10 health and well-being experts from London’s Evolve Wellness Centre share their top 5 ways healthy habits for a better life
From cold showers to scheduling in some hot sex, Evolve Wellness Centre’s top teachers and therapists share their collective wisdom on how to lead a more active life in celebration of Evolve Wellness Centre‘s 5th birthday.
SHOMIT MITTAR, London’s Leading Hypnotherapist
- POSITIVITY See if you can, at the end of every day, answer these three questions positively:
- What did I do for my body (how healthily did I eat, did I do enough exercise)?
- What did I do for my mind (did I read something of substance)?
- What did I do for my soul (did I meditate, or have a laugh with friends)?
- HAPPY TIME
Consciously clock up happy times: schedule fun activities into your diary as you would client meetings. Happiness is a habit, and one can get out of practice.
- READ REAL LIFE
Don’t read self-help books. Read biographies instead. Be curious about what people you admire have really done. Get a sense of the shape of a life. Your deep solutions will come from recognising the shape of your life.
Keep an open heart. It is when we shut down our hearts out of fear that we get hurt. No one hurts a person who genuinely offers love from a place of power.
See everything as either a joy – or an opportunity to learn. There is nothing fundamentally malevolent in the universe, only exercises for the soul which we sometimes misread as pain.
Berenice Wurz-Smith, Hatha Yoga Teacher
First thing in the morning, drink a cup of lukewarm water with a squeeze of organic apple cider vinegar. It will kick start your digestive system, help control hunger and cravings, prevent bladder stones urinary tract infection by eliminating excess acidity.
7. DETOX DIGITALLY
For an hour a day, turn off your phones and electronic devices and sit in a quiet space, either to read a book, enjoy the sound of nature if you can sit outdoors, or perhaps start a short meditation practice. The most important thing is to find a time which works for you and fit with your lifestyle. So, at the beginning, even 5-10 minutes will be beneficial. You will soon realise how this little ritual will transform your day, help clear your mind and improve your ability to relax. In time and with consistency, it will become easier to sit for longer period of time.
Just as precious it is to find time and space for stillness, it is also important to move your body. In our western civilisation, most of us tend to have a sedentary lifestyle, spending far too much time in sitting position, whether it is at a desk behind a computer, driving, or watching TV. Make sure you walk are walking at least an hour of your day. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk around the block during your lunch or tea break. It will boost your energy levels and help you release some tension in the body.
‘Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Dine like a Pauper,’ to improve your digestive system, manage your energy levels and sleep better. Make breakfast and lunch your main meals with a well-balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and aiming to reduce sugar intake and acidic drinks. Keep dinner light and eat early.
10. HOME PRACTICE
Make time to practice a little Yoga at home, Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall pose) is an easy and efficient way to relax the body, calm the mind and soothe the central nervous system. It also helps to recover from long flights and jet lag, relieve tiredness from the legs, and reduce swollen ankles.
Cate McKenzie, Life coach and Psychosexual Therapist
To start the day on a good note, take time to breathe, meditate and then move your body in someway to generate energy and start your date with joy. If you create this time to connect with yourself there’s more chance you will have a lovely day.
‘tell yourself that you are fab or gorgeous’
Connect with yourself and with others by preparing yourself for a great day and allowing a smile from within to grow and then bring a smile to your face. Smiling at others helps us to feel better about ourselves and everything else. You can also tell yourself that you are fab or gorgeous and it can help with connecting to others. Also if they don’t smile back don’t worry they may save it for later or the next person may respond. You will feel better for putting out warmth into the world.
- If you have a partner then visualise sending them love before meeting them. See yourself holding their face in your hands and giving them a big kiss and hug as you meet them. This will support you to do this when you meet and warm up the atmosphere between you.
- Visualise golden circles of light joining all your friends and family and imagine love being sent to them all.
- If you are single practice smiling, looking and complimenting people. You can start with people you aren’t 100 per cent attracted too and build the confidence up to someone you do.
13. NATURAL HEALING
Each day see if you can spend a bit of time in nature especially barefoot then you can allow yourself to ground and let go of the electromagnetic fields we pick up from wi-fi mobile phones etc. drink lots of water. Sometimes if we are fearful or angry we are actually dehydrated. Also water is known to cure many illnesses including asthma so worth giving a try.
