The last month has been a real test of all those little self care priorities and acts of kindness I talk about on this blog so regularly. It REALLY got busy for me and whilst I felt that well known pull to throw some form of hissy fit about how much I had to do, how much pressure I felt and how I would remain sane through it all, I some how managed to rationally talk myself into remaining grounded and mindful. This is huge for me!
I’ve just returned from a week on holiday and oh boy was that needed. It gave me that gentle and all important reminder; a lot of the pressure I put on myself, comes from that little voice inside my head, not from others or from the reality of my situation, responsibilities or environment. That voice inside my head isn’t actually me, it’s just some noisy, hyper ‘brain lady’ coding, formulating and filtering the external events around me. I don’t have to listen to everything she says. The seat where I sit, is behind all that noise and she’s smarter, kinder and a whole lot more understanding. She’s pretty badass when she chooses to be.
With all this in mind, I’ve decided to start a little blogging series which is less planned and thought out and instead, a little more intuitive and reflective. ‘Liking Lately – the little joys,’ is about me sitting down and thinking about the things which have bought me some joy over the last month. These will be things that others can listen to, do, use or read, rather than things that are exclusive to me (like people who’ve bought me joy in my life for instance – sorry but I can’t transport these people and share them around with my readers i’m afraid; as much as I would love to, they’re pretty great). Each month, i’ll be sharing the things that have bought about inspiration, personal development or just plain and simple joy within the fitness, health and wellness space. I hope you enjoy and as always, let me know what you think and what you’ve been liking lately!
I went to my first ever hot yoga class just over a month ago at Yogahaven and although I was very sceptical at first, I absolutely loved it! I’d heard a few of my friends mention they’d had a few bad experiences with hot yoga / Bikram; usually down to the teacher or the style/ability of the class but for me, it was such a positive experience.
I’ve been doing yoga regularly now for 1 year and it’s something that I’ve really fallen for. I go to a regular class which isn’t intense at all (I don’t even break a sweat unless it’s in the summer months and it’s warm in the room). I was nervous about how hard hot yoga would be and whether I’d be able to stand the temperature or not, and although yes, it was a lot harder, hotter and sweatier than I was used to, there didn’t feel like there was any expectation or added pressure from the class. If it ever got a little too much, it was straight into childs pose for a little chill.
Some of the benefits of hot yoga or Bikram yoga include the following:
1. It’s cleansing
As with any yoga class, the combination of static and moving stretches gets your blood flowing, which releases toxins and raises your endorphins which helps you feel energised. The added heat and increased sweat released in a heated class, heightens this process which in turn, helps you to feel awesome by the time you leave the class. As it’s easy to become dehydrated with this, it’s super important to keep hydrated both in and outside of the class.
2. It can make you more flexible
As the heat loosens up the muscles, it makes it easier to get into poses and flow through the movements. This helps to improve your flexibility and mobility which will support you in a multitude of ways including helping you with other forms of exercise and also the ageing process.
3. It enhances relaxation and mental stamina
Doing a yoga class in a heated room is a challenge for not only the body, but also the mind. This ‘mind over matter’ principle helps to improve your mental stamina and allows you at least 1 hour of uninterrupted focus as you concentrate on your body and your breathing alone. As you leave the class, you’re sure to feel better than when you walked in.
If you’re interested in starting hot yoga, I would recommend opting for a trial period like I did, to check it is something that suits your body and also to ensure you actually enjoy it. I’m a big believer that all forms of exercise should be enjoyed and should never be used as a form of punishment or because you feel you have to. My yoga trial was with Yogahaven in Richmond (they have studios in Brighton, Birmingham and London).
Victor E Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms— to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
I’ve turned into that annoying person that literally shoves this book under someone’s nose as soon as they mention that they like reading and they want to focus on self development. In Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist and neurologist Victor Frankl (1905-1997) wrote about his ordeal as a concentration camp inmate during the Second World War. He found that those who survived longest in concentration camps were not those who were physically strong, but those who could find meaning in their existence and a source of optimism and reason in the face of tragedy.
The book covers Victor’s experience and also the lessons learnt. The second part of the book offers the reader these lessons and the principles which inspired Viktor’s School of Logotherapy. Frankl’s message is one of hope: even in the most absurd and painful of circumstances, life can be given a meaning, and so too can suffering. Life in the concentration camp taught Frankl that our main drive or motivation in life is meaning and we all have the ability to establish this within our own lives, if we just know where and how to look.
It’s a short book and although it’s heavy in many ways, it’s one that’s had an entirely positive impact and will stay with me for some time.
Gap active wear
Moving from something deep and rich in learnings, my final Liking Lately item is something a little more surface level.
I’m pretty certain that Gap Activewear is nailing it right now. Their collection is the perfect combination of comfy, stylish, good quality and affordable. I recently purchased some leggings and a sports bra using a 40% offer and am so happy with them. Working for a health and fitness company, I wear activewear not only when I’m training but also regularly in my day-to-day job. It’s super important that the gym clothes I buy are durable, don’t show my butt cheeks or give my boobs 0 support but instead, keep me feeling secure and comfortable without loosing all form of style.
Check out the Women’s Gap activewear range HERE.
I can’t vouch for the men’s range but they do also have men’s gym gear too. 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed my new Liking Lately series and please feel free to let me know what you’ve been liking too! I’d love to hear from you.