Read our posts about body

Tantric Trance

Tantric Trance

Think of the word ‘trance’ and you think of music, drug-fuelled dance and trippy raves off the M25 in the 80s. Think of the word tantric and you think of sex. Now put the two together and you have yourself a very alternative way to spend your time. It was with this in mind that I blindly followed my friend into a church in Vauxhall on Saturday night. The space was lit with flickering candle-light and the smell of incense was overwhelming.  Various free-spirits festooned the pews, stretching and deep breathing, as if preparing to embark on a marathon of mind, body and...
» Read More
Love Your Belly

Love Your Belly

Few of us feel love for our bellies. We squeeze them into Spanx pants or belt them up Clarkson-style; our bellies are viewed as wayward creatures that will embarrass us given half a chance. As Susie Orbach says in her book Bodies: “Bodies are becoming our personal mission to tame, extend and perfect.” The reality of our soft, fallible selves is regarded as out of control and unacceptable. However, tension in the belly is translated into tight tissues, which can inhibit the function of our digestion, our backs and our hormonal flow. Ninety percent of serotonin is...
» Read More
Yoga: Meditation for the Restless

Yoga: Meditation for the Restless

It was day two of the yoga retreat. We’d just sat for our second evening meditation, in the profound silence of a candlelit limestone cave, and we were sharing some thoughts about our experiences. Suddenly one of my fellow students, in some distress, burst out, “It’s no use! I’m trying and trying and I can’t do it.  I just can’t empty my mind!” Of all the misconceptions about meditation, this is one of the most common – and probably the most unhelpful. Of course the poor woman couldn’t empty her mind – it’s a contradiction in terms. ‘Mind’ is the word we use for...
» Read More
What is Scaravelli Yoga?

What is Scaravelli Yoga?

Once, during a chronically busy phase of my life, I bought a self-help book called “Do Less, Achieve More”. Who could resist the promise of that title? Of course it was rubbish: a doomed attempt to fuse the principles of Taoism with those of free-market capitalism. As with any good pyramid scheme,...
» Read More
Is Your Diet Causing Chronic Inflammation?

Is Your Diet Causing Chronic Inflammation?

When studying nutrition I was initially very taken by the idea, provided by one of my tutors, that inflammation is the seat of all chronic disease. This concept had never crossed my mind before as I had always thought of inflammation as being the acute kind – the pain, heat, swelling and redness that is the result of scraping your knee or cutting your finger. Of course this kind of inflammation is important and, in a place without antibiotics or antiseptics, it is life-saving. This is because it is the body’s primary mechanism for dealing with trauma and...
» Read More
What is Yin Yoga?

What is Yin Yoga?

The American cartoonist Scott Adams once observed, “There are two types of yoga: the kind that hurts like crazy, and the kind that looks like you’re sleeping.” Yin yoga definitely falls into the latter camp.
» Read More
What You Should Know About Sleep

What You Should Know About Sleep

Don’t smoke, cut back on the booze, try to stick to a healthy diet, get some exercise --- that’s enough health rules to be getting on with surely?  But there’s one essential element that many people forget about. Sleep is as important as any of those in keeping us on the rails. This was one of the main messages I took away from a visit to Champneys Tring recently. I was at the well-known health spa to sample a Lifestyle Improvement Plan, for which food and drink intake, exercise levels and daily activities are monitored in advance. The aim is to illustrate that...
» Read More
Cosmetic Surgery Makes Beauty That's Barely Skin Deep

Cosmetic Surgery Makes Beauty That's Barely Skin Deep

I was sad to read in The Guardian today that there’s been a big rise — nearly 17 per cent – in the demand for cosmetic surgery in Britain in the last year. Breast augmentation is the number one favourite, with anti-ageing techniques such as eyelid surgery and face and neck lifts following closely behind.  I was, however, not surprised to read that there’s also been a rise in reports of patient dissatisfaction. Quite apart from any issues of competence  this shows that cosmetic surgery doesn’t offer lasting satisfaction. Why not? First, the procedures rarely promise...
» Read More
What is Kundalini yoga?

What is Kundalini yoga?

In the farthest departure lounge of yoga (next stop, Nirvana), white-robed initiates pursue altered states of consciousness, chanting and panting as they wait for a mystical serpent to rise up through their spines. Kundalini yoga is as far from the tight-buns yoga-cise trends of East London as the Himalayas are from Hackney. Kundalini shakti is the name given in esoteric Hinduism to a potent energetic force that believers claim lies coiled at the base of the spine, like a snake – which is why it’s sometimes called the ‘serpent power’. Kundalini...
» Read More
Veganism: Obsessive or Principled?

Veganism: Obsessive or Principled?

With stars like Beyoncé and Jay Z doing couples’ cleanses, and Gwyneth Paltrow being papped  every other day with the diet deity that is cold-pressed green juice, veganism seems to be this year’s must-have accessory. Could it be that this fashion for deprivation, veiled as nutrition, is doing something damaging for our already body-conscious society? A vegan diet was once an ethical life-choice, the preserve of so-called hemp-loving hippies concerned with the moral dilemma of eating produce from sentient, living...
» Read More