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Major Lazer – Slide – #MoveMondays

Single, single, double

This move is fun and one that you can add into a lot of different songs and routines easily but there are a couple of key points that you need to be aware of so you don’t hurt yourself:

  • When doing this move and taking part in any dance fitness class you should have proper workout trainers. If there is too much grip on the top of your trainer when twisting your feet you may twist your knee…not good!
  • Make sure you stay on the balls of your feet, it’s much easier to move faster
  • Only go as low as you can while still being able to move to the beat. There’s no point pushing yourself to go lower if you’re going to hurt yourself getting back up at the right moment to move to the next step

Enjoy and ciao for now x

Back poses….on the farm?! – #StretchSundays

Cat and Cow poses – Marjaryasana and Bitilasana

An extremely underestimated series of stretches that is great for anyone with slight back pains. I’ve been in the office before where people have got lower back pains and have had to work still and I’ve made them get on the floor in the middle of the office and do this little sequence.

It’s understated and the combination of the two poses with added breathing helps to calm you at the same time as stretching your body out. Some teachers use this combination as a good warm up for a class, preparing the back for future stretches.

Ciao for now x

How to communicate – #ThrowbackThursdays

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Today’s #ThrowbackThursday post is going old school. It’s talking about the world before the internet and all it has bought with it.

Let’s not confuse things, I love the internet. I love the digital age and I especially love having access to all the knowledge and information the internet can offer you at the swipe of a finger…however there are a lot of ways that I think the internet has made us go backwards a bit in our own evolution as a species.

  1. We’ve got lazy in retaining knowledge – I love learning things and while access to the internet has made it easier to learn things it’s made us more reluctant to retain that knowledge. Why keep knowledge when you have a portable device in your pocket that gives you full access to that knowledge at any time of the day or night?
  2. Instant gratification – the world is so used to posting up statuses, comments, jokes, pictures and videos and instantly receiving feedback that if we don’t get it in other ways we struggle. I know lots of people that when they do some work if you don’t give them a pat on the back pretty swiftly they wonder what is wrong with it. The concept of patience, waiting and even responding to someone’s request when you can has disappeared and it is so much more apparent in those that are avid social media users. They are so used to getting multiple ‘Likes’ that if they don’t have similar experiences in real life they begin questioning themselves
  3. Communication – we struggle to communicate. It sounds completely crazy but we now struggle to have meaningful conversation that used to be second nature. Nowadays phone calls are extremely rare and communication is done via word based messages, on the go, between activities. We don’t dedicate any time to communication and as such, although we can now communicate with people around the world instantly, we are probably more disengaged with each other than ever.
  4. Focus – the biggest issue I come across all the time. I am just as guilty of this as anyone. We are so used to mentally multi-tasking that we now find it hard to focus when we need to. Walking down the road often entails checking notifications from Instagram, Snapchat, replying to Whatsapp messages or texts, checking Facebook notifications, Tweeting about something silly we’ve spotted. So when we are in one place to do one activity, is it any surprise that we struggle. I see people in meetings constantly zoning out (not only when I talk), picking up their phones and actually checking their social media accounts, taking selfies and posting them in their Snapchat or Instagram stories.

Having the internet has revolutionised the world in so many ways but sometimes it does feel like we’ve lost some of the basics of being human in return for convenience at the swipe of a screen.

Maybe a digital detox should be encouraged more….but with the spread of everything digital, can you actually disconnect fully?

Food for thought.

Ciao for now x

When the location dictates the teacher – #TalkToMeTuesdays

As my journey along this fitness path continues I’m learning more and more about lots of things. What type of teachers I like, what type of venue, how far I’m willing to travel and how much I am willing to pay. You start the journey wanting a class for convenience but slowly you can outgrow your classes, or even your teachers at some point, or stagnate. That doesn’t mean they are a bad teacher, just that the type of teaching they do, doesn’t work for you anymore.

This is why I think it’s so important to keep developing even as a teacher. By that I don’t mean by learning a new posture for Yoga, or a new choreography for Dance or even a new recipe if you cook. I mean growing into your role and developing how you do what you do. For example, as a Dance fitness teacher I have taken up dance classes myself to try and improve my technique, refine my moves and even push myself out my comfort zone. My class will tell you that when I first started teaching I did not like the traditional Zumba hip based moves. I felt uncomfortable and unwieldy. I’m not saying I am any better in how I execute the move but I have tried really hard to try and improve that element of my teaching and to give my class a much more varied workout, constantly changing my songs and my choreo so they can grow, but also so that I can grow.

