Why Women Shouldn’t Pee in the Shower

Ultimately it’s no-one business what any of us do in the shower, so I want to preface this post by saying I am not judging anyone. But, if you do pee in the shower, and you are a woman, you might want to stop.

Why should women not pee in the shower? The truth is, no matter how convenient it is, it’s not good for your pelvic floor.

Ahh the pelvic floor! I’m going to apologise to any men right now, this is a female post about female pelvic floors. Yours is no less important, but it’s not relevant here.

The Pelvic floor is a group of muscles that hang from our pubic bone to our tail bone. They hold the lower half of our body in place, our bowels, womb and bladder.

As soon as it becomes apparent you are a female, you are told to tighten your pelvic floor. I can still remember the giggles I had when I was first told this at aged 18 in a fitness class. “This will be so important to you in the future” I was told with a knowing look. Teehee I thought. At 18 I couldn’t give a hoot about pelvic floors, least of all my own.

Then when I began my Fitness training there it was again, the talk about pelvic floors and how important it was to tighten it. I couldn’t escape it. As women you cannot escape it. When you think about becoming pregnant, you’re told again to start strengthening your pelvic floor. The easiest thing to do to stop the chatter to just do it.

How do you strengthen your pelvic floor?

Despite all the fuss about your pelvic floor it’s a relatively simple exercise. You simply squeeze the muscles that stop your flow of pee, hold, and release. 10- 15 are recommended daily. No one will know you are doing it, I could be doing it now. I’m not, but I could be.

You can even practise this when having a pee. Try to stop the flow. I know I know you didn’t sign up for toilet talk but here’s the thing, it’s important. I wouldn’t harp on about it if it wasn’t.

So why no peeing in the shower?

So, back to why we shouldn’t be peeing in the shower. Well after all those years of training your muscles a certain way, if you pee in the shower, you start to retrain them. You’re teaching your muscles to relax as you pee, rather than having control over them. Let me tell you now, having no control over your pelvic floor muscles is not a good thing.

You want to make sure your muscles have the memory that you pee when you are seated, not standing. You would be undoing all the good work you have done and allowing your muscles to weaken if you pee in the shower. It’s not exactly science. But it’s good practise.

Vegan Cinnamon Spiced Stew

I’ve been completely Vegan for 5 weeks now, and I’m really enjoying crafting new ideas in the kitchen. I absolutely love the fall, the autumnal colours, the staying in, the hygge, the hot drinks, blankets, books, and all the lovely warm foods. This is a vegan cinnamon supper of dreams.

You don’t even have to like cinnamon spiced lattes, I promise. But you do need to care about yourself and your wellbeing? Is that you? Or are you still on your wellbeing journey? The good news is, it should be a journey! I’m still on my wellbeing journey, and I hope I always will be.

It’s all very easy like most of my recipes, bearing in mind I am not a cook, or a chef, although I have taken some lessons in the past. I love tinkering in the kitchen, and there’s a lot more failures than there are successes as my husband will attest to.

This recipe came to be on the 1st September as I took my glittery pumpkins out of storage, yes we are that family! Don’t you just love to be surrounded by the colour orange in Autumn? It’s the colour of peace and tranquillity according to Buddhists, hence why they choose to wear it.

Get your base of onions, roasted veg, tomatoes canned and puree, and your spices, and you are set for pretty much anything good to come out of your kitchen. I have started to use ground garlic powder, and more ground spices in general, but seek them out from your local cultural stores rather than the supermarkets, you get much more for your buck and it feels a lot more authentic. Plus, you’re helping a local business in your community.

I added in a stash of water, a whole can, and it still came out super rich and indulgent, so if you wanted to get more sauce, you could easily add more water, it would still be acceptably thick.

My daughter made some focaccia at the same time, so this was a HUGE treat to have with this stew. Warm, salty, and fresh outta the oven – blissful!

Recipe:

2 red onion, chopped.

Various seasonal root veg, I used parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic (still in the skin), courgettes, but go with whatever you have, and with what you enjoy! Aubergine would work well here too.

2 x cans of chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons garam masala

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Cumin

Method:

Heat oven to 180, chop and pop veg in a big roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garam masala, cumin and cinnamon. Cooked for 30 mins.

