Choosing the best yoga mat for you and the planet.

I spent a number of years using a standard mat run of the mill mat,partly because I was living in a country where the choices were limited and partly because I had never experienced the comfort of practicing on a better quality mat.

Since then I have tested a few mats with some of my main criteria being firstly that it has been sustainably produced and that it will not add to the growing waste problem when it comes time to retire it, secondly comfort and grippy’ness and of coarse value for money is a factor.

In my opinion there are a few items that are truly worth the investment good shoes, a good jacket, a good mattress and a good mat.

If you are still having trouble deciding check out this review site https://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mat/

My favourite the Manduka pro lite gets a mention.

Have a wonderful practice!

Check out my class schedule to join me for some enlivening yoga vibes in London

@awaytolivewell

5 Tips to help you choose the right massage therapist for you.

Have you ever gone for a massage and left feeling a little bit less than satisfied?

Before you book in for your next treatment have a read through a couple of these tips which I hope will help you in making the right decision for you.

Reviews and recommendations are a great place to start but what’s right for me may not be right for you, so a little pre-massage investigation will be definitely worth your time.

  • A good place to start is to check that the therapist you have chosen has been formally trained and certified by a reputable school or training body. These trainings can take from 2 to 3 years and ensure that your therapist has a good base of knowledge with regards to the anatomy and physiology of the body. A good therapist will also participate in regular continual professional development to further hone their skills and knowledge in order to give their clients the best treatment possible.
  • Be clear in your own mind about what exactly it is you are looking for from your treatment. There are numerous styles and modalities and each have their own specific applications and benefits.                                                                                        For example if you are hoping for a relaxing treatment a Swedish massage or aromatherapy massage might be most suited as these focus on soothing strokes which calm and ease the nervous system. If you are looking for a massage to aid in recovery from training or deep-seated tension a deep tissue massage or sports massage might be more suitable. Be sure to vocalise your thoughts and expectations with your therapist, they can also offer you suggestions on the best treatment for you when they know what you are looking for.
  • Find out your therapists massage and healing philosophy. Maybe the therapist you are looking at has a website where they speak about their treatments and about their philosophy, this can give you a good idea as to whether this therapists ethos resonates with you. If they don’t have any information online maybe they would be happy to speak with you before booking so that you can get a sense of them before your treatment.
  • How does the therapist engage with you? Do you feel welcomed from the first minute you meet? Are you being asked about injuries, allergies and any existing conditions? Is there a dialogue? You should feel comfortable enough to let your therapist know if the pressure is too much or too little…                                                 You should be looking for someone who has your needs in mind, someone who wants to provide the type of treatment that you feel is right for you.
  • At the end of the day you are never going to know for sure until you have tried it. Maybe book in for a 30 minute taster session to try it out.

Even if you have found a therapist with tones of experience and training it doesn’t mean that they will automatically be the right therapist for you. So do some homework on it before booking a session to ensure for the best experience.

I wish you well.

Feel at ease

Ana Maria

For enquiries contact awaytolivewell@gmail.com

Follow me on instagram or facebook @awaytolivewell

 

5 tips to help you stop eating on auto-pilot

Have you ever gotten to the bottom of a plate a food and almost can not remember the experience of having eaten ythe meal?

If you are eating your food on auto-pilot you are at greater risk of over eating and ultimately not enjoying your meal. You are probably not paying attention to how much you have eaten and how you are feeling during and after. You may be full but don’t even realise it!

You may find the following mindful eating tips helpful.

# Pause before you begin your meal Taking a moment to stop and appreciate your food and to be grateful for it before you take your first mouthful.

#Switch off try to eat your meals without distraction. Avoid sitting in front of the television or your laptop or using your phone during meal times (I am guilty of this). If you can take some time away from your desk at lunch time to sit outside and eat your lunch then I would encourage you to do so. Try to make your meal your main focus and then you can return to whatever you were doing with more clarity and energy.

#Pay attention Be mindful of each mouthful, note the textures, the flavours and the temperature. Preparing meals that are full of colourful vegetables, mixing raw with cooked and adding loads of healthy flavour through the use of spices makes for a more appetising and nutritious experience.

