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Exercise Previous Classes

Barre & Brunch for Mental Health UK

On Sunday 10th December, I returned to the beautiful Method Movement studio for my third and final barre class event fundraising for Mental Health UK in 2017. We took to the mats, equipped with our Manuka Life eco bands (read more about them here), for 45 minutes of pliés and pulses, powered by an epic Christmas playlist!

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I’ve absolutely loved hosting events this year with my friend Savannah Devillez to fundraise for this worthy cause. With one in four people affected by a mental health problem in the UK, more than cancer or heart disease, it is widespread issue that needs addressing. Mental Health UK is a network of four charities across the UK supporting those affected by mental illness. Their 400 services are relied on by more than 90,000 people a year, reducing the impact of mental illness and helping people through crises, to live independently and to realise they aren’t alone. Across the three events we’ve organised this year, we’ve raised a total of £360 for the charity and we’re looking forward to continuing our fundraising next year!

These barre events have also been the perfect opportunity to spread awareness of some inspiring, sustainability-conscious brands. With my passion for more mindful living and consuming, it was important to me that all of the brands supporting our events care for people and planet. For our December event we were incredibly lucky to gain support from some fantastic conscious companies, including:

  • KINN Living body wash – Soil Association certified organic, non-toxic lifestyle products made in the UK
  • Freda period care – organic tampons and sanitary products that give back, helping women worldwide gain access to the period care they need
  • Iam By Nature face mask – 100% natural skin care with few, simple ingredients
  • Optiat coffee scrub – natural skincare made from high-quality coffee waste
  • Elsa’s Organics deodorant – a gentle, nourishing and natural deodorant that is Paraben, Aluminium and alcohol free
  • Deliciously Ella granola bar – vegan-friendly snacking full of natural ingredients and high in fibre
  • Lola’s Apothecary tea – delicate, elegant, and natural beauty and wellness products handmade in England
  • FitKit shower gel – this UK-made body care brand is Peta-approved cruelty free and vegan, and Soil Association approved organic
  • Sundried tote bag – a sustainable sportswear company striving to minimise the carbon footprint of everything they do, using innovative fabrics and reusable packaging
  • Sports Philosophy discount flyer – aiming to be the first truly ethical activewear brand, Sport Philosophy tackle child labour through their charity Freedom For Children Foundation. You too can get 15% off with code ZARA01SP
  • Jilla Active brochure – simple and sophisticated Activewear designed to last through time and trend
  • Free Soul discount flyer – vegan protein powder and fitness supplements designed for real women
  • SourcedBox – these absolutely insane snack boxes are perfect for anyone that likes food (and who doesn’t like food?!), containing a collection of healthy and natural snacks designed to work wonders on your wellbeing! They’re vegan-friendly and are free from any artificial flavourings, preservatives or additives, and refined sugar, helping to fuel you through the working week!

As this event was a ‘barre and brunch’ we also treated our attendees to delicious, nutritious treats from healthy catering service PO-TEN-CY and organic juice kitchen CPress. PO-TEN-CY provided delightful energy balls made of orange, cinnamon, tahini, medjool dates, cashews, vanilla and sesame to help my barre-rinas recover after the workout. Whilst CPress donated refreshing apple and ginger juice bombs and tasty granola bars.


Thank you so much to all of barre beauties that attended the event and helped us to support Mental Health UK – I hope you enjoyed it! A big thank you to all of the wonderful supporting brands helping us piece together the great goody bag. And a special thank you to Ollie for helping out on the day and Domenic Pendino for the photos and your infectious, effervescent energy!

I’m looking forward to hosting more events in 2018 for a range of different causes and hope to see you there.

Zara x

Categories
Exercise Live

A weekend of wellness at Soul Circus

I was lucky enough to get a ticket to this wonderful yoga and wellness festival in the picturesque Cotswolds back in August. Surrounded by views of nature it was like a mini retreat, with tonnes of talks, classes and workshops to try out. For a weekend of ultimate relaxation you could opt for lakeside meditation and go for a massage, or you could go for a weekend of sweating and stimulation, testing your mind and body with experimental classes and fascinating talks.

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My best friend Rose and I went for a mixture, trialling new classes whilst leaving time to catch up and unwind. With work we couldn’t make it until Saturday, which unfortunately meant we missed the sign up for the more novel classes like aerial yoga and reformer pilates, but we still had plenty of sessions to choose from. We started by waking our bodies with an outdoor yoga class. The wind flowing across our skin was invigorating, and you can’t beat the fresh country air – it certainly makes a difference from a stuffy hot yoga studio! We followed with classes by two of my favourite yoga teachers, Kate Lister and Marc Laws. Kate’s class ‘Birdsong’ experimented with using the voice, leaving me with even more of a girl crush on her – she’s beautiful inside and out, an amazing yogi and an excellent singer (as my mum would say, she’s a triple threat)! Marc’s class was great too, I mean who wouldn’t love rolling around the floor to Drake?! His classes always encourage you to play around and see what you can do, which was especially important when my amateur butt was surrounded by some serious yogis!

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After grabbing a bite to eat, we made our way to the Pyscle tent for 45 minutes of sweaty spinning. Chloe the instructor was bursting with energy which along with her upbeat playlist kept us motivated throughout. Despite being absolutely knackered afterwards, it was up there with my all-time favourite spin classes.

