A Close Up On Yoga

Yoga can take some getting used to. Finding the right teacher is hugely important, but before that you need to find the right style for you. The right amount of spirituality versus physical activity. Whether you want to de-stress or work out. To ‘om’ or not to ‘om’.

Yoga has been incorporated into the western world to suit our western tastes, but all classes are still based on fundamental yogic traditions.

What is yoga?
In Sanskrit yoga means ‘yoke’, from the root ‘yuj’, meaning to unite. It is an ancient Hindu discipline that unites your mind (through focus and attention), energy (through breathing exercises) and body (through movement and postures). Yoga in the west is usually Hatha yoga, the physical ‘limb’ of the discipline that refers to a series of exercises and postures. ‘Ha’ and ‘tha’ are ‘sun’ and ‘moon’, and the practice works to balance and unite the opposites in your body, allowing energy to flow freely. The benefits can be felt physically, mentally and emotionally, from lowering blood pressure and increasing metabolism to strengthening and toning muscle. It is thought that yoga is the only way to really counteract the damage we are doing to our spines by sitting at desks all day long. The postures gently stretch muscles and joints, which not only improves flexibility, but also massages glands and organs for an internal detox. Mentally, yoga provides an opportunity to pause for a moment and be calm, to reflect and relax. It reduces levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, which creates a nice chilled feeling of contentment.

Under the umbrella of Hatha yoga, there are nine internationally recognised styles: Ashtanga, Bikram, Integral, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Kripalu, Kundalini, Sivananda and Viniyoga.

These are the most popular…

This is the most athletic and physically demanding form of yoga. It involves synchronising movement with breathing while performing a sequence of postures, explains Jonathan Sattin, Managing Director at triyoga in London. ‘There are six series of postures and the body becomes heated internally through the practice, so be prepared to sweat!’ This internal heat purifies the muscles and organs, expelling unwanted toxins and releasing beneficial hormones and minerals which nourish the body. triyoga has four centres in London which offer over 250 classes a week, including Ashtanga yoga (www.triyoga.co.uk). A deviation of Ashtanga is Power yoga, where the series are not so strictly adhered to and the movement flows from one pose to another at a fast pace.

Taking heat to a whole new level, Bikram yoga is practised in a 40 degree room which allows for a loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. In the 1970s, Bikram Choudhury developed a series of 26 postures performed over 90 minutes, but not all hot classes make use of this method. Yogahaven in Clapham offers an alternative, less spiritual, more athletic, but still hot version. The unique style is called ‘Leela yoga’ (meaning ‘play’) and it includes more postures than Bikram for an all-over body work out. ‘The heat raises the heart rate’, explains Allie Hill, one of the owners of Yogahaven. ‘This means that you get a cardiovascular workout as well as a stretch. Also, like metal in fire, the heat makes your muscles more pliable so you can stretch deeper.’ She says that in her experience of teaching, hot yoga has three main benefits: easing back problems from the many hours we spend sitting; relieving stress, as you release toxins through your sweat and receive a boost of seratonin; and weight loss, because the practice helps to balance your metabolism and makes you less likely to crave unhealthy food and drink. The heat does takes some getting used to – Allie recommends Yogahaven’s introductory offer so that you can take a few classes, building up gently – and like anything, it takes a little while to begin to feel the full benefits (www.yogahaven.co.uk).

Devised by B.K.S Iyengar, this type of yoga is less spiritual and more practical with a strong focus on performing each pose correctly and holding it for a period of time. A variety of props, such as the wall, chairs, blocks and straps are used to compensate for for a lack of flexibility so that everyone can perform each pose correctly and comfortably. Iyengar is the ideal style of yoga for beginners.

Something a bit different…

Pulse Yoga
Incorporating light weights into the yoga practice stimulates muscle toning and strength as well as building core stability, bone density and balance. In yoga, you usually work with just your body weight, so using the light hand weights makes you work harder and burn more calories.

Yoga for Runners
Laura Denham-Jones offers classes that are grounded in biomechanics, sports psychology and yoga philosophy. ‘I teach postures and variations that target typical runners’ tight spots, such as hips and hamstrings,’ she says, ‘as well as building core and leg power, and upper body strength.’ Laura avoids extreme yoga poses, as many athletes, although aerobically fit, have little to gain from these and would risk injury. ‘Runners spend a lot of time being dynamic, vertical and on their feet so yoga gives also them a chance to slow down and recover. A typical class will include standing poses, upper body, core work and slow, floor-based postures which release tension – yoga’s answer to a sports massage!’ www.yogaforrunners.co.uk.

