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Sweet & Sticky Fig & Pistachio Quinoa Porridge…& Eating Intuitively

“The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…”

This line generates a feeling of warmth within me… not just that it connects me to my own inner fire, or Agni as it’s known in Yoga.  Tuning in to our own inner Agni can connect us to feelings of internal physical warmth, we might also refer to it as ‘the fire in the belly’ or our passion for life… it could also relate to our metabolism and the way in which our digestive fire transforms our food in to fuel.

Fire is transformational by nature.  Turning matter in to gas and ash.  Untamed, fire can be a destructive force at one end of the spectrum (Think ‘burn out’ in the metaphorical sense) or a damp smouldering smoky non starter at the other end (a lack of passion or a ‘non starter’).

Keeping our Agni burning just bright enough is the work of our yoga practice, and I don’t just mean Asana, I mean our true connection with ourselves.  The mind and body working in union.  The mind listening to the intuitive voice of the body, interpreting it’s voice and nourishing it, daily with food, movement, mental awareness and rest.  As opposed to overruling that intuition and doing what is ‘expected’ of us, or following a set of rules which have worked for someone else, in the hope they will also work for us.

It takes time to tune in to our deepest needs.  It took the shock of a cancer diagnosis to wake me up from a semi-toxic slumber.  But it’s taking the discipline of daily rituals and practices in order to sustain this connection.  Listening to my body and resting when really I want to be clearing up the laundry / dishwasher /kids bedrooms / replying to emails or whatever else distracts me from myself.  Equally understanding how and when I need to eat.   It genuinely takes time to cultivate a little hunger, and then to tune in to what kind of hunger I’m experiencing, whether it’s thirst, or warmth, something fresh and light or something dense and sweet and then preparing it for myself.

Food can be deeply satisfying when eaten this way.  It doesn’t just fill a hole, or sustain a little energy – it has the power to warm the heart and soul, a deeper form of nourishment.  It has the power to sooth a tetchy mood and ultimately to sustain those feelings and energy until the next meal, this is when the fire can be delightful.   Food eaten without this connection though, can ultimately fuel the body in the opposite way, too much sugar, too much caffeine and processed food – what is it we are fuelling?  Usually a superficial energy hit, until the next crash, metaphorically speaking it’s stoking the fire quickly and burning out quickly which doesn’t generate any sustainable warmth or energy.  It doesn’t provide us with the opportunity to truly nourish ourselves, body, mind and soul, and ultimately that is the only way we can sustain true vitality and well-being.

So this recipe truly stoked my inner fire the other morning.  It felt like central heating first thing, not only that it generated an internal warmth which kept me feeling cosy in the cold.  The figs and sweet spices really indulge the warmth factor and the quinoa provides a higher source of protein (being a seed, not a grain) than other porridge grains.

Tune in to your own intuition here.  Notice whether this recipe makes you salivate or repels you.  Think about what you might change about it to make you salivate (in the context of whole food choices of course!).  Maybe it makes you want to eat a salad instinctively!  Perhaps your body is already running warm and you need to cool down?  Whatever you do, take the time to tune in and Eat Intuitively.   And if the food doesn’t work… scroll down for a frank Sinatra hit!

CEC22F9D-A134-4397-B7FE-E968482A48FDIngredients to serve 1:

2 Tbsp Quinoa

1 Cup Almond Milk

1 Cinnamon Stick

5 Crushed Cardamoms

1 Star Anise

1/2 tsp Turmeric

2 Fresh Figs (Quartered)

1 Tbsp Pistachios.

Method:

  1. Add the ingredients to a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes or until the quinoa is soft and cooked through.
  2. Enjoy!

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Join us on Retreat…

Transform & Restore

Friday 19th – Sunday 21st October 2018

TILTON IN THE DOWNS MASTER

Tilton House, East Sussex

Join Hannah & Lauren for a transformative autumnal weekend yoga retreat.  Mirroring the season of letting go we will be working with meditation, chant, asana and sankalpa to release old habits and patterns which no longer serve us and to nurture and restore body, mind and soul, ready for the winter months ahead.

Staying at the beautiful Tilton House, East Sussex (voted by The Guardian as one of the top Yoga retreats and holidays), the house is set in the South Downs National Park, immersed in nature and history.

From 3pm on Friday – 3pm on Sunday, our weekend includes 5 full Yoga sessions, all vegetarian food sourced from the orchards and kitchen garden, accommodation comprising twin or double rooms (and one triple room).

