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Mind Body Spirit Category

1,2,3 – Breathe

Just BreatheI know what you are thinking, why do I need to read an article on breathing, I know perfectly well how to breathe. I just breathe in and breathe out – all done!

But and this is a big but – we are all breathing, but many of us are not breathing as well as we could, and in many cases modern day living is hampering how we breathe.

Statistics show that as many as 9 out of 10 of us are breathing in a way that works against our anatomy. We need to get back to breathing as we did when we were children!

Did you know that sitting at desks, our posture, feeling stressed and even how we dress can all impact how we breathe? In fact, activities like using social media, texting/emailing can cause us to actually hold our breath! (more…)

Help Me

Help MeWhat happens when a person decides to let their life decisions be guided by a self-help book, and not just one book, but the principles of one self help book per month for a year? Well, that’s exactly what Marianne Power did, and she documents the moving, and oftentimes funny journey of self-discovery in her book, called Help Me!

So, what got Marianne started on this quest in the first place?

Well, she was feeling ‘stuck in a rut’; she was single, home was a rented room in London, and she was constantly broke! Then several years ago, whilst nursing quite the hangover, she had the idea to explore self-help books and then write up her experience via a blog. This was not a big leap for her as she was already a freelance journalist. The blog got under way in 2014, and it wasn’t long before its garnered interest from book publishers, but Marianne didn’t say yes at first, trusting her gut instinct that the timing was too soon – maybe the self-help was paying off! But eventually she did strike a deal, with the publishing house Picador, and it is probably no surprise that she felt so comfortable with them, as they also were responsible for turning Helen Fielding’s column for the Independent into Bridget Jones Diary. There have of course been plenty of comparisons and parallels drawn between Marianne as being the modern-day version of a Bridget Jones character. (more…)

Dreaming of Travel

Dream InterpretationInterpreting dreams is something that can be traced back to Ancient Greece and Egypt, at that point messages received via dreams were believed to be supernatural communications, something that should be considered a ‘divine intervention’.

Of course, today we know that dreams can be a jumble of things that have happened in our day, people we have met, literally our dreams and desires for the future, as well as thoughts our sub-conscious minds are trying to get us to hear.

When you wake up, you may often think to yourself ‘that was a weird dream’, but there are in fact many common components to dreams, that many of us will experience in our lifetime. (more…)

Exploring Pilates

PilatesFor those of you that have explored yoga, but found that the more spiritual elements of the exercise didn’t suit, then it is worth taking a look at Pilates.

Making Room for Pilates

It maybe that you already have an exercise routine in place, whether that is cycling, swimming, football, HITT training etc, but research suggests that it is a good idea for both recovery and injury prevention to round out your fitness regime with a weekly class in something like Yoga or Pilates.

Pilates Founder

Pilates, is in itself a complete exercise method, it was named for the developer Joseph Pilates; born in Germany Joseph suffered ill-health as a child that left him distorted and frail. He was determined to overcome his disabilities, and studied Eastern and Western exercise approaches and would later move to England and have jobs as a circus performer, boxer and self-defence instructor. (more…)

Making Your Home Green Again

Indoor PlantsHaving house-plants had fallen out of favour in recent times, but now retro plants and having plants indoors is making a comeback.

It maybe that this bringing greenery inside trend has come about more from an interiors and design perspective, but in fact there are many reasons why having plants in the home can be good for your health. (more…)

Spiritual Glow

CandlesDecorating your home with candles, can be the perfect way to add a welcoming warmth to anyone visiting and of course for yourselves. There are now so many candles readily available to buy, from fragranced, to shapes, to a whole range of colours, that it can be difficult to know how to display them to best effect.

Where to put them

Candles offer a versatile decorating tool, you can use them to style a dining table, a fire mantlepiece, on kitchen countertops, on bookcases, a sideboard, hallway console tables – the places are endless. (more…)

Botanicals for the Skin

BotanicalsIf you have been shopping lately for skin products, you may well have noticed the uplift in items containing restorative botanicals. You might be more familiar with botanicals like Rosehip and Lavender than you think, as they have recently been popular for use in soft drinks like tonic and alcoholic drinks like gin, but in fact, these botanicals are also very useful for the skin, and have been used for generations, and their use in cosmetics is now being highlighted.

So, what does each botanical do?

