black women’s body esteem is strengthened by good nutrition, exercise and positive thoughts affirming that we deserve to be well - that our bodies are precious.
[holistic health] night time rituals - winding down and resting
We have about 48 thoughts per minute and between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day so when it’s time to wind down for a restful sleep, it’s no surprise it can take a bit of effort. What we do before bed can have a impact on the quality and quantity of a good nights sleep which is something we all need and a pre-sleep routine allows the body to know that sleep is coming.
1. turn off the laptop
Studies suggest technology use before bed may disrupt sleep and people who sent a text, surfed the web or emailed before bed were more likely to experience insomnia than those who did not. To get scientific the light from screens from electronics like netbooks and phones could prevent your body from producing melatonin, the hormone that is produced naturally in darkness and helps regulate sleep and playing games keeps your mind very active, making it difficult for you to relax and be ‘ready’ to fall asleep. All in all a bedroom should be used for sex and sleep, if possible.
Bath time is my favourite part of my bedtime ritual for so many reasons! I use it as a time to connect back in with myself and some of my best ideas have come from meditative time in the bath. I also live in cold London and a bath at night warms me up for bed; our temperature naturally dips at night so having a soak in the bath at night naturally raises the body temperature and the rapid cool-down period immediately afterward relaxes you which helps with getting a deeper sleep. Using sea salts and essential oils to compliment this will help to calm the mind as well as the body making the process of winding down easier.
A good stretch before bed loosens up stiff muscles accumulated during the day and a restorative asana practice focusing on the hips and shoulders helps to relax the body and mind. You can even do yoga in bed (see me above!) - it doesn’t have to be a big affair. Tara Stiles has some great bedtime yoga videos that are short and easy to follow. Meditating before bed can help to dissolve thoughts and keep our minds clear to relieve any anxieties to better our quality of sleep. I love listening to reiki or indian flutes to send me off.
Having some herbal tea with no caffeine before bed helps to wind down the mind - camomile tea is good for this.
Keeping a diary as a way to reflect on the day and look at what you’re grateful for or write down your worries is a helpful hands on way to put a line under the day and let go of anything that we’ve held onto that won’t serve us
Reading something that is calming, like a piece of spiritual text or a novel that allows you to get lost can be helpful with forgetting the days worries and lull your mind into sleep.
7. say thanks
You made it through another day with no injuries, with the blessings of nature around you, hopefully you had some jokes and if you were still enough i bet you had a bunch of synchronicities that helped your day along - definitely something to be thankful for.
[holistic health] mental health + yoga - caring for yourself inside out
It’s 2k14 and mental health issues in our generation is still an ever relevant conversation - case in point being influential blogger and founder of For Brown Girls, 22 year old Karyn Washington who transitioned after an apparent suicide last week. Now, while i don’t consider myself necessarily a member of this blogging community Karyn’s passing really reminded me of why i stated meditate & medicate in the first place.
My personal experiences surrounding the topic of mental health is in no way a secret - i’ve written about it openly and honesty for SoulCulture’s mental health campaign Ok Not To Be Ok, in hopes that my story would resonate other women, or just anyone that happened to read it to feel free to share and accept theirs, without the shame often associated with this.
Amongst the black and diasporic community, here in London and overseas there are a range of uncomfortable feelings around anything to do with health and wellbeing that appears from the outside to be less than perfect, mental health, in particular. I feel some of these feelings can stem from the belief that all you need is need is faith and prayer, as if the necessary and often painful personal therapeutic work or seeking external help like talking or alternative therapies, is not as important.
A lot of women and black women in particular are broken hearted and carrying burdens and responsibilities that we don’t know how to relieve or release ourselves from, so the stress is pushed to the side and left to inflame.
In “sisters of the yam”, bell hooks says "black women’s body esteem is strengthened by good nutrition, exercise and positive thoughts affirming that we deserve to be well - that our bodies are precious".
In 2k14 with all the fuckery we have to navigate around and balance with, a holistic approach to health is important, encompassing the mental, emotional and spiritual - and this website is dedicated to that. Compartmentalising health - being fit but sad, stress free but spiritually malnourished can and will impact of our overall wellbeing in every day life. This can often show up in other parts of life by way of addictions to things or people to externally fill the happy leading to stress, lifestyle diseases and illness. Not possessing and utilising the tools to cope can lead to worse.
This website is dedicated to women, specifically young black women, but to women who want to reclaim and sustain your natural states of wellness, and feel good from the inside, as well as looking good on the outside.
While i’m glad for anyone who appreciate this blog, its overall aim is to inspire young black women and inform women of colour that are navigating through life’s challenges and events of the natural powers of our nature and nature.
I share with you, not only the benefits of yoga, meditation, holistic nutrition, natural self care and the like but sharing the importance of looking at health as one. This is looking at the energetic and healing spiritual properties of yoga, mindfulness, positive affirmations and reflections, herbs and foods, including suggestions for regimes and routines, herbal remedies, elixirs, and mindful food choices.
It’s important that we take time for ourselves, take responsibility for our own health and wellness and pay attention to that as much as we do to those around us.
Don’t suffer in silence. If you need support, UK charity CALM offer a free, confidential and anonymous phone line and texting service, open 5pm – midnight, 7 days a week – visit thecalmzone.net for information. Help and advice is available from the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention.
This challenge starts today!
