FEELING WIRED OR ANXIOUS POST-EXERCISE?

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Have you ever experienced post-work out panicking or an inability to wind down? Or have you ever connected the two? Unfortunately it can be one possible side effect of overworking your upper body or working with incorrect alignment.

Overstimulating your upper back and neck muscles, particularly for stressed people, can send the body into panic mode as these are the same muscles that activate when we sense danger. The brain takes this tension as an indication that you’re about to go into some kind of battle, and floods the body with stress chemicals such as adrenaline.

Increasing the blood flow, and thus relaxation around these tissues, helps reset the nervous system back into cruise-control by flooding the body with relaxation chemicals and endorphins.

Try the following to help keep you strong but calm:

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CHANGING THE STORIES

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We have all created narratives throughout our lives that keep us locked into unhealthy thought patterns. Even though these stories make us feel fearful, angry, sad or anxious, we love them because they feel like home: they’re comfortable, familiar & predictable.

One of the stories I love to run is that life = worry. I pick through my day to find something to hyper focus on and build into a worry story. This story is great at keeping me occupied and stopping me from venturing out of my comfort zone. Another common story people love, is to find ways of blaming other people for the misfortunes in their own lives. As long as they can blame others they’ll never have to look at their own part in the story and change their ways. There are many, many stories we tell ourselves…do you know yours?

Despite our stories having strong pathways (due to constant use!) it is totally possible to re-write them, I can vouch for this. The steps outlined below have been incredibly helpful in rewriting new nourishing stories.

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ORIGINS: OUR ROOTS, OUR PLANET, OUR FUTURE

“Four years, 19 countries, and 24 experts in anthropology, medicine, ecology, and health have exposed the roots of our DNA and how to prevent the modern world from making you sick.” – well.org

This film is informative, thought provoking and well-substantiated. It addresses many of the issues I have written on and am passionate about. I highly recommend you view it while it’s still free to watch.

‘Origins’ addresses the importance of getting back to nature with how we eat, move and exist. It looks into how many unneccessary modern illnesses suffered by humans of all ages are triggered and the multiple different ways they are made worse. These include over-prescribed medical drugs, our disconnect and disrespect of nature, over-sanitised modern living, the glorification of “busy”, and our inability to slow down and tune in to ourselves.

Enjoy “rare access to 38 of the world’s most respected authorities – from Harvard-Trained physicians to natural beauty experts to heads of sustainability councils to board-certified nutritionists and others.” – Origins Deep Dive

 

 

BE AT BUCKLEY’S MENU! 7/10/14

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Be at Buckley’s is back by popular demand! Find the fabulous new menu below for the next Tasha/Be and Mr. Buckley’s collaborative night!

Be At Buckley’s is a one-night, monthly dining event with a three-course menu that emphasizes the importance of eating seasonal, local and organic produce that is served in a modern and healthful manner.

Once agin the menu is curated by myself, and masterfully prepared by head chef Daryll Wilson. Expect organic grass-fed meats, wild fish, organic vegetables, fresh salads and inventive desserts that are free from refined sugars, pasteurised dairy and grains.

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As I’m sure you all know, I’m extremely passionate about this healthful and healing way of eating, and have seen first-hand the amazingly positive effects it has had on myself and numerous clients.

If you suffer with food allergies, or often leave a meal out feeling bloated/wired/tired, or feel ratty the following day, then this night is a must. Of course for those already super fit, healthy and well, your bellies will simply love our nutrient dense, organic, local and seasonal fare!

Bookings: Mr. Buckley’s 020 3664 0033

277 Hackney Rd, London E2 8NA, United Kingdom

Press Enquiries: press@luxandnoah.com

In keeping with the grain-free, pre-industrial or paleolithic influence of the Be At Buckley’s menu, I wanted to highlight an earlier post of mine on the benefits of this way of eating. Get the full scoop, and if you’re not already eating this way, try slowly incorporating aspects of it into your everyday diet: LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

MINDFUL EATING

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I have been studying the emotional connections to food and eating for such a long time, and feel like I’ve only just scraped the surface. It is a HUGE subject! Not only does food/eating have the ability to alter mood, behaviours and habits depending on our individual chemical make-ups, it can also have strong and lasting emotional associations. The act of eating is intricately connected to developmental behaviours, cultural, religious and social occasions and, very often, parental coping strategies! The classic example of the latter is rewarding children with sweets for good behaviour, or denying them for misbehaviour  – very early on in life we learn to associate consuming sweets with comfort and reward, and denying sweets as a tool for punishment and a display of will-power.

