy session in my triyoga clinics Wednesday and Friday 5-9pm and Sunday 3.30-7.30pm and get a 25% discount!
You can also see me for yoga therapy at Workshop Gymnasium at The Bulgari Hotel and BodySPace Knightsbridge and Chelsea.
There are lots of free resources available online, visit https://globalyogatherapyday.com/ 
and work with esteemed teachers such as Lisa Kaley-Isley (my yoga therapy teacher), Heather Mason, Richard Miller and Gary Kraftsow.
Please follow this link to my YouTube channel for more yoga therapy resources and make sure you subscribe as more videos are coming soon.
Enjoy!