WELCOME TO THE INSPIRATION SPACE.
We've created this page for you to visit whenever you feel the need to be inspired. We will update this space regularly with expert breathing tips, recipes to enjoy and nuggets of wisdom & inspiration to boost your sense of purpose and bring a little lightness into your day. We understand that applying discipline can be tricky and challenging, so we have created this area of inspiration to give you a gentle nudge in the right direction, so you feel encouraged to keep up a practice, however small this maybe. If you have any suggestions for this page or have any questions about breath work, yoga or general wellbeing, do email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a soundtrack to breathe to which we will play at this weekend's workshop at East of Eden. I've compiled it to complement the Reiki Drumming section of the workshop.
This soundtrack is is around 25 minutes long so the perfect amount of time to breathe too if you are an experienced 'breather'. If you are just starting out on your Transformational Breath journey, start off with 3 - 5 mins (first track) and then build up slowly to 25 mins over a few months.
My 12 week old little girl loves listening to the last track, yana yo wana hey ney, which is an ancient song which used to be sung, and still is in some cultures, to heal Mother Earth. Much more fun to sing than nursery rhymes!
Learn to breathe well in 2017 with the 'Better Breathing Kit'. The breathing routines are designed to help you reconnect with your breath and help you correct any unhealthy breathing patterns and the breath led meditations have been scripted to help calm the mind. Once you have accessed the downloadable breath exercises, you can keep and practice them forever more.
Practicing conscious breath exercises, a little everyday, can see you reap the benefits of a fuller breath. The guided 'on waking' breath meditation can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own bed. In just 2 minutes you can establish a connection with your diaphragmatic breath to encourage a calm start to your day. Followed by the 'on commute' meditation which can be listened to while travelling to work (planes, trains - yes but definitely don't listen to while driving!). Finish your day with the 7 minute audio for 'on sleeping'. The specially tailor made audio collection can help you establish an 11 minute daily conscious breath practice which can enable you to reap all the benefits of deeper, fuller breathing. You can then add the Sonic Breath exercises to slowly build upon your breathing practice.
Maya Angelou, the inspiring author of 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' and activist, shares her words of wisdom here. 'Be a rainbow in anyone's cloud' is an old African song which is explained here beautifully by Angelou. She passed away two years ago but has left the world a brighter place with her words of wisdom, her passion for for rights for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defence of Black culture. Her words and the way in which she delivers them have the ability to always lift, expand and inspire and we often read her books and quotes to find inspiration, or a rainbow, on a cloudy day.
Sonic Breath is a unique combination of downloadable mp3 sound ratios to help you build, fine tune and maintain a conscious breath practice. Available now via our Breath Exercise page, they have been recorded for beginners, intermediate and advanced conscious breathers, with a focus towards those faced with a busy day. We firmly believe that practicing conscious breathing little and often will help you maintain healthy breathing habits.
You can purchase the Sonic Breath sounds individually and gradually build a solid breath practice from our online classes. Some of sonic ratios to breathe to have been formulated to balance the breath (i.e Inhale for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4) and relax the nervous system while others focus on extending the exhalation which has been scientifically proven to stimulate feelings of calm and relaxation. You should breathe in through the nose, out through the nose in all the exercises and the belly should rise easily on the inhalation. Please read our Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions before practicing any of these exercises.
Jemima Eames, EFT and Tapping Master runs through a 10 minute tapping sequence for grounding and inducing feelings of relaxation. EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, is described as acupuncture without the needles, although there is more to it than that. It is a process of tapping acupuncture points on the head and hands with your fingers to move and release blocked energy from your body. Blocked energy traps negative feelings and pain in the body. This is great to do at the end of a busy day just before bed. Easy to follow and quick to learn EFT is also great for unblocking tension around the respiratory system to help aid a deeper, fuller breath.
Here is a video of a 20 minute breathing routine we practiced on the May retreat. We are opening up the entire respiratory system working from the pelvic floor, the diaphragm, the rib cage, relaxing the throat and clearing the nasal passage. This 5 a day routine has been formulated especially by the Inspiration Space yoga and breathing team to help release tension in the respiratory muscles and clear any toxins from the lungs. With a background in pranayama breathing, kundalini yoga and breathwork, this winning combination, once learned, can be practiced within 10mins, and is a great way to start the day. All Inspiration Spacers can enjoy 14 days FREE access to YOGAIA by clicking on the link: https://yogaia.com/class/9413 and enter the promocode AIMEEYOGAIA to practice over the next 2 weeks. And enjoy lots of other live yoga classes too.