The reality of this situation, which we rarely draw attention to, is that consuming or denying the sweets did not solve the issue that initially sparked the upset. As a result we go into adult life associating rewards (or ‘sweetness’) with external factors, rather than something we can manifest ourselves. Conversely, we can also punish and ‘control’ ourselves by consciously choosing to deny the things we think bring us pleasure.

It is clear to see (though tricky to admit) that consuming or denying food is about numbing or suppressing an emotional issue momentarily. Painful, unresolved emotions, ailments, illness, injuries and uncomfortable issues will keep arising until we have the courage to go into the discomfort and change the patterns. Over-consuming or denying food is not enough to silence the intelligence of our body – our bodies will keep manifesting illnesses (be it skin issues, allergies, repetitive injuries, mood irregularities, asthma, hormonal imbalances and so on) until we stop, listen, acknowledge and let go. Binge eating or food restriction is not natural, it is a sign that something in our lives needs to change.

For me personally, learning to eat mindfully was the first step in helping to rewrite the emotional connections I have with food. Bringing awareness to what you’re eating – the textures, colours, flavours – all assist in calming the nervous system, which in turn helps us to better tune into what we are truly hungry for, and when we are truly sated.

Here are some really simple go to tips to help practise mindful eating:

BEFORE EATING

1. Create a calm environment – turn off the TV, laptop, phone, stereo, put away any reading material and if appropriate try to not converse with anyone(!). A busy environment agitates the nervous system and weakens digestive juices.

2. Sit down and stay seated throughout your meal – make sure you’re sitting comfortably with a long spine so your gut has space to digest (no hunching over your plate and squashing your belly and ability to assimilate your food!)

3. Take 5 slow calm breaths – this calms the nervous system and helps clean away any agitative or nervous thoughts. This not only allows to you eat peacefully but also helps break the habit of using food to block or numb negative feelings or emotions.

4. Be grateful – look at your food and mentally recite a sentence of gratitude for what you are about to eat. Practising gratitude is an incredibly strong and effective way of rewiring negative thought patterns and also helps attract better things into your life.

WHILE EATING

1. Chew each mouthful until it is liquid – this not only kick starts better digestion but also ensures you will release four times as much serotonin (the happy, stress-busting, mood-regulating hormone)

2. Put your fork down between mouthfuls – this will also help you eat a bit slower. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register that you are full so take your time!

3. . Smell, chew, taste – notice the different flavours, textures and aromas of your food. Tuning into this info will help you get clear on what foods, and therefore what nutrients/minerals/vitamins, your body is really craving. Often it is our brain that decides what we should eat rather than what we are truly craving.

4. Be aware of what your body is communicating – watch what thoughts come up for you while you eat. Pay attention to your breath, heart rate, temperature, posture, muscular tension, mood. Bringing awareness to these factors without any judgement allows you to better tune in to your deeper senses and what they are trying to communicate to help you be the healthiest happiest version of yourself! Never deny the innate wisdom within your body that is constantly trying to communicate and get your attention.

AFTER YOUR MEAL

Continue to sit and be still for at least 3 minutes after your meal – this allows everything to compute and assimilate in a mindful and healthful manner.

ROUTINE REMINDER!

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The past few months have been a little crazy for me – buying and moving house, planning and executing various collaborations, studying, all on top of seeing my clients, has really threatened to impede on my daily routine. As expounded in this previous post, my routine centres around enabling my three most important daily habits – meditation, exercise and healthy eating – all of which play such an important role in keeping me grounded.

Your daily routine should be informed by, and in sync with, your short and long-term goals (outlined in this blog here). In spite of all the chaos going on, I made sure that each night I planned the following day’s routine. It’s important to stick to it as closely as you can, but also important to allow flexibility. Some days things might really get out of your hands and you’re not be able to meet goals exactly as planned, but adapt as best you can. Over the past few weeks I have meditated at different times throughout the day and in many different settings, I’ve taken a range of new exercise classes, and (as I’ve been without a kitchen) have discovered many new healthy places to eat around London – so there have been some upsides!

A daily routine is absolutely essential to:

  • Stay grounded, clear-headed and aligned with your goals
  • Creating good habits
  • Help get tasks done more efficiently and with less fuss
  • Give you the ability to measure progress and to see that success is achievable
  • Encourage commitment and perseverance
  • Providing a sense of security and familiarity

Of course you can create any type of routine that works for you, be it one that covers just the morning and/or evening, just your work day, the full day – whatever!

