WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

Movement

6 Online Workout Programs That Actually Feel Like a Workout (Plus, My Favourite Free Online Workouts)

Lifestyle, Movement, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Online workouts have a bit of a bad rep, with many people finding them either hard to follow or hard to commit to without the motivation of a real trainer or a group class environment, or both.

I’ve been dipping in and out of online workouts for years as, sometimes, when I’m traveling a lot or living in temporary accommodation, it is sometimes the easiest and most accessible option for me. However, I always found it inevitably hard to motivate myself, and at times got easily distracted. Not to mention, there was sometimes a lack of genuinely good programs or videos available, and the ones I often most enjoyed involved subscription fees that I didn’t want to commit to long-term.

For the past few months, I’ve been splitting my time between living with my parents back in Bath for some peace and quiet, and with friends in London since I’m traveling and working abroad a lot. In Bath, there are only a few gyms local to me, but they are all a good 10-20 minutes drive away and, for me, that just requires too much time and effort out of my day. For this reason, online workout classes and free youtube videos have been my saviours. I have been researching and rediscovering some of the best online programs and, to my satisfaction, there is so much out there these days. The following list is a combination of the online programs, virtual training programs and free videos that I have been trying out and that have been totally life-changing for me. I’ve found it really easy to incorporate these things into my busy schedule, and have seen some of the best physical results of my life.

I’m due to be traveling for most of the summer, and spending some time abroad and on-the-go for work and other projects, so these programs and video classes will be my go-to, on-demand workouts until I am back and settled in London with access to my usual gyms and classes. I’m super excited to share these with you, just in time for summer, if you cant get to a gym or are bored of your classes or current regime, and want to save some money.

P.volve

P.volve is a smart, science-backed fitness program that helps you achieve your best body without strenuous strength training or intense cardio.

Their approach to fitness is to elongate your shape and builds strength without bulk, to help you carve out the most perfect body that’s right for you. While other programs rely on reps, the P.volve method is based on mastering precise movements that activate hard-to-reach muscles. Because when every movement is meaningful, you can create visible results in less time, using less energy.

The workouts are unlike anything you’ve done before, because the movements are not like anything you’ve tried before. They’re based on the kinds of movements you use in your everyday life (as in, not bicep curls) then carefully developed over time, incorporating neuromuscular science and functional science expertise. In other words, P.volve works with your body, not against it.

P.volve offer a 7-day free trial online and then the program is just $29.99 per month (and available worldwide). They also recently launched in the UK and host regular pop-up classes, so keep up-to-date with their next events online or on social media.

* Use code “COPPERMAN30” to get 30 days free streaming, too.

Fiit App

I have been using the Fiit App for a few months now, and love their on-demand, trainer-let workouts. The app contains all kinds of workouts, from pilates and yoga to hiit and cardio circuits, each one lead by one or several trainers specialised in each particular style and method. The videos are all consistent, too, filmed in the Fiit studios in the same format so that you are able to get used to using the app and following along effortlessly.

Some workouts are longer than others but most are around 20-30 minutes, meaning you can squeeze them into your day pretty easily.

Fiit also have a wearable activity tracking device, too, which you strap around your waist and connect to the app on your phone via bluetooth to track you effort, number of reps and progress from one class to the next.

In June, they also launched Fiit Club - a workout event on the app where you can train with others, and compete against your friends. Fiit Clube is a new kind of HIIT class where you compete on a live leaderboard, based on the premise that working out with others makes you work out harder. You have to upgrade to the premium membership (which includes a free Fiit device!) in order to enjoy this aspect of the app.

Otherwise, the app contains a few free classes, so take a look and perhaps try a few out before deciding whether to sign up to the monthly subscription.

* Get £20 off your membership here.

Megan Roup’s The Sculpt Society

I adore Megan Roup’s method, a mix between dance, cardio, barre, ballet and pilates. Megan's signature class brings an athletic approach to follow along dance cardio and light weight sculpting. This full body, non-stop workout will challenge you with everything you need in 50min to create a lean, sculpted, strong body. Sadly, Megan is US based, and evening her online program is currently only available to stream in the US. However, I have found a few free digital workouts on her website as well as on Popsugar, Youtube and Amazon.

Movement for Modern Life

Movement for Modern Life is a great website for all things yoga and, as they dub it, “yoga made easy”. Their online platform offers a vast selection of varied approaches to yoga, from gentle beginner classes to more intermediate / experimental classes - all guided by actual teachers. I find the videos super easy to follow, and at times just want I need to get motivated to start moving. You can also take part in challenges online, which help to further your practice and keep things interesting. Learn more about their unlimited-access membership, here.

Kayla Itsines

I used to follow Kayla Itsines workout regime a few years ago, before she had an app. I’d have print-outs of her PDF’s and would take them to the gym or the park to workout. I loved the ease of doing just a 20-30 minute workout but that genuinely felt challenging and demanding. Since then, I’ve used the app and other digital videos, and can’t recommend it enough. I saw results instantly and found it easy to do anywhere, with little to no equipment. At the moment, I prefer slightly gentler workouts, less weights and less intense Hiit sequences, however, from time to time, I dip in and out of Kayla’s programs still, especially before a big shoot (or holiday).

Model Fit Streaming

When I lived in New York for a few months, I visited the Model Fit studio a few times as had heard great things about their workouts. It was super challenging but in a controlled way, and wasn’t too intense or stressful, but more focussed and refined. I recently learned that they now have a streaming program, which offers easy-to-follow digital classes you can do anytime, anywhere, and for a length of time that works for you. “We pioneered and customised an approach to mindful and dynamic movement that builds graceful strength and confident presence. Our studios work with members to move with purpose and on purpose by marrying mindful nutrition with mindful exercise”.

The workout involves relatively light weights, and is considered low impact, focusing more on stabilising muscles and engaging them until they shake, working deeply into muscles that usually get overlooked, for the best definition you’ve ever experienced.

Enjoy a free 14 trial and learn more, here.

My Favourite Youtube Trainers and Free Youtube Videos

Madfit
Joe Wicks
30 Minute Barre Class
Pop Sugar
Pvolve
Megan Roup
Barre (ab focus)
Pilates
Tara Stiles
Cardio & Hiit


Links

Five Wellness Techniques to Keep You Zen Whilst Travelling ~ For Evening Standard

Anytime, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Movement, Natural Living, Rituals, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

Regular travel can start to take a toll on both your physical and mental health.

