Silver Island Yoga Retreat – Reviewed!

We travel to experience life from different angles and to open ourselves to new experiences. A lot of us are hoping to find something, to ‘find ourselves’ perhaps, and in our constant searching, what we invariably find are places and people which alter who we are forever.

I’ve spent my year travelling without a destination or a plan in mind. It’s been fun, sometimes painful, exciting, incredible and ultimately life-changing and wonderful in every way. I’ve also had a love-hate relationship with myself and with my yoga practice this year. It’s been one of those on again, off again things, every time I do it I know I am doing something extraordinary and wonderful that is changing the very fibre of my being. Then I get lost in some trivial pursuit that takes my attention away from having to focus on myself and my personal growth, because this single minded focus is uncomfortable, difficult and painful, and whatever I have found to distract me must be more important than the self-development I know I am supposed to working on.

I found something in all the travelling though. It happened in stages; it started on a moonlit beach in Thailand and it ended over dinner on a private Greek island paradise – both experiences, strangely, included swimming in bioluminescent plankton – the only two times I’ve ever even seen plankton! I’ve spent 20 days sitting in silent meditation in a Thai monastery trying desperately to escape myself; I’ve spent several hours standing on my head in front of 50 eager students trying to convince myself that this is where the learning was and that this was where I was meant to be. I placed too much emphasis on trying, and not enough on just learning to ‘be’. It sounds easy enough, all this talk of just being, resting and finding ourselves in the silence, and I’m sure it is simple, but we are human and therefore have a tendency to complicate things beyond recognition, making the simple act of just being quite challenging.

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We spend so much time fighting ourselves, instead of simply accepting where we are. It was only when I finally let go of every expectation I was holding that I found myself truly learning. It was in the moments when I found myself amongst new friends, or alone under an oak tree with the ocean breeze gently kissing my skin, that I really found what I was searching for. It was at the end of a long road that I ended up on Silver Island, an idyllic Greek rock that is home to a small cluster of beautiful white buildings and two wonderful hosts who made our time here more than magical. I felt at home from the moment I stepped onto the jetty, I felt at peace and somehow I stopped trying and just let myself soak it all up. Maybe it’s because I was too exhausted to keep trying, but I think it has a lot to do with the people around me, the place I was in and the quiet comfort of being so well looked after during my time here.

Silver Island Yoga Retreat is as private and exclusive as the unspoilt Greek Island itself. Hosting only 10 guests at a time, this is a holiday of peace and rejuvenation, where mindful living, appreciation, gratitude and a magical sense of wellbeing becomes the sole purpose of your stay. Enjoy the healing benefits of yoga, one two hour class at dawn, and a second at dusk, and experience the serenity of the surrounding beaches, coves, rolling hills and olive groves throughout the sunlight hours to really feel at one with nature, and above all, yourself.Typically rustic and yet wonderfully refined, this island paradise has moved me beyond words.  Lissa and Corne, our wonderful hosts, along with Lissa’s sister Claire, who coordinates all their admin from her home in South Africa, have created a unique, once in a lifetime experience; a space which is lends itself perfectly to the healing and nurturing of the human spirit. This is not a “yoga retreat” and it is so much more than a holiday destination – it is a brief glimpse into a way of life that allows time to stop and the body to be forced into a state of rest. It is rehabilitation for the busy mind and the restless soul, and it is from being here that I somehow feel whole again, as though I can now take the love I have cultivated for myself during my time on Silver Island, and with newfound strength and clarity, share it with the world.

Thank you to Lissa and Corne, Claire and Ernest, for everything you do and have done. You are a winning team and I wish you all the best with the future of your magical Island Paradise. I’ll be back soon, of that I have no doubt.

 

For bookings contact [email protected]

Visit http://silverislandyoga.com/

 


Bircher Muesli – Honestly Healthy

Make up a batch of this on a Sunday night so you are prepared for the week ahead. This is one of the most nutritious ways to start the days it includes almost all of the key food groups – protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and fibre, all for slow release energy.

