Bed Yoga

Being grateful for discovering the wonderful world of yummy bed yoga:

I’ve written a few times about how yoga has been a huge part of my life for many years now (see here, here, and here).

When I’m practicing regularly, I feel its amazing benefits on my mind, body and spirit. I feel calmer and more present, I feel stronger and more flexible, my posture is better, my sleep improves, and it makes my heart smile so big.

I’ve also found that regular practice helps ward off my lower back pain. And not hearing a peep from my lower back is a great incentive to keep rolling out the mat alone!

However, one of the most frustrating aspects of this debilitating and rollercoaster of a ride called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – and of that there are many – is that it’s not always possible to practice daily or weekly, or sometimes even monthly.

As this health condition forces me to be pretty much sedentary most of the time, after a while I can feel my lower back pain starting to edge its way back.

So I try to get back on the mat, if it’s possible. But sometimes, actually most of the time, the mere thought of getting up, moving things around so I can fit my yoga mat in my bedroom, and putting on one of my yoga DVDs on makes me feel exhausted before I’ve even started!

And so I push the idea away, and hope my lower back pain goes away soon. But it never does and I usually have to wait until I feel up to a light yoga session.

Thankfully I’ve come to realise that yoga doesn’t have to be a big, long, challenging session. It can also be short and sweet and super gentle.

Especially now I’ve discovered I came across bed yoga.

WooHooooooo!! What a utterly brilliant revelation!

I found it by accident while browsing through youtube for gently yoga sessions, and discovered bed yoga was an actual thing. It’s literally gentle stretching you can do while lying on, or even in, your bed.

How marvellous!

And so I decided to give it a go. No pressure. If it was too much, I’d thank myself for trying and put bed yoga away for another day.

Thankfully, I’m finding the short’n’sweet sessions sublimely gentle and better still, I can usually manage them.

Despite feeling exhausted and wiped out, it feels so good to gently stretch my body before bedtime, easing my back pain and easing me into sleep.

So I’ve decided to try another #YogaEveryDamnDay in May.

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I loved the first one I did about 18 months ago and want to get myself back into a regular practice.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO SELF: I give myself permission to skip a day or two or three if I don’t feel well enough.

Not only this gentle practice help keep my sore back at bay, I know that it will keep my spirits high, my mind at peace, and my body nourished as I continue on this healing journey from CFS.

☆♡☆

 

For anyone interested in trying some gentle bed yoga sessions, here are a few I’ve found and enjoyed so far:

1. Bed Yoga by Aroga Yoga (specially created for people living with chronic illnesses and pain)

Bed yoga aroga.png

2. 10 Minute Gentle Yoga in Bed by Candace (she has quite a few lovely videos)

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3. 10 minute Bed Yoga for Beginners by Sjana Earp (I want her bed cover set!)

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4. Bed Time Yoga to Help You Sleep by Dashama (she always makes me smile and also have a great session for lower back pain)

Bed yoga Dashama.png

5. Bedtime Yoga for Deep Sleep by Siya Yoga (this is really soothing)

bed yoga siya .png
If you find know of or find any different bed yoga sessions, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below…

Kindness Calendar: April 2017

Hello lovelies ♡

I hope you had the most Marvellous March and are enjoying the change of season, whether you’re in the northern or southern hemisphere.

As a warmer weather, lighter days, kind of girl, I’m delighted to be seeing all the signs of spring here in the UK (although at the time of writing it’s misty and drizzly but you get my drift!!).

And so April is upon us, and with Easter being on its way, my Kindness Calendar for this month is eggstra-special 🙂

Kindness Calendar April 2017 teaser

You can download it for free here:

Kindness Calendar – April 2017

(Please note if you kindly subscribe to my blog and are receiving this post by email, please click to come through to the main site and you can download it easily from there.)

As always, I try to make the acts on my Kindness Calendars quick, easy and cheap (well, mostly free actually). So anyone and everyone can join in.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, adapt the acts to suit you, or even create your own kindness acts. And don’t worry if you can’t do an act of kindness every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible as I know too well with the nature of my CFS flare ups.

But even if every one of us manages to do just one kindness act on one day this month – imagine how amazing that would be!

Again, it would be really brilliant and deeply appreciated if you could share this with family, friends, work colleagues, classmates… and share all over social media 🙂

Every single extra act of kindness counts, together we are making the world a kinder place. So let’s get as many people as we can involved.

