The Spirit of East Anglia community held its inaugural workshop last week based on the theme of ‘transition’.
The topic seemed an appropriate one as the event was held during the ancient fire festival of Samhain, which traditionally ushered in the Celtic New Year and took place over three days from 31 October until 2 November. A time of transition and letting go, it was, and still is, a time of change from a sunlit, outdoorsy life to a period of dark nights and time spent indoors in the warmth.
The idea is that, as we move from one phase of the season’s wheel to the next, it is an opportune moment to get rid of clutter, to throw out what is no longer useful for us and, as we increasingly move within, to open ourselves up to new possibilities.
So with this in mind, here are our practitioners’ top tips for health and wellbeing based on the presentations and exercises they shared with attendees at the workshop:
- Sarah Stollery, kundalini yoga and meditation teacher
Tips to improve your wellbeing:
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual: I know it is hard – especially as the days are getting shorter – but if you can start your day with a few minutes of deep breathing or meditation, you will ensure you enter it more consciously and with greater focus on what is truly important. This could be everything from working towards a goal or tackling a challenging project or perhaps just being more heart-centred in your interaction with others;
- Long, deep breathing: Many of us have adopted the unconscious habit of breathing incorrectly. But when we take in a deep breath, we suck our abdomens in, forcing our chest and shoulders to rise. In fact, when we breathe correctly, our abdomens should relax outwards slightly as the diaphragm moves down and the lungs fill with air. If you can take a few minutes everyday to ensure you breath correctly, you will feel more alert, energised and at peace. For more information on the ‘how to’s’ and benefits of long, deep breathing, go to https://www.3ho.org/long-deep-breathing;
- Stretch and move: We are all well aware of the benefits of exercise, but the difficulty is finding the time and space to do a little bit everyday. But that is key. Little and often is better than seldom for longer. When my yoga students ask me how to start a practice at home, I always encourage them to choose one exercise or stretch they love and one they find challenging and to do both for three minutes each. If you would like a few simple yoga practices to try, check out my warm-up video;
- Sing: Singing promotes the natural release of endorphins, improves lung capacity, clears the throat energy centre and can even help with sleep. Singing or chanting a mantra, as we did in the workshop together, is a powerful tool to help create wellbeing. Kundalini yoga teaches us that chanting or singing a mantra employs the technology of naad, or totally balanced universal sound, to produce a state of shuniya, orzero-point consciousness, in the practitioner. If you would like to sing along to the mantra we sang on Thursday, this is a link to the track https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BSKPele2Vo, and here is a link to the practice: https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/mantra/meditation-protection-and-projection-heart;
- Tune in to your “heart-brain”: If you do only one thing for yourself every day, make it this. The road to becoming a more heart-centred species has been, and will continue to be, a bumpy one, but we can help effect change by transforming our own consciousness. When each of us takes the time to connect into our heart, we help to re-calibrate the collective operating system of humanity from one of fear and separation to one of love. Here is another lovely meditation for dropping into the heart space at https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/pranayam/pranayam-techniques/meditation-calm-heart.
- Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant, superfood chef and author
Tips for boosting your immune system:
- Heal the gut: Kill the bad guys using aged garlic and support the good guys by taking water kefir, sauerkraut and probiotics. Also heal the holes with turmeric latte. Join me on my new, four-week online course, which is starting on Monday 12 November, to learn more;
- Take vitamin C: Plant-based vitamin C is easily absorbed by the body and is key to supporting a healthy immune system. I have a great food supplement on my website;
- Take vitamin D: More than 900 bodily functions require vitamin D, but it is especially helpful in ensuring a healthy immune system. My favourite is vitamin D3 with K2, which again you can find on my website;
- Use CBD oil: Cannabis oil supports the endocannabanoid system, which underpins the whole immune system.
- Helen Preston, counsellor and holistic therapist
Tips to improve your mental health:
- Do not go it alone: Sharing is often the first step to healing;
- Be kind to yourself: Learn to be your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy;
- Depression is not about weakness: It has many causes and is often about being too strong for too long;
- Grief and loss are part of life: There is no ‘right’ way to grieve but talking can help you make peace with it;
- It is often not about making big life-changing choices: It is about consistently making small – almost insignificant – but positive choices for yourself on a daily basis.
- Gemma Kennedy, transformational coach
Wheel of Life exercise to help you assess where your life is at:
It can be really useful to take some time each month, or each season, to review where your life is at and where you might like to head towards.
All you need for the Wheel of Life exercise is a pen, paper and a quiet moment to reflect.
Draw a circle and divide it into eight sections, labelling each one with one of the below headings, or others if they feel more appropriate:
Health / Physical Body
In your own time, evaluate each of the headings, scoring them on a scale of one to 10 (with one being very dissatisfied and 10 being very satisfied).
Afterwards, take a look at your answers and see what you notice. Some questions you might like to ask yourself are:
– Why did you give each category the score you did? Why is it not higher/lower?
– What would your ideal score be for each category?
– What score would you like to achieve over the next month/three months /six months/year?
– Which categories do you feel are most important to improve upon or balance?
You might like to keep hold of these scores so that you can check back in with them in future. I find they can be incredibly useful as a reminder of your progress when you feel that not much has changed.
- Lisa Glydon, homeopath and natural health advisor
Tips to ensure a healthy immune system:
- Boost your oxygen levels: If a cell or organ has plenty of oxygen, it can heal, mend and rejuvenate itself. Lack of oxygen (hypoxia) leads to an acid state, which in turn leads to a toxic state, which in turn leads to dis–ease.
- So no matter what the weather this winter, ensure you move and walk around to move the lymph around your body, so it can carry away toxins;
- Massage or rub different parts of your body to get the oxygen flowing around it;
- Breathe deeply from your abdomen, which will not only help to oxygenate your blood, but also help to relax you by massaging your abdomen – which is the seat of your emotions.
- Increase your water levels: Water is essential to life but we often forget to drink it during the winter months. Every cell in your body depends on water. Without it, your blood thickens and your heart and immune system need to work harder.
- Drink 1½ – two litres of freshly filtered, rather than tap, water daily to hydrate you throughout the winter. Treat yourself to a filter jug if you do not have one and preferably use glass rather than plastic to drink it out of due to the synthetic hormones in plastic;
- Add lemon, lime, honey, molasses, green powders or any other natural foods to flavour your water, or coconut oil if using hot water.
- Get more sleep
Sleep is vital for health as it helps to renew, repair and rejuvenate the body while you sleep. Lack of sleep lowers your immune system and can lead to chronic disease. In fact, sleep deprivation is a form of torture.
- Apps are a great source for finding online relaxation techniques;
- Herbs such as Avena Sativa/Valariana/Passiflora help you to relax and fall asleep but also keep you asleep;
- Take magnesium before bedtime as it aids relaxation;
- I have a sleep tonic with added homeopathic remedies to aid sleep too.
- Ensure your diet is balanced but supplement it with superfoods and supplements
Boost your immune defences by aiding your digestive health as it will help you fight off bacteria, viruses and pathogens. Remember it is not bugs that need to be feared – it is your immune defences that need to be strong.
Foods such as garlic, ginger, lemons, limes, apples, all green vegetables, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, all seeds, molasses, organic cider vinegar, olive and coconut oils, nettle and dandelion teas, baking soda are just a few good foods that will help.
In terms of supplements, vitamin C, B, D, zinc, magnesium, Omega 3 oil and probiotics are my favourites.
- Invest in a homeopathic kit
Although homeopathic kits are available from Helios or Ainsworth’s Homeopathic Pharmacies, they no longer send them to UK addresses due to new European Union rules. But I normally stock a few, so you can treat yourself and your family naturally this winter. Homeopathic remedies stimulate your immune system and self-healing mechanisms rather than suppress them, helping to keep your thoughts happy and healthy at the same time.
- Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist
Tips to keep your energy levels high:
- Wake your self up and switch on your energy: Put one hand on your naval and, with your other hand, rub under your nose and under your bottom lip at the same time. Switch hands and repeat the process.
Put one hand on your navel and, with the other hand, rub just under your collarbone in the two little dips you can feel there about an inch either side of breast bone. Switch hands and repeat.
Put your hand on your naval and with the other hand, rub your coccyx (tailbone). Switch hands and repeat;
- Ground yourself: Grab a stainless steel spoon and rub the bottoms of your feet. This connects you to the earth, which helps reduces inflammation and helps you feel more grounded;
- Release stress and tension using an emotional stress release technique: Hold your forehead with one hand, and the back of your head where it joins your neck with the other. Think about anything that is causing you stress or you are finding difficult to work out/find a solution to. This technique can be used for both a present and future situation such as a forthcoming job interview, difficult conversation, presentation and the like. Simply hold the points mentioned and take yourself through the situation. Imagine it in as much detail as you can and visualise the best possible outcome. You can also use this technique to defuse stress in the body when thinking of a past issue;
- Drink plenty of water: Drink at least two litres a day, but build up to it gradually if you currently do not drink much. Your body consists of 75% water, but you loose a litre a day simply by breathing. So drinking water will make you feel less fatigued and more alert. You will have fewer aches and pains, your skin will look plump and younger and your joints and spine will thank you. In the cold weather, try hot water with lemon, or thyme, or fresh mint instead. Take a glass of water up to bed and drink it when you wake to ensure the first thing you do each morning is let your body know you are nourishing it.
- Be kind to yourself and others: Doing so boosts your immune system and is good for every cell in your body.
7. Debbie Walmsley, reiki practitioner, master hypnotherapist and Three Principles facilitator
Top five reiki principles to help heal your mind, body, and spirit:
Principle 1 – Just for today, I will not worry
Worry causes stress and anxiety, which leads to imbalances in the mind, body and spirit. So alleviate your stress by trying to view each obstacle in life as an opportunity to learn and grow. Aim to keep both the obstacle and its solution in perspective – and focus the energy you have available on the solution rather than the problem.
Principle 2 – Just for today, I will not be angry
Because we are raised to believe that anger is wrong, dangerous, and unacceptable, from an early age we learn to suppress it, disguising our true feelings in order to survive, gain favour and/or avoid punishment. But if this repressed anger continues into adulthood, as it nearly always does, it can lead to chronic illness and disease.
Our thoughts trigger emotions that show up as physical symptoms in every part of our body. We can lie to others, and we can even lie to ourselves, but our bodies never lie. So just for today, try not to get angry.
Principle 3 – Just for today, I will do my work honestly
Approach your work with the intention of performing it to the best of your ability and with the goal of sharing all your talents with those you interact with. Do not hold anything back because to do so would be to cheat others. It is also cheating yourself to deny that you possess these gifts.
Principle 4 – Just for today, I will be grateful
Pause for a moment on a regular basis to acknowledge and appreciate the many blessings in your life. If you take the time to keep a list of your many blessings, you will be amazed at how many wonderful things there are to give thanks for. Do not just count the fleeting materialistic things. Focus on the things that money cannot buy.
Principle 5 – Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing
In some ways, this is the hardest principle to live by. Yes, it is easy to be kind to people you like and who like you, and it is easy to be kind when it does not cost us anything. The test comes when we are asked to be kind to people we do not care for or who make us feel angry, frightened, threatened and insecure.
But we are not asked to like, love, or condone the actions of others. All we are asked to do is to be kind to all living things when the opportunity presents itself. The greatest barrier to kindness is judging everyone from the standpoint of our own values and beliefs.
Reflecting upon these principles and striving to live within their framework is certain to effect positive change to all areas of your life. And if you fall short, that is fine. Simply try again tomorrow.
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