#Share the experience My favourite meal times are the ones I have shared with others. This is such an important aspect of life throughout history people have gathered to break bread together (fast forward to today-pass the quinoa) Food brings people together, it’s a talking point. And even if it doesn’t interest you that much it is still a vital ingredient to leading a healthy life and definitely worth some thought.

#Take a moment It’s not a race to the bottom of the bowl! Why not take some time to sit and appreciate the meal time experience, perhaps you are sharing it with family and friends or perhaps you are sitting somewhere with a nice view. Try to take in the more global experience, these moments are so important and contribute to your overall wellbeing.

#Bonus tip Allow time once you have finished the meal to sit and allow yourself to digest. You use up about 10% of your calories in the process of digesting, absorbing and metabolizing. The body does this most efficiently when it can focus on just this process.

Overall it is about taking your time and giving it your full attention. It plays a huge role in your energy levels and long-term health. It is worth the time. If you don’t have the time to linger over a well prepared meal than make nutrient dense choices and have smaller meals. Lean grass-fed meats (if you are into that kind of thing) protein rich grains and plenty of vegetables, oil and healthy fat rich foods like seeds and avocado’s. Choose a natural diet! It’s simple.

Feel at ease.
Ana Maria Conneely

@awaytolivewell

Creamy roast garlic avocado dip!

This recipe turned out so well! It made the perfect late evening Friday night veggie tapas feast!

The idea came to me while I was nearing the end of a day of teaching yoga in different parts of the city and giving massage treatments. I was starting to get that “I am at end of a hard day’s work and I deserve a treat” feeling. Initially I thought, I am going to buy a delicious block of cheese and have a nice glass of wine with it. In some instances I go for the wine and cheese option but I am very aware that a hard-working body deserves the treat of something more nutritious even if the brain is saying “glass of wine please”!

So then this idea came to mind! The creamy’ness of an avocado and the rich oven roasted garlic flavour would satisfy any craving. I also included a simple roast vine tomato salsa to compliment the avocado dip, Magic combo! vitamin c and healthy fats go together perfectly and also roasting your tomatoes is the best way to get the lycopene boost (lycopene is that powerful antioxidant which helps decrease the risk of disease) Win!

And instead of wine I created a juice/smoothie to go along with it.  So many vitamins! Once I had it in mind this idea seemed far superior to the wine and cheese option, mind and body were on board!

Recipe

Creamy garlic avocado dip

  • 1 avocado,
  • 100g of organic full fat plain yoghurt or coconut cream (vegan/dairy free option)
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • half a lemon
  • handful of spinach
  • pinch of salt

Blend all together and serve, I topped it with a sprinkle of cress.

Vine tomato salsa

  • 10 cherry vine tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Roast the tomatoes and garlic in the oven for 15 minutes at 180 degree. Blend all the ingredients in a bullet or food processor. This also makes a really nice sauce for patatas bravas or courgette spaghetti!

Green mango juice

  • 1 small mango
  • 1/2 lime
  • handful of spinach
  • filtered water

Enjoy

Let me know if you try any of these! take a picture and tag me in on it on instagram @awaytolivewell.com

Have a wonderful weekend!

Feel at ease.

Ana Maria

 

 

 

How to accentuate the benefits of Yoga,massage and nutrition!

Answer: Create synergy!

In this post I would like to share with you just a few of the therapeutic benefits of yoga and massage and how certain foods can increase your in take of certain foods to boost these benefits for an all round improvement in health and wellbeing.

I came to massage after discovering that similar benefits to those achieved through practicing  yoga could be attained and shared on a more individualised healing level through body work therapy i.e. massage.                                                                                      And therefore I found a way to share these benefits more broadly with people who don’t have a practice but could benefit from the effects.
I grew up on an island on the West coast of Ireland, experiencing organic home grown vegetables and fresh caught fish as the norm, I was raised with an appreciation for the amazing nutritional quality and exceptional flavours of natural unprocessed foods, which I now value more than ever. I also grew up seeing and helping my mum share her cooking skills and inventive healthy and wholesome meals with the customers in her restaurant on the island. It  has always inspired me to  create my own recipe’s and to want to share the gift of nutritious food with others as well.