Give your time to chop the onions, maybe have a sip of water, or a tea, why not. Then heat some oil in a pan, pop in the chopped onion, and sauté on low, I have discovered this is a better way to work with onions, I used to have them higher, and dodge the pan spitting at me when I stirred them, but now it’s all a lot more cool between us. They will maybe need about 15 minutes, worth it though.

Add your garam masala, cinnamon, cumin, tomato puree, give everything a good stir. Add a stock cube, I added a jelly style one, but a cube would do. Add the tomatoes, then add the roasted veg, give everything a good stir, and check that the veg is covered enough to bubble away, still cooking the bits not cooked through. Add your water to your desired taste and consistency. It’s all about you remember!

Let simmer away happily while you pop on some rice, heat some bread, and when 20 minutes has passed or if you can wait the 10 minutes longer, I couldn’t, serve up!

Oh gosh, I hope you enjoy this stew, and I hope you put your own twist on it. Please let me know if you do!!

Finding Contentment in Life

I used to have a conversation years ago with one of my best friends, via her boyfriend at the time. It was profound, more so because we were 20 year old babies compared to now.
Here’s the dilemna: Is it better to be content OR happy. and what are the differences between the two.
Think about happy, it’s a bit more ‘in the now’ and think about content, and it’s a bit more ‘long term’. Both are great places to be, but which is best?

Should we be striving to be happy or content?

If happy is not a permanent state of being then surely we should be organising our lives and the things in it to be content. But where do the moments of euphoria or happy fit into this long term, one note contented state?
As I’ve grown older and worked more in depth with my mind through yoga and meditation, I have realised that the two are not mutually exclusive. They are blurred with no fixed points. We should be content with moments of happy.
The universal aim of yoga is to make happiness our constant state, rather than a fleeting moment in time.
Working on our internal self, we realise that nothing is permanent, nothing really matters but we are kind and considerate of others, we show compassion to those who are suffering, and to ourselves. We are not a slave to our ego, but learn to be confident and content just to be.
I thought I always lived this way, until I noticed I was indeed attached to ‘things’ for happiness. Material things. And over time, this attachment disappeared,
I can’t even say it was conscious, but other things became more important. Other things began to make me happier than I’d ever been. Yoga namely, and bringing yoga to new people.

Finding contentment in every days things

I’ve always been an easily pleased person, finding happiness in the small things. I think when you come from a background of chaos and unhappiness, it’s easy to see happiness for what it is. Oh, the bus came on time, the fridge is full, my dog just made the cutest face, etc… these things are tiny but huge at the same time.

It might be useful to keep a diary every day of things you are grateful for. Start each morning with a full heart, and end it with a full list of everyday things. A nice tasty lunch, you went to the gym, you meditated on the bus, all possible, all likely to happen over the course of your day.

It’s good to be both content and happy. If our life was a mountain climb, then content is our basecamp, and happy is our peaks.

An easy way to find contentment is on a Yoga Mat!

Striving for Perfection Within a Yoga Practise

I’m just going to say this outright and you can thank me later.

It can be difficult to enjoy yoga for the benefits it has if you are striving for perfection.

Just like one size does not fit all, no yoga pose will fit all. So pushing aside the ‘perfect’ idea of a pose is better for your yoga practise.

Yoga is hard to not judge on looks, as we learn it by mimicking images. We follow our teachers, YouTube videos or photographs in books.

The physical reality of how a pose feels, is different to how it looks.

Unless you are filming or photographing yourself, or practising in front of a mirror, how will you truly know what your pose looks like? And striving to copy a pose might not be the correct way to practise it for YOU.

I was led to my Teacher training because I wanted to know once and for all how to pose an asana. While I learned the basics, I also learned that adjustments are imperative to make a pose work best for you. It is your practise after all. Feeling good within your asana is so much more important that nailing that Instagram post.

Instagram Yoga

Instagram is Yoga’s biggest fan and enemy as it shows extremities of Yoga. If a picture speaks a thousands words, an Instagram post leaves out years of practise, and or perhaps natural flexibility.

In our busy lives we may soak up an image in a split second and not read the caption that goes with it. We might miss that a student has spent years trying to headstand, or Bakasana, Or spent years training as a dancer before finding yoga, perhaps they are in their 20’s now but started yoga at 16.

Instead of expecting to replicate what they can do with their ability, we forget that we are on a journey with our ability.

Leave the images behind and go on how you feel. Turn your focus inwards, as yoga is so much more than asana.

