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5 Beautiful Beauty Picks for New and Expectant Mums


Today we’ll be tackling a spiritual heavyweight of a topic. One of the most frequently asked of all my FAQs… *drumroll please*

‘What beauty products can I use to get rid of my stretch marks/eye bags/general zombified demeanour during/after pregnancy?’ (AKA What can I buy as a gift for my pregnant or new Mum?)

Heaven knows why anyone would want my opinion on beauty picks, seeing as my leading look for AW17 is a heady hybrid of ‘effing knackered’ and ‘dragged through a hedge backwards’ but here we go..!

[[Aside: I’m not going into the fundamentals here because they’re kinda boring and I’m completely with you on preferring to throw a bit of cash at the situation, but a good start is to drink lots of (preferably filtered) water, eat lots of (ideally organic) fruit and veggies, get plenty of sleep (ha) and do as much of the yogas and meditations as Father Time and your little person will allow. Anyhoo…]]

  1. Boots Botanics All Bright Refreshing Eye Roll On

Boots hibiscus all bright eye roll-on tired pregnancy eyes new MumThis formula contains Hibiscus to give a skin-brightening dose of radiance to any sad puffiness under tired eyes. The metal roller ball feels deliciously cool and I genuinely think shadowy areas look as lightened and tightened as I could reasonably expect from a little tube of gel. The label suggests using twice daily and I did try it straight from the fridge a few times, (bliss) but in real life it lives in my car cup-holder and gets pulled out when I pull up at work, my Mum’s house or any other place where looking like a functional human being is a prerequisite.

Find it
at Boots


  1. Lush Therapy Massage Bar

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.23.34This miracle product found fame amongst the yoga Mums when I recommended it for the early beginnings of some stretch marks. The next week they were better, the week after they’d vanished. (Yep, her bump was still getting bigger). Obviously, the idea of a cure-all for stretchies is ridiculous and I don’t find them offensive (nor do I think they’re ‘battle scars of Motherhood’ because I can’t see them as that important or defining a feature…) but this bar is so deeply moisturizing and nourishing it’s probably as close as we can get. Plus it’s free of all the nasties found in a lot of alternatives. Much of the leg-work is done by a blend of cocoa and shea butter, and there’s organic lavender oil to chill you out, and wild orange and neroli to lift the mood.

The lady in the shop also told me it’s gentle enough to apply to baby’s skin, although I’ve never felt the need to use it on my own little dude. This is why the bar features 3 notches and a nobble; apparently 3 out of 4 babies have ‘in-y’ bellybuttons, and 1 has an ‘out-y’. It can go soft or liquefy in warm weather, but – let’s face it – that’s not something we need to worry about around here. At £6.75 I balked a little bit when I first purchased it (hey, big spender), but it gets the job done.

Find it at Lush


  1. Lush Ickle Baby Bot BathbombScreen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.23.50

Another Lush hit, this bathbomb is kind enough for baby’s over 6 months so you can multi-task getting a relaxing, yum-smelling bath whilst bossing the tiny one’s bedtime (or two’s, or three’s, etc. if you’re a Mum of many). At least I presumed I was supposed to be in the bath too…

Bubbles, blue-ness and lavender – it’s soothing for irritated skin and spirits alike. Pretty good valu
for a Lush product at £1.95. It’ll even do 2 baths if you’re feeling frugal.

Find it at Lush


  1. Hairburst For New Mums

3 months after giving birth my hair was still a wild, untamable mane. I thought I’d escaped the fabled post-partum fall-out. I was wrong. Just shy of four months, the downfall began. And not just the extra stuff that supposedly grows during Hairburst for new Mums pregnancy breastfeeding vitamin postpartum hair losspregnancy, which is what Google said to expect. As much as I hate the word ‘clumps’, it best describes how I was losing it.


My hairdresser recommended a sea kelp formula but I couldn’t find one that was safe to use whilst breastfeeding so I chickened out and picked this up. It’s pink and vegan and – more importantly – works. First my nails started growing faster and stronger, then the hair situation started to pick up. £19.99 will get you a month’s supply.


Find them here


  1. TERRANOVA Prenatal Multivitamin Complex

Terranova prenatal vitamins pregnancy supplements yoga diet prenatal postnatal fertilityWe’re all told how vitally important it is to take prenatal vitamins but the commonest mass-marketed
formulas gave me the heebies. They either weren’t ethically made, weren’t plant-based or used folic acid rather than folate*. After many hours of research, I found a company called Terranova, who take their supplements seriously and the ingredients are natural and top quality.
I didn’t stick unconditionally to the two-a-day dosing schedule as I was confident my plant-heavy diet provided all the nutrients me and bubs needed. However, taking them put my mind at ease during busier spells at work, and also made me feel better when my midwives reached the ‘vitamin’ box on their tick list. The capsules didn’t aggrevate my nausea and I feel like they contributed to my high energy levels and general sense of wellbeing. I continued to take the remaining capsules post-natally as they’re safe for use whilst breastfeeding
and think they’re a great boost for those looking to prepare their bodies to conceive in the near future.

