WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Travel

Well Being with Friends ~ Josefina A. Theo of Casa Raki

Interview, Natural Living, Rituals, Well Being with Friends, Wellbeing, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

In my latest Well Being With Friends conversation, I chat to Josefina A. Theo - founder beautiful sustainable swimwear brand Casa Raki. I picked up some new insights in the world of sustainable fashion and manufacturing, along with other stories and suggestions for daily life and balanced wellbeing. From recent reads and favourite wellness apps, to travel memoirs and mantras to live by, I hope you discover a selection of new things to try and to apply to your own lifestyle, to assist and support your journey of self-development and prosperity.

Favourite or recently discovered Book:

Tokyo Blues by Haruki Murakami (English version)

Top wellness tip(s):

Do yoga every day!

Favourite or recently discovered Podcast:

I'm pretty old-school and still haven't gotten my head around to podcasts, yet.

Favourite or recently discovered App:

Vivino for wine ratings and reviews.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness guru, personality or website:

I’m a recent Goop convert, and love their amazing wellness tips.

Favourite or recently discovered Song:

Contra la Pared by J Balvin / Sean Paul.

Favourite or recently adopted daily ritual or habit:

Swapping coffee for decaf coffee.

Sustainable / eco beauty - your favourite beauty rituals and ingredients or products for good skin?

Gazelli Skincare.It's amazing.

Favourite or recently discovered Film / series / documentary:

Quicksand on Netflix

Something you've done recently where you felt super present, content and grateful:

A picnic I had last weekend with my best friends at the top of Col de Vence, the most beautiful natural setting, with the best company and the best food and wine. I felt very grateful for life in that moment.

If we were to try just one thing for our wellbeing, what would be your one tip:

Yoga changed my life, I would honestly recommend practicing it regularly, It's not only great for the mind, but it's a game changer for the body as well.

Favourite or recently discovered sustainable fashion brand:

I would say my own as I'm the biggest fan of our mission, but If I had to pick another one it would be Patagonia. They've been championing sustainability for almost over 50 years and are way ahead of the curve. They should be an inspiration to all sustainable brands starting out today.

Favourite pieces from that brand:

Weirdly I would say their wetsuits, they are amazing quality and they last a lifetime. I grew up surfing in them Punta Del Este.

What are your core values when it comes to sustainability and sustainable business and fashion? What are the key practices within Casa Raki and why do you do what you do? How do you evolve the business ethically whilst keeping up with trends and larger more commercial brands?

As a business we try to be as sustainable as we possibly can. We always pick a sustainable option for our production if there is one available. It is challenging for a young business to do, as recycled materials, organic cottons, etc are usually more expensive than the ordinary options but the options are readily available and of equal if not better quality. I don’t just want aspects of the company to be sustainable, that is no longer enough. I want the whole company to be sustainable; from our fabrics, supply chains to the way we treat our workers while passing on a fair price and wonderful product to the end consumer. I decided against trends because I believe it encourages an unsustainable consumer behaviour, so we are going against the grain with reasonless, timeless styles that are not trend-driven.

Favourite or recently visited country or city:

My favourite country of all time is Brazil. I would highly recommend everyone to go and explore the north of the country, especially. There are some amazing natural hidden gems and I am constantly finding inspiration for the new collections there.

A story from your favourite or recent travels:

Swimming with sharks on our honeymoon! So scary but exhilarating!

Favourite or recently discovered wellness product or tool:

Jade Roller, a bit late to the party, but wow what a great gadget!?

Favourite piece of advice, quote or mantra:

Take it easy and don't be too hard on yourself! My mother keeps repeating this to me weekly.

Your favourite remedies for illness:

My sisters tip: raw garlic! It's incredibly healing.

Tips for better sleep:

Eye masks! I’m a recent convert.

Favourite or recently discovered place or person for ultimate chill:

The Rectory Hotel in England; a lovely place for a city escape.

Favourite or recently discovered healer:

Acupuncture is awesome, I recently discovered it and it has helped a lot with anxiety and stress for me.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness cafe, restaurant or store:

Milk Beach in Queens Park.

Favourite healthy food or drink:

My old time favourite, Acai.