In addition spa treatments can be booked at around £60 per treatment and house wine purchased at £12 per bottle.

Total Price:  £375

Booking is on a first come first served basis via a non-refundable deposit of £100.  The remaining £275 to be paid in full by 31st August 2018.

For more info on Tilton House, please visit their website:  www.tiltonhouse.co.uk

To book or discuss payment options please Email Lauren

 

Sacred Sleep, 5 Powerful Sleep Aids for Improving Vitality

Sacred sleep… Are we getting enough?  And how does sleep deprivation impact our daily lives, our sense of vitality and our overall health?

I’ve slept a lot recently.  Having been stopped in my tracks by critical illness, I’ve transferred my energetic focus away from the mind, its thoughts and fancies, and towards the body and its needs.  It seemed obvious that, following surgery, I would need to sleep.  But in fact what I have noticed in prioritising sleep, is the mind’s ability to convince the whole body that what it thinks, fantasises about, fancies and fixates on, is actually more important than the needs of the organic organism which houses it.   The mind can be like a child, who doesn’t see the importance of clearing up, washing up, putting things away, or taking care of things and instead just does whatever he or she pleases.  The body has its own voice, which is led by feeling and being – this deeper more intuitive voice is often drowned out by the busy mind child, clanging away at some activity or other.  It’s a dramatic shift in focus, to move away from the mind child and prioritise the needs of the intuitive body.

Here’s the thing.  We’re all stuck in various and differing ruts of our own making.  Perhaps we ‘always’ have a glass of wine when we get in from work.  Perhaps we ‘always’ get a take away on a Friday night.  ‘always’ go to the gym, ‘always’ go to bed at 10pm.  Perhaps we do what we ‘think’ is good for us because we read it, heard it or our friends are doing it, but do we actually listen to our bodies?  Or are our actions dictated by the patterns of our mind and society?  On the whole, we don’t question these patterns, particularly if life seems to be working out for us.   But the times when life throws us a curve ball we truly sit up and listen.  This kind of perspective in daily life is pretty rare.  But it can be cultivated.  And it’s possible that we can become aware of the patterns of the mind in a way which enables us to choose between what we ‘think’ is the right thing (e.g. what we’ve been taught, practiced and told by the outside world) and what we ‘know’ to be the right thing (e.g. our inner perspective, how those actions feel emotionally and physically).  Using the mind child analogy again,  Children will often eat the sweets in favour of the wholesome food because they are colourful, sugary and the sensation of eating them pleases the brain.  But as parents or responsible adults, we know those sweets have no nutritional value to the living body.  In fact they actually work against the rhythms of the natural body, raising blood sugar, plaque acids and spoiling genuine appetite.  So as responsible adults we intervene.  We say no and we moderate.  The work we do with our own inner mind child and body needs to be the same in order to manage and sustain vitality and good health.

Sleep discipline…

So you get the idea of applying awareness and moderation to our own minds.  But why?  And why should sleep be a priority ?  

According to the Sleep Foundation, adults require around 8 hours a night of quality sleep.  Quality sleep contributes to a healthy immune system, and research at Harvard University has shown that poor sleep is associated with lower life expectancy.

“Treating sleep as a priority, rather than a luxury, may be an important step in preventing a number of chronic medical conditions.”

Aside from the benefits to immune function, quality sleep regulates hormones relating to appetite and fullness.  Lack of sleep can lead to over-eating.

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Getting a good nights sleep is vital for the physical repair of the body, whether that’s recovery from exercise, injury or surgery.  It is also vital to the brains cognitive function,  sleep consolidates memories and processes information taken in throughout the day.  Allowing our bodies and brains these vital restorative functions is crucial to how we feel the following day.  “The third of lives we spend sleep, far from being unproductive, plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be”.

It may be an effort initially to overcome the mental processes which prevent good sleep.  We may ‘think’ (mind child) that a glass of red wine and a box set is good for us before bed, but to our bodies the physical stress of the raise in blood sugar and mental stimulation and light from the TV can actually set us up for a disturbed night, which can in turn lead to poor health choices the following day such as increased caffeine and carbohydrates, lack of exercise due to fatigue and another night repeating the patterns of the night before.

