7 Plant-Based Foods That Are High in Iron

7 Plant-Based Foods That Are High in Iron

Id been feeling tired and drained for a while especially around the time of the month. I got my bloods checked and records showed I was low in iron so I started taking high quality supplements and eating more iron rich foods. After a while with a combination of yoga, meditation, supplements and diet I suddenly had less fatigue. So now I make sure I carve out the time for these things because the benefits are worth it for me.
Check out this article if you think you may be low in iron…

By Sue Van Raes

Iron, or (Fe), is known as one of the most common elements on earth, making up five percent of the earth’s crust. Iron is an essential trace mineral imperative for a healthy body—from energy production, to transporting oxygen in the blood and cognitive function, to a more balanced mood. Iron is a nutrient you surely want to include in your daily diet.

While there are many foods high in iron, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S. Iron deficiency is usually linked with a condition called anemia, a deficiency defined by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as “a condition in which your blood has a lower-than-normal amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin.”

There are many iron-rich foods, but many of them are from animal sources. Consequently, when eating a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet, it is imperative to consciously include specific plant foods with iron.

Types of Iron

When it comes to food sources for iron intake, there are a couple of things you should know. There are two primary types of iron: heme and nonheme iron. Heme iron is the type of iron found mainly in animal sources, whereas nonheme iron is the type that is predominantly found in plants. Nonheme iron is not as readily absorbed as heme iron.

Why Iron Is Important

Notably, for healthy iron levels, it is not just how many foods high in iron you eat, or how strong your iron supplements are, but also how well your body absorbs the iron. There can be other causes for anemia other than not getting enough iron, such as digestive issues (malabsorption) and toxicity—such as lead toxicity. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, research shows you can get the best iron absorption by consuming plant-based foods high in iron along with foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus, broccoli, and tomato. Vitamin C is most effective in increasing iron absorption when consumed alongside of plant-based iron sources meal-by-meal.

There are many symptoms of low iron (anemia) but the most common are:

• Exhaustion

• Pale skin

• Shortness of breath

• Rapid heartbeat

• Hormone imbalance

• Mood irregularities

• Coldness in hands & feet

• Chest pain

With a recommended daily allowance of 18 mg per day for adults and children over four years old, and 27 mg per day for pregnant and lactating women, try these plant-based foods that are rich in iron to ensure you reach your optimal iron levels and avoid the many health issues associated with iron-deficiency anemia. 

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1. Lentils

Lentils, one of the oldest pulse crops, have been providing nutrition and sustenance for an estimated 8,000 years. The many variations of lentils (red, yellow, green, and black) are known as high-protein plant-based foods that are also high in iron content and easy to digest. Earthy and nutty in flavor, lentils are a versatile food to explore and include as reliable sources of iron (as well as reliable sources for protein and fiber) in any plant-based meal or diet.

How to enjoy: Try using lentils in a variety of soups or as the protein base for a veggie burger. Lentils also go well with traditional curries or atop of your favorite salad for a protein, fiber, and iron boost. Having a party or gathering? Try using lentils in a dip or spread (with tahini, chopped garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil and puree until smooth) as an appetizer.

2. Cashews

You have likely grabbed a handful of cashews for a quick snack or maybe spread some cashew butter on your favorite cracker. Native to Brazil, these tasty and creamy nuts are popular ones that you will find in many grocery stores and restaurants. Known for their high mineral content, including iron, and a super-creamy texture when blended, cashews and cashew butter are often used to make vegan milks, soups, and sauces. Cashews are a wonderful ingredient to snack on and to include in many vegetarian and vegan dishes for a healthy supply of plant-based iron.

How to enjoy: Cashews are delicious (and more easily digested) when soaked in sea salt water overnight and roasted on low in the oven for 10to 12 hours for a crispy and salty snack. Try making a pad Thai sauce with cashew butter (instead of peanut butter), or use cashews as a thickener in a vegan curry or blended vegetarian soup. Try blending cashews with nutritional yeast, lemon, garlic, salt, and water for a delicious vegan cheese sauce.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa, the ancient grain that is native to the Andean mountains of Peru, was known as the queen of all grains to the Inca people and was considered a superfood. Making its mark in the health food industry today, quinoa is a wonderful source for plant-based protein, and is chock full of plant-based iron. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 2.8 mg of iron. 

How to enjoy: Quinoa can be substituted for rice or couscous in just about any dish. Try creating a delicious mixed vegetable stir fry served over quinoa for a balanced and satiating meal. Make into a version of tabbouleh, substituting nutrient-dense and iron-rich quinoa for the more traditional couscous. Grind quinoa in a coffee grinder and mix with hot water to make an instant warm breakfast cereal that you can top how you would your favorite oatmeal. Want a little boost to your salad? Add cooked quinoa to your mixed green salad for a little extra plant-based iron and protein.

4. Swiss Chard

Similar to many dark leafy greens, Swiss chard has an impressive profile when it comes to nutrient density. With nearly 4 mg of iron per one cup of cooked Swiss chard, this particular green packs a serious punch. Swiss chard is easy to grow and such a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that it will be among the first crops grown on planetary or lunar space stations.

How to enjoy: Swiss chard is tasty and simple to prepare. Try sautéing or steaming with just a squeeze of lemon, a couple of cloves of garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. Add the leafy greens to any soup or stew right before serving, with just enough time for it to wilt. For a nutrient-rich breakfast vegetable, serve gently cooked as a bed for your poached eggs.

5. Sunflower Seeds

Known as the fruit of the stunning late summer sunflower, sunflower seeds are a rich source of minerals, including plant-based iron. Sunflower seeds are also known for their hypoallergenic quality—a nice nut-free option—making sunflower butter a great replacement in dishes for those with nut allergies.

