Sunday, 25 March 2018

This week on 40plusandalliswell


These ‘cheesy’ veg stacks are made with a base of polenta. The ‘cheese’ is made from cashews together with nutritional yeast which adds the ‘cheesy’ flavour as well as vitamin B12. The stacks also have all the benefits of Mediterranean veg. They may take a little time to make but the result is impressive especially if you are serving them to friends. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog -http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/meatless-monday-mediterranean-cheesy.html

In Becky's post last week she talked about her plans for the garden at home- this time, it’s the turn of the allotment planting-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/planning-your-allotment-planting.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 for self-care – spring detox



Why detox in spring?  During the winter we have been eating heavier, fattier foods but now that spring is here we need to clear out our digestive systems in preparation for the lighter meals of spring.  Yoga can help detoxification.  Twists and poses that compress the abdomen work on the digestive organs stimulating digestion. Twists also stimulate the liver which is the major organ of detoxification. Squats also encourage elimination and chest openers expand the lungs bringing cleansing oxygen into the body. Inversions and vinyasas stimulate the flow of blood and lymph helping to clear out the ‘rubbish’. We end our practice by relaxing in Supta Baddha Konasana.  Relaxation is important because stress negatively affects digestion. 


The sequence below will help you detox giving you more energy for the spring.  You will need two blocks or cushions.


Start in Tadasana with your eyes lowered or closed.  Notice how you feel and allow your breath to settle.



Sun Salutation A – 3 rounds. Please see, 'Yoga Pose Gallery'.


Sun Salutation B – 3 rounds. Please see, 'Yoga Pose Gallery'.

Lie back in Savasana to allow your breath to settle and your heartbeat to return to normal.  When you are ready draw your knees over your chest and either roll up or come onto your right side and come up. 


Cat/Cow – come to all fours.  Inhale lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin and arch through your back.  Continue working with your breath for several movements then come back to all fours.



Pigeon with Thread the Needle Twist-  Bring your right knee towards your right wrist, inch your right foot to the left and lower your hips.  Walk your hands back and lift through your chest.  Hold for 5 breaths then inhale stretch your right arm up, exhale bend your left elbow and ‘post’ your right hand through the gap made by your left arm bringing your head and shoulder to the mat or to a block.  Hold and breathe enjoying the twist.  Inhale, make your way back to all fours to repeat second side.



Extended Child Pose – come towards the back of the mat, big toes touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward bringing your head to the mat or to a block.  Keep your elbows lifted, your tail bone pressing back and stretch from your hips to your armpits, your armpits down to your fingertips. 



Downward Dog (a half inversion) to Revolved Side Angle – from Extended Child Pose and keeping your hands where they are, inhale back to all fours.  Exhale lift your hips high into Downward Facing Dog.  Inhale stretch your right leg back and bending your knee bring your right foot between your hands, exhale release your left knee to the mat.  Inhale come up, bringing your hands to your heart, exhale hook your left elbow over your right thigh to twist to the right.  This may be your pose or to intensify the pose, exhale, engage your core, lift your back leg.  Whatever variation you choose, hold for 5 breaths.  To come out of the pose lower your left knee if lifted, inhale, bring your hands back to the mat, exhale step back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side.







Standing Forward Bend – come back to Downward Facing Dog and walk your feet forward until your shoulders come over your hips.  Bring your fingertips to the mat or to a block if you need to bring the ground nearer.  To come up to standing exhale bring your hands to your hips, inhale and slowly come up. 


Goddess squat – come to the centre of the mat and take your feet wide.  Turn your toes out to the corners of the mat and bend both knees as you move your tail bone down towards the mat.  Inhale bring your hands into cactus position.



Goddess squat with lateral stretch – from Goddess squat with cactus arms, inhale bring your right elbow to your right thigh, exhale circle your left arm down and up by your left ear. Hold for 3 breaths.


Goddess squat with twist – from Goddess squat with lateral stretch, inhale come up, exhale take your left hand to your right thigh and reach back with your right arm as you twist to the right.  Hold for 3 breaths then inhale back to Goddess squat with cactus arms.  On your next inhale straighten your legs, exhale bring your hands to your hips, step your feet together.




