Yoga sequence to beat the winter blues!

With the clocks changing and the nights drawing in take time to spend time outdoors getting light into the eyes and if needed top up with Vitamin D during the winter months.  If you find yourself feeling low in spirit then  add the Dru Yoga Earth sequence to your practice:

https://druyoga.com/yoga-online/video/the-earth-sequence

Feel connected to the Earth and let go of unhelpful emotions with the Earth Sequence (Prithvi Namaskara). By doing this graceful sequence you can consciously cleanse and clear your emotions and the energy system (especially when you do it outside in nature).

Today: Flood your body with endorphins as you move with grace and freedom.

The earth is an energy that brings us balance and emotional stability. It has a calming energy that helps us align with something much bigger than just our individual self – nature… When performed outside, the benefits from this sequence seem to be amplified as you connect in directly to the source energy of the earth. The earth is here to nurture, protect and provide for us.

The overall aim of this sequence is to leave you feeling settled, calm and replenished by the quiet earth. Complete this class with a mudra (hand gesture) to calm your nervous system

Are your intentions of benefit?

It’s amazing what a bit of yoga does when practised outside in the glorious sunshine in the snow!!! I was only popping out this morning to get milk but it was such a glorious morning and the countryside beckoned. After finding a beautiful spot I practised Dru Yoga’s Energy Block Release 4, Salutation to the Earth and the Golden Eagle, I felt amazing! Using intensions has become part of my practice, it took a while and did not come easily but now makes a huge difference. Setting the intention to feel happiness is my go- to intention, its so easy to smile! During practising EBR4 there are 3 intentions incorporated at the end, ‘May all my thoughts be of benefit to everyone’, May all my intentions be of benefit to everyone’ and ‘May all my actions be of benefit to everyone’.
For the rest of my walk I delighted in the shadows cast by the trees, the sun reflecting on the water of a stream, the snow sparkling in the sunlight, I was defiantly very happy! I found myself reflecting on intentions, we often hear ‘You are what you eat’, perhaps we should also be saying ‘You are what you think’ more often.
We can think ourselves miserable however we can also think ourselves happy. We are so good at talking ourselves down, being self-critical and feeling inadequate, sound familiar? After a while we begin to believe these negative thoughts, how often do we tell ourselves we are amazing? Even when other people tell us we find it difficult to accept praise. By setting intentions to be happy, be kind to yourself and to accept praise for a job well done we will can begin to realise our potential! If you are happy those around response differently, happiness and laughter are so infectious!
In my joyful state I decided a snow angle was called for, I didn’t appreciate how frozen the snow was and my snow angle just became more of a splat! Despite this failure I found myself laughing all the way home! The simplest things in life can give us so much pleasure!
Namaste!

Core Stability

Core stability is a key part of yoga and identifying and engaging these muscles can help to improve strength, core stability and protect the lower back.  Students can sometime find it difficult to isolate these muscles and  the instruction ‘engage core’ is frequently used as a reminder during classes. It would be lovely if little lights came on when students have ‘engaged’, the smiles when I say ‘and of course  you all have your core muscles engaged’ tells me another story. I frequently remind students in my class to engage their core muscles before and during sequences and asana, its as much a reminder for myself as them!  For those who find it difficult to identify and turn on the core this excellent 3 minute 3-D video provides a simple and straight forward explanation.  Core Stability 3-D video

Research study shows positive effect of a single yoga practice on CFS!

A recently published study showed that after just one yoga session for CFS that energy increased and that changes relating to autonomic functions and blood biomarkers suggested anti-stress and anti-inflammatory effects!!! Amazing! To read this paper follow link: Yoga and CFS 2018

I know from my own experience of practising yoga, particularly Dru I can feel the physical changes within my body, the more I practice the more I feel. I also notice what happens when I don’t practice for a few days reinforcing the need to maintain regular daily routine. I have experienced the increases in energy following practice, feeling relaxed, de-stressed and a softness in my body and joints. Others with CFS have reported increased energy following class attendance, its fantastic that this study has produce physical evidence adding support for yoga to be seen as a valid therapy for CFS.

Amber Glasses, Sleep and CFS

I recently decided to try wearing amber glasses in the evening whilst watching TV or using the computer to filter out blue light to reduce overstimulation of the brain before bedtime.  This can aid a better quality of sleep and with CFS sleep can be a real issue. For me my sleeping pattern is fairly good on the whole with occasional  bouts of insomnia for no real good reason.  When I’m in the  ‘tired but wired’ phase where my adrenaline and cortisol have gone out of whack yoga has proved helpful for helping calm the nervous system and combined with a relaxing Epsom salt bath can really aid sleeping. So why add in the amber glasses you may ask? Like all CFS sufferers you find yourself trying everything to help symptoms, these were recommended  by Dr Rangan Chatterjee (Doctor in the House) in his book The Four Pillar Plan. Whilst they make TV viewing different I have found that I’m  going to sleep quite quickly which is great although my occasional  insomnia hasn’t been cured however there is one unexpected benefit….my eyesight has improved! After just a couple of evenings wearing the amber glasses I noticed I didn’t need to use my reading glasses as  much. I can now read a cook book and see my watch face quite clearly!   I still need my reading glasses for small print but am amazed at how my eyesight has improved so quickly and my eyes feel less tired! So if you have CFS and are exposed to blue light in the evening they are worth a try and are relatively cheap!

