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clean eating, detox, gratitute, health and fitness, self help

🍋 Creating habits…Lemon & Ginger Warm Water and Following the Right Advice 🍋

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Lemon water: is it a 👍🏽 or a 👎 from you?

I have been drinking it for 6-7 years now daily and despite all the negative, or I would rather say controversial, views on the above ritual I’ve neither yellow or decayed teeth and also feel tons better after having a glass of lemon water in the morning. 

Doing something daily also creates a habit. It makes me feel good knowing that I can stick to at least one good habit without fail and that’s yet another benefit of having it in the morning. I have a routine of drinking lemon and ginger water, then I occasionally (that habit is still in the embryo stage 😜) take a greens shot, then I take my vitamins for the day.

If I don’t start my day with lemon water I will most likely forget to take the vitamins and will definitely miss out in the green shot.

Warm water on its own is great to consume before anything else when you get up. So even if you don’t believe in adding lemon or ginger to it – have some warm water … or not.. it won’t make you into a bad person if you drink or don’t drink it 😜💦 

Ginger is also known for its mainly anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities amongst many other benefits. I personally love it, but again, if you don’t – nobody is going to think less of you👌🏻

I just think that you should do whatever works for you and your body and ignore opinionated ‘experts’ out there on what SHOULD be good for you even if you don’t agree with it. What is good for one person might not be great for another. There are more benefits to it than risks.

I’m reading many posts from people involved in Health and Fitness and I must say that sometimes I have to count till 10 and physically stop myself from responding… sometimes I do write a response, but then delete straight away 😜 It’s not worth the hassle.. I think we should advise people on what to do, express our opinion.. but never push it or be arrogant about what we think is the way to go. One statement, one picture, one quote coming from someone you respect and follow can result in you blindly taking that advice. None of us are experts and none of us are perfect. I used to be that person who would religiously do everything my fitness gurus did… and I got burnt a few times…Now I listen, respect.. but check if that’s something that is going to be good or bad for me.

Have a lovely day everyone and enjoy doing, eating and drinking (in moderation 😆😆) whatever makes you happy and your body and mind healthy! 💕🍋💕

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gratitute, health and fitness, self help

The Power of Backbends

IMG_3268We spend most of our lives forward bending: picking up stuff, eating at the table, using electronic devises, driving, sitting on a sofa, etc. And unless you do something to reverse the effect, all this results in a bad posture, which in its turn affects breathing, causes back pain, and affects mood.

Backbends are that simple magical solution you need to prevent this from happening. They stimulate your sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response. One of the things we want to achieve in Yoga is bringing the energy up the spine and cleansing our nervous system. 

Backbends trigger blockages and once one of them is triggered you can experience a whole lot of emotions. We get agitated, excited or experiencing weird suppressed feelings and emotions as a result of this. This also happens because backbends stimulate and open the heart chakra – the mecca of suppresses emotions and buried feelings.

Physical benefits of the backbends are: 

  • Spine strengthening 
  • Improved spine flexibility
  • Improved digestion
  • Spinal mobility 
  • Chest opening which results in improved air circulation and deeper breaths
  • Hip opening and stretching and strengthening hip flexors

Backbends do not have to be advanced, simple ones like Cobra or Cat/Cow Stretch is a great way to mobilise and stretch your spine.

It’s also advisable to follow up with a gentle spine stretch to release and rest your lower back as it is mainly that part of your spine that will be mostly impacted by a backbend.

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Having a flexible strong pain free spine is wonderful! We often underestimate the importance of keeping the spine mobile especially when we get older. It’s never late to start working on having a healthy pain free spine 💕

gratitute, health and fitness, resolutions, self help, travel

My Yoga & Meditation Journey So Far

‘The quieter you become the more you can hear’

Meditating, or in my case just sitting still, was easy when I was in Bali. There was no stress, no outside noise, no washing or dishes to do and kids to entertain, no classes to teach and basically no external barriers to sit still and just breathe. For the first time in my life I actually managed to go through twice daily 30-40mins meditation practices and really enjoyed them. I still couldn’t fully switch off but I sat there and felt so much better for it (sometimes even dozing off and waking up with a little snort 😝)

I’m back to the real world and I’m not going to lie – it is so much harder to do in here. But I do it nevertheless- 15 mins every morning sometimes burning my incense sticks and candles – sometimes without.

