Monday, 4 November 2013

Smile and the whole world smiles with you

If You Just Smile!

Being happy is not all about glossing over the reality of life or ignoring important or serious issues, it's about the attitude we have that helps us face reality and work through issues more positively.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Raw Food

When Nicole started telling me about her new Yoga and Raw Food Retreat I suspect I reacted as a lot of people might and said “raw food, isn´t that just like eating salad?”. How wrong was I as she went on to tell me about a yummy raw lasagne and some delicious raw tacos she had made!  


Russell James www.therawchef.com

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

How yoga reverses the signs of ageing

It's pretty much accepted that as the human body ages it tends to stiffen & tighten up. When we're young we're flexible and agile but, as we get older, our range of movement, strength, stamina and flexibility all diminish.



And if that's not enough, sooner or later, we notice subtle aches & pains that make even the simplest of movements difficult and which drain our energy.          

As our bodies stiffen, not only do we feel uncomfortable, but we speed up the onset of disease & degeneration.  A stiff body inhibits the flow of our circulatory system - the very system that delivers oxygen & nutrients to every organ & cell within the body.  This gradual undernourishment contributes to premature ageing of the body.  Nerves, glands and muscles together with the energy networks in the spine, all begin a slow decline.

It's not too late to change ...


Friday, 23 August 2013

Yogi Tea


Here at Yoga Breaks in Spain we do all we can to take care of both the physical and spiritual well-being of our guests while they are with us in Spain.

One way in which we do this is to offer a range of yogi herbal teas that revitalise the senses and boost the immune system.



We use these teas as herbs have proven therapeutic benefits, for example:

Sunday, 11 August 2013

From Illness to Bliss – An interview with Nicole Stone Founder of Mind Body Sol Retreats CB

"From Illness to Bliss"   Interview with Nicole Stone published in Natural Health Magazine.

Tell us a little bit about yourself… Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in the UK, just outside of London but for the past 10 years, I’ve lived in Spain on the Alicante coast. It’s a very beautiful area with long, sandy beaches set against coast hugging mountains that tumble down to the sea.   The scenery here is always breath-taking & changing with the seasons. For the first time in my life, I live with a sea view & now, I don’t think I could live without it.   When I lived in the UK, I was juggling a full time event management & marketing role, teaching yoga in the evenings, raising a young family & fitting in as much ‘friend & family’ time as my busy schedule would allow.  I’m ashamed to say that when I lived in the UK, my daughter (who was under 2) spent up to 10 hours a day at a childminder whilst myself & my husband worked.

Where do you currently teach and what is a typical day like for you?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Happy Feet – Look After Your Feet

I must admit to having shoe envy. I love seeing all the new shoe styles; modern or classic, wedges or heels, flats or sky high but I often wonder what some of them do to your feet.


Kim Kardashian showed us her swollen feet recently; admittedly she was pregnant at the time but ouch!

                         

Your feet take the whole weight of you so if you find they are killing you after a hard day here’s how to keep them feeling and looking fabulous.

If you like to or have to wear heels or pointed toe shoes at work why not vary the heel height over the days and wear sensible shoes to and from work.

Do your shoe shopping in the afternoon. Your feet swell during the day so shoes that you try then should be comfy all day.
Keep your toe nails trimmed and always cut your nails straight across. This helps to avoid ingrown nails.

Manage dry skin, even in winter when nobody is going to see your feet. This will ensure any corns or hard skin areas don't become too painful. A build-up of dry skin is tough to deal with at short notice when summer arrives and can also harbour infections
After buffing with a pumice or foot file apply a specially formulated foot cream
Let your feet breathe whenever you can and take flip flops to the gym, pool or spa to avoid picking up athletes foot or a verruca.

Don’t share nail clippers or foot files and even bath towels, especially if you or someone in your house has a nail fungus or athletes foot.

Walk! Walking is great exercise for your feet as the movement puts the foot through its whole range of motion. Put your comfy shoes on and step it out!
Alternatively, at the end of a hard day on your feet, try these flex and resist exercises.