 

Ingredients

120g gluten free rolled oats

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

20g coconut shavings

2tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

7g raisins (or substitue chopped dried figs, dates or apricots)

420ml warm water

 

Method

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl

Simply add the warm water to the dry ingredients and give the mixture another good stir. Leave to soak for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge.

If it’s really sticky after 2 hours add a splash of extra water to loosen up the muesli; some oats are super absorbent and others aren’t, so it’ll depend on the type you use.

Top with fresh fruit of you choice and enjoy!

Recipe from Honestly Healthy


IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING THIS WEEK: PIMP YOUR PORRIDGE


 


Winter Workout Style

Baby it’s cold outside… so get warmed up with a wintery workout in these super stylish wears

Stylist: Chloe Waller

Photographer: Claire Brand

kalindi leggings

KALENDS BLUE LAGOON COMPRESSION LEGGINGS, £65

sukishufu shooting star

SUKISHUFU LEATHERBACK LEGGINGS IN SHOOTING STAR, £85

sukishufu

SUKISHUFU LEATHERBACK LEGGINGS IN UNIVERSE TAUPE, £85

alo yoga

ALO YOGA ILLUSION CAPRI, £59.95 AND GODDESS BRA, £38

YAS

YAS LIQUID TANK, £28 AND LIQUID LEGGINGS, £45


Quinoa Salad With Capers & Cranberries – Purple Balance

Ingredients 

2 cups of quinoa (cooked)

3 tbsp of capers

1 handful of pecans

i bug handful of parsley

1 red bell pepper (diced)

1 bunch of arugula leaves

1/2 cup of cranberries

 

Dressing:

1/3 cup of cold pressed organic olive oil

1/4 cup of organic apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp mustard

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/4 tsp cardamon

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

 

Method

Cook the quinoa for 15 minutes and let it cool off. Once cooled, combine with all the other salad ingredients and the dressing sauce. Finally scatter the capers and cranberries! It’s as easy as that!

Recipe by Purple Balance 


If You Only Do One Thing This Week… Stay Fit Through Winter!

Does the thought of winter make you want to reach for the duvet only to re-emerge once the cheek biting frost, dark mornings and January blues have passed? You’re not the only one. Colder-times- are-a-coming, question is, are you ready for them? No, I’m not talking about a winter coat and an 11.5 tog duvet – though they do help – what I really mean is, are you prepared to keep up your current fitness routine through the coldest, darkest months of the year? Listen up, Hip & Healthies, now is the time to form a plan because when things get freezing, you sure are going to need one.

First things first, be positive. There are many, many benefits to working out in winter such as a faster metabolic rate as your body works harder to counteract the cold and maintain its core temperature, not to mention glowing skin as a result of increased circulation. What’s more, you’re fending off that sluggish feeling we often experience in January when a month of festivities finally catch up with us. Have a list of positives to hand to keep you motivated.

Just can’t face the cold? Online classes might be your saviour. Head to Barrecore for a great selection of online videos. Each class costs £4 but you are guaranteed to feel the burn without leaving the house. Otherwise, your body weight is all you need for an effective, at-home workout; think burpees, press ups, lunges, lateral hops – YouTube has a wealth of material you can access for free!

Combat winter blues with dance. We all know that smiling can instantly lift our mood and chances are that when you’re dancing- however unsuccessfully- you’re smiling too. Zumba is a good place to start or, if you’re feeling extra brave, why not try a Beyoncé themed twerk class by All Twerk and No Play? Head to www.wearetbc.com for further details.

Get walking! As much as we love a high intensity workout, brisk winter walks have an added air of romance this time of year (cheesy, I know). Why not gather everyone together for some collective leaf crunching underfoot. Wellies recommended.

Lift your workout and your mood with fresh winter gear. If you keep reaching for the same pair of leggings time and time again, now’s the time to treat yourself to something new as a way of spicing up a workout. The brighter the better so you’re easier to spot when the sun goes down. Shop our wide selection of activewear right here on Hip & Healthy! 

