Sunday, 17 June 2018

Hello and welcome!

(Photo Credit: Jane Beadnell Photography (http://janebeadnellphotography.co.uk/)



Over the years I've loved sharing my knowledge of wellness and yoga with you all. I've wanted to share as much as possible, so I have been posting six times a week over the two blogs. However, I'm planning some new and exciting projects to share with you, and to give me the time to work on these, I won't be posting quite as frequently. I'll still be here though, and I look forward to continuing on our wellness and yoga journeys together.

Thank you for your support- sending my love to you all.

Please see below for my latest post!



This week on 40plusandalliswell


What lovely weather we are having at the moment - just right for eating outside. Last weekend we enjoyed these vegan kebabs with some homemade pickled onions. If you remember we grew some mixed winter onions on the allotment and we have just harvested them. We used the red ones to make this pickle which is perfect with the kebabs. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.com/2018/06/meatless-monday-vegan-kofta-kebabs-with.html


See my 'sister' blog for the 40plusandalliswell guide to fats and oils-
https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-40plusandalliswell-guide-to-fats.html


If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. Please see-https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html


Thank you

Yoga and essential oils - let your confidence bloom

We can all have times when our confidence takes a knock or if you have low self-esteem, lack of confidence can colour your life. 

Yoga can help.  When we are lacking in confidence our shoulders tend to be drawn forward as we shrink into ourselves, unwilling to be noticed.  Yoga opens your chest, calming your mind while at the same time creating a belief in yourself.  Yoga also cultivates a sense of connection to all beings and this generates feelings of confidence.  Confidence requires a certain amount of strength which emanates from the third chakra so core strengtheners help too as well as twists which ‘eliminate’ anything that is getting in the way of your confidence.

Essential oils can help too.  Essential oils that can help you feel confident in situations that make you uncomfortable or combat feelings of not being ‘good enough’, include cedarwood, pine, jasmine, ginger and sandalwood, roman camomile and geranium.  

There are several ways you can use essential oils  - you can sprinkle a drop or two at the top of your yoga mat, or you can use a diffuser in the room in which you practice.  You can also use a misting bottle – these are available from essential oil suppliers.  These need to be dark glass – use a few drops of essential oils in a bottle of filtered water. 


Although using essential oils is generally safe, check with your medical practitioner if you have any medical conditions.  This advice is not intended for you if you are pregnant.

Try the following sequence along with an essential oil or blend used as advised to boost your confidence.

Start in Easy Pose – gently close your eyes and allow yourself time to ‘arrive’ and for your breath to settle.  When you are ready practice Kapalabhati breathing.  This may not be for you if you have asthma, high blood pressure or heart issues.  An alternative would be to direct your breath to your abdomen.  Kapalabhati breathing involves forced exhales from the abdomen through the nose (you might want to blow your nose before you begin) – the inhales will happen naturally.  Start by taking a deep breath in, exhale fully, breathe in three quarters of the way then begin. To help the forced exhale, curl one hand over the other and place your hands on the navel then with each exhale press your hands in and up.  Continue for 10 exhales then return to normal breathing.  Repeat twice more but stop immediately and return to normal breathing if you feel dizzy or hyperventilate.  Lie back on your mat

‘Cycling’ – lie on your back with your hand behind your head, fingers interlaced, cradling the back of your head.  Bring your shins parallel to the ceiling. Breathe in and as you breathe out draw your navel back to your spine, curl up and bring your right elbow to your left knee as you stretch your right leg out.  Breathe in, return to the start position and repeat bringing the left elbow to your right knee as you stretch your left leg out. Continue working with your breath for 10 cycles.  Rest and repeat twice more then hug your knees in.

Cat/Cow – come to all fours, hands directly under shoulders, knees directly under hips.  Inhale lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin, arch through your back.  Continue for several movements.


Flip the Cat – come bsack to all fours.  Without moving your knee, swing your lower right leg to the right.  Extend your left leg so that your left foot is parallel with your right knee and take your left arm up and back.  Hold for 3-5 breaths then ‘flip’ back to all fours.  Repeat second side. 