Find them  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D2R6BOM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=driftyoga-


Do let me know how you find any of the above and remember, if you feel like you’re having a completely bleurgh day, people are probably way too busy looking at your cute little bump or bundle to even notice.
I know when I see other newbie Mums I’m usually too blown away by how beautifully they wear Motherhood to see the exhaustion.

Lots of love, as always,

Sal x


* Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid. It isn’t metabolized to the acive form of B9 in the same way as natural folate, so has the potential to build up in its unmetabolised form. Studies have even found in otherwise fasted people. This excess has been associated with certain health problems and there’s speculation about the correlation between folic acid intake and childhood cancers. Whilst folic acid is cheap to manufacture and stable in mass-produced foods and has undoubtedly reduced rates of neonatal neural deficits, we’re perhaps a little too accepting of its presence in our food supply. It’s always worth doing your own research into what you’re personally comfortable with.


** The above amazon links are affiliate links. Clicking them costs no extra, but kicks back some spare change to the website to help out! It’s very much appreciated.

An Easy Meditation to Help You Get Some Sleep (or just restore some calm and balance…)

Insomnia hit me like a truck – more mentally and physically drained than I thought possible. And I’m not alone. More of us than ever before are finding it harder to switch off and get the rest we need, and it has a knock on effect on our general health, relationships, performance at work and our happiness.

(Writing this, I’m sat in a cafe where two ladies are talking across the aisle about how they aren’t sleeping very well…)

I’ve had a lot of requests for a technique to help with sleep lately – mostly, but not exclusively, from very pregnant students and Mums adjusting to life with new babies and (even more trying…!) freshly minted toddlers. I also slept soundly until my little one came along. There was nowhere I couldn’t drop off. Public transport, under a desk, on occasion a stable… It was my favourite superpower. Then the yoga baby came along. Suddenly, if you’re not struggling with a bladder the size of an espresso cup, you’re such an awkward shape that there’s no feasible way of getting comfortable and then there’s a tiny, adorable, exceedingly vulnerable person-let to watch out for. All night. Every night. (Does this read like there’s a lot of teething going on in my house…?)

Even when bubs is sleeping soundly, I often find myself awake just incase. A more traditional insomnia. I’m not sure why my body refuses to sleep because goodness knows I’m shattered, but I finally understand what it’s like when you’re lying there, body primed for a disaster that isn’t coming, mind repeatedly circling problems that will likely only ever exist in your imagination.

This meditation is a great starting point for those trying to get some more sleep, pregnant or not. All you need to do is find a copy of the wordless audio track (details below).

There’s something profoundly comforting about having sounds to follow when you’re lying in the dark. It’s somehow easier to let your mind go all the way to sleep – perhaps because you give up trying to. Even if the worst happens and you find yourself awake at the end, there’s a quality to the rest you’ll have given your body and mind that means you’re bound to feel more refreshed and less panicked about the fact that you’re not in full on slumber.

The technique’s full title is ‘Osho’s chakra sounds meditation’. And it’s not as New-Age far-out as it sounds!

Osho was a prominent, if controversial, modern mystic and spiritual teacher who passed on in 1990. His prolific teachings cover a myriad of topics but usually focus on full-force living, creativity, joy and love. I should probably note here that he didn’t prescribe this technique for sleep in particular, it’s just when I’ve found it most useful.

The full meditation takes an hour, but it’s split into 15 minute modules if that sounds like too much to deal with for starters. Keep your eyes closed for as long as you choose to participate.

  • It opens with 3 repetitions of a 15 minute sequence. If you’re hoping to drop off lie down, ideally on your back with spine in line, but otherwise take a comfortable seat. Check in as you would before relaxing in a yoga class – deep breaths down towards the belly and checking muscles such as the jaw and hips are relaxed.
  • There’s also the option to hum, chant or sing along or move if the feeling takes you, but obviously this might not help too much with insomnia.
  • The track starts with a low tone for the root or Muladhara The sounds then lift in sequence through each of the 7 chakras. While each little piece of music plays you focus on the physical location of the chakra in the body and anything which might come up for you. Your focus is on the sound and the feeling. Perhaps you can feel the energy of the sound pulsing or vibrating in that area of your body, or even the innate vibration of the chakra as a centre of energy inside you.
  • When the tone moves higher, you move onto the next chakra up until you reach the crown. Here the tones start to descend, and you move your attention back down through each chakra along with the sounds until a short period of silence indicates the end of the cycle. If you can, allow for a space between your thoughts.
  • Don’t worry if your attention strays and you lose track of where you’re up to in the sequence. Just place your focus where you think it should be and then catch up when you either get to the top (the crown) or the bottom (the root, followed by a pause).
  • After another 2 repetitions of this sequence, the final – and possibly the most intimidating – track plays. 15 minutes of silence. Be still, keep the eyes closed and try to become witness to the thoughts and feelings that arise without judgement. This is difficult, but it doesn’t matter what you experience at this stage in the meditation – just that you allow yourself the time and stillness to actually have an experience!