To help reduce the side effects of long journeys and constant travelling, I’ve shared my favourite rituals that can be done anytime and anywhere to decrease stress, improve sleep, increase energy and keep you balanced while on the move.

While you can’t be expected to do yoga in the airport or start chanting on a plane, you can always find a corner to close your eyes and turn inward for a moment, requiring nothing but the power of your mind and breath.

It really is as easy as that.

Sensory meditation - to ground and arrive

A simple meditative technique to reduce stress, align concentration and balance emotions is to use your senses to redirect your attention.

This is a versatile practice, and will be different almost every time you practise it, because it is likely that scents, sights and noises will change from one day to the next. Use this technique when you find it particularly hard to focus, or feel overwhelmed with challenging thoughts, either first thing in the morning or just before starting work, to shift and reset your focus.

Sensory awareness meditation may be more powerful in an unfamiliar setting, so if you can, try to change your place of practice from time to time. It is best to practise with your eyes closed, as your senses may be influenced by things you see or you may find it hard to focus on senses other than sight if there are many visual distractions.

Method

1. Find a comfortable seated position and rest your hands on your knees, in your lap or by your side.

2. With eyes closed, bring your awareness to the rhythm of your breath. Notice how each inhalation and exhalation feels and notice where in the body you can feel the breath most. Breathe naturally with your attention on your breath until you come to a steady and comfortable breath.

3. Begin to bring your awareness to each of your five senses. Focus on one sense at a time, noticing how it feels and how it is stimulated in the present moment. Start with whichever sense naturally grabs your attention.

Hearing will likely catch your attention first. Notice the sounds within or around you, without judgement or hostility. They may be the sounds of your own breathing or internal movements. They may be sounds made by others close by or far way, by people you know or don’t know. They may be familiar or unfamiliar sounds. They may be clear or indistinguishable. Sit for a few minutes, acknowledging and accepting the sounds around you, and if any thoughts arise, simply use the sounds around you to refocus the breath.

If you find your attention drifting persistently, turn your focus to another sensation. Notice any smells around you, near or far, faint or pungent. Maybe you’ve lit a candle or applied some fragrance to yourself or the space around you. Maybe you smell food or plants, fresh washing or smoke. If a smell brings negative thoughts, turn your attention to more positive smells around you.

Perhaps the taste in your mouth becomes noticeable, next. Maybe there is a sight aftertaste from your last meal, or from smoking or brushing your teeth. If you don’t smoke and/or haven’t yet eaten, notice the inside of your mouth and how your tongue feels. Is it heavy or light? Is it soft or rough? How does it feel to move it slowly around the mouth? This may bring your attention to touch. How do things feel? How do your hands feel where they are resting, and what are they resting on? If rested on your body, do they feel warm or can you feel the warmth of your body beneath them? If on the floor or furniture, how does it feel? Is it cold? Is it soft or rigid? Are you comfortable? Notice the connection between your sitting bones and where you are sat. Do you feel rooted and supported by the earth beneath? Is the rest of your body comfortable in this pose? How do your clothes feel against your skin? If you want, you can even feel around you, resting your hands on any objects they fall upon and considering what they might be.

Maybe this will bring your attention to your sight. Blink your eyes open gently, take in your surroundings, noticing objects, shapes, colours, materials and light. Gradually trace the room, resting on things that catch your attention, and then pause, noticing how you feel after the exercise. Close your eyes again and close the practice with a few deep breaths.

Body scan - to calm and relax

Body scanning is an easy mindfulness exercise to relax the body, calm the mind and shift attention away from overpowering thoughts. It involves relaxing each part of the body by focusing on it for a few moments. Practising this meditation in the evening is ideal as it is best performed lying down, encouraging the body and mind to transition from “doing” to “being”.

Method

1. Lie on your back on a comfortable surface with your legs slightly apart and your arms by your sides. If you are not in bed, place a blanket over your body if you tend to get cold easily.

2. Focus on the breath and notice any thoughts or feelings that arise. When they do, try to turn your attention back to your breath and how it feels moving through the body.

3. Start by focusing your attention on the toes on your right foot. Be aware of how they feel and gradually move your attention up the right side of your body right up to your head, before continuing down the other side.

4. Settle here and notice how your body feels, both part by part and as a whole, and notice how your mind now feels.

Breath of Fire breathing exercise - to energise

This exercise is used for internal purification. It tones and cleanses the respiratory system by encouraging the release of toxins, and is intended to make you feel lighter in your body and mind. It involves short, sharp exhalations and passive inhalations, or vice versa. This is quite an advanced practice so familiarise yourself with other techniques before this one.

Method

1. Inhale deeply and then forcefully exhale to drive all the air out of the lungs and stomach.

2. Take another full inhale, and then begin to exhale forcefully through the nose. Try to start with 6–10 short, sharp exhalations, without taking an inhale (slight inhalation will occur passively). With each short exhale, draw the belly inwards, engaging and tucking the abdomen in and up towards your ribs.

3. After you’ve completed a full cycle, inhale and exhale fully for a few breaths, before repeating a few more rounds. I like to do around 3–5 rounds.

4. To close the practice, settle in your seated position and return to a natural, effortless breath.

Self massage for neck and shoulders - to improve circulation and reduce tension

This simple massage sequence is so simple yet so powerful. I do this anytime I travel, to reduce tension in my neck and shoulders, especially after long flights.

Method

1. Stand tall and relax your shoulders down your back, elongating the neck.

2. Support your forehead by resting it in the palm of your left hand and then let the head tip slightly forwards. Using the edge of your right hand (along your little finger to where your hand joins the wrist), use a gentle chopping motion to lightly tap up the base of the skull. Stay in this vicinity, working around the base of the skull and top of the neck. If tapping is too much, use sawing motions to release tension at the base of the skull and in the neck. Do this for about 1–2 minutes.

3. Return to standing and slightly tip your head back. Take your hands to your head with thumbs just under the ears, palms on the side of your cheeks and fingers along the sides of your face, fingertips on the temples (as if you were going to lean on a table with your head supported in your hands).