You can find these highly nutritious seeds growing in a wide array of locations around the globe.

How to enjoy: Roast the seeds for just a minute on your stove top in a cast iron skillet with your favorite spice blend and sprinkle on top of your favorite salad. Mix raw or roasted into any trail mix or try sunflower nut butter as a replacement in a classic PB&J for those with peanut allergies.

6. Molasses

Molasses are the viscous liquid that comes from processing sugar beets or sugarcane into sugar. Considered a high potency plant-based iron source that can work to raise bodily iron levels and treat anemia, molasses are an easy ingredient to include in your diet.

How to enjoy: It is easy to find a bottle of blackstrap molasses at your local health food store; for the best quality, shoot for organic and unsulfured (made from mature sugarcane plants that have been allowed to ripen naturally before processing, keeping the nutrients intact). Try using molasses as a sweetener in dessert recipes, especially those that call for maple syrup or brown sugar, for a richer flavor. Use a dollop with olive oil or butter to coat your favorite roasted vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin. Try a teaspoon in your morning oatmeal or yogurt for some subtle but tasty sweetness. Lastly, feel free to eat molasses right off the spoon for a daily dose of plant-based iron.

7. Tahini

Best known in Mediterranean-type dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush, tahini (ground sesame seed butter) is rich in the essential trace mineral iron. A variation of tahini is black tahini, which comes from black sesame seeds and has a more intense sesame flavor. Tahini was used ancient North African, Turkish, Greek, and Israeli cuisine. Tahini has made its mark in the food world in well-known salad dressings, sauces, and even swirled into desserts. 

How to enjoy: While hummus is a popular tahini-based dip that you may already include in your diet, there are also many tahini options you might enjoy. Try it as a base for a creamier salad dressing. Blend into a soup for a creamier texture. For a nutrient-dense sweet treat, try on a piece of toast with a drizzle of honey.

Eating a diet that has healthy and potent plant-based foods high in iron is a wonderful goal to set for your ongoing health. Ensuring you include some plant-based iron-rich foods on your plate can be easy, cost-effective, tasty. This may be just nutrient you need to feel strong, vital, energized, and ready to live life to the fullest.

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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Sue Van Raes

Functional nutritionist and Food Psychology Specialist

Sue Van Raes is a functional nutritionist, food psychology specialist, and author in Boulder Co. As founder of Boulder Nutrition USA.

4 Reasons You Keep Quitting Your Meditation Practice—and How to Overcome Them

4 Reasons You Keep Quitting Your Meditation Practice—and How to Overcome Them

I came across this article by Rachelle Williams and thought its useful to share with you guys as my meditation practice took time to cultivate, and at times wavered depending on whats going on in my life with work etc…

Photo by dorota dylka on Unsplash

The benefits of meditation have been known and espoused for thousands of years despite its seemingly recent rise in social awareness. It’s hard not to notice the shift happening as more comedians, actors and actresses, CEOs, and thought leaders are attesting to the fact that meditation works and helps them achieve success on many levels. It’s safe to say that meditation is not going away anytime soon. 

Meditation is perhaps the easiest to learn and most accessible tool you have for personal development. Anyone can do it.

You can do it on a plane, a crowded bus, or in the privacy of your bedroom. If you decided to, you could meditate right now.

The health benefits—mental, emotional, and physical—are numerous and even better, there are no negative side effects.

Meditating as little as five minutes a day can start to make you happier and healthier; meditating 30 minutes twice a day can change your life.

So why is it so hard to maintain a regular meditation practice? You probably started out strong and hopeful at one point, then slowly (or quickly) meditation became a thing of the past. The fact is, even the most dedicated meditator has come across reasons to consider quitting at some point in their journey. These come up so often that they can be broken down into categories. These reasons might be at the core as to why you weren’t able to maintain your practice. Once you can understand these common misconceptions and release them from your belief system you can start to give yourself permission to re-engage in your practice once more.

Purpose of Meditation

Meditation is meant to be easy and effortless. The journey to get to that point may be a huge lesson for you. Society tends to value an active mind to achieve, accomplish, and function in life. The same value is not given to the quiet mind, though its value is tremendous.

When you can access both the active and quiet mind, they kindle clarity, balance, and an overall feeling of expansion. It is in this expanded space where happiness, creativity, love, and well-being thrive. The purpose of meditation is to help you fulfill your right to live life from this expanded space.

Something brought you to meditation—what was it?

Lack of purpose, stress, health issues, a poor night’s sleep, curiosity—or maybe no real reason. It doesn’t have to be profound. That’s the great thing about meditation, it meets you where you’re at and sends you off on a journey that will be like no other. That being said, here are some reasons most people quit the practice and some meditation tips to combat them.

1. “I Can’t Clear My Thoughts”

That which you resist, persists. The more you resist thoughts, the more they clamor to get your attention. You are a thinking machine, having up to 60 to 80 thousand thoughts per day! There is no way you can turn off that faucet so easily and you are not required to. 

The Solution

Instead, think of your thoughts as part of your meditation rather than distractions. Welcome them, it means you are a human being. For new meditators, what is often experienced is a flood of thoughts, like a dam that has been broken. You are finally allowing the time and space to explore your inner world and sometimes it can be a bit turbulent. This is perfectly normal, and with regular meditation, the flood will begin to slow. Knowing that thoughts are a part of the practice allows you to eventually shift into becoming an observer, not getting caught up in resistance or judgement.