Advice for that work / life balance:

Switch off as soon as you come home, leave your phone and computer in your bag.

Business advice for business owners, self employed or anyone keen to start their own business:

Never give up! There's a lot of obstacles on the way, but don't let them bring you down. And always have a solid business plan in place first. Unfortunately, good design is not always enough to keep a business stable.

Favourite thing for instantly reducing stress:

Take three. deep. breaths.

Spiritual practise:

Meditation.

First thing you do every morning:

Meditation.

Last thing you do every evening:

Read a book.

Weekend rituals:

Walking our dog in the park.

Complete this sentence. What works most for me is:

Doing a lot of Yoga weekly and enjoying being present. Spending as much time as I can with all my close friends and family who make me happy every day just by being there.

Well Being Around the World: Austria ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, City guides, Lifestyle, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

My first encounter with Austria was at the age of 17 whilst I was interrailing around Europe with my best friend. That visit, fuelled by copious amounts of Viennese baked goods, was somewhat different to how I’m about to depict the country here, which is in a much more wholesome and, I hope, inspirational light.

Earlier this year, I visited two small towns in Western Austria, and as part of a new series of articles exploring Well Being Around The World, I wanted to share some of the local and traditional rituals I discovered during my stay, that I feel we can all learn from and apply to our own daily routines.

Rituals

1. Nature & The Great Outdoors

Since I was visiting a ski resort, it quickly became apparent to me just how much the great outdoors and nature are celebrated and valued in Austria. I guess it could be different in the larger towns that aren’t necessarily towered over by mountains, but there is certainly something about the fresh air and surrounding landscapes which not only bring a sense of safety, security and calm, but also awe and wonderment which is instantly grounding and gratifying.

I visited both Innsbruck and Mayrhofen, and both were relatively small towns encapsulated by mountains. For me, waking up each morning was just mesmerising, and I found it hard to imagine anyone getting stressed or feeling overwhelmed by insignificant worries and problems when the view was such a spectacle. It triggers a sense of wonder, and stands as a reminder that we are part of something much, much bigger than our own little lives.

Being in nature is known to have profound affects on health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Things like fresh air and sunlight support skin and complexions, as well as providing vital vitamins and nutrients (hola vitamin D!). Things like plants, greenery and natural formations are known to benefit things like eyesight, focus and concentration and are also known to provide and stimulate certain vitamins, minerals and hormones (that’s why being around green spaces with plenty of plants often makes you feel happy and relaxed!). Not to mention, trees and plants help to cleanse and purify the air, and thus increase the air quality and make breathing more enriched and nourishing. Natural formations, such as rocks, mountains and earth are also known to be grounding and relaxing and to support mental health. Just think of them as different and larger forms of crystals!

As for the great outdoors, Austria is full of adventure and activity. Locals and tourists unite for daily hikes, rambling, cycling and skiing and swimming, when the weather permits. I noticed a lot of people walking, and the people we met often said they rarely drove, except for long distances. I certainly didn’t notice any traffic jams or rush hour on the same scale as London. The cities seemed incredibly bike-friendly, too, something that seemed preferential to locals for ease, to stay active and to reduce pollution (that fresh, fresh air!).

Skiing and swimming are of course more season-dependent, and more extreme ways to keep fit and stay active. However, having it on your doorstep wouldn’t seem so extreme after a while, I don’t think, and some people we encountered said they often make the journey up to the slopes during the winter even if it’s just for an hour or two of solo skiing; in other words, a full-body workout, without the confines of a gym and with the benefits of being in nature.

Swimming is a different ball game altogether. Since I visited in Winter, wild swimming was not particularly on my radar, but locals are known to enjoy icy, outdoor swimming even during the winter, which is known to increase metabolism and boost circulation, amongst other health benefits. The practice is incredibly invigorating and revitalising, and in Austria, with the water coming straight off the mountains, think of all those vitamins and minerals (like a cross between hydrotherapy and cryotherapy)! There are many natural pools, often surrounded by Alpine backdrops and lush greenery, making the whole experience incredibly grounding and nourishing. Some pools become filled by the melting snow from the mountains - the water crystal clear but incredibly cold. In larger pools and lakes, water can get to around 16-20 degrees during the summertime, and serve as a way to cool down as temperatures rise. Want to go a step further, nude swimming is also quite a thing!