Swan – come to the back of your mat, big toes touching, knees wide. ‘Walk’ your hands forward bringing your forehead to a block or to the mat.  Press into your first finger and thumb to lift through your armpits.


Downward Facing Dog to Flip the Dog – keeping your hands where they are, inhale back to all fours, exhale lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Inhale, raise your right leg, exhale bend your right knee, bringing your right foot to your left buttock, open your hips to the right.  Either stay here or microbend your left knee and bring your right foot to the mat behind you as you take your right arm up and over.  Hold for 3-5 breaths then ‘flip’ the dog back to Downward Facing Dog. Rest here for a few breaths or take a Child’s Pose before repeating second side.



Child Pose – from Downward Facing Dog, inhale drop your knees, exhale take your bottom back to your heels.  Reach your hands back to hold your heels.  As an alternative lie on your back and hug your knees in.  When you are ready make your way to standing.


Warrior 1 to Warrior 2 – stand facing the short edge of your mat with your feet at hip distance and your hands on your hips.  Step your left foot back and turn the toes of your left foot out. Inhale stretch your arms up, exhale bend your front knee.  Gaze is straight ahead – know that you can deal with anything that comes your way with confidence as you hold for a few breaths. When you are ready open up your arms to shoulder height and look down the finges of your right hand.  Your left arm represents anything that is zapping your confidence and which you are leaving behind.  Look down your right arm to a more confident future. 

Wide leg standing forward bend - turn to face forward, feet parallel to the short edges of the mat, hands to hips.  Inhale lift your chest, squeeze your elbows together behind your back, exhale come to flat back position, release your fingertips to the mat.  Stay here if you have heart issues, blood pressure issues etc otherwise ‘walk’ your hands back under your hips, release the crown of your head down.  Hold for 3 breaths then wherever you are exhale take your hands to your hips, inhale come up.  Repeat Warrior 1 to 2 second side and then take another Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend.  


Goddess Squat – take your legs wide, your hands to your hips and turn your toes out to the corners of the mat.  Inhale bring your arms into Cactus – elbows level with your shoulders, palms facing forward.  Exhale bend both knees, release your tailbone towards the mat.  Hold and feel the power of a goddess.  To come out of the pose, inhale into straight legs, exhale take your hands to your hips and step your feet together.


Seated twist – come to seated on a block with your legs outstretched.  Bend your right knee in towards your chest and take your right foot to the outside of your left thigh.  Bend your left elbow and bring your left arm to the outside of your right leg, palm of your hand facing forward, fingers spread and open. Breathe in, lengthen through the crown of your head, breathe out, draw your navel back to your spine, twist to the right.  Hold and breathe, drawing your navel back to your spine with each exhale.  Inhale to release then repeat second side.  


Seated Forward Bend – come back to seated with your legs outstretched.  Place your fingertips by your hips and lift through your spine.  Breathe in and as you breathe out hinge forward from your groin.  Inhale lengthen, exhale fold, release the crown of your head down.  Hold for 5 breaths then inhale to come up slowly.


Savasana – lie back in savasana for 10-15 minutes to receive the benefits of your practice.




If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. To make a donation please see-https://flexiladies.blogspot.com/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Namaste,




Sunday, 10 June 2018

This week on 40plusandalliswell


If you love vegan sushi but find making them up a bit faffy, you will love this deconstructed sushi bowl.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog - https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.com/2018/06/meatless-monday-deconstructed-vegan.html


On my 'sister' blog post we look at how what you eat affects your mood-https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.com/2018/06/your-food-your-mood.html

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. Please see-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html 



Thank you


Yoga and essential oils – lift your mood

There are several ways that yoga can help lift your mood.  You may have noticed you feel so much better after your yoga session.  Backbends, side bends and twists open up your chest allowing more oxygen to enter your body which is both calming and energizing at the same time. Inversions help bring oxygen to the brain enhancing the effect while Sun Salutations boost circulation of oxygen to the brain.  Sun salutations also ‘burn off’ stress hormones which affect your mood by lighting the internal fire, agni. If you are anxious, angry or irritable Child’s pose will help.  Hip openers help you release the negative emotions that bring down your mood. Balances help you be in the moment so that negative thoughts and emotions cannot take over.

