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Honest Series

Mindfulness & Self-Inquiry at Battersea Yoga

February 14, 2017

‘Mindfulness exercises are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing, and yoga. Training helps people to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, they are better able to manage them. Practising mindfulness can give more insight into emotions, boost attention and concentration, and improve relationships.’  Mental Health Foundation 

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Mindfulness is something that is very close to my heart at the moment. Maybe because it is the beginning of a new year which always makes me look at my life, especially at the things that I don’t like and want to change.

A promise that I made to myself for 2017 was to focus on mindfulness; to be present and to practice the art of quieting my mind from the tiring chatter. I have always suffered from anxiety and unnecessary worry since childhood, this I feel has stayed with me into adulthood. As I am approaching 30 this year, enough is enough, it is time that I do something about it to improve my wellbeing.

At the end of last year Yana and I were invited to attend the Mindfulness class at Battersea Yoga, we had a wonderful time meeting Angus, who leads the class, and experiencing the beauty of what this enchanting place has to offer. Running since 1999, the timetable is full of classes; from different styles of Yoga to Mindfulness and other workshops. Battersea Yoga also hold retreats out of London which are open to all, I am definitely tempted.

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To our delight we were invited back again to the class for a beat the January blues workshop. This couldn’t have come at a better time. The place was exactly as I remembered; warm and inviting, with the incredible smell of incense burning, yoga cushions marking out the circle of trust and the most heavenly biscuit tin circulating the room… I devoured 2 milk chocolate digestives!

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The class lasts 75 minutes; starting with a self/group check in leading to a guided meditation and closing with a group discussion. (order varies) The meditation is key in this workshop, focusing on the breath and letting go off unwanted thoughts to assist quieting the mind.

Angus led the group effortlessly, offering valuable information that you can take away and think about. Something that Angus said which has stayed with me still, a noisy mind is exactly like a running tap that has been left on, it is highly wasteful.

After the class I felt as though I had just had a full body massage- my body and mind felt completely relaxed and more importantly, I felt present and in the moment.

I am so pleased to have been invited to Battersea Yoga, it honestly was the best introduction to practising mindfulness and meditation combined. I now understand why so many people who practice meditation praise it, as the rewards are life changing. My aim now is to practice it daily, I will keep you posted with my progress.

Battersea are offering unlimited classes for 10 consecutive days to new clients only at £25… madness not to try it.

 

Thank you for reading.

Beca xFor more information on Battersea Yoga;

www.batterseayoga.com

Studio Address: 2 Kite Yard
Cambridge Road
London SW11 4TA

Travel

48 hours in Brussels

February 7, 2017

Sometimes I feel guilty for giving myself a break. I’m not alone in that, right? I used to beat myself up for having a lazy day. Always thinking that the busier I am, the better. Unfortunately, we all know that’s not true and it resulted in me getting massively run down and anxious. So I decided to take a little trip to encourage myself to relax!

Anyways, why Brussels? Mainly because it only takes 2 hours from London on the Eurostar, and naturally I had heard good things about the chocolate!

I travelled on a Monday which had a really positive impact on the cost of my train, so try and head during the if you can. Also, there’s a discount for under 25s! With all this said, tickets start at £29.00 each way. Cheaper than visiting other parts of the UK, which is madness! I arrived in Brussels fairly early, and got to the Mercure Hotel way before check-in time, but luckily they had my room ready. Some of the reviews of the hotel mentioned that it’s in a rough area, but I chose it because it was equi-distant between the station and the center of town. I’m happy that I wasn’t scared away by the reviews, because the area is no different to parts of  London. I also ended up being given an absolutely huge room, think Macualy in Home Alone 2.

Once I had finished running around my hotel room in disbelief, I spent the day wandering around the city. Taking in its amazing architecture, quirky street art and yes, chocolate. I ate a LOT, of chocolate.

I’m a big believer of having a day without a schedule, because some of the things worth seeing aren’t mentioned in the guide books. So after exploring for hours, I ended up following my nose to an amazing seafood restaurant. 3 courses later and the weather on the turn for the worst, I headed back to the hotel with a bottle of wine to enjoy in the HUGE bathtub. For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel bad for relaxing.

The next morning, it was up early to make the most of the day before an evening train. The hotel don’t skimp on the all you can eat breakfast, so naturally I absolutely demolished it. To keep with the ongoing theme of the trip, of course.

I booked a cycle tour with Groovy Cycle Tours, which I highly recommend. Cycle tours are a fab way of getting to see the city quickly, in a short space of time. Our tour guide took a small group of us for 2 hours and she was really helpful in showing us the REAL Brussels. We visited the EU, the Palace of Justice and various markets and neighbourhoods around the city before stopping for a beer half way. We definitely needed it by then, those hills are brutal! Because there was such a small group of us, we were able to visit more places than usual. One being the world famous Frederic Blondeel Chocolatier. The hot chocolate is liquid heaven, my mouth waters just thinking about it.