2. Saunas & Spa Therapy

Like many Alpine countries, as well as Scandinavian and Nordic, Austria’s spa game is strong. You won’t struggle to find a sauna or spa, something we tend to view as an indulgent luxury rather than a daily necessity. Saunas offer incredible benefits for skin, circulation, lymphatic drainage, immunity and much more, and I for one find a sauna a week to be deeply cleansing as well as relaxing. It helps to purge impurities from the skin and detox from within, through sweat and respiration. The only thing is, they’re not so widely available or accessible in the UK or larger cities, and if they are, they usually come in fancier forms and with a larger price tag.

3. Mid-afternoon Coffee (& Cake)

The Austrian cafe culture introduces another ritual into the day, incorporating an important pause amidst work and other duties. What I loved particularly about going for coffee was that, in Austria, it must always come with a glass of water on the side. I love this as I am all for staying hydrated, and coffee can be incredibly dehydrating. Take note!

Austria is of course not the only culture to advocate regular coffee breaks or a more thorough coffee ritual than we are used to in the UK (we’re looking at you, France and Italy), but it is nice to see so many people actually enjoying a break, and not just working through it or drinking take-out on the go. Their coffee break often comes with a side of cake or strudel too, which is not so ‘wellness’ physically, but, hey, it’s mentally good to treat yourself and do something you enjoy. And it helps to notice that in most cafes, these traditional baked goods are often freshly made and handmade, unlike the processed fare you find in mainstream supermarkets. So that kind of makes it ok?

4. Day of rest

Something I always love about visiting particularly European destinations is how they have held onto the tradition of closing shop at least one or two days a week. In Austria, there’s no (or very few) shops open on Sundays, meaning locals simply adapt their consumer habits accordingly. I like this not only as it means workers will get more rest, but it encourages people to consume less, or at least take a day off from shopping, allowing more time to do something more wholesome.

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Food and Recipes

The food in Austria is not overtly nutritious, or at least that’s not the talking point when it comes to food. You’ll find most delicacies include generous helpings of potatoes, cheese, dumplings and pasta, alongside other traditions like schnitzel and goulash. It’s all quite heavy, but after all that exercise, it kind of makes sense!

When eating out, though, you will always get a homemade feel from what’s on offer, and whilst there’s often lots of flavour, it all seems to be kept quite simple. There’s often a steady ratio of meat or fish to vegetables, and everything seems quite authentically done, unlike fast food or take away fare.

It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged.

Recipes

Below are 2 recipes inspired by those I tried during my visit, made with all-natural ingredients, vegan and gluten-free.

Celeriac Salad - Serves 2-4

Celeriac salad is a common side accompaniment for main meals in both Austria and Germany, and I love the earthy but fresh and hydrating flavour it offers to other dishes.

Components

500g celeriac
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons soy or coconut yoghurt - optional

Method

First, peel and grate the celeriac finely, or shred it in a food processor to make it into thin, long threads.

In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, boiling water, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper together until combined. Next, add the celeriac and stir to coat, then spoon in a tablespoon of yoghurt, if using. Stir to combine again and add more yoghurt if desired.

Season again, to taste and serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Porcini Mushroom and Potato soup - serves 4

Potato soup is a staple on almost any menu in Austria. Usually made with bacon and heavy, I’ve adapted to make this vegan and slightly more nutritious, by using mushrooms as a meat replacement, and dairy-free cream alternatives.

Components

500g medium potatoes
20g Porcini mushrooms
1 white onion
1 medium carrot
1 parsley root (can replace with parsnip or celeriac)
½ celery stick, plus leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g vegetable broth (or water)
Small bunch of lovage leaves
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or soy or coconut yoghurt, or Oatly creme fraiche)
Handful of fresh parsley

Method

Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms for about 10-15 mins in warm water.