Essential oils also help and can enhance the effect of your yoga practice.  I find the citrusy essential oils such as lemon can help lift mood and dispel anger.  You could also try sweet orange  for a more positive outlook.  Rose essential oil is good for easing despair and jasmine eases depression.  Sandalwood quietens the mind so that positive thoughts can come to the fore.

There are several ways you can use essential oils  - you can sprinkle a drop or two at the top of your yoga mat, or you can use a diffuser in the room in which you practice.  You can also use a misting bottle – these are available from essential oil suppliers.  These need to be dark glass – use a few drops of essential oils in a bottle of filtered water. 
Although using essential oils is generally safe, check with your medical practitioner if you have any medical conditions.  This advice is not intended for you if you are pregnant.

Try the following sequence to lift your mood.  You will need two blocks and maybe a cushion.

Start in Extended Child Pose  - come to the back of your mat big toes touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward bringing your forehead to a block or a cushion.  Keep your elbows lifted close your eyes.  Notice your emotions without getting involved in them then watch your breath for a few minutes.  Watching your breath is a form of meditation and it releases endorphins which lift mood from the brain stem.  When you are ready come to all fours.

Cat/Cow – have your hands directly under your shoulders, knees directly under your hips.  Inhale lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin, arch through your back.  Continue for several movements working with your breath, making the movement last as long as the breath. 

Thread the Needle  - come back to all fours.  Inhale, raise your right hand towards the ceiling, exhale bend your left elbow and post your right arm through the gap made by your left arm bringing your head and shoulders to your mat or to a block or cushion.  Stay here enjoying the twist for several breaths then inhale to come back to all fours.  Repeat second side.


Child Pose – bring your bottom back to your heels and your forehead to the mat as you  sweep your hands back to your heels.  An alternative is to lie on your back and hug your knees in.  Stay here a while watching your breath then come back to all fours.

Downward Facing Dog to lunge - from all fours, exhale lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Inhale lift your hips, bend your right knee and bring your right foot between your hands.  Exhale lower your back knee to the mat. 


Lizard  - bring your right hand to the big toe side of the right foot and ‘walk’ your right foot a little to the right to open your hips.  This may be your pose or to go further lower your forearms to the mat or to a block.  For more intensity still lift your back leg.  Hold for 5 breaths if you can then lower your back knee if it is lifted, press into straight arms if you are on your forearms the ‘walk’ your right foot in, taking yor right hand to the little toe side of the foot.  Breathe out and step back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then from Downward Facing Dog walk your feet towards your hands and roll up to standing.




Triangle – stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet a leg length apart.  Turn your right foot to the right and turn the toes of your left foot in.  Inhale bring your arms to shoulder height, exhale take your hips to the left as you fold over the right leg bringing your right hand to your ankle, shin or thigh but not your knee.  Gaze can be straight ahead or look up at the hands.  Hold and breathe enjoying the opening to the chest then inhale windmill the arms up, exhale bring your hands to your heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side.


Wide leg standing forward bend variation – stand with your feet wide, hands on your hips, outside edges of your feet level with the outside edges of the mat. Inhale squeeze your elbows back, exhale come into a flat-back position, release your hands to your big toes with your thumb and first finger, microbend your knees if you need to.  Either stay here if you have heart issues or blood pressure issues or inhale, exhale release the crown of your head down.  Hold for 5 breaths then inhale back to flat back position, exhale release your hands to your hips, inhale come up, step your feet together.

