Category Archives: chi

Do you have Spring in Your Step?

A Spring Clean from the inside out

Many of us will be moving into Spring expecting to be full of energy and enthusiasm, however the reality is we are still often dragging along Winter baggage, such as coughs, colds and a few extra body pounds, just in time for the allergy season to begin too!

If you’d like a little more spring in your step – try some of these –

🌟Warm Lemon Water
Upon waking and before eating sip warm water with a the juice of 1/2 a and a little honey – this has lots of benefits including encouraging your skin to glow, a shot of Vitamin C, a digestive aid, good source of potassium and it keeps us hydrated.

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🌟Keep hydrated all day
Filter water into jugs at the start of the day so you can see how much you are drinking. Pour this into bottles and carry them around with you, have one in the car one in your bag, don’t leave in the sun though. Don’t like water? – try adding adding a squeeze of lemon, orange or cucumber slices.  Alternatively drink herbal teas.

🌟Body Brushing for a Spring Glow
Give your skin a gentle body brush starting from the knees up, brush upwards towards the  heart and if you don’t have a special brush use a dry flannel to kick start this morning habit. Body brushing helps to improve circulation and cell renewal, shed dead skin, adds a healthy glow and stimulates lymph drainage and the removal of toxins. Ideally do this for 5 to 10 minutes a couple of times a day.

🌟Self Massage
Gentle self massage is also great, you can do this with or without oils. If you do use oil use a light one such as almond mixed with grapefruit oil for improved circulation. Massage as many bits as you can reach – gently knead, twist, pat, stroke and brush. Remember your hands, feet and face too. Even better if you have a little helper, my daughter and I really love to massage each other’s feet at bedtime.

massage

🌟Move your body
Get out and walk and notice the Spring as it moves forward. Observe the blossom leaving, the leaves appearing, new flowers blooming and the light changing.  Maybe take a sketch book and draw 5 new things you notice, they can be rough sketches nobody will mark you. Or simply pause, breathe and and just spend some time in nature, your garden may even suffice.love spring

🌟Enjoy Yoga
Particularly sun salutations and detoxifying twists.
I’ve written a post about yoga simple ways to weave it into homelife and family too – here. I’m an Iambe practitioner and this can include teaching kids and their parents simple fun family yoga poses, so let me know if you’d like me to come over to share some Spring Asanas with you!

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🌟 Explore QiGong
It’s pretty simple to learn, excellent for developing concentration, physical strength and energy,  perhaps try the 8 Brocades for starters.  I love QiGong outdoors and in, you’ll find plenty of videos on YouTube to practice and again it’s something you can fit in around children if you are a busy parent.  I try to learn a sequence then have a go at it on my own at home or even when I’m out walking in nature, just short simple sequences here and there.

13876592_1220304914667564_8596789861692689881_n🌟Meditate
Cross your legs or sit upright in a chair. Either gaze at something on the floor or close your eyes. Have a little check in with your body and where you are in the space in the room, allow yourself to settle a bit.  Now, notice the Spring air breath as it comes in through your nostrils and out again.  Each time your mind wanders away, which it will do, just gently and kindly bring it back again to the breathe.  Sit like this for a while, I like to set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes and do this first thing in the morning before everyone is awake. You may like to try it out on a walk, find a place to sit and be still and quiet. When you have finished notice how you feel. Create a daily habit.  If  you need any guidance let me know as I’m trained to teach mindfulness and happy to share it with you for free.  You may also enjoy this post.

🌟Reduce oily foods
Look for fresh seasonal foods – my kids are enjoying radishes at the moment in salads and with humus, a good Ayervedic Spring recommendation along with garlic, chillies and spring greens – which they aren’t so keen on! Minimise sweet, salty foods, caffeine and dairy, not so easy over Easter but that’s OK you can allo17202923_628588677340922_3634881168588647173_nw yourself to indulge it’s about finding balance.   I did once pick nettles at the allotment and created a Spring nettle soup from a Hugh Fernley recipe, it was much tastier than expected, the kids surprisingly enjoyed it too!

🌟Breathe
Take 3 long slow continuous deep belly breaths now – out with the old and inhale the new.  Right nostril breathing is also warming – I’ll share a video about this soon on my Facebook page

🌟Air your mattress 
Turn it over and even treat yourself to some new bed linen. According to Feng Shui principles, making our beds each day is important as it’s a way to declutter and put a positive Spring spin into our day.