As you meditate, notice the thoughts drifting in and out and then drift back to the object of your attention, which depending on your practice could be your mantra, following the breath, etc. Over time, it will become a habit and you will start to spend more time in meditation rather than thinking. The turbulence will lessen and more peace will prevail.


2. “Nothing Is Happening”

When it comes to meditation, one of the first things to let go of is expectation. When you expect, you are actively seeking, and this puts blinders on to what you may be missing. This can be hard to do, especially at the beginning. You have heard about the benefits of meditation and yet you see, feel, or experience nothing. The benefits of meditation can be subtle so if you are expecting some big “ah ha” moment and it doesn’t happen, you will assume it’s not working and give up.

The Solution

Here is what you must learn—it’s not about what happens during but outside of meditation. Yes, something inspiring may happen during meditation, but this is not the goal.

A good example is the gym. If your mind were a muscle, then meditation is like taking it to the gym. The same process of building and strengthening physical muscle applies to experiencing the benefits of meditation and it takes time and requires regular maintenance. You don’t see the results while at the gym (during meditation) but you begin to notice one day that you have more energy, feel happier, experience less stress and anxiety, sleep better, and so on.

3. “I Don’t Have Time”

This is probably the number one reason for quitting meditation. Who has time for meditation when there is work, appointments, kids, cooking, and cleaning? Yet, you also make time for such activities as TV, social media, texting, exercise, and reading.

The Solution

Try taking a moment to write out your daily activities in order to see where your time is being spent. It can be pretty eye opening. What you place value on affects how you spend your time. How would things change if you placed value on meditation?

Meditation actually creates more time in your day because of the following:

• You are more productive, completing tasks faster

• You have more energy

• You sleep better

• You are able to focus more on relevant tasks or life-enhancing activities

If you have time to brush your teeth, you have time to meditate. Meditation doesn’t have to be a big production where you have to sit for an hour. It can be as simple as sitting for five minutes. Start to see where you can carve out time in your day for meditation. It may require getting up earlier, spending less time on social media, watching one TV show instead of two at night, or delaying checking email first thing in the morning. Whether you incorporate it in the evening, middle of the day, or as a part of your morning routine, try putting it in your calendar and telling your brain that this is something that has to get done.

Ideally, you work up to meditating twice a day, a half hour each. Be flexible because there my be some days, weeks, or months where you can’t meditate very long and its once a day. Then there will be times when you can relax and  enjoy longer meditations every day, twice a day. As long as you take a daily dip into that pool of stillness where you bring a little bit of that peace with you into your daily life, even if it’s just a drop at a time. Over time, you’ll eventually find yourself feeling a sense of relaxation in your everyday life.

4. “Maybe I’m Doing it Wrong”

This goes back to expectations. When you are looking for something and it doesn’t happen, there is the belief that maybe you weren’t doing it right. Also, stress is released during meditation which can cause some physical discomfort, making it easy to think maybe you’re doing something wrong. In the beginning, there is often a period of settling down that takes place as the body and mind begins to purge that which is not needed. Every person experiences this differently. Tension, fatigue, and headaches are often felt.

The Solution

First of all, every meditation is different and gives you exactly what you need for that time, even when you think it’s not. No matter how advanced you are, there will still be great meditations one day and a not-so-great one the next. Don’t expect the same experience and most definitely don’t look for someone else’s experience. So, whenever you wonder if you were doing it right, the answer will always be yes.

Also, feel free to try different meditation techniques and see if one feels better than the other. There are many to choose from and, intuitively, you will know when something is or isn’t vibe-ing with you. You want to feel comfortable in your practice and be able to ask questions when things come up, as they often do. If you experience physical discomfort, nurture yourself and take it easy.

These are the main reasons why people often give up on meditation. Mostly what it comes down to is letting go and just allowing the meditation to unfold. Don’t try to control it, when you try you are doing and you want to move in the direction of effortlessness. With every meditation, a great healing is taking place even when you don’t necessarily feel it right away. The best gifts are the ones worth waiting for and meditation always delivers.

Remember, every successful meditation is the one that YOU DO.

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You’ve had it and you’re probably still holding on to it without knowing...

You’ve had it and you’re probably still holding on to it without knowing...

When we hear the word "trauma," we often think of really intense or dark/wounded places.

The definition of trauma, though, is any experience that our nervous system can not handle. This could be anything from an actual physical injury to emotional pain and suffering or even anxiety felt from our daily activities.

We have all experienced trauma to some degree and we will continue to experience it throughout our lives

Trauma can show up in our bodies in may different ways here are some of the signs.

  • Problems knowing and describing internal states 

  • Difficulty communicating wishes and desires 

  • Sleep disturbances 

  •  Eating disorders 

  • Substance abuse 

  •  Lack of a continuous, predictable sense of self 

  • Poor sense of separateness 

  • Disturbances of body image 

  • Interpersonal difficulties, like shame and guilt

  • Difficulty attuning to other people’s emotional 
    states 

  • Hypersensitivity to physical contact 

  • Analgesia - loss of sensation of pain that results from an interruption in the nervous system pathway between sense organ and brain. Different forms of sensation (e.g. touch, temperature, and pain)  

Psychiatric Presentations 

  • Borderline Personality Disorder 

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder 

  • Negative Symptoms of 
    Schizophrenia 

  • Self-Injurious Behaviour (cutting 
    and burning) 

  • Disorders of Eating 

  •  Addictions. these can come up as addictions to  work, drugs, alcohol, adrenaline like going to the gym a lot

  • Body Dysmorphia 

  • Alexithymia 

  • Autism/ADHD/Aspergers 


    20018 ICD - 11 - introduction of cPTSD 

    What to do if you are suffering from trauma or have suffered trauma?