If you’re unsure the 7 most commonly referenced chakras are:

1. base chakra – the reproductive, lower pelvis

  1. sacral chakra – just below the navel
  2. solar plexus chakra – above the navel, below the breastbone
  3. heart chakra – the middle of the chest, at the level of the physical heart
  4. throat chakra – the middle of the throat
  5. third eye chakra – deep-set, between the eyebrows 

7. crown chakra – top of the head

I got the tracks at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/osho-chakra-sounds-meditation/id315292727 so I could put them on my phone on a sleeper timer but I’m sure you could also dig them up on YouTube…

Let me know what you think if you do give them a try!

With love,

Sal x

vegan blueberry scone thug kitchen

Blueberry and Polenta Scones (Vegan)

These deliciously quick, seasonal scones are accidentally vegan – by which I mean they stem from a great recipe that just happens to avoid animal ingredients rather than an overly contrived vegan concoction. You’ll be left with a lovely bake that everyone will enjoy, regardless of dietary preference. We’ve been noshing them in the afternoon with a cup of tea, or as a quick grab-and-go breakfast on the way to work.

The scones are an Anglified version of a recipe I found in the latest offering from Thug Kitchen, ‘Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck’ (not for the easily offended…!). They’re a cinch to throw together and – should you have a tiny hungry person in your life – an ideal finger food for baby-led weaning. No culinary skills are required and really,

what else are you going to do with that bag of polenta that’s been languishing at the back of your cupboard since who-knows-how-long?

Ingredients – makes 8-ish medium scones:

120g // 1 cup white flour *

60g // 1/2 cup wholemeal flour *

2 tsp baking powder

165g // 1 cup polenta

65g // 1/3 cup unrefined brown sugar

240ml // 1 cup soy milk

60ml // 1/4 cup mild-tasting oil **

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

125g // 3/4 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen

*Any combination of flours seems to be good, I’ve been using organic bread flours from Little Salkeld Mill. I haven’t tried a gluten free version, but can’t see why this wouldn’t be also be a success…

**I like cold-pressed rapeseed as a cheapish, healthy option but whatever you have is grand.

The how to:

Preheat your oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper (or grease it with a spare bit of oil).

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and give them a rough mix. Place the wet ingredients in a jug and give the a quick whisk until well blended. Keep the blueberries on hold for now.

Make a well in the flour mix, pour in the wet ingredients and mix roughly. When still slightly lumpy, then add the blueberries. Over-mixing here can make the finished bake a bit flat and chewy so stay light handed.

baby led weaning baking recipe

Yoga-baby approved scone-age

Tip out onto a floured surface and press into an inch-thick rectangle (the dough will be wetter than a traditional scone so abandon all hope of using a rolling pin), then cut into what I would describe as rustic triangles. Or whatever shape takes your fancy. Space them out on your baking tray and sprinkle with a little extra sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes, but check at 12. The bottom should be firm and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack until edible, then tuck in. Although best devoured on the day of baking, a quick zap in the toaster and a lick of jam or spread revives them nicely.

bear wisdom yoga seasons winter

Dark Nights and the Wisdom of Bears

I don’t really like the telly (except the late Bake Off and anything involving living in Alaksa)… but I do like David Attenborough. So last Sunday night I was happy to hear him accompanying a screen full of bleary-eyed, itchy bears crawling out from their Rocky mountain hibernation to go and find a good tree to scratch on. There was a groovy little beat playing and everyone was having a fine time. Even the little ones were trying a bit of a face-first tree shimmy.

This got me to thinking.

We are not like bears. (Deep, I know, but stick with me). As well as – hopefully – being less hairy and smelly, we don’t ever slow down. Ever.

Winter comes. The natural world settles back into itself for a little while. We carry on pushing and striving and enduring.