Tree – stand in the middle of your mat with your feet slightly apart and take your weight into your left foot.  Find a drishti, gaze point and bring your right foot to cup your left ankle, shin or bend your left knee and bring your right foot to your left thigh then straighten your left leg again.  Inhale reach your arms up.  Hold for up to 10 breaths then exhale to release.  If balance is an issue stand with your left hip a little way from a wall and take your fingertips to the wall.  As your balance improves release your fingers from the wall if only for a few seconds.  Exhale to release.  Repeat second side.


Camel variation with a chair – kneel on your mat with your back to a chair seat and your lower legs under the chair seat.  Take your hands onto the edges of the chair seat and lift your chest.  Keep your neck in line with your spine.  Hold for 5 breaths, pressing your thighs forward then inhale tuck your chin and come up.

Supported Bridge/Shoulder Stand – lie on your mat with your knees bent, arms by your sides, palms down.  Inhale press into your feet and lift your hips.  Place two blocks with the longer edge lining up with the short edge of the mat then exhale to lower your hips to the support of the block.  If supported shoulder stand is not for you (that is if you have heart issues, high blood pressure, neck issues or are menstruating and certainly not if you are pregnant.  Please note unless specified this blog is not intended for use in pregnancy) stay here.  Otherwise lift your hips and draw the top block halfway across the lower block in the direction of your shoulders.  Inhale and lift your legs so that your toes come over your face– the top block will tip supporting your back.  Stay here for a minute or two then exhale to release your feet to the mat.  Lift your hips and remove the blocks then roll onto your right side with your knees bent and stay here a minute before slowly rolling  onto your back.

Savasana – rest in savasana for 5-10 minutes to receive the benefits of your practice.

On 40plusandalliswell this week I have been looking at how your food affects your mood. Please see 'Your food, your mood'.


If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html 


Thank you 


Namaste,







Sunday, 3 June 2018

This week on 40plusandalliswell


It’s Bank Holiday, the sun is shining and burgers are the order of the day. These burgers have a ‘meatiness’ from the mushrooms that even your friends who are not vegans will love -they certainly were a hit in our house.
Enjoy the bank holiday!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.com/2018/05/meatless-monday-vegan-asian-style_28.html

This blog post was included in the online paper 'Vegetarian Food Explorer Daily'

With respiratory disease on the rise, on my 'sister' blog I look at steps you can take to protect your lungs-https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.com/2018/06/love-your-lungs.html

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. Please see-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html 



Thank you

Yoga and essential oils – resilience


We all go through tough times – that’s life.  But some of us seem better able to bounce back, find another way and this requires mental flexibility.  On our mats through our asana practice we can cultivate physical flexibility and because of the mind body connection we can thereby also cultivate mental flexibility. Always take time in savasana to end your practice to enable the parasympathetic nervous system to become the most active – this is associated with calm.  Meditation can help with mental clarity by calming the mind.

Essential oils can help too.  Just like your asana practice essential oils can calm your mind and when your mind is calm you gain the mental clarity to see your way through tough times.  Cedarwood essential oil helps with the emotional strength to bounce back from tough times while rosemary essential oil helps with mental clarity and rose essential oil can help prevent despair. 

There are several ways you can use essential oils  - you can sprinkle a drop or two at the top of your yoga mat, or you can use a diffuser in the room in which you practice.  You can also use a misting bottle – these are available from essential oil suppliers.  These need to be dark glass – use a few drops of essential oils in a bottle of filtered water. 



Although using essential oils is generally safe, check with your medical practitioner if you have any medical conditions.  This advice is not intended for you if you are pregnant.

Try the following sequence combined with an essential oil or oils to cultivate resilience.  You will need a block and maybe a bolster or thickly rolled blanket.

Savasana – start lying back on your mat with your legs over a bolster or thickly rolled blanket if you have back issues.  Close your eyes and starting at the crown of your head, mentally scan your body noticing how each part feels today.  Then bring your attention to your breath and allow your breath to settle.  When you are ready take 3 deep breaths, open your eyes and take a stretch. 