    Talk to a mental heath professional

    As well as talking to a professional you may also want to find a trauma sensitive yoga teacher.

    Things to look out for when finding a trauma sensitive yoga teacher

    • Have a chat with them over the phone or in person

    • Check out their intake form

    • See if their session involves no physical assists, is focused on noticing sensations and focused on exploring choices 

    • Explore physical shapes and movements as an opportunity to practice noticing sensations. 

    Interoception Vs dissociation 

    • See if they offer small group sessions (max 7 people) or one to one  

    • Check out 

      theyogaclinic.co.uk

      Other Things To Try

    • Exercise

    • Write

    • Meditate

    • Start to befriend your body

    • Self care

     The thing about trauma is that it stays trapped in our bodies. As well as talking to professionals we need to mobilise it out of ourselves to live healthily. Basel Van Der Kolk and Dave Emerson have written and held extensive studies on how trauma sensitive yoga can aid with trauma impacted lives.

    In Gabor Mate’s book “When The Body Says No” clinical studies have shown a link from repressed feelings, stress and trauma to common diseases such as arthuritis, diabetes, heart disease IBS, Cancer and MS. This further underlines the body mind link.

    If you’re interested in learning more heres some books I’ve been reading recently around this subject.

    From Surviving To Thriving, Pete Walker

    The Body Keeps The Score, Basel Van Der Kolk

    Trauma Sensitive Yoga In Therapy, David Emerson

    The Pocket Guide To Poly Vagal Theory, Stephen W Porges

    When the Body Says No, Gabor Mate

    Trauma And Recovery, Judith Herman

    Waking The Tiger, Peter Levine


    If you’re wanting to reduce the stress in your life, navigate through the chaos you’re facing daily and discover how to increase your overall well-being and quality of life check out these dates…

    Saturday 20 July

    Happy Shoulders

    Strengthen & unwind your spine, neck and chest to release tension.

    9:30-10:45am

    £13

    HP8

    Saturday 10 August

    Yoga for Anxiety & Fatigue 

    Explore sensation in your body whilst gliding through slow movements & meditation.

    9:30-10:45am

    £13

    HP8

How spin class made me realise nothing is forever...

How spin class made me realise nothing is forever...

After I’ve adjusted my bike umpteen times, I’m in a dark room, always at the back, waiting with frisson dancing animated around my diaphragm.

The class begins, 5 mins in I’m thinking… I can’t go on for another 40mins of this… then I tune in and start to feel. I notice my breath change.

The burning in my legs, as the gears go up and speed increases. I tell myself Im ok with this… and I remind myself this feeling isn’t forever? Then it starts to open up possibility and a lightness in me. I ask myself can I go up a gear for a while? So I try that out for a bit… but wait… I haven’t dropped dead.

I release my shoulders and soften my face when I notice them tense. I notice my sweat and the temperature of my face as the fans oscillate towards me. I notice my ego and speed up and how it takes me out of the feeling of me, its overwhelming. I notice how I drink and wipe sweat off as a filler when I think I can’t anymore, I get back into focus.

I know why I’m there.

Sometimes in the beginning I felt I wasn’t good enough to be in a team and don’t want to let others down. More often than not, I’m scared to try and push harder and give my all. Sometimes not.

Towards the end of class I get a sensation in my jaw like electricity trickling up and I get a burst of new energy for a while, with this I feel I want to cry. Shedding armour with speed, it takes over me.

I notice what I say to myself, In the beginning it was “you’re not good enough” and after a few weeks its …

“you can do this”

“you where made for this”

 I close my eyes and just feel, I feel my heart beat.

As we walk out I note how being in a team and feeling like you’re part of something makes me feel good. Like we overcome a challenge together. Somewhere in that dark room an invisible thread laced us together. An unspeakable unity bound us. And I’m not just talking about beetroot panting faces.

So it is possible to have a Zen attitude in unexpected places… this is only my experience but maybe you have felt this too?

Perhaps when you go running, or climbing?

Drop me an email or you may want to share what your experiences have been?

I invite you to tune in to yourself no matter where you are (not driving obvs)

And you may want to ask yourself “what changes once you know nothing is forever?”

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Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

You may want to read this article by Brian Thomson on impermanence.

Understanding and Embracing Impermanence

Brian Thompson

No one can ever honestly promise total security. There is no safety that can ever be absolute. No one can ever truthfully say to another, “Don’t worry, everything will be alright”. Such things are beyond anyone’s control.

Impermanence rules everything. Everything is susceptible to change, everything transforms. Nothing lasts forever.

Without impermanence, all of life would be impossible. A seed could not grow into a fruit, for it would forever remain a seed. A boy could not become a man. An idea could not become a plan. Spring would never arrive, winter would never leave.

All things grow and change, and whither and fade. All things become strong, and then become weak. Not just physical things, but so too with intangibles such as our forms of awareness; including our thoughts, ideas, feelings, concepts, states of minds, mental energies, and all of our relationships too. All things are impermanent, and yet we still try to base our happiness onto things staying exactly the same or remaining as they currently are.

When we try to make impermanent things permanent, we cause ourselves to suffer when they eventually change.

And so, we set ourselves up for great disappointment and personal disaster when we cling to things and hope they’ll never change. If we ignore the fundamental transient nature of things, we're living inside of a dream. When we're suddenly awoken we’ll be left feeling confused and panicked by our entire dream-world taken away.

We mustn’t ignore the inherent impermanence that defines life itself. No matter how tightly we cling to things, at one point or another, they will still undergo change. At first, such a realization can weigh heave upon a person’s mind. It can be a source of great sadness. It can even lead to an aching existential crisis, that is, if the other perspective of impermanence isn’t explored and embraced.

