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~ Why children’s yoga is so much fun ~

Kindly written by Nicki of Yogabellies

The activities available for our children today are wide and varied. There is so much more choice & accessibility.  It’s not just the traditional sports and activities which are available now but many more such as fencing, diving, computer science, cheerleading, crochet, the list goes on. 

But, our children, like us, are getting busier. We fill their days with so many things because we want them to have as many opportunities as possible. It’s almost seen as lazy to not be doing something every day. Even when they’re not doing something, they are constantly stimulated by tablets, phones, TVs and computers, life is so fast paced and we rarely stop.

Because of this, there is a huge rise in stress, anxiety and depression.

  • In 2017 12.8% of 5-19 year olds had a least one mental disorder. Emotional disorders being the most prevalent.
  • Rates of these disorders increase with age. 5.5% of 2-4 year olds experienced a mental disorder compared to 16.9% of 17-19 year olds
  • Rates also increased over time. The rate of 5-15 year olds with a mental disorder rose from 9.7% in 1999 to 12.8% in 2017

So how do we get that balance? We all want what is best for our children. We want them to grow up happy, healthy and kind. We want them to be excited for their futures but not to feel overwhelmed by what lays ahead. That’s why I love yoga for children. It allows them such a rare time to come along to a class where the focus isn’t on what they can and can’t do. The focus isn’t on the perfect posture.  It’s not on how long they can balance for or how far they can bend. Yoga allows them to focus on themselves and how they are feeling. It also encourages them to explore how they treat others. 

I love watching the children use the breathing activities. Children are given the green light to make lots of noise, to express their feelings and release their frustrations. Most children don’t connect with their breath, it’s an autonomous action that they rarely notice. But by teaching them how to use it, they find they feel calmer, can release pent up frustrations and improve their mood. It’s lovely to watch the children relax as they practise the exercises. Initially they can feel silly or unsure, especially those less, confident children who are used to being quiet in classes. But, over time, they become more confident and really embrace the movement & change in themselves. By finding fun ways to present the activities to children it becomes much more accessible and engaging for them and they are much more willing to try new things.

Having been a school teacher for 12 years, I have seen how hard it is for children to sit for periods of time. They are not designed to be static. Their bodies are growing, developing and changing all the time. It feels good to move and it helps with their physical development. Children’s yoga uses games and stories which help to build up both gross and fine motor skills. Children improve their balance, their flexibility and their strength. It stimulates their proprioceptors which wants pressure as they grow and their vestibular system which seeks out movement to regulate everything around them. Yoga gives children a chance to connect with their bodies, find new ways to use them and gain that grounding they need. 

One of my favourite parts of children’s yoga classes are the opportunities to build their mental and emotional strength and the relaxation elements.  We do activities where the children work together, they communicate and build trust with one another. The children learn positive touch, respect & communication skills through massage. We ask permission and respond to others’ requests. We say of positive affirmations, hold confidence postures, listen and respect each other through sharing thoughts and ideas. 

At the end of each class, children are given the opportunity to relax. They can relax on their mats with a blanket and a weighted eye pillow. I will read a guided script which focuses on different things each week such as confidence, kindness, empathy and courage. It allows the children to switch off and fully relax both their bodies and minds. They leave the class feeling refreshed, confident and happy and it is a wonderful thing to see.

Quite often people think yoga isn’t suitable for their children. They think they aren’t calm enough; they don’t sit still or that yoga isn’t really their thing. But yoga is for everyone. The focus can be built around the interests of your child. Postures are named after familiar things such as animals and environmental features. We use familiar stories and stories often with underlying messages & relevant themes. As children get older, classes move away from stories and focus more on their other interests & activities they enjoy. Yoga for sport, yoga for strength, yoga around holiday themes, yoga around the World. They are fun, accessible and safe spaces for children to simply be their wonderful selves. 

I have seen with my own children, the many benefits of yoga. They each have their own mat and I often see them practising their postures, a sun salute or their calming techniques. They regularly ask for a massage or a yoga story before bedtime to help them relax. When they get upset or overwhelmed we use different techniques to help calm them down. As a result they sleep better and are more confident to share how they are feeling. 

I believe all children should be given the opportunity to try yoga. It is suitable for all ages and abilities and is something they can share with their family. Personal connection isn’t always easy in this busy World so finding something to do with those you love is an invaluable opportunity.