After browsing the local shops and having my FIRST EVER waffle, it was time to head back to London. I was sad to leave, but it was amazing to notice how much better I felt after giving myself a couple of days to reset and return with a fresh energy. So I’m going to leave you with the quote that inspired the trip in the first place, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup‘.

 

Yana x x x

 

Fun

Looking back at the month of January!

January 29, 2017

It’s the month that everyone spends recovering from the Christmas period. Wow, the warm up of 2017 has been a mad one. We hope your year has begun well, here’s a round up of some of our highs and lows with some recommendations thrown in too!

Song?

Beca: City of Stars by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling from La La Land. Gets me every time.

Yana: Woman by Diana Gordon. I’m all about girl power this month!

Podcast or Book?

Yana: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is definitely worth the read. It’s about how history shapes us all.

Beca: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love. This is a wonderful book and one that I will keep re-reading.

Something that could have gone better?

Beca: My new years resolution to kick 2017 off to a healthy, fit and chocolate free start hasn’t gone according to plan so far. But February is a new month, and I am not giving up that easily.

Yana: I got ghosted by a guy who appeared be REALLY into me. Timewaster.

Workout?

Yana: I wrote in ‘I quit the gym’ about how I’ve taken my exercise outdoors!

Beca: Besides hitting the gym. I am keen to start a course of classes; Reformer Pilates at Bootcamp Pilates in Fulham. We went to a taster class at the end of last year which was incredible- Here’s a link to what we got up to.

Film/TV Series?

Beca: I am obsessed with the crime series, Silent Witness on BBC1 staring Emilia Fox and David Caves. Every week there is a 2 part story which keeps you guessing until the end.

Yana: LaLa Land was an absolute masterpiece. When I first heard they were making a musical, I was sceptical but it worked out!

New spot?

Yana: I need to stop spending money on breakfast, but The Dairy in Clapham common does it well!

Beca: Battersea Yoga, their Meditation Class is awesome. My goal is to make Meditation a daily practice in my life.

Personal highlight:

Beca: At the end of last year I found myself in a strange place full of panic and worry, with no clear direction in my life. I had abandoned acting and I was working long hours everyday. Eventually, I decided to reduce my hours at both jobs, accepting the pay cut and dedicate more time to acting and for myself. The change has made a huge difference already, that is a blog post in itself, watch this space.

Yana: The Women’s March on London was unbelievably empowering. 100,000 people marching for equality.

The energy was electric and it was amazing to see what we are capable of when we come together.

We would love to hear from you, tell us about your January…

B&Y

                                                           

Fitness

I quit the gym!

January 22, 2017

Yep, you heard it. I was bored. I can’t quite put my finger on why but like a relationship that has turned sour, the spark has just disappeared. Gym sessions used to be the highlight of my week, they would be scheduled into my diary like date nights. When the boredom started to appear, I tried desperately to shake it up a bit by re-inventing my routine in the hope that something would work. From attending classes to trying the leg day/shoulder day/bum day format. Nothing worked, it just wasn’t fun anymore.

So I broke up with the gym (and my boyfriend but that’s a story for a different day), and the search began. Singledom didn’t last very long as I was lucky enough to discover Swift Fitness. A bootcamp class that utilises some of the lovely outdoor spaces that London has to offer.

The word ‘Bootcamp’ usually makes people think of military style, brutal workouts but this isn’t the case with Swift. They’ve injected the fun back into it and of course it’s tough, but I have never had so much fun whilst working out. Using body-weight and working in pairs for strength work, the 45 minuite-1 hour classes burns on average 600 calories. However, the endorphin high at the end makes it all worth it.

The bootcamps like I said, take place all over London. The location closest to me is Clapham Common where Wireless Bootcamps are the most popular. Think silent disco, you wear headphones linked to your instructors microphone and a banging playlist. Which is great for getting you in the zone and working your hardest!

Be prepared to get muddy!

Be prepared to get muddy!

 

I spoke to another girl who attends, and she made a very good point. Lots of us don’t spend enough time outdoors. Unfortunately, sometimes the most fresh air I get is the walk to the tube station on my morning commute! I’m a natural nature lover, so it’s refreshing to be out in the open with mud on my hands and the occasional leaf in my hair! A far cry from the confines of a crowded gym and so far, I’m loving it.

So if you’ve been stuck in a rut like I was, stay positive and adjust until you find the fun again.

Yana x x x x

http://www.swiftfitnessgroup.co.uk/