I am a fan of a good solid morning routine, as I find waking up early and aligning your biorhythms with the rhythms of nature can be a very powerful and uplifting experience. Racing against the clock from the moment the alarm sounds can be very jarring on your nervous system, and can set a pretty stressful tone for the day ahead.

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Simple tips to help set up a morning routine:

  • Get to bed before by 11pm
  • Clear your bed and bedroom space of all electrical devices such as phones, laptops and televisions
  • Make your bedroom your sanctuary, a place that is relaxing, calm and inviting
  • Get really clear about your perfect way to wake up and start the day – what would you be doing, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing…
  • Be aware that routine can change over time, just know that what you choose, you will mentally adhere and commit to

Morning routine ideas:

  • Meditate
  • Practise some breathing exercises
  • Mentally recite or write a list of everything you are grateful for
  • Make a to-do list
  • Work out what your peak working hours will be, and prioritize accordingly
  • Drink a large glass of warm water with lemon
  • Read
  • Stretch
  • Exercise
  • Sing
  • Shower
  • Oil pull

If you want more inspiration, check out this article that outlines the daily routines of some of the greatest minds in literature and science. It’s a fantastic read and hopefully another incentive to help motivate you into setting up your own self-fulfilling daily routine.

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“How you begin your morning often sets the tone and your attitude for the day. It can also derail or direct your focus. If you remain committed to good morning work habits, you won’t fall prey to feeling unproductive and distracted at the end of the day or week.” – Lynn Taylor

PRIMAL MOVEMENT 3: LUNGE

Push, squat, pull, lunge, bend, twist and gait are all movements intrinsically encoded into our bodies and contribute to our overall health and well-being. They demand strength and control and we MUST keep performing them despite the many modern conveniences that have us avoiding them. Unfortunately most of us can no longer execute these movements in a healthy way due to tension patterns, weakness, old injuries, poor co-ordination and a host of other factors. So it is of utmost importance that you not only understand why these movements are so important but also how to perform them in a safe and effective manner. There is no point in just battling through blindly. Take time to read this post, put yourself in front of a mirror and use these images to guide you.

In this post I will illustrate the third primal movement pattern: LUNGE(Click here to read Part 1 – PUSH and  here for Part 2 – SQUAT)

LUNGING

Lunges are another essential movement pattern that contributed to our successful nomadic roaming and evolutionary dominance thousands of years ago. Lunges are fundamental to everyday movement – they directly improve the performance of walking, running and climbing. With the amount of time we spend sitting in modern life (which creates weakness, illness and low energy levels) the lunge is one of the most effective movements to restore flexibility and strength in our hips, thighs and lower back – so get up and get moving!

Lunges are great for the whole body but are particularly beneficial for the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, abs and spine. Thus said they improve:

  • Posture
  • Metabolism
  • Control
  • Balance
  • Co-ordination
  • Symmetry between both sides of the body
  • Fat burning and muscle tone

HOW TO LUNGE

Start off simple with my first step below – static lunges. Move with mindful intention and attention: understand and allow your body to relearn how to lunge correctly. Once you have set the blueprint of a healthy lunge into your neuromuscular system then move onto the next steps.

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KEEPING READING UNTIL THE END FOR THE ALIGNMENT CUES

STEP 1: Static lunge

Begin standing with your hands on your hips or loose beside your body, take a big step forward and hold.

Point both feet, knees, hips and shoulders straight ahead. Have your spine absolutely upright as if you were standing. Eyes looking straight ahead. This is your beginning position:

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Bend your back leg aiming your knee straight down to the floor, straighten up the back leg a bit, bend again to the floor. Repeat x10, then repeat with the other leg in front.

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STEP 2: Walking lunges

Step one leg forward, bending both legs – push from the back foot and bring the back leg forward stepping straight into your next lunge. Repeat x10 on each side (you may need to walk around the room if you don’t have the space to walk in one long line)

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STEP 3: Swing-through lunges

Stepping forward and backward lunges. Step one leg forward into a lunge, take that same leg backwards and bend into a lunge, take the same leg forward and bend into a lunge. Repeat x10 then swap sides.