Take care of yourself both inside and out. Arm yourself with the following winter care kit: lip balm, moisturiser with an SPF (those pesky UV rays still pass through clouds you know) and hand cream as well as the essentials: gloves, a hat and scarf and maybe even a vest or two. You also want to make sure you nourishing your body with lots of natural, vitamin enriched foods to help boost your immunity.

Get some vitamin D. Known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s no surprise that most of us are deficient this time of year. Dr Emma Derbyshire reports that “The option of using sunlight to create vitamin D  is practically non-existent for five months of the year  – and limited to just four to five hours each day in the summer” – eek. Worry not as there are various ways to up your intake, either with supplements or with good quality, locally sourced red meat.

As the saying goes, failure to plan is planning to fail. Print off a monthly calendar and note down your exercise routine for the whole month – whether it’s a full body workout or a five minute session – head over to Sweaty Betty’s get-fit-4-free for heaps of ideas. Good luck!

words by Alexandra Salisbury


The Hip & Healthy Christmas Gift Guide!

Don’t let last minute, frantic Christmas shopping rob you of your sanity this season… Take a chill pill and look no further than our Christmas gift guide! Every year we find great pleasure in sourcing the best healthy, indulgent and life-enhancing gifts that we think you, your family and your friends will love and cherish. We wanted to make sure there was a perfect gift for everyone; from fitness freaks to bookworms, beauty obsessives to healthy eating devotees!

Radiance Fitness Box centred

Radiance – Fitness box, £90

Know someone who deserves to look beautiful on the inside and out this Christmas? Radiance certainly know their cleansing facts, but this year they’ve gone the extra mile and have teamed up with Dalton Wong, Founder of Twenty Two Training and personal trainer to Jenifer Lawrence to create the perfect juice cleanse to feed all fitness fanatics! Specially created to provide you with natural fuel before your workout and amazing nutrients to feed your muscles post-workout, we think it’s the perfect training partner!

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Neom – Perfect Night’s Sleep Kit, £29.95

The festive season is always full of Christmas parties and late night cocktail get-togethers, which can sometimes wreck havoc on our sleeping patterns! In case you didn’t know, we’re huge fans of Neom Organics as all their gorgeous products are 100% natural and ethically sourced. This Perfect Night’s Sleep Kit contains scents of lavender and jasmine in the form of a Tranquility Travel Candle, some relaxing Tranquilty Bath Foam and a Tranquility Pillow Mist to help you sleep soundly and peacefully.

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Nurture With Nature “The Everyday Hamper”, £30

Nurture With Nature, the new healthy kid on the block, provides perfectly healthy and delicious hampers that can be delivered right to your door! Their aim is to inspire people to live a truly healthy and happy life by eating natural, un-processed foods that will nourish the body as well as the mind. Filled with goodies like Inspiral Kale Chips, Jax Coconut Water and even Ombar Raw Chocolate Bars, these hampers will make perfect gifts for your sugar free friends and are also great for filling up your pantry with guilt free snacks for the week ahead!

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Nourish – The Kale Trio, £50

The mighty Kale strikes again, this time, in the form of skincare! Who’d have thought? Nourish, the all natural skincare brand, have combined three of their best Kale products (a deep exfoliating cleanser, a moisturising anti-aging hand cream and eye cream) into a brilliant Christmas gift to provide all beauty lovers with a little bit of green goodness to their skin!

 Wellness Bag, open

Technogym – Wellness Bag, £304

A tad pricey yes, but this is the gift that will last a lifetime for those who love to keep up their fitness regime whilst travelling the world! Featuring four types of resistance bands and other savvy accessories, this wellness bag will allow you to perform all kinds of exercises to tone and define your muscles. Small and compact, you can conveniently pop it in your carry on or overnight bags for those spur-of-the-moment weekend trips!