I find it baffling when you may have a Zumba teacher, or a Dance fitness teacher who has not changed for years. Ok, so you don’t have to be a dancer to teach dance fitness or even Zumba but what you do is still a career. If you worked in a standard day job, you’d still have objectives, you’d still have courses for improvement, constant feedback and expect to improve year on year. So why would you not do the same with this career? I know a lot of teachers that have done the same thing for years. They still have good numbers in their classes which is great, but is that good numbers because people don’t like change or are those good numbers just a turnover of people? If you have 30 people in a class this week, in 3 months you still have 30 people you’d think that was great for consistency. But how many of those new 30 are the same 30 that you had 3 months ago? It’s all well and good to keep numbers consistent but also you want those people to be with you long term feeling like the workout is constantly something new, something fresh and pushes them in new ways. For yourself, especially if you do 10 of those classes a week, when will you get sick of that song or that choreo and not give 100% every time you teach?

Furthermore, locations. Now I understand that especially in London (though also I’m sure everywhere) there is a growing desire for boutique type gyms and studios. More trendy, more expensive and more dynamic classes. I’m all for that. However, what I’m not all for is the location changing a teacher.

Every teacher you have for any type of fitness brings their own elements to their classes. Some of us design our own classes, or even deliver the same classes in very different ways. It doesn’t mean any of us are wrong, just different. That’s why there is so much choice. Someone may love attending my class, some may hate it. It’s not because I’m a bad teacher, just because the way I teach doesn’t appeal to them.

Today I went to a trendy studio in Central London. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the studio. I was sincerely disappointed in my class. Why? It was a yoga class, 50 mins. Firstly, it overran which is a big deal when you are going in the middle of the working day. Not only that but we moved through every posture so fast I barely got into them before we were moving out of them. We also did SO MANY postures, I’m sure we were going through the entire yoga dictionary. For those that practice yoga, I was doing crow balances in my second sun salute flow. During the entire 60 mins class we did, cows head pose, flows, warrior 1, warrior 2, warrior 3, humble warrior, reverse warrior, side twist, head stands, hand stands, forearm balance, side crow, standing balance, wheel and that is just to name a few!

At the time I blamed the teacher. Most of the class didn’t do every posture, myself included so why did she not recognise that we weren’t ready for them all and just take longer with the previous pose? On reflection, and after speaking to a few others, I realised there was probably a heavy influence from the studio. The entire theme of the location is about fast, dynamic, tough, arm balances and I realised that perhaps some of it was her inattentiveness to her class but how much of it was her opinion being over written by a location?

So my statement today is this. Like every single job we do, in every single walk of life. You can love your job but hate where you work. Nowhere is worth sacrificing who you are and how you do your job for. A fitness teacher especially has to stay true to themselves and has to teach their content, their way. They can’t be forced into changing everything because that is what the location wants as it just shows that the location doesn’t really understand the topic you are teaching. Yoga is about internalising, and as a couple of my awesome teachers have said in the past, it’s about how a posture FEELS not what it looks like. How can you get to what it FEELS like if you have barely got into the posture? If every posture is a transition, when do you stop to take it in?

Something to think about.

Ciao for now x

Rubik’s cube – #ThrowbackThursdays

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Aaaahhh one of my favourite distractions for years. As a kid I would love to try and figure this out and never could. I’d ask my dad to help and all he used to do was take off all the pieces, rearrange them into their right colours and then put them back on haha

As a grown up this has a symbolism for me. Life is all about being as healthy and conscious as you can, being happy. Most of this site, these blog posts are dedicated to physical ways to do that. Cooking, eating, exercising, thinking but when do we focus on our minds? When do we do some workouts for our brain to keep it healthy?

Meditation is a great way to do that but so is playing with toys like this. There are countless studies to say when children use their imaginations and play with toys, colour in or generally have a way to play with just their minds they they are happier and more able to take on the world.