Yoga is more than Asana

Meditation and Mindfulness is a huge factor in Yoga. Yoga was developed so we could sit and meditate for a long time. The poses were developed to focus our minds, and stretch our bodies so we could sit comfortably for long periods of time.

The Meditation came first, asana comes last. So making a focus on asana and not meditation defeats the purpose of Yoga. But hey, we are Humans, of course we get carried away with our feats, achievements and victories.

We forget that we are already perfect.

We forget that we are important in our lives, and striving to be someone else is madness. We have a natural tendency to replicate or copy, but finding yourself, loving yourself, and being yourself is key to life. Finding the poses that work best for you is important, because you are important.

Meet yourself on a mat nearest to you now.

Key Lime Pie

I first discovered Key Lime Pie like most British people via the television, it was something American’s ate and it looked yum. I was overjoyed to find it in M&S years later and happily bought myself a few pies over the years as a treat. When my children were little, food Goddess Nigella, my absolute food hero, included a recipe in one of her cookbooks. After reading, and re-reading the recipe a few times, I decided to brave making it from scratch. It was delicious. A bit of a faff, but worth it.

I can still remember my novice moves in the kitchen, eagerly reading the recipe and following it word for word. Years later I tried to replicate this on the TV show Cookery School with one of my fellow contestants. I thoughtI was giving him a hand on an invention test and told him to mix limes with condensed milk. He did and produced an amazing pie. Unfortunately the judges thought it would give someone a heart attack with the amount of condensed milk and cream in it, it didn’t score highly! Like I’ve said before, more mistakes than celebrations in my kitchen!

This recipe came to me when browsing a second hand book shop and finding a pristine copy of The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I flicked through the pages and saw many recipes I liked, so I snapped it up. A friend of mine had made this recipe time to time over the years for celebrations and it always looked gorgeous.

I was super keen to have my own copy of the book! I am a big fan of second hand books, if you can always buy a used one. You not only get the book, you are recycling!

Oh and the pie? I’ve mad eit a few times and the best tip I can give is that you can freeze it! Yes, you can. So there’s no need to eat the whole pie, unless of course that’s your thing, self-care remember! However that shows up for you!

When is Best to Practise Yoga?

If you practise yoga regularly you may have wondered at some point whether it’s best to practise in the morning or evening. Ultimately it is better to have some kind of yoga practise than spend time worrying when is best to practise yoga! Making sure you stretch your body and relax your mind is more important than the time you do it. Your body will love whenever, and whatever,  type of yoga you practise.

Some styles of yoga, like Ashtanga Yoga will ask that you practice in the morning. Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga don’t have a preference, but Yin Yoga asks that you practise with cold muscles, as you want them to relax and be able to work in the deeper tissues and ligaments.

Morning Yoga Practise

I personally like to practise in the morning, as per Ashtanga Yoga, there is something so lovely and fulfilling about yoga in the early hours. If you are lucky, you might get to see a lovely clear star lit sky and a shining moon as you roll out your mat. Not to mention a sunrise as you begin to savasana.

Many yoga studios in Edinburgh run early morning classes and you can easily find a studio close to you with showers so you can get ready for work afterwards.

Practising in the morning means your body is stretched and relaxed for the day ahead. You also get virtuous points for getting up early and working out. Go you!

Evening Yoga Classes

Alternatively, you’ll find plenty of studios with evening classes. From my personal experience with both times of classes, I find you have a busier studio in the evening, perhaps the yang energy of the day comes along with the students?

A good thing about evening classes is that you will find a good variation of yoga class styles in Edinburgh. You’ll also find a time that suits you better. You could attend straight from work or go home and eat before coming back out to a Yoga class. Your body will enjoy the energy you bring to it when you practise in the evening. Perhaps you could even take a Restorative Yoga class or Yoga Nidra, ensuring you sleep like a baby afterwards.

The Fundamentals of Being a New Yoga Teacher

Learn to be a yoga teacher they said, spread joy where ever you go they said, it’ll be fun they said!

They weren’t kidding. It has been A LOT of fun and I definitely feel the joy, but it’s also been a steep learning curve.

Navigating any new business world is exciting, there are often bumps and steps in the road. Knowing where to put your next foot is imperative to your journey! Although, to enter a rabbit hole, the journey is always a journey, amairite? 

No matter how long your experience and knowledge of yoga, you’re going to come up with hurdles in the first little while when setting up. That’s normal in any business and Yoga maybe more so as the people on the other side (aka other teachers) are very precious about the Yoga they know.