New yoga styles and classes are evolving all the time. There are special pre- and post-natal yoga sessions, and classes tailored to other specific sports, including yoga for cyclists and for golfers.  And if you want something really different, look out for laughter yoga, shadow yoga or naked yoga… namaste!


Trail Running: What Shoe Works for You?


It is no surprise that trail running is a challenging form of exercise due to the uneven terrain,   however running outdoors is actually better for your health and wellbeing than being confined in a stuffy gym. What’s more, with the longer evenings and warm climate there really is no better feeling than the freedom of running over vibrant green hills or through flower-packed woodlands with the eerie orange twinge of the sunset taking over the sky.

However, you’ll need to think carefully about your footwear; whereas you’ll (hopefully!) have chosen your road running shoes based on the support and cushioning they offer you, you’ll need a pair of running shoes that have good grip and cushioning when going off-road.

Don’t let your shoes hamper your enjoyment because there are some great models on the market perfect for trail running at this time of year. Brett Bannister, MD and footwear specialist at Sportsshoes.com has put together some top tips to help you find the right trail running shoe.

Shoe size
Your foot will expand when running anything over a couple of miles and even sooner in the Summer heat, and while you’ll want your shoes to be a bit tighter and more responsive when trail running, you’ll still need to leave a spare half a thumb-width gap at the front of your running shoes for your foot to expand in to – which is likely to mean going up half a size.

This may feel strange to begin with and you might find yourself hunching forward when running to compensate your balance but it is really important to keep your back straight as it allows your lungs sufficient room to expand, making breathing easier. Swinging your arms powerfully can help to give you that bit more momentum too.

Foot width
The better the fit, the better you’ll run! Most shoes are built on a standard D-width fitting, but some cater to different widths as well. Generally, Brooks shoes tend to be broader, Adidas shoes tend to be narrower, while other brands, such as New Balance offer different width sizes.

Lots of models offer lace designs which cradle the foot in a webbed design to offer a snug, close fit around the contours. Also, another design spec which is handy in trail running shoes is ‘full surround tongue stitching’ (also known as a ‘gusseted tongue’) which helps to keep any debris from finding its way into your shoe.

Your weight
Did you know that when you run you are exerting two or three times your body weight on to your running shoes? By opting for some built in cushioning you can relieve pressure on your shoes and reduce stress on your feet. For heavier runners, more cushioning will be required whereas lighter runners will fare better with a more responsive running shoe.

If you are a road runner looking to begin trail running then the Nike Pegasus Trail Running Shoes are a good starter point as they have a responsive, cushioned EVA midsole and Carbon rubber outsole which gives great durability in key wearing areas.

Foot Position
Another key consideration to make is foot position in relation to the ground below. Many trail runners value low soles which enable a more natural foot position, closer to the floor for better stability over uneven terrain and a higher level of proprioception. However, a low sole does not necessarily mean a thin one – you will still need some protection for your underfoot when you are running across sharp and pointed objects like twigs, rocks and thistles.

Currently one of the favoured models on the market is the Inov8 X-Talon™ 190 due to it being super lightweight (just 190 grams) with a 3mm footbed. It also has a replication of the foot’s planter fascia ligament built in to the shoe which assists in increasing propulsion efficiency and reducing fatigue.

Quite simply, the British summer does not guarantee sunshine and so there is the likely possibility that you could be caught out by a spot of rain whilst out blazing the trail. This is where the grip on your shoe can make the difference between sliding down a muddy mound and tackling it like a pro.

By opting for a shoe with a deeply grooved sole or protruding, rugged nodes you can ensure that you come away from the muddy mound unscathed!  The Adidas Kanadia TR4 trail shoe has superb grip and is a quality, rugged trainer which has a superbly ventilated design which allows them to dry quickly on wet trails. Don’t be concerned that the shoe has less cushioning- the ground is much softer on trails than on-road so you’ll be fine!

If you’re likely to be using your shoes for a combination of road and trail running, you’ll need to look for a shoe that offers some cushioning, and less grip with a harder compound rubber. This is so you get the correct support while on-road.

With the correct footwear you will be more comfortable to endure longer runs and embrace the open beauty and calming effect of the countryside in its prime – just remember to take your water bottle because you won’t be passing any newsagents!

For more running shoe tips and advice visit www.sportsshoes.com.

Winter Pilates: with Karen Laing

Winter days may look pretty but for beautiful bodies who love to be outside getting active, the dark nights and cold days can sap motivation and leave us feeling lethargic, sluggish and grouchy. And with the party season and rich Christmas pickings looming on the frosty horizon, your body and your mind need to find effective training alternatives in order to combat the winter workout blues and to prevent a plumper shadow of our summer selves.

Pilates in the Winter
Far from being just that-low-impact-core-conditioning-class-that’s-good-for-your-back, Pilates (when practiced effectively) also has brilliant mood boosting and circulatory benefits. And on a practical level, Pilates is usually practiced indoors. So who cares if it’s raining, hailing or snowing outside? Once you get the basics down, you can incorporate short workouts into your day.

Off-Season Training
Pilates can also complement more high intensity training. So if you’re a super charged fit type who needs to compete for her sanity, try thinking of the winter months like an elite level athlete does and use the time out of competition for rehab, training and conditioning.

Tennis ace Serena Williams recently added Pilates to her training regime and Tom Cruise swears he could not have been Ethan Hawke without it. So if you can’t face crawling out of bed for an early morning, frosty workout, do 15 minutes of Pilates mat work in the cozy comfort of your living room instead.

The lack of daylight in winter can wreak havoc with our sleep cycles and mood. According to Sue Pavlovich of the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA) it’s now thought that all of us suffer from SAD to some degree. Winter’s lack of daylight alters our brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin, which is why even the most motivated exerciser can end up snuggled up on the sofa with a good movie and a bowl of popcorn.

Exercise is a brilliant antidote to the winter blues because of the effect it has on our hormones. Train in the morning for a boost of the wake up hormone, cortisol. For the ultimate feel-good workout, combine an intense Pilates sequence with cardio intervals, or a brisk walk outside. That way you’ll get all the conditioning, mobilizing and circulatory benefits of Pilates alongside that cardio-cortisol boost. Plus exercising outside will help you to get as much natural daylight as possible, vital for your brain chemistry.

So before you tuck into your first mince pie of the season, try this essential winter Pilates workout.


Karen is a Pilates and fitness specialist and writer based in Essex. To find out more about Pilates or for more information on the workout, visit  www.klhfitness.co.uk or email her at [email protected]

Reference: Sue Pavlovich www.sada.org.uk Email: [email protected] Call: 07803203494


Above: Airex Fitline 140 Mat, £36.67, www.theyogashop.co.uk

Eat for Youthfulness

The secret to looking and feeling younger could be held in the food that you eat. Here are our top five anti-aging foods that will keep every little bit of you looking youthful and healthy…

Wild Salmon: Packed with a particular kind of fat (known as youth boosting omega-3s) that has the most powerful health benefits of any fish, anywhere, Salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. These special fats help improve collagen, assist with protecting skin cells from the sun’s harmful rays and reduce inflammation, all of which help keep mind, skin and body looking and feeling young.

Dark Chocolate: We’re not talking about the kind that’s packed full of sugar and dairy and is often found next to tills in supermarkets. No. The chocolate that is good for you needs to be very dark and at least 70% cocoa (this will be labeled on the packet). This latter form of chocolate is full of flavanoids (also found in tea), which help maintain a healthy heart and helps shield the body from toxins, which in turn, promotes healthy blood flow and therefore a younger, happier bod!

All Over
Avocados: Often avoided out of fear for their fat content Avocados are actually an amazingly healthy food and one of nature’s gifts to us to keep us looking young. Yes they are high in fat but it is largely mono-unsaturated fat, particularly omega-9, which actually lowers cholesterol, and reduces the risk of cancer and diabetes. Their other great health benefit? Promoting beautiful eyes, hair and skin. This is due to their lutein content, which is an antioxidant that also reduces cholesterol absorption.

Blueberries: When it comes to ORAC (a rating system for antioxidant power) values, blueberries are the highest-scoring fruit of all time. These little blue balls of joy are brilliant for maintaining memory function in both the brain and muscles. Due to their high levels of antioxidants, blueberries actually help the neurons in the brain to communicate with one another effectively.

Cinnamon: Recently applauded for its ability to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, cinnamon is also fantastic for the metabolism. It contains newly-identified phytochemicals called chalone polymers that increase glucose metabolism in the cells by at least twenty times of one’s normal rate. It is also incredibly anti-inflammatory and and can help alleviate pain in muscles and stiffness in joints so is great friend to those who want to keep their bodies as healthy and as youthful as can be.


Image by: www.flickr.com-photos-joyseph-128624250

How to ease IBS Naturally by Jayne Stevens


Excruciating stomach pain? Wind? Diarrhea? Or even just uncomfortable bloating? If you experience any of these frequently could be that you are a victim of IBS. The cause of IBS is uncertain, but there are a number of possibilities, including food intolerance, inflammation, over-activity of intestinal muscles, stress and infection. It is also associated with fibromyalgia, and depression (most of the body’s serotonin is produced in the bowel). IBS is the diagnosis of last resort and you should visit your GP to rule out other conditions, rather than assume you are affected. But fear not – if diagnosed, here’s what you can to do to help it…

Lower Stress
Reduce stress and/or find ways to cope with it (through exercise and relaxation, for example yoga).

Not so Sweet
Sugar can be a problem, so keep to a minimum. Fructose in fruit juices can aggravate the condition, so should be avoided. Limit fresh fruit to three portions a day Bananas are a good source or probiotic fibre and are low in acidity, so should be included if possible.

Become a Detective
Write a food diary and note adverse reactions. Use this Jonathan Saunders Soho Diary for Smythson, £295, www.smythson.com

Embrace the Aloe
Aloe Vera is soothing for all inflammatory conditions and can be taken as a juice or in capsule form. It can help maintain bowel regularity.

Supplement it
A calcium and/or magnesium supplement can help IBS sufferers; calcium is binding, so can help in cases of diarrhoea and magnesium relaxes muscles, so can relieve constipation.

Ground your Nuts
Although a diet high in nuts is great since they are highly nutritious, the insoluble fibre and fat can cause reactions. Ground nuts are easier to digest.

The Drink
Reduce alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks. Even decaffeinated coffee has around 500 other chemicals, some of which can cause cramping and it can have a laxative effect. Avoid or reduce fizzy drinks. Try herbal teas; camomile is soothing and relaxing, peppermint is antispasmodic and fennel can help with excess gas. Clipper Tea, right, is only £1.35, available from Waitrose.


A Day in the Life of Sebastian Pole: Pukka Herbs Co-Founder



Sebastian Pole is an Ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist, husband and father of one. He and his business partner, Tim Westwell, launched Pukka Herbs in the 90s, wanting to provide people with good quality herbs everyday. He believes in improving people’s health while looking after the planet, and so uses Certified Organic ingredients in all the Pukka Herbs products. The new Pukka Ayurveda Skincare range also uses eco-friendly packaging. Sebastian works at Pukka Herbs in Bristol and also has a herbal practice in Bath.

My alarm goes off at 7am. I usually start the day with a warm spicy tea such as Pukka’s Three Ginger blend, as this helps to get the digestion going. I then take some herbs and have a glass of Clean Greens with Aloe Vera juice for its cleansing properties.

I like to practice hatha yoga in the morning, in an attempt to begin my day relaxed and focused. I normally do a few postures and then some breathing practice. Digestion at the ready, I then eat a good porridge-like breakfast of amaranth, quinoa and rice with some cinnamon, nuts, hemp protein and honey.

My office space at home doubles as an inspirational space; it’s where I keep all my herb and yoga books, as well as pictures of inspiring people in my life, from members of my family to an image of the Medicine Buddha. They help remind me of my intention in life. My working days are filled with variety; I oversee all of the herbs we purchase at Pukka and work closely with the Quality Team, and the growers themselves, to ensure that we only buy in the highest quality. What I have for lunch depends on how busy I am as I often only have time for something quick and light like soup.

The process of growing; importing; quality-checking; and manufacturing is not always straight forward and I am certainly prone to some high blood pressure moments, or as we say in Ayurveda, a tendency for my pitta to be high! I always try and balance these responsibilities with spending time researching, developing new products and writing. I also have a busy herbal clinic to run and find it an extremely rewarding to be able to work with people one-on-one.