Argan

Argan is commonly found as a hair oil, and this is for good reason, in Morocco where it originates, it is used to protect from dry desert conditions. It is a natural form of vitamin E, and as such it is a great botanical to consider in autumn and winter when we are suffering with cooler weather and central heated homes. It is great for sensitive skin, and those that are prone to redness. You will find it in products aimed at your hair, cuticles and skin. (more…)

The Magic of Trees – Part 2

The Magic of TreesAutumn is the perfect time to explore the magic around trees, if you missed the first part of this post then click here first…

That will allow you to explore the Alder (Fearn), Ash (Nuinn), Birch (Beith), Elder (Ruis), Hawthorn (Huathe) and Hazel (Coll) trees.

Holly, Oak, Rowan and Yew:

Holly (Tinne); according to Welsh legend, the Oak and Holly King fought on the 1st May for supremacy. Of course, the Holly King rules the waning period from midsummer to midwinter solstice. Many of us will associate holly with the symbol of Christ, and it is also a popular decoration for Christmas. But originally holly was sacred to the Celts and Celtic God Taranis who would have carried a club made of holly, representing his power as a Thunder Giant.

(more…)

The Magic of Trees – Part 1

The Magic of TreesSacred trees are found in most cultures, just think about bringing in evergreens into our homes for Christmas each year.

So, below we explore some of the trees with their Ogham name, alongside their magical associations.

Alder (Fearn) is known as the ‘tree of fire’, but also as ‘Bran the Blessed’, named for the eldest son of Llyr – the Oak Father. Its magical abilities are tied up in controlling the elements, specifically the four winds. Traditionally wooden whistles were carved from its wood, and were used to summon its security and control against the weather.

Ash (Nuinn) is associated with seafaring and deities of the sea, and was even used as a charm to guard against drowning. Staves of the tree have been used to keep snakes away, as well as to treat sick farm animals. But the tree has also been used for protection on the land, with Irish immigrants taking it with them to America to offer protection, following the potato famine.

Birch (Beith); this tree is sacred to Mother Goddess, symbolising spring, new beginnings and re-birth. It is believed that this is the first tree to grow again after the Ice Age, so is long revered. In some countries like Russia at times of the year such as Whitsun a birch tree will be dressed in female clothing, to pay homage to the Goddess and the coming of summer.

Elder (Ruis) is connected to ‘other dimensions’ and the seeing of other-worldly, ghosts and magical creatures, especially around May eve, and if wearing a crown of elder twigs. If fact the tree has long been used as a guise by witches! But for others like Native North American Indians the elder is simply a tree of music.

Hawthorn (Huathe) is associated with Mars, Thor and Thunder Gods! It was planted around sacred boundaries to act as a shield from both psychic and physical harm. That said it is considered to bring very bad luck, if you bring Hawthorn blossoms into a home other than on May morning. But the twigs are thought to have exceptional healing powers, but only if gathered on Ascension Day.

Hazel (Coll); hazel rods have been used for many reasons – the Druids believed they were symbolic of wise judgement and authority. But Irishmen that had settled in America used them to keep snakes away. Staves were used in Viking courts to mark the perimeter. In Wales a hazel cap was fashioned, when worn it was said to bring about wishes. The nuts have long been considered a sign of fertility and traditionally brides were given a bag, and it was not unheard of for people to use them almost like confetti.

Come back next week to explore the remaining trees.

Ref: Encyclopedia of Magic & Ancient Wisdom

 

Puzzle

PUZZLE“Life is random, but when you finish a puzzle you know you’ve made all the right choices.”

The film PUZZLE is actually adapted from an Argentine film called ‘Rompecabezas’ the tile means puzzle in Spanish.

Agnes (played by our cover star Kelly Macdonald), has never ventured far from home or family, she was raised in a tight-nit immigrant community by her widowed father. Now in her early 40’s she finds herself somewhat adrift with a husband and children after focusing solely on their wants and needs.

As a birthday present Agnes receives a jigsaw puzzle, and finds that she is very good at it, and it gives her a heady thrill that she has not experienced in a long time. This is the beginning of a quiet but dramatic transformation of her life.

Robert is a wealthy inventor, and somewhat of a recluse, and Agnes meets him as a ‘puzzle partner’, recognising her talent for puzzles, he recruits her for a world jigsaw tournament. This is something that Agnes wants to pursue, but it means stepping away from her domestic bubble to go after a new hobby. Not everyone in the family embraces the change so enthusiastically. (more…)