Flexibility
Massage and yoga both work in a way which encourages the steady development of flexibility in the body. Through yoga the muscles are encouraged to gently lengthen in each asana. And during a massage the therapist works the muscles warming and lengthening connective tissue to improve flexibility.
Increased range of motion and greater flexibility in the joints and muscles helps to promote better posture and can help towards improving breathing.
Sesame seeds are considered highly beneficial for muscle and bones they are naturally high in calcium and easily digestible.

* Foods which may decrease flexibility-alcohol, and food that is processed or refined.

 

Circulation
A good massage and a good yoga practice can increase the movement of oxygen and nutrient rich blood through the systems.
The increased free flowing movement of blood throughout the body has been shown to beneficially lower blood pressure which an overall positive effect.
Some foods to consider if you are trying to improve circulation ; Ginger-this warming root is energy building it has a stimulating effect on the blood circulation and it has an added anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic effect.
Oranges and other citrus fruits that contain high vitamin C are natural blood thinners and are said to strengthen capillary walls.

Stress less
Too much stress has been proven to have a detrimental effect on all systems of the body. We can’t remove stress completely from our lives in fact some amount of stress is necessary however we do need to find ways to manage our stress levels and to turn stress responses off when we don’t need them, yoga and massage and a healthy diet can be key elements in contributing to stress regulation. A regular yoga practice and regular massage can have the kind of effects that help to improve sleep, increase your ability to relax quickly and efficiently and improve physical and mental performance therefore helping you to cope more easily with potentially stressful situations.
A food which is highly regarded for it’s beneficial effects on improving

Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, vegetable that boost levels of this mood-enhancing nutrient include dark leafy green vegetable, Brussels sprouts asparagus, dried beans, peas and nuts.
Like you need an excuse to include more avocado in your life-they contain B vitamins which are essential for healthy nerves and brain cells, they also reduce tiredness and fatigue due to their important role in cell metabolism. No wonder it makes me so happy to eat them!

I hope you have found this helpful.

Please feel free to send me any questions or comments!

Feel at ease

Ana Maria Conneely

@awaytolivewell

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What is deep tissue massage?

Deep tissue massage is a powerful and effective healing tool to relieve tense, strained muscles and to bring the body back to homeostasis.

This treatment has excellent healing results. It is a technique that uses really slow movements with firm pressure.

What is causing the tightness?

Tight and tense muscles are the result of over use or too much time in the same position putting your body under strain and weakening muscles. This creates blockages in the body, where there are blockages tension builds and problems are created.

How it works?

Muscles respond best when they are being eased out of tension. The firm pressure restricts blood flow momentarily and then encourages new blood to flow into the area as the pressure is moved along the muscle this helps to decrease the blockage and ease tension.                                                                                                                                                                                      If muscles are worked too hard and too fast they tighten up as the body tenses to protect itself this in turn can create tension in other areas.

Who it’s for?

Deep tissue massage is an ideal treatment for people who are training or working out and trying to speed up recovery. As well as for anyone who is dealing with tension that has been building up over time for example in the shouder area from working at a desk for long hours.

It really is important to have regular treatment and to address problem areas before they begin affecting other parts of the body and other parts of your life.

 

Ana Maria Conneely

Feel at ease.

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Natural facelift massage

A deeply relaxing and highly beneficial treatment which targets the surface layers of the face as well as the deeper layers of facial tissue.

I love this treatment, not only do you feel completly relaxed afterwards you can also feel the results. The skin feels invigorated and refreshed. I use high quality jojoba oil which helps to balance the skins condition, it is basically an adaptogen for the face. It works wonderfully on areas of either oily or dry skin.

Natural Facelift Massage uses Acupressure and the traditional Eastern systems of massage such as Ayurvedic Indian Face massage. It also adopts some techniques from Facial Reflexology all of these methods help to restore and reinvigorate the skin giving you a healthy glow.

Just like any other part of the body the muscles in the face can become tense causing fine lines. Also exposure to pollution and over use of products can leave the skin looking a bit dull. Natural facelift massage can help to releive tension in the face and stimulate blood flow for a healthy and radiant complexion.

For further details and to book an appointment contact me on:

awaytolivewell@gmail.com

@awaytolivewell

Feel at ease.

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