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Tara Stiles – Make Your Own Rules Diet Book, £18.99

Our favourite yoga rebel, Tara Stiles, has excitingly brought out a new book called Make Your Own Rules Diet! In this book, Tara explains how to introduce new and fun ways to bring yoga, meditation and (seriously mouth-watering) recipes into your life. The Strala Yoga Founder stresses the importance of practicing yoga with ease and leaving discomfort and tension behind. You’ll discover how to create your own rules that make you happy and you’ll also learn to recognize when something just isn’t working any more. We think this is the most perfect guide for 2015!

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Kalindi Yoga Lightening Bolt Leggings, £65

These are not just black leggings… Electrify your workout wardrobe with these stunning leggings from Kalindi Yoga! They feature a clever four-way fabric that provides compression to give the appearance of slimmer legs and their high waisted band will help smooth and support you tummy even if you’re doing anti-gravity yoga! 

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Y.A.S Liquid Hood Jacket, £45

This hooded jacket from Y.A.S will be a runner’s best friend, especially if your the kind to run early in the morning (when it’s freezing)! Not only is it super light weight, but it also features a special sweat wicking fabric and a short zip down the front to help you workout with extra comfort and breathability. 

words by Molly Jennings


Spiced Christmas Smoothie From Purple Balance!

How delicious does this sound?! A yummy smoothie that you can enjoy for your breaky that has a festive touch! We love the wonderful people over at Purple Balance (if you don’t know who they are and what they do, click here!), and we are so happy to share with you their awesome recipe! Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 Banana (Frozen)

1 tbsp Purple Balance’s Raw Omega

1tbsp Coconut Pal Sugar

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Cardamom

Pinch of Clove

400ml of your favourite dairy free mylk

Method

Blend….blend some more… and voila!

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Recipe by Purple Balance


Fitspiration – Lucy Mecklenburgh

What inspired you to create your programme and site, “Results with Lucy”?
Growing up as a teenager in Brentwood, I was always slender and I think it’s easy to take that for granted because I wasn’t super fit and healthy, I was just fortunate. As I got older I started to notice cellulite developing on my bum and upper legs and I realised although I was still slim, somehow I was carrying excess fat.

Thankfully I decided to do something about it. I realised regular exercise was the ONLY way to achieve the body that I wanted – toned, strong and flexible but without looking like a female weightlifter.

When I started exercising regularly, I would occasionally tweet about my workout, how much I enjoyed it and how great I felt afterwards and this is where Results with Lucy started.

 

On training days, how do you alter your diet to ensure you maintain your energy levels and aid muscle recovery?
It’s really important to fuel your body, both before and after working out.  I always start the day with a balanced breakfast.  I love scrambled eggs with salmon and tomatoes on rye bread.  Post workout, I enjoy a wholefood protein shake.

 

Here at Hip & Healthy, we aim to inspire people to be the best versions of themselves. What inspires you to be the best version of you?
Knowing how good I feel when I eat right and exercise, I never want to go back to being lethargic and tired all the time.

 

What’s a breakfast that you can’t stop making right now?
I really enjoy omelettes; they are so easy and quick to make and you can keep it interesting my mixing up the ingredients you put in.

 

If you could advise someone to take up just one healthy habit today, what would you advise?
Definitely to start working out; even 10 minutes a day can massively lift your spirits and get you on the right path.

 

Do you have a favourite style or way of working out?
I think the key is to keep workouts varied and fun so I don’t get bored.  Hula-hooping is great fun and dance is really diverse. Also, my RwL trainer Liam’s 360° workouts are amazing; simple moves that get maximum results…

 

If you could return to your 14 year old self, what advice would you give?
That’s a tough one… I’d probably advise myself to take good care of my body. I was lucky enough to be naturally slim but it’s easy to take advantage of how kind your body has been to you. It’s important to realise we only have one body…we need to take good care of it.

 

As a young girl, who was your role model? Is your choice different now?
Growing up, I loved Darcy Bussel and still do. She is so talented, graceful, and aspirational. A hard working lady who has accomplished so much in life.