This should never deter you or make you feel inferior about the yoga you know and want to teach. Stand strong. You have the tools to create and spread light just as much as the next Yoga teacher.

That said, there’s a certain sequence of steps to take a newly qualified teacher. The most common advice I’ve detailed below, with it’s pros and cons, and ebbs and flows!

Insure, register and disclose

First up – you need to register and insure yourself as a yoga teacher.

We chose to combine our insurance with registering with Yoga Alliance UK .  It came in about £180, although there was a discount as my Yoga Teacher Training was YA approved. 

Your local run gym will no doubt have a schedule packed with Yoga classes, so it’s a good idea to pop your name down to cover for them. For this you’ll need to get a Basic Disclosure Scotland, easy to apply for, costs £20 and can be done online in 10 minutes. It can take a few weeks to receive it in the post as they thoroughly check your history, so best get it done asap.

Once you have these in place, you can proceed up the pathway to the next stop on your journey – teaching!

Transitioning to Teaching

You will always have so many options as a new yoga teacher, remember that. Your training was worth something. You are worth something. Never undersell yourself, or your services. Finding your particular path happens in time. I personally have always been drawn to gentle, restorative yoga, I come from a fitness background and for me, approaching anything too gung-ho and not respecting your body is trouble in waiting. Respect your body, practise self-care, especially when you are setting up as a new teacher. It can be daunting, but don’t let it consume you.

Find time for yourself, and your own personal practise. Don’t worry about other yoga teachers and what they are doing. You are your priority, you and your students.

You have trained as a Yoga Teacher for good reason. You have always had the power my dear. ( To steal a well-known film phrase)

Find a Yoga Studio

Finding a yoga studio to take a chance on a newly qualified yoga teacher isn’t easy. You are advised to go along and practise at the studio, build a relationship with them, then ask to teach cover classes, in the hope that sometime in the future the long list of dependable cover teachers they have has ran dry.

The gem here is, that it sometimes does, so don’t lose hope.

However, I think it’s fitting that Yoga studios are built on communities, and like any community it is always challenging for new people to join in. It’s fair for members that a strong and solid teaching group has been set. If you are truly invested in a yoga studio, then it’s worth waiting around for the chance to teach there.

Set up classes

Finding a space and setting up your own classes is easy in principal, but you have lots to consider. First is cost of renting your space, second is marketing your class, and third is finding an empty, suitable space.

Spaces are usually full of yoga/pilates/zumba classes already. So how do you find a space that is suitable for you? Ask EVERYONE you know, shout about it online, check friends, family and neighbours. Nine times out of ten someone will know a space. Perhaps look for local coffee shops to collaborate with. Would they like to run classes before they have opened? It’s becoming popular! South Edinburgh Yoga, for example, rents a space above a Gin Bar. Genius! Be inventive. Yoga can be done on the space the size of a mat, you do not need a lot of room. The space just needs to be nice to practise in.

I wish you well on your Yoga teaching journey, may the force be with you!

Beginners Yoga is simply Yoga

Since starting out in Yoga teaching so many people have expressed a desire to start taking my classes. I’m so chuffed about this, as this is why I trained to teach Yoga, I want people to go to Yoga!

A common theme I have noticed is that people think being a beginner means that they can’t possibly come to a class. I’m sure you’ll join in on my dismay, because of course you can be a beginner and go to Yoga classes. The very core of my Yoga teaching is to bring yoga to people who have never practised before.

I have a wonderful quote pinned to my kitchen wall, and it goes something like this;

Anyone who was ever successful in anything, artists, actors, scientists, etc, were all beginners once.

We have to begin, otherwise we’d never have new experiences, new skills, and new enjoyment.

Please let it be clear that the yoga poses you see on Instagram, are not the yoga poses that are expected of you. Most Yogi’s who post advanced poses have been practising for years, and years, and years. Yoga is a life choice, not an Instagram post.

There are also individuals who come to yoga from a dance background too, making them naturally predisposed to litheness and fitness. It may seem that yoga is new to them and they are wildy advanced at it very quickly. But just like advanced Yogis, they have been practising for years and years in a similar discipline, often since early childhood.

You often find in a yoga class that different abilities become apparent in different people. Some may be able to touch their toes easily, and some may be able to balance easily. Just like in our daily life, we’re all capable of different things.