4. Then, use the pads of your thumbs to work around the base of the skull, pressing and massaging the area with however much pressure feels right (you will just know). Move your hands passively, however feels comfortable, and work inwardly with the thumbs from behind the ears towards the spine. Work for about 2 minutes, and feel free to use the thumbs at other points in the skull that feel tight, such as above the ears or the temples.

Journaling - to unwind and focus

Journaling is something I love to do anytime, but whilst travelling, especially travelling alone, I love to make time for it to jot down thoughts that come up. Usually, when I'm abroad or travelling alone, I am in a really calm state and love exploring new places which helps to switch off my mind. I find some of my more inspiring thoughts and ideas come to me in this state, and so spending a little time journaling is really useful. It can also be used if you are feeling stuck, lost or a little lonely, to let go of thoughts and any negativity and try to understand it more.

Another option is to practice stream of consciousness in your journal, as another meditation option, which involves simply writing as soon as you wake up, with no agenda or really topic in mind. this helps to clear the mind and enhances energy and concentration for the rest of the day.

The Best Eco-Friendly, Ethical & Independent Activewear Brands and Their Best Pieces

Essentials, Lifestyle, Movement, Natural Living, Style, Sustainabilitydanielle coppermanComment
Stretching_014.jpg

Since embarking on my journey of living a more eco-friendly life, I have come across so, so many incredible brands doing amazing and conscientious things. I could go on and on about them all, and I will, but in this instance, let’s talk about activewear.

This was a natural progression for me since initially developing my awareness of health and wellness through fitness. In fact, fitness is where it all started for me, since, as a model, this was something I became growingly aware of and interested in in order to stay fit and in shape. Then, as my interests expanded and spread across different industries, including food, mindfulness, beauty and environmental issues, I began to seriously question the fashion industry and its ethics. And since my daytime wardrobe is predominantly activewear-based these days, I felt super inspired to apply all that I’ve learnt about the fashion industry and sustainable style to my activewear sourcing.

So, or you’re hitting the gym hard in the quest to earn your Thanksgiving and Christmas binges, I think these activewear brands have something for you. Or, if you welcome this time of year as one to hibernate completely, excusing yourself from any extra activity that isn’t absolutely necessary, the pieces these brands create have extra stretch and are super soft and flexible, so are ideal, exercise or not.

Girlfriend collective

Girlfriend activewear is easily one of my favourites, for their simple yet functional designs, and such a vast array of unique block colours. I love their Lite range, made with Econyl - which contains recycled plastics retrieved from the ocean. Their opinion: “Old fishing nets look better on you than they do at the bottom of the ocean”.

Pama

Combining eco friendly fabrics and sustainable practices with fashion to create chic, high-performance activewear, Pama were one of the first environmentally mindful activewear brands I ever came across. I adore that their products are made from natural materials like bamboo and charcoal, and they are so beautiful and wearable. I practically live in their chakra shorts during the summer.

Vyayama

Vyayama is another of my first and favourite discoveries in natural activewear. They use only natural fibers which are OEKOTEX® certified, sourced sustainably and made ethically. Their designs are super unique, and whilst some of their prints are lively, they are incredibly wearable and chic unlike a lot of bright and over the top patterns rife in activewear these days! It’s all so comfortable and I live in this even when I’m not working out!

Peak and Flow

Peak and Flow’s mantra goes something like this: “For us, sustainability isn't just about the selection of better materials and where we create the product, it's also about creating clothing that is built to last, cross-functional and reduces how much you need in your wardrobe. We work tirelessly to make every stage of the product lifecycle better for the planet”. I like supporting companies whose values align with my own, and I also like these, which are made from recycled ocean plastics, recycled industry waste and recycled plastic bottles.

Sports Philosophy

Sports Philosophy’s products are made with carefully sourced materials that are breathable, sweat-wicking, UV-protective and piling-resistant. Everything is ethically done, and they even have their own charity which fights child labour within the fashion industry. Find out more here.

Silou

This independent brand from London offers super chic, body-enhancing designs, all of which are ‘mindfully manufactured’. This new bralette is a fave.

Phat Buddha

Based in NY, Phat Buddha make flattering collections for all body shapes, so you don’t have to be a super slender yogi in order to pull off their designs. Their crops are super cute, and these V-neck leggings are insanely flattering for any body shape. They use organic materials, most of which are completely and safely biodegradable.

Adrenna

Adrenna was born from the desire to pursue a more intelligent and environmentally conscious way of producing and enjoying activewear, without having to sacrifice style, function or quality. Adrenna are passionate about tackling mass-production, so they only produce what and when is needed. Their activewear also minimises impact on the environment, since they produce in small batches, source locally and work as much as possible to zero-waste production. What’s more, Adrenna offer made-to-order services, and, using the finest technical eco-fabrics from Italy, allows you to customise certain features of your activewear.
This sports bra, which comes in several colours, is such a flattering and functional shape.

Allbirds

Allbirds are one of my favourite shoe brands, and they are doing incredible things. Their shoes are made with technical and functional materials, and are 100% natural. You won’t find any cheap or synthetic materials, and these shoes, although slightly pricier than most, are build to last, and also to leave as little an impact on the planet once you’ve done with them. Made from wool, recycled bottles, castor bean oil, trees and sugarcane made into Sweetfoam soles. I live in these and these.

Milochie

A super sustainable company on many levels, Milochie products are made with 92% Tencel®, Miloflex® - whic is an incredibly sustainable material, made from wood-pulp which comes from sustainably harvested Beech trees that are turned into fabric using a super-efficient closed loop system, that re-uses 99% of its waste. The fibres of their products are also naturally anti-bacterial, sweat-wicking, and biodegradable. I love their patterned shorts.

Vaara

Vaara is by far one of the most beautiful activewear brands, and every pieces is insanely aesthetically pleasing. The designs are simple and chic, not too bright and totally wearable, even when you’re not heading to a workout. They’re the kind of leggings you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be caught wearing on a late night supermarket run for emergency snacks. Material-wise, they select the finest materials, caring for the detail and working with only the best manufacturers in the world to thoughtfully tailor each piece. I’d say functionality is more suited to yoga and pilates than high intensity workouts, and love this set and these shorts are perfect for the summer.

Varley

Varley’s designs performance driven, timeless, wearable pieces that you will come back to again and again. They differentiate themselves through innovation, product performance and quality, and whilst sustainability is not something they shout about, they use high-quality materials and produce in much smaller batches compared to activewear giants. I love their super elegant Walsh Bra and pretty much any of their leggings; all of which come in a vast array of colours and patterns.

Alternative Apparel

Eco-friendly, organic, recycled, Fair Labor Certified and Green Business Certified, Alternative Apparel have a variety of clothing, not specifically activewear, but you’ll find some loungewear and loose-fitting tees and leggings. Their garments are crafted with sustainable materials & processes, including organic & recycled materials, low-impact dyes & water-conserving washes, and all of their packaging is biodegradable.

Outdoor Voices

I love the ethos at Outdoor Voices of making working out fun. “We believe in going out and Doing Things. Moving our bodies and having fun. Let's let go of our expectations, rules, should’s and should nots. Let's have fun, be free, make discoveries, make friends, and make progress. Let's start #DoingThings together”. They use just four core materials and source textiles sustainably, including their sustainably-sourced merino wool and recycled polyester made from water bottles. They have a relatively small collection, producing in smaller batches than your usual high street stores.

Groceries Apparel

Made from 100% organic recycled materials, Groceries Apparel offer all kinds of items, from daywear to intimates. I love their bras and tees to throw over my core activewear pieces.

Sharehope

Sharehope are doing so, so many great things, and too many for me to list here. Find out about them here and check out their do-good leggings.

Evveervital

A beautiful range of athleisure apparel made with innovative materials that are ethically sourced and responsibly manufactured, without sacrificing style, quality and performance. Take a look at this, this, this and this.

Reformation

I adore everything Reformation, especially this statement: “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2”. Everything they create is super ethical and sustainably done, their own-brand made in small batches and their site also supporting other small brands doing things they approve of. Check out their activewear picks here.

Free People

Just about everything.

Riley Studio

I love Riley Studio’s loungey collection, and wear the hoodies everytime I go running, or to get me from a to be; or more specifically from home to class. Through extensive research and development we aim to source fabrics that have been created from waste materials or from natural fabrics that are biodegradable. Sustainability is at the core of our philosophy and we are working towards becoming part of a circular economy by choosing fabrics such as ECONYL®, which is infinitely recyclable. In an attempt to also alleviate the plastic waste crisis across the globe, we use fabrics such as rPET, which is made from PET packaging and industrial waste.

Threads 4 Thought

Threads for Though use sustainable materials and create products that leave an innately smaller impact on our environment, support in-need communities, and assist in changing the narrative of ethical standards within the fashion industry. Their ‘Reactive’ collection uses recycled plastics, and their other collections are all just as virtuous.

Boody

Boody use OEKO-TEX certified bamboo to make their beautiful basics, and buying from them you can rest assured that you’re supporting fair wage production and positive work ethics. Their products are all vegan and they even use eco-friendly packaging. I love their underwear, their leggings and this cami body. Find out more here.

Pact

“We believe in crafting clothing differently: Sustainable materials, kindness towards humans and the softest clothing you’ll want on every layer”. Pact’s products are organic and fair trade and are made without toxic chemicals, and steer well clear of sweatshop/child labor. Sounds like the kind of brand we need more of, right? Browse here.

Shift to Nature

“At Shift to Nature we set about sourcing high quality products that are made carefully from certified organic textiles, responsibly to those who make it, and with consideration to our customers. We source beautiful clothes and bed linen from both Australia, Europe and India”. Shop not just activewear, but a variety of wardrobe basics and essentials like underwear, here.

Carrot Banana Peach

Carrot Banana Peach is an organic plant based clothing brand, created almost twenty years ago and inspired during a trip to the rainforests of Malaysia. The collections they carry include bamboo yoga clothing, banana fitness clothes, soybean retreat wear and Aloe Vera clothing and accessories. So clever!

Live The Process

I love anything Live The Process do, especially this: “Live The Process is ethically made in America by women who are dedicated to creating your high quality product. Our high standards of care for this creative process come from our dream to make the world a better place. From the cutting of our luxurious fabrics to the packaging that your items are shipped in, we make sure every step of our process is helping achieve our goal of reducing environmental impact and embracing American labor.” Every piece they make is so effortlessly beautiful yet functional; just take a look at this, this, these and these and then try not to buy everything else on the site.

Assist Your Workouts

I use these in every single workout I do at home.

These are complete game changers and take your home workout to new levels.

Cardio that’s actually fun.

Intensify your workout with one of these or these.

Not just for pilates, these and these are amazing for all kinds of ab, thigh and glute reps.

To go with you everywhere and to avoid excessive plastic bottle consumption.

One of my favourite post-workout snacks: in this flavour, this flavour, this flavour and this flavour.

Experiment with pre-workout supplements or drinks, for endurance and stamina.

Try adding these and / or these to your daily routines, which are known to assist in fat burning and muscle repair.

The Most Toning Workout You'll Ever Try, Plus 30 Days Free ~ with P.volve

Anytime, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Movement, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Towards the end of 2018, I started working out with P.volve. P.volve is an incredible and completely unique fitness method that I’ve found to tone and define the body like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It increases strength and stamina, whilst also improving focus and balance, and what’s great about it is that they have a really interactive online streaming program, meaning you can workout from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere, for that matter.

I used to go through peaks and troughs of motivation when it came to fitness, but for the past year or so I’ve learned the importance of finding activities I truly love, which has resulted in a much more positive attitude and commitment to consistent training. It no longer feels like a chore or something I have to do, but instead something I love and enjoy and which makes me feel good. I battled with hating certain clubs or classes, especially the more intense regimes which often left my body inexplicably drained and fatigued, and my mind stressed and irritable. A lot of people ask me how I remain motivated to work out and the absolutely crucial step in becoming consistent with your exercise regime is to filter, find and do the things you genuinely enjoy. Otherwise it’s always going to feel like an extra effort, and it’s never going to leave you feeling as good as it could.

Tips for finding what works for you:

1) If you dread the thought of attending a class but know you will feel better for it afterwards, that' doesn’t make it right. Sure, you should feel challenged, but if you genuinely dread the thought of it, I promise you there are other ways to challenge yourself that you just haven’t yet discovered.

2) It takes time to find things you enjoy, but one of my greatest pieces of advice would be, before committing to a new membership or joining a new gym, try a few new places and classes before. Many gyms, studios and other methods offer at least one free first class, so do some research and try new things. It takes some time to filter out the things you love from the things hate, but it’s all part of the journey, and you’ve nothing to lose.

3) Listen to your mind as well as your body. So many people see exercise as something you do with and for your body, and whilst it predominantly affects the physical you, it also has the power to affect the mental and emotional you; in both positive and negative ways. If you feel frustrated, angry, irritable or stressed during your workout or class, it is thought that you will have less focus and concentration, and will also fatigue more quickly. Whats more, being stressed can really mess with your breathing and cardiovascular health and capacity, and the kinds of stress hormones that are secreted as a result have been known to increase the likelihood of fat storage, which just adds to the struggle and the frustration. If you can find activities during which you feel positive, calm, inspired, motivated and empowered, you will find you have more energy, more stamina, and will feel much more better not just during but also after your workout, rather than wanting to ‘reward’ yourself (often with edible treats) for the trauma you endured.

4) Workout with others, at least sometimes. Whether that means working out with friends or in group classes, having people around you adds to the experience and also brings a sense of community, support and added motivation (especially for the competitive type).

5) Use fitness apps if you enjoyed tracking your progress. These personally stress me out more simply because it adds to my to-do list and list of things I need to remember to check and update. But, they can be useful and when I have the time, I do think they can really help to develop a consistent exercise program and help you to track your progress.

6) Make feel-good workout playlists that keep your mood and energy high.

7) Find inspirational fitness accounts and personalities in order to keep up to date with the latest things to try, and also to keep morale and motivation up.

8) Change up your workouts. Keep them varied and don’t do the same thing every single day. Find a schedule that works for you and try to keep the same sort of schedule week on week, but try to have some days for one type of workout, and other days for other workouts.

9) Workout in nature. I used to hate cardio and still do but I have learned to embrace it since it makes me feel so good, after the initial few sessions. Walking and running, especially outside and specifically in green spaces, have so many benefits aside from the obvious physical ones, and just being surrounded by trees and plants can help improve your mood.

10) Reframe your perspective and the way you think about exercising. Don’t just exercise to get fit or reach visual physical goals, instead workout to feel good and to become stronger. Approaching exercise as something that can improve your strength, balance and posture and as something that can reduce stress and improve your mood puts less pressure on the workout and has been proven to be far more motivating that working out simply to change / improve the things your dislike about your body. Workout to feel good and to evolve physically and mentally.

11) Avoid pushing yourself too hard or too fast. Build up slowly, increasing strength and stamina before you try to challenge yourself too much. It takes time, and when you have a break from working out, it is even harder to get back into it, but that is part of the process. Patience is key.

Why P.volve?

Alongside running, walking, swimming, gymming, boxing, pilates, yoga and barre, P.volve has been an absolute life-changer for me, and I am so excited to finally share it with you as I know it’s going to help so many of you in so many ways.

1) it will help those with tight schedules and minimal time to workout more often, frequently and efficiently (most videos are about just 30 minutes long).
2) it will help those who can’t get to gym or those who just don’t want to fork out for an expensive gym membership to workout anytime, anywhere and from the comfort of their own home.
3) it provides an incredibly tough workout without your usual hiit or intense cardio sections, which I’ve found has helped hugely in keeping motivated at home.
4) the online videos are super inspirational and are easy to follow, with really supportive commentary from both the trainer and the demo girls.
5) there are so many videos online and they are constantly adding new ones.
6) they provide filters online, meaning you can tailor each workout to your own individual needs or preferences, from one day to the next (for example, applying filters like ‘abs' or ‘butt’ depending on which area of the body you want to target most).
7) some videos don’t even require equipment, making them super accessible to everyone and especially useful for those who may be traveling often and forced to workout in hotel rooms or poorly equipped hotel gyms. I could think of so many other points to add to this list of reasons why you should at least try P.volve, but instead, I’ll go into a little more detail below, and will leave you with an exclusive ab exercise to get started with.

What makes P.volve different and what to expect:

P.volve is the smart, science-backed fitness program that helps you achieve the best body for living your best life.

“Pain isn’t gain. Pain is just pain”.

Ever finished a workout feeling sore? Too exhausted to function? Ready to collapse on a couch with 6 hours of Netflix and your ringer turned off? That’s not a win. That's just bad.

P.volve is the opposite of a gruelling, high-impact, sweaty, painful workout. Instead, you’ll find a safer, science-backed method to help you achieve the beautiful, natural muscle tone and healthy results you want. You’ll even enjoy it.

P.volve’s approach to fitness is to elongate your shape and builds strength without bulk, to help you carve out the most perfect body that’s right for you. While other programs rely on reps, the P.volve method is based on mastering precise movements that activate hard-to-reach muscles. Because when every movement is meaningful, you can create visible results in less time, using less energy.

The workouts are unlike anything you’ve done before, because the movements are not like anything you’ve tried before. They’re based on the kinds of movements you use in your everyday life (as in, not bicep curls) then carefully developed over time, incorporating neuromuscular science and functional science expertise. In other words, P.volve works with your body. Not against it.

The P.volve method

✓ Elimination of bulk, creating beautiful shape and definition
✓ Specifics include more defined thighs, a higher butt, a stronger core
✓ Works with any body shape, any fitness level
✓ Low-impact anti-pulse training is easy on your joints
✓ Activation of hard-to-reach muscles
✓ A stronger body that helps you get more out of everyday life
✓ A noticeable boost to your overall health, wellbeing, and confidence

And the best news? Joining P.volve is only $29.99 a month. They offer a 7-day free trial, so if you aren’t ready to commit, you can try before you buy. Take a free assessment here to see if P.volve is for you and click here to find out more and to start your trial.

Use code “COPPERMAN30” to get 30 days free streaming. Simply follow this link to redeem and enter the code at checkout.