Let me state here, for the record – I love a good box set and a glass of wine!  But… I am also aware of how sacred sleep is and how fundamental to good health.  So start with 1 day a week which you dedicate to sleep.  And notice whether any of these sleep protocols actually ease you in to a good nights sleep:

1-Day A Week Dedicated to Sleeping Well

  1. Avoid caffeine & alcohol after 12pm on your sleep day.
  2. Avoid screen time at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  3. Take a bath with magnesium salts .  Most of us, due to poor diet (processed foods, alcohol, carbonated drinks) and high stress are magnesium deficient., and magnesium deficiency can lead to poor sleep (amongst other symptoms).  Bathing in magnesium can be a more efficient way of replenishing your body’s supply than taking it orally, esecially if gut health is compromised.
  4. Breath well.  Extending the outbreath until you feel  muscles contract and shoulders release.  Breath in through the nose for the count of 4.  Hold for the count of 4 and exhale through pursed lips (like blowing through a straw) for the count of 6 or 8 (depending on breath length) then hold for a count of 2.  Repeat 3 -5 times.
  5. If the mind is still whirring, use a guided Yoga Nidra exercise to focus the attention inwards, click link below: 

Be mindful the next day,, notice whether you wake naturally.  Notice your immediate thought process when you wake, is it conducive to a productive day?  Or do you wake already overwhelmed?  Start with just one day a week dedicated to sleeping well and see how it goes?!  Let me know…

More:

The Six Benefits of Yoga for Severe Sleep Deprivation

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Turmeric Lattes and Living with Cancer

The wonderful news is that the biopsy results on the lymph nodes and tissue taken away during my Anterior Resection of the bowel (the surgery which took half of my colon away and stapled it back together), show clear.  No cancer cells were found.  In terms of living with cancer this is a victory.  What is means is that there are no visible tumours in my body, and the tissue around the tumour which was taken away is also healthy.  I’m really pleased, and enormously grateful that, for now, it looks as though I don’t need chemotherapy.  But there’s a but, you can feel it coming…  What it doesn’t show is that this body is capable of creating cancer.  This body already turned on itself.  For some reason, despite relatively good health, fitness and a healthy diet, the ‘C’ bomb trigger was pulled.  Whilst the disease itself may be gone, I hope never to return, there’s no getting away from the fact that this happened. that it was even possible.

So while my supporters get back to work, and life around me resumes as normal, I’m left with the thought that, if life pre-cancer caused my cancer, will picking my life back up again also trigger its return?  How do I pick up the wholesome, nourishing elements of my life, the life affirming, life giving elements and leave behind the destruction.  Am I attuned enough to my own body, mind and soul to walk that path?  I feel like one of those rats in Cambodia which sniffs out landmines.  Their training and sensory awareness means they can navigate through minefields safely, it seems like an impossible task.  I’ve heard people say ‘cancer is random’, ‘its not your fault’, but I don’t entirely believe it.  If that was the case, statistics wouldn’t have changed so dramatically over generations.  My belief, based on my own experience, is that this is a disease of lifestyle, with many factors contributing to it.  And by lifestyle I don’t just mean, what you eat and how much you exercise.  I mean how stressed you are day to day, how enriched, or more likely how stretched thin you feel day to day.  I think our emotional wellbeing and unresolved traumas can be a trigger, our psychology and our work life balance.  How well supported we feel and how well we love, our ability to absorb love, as well as our food choices, and physical condition.

Given that almost half of us will be affected by Cancer (and it turns out there are a whole lot more people around you right now who have survived than you are probably aware of), this is a disease that we are all living with to a greater or lesser extent.  I don’t think we’ve all woken up to the reality of it actually.  I know the friends around me have felt the impact, the shock that the diagnosis brings.  Some of them may even be making lifestyle changes based on that.  Whether it’s a deeper sense of gratitude for life, or its the reason for a new health kick.  Or maybe it’s taken them to the Dr’s to check out those ‘niggles’ that have been there for a while now and are ‘probably nothing’.  Whatever it does needs to wake us up in the wider sense, to our overall well-being, body, mind and soul.

Identifying those patterns which nourish us and those which work against us can be easier said than done, but here’s my view:

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So moving forward with my life there are some fundamental changes I need to pick up and run with.