It’s very rare you’ll walk into a yoga class and be able to complete all the asana to their full potential. That’s not the point of yoga.

The point of Yoga is that you are invested in your body, your health and your mind.

It doesn’t matter where you start, all that matters is that you start. Your Yoga teacher will be there to lead you in a class, but the practise is your own. Just like you roll up your mat and take it home with you, so you do your practise.

Learning to accept your journey where it is, is key to a happy yoga practise, and a happy life I think.

Our genetics give us so much, and they give us our body shapes. We can’t, and never should, compare our bodies with another’s physique. We are not all built the same. And that’s what makes us all so varied, gorgeous and wonderful to get to know!

I hope this sends you some comfort, and I hope you book the yoga class you’ve been considering taking.

You are worth it, dear beginner!

5 Reasons Why You Should Start Yoga

If you have been wondering why you should start Yoga then this post is for you. If you haven’t been wondering why you should start Yoga, then please read on and maybe you will realise that you should take a Yoga class.

In situations where you find yourself wondering if you should start a new hobby like Yoga, it’s a good idea to make a good old fashioned list. Listing the pros and cons of any new exercise can really help you decide what is best for you.  This list of 5 good reasons to start yoga should convince you to start yoga.

Medicine for the mind

Although practised in the body, Yoga really is medicine for the mind. Did you know that according to the yoga sutras of Patanjali, yoga poses are practised so you can sit in meditation comfortably? Let that sink in. Yoga poses stretch and strengthen the body,  so you can meditate for longer. Or for the vast majority of us, at all!

If practising yoga regularly means you could potentially sit still in meditation and calm your mind, not fidgeting, it is worth a try!

Healthy for the body

Yoga poses stretch and strengthen the muscles of the body, enabling breath to flow better.

Our bodies work like this: we breath in oxygen, this is carried to the corners of our bodies by our oxygenated blood cells. The more we move our muscles, the more space to add oxygen, the more we work with our breath, the more energised and supplied our bodies feel. It’s science!

Community spirit

Yoga has a huge community behind it, and the best thing is they follow the yogi rules of kindness, oneness of spirit and freedom to be.

What’s not to love about the yoga community? I am forever surprised at the beautiful people I meet through yoga. Not because I don’t believe in beautiful people, but because it is never ending. Just when you think you’ve met everyone, you meet new people. Namaste!

A new outlook

Practising Yoga everyday provides you with many benefits, your body is oxygenated, your muscles are strong, and your mind is clear. With this inside perspective, you gain a new outlook.

You let things go easily, you have an inner peace and your heart feels full. The difference I have found with yoga over other types of fitness is the feel-good factor it brings.  It’s a feeling worth getting on board with.

Savasana

Okay, I admit it, adding Savasana here was a little bit tongue in cheek. However, when you’ve completed a sweaty or gentle yoga class, your body feels full of new space, lying down in Savasana is bliss. Ask any yogi, or better still try it for yourself and report back to us! If you are wondering what a savasana is, you must try Yoga to find out!

Should You Have fun While Doing Yoga?

I am the first person to say Yoga should not be taken seriously, and I think yoga classes have room for fun.

Yoga is an ancient practise, I always send a thanks to the ancient yogis when I teach classes, and encourage my students to if that’s their thing. Still, I think it’s possible to be respectful AND playful within your classes.

Beyond Trikonasana

I want my students to see more of yoga than Trikonasana, Veera Badrasana A & B, Utthita Parsvakonasana. I want Yoga to become a curiosity to them, to know there is so much more to explore than poses. I think this is done with touching on postures like Headstand, Crow Pose and Bird of Paradise. How wonderful do you feel when you think Bird of Paradise is impossible and then find yourself doing it? Very wonderful!

When we go to class, it’s nice to try new poses and asana that we are aspiring to, rather than sticking to basic poses. How will we know what our bodies and minds are capable of, if we don’t try new things with them?

The full potential of asana

Yoga as part of your life is best I think, and having a good directory of asana to aspire to opens up this ancient world. I’m not saying that I teach advanced poses every week, I most definitely teach beginners, but I think those beginners should have a goal.

It can take years to fully realise the potential of an asana, and having fun along the way, stretching our minds is helpful. Plus, an extra bit of fun in your practise makes your smile brighter!

Maybe there is an asana that speaks to you more than others, and one that will make sure you come back to your mat time and again to practise that. That can only be a good thing.

 

%d bloggers like this: