With around six weeks to go until summer holiday season officially begins, we’re no doubt starting to think about breaking out our holiday wardrobe. Feel confident in skin, body and mind with our six-week summer countdown from EPSA Senior Trainer and qualified Yoga Teacher Nicola Baillie. Over this series, she shares her best bodycare advice alongside specific yoga poses to energise your spirits and smooth, tone and strengthen those most-revealed areas.
Week 1 | Off to the best start
Getting in the right mindset is your most important task this week. You’ll need to rise a little earlier than normal – building on this time as the weeks progress to no more than an extra half an hour a few times a week. But it will be worth it for the gains you’ll achieve.
Each morning, massage a little Restorative Body Oil onto pulse points – the Sweet Orange, Palmarosa and Lavender Essential Oils will really help restore balance and put you in the right frame of mind. Then follow the below Yogic breathing technique. Nadr Shodhana, as it’s called, helps reduce feelings of stress, boost oxygen levels and balance your heart rate:
- Close your right hand into a gentle fist in front of your nose, then extend your thumb and ring finger
- Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your ring finger
- Open your right nostril and exhale slowly through it
- Inhale through your right nostril and then close it
- Open your left nostril and exhale slowly through it.
This completes one cycle… repeat 3-5 times.
Next, head for the shower. Before you step in though, reach for a dry Skin Brush and spend just five minutes exfoliating your whole body – when done each day, you’ll very quickly see great improvements to muscle tone and the appearance of cellulite.
- Start at your feet, brushing up towards the knee (front and back) then up the thigh and over your bottom
- Brush down from the side of your waist, across to the centre of your lower abdomen several times on each side
- Brush up the back from your bottom, as high as you can reach on each side
- Moving to your shoulders, brush down from the back of your neck, across your shoulder blades. Then from the back of the hand up towards your elbow and shoulder – front and back
Week 2 | Boost your energy
It’s time to get up and get active! This week we’ll focus on ways to help reduce the feeling of fatigue and minimise production of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Cobra and Tree poses are renowned to reduce tiredness, lift your mood and improve balance, as well as stretch stiff, tight muscles. They’re ideally performed first thing in the morning, just once or twice a week.
Spend no longer than five minutes warming up your body (see Nicola’s yoga warm-up here), then follow her two exercises below:
Cobra (takes around three minutes)
- Lie face-down on the floor with your legs extended behind you, spread a few inches apart with the tops of your feet rested flat on the mat
- Place your hands under your shoulders with your fingers pointing toward the top of the mat. Hug your elbows in to the sides of your body.
- Press down through the tops of your feet and your pubic bone. Spread your toes.
- Inhale as you gently lift your head and chest off the floor. Keep your lower ribs on the floor.
- Draw your shoulders back and your heart forward, keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.
- Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds. To release, exhale as you slowly lower your chest and forehead to the mat. Rest and then repeat up to five times.
Tree (takes around three to five minutes)
- Stand tall with your arms at your sides and your weight distributed evenly across both feet
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, then reach down and clasp your right inner ankle. Use your hand to draw your right foot alongside your inner left calf or thigh (not your knee).
- Adjust your position so the centre of your pelvis is directly over your left foot and your hips are aligned.
- Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Then, press your palms together in prayer position at your chest.
- Fix your gaze gently on one, unmoving point in front of you.
- Inhale as you extend your arms overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky. Rotate your palms inward to face each other.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, place your right leg back down, then repeat on the other side
Afterwards, dry skin brush your body, then use our zesty, naturally foaming Energising Shower Gel to continue this mind and body revitalisation.
Once a week foot treat
As you’ll notice from this week, your feet have started to play such a vital role in helping you balance and bear weight – especially so for Tree Pose. Showing them some TLC once a week from this point will mean – come the holidays – your feet will be well and truly beach and sandal ready.
- Massage Exfoliating Body Polish into dry feet, paying particular attention to dry and rough areas, then rinse thoroughly.
- Massage Skin Rescue Balm into toenail cuticles and dry heels.
- Smooth Pink Hair and Scalp Mud generously over feet, pop on some cotton socks and leave them overnight. Rinse in the shower or wipe off any residue the following morning.