Bedtime Ritual

With the clocks going back tonight, I’ll be making the extra hour count with a soothing bed time ritual using Brighton based Corinne Taylor’s handmade and organic products.

Firstly I will have a long relaxing bath using Corinne’s gorgeous ‘Calm Himalayan Bath salts’ which is made with organic Lavender, Frankincense and Patchouli.

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I will then apply the super nourishing ‘Soothe Calming Face Mask’, which is made with Pink French Clay, Rosehip and Chamomile – perfect for my sensitive skin!

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Then before getting into bed I will spritz my room and bed linen with the ‘Calm Room & Linen Mist’, which is made using a calming blend of lavender, frankincense and patchouli.

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Perfect way to relax and unwind and guaranteed to wake up looking and feeling refreshed!

Rachel x

 

All photos courtesy of Corinne Taylor.  

Please note: I was not paid to endorse any products mentioned.

 

A guide to Yoga.

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Most people who know me, know that I love Yoga and have been practising for many years. I regularly attend Hatha and Yin Yoga classes at The Float Spa on Third Avenue and highly recommend the studio!

I have put together all you need to know to get started with yoga, including the health benefits, yoga styles for beginners, and finding a yoga class.

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing. The practice originated in India about 5,000 years ago, and has been adapted in other countries in a variety of ways.

What are the health benefits of yoga?

Dozens of scientific trials of varying quality have been published on yoga. While there’s scope for more rigorous studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance. There’s also evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.

Can yoga help with Arthritis?

I wanted to include this as I suffer with Psoriatic Arthritis. Yoga is popular with many people with arthritis for its gentle way of promoting flexibility and strength. Some research suggests yoga can reduce pain and mobility problems. However, some yoga moves aren’t suitable for people with the condition. Find a teacher who understands arthritis and can adapt movements for individual needs, especially if you have replacement joints. Check with a doctor or physiotherapist to find out if there are any movements to avoid.

Am I too old for yoga?

Definitely not! People often start yoga in their advanced years and many say they wish they had started sooner. There are yoga classes for every age group. Yoga is a form of exercise that can be enjoyed at any age.

Do I have to be fit to do yoga?

No, you can join a class that’s suitable for your fitness level. For example, to join a mixed ability yoga class, you need to be able to get up and down from the floor. Some yoga classes are chair-based.

Do I need to be flexible to do yoga?

No, Yoga will improve your flexibility and help you go beyond your normal range of movement, which will make performing your daily activities easier.

Can I injure myself doing yoga?

Yoga-related injuries are uncommon. Some injuries can be caused by repetitive strain or overstretching. But yoga is the same as any other exercise discipline. It is perfectly safe if taught properly by people who understand it and have experience. Learning from a qualified yoga teacher and choosing a class appropriate for your level will ensure you remain injury-free.

What style of yoga should I do?

There are many different styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha and Yin. Some styles are more vigorous than others. Some may have a different area of emphasis, such as posture or breathing. Many yoga teachers develop their own practice by studying more than one style. No style is necessarily better or more authentic than any other. The key is to choose a class appropriate for your fitness level.

What type of class should I look out for?

Classes can vary in duration, but typically last between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. A longer class will give you more time for learning breathing and relaxation techniques, and will give the teacher time to work with your individual ability. It’s worth speaking to a teacher about their approach before you sign up for a class.

Where can I find a yoga class?

No specific qualifications are required to teach yoga in the UK. However, it is generally accepted that teachers need to be insured and have a teaching certificate and accreditation from a yoga association.

The main UK yoga associations are:

These associations all list teachers and classes near you on their websites. You can also search for a local class or teacher using the following websites:

Can I use a book or a yoga DVD instead of going to a class?

It’s better to start with a class to learn the poses and breathing techniques correctly. With a DVD, there will be nobody to correct your mistakes, which may lead to injury over time. With some experience of being in a class, a DVD can then be helpful for keeping up practice.

Rachel x

A beginners guide to Crystals & Crystal Healing.

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I love crystals for their decorative and healing purposes, so I have put together a beginners guide to crystals and crystal healing for anyone wanting to learn more.

What are crystals? 

Crystals are minerals formed underground from three-dimensional repeating patterns of atoms. A crystal’s appearance depends upon the natural characteristics of its type and the conditions in which it grows. Some take on strange shapes, some are very small and others grow very large, developing over thousands of years.

Programming and cleansing crystals

The repeating chemical structure of crystals is said to invest them with a kind of memory. This means that crystals have the power to hold energies. You may hold a quartz crystal with the intention of filling it with love. This is what is meant by programming a crystal – all you need is intention and focus. The crystal will remember your love, which will then permeate any environment in which the crystal is placed. Crystals can remember negative as well as positive energies and so will sometimes need to be cleansed. For instance, Amethyst will actually help to cleanse a room of negative energies but this means that the Amethyst, which will retain an element of that negative energy, will itself occasionally need cleansing.

There are different ways to cleanse crystals. One of the most common is to submerge them in salt water (sea water is even better!) for a couple of days, then run them under the tap to clean off all the salt. Other methods include burying crystals in the garden for a few days or leaving them outside overnight in normal water to bask in the moonlight.