Body:

  1. Stress Management: Rest is as important to productivity as work – this is fundamental and rest needs to be scheduled.
  2. Sleep is Sacred:  Make it comfortable, sensory experience that looks, feels and smells as enticing as a good meal.  The bed is my new church.  I worship good sleep, and the time leading in to and out of it needs to be blessed with calm.
  3. Food is my fuel:  Every cell of my body is fuelled with what I eat and drink.  That fuel needs to resonate with the organic structure that I am… i.e. it needs to be natural, not processed.  My water needs to be filtered, either mineral from glass bottles, or filtered and free from chlorine.
  4. Sugar is a drug and I say no to drugs.

Mind:

  1. Check in with what’s going through my mind.  The Headspace app is a great place to start.
  2. Notice when self talk is productive and enriching, and when it holds me back and talks me down.  Make choices about which inner voice to act upon.
  3. Talk about all those inner demons, they’re really ugly sometimes, and can also be shocking, alarming and plain twisted.  Share them with friends, or share them with a therapist, get them out though!

Soul:

  1. Instinct knows best.  It’s a built in guidance system.  LISTEN UP.
  2. Express all that is bubbling away on the inside.  Live your truth!
  3. Self – Love and appreciation.  This takes in all of the above.  The reality that life is precious, that I value being alive and I want to remain alive, means that I have to honour my life choices, and notice every one of them as either life enriching, neutral or life depleting.

Finally!  Turmeric Lattes are here to stay…!!  You’ve probably heard that turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has anti-oxidant properties.  It’s also been shown to actually disrupt the development of cancer.  And since this recipe tastes good and feels heart warming, It’s now a daily staple for me.

Turmeric Latte (SIBO friendly)

A64D0FC8-7BB6-4B01-AAF6-4EC2BE5A048E200mls Almond or coconut milk

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp pure organic clear honey

Crack of black pepper

sprinkle of nutmeg to serve.

Method:

  1. Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a pan on the hob.
  2. Turn down the heat and whisk for a couple of minutes.
  3. Pour and serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

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Colon Cancer, SIBO & Blueberry Breakfast Crumble

I don’t know about you, but until my recent colon cancer diagnosis I hadn’t heard of SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth).  SIBO can be responsible for symptoms such as fatigue, bloating, wind, constipation and diarrhoea, Iron and B12 deficiencies as well as more long term chronic disease.  It dawned on me (slowly),  how my ‘healthy’ diet had probably contributed to imbalance within my own system.  Despite enjoying whole food, I very definitely place emphasis on starches and carbs in the form of rice, beans and legumes.  I had no idea that the generic view of what is healthy, could actually be causing me a problem…

When you’re diagnosed with a critical illness, it’s like a bomb goes off in the middle of your life.  Everything (literally everything) looks, and feels different.  I was torn between a longing for the oblivion of yesterday and wanting to wake up sometime in the future when it was all over.  Despite critical illness diagnosis, however, the body has a remarkable capacity to keep functioning ‘as normal’.  Sleep still comes (albeit, anxious and broken), thoughts race, blood circulates, breath draws.  I became acutely aware of my own body’s resilience and innate predisposition for survival.  And with everything I had mentally and emotionally I jumped on it, screaming desperately “I’m listening, tell me how to survive”…

So, quickly realising that this body was the only way I was getting in, out or through this life I sat still (for the first time ever) and listened.  It was buzzing with anxiety, stress, ringing with partial dehydration (probably from all the crying).  It felt as though every cell of my body was vibrating with high crisis, and I realised that this was probably in response to my mind.  The ‘C’ bomb is a threat to life, inside your own body, no amount of fight or flight is getting you out of this, it’s the ultimate disease of self destruction, your own cells turning on you.  Sh*t I thought, this is bad.  I’ve dealt with auto-immune disease in the past, so I’ve had my starter and main course already with self destructive illness, but when the surgeon says “Miss Bloxham, it does appear, that at the young age of 38, you have, in fact, developed colon cancer”, self destructive dessert is most definitely served with lashings and lashings of sickly sweet synthetic whipped cream.  Needless to say, I felt sick.  Shocked. Incapable of actually speaking.  I simultaneously left my body and came back again over and over.  There was nowhere to run.  Nowhere to hide and I was staring death in the face… So fast forward a few hours, car journey home… (aren’t cars amazing? Like little teleportation systems)… and doors… doors are amazing too, they let you in and out of places… so cool!  Getting the gist of my new view on life?  Even so, impending doom was not going anywhere… so I sit…

“Hi death, Hi cancer, I’m Lauren… ummm… so here’s the thing… we could either just try to get along, or, if you take me down, then you go down with me… so should we, erm, just maybe, try and live together, at least for now?”  (Subtext, please don’t take me down, please don’t take me down)… I actually had this conversation with myself… and it felt as though I had a murderer at my throat, the knife pressed to my skin… (I was pretty tense)…but strangely, the acknowledgement that we were all here, present and accounted for, and that maybe ‘I’ was in the driving seat again and not ‘cancer’… seemed to give me some space, like, an inch, but space nonetheless.  It felt good.