Next, roughly chop the vegetables (potatoes, celery, carrot, onion and parsley root (or parsnip or celeriac) and place them in a large saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, add the lovage leaves, caraway seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add stock or water along with herbs and spices. The liquid should cover the vegetables, so you may need to add a little more accordingly, depending on the size of your vegetables.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and transfer to a blender or use a hand blender to puree the soup, until smooth.

Add the coconut milk (or plant-based yoghurt or cream alternative of choice) and blend again.

Finally, chop the porcini mushrooms roughly into small pieces, add to the blended soup, season for a final time and garnish with fresh parsley.

* If you like chunky soup, sauté the carrot in a separate pan and add to the soup, once blended.1.


Resources

Where to stay

I stayed in an airbnb in Innsbruck and a local hotel/guesthouse in Mayrhofen - most of which are complete with an onsite spa, gym and restaurant.

Featured Wellness Destinations & Other Places to Stay

Hotel Aurelio Lech

Geinberg 5

Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol

Getting there

Flights into Austrian towns are easy and often, but if you want to look at more sustainable ways of getting there, there are plenty of train and bus routes, and driving is often doable with a few stops along the way. It really depends on the number of people traveling though, as to which option is more eco-friendly, so do some research, and perhaps try to choose a destination where you won’t need a car or public transport once you’re there.

Well Being in the local area

Innsbruck:

- Olive, vegetarian restaurant
- Ludwig, Vegetarian restaurant
- Rauch Juice Bar
- Coffeekult, cafe
- The Breakfast Club, day cafe with gluten-free / vegan / vegetarian options
- Haepinest, cafe
- Akropolis, restaurant
- Das Schindler, restaurant
- Lichtblick, restaurant
- Oniriq, restaurant
- Die Muhl, restaurant
- Nordkette Cable Car
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

Mayrhofen:

- Goldkind, cafe with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Schneekarhutte, restaurant with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Hikes, walks, skiing, activities
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

* Whilst I am not saying Austria is necessarily the wellness capital of the world, and whilst I am not disregarding their love of cakes, cream, potatoes, cheese and strudel, I do feel we could learn a thing of two from the Austrian culture to assist and inspire us in our own quests for wellbeing. For me, wellbeing is not a “one size fits all” scenario and I have always felt that we can learn so much from different cultures, both wellness-focused and otherwise. The aim of these features is to provide a broader approach to wellbeing, one that travels a little beyond green juices and boutique fitness classes and into long-standing traditions that have been used for centuries. Many of the practices I tend to discover are often nothing very new at all, but are instead incredibly simple, as well as being much more authentic and sustainable than the latest trends we tend to get over-excited by.

Marysia Muse Well Being Feature

Anytime, Interview, Lifestyle, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Last week - after months of planning and trying to firm up a suitable location for the shoot (and one that fit my sporadic and unpredictable schedule) - Marysia and I teamed up to curate a beautiful Marysia Muse feature centred around well being, and travelling well. Set in Sweden (somewhere I spend a lot of time visiting my boyfriend), we spent a day in Länna exploring the woodlands and bathing by the lake. Scroll down to read my interview, browse the images and watch my exclusive morning yoga video which you can do anytime, anywhere. It’s my go-to sequence when traveling. Enjoy!

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“Though I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Danielle, she embodies everything that we look for in our Muses. From her clean range of breakfast goods (Qnola), to her dedication to yoga (we share the same teacher, Tara Stiles!) she is an inspiration to everyone out there looking to find balance. Below she shares a video of her energizing morning routine, and here she shares a recipe for one of her favorite snacks. I hope you enjoy reading her interview as much as I did.

TO YOU, MARYSIA IS…

Flattering, functional fashion, complete with true character and authenticity. The designs are super unique but have an edge of effortlessness, meaning when you wear them you feel a million dollars without feeling over the top. Each piece is incredibly flattering, not to mention comfortable and practical for all kinds of activities (even yoga!).

WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE FROM THE COLLECTION? HOW DO YOU STYLE IT FROM DAY TO NIGHT?

I adore the brown bikini and wear the top with a high waisted skirt or trousers, either alone or under a sheer top. I'm also obsessed with the coconut maillot and style it with a skirt or shorts to take me from beach to bar.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR VACATION IN SWEDEN - WHERE DID YOU STAY, WHAT ARE YOUR ROUTINES AND SPECIAL SPOTS THERE?