 

Can you give us your three go-to beauty items that you couldn’t live without?
Coconut oil – it has so many uses like a luxurious hair mask, a moisturiser and it smells amazing…the smell reminds me of lazy days on the beach! I also love Sunkissed gradual tan. It builds a really lovely tan that lasts and it’s inexpensive. My last beauty essential would have to be Ellnett hairspray – I always have a mini can in my bag on a night out!

 

You have to go on holiday tomorrow…where would you go?!
I’d probably re-visit Rome. I did a recent shoot there and it was so beautiful. I really wanted to look around a bit more and experience it, but the trip was only a short work trip.

Check out Results With Lucy here!


If You Only Do One Thing This Week… Eat For Beauty!

Winter is officially here, and the Christmas festivities are now in full swing. Everyone deserves to indulge in those mince pies, mulled wine and advent chocolates at this time of year, but this is not an excuse to let your healthy lifestyle slip altogether! Here are our six top winter foods that are not only delicious, but help to prevent those nasty winter colds, enable your hair, skin, nails and eyes to radiate a healthy, beautiful glow, and get you looking and feeling the best you can possibly be!

Pomegranates

Packed with antioxidants, this fantastic little festive fruit has anti-cancerous properties, prevents free radicals from oxidising ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, and promotes a healthy heart. Have a glass of pomegranate juice a day to encourage glowing, blemish-free skin, glossy hair and bright glistening eyes, or funk up your festive salads with a sprinkling of these sweet, immune-strengthening powerhouses. Who doesn’t want to look and feel fabulous at Christmas?

Dark Leafy Greens

Cue our greeny friends: kale, chard and collards. Did you know that these superfoods thrive in the chill of winter when the rest of the produce section looks bleak? What’s more, frost can even take away the bitterness, ensuring that your regular, cold-pressed green juice is even tastier! Gobble on these gorgeous greens and reap the skin-smoothing, nail-strengthening benefits of the vitamin A, C, K and folate.

Clementines

Everyone loves a clementine in their stockings! As well as the perfect snack to satisfy that sweet tooth, these clever citrus fruits are crammed with vitamin C to strengthen that immune system and boast anti-inflammatory qualities to help to settle an upset stomach. Make the clementine one of your five a day at Christmas, to guarantee that you will feel clean, comforted and cleansed, regardless of those other yummy indulgences!

Dates

These fab dried fruits are a great source of calcium, iron and zinc to promote strong hair, nails and bones, as well as a strong circulatory system. Being abundant in fibre, constipation will be a thing of the past – and we all know that regular bowel function and good gut health has a positive effect on our mental states! Be happy, look gorgeous, feel strong and seize the season with this healthy, energy-dense super-fruit!

Winter Squash

Did you know that this squash is a great source of potassium? With higher levels than a banana, who would have thought that this super carbohydrate could be the ideal hangover cure!? Enjoy as a warming soup, add to your winter salad, or use as the perfect roast potato substitute to give your inner and outer self a lick of beautifying TLC. These slow release, low-glycaemic level squashes will help you feel fuller for longer, reduce your sugar cravings, and boost your organ health with their abundance in essential vitamins, minerals and omega 3’s!

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are an outstanding source of glucosinolates and sulphur-containing nutrients which help aid the body’s natural detoxifying process. Being a rich source of fiber as well, don’t skip this super-sprout when enjoying your Christmas dinner. Set yourself back on track for a fit and fab boxing day by consuming an ample serving of these anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory veggies!

words by Olivia Murphy


City Skincare: Create Your Urban Armour!

Late-night shopping, pop-up restaurants and free reading material handed out on every street corner; city life is splendid, which is why 80% of us reside in urban areas. But city living is not without its drawbacks – namely house prices, a lack of personal space and a city-worn complexion (dubbed ‘urban grey’by dermatologists). According to the World Health Organisation, nine UK cities (including London, Birmingham and Nottingham) have unsafe levels of pollution – and you can expect the smog to show up on your skin. Pollution saps your complexion of vitamin C, which is essential for healthy collagen production, and it also contains sulphur compounds which convert into sulphuric acid on skin and dry it out. But before you start to contemplate your escape route to the country, here’s our expert edit of skincare products guaranteed to override your postcode.

