Yesterday I attended a delightful little urban day retreat in Hackney that I found through the website meetup.com. The event was organised by the lovely Laura Currie, a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist who works at the Juice Fasting Detox Retreat in Somerset, Amchara. She was accompanied by Liz Oakley, a yoga instructor who specialises in restorative yoga and Yoga Nidra, and holds regular classes at the Shoreditch Platform.
The retreat in Hackney was held at Reva Yoga, possibly my ideal yoga studio! It was decked out with large bamboo plants, beautiful Buddha statues, and floor to ceiling wooden beams. From the outside it looked like a derelict industrial building, but inside it was a yogic haven that was also someone’s house! It really was the dream for any yoga enthusiast, and a perfect venue for an inner city day retreat.
We arrived at the retreat in Hackney at 10am and were welcomed in by Laura and Liz, who quickly fed us a breakfast of raw bircher oats, topped with berries and walnuts. There wasn’t any maple syrup or honey to accompany it, which I found slightly disappointing, but it filled a small hole, and set us up for a day of calming yoga therapy and nutritional based talks.
The day at the retreat in Hackney was based around relaxation of the mind and body, and ways in which we could manage stress levels, whilst de-cluttering our lives and minds. After our hour long yoga session, which comprised of a mixture of restorative yoga poses. We were given various tips on how to switch off, as well as some quick and easy meditations to try at home. Below are a few that I found particularly inspiring and helpful.
- The Lions breath – A detoxification method using the breath, which expels toxins by inhaling through the nose and exhaling forcefully out from the mouth, with the tongue outstretched.
- A very simple, yet very effective method of getting a better quality nights sleep, is to put your phone/electronics away thirty minutes before you go to bed, and sleep with your phone out of the room. This is somewhat of a struggle for me, but the blue light that is given off by such appliances really interferes with your sleep, and actually keeps you awake!
- Try the gratitude challenge – being thankful for the things you have, instead of being stressed about the things you don’t have may help you sleep at night. For 28 days try writing down 3 things you are grateful for every morning or at night. One about the environment you are in, one about a person (or pet!) in your life, and another about yourself, and some of the positive qualities you possess. Try writing these down on little bits of paper and putting them into a jar that you can keep somewhere in your bedroom (perhaps under your bed). Then if you ever feel like you need a pick-me-up, you can just take one out and read it.
- Keep a note pad by your bed for overthinking! Sometimes writing things down helps to de-clutter the mind.
Over a delicious and fabulously presented lunch of raw courgetti and homemade pesto, garnished with soaked goji berries, we had a chat about the kind of foods that would be good to eat at dinner or before bedtime to help induce sleep, including some beneficial supplements. I have listed some of these below.
- Oats, almond and cashews which produce tryptophan. Tryptophan is first converted by the brain into serotonin, “the happy hormone”, and then into melatonin, “the sleep hormone”.
- Green vegetables which contain B vitamins. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in melatonin production.
- Cacao as it contains magnesium. Studies have shown that magnesium helps decrease the “stress hormone” cortisol, it also aids in muscle relaxation, giving you that calm sleepy feeling. I like Choc Chick organic raw cacao powder, and make a super-food hot chocolate at bedtime containing almond milk, raw cacao, cinnamon and turmeric.
- Magnesium citrate powder – I mix this into water before bed and I can actually feel my muscles relaxing in my brain and body. The Viridian brand is my favourite!
- Cherry night is another absolute life saver from Viridian. It’s really difficult not to get addicted to it though as it works so well! I’m not sure if it would actually cause you any harm as it is completely natural and organic, but it might be nice to live without it once and a while.
- Also, try adding magnesium flakes (I use Better You magnesium flakes) or Epsom salts to your bath. Soak for at least 20 minutes to ensure that you reap all of the detoxing and muscle relaxing benefits that they have to offer. Then, when you get out wrap your self in a towel, and pat, not rub, so that the minerals can sink further into your skin.
Last but not least to finish the day off at the most amazing little urban day retreat in Hackney was desert, which was my favourite, avocado chocolate mouse. Yummy! We were then all given a goody bag which contained a vitamin B spray, a magnesium spray, coconut oil (which I now use as lip balm and make up remover!) and some other great little treats. All in all it was a lovely relaxed day, with like minded people.
Thank you for reading my post, I do hope that you enjoyed it. Please feel free to leave any comments, or to contact me about the various supplements featured.