Money May 4/5

This week of Money May was all about clearing the decks or, to put it simply, decluttering. My good friend Emma – AKA Miss Manifestation – says that her favourite thing to do is move house because it gives her the chance to declutter like crazy and open the energy up to new things.

Decluttering is your friend. Space is your friend. Let go of what is no longer serving you. Whether that’s things or situations or people. Take steps now to clear the space and be delighted at what rushes in to fill the void.

So, following her advice, I have finally completed my unpacking and found a place for everything. I have brought clothes and books to the charity shop and Chris has been busy making desks and shelves and organising his shed. It feels so good to have space for our own projects again and I now have a dedicated yoga and meditation space which I adore and which is making me feel so much more grounded and productive as a result.

As part of my whole “clearing your decks” theme this week I decided to make some changes online as well. So, if you look around the StretchBodyMind website you’ll see bright new logos on the sidebar and footer of each page. Each of these logos link to a course that I have done or a resource I have used and recommend.

  • Right at the top we have the Max Strom weekend which I can promise will be a life-changing weekend! Seriously. Get yourself booked on NOW!
  • This is followed by a sign-up form to the Weekly Stretch Note which I highly recommend if you want to keep up-to-date with the shenanigans of me and Foxy
  • Then we have an exciting new link to the Curvy Yoga virtual studio which I’ve just started doing and I love. In fact, I love it so much I am currently training with the founder, Anna Guest-Jelley, to become the first Curvy Yoga Teacher in Scotland!
  • Next up are some testimonials from former students that I’m very proud of
  • Then we have a couple of my professional accreditations – the Yoga Alliance Professionals and my Coach Training
  • The sidebar ends with a link to my Yoga Teacher Training and links to all my social media outlets
  • At the end of each page there is a footer which has links to my 3 favourite personal and professional development programmes. These are Leonie Dawson’s Shining Business & Life Academy; Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map and Denise Duffield-Thomas’s Lucky Bitch Manifesting Course. I really rate all three of these programmes and suggest you click on the links and check them out for yourself.

The last link is all about a fantastic manifesting course, which brings me right back to the start of my post and the idea that you cannot manifest anything new into your life until you have cleared out the old stuff.

So, for me, it feels good to have bookshelves that are lightly less full and it has allowed me to rediscover old books I wanted to reread (or even start in the first place – yes Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”; I’m looking at you!)  It feels good to have a kitchen where we can find everything and I’ve even been cooking as a result. Finally, it feels AMAZING to have room to stretch and move and breathe every morning and my physical yoga practice is benefitting as a result but, more importantly, my business is benefitting too because I have the necessary headspace to be creative at long last. And I will tell you more about that next week…

Money May 3/5

This week has been all about tracking where my money goes. This has been made easier because we’ve just moved house so council tax, utility bills and other household-related costs have been front of mind.

To make it as simple as possible to track the money in and out I’ve been using an app on my phone called ToshI. I have also used Monefy in the past and am very fond of an Excel spreadsheet. And, even better than that, my friend Emma says nothing beats good old pen and paper!

Now, I have another friend, Amanda, who does not like tracking the money going out because she believes that what she puts her attention on grows and when she did track her outgoings in the past she has ended up with larger bills than normal. Here’s what she said:

… it all comes down to how you feel. The energy behind that has a huge impact on what you manifest. For me, in the recent past with a house move and uncertainty around bills etc, tracking what was going out felt overwhelming and I started to focus on that solely and not so much on what was coming in. This led to a negative feeling and me ending up just manifesting more bills … pah!

So, that is something to be conscious of when you track your money. For me, though, tracking my outgoings as well as my income has made me much more aware of where I’m wasting money on junk food and pointless online purchases, among other things. It has also made me much more conscious of how much of a ‘gas-guzzler’ our car is!

Why track?

So, why track your income and expenditure? For me, who doesn’t have a set monthly wage, it makes it easier for me to budget. For my Sister, who does have a monthly wage but also a lot of outgoings, it means she can stick to her budget. And, for both of us, it is ultimately about increasing our budgets.

Barbara Stanny, who I talked about last week, says there are three stages of financial development:

Survival (not enough) – doing what it takes to stay afloat
Stability (enough) – having enough to meet your needs, eliminate debt and protect your future
Affluence (more than enough) – being able to live life on your own terms

I, for one, want to move into the affluence stage and I can only do that if I start taking money seriously. I believe that tracking my money is the first step in doing so and I heartily recommend you track your money too.