Sweden is super special to me as it's where my boyfriend is from and currently lives. It's become my second home. In the summertime, Sweden is idyllic. After long, harsh and often dark winters, the atmosphere is so positive when the sun finally comes out. The countryside and the lakes in Sweden are what I love most. I could spend hours relaxing by a lake and swimming in the clean open waters, drying off with a cooling walk through the enchanting and quiet woodlands. It’s so peaceful and being in nature like this soothes my soul. It's so simple. 

I stay in Uppsala, just north of Stockholm, with my boyfriend, close to his friends and family. When we're not bathing in the lakes, we go for fika (coffee and a cardamom bun), hang out with friends, go on long walks, take a roadtrip to a nearby town and go thrift store shopping. We take it easy. It's a different pace of life here and thats what I love about it. I can truly relax and go with the flow when I'm here.

WHAT IS YOUR DAILY YOGA ROUTINE? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS?

I try to do yoga everyday, and if I can’t make it to a class at my local studio, I'll do it at home or in my local park. Whilst travelling, I always practice in my apartment or hotel, even better if there's a balcony or some outdoor space. 

I trained in Strala yoga a couple of years ago and this approach to yoga is my favourite. It is all about 'your' yoga; developing a practice that is personal and that works for you as an individual.

My daily routine is usually an energizing sequence inspired by my strala guide, Tara Stiles. If I go to a class, it will be an invigorating vinyasa flow, hatha, ashtanga or jivamukti - occasionally kundalini. In the evenings, I also like to practice yin or yoga nidra, a more calming sequence of slow and still postures. 

For those new to yoga, I always advise that it takes time to get used to it, and to come to love it. I love the quote 'the teacher comes when the student is ready'. Applied to yoga, I think you really have to be ready and willing to learn yoga and make it a part of your life, rather than just having an impatient attitude towards it. Many people find that yoga is too slow or not challenging enough, whilst others might be put off by a teacher who is not helpful for beginners or who is too spiritual. It took me a few months to really connect with yoga and understand it is more than just a workout but it is a lifestyle and a practice you can continuously learn from and apply throughout all areas of your life. My advice to beginnings is to find a teacher you truly connect to and who's classes you really enjoy. Don't do yoga if you are in search of an intense workout. Do you workout some other time and use yoga to build strength, focus, stamina and mental clarity. It will become a workout in itself as your practice develops. Stick with it. It takes time to build up initial strength and to gain flexibility, but it is possible for anyone and it is deeply healing mentally and physically, and can even help to improve posture and injury over time. It is magical; trust the process.

WE LOVE YOUR COMPANY, QNOLA. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? 

Qnola is a range of quinoa based breakfast goods free from gluten, grains, dairy and refined sugars. I started making a simple quinoa granola recipe for myself as a healthier alternative to shop-bought granolas, and as something quick and easy to take with me on shoots. It then developed into a worldwide brand, one department store and health food shop after another, as I noticed there was a high demand for the product in the UK. I really wanted to create a more honest and reliable breakfast option that was ready-to-eat to give people a more functional start to the day, and to provide more sustainable energy that didn't require too much time to prepare and add to morning stress. Looking back, I'm not sure how I created such a popular brand, but I think it is down to the product being built on pure passion, rather than just as a way to make a quick buck. Most of the time since starting the business has been like feeling around in the dark. I didn't have business expertise or any food experience, I simply learnt on the job and crossed every bridge whenever I got to it. In a way, it has been for the best, as I haven't always had time to worry or overthink things before they happen. It's been stressful but I've learnt so much and its been an incredible journey. One thing I've learnt and that I love to share with people is that if I can start a business on my own, at the age of 20, then anyone can.

Danielle was kind enough to share one of her healthy snack recipes right here

New Moon Rituals with Myself + Wolfsister

Mindfulness & Meditation, Moon Time, Rituals, Eventsdanielle coppermanComment

Sunday, September 9, 2018
4:00 PM  7:00 PM

At She's Lost Control Store
42 Valentine Road London, England, E9 7AD, United Kingdom

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Your Instagram feed is is glittered with people posting about new moon rituals and setting intentions. 