All things will one day disappear, we cannot change that.

What we can change however, is our relationship with impermanence itself. We can change how we interact with things — we can change our relationship with the world and with all the things in it — with all of our possessions, our family, our friends, including our thoughts and our emotions.

By being ever mindful of impermanence, we value things more. We don’t attach our happiness onto something staying the same. Instead, we learn to appreciate what we have, while we have it, because we know it won’t last forever. We savour things more when we know they're temporary. We don’t take them for granted.

When you observe the impermanence within everything, you end up cherishing everything so much more. Everything becomes precious. Colours become more vivid. Smells become more intense. Sensations become sensational. Every experience becomes one-of-a-kind, beautiful and rare. It’s a practice that deepens your respect for everything — no matter if it’s your parent or your partner, your coffee mug or your car, your job or your home, your walk in the park or your time spent playing with your dog. They will all one day disappear, so offer them your respect, love, admiration, reverence, gratitude and compassion while they’re still here.

Immerse yourself fully into each and every moment. Wrap yourself in your awareness and feel gratitude for all that each moment contains.

Living in such a mindful way lessens the sting and pain suffered during loss; we have no regrets, which is what makes up a large part of grieving. There is no regret when you have loved something with your fullest intent and you have appreciated it in every moment you shared. A sadness in its passing may still be there, but grief is overshadowed by abundant joy. You feel blessed by its presence in your life, no matter how short-lived it may have seemed to be. You are grateful for its experiencing.

When something you own breaks or shatters, you can easily say, “Of course it did”.

All along, you knew it would eventually break. Nothing lasts forever. When someone close to you dies, you can say, “So, today was their day”. You’re not happy they have passed and are now gone, but your life isn’t destroyed by it either. You knew this day would come. It happens to everyone, and today was their turn. You celebrate their life rather than grieve their death. You are blessed by having known them and shared things with them.

By always observing and being aware of impermanence we appreciate life more.

We respect it more, and in doing so it creates a ripple effect that impacts every area of your life. What previously might have been a great sadness, transforms into an abundant happiness that knows no bounds and overflows onto everything you encounter.

You gaze at a flower and soak in its beauty more intently. You savour it, knowing it won’t be last for long. You enjoy every moment you have with it more deeply. The same can be said for all of the people in your life. This also aids one while enduring personal difficulties, pain, suffering or stress, you know they won’t last either.

While being always mindful of impermanence may at first appear to be somewhat morbid and nihilistic, it is actually the single most effective way to cultivate gratitude, happiness and well-being in your life.

When you’re grateful for everything you have, including each moment in which you take another breath, happiness abounds.

You become filled with the warmth of appreciation for everything and everyone you encounter, and for all of the experiences you have. You become blessed with a gratefulness you can’t contain and that leaves you with an afterglow of happiness that is more genuine than anyone could ever possibly imagine.


Yoga, Right Effort & Kicking Your Sh*t to the Curb.

Yoga, Right Effort & Kicking Your Sh*t to the Curb.

We talk a lot about “right effort” in yoga, but it took me a long time to really get what it means.

Did you know In the Yoga sutras of Patanjali there are 3 verses about asana (physical shapes)?

Lets dive into what right effort means in the physical shapes in yoga. How that relates to us in the real world we live in, not on our cosy yoga mat.

Also a short sequence you can explore too…

 Sthira-sukham asanam — Yoga Sutras 2.24

Steady comfortable posture. 

This well-known yoga sutra points out two naturally opposing but equally powerful forces; sthira and sukhaSthira means steady and alert—active and strong. Sukha means comfortable and soft—joyful and open. It benefits us to notice the amount of effort and ease in asana practice and daily life. Too much sthira, and over gripping and tension are present. Too much sukha, and there is lack of stability and grounding. When both forces are in harmony, equanimity is born. This has a similar ethos to the DAO, more commonly known as the Yin Yang image in ancient Chinese philosophy.

At first in my early yoga classes I was like a limp fish and certainly had not enough effort, I remember my first yoga teacher saying “feel the pose before you get into it,” and I couldn’t get to grips with this? feel what? I imagined myself getting into the pose but I felt nothing physically. The subtle body was something i’d never felt before, I now know its easier in the beginning to feel a big movement for example rather than the subtle pulse of my cardiovascular flow. Fear not, it may be a 10 yr project, or maybe a lifetime, but we gotta be cool with this.

Sukha means ease and calm

SUKHA(ease)
Sukha involves gentleness and calm. A posture will feel joyful, open, and light. Sukha is more subtle, though equally powerful. Through conscious surrender and smooth calm breathing, time on the mat becomes sacred. Practice shifts further inward and becomes more of a moving meditation. Notice the amount of ease as you practice.

Too much ease in practice? Try these tips to add more stability:
• Deepen, and increase the sound, of your breathing
• Engage bandhas (specifically uddhiyana and mula bandhas)
• Focus your drishti like a laser beam
• Engage and activate muscles, e.g. lifting your toes to engage your quads

Then several years later that flipped and I was too aggressive on myself and resulted in injuring my back to the point where I would hobble out of bed and still do 3 hrs of yoga practice daily not taking care of my back because I didn’t know how to. I was driven by my own ego and fear.

It mirrored the way that we are taught to be successful. It certainly mirrored how I was at that point in my career.

Sthira means steady and alert 

STHIRA(effort)
Sthira refers to steadiness, firmness, and stability. Yoga postures require it. A posture needs to be steady and strong to maintain a safe practice. Though too much sthira leads to gripping and unnecessary struggle. Too much effort can also be present in the mind. Most often we think "struggle" before we feel "struggle". Notice how much sthira is present when you practice.