Money May 2/5

This first full week of Money May has been all about mindset for me.

On Monday I listened to a webinar by money guru Barbara Stanny (the author of “Overcoming Underearning” amongst many others) and I found this very useful.

I read up on the symptoms and they showed that I am an Underearner. Check out below and see if you too have underearning tendencies:

  1. Time Indifference – We put off what must be done and do not use our time to support our own vision and further our own goals.
  2. Idea Deflection –We compulsively reject ideas that could expand our lives or careers, and increase our profitability.
  3. Compulsive Need to Prove – Although we have demonstrated competence in our jobs or business, we are driven by a need to re-prove our worth and value.
  4. Clinging to Useless Possessions – We hold onto possessions that no longer serve our needs, such as threadbare clothing or broken appliances.
  5. Exertion/Exhaustion – We habitually overwork, become exhausted, then under-work or cease work completely.
  6. Giving Away Our Time – We compulsively volunteer for various causes, or give away our services without charge, when there is no clear benefit.
  7. Undervaluing and Under-pricing – We undervalue our abilities and services and fear asking for increases in compensation or for what the market will bear.
  8. Isolation – We choose to work alone when it might serve us much better to have co-workers, associates, or employees.
  9. Physical Ailments – Sometimes, out of fear of being larger or exposed, we experience physical ailments.
  10. Misplaced Guilt or Shame – We feel uneasy when asking for or being given what we need or what we are owed.
  11. Not Following Up – We do not follow up on opportunities, leads, or jobs that could be profitable. We begin many projects and tasks but often do not complete them.
  12. Stability Boredom – We create unnecessary conflict with co-workers, supervisors and clients, generating problems that result in financial distress.

Now, I don’t have every single thing on the list but a lot felt very familiar. I definitely put off things and procrastinate with too much TV or Facebook; I move regularly from overwork to overwhelm; I often give away my time and undervalue my services and I rarely follow up on opportunities. So, in Money May, I am determined to address these issues.

If you want to address your issues too why not try the Overcoming Underearning Quiz and work out what those issues are in the first place.

Now that I know my bad habits I have been using mantras to help change my mindset. In my “Stretch Your Biz” vlog I was talking about money mantras this week and how I’m trying to replace my old mantras with new more positive ones that help me change my money mindset. I will talk about this in more detail next week but, in the meantime, you can join the conversation on the StretchBodyMind Facebook page.

Money May

Now that I have my home sorted I am determined to attract more money into my life.

A couple of months ago I watched a good friend of mine move from her post-baby fug into starting a fantastic new business, all thanks to what she called Money March.

So I am going to try a similar experiment this month, that I’m calling (unsurprisingly!) Money May. This month I will track all my income and expenditure and I try all sorts of money manifesting techniques that I’ve learned along the years.

I will be documenting this each week in my blog posts and might even do a few vlogs to explain certain techniques and I would love you to join me on this challenge.

All you have to do is comment on the StretchBodyMind Facebook page with what you’re doing to attract money this May and if you use the hashtag #MoneyMay we can easily access each other’s hints and tips as well as share successes.

The first thing I’m doing is using an app to track my money. I have an android phone and have used Monefy in the past but this time I’m using Toshl. Have you any other apps that you would recommend?

The next thing I’m doing is re-reading “Get Rich, Lucky Bitch” by Denise Duffield-Thomas. Denise is the money mindset mentor for the new wave of online female entrepreneurs. Denise helps women release their fear of money, set premium prices for their services and take back control over their finances. In Get Rich, Lucky Bitch, you’ll unlock your hidden potential for abundance and upgrade your life forever. I cannot recommend this book highly enough because it really can change your life and all for less than a tenner!

Another thing I’m doing in May is blogging about my business a bit more. I am  deep in the process of developing a new online business course for yoga teachers and Pilates instructors and I want to hear from you about what you need. I also want to give you an insight into how StretchBodyMind runs and how I’ve moved from teaching into teacher training and consultancy. So, if you want to read more about this please sign up below and you’ll receive your first “Stretch Your Biz” email early next week.

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Yogandha Oils

As you know, last week was all about the grounding technique of dry body brushing. I also mentioned that after my shower I massage in some oil. I’ve been doing this for years. Way back in the olden days (I’m talking when I was at school so … 25 years ago!) I used to use Johnson’s Baby Oil but now that I know better, I do better!