Even when the dark nights make us feel like we want to curl up earlier and get some rest, we look around at what friends and colleagues are doing and allow that to push us into going harder, longer. We get the serious FOMOs (fear of missing out) or worry about falling behind. Professionally, socially… we’re all so prone to putting up goalposts in our head. When I was younger I was convinced that by 30 I’d be happily married with two kids, lots of letters after my name, a mortgage, pension and close to partnership in a vet practice. In reality, I spent so much time achieve, then freaking out that I was still years behind schedule that I didn’t see or acknowledge that what I wanted had completely changed. Instead I ran around like a perennially dissatisfied headless chicken.

I don’t think I’m alone in having spent a lot of time and energy trying really hard to go in the wrong or no direction. We need to stop constantly chasing things, qualifications and lifestyles we’re not sure why we want.

When we look outside ourselves for validation, we get pushed completely out of sync with the ebb and flow of the Earth’s seasons. We go all out, all the time.

Wouldn’t it be better if we could accept the natural lull of winter as an opportunity to meet our need for rest and recuperation? If we could deeply honour the rhythm of our bodies and souls? We could regroup and recharge, ready to pour ourselves into projects we’re genuinely passionate about.

By slowing down and becoming still, we create space to listen to our intuition. Our inner wisdom always available to us, but we’re often so fast and loud we drown it out. A little introspective down time allows us to gauge what we can cut away, what’s weighing us down and holding us back. It gives us clarity. When we have time to really look, we can see the patterns in our actions – the concept of samskaras in yoga – that we don’t have to keep blindly re-living again and again. We set up a fresh start, and continue to grow in a way that’s true to ourselves.

Everything in nature, like every one of us, has its own time to bloom. We can learn a lot from the bears, or even the flowers in our garden when it comes to respecting our own inner rhythms and seasons. Because, despite what we tell ourselves, we don’t have to be producing constantly. And our best work often happens when we’ve had a decent sleep.

With love,

S xx

What I really mean when I say Namaste at the end of class…

It’s pretty rare these days that you’d go to a yoga class and make it out of the door without the teacher saying Namaste. We’ve definitely taken the traditional Indian greeting under our English yoga wings a lot more readily than other ways of closing class, like  group Om-ing or chanting. It is still pretty rare, however, for teachers to expand on what they actually mean when they say it.

I’m (really) often guilty of this myself.

It’s mostly because I hope that those moments of peace and connection at the end of class speak for themselves. Or that when I try to make eye contact with everyone as we press our hands together that the feeling that we’re really trying to ‘see‘ each other for who we really are is implicit.

And it’s a little bit because I don’t want to bore the regulars.

When there are a lot of new students or I think a reminder would be useful, I usually go with a shortened stock translation of Namaste, like…

‘The light in me recognises the light in you.’


‘The divine in me bows to the divine in you.’

I might say that – as with many words in foreign languages – it’s hard to hit an exact translation, but the general idea of this traditional Indian greeting is that it’s a way of saying ‘hi there’ or ‘bye now’ whilst simultaneously showing deep understanding that we’re all the same; little pieces of a great, thrumming consciousness that come together to make up the whole of existence.

Then I heard the renowned yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Das offer the following explanation in his book ‘Be Love Now.’

In India when people meet and part they say Namaste, which means I honour the place in you where the entire Universe resides. I honour the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honour the place in you where if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me there is only one of us.

And it seemed so perfect I had to share.

In love, S xo

What Every Woman Should Know about Pregnancy and the Uterus


Long before my love of all things yoga, pregnancy and lycra there was my love of hard science. And – albeit in a veterinary sense – reproduction was kinda my thing! I even taught it at Cambridge. (Yep, actual Cambridge, the one with dreaming spires, Pimms o’clock and really hard exams. Hard to believe when I’m in my unicorn leggings, I know…).

My nerd-ish tendencies have had a few consequences:

a) If you’ve ever wondered what species boasts a corkscrew-shaped penis, full-pint ejaculation and the 30-minute female orgasm, I’m your girl!

b) I’m really passionate about applying science to making pregnancy and birth safer and easier.

So, with that in mind, here’s today’s science bit A.K.A. what’s actually happening to your uterus in labour, simplified.

Yoga and the Uterus

We can think of the uterus as a muscular bag designed to hold a baby during pregnancy. The muscles it’s composed of are involuntary. Just like the muscles that give us goosebumps or make our heart beat, we can’t consciously control them. We can, however, influence their action with the bodily environment we create – and that’s where yoga comes in.

The uterine muscles (myometrium) sit in two main layers. One runs vertically up and over the top of the uterus (the end which finishes near the rib cage at full term) and one runs horizontally, forming bands or loops encircling baby and the placenta as they grow.

During pregnancy, the upper vertical muscles remain relaxed while the tone in the strong horizontal muscles – especially those at the bottom of the uterus close to the cervix – hold baby up and in, exactly where we want them to be.

During labour, their roles reverse. Working as a pair, much like your biceps and triceps, their action draws baby down the abdomen and out of the uterus into the birth canal.

pregnancy yoga prenatal uterus muscles myometrium hypnobirthing relaxation

When a woman is calm and relaxed these muscles work in easy harmony.

During a contraction (rush or surge) the upper vertical fibres actively contract and shorten. This draws the inner layer of horizontal muscle fibres – thickest just above the cervix, baby’s way out of the uterus – up and back. This action causes the cervix thin and dilate (open) – eventually reaching that ‘magic number’ of 10cm.

We can often see this action on the outside as Mum’s tummy gets hard or tight, appearing to lift upwards during each rush.
pregnancy yoga prenatal uterus muscles myometrium hypnobirthing relaxation

Unfortunately, when a woman is nervous or tense, this team can’t work quite so harmoniously. From an evolutionary point of view, it’s just not sensible for your body to deliver a baby quickly and in its immediate environment if it senses stress hormones. Unable to differentiate from genuine or perceived threats, our bodies err on the side of caution.

In this case, the horizontal muscles also tense up so are unable to move upwards as the vertical muscles pull on them. It’s a bit like trying to straighten your arm with both your biceps and triceps muscles contracted. The tension from these now opposing muscles combined with the pressure of the baby’s head pressing down onto a cervix that isn’t easily able to open or thin causes pain. When a woman feels this pain, it confirms her worst fears about the impending agony of labour are true. This only heightens the state of stress that initially caused the problem. This leads to a circle of feedback:

More stress hormones = more opposing muscular action = a longer, more painful labour.

Not so great.

Thankfully, the mindfulness and breathing techniques we learn in yoga teach us to go with each wave or surge, instead of resisting it. Even if the strong sensations of a rush do start to cause panic, we’re less likely to be overcome by it as we’ve taken the time to really understand that each rush – like everything else in life –  is transitory, We trust our body’s ability to birth our baby and know that each surge brings us closer to meeting our long-awaited baby.

As always, I’m more than happy to answer your questions – just comment below!

If you’re interested in giving pregnancy yoga a try, there’s a new 6-week course starting on the 3rd of June and enrolment is now open! This will be the last course until (at least!) November 2016, so feel free to join us whatever stage of pregnancy you’re at. Find out more here, or to register fill in the form below or send me a message on Facebook.

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5 tips to create a simple home yoga practice

5 Simple Tips for Starting Your Own Home Yoga Practice

Yoga at home is probably one of the most wonderful gifts you can give yourself every day. Even if only for a few minutes, it gives us a chance to check in with our bodies, minds and intuition for as long (or as briefly!) as we want and it really deepens and sustains our practice between classes.

Better still, we can do it on our own schedule, we don’t have to drive anywhere and… especially if you don’t live in the city and/or have a job or family to take care of… many days it feels like our only option besides going without.

Getting started is much easier than you’d think – you don’t have to feel like you’re already an expert. My personal practice started as a nervous exploration of things I’d picked up in class and eventually led me off to teacher training. Once you start breathing and stretching in your own time, I promise you’ll be amazed at how good you feel and what you discover about yourself.

Creating your own practice is a personal process of trial and error, but below are some lessons I’ve learned that will hopefully make things a little easier so getting on the mat at home becomes a regular occurrence and not just a nice idea!

1. Nest

 Okay so nesting has been on my hormone-addled mind a lot recently but progesterone aside, it’s really nice to have a designated space to practice in. Even if it involves a little furniture rearranging, you only need to find enough floor to be able to lie down and – ideally – spread your arms wide. You don’t even really need a mat if you don’t have one. You’re already enough and have enough to start.

If you do have a mat, roll it out. If you have space, consider leaving it out. Even neatly rolled up, if it’s out it’ll act as a reminder of what you’re missing. This doesn’t tend to happen so much if it’s stashed in the boot room, coat cupboard or back of your car.

Don’t be afraid to make your space a bit special. Although some days we’re good to just unroll our mats and crack on, it’s often nice (and not too taxing) to turn our practice into an occasion by lighting a few candles or some incense, hitting play on some mood-boosting music or rubbing some of aramoatherapy oil into our pulse points. 

  1. Schedule

I don’t like scheduling things beyond strict necessity. It’s a bit grown-up and restrictive for my tastes. But it is annoyingly effective! Just like work deadlines, family commitments and ‘normal’ yoga class – if it isn’t in our diary, our home practice often isn’t happening.

Self-care and yoga are usually the last thing we dedicate our time to and the first things to get brushed aside when we get busiest… unhelpfully, when we need them most. This, quite literally, is not good for us.