We then slowly moved our shaking legs to the Pilates tent for a more gentle workout and well-needed stretch, before grabbing dinner at the solar kitchen. There were lots of mouth-watering food options throughout the day, from raw rainbow salads to cauliflower pies and chickpea curries. Portion sizes were generous, helping you to power through the classes. My favourite had to be the sweet potato pie, homely and delicious.

We finished our Saturday with a session on ‘The Science of Mindfulness’ which discussed the link between stress and serious health issues like cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. Meditation and mindfulness were proposed as preventative practices as they’re thought to help reduce stress levels. Whilst research demonstrating a link between mindfulness and reduced risk of such diseases is currently limited, there is a growing movement of people who praise these practices for enhancing their quality of life. So taking time for yourself, helping you mind and body relax and unwind by practising something like mindfulness, may have a significant impact on both your mental and physical health, whether you see the results of that now or in the future. Similarly, socialising was deemed key for cognitive longevity – a perfect reason for more get togethers, bottomless brunch anyone?

We were then ready to make our way back to our hotel for a well-needed shower and a good nights sleep. Yes, it was a festival. And yes, we could have camped liked most people. But (conveniently) neither of us own a tent, and we both value a nice, warm shower, a comfortable bed and a breakfast buffet… I mean, it was supposed to be a weekend of wellness right?!


Sunday began and after we filled up on breakfast we made our way back to the festival site for our first class of the day; yoga with Lister & Laws – that’s right, my two favourite yogis together! We were partnered up with strangers for lots of interactive movements, seeing how far we could stretch and how steadily we could balance together. The class finished with a wonderfully relaxing Shavasana, listening to live percussion and enjoying an essential oil shoulder rub. Who doesn’t love a little shoulder massage at the end of a great yoga class? A little pampering! Though they do always leave me wanting more, ending up browsing on Treatwell for the latest full body massage deals (ok, I’m really wanting a massage now…)!

We then moved on to a yoga anatomy class by Emily Young, where we explored basic anatomy of the back and shoulders. By guiding us through a series of classic yoga movements, Emily demonstrated how the structure of the body is different for each individual. Our physical limits determined by the positioning of our bones, meaning we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, especially the crazy bendy yogis we see on Instagram!

Finally, we finished the day with lunch and a browse around the mini market stalls before heading back to London. This is where we discovered Nibs etc., a brand by Chloe Stewart who transforms leftover pulp from juices and smoothies into delicious granola. I knew I had to take a bag home for Ollie who loves deems himself a food waste warrior and I’m glad it did – he absolutely loved it. He’s even banned me from having any and rationed his own portions to make it last longer! Find out more about Nibs etc. here.

We also had a tea tasting with Born Wild Tea where we got to try all of their unique loose leaf creations. I thought I was more of a coffee kind of girl but I absolutely loved some of their blends – my favourite has to be the raspberry lemonade which was delicious cold! Though they also had a delightful coffee-inspired blend, vanilla mocha, which I’m currently ordering online… By keeping the leaves, they’re able to maintain more of the flavour and antioxidants – so not only do they taste great, but they’re good for you too! Plus they source their ingredients through the Ethical Tea Partnership, ensuring farmers use the most sustainable practices available to them.


So whilst you may not get the tropical weather of somewhere like Bali, you do get a wonderful weekend of wellness without pricey flights and with minimal travel emissions – perfect for those striving to be more sustainability-conscious and those on a budget!
The Soul Circus team are also very passionate about sustainability, with their sustainability manifesto the first thing you read in their programme. Aiming to ensure their actions are in balance with the environment, they’ve established a 3-year plan for ensuring a positive impact on the communities in which they operate, striving to achieve the following:

  • Waste – to be zero waste to landfill by 2018, to redistribute all leftover edible food to local charities, and to use composting toilets
  • Energy – to reduce energy consumption by 20% per guest by 2018 and to use only 100% renewable sources by 2020
  • Supply chain – to source all food locally, within 60 miles of their site
  • Education – to inspire guests to live more consciously with a variety workshops, talks and challenges
  • Charity – to support local causes

Overall, it was a really lovely weekend full of fun, fitness and food that I’d definitely recommend – I’m hoping I can make it again next year!

Find out more and buy your 2018 tickets at https://www.soulcircus.yoga

 

Did you go to Soul Circus this year? Or any other wellness festivals or retreats? Let me know what you thought by commenting!

 

 

Categories
Exercise Live

Get fit for free with Sweaty Betty

Photo source: Rosh etc
When thinking about sustainable brands, Sweaty Betty may not immediately spring to mind, but they are really great when it comes to social sustainability. They provide quick, easy and free access to top trainers and class instructors through their collection of online fitness videos and in-store classes. And, this January they’ve created a 31-day fitness programme for anyone to download for free, just click here.

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Exercise Live

The benefits of yoga & a roof garden class with Third Space

Sunday morning I went to Canary Wharf for the last in a series of yoga classes at Crossrail Place Roof Garden with Third Space London. I couldn’t think of a better way to start a Sunday than stretching out with the sun beaming on my face and a beautiful garden view.

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Dress Exercise

Festive Fitness

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