Sit comfortably with your feet flat in the floor, now lift your leg and gently rotate your ankle through 360 degrees 20 times one way and 20 the other, repeat with the other foot.

Pop a resistance band around a piece of heavy furniture and sit in front of it. Put one foot into the loop of the band just so your toes show through,  now pull back towards you with your toes and you should feel a nice stretch into your heel. Do this 15 to 20 times with each foot.

On a Health Break with Yoga Breaks in Spain you will get a chance to walk, practice yoga and pilates and enjoy the culture of Spain while looking after your feet......



“The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art” Leonardo da Vinci
Namaste

Friday, 26 July 2013

Yoga versus Pilates – What´s the Difference


Yoga versus Pilates – What´s the Difference

As some of you may know, twice a year we offer a combined Yoga and Pilates holiday.
While walking the beautiful Denia coastline a few weeks ago with some guests on our latest joint holiday I asked how they were finding the two different disciplines.
For more information on our Yoga and Pilates Holidays in Spain click the link 



People who practice yoga on a regular basis found the Pilates quite challenging as the main attention is on the central part of the body using the core to improve the position of the backbone.
                   

The Pilates regulars told me they found the yoga equally challenging as it is a "whole if body workout" with different breathing techniques
                                                                                                                                                             
An article by M Eisner summarises the key differences in Pilates vs. yoga from their origins to their key benefits

Difference No. 1: Origin

The practice of yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. It has evolved over the centuries and cultures into many different types of yoga: Ashtanga, Kripalu, Bikram and Vineyasa, to name just a few.

Pilates is a much younger practice, beginning in the mid-20th century by an athlete named Joseph Pilates. He created the exercises as a form of rehabilitation and strengthening. But dance is what made Pilates really popular. Dancers around the world began modifying and utilizing the practice to help them become stronger in their training and performance.

Difference No. 2: Mind & Body…and Spirit

Both yoga and Pilates bring an understanding that the mind and body are connected. However, yoga adds an additional element to the mix—the spirit. Exploring spirituality is a huge part of yoga practice, especially through meditation. While Pilates focuses on creating an understanding that the mind and body are connected and how this can help in everyday life, yoga focuses on the mind/body/spirit connection.

Difference No. 3: The Class

Each class you walk into will be different, so it’s tough to pinpoint specific distinctions, but this is one of the most frequently asked questions, so here goes…
Many yoga classes are flexible in routine. Postures, sequences and variations can be combined into tens of thousands of routines to create a class. So it will be up to the style of yoga you practice and the teacher guiding you to decide what’s on the agenda. There are some styles of yoga that have more of a set plan, such as Ashtanga and Bikram.
Pilates classes are a little more structured. Because of this, you will more likely know what to expect when you walk into the door of a Pilates class than in a yoga class.
Another element that is often (but not always) brought into a yoga class is meditation. Many yoga classes use a chant or meditation to bring in the focus and dedication at the beginning, and to seal in and appreciate the benefits of the practice at the end.

Difference No. 4: The Workout

In both practices, you will gain strength and flexibility. Pilates classes offer a total body workout but focus on aligning the spine and strengthening the core. The exercises done in Pilates classes almost always involve regimented movements to gain core and spine strength. Some classes and one-on-one sessions use machines to gain strength, while others keep you on the mat and use your body’s resistance to build results.
In a yoga class, you will work out every muscle in your body equally. Each posture is accompanied by a counter-posture to ensure you create balance in your body. While core-strength is definitely an important element in yoga, it is more of a piece of yoga, rather than the entire focus.

Difference No. 5: Breathing Techniques

Breathing and concentration techniques are important to both yoga and Pilates practices. However, yoga uses breath work on a very deep level. In energetic flow-based yoga classes such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga, the practice is called the ujjayi breath, where yogis breathe in and out through the nose, matching these deep breaths to the movements and postures. Often in yoga classes, there will be segments dedicated to breath work, called pranayama.