And don’t forget to join me on my kindness community page on Facebook, or Twitter and if you post about your kindness act, please use the hashtag #KindnessCalendar so we can all keep track of all the wonderful kindness we are sharing.

Let’s have fun, and let’s remember to be kinder to ourselves as well, we are definitely worth it!

Have an AMAZING APRIL and  EGG-STRAORDINARY EASTER.

Thank you so much for your kindness.

☆♡☆

Kindness Calendar – April 2017

Act of kindness #32: Lovely letters

Over the last few days, I’ve been writing letters for the ‘One Million Lovely Letters Exhibition’.

The organiser, big-hearted Jodi Ann Bickley, started her One Million Lovely Letters project with the simple but gorgeous idea to send a lovely letter to anyone who needs a little lift.

It’s become a huge success and she has written and sent oodles and oodles of lovely letters to people all over the world.

Now, she is asking for help.

Jodi’s first exhibition is at Centrala in Digbeth, Birmingham (UK) from 10th April.  And she’d like folks to write a ‘Dear You’ letter to be included in the exhibition.

As Jodi explains, they need to be “letters of positivity that will be put up in the exhibition that any one that visits will be able to read and take the letter they feel speaks to them at that specific moment in time”.

The theme of this exhibition is “A letter to my younger self; a letter full of hope to a stranger or a letter of guidance to a younger, lost you.”

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It’s such a brilliant idea, I couldn’t resist writing and sending a few lovely letters…

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Here’s the info with the address if you fancy sending a letter or two to be included in one of Jodi’s fabulous exhibitions.

Or if you’d like to receive a letter from Jodi, or would like to nominate someone who’d appreciate one, please send an email with the address and reason to: onemillionlovelyletters@gmail.com

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #31: Birthday Giveaway

Today is my birthday, hooray!

And to celebrate, I’m giving away 3 copies of ‘The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around The World’*  by Leon Logothetis.

29th Kindness Diaries Bday Giveaway

It’s also my little way of saying a big THANK YOU for all your kindness and support, it really means a lot.

For your chance to win, simply comment on this post.

That’s it 🙂

To double your chances and get TWO entries, finish this sentence in the comments:

“Kindness is __________”

The winners – one each from here, my ‘Spreading a little kindness’ Facebook community page, and on Twitter – will be chosen at random on Friday and posted in the comments below.

Please make sure you’ve subscribed to my blog, so I can contact you if you’re a winner.

Good luck my lovelies.

☆♡☆

The Kindness Diaries is an inspiring true story of how Leon Logothetis “circumnavigated the globe on his vintage yellow motorbike Kindness One, giving life changing gifts along the way to unsuspecting good Samaritans. All of this whilst relying on the kindness of strangers. The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.”

Act of kindness #30: Litter picking

A kind-hearted Facebook friend recently wrote this post on her inspiring kindness page:

Ally's Post about Litter.png

And it really hit home. HARD!

I completely identified with the first part of the post:

“We were walking home and I walked past a whole lot of litter that was left from the parade that was on in the week. Guess what I thought? ‘the council didn’t do a very good job cleaning up afterwards, that’s a real mess at the top of my street’ AND I KEPT ON WALKING… yep. I walked past it.”

Yep, whenever I see litter, I say to myself how awful it is, and I keep on walking. And I imagine most people do the very same.

But now, I want to identify with the second part of Ally’s post:

“Then I thought, actually I keep harping on “Be the change in the world” and wondered how many other people had walked past this litter. I turned around, and walked back and with that thought in mind, I had a small plastic bag in my bag, and with Roux [Ally’s dog] on her leash (more hindrance than help) I picked up the litter.”

So rather than tut-tutting about the amount of litter I see strewn around my neighbourhood and feeling outrage at the person/s responsible for the rubbish, I will simply pick it up.

[image: downtownarlington.org]

It’s that easy!

Due to a CFS symptom flare up, I haven’t been feeling well enough to go out for a soul stroll these past few days (my kindness calendar suggested this act for Tuesday) but today, I felt up to taking a gentle walk around my neighbourhood.

And before I set off, I stuffed an empty bag into my coat pocket, ready to pick up any litter I came across.

Like this…

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And this…

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At one point a woman walking her dog shouted to me over the brook: “What are you doing?”. When I explained, she replied: “Thank goodness there are people like you in the world!” and came over for a little natter.

As I came back home I picked up a little litter in our front garden, and came across my dad’s peugeot car badge which he thought had disappeared forever! We’re guessing it had come loose and had been  blown onto the garden.

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Result!!

So from my 10 minute stroll around the green space near my home, this is my haul…

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I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised how much I found.

Just think, if every person in the world picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 7 billion fewer pieces of litter in the world. If every person in the world picked up just 10 pieces of litter today, there would be over 70 billion fewer pieces of litter. And if we did this every day, my mind boggles at the number of fewer pieces of litter around our communities!!

And the good news is that we don’t even have to make a massive effort to do this.

Here are my 3 favourite tips I’ve gathered from litter picking campaigns:

1. Watch and share this inspiring video:
keepbritaintidy.org

2. “You can make a big difference by ‘adopting’ somewhere and committing to litter pick it on a regular basis, say once every 2-3 weeks.”
litterheroes.co.uk

3. 7 Keys for a Successful Cleanup Project

1) be willing to do the activity alone, and enjoy it
2) make the time, place and duration explicitly clear to everyone you tell about it

3) INVITE people. Don’t coerce, try to sell it to them, or overly control their participation. When invited, most people will bring something to the clean up effort that really makes really work.
4) keep it simple. Cleaning up trash is easy. All you need are garbage bags, places to put the trash, and gloves (rakes and shovels can’t hurt either!) Tell potential participants that these are the raw materials, but bring enough yourself to cover half-a-dozen people who come without .
5) have fun doing it. After all, you and everyone else will be actively making the world a better place… really.
6) tell lots of people, including the press. Just call them up and tell them what, when, where you are doing what you are doing. Even if you wind up alone out there, you will still peak interest, and people may want to join you next time.
7) remind people and yourself that what you are doing matters by telling incidents and specifics about how it matters to you. Just the simple truth will inspire others.
litterproject.com

Thank you Ally for inspiring me to spread a little kindness around my neighbourhood to help make my community a better, cleaner place to be.

☆♡☆

 

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

Does anyone else feel like we’re galloping though this year? While I try to live in the present moment, I can’t help but feel a tad taken aback that March is already here!

But I’m very happy as March is one of my favourite months of the year.

I’m especially delighted that it means winter is almost behind us and spring is on its way.  I’ve been hunting for signs of spring on my soul strolls for a while now, and am rejoicing at seeing the daffs and the crocuses brightening up my neighbourhood.

I’m also thankful the days are becoming lighter and longer. It’s lovely waking up to see some pretty stunning sunrises, as I can now see the early morning sun rising from the comfort on my very own bed.

Yes, there’s definitely a sense of spring in the air and everyone seems to have a little more spring in their step.

Hooray!

And I also love that March is my birthday month. I’m a self-confessed Birthday Princess – and urge everyone else to be one too (or a Birthday Prince of course!).

After all, aren’t we worth celebrating!

I love having birthday adventures and enjoy plotting how I can celebrate being on our beautiful Earth for another year.  My most memorable birthday adventures include a helicopter ride over the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, being on a yoga retreat in spiritual Bali, and turning thirty in New York City was pretty special too.

But obviously with the limitations that having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome brings, my birthdays have been a lot more low key recently, but no less enjoyable – just in a different way. And nothing really beats having my young munchkin nephews gleefully singing Happy Birthday and then “helping” me blow out all the candles 🙂

And so with this new month approaching, I’ve been busily working on March’s Kindness Calendar over the last few days. And I’m pretty excited to include a few ideas from some wonderful folk from my ‘spreading a little kindness’ Facebook community.

A big thank you to everyone who’s contributed. I’ve saved a couple for next month, so keep an eye out if you can’t spot yours in this month’s calendar! Please do keep them coming as I’m always delighted to hear your ideas, suggestions and any favourites you may have.

Ok, here’s my Kindness Calendar for March 2017:

Kindness Calendar March 2017

And you can download it for free here:

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

As always, I try to make the acts on my Kindness Calendars quick, easy and cheap (well, mostly free actually). So anyone and everyone can join in.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, adapt the acts to suit you, or even create your own kindness acts. And don’t worry if you can’t do an act of kindness every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible as I know too well with the nature of my CFS flare ups.

But even if every one of us manages to do just one kindness act on one day this month – imagine how amazing that would be!

Again, it would be really brilliant and deeply appreciated if you could share this with family, friends, work colleagues, classmates… and share all over social media. 🙂

Every single extra act of kindness counts, together we are making the world a kinder place. So let’s get as many people as we can involved.