Too much effort in practice?

I Now realise its a negotiable thing pose by pose . I’m checking in with myself when I’m in each shape moment by moment.

Try these tips to add more ease:
• Slow down and smooth your breathing
• Relax your jaw, tongue and face
• Soften your drishti (gaze) and forehead
• Have an easy and lighthearted attitude

But all too often, we “unseat” our inner ease with a lack of bodily awareness and an untrained mind. This constricts our inner space and makes us small-minded. On the physical level, we experience this as an inability to breathe and to move freely. Tension settles in our shoulders, neck, pelvis, lower back, and deeper in the organs—and the mind recoils from the discomfort.

Yoga is the middle way. It means neither acquisition nor denial, neither ego-inflation nor meekness, neither domination nor submission. So how do we, as yoga practitioners,  find the elusive balance of the middle way in our in our lives?

STHIRA AND SUKHA IN DAILY LIFE
As a society we tend toward too much sthira. Days are often in a constant state of doing. How can we counterbalance and incorporate more sukha into our daily life? Give these a try:

—Limit Use of Media
TV, ipad, smart phone and social media all quickly become over-stimulating. Set a time limit. When time is up, turn screens off.

—Take a Media Break
Unplug from technology for a day, or more if you can. Reset in nature. Enjoy a walk or hike outdoors.

—Take Time and Care While Eating
What we eat is equally important to how we eat. Slow down and enjoy meals uninterrupted. Pause a moment in gratitude before enjoying food.

—Breathe
When stressed, the breath is irregular. Calm your breath and mind-body will follow. Elongate exhales. When anxious, inhalations are emphasized and exhalations are short.

—Conscious Rest
Prioritize time to rest. Create space to soften. An ideal time is before bed. Enjoy a calming treat; warm bath, cup of tea, meditation, yoga nidra, or simply close your eyes and follow your breath.

—Set a Morning Intension
Begin your day with gratitude. Set your mind on the good in your life. Make a decision at the start of the day to keep an easy going attitude... smiling also works. :) Start Feeling

In my sessions I guide students toward your own subtle body where life is lived according to feelings inside, this is called interoception.  Before my yoga training I can surely say I have lived almost half a lifetime of not feeling what was going on inside me!

Feeling takes us into ourselves, forcing takes us away.

When we want results, we push to make them happen. The moment we start to push, we are no longer aware of the effect this action is having on us or on our nervous system. Force is the opposite of feeling. When we force, we cannot feel. When we feel, we cannot force.   See if you can try to be attuned to your thoughts, words, and deeds, making them all come from feeling. Forcing is yang—it raises blood pressure, makes a person angry, and creates heart problems. Feeling is yin—it makes a person reflective, calm, and able to understand life.

If you wish to explore right effort in yoga join me in my sessions.

You can also practice this short sequence focusing on your breath and any feelings that you may sense inside.

What Taking Responsibility Of Your Shit Looks Like

What Taking Responsibility Of Your Shit Looks Like

So this is my birthday month and for the first time, I’ve gifted myself my health. This time wholeheartedly, none of these half measures I’ve dabbled with through the years.

Many of you know I have suffered from endometriosis since my teens and actually that’s how I found yoga.

It certainly hasn’t been an easy ride as pain has often been really bad. I sometimes refer myself to the exorcist rithing around in pain and projectile all over the place. You get the idea?

So, as everything in life ebbs and flows, I’ve had years of being up and down. I was recently having a dreadful few months of continuous bad pain, almost to the point of passing out. Well even sometimes passing out!

So finally I made a pact with myself that I needed to prioritise my health, not just a bit more but a whole lot more.

My body is screaming here! Quite literally it was!!


To cut a long story short I’ve been to see a herbalist who does Maya Abdominal Massage.

She has recommended some changes and additions to my daily ritual.

Today I’m determined. 

This is what I’ve got up to in the last few weeks and the results are mind blowing.

  • Meditation every morn 5-10mins

  • Yoga (even if its 5mins on the mat, makes me feel great even when it’s at 3:45 am!!!) 

  • Monthly Maya abdominal massage

  • Daily self abdominal massage

  • Herbal medicine

  • 28 day liver cleanse

  • Taking supplements 

  •  Really spending the time and money it costs to buy good quality, organic foods

  • Taking the time to prepare my nutritious breakfasts and lunches

  • Reducing stress 

  • Keeping a daily diary where I give gratitude, track my progress on new healthy habits and do little things for others.

  • Instead of filling my cup with more tasks, which has been pretty standard in my life, I’ve realised I need to do this stuff with compassion and not come down too heavy on myself. 70% most of the time is good enough!

  • I allow times of ‘nothingness’, of noticing the birds whilst I’m cooking a special meal with new yummy things.


I suspect I’m not alone when I say i’m always busying around the place, always working on five projects at once and reading four books.

Sounds familiar?

I know I need to slow it down sometimes and I am working on it.

When was the last time you told yourself to slow down?


What I’ve got out of this

  • Periods that are manageable, where I’m not taking painkillers, just a herbal mix to take the edge off.

     I’m over the moon!!!

  • Homeostasis - our systems get out of whack when stressed and not supported by rest, food and nutrients. Stress makes us tired and grumpy. I now have more energy and feel I’m not playing catch up with my sleep. I choose to go out with mates, I have a laugh and that’s truly healing!

  • A new enthusiasm for cooking weird and wonderful new things. New ingredients that taste magical. I close my eyes and really sample their texture and aroma. It’s like being a kid again and trying out new stuff for the first time! Have you ever tried monks beard?!?!