Double Arm/Leg Raise + Shoulder Bridge sequence – lie with your knees bent, your arms by your sides.  Inhale, exhale draw your knees over your chest.  Inhale press your heels towards the ceiling as you take your arms overhead.  Exhale bend your knees, bring your feet to the mat as you bring your arms back down by your sides.  Inhale, press into your feet, lift your hips as you take your arms overhead, exhale lower your hips, bring your arms back down by your sides.  Repeat the sequence twice more.

Shoulder Opening Sequence – lie on your right side with your knees bent, your arms extended and your left hand on top of your right.  Inhale, stretch your left arm up, exhale bring it down behind you.  Inhale stretch your left arm up, exhale bring your palms together.  Repeat the movement twice more.  Repeat bringing your left arm down to the mat behind you this time, opening out into a twist.  You will have to shuffle your right shoulder forward.  Hold for a minute or so, enjoying the twist then inhale stretch the left arm up, exhale bring your palms together, release the pose.  Repeat second side.

Cat/Cow – come to all fours, hands directly under shoulders, knees directly under hip, fingers spread and middle finger pointing forward.  Inhale lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin and arch through your back.  Continue working with the breath for several movements.

Swan – come towards the back of your mat, big toes touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward and keeping your elbows lifted, bring your forehead down to the mat or a block.  Stay here watching your breath for a minute or so then inhale back to all fours.

Downward Facing Dog to Half Moon Lunge – from all fours, tuck your toes, breathe out and lift your hips high into Downward Facing Dog.  Inhale stretch your right leg back, exhale bend your right knee, inhale and bring your right foot forward between your hands.  Exhale lower your left knee to the mat.  Inhale come up, bring your hands to your front knee, roll your shoulders back.  On your next inhale take your arms up and back as you curl back.  Hold for a breath then exhale release your hands back to the mat, come back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then inhale drop your knees come into ….

Child Pose- sit back on your heels and as you sweep your hands round to hold your feet, bring your forehead to a block or your mat.  If Child’s pose does not suit your body, lie on your back and hug your knees in.  When you are ready, make your way to standing.

Half Moon Balance – come to the centre of your mat and place a block at the right side of your mat near the back.  Take your hands to your hips and step your feet wide.  Turn the whole of your right leg to the right and turn the toes of your left foot in at 45 degrees.  Bend your front knee and, hopping your left foot in, take your right hand to a block (remember there are 3 levels).  Find your balance and slowly raise your left leg parallel to your mat.  Your gaze can be straight ahead or up at your left hand.  Hold for a few breaths then to come out, lower your back foot, and inhale, windmill your arms to shoulder height, exhale bring your hands to your hips, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side. If you are struggling with balance, practice against a wall.

Tree – stand in the middle of your mat and find a drishti, a gaze point to help you balance.  Take your weight into your left leg and bring your right foot to your left ankle, your left shin or reach down and bring your right foot to your left thigh.  Inhale reach your arms up.  If you need help with balance stand with your left hip a little way from a wall and take your left fingertips to the wall.  Hold for 5-10 breaths then exhale to release.  Repeat second side.

Seated Twist variation – sit on your mat or on a block.  Bend your left knee so that your left foot is a little way from your left hip.  Bring your right foot to your left thigh.  Inhale lengthen, exhale take your left hand to your right thigh and your right hand behind you, twist to the right.  Hold for 5 breaths  - with each breath in lengthen, with each breath out draw your navel back to your spine and twist.  Inhale to come back to centre, release your legs then repeat second side.

Shoulder Bridge variation with keyhole stretch – lie back on your mat with your knees bent, arms by your sides.  Bring your right foot onto your left thigh  - nearer the knee is less intense, nearer the groin is more intense.  Inhale lift your hips, take your arms overhead.  Hold for 3 breaths then exhale lower your hips, bring your arms back over.  Repeat second side. Hug your knees in and rock from side to side.



Rest in Savasana for 10 - 15 minutes. 



Please also see 'Enhance your yoga practice with essential oils-grounding' and 'Yoga and essential oils - spring allergies'.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs. To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html 

Thank you 


Namaste,