What gives individual stones their characteristics?

Different stones have different energetic properties. For example, Tigers Eye can increase insight and perception, while Lapis Lazuli is a powerful crystal for activating the higher mind and enhancing intellectual ability. Rose Quartz is calming and sometimes referred to as the stone of unconditional love. There are many books available which contain lists of crystals and what each one means. These meanings are simply interpretations of the energy each crystal carries.

With a little practise and intuition, anyone can interpret the immediate characteristics of a stone. For example, red is the colour of action, and red stones can invigorate and enliven. White or clear stones such as Quartz may help you to see more clearly. Purple stones assist in transformation and change. It’s good to read and digest the definitions in books but also it’s important to form your own opinions.

The shape of a crystal can also affect it’s qualities. Some people will also consider the number of facets and use Numerology, which attributes meanings to different numbers.

Below is a list of the most commonly available shapes:

Single terminated wands
These have a single point at one end and a rough or rounded edge at the other. They are used widely in healing, cleansing and meditation and as jewellery.

Chunks
Chunks are crystals without notable facets. They can be good for enriching a rooms atmosphere, for holding during meditation or simply carrying in your pocket.

Clusters
Clusters consist of a group of small crystals that have naturally grown joined together. Clusters can be excellent for enriching a living environment or workplace. Depending upon their properties they can cleanse, invigorate or calm an atmosphere.

Cut crystals
Cut crystals are crystals that have been cut and polished into shapes such as pyramids, wands or spheres, which can make them very attractive.

Tumblestones
Tumblestones are small stones, rocks or crystals that have been tumbled over each other in grit for a number of days in a giant tumbler machine. As time passes finer and finer grit is used until the edges are smoothed and the crystals start to become polished. Tumblestone crystals are great to collect, carry or use for healing.

How do I choose a crystal?

You do not need to know the exact properties of every stone in order to buy one, although this may help. It is more important to be receptive and allow yourself to be drawn to a stone that will have meaning for you. If you are in a shop simply stand in front of a group of crystals, close your eyes and relax, and when you open them choose the one you feel drawn to most.

When choosing a crystal online it is not possible to hold the crystal, so you need to take your intuition a stage further. Browse through the pictures of the various crystals and note which section most appeals to you. Spend some time browsing through that section. You may find yourself drawn to a picture of a particular crystal, with a powerful urge to touch it and a sense of frustration that you cannot. If you feel that you very much want that crystal to be a part of your life, it is likely that on some level it has something to offer you.

You may see many beautiful crystals but none that compel you to buy them. As with all purchases relating to spiritual growth intent is crucial, and you may need to acknowledge that the time isn’t right. If you buy crystals purely because that is what you set out to do then your crystals may lack meaning, and you are essentially starting a rock collection. There is nothing wrong with collecting rocks, but this post is aimed at using crystals to assist personal development. If nothing strongly appeals to you, come back on another day when perhaps a crystal will compel you.

In our personal development it is sometimes difficult to know what we need. We may see clearly when helping others with their lives but, as our opinions are coloured by what we think of ourselves, find it very hard to be objective when looking at our own. We may like to think we are loving all the time, but in some situations we may be sarcastic, or we may think we are forgiving, but in reality find it hard to talk to a person who has wronged us. Because of this, our conscious selves are not always best at choosing crystals. You may set out to buy a citrine crystal, having read that it can help dissipate negative energy, but be prepared to have your unconscious lead you to a different crystal. The unconscious or higher self doesn’t get involved with life’s day-to-day clutter and thus can get straight down to the business of selecting the most appropriate crystal for you. This is why the best approach to choosing a crystal is to quiet your mind and simply do what feels right.

Healing with crystals

Different crystals have different energies and properties, and between them can affect mental, physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of ourselves. Simply holding the right crystal at the right time can bring about a change in our attitude and well-being. You don’t necessarily need to look up the meaning each time you do this. Over time you may acquire a number of crystals – just take hold of the one you feel drawn to!

The right crystal can affect the energy of an environment, and the energy it holds can influence you whether you simply hold it in your hand or place it by your bed or on the mantelpiece. Crystal healers use their knowledge of the stones and of the client in the healing process. There are various methods of healing with crystals, such as placing crystals on and around a person while they are lying down, or using a wand/ point to focus love, energy and intent on the other person in a way that relates specifically to their ailment and needs.

Can the wrong crystal do me harm?

As with many objects used for divination and healing, a crystal can only do harm in the wrong hands. A crystal healer only uses a crystal as a tool. A great crystal does not make a great crystal healer.You do need to take some care if you are looking for a crystal healer. If you cannot get a recommendation from a previous client, speak to the healer before accepting treatment. If you don’t feel you would trust them in some everyday matter, neither should you trust them with your well-being. You should try to buy crystals from a reputable supplier and, after receiving them, it is wise to cleanse them (see above) of any negative energy that they may previously have absorbed. Use your intuition and you cannot go wrong. If one day you feel a crystal no longer belongs in your home, it may be time to give it away. As you change you may find that you want different crystals around you, although many will stay with you happily for a long time.

Rachel x