Crystal light balancing therapy at The Sanctuary of Healing

Before my visit to The Sanctuary of Healing I had no idea what a chakra was or whether mine were aligned. All I knew was that I was eager for some relaxation time and to try something different. 

  

The Sanctuary, near Blackburn, believes that our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies need to be able to flow freely through our body in order for them to be able to work together to heal the body. 

Spiritual healing is never something I’ve learnt about before or even believed in so I was excited to try one of the treatments and experience something different. 

My friend Liana and I opted for the crystal light therapy treatment which lasted for 30 minutes, although you can opt for a one hour treatment.

The Sanctuary told us that crystal light therapy ‘combines natural healing frequencies with the use of precious gem stones to bring balance and harmony’ to both body and mind. 

A treatment is said to help correct imbalances in the body which can manifest as an illness; in particular IBS, joint pain and sciatica to name a few. It also claims to help with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and asthma. 

The treatment uses chakra crystals and colour which are said to radiate energy to each chakra in our body. We had seven lights pointing to the main seven chakras in our body. Chakras are basically  the energy centres in our body according to ancient Indian medicine. 

They are: 
1) The root chakra at the base of your spine.
2) The sacral chakra in your lower abdomen. 
3) The solar plexus chakra in the upper abdomen. 
4) The heart chakra just above your heart. 
5) The throat chakra in your throat. 
6) The third eye chakra in your forehead between your eyes. 
7) The crown chakra at the top of your head. 

So basically what we did was lie on a bed with a ridiculously comfy pillow while one of the therapists adjusted the lights accordingly to align with our chakras. We then had the option of having the lights dimmed or not and whether we wanted soft music on. I opted for both. Then it’s time to relax for 30 minutes and it’s up to you whether you stay awake and watch the lights or go to sleep and let the crystals do the work.

Afterwards people are said to feel more energised, enjoy a better nights sleep, feel less stressed and more relaxed. I can definitely say that I felt more relaxed but I’m dubious as to whether the crystals had anything to do with that but all in all it was a lovely, relaxing and peaceful afternoon. 

Before our treatment we enjoyed some lunch in the cafĂ© which was delicious! We had one of the chefs special pulled chicken and crispy pancetta salads which included a soft boiled egg, coleslaw, shredded carrot, yellow tomatoes and mung beans. In keeping with the treatments at the Sanctuary the menu is of course full of healthy yet delicious options with some delicious looking desserts too. 
The staff we met during our visit were incredibly helpful and answered any questions we had about the food and the treatments and even gave us a guided tour of the meditation facilities on offer. 

  
  
One thing I did take away from the experience was the importance of relaxation. These days even when we think we are relaxing, before we go to sleep for example, we’re actually not. There’s always something distracting us, from phones to our other halves! I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to relax properly before bed to ensure I get the best possible nights sleep, ignoring my phone and maybe putting on some of that soft soothing music! 

Have you tried crystal light therapy or are you a fan of healing? Let me know your experiences. You can Tweet me @HannahBryan91 or email me at hbryan91@gmail.com 

🙂 

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Nutty chocolate squares

Warning: This recipe is definitely not healthy BUT it is delicious!

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Ok, so these might not be one of the so-called clean bakes I like to create but they are so yummy and perfect if you fancy a treat or if you’ve got friends/family coming over – and who doesn’t like chocolatey treats!?

I made these for my mum who had to take some sweet treats into work for a cake sale.  I also made a batch for the whole family to devour and we all loved them. The recipe is actually one from my Grandma so I can’t take credit for this creation but I guarantee you won’t be left disappointed if you do give them a try!

You will need:
– 2 medium sized eggs
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 tsp vanilla essence
– 1 1/2 cups pecan nuts, chopped
– 1/2 cup plain flour
– 1/4 cup caster sugar
– 1/2 cup golden syrup
– 3oz plain chocolate, finely chopped
– 3 tbsp butter
– pecan nuts to decorate

Mixing together the sugar and golden syrup

Mixing together the sugar and golden syrup

To make:
– Start by whisking the eggs, vanilla and salt together.
– In a separate bowl mix the chopped nuts and flour.
– In a pan bring the sugar and golden syrup to the boil gradually then remove from the heat. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
– Once removed from the heat stir in the chocolate and the butter which should all melt in. Gradually mix in the egg, vanilla and salt mixture before folding in the pecan and flour mix.
– Pour the mixture into a greased baking tin and bake for about 35 minutes on 180 degrees.
– Once ready (you can check the squares are ready by inserting a knife into the middle of the bake & if it comes out clean, they’re ready!) decorate each square with a nut on top and drizzle with chocolate before cutting up in to squares!