Mineral oil (such as what you get in Johnson’s Baby Oil) is good at trapping in the moisture which is why I initially used it. At university I moved on to sweet almond oil because it fitted with my vegetarian lifestyle and it had the added benefit of being absorbed easily. Then, just a couple of years ago, I realised another ambition and qualified as a Complementary Therapist which incorporated Aromatherapy. Suddenly I was able to add essential oils to my plain sweet almond oil and give myself a brain boost with the addition of different oils to benefit my hypothalamus and affect all my body’s systems as a result.

However, it can be a bit (or a LOT) fiddly to add drops of essential oils in a certain blend to rub on after a shower. In fact, by the time I’ve located the essential oils I want and counted the drops into the correct concentration of sweet almond oil the water from my shower has well and truly dried in! So imagine my delight when I discovered Yogandha oils earlier this year.

Gandha is sanskrit for fragrance and the fragrant substances – woods, herbs, plants and resins – sandalwood, myrrh, cedarwood, jasmine, etc. that have been filling ashrams and rubbed on the skin for over four thousand years of yoga practice. These fragrant ingredients enhance the yogic state, and when used at other times help bring us back to that state.

Yogandha was created by Yoga Teacher Sinead Duffy in 2013 when she developed 3 rollerballs for use before and during yoga class and 3 body oil blends for use after class or, as I use it, after my morning shower. I loved the story behind the products and the fact that 5% of profits go to Women for Women International so I ordered them all. And I’ve been so impressed with the quality of the oils that I offered them as samples at the OM Yoga Show.

yogandhaI am excited to be involved in a Taster Day at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh NEXT Friday 29th April where you can Experience, Awaken, Indulge with a luxurious aromatherapy massage (by yours truly!) tailored to your every need.

with our Yogandha Relax aromatherapy massage. Rich lavender &
grounding vetiver to unwind into a restful state & deeper sleep.

with our Yogandha Detox aromatherapy massage. Refreshing
lemongrass & cleansing juniperberry to cleanse & purify the body.

with our Yogandha Muscle Soothe aromatherapy massage. Warm,
foresty tones of ginger & marjoram relieves & revives tired limbs.

It costs £35 for 45mins (which is redeemable on any Yogandha purchase) and there are still a couple of spaces available. So if you would like to join me then call  0131 524 8388 to book.

Dry Body Brushing

So, after a year of feeling unsettled and unhappy in Wishaw, Chris and I are finally on the move. We have found a gorgeous 3-bedroom detached bungalow in the even more gorgeous town of Biggar.


This is a lovely rural town in South Lanarkshire which is much closer to Chris’s work and works out at a shorter commute for me to Edinburgh for my Yoga Teacher Training. It reminds me of Moira or Hillsborough (that’s for my Northern Irish readers!) in that it is full of independent shops, including a BOOKSHOP! It also has world-famous ice cream so I am in heaven!

However, as often happens when people are uprooting their lives, I’ve been feeling very ungrounded. For me this manifests with being completely focused on my mind and ignoring my body. I’ve been making plans and changing utilities and living in the future while ignoring the present. So, I’ve been eating junk food and drinking Coke to keep my energy levels high enough to allow me to get all our wordly goods packed up. Unfortunately this diet makes me feel even more ungrounded.

Therefore, I decided to use some of my Ayurvedic knowledge to help me feel more “present” in the moment and to help me cope with the move. I have talked about Ayurveda before – it is the sister science to yoga which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatments, and yogic breathing to help bring that balance.

A favourite ayurvedic trick of mine is dry body brushing. I do this every day before my shower. It is quick yet really effective. Yoga Journal tells us:

On a physical level, daily light exfoliation can stimulate the skin, eliminate toxins more efficiently, and remove dead cells. It also helps clear the mind, according to Janet Wright, author of Ayurvedic Beauty. “In modern Western terms, we might call this a symbolic cleansing, or note that mindfully carrying out a physical process, like body care, can have a meditative effect,” she says. Simply put, the benefits are more than skin deep.

I then follow this up with oiling my body and I will talk about this next week. I’m also trying to replace the Coke with Yogi Teas (which I bought at the OM Yoga Show last weekend) and which are energizing in the morning, soothing in the afternoon and calming in the evening. Another ayurvedic tool I’m using right now is Brahmari or bee breathing which is a simple humming breath that clears the sinuses and calms the mind by creating a healing vibration that grounds me. I just do between 5 and 10 breaths before bed and it helps me to drift off to a relaxed sleep so I can do it all again the next day!