Namste

Nicki

xx

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~ Never lose that childlike wonder at the world ~

It’s funny how the universe works, you might say, or you might say (as we discussed at our recent Women’s Circle), that the universe shows you exactly what you need exactly when you are ready to see it – like really see it, and understand it. Among our community at Salt Water Studios there has been lots of talk of Gratitude, and I have been “seeing” signs of it everywhere. This can mean only one thing. I need it! And I want to share it with you.

“Have gratitude for all that you have and you can be happy exactly as you are”

Gratitude practise is scientifically proven – you can actually rewire your brain to be happy in 21 days by recalling juts 3 things you are grateful for each day, for that 21 days. And these don’t have to be big things – the beauty with gratitude is that by allowing appreciation to flourish for all of the small things, you can actually be happy – Juts. As. You. Are. AND, you keep hold of those small day to day things, they don’t slip by you unnoticed.  You can start just with this. And then, when something that really floors you , or almost breaks you happens, you can learn to be grateful for that too – because all of our experience are shaping us – they are teaching us about ourselves, about life – we get to see ourselves – the good, bad and the ugly!! I read this recently and it really struck a chord with me:

“I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.” Kristin Armstrong

Lots of people say that  Gratitude is Superpower and from my own experiences of it (I used it last year to help me lift me out of the black hole of the baby blues) I strongly believe that. It is said to Strengthen immunity, enhance optimism , unlock happiness, tempers our need for “order”, sharpens our attention, takes us through tough times and unlocks our heart. When we focus on what were grateful for it makes us feel good because it widens our perspective. Often, when we’re caught in stress or despair we develop tunnel vision and are only able to focus on the negative. But with gratitude you teach yourself to see the bright side, even when times are tough, because you start to appreciate your circumstances and all that you have, rather than what you lack. It’s a choice you can make. Do you choose to remain unhappy and full of worry, OR do you think of things that you are thankful for, that help you experience wonder, and transform your mood to JOY? It reminds me of the lyric from a much loved and listened to song for us at home at SWS, Burgs by Mt. Wolf:

“The chance to be part of this happens briefly

The invitation is not to show how inventive and imaginative you are

But how much you can notice what you’re already part of

And appreciate it and share it, and care about those that are around who count for their welfare while you are looking out for your own, that’s it”

In other words…be grateful, and never lose that childlike wonder. (please please listen to this song!)

So, How can we strengthen our experience of gratitude? Well, it’s a habit that can be developed. The more it grows, the easier it becomes.  Start by recalling just 3 things that you are grateful for, every day, and write them down. One of our lovely friends Toni has a jar that she puts these things into every day and she said she will open them all up at the end of the year! How bloody lovely is that! For me, I use the sound of plane passing over head to remind me to stop, be present and think about what I am grateful for. Another lovely practise I have used is to write a letter to a loved one, expressing to them why you are grateful for them – to someone who you rarely remember to thank, or who does a lot for you, this will make you feel really really good, as well as making them to feel good too. 

So that’s it for this months blog. Today I am giving thanks for my beating heart, the fake Twix I ate from Lidl yesterday and the sweat that poured from my body this morning as I taught yoga. What are you grateful for?

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More than Self Love

As we approach Valentines Day we are thinking a lot about love – in all its forms. Over the last few years there has been an overload of the term “self love”, relating to the fact that in this fast paced modern hectic lifestyle, people have been losing themselves. “I” has dropped down and down the priority list so that you are left somewhere between cat and the online food shop, and that is not a fun place to reside. Thankfully the world as a whole seems to have noted this, as it is happening to all of us, in a lot of places – and so there have been so many helpful hints and tips, showing us how to befriend and value ourselves again. 

At Salt Water Studios we wholeheartedly believe that self-love is important, that goes without saying. But we also believe that indiscriminate love for all is where it’s at. We need big hearts to make a difference to the world as a whole. And this needn’t feel overwhelming. You may ask yourself “How can I help? What can I really do?” well, it can all start with a smile, in your own back garden (so to speak, or literally if you see your neighbour crying into the hedge).

“Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.”

– Chinese Proverb

Each time you smile your brain feels really happy. … When a smile flashes across your face; dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released into your bloodstream, making not only your body relax but also work to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The effects of smiling on the nervous system and facial muscles are extreme – and they are contagious, not only helping to uplift those around us (as well as ourselves) but also take us into the part of our nervous system that is responsible for the rest and digest. Calming and bringing about balance. 

