International Yoga Day 2018 | What My Yoga Practice Means To Me

international yoga day 2018

Picture the scene: it’s 2003. You’re in the pinkest teenagers’ bedroom you’ve ever seen (seriously, there are pink walls, a pink carpet, and pink bedlinen), the only colour variation being the bright yellow TV/VHS combination, upon which a crackly yoga class is playing. View Post

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Do Couples Who Train Together Stay Together? | Valentine’s Day Special

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“I didn’t realise you had a boyfriend!”, a work friend said to me the other day. “I’ve never seen him on your Instagram”.

With my Instagram being almost entirely fitness-focused, it’s no surprise my boyfriend doesn’t feature on there – despite being together for over 7 years, we don’t train together. Sure, he enjoys going to the gym and keeping active, but because of our personalities our joint training sessions can often lead to frustration.

Valentine’s Day seemed a good a day as any to address this. Do couples who train together stay together? What if you don’t? What if your other half doesn’t train at all?

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Yoga For CrossFit Athletes | The Top 8 Postures To Stretch, Align & Cool Down

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Quitting your day job and going to India to practice yoga is a dream for many, but it didn’t just stay that way for my friend Marley – she’s not long home from 4 weeks in Goa qualifying to become a yoga teacher. As well as being a superstar yogi, Marley is a big fan of weight training, so she knows only too well what it’s like to be inflexible as those of us who lift heavy and put a lot of demand on our bodies very often are.

If you’re anything like me as a CrossFitter, as soon as the WOD is done and you’ve finished your standard laying-on-the-floor recovery, it’s time to get some food in you and chill. There’s no stretching and no real cooling down, other than walking across the box to pick up your protein shaker.

By consistently adding in the following moves, as recommended especially for CrossFitters by Marley you’ll increase your mobility and flexibility, slowly bring your heartrate down, and reduce risk of injury.

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Sweating Like A.. | Did Bikram Yoga Bring Me Any Health Benefits?

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It’s easy to get out of the fitness habit when autumn rolls around. “The nights are really drawing in now!”, you say, as you choose to snuggle on the sofa rather than stick to your summer gym routine. Get The Label challenged me to #StayFitDontQuit now that summer is over, and I of course accepted the challenge, choosing a month of Bikram Yoga* to shake up my regular fitness routine and keep me going long after the nights start to go dark.

Find out what I thought of my time at Bikram, and whether it really has any health benefits compared to other types of yoga.

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YOGA: Breakfast Club

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It’s 6am, it’s absolutely chucking it down, yet I’m still dragging myself out of bed and out of the flat. Both my body and my mind are confused as to why we’re out of the house at this time and in this weather; there’s something inside that’s thinking we’re a little crazy to be doing this, but the promise of chilled yoga and a tasty breakfast keeps me going…

I’m on my way to PKBreathe at Pot Kettle Black, an early morning yoga session in a coffee shop at the heart of the city. I like to think myself quite the Manchester coffee connoisseur but I hadn’t heard of PKB before yoga teacher Sarah got in touch – it’s a cosy, quirky spot in Barton Arcade, just off St. Ann’s Square, which runs a variety of classes, quizzes, and live music nights. It’s on my way to work so a 7am yoga session followed by a choice of porridge, granola or toast with tea or coffee fits into my schedule easily. Although it’s inside an arcade the coffee shop is surrounded by glass, and Manchester gradually wake up around us as we rolled out our mats and began with breathing exercises.

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After a few sun salutations we moved onto inversions and heart-opening postures. I’m used to more of a flow-style yoga so moving simply from one pose to another felt a little awkward at first, but it turned out to be the best plan of action. We’d stay in the postures for quite a few breaths to really get the blood flowing around the body, and the overall effect was incredibly rejuvenating. This was ideal at that time of morning; after our final savasana I felt refreshed, awake, and ready to face the day.

And, of course, totally ready for breakfast. This was my favourite part, not least because my porridge and coffee were tasty (the granola looked great too, that for me next time I think), but also because all us yogis sat around a big table and had a chat as we ate. I love to meet new people but fitness and yoga classes aren’t the most ideal, as everyone always rushes straight off to whatever’s next on their list, but because it was still early we had the luxury to relax and spend some time together before heading off to work.

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A few days earlier I’d met with my friend Chyaz, who works from home in the health and beauty industry, and we spoke of how lonely it can be working alone, being a blogger, or being self-employed. There’s a lot of events and meet-ups now but it really made me think about the importance of connecting with others without pressure to blog or Tweet about what’s going on, and just share ideas or just chat idly. It may be an early start (especially for those who organise their own day..!) but I do think the PKB morning yoga session would be the perfect time for us all to meet and connect; a gentle yoga session followed by breakfast and a chat; a bit of a Breakfast Club, if you like. Then we can all go away knowing we’ve had meaningful interactions with another human, even if you don’t speak to anyone else for the rest of the day! So if you’re a health, fitness, or wellness professional or blogger, self-employed or not – or maybe you don’t fit any of those categories but just love yoga, food and meeting people – reach out! You can comment on this post, Tweet me or email me, and once we have enough interest I’ll be in touch with the first date we can all meet up.