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STEP 4: Deep stretch lunges

Begin in a squat position with arms forward:

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Step one leg back, shooting the arms backwards and stretching the back leg. Bend the back leg and step it forward into the squat position again. Repeat alternating to each side x5.

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CUES:

  • Connect your front foot firmly to the floor but have slightly more weight in the heel.
  • Spread the toes of your back foot and press through the floor to help bring you up and down (step 1) or forward and back (steps 2-5).
  • Point your knees over your second or third toes – never ever let the knee knock inwards/point over the big toe.
  • If your knees feel uncomfortable make the angle of your front leg be 90 degrees / have your heel under your knee as opposed to your toes
  • Keep your head on top of and in line with your pelvis – whether you’re upright (step 1-4) or on a diagonal forward (step 5)
  • Draw your abs into your spine and draw your head up towards the sky.
  • Keep your collarbones wide and shoulders wide.
  • Find the opposition between pressing your feet to the floor vs drawing your head to the sky – this contrast will help to maintain healthy space around all joints while also building strength throughout your body.
  • As you move think of being light, fluid and elastic – never heavy footed or compressing / sitting into your joints
  • If you want an added challenge perform all steps while holding light hand weights then advance to heavier weights or kettle bells.

THE MARVELLOUS CAT STRETCH

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Awakening deep intrinsic primal and developmental movement patterns, the moving cat stretch is one of my all time favourite movement patterns. It can be done any time of the day, all you need is a little bit of floor space and the ability to get up and down from it!

First thing in the morning it acts like a big yawn to help gently wake you up, centre and focus you for the day ahead; in the middle of the day it re-energises and better directs your attention – a much healthier pick me up than  reaching for the chocolate or caffeine hit; and done slowly before bed it helps to unwind and cleanse the day from your body and mind so you can go off to bed free from any unwanted mental or physical baggage.

Here are just some of the benefits:

  • stretches, strengthens and stabilises your arms, spine and torso
  • moves the breath deeper into your lungs helping to cleanse and better oxygenate all the tissues throughout your body
  • massages and opens the deep lower back and hips which in turn flushes the digestive system with fresh nutrient dense blood – great digestive aid!
  • strengthens and connects the deep abdominal muscles helping stabilise the torso and flood your system with all your feel good hormones! (dopamine and serotonin are largely manufactured in the gut)
  • opens the nerves through the spine, hands and arms helping to undo tension caused from slouching over a computer, smart phone or steering wheel, or constantly lugging kiddies around!
  • massages and opens the kidneys and resets the adrenal glands, helping you swap stressy fight or flight mode to calm cruise control – read more here
  • SO..helps relieve headaches, RSI, back pain, digestive troubles, anxiety, fatigue, disordered breathing…to name a few!

1) BEGIN ON ALL FOURS

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Knees under hips, hands under shoulders

CUES:

  • Keep the spine long and spacious. Imagine your spine being pulled from either end – out through the crown of the head and out through the tail bone
  • To help get the arm bones connecting well into the shoulder sockets and the shoulder blades well placed, bend your arms and point the elbows out to the sides then turn the arms so the elbows point in towards your body, straighten the arms.
  • Keep shoulder blades wide on the back of your rib cage and press the floor away from you, ie. don’t hang the torso down between your arms and collapse the shoulder blades together
  • Make sure head isn’t dropped – keep the back of the neck long just as it would be if you were standing

2) ARTICULATE

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Inhale to prepare. Exhale to draw the belly in towards your spine and gently articulate the spine into a curved cat shape. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Your pubic bone should be looking at you and you should be looking at your pubic bone
  • Gently press through your hands to help widen the middle back
  • Gently use your lower abs to help pull your tail between your legs and lengthen the lower back. Imagine plugging your tail into your belly button
  • Keep the hands and fingers alive! spread them wide and feel equal weight through each finger

3) STRETCH

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Exhale to travel the cat curve backwards so you sit back on the heels, keeping your hands connected to the same spot on the floor. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Relax your neck, jaw, throat and eyes as you release back into the stretch
  • Let your ankles roll out to the sides if the top of the feet or inner thighs are tight
  • Keep gently hugging the belly back in towards the spine

4) EXTENSION & STABILISATION

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Exhale to bend your arms, place the forearms on the floor, roll your shoulders back, lift your head, chest and spine into a lengthened position. Inhale to pause…

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Exhale to travel your spine forward stopping when your head gets to your wrists. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Arms are parallel to each other, elbows draw towards each other so you can feel a little squeeze at your arm pits
  • Connect the abs by drawing the belly inward and upward
  • Keep your eyes towards the floor – this doesn’t mean dropping the head though!
  • Draw your breast bone forward to the wall in front of you and draw your shoulders and elbows backwards towards your knees
  • Your spine is parallel to the floor – not on a diagonal diving towards the floor

5) STRENGTH

tasha16Exhale to press the hands into the floor and stretch the arms back up to the beginning position. Repeat another 5 times beginning with your hands slightly more forward each time.  