I have a little meditation space with crystals, a candle, incense sticks, holy water and some other bits and bobs there. I don’t think you actually really need all that to meditate, but it makes me happy and helps me with my daily ‘stillness’

I did try meditation before but I wasn’t persistent and there was always something/someone to blame for not doing it. I was restless and couldn’t compose myself. Walking meditation worked better for me but it wasn’t enough.

I truly believe that meditation is the key to a happy balanced life. I still can’t fully switch off and on those days when I just can’t get into it at all instead of letting all those thousands of thoughts running through my head I practice gratitude and breathing (pranayama).

I also only do it for 15 mins for now up until I feel I’m ready to increase it. It’s getting easier and easier from day to day but I know it’s going to take me many more months to learn to control my thoughts.

An interesting fact is that physical Yoga asanas (poses) were actually initially introduced to make you stronger in order to be able to sit still during meditation practices. Yoga then evolved into many various practices.

It’s perfectly fine to have your meditation practice separate from a yoga one. Breathing (pranayama) is an essential part of any yoga practice (or at least it should be!) and it is the first step to mindfulness and relaxation. I like a good strong yoga session, but I also do enjoy a more gentle and restorative practice with loads of breathing, relaxation and a long Savasana.

My personal practice has evolved from purely physical practice with no Savasana to incorporating more breathing exercises and actually staying for Savasana to all of the above plus more mindful approach to teaching and practicing yoga and pranayama to incorporating daily meditation, external and self education and evolving my practice daily.

Mindfulness and meditation isn’t my strongest point. I wouldn’t teach meditation or narrate Yoga Nidra because that would just be fake and pretentious. But I would explain it to people and use a recording of Yoga Nidra narrated by someone who is really good at it. If something has worked for me and I learnt it from a source I would share it, but up until I feel I’m proficient at some certain practices I wouldn’t teach them.

I do like working with breath and coordinating breath with movement – hence flow yoga is by far my preferred practice. I like alignment and functional aspects of Yoga asanas, but I also grew to love restorative practices.

The moral is: do what you like and don’t feel you have to become a Buddhist monk and meditate for months avoiding a physical yoga practice because it’s ‘trendy’ nowadays. There’s time and space for everything: both of them are just fine as well as any other forms of physical activities.

It has actually been proven that meditation facilitates a better lifestyle, reduces stress and anxiety and promotes clearer thinking. The same can be said about exercise and a physical practice.

I’m still only starting my meditation journey so can’t really give you any solid advise on that, but taking time for myself, painting, walking and meditating has been really making a positive effect onto my life 💕

clean eating, gratitute, health and fitness, self help, travel

My Bali Adventures. Food & Flora..and a Bat

Food, Fruit and Flowers

If you don’t like coconuts then maybe Bali isn’t a place for you :)) Almost everything there is either cooked with coconuts or made from coconuts! They grow everywhere and you can either drink coconut water out of a young coconut or get a ‘normal’ coconut!

Cows are sacred animals in Bali (Hinduism). When I asked the driver why they were sacred he said that cows were like mother figures, taking care of all the people so you obviously wouldn’t want to eat your mother ;)) There’s not much cow milk on the island, mainly coconut and soya milk, that’s why ice cream is all exported from abroad and costs pretty much the same as in the UK. You can get local yummy coconut or fruit lollies made with coconut milk a bit cheaper though.

I spent most of my time in Ubud and as I’ve mentioned before, many places there were vegan or vegetarian. You could get delicious fresh juices and smoothies of all kinds as well as alcoholic drinks (I wasn’t drinking while on the retreat).

Food was delicious and no wonder it was so easy to be a vegan over there: it didn’t cost a lot and the choice was amazing!

I would say that £12 would buy you a very decent almost 2 course meal and a drink. Some people stay away from ice and salad when in Bali as they might be washed in dirty water. I had both and was ok, but I also did eat in good restaurants. Maybe when it comes to street food and suspiciously looking places avoiding ice and salads could be a good idea.

The most popular fruit are dragon fruit, mango, jack fruit, papaya, little bananas, snake fruit and of course coconuts! Needless to say they taste way better than the ones from UK supermarkets.

Jack fruit

The Bali flora is totally amazing! So many colours and shapes and smells! I don’t know the names of all these flowers, but they were all stunning!!