Whether it’s earmarking a full hour of peace to do a deep flow or putting on yoga clothes when you wake up so you find time for a few sun salutations before you leave the house… some kind of plan tends to (read: always) work better than ‘I’ll probably do some yoga later.’

  1. Airplane mode

Devices have it for a reason – and I don’t think anybody flies enough for it to actually involve airline travel. It’s refreshing to hang up your virtual ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign for a little while.

Use a real-life clock if you have to keep your eye on the time, or set an alarm if you know you have to be somewhere – ideally one that allows for a few minutes of relaxing in Savasana before you up sticks. Once you start time-checking your non-aeroplaned mobile, it’s a quick and slipperly slope into checking your texts or e-mails. This does not make for a peaceful practice you’ll want to return to.

  1. No pressure, no limits

Before my pregnancy, I had a fairly strict idea of what my home practice looked like – as much of the Ashtanga primary and/or second series as I had time for or a deep 45-minute yin session. Probably with a side of hand-standing. Although this discipline was great for my physical practice, the idea of actually doing it didn’t always make my heart (or achey muscules) sing and I’d sometimes find an excuse not to bother. If you run, you’ll be familiar with this feeling. It’s usually easier to lace up for a 3-mile jog than an 11-mile race-pacer.

Now I’m a lot more flexible with my practice (figuratively, if not literally) and pick my style each day. Sometimes I switch halfway. I know whatever I choose, it’ll make me feel better.

It’s much easier to go to our mat with the intention of doing even 7 minutes of sun salutations than a full hour of edge-of-our-limit contortion. Practicing this way, we often exceed our expectations. Chase feelings of ease and openness, not poses, time frames or you the intensity you think you think you need to burn off that night’s dinner. 

  1. Meditation Counts

Some days we don’t want to move. Or we know moving would be good for us but are under no illusions about actually extricating ourselves from the sofa. That’s okay. Because meditation is yoga, but sat still. Or even lying down. Ideally not on the sofa or in bed, but when needs must… it’s all good. Just try not to fall asleep.

Meditation practices actually make up 3 of the 8 traditional limbs of yoga. Our physical practice is just 1. This was perhaps a hint from the ancients at their relative importance and potential to change our life! Like solo-yoga, getting started with meditation is easier than we want to believe. Just pick a meditation you’ve enjoyed from class, light a candle and flame-gaze or try THIS easy technique… find a few quiet minutes and off you go.

  1. Get inspired 

It’s completely normal to feel a little confused or bemused as to exactly what you should be (or are) doing on your mat sometimes. There’s lots of books and internet to browse for ideas, and don’t forget to make the most of free trials to online class subscription sites such as YogaGlo and Gaiam.tv

I’m always happy to help with ideas for home practice and what you’re already working on in your own time – just send me an e-mail, comment below or catch me after class. Please reach out! Many people also find occasional private sessions can really give them some clarity and confidence, and they don’t have to be a weekly commitment. I have so much love for this traditional way of teaching and learning yoga, especially as we can choose asana and exercises best suited for you as an individual and sketch up a home practice sequence that will really stick.


P.S. If you want to learn more about meditation, but aren’t ready to go it alone – make sure you’re on the e-mail list for details coming very soon about new meditation classes starting in May and a 21-day online program (which you really can do in your own time, wherever you are) that’s very excitingly in the pipeline!



strawberry and banana smoothie muffin recipe vegan baking

Super-Simple Strawberry and Banana Smoothie Muffins (Vegan!)

This recipe is adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks ‘The Naughtiest Vegan Cupcakes in Town’ by Melissa Morgan, A.K.A. Ms. Cupcake, no less. She has an impressive vegan bakery in London and an even more impressive hat with cakes on. No joke. It’s great. (Not that I’ve ever met her or the hat in person… but I’d really like to). Credit also goes to Ms. Cupcake for the photo as my last batch was eaten before I got chance to artfully arrange and capture them, but I’d already promised to share the recipe after making some for the last Ashtanga Primary Series workshop.

Please don’t be put off by the vegan factor – these delicious muffins will delight plant-fans and omnivores alike. Nobody will ever know there’s no milk, eggs or butter inside. Unless you’re showing off how healthy you’re being by telling them. And even though they’re quickly made from common cupboard ingredients, they’re definitely towards the good-for-you end of the cake continuum (yes, that is a thing).

