This week has been an interesting combination of work and craziness, yoga classes, business development, intense summer and scary storms. Which got me thinking about variation and how important it is to be able to adjust to change. I love routine, but I NEED to be challenged. I need the variety, the intensity; it helps me to be humble and resourceful and learn to take care of myself no matter the circumstances. The week began with three people sleeping on my living room floor and has ended with a weekend alone, full of ME time. So many thoughts and so much reflection, I don’t know where to begin. So let me start simple, with the things that have been making me happy this week…
// Yin Yoga
I got hooked on yin yoga recently thanks to Norman Blair, a wonderful teacher at the Life Centre in Islington. Yin, as opposed to Yang, is a slow, almost passive practice of seated postures, held for an average of 5 minutes, sometimes more. Your muscles are pretty much passive so that the effects can reach the joints, ligaments and connective tissue. For me, it is the perfect end to the week, practiced on Friday evenings after work, it takes your week’s tension and melts it away in long restorative holds and inspiring stories beautifully keeping you focused in the present moment. Being so passive and slow, your mind can go slightly insane if you hold on to anything, but your breath. It is an opportunity to let go of what you think yoga is about, especially if you are used to fast paced, sweaty, flow styles. Be prepared to stop, meditate and be supported by millions of props. It will restore your body and put you in a chilled out mood for the weekend.
// Lazy Sundays
What can I say about Sundays that has not already been said? Perfect me time, soul nourishing and shamelessly prioritising moi. Usually filled with all or a combination of these: morning yoga practice and meditation, yummy breakfast, walk to the farmers’ market, carefully selected, perfect flat whites and people watching. Beautifying my space with fresh flowers, essential oils and the radio.
Reading books on my favourite armchair, with herbal tea. A long, detoxifying bath with Epsom salts. Enjoying a home cooked meal and a catch up. If it’s considered holistic, yogic, balanced, calming or awesome, I’ll be doing it on Sunday.
// Basil essential oil
My older sister got me hooked on essential oils and aromatherapy a few years back. I remember going to the Apivita store in Athens (one of the first Greek natural cosmetics brands using bee products and herbs found in Greece) and lusting over the tiny little elixirs. My sister instructed me to buy my first batch of essential oils, including lavender, sandalwood, jasmine, bergamot, geranium and peppermint. She promised esoteric and physical benefits and I just could not resist. My collection today is more than 20 different essential oils and I use them almost daily in my bath, my oil burner, my homemade body lotions, and internally to help with digestion and to fight disease.
But my latest crush is basil. Its smell is so distinct; you either love it or hate it. A few drops on the burner though, it creates a rich, invigorating aroma, which I have now linked to blogging! It is said to help relieve mental fatigue, promote clarity of mind and improve concentration. Well, I don’t know if there are scientific experiments to back this up, but I can tell you it works for me. The ritual of placing approximately 8-10 drops of basil and combining it with 2-3 of grapefruit essential oil, lighting the tea light and then sitting on my computer is enough to spark my creative brain and keep me focused as I work. Whether placebo or not, I’m all for it. In London, I buy most of my essential oils from Neal’s Yard Remedies and they are all organic.
// Anoushka Shankar
About a month ago, I was looking at things to do in London and came across Anoushka Shankar’s concert at the Southbank Centre, as part of Alchemy festival, a music, dance, art and design celebration of India, South Asia and the UK. It was obviously sold out, but we managed to get tickets on the day. (In case you didn’t know, there is a red chair on the side of the ticket office at the Royal Festival Hall, and sitting there means you are waiting for returns.) We were lucky enough to get tickets on the fifth row from the stage, to what turned out to be the best concert I have ever been to. Not only is Anoushka an extremely talented sitar player, she is beautiful and inspirationally authentic. Being so close to the stage, I was able to see the interactions of the band, their smiles, their facial expressions, their passion, their love for what they do. And I have to say it really looked like they enjoyed playing as much as we enjoyed hearing them. The music took me on such an adventurous journey through India, the USA, London and new, unknown territories, touching places of my heart that only truly beautiful music can reach. Tears and laughter included in the price. I am since in love with her new album Traces of You and I am slowly getting to know her previous work. It is the perfect yoga music as well! Anouskha is playing again in London at the Shakespeare’s Globe in September.
// Cucumber & strawberry infused ice water
The perfect summer drink. Take a glass jar add water, ice, a few slices of cucumber, some strawberries and a straw. Enjoy while sunning yourself on the terrace. Top up as you go along, and then snack on the yummy bits. It is such a nice way to make water interesting, more refreshing and tastes like dessert, while you take in your vitamins. Sort of like Pimms, but without the hangover – enjoy!
+ That’s all for now beautiful people! I really enjoy writing my beautiful things weekly lists. It is some sort of review of the week, helping me appreciate the good and focus on the positive things around me. It helps me file away the events of the past 7 days and start fresh. So, what are your thoughts? Share some goodness below of the things that have made you happy recently! See you soon x