  • Noticing my eating habits and not filling a empty painful gap with food. Really understanding that food is medicine and everything I eat has an impact on my health. Noticing my cravings and connections to it. Whether it be emotional or purely a sugar addiction or both.

  • Times of peace inside. Let’s be clear here, not always but sometimes. It’s a work in progress, as is all of this.


I know I need to keep working on this and sometimes it’ll be easier than others. I’m not saying this is the be all and end all for everyone but it’s working for me. 

If this is what it takes to be heathy and pain free bring it on!


Inspired by this healing experience I’ve created these two nourishing 2 hour sessions for you guys…

Sunday 10 March

Embodying The Feminine

4:30-6:30

HP8

Empowerment, regulating hormones, womb yoga, stress relieving, strengthening & meditation.

SOLD OUT

WAITING LIST AVAILABLE

 Sunday 14 April

Yin & Yang Yoga


4:30-6:30

HP8
Recharge whilst building intensity find stillness & motion with yoga, meditation & yoga nidra.

2 spaces left 

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Don’t compare yourself to others.

Compare yourself with the person you where yesterday

FOOD OF HOPE

FOOD OF HOPE

Lunch at Help Refugees Warehouse

No matter our size, age or gender this is what we owe ourselves ...

No matter our size, age or gender this is what we owe ourselves ...

I shared this Rumi quote with my session today

A divine dance appears in the soul and the body at the time of peace and union. Anyone can learn the dance, just listen to the music.


For me Rumi speaks here about compassion and intention, when you listen to your true self “at the time of piece and union” when you truncate yourself from “your to do list”.

“listen to the music” of being human it’s already encoded within you.

This compassion can be to others but particularly I want to focus on compassion for yourself today. I know this word now comes with bows and whistles but what I’m trying to say is it’s kinda like having a relationship with yourself.  Wether it’s taking a walk, gifting yourself with taking time out to do whatever makes you feel alive. It could be going climbing, boxing, whatever this looks like for you? Anything that fills your heart and lets you look inside.

Let’s look at this in the yoga setting: You may feel like you need to be in a particular shape or you don’t allow yourself to come out of the form when it’s not feeling right to you. Or too ashamed to take child’s pose when you really need it? Have you even been there...I have? 

I invite you to join me to create a safe space that welcomes that individuality. This is what makes the session personalised to you.

  • Your choice 

  • Your session that meets you where you are today!

For this to truly work I invite you to join me to change our sessions to allow adjustments and manual assists, as an option.

Therefore before each session you have the choice to OPT IN to having adjustments. Perhaps you don't fancy getting an adjustment today, that’s totally cool with me, so you can have your say with no judgement.

Yoga has gifted me agency when I felt I had no voice. It made me trust in myself and listen to what’s going on inside. If that’s not Yoga then what is? Together we can cocreate this space, for all of us but especially ourselves.

"3 SH@TS To Make You a Better Person"
Sorry to say this one size attitude quick fix, dosn’t fit all. All that stuff is within us and yes that takes more effort. If you fancy side tracking into the cul de sack, that’s fine and perhaps thats what you’re meant to do. Or maybe you stop busying yourself with the crap that doesn't really matter and take the plunge into the shuddering cold uncomfortableness that looking inside you really is... to truly listen to you.

And for me it starts right here on the mat. 
As an invitation to FEEL or maybe EXPLORE the parts of you that are NUMB.
And be ok with that. 


If you fancy a bit of that…check out

Sunday 6 Jan 2019
you.in.yoga
17:00-18:30
£13 
Small group session 
HP8
Book Here 

Privates Tuesdays & Sundays Book Here
£50 - 75 mins

That's all from me today. I hope this letter could be a gentle poke for you to spend time with yourself. Gift yourself some attention and interoception (a fancy word for checking out the feelings inside yourself)

You know I read everything you send back, so feel free to share with me how we can tailor our sessions to truly allow freedom within form and we can inspire each other with new ideas.... and thats why I called my businessYoga Atelier a space to grow and learn and explore together...

Living Like I’m Dying

Living Like I’m Dying

So this happened in the shower for me but dosn’t mean it has to for you…

Jazz Hands Anyone?

Jazz Hands Anyone?

If you work with your hands… watch this life changing video

Teeny Trees Yoga Taster Now At Chilterns Walking Fest And MORE! EVENT

Teeny Trees Yoga Taster Now At Chilterns Walking Fest And MORE! EVENT

3 reasons to get your walking boots on!

 

Yoga Atelier has teamed up with Chilterns Walking Fest  and now offering some explosive sessions for all the family... check it out ...

 

Yarrow + Yoga 

Experience a health tour of East & West. 

Introducing wild medicines from our fields, hedgerows & gardens combined with yoga, easy qi gong & meditation. All brought together in collaboration to support your health and wellbeing.

Session is seasonal and topical and bring you take home tips to use in your day to day.

Forage, stretch, drink tea & learn about you.

All within natures finest surroundings. 

Saturday 19 May

10:00am-12:00am

jason-blackeye-270956.jpeg

Adults £35 NOW get 20% discount here

Kids aged 8-16

All tickets include 20% discount at the Cafe yippeee!

 

Walks are easy and leisurely 

Please bring your own yoga mat, an outdoor blanket for the kids will do the trick!

Outdoor clothing and comfortable layers

Where: Sunnyside Rural Trust, Hemel Food Garden, Two Waters Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9BY 

 

Wild Yoga

Hold onto your unicorns, Wild Yoga is back with a bang! The usual hush hush experiential outdoor yoga experience from Yoga Atelier is celebrating its second birthday in a secret location to unplug and this special one off at Hemel Food Garden.