And don’t forget to join me on my kindness community page on Facebook, or Twitter and if you post about your kindness act, please use the hashtag #KindnessCalendar so we can all keep track of all the wonderful kindness we are sharing.

Let’s have fun, and let’s remember to be kinder to ourselves as well, we are definitely worth it!

Have a Magnificent March and thank you so much for your kindness.

☆♡☆

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

A Little Note to my Lovely Email Subscribers:
I’m so sorry the link to download the calendar on my email didn’t work. Eeeek!! I’m trying a new download tool and for some reason, it didn’t want to be included in the email! And I didn’t know until it was too late. I’ll hopefully be able to work out the problem for next month’s calendar. Thank you for your patience and understanding ♡

Act of Kindness #29: Free chocolate, anyone?

Happy Random Act of Kindness (RAK) Day!

Today, I wanted to do something a little bit more special, while still taking into consideration the limitations of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

And so I decided to hand out a few chocolate bars to strangers in the street!

As my budget is also very limited, I thought I’d email a few of the larger confectionary companies to see if they’d be happy to help me by donating a few bars.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t heard back from them… but I imagine they must receive lots of requests like mine.

I also asked my kind-hearted local Co-op Foods as they’ve given members of our local community – including lucky ole me!- goody bags filled with lovely things around Christmas-time.

I was thrilled when they said YES!

And I was over-the-moon when they delivered 88 bars of their yummy chocolate (and it really is yummy if you haven’t already discovered it!).

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Then a big-hearted friend said she would donate £50 of her own hard-earned cash to buy chocolate bars with. And on behalf of RAK Day, I simply couldn’t refuse her kind offer.  (THANK YOU my lovely!)

And believe me when I tell you I had a LOT Of fun choosing which choccies to buy and couldn’t believe my eyes when I loaded up my trolley with 205 bars – thanks to a brilliant offer on at the supermarket!

Trolley full of chocs.jpg

This makes an incredible, grand total of 300 chocolate bars for my RAK Day giveaway.

WooHoooo!!

I wanted to attach one of my kindness cards to each bar, explaining what the give-away was all about. And I’m so thankful for my lovely mum for helping me write them and then attach them to the bars.

Chocs with cards attached.jpg

We couldn’t believe it when we filled up the rucksack-on-wheels my sis lent me for the occasion. And then filled up half a carrier bag too!!

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This morning, I recruited the much-needed and deeply appreciated help of my lovely mum and 8 yr-old nephew Callum, and we all headed down to our city’s Old Market Square.

And they were such kindness superstars. (THANK YOU mum and Callum ♡)

Mum+Callum giving chocs.JPG

At first Callum was a little too shy to hand out any bars with us, but it wasn’t long before he joined in the fun and then really got into the spirit of it, which was really heart-warming to see.

Callum wth boy.JPG

My mum was absolutely brilliant and was happy to go into some of the city centre shops to hand out bars to the hand-working staff.

Mum+Callum in tram centre

As we stood in the Old Market Square offering bars of chocolates to passersby, some people practically ran away from us. Some people were a little suspicious at first, but then seemed happy to accept a chocolate bar once we explained what we were doing. And some people happily accepted straight away.

We got a few hugs, lots of thank yous, and oodles of big smiles.

Hooray 🙂

We were even joined by our city’s newspaper, the Nottingham Post, who’d come along to capture the choc-fest fun! Click here to see what they wrote.

With only a few bars left, we were feeling rather hungry and headed for a celebratory lunch. Then after giving all the staff a chocolate bar, we slipped into a city centre car park and popped the rest onto cars so that their owners can enjoy a sweet surprise when they return after a hard day’s shopping.

Car chocs.JPG

And now as I’m utterly wiped out after all this RAK Week fun, I’m heading to bed for a few days to recover.

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But I do so with a happy heart and the hope that we’ve made a few people smile this week, and brightened up a few people’s days.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of chocolate bars – thank you for visiting! I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huuuuuuge thanks again to both the big-hearted Kerry at Co-Op Foods Hucknall, and my kind-hearted friend who wishes to remain anonymous. Today wouldn’t have been possible without your kind donations ♡

ppps please forgive any mistakes as I’m super-duper tired whilst writing this, but I wanted to post before I zonk out! Night, night!!

Act of kindness #28: A Valentine’s rose

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And Happy International Random Act of Kindness Week!

What a perfect opportunity to spread some love-filled kindness.

As it’s the school holidays, I have the sweetest little helper in the form of my 4-year-old nephew, Thomas.

Could this day get any better!