Why not give one of these tips a try and let me know how you get on by email or through the Facebook goup?

The OM Yoga Show

As 2016 started I wrote down my business plans and goals and one of them was to present a workshop at the OM Yoga Show, either in their long-term London venue or at their Manchester event. I had been to both venues in  previous years and, even as a participant, I had learned a lot, bought a lot and made some very interesting connections.

And this year I was determined to uplevel my game as a Yoga Teacher Trainer and promote my work at an event of this ilk. Perhaps it’s a testament to my manifesting skills but I swear, not 12 hours after writing down my goal, my friend called to tell me that the show was coming to Scotland for the first time. I knew that I had to be there.

Fiona and I in action at our stand

Fiona and I in action at our stand

So Fiona from the Energywise Academy and I hosted a stand dedicated to the StretchBodyMind Yoga Teacher Training course in Edinburgh. Based on the chats we had at the stand, we might even be offering a Glasgow Teacher Training in the near future!

The people who stopped by the stand were lovely and we chatted to them about yoga teacher training and told them about the Max Strom weekend that I talked about in last week’s blog then gave them a free pen. After all, everyone loves a free pen (including some of the other exhibitors).


We did move our bodies too!

As well as hosting a stand I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to present a workshop TWICE. So, on Saturday and Sunday afternoon I and over 80 curious souls experienced the Stretch Barre Method which is my own unique blend of Kundalini Yoga, Pilates and Ballet Barre stretches. I am planning to offer a CPD workshop on this method either later this year or early next year.

My class was reviewed by blogger (and former YTT student) Nicky Haston from My Kinda Lifestyle and because my Mum always says “self praise is no recommendation” I’m going to leave the praise to her! Plus, unlike me, she was not working so could really explore the show and she writes about it very eloquently.

Sunday workshop

Sunday workshop

As I said, I was busy working so didn’t get much of a chance to look at the other exhibitors. However, I somehow still managed to spend a few quid and brought home Yogi Tea, organic chocolate from Karuna, cashew nut butter from Almighty Foods, a yoga mat bag from YogaMad, a circular yoga block from the Yoga Shop, some coconut water from Vita Coca and a pair of yoga pants. I also had a gorgeous coral ecoYoga mat, worth £49, gifted to me by the company owner Seona. I can’t wait to roll it out in my new home and get practicing on it.

So, if I could sum up my experience of the whole weekend I’d just say “Wow.” It feels amazing and a little bit surreal to have a big business dream fulfilled like this but I’m so happy I was there and firmly believe it could lead to great things for StretchBodyMind in the future.

Breathe to Heal

As some of you may know, I am an ardent student of Max Strom – the American Yoga Teacher, Author and Lecturer. Many people know him for his two inspiring books: ‘A Life Worth Breathing’ and ‘There is No APP for Happiness’, his most recent title addressing the challenge of finding meaning in the digital age.

And personally, many of my yoga students know him for his ability to make me cry as I read aloud from his work. Every time (and I mean EVERY time) I read his books I find a word, a sentence or a paragraph to inspire me. I’ve since made ‘A Life Worth Breathing’ required reading for my StretchBodyMind Yoga Teacher Training so all my yoga teacher trainees know him too.

When I first read the book, I got out of bed, onto the computer and looked him up to discover he was delivering teacher training in Galway. I moved heaven and earth to get there and came back from that event changed forever. It was the first time, in my 30+ years, that I breathed correctly.

Well, this is his latest TED Talk where he advocates the benefits of breathing to reconnect with ourselves. It’s just over 18 minutes long and it gives a fascinating glimpse into some of what I learned from him.

“Some doors only open from the inside. Breath is a way of accessing that door.” ~ Max Strom

Drumroll please…

I am thrilled to announce that I am hosting a weekend with Max in Edinburgh on 21-23 October 2016 which is open to everyone, not just my yoga teacher trainees or even my yoga students, and which will explore his thoughts on breathing, yoga and life in more depth.

The event takes place in Apex Waterloo Place Hotel in Edinburgh, ideally located just off the east end of Princes Street, next to Waverley Train Station and close to St Andrews Square Tram Stop & Bus Station, and we’ve even organised a cheaper room rate for out-of-town visitors. (Just email me back for the discount code).