The first thing I do when I get home is have a cup of tea – usually something to help me relax like a cup of our Three Tulsi blend. A cup of tea is a predictably-good moment in life and, in my unpredictable life, I like the predictably-good.

After work I always want to catch up with my wife and son and see how everyone is. On a quiet evening I find gardening a great way to unwind. As the winter draws in though, I find myself listening to music to relax.

Before bed I often indulge in a massage and a bath. Massage is a very important part of health in Ayurveda as it helps us to connect with ourselves and clears tension and toxins from our system. As someone obsessed with all things healing I will use apply rose otto lotion after the bath. It is one of my favourite fragrances. It is also one of the key components in the Nourishing Face Oil, from our new Pukka Ayurveda Skincare range. We work with a wonderful rose producer in Bulgaria who collects 1.5 million organic rose buds to make 1 litre of the oil. It’s an intense essence.

I’ll then often take a ‘herb’ book to bed; Ayurveda: Life Health & Longevity by Robert Svoboda is a great introduction. And it’s not long before I find myself fast asleep.

All of the Pukka Herbs products, including supplements, award-winning teas and their brand new skin care range, are available from www.pukkaherbs.com and selected health food stores nationwide. Pukka Teas retail at £2.25 for 20 sachets. Pukka Ayurveda Skincare is priced from £11.


FIGHTING FIT: by Harriet Chubb

After much cajoling from an enthusiastic colleague and the opportunity of a two week free trial; it was with great trepidation that I dipped my toe, or entirely un-sculpted body, into the British Military Fitness regime. Now dominating most of the UK’s green public spaces, BMF has grown phenomenally in the last few years with 20,000 members and 400 classes a week and with so many varied work-out times, along with a class to suit any level of fitness – it’s easy to see why.

I had often seen the famous BMFer’s swarming over Clapham common in their sea of blue, red and occasionally green tabards – looking like a flock of birds with an unspoken secret colour coding that could only be revealed upon joining the elite clan. Arriving at my first session I was soon privy to the secret code: blues are beginner fitness level, red’s medium and greens intimidating fit. Simple, really. Feeling smug and after declaring my fitness as ‘good’ on the health screening (realistically, it was average at best) I said that I wanted to join the mighty reds for my first session. Apparently not – all new members should start in the blue camp. With each colour then subsequently split into another three levels, I decided to go into the top blue group. Predictably extinguishing my smugness – it was extremely hard.

Each group is led by a currently serving or an ex-military fitness instructor. The hour long sessions are a mix of interval training, including intense cardio and body sculpting. There is a great deal of partner work, which although admittedly awkward at first, enhances your variation of exercises and is a great opportunity to meet new people. Contrary to popular belief, the military instructors make the class fun and even have bottles of Isklar thrown in for a halfway break so you don’t need to bring your own water.

After two (free) weeks and six sessions, I felt fitter and noticed subtle changes in my body – a slightly less protruding stomach and stronger thighs. I immediately signed up to become a fully fledged member. If you are looking to get fit and sustain it whilst putting in minimum hours, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

Prices: Classes from £36 per month for one session a week; £48 per month for unlimited sessions. Running Club is also included.

Contact: 020 7751 9742

Visit: www.britmilfit.com

Let’s Dance by Samantha Whitaker

Dance is currently surfing on a huge and ever-increasing wave of popularity. The zeitgeist of prime-time television shows and a host of teen movies, dance has reached a level of cool not seen since the late 70s. With so many people keen to get involved, classes are in high demand but, if you are organised and willing to commit, almost all dance styles offer a bit more than your average workout.

BALLET: If you danced as a kid and fancy heading back to the barre, or even if you’ve never pointed your toes, it’s never too late to get into ballet. Far more relaxed than children’s ballet, adult ballet can help to ‘soothe the stresses of the day and to help you focus and feel inspired,‘ says Danielle Jones, Learning and Participation Officer at the English National Ballet. ‘You will leave feeling refreshed, challenged and walking tall.’ Classical ballet classes can help you develop strong lean muscle, core strength, flexibility and, importantly, enhance your posture. ENB offer classes in blocks of 10 weeks, at four levels, plus the popular BalletFit which combines ballet technique with pilates-based exercises. All classes are taught by professional dance artists and take place at ENB’s Kensington studios. See www.ballet.org.uk/learning-activities/adult-ballet. For drop-in classes, try Pineapple Dance Studios (www.pineapple.uk.com) or Dance Attic (www.danceattic.com)