I often skip the glaze – I’m lazy and often to be found without icing sugar. But it is delicious and pretty if you’re organised and the muffins hang around in your kitchen long enough to pour some on…

And don’t forget the ‘firm tap on the kitchen surface’! If you’re feeling a bit angsty you can even give the mixing bowl a whack before you spoon the batter out. This isn’t authoritative science, but my understanding of the tapping situation is that raising agents work fast in vegan baking (when the baking powder hits the liquid) and the tapping releases particularly big bubbles before they go into the oven and create uneven texture. It’s also when the magic happens, so don’t skip it.

Also, put some good music on before you start. Secret kitchen dancing makes cake better.



560g of self-raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

225g golden caster sugar     (ordinary white works great, too, it’s just a little more processed)

1 large or 2 small mashed, over-ripe banana

350ml soya or almond milk     (cow milk works, unless you’re wanting healthier treats/feeding vegans)

300ml rapeseed or otherwise flavourless oil          (often supermarket ‘vegetable oil’ is rapeseed)

2tsp vanilla extract

12 medium (2/3rds of a punnet) strawberries, green bits off and diced

Optional glaze:

100g icing sugar

2 tbsp soya or almond milk (or water)

1/2 tsp vanilla

Dehydrated banana or strawberry to decorate  (very fancy)

How to:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and get your muffin cases ready in your tray.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then add the banana, not-milk, oil, vanilla and strawberries and mix together with a big spoon. Go quickly! About 10 seconds will do – we want the ingredients to be only-just combined. A few little lumps are perfectly acceptable – over-mixing will make your muffins tough and chEWy. Spoon into muffin cases, until about 2/3 – 3/4 full.

That’s it! Give the muffin tray a firm tap on your kitchen counter, then pop them into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Then tip onto a wire rack to cool. Ideally for at least 10 minutes, but at least until the strawberry pieces aren’t so lava-hot they’re going to burn your mouth.

If you’re going for glaze, use the cooking and cooling time to mix the icing sugar, vanilla and not-milk/water together. Add more liquid or icing sugar to make it runnier or less runny, to personal preference – going for more of a crunchy-chic wash than a full-on white ice. Spoon onto the warm muffins, cool and enjoy!

And feel free to comment below if you have any good vegan-baking tips or cake-based excitement you’d like to share!


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spring equinox vernal equinox balance yoga

On Balance and the Equinox…


March 20th was the spring vernal equinox. For a tiny slice of time the earth span completely upright on its axis, day and night were equal in length across the planet, light and dark are matched and yoga teachers across the globe heed the call to talk about finding balance in our lives as well as our Uttitha hasta padanghustasana.

Balance is something of a buzzword in yoga. Studios are named after it, teachers use nifty balance sound-bites and in every yoga class we go to, if we don’t find ourselves standing on one leg and doing strange things with the other one then we’re holding a pose and trying to find the perfect equilibrium between stretching ourselves (both literally and figuratively) without pushing to a point of lasting discomfort.

But what if constant pursuit of the conventional ideal of ‘balance’ in our lives – particularly the one upheld by the yoga community – is a bit like chasing a unicorn?

Maybe balance as we typically imagine it is a little over-rated.

A few years ago, I was really driving my veterinary career. I did a surgical and medical internship in one of the best horse hospitals in the country and suddenly found myself working more hours than I was aware existed in a week, earning way less than when I was 17 and at ‘Pizza Hut’ and coming nowhere near the daily recommended allowances for sleep, vegetables and exercise. Unless you counted cat-napping in pathology meetings, ketchup and chasing errant patients and/or vet students. One particularly memorable bank holiday I scored a 64- hour shift without a shower, sleep or proper meal. My life was not balanced. But, in the moment, I was pretty happy. I had purpose and was working towards something that was important to me.

We all go through phases like this. Take the first flashes of a new relationship. We choose our beloved over (healthy) food, sleep, self-care and phoning our friends and grandmas. Life is messy and spontaneous – it doesn’t drop neatly into equally proportioned boxes.

Even when I decided to devote more energy to yoga because 100+ hour weeks knee-deep in poo weren’t doing it for me anymore (and I love it), I still didn’t move in the ‘balanced’ way people expected. I quit my job, moved to a damp and crumbling farmhouse in a new area, simultaneously started two completely different businesses and acquired a puppy, a parrot and a proverbial bun in the oven. A hair-brained plan. Well, it wasn’t a plan. It was some more intense, free-wheeling shooting from the hip. But I’m happier than I ever thought I had a right to be.

I’m just not convinced we make the biggest impact in our lives when we prioritise equally dividing our attention between our career, family, significant other, friends, self-care, diet, dogs and gym routine.