This beautiful song by Ayub Ogada was played on our May retreat and it makes great listening if you want a relaxed 5 minute practice. His story is one of inspiration, serendipity and pure talent needing to be heard and acknowledged.
Ayub Ogada was born in 1956 in Mombasa, Kenya. He is a descendant of the Luo people of western Kenya and was influenced by their musical heritage by his parents who were musicians. They performed Luo music to Kenyan and US audiences. Ayub’s experience of travelling with his parents to the US and his exposure to both western and African cultures had a profound effect on his music and outlook.
In 1986, Ayub set his sights on the UK and traveled to London clutching his Luo nyatiti (an eight-string traditional lyre). He regularly busked on the city’s streets and the London underground. In 1988, he was approached and asked to play at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festival in Cornwall. His breakthrough came there. Perchance a band cancelled and Ayub’s ten-minute slot stretched to a full set. Among the won over fans that day was Peter Gabriel himself.
Ayub was invited to take part in one of the recording weeks at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Wiltshire. In 1993, he recorded his first album En Mana Kuoyo (Just Sand) at the studio and he toured extensively with Peter Gabriel and WOMAD.
5 a day – Breathing Exercises
All too often, we give ourselves a hundred excuses not to do those things that are inherently good for us. We often have a little voice in our head whispering ‘oh, I haven’t enough time’, ‘I’ll do it later’, ‘tomorrow, definitely tomorrow’, ‘oh I’ll wait until I go to a class’, ‘I know, I’ll book a one to one session next month’. We ALL do this at sometime, if not all the time! Discipline is a practice and it’s only when we kick start a routine and stick by this that we start to see these ‘must do’ exercises become entwined in our daily lives and we start to notice some really positive changes in our lives. We know in our hearts we will feel more energised, freer, clearer and calmer, if we engage in a short self care routine, be it cardio exercise, yoga or breathing, but we often listen to the mind, whispering gentle excuses to us all day long. 'While the mind is winning, the heart begins to weep.'
Inspiration Space's ‘5 a day’ breathing routine is designed for you to ‘check in’ with your breathing as you go about your day. This is perfect if you haven’t time for a full practice but still want to develop a rich awareness and connection to the breath. Simply becoming aware of our breathing can help us take our attention away from the mind and busy (more than often distracting) thoughts and lead us into the body, where calmness always resides.
1. ON RISING: Just before you leap (!) out of bed, place both of your hands on the lower belly (just below the naval) and gently try and encourage the breath here on the inhalation. Breathing in, belly rises. You can imagine a balloon gently inflating on the inhalation and deflating on the exhalation. No effort is needed here, just awareness. Allow the breath to come in through the nose, out through the nose. Just take 10 breaths (this takes less than a minute for most) so you start your day with breath awareness. To add a bit of flavor to this, you can choose an intention for the day, and on inhaling you can say in your mind ‘I breathe in energy’ and on the exhale ‘I let go of anxiety’. Choose whatever you feel you need more/less of for the day.
2. POWER SHOWER: While in the shower (or bath if your mornings allow) place the palms of your hands on either side of the lower ribs, so the little fingers are in line with the lowest rib. Breathe in and you should feel the rib cage expand outwards, in both East and West direction, breathing out you should ‘let go’ allowing the ribcage to naturally fall (the belly should still be rising here on the inhalation). Take 10 to 20 breaths like this and encourage the ribs to expand a little more in each inhalation. You can count in for the count of 5 exhale for 5.
3. AT THE DESK: Sit comfortably in your chair rest your hands on your thighs and allow the spine to be tall (it sometimes helps to take the spine a little away from the support of your chair). To help release tension in the respiratory muscles in the shoulders and upper back: take a deep and slow inhalation through the nose and raise the shoulders to the ears. Exhale and let the shoulders go. Repeat 5-10 times and then rotate the shoulders slowly in a backward direction. Be mindful of how you sit at your desk. Make sure the shoulder blades are drawn down your back, the chest is lifted and allow space between the pelvis and the rib cage. A good posture can help you breathe easier. A regular breathing practice can also improve your posture.