PS This is not an April 1st joke!

Louise’s Low Oxalate Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa

A bowl of sunshine on a rainy day! This recipe is adapted from Naturally Sassy to reduce the oxalate content.  One of my favorite nourishing bowls of goodness and the cold salsa and hot coconut rice really work well together. This makes a delicious and satisfying  lunch or evening meal.

Serves 2    Oxalate per serving: less than 12 mg.

Ingredients:

Coconut Rice

½ mug basmati white rice

400ml can of coconut milk plus half a can water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp grated ginger

Pinch salt

 

Mango Salsa

1 mango, stoned, peeled and diced

2 red sweet peppers, deseeded and diced

1 avocado, stoned, peeled and diced

Juice of 1 lime

Handful chopped coriander

 

Method

  1. Put rice in saucepan, add coconut milk, water, ginger and salt.
  2. Cover with lid, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and check after 10 mins or rice cooking instructions.
  3. When rice is cooked add lemon juice.
  4. It will look a little like creamy rice pudding.
  5. Mix all the salsa ingredients together.
  6. Pour rice into serving bowls, top with salsa and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Dru Yoga: Energy Block Release 2

‘I must be willing to let go of the life I planned in order to live the one that is awaiting me’

For many of us with CFS at some point we  have to let go of the life we were living and planning,  grieve for it and try to look forward and enjoy the one we now have. Easier said than done!!!!!  Energy Block Release 2 (EBR2) is a sequence that is all about being in the ‘here and now’, focusing your attention on how the body is moving and responding with the breath, stretching and strengthening.

I recently used the above quote in the form of  an intention and affirmation as my class had been working up to completing the whole EBR2 sequence. Whilst I knew it may have an emotional effect on some of my CFS students I felt it would be helpful to the class as a whole. I didn’t expect it to have  such a powerful effect on me!!!   Following the class both of my CFS students both said how it really hit home, one still felt she was grieving for her old life, for myself I think I haven’t really grieved as such just moved on to my new life…..or so I thought!  The next day I found myself emailing a Search and Rescue Colleague to arrange return of my equipment and uniform.  I’d been hanging on to the hope of restarting volunteering with this fantastic group of volunteers doing a brilliant job unnoticed and often not  known about:  Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue

Whilst sad to finally let go I feel privileged to have been part of the  team,  a very special group of dedicated people and whilst I close this chapter of my life to move on…… I’m just not ready yet  to throw my running shoes and kit away just yet!!! Maybe another couple of rounds of EBR2?

To safely practice and learn this lovely EBR2  sequence go to the  Dru Yoga On Line Studio. This video demonstrates beautifully that once learn EBR2  flows  with ease and strength ! Energy Block Release 2  

Louise’s Low Oxalate Watercress and Cauliflower Soup

This is a light gluten free soup delicious at any time of the year! Being low oxalate means trying to find flavor without the use of adding stock, for soup this can be a challenge! This soup can be made vegan or vegetarian, is quick and easy to make and despite its olive green appearance is rather nice! Enjoy!

Makes 2 generous servings: 5.6 mg oxalate per bowl

Ingredients:

2 small onions: chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tbs coconut oil/olive oil/butter or ghee

200mg cauliflower chopped

500ml water

Watercress: approx. 80-90 gm bag/ large bunch.

2 tbs Nutritional yeast flakes

Salt to taste.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan, then gently sweat onions and garlic with lid on for 5 minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower, water, watercress, nutritional yeast and pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to boil, cover with lid and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until cauliflower is soft.
  4. Blend until smooth, check for seasoning, adjust with salt or additional yeast flakes.

Optional:

Drizzle with olive or flaxseed oil, cream or sprinkle with chopped herbs such as chives or parsley.

Replace half the water with milk or coconut milk.

Add cream at the end of cooking for a richer soup whilst keeping the oxalate levels low.

Louise’s Low Oxalate Flaxseed Bread

 

Being gluten free and low oxalate has its challenges when it comes to bread which contains both!!! This recipe is adapted from one created by Hemsley and Hemsley follow link to original recipe:  Flaxseed Bread .  This bread makes delicious sandwiches and can be sliced and frozen for future use.

Flaxseeds are very low oxalate, low carbohydrate, high in protein and fiber. They are a natural source of Omega 3, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Total oxalate: 42.5 mg   Makes 8  generous sandwich squares: 5.7 mg per square

Total fiber: 118.5 g/14.8 g per square.

Ingredients

500g ground flaxseed

6 eggs

170 ml water

75g olive oil

3 tsp bicarbonate of soda

3 tbs lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

1.5 tsp sea salt

Whole flaxseeds for sprinkling

Method

Heat oven to Gas Mark 5.

Line baking tray with baking parchment (I use a Swiss roll tray 37 x 25 cm)

Mix all ingredients together by hand or mixer.

Spread onto the tray and smooth surface with pallet knife.

Sprinkle with whole flaxseeds.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes until cooked, skewer comes out clean and bread is soft and spongy.

Cool on a rack, cut into eight squares, slice each in half length ways to make sandwich squares.

Fill with any low oxalate filling for a nutritious packed lunch or make into a lovely open sandwich, enjoy for breakfast with eggs or dip in soup.  Enjoy!