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By West Norwood Therapies Team, May 28 2019 09:44AM

Yoga teacher Emma Klein sharese her top tips for keeping yourmat in tip top condition


Having a beautiful mat is great but taking care of it is extremely important to ensure it lasts.


Here are some simple tips to help your mat last:

1. Keep it Clean

Spraying your mat down after each use and giving it a good wash once a week or after approximately 10 uses is extremely important. Keeping your mat clean will prolong its life and keep it smelling great when you use it. Most mats can be put into the washing machine on a cool cycle and then left to dry for a few days. Below is a simple, easy and natural antibacterial spray you can use after class.


Antibacterial Spray

Having an easy way to regularly spray down your mat isn't difficult. Here is a recipe that I use all the time.


Spray Bottle

1 Part Water to 2 Parts Witch Hazel eg 120ml Water, 60ml Witch Hazel

5 Drops Tea Tree Oil

5 Drops Essential Oil


You can use any scent that takes your fancy. I usually use Lavender or Ylang Ylang but you can use anything that you don't mind smelling when you sweat on your mat. Be sure to avoid citrus based scents though as they will erode your mat.


Put all the above into the bottle and happy spraying :)


2. Keep it Dry

Ensuring that your mat is properly dry before packing it away is vital. Rolling up and storing a damp mat will allow germs to breed and your mat will start to smell. Your mat will also deteriorate faster than if you store it away completely dry.


This is sometimes harder if you sweat a lot on your mat. If you can, unroll your mat and leave it to air dry over night after your practice before packing it away


3. Roll it Don't Fold it

By folding your mat, you create weak lines and these areas are more prone to wear and tear. By rolling your mat it evenly distributes the wear ensuring it lasts longer


4. Flip it

Rotate your mat with every practice. This allows for an even distribution of use front and back and side to side so that the mat doesn't wear in one specific area e.g. where you always put your hands.

The more love you give your mat the longer it will last.





By West Norwood Therapies Team, Apr 1 2019 03:36PM

Tai chi and qigong teacher Hannah Horsfall shares the gentle yet powerful effect of tai chi - perhaps suggestive of a good way to approach life


Many of my students find themselves surprised at the end of a gentle calming session they also feel as if they have “done a good workout”!


It is often thought that Tai Chi is so slow and so gentle that it could not possibly offer anything like the cardiovascular benefits of other more vigorous exercise. However in the programme “Trust Me I’m a Dr” a beautifully clear experiment was conducted between a group of adults doing 12 weeks of Tai Chi and a group doing 12 weeks of Zumba!


Watch this 2 minute film to see the results!











By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 27 2019 08:51AM

Tai chi and qigong teacher Hanna Horsfall shares some information on what qigong is and how we can understand it in the context of current research on fascia, health and healing ahead of her qigong workshop on 16th March.


Qigong (pronounced chigung) directly translated means energy skill/ training.


Qigong can be practised as a series of flowing movements or practised without movement other than breathwork and mind focus.


There are obvious musculoskeletal benefits alongside developing internal awareness, sensitivity and a calming of the mind.


Practising Qigong can lead to deep relaxation that brings benefits in itself. This also allows for the freeing up the of flow of bodily fluids through the systems we are aware of in the West, circulatory, lymph and digestive but also the flow of Qi through the chinese meridian system as used in acupunture.


Ba duan Jin (eight silk brocades) and Wu Xin Xi ( Five Animals) are both ancient qigong forms that work with all the meridians facilitating balance and promoting health and self healing.



In China qigong is part of the national health plan with it being practised in Hospitals, schools and workplaces. Currently tai chi, better known in the West, is popular in China but many more have Qigong as part of their daily practise.


Interestingly, the relatively new research in western medicine into fascia and myofascial trains run very closely along the same routes as the ancient chinese meridians.


The following documentory explores the fascia with regard to the musculoskeletal system, the impact of stress, and the experience of pain.This opens up a whole new world of understanding of the body and , I hope, help to promote how the body can heal itself.


There is a long way,however, to catch up with the knowledge of the fascial realtionship to the internal organs, its potential as a trainable sense organ and its interralationship with both the internal and external stimuli.


The video I am sharing mentions, physiotherapy, yoga and acupunture but not Qigong.

In time…..


So I let you draw your own conculsions from the programme and invite you to to experience qigong for yourself!


Watch The Mysterious World Under The Skin documentary


Hannah‘s next Qigong workshop on Saturday 16th March 9.30 – 11.30am More info and booking





By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 20 2019 10:00AM

Sports massage therapist and budding swim-star Tessa Glover shares the next stage in her journey towards the Windrush Aquathon in June.


Last week I was fortunate enough continue my swimming training for the Windrush Aquathlon at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. Wow, what a place! Of course my (now fellow) Windrushers have been training there for a number of years and know what a wonderful experience it is but I had never been on an activity holiday before let alone to an entire sports complex like this. There were so many sports and classes to choose from and I went with tennis, boxing, golf, squash, TRX, various body workouts and swimming.


As swimming is my main focus, I took a 1-2-1 lesson and participated in the beginners front crawl session. Both were incredibly helpful and covered breathing, kicking, body position, arm position (all in 25 minutes). Phew… but it was made much easier by carrying out the drills in 25 metres instead of the full 50 metres as it wasn’t so daunting. There was also the major plus of being gloriously HEATED in all three Olympic sized pools!


So every day I headed to the pool and carried out the DRILLS that I have been working on.


1. Sink downs to help fully empty the lungs before taking a new breath.


https://www.triathlete.com/2014/12/training/try-it-sink-downs_67701


2. Popeye breathing (with half of the face still in the water, suck in air from the side of the mouth). So that you don’t turn your head and neck too far out of the water.


3. Catch-up arms to help you work on “long and straight” body alignment, from the tip of the outstretched, extended arm down through your shoulder and side all the way to your feet. This drill can also help with breath timing and assisting in learning how to delay starting the pulling until the body is in a good position.


4. Using a float held with both hands, face in the water to concentrate on leg kicks. Relaxed feet with big toes brushing each other, knees soft and working from the glutes to kick. Making sure your feet break the surface of the water and you feel the water on the dorsal and plantar sides of your feet.


5. Arm position. With a pull buoy, concentrating on keeping your arms wide as you take your strokes so that your hands don’t cross in front of your head. Tips of the fingers enter the water first, elbow slightly raised and bent. Imaging you are zipping up the side of your body with your thumb as you return your arm under and out of the water for the next stroke.


6. Body rotation. As you reach for each stroke, rotate the body as if head, neck and back are all on a pole and turn as one. Windrush coach Audrey Livingstone suggests imagining you are rotating in time to a waltz. It really does work!


Asking a friend to film you swimming is so helpful as you can analyse your stroke and then work on the areas you need to improve on. Here’s my latest attempt. I’m aware there’s a lot more to work to do as I’m still finding the breathing difficult and am out of breath after 16 strokes. BUT that’s double what I could do before so I’m staying positive. Any hints and tips are always appreciated.


Watch Tessa's video on her front crawl progress





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