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Tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace on Twitter (@HannahBryan91) or Instagram (@HBryan91)

Paleo mini muffins with peanut butter frosting

Peanut butter muffins that aren’t bad for me…I’ll take 10 please!

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I love baking and I also love turning my favourite treats in to clean bakes. However baking is not my forte, especially clean baking but these were a huge success!

When I’ve previously tried to create some ‘clean’ cakes I’ve used coconut flour and found that it’s a pretty hard ingredient and consistency to work with often leaving the cake too dry and crumbly. Never fear though for I have found the perfect ingredient to make your clean bakes as light and fluffy as a ‘regular’ cake should be! All hail almond flour.

Almond flour is a little more expensive than coconut flour but I’d say it’s definitely worth it if you’re someone who does a lot of baking and will use it regularly.

These muffins are possibly my biggest clean baking success yet and I’m putting it down to the almond flour.

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You will need: (makes 12 muffins)
For the muffins…
– 2 cups of almond flour
– 20 dates, chopped
– 6 eggs
– 4 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting…
– 4 heaped tbsp of smooth peanut butter – I used Meridian’s which I find is best for this icing
– 4 tbsp of icing sugar
– 1 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– raw cacao nibs for decorating

To make:
– Start by pre-heating the oven to 250 degrees. Then either using a hand blender or a smoothie maker mix the almond flour, chopped dates, eggs and maple syrup/honey together.
– Once the muffin batter is thoroughly mixed transfer to some muffin cases and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes. NOTE: check on them after about six minutes as mine cooked super quickly!
– Take the muffins out of the oven when cooked and leave to cool. To check if the muffins are ready insert a knife in to one and if it comes out clean then they are cooked.
– To make the frosting put the peanut butter, icing sugar and maple syrup/honey in a bowl and mix together. You may need to add more peanut butter or icing sugar if it isn’t the same consistency that regular frosting would be.
– Once the muffins have cooled spread the frosting on top and decorate with a few raw cacao nibs and enjoy!

Let me know if you make these and tag me in your creations on Twitter and Instagram using #hannahshappypace. My Twitter is @hannahbryan91

🙂

Egg muffins – a healthy high-protein breakfast or snack

Muffins? Love. Eggs? Love. Egg muffins? GO ON THEN!

egg muffins

Many of us don’t have the time/would prefer not to make eggs in the morning so these are the perfect portable breakfast to have on the go or as a snack or lunch accompaniment.

Boasting the density of a muffin and all the protein benefits of eggs, this is a super easy and tasty recipe to rustle up when you’re doing your food prep.

Not only that but it’s another way of getting your greens in first thing in a morning. If you’re someone who can’t stomach the thought of broccoli for breakfast (personally I love it morning, noon and night!) then this is a great way to get those vitamins and nutrients in your system in a creation which actually tastes amazing too.

You can keep these egg muffins in the fridge, heat them up or simply eat them cold.

My recipe below used the ingredients I had in the fridge at the time but you can add chorizo, salmon, sweet potato… basically anything you like – give it a go and let me know what you use.

You will need: (makes 6 big muffins)
– 6 eggs
– Handful of chopped spinach
–  Pepper/spices to season
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– Âľ bacon rashers, grilled & chopped up

To make:
– Crack the eggs in to a jug or a large bowl and whisk with a fork as though you’re going to make scrambled eggs.
– Add the pepper and other spices as well as the rest of the chopped ingredients and stir well.
– Pour the mixture into muffin cases or a Yorkshire pudding tray, basically anything that’s deep enough to hold the mixture and put it into a pre-heated oven at about 180° for 20-25 minutes until cooked.

Have you made these and added your own fillings? Let me know. Tweet me at @hannahbryan91 or tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace

Yoga month: good for running, CrossFit & your abs!

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It’s that time again when another challenge month has come to an end and it’s on to the next. February was yoga month where Dane and I did at least 10 minutes of yoga every day.

