Notes on daily rituals that empower and nurture. Ideas on how to apply structure, colour and purpose to long days inside:)
Waking up in the middle of the night and can't fall asleep again?
If you are in your 40s+ or going through a stressful period in your life you might be frequently waking up in the middle of the night - typically between 2-3am - finding your mind is racing and can't fall back to sleep. Can be debilitating and depressing.
A good night's sleep is necessary so that our body has time to regenerate and when we don't it does impact not just our life but those around us. I have discovered two simple remedies that will enable you to fall asleep again:
Make yourself a nice cup of chamomile tea. Don't worry that going through this process will wake you up for good. Drink it in bed in the dark so that you can fall asleep easily.Usually, this alone does the trick. However, if half an hour later you are still awake here is the 2nd tip:
Massage your legs, feet, arms and hands. It calms the nerves.
In NZ, I once had a consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor, Dr Ajit! It was winter at the time and he suggested each morning when I wake up, to warm up some sesame oil and massage my entire body. Get dressed and have warm water with lemon and ginger before breakfast.
Massaging with oil (almond oil is a good one to use), is lovely but if you don't want to stain the sheets you can easily achieve the same effect by just using your hands or a body cream.
Treat your hair
Rinse hair with warm water and ceremoniously apply a deep conditioner by dividing the hair in smaller sections and gently massaging the entire length from root to ends and then twisting till your entire head is covered. Put a plastic cap on and leave in for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes take the cap off and shampoo and condition as usual.
The entire day your head will emanate a beautiful smell around you which will promote calm and a sense of well-being.
Soft & fluffy
I never comb my hair - only when wet with conditioner on - so every 4-5 days. As a result it gets tangled and dread-locky with sweat (from yoga) and rain (this is England). Taking time to do this treatment makes my head literally feel lighter.
Phillipe Kingley & NATIO
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer was recommended by my dear friend and hair specialist Athina Minioti, co-owner of the distinguished Hair Salon chain 'Andreas' in Athens.
NATIO is a brand I've known and loved since 2006 when I first came across it in Melbourne.
Great smelling hair can be powerful. It gently hits you when making a sudden movement or feel the heat building up in your body after practicing.
Immerse yourself in the great smell of a hair treatment or spray your favourite essential oils after mixing them with a base oil such as olive, almond, sesame or avocado.
For healthy looking hair ensure you trim a little every two months.
Tone, detox and balance with yoga
Setting a regular time for yoga practice at home provides structure and a sense of purpose. A minimum of 20 minutes daily benefits the respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems directly leaving you feeling energised yet calm, positive and content.
You can mix it up to provide a bit more variety. Some days you can move more vigorously holding poses for no more than five breathes, continuously moving with the breath from one posture to the next in a very precise sequence (Asthanga Vinyasa). Other days, you can choose the poses you want to work on, stay in them for longer (10-20 breathes) focusing on correct alignment with the aid of props (Iyengar).
Early in the morning the body is more stiff so requires a higher degree of motivation but it does set you up for the day and feels great afterwards. In the afternoon your body will be naturally more capable. The whole experience will be rewarding and joyful with less effort.
Try both and see what feels better when.
Ensure you hydrate before and afterwards and not during your practice.
The Pranayanna Youtube Channel is a collection of short videos with exercises and yoga sequences that can be practiced on a mat, against a wall or a chair.
Is aimed at all levels and abilities promoting health and vitality.
1:1 instruction can be booked online and is currently only available via Zoom.
A bespoke program can be created to address your specific needs and aspirations which you can then take away home and practice in your own pace.
Surround yourself with flowers
The whole ritual of going to your favourite florist or visiting a flower market selecting the textures, colours, shapes and smells that best fit the mood of the day or the week is a profoundly healing and meditative practice in its own right.
If you have your own garden what a treasure to go out and admire them or bring some of the magic back inside.
Immerse yourself in evocative smells
Ethical fragrance brand ''Floral Street Fragrances'' in Covent Garden uplifts the spiritis with its beautiful packaging and pure and wonderful range of smells. Mysore Sandalwood is a smell I always return back to for its depth and sensuality:)
For years I have been purchasing essential oils from Neal's Yard and Baldwin's in Elephant and Castle and is still a wonderful and cost-effctive way to mix and match your favourite fragrances in oils you apply on your body or in oil diffusers.