4. ON COMMUTE: Hold your left hand with your right hand with the right thumb applying pressure to the centre of the palm of the left hand. This acupressure point is for the diaphragm and can help us connect with our breathing and release tension. Close the eyes and breathe gently with all the focus on the palm of your hand. Repeat on the other side. Breathe in for a count of 5. Hold for a count of 2. Exhale for 7. This will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and induce feelings of calm.
5. BEFORE BED: If comfortable, lay in bed, on your belly, head to oneside and make sure the jaw is relaxed (allow there to be a small space between the upper and lower teeth). Close the eyes using a diaphragmatic breath, breathe in through the nose for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 3. Exhale through the mouth for a count of 6. Repeat this for 5 to 10 rounds and notice how the body relaxes on the exhalation. On each exhale imagine ‘letting go’ of the day. This should prepare you for a deep sleep.
Checking in with our breathing throughout the day will allow us to improve the quality of our respiratory system and deepen our emotional awareness, bringing feelings of calm, to the body and mind. The more we check in, the more we become aware, and our body will use it’s own intelligence system to suggest we build a regular practice.
You're So Mummy
We are loving this new book this month. If you are a mum of one, two, three or more, this is really worth a read. Full of hilarious scenarios, written from the heart and the exhausted head, which many of us will relate to. Each page is so full of wit, wonders and blunders you can pick it up on any page and get a laughing hit. With Mother's Day this Sunday, it's our book of the Month, written by journalists, Alex Manson Smith and Sarah Thompson, mothers of two, there's a copy to be won as part of our #presentmum campaign.
Looney on toast: Losing it over food. Page 38, You're So Mummy "Our mother's had it so easy. Back in the eighties, feeding your kids was a simple affair: Frosties, fish fingers, Ritz crackers with a squirt of Primula cheese on top - all washed down with a Feast and a carton of Um Bongo. Those were the days when Mars Bars were marketed as healthy, and no one even thought to take issue with children's sweets that looked like fags."
We love healthy snacks but are often short on time...These take minutes to make (once you've purchased all the ingredients...which can sometimes be a challenge to find all under one shop roof!) and are a great healthy snack which the kids love too.
1 cup almonds and half a cup of hazelnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 1/3 cup extra for rolling
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Mix all the ingredients in the Nutri bullet or blender and roll into balls finishing with rolling them in the shredded coconut.
We whipped this smoothie up this morning with some left over ingredients from making a batch load of energy balls for our workshops at the weekend (recipe coming soon). This is one of the tastiest, power fuelled drinks we've had in a long while and is full of nutty goodness and will keep any sugar cravings at bay. We've felt high in energy and haven't had that afternoon dip yet! Simply mix all the ingredients together. We love our Nutribullet and it takes 30 seconds to make this nutty wonder. It's kept us high in energy and feeling alert for the morning.
1tsp Cashew Butter
2tbsp Chia Seeds and a handful of Almonds
This is a great new book written by Neuroscientist Candace B. Pert. It explores why we feel the way we do and reveals her pioneering research on how the chemicals inside us form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body. Reading is a great way to nourish the body (sitting still, breathing deeply) and inspire the mind and we will be adding to our list of reading books which appear on the breathing hub page too. Here's a few more for you to consider:
Adventures in Human Being - Gavin Francis
Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort & Joy
A Book of Human Emotions - Tiffany Watt Smith
The Breathing Book - Donna Fahri
Core Awareness - Liz Koch
Perfect Breathing - Al Lee & Don Campbell
Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
Women Who Run with the Wolves -- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The body loves movement and at this time of year it's all too easy to sit still and hibernate and listening to the body is paramount for wellbeing. Stay warm by wrapping up in lots of clothes and take a walk in the winter sunshine to up your Vitamin D intake, have a light run, dance, swim or take a hike into the woods. Allowing the body to move will open up the respiratory system and get the heart pumping and is a perfect preliminary exercise for a Transformational Breath session which of course is the best way to feel energised during these shorter days. In tribute to the great late artist, forever inspired, David Bowie: here's one of his finest to inspire your body to move. Dancing boosts circulation, burns calories, elevates our mood by raising our endorphin levels, allowing us to heal stress and depression, two of our immune systems biggest enemies.