Oh and I also came across a bat size of a dog while in Ubud. It was the freakiest most unusual creature I have ever seen! The wings looked so artificial and when it was moving and yawning it looked like a fox! So bizarre!

Bali is very green and reminded me a bit if Scotland (minus weather!). To see secluded untouched beaches you would need to travel to the neighbouring islands, because most of the southern beaches are too noisy and touristy.

Having been once I know now what I would like to see next time: I would definitely travel to the nearby islands to swim with turtles and to snorkel; I would take a trip to see a magnitude of waterfalls in the jungle and I would also probably crash in Ubud for a few days to do yoga, dances and eat delicious food and meet some like minded yogis!

If you have been to Bali and have any recommendations please post on here – I’d love to hear from you!

Up until next time,

Love and hugs,

Natallia xxx

clean eating, gratitute, health and fitness, self help, travel

My Bali Adventures. Day 6

Monkey Forest in Ubud!!

The place was on my list of things to see before I even left for Bali! Saying that, I changed my mind numerous times whether I wanted to go there or not as I was a bit scared of the monkeys!

I had no vaccinations done before going to Bali so was very aware of all the animal world of the island! Talking about animals, I haven’t met many cats there at all and Bali dogs were totally Zen! Whether it was the smells of the incense sticks or the prayers or the heat.. or the combination of all of them.. they were totally harmless and wouldn’t even move out of your way either out of laziness or the heat!

Monkeys though were a completely different kettle of fish! The sign at the entrance stated to have no jewellery, no glasses, no food and warned against looking them in the eye! So you can imaging that when we entered the jungle I was a bit on edge.

It all turned out to be pretty safe. There were hundreds of monkeys in the jungle of all sizes, ages and shapes. Baby monkeys were super cute and it was really cool to observe them eating, playing and having fun!

The jungle was amazing though! It has a little river and a mini waterfall, as well as loads of beautiful trees!

The whole experience was great and it was so good to see monkeys living in the wild with no cages or restrictions! I’m not a big fan of Zoos as I don’t like seeing animals locked up in cages – it was a completely different story seeing them run around free and happy and it felt good to be there!

It takes just over an hour to go around the place. There are a couple of temples in the jungle, loads of paths and loads of greens! It is very safe as long as you don’t feed the monkeys and there are a lot of staff all over the place as well.

Monkeys also come out of the jungle and you can see them on the cables above your head or out and about munching on fruit and whatever else they can get hold of!

Another fab experience and a great day out!

https://www.monkeyforestubud.com

gratitute, health and fitness, self help, travel

My Bali Adventures.

Hello everyone and thank you for expressing interest in my Bali adventures and my Blog. I have tried to be as informative as I could about my travels in Bali and hope you will find the stories informative and somewhat entertaining.

When I was going to Bali I read through a lot of Blogs of people who have visited the country and I found them very helpful.

The blogs cover most of my days in Bali, but there were a few days when we were just chilling, doing yoga and exploring the surroundings so I did not write on those days.

Enjoy the read and let me know if you like the blogs or not,

Natallia 

clean eating, gratitute, health and fitness, self help, travel

My Bali Adventures. Day 11

On my last day in Bali we went to a yoga hub of Ubud – the Yoga Barn. We had breakfast and lunch in there, as well as tried out a Yoga session.

It was like practicing Yoga in a Yoga Paradise! The place was like a mini Yoga village with cafes, massage and spiritual practices places, vegan and raw vegan food, statues (even a Yoda Statue 🙂 and fountains, and with loads of green outdoor space!

There were a few studios there. The one I was in was an indoor one with a floor to ceiling window overlooking the green trees and statues. The rest of the studios were pretty much outdoors.

The timetable had a huge variety of classes and events. I could only manage 1 Power Yoga class due to having to leave in the afternoon.

It was so nice to just sit there and soak in the atmosphere of the place!

I can’t quite describe the feeling and the atmosphere in there except for I knew I would have to go back there and have at least a full week experience of being in that place.

We have had all the yoga sessions at the retreat held outside overlooking the jungle and surrounded by sounds of nature (and occasional bees and not so occasional mosquitoes ). So nice to be able to practice Yoga and meditation outside – very relaxing!

Beautiful experience and amazing memories of the place!