14. LOVE DATES
Try regular love dates for you, whether that’s a bath, a spa date, a trip to a button shop, self massage, gardening or time in nature. Do this on your own and do it regularly. The more you put in the pot the happier you will feel.
15. MOVE YOUR MOOD
Check out the food you are eating and whether you would like to eat something different. Ask your body what it would like and look up different foods and the effects they have.
Tune into yourself and see what movement you would like. Exercise is the biggest anti depressant we have. But to do it in a loving way means letting your body choose how you do it.
Mieke Kreeftenberg is a Yoga Therapist, qualified with the Minded Institute.
16. COLD SHOWERS
Take every morning a cold shower or bath to increase energy levels, circulation and immunity, stimulates weight-loss as increases brown fat and decrease in white(unhealthy fat), speeds up muscle soreness and recovery.
17. CREATE SPACE
Practice some Mindfulness Meditation. A few minutes of mindfulness every day for 8 weeks has been proven to reduce stress levels and therefore increases well-being.
Take some time for Ocean Breathing (Ujjayi Pranayama) Ujjayi Pranayama is a relaxing, yet empowering breath. It calms the mind and infuses the practitioner with energy, as all of the Pranayama techniques do. One of the meanings of Ujjayi Breathing is “Victorious Breath.”
Learn the Classic yoga Sun Salutation and move through these 12 poses every morning. Vitality is defined as a feeling of having strength and energy. Doing yoga increases your blood flow, promotes balance and endurance, and wakes your body’s muscles naturally through deep stretching movements. In Yoga you move through pose to pose to the rhythm of your breath, which builds an inner heat, or energy, in your body.
Start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon. The benefits of drinking warm water and lemon are endless it aids digestion ,cleanses the entire urinary tract, boosts immunity, balances ph levels, clears the skin, freshens breath and aids weight loss.
Aarti Shah, McTimoney Chiropractor
‘Tell yourself everyday you are enough’
For a vital life it is essential to exercise, rest, have good nutrition, a positive mental attitude, and practice a spiritual / meditative practice.
It is imperative to look after your body and nurture it – after all its the only home that you have to live in. Make sure you sit up tall with your spine long and try to consciously adjust your posture during the day. The more space we create between the ribs and the hips and across the chest naturally opens up the respiratory system allowing the breath to flow freely.
Striving for perfection is heading for disaster! Accepting your imperfections and striving to improve them is heading towards a more fulfilled and vital life. Tell yourself everyday you are enough. Write down a few things at the end of the day that you have felt good about. Give yourself time to nurture your innate talents and gifts. We all have them in abundance it’s just allowing ourselves to discover them.
Balance is the key to a vital life – having a few vices is ok as long as they are outweighed by your virtues. Make sure you treat yourself to all the things you love but counteract this with healthy habits too. Guilty pleasures should not make you feel guilty they should just be pleasures.
Rest is vital for our overall health. It is not encouraged by most modern cultures. To rest is seen to be “not doing”… and therefore not “achieving” or even being lazy and not good enough. This is a false and unhelpful mind set. Most of us in busy cities with fast lives don’t have enough of R-E-S-T. To enhance better rest- try to get up and go to bed at regular times. Take time to relax especially if you have a “busy” work and social schedule. A restorative or yoga nidra class is an excellent way to bring more replenishment for your body and mind. This will help your body put back in what is being taken out by your choice of exercise and more specifically your busy life style.
Ameet Bhakta, Postural Alignment Specialist.
‘Here are my 5 top tips for living pain free. They can make a drastic difference to the quality of your health and the amount of pain you feel.’
26. GO BAREFOOT
Your feet are the foundation of your body. With 25% of the body’s bones, 66 joints, 214 ligaments and 38 muscles, your feet are a work of engineering genius and were never designed to function in shoes. Go barefoot at home and wherever you can to improve your balance, strength, circulation and posture. P.S. If the floor at home is cold you can wear thick socks!