So, if you feel like a wee trip to bonny Scotland I’d love to see you there. Further details of this event can be found here: and if you book now you will receive a £50 discount (and be able to get better flights and hotel rooms deals).

If I could give you one thing to improve your physical, mental and emotional health it would be to let you experience Max Strom’s teachings. Please take me up on that opportunity and join me this October in Edinburgh.

Tongue Scraping

This week I want to tell you about the delightful (NOT) world of tongue scraping. According to

The ancient Ayurvedic recommendation of tongue scraping is one that is often overlooked. There are many benefits to this daily practice as far as oral health, and overall physical, mental, and spiritual health. Since the oral cavity is one of the main gateways between your mind/body and the environment, maintaining the health of this connection is critical to general well-being.

In the Charaka Samhita, an early Ayurvedic text, it says that by cleaning the tongue, “(this) removes foul smell, tastelessness … and by taking out dirt coated on the tongue, teeth and mouth brings relish immediately.” No doubt, people who clean their tongue on a daily basis can validate the invigorating effects this practice has. In fact, by removing the coating and stimulating the tongue this helps to balance the heavy and dulling qualities of Kapha dosha in your physiology.

– See more at:

I’ve been doing this practice on and off for years (since I learnt it at my first Yoga Teacher Training) and have used a variety of things to scrape my tongue. While the Charaka Samhita states that “tongue scrapers should be made of gold, silver, copper, tin and brass and should be non-sharp and curved, so as not to injure the tongue.” In the past I have used a plastic scraper. Stainless steel scrapers, which are now widely available and resist corrosion, are effective as well. If you have nothing else you can even use the edge of a teaspoon.

plastic tonguetonguecleaner

Recently I’ve been using a copper tongue scraper because the material has additional benefits, as described by Dr John Douillard, a prominent Ayurvedic Doctor.

Copper may be the best metal to be used for tongue scraping because the mouth is loaded with both good and not-so-good bacteria. Copper not only seems to be toxic to the bad bacteria, it also provides important enzymes that are needed for the healthy microbes in the mouth to survive.

So, why not grab a spoon, scrape your tongue from back to front, spit out the “ama” (toxins) and accumulated mucus, and feel better straight away?!

Self-care is not selfish

After the revelations of the last couple of weeks, this week’s blog post is less personal and more prescriptive. In fact I’m going to tell you what to do!

You see, in addition to what I blogged about, I have been under a lot of stress due to undertaking a serious search for a new home here in Scotland. This was exacerbated by a minor car accident last week which left me feeling physically fine but emotionally vulnerable.

And, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that when I’m feeling low I have a tendency to reach for the sweets.

This time around I am determined to do things differently. So, the Krispy Kreme donuts have been abandoned in favour of some fresh fruit; I’ve been making healthy comfort foods such as lentil and ham soup and I’m drinking green tea instead of coffee.

I’m also making an effort to go to bed earlier and, as a result, I can actually read books in bed again. I used to go to bed so late that I inevitably fell asleep over my Kindle. Now, I’ve got a great sense of accomplishment because I am finishing books for a change.

I have been spoiling myself with scents and I’m burning Neom candles (as reviewed in this old vlog below)

and using Yogandha oils which were created by Yogini and Aromatherapist Sinead Duffy from Dublin and which I recently discovered. I love their rollerballs for use during my yoga or meditation sessions and their body oils are a great way of pampering myself by massaging into my whole body after a shower.

These little self-care rituals had slipped from my daily life of late and so now, when I am feeling so stressed out, it really helps me physically, mentally and emotionally to bring them back. And it feels very far from selfish! So here’s a quick run-down of what I’m doing:

  • Tongue scraping
  • Dry body brushing before my shower
  • Massaging Yogandha oils in after my shower
  • Drinking lemon water
  • Eating fresh fruit
  • Making soups and stews
  • Practicing 10 minutes of Yoga, Pilates or Barre every day
  • Going to bed early (for me this looks like 10pm rather than 1am)
  • Writing in my gratitude diary
  • Reading self-help books and the odd novel 😉

Wow! It sounds like a lot when I list it out! Once again, these are MY self-care rituals. In the following weeks, I will describe each of these in more detail. But why don’t you try one or two of them yourself? Or even suggest some of your own??

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