In the Winter months, according to Ayurvedic philosophy, the body should be enjoying warm and hot foods to nourish the system and counterbalance the cold external environment so going on a juice fast isn't necessary the best way to serve your body in January. We've found this amazing raw chocolate drink from Iswari's Buddha's Awakening packed full of nutritional seeds and superfoods (Milled Chia, Almonds, Lucuma Powder, Raw Cacao, Flax Seeds, Coconut Sugar, Cacao Nibs) to nourish your body and ease the cold snap that's currently with us. This can be served hot (just had hot water or almond milk) and it's the best way to warm both hands and heart. We found this at Planet Organic which also serve a delicious Winter Warmer drink which has helped stave off the post festive flu which seems to be going around. The magic ingredients are simply hot water with lemon, Manuka honey, lots of ginger and you can add some turmeric too.
As Christmas and New Year approaches, we are often confronted with many internal and external stresses. With little time to wind down from work before the festivities begin, we can sometimes feel exhausted even before Christmas Day and with this months full moon arriving on Christmas night, emotions will be running high. Whether you are celebrating with family and friends or you've decided that retreating on your own is the best way to survive, we've written a few tips here to help you float through the next week and start 2016 in a positive frame of mind.
Drinking Well Make sure you drink water in between enjoying any alcoholic drinks. This will help you stay hydrated and the liver will take less of strain. Drinking lemon, ginger, turmeric and honey with hot water first thing in the morning will help cleanse the system and help your energies stay high. Sip your drinks slowly and mindfully and enjoy the flavours and taste while also acknowledging your surroundings. Using the sense of taste and sight together will bring you into the present moment.
Eating Well Conscious eating is the key. In all the excitement (or wanting it to be over as quick as possible!) it's quite easy to rush your food and sometimes we rarely remember what flavours and textures we've tasted as we are engaged in conversation, distracted by the scenes around us or just too busy thinking. Make sure you slow down, look at each forkful before you pop it in your mouth, feel the food on your lips, chew slowly, really take time to taste and each mouthful. The old saying 'chew your drink and drink your food' lays well here. Chew, chew, chewing will really ease the digestive system which can go into overload especially at this time of year. Avoid drinking lots while you're eating too. Try and fully relax for 15mins after a meal to help the digestive system work without extra stress.
Moving Well Fresh air is a great way to refresh the system. Make sure you work up an appetite with a brisk walk in the morning or an hour or so after lunch. If you are lucky enough to be in the countryside walk amongst the trees, far away from the pollution of cars and urban life - this is the closest we can be to the purest air which is essential for a healthy body and mind. If you are city bound, choose a spacious park or heath or anywhere far from the traffic. If the weather is not on your side and staying in doors is the only option, stretching the body through yoga, the tibetan five rites or break into dance if you dare! Anything to get the limbs moving and the heart beating above rest will make sure you start your day on a positive note.
Breathing Well When families come together at Christmas time we can often trigger each other. We may find ourselves returning to old patterns of thinking and feeling and reacting to certain scenarios. Take yourself off for a 1 - 2 minute breathing session if you find this happening and allow the mind to wander to the breath. This is a great way to calm the mind and let go of any unwanted emotions. Here's a recap of the Transformational Breathing technique: Make sure you are warm and comfortable, and that your head and neck are properly supported. If you were propped up in your sessions, use some pillows to support the back, and if you used a bottle top definitely use it even for a 5 min practice as it will help release tension in the jaw. If you were on your belly for most of the session, lie on your belly, hands down by the hips and head to one side eyes gently closed. Have your hands on your lower abdomen - a few inches below the navel (if propped up). Relax the jaw and open the mouth wide and take a deep inhalation, belly should rise like a balloon, and exhale with a quick sigh. Keep all your focus on the inhalation. Inhalation should be about twice as long as the exhalation. Exhalation should be a quiet and relaxed. Keep the breath connected so no pauses between breaths. Repeat up to 5 minutes and notice any physical sensations in the body. Rest for one minute as you return to a normal breathing pattern – breathing through the nose. Don’t practice this technique for any longer without supervision from a certified breath worker.