Repeat the whole of the Goddess sequence on the other side. 


Twisted Tree – stand in the middle of the mat and find a drishti, a gaze point.  Take your weight into your left leg and bring your right foot to cup your left ankle, your left shin or your left thigh (anywhere on the left leg except against the knee).  Inhale and as you exhale take your left hand to your left hip and take your right arm back.  Hold for 3-5 breaths then inhale back to centre, exhale release the pose.  Repeat second side.


Supta Baddha Konasana - come to lying on your back with your knees bent.  Bring the soles of your feet together so that your knees release down towards the mat.  Support your knees with blocks or cushions.  Bring your hands to your lower belly and breathe into the area under your hands.  To come out of the pose take hold of the outsides of your thighs and bring your knees together.  Give yourself a hug.



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, 18 March 2018

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Today’s Meatless Monday is packed with protein and fibre from the chickpeas as well as folic acid and iron from the spinach.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/meatless-monday-spinach-falafel.html

Spring arrives this week-time to think about what you will be growing this season. On my 'sister' blog we share with you what plans we have for the 40plusandalliswell garden and next week we will be talking about our plans for the allotment-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/planning-your-spring-planting.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 for self-care – forgiveness


You may wonder why forgiving someone is an act of self-care.  The truth is holding onto anger and resentment will do more harm at you than the person your anger is directed at.  It is not a matter of ‘letting them 'get away with it’ but looking to your own wellbeing.  If you can think that the person who has ‘wronged’ you must have done so from a place of unhappiness, then it becomes easier to have some compassion for them.  Holding onto anger and resentment causes stress which ultimately can lead to cardiovascular problems etc. Forgiveness has been shown to reduce stress leading to better sleep and improved immunity. 
Forgiving yourself can be even harder than forgiving others.  The burden of guilt and remorse can lay heavy on your heart.  This can affect your wellbeing too.  In this case, especially where there is nothing that can be done to put the situation right, give your burden to God or the universe depending on your belief and start again, having grown as a person..
How can yoga help?  Yoga encourages to be in the present moment which means that you are not dwelling on what has gone on in the past.  All we have is today so focus on that.  Yoga hip openers can help you release negative emotions such as resentment and a focus on the liver helps release anger.  Chest openers can help you have compassion for the person who has wronged you or yourself if you have been carrying the burden of guilt and regret. 


Try the following sequence which opens your chest and hips and balance your liver will help you to forgive and create better wellbeing


Savasana- lie back on your mat, feet hip distance and little toe side of your feet flopped out to the side.  Have your arms a little way from your body, palms up fingers gently curled,  Close your eyes and allow the earth to support you.  Direct your breath into your abdomen without straining and visualise your breath massaging your abdominal organs.  When you are ready, gently open your eyes and take a stretch.


Apanasana – start lying with your legs outstretched, bend your right knee and draw your leg tight in.  If you have issues with your knees hold onto your leg behind the thigh – otherwise hold onto your shin.  Press your left heel away.  Hold for 5 breaths then release and repeat second side. 


Keyhole stretch – lie with your knees bent, and place your right foot on your left thigh, foot flexed.  This may be your pose or your can draw your left knee in and hold onto either your shin or if you have knee issues hold onto your thigh.  Another modification would be to use a strap.  You may wish to place a cushion under your head if you are straining through your neck.  Hold for 5 breaths then release.  Repeat second side. 


Cat/Cow – come to all fours, hands directly under shoulder, knees directly under hips.  Inhale lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin, arch through your back, tuck your tail bone under.


Knee down Plank variation – come back to all fours.  Leave your right knee where it is and take your lower right leg out to the right.  Extend your left leg out in line with your right knee, inhale and take your left hand up towards the ceiling.  Hold for 5 breaths then inhale to come back to all fours. Repeat second side.


Sphinx – come to lying on your belly with your forehead resting on your hands.  Tuck your right toes and press your right heel back.  Replace your foot on the mat and repeat second side.  Slide your elbows back under your shoulders and lift through your chest.   To come out of the pose, bend your elbows out to the sides and rest your head on on your forehead.