We decided on ten minutes because it seemed like a manageable amount of time to fit in to our day and could easily be done in the morning, before bed or as a way to stretch after training.

We usually ended up doing more though and I downloaded two yoga apps and went on YouTube for tutorials. After a week or so though I had learnt enough combinations to create my own routine.  Check out Dane’s website – All Things Movement –  where he will soon be posting a 20 minute yoga routine guaranteed to get that blood pumping and those muscles working.

As a runner I have inevitably tight hips, tight hamstrings and poor shoulder mobility from the repetitive motion of pounding the pavements but after 28 days of yoga I saw noticeable differences.

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Here’s what I noticed:

– Positions such as classic downward dog helped me to improve the flexibility of my hamstrings and over the course of the month simple moves such as forward bends became easier and I could gradually go forward that little bit more. I do think it’s important to say that without pushing myself during some sessions I might not have improved as much and yes it is painful but like any other training the pain is worth it.

– My general mobility and range of motion improved. I noticed that my squat depth improved as I had been struggling with this after the marathon due to majorly tight hip flexors. Not only that but the range of motion in my shoulders improved too which I am thrilled about as it’s something I really need to work on. Again, I’m not going to lie this was painful at times and I had to push myself.

– Yoga isn’t painful all the time though! It gave me new ways to stretch after running, a way to relax before bed and a better way to start the day with that wonderful yoga feeling. If you’re a CrossFitter, yoga can help to counter some of that soreness after a tough metcon WOD as well. I also slept better which, although I can’t be sure, I believe was helped by yoga.

– Holding a pose or stretch and feeling that “burn” makes it easier to push through the pain of a long run – obviously don’t push through if you’re injured – but it can help you to focus and work through it when you’re struggling. It takes your mind (and body) to a place where you can access that endurance when you need it most during a race or training run.

– Practicing yoga helped me to breathe more efficiently when exercising and is something I think is particularly beneficial to runners. It can help with efficiency and eventually your breathing will naturally match your pace.

– I became more aware of where my body was/where I was placing my weight. My balance improved and I was aware of how I needed to adjust the weight to improve my balance and performance. This not only helped with my running but also in CrossFit with elements such as engaging my shoulders when doing an overhead squat and squatting in general thinking about which part of my foot I was putting my weight on.

– Yoga helps to improve strength and most definitely your core strength as you have to stay tight during each pose.

I definitely think that to keep seeing these benefits I need to keep some yoga in my training routine. I won’t do it every day but I will try and aim for one or two 30 minute sessions a week – I really enjoyed it! 

Dane and I decided to round off yoga month with some acroyoga and I’m still laughing at our attempts! My abs certainly got a good workout from all the laughing as well!

We did manage to nail a few poses though and it was so much fun! I definitely think that the 28 days of yoga prior to that helped with my strength, mobility and flexibility.

Here’s what we managed to do… (keep reading for a hilarious acroyoga fail video.)

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Acroyoga fails….(I’m still laughing now!!)

On the second one watch how quickly Dane manages to get his legs in to that lotus position!!

March is handstand month – follow @hbryan91 on Instagram and @hannahbryan91 on Twitter to see what we’re doing. I’ll post a piece soon on the handstand progressions I’ll be doing!

🙂

 

Thursday night training run

11 miler

It will be six weeks on Sunday until the Manchester Marathon and I think it’s fair to say that my training has not gone to plan at all due a knee injury.

However Thursday nights training run was a success so I thought I’d share with you where I’m at right now.

This was my longest run since the Yorkshire Marathon back in October, yes, OCTOBER! I can’t quite believe it has taken me this long but like anything else where injury is involved these things take time and it’s best to do it right.

Anyway, I was going to try either 10k or 10 miles on Thursday night; there was literally no plan other than go out and run and see how I felt.

I mapped a route out in my head, strapped on lady Garmin and off I went in to the night! I got to 10k and felt good so thought I may as well carry on to 10.

However I’d misjudged the route and ended up doing 11 and even though I had done 10 miles on Sunday that extra 1 mile was HARD.

It felt great to get the miles in my legs and it’s also a confidence boost too knowing that I am still capable of running far and it’s just a case of building it back up.

I also managed to beat my 10 mile time from Sunday by a minute as well, happy days.