And as it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a lovely idea to give a few flowers to strangers to show them some love and make them smile.

Last week, I approached our local florist, Kerry’s Florist, to see if they would be interested in donating a few flowers for the occasion.

And even though it’s most probably their busiest day of the year, they said YES!

WooHooo!!

So, yesterday I collected 20 gorgeous red roses, and was really touched to see that the lovely Kerry and Shania had wrapped every single rose beautifully.

I attached one of my Kindness Cards to each rose with the message: “Happy Valentine’s Day: You are AMAZING. Kindly donated by ‘Kerry’s Florist’ to celebrate RAK Week.”

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Earlier this morning, my little helper and I happily made our way down to our local GP surgery. Here’s a little video I made of us.

And we had the loveliest time placing our Valentine’s surprises on car windscreens.

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We even had the chance to give a few people coming out of the doctor’s surgery a Valentine’s rose in person.

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It was touching to see Thomas happily handing each person a red rose, and most of the recipients seemed really touched. One lady in particular had tears in her eyes, and it was clear we’d really made her day. We both gave her a big hug.

We hope that the flowers are a LOVEly surprise for all the car owners when they return to their vehicles after their Doctor’s appointment.

And we really hope our little act of kindness will make them smile and feel a little bit better and brighter, especially on this love-filled day.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of our Valentine’s red roses, I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huge thanks again to the big-hearted Kerry and Shania at Kerry’s Florist for generously donating the roses and wrapping them so beautifully. You are both AMAZING.

Insight Timer

Being mindful by meditating every single day with Insight Timer:

After the unexpected success and utter excitement around my Kindness Advent Calendar throughout December, I realised I needed to spend some quality time re-grounding myself. I have a tendency to live in my head, and really have to work hard to stay in a calm healing state rather than a stressed, or even excitable, state.

And meditation has become so crucial to this process.

I’d been trying to meditate for years and years, but was always quick to give up thinking I couldn’t do it because my monkey mind would just not settle and keep quiet. I thought meditation simply wasn’t for me.

monkey mind

I finally got into a regular meditation practice when I stayed in an ashram in India for a couple of months and have managed to keep up a regular practice ever since.

And then a year ago, I was introduced to the wonderful Insight Timer app which helps to inspire me to meditate every single day. My practice has grown stronger and stronger and I’m really feeling the benefit.

Insight Timer

Insight Timer is a really easy-to-use app, where you can choose from one of the thousands of guided meditations by one of the hundreds of meditation teachers from around the world – including Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Mooji, davidji, Vidyamala Burch, Andrew Johnson, Elisha Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Kristin Neff, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sarah Blondin, Thich Nhat Hanh.…

Insight Timer Meditation Teachers

There are themed playlists – including Sleep, Sound Healing, Stress Reduction, Gratitude, Relax, Chanting+Mantras, Kids and Teens – so you can choose a meditation depending on what you need.

Insight Timer playlists

I tend to reach for a meditation depending on how I’m feeling and what I’m needing at that moment, whether it’s sleep, welcoming the morning, stress relief, present moment awareness, letting go, or a burst of positivity. There seems to be a guided meditation for most things really and lengths vary from one minute to over an hour.

Or you can also select the timer if you prefer to meditate in silence or with ambient background music. You can choose to have a beginning, interval and/or ending bells or gongs (I loooove the gong) if you wish.

Insight Timer Timer.jpg

The app logs your meditations so you can keep track of what you’ve done and for how long you’ve meditated for.

It also connects you to the other 1.5 million meditators around the world, and if you wish you can become friends, or join a group. And one of my favourite features is seeing who’s been meditating at the same time. There’s something really comforting and quite powerful knowing you’re meditating with thousands of other lovely folk all over the world, even though I’m sitting by myself in my bedroom.

Insight Timer Fellow Meditators

And you can send even them a ‘thank you for meditating with me’ message.

I absolutely love this app and what makes it even more special is their mission: to achieve the equivalent of 10,000 years of meditation.

Insight Timer Mission

Meditating daily really does helps me stay grounded, be in the present moment, and have a calmer and more focused mind.

Of course, it’s not always or often easy. I’ve discovered that some days are harder than others in my quest to quieten my monkey mind, but the simple act of gently bringing my attention back to the present moment can make all the difference to my day and how I’m feeling.

Meditation has become an integral part of my healing tool kit and I honestly can’t imagine a day without it.

☆♡☆

If you’re interested in checking it out, visit: https://insighttimer.com/