CUES:

  • Keep your elbows towards each other to help connect the back of your arms and sides of the spine
  • Keep your knees over your hips – when you press up don’t avoid the hard work by moving your butt backwards!
  • Keep your abs drawing inward and upward
  • Spine stays long and connected like in plank position

TUNE YOUR TRAINING: MOVE WITH MOTHER NATURE

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When I am feeling a little lost or out of tune with things I always trust in wise old mother nature to pave the way to better health, happiness, vitality, strength and well-being. She is of course the reigning force which embraces and connects all life cycles – humans, plants, animals, water, the sun, the moon, genetic expression, evolution, and so on. When we are all beautifully tuned and schynchronised everything moves and thrives with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately modern mankind confused sleeping and waking times and made poor non nourishing food choices. The resultant negative brain patterns then wreak havoc on a number of things including our ability to gauge what kind of exercise we should be taking and when. Sadly we have taken it to both extremes with people who train far too hard, fast and frequently, and people who sit all day and still fail to walk the escalators en route home.

It’s time to check in – is your exercise plan in sync with your hormonal cycle, the current season, your energy levels, emotional state, sleep patterns, as well as your eating patterns…? Below I have outlined a few of our main cycles to help get you back into mother natures arms.

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HORMONAL CYCLE which mimics the LUNA/MOON CYCLE

Men and post menopausal women still take note! as you too have hormonal and lunar influenced cycles, they’re just less pronounced.

Week 1: Follicular stage (menstruation has just ended)

Low levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone

Feeling energised

Workout: cardio / try something new

Week 2: Ovulatory phase (most fertile)

Spike in estrogen, testosterone and folicular stimulating hormone

Feeling really energised

Workout: strength training, high intensity/interval training

Week 3: Lutieal Phase (PMS)

Increase in progesteron, estrogen, testosterone in the first half of the week then all drop by the end of the week

Feeling slightly energised in the first half of the week, then decrease by the end of the week (two different feelings in one week)

Exercise: Yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics – slow, deep, strong elasticated and focussed movements

Week 4: Menstruation

Low testosterone, estrogen and progesterone

Feeling low in energy, contemplative

Exercise: long gentle walks outdoors, gentle yoga, pilates and gyrotonic classes

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SEASONAL CYCLE which mimics our 24HR/ DAY CYCLE 

Season: Spring  

24hr cycle: it’s morning time! time to wake up and plan a new day! 

Spring is a time when energy rises from the earth, plants are growing upward and heat is rising.

During this season we can start to increase our outdoor activities with long spritely walks which may break into short spontaneous runs! Also add in some gentle dynamic movement classes – look up a primal movement class! or attend a flowing dance, Pilates, yoga or Gyrotonic class.

Season: Summer

24hr cycle: it’s the action part of our day! pay attention and get things done!

Summer is  a time for the sun to warm the the earth, for plants to flower and sprout and for energy to explode and uplift.

During this season we can be outdoors as much as possible! A lot of long distance walking and/or running interspersed with a few explosive interval or high intensity/weight training sessions.

Season: Autumn

24hr cycle: it’s time to cool down, slow our pace and contemplate the day

Autumn is a time for energy to return to the earth, to harvest and celebrate.

During this season we slow down a gear. Long, slow, gentle walks, runs, cycle rides outdoors. Iyenga yoga or choose a class that favours a lot of inward attention and focus.

Season: Winter 

24hr cycle: It’s time to rest! sleep and regenerate

Winter is the time for activity to go below ground level, all is a lot quieter and rested up above

During this season we take longer to warm up and we may feel tense from the cold so breath work becomes even more important when beginning your training. Short brisk walks outdoors and slow gentle runs with plenty of warm clothing layers. Choose classes that are paced evenly, are strong and build on intensity.

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All in all this post is an invitation to acknowledge the strong natural forces around you: to be aware of them and of how much they act like mirrors – we all have more influence on each others state of health and well-being than we realise!