What space gives is perspective.  It offers options and choices.  It places the perceived problem in the context of the healthy whole.  With this space I began to see the whole of the rest of my cancer free body.  The whole of the rest of my healthy heart beating, my lungs filling with life giving air.  My limbs which moved freely and with strength and flexibility…  My brain, capable of understanding all of this.  This tiny amount of space and perspective began to allow me to see what is good in my body, the cells which serve me well, and my own incredible physicality.  I started to appreciate what I had, rather than continually demand more.  This came pretty easily… with floods and floods of good feeling.  What came (and still comes) hard, is the insidious thoughts and mental processes which I have used to destroy myself.  Not knowingly, never knowingly.  But in looking this killer (cancer) and it’s apprentice (my mind) in the metaphorical eye I realised just how unhappy my mental process had become.  Just how uncared for it has been.  Funnily enough, given the nature of the disease, I noticed just how self destructive my thoughts had become.  ‘When will it all end’, ‘when can I get a break’, ‘no one cares about me’, ‘life is hard’… hmmm my obedient body seems to have found a way out doesn’t it… ? Working this through gave me a little hope, and the thought, how do I work with what I’ve got, to create more of the good stuff.  Sort of treating my mind like a naughty child… I’m just not giving any air time to the crap.   I guess survival mode is showing me how to maximise the good, rather than deal with the bad?

So in survival mode I’m actually asking myself the question now…What do I need to feel better, more balanced and even survive cancer?  So here’s my kit-list to date, and to date I am 11 days post surgery waiting on histology results which will determine the next course of action:

  1. Address all those underlying, small, niggly digestive issues I’ve had for YEARS!  Go and see a Functional Medicine Consultant who can advise on nutrition and get my guts healthy & balanced.  Because I wont hurt me, and it may even help me.
  2. STOP life as you know it.  And take the opportunity to look around at what feels good, and what doesn’t.  Pick up ONLY what feels nourishing.  Leave everything else behind for now.
  3. RELAX.  OMG I had no idea how deep and infinite relaxation could be.  I have literally only ever dabbled at the surface of sitting still and connecting with my breath, but the depths, let me tell you, are infinite… and right now I’m not moving too far out of them… wearing pyjamas mostly.  Sound Therapy and Reiki have been my go to (non invasive) treatments, both transport me to a very happy place, and connect me with a vibration of peace and wellbeing, which again… can only be helpful.
  4. Look yourself in the eye and be prepared to see it ALL.  The chaos and destruction, alongside the beauty, grace and love.  Begin to nourish the beauty, grace and love with thought, word and action.  Talking to myself in the mirror has been really helpful (As well as really challenging at times).
  5. HEADSPACE.  There is a cancer package on Headspace.  It has been invaluable in helping me to sift thoughts and identify what works for me and what doesn’t.
  6. Sleep… This has been sacred.  We have an air purifier in the bedroom now, and new sheets.  Going to bed early and waking naturally for the first time in years feels energising and replenishing.  I have also managed the odd nana nap during the day.  Again… this can only help.  The times where sleep has been more elusive I’ve used yoga Nidra and guided sleep meditations to focus my mind inward.
  7. LOVE… receiving and consciously absorbing the positive words of friends and family, receiving the offers of help, enjoying the contact with others has filled me when I’ve felt empty, and lifted me when I’ve felt down.

And applying all of those principles to the way I physically nourish myself is a manifestation of care too… so here’s the beginning of my SIBO diet journey (think grain, sugar and dairy free)… my pitch to rebalance and revive the cells of my body through nourishing and caring for my gut microbiome.