Here’s a breakdown of my timings & mile splits:

Total time: 1.30.11
Distance: 11.01 miles
Average pace: 8.11/mi
Calories: 1087

Mile splits:
1- 8.35
2 – 8.17
3 – 8.07
4 – 8.17
5 – 7.37
6 – 8.14
7 – 8.10
8 – 7.38
9 – 8.13
10 – 8.13
11 – 8.41

If I averaged 8.11/mi pace for a marathon I’d be finishing in 3.34.

Looking forward to pushing myself harder as I get back to track soon and start doing some shorter, faster runs at half-marathon pace/quicker than half-marathon pace with Dane. 

Hope you all go out and find your happy pace this weekend! Tag me in your pictures @hannahbryan91 or #hannahshappypace on Instagram. 🙂

10 ways to keep healthy with a busy lifestyle

This morning as I opened up my emails an interesting messaged pinged into my inbox with the subject title “failed again.”

What I opened turned out to be one of the most entertaining emails I had ever received.

Here’s a little snippet from it:

“My willpower is zilch, I have had three chocolates. There are boxes up in the staff room with post-its saying “eat me”- leftovers from Christmas where staff are trying to save themselves – obviously they do not know that I am already sprinting up the stairs to help them out – waistband is tightening by the minute, but even that does not deter me – help…………!!!”

I wasn’t laughing at the fact that this person wanted help but if you knew her like I did you too would be amused at her sprinting up the stairs to help her colleagues out with left over Christmas chocolate. My response: well at least you’re getting some cardio in with those stair sprints- ha-ha.

In all seriousness though this got me thinking about the pressures we put on ourselves in January to eat clean, take up the gym or cut out sugar following the indulgent festive period. January is also a really busy month with people starting back at work, paying off Christmas bills and children heading back to school.

I’ve put together a list of 10 ways to help you stay healthy every month even when you’ve got a super hectic schedule.

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  • Water – This is such a simple change to make but one which has major health benefits. Keep a jug or a bottle of water on your desk at work or in your car at all times. Having it there will remind you to drink plenty throughout the day. Drinking lots of water will also improve your skin, help your body to flush out toxins and keep you alert at work as it increases energy and fights fatigue.
  • Snacks – Make the fruit bowl your friend and keep it stocked full at all times. You can also buy nuts such as almonds and take a handful of those with you to work. That way if cakes or treats appear in the office you will have healthy snacks on hand to curb those cravings and satisfy you until lunch time. Eating better makes you feel better.
  • Read an actual book – Take time away from your computer to read a book or the newspaper. You’ll feel as if you’ve really had a break from work and will come back in the afternoon with your brain refreshed ready to take on the rest of the day.
  • Ban phones from the bedroom – This includes iPads and anything else electronic for that matter. Set aside some time each night to really relax and unwind before getting into bed. Read a book, meditate or just take some time without your phone to switch off. The bright lights will interfere with your sleep pattern and getting a good night’s sleep is so important. You will wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and energised.
  • Green tea – It’s absolutely fine if you love a caffeine boost in the morning but why not try and switch to green tea in the afternoon and limit your caffeine intake. Although green tea does still contain caffeine it doesn’t have as much caffeine as coffee. It also has amino acid L-theanine which works with the caffeine to improve brain function and concentration.
  • Eat your greens – as well as green tea make sure you eat your vegetables. Again, it’s such a simple thing and it’s not meant to sound patronising but vegetables are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants which are guaranteed to improve your mood and leave you feeling healthier and happier in general.
  • Get moving – Set your alarm ten minutes earlier and go for a walk or do some burpees before work. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is great if you are pushed for time and if you get it done in the morning you’ll feel the benefits of those endorphins for the rest of the day.
  • PMA – Positive mental attitude! Starting your day with positive thoughts and having a can do attitude will boost your mood and basically sets the standard for a good day ahead. Think positively when you’re faced with a challenge.
  • Write things down – Make yourself an achievable to–do list either on your phone or when you get to work each day. There’s something strangely satisfying about ticking something off your list and getting stuff done.
  • No pressure- leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t a diet; it’s a way of life. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself by stressing out if you have a chocolate or miss a workout, you’re only human! To get back on track forget about it and move on, health is about so much more than just a physical thing it’s about mental well-being as well.

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What are your top tips for staying healthy and happy? Let me know!

You can also Tweet me at @hannahbryan91 or email me at hbryan91@gmail.com