27. STAND UP
I know this is tough but prolonged sitting really is the new smoking. It increases compressive forces through your spine by 50% compared to standing. It alters your spinal curves, creates muscular imbalances and increases your risk of back pain, diabetes, heart disease and death! Stand up at least every half an hour to reset your spine, and improve oxygen, lymph and blood flow.
We need a certain amount of movement to stay functional and healthy. It’s vital for the health of your bones, joints and muscles. Lack of movement is responsible for much of our chronic pain and disease. Exercising 3 times a week is not enough. Try walking instead of catching the bus. Take stairs instead of the escalator or lift. Park a little away from your destination. Dance, stretch, run and shake. If pain stops you from doing this see tip 5.
You need to engage your body in different ways to stay healthy. Try wearing different shoes each day. Play different sports. Do a wide range of exercises at the gym. Mix up your office workstation once a week by adjusting things like the chair height, monitor, mouse and keyboard position. Avoid sameness.
Your body has a unique structure/posture that is held together by muscles. When your muscles are balanced your posture is aligned and you’re stronger, more stable and you can use your body most efficiently – pain free.
If you’re in pain, very often the root cause is a lack of natural alignment. The best way to improve this is by using gentle but targeted posture correction exercises. It’s the reason why 98% of my one-to-one therapy clients report an improvement in their symptoms.
EMILY REED, Yoga Teacher
Meditation is an invaluable tool that so many people are turning to now as a way of find better overall health body and mind. Sit for a minimum of 5 minutes a day. Do this first thing, when the mind is not so clogged with distracting thoughts and emotions. Simply watch your breath; feel the sensations of the breath as it moves in and out of the body. 5 minutes is nothing… you can do it if you make the time. Get up earlier to factor in the extra five minutes. After a while you will notice the shifts and changes this brings about.
Be it a yoga class, pilates, dance, running, tennis, football. Exercise is good for us and we need it especially if we sit a lot at work or find our minds get tired and stressed easily. Exercise not too much and not too little. 20 Minutes a day minimum (it need not be more then 1 hour). Do whatever you enjoy and feel connected to your body. Be grateful to be able to move without restriction/inhibitions etc. We can all lead a cerebral life existence and get trapped in our heads as a result. This in turn can lead to obsessional self focus. Connecting to our bodies is grounding, it pulls us from the enclosed world and makes us feel good!
Laugh every day! Go on just do it! Even if you pretend to laugh this will end up being a real laugh. Try it! Smiling and laughing helps soften the flow of any negative thoughts in your mind. Try it next time you have a fear or an anxiety about something. Just smile into the thought even if you are alone and despairing- force the smile on your face. Notice how it starts to soften and shift the mindset.
Make time for friends, lovers, family whoever means a lot to you. Call someone you love or care about TODAY if you can’ t be with them. Being in touch with those you care deeply for reconnects us to the heart and a feeling of unity and smiley which is natural to every human being. Its so nurturing in such a subtle way. Our connections to loved ones connects us to our own hearts- this is FOOD for the SOUL.
36. REACH OUT
It could be… smiling or saying “good morning” to the bus driver as you “blip” your oyster card. It might be holding the door as you walk in to a building… Small and simple things can make such a difference. We feel more connected to others- and that we are not alone on what might feel like the “battlefield” of life at times.
Tracy Friend, world leading authority in Law of Attraction
Listen to a positive mediation CD on waking. Music along with positive affirmations will help you start the day feeling clear and focused. Highly recommend The ‘Opening to Abundance’ visualisation MPR helps you change your beliefs to align with new possibilities and the abundant life that you choose. Accompanied by the transcendent music you will start your day on a relaxing journey into the vision of your ideal abundant life.
‘Trust your own inner guidance’
Doing the things you love. Instead of waking up thinking “must dash to work” do something you know makes your body and mind feel better. Even if it’s 5 minutes of stretching, 3 minutes of dancing, 2 minutes of running on the spot. Do something which will bring you more energy FIRST.
Write a list of all the things you love to do. All the people, places, activities that bring you joy. Be it painting, singing, learning, swimming etc. Then engage in some of these at least once a week.
Trust your own inner guidance. Sit quietly and ask yourself ‘What do I really need?’ ‘Where do I need to go?’ it’s amazing when we sit quietly our mind can settle and our intuition or our quieter voice speaks louder. Learn to listen to that quieter voice and you will start acting on your intuition over your ‘mindtuition’.