 Orico Streetwise City Face Scrub (1) copy

Orico Streetwise City Face Scrub, £16 

According to Mintel’s UK Consumer Trends 2015 report, 22% of women in the UK look to cleansers to protect their skin from the environment or pollution. This one has been formulated with congested skin in mind. It’s packed full of minuscule flecks of coconut shell powder, to gently buff away stubborn films of urban dust and de-clog pores. It also contains coconut oil to detoxify the epidermis and boost the turnover of sluggish, oxygen-starved skin cells.

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Pai Sea Aster & Wild Oat Instant Calm Redness Serum, £42
Around 50% of women say they have sensitive skin, but a genetic predisposition to redness and inflammation is rare. Pollution, stress and smoking trigger flushing and irritation by weakening the epidermal lipid barrier and allowing irritants, microbes and allergens to penetrate the skin and cause a reaction. Pai Sea Aster & Wild Oat Instant Calm Redness Serum slips below the surface of skin in seconds and strengthens surface blood vessels to help alleviate redness. It also contains natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories to repair reactionary skin.

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Comfort Zone Skin Defender Urban Protection Emulsion SPF 30, £28
UV radiation, exhaust fumes and industrial emissions are serious skin saboteurs because they increase the number of free radicals in the air and slow down skin’s collagen production line. Apply Comfort Zone Skin Defender Urban Protection Emulsion SPF 30 under your day cream to bolster your skin’s defences. It contains clever chemical filters, as well as physical ones, to deflect UVA and UVB rays. It’s also topped up with Lycopene; an antioxidant powerhouse which neutralises free radicals for up to 12 hours.

 Skynn Iceland

Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Mist, £25
As superfluous as face sprays may seem, this one is actually quite prescriptive. As well as helping your skin retain moisture, Skyn Iceland Artic Face Mist instantly peps up city-worn, ashy complexions with a shot of free radical-fighting vitamin C. It also contains soothing white willow bark, which has antibacterial properties – and the antioxidant thiotaine. Keep it in your bag, or on your desk, for on-the-go, glow-giving sprays.

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Kiss The Moon After Dark Face Oil in Glow, £48
If your skin is suffering from a moisture deficient, before bed is a window of opportunity to bring it back from the brink. While we sleep, our bodies release a growth hormone which speeds up cell turnover and it’s at this point, when skin cells are in a state of flux, that nutrients are best absorbed and active ingredients can penetrate deeper down to the dermis. Kiss The Moon After Dark Face Oil, £48 contains rose hip seed oil, rich in essential fatty acids, to saturate and plump up parched skin. And its fragrant blend of citruses and florals ease anxiety and boost your mood – so you’ll be nodding off in record time.

words by Charlotte Jolly


Get lean and limber with BalletFit!

If there’s one thing almost everyone would like a bit more of, it’s flexibility. We might be disciplined at putting in hours at the gym, pounding the streets or pumping iron – but when we’re pushed for time, it’s the post-workout stretch that’s often cut short.

However, flexbility is an aspect of health that we really shouldn’t ignore. From helping to treat back pain to improving circulation, regular stretching offers a wide range of benefits, which is why it’s the focus of English National Ballet’s unique exercise class BalletFit. Held at Markova House, the home of English National Ballet, this ballet-inspired Pilates workout is challenging yet completely accessible to adults of all genders, shapes and sizes. Absolutely no dance experience is necessary.

‘The essence of ballet that I bring to these classes is the sense of aesthetic quality; exercise is often perceived as very unglamorous and it’s good to feel nice while you’re working out,’ explains the teacher Rhiann, who is an experienced professional and teaches clinical Pilates as well as BalletFit.

For ballet fans, it’s almost enough of an enticement that you do the class in the very same studio that English National Ballet’s dancers train and rehearse in during the day. The high ceilings provide a wonderful sense of space and it’s quiet and peaceful, helped by the mellow playlist.