CONTEMPORARY: Contemporary dance is more free and versatile than traditional dance styles. The movement works with the natural alignment of of your body, and is influenced by many techniques including ballet, modern, yoga and pilates. There is a focus on breathing and posture, and using emotion to influence the way your body moves. Contemporary can be very restorative for your mind as well as challenging your body. The Place, in London, runs classes for total beginners to professional level regularly throughout the year. Classes and Courses Manager, Anna Helsby, advocates the group classes as an excellent way to socialise with like-minded people who can inspire each other. Each class begins anaerobically, with exercises that build muscle tone and core strength, and then progress to travelling and jumping sequences for cardiovascular fitness, burning calories and developing neuromuscular coordination, which has been proven to increase brain agility in general. Anna recommends that beginners enrol for a full term (£99), attending regularly to build up the basic technique. After about a year students should be ready to move up a level, and can attend classes on a more casual basis (£11 per class). The Place also hold short, intense courses during the summer and Easter, and there is a useful tool on the website for those with experience to identify which level class to start at.  www.theplace.org.uk

LATIN AND BALLROOM: More than any other style, latin and ballroom dance has been given a new lease of life following the success of Strictly Come Dancing (UK) and Dancing with the Stars (US). Often dancing with a variety of partners throughout the lesson, latin and ballroom dance is a brilliant way to meet people and gain confidence or bond with your partner. It is about trust, cooperation and working together. Toning your calves, thighs and buttocks, and strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen and back, dancing continually for 30 minutes burns the same calories as swimming or cycling. ‘The Health and fitness benefits of latin and ballroom dancing are huge for all ages,’ say Strictly Come Dancing professionals Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova. ‘No matter what level you train at, it exercises the whole body, building stamina and benefiting co-ordination. It is invigorating and fun and the perfect exercise for couples to do together.’ Check outwww.dancesport.uk.com to find classes in your area.

ZUMBA: Zumba classes are a total body work-out for all ages and fitness levels. The routines are simple and easy-to-follow, so no previous dance experience is necessary, it’s just about keeping your body moving and having fun. ‘Zumba Fitness is a form of interval training in which you increase and decrease the intensity of your workout through varied rhythms and dance styles,’ explains Beto Perez, founder of Zumba Fitness, ‘it also has strength-training components, so in addition to getting your heart rate up, Zumba classes work your thighs, butt, core, upper body, and all your trouble spots.’ The upbeat music blends exotic Latin and international rhythms, making the whole experience more like going out than working out. You learn the basic steps of styles such as salsa, merengue and cumbia, with plenty of hip shaking and bum wiggling. Over 12 million Zumba Fitness enthusiasts worldwide attend regular classes in gyms and community centres with trained instructors, as well as many more who follow the Zumba Fitness DVD at home.  www.zumba.com

Niki Wibrow’s Top Tips for Excersise

One of the biggest motivational tools when working out is  music, however most of us tend to listen to the same type  of music over and over again without changing our playlist.  What was once motivating for you in the summer months  may no longer work now. Why not compile a completely new playlist with all your favourite songs included on it. This will really help to uplift your mood and keep you motivated through the winter months.

Grab a couple of bottles of water, a cushion or a pillow, a chair and a towel. Scatter your equipment around you, put on your favourite music channel on and begin.

Station 1: Legs wide apart feet turned out – sumo squat. Holding both bottles of water sit your bottom back over your heels and swoop your arms between your legs. As you come back up to standing straighten your legs and stretch your arms over head. Repeat 10 times.

Station 2: Grab your towel between your hands and raise it above your head – really pull against the towel with your hands. Keep your tummy pulled in and begin to twist from the waist from Right to Left – try to keep your hips still. Repeat 10 times

Station 3: Run up and walk down your stairs as briskly as you can. If you don’t have stairs try small shuttle runs from side to side. Repeat 10 times

Station 4: Stand on your cushion/pillow and begin to squat down and up, try to stay balanced. Repeat 10 times.

Station 5: Sit on the tip of your chair, facing out. Slide your bottom off the chair and wrap your hands around the front of the chair. Slowly drop your bottom towards the floor at the same time bend your elbows – tricep dips – then lift back up. Repeat 10 times.