Think about your achievements. Write them down. Daily achievements, Monthly achievements. Lifetime achievements. Sometimes we forget how much we have done and are doing and looking at these can help us gain energy and feel more vital to continue on our journey. Praise yourself.
ADRIAN AND CORINNE KOWAL, Founders of Evolve Wellness Centre.
42. Morning Routines
The most effective tool for both creativity, productivity and vitality is a regular morning routine of an early wake-up (after a good 8 hours of sleep), a large glass of water, some minutes of meditation followed by stretching / yoga / aerobic exercise and a hearty breakfast. No matter what challenges you may face during the day, if you have started your morning in this way you will feel more energised, grounded and in better spirits.
43. Regularly take time alone in the wilderness (Forest Bathe)
We all have busy lives and love to socialise – yet part of our being can only truly be nourished when we spend time on our own, with our devices shut off. Couple this with a walk or a sit in pristine nature and your time spent alone will be catalysed in an inspiring and revitalizing way due to the alchemical reactions in your brain and body which are triggered by the natural environment which surrounds us.
44. Schedule in time for sex
Yes – you read that right…In our super-busy “doing” based lifestyles, our love life can often fall by the wayside due to fatigue and lack of imagination. Just like becoming a better chef or meditator, ring-fencing intimate time with a loved one on a regular basis will support both the need for a deeper connection with one another and with yourself, which is pleasurable and stimulates our bodies and minds in ways we still cannot fully understand.
45. Periodically review where you are out of balance
Make a periodic (monthly works well) check of where you feel you are out of balance across a few different arenas (nutritional, spiritual, financial, emotional, mental, physical) in your life. Be honest with yourself, writing down in a journal where you feel your imbalances lie. Where there is awareness there can then be time and energy to help redress the balance to support a more harmonious whole self.
46. Don’t take things to seriously
When we lose touch with our inner child and become obsessive or over-earnest about something in our lives (it could be money, work, career, partner, self-image etc), we often lose sight of the larger holistic perspective. I’m always fascinated when in the presence of elders such as the Dalai Lama or Native American teachers, how light-hearted they approach their transmission of wisdom, and I recognise that solemnity doesn’t necessarily translate into wisdom.
SIMON BERKOWITZ, CranioSacral Therapist, Hypnosis & Mindfulness
‘The decisions that we are taking right now are creating the future as we speak.’
47. Connect to your real purpose in every moment
This is when we feel most alive, when every cell is tingling and when every part of us knows deep down that we’re on the right track. This is the place that our insight, creativity and our best ideas come from. It’s always there, always ready to help if we know how to access it.
48. Fully reclaim your power to choose
Our lives today are made up of all the small (and big) decisions that we have made in the past right up to the present moment. The decisions that we are taking right now are creating the future as we speak. Conscious decision-making is the only way to create a future that we really want.
49. Create space in your life by saying ‘no’ to energy drains
Is there any thing or any one in your current life that is taking up to much of your precious mental real estate? For most of us there is- and often more than one. Developing the skill to say a strong ‘no’ to that one person, habit or situation that is driving us round the bend is vital to creating the space and inner peace that we need to get creative.
50. Expand into joy by saying ‘yes’ to the right things
When we’re more in touch with our real purpose more and more of what we really want starts to show up naturally. Our role is to create enough space for it, notice it and then take the action that will make the the opportunity a reality. Without this last vital step, nothing happens.
Make full expression of your unique creativity your number one goal
We have one shot to do something truly meaningful and it’s happening in every moment. No matter what situation we encounter there is a built-in part of us that knows how to guide us through it. When we learn to listen to it something magical happens- we feel completely in flow in the present moment.
Evolve wellness centre is in the heart of South Kensington and opened it’s door is 2010. Five years on they now have 5,000 clients enjoying over 60 yoga classes a week and holistic treatments on offer with regular retreats, workshops, and one-off unique yoga and meditation experiences running throughout the year. There is a party on Tuesday 22nd September from 6pm – 8.30pm. All yogis old, new or curious should visit evolvewellnesscentre.com to rsvp.