Everyone loves. A little sweetness in their lives and yogis are no different. So how can you support your health, maximise your nutritional input and enjoy life?
Healthy eating improves immune functioning, gives a range and balance of nutrients and micro nutrients required, maintains a good weight and helps your teeth. Reducing sugar can help you stabilise your blood sugar, reduce addictive eating, reduce weight, improve gut bacteria to help everything from your digestion to your skin. There is alink between your micro biome and your emotional health – so reducing sugar, once past the challenging phase can leave you feeling better in yourself as well.
One of the tenants of yoga is pure and energyful. A sattvic diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, dairy, whole grains and nuts. Some foods are too rajasic: stimulating, meaning they make the body too excited and prone to anger like coffee, garlic, fizzy drinks, spicy and fried food. Tamasic foods are sedatives, they dull and defocus: stale or reheated food, sugar, alcohol, meat, fish, mushrooms and blue cheese. Here are some easy ways to increase your saatva.
How to reduce sugar easily
- Go Savoury: Reduce sugar by indulging in the stuff you love: oatcakes and cheese, seaweed thins and crisps
- Watch Your Dopamine: The kick of excitement your get is of imagining the treat rather than actually eating it… so if you are decisive you can get the same kick for ½ a donut to a whole one.
- Half it: If you want chocolate brownie eat half a serving
- Rule of thumb: Use the rule of thumb to decide on the size of treat to have each day. That will help limit the damage.
- Buy in small packets: Biscuits like Biscoff, come in small packets which can help you enjoy a small treat without the temptation to keep going.
- Small tins: Buy mini tins of coke or fizzy drinks to limit the amount you have.
- Eat enough real food: Make sure you eat enough complex carbohydrates so that you are not hungry and drink enough water so you remain hydrated.
- Honey: Use ½ to 2/3 of honey instead of sugar in recipes. Another option is to 1 cup of honey = ½ to 2/3 cup of honey, ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and reduce liquids in the recipe by ¼ of a cup. Reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Honey reduces allergies and has anti inflammatory properties.
- Agave: Not unlike honey but plant based so great for vegan and low impact planet friendly folk.
- Stevia: A plant based white sweet powder that adds sweetness but not much volume.
- Artificial sweeteners: Avoid artificial sweeteners. They seem like a ‘free lunch’ but contribute to weight gain even with ‘no calories’ and increase toxic load in the body.
Highly nutritious and low sugar
- Lotus fruit: Pick your favourite plate and spend time enjoying making a beautiful plate of prepared fruit. Or serve a bowl of fruit and nuts with knives and candied almonds asa healthy makeshift pudding.
- Fruited scones: Scones, jam and cream are delightful. Use a chia seed compote in place of the jam.
- Lemon crepes: Make crepes and serve with loads of lemon and a drizzle of honey.
- Melon with cointreau: a family favourite, simple and delightful.
- Fruit jelly;
- Love Pots: Grated apple, oats, fruit juice, nuts and dried fruit, left to steep overnight in small pots in the fridge, delicious! Maybe add ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and some pureed apple.
- Fruit Crumble: add apple juice rather than sugar and use a granola cereal for the topping)
- Yogurt Knickerbocker Glory: use plain yoghurt, layers of rolled oats and mixed berries with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to top it off.
- Honeyed fruit: Stew fruit in water and later add honey just enough to melt the honey in and to keep its full benefits.
- Fruit purees: Add fruit juice to stew your fruit in and then purree down, lovely with flaked almonds. Use as a sauce or swirl two together for fun.
- Fruit lollies: Swirl yoghurt with a little glycerine (to make it less hard) and frozen fruit to create marbled lollies.
- Baked apples: Core your apple and stuff with rainsins, bake in the nven and serves with custard.
- Try Om Bar: Delightful raw chocolate without sugar : )
Digestives with thinly sliced and a sprinkle of cinnamon
Dried fruit: try a little espresso cup as a way to serve
Potato scones or crumpets with butter
Toast & marmite
|Your normal amount||
Eat a portion the size of your thumb
Water infused with lemon or cucumber
Herbal tea: try ginger root and lemon cooked up
Tiny tins of tonic
An espresso cup of fruit juice
Gin and fizzy water, lovely!
Homemade mango and cardamom sorbet
Frozen vanilla yogurt or gelato
Plain live yoghurt, plain, honest you’ll grow to love it eventually
Apples stuffed with raisins and baked
Cook frozen fruit with chia seeds
Pureed fruit with lemon juice
|Sugar||Honey, Agave or Stevia|
Going without sugar is a great option as a reboot to the system. It might take a week, a month, a year or a decade – it depends on your system and how much it is needing a rest.
- Sugar free: Have a period of 4 or 5 days completely sugar free each week for a month. If you notice some benefit try a whole month.
- Sweet free: Have a period of 4 or 5 days completely sugar and sweet things free (including fruit, honey, agave, dried fruit. If you notice some benefit try a whole month.
Keep it Real!
I’m a great fan of having strong rules and also breaking them. This is the know your standards and aims and expect them, and also give space for real life. Whether it’s sugar, yoga practice or finances, Id encourage you to have a clear plan, and then give yourself moments of childlike freedom and joy to do what feels good. Too much of this and you’ll likely end up with a massive credit card bill and matching belly, but not enough and you just get a bit uptight and unhappy. So find your balance.
Enoy some top yoga tips for February. Print it out, stick it on the fridge or just have a peek and save it for later!