Ask a friend or family member to join you in a weekly workout, pick a time and day that suits you both. Take it in turns to choose a different workout each week, with a different location. And try swapping playlists, you’ll be surprised how motivating someone else’s music can be. You can even designate one of you as the ‘trainer’ for that week. Or between you, you could share the cost of a professional trainer. Most reputable trainers come with a wealth of knowledge and expertise and can show you different training techniques and exercises that can help to kick start your training regime. Having someone there to train you can really help to keep your motivational levels high.

Autumn is the ideal time to try out new things, you probably won’t feel like your normal exercise class or activity, so why not try a completely new approach. Most local councils start new timetables in the autumn months offering a host of new activities – martial arts classes, football, ice skating, salsa dancing, badmington, tennis, yoga, ballroom/tango lessons. Why not sign up and try out these classes. Or invest in a new piece of fitness equipment, something you have never tried before. There are many products on the market that are inexpensive and very effective – skipping ropes, agility ladders, chi balls, hula hoops, bands, balance boards.

Choose bright vibrant colours which can really help to lift your mood in the winter months. As the temperature drops outside its very tempting to hibernate indoors. But there are a few things you can do to help to keep you warm on the inside. Layering your outfit really helps to keep your core body temperature comfortably warm, which is always preferable if your training outside. If you really feel the cold, place a few items of clothing on your radiator before your leave.

As the nights draw in exercise becomes less and less tempting, particularly if your favourite time to workout out or class is in the evening. Coming home from work in the dark and venturing back out into the dark doesn’t seem so appealing. As the day progresses we naturally find more excuses why we shouldn’t exercise. Therefore, try working out earlier in the day – before work or dropping the kids at school etc. It not only helps to kick start and energise your body but can also help to clear and settle your mind, in preparation for your day ahead.


Renew your sense of Wellbeing in Bali

Bali offers the perfect balance with its luxury spa estates, hidden yoga retreats and a shoreline blessed with some of the world’s best surfing breaks, not to mention the world-renowned Como Shambhala Estate

Bali is known for its exclusive retreats, spectacular jungle surroundings and long stretches of beach that serve the surfing community, not to mention yoga, kaftans and authentic wooden furniture. But, perhaps the most prominent thing Bali is it’s dedication to wellbeing and spirituality – it is the ultimate place to relax and rejuvenate.

Once you’ve had enough of the surf, crowds and hustle and bustle of Bali’s touristic Seminyak (don’t even bother with Kuta), home to the high-end boutiques and some of Bali’s finest restaurants, head in-land, to Bali’s spiritual, jungle and bustling centre, Ubud. As you drive the winding roads away from the coast, Bali comes into its own. The shops and mopeds give way to emerald paddy fields, lush jungle vegetation, art galleries and the peaks of Bali’s volcanoes far off in the distance. Nestled just outside of Ubud, on the banks of the River Ayung, you will find the ultimate in wellbeing destinations, the COMO Shambhala Estate, a residential health retreat that promises total commitment to your wellbeing.

The COMO Shambhala Estate, is focused not only on luxury accommodation but on providing guests with an unrivaled holistic, wellness experience. Each guest receives an initial wellness consultation upon arrival. With your personal consultant you can discuss your ambitions and requirements and then develop a plan of treatments and therapies for your stay. Between your treatments, therapies and physical activities (including whitewater rafting, yoga and mountain biking), take a swim in the estates natural spring pools which flow down into the river below or dine at one of the two restaurants serving the COMO Shambahla healthy cuisine – Glow or Kudus House. We opted for Glow, with it’s raw organic food menu, focused on providing delicious dishes designed to provide maximum taste and nutrition. Of course, you may wish to follow your cuisine recommendations, prepared specifically to match your tastes and needs by the estate’s resident nutritionist.

Accommodation involves a mix of exclusive bedrooms, suites, villas and residences, all with modern design features and indigenous detailing. Each is different from the next, in terms of style, positioning and mood, ensuring that there is something to suit even the most discerning of travellers.

The estates holistic approach to providing guests with a wellness experience focused of the mind, body and spirit sets it miles apart form anywhere else. The focus on the quality of ingredients in the food and in the spa products mean it’s easy and enjoyable to make the healthy choice, every time. Como Shambhala Estate really is a unique place, in an unforgettable location.