🌟A Spring Declutter
Tidy one drawer for starters – get rid of what doesn’t serve you, or bag it up and put it in the loft if you can’t bear to loose it. Now clear another drawer …  This is a great way to mentally declutter too.

🌟Dust if You Must – Clear away the cobwebs physically and metaphorically.  Some people like to burn sage around the nooks and crannies of their homes.

I’d love to hear what you like to do to help keep you mentally, physically and spiritually energised and on top Spring form. Please do comment below.

❤️Set an intention to Step into Spring with a Spring❤️

Jane x

#yogarascal #iambe #parentingrascal

Disliked by the deer, rabbits, squirrels, pigeons, caterpillars and Ellie – is Kale for you?

Vegetable of the month – Curly KALE 

Of all the brassicas I’ve trialled growing over the years curly Kale is a favourite. Not only because it is so meaty, robust and healthy to eat but it has also for the paskale 2t 12 years survived deer, pigeon, squirrel,  caterpillar attacks and it’s neglectful carers.

Our sandy and dry soil at the Alpha Road Alloment, Woking also provides the perfect conditions for it to grow.   In our early enthusiastic years we grew brussel sprouts, sprouting broccoli, cabbages and more brassicas. However, these need netting, staking, feeding, collars and more and now that we no longer live in walking distance we’ve gone for ease over variety.

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Today, an excited urge to visit and view the frosty allotment whilst my family slept on resulted in a good hair cut for a frosty and bushy kale plant. Polar beetroot balls and icy leeks were also forked and heaved out of the soil. Visiting my Sicilian neighbours chickens warmed my hands slightly, as we sprinkled them Christmas leftovers and chatted about the weather.

The kale defrosted on the way home and I’ve made a simple made up kale salad –

  • threw away the tough stalks
  • chopped and crushed by hand the leaves to release the fragrance
  • toasted a handful or so of walnuts
  • chopped feta
  • spooned over cider vinegar, olive oil and pepper

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More here on the health benefits of kale

There will be regrowth from the leaves I’ve picked for more trimming soon, and I’ll plant new seeds in the Spring or cheat and buy plug plants from ebay.

To Kale or Not to Kale. #iambe

Jane x

A Christmas Chi Swim

Ever had a Chi Swim, a swim where you experience  calm, connection and conciousness? Nor had I, so ever curious, I decided to try it at the Christmas Day swimming session at Spectrum Leisure Centre in Guildford.

This year, I’ve explored more Tai Chi and Qi Gong and have met some very inspirational teachers and pupils. Once I stopped being frustrated with trying to follow the moves and get them right I started to just enjoy moving and being in a meditative state even if I often made it up. With each new session the sequence of moves is becoming clearer and more flowing.

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Tai Chi skills for me mean connecting and communicating with breath, body and energy.  For Christmas, Nanny Gill gave me Danny Dreyer’s  book ‘Chi Running  which gave me the idea to try Chi Swimming. He says the underlying skills in this running form are :

  • focus
  • body sensing
  • breathing
  • relaxing

He continues,  the process is the goal. Chi skills are valuable skills and worthwhile goals at the same time. So each time we practice focusing our mind, we are accomplishing our goal of being focused.

I largely made up my Christmas Chi Swim, I’m sure there’s plenty of writing out finsthere about it however, I’ve decided to write from this experience first and then check what it says after as part of my own learning process.

Firstly, I looked across the water and knew that I wanted to swim 40 lengths, so set an intention to swim them in under 30 minutes. I visualised myself achieving this and sensed how my body and mind would be. I stood, breathed and centered for a moment before I got in the water.

I focused on my dantien, the energy in my core, more here.  I wanted to glide through the water with minimal effort or muscle tension in my limbs with this invisible,  pure energy flowing through my body.

I have swimming fins, which I’m sure are quite a cheats way to swim but they really do help with my alignment and balance and they helped me to achieve a noise and splash reduced swim. I used my arms and hands mostly in front crawl motion, focusing on long smooth, relaxed and efficient movements. I was more aware than ever of the water and felt very present to this and the noises around. My breathing was as long as deep as possible and during the rest breaks I continued to inhale and exhale with awareness.

The swim was sub 30 minutes, infact I also became less aware of the time. It’s definitely an experience I wish to repeat as I did not only feel calm, connected and concious throughout but these sensations lasted the remainder of Christmas Day.

If you’ve ever explored a chi swim or would like to find out more you might also enjoy this chi doggy paddle to get you started.

Jane x