For more information on our Yoga and Pilates Holiday please go to YogaBreaks

Namaste

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Yoga Music Playlists


Yoga Music Playlists



Music is such a personal thing and the choice of music for a Yoga class is a very tricky one. Any music played in a Yoga class should be there primarily as an aid to assist students

a) in gaining inner wellbeing, 
b) to help unclutter their minds and 
c) to find tranquillity.

Deciding whether to play music during Yoga classes is a tough call and needs careful thought and planning to get right. Students don't want to be subjected to someone's annoying bad taste in music or hear tunes that distract them by evoking memories.
Some Yogis prefer to conduct their classes without music, this way they can completely tune into their students breathing, adapt to their needs, include chanting and change the flow of the lesson if necessary.

Some have their tunes and they're sticking to them! Only a very well respected Yoga teacher can get away with playing the same tunes class after class.

At Yogabreaks our teachers try to judge the mood and specific tastes of our guests, coupled with the seasons and the weather which influence the music chosen in our yoga sessions on our holidays in Spain
.
Others are not so well prepared and are constantly interrupting the flow of the lesson by running backwards and forwards changing tracks.


Because music is a matter of personal preference it's a debate that will continue. What we would suggest is, if you don't like the music being played; please let your teacher know. They would much rather receive your feedback than lose you as a student.


For help on inspiring Yoga tunes we have found the following playlist examples…

The Yoga Journal suggests,  and we at Yogabreaks agree that the following tunes are ideal  for working through your daily sun salutation

·         Gayatri Mantra by Deva Premal and Miten
·         Sunrise by Norah Jones
·         Gayatri by Girish
·         Sun Is Shining by Bob Marley
·         Gayatri Mantra by Nada Shakti and Bruce Becvar
·         Surya by Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach
·         In the Sun by Donna De Lory
·         Gayatri (Luscious Chill Mix) by Wah
·         (Final Curtain Call) Let the Sun Shine In by the New Broadway Cast of Hair


Being a talented musician and keen Yoga devotee we were interested to see what Adam Levine’s Yoga playlist is. Here are his favourite Yoga workout tunes

·         Time After Time by Quinton Tarver and Lee Perry
·         Tired Of Being Alone by Al Green
·         Brown Sugar by D'Angel
·         A Long Walk by Jill Scott
·         What's Goin On by Marvin Gaye
·         Kick Push by Lupe Fiasco
·         You Know That I'm No Good by Amy Winehouse
·         Maybe I'm Amazed by Jem
·         Life is Sweet by Natalie Merchant
·         Turn Me On by Norah Jones
·         Games Without Frontiers by Peter Gabriel
·         Love's Divine by Seal
·         Whenever, Wherever, Whatever by Maxwell
·         We Are One by Kelly Sweet
Jennifer Aniston works out to these tunes selected by her personal trainer
·         My Friend by Groove Armada
·         Pastime Paradise by Stevie Wonder
·         Let Me Roll by Seal
·         Lebanese Blond by Thievery Corporation
·         Speed of Sound by Coldplay
·         Jane Says by Jane's Addiction
·         If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys
·         Trouble by Ray LaMontagne
·         Shelter by Ray Lamontagne
·         Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones
·         Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

At www.yogabreaks.org.uk, We´d love to hear what some of your favourite Yoga music is or if indeed you prefer your Yoga without music. Let us know your views on our facebook page Yogabreaks on Facebook
Namaste

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Delicious Spanish Almond Cake


Spanish Almond Cake Recipe


This delicious & light cake is very typical of the Alicante region of Spain where Almond trees grow abundantly.   It also just so happens to be one of the cakes we make in the Spanish Cookery Workshop on our Yoga Breaks in Spain.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Celebrity Men Who Practice Yoga

Celebrity Men Who Practice Yoga

Just like the ladies, many male celebrities accredit Yoga for their physical and spiritual wellbeing.
Robert Downey Jr is a fan of Power Flow Yoga a vinyassa style hot room Yoga which flows like a dance. He says he has found relief from his addictions through Yoga.
Matthew McConaughey seems to prefer to practice his Yoga outside and is often seen working through his asana on the beach in Los Angeles, shirtless (does he even own a shirt?)
                                                                                 