Our modern-day lifestyle promotes our living in a chronic condition of stress and subject to an increasing array of environmental toxins. But through smiling, feeling positive and feeding yourself a diet of uplifting emotions such as love, appreciating and compassion you will signal your nervous system to relax and promote an internal environment of peace and harmony. If you also behave this way towards others then this will also feed their souls. We all have that choice – we can consciously choose to influence our mind and emotions with positive, happy, life-affirming messages.

And then you can choose the level to which you take this. It is reminding me of a topic that came up at our recent Women’s Circle – our Soothe Space -and it was the subject of servitude (I will not mention anything more about the circle other than that!) This subject of servitude and being of service to others touched me quite deeply as I kind of realised that this is how I feel most fulfilled. As a mum to 2 little ones and also 2 (soon to be 3!) healing/wellbeing spaces most of my day is filled with serving. I spent YEARS self-caring to the max (believe me!) And whilst this still is necessary for me to feel whole and recharge, when this lovely lady mentioned the word servitude it resonated very strongly. Because this is what we wish to do for you, our community. We wish to help you heal on all levels in all ways, and really devote our time to providing avenues for this to happen. We work hard every day to improve, shape experiences and do more. I guess it’s all about balance – and doing enough to keep yourself “You” but also doing your bit – and maybe then some when you have the time and energy. We are all on this earth together and so it will make it a much happier, kinder place to be if we start to really look out for one another and lift each other up – throwing out the little torches of light to guide each other through the darkness and back to the light.

And this feeling of wanting to devote to and serve others is growing pace in Worthing ~ one of lovely members described it to us recently as a “movement” – and that felt so powerful! That all of us TOGETHER are helping to raise the vibration in and around Worthing, uplift each other and connect to grow our community 🙂

“It’s not enough to have lived. 

We should be determined to live for something.

May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, 

sharing what we have for the betterment of person-kind, 

bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” 

Leo Buscaglia

And you may wonder how else you can give back? Well, You can also start to think about projects that do multiple things. This is where our friends and neighbours at GreenUs come in! They are the not for-profit natural and organic lifestyle shop, and one of their founding principles is creating a service that helps YOU give back. They wanted to provide products at affordable prices that positively nourish and uplift lives, whilst AT THE SAME TIME doing this for others. They achieve this through directing all profits  to deliver intervention projects that tackle isolation, loneliness and help those recovering from a long term condition. They have some really lovely products that are kind to the environment, animals as well as your life – check them out if you can www.greenus.org

So ~ that’s it from us! Help us to spread love to all this Valentine’s Day, and remember, it can all start with just a smile 🙂

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January…a time to journey inward, rest and restore

So, here we are! 2019 has well and truly begun, and we are back with a bang into the first Monday of the year, and for many in an office 9-5, back at work (sob!). It is natural to think that January should be about some harsh fast, or detox, especially if you over-indulged at Christmas, however at Salt Water Studios we believe January should be a time to reconnect to your most heartfelt desires and heal. Ancient Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic traditions follow this principle, with the winter being a time to go inside the body, nourish and replenish.

So, If you are wanting to help yourself start 2019 in a way that nourishes and cares for your body, mind and soul, here are our Top Ten Tips!

“Only by letting go can we unlock ourselves from the past, be delivered into the future and prepare ourselves for our next evolutionary experience” David Bercelli

Create a Morning Ritual that works for you. Morning has it’s own special energy so is a good time to focus on yourself. A few things you can try are a mug of warm water with lemon, turmeric and ginger to fire up your digestion and alkalise the body; setting your intention for the day with a positive affirmation, something as simple as “My mind is clear, calm and focused and I feel content” can be incredibly effective; oil pulling, an Ayurvedic ritual that is a NATURAL way to cleanse and heal the body; or simply just a few minutes of sitting quietly on the train!

Take some time to think about what you really want in life. I don’t mean by writing a whole list of new years resolutions, as this can make us feel like we are putting pressure on ourselves and also be quite unattainable for most people! Instead, treat yourself to a new notebook and spend time alone with your thoughts to think and write. Maybe you have been putting off starting a project because you are worried you might fail…realise instead that the only way you can really fail is by ignoring yourself and not at least trying to follow your dream. If there is one thing we have learnt from starting Salt Water Studios it is really and TRULY that NOW is the best time to start, don’t wait until your idea is “perfect”…you can mould it along the way. Carry your notebook everywhere with you, you never know when inspiration may arise!