Join us on your Wild Yoga adventure

Saturday 26 May

10:45am-12:15

90mins

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Kids aged 10-16  

Ticket entitles you to 20% discount at the Cafe!!

Where: Sunnyside Rural Trust, Hemel Food Garden, Two Waters Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9BY early

Walks are easy and leisurely 

Please bring your own yoga mat

Outdoor clothing and comfortable layers.

Please arrive 10mins early

Teeny Trees Yoga Taster

Pack your adventure and picnic blanket! We will we move, balance and create fun yoga games and stories together, all in the beautiful outdoors! Come along to this parent and child yoga exploration session for all the family, and wander and wonder at the world around us….  

Saturday 26 May

9:30am-10:15am

45mins

Kids aged 3-10

all tickets includes 20 % discount at Cafe!!! YIPPPPPEEE!!

Children will need to be accompanied by an adult throughout the session

Please bring a blanket.

Where: Sunnyside Rural Trust, Hemel Food Garden, Two Waters Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9BY

Please arrive 10mins early

An Ode To Wisdom

An Ode To Wisdom

Journey Junkie takes the dusty road down the Rio Grande to Santa Fe… Spurs included! 

      I adore travelling and sourcing interesting pieces of clothing, from old to new, to fun prints and embroidered intricate pieces... I came across this little gem from curators Sita & Anjli Shah of S9 Muses...I wanted to keep it secret ... but the cat is out of the bag...    
  
   
  
    
  
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                            The S9 Muses story    
            

            
               Only 19 months old, S9 Muses launched their website and ecommerce shop in September 2016. Founded by Sita Shah and Anjli Shah – two friends with a knack for style and not being afraid to experiment whilst wearing clothes to suit their personalities – S9 Muses curate collections from new-age, trendsetting, luxury designers who advocate fresh ideas for women from all walks of life.    
            

            

           
         
        

       

    

  


    


  

  


 
   
    
      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
               
             
          

          
        

      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
               
             
          

          
        

      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
               
             
          

          
        

      

        

        

        
          
             
               
                 
                      
                 
                
               
             
          

          
        

      
    
   

  

 




 
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    Images   left to right:  CHARCOAL WITH FUCHSIA EMBROIDERED ORGANZA JACKET ,  GREY HANDLOOM TOP ,  JHUMKA NECKLACES ,  SIX STRING SARI BEAD NECKLACE – SUNSHINE    This is their story      We call ourselves ‘Curators in fashion’ and most of the collections we stock are specifically made for us by designers based in India. We passionately support ethical fashion, and make sure that these values are shared with the designers we work with. We are proud to associate ourselves with these designers; designers who advocate handcraft in all its forms, such as handwoven textiles, organic fabrics and interesting techniques and silhouettes that represent bygone eras in a modern sensibility.    
  
   
  
    
  
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    S9 Muses is all about educating through storytelling and we wanted this to be reflected in everything we do. We hope to offer a different mix of collections that are familiar, yet quirky, and their similarity lies in their production. All handmade, some upcycled, some recycled, adding textures and prints, each with its own story to tell. Our collections are made to be worn daily and evoke that sense of pure satisfaction you get from wearing a beautifully crafted piece.  As Sita says, “Dressing up should always be about making you feel good, regardless of occasion. Build your wardrobe with timeless pieces; garments that have been passed down from generations above and can be passed on to future generations. Let their story unfold.” S9 Muses encourage, “Don’t be afraid of colour; don’t be afraid of prints; for experimentation is always more fun than plain ordinary.”      “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt    S9 Muses’ vision is to grow organically, all the while adding new designers to their repertoire; designers who share the same ethos and sensibilities. New collections will be added on a regular basis, showcasing a vast array of techniques used in producing beautiful garments and accessories, whilst ethically supporting the artisans who make the pieces.       What’s in a name?   S9 refers to Section 9, an area in the quaint yet bustling town of Thika, Kenya, where we both grew up. The number 9 is associated with magic, with completion and fulfilment, with wisdom and heaven. We are both romantics and believe in fairy tales. So, from the mystical nine Muses in Greek mythology, symbolising the goddesses of poetry, art and music, came about the apt reference to the term Muses and, there we have it, S9 Muses was born!       “Upcycling. Recycling. Restyling. Repairing. Each garment has a story to tell; let its story evolve.” – S9 Muses.  Special 10% Discount code for you YA subscribers out there  S9SHOP10  Valid 1st April to 31st May 2018  Website:  www.S9Muses.com   Tel.: 07703684453  Email: info@S9Muses.com  Instagram: @S9Muses  Twitter: @S9Muses  Facebook:    www.facebook.com/s9muses   Pinterest:  https://uk.pinterest.com/s9muses/   Join our mailing list:  https://www.s9muses.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/    

10 % Discount with ethical clothes brand S9

Secret Wild Yoga Throwback

Secret Wild Yoga Throwback

Hold onto your unicorns, Wild Yoga is back with a bang in April. The hush hush experiential outdoor yoga experience from Yoga Atelier is celebrating its second birthday with 5 more teeming fruitful chapters to get you unplugged and grounded.

As per usual details remain under wraps.  There’ll be 5 sessions running from April 14 to August 11 at a top secret Bucks location to unplug.

Join us on your Wild Yoga adventure

Dates: Sat 14 April | Sat 12 May | Sat 9 June | Sat 14 July | Sat 11 Aug

 See you bright eyed and bushy tailed!

Well ok ... one more exclusive session in collaboration with Chilterns Walking Fest at a different location and one for the whole Family!!