Update your workout wardrobe with a few of my new favourite pieces

The Equinox Effect

Anytime, Essentials, Lifestyle, Movementdanielle coppermanComment
8F20A778-46F9-4FEC-A6F7-A59254333B16.JPG

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. 

Snapseed.JPG

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. 

IMG_4625.JPG

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.

2C6B77CE-C882-4CE9-8BD0-B32DCF184C55.JPG

#Equinox #EQXPartner

Movement ~ Abs in seconds with Tempo Pilates

Essentials, Inspiration, Movementdanielle copperman1 Comment
DSCF0462.jpg

I've been going to Tempo Pilates ever since a friend of mine recommended it as their favourite local studio. I'd previously tried SLT, Brooklyn Bodyburn and Pilates on the Square in NY, and a few Heartcore classes in London, but had never made a consistent routine of it. That changed after just one class at Tempo; I am hooked.

Tempo offers comprehensive reformer pilates classes dictated by the beat and frequency of music.  Each sequence and each move or posture is controlled and consistent with the tempo of the studios upbeat playlists, to provide a fun and structural pace to flow to. The transitions within and between each movement are controlled and precise, and strengthen not only the major muscle groups but, just as importantly, the mind/body connection; something that not a lot of other fitness methods achieve. The classes also bring attention and awareness back to the breath, which, as well as energising muscles, helps to keep the whole situation calm and relatively stress-free.

Most classes begin with the same sequences, first stretching, settling and becoming accustomed to the machine, and then straight into some challenging ab work followed by warming leg exercises. You'll glide, slide, jump, squat, lunge, plank, push, pull and resist in each and every direction, each movement guided and fuelled by the breath. The breath, whilst centering the mind and enhancing focus and concentration, remains deep and controlled, with powerful exhales introduced to get you through the most challenging moments the movements.

DSCF0476.jpg

What to expect

The beginner and intermediate classes begin with a few core exercises to warm and awaken the core muscles. You'll then move onto double leg work and then glute exercises and single leg work - focussing heavily on the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. You'll then usually do some more core work - involving some variety of crunches, sit ups and pulses, moving swiftly on to some excruciating inner thigh work. Then depending on the day, the time, the instructor, the mood, you'll either go onto some floor lunges (with one leg on the floor and one on the machine), some jump work (using a spring board attached to the end of the reformer machine) or some plank work (involving dynamic isolated planks, active plank to pikes, or some kind of knee to nose crunches or commando planks). Whatever it is, it's gonna burn, it's gonna be uncomfortable, but it's gonna give you abs pretty much instantly.

DSCF0496.jpg
DSCF0508.jpg

Well Being Ritual Series - Checking in + Grounding

Movement, Rituals, Video, Wake Up Well, Well Being Bookdanielle coppermanComment

Checking In + Grounding

This exercise is all about bringing awareness to the physical body and for you to get to know how you feel at the beginning of each day. 

As you stand in a neutral position with your hands on your lower abdomen, bring the attention to your breath and really notice the expansion and contraction of your stomach, and how it feels beneath your hands. 

Close your eyes and consider how you feel right now, both mentally and physically. Is your mind busy? Do you notice any pain, tightness or discomfort? What parts of the body are you immediately aware of, and why? 

As you scan your body, notice how each part feels and acknowledge any sensations along the way, breathing into each body part as you approach it. Imagine, as you inhale, that fresh energy enters your body, and as you exhale, imagine any tension physically leaving the body. 

Spend a few minutes on this practice, and repeat if you move through it quickly. This practice can be performed on its own if you are short of time, but i’d recommend following it with an energising rituals, such as tapping (demonstrated in the second part of this video and detailed on page 000) or shaking (page 000).

Tapping

Tapping is a simple routine that promotes blood circulation and energy flow, refreshing and invigorating the body. It involves tapping and massaging parts of the body, using a combination of fists and fingertips to activate them and to release any tension, emotion or energy blockages held within. This is one of my favourite rituals as it is incredibly invigorating, yet so simple and quick. It helps to raise your vibrational energy and instills a sense of balance and lightness. It works to awaken the energy of the body, encouraging any ’stuck’ or ‘stagnant’ energy to get moving, which, in turn, helps us feel more energised and alert.

(page 48-49 in Well Being)

Well Being book is out now - get your copy here.

Not another cookbook - Well Being Book Announcement

Anytime, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Movement, Rituals, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wellbeing, Well Being Bookdanielle coppermanComment
71aT5bCBvHL.jpg

The time has finally come for me to reveal the release of my debut book, Well Being: a collection of recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind. Below is a brief breakdown of what's to come, and if there's anything else you want to know, leave a question in the comments or ask me via email.

I have been manifesting this book for years and finally started working on it in 2016. I then spent pretty much all of 2017 planning, writing and shooting its contents and, 10 months later, it's a real life book that you can buy and hold and read. Life is crazy.

The book contains natural recipes and rituals inspired by ancient traditions and aimed at realigning the body and mind to restore balance within, both mentally and physically. It contains rituals and other practices aimed at undoing the damage of side effects of modern life - such as stress, depression, low energy, lack of sleep, poor digestion, and much more.

Well Being is a combination of the most valued rituals and recipes I have discovered over the years, since embarking on my journey of eating healthily and living well. Each section contains rituals to help reduce stress, ease digestive issues and encourage a sense of balance, calm and clarity, followed by recipes made with entirely natural ingredients, designed with each stage of the day in mind. Morntime rituals and recipes energise the body and mind, Daytime rituals and recipes enhance productivity, In Between Time rituals and recipes encourage concentration and focus, Evening Time rituals and recipes aim to refuel and Nighttime rituals and recipes aim to encourage relaxation and deep sleep. 

Offering a collection of recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind, inspired by nature, modern-day needs and a variety of age old traditions from wellbeing systems from all over the world, the book combines all-natural, carefully considered recipes with simple rituals, each of which are tailored to specific times of the day, underpinned by the common interest in reducing the stresses of modern day life. Its main intentions are to reduce stress, improve digestion, enhance energy levels, improve sleep, enhance concentration, strengthen immunity, encourage positivity and reverse the effects of illness - all by understanding and utilising the power of natures healing ingredients and the potential of your own body and mind.