Blueberry Breakfast Crumble

 

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SIBO friendly Blueberry Breakfast Crumble

Ingredients:

 

100g plain coconut yoghurt

75g chopped walnuts

1 tsp clear honey

1 cup blueberries

1 pinch cinnamon

 

Method:

  1. Mix half the blueberries with the yoghurt and place in a bowl.
  2. Chop the walnuts and mix through 1 tsp of pure clear honey.
  3. Top the yoghurt mix with the walnuts and the remaining blueberries.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

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My Yoga Playlist – Music to Get Your Flow On…

Music is a great way to access the emotions.  It’s there in high times, low times and the everywhere in-between.  The sounds of our musical peers reminds us that we’re not alone, whatever we face.  For every mood, there’s a melody, and for every social movement a distinct sound to define it…  So for me, music and yoga go hand in hand as a form of self-expression.  Where words fail me music very often speaks, where life overwhelms me and I become stuck movement and dance allows me to flow.  Often, music triggers unexpected mood, memory or emotion and at times can be an inspiration.

Using music in Yoga practice can be controversial though.  It’s not for everyone.  In fact, it’s not always for me.  I would never practice Ashtanga to music for example.  The repetitive flow of the Ashtanga series can be deeply meditative.  A Place where we come up against ourselves in whatever state we are in.  Music here can be a diversion away from our inner experience, and the point of this kind of practice is to find and be present for our deep self.  The places we rarely access, the emotions we prefer not to stir, the human experience in all its varied glory.
In lesson planning and explorative flow though, music can add colour and depth to the process, triggering emotion and inspiring pace and mood… Music here can be the access point for deeper exploration, it can lead us in to the unknown in the most gentle of ways, and here is where we find our deep inner self.  Music can simply be another teacher, guiding us on our unique journeys.  So listen up!!
Here’s what I’m flowing to now, in no particular order, old and new, the artists and songs which I’m grateful for hearing and connecting with, and which I feel are worth sharing:

  1. ‘Unstoppable -FKJ Remix’, Lianne La Havas
  2. ‘Heartless’, Lapsley
  3. ‘Fading’, Vallis Alps
  4. ‘So Lonely’, Jorja Smith (Video Above)
  5. ‘6 Underground’, Sneaker Pimps
  6. ‘Spirit’, Colette Baron-Reid
  7. ‘Sunset Lover’, Petit Biscuit
  8. ‘Boat to Nowhere’, Anoushka Shankar, Matt Robertson
  9. ‘Shikako Maru Ten’, CAN
  10. ‘Raga Bhopali’, Shivkumar Sharma
  11. ‘Two Thousand and Seventeen’, Four Tet
  12. ‘Moonshine Freeze’, This Is The Kit
  13. ‘Beyond My Eyes’, Bibio
  14. ‘Salt’, RY X
  15. ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, Massive Attack

Have you got any favourites you can share?  Comment below if you do!  Enjoy your practice!

Early Winter Warmer – An Afternoon of Asana, Pranayama, Chant & Meditation

Join Zone in Yoga and Black Dog Living for an afternoon of Soul Warming Yoga practice. As the winter draws in and the festive season approaches we gather our energies in preparation for the winter months ahead. We’ll be using Asana, Pranayama , Chant and Meditation to focus inwards and bring warmth and flow to the whole body, mind and soul.

Date:  18th November 2017

Time:  2pm-5pm

Location:  The Harmony Centre, Ashley CofE School, Ashley Road, Walton-on-Thames.

Working with warming asana to bring stability and grounding to the body, an awareness of our foundations and heating Pranayama focusing on the abdomen and inner fire.  Followed by a yin yoga practice to open the heart, encouraging the flow of joy within the body and Chant to bring flow to our inner voice.  The session will end with a Meditation to align the mind and body, and as always there will be tea and sweet treats before we go home…

Bookings are £35 in advance.  Please email lauren@blackdogliving.com to reserve your space.

 

Daim Bar Laundering Brownies… Post-modern and possibly gluten-free

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What Daim bars?

These brownies represent the emotional wreck that I am this week… In a frenzy of duty-free chocolate buying which went something like this in my mind… “oooh Toblerone, oooh Daim bars, oooh nougat… snap out of it Lauren you don’t even like nougat… but daim bars…Mmmm”  and then I justified the buying of the Daim bars by thinking “it’s really only ever the airport of Ikea that I would buy them, so that amounts to about once or twice a year, so it’s a special treat, right?”…. I ate a handful on the plane until I felt sick… and then tried to fob them off on everyone else… and then, when I got home to the realisation that I had a year’s supply of daim bars and no self-control I went in to panic mode, no amount of yoga or meditation could fix this.  I had to wash the daim bars like dirty cash (I learned about this watching Ozark on Netflix by the way which is really good), transforming them in to something legitimate, something wholesome, something of real value in the world.  So I mixed them with organic eggs and ground almonds and created these post-modern, gluten-free, vegetarian, whole food containing real chocolate brownies.  Now all I have to do is make everyone else eat them… Hopefully you have more self-control than me, but the next time you accidentally bulk buy Daim bars at Ikea or the airport… THIS is your solution…PS making them with children adds virtue.  You’re welcome!