Just like in asana, our ‘ideal balance’ in life is immensely personal. What looks great on one person would result in bone breakage for others. What might look slow and easy from the outside can be a ridiculously rich and fierce experience inside.

yoga balance snow snowga snoga Ullswater yoga Lake District

If our physical balance in class is a reflection of our inner balance… and I immediately pulled myself up the one time those oft-quoted words left my mouth in class, then it’s not the cookie cutter balance we’re often led to believe we’re searching for. It’s unearthing peace and equanimity with exactly where we are and immersing ourselves in the present moment. If we’re wobbling (and wobbling is cool) it’s likely because we’re momentarily stuck in the past or racing ahead to what comes next, rather than being fundamentally out of whack.

When we’re genuinely consumed by what’s happening right now, when our reality makes us feel electric and alive, our posture blossoms and steadies. Off the mat, our life feels productive and worthwhile.

Instead of defining balance as equal division of attention between our various earthly commitments, that division should feel appropriate to ourselves and the moment. Who cares if our pose or our ‘work-life’ choices look wonky as sh*t from the outside?? If it genuinely feels delicious and lights you up then go for it. And more power to you.

With (happily unhinged) love, Sal xx

ahimsa yoga blog Cumbria Lake District

The One Yoga Move We Should ALL Be Practicing…

… is called ahimsa.

Ahimsa is one of yoga’s yamas.

It might sound like it involves stretching a hamstring, but to practice ahimsa we’re chasing a totally different kind of high. We’re going after those nice warm moments you find yourself getting when you practice yoga and find yourself inexplicably acting a little better towards other people and yourself… even if it’s just for a few minutes after rolling out of Savasana.

And yep, it can be practiced just like any other stretch.

Some explanatory background… The yamas are the first of the 8 limbs or ‘practice areas’ of yoga. ‘Ashtanga’ literally translates to ‘8 limbed yoga’, although the system is recognised universally across the different yoga schools. Other limbs include asana – our physical practice – and pranayama – our breathing practice. The yamas are a set of guiding principles for ethical living, concerning our outwards behaviours and attitude towards to the world. The fact that this is the very first limb of yoga – before physical practice – give us a clue as to their importance.

So what does Ahimsa actually mean and why should we take it to heart as we deepen our physical practice?

Ahimsa is often translated as ‘non-violence’. Which sounds like a logical place to start an ethical code. Except not many of us would describe ourselves as violent people or be able to pinpoint too many acts of true violence in our lives.

(Yep, incase you were wondering this is where the great and sticky yoga/meat-eating debate comes in, but we’re definitely saving that one for another day… Except to super-quickly say that whilst I personally choose a vegan diet, I definitely don’t think that eating meat and being a ‘good’ person/yogi are mutually exclusive. There are no lines in the sand in yoga or our individual ethical choices.)

Instead of ‘non-violence’, I like the more modern translation of ‘non-harming’. Little acts of negligence, damage or harm to things, people and ourselves are a whole lot easier to identify and work with. Not that ahimsa asks us only to avoid harmful deeds; it also reminds us not to speak carelessly or maliciously, or think harmful thoughts. Because – being honest – we can get on our mats and stretch ’til the proverbial cows come home, but if we walk out of class and start whinging, bitching and flipping the bird at inconsiderate road users, we might as well have gone to ‘legs, bums and tums’. (No disrespect, LBT).

It’s a big playing field once you get to thinking about it. And perhaps it’s the point of practicing ahimsa that we start to consider our actions and their consequences rather than instantly morphing into perfect human beings.

Think about how much brain space and energy we’d save if we could learn to live without random acts of road rage, looking in the mirror and berating our thighs, snarking at our loved ones when we’re under-carbed or binge watching Vikings/X-files re-runs/[insert personal Netflix choice here] instead of getting some much-needed sleep. Lots. That’s a lot of spare power for handstands, baking cake, making love, singing in the shower, selfless giving and dreaming up amazing plans for holidays or a generally-blissful Utopian future. Or whatever makes your own little corner of the world a better place.

It sounds kinda nice, right?

One of the best exercises to start consciously practicing ahimsa in our lives is really simple. (As simple as doing ‘legs up the wall’ in bed, which I’m also forever recommending for its life-enhancing benefits.) For one whole week, try to make yourself aware every single time you say something unkind or casual about another person. It might be your partner and they might deserve it. It might be a certain colleague, a faceless immigrant on the news, or an overly face-y celebrity in Heat magazine. Just bring the comments to mind, either in the moment or running a few mini-reviews throughout the day, and quietly consider the consequences of sowing these little seeds of negativity. Is this really acting like the person you’d like to become? Probably not. So we try to do it less. Then, we try to stop gossiping completely.

Just another say to let that post-practice goodness start to seep a little deeper.

However you do it, practice ahimsa like a hip opener. An open heart is way cooler than a good baddha konasana.

With love,

Sal xx


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