5 ways to create your perfect yoga home studio
Doing yoga online is great. You don’t have to travel. No dark, icy roads. No time wasted in the car. Tuning in to meet like-minded people, share a little, move a lot and find a sense of peace, camaraderie and community. Stretching and staying sane. What’s not to like. That said practicing yoga at home brings many challenges from intermittent WIFI to wailing children and missing seeing people in person. With Covid continuing to rage it seems we’re going to have to embrace the changes. This blog will give you simple achievable tips on how to make your yoga at home feel even better.
table of contents
- pamper your WIFI
- make space at home
- have yoga props to hand
- get a bit zen with your yoga home studio
- online etiquette
- finding health and harmony at home
pamper your WIFI
Before class turn off items that use WIFI. Yes, turn them off. Don’t imagine you can just ‘not use them’ apparently, it’s just not the same. When our WIFI was playing up we did a count items – 12! Our WIFI is not the most flash and it really needs a bit of consideration for classes to be smooth. So now before class I go round and put off phones, ask kids to shut down and unplug WIFI devices.
make space at home
So obvious, but I still find myself brushing the curtains by mistake or bumping into furniture. Before class work out a space where you can:
- fit a mat and move freely
- access a wall or some sort of support
- see the class online with a place for your device where it gives you a good view
have yoga props to hand
It’s a good idea to have a blanket, something to drink and a block or two to hand in case you need them during class. Since it’s online you can nip out anytime to go get what you need, but you’re likely to benefit more from the class if you have what you need to hand. It helps you to get the most out of your class.
get a bit zen with your yoga home studio
Everyone is different about what makes them feel chilled and nurtured so choose what appeals most to you from following to claim your space. Think Marie Kondo meets does yoga space
- light a candle or incense
- put music on just for you, a perk of being at home
- declutter anything that jars you
- create a little arrangement of meaningful items to focus your practice
- clean your space as much or as little as you need to before hand
- cleanse your space energetically by burning sage
- find lighting that makes you feel happy inside
This is great for your yoga class and you might even like it more after too.
online class etiquette
Camera on or off?
Usually yoga teachers prefer cameras on so they can check how everyone’s doing and guide you. For myself I like cameras on as I love the connection. Seeing cats come visit, children pop in all help with feeling connected and making online feel more normal.
Microphone on or off?
There’s a joy in hearing every day lives continue, with yoga questions, WIFI discussions, amused giggles and releasing sighs during class. This joy sometimes means others can’t hear well and in larger classes it seems to change the speakers amplification. Your teacher will guide you or mute you. For classes over 6 I favour muting but people unmuting at anytime to chip in and share.
Approaching your device
This is a funny one. In person we know how to refrain from giving too much information, but with a camera it’s sometimes hard to get it right all the time. As beautiful as our bodies are inadvertent crotch shots are not ideal. If you need to adjust your device, take your knees to the side.
Here are some lovely ways to increase your wellbeing and enjoy your yoga home studio:
- Check out contraindication and health issues you have so you can look after yourself really well and get some top tips on how to help.
- Find out about my wonderful yoga teacher Grandmother Connie Dennsion. She did yoga in her tiny sunlounge.
- This book on pregnancy yoga is a great way to support your home practice if your having a baby.
Why not subscribe to TheYoga for lovely yoga ideas and wellbeing tips straight to your inbox.
If you want yoga online but don’t want to sign up for class why not try this 100 day yoga challenge which only takes 10 minutes a day. You can do it every day or when you feel like. You can get a somewhat stylish yoga journal designed for the programme to keep you on track here.
Finding health and harmony at home
Check your WIFI, set out your space, get what you need, make it a bit zen and then enjoy the class. All of these things matter in making your space your own. When we come out to class we physically make space between our daily difficulties and yoga. When you’re at home you have to spend more time accepting your stuff, literally and in spirit, and working with it. Yoga is about finding balance, health and harmony through moving consciously and with the breath. Doing yoga at home gives you more time, more chance to embed your practice in your daily life and might even encourage your to start self practice. You can do yoga anywhere, but there’s no place like home!
Want to find an online yoga class? click here
If you liked this blog why not try:
Happy New Year 2021: with a free yoga tracker
Uujayi breathing: a video and blog to help you breath your way to calm
Music for love, peace and non-attachment: you might find some yoga home studio music inspiration here
Freebie Yoga Tracker >>>
Start 2021 with a motivational yoga tracker. Colour code to show the difference between a morning stretch or a full class, or simply highlight the days when you’ve done any yoga at all. Feel free to share it with your friends.
So I’ve got the funny feeling this year is going to be challenging, and thankfully every challenge has a silver lining.
For every thing we cannot do there is another thing that becomes available. I missed going out, but have loved being quieter and in the garden.
When we can’t meet friends in doors we meet outdoors. When we can’t meet outdoors we call, facetime and send cards. There are the benefits from time slowing up.
Yoga benefits immeasurablyfor having space and time.
Keping clear and motivated is important. Sometimes a good quote on a post it is enough, or your three aspirational words. Live online classes help, as does personal practice. You can use a yoga journal (£5.50 online) keep it in your diary or use the free Yoga Tracker (download above) so that you can chart your progress through the year.
Setting a time of day to practice and having a clear area means that yoga time is easier than if you have to put away the clothes, move the cat basket and move the pile of books.
In terms of looking after muscles that are active, Muslces need time to release, and some muscles release more easily than others. Stretching off muscles that are tight from use is easier than stretching off muscles that are holding emotions.
When the body is tense it takes time to feel safe and relax again. It’s a great idea that we can stretch hard for 30 monutes and come out relaxed, but in my expereince it just doesnt happen. Tension takes some care and time, to start to soften and melt. I think of it a bit like an unfolding. Like petals of a flower. We move towards a yoga pose, giving the body time to have many moments of aliveness. To open and expand.
Wishing you roots and wings for 2021