Spring is in flow and as we grow into the new season with it’s new energy Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey have come together again for a meditation challenge to help us find our flow. I’ve been doing these challenges whose topics have varied from perfect health to manifesting abundance and…
To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.
Karyn Washington, founder of the For Brown Girls blog, has died of an apparent suicide, reports MadameNoire.com. The influential blogger was only 22 years old.
Washington’s blog celebrated self-love, particularly among dark-skinned women. She also launched the #DarkSkinRedLip project after rapper A$AP Rocky suggested that darker-skinned women should avoid crimson lips. Following her lead, thousands of women of color posted photos of themselves proudly rocking red lips using the hashtag.
While working earnestly to empower women of all races and colors, Washington was also dealing with personal struggles. According to a friend, she had been battling depression and was also finding it hard to deal with the loss of her mother.
Black women, who often shoulder so much burden and to admit any weakness of the mind and body is to be considered defective. Vulnerability is not allowed. Tears are discouraged. Victims are incessantly blamed. We are hard on our women, and suffer as a result.
When your community tells you that you’re better off praying than seeking the advice of medical professionals and medication, you feel shame when you feel your mind is breaking. There is no safe place. To admit to any mental frailty is to invite scorn and mockery.
Mental Illness is Real
"the self is within and the self is without
the self is before and the self is behind
the self is in the south and the self is in the north
the self likewise is above and below
the embodied consciousness is none other than the universal consciousness”
- Ancient Egyptian Proverb
[natural remedies] coarse sea salt
Yoga for me was like an entry point into into taking my holistic lifestyle more seriously, consciously making healthier food choices and re igniting my interest in self-care and natural medicine. One staple kitchen resident that my Jamaican grandmother used for lots of ailments for the family growing up is sea salt. Let’s take a look at some of the uses and benefits of this every day mineral as a natural remedy.
sea salt is an alkaline mineral that when used on the skin, helps to raise the body’s pH level. table salt has finer grains and is processed but sea salt (below) is coarser as it has not been exposed to high heat and stripped of its minerals with man-made ingredients added to it. importantly, raising pH levels balances the body and eliminates the risks for serious illnesses, such as cancer.
when having a salt bath it clears out lactic acid, which is what makes the body stiff and soothes aches and pains.
using salts with essential oils is a relaxing way to end your day as well as to detoxify and cleanse your system. this bath naturally opens up the pores, improves circulation in the skin and hydrates the tissues so that your skin can heal from skin issues like eczema. it’s also useful for reducing menstrual cramps.
another great use of sea salt is gargling with it and warm water for sore throats, especially good at the beginning of a sore throat or tonsillitis to soothe and reduce the rawness and mucus.
dissolving negative energy
after a heated discussion or argument (infused with a lot of negative energy), place a bowl of sea salt in the middle of the room to neutralize the energy, and for sick people, place a bowl of sea salt (or water with sea salt) under the bed of the sick person to dissolve their negative energy.
if you’re into crystals for protection, meditation or every day use you’ll know that its recommended to cleanse crystals with sea salt. the salt shouldn’t be used after though, make sure you throw it away afterwards.
what do you use sea salt for? let me know.
“There is power in looking” – bell hooks
Socially constructed ideas about race and gender remain key in how Women of Colour perceive themselves. Patterns of images used by media, culture and society constantly tell us what we should look like and who we should be. They produce a literal and symbolic gaze outside of the self in order to render these bodies into objects to be looked at.
The importance of the gaze then is that it allows dominant groups the power to control how Women of Colour interact with social spaces, other people, and most importantly with themselves. The ‘gaze’, however, is never totalizing and looking can offer an important space of critical resistance.
Using film, visual art, dance and poetry, A Different Mirror provides a platform for Women of Colour artists to explore the conflicts about how we see ourselves versus how we are seen.
The 3 day exhibition and educational activities confront these crucial questions about the systems or structures that shape our relationship to our bodies and its connection to our identities. It holds up a mirror to see and know ourselves differently.
Exhibition Public Opening Times:
Saturday 26th April 2014 10 am – 5pm
Sunday 27th April 2014 12 pm – 5pm
Featuring works by: Indigo Williams, Lesley Asare, Sanaa Hamid, Nasreen Raja, Sarina Leah Mantle, Wasma Mansour, Uchenna Dance, Patricia Kaersenhout, and Ng’endo Mukii, Aowen Jin, Janine ‘j*9′ Francois, Clare Eluka, and Emerzy Corbin.
Reflections: Art as a Tool for Healing
Saturday 26th of April 2014
6:30pm – 8:30pm £7.50 (early bird £6.50)
This artist seminar explores the ways in which art can be used to heal and empower ourselves and others. It offers insight into different artistic mediums and how these artists have used their practices for reclamation and transformation.
Featuring a performance by writer Yrsa Daley-Ward, talks by Indigo Williams (poet) and Lesley Asare (visual and performance artist) of I Shape Beauty, and a panel discussion featuring Sharmila Chauhan, Aowen Jin, Vicki Igbokwe (Uchenna Dance) and Bola Agbaje.
Journeys and Reflections: Women’s Circle
Sunday 27th of April 2014
10am – 12pm (Free)
We have 12 spaces for Women of Colour aged 18 + To reserve your place email email@example.com.
Video Credit – OOMK ZINE
Music – Janelle Monáe – Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu
MORE INFO: A DIFFERENT MIRROR