Visit  www.cse.como.bz for more information about the wellness breaks on offer.


Take Time out in Sri Lanka

by Harriet Chubb

Explore the hidden gem of the Indian Ocean, previously known as Ceylon; Sri Lanka has plenty to offer the luxury holiday maker looking to indulge both body and soul…

If you have a penchant for long-haul destinations but find it difficult to get a true grasp of the country in the precious few weeks holiday you have a year; Sri Lanka is a destination that is small enough and varied enough to fulfill all your cultural needs and can be experienced in  five-star luxury. Still a destination that is considered off the beaten track enough; you won’t find many tourists in Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo and you will find even less as you venture north east towards the jungle city of Kandy, where you can go in search of The Temple of the Tooth, the famed temple that houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha – a Mecca for Buddhists all over the world.

Due to its Buddhist roots, Sri Lanka has plenty of opportunities to experience a Zen-like state of health and well being. Yoga retreats are in abundance but do tend to be situated in remote Buddhist temples in the jungle so make sure you have suitable directions or a knowledgeable tour guide. Just two hours west of Kandy you will find the Ulpotha resort that specialises in yoga and ayurveda holidays, with a focus on organic farming and reforestation, this is the perfect start to your physical and spiritual escape.

After enjoying the excitement of Colombo and the more laid back, provincial city of Kandy, head to the south coast on a six hour train ride to the handsome town of Galle. With its UNESCO-site old fort it has quickly become Sri Lanka’s style capital boasting a myriad of chic venues and colonial buildings.

There’s still time to catch a tuk-tuk 30 minutes west and experience some of the most unspoiled beaches in the orient; Unawatuna and Tangalle are among the many where you can even swim with wild sea turtles. It’s no wonder that Sri Lanka has often been referred to as the pearl of the Indian Ocean – a pearl that’s bursting with history and culture and reasonably sized enough to squeeze into your year’s travel plans.


Forty One Lighthouse Street

Yoga & Ayurveda: Pamper your body and soul and stay at the ULPOTHA resort near Kandy. With awards and editorial from magazines such as Vogue and World of Interiors, this really is something to experience. For more information visit www.ulpotha.com and learn about their Yoga holidays.

Luxury: Stay at FORTY ONE in Lighthouse Street, Galle, and you won’t be disappointed. A villa within the famous Galle Fort and with the option of a private chef; you can see why this is one of the most top end, boutique hotels in Sri Lanka. www.lighthousestreet.com

What to eat: Coconut sambol, a mix of coconut and chillies, dried fish and lime – this will boost any weary traveller’s metabolism.

What to drink: Melon juice, straight from the melon with a hole and a straw, refreshment in its most natural form.

What to wear: A Melissa Odabash kaftan to cover your shoulders and arms in style.

What to listen to: Hotel Costes – relax with a cocktail to the mellow and elegant sounds of the band made famous by its Parisian Hotel.

What to read: The Inner Tradition of Yoga by Michael Stone – a concise guide to the philosophy of yoga to get you in the spiritual mood.

What to do: Meditate – in Sri Lanka meditation is as ordinary as breathing.


What to Pack: A Healthy Holiday in Sydney

Staying healthy on holiday can be tricky. But a healthy holiday in Sydney is easy, from the moment you get off the plane it is evident that this city is geared up for active bunnies everywhere. So that you fit right in, here’s what you should pack…

The beaches are so beautiful that you will want to take full advantage of them. Just about any swimsuit will do in Sydney, but you cannot go far wrong with Quiksilver – and a one piece is a wonderful way to look chic on the beach. Story One Pice, Quiksilver, in the sale at www.quiksilver.com


Protect your eyes with Rayban New Wayfarers, Available in a range of colours at www.ray-ban.com


Look stylish on the move with your Foxglove Pink Mini Leopard Print Bag, £85, www.mulberry.com


Sydney’s beaches really are breathtaking and you will be wanting to spend as much time on them as possible… so make sure you have something to play with! FB Frescobol Beach Bats, £110, www.beachcafe.com


Running is one of the local’s favourite pass times in Sydney and you will not seem even the slightest bit out of place here in full running gear. We recommend going for a jog in the Botanical Gardens before breakfast. GEL-DS SKY SPEED 2, Asics, £92, www.asics.co.uk