A New Perspective

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IMG_4111 Being healthy and happy for me goes so far beyond food. In fact, food is just one (delicious) part of the equation. I have always enjoyed being active and have tried lots of things from netball, to tennis, yoga to spinning, weight training to running and many, many others. I really believe that keeping active is a crucial part to any healthy lifestyle and I am loving exploring London and what it has to offer.

I also like to travel, am interested in fashion (although these days I can mainly be found in my gym clothes in between classes - luckily trainers are 'in') and love to try new things so I wanted to start sharing some of this side of me with you too! Please get in touch if there is anything you want to hear about in particular, and for those of you who aren't interested outside of the kitchen, I will keep the recipes coming too!!

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I thought a good place to begin would be inversions. You may have noticed on my instagram that I can't really get enough of being upside down. Perhaps it is the inner child in me that just likes to play around, or maybe it is my intuition telling me how good it is for my body! Inversions are any pose (or asana in yoga terms) where the feet are above the head. This can include headstands, handstands, shoulder stands, forearm stands or even just lying with your legs up the wall. Depending on your confidence, playfulness and strength, there are so many ways to reap the benefits of a change in perspective. So how and why are they so good for you?

Firstly, by increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain, inversions can stimulate your mind by nourishing your brain cells which can help with concentration and awareness. Our heart also gets to take a little rest when we invert as it doesn't have to work so hard to supply fresh blood to the brain. inversions also flush the adrenal glands which stimulates endorphins. This means that you can immediately feel energised and uplifted. If you are facing an afternoon slump, a bit of an emotional wobble or suffer from anxiety or depression, inversions can be really positive in bringing you balance. If that isn't turning a frown upside down then I don't know what is!

Our digestive systems can also benefit from the shift in gravity. It also encourages a stronger contraction of the muscles that occur in the digestive tract (known as peristalsis) so we can rid of toxins more readily and encourage healthy digestion.

Our lymphatic system is stimulated by inversions too, helping to clear toxins from the body and boosting the immune system. We can also help our bodies to relax and relieve muscle tension by reversing gravity in this way so for anyone struggling with sleep problems or insomnia may find that some gentle inversion can help to relax your body and encourage restful sleep.

On top of all this, and one of the things that I think is the most important, is that inversions can be really FUN. We take life so seriously most of the time, it is so important to remember to let go and just enjoy small things. For me, having a play with inversions is the perfect way to have a little laugh and be a bit silly, whether I am on my own or practising with friends.

I would really recommend practising with a qualified yoga teacher before getting upside down solo - trust me, there is a real risk of injury if you don't do these properly and it really isn't worth running the risk. Get yourself to a class to master the basics, then get upside down and feel totally empowered!

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FitnessAnnie Clarke