We started at the barre with some gentle warm-up exercises and stretches. I’ve done a lot of ballet, but not for a long time and although it felt wonderful to plié deep and sweep my arms in port de bras, I was shocked at how tight my hamstrings have become. We moved from the barre to mats, working on core muscles with some tough abdominal exercises (in turn-out and with pointed toes, of course) and some deeper stretches, before ending with a couple of minutes’ relaxation.

Pacing around the room, Rhiann demonstrates every exercise clearly and is hands-on in correcting alignment. Of course, you can’t expect to improve your flexibility in one class, but according to a number of class participants, you’ll definitely see a progression over the 12-week term. Becoming stronger and more supple can also help to prevent injury and make it easier to perform other types of exercise or sports, while the dancer’s posture is something that many people long for. ‘When you’ve been a dancer, people can tell for the rest of your life that you’ve danced, even if it’s just at an amateur level,’ says Rhiann. ‘That’s something people really aspire to, so to bring it into the exercise world is a great thing.’

For more about BalletFit morning classes and taster classes, or to book, visit here.

Article originally published at blog.ballet.org.uk

Words by Samantha Whitikar

Please credit: Laurent Liotardo


If You Only Do One Thing This Week… Don’t Cut The Carbs Before Christmas!

“Carbs” has become a dirty word in recent times, especially in the weight loss world, due, in no small part, to the popularity of low-carb diets such as the Atkins, Dukan, and South Beach programs. This week, Hip & Healthy want to shed light on the different types of carbs and why we actually should be embracing them this Christmas rather than cutting them out.

 

Restricting your carb intake too drastically can lead to: decreased thyroid output, increased cortisol output, decreased testosterone, impaired mood and cognitive function, muscle cataboliam, suppressed immune function. In other words, you’ll feel lousy, spaced-out, sluggish, cranky and even sick. Who wants to feel like that around the holiday season?

 

Low-carb diets can significantly disrupt hormone production too. Women with too low carb intakes – especially active women – can face a stopped menstrual cycle, lowered fertility, hypoglycemia and blood sugar swings, more body fat (especially around the middle) loss of bone density, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, chronic inflammation, and worse, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and disrupted sleep and a host of other chronic problems!

 

Carbs are also crucial for building muscle. Low carb diets increase muscle breakdown, because severely low carb intake lower insulin levels. When you don’t get enough carbs to meet your needs, your catabolic (breaking down) hormonal environment is created, which means more protein breakdown and less protein synthesis.

 

Below are some of our favourite carbohydrates for the winter season that are filled with nutrients that will keep your body strong, healthy and happy!

 

BREAKFAST- Oatmeal

The perfect, warming, winter breaky has to be oatmeal! This grain contains beta-glucans, a type of soluble fibre that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream. This slower digestion prevents dramatic spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels that would otherwise encourage our bodies to produce and store fat. Oats are a rich source of magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle, and regulating blood pressure. A body of evidence suggests that eating magnesium-rich foods reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Experimental and clinical data also suggests a link between magnesium deficiency and depression.

 

LUNCH – Brown Rice

Rich in selenium, brown rice helps reduce the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Also high in manganese, it helps synthesise fats and benefits nervous and reproductive systems. Not only does this fibrous grain contain naturally occurring oils, it also aids regular bowel function and makes digestion that much easier (We could all do with a little helping had after all those mince pies!). So for a fuller tummy and a that satisfied feeling, stock up on some brown rice!

 

DINNER – Winter Squash

Perfectly in season and super flavoursome, the squash is one of the richest sources of plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients. Containing omega 3s and beta-carotene, the winter squash can help boost your immune system to help protect against colds and flu. The carbohydrates found in the winter squash come from the polysaccharides found in the cell walls. These polysaccharides include pectins which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti diabetic and insulin-regulating properties. Try our fantastically cosy Butternut Squash Soup here!

words by Olivia Murphy