What's an intention? You might be wondering.

Some of your favourite instagrammers have dropped some hints but you don't know where to begin. You're curious about trying to make your own magic with your own power, but don't want to get it wrong. And no one wants to be the last one to the new moon party! Especially if it means that you can find some inner zen and learn how to ride some of the waves of life. 

You're oh-so-ready for a fresh start and to ensure you're on track and open to attracting new opportunities. You want to let go of old baggage and make space for the new! Some tips to help you stay grounded and in your power when life gets a little crazy would be useful too, right?

Up for dipping your toe into some new moon magic but don't want to get too woo-woo? Join Wolf Sister (author of The Crystal Code) and Danielle Copperman (author of Well Being) for a New Moon workshop where you'll be guided through a series of new moon rituals and practices that will help you align with the moon cycles. 

If you're curious, imagine this: 

You arrive at She's Lost Control; you almost walked past it because it's tucked away from the hustle of Hackney. It's a new moon and you're excited to do something different with your Sunday afternoon. As soon as you walk through the door; you're mesmerised by all of the mystical wares and crystals on the shelves. All of the things that you need to do in the week ahead fade away, in that moment. You don't want to be anywhere else but here.

Wolf Sister and Danielle welcome you and you're shown where to put your belongings. Without hesitation your phone's set to flight-mode and it's buried in your bag. This is your time; you do not want to be disturbed. The room is set in a circle with comfy cushions and blankets; you're already thinking of how you can bring some of these mystical vibes into your home. 

Once you're seated and the rest of the group have arrived, your hostesses introduce themselves and explain how the moon affects us. Maybe you have been picking up on some of the clues from the moon throughout the month? They invite the rest of the group to introduce themselves; it's totally informal and relaxed. There's zero pressure to share too much and you feel a sense of relief once you've had your turn. It actually felt good to speak; nothing like the cringey introductions you've had to do in team trainings at work. 

Wow, your intuition was aligned when it nudged you to book your ticket.

Over the course of the session, Danielle teaches you some simple breathwork and tapping techniques to help clear your energy and help you feel more grounded; you could easily weave this into your daily routine. You notice that your head feels clearer already. 

Wolf Sister explains how to set intentions to align with the new moon and guides you through a crystal healing meditation so that you can clear any energetic blockages that have been holding you back from making some of your dreams come true.

After the meditation, you spend some time journalling about the insights that have been flowing throughout the session. You want to hold onto these feelings for as long as possible. As the words flow through pen to paper, some truth bombs are affirmed and you've got some clear clues about how you can move forward.

Amongst it all there's a delicious Hot Milk Tonic and light snacks made from Danielle's book Well Being; you've promised yourself to try the recipes at home. 

Before the session closes, you're invited to pull an oracle card; you smile to yourself because it's as if the card has just read your mind. 

There's magic in the air. You can feel it. 

By 7pm you can't believe the session's gone so quickly. You'd forgotten that it was possible to feel this relaxed and reinvigorated. You float home and treat yourself to something nice for dinner on the way. It's been a new moon to remember; your creativity is flowing, your worries have dispersed and it's hard to feel anything but blissful. You can't wait to use the tools from the session to return to this state again, and again, and again.

See you there?  

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The Equinox Effect

Anytime, Essentials, Lifestyle, Movementdanielle coppermanComment
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Equinox gym is unlike any other gym. At Equinox, they believe that results come from the right balance of movement, nutrition and regeneration - not just intense workouts and protein shakes, which was a big turn on for me. With my 360 degree approach to well being, I was drawn to the way Equinox promote such a balanced formula for getting fit and living well.

Facilities

With locations all over America and with two in London, every Equinox club is curated with each component of this formula in mind; a gym filled with the latest equipment and a selection of separate studios (pilates, boxing, group classes, pilates and yoga); a lounge complete with a highly nutritious food offering (think shakes, smoothies, juices, breakfasts, salads, protein snacks and more) and even personalised nutritional coaching; and a spa (including a sauna / steam room in each changing room).