Until then, PKB run their yoga and breakfast PKBreathe sessions on Wednesday, with PKBlast, a high-intensity training circuit plus breakfast, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all starting at 7am. It’s £12 for the training sessions, breakfast, and an ongoing sense of wellbeing for the rest of the day!

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TRAIN: Voga Beets the Blues

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Fitness events in London always look so awesome, but I find it hard to justify a five-hour round trip – can you blame me when it costs more than my weekly food bill? I made a bit of a spur of the moment decision this week, though, when I heard about the Love Beets launch at the grand London Edition hotel. On offer was all the beetroot juice I could manage, juices made from Love Beets with added extras like ginger and kale, plus a super sassy Voga session from its creator Juliet, which I’d wanted to try out for ages. It was too tempting not to at least check out trains and I was delighted to find Virgin have reduced prices – so I booked in and away I went.

Love Beets is pure beetroot juice with only a touch of lemon juice added (I was careful to look and quizzed the Love Beets guys about it – I hate added hidden extras) so you get the benefit of three beets by drinking a small bottle of the juice. I love the taste of beetroot anyway and if there’s a juice option available with them in I’ll always plump for that one. Somehow they always taste like they’re nourishing me! The effect isn’t immediate, of course, but beetroot has been proven to increase blood and oxygen flow around the body, protect the stomach lining to prevent ulcers, reduce blood pressure and prevent fatty build-up in the liver. Remember though, the fibre’s removed because of the juicing process, so it’s important to still eat portions of fruit and vegetables for all-round balance and health.

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Incredibly, a study from the University of Exeter showed that beetroot juice boosts stamina and can help you exercise for up to 16% longer. Exercise is less tiring due to the nitrates present in beetroot, which reduce the amount of oxygen required for exercise. This is why you’ll see it recommended as an endurance activity pre-workout, and it’s something I can personally vouch for – after a lunchtime 1Rebel spinning class, drinking a beetroot juice and Voga, I then went onto the Lexie Sport Train About Town session and absolutely powered through it like I was fresh out of the stable (Yep, took advantage of as many London fitness offerings as I could in one day!).

I think I must have really gotten in the zone doing Voga, because although I felt like somewhat ungainly I actually look like I’m working it hard in the photos! It was a good giggle with a lovely bunch of girls and the soundtrack was absolutely immense, so I recommend if you get a chance to try it out.

FYI you can now pick up Love Beets in Holland & Barrett, along with some branches of ASDA and Tesco Local. Try it before your next training session and let me know how you get on!

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Awkward moment when I sat on fitness blogging megastar Faya‘s foot whilst it was on a sharp bit of the stage. Thankfully she was lovely about it, but definitely a case of clumsy lump strikes again..!

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LIFE: Fit in NYC

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For almost a year I managed to keep a secret from my boyfriend. Like, a huge secret. December 30th was his 30th birthday, and (I don’t mean to gush but) seeing as he has been so supportive of me over the past couple of years it was only fitting we did something very, very special. Though he knew we were going away it wasn’t until we reached the airport and had checked in he found out where he was going..

Morning of the 30th we flew to New York City. It was the first time either us had been and whilst at first I was overwhelmed by the hugeness of it all, I absolutely adored it; so much so I can easily see myself living there for a few years. Chris wanted to do some tourist things, so we did go up the Empire State, to the 9/11 memorial, and to various galleries and museums, but for me it was all about getting to know the local area and taking in the culture. We stayed on the lower West side, and I loved all the restaurants, coffee shops and stores that all had a health-focus. Food is always freshly-made with high-quality ingredients, with hot drinks crafted like they’re a work of art. We marveled at the deliciousness of all the food, then realised that when you’re competing with huge chains in somewhere as saturated as New York, you really do have to take your game to the highest level.

In fact, everything in the city that was tailored to locals was healthy. I was surprised to see so many Equinox gyms, as I thought it was a boutique, one-of-a-kind place, but it just goes to show just how big fitness is over there that it’s a huge chain in the city. Locals are clad mainly in Lycra and Asics, Brooks and Saucony running shoes, even in casual dress. I had to seek out juice bars, though when I found them they were always super busy, with people grabbing a post-workout juice and running off to work.

See why I want to live there so much?! Honestly, the bustle of the tourist areas was too much, but the individual villages within the city had a real sense of community and felt like home to me. I even made friends on our short trip, the best way I know how – running – which I’ll post about, and I also visited Strala Yoga, a studio I’d been excited about going to ever since the trip was booked.

Going through the images and writing about the city gave me some heartache as even after spending five days there I really miss it! Coming from someone who never wanted to move out of the North West, let alone England, that’s kind of a big deal. It gives me more motivation to keep working towards that opportunity that will see me living in a cute flat in Greenwich Village.

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