When was the last time you just picked up two toys and created a scene in your head using them and your imagination? Not a dirty one….. haha I still have all the action figures I had as a kid, spiderman, power rangers, transformers, they’re all in my loft. Maybe it’s time I got them out, dusted them off and messed around with them. I even used to make grappling hooks out of bent nails and string so they could obviously climb up and down the furniture in my room.

So for today, why not find a way to let out your inner child. Be silly. Let go. Have fun. Imagine.

Ciao for now x

Wellness….WHAT?! – #WellbeingWednesdays

Wellness wooden sign on a beautiful day

Many of us work through life trying to achieve ‘wellness’. But what is wellness? Is it the juice detox everyone is doing? Is it being able to sit in a cross legged position and ‘ohm’ at the top of my lungs for hours on end? Is it being outside?

What does Wellness even mean?

Every time you read a piece of media, or a medical study there is more advice of what is good for you, what is bad for you, what you haven’t realised you’re even consuming or ingesting and we can get so confused with trying to do the best things for our bodies that often we just give up and go right back to what we were doing before.

It’s hard working towards ‘Wellness’. All you want is for someone to show you a big sign saying ‘Wellness this way’, but that’s not how it works. What is good for me, might be bad for you and may be essential for someone else.

The way I deal with it is to try and work towards feeling better, being healthier but also not taking life too seriously. You can get so caught up with being healthy all the time that you end up resenting the lifestyle, and yourself trying to achieve the unachievable. We live in a world where plastics, pollutants and chemicals are part of every day life. Yes you could try and eradicate them from your life but you’d have to live in isolation to achieve it and where’s the fun in that?

Take it one day at a time and one element of your life at a time. For me, my journey started with fitness. I found things that I loved to do and just focused on those. I do them regularly enough that they become a habit. Equally if I skip them for a week, I have a mildly guilty feeling but I know I’ll get back to them next week so it’s no big deal.

Then I moved onto food and this was my HARDEST part. I LOVE food. I LOVE eating food. I LOVE cooking and exploring food. Most importantly I LOVE big quantities of food. So to find out how to change a lot of that I had to figure out the best way to be healthy, still enjoy the food I eat with it’s flavours and the quantity but eat foods that are better for me. Vegetables, fruits, grains, beans.

Next came skincare and home life. I’ve never really been a big skincare person as having psoriasis has always dictated what I use. But finding Tropic and it’s range of natural products has changed all of that. And I’m now experimenting with the cleaning products we use at home and finding ways to change those slowly but surely.

The last thing is my way of life. Spending more time outside, in nature. Potentially trying to grow my own fruit and vegetables, although living in London that’s not always possible. I have however started doing exactly that in my office in Central London. We have a small roof terrace where there are all kinds of goodies growing. Cabbage, rocket, lettuce, sunflowers and lots of herbs! All of my own doing which isn’t too bad for a first try.

My point is you can work towards being healthier, being happier in small steps. Don’t try and leave your life and go off and live on a remote island and you’ll live until you’re 200. Just do it in small ways, and do things that you enjoy and you’ll be sure to get where you want to be.

Ciao for now x

City Boy?! – #TalkToMeTuesdays

countryside

Today’s post is about a little thing that’s been bugging me for a while….am I born to live in the city, or am I really a country boy at heart?

This weekend I went away to the Cotswold’s and after initially thinking I would get bored, I completely fell in love with it. Swimming in the lake, kayaking, relaxing on the decking, being outside. It bought back all the reasons why I love having Sicilian origins and why I still love visiting Sicily. It’s a completely different pace of life where it’s about enjoying where you are right now and not worrying too much about tomorrow.

Not to mention exploring and enjoying great food, great company and much less rigidity about time keeping or being somewhere on time.

There’s always been a mini war that goes on inside me since I first explored Sicily. The ability to grow and pick your own fruits, to get by with whatever you have in the house, just appeals to me so much. I loved watching Jimmy’s Farm and River Cottage and the desire has always been there to escape the city and live in the countryside.

The Cotswold’s experience has now bought that dream back to the forefront of my mind and I’m wondering, am I a country boy in a city boy life?

So my question to you today is have you ever had a similar experience? Where you’ve been somewhere, fallen in love with it and it’s made you want to make the move? Tell me your story and help me decide if it’s something I should do!!

Ciao for now x