                                
Initially Sting had a dim view of Yoga "When I was younger, I preferred more aggressive exercise, such as running, and didn't fancy the idea of sitting on the floor contemplating my navel, as I rather naively considered it at the time." he then continues " Of course, I was totally wrong. Ashtanga Yoga requires a great deal of physical and mental effort, and it wasn't long before I became hooked.  
Apparently Adam Levine couldn't touch his toes before he started Yoga only a few years ago but now has his poses down to a fine art.
                               



Just like Lady Gaga many male celebrities practice Bikram Yoga. Prince Harry says "Bikram Yoga is the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I'm addicted; I want to do it every day." David Beckham now practices Bikram Yoga following his a one on one session with the founder Bikram Choudhoury.
Ashton Kuchter was introduced to Yoga by his ex-wife Demi Moore and also now practices the Bikram style as does Robbie Williams.
Please share with us your favourite yoga male

see behind the scenes at @yogabreaks
Choose a Yoga or health holiday in Spain with Yoga Breaks in Spain or browse our photo boards here 
Namaste






Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Celebrity Women Who Practice Yoga

Celebrity Women Who Practice Yoga

Even in the most stressful situations, Yoga clears the mind of cluttered thoughts and leaves you physically and mentally refreshed. This is why many of our favourite celebrities practice Yoga. Here are a few of our favourite ladies.
Jennifer has been practicing Yoga for some time and credits her improved posture, strong arms and longer limbs to her 2 hour a day Yoga classes. In the stressful build up to her much anticipated wedding to Justin Theroux she says "Yoga kinda helps you prepare for everything. Honestly, it's like meditation. It just allows anything that is coming at you throughout the day to be kind of doable".

Jennifer Aniston


Gisele Bundchen

Gisele practiced Yoga and meditation throughout her pregnancy which she says resulted in a very tranquil birth. She also used Yoga to lose her baby weight.




  
Lady Gaga

Says she does "a ton of Yoga" and doesn't do anything by half, this includes her exercise regime. She practices Bikram Yoga which is a hard 90 minute session in a hot, humid room where she works through the 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises.



Madonna

Another celebrity who likes to work out to extremes is Madonna. She has said she was once addicted to Yoga, practicing seven days a week. She says "Yoga is a metaphor for life. You have to take it really slowly. You can’t rush. You can’t skip the next position. You find yourself in very humiliating situations, but you can’t judge yourself. You just have to breathe, and let go. It is a workout for your mind, your body and your soul"


Reese Witherspoon

Reese says she's hooked on YogaHop which is high-energy and fun. It features hip-hop, rock and pop and all the energy of a dance party. The result is an East meets West Yoga style that's both athletic and spiritually soothing.

Why not post a comment and let us know who your favourite Yoga ladies are or who inspires you the most.

Namaste

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Candy Crush Yoga

CANDY CRUSH YOGA

Wasting too much time and energy on annoyingly addictive games when you have more important issues to deal with? 



Here's how to play our version called CAnamasDY Crush

level 1 - Sea of Tranquility 

Target - Clear your head in under 10 minutes

Select a Booster - a healthy smoothie, herbal tea or detoxing juice, perhaps?

Sit down (adopt the lotus position for maximum points)
Switch off your phone, the game will end if you have any interruptions and you will have to start again from the beginning
Hold the device in both hands arms out, level with your waist
Close your eyes
Imagine yourself in your own sweet world
Line up 3 or more issues, see them for what they really are, unimportant? insignificant? worthy of more structured thought? and crush them
The more issues you resolve or see more clearly, the more life you gain

Once you have cleared all the "jelly" from your mind, you have  completed this level. Wonderful! 

If you did not clear this level, try again. You can still feel wonderful though!