Here is an easy to follow Mindful Breathing exercise which will help develop a conscious breath.
• Find a quiet place and sit either on the floor or on a chair with support for the back.
• The spine and head should be upright, not rigid - the spine should be tall and the shoulders relaxed. Poor posture affects the quality of the breath. Good posture will help the body breathe more freely as the diaphragm is free and the intercostal muscles in between the ribs don’t get overused. Allow the hips to act as the base for where the body needs to fill with breath first. Allow the spine to lengthen and feel free. The chin should be parallel to the thighs and jaw relaxed. Have a little space between the bottom and top jaw.
• Always allow the breath to enter and leave as it so wishes. Never force your breath. It should be able to enter and leave the body in a smooth and fluid fashion, not restricted and choppy.
• On the inhale, direct the breath into the belly, as if filling the space between the hips with air and movement. Place both hands just inside the hips to make some contact here. Take a few breaths here until movement in the lower belly is apparent.
• Once the belly expands, bring the awareness to the front and back ribs. Begin filling this part of the body with your breath. Take a few breaths here.
• Then bring the breath all the way up into the upper ribs and collarbone area. Make sure the breath still starts from the lower belly.
• Pause for a moment between breaths, making sure not to tense up. Feel the sensations that arise when your body is full of breath.
• On the exhalation, allow the expansion in the upper chest to release (stage 3), followed by your middle ribs (stage 2), and finally by drawing the navel into the spine (stage 1).
• Repeat this full breath exercise in stages. Inhaling into the belly, lower ribs, upper chest and then release. The goal is to both slow the breath and lengthen both inhales and exhales improving the body’s internal rhythm.
We played Geoffrey Oryema on our October Retreat and just love his voice and music and we wanted to share his Makambo track with you. His life itself is an inspiration:
In 1977, at the age of 24 and at the height of Idi Amin's power, Oryema was smuggled across the Ugandan border in the boot of a car, after the death of his father, Erinayo Wilson Oryema, who was a cabinet minister, beginning a life in exile. Today his songs keep alive the languages of his youth - Swahili and Acholi and return to the lost country - the 'clear green land' of Uganda. This is great to breathe to. Take just 5 minutes out of your day and enjoy.
As you may have noticed, we love little nuggets of wisdom. In this fast paced world, reading a couple of sentences is sometimes enough to boost our mood. Reading short poems or quotes or listening to a short inspiring talk can help us build a better day. This is our favourite quote this month from the wonderful author, Anais Nin:
Anais Nin loved to journal and was inspired by her therapist and later her lover Otto Rank to write: She found writing helped her verbalise what remained unarticulated. She discovered the quality and depth of her feelings in the wordless transitions between what she could say and what she could not say. "As he talked, I thought of my difficulties with writing, my struggles to articulate feelings not easily expressed. Of my struggles to find a language for intuition, feeling, instincts which are, in themselves, elusive, subtle, and wordless."
Inspired by Nin's love of journalling, we are encouraging you to jot down a few feelings and intentions this month. What is it you really need in your life right now? This intention is really good to breathe on.
HOT CHOCOLATE SMOOTHIES
15g/0.5oz dark chocolate, chopped (check the brand for gluten free if required)
200ml/6.75floz almond milk
20g/0.7oz rolled oats (check the brand for gluten free if required)
½ a ripe, medium sized banana
5g/0.2oz chia seeds
20ml/0.7floz cold water
- Add the dark chocolate to a jug and pour in the almond milk. Heat in a pan until the mixture is warm and the chocolate has melted.
- Add the oats, banana, almonds, chia seeds, the water and approx. a fifth of the almond milk to your smoothie maker or blender. Add in an extra splash of cold water if you think the liquid is too warm.
- Blend on high for a minute until the oats and chia seeds have been completely incorporated.
- Whilst it's blending, further heat the rest of the almond/chocolate mix until hot, but not boiling.
- Pour the blended oat mix into your cup, stir in the almond/chocolate mix and serve
We found this recipe on Kitchen Sanctuary website and are going to make it with the Dark Seed and Bean Chocolate we were lucky enough to taste on the retreat. Great for warming up and delicious to have after a yoga or breathing practice.
Need a real life boost? Why not come to one of our yoga workshops or breathing experiences. Upcoming events here Workshops