With over 200 recipes, 60 rituals and 30 recipes for beauty and home remedies, Well Being is a versatile and easy-to-use handbook for anyone, anytime, anywhere. It will guide you through each stage of the day and provides advice and education to help you to fine-tune the fundamental foundations of wellbeing, to personalise them and to curate an individualised set of guidelines you truly understand and enjoy enough to sustain them. It will guide you through your ever-changing journey with flexible and adaptable information rather than restrictive rules or extreme, quick-fix methods.

MAIN FEATURES

Official release date: January 4th 2018

Over 200 food recipes

Over 60 rituals

Over 30 recipes for beauty remedies and home solutions

The book is divided into five main sections: Morntime, Daytime, In Between Time, Evening Time and Nightime. Each is then subdivided into rituals and recipes

The recipes are mostly plant-based although some contain eggs, and there are suggestions to include meat or other animal products in certain recipes, depending on your dietary choices / requirements. The recipes in the book are adaptable and don't fall under any official label or systems, reinforcing that no single diet works for every one and that the keys to adopting sustainable lifestyle habits is responsibility, understanding, individualisation and flexibility.

The book includes a detailed introduction to the more 'buzzy' ingredients I tend to include in my recipes, such as adaptogens and tonic herbs, and these are always included in an 'elevate it' section of the ingredients list, rather than standing at the forefront of a recipe. The foundations of the recipes in this book are all accessible, easy to come by ingredients. 

How-to recipes for daily goods (including how to make 2 minute almond milk, coconut yoghurt, sauerkraut, buckwheat pasta, almond pasta, bagels, breads, pickles and quickles, chutneys, nut butters and other spreads, stocks and broths from scratch) that guarantee consistent and effortless cooking at your fingertips.

Follow @dcopperman and #WellBeingBook to explore more about the book or to get involved once you have your copy ;)

BARCELONA CITY GUIDE, THE YOGA KITCHEN AND WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL ALONE

Movement, Travel, Wellbeing, Lifestyle, City guidesdanielle coppermanComment

I'm (finally) getting around to writing this from the comfort of my boyfriends apartment in Sweden, wearing tiny nike training shorts with a contradictory oversized jumper, wrapped in blankets, drinking iced coffee. It's all very confusing, but this is what tends to happen during that awkward inbetween phase of seasonal change. And now, writing about Barcelona and browsing through photographs of myself in mermaid pose by a pool is just throwing me off even more. But you need to know about the places I discovered in Barcelona in case you're thinking of going in the future, so I'm going with it.

Earlier this year, caught up in a not-so-irregular email frenzy (the kind where you're beginning to question whether your fingers are even attached to your hands anymore given the rate they are moving) I almost trashed an email invitation that I thought at first glance was an ad. It was not. Kimberley Parsons, owner of Retreat Cafe and author of The Yoga Kitchen, was reaching out to invite me to her Catalonian Yoga Retreat (just outside of Barcelona), to celebrate the release of her cookbook. And since I had made no sturdy summer plans, and was still yet to make my way to Barcelona, my répondez (or should I say respuesta) was a no brainer. I booked my flights almost immediately, and added on a few extra days before the retreat started to spend some proper time exploring the city. My friends often find it brave that I travel alone, but I think my past experiences as a model probably have something to do with my personal lack of concern. I don't like being alone at home all day in London, but abroad, I love to be left to my own devices, and to explore a new place on my own terms. I don't just love travelling, I love exploring and discovering, which is why being alone doesn't seem to phase me. There is nothing like connecting with local inhabitants of a new place, and from experience, I manage to do less of this if I am travelling with others. Sure, I also love travelling with friends or family as the chance to share certain experiences with another person is unbeatable in its own way, but travelling alone gives you the chance and space to interpret things for yourself, and without necessarily realising it, you will often discover new things and rediscover the old, by reconnecting with yourself internally. I find that travelling opens my mind and also my heart, and enhances my energy output in a way that attracts positive and inspiring experiences and discoveries to come to me.
 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Despite growing up in the countryside, I have become quite the city girl. But despite being a self-proclaimed city girl, the fast pace of city life will always get to me and is something I really don't miss when I'm away from it. Barcelona has the perfect balance in this respect. It has all the busyness, excitement, creativity and innovation of any capital city, but the atmosphere is sleepy and slowed, and the vibe is more communal and authentic. And it has a beach.

With only two full days in the city before retreating north into the Catalonian hills, the inner tourist in me woke early every morning and slept late every evening. I hate the thought of missing something and love to immerse myself in the traditional culture of a new place, which in Spain, means eating dinner around the time I would usually be going to sleep. Here are a few of my favourite Barcelonian discoveries, and after that, more on the retreat:

FLAX + KALE, TERESA'S + TERESA CARLES
I headed here for a smoothie and left with three. I then returned en route to the airport at the end of my trip and gorged on sashimi salmon toast and a vegan ice cream sundae to end all ice cream sundaes. They have some unique flexitarian options and something delicious for everyone. Teresa Carles is the chef in charge, and is also responsible for Teresa's Juicery, Teresa Carles and Teresa's.

SATANS COFFEE CORNER
This place has two locations, one of which is located on the corner of some quiet bending back streets, which is where I guess the name comes from. I had an amazing iced coffee (made from the finest single original coffee beans) and chose a breakfast bowl and some poke from their menu of local, house made dishes.

BRUNCH + CAKE
More than just brunch and cake, but you can’t call a place brunch, breakfast, smoothies, coffee, juices, sandwiches, salad bowls, toasts and cake, can you? With several locations across the city this place offers interesting and exciting nourishment any time of day (despite the name).

SURF HOUSE
A cute little surf shack that makes Barcelona Beach feel like Bondi. They have an amazing selection of fusion bowls, fresh burgers and revitalising drinks, and from them I chose an amazing tuna sashimi bowl and a smoothie. It's not often you find a place with vegan options sitting across from bbq ribs and nutella drenched waffles, but this place proves it can happen.

BOCQUIERA MARKET
If you like food, and lots of it in one place, spend some time wandering Bocquiera Market. A huge indoor/outdoor food market selling fresh produce, cooked meals, meat, fish, cheese, bread, smoothies and nut and seed pick & mix. I stumbled across it accidentally and stocked up on the most amazing macrona almonds, macadamia nuts and a coconut smoothie.