Next - move on to the next level of your journey to inner peace

Hint: DONT give your life away



Namaste

Monday, 27 May 2013

Bingo Wings


Maybe humans are evolving and developing wings for flying?  Nice thought, but wishful thinking I'm afraid.
Bingo wings are the nemesis of the middle aged woman. As you get older the muscles in the upper arm reduce slightly and the skin starts to loose it's elasticity, gravity takes over and you find yourself "flapping" whenever you raise your arms! 

Michelle Obama is the First Lady of one of the world’s super powers, is she applauded for her humanitarian work? Well yes, but she is also most famous for her lovely taut upper arms!  She admits as the world’s eyes are on her, she works extra hard at keeping the bingo wings at bay

I'm afraid if you already have bingo wings only hard graft will help to reduce them.  If you don't have them, yippee! but maybe now would be a good time to start to actively keep them at bay.
For a yoga solution to bingo wings, the sun salutations are a great way to warm up the arm, shoulder and upper back area.
Good asana for arm strength are the plank and side plank poses. The downward facing dog, upward facing dog, crow pose, hand stand, head stand and peacock poses all help to tone the upper arms.
To further enhance your upper arms, combine your toning exercises with a daily skin scrub. This will not only improve the look of your arms by exfoliating away the dead skin, it will also stimulate the circulation which in turn will help break down any fatty deposits.


Namaste




Friday, 24 May 2013

The Power of Colour


THE POWER OF COLOUR

Many of us have been to, or know of someone who has been to a colour therapist to learn which colour clothes will suit them best. Along with making us feel better about ourselves, there are long established beliefs in many countries, faiths and religions about the power colour can have and it's ability to influence.Advertisers and marketing experts use colour as a very powerful tool to mix with their words. Check out the following corporate logos and the advertisement industries colour meanings:

 
Interior decorating is another massive area where thoughtful colour choices can change the ambience of any room. Blue is considered a cold colour and red hot, just as they would be in nature, blue ice and red fire. Employees complained about being cold in a blue meeting room, when repainted peach and with no change in the level of heating, the same employees felt warm enough to relax and take their jackets off.
Wearing colours that suit your skin tone can not only make you look good. Introducing accent colours or having certain colours around can also help you on a more subconscious or spiritual level. Sportsmen wearing red have been found to win more often than those in any other colour.
Take a look at a few of the colour meanings below and see if consciously incorporating colour into your  surroundings helps you. For example, wearing red to your yoga session may help when you are feeling sluggish or unmotivated and a blue suit may help you feel calm when attending an interview or important meeting.
Red Stimulates brain wave activity, increases heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, excites sexual glands. It warms and awakens physically and energises  blood.
Take care as too much red can over stimulate and make some illnesses worse. 
Orange The colour of joy and wisdom, energy and internal connection. It stimulates appetite and is a good colour for digestive illness.
This colour, in conjunction with red, is used by many fast food chains as it encourages customers to eat quickly and leave.
Yellow The colour of sunshine. It is the colour of wisdom and emotion, (especially happiness). It energizes, relieves depression, improves memory, stimulates appetite and helps with digestive problems.
Green Has a calming and balancing effect on the nervous system. Soothing and relaxing, green can ease one from depression, anxiety or nervousness. Since green stimulates growth, care should be taken with illnesses including tumours.
Blue Calming and cooling to the system and therefore a good colour to counteract hypertension. Spiritually it is the colour of health and connects us to holistic thought. Advertisers use blue as it promotes corporate, trust, reliability and belonging.
Violet Is the  colour to aid healing. It stimulates the immune system and enhances intuition, connecting us to our unconscious self. Violet represents the future, imagination and dreams.
Purple Cleansing, strengthening, and awakening. It has the power to suppress appetite restoring the peaceful environment. It affects the skeletal system of the body and is a good colour for improving immunity, cancerous conditions, and arthritis. It also purifies the system and is an excellent colour for headaches and migraines.
Purple is also the colour of royalty, power and leadership.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Best Yoga pose for Strong Abs!


Even better than Navasana (boat pose) is forearm plank.  A great strengthener for the stomach & back muscles and great for posture definition.   Read more ....