Extended Child’s Pose – come tp the back of your mat, big toes touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward and rest your forehead on a block, cushion or the mat.  Keep your elbows lifted and press your tail bone back.  Lengthen from your hips to your armpits, your armpits down to your fingertips.  Enjoy the stretch. 


Downward Facing Dog to Lizard lunge – from Extended Child Pose, breathe in and come back to all fours.  Breathe out and lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Breathe in and stretch your right leg back then bending your right knee, bring your right foot between your hands.  Breathe out and release your left knee to the mat.  Bring your right hand to the inside of your right foot and ‘walk’ your right foot to the right.  Turn your right toes out.  This may be your pose or to go further bring your forearms down to a block or your mat.  To increase the intensity of the pose, breathe out and lift your back knee.  To come out of the pose, lower your back knee, press into straight arms, and ‘walk’ your right foot back in.  Breathe out and step back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat second side.


Gate Pose – come kneeling on the left side of your mat.  Fold your mat over to protect your knee if you have knee issues.  Extend your right leg and bring your hands to your heart.  Inhale and stretch your arms to shoulder height.  Exhale, extend your over your right leg, bringing your right hand to your right leg (anywhere except against the knee) and your left arm up towards the ceiling.  Gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left hand.  To come out of the pose, inhale bring your arms back to shoulder height, breathe out bring your hands to your heart.  Repeat second side.


Shoulder Bridge -  come to lying on the mat with your knees bent, arms down by your sides.  Inhale press into your feet to lift your hips and bring your arms under your body.  Interlace your fingers ‘walk’ your hands towards your feet to lift your chest.  Do not turn your head while holding the pose.  Hold for 5 breaths then breathe out and release your arms out to the sides, dot your spine down.  Hug your knees in. 


Savasana – rest back on your mat tuning into any sensations.  Do you feel more free in your chest, more relaxed in your hips? Do you have more release in your shoulders?  Stay here 10- 15 minutes before deepening your breath and stretching.  Turn onto your right side with your knees drawn up to your chest and stay here a minute or two before continuing with your day. 



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, 11 March 2018

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Today’s Meatless Monday would make an ideal packed lunch. The recipe would also make a great addition to a buffet.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/meatless-monday-jewelled-couscous-salad_5.html

Mums are precious so make sure you spoil her this Sunday. Home-made edible gifts are always met with delight so why not make these baked double chocolate vegan doughnuts? If she likes dark chocolate, she will love these!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/mothers-day-baked-double-chocolate.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 for self-care - practicing ahimsa and your inner critic


We all have one - that little voice in our head that seems to be forever telling us we’re not good enough, or we have done or said the wrong thing.  Where did this inner critic come from? From an early age we absorb ideas from others - parents, teachers etc about what we should/shouldn’t do, what we should/shouldn’t look like etc. These ideas become your inner critic  These may not conform to your inner truth but  It is important to remember that your inner critic wants what is best for you, even if this is misguided.  Thinking of your inner critic as a frightened child can help you feel more kindly towards it while at the same time developing an ability to challenge the truth of what it is saying.  To try to ignore the inner critic will only make that voice louder. 


On the mat is a good place to start to quieten your inner critic.

For the sequence below you will need a block and possibly a bolster, rolled up blanket or a cushion.


Start in Easy pose – sit cross-legged on a block with your back heel a little way from your body, the back of your hands resting on your thighs and gently close your eyes.  Spend a few minutes watching your breath and noticing any thoughts that arise.  After a few minutes gently open your eyes. 

Kabalabhati breathing for letting go– if you have high blood pressure, heart issues, glaucoma or asthma an alternative breathing technique would be to lengthen the exhale compared to the inhale without straining.  Otherwise make a fist with one hand and place the other hand over then place both hands just below your navel.  Kabalabhati is a forced exhale through the nose so you might want to blow your nose before you start.  The inhales will happen naturally.  To start take a deep breath in, exhale fully, breathe in three-quarters way then begin with a forced exhale.  Continue for 10 breaths then return to normal breathing.  Repeat twice more.  If at any time you feel dizzy or are hyperventilating return to normal breathing. Please see, 'Thank goodness it's Friday - breathing practice to energise for the weekend' on my YouTube Channel.