MACBA MUSEUM
Due to my time restriction (and the beautiful weather outside), I didn’t explore inside the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, but a friend of mine living in the city suggested swinging by to watch the skateboarders doing their thing. I took my Bocquiera takeaways and ate them in the sun, watching them make a half pipe out of the museum steps.

PRESS + RESET
One of few juice joints in the city, Press and Reset is a cool, cold pressed juice bar, located on the sidewalk approaching the beach. I took a strawberry almond milk from the fridge and enjoyed it with my feet in the sea.

THE JUICE HOUSE
Juices, smoothies, tea infusions, acai bowls, chia pancakes, avocado toast, salads and more, with options for meat eaters, vegans and everyone else in between.

BLUE PROJECT CAFE
Vegetarian, vegan and raw nourishment. Beautiful, delicious and incredibly functional if you need some cleansing between tapas courses and rounds of san gria.

PARK GUELL
I thought it was only right to engage in some actual tourism in between exploring the health food scene, so I made my way from the beach, through Park Cituedella all the way up to park guell. its quite a walk but i wasn’t working out so i enjoyed every sweaty minute of it. when i reached the park i explored the public grounds before taking the tour of Gaudi’s infamous architecture.

_______________________________________________________________________________

T H E    Y O G A    K I T C H E N

After two days of touring Barcelona's health food scene and making my way to enough of it's famous landmarks to satisfy my inner tourist, I headed North of the city to the a traditional 19th century converted farmhouse situated in the Catalonian hills, to join Kimberley and ten other guests for The Yoga Kitchen Retreat. Kimberley's book - The Yoga Kitchen - is all about eating to realign our seven chakras which, incase you are unfamiliar, are the different energy systems within our bodies. These chakras, known as the Root, Sacral, Solar, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown, are the major energy centers of the body and are charged and recharged through contact with the stream of cosmic energy in the atmosphere. Each chakra relates to a certain part of the body, and if you feel physical or mental tension or experience complications in a certain area, this is known as a blockage or closure, and is your bodys way of showing when something is out of balance and unaligned. In her book, Kimberly focusses on the connection each chakra has with diet and mindful habits. She explains how we can support each one through our diets and provides over 100 plant based, sugar free and gluten free recipes to nurture each chakra. To emphasise the importance of phsycially and mentally nurturing our chakra's and keeping them balanced, Kathryn Fielding was our yoga teacher for the week, and each daily practice was inspired by each daily menu, focussing on a single chakra each day, starting from the root upwards.

We spent every moment before 8am in complete silence, and from 8am to 9am, this was only broken by the words of our teacher. At first, especially since I was sharing a room, I found this challenging as I hate awkward silences as it is, and wanted to acknowledge my roomie with a friendly 'good morning'. However, since everyone was silent, it wasn't really awkward at all, and by day two I had come to quite enjoy over-emphasising my smile and pointing at things in order to communicate.

After half an hour of independant, self-guided meditation, we started each day with 1 to 1.5 hours of chakra relevant morning yoga, either on a rooftop overlooking the hills, or on the edge of the infinity pool (not the infinite edge, dw). We then walked, simultaneously energised but relaxed, back up to the main house where a breakfast shot and smoothie was waiting for us. We sat at a long, communal table and got to know each other between courses of avocado toast, savoury flapjacks, egg bowls, rice bowls and hearty, seasonal salads - all made from the freshest local produce. You couldn't even imagine a brunch so perfect if you tried, unless greasy spoons or frosted flakes are your jam.

After breakfast - which was often 4 or 5 courses (sometimes 6 if you finished someone elses) of the most wholesome, natural and intentional ingredients - the rest of the day was our own. At first, I was dubious about going away with people I didnt know and was concerned that I might not want to commit to everything on the program, however, unlike a lot of more regimented retreats, we were left to do whatever we wanted for the rest of the day, and even the afternoon and evening activities were not compulsory. This fitted with the 'wake up well' and 'wind down well' ethos behind my brand, as I loved having structure in the morning and evening, but freedom to do what I wanted during the day. Somedays we walked off our breakfast banquet with a hike to and from a local lake. Others, we took bikes to the local town, played tennis in the private courts, swam in the pool, sunbathed, socialised or in some cases worked without feeling like we were working.

In the evenings, we had the choice to take part in yin and restorative yoga, often in a cool, cave-like room or on the rooftop overlooking the sunset. After that, we gathered around the communal table for a three course selection of chakra-relevant Yoga Kitchen nourishment. We started each meal with something light (raw asparagus mousse, roasted carrot gnochi, warming soups and seeded crackers). The mains (lentil dahl, white bean risotto, aubergine brown rice bowl to name a few) were fulfilling but also easy on the digestive system, and the desserts (turmeric mousse, raw chocolate bites, brazil nut ice cream) were, although not needed at all by this stage, welcomed and received with open arms (and chakras, lol). Some evenings we toasted essential oil spritzers and digestive tonics whilst star gazing, and others drew to a close with a cup of tea, a late night swim or just some low-key independant reading.

The experience as a whole was incredibly heart opening, and to have Kim and her husband both hosting, their love and energy definitley penetrated through every one of the guests. Some guests had never done yoga before whilst others were comparably pro, but no matter anyones level or ability, i defeinitely noticed something change in each guest by the middle of the week. Some people had stressful journeys, many of us were going through hectic times at work, and one was dealing with a painful breakup, but as we all opened up, shared things and let good food, positive energy and restorative yoga practices sooth these current challenges, we were able to accept things, enjoy things, embrace the power of positive thinking and of each others energy and truly let go. I swear I saw all twenty tense, hunched up shoulders drop heavily after a few hip opening postures and superfood shots.

I think the temperature just dropped by another 5 degrees so I'm going to round this up now, but if you want to find out more about The Yoga Kitchen, follow Kim @kimberleyparsons. She holds these retreats all year round and all over the world, so take a look on our website or subscribe to her newsletter to keep updated.

If you want to keep up to date with my travels and discoveries, follow me @dcopperman. I'll also keep these posts updated if I discover new things on repeat visits.