 

Ingredients:

250g organic butter from happy cows

250g organic fair trade sugar from people who actually get paid OK

3 eggs from organic free-range hens that someone loves

200g organic ground almonds from happy trees on holiday in spain

50g fair trade organic cocoa powder, no pesticides please

250g organic dark chocolate

1tsp vanilla extract

Most of the bag of mini Daim Bars…weep… made not with love or care for the environment… I’m so sorry…

 

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Eat me… I’ll make all your dreams come true…

Method:

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and butter and line a brownie tin.
  2. Melt the chocolate and 50g butter in a bowl above a boiling pan of water.
  3. Cream 200g butter and all the sugar together.
  4. Add the eggs and then vanilla extract to the butter and sugar and mix.
  5. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, and in the mean time put the Daim bars in a plastic bag and smash them up with a rolling-pin, be careful not to break the rolling-pin or the worktop at the same time.
  6. Now stir the melted chocolate through the butter / sugar mix and add the almonds and cocoa.
  7. Pour the brownie mixture in the tin… then add the broken Daim bars to the top of the mixture.
  8. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Enjoy warm with ice cream (which is a fantasy of mine which I’m not indulging until at least next year)…

 

 

 

Charity Yoga Garden Party in aid of Mind

Those of you close to me will know that mental health awareness is an issue close to my own heart.  Those of you less close to me may be aware of my interest in the subject via blog posts and facebook news updates.  Students of mine will be familiar with our work around simply noticing our states of mind, emotional qualities and the differences between entering a yoga class or treatment with a whirring or racing mind and leaving with a more settled sense of well-being.  And for anyone else in the world, at some point it’s likely you will have experienced stress, overwhelm, feelings of anxiety, pressure, uncertainty or sadness.  It’s also possible that these states of mind have come with the added pressure that because we’re feeling them, it means we’re not ‘coping’ or that somehow we’re ‘lesser’ than our peers who seemingly navigate the world with ease and tranquillity.

Recognising and accepting ourselves unconditionally can be difficult.  My own experience practicing Yoga has created a structure, and safe space within which I have found acceptance and ever deepening compassion for myself.  It’s been inevitable that those feelings spill over to life off the Yoga mat, which is where my teaching journey began…

In recognition of the power of Yoga in finding self acceptance, and building lasting change within us the amazing Dee Opp has opened her home on the banks of the river Thames for a Charity Yoga Garden Party.  There is an incredible line up of teachers, who all believe that mental health awareness is a high priority in terms of our health and well-being.  That the conversation around mental health should be open, and who acknowledge the benefits of Yoga in this field.

We would love you to join us.  We have a full schedule of Yoga classes, SUP sessions and nourishing food… You’ll find the full line-up and booking details on the flyer below.  All donations, whether you’re able to attend or not, will be gratefully received.

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Blog Post: Yoga, Depression & Anxiety. Navigating and Changing our Inner Landscape

States of Transition – Yogic Exploration, Relaxation & Meditation

Hand Big Toe - Beach

Finding our feet through transition…

As the summer draws to an end and life resumes as normal after the holidays, we often find ourselves in a state of transition.  We often start new ventures, our children start new schools, we re-visit personal resolutions.  For many of us, this transition represents a fresh start. 

Transitions, by their very nature, are unstable.  A state of flow, motion and movement, before re-claiming firm ground.  When life becomes unsettled, dormant parts of our being re-surface.  As yogis we have the opportunity to examine these changes from the safety of the mat.  Establishing ourselves in the presence of our being through transition and static posture allows us to experience what it means to be grounded, and to accept the processes of movement and flow just for what they are.

Join Zone in Yoga and I for an afternoon of yoga exploration, relaxation and grounding meditation. We will be examining the way we transition between poses, states of mind and looking to establish a true grounded presence within ourselves.

Date:  16th September 2017

Time:  3-6pm

Location:  The Harmony Centre, Ashley CofE Primary School, Ashley Road, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 1HX

Booking:  £35 in advance

Contact:  Lauren@blackdogliving.com