RECONNECTING MIND & BODY AT GO YOGA, HARROGATE

photo 1-1Coincidentally, I had a couple of emails drop in my inbox this January, which were totally unconnected and yet exactly what I felt my burnt out mind, body and spirit was craving. Reflexology is something I’ve never really tried before but have always been fascinated by and yoga, well me and yoga have never really got on when I’ve tried it in the past but all that has now changed.

I started my road to reconnection by walking my feet to Harrogate Reflexology ย in Harrogate. Helen Riley is a private reflexologist registered with the Association of Reflexologists. Her home based treatment room is a lovely calm, warm and welcoming space which put me at ease, just as she did. We began with a relaxed chat about how I was feeling generally. I admitted I’d been feeling quite tired and lethargic, which I always put down to just being a busy mum and the fact I’m no longer a whipper-snapper. I mentioned a niggling knee gripe which I’ve been ignoring for a couple of years too. I also filled in a short questionaire about my general health to help build up a picture.

Reflexology is often dismissed as a glorified foot massage and while it can be wonderfully relaxing (I nearly dropped off towards the end of my treatment) it is so much more than that. In short, pressure points on the feet correlate to areas of the body and manipulation of these can help the body to heal itself. Like many complementary therapies, reflexology taps into our body’s natural abilities.

As I lay back in the cradle-like chair I felt warm, secure and cocooned while my cold stiff feet became more pliable in Helen’s expert’s fingers. It really is interesting to observe the sensitivity you can feel as different areas of the feet/body are stimulated. For example, I felt my body temperature fluctuate and at one point I felt a slight ache around my womb, like I do when I have my period, which made sense when Helen explained that one of the areas she works on for women are the ovaries/womb.

Afterwards I felt soothed yet refreshed and my feet were really hot (so much so that Helen had to apply some cooling peppermint oil). NB my feet never feel hot, they are permanently icy, just ask the mister. Two areas of note that Helen mentioned after the treatment is my lungs and my thyroid. She suggested that my breathing could be an area I need to work on in order to boost my circulation and that it might be worth getting a thyroid test to see if it’s underactive (which I guess could explain the fatigue).

We also discussed a number of simple lifestyle changes I could consider that would help to boost my health and wellbeing and it was this holistic approach of Helen’s that I really appreciated. She suggested I could try a detox diet, reducing my sugar and gluten, which would really raise my energy levels. But she also recognised the need for balance. Instead of mainlining caffeine because I’m tired (again guilty), I could try savouring my one proper coffee of the day, making a real event of it and then drinking herbal/decaf/water the rest of the time. I was also given the number of Helen’s physiotherapist so I can get that knee sorted out! I left feeling like I’d had a health MOT and my feet were pretty happy too!yogaA week or so later, I then tried out my first yoga session in about fifteen years. I’ve always wanted to get into yoga but a couple of the classes I tried down in London during my twenties left me feeling like the clumsy, uncool girl and I disliked the seemingly competitive nature of it all. Plus, I have always written myself off as the most unbendiest person yet as I get older and stiffer I know that this really is what my body needs. It needs stretching and strengthening and if I don’t start soon I might never be able to do it.

So many people talk about how important the right teacher is when you do yoga and I really understand that after a session with Sophie Bickerdike from Go Yoga in Harrogate. Funny, kind, easygoing, Sophie embodies everything she teaches. She places less emphasis on achieving the perfect yoga pose and instead works with people to just see what their body can do. And of course it’s about so much more than body but also breathing and focus – in fact a lot of the things that my reflexologist mentioned. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to join these dots but I can really see how so many of these practices and therapies are related and have added benefits when combined.

So how did I get on? Well, I’m still no yogi (yet). I still wobbled but I felt in control (mostly) and it was fun. I found most of the core poses (downward dog, salute to the sun etc) familiar enough and surprisingly still do-able even after all these years. I could see how after a few more sessions my body could find that stretch and open up more. Sophie gauged the difficulty level just right for me and gently encouraged and corrected without being intimidating. In fact I was having so much fun I had to stop giggling and focus a bit more. We slowed things down eventually with some lovely essential oils (a speciality of Sophie’s), breathing and relaxing stretches that felt like my body had been crying out for.

The next day I had that nice, gentle ache you get when you’ve used muscles that you’d forgotten about but nothing too strenuous. More importantly, I felt the urge to book my next session, poring over the timetable to see when I could find a class that would fit with my childcare. Go Yoga run classes from two sites; Cold Bath Road and Hornbeam Park, so there’s plenty of choice from beginner level to sports yoga and even kids’ classes.ย I’m even thinking of digging out my old, unused yoga mat out of the ‘to eBay pile’.