The gym is the focal point of Equinox in Kensington, where I have been spending most of my time. They have every machine you could dream of, and such a vast selection of weights, bands, kettle bells and other floor equipment that you'll never find yourself waiting from someone else to finish with something; there's plenty to go round. Including ice cold eucalyptus sweat towels. Definitely one of my favourite perks, and the perfect thing for cooling down and calming down between reps.

You can also use the large studio, boxing studio or yoga studio when there are no classes taking place, which again are filled with all the equipment you could need. The freedom to use these spaces is an added luxury as, if you go at the right time, you're likely to find yourself completely alone with no distractions.

Equinox also offer a selection of exclusive club classes, from jump rope, studio cycling, ballet barre, treadmill workouts, yoga, tabata and many more, as well as their own signature classes such as The Pursuit, Anthem, Pure Strength, Boot Camp, Precision Running, Definitions, Elevate, Formula, Metcon3, The Muse, Adrenaline, The WorkX, Tread & Shred, Whipped and many more. You'll struggle to find something they don't do. 

They also hold regular events - both private members-only events and also open events - to keep things fresh and interesting; you'll find it pretty impossible to get bored here.

The changing rooms and the spa serve as the perfect restorative spaces post-workout or no workout at all. Upon entering, you are greeted with an aroma of essential oils from the spa and steam room combined with the Kiehl's products they have practically on tap. If you don't have a spa appointment or treatment booked in, a powerful shower (try alternating between hot and cold to boost circulation), a session in the steam room and / or a slow ritual of face and body cleansing and moisturising is more than enough to calm even the sharpest mood, workout or no workout. Equinox is like a second home; it's not all about hitting the gym.

At Equinox, there is a strong community vibe, where like-minded people - either members wanting to achieve higher health, or welcoming staff wanting to assist you in getting there - come together and create a positive, pleasant and inspirational environment to workout in and to thrive. Joining Equinox, you become immersed in this powerful energy, and it's hard to leave. 

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My Experience

My experience began with an Equifit introduction, which is ultimately an in-depth chat followed by a movement assessment, which helps you to learn more about your body and set some goals, and helps the team of trainers to personalise a training plan for you. This was a really nice touch, as I really got to know myself on a deeper physical level (things like body fat %) and had a chance to really think about my goals and what I wanted to achieve from my time there. During this assessment, the trainer discussed my diet with me and made some suggestions, and also recommended certain areas I should consider working on given my goals. We then went onto the gym floor and worked through a few movements which were measured by some really old school equipment. They assessed things like flexibility and range of motion, and also made suggestions and adjustments if my form was off in any exercise / position. After this, once the trainer had gotten to know my goals and my current strengths and weaknesses, he outlined the areas he thought I should work on and strengthen, and why, and we booked in a one-to-one session for the following week, to design some personalised workouts together and so I could become familiar with all of the equipment.

During my time at Equinox so far, I mostly workout independently, purely because I struggle to make it to on-schedule classes as work / meetings / castings / shoots tend to be booked quite sporadically throughout the week. I feel incredibly motivated whenever I visit, surrounded by hard working yet not intimidating others.

I have also been doing private one-to-one pilates sessions, which involves a combination of work on the Gratz mat, reformer machine, cadillac, chair and other classical pilates apparatus. I've been working with Marcela who is a really calm and knowledgable teacher. She has taught me so much about my body and how to move it and use it, and she always makes tiny adjustments to my form which make the world of difference, intensifying each posture or movement far more effectively than I could have done on my own. 

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I've attended a few classes, and love the Precision Running, Jump Rope, Boxing, Tabata and Barre classes. With the members app, it's super easy to book a spot a few days before a class, and if you're on the waitlist, it's likely with a few no shows that the trainers will always make space for you.

Alongside working out, I spend a lot of time in the Lounge before of after a workout. With lounge seating as well as a more formal shared desk area with plug points, and free wifi, it is an ideal place to work from, not to mention super convenient. I've also become addicted to several of their smoothies, and if I need something more filling, they do the best poached sesame salmon, poke bowls and fresh daily salads. I'm also excited to announce that Qnola will soon be available on the breakfast menu and also in single-serve takeaway pots. 

For more information on the clubs and to find your nearest one, explore here.

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