Cat/Cow  - come to all fours.  Inhale lift your head and chest, moving your tailbone towards the ceiling, exhale tuck your chin and arch through your back.  Continue for several moves working with your breath. 


Bow pose – come to lying on your belly with your arms stretched forward and choose an option that suits your body.  Do not strain into a variation that your inner critic tells you that you should be able to do.  You may choose to do a half Bow.  Bend your right knee and reach round with your right hand for your right foot, ankle or shin.  Breathe in and press your right foot up and back, lifting your chest off the mat.  If you cannot comfortably reach your foot use a belt.  Breathe out to lower then repeat second side.  For full Bow bend both knees and reach round with both hands for your foot ankle or shin.   Inhale and press your feet up and back lifting your chest off the mat.  Exhale to lower and repeat once more.



Extended Child’s Pose – come to the back of the mat, big toes touching knees wide.  Walk your hands forward bringing your head to the mat or a block.  Keep your elbows lifted.


Downward Facing Dog to Pigeon – from Extended Child Pose inhale and come to all fours, tuck your toes.  Exhale lift your hips high for Downward Facing Dog.  Inhale stretch your right leg back, exhale bend your knee, bring your right knee towards your right wrist, lower your hips.  Walk your right foot to the left and lift your chest.  Either stay here or bend your left knee and reach for your left foot with your right hand if this feels right for you.  Acknowledge what your inner critic is saying but go with what feels right for your body.  To come out of the pose, release your left foot, bringing your right hand back to the mat then breathe out to come back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side.


Standing Forward Bend – from Downward Facing Dog walk your feet towards your hand and when your shoulders come over your wrists, release the crown of your head towards the mat.  If you need to soften your knees or take your fingertips to a block (remember there are three levels), do not strain no matter what your inner critic is telling you that you ‘ought’ to be able to do.  Please note if you suffer from heart issues, high blood pressure etc take your fingertips to a block placed at the highest level so that your head is no lower than your heart.

Side Angle to Peaceful Warrior – come to the centre of your mat, hands to your heart and take your legs wide.  Turn your right leg to the right and turn your left toes in.  Inhale stretch your arms to shoulder height, exhale bend your front knee.  Inhale and bring your right elbow to your right thigh or you can take your hand to a block placed behind your right foot or you can take your right hand to the mat.  Exhale circle your left arm down and up by your left ear. Gaze is straight ahead or up at your left hand.  Are you strong enough to go with the version that is right for your body and not the version your inner critic tells you that you ‘should’ do?  To transition to Peaceful Warrior take your right hand up towards the ceiling in one smooth movement and take your left hand to your left thigh. Can you be at peace with your inner critic?  Gaze is up at your right hand. To come out of the pose bring your arms back to shoulder height, exhale turn your feet to face forward, bring your hands to your heart.  Repeat second side. 



Tree pose – stand in the centre of your mat and bring your weight into your right leg,  Your left foot can cup your right ankle or you can take your left foot to your right shin or calf (not against your knee).  Choose what feels right for your body today.  If you wobble, what is your inner critic saying about this to you?  Exhale to release, repeat second side. 

Reclined twist – come to lying with your knees bent, your arms out at shoulder height.  Inhale lift your hips and place your hips down again to the left.  Breathe out and let your knees fall to the right.  If your left shoulder is lifting, place cushions or a bolster under your legs.  Do not strain because your inner critic tells you that you should be able to get your knees to the mat.  If it is right for neck turn your head to the left. Inhale to come back to centre, repeat second side.


Apanasana – come back lying with your knees bent.  Exhale draw your knees over your chest, place your hands on your knees.  Inhale press your knees away, exhale draw your knees tight into your chest, lifting your tailbone off the floor.  Continue for several movements then hug your knees in and rock from side to side. 



Savasana – rest back 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-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html 

Thank you 


Namaste,