I’m conscious that both of these reviews are Harrogate-based but for my readers further afield, I hope you’ve found this helpful in case you too were thinking of ways to reconnect mind, body and spirit. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to self-love/care recently as I mentioned in this post. It’s hard to find the time, money or even energy for the things but I really do think we’re worth investing in, even if it’s just finding five minutes for a bit of meditation. Let me know what works for you, I’d love some more recommendations.

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Big thanks to both of these companies for allowing me to review their services free of charge. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

 

 

Comments

Amy //

Reflexology sounds really interesting – I’m always torn between stuff like that because it sounds a bit ‘woo-woo’ for me, but at the same time I want to be a believer! Maybe I should stop being such a cynic…

I am, however, a big fan of yoga. I don’t go as often as I should, but the studio near me is really nice and everyone is super friendly. Definitely none of that competition stuff, which would be very off-putting for my super-inflexible self. I sometimes wonder whether the reason why I like it isn’t so much the yoga itself, as putting my phone down for a whole hour (or more) and having to be very much in the moment to keep up. I always feel more relaxed and happy afterwards, which is maybe something to apply to everyday life rather to the rare occasion I actually go to a class!

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Kathryn //

Ha, I love the phrase woo-woo. I know what you mean but I’m starting to think there’s so much more to it than we realise. xx

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Kelsey //

I love reflexology; I love how they can suggest and know so much stuff about you through your feet- so so clever.

Hope it’s the path to relaxation and a fresh look ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

K.

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Kathryn //

Thanks Kelsey, it is amazing really isn’t it? There’s so much about our bodies that we still don’t fully understand.

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Slummy single mummy //

I love a bit of yoga, but I’ve been really lazy about it over the last few years. I did it a lot after Belle was born and I was on maternity leave and it really helped my back.

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Kathryn //

I think everybody should do it really. I’m really impressed that my uncle took up pilates in his retirement! xx

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Lizzie Woodman //

That’s really interesting Kat. I’d always wanted to try reflexology. Do they suggest follow up appointments, or was it more of a one of thing?

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Kathryn //

Hi Lizzie. I had an hour and a half consultation which you can then follow up with regular hour long sessions if you wish but i think it’s okay to have more ad hoc sessions too, especially if you have a specific complaint that’s not ongoing. Hope this helps, probably best to ask the experts though ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

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Lori //

This sounds wonderful and just what was needed. I keep saying that I’m going to start Yoga and then somehow keep putting it off to poor planning and timekeeping skills. Well no more, this lady wants a flexible healthy body, thanks for the inspiration lovely! x

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Rosie //

The right teacher will appear when the student is ready, so they say, and it would seem that that is exactly what has just happened for you, Kathryn! I had been longing to find the right yoga class and teacher for me for ages and, three years ago, she appeared and I haven’t stopped since. The benefits are manifold, both physically and – especially so – mentally. As my teacher says, it’s as important what we practise off the mat as much as on it. So, whilst in that queue at Sainsbury’s with a to-do list whirring round in my head, I now connect and b-r-e-a-t-h-e! It’s all yoga. Enjoy and persist.

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Mel Wiggins //

Oh I’ve been meaning to try reflexology – so many of my friends have been real advocates! This might have just given me the shove. I also intended on being super flexi-preggo and be a yoga fiend during this trimester but I just didn’t quite make it! So glad you had some lovely you-focused time. Essential. x

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Elinor Hill aka beachhutcook //

I’m liking the sound of the reflexology. I can recommend getting your thyroid checked. I have an under active thyroid and now take medication. I always used to fall asleep at night (take magnesium in addition) and now I don’t. I still get sleepy but not the crashing out like before. x

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katy //

Just reading this has made me feel relaxed. Totally agree that a more holistic approach is good for the soul – I’ve just started acupuncture so I’ll let you know how that goes x

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Emma //

I am really inspired by the yoga – I am reticent to go, as I think I’d be awful at it, but as you say – finding the right teacher is key. I love reflexology, last time I went I fell completely asleep! xx

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Molly //

I absolutely LOVE Yoga. It’s the one thing I’ve gone back to again and again over the last 15 years. I go to a weekly class on a Monday evening but have missed the last 4 weeks due to various bugs and things and it’s left me desperate to get back! Never tried Reflexology but I reckon that would be right up my street too!

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