Eat nourishing, warming foods to support your liver. There are ways to delicately “cleanse” without a full on juice fast and depriving yourself of solid food! My personal liver cleanse recipes are not only packed with potassium for creating an alkaline environment and to help flush out the toxins from our cells, but also with fibre, soluble for stimulating the bile secretion and insoluble for promoting bowel movement and elimination of toxins. (I have written a couple of 3 Day Cleanses if you are interested please just get in touch.) Foods  like bone broth soups, with sweet potato, carrots, onions, greens and healing spices like garlic, turmeric, black pepper, and sulphur containing eggs all work wonders.

Have Courage and Be Kind. Do things for others, just because, and practice Loving Kindness. This will impact almost every area of your Wellness and the really nice thing about loving-kindness meditation is that it has been shown to be effective in both immediate and small doses (i.e. instant gratification) and also has long-lasting and enduring effects, healing you physically, increasing emotional intelligence, building resiliency, connecting you to society and growing self-love. As well as helping you vibrate higher – by raising yourself up, through showing kindness, you will inevitably raise those up around you.

Cleanse your mind. Try a digital detox, (no phones! no computers!) this can have an impact in as little as 2 days in terms of clarity of mind and focus, and deliver you firmly into the present moment.

Think about caffeine alternatives. If you are a sensitive individual then you may metabolise caffeine differently to others. I definitely do and so will only from time to time have a coffee. But I love the ritual of making a hot drink when I arrive at work, so I have a wide selection of healthy alternatives! Dandelion Coffee, Matcha Vanilla Powder, Raw Cacao Powder- all can be blended with warm water and a tablespoon of coconut oil, or a nut milk of your choice. These will help protect your body, giving you a boost of antioxidants, will not dehydrate you AND give you a little natural high 🙂

Look after your skin naturally. Take regular Epsom Salt Baths to restore your magnesium levels and look to plant-based products. Skin and plants are alive and full of nature’s intelligence, or prana, so it makes sense that using vibrant, living ingredients on your skin will increase the life-force of your skin. Plants are full of life and naturally possess everything your skin needs to keep thriving, glowing, and vibrating with health.

Find a way of releasing trapped emotions that works for you. Not everyone finds talking helpful, for many it is too painful, and too hard. If this is you, I recommend reading this book “Trauma Releasing Exercises, by David Bercelli”. The concept of the exercises is based on the fact that humans have an in-built method of releasing trauma (which can be anything from death of a loved one to something that has happened in childhood, to witnessing someone else go through a harrowing time), which involves taking the body to a point (through exercises) of trembling to physically release the trapped emotions. It is a short yet insightful read!

Learn to respond differently to life by relaxing and expanding into every moment through daily meditation. New studies have proven meditation to work in as little as 8 weeks with just 12 mins per day!! Try it today and notice the effects immediately 🙂

Try an alternative therapy, like acupuncture. Anne-Marie of Taste of Space (who holds her community clinic every Monday and Wednesday) says:

Have acupuncture! – as well as any specific aches, pains and troubles, seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter serve to nurture and nourish our reserve energy, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. Schedule your seasonal tune up today!

Community acupuncture is available every Monday and Wednesday at Salt Water Studios in Worthing. Offered on a sliding scale of £15 – £40 (you choose what you pay) it’s intended that more people are able to access acupuncture more often in order to feel better faster, supporting the wellbeing of us individuals and our local community as a whole.  

Acupuncture offers a safe and proven way to help with specific aches, pains and health conditions and influence overall wellbeing, so you can live life that little bit easier, whether that means a faster time on a marathon, moving more freely in yoga class, getting up the stairs pain free, more energy to look after the kids, easing the side effects on medication, better sleep or less anxiety. It can safely be used alongside other natural health practices and western medicine. 

A session provides a peaceful space from the hustle and bustle of life, and a natural and chemical free way of promoting the body’s own remarkable self healing abilities while you are still and relaxed. 

“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop” Ovid

More info and book online http://www.tasteofspace.co.uk

We have lots coming up this month! With new classes and workshops from many wonderful teachers. I hope this has shown you that there are lot of ways to heal, many of them requiring just a tiny bit of time! If you are interested in taking your wellbeing further this year, please be with us and come and see us very soon. Know that by doing just something small for yourself, you are not only benefiting yourself but the world as a whole, by shining your light a little clearer and brighter you may help guide someone through their darkness into their light.

With Love,

Katie and the whole team at SWS xxx