Tips to prepare and support you over the holiday

As we come towards the winter solstice our natural tendency is to go inwards to reflect on the year gone and plant seeds for the year ahead. The arrival of Christmas with its expectations, commercialism and family gatherings is the exact opposite! Here are some ideas to help you keep calm and enjoy Christmas.Stress yoga aylesbury

Tips to prepare and support you over the holiday

Take an active role in planning:

  • Start a new tradition
  • Choose what works best for you – an activity, venue, timing, catering etc., start and end time.
  • Schedule a walk or create space for those who need time out.
  • Set a positive intention for the event.
  • Decide to make the best of a less than ideal situation.


  • Nothing is every personal.
  • It is not compulsory to take part in the drama.
  • You don’t always have to be right.
  • Other opinions are allowed!
  • Its ok to say “that doesn’t work for me”.
  • Your response or reaction is the only thing that you can control.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my expectations realistic (life is not idyllic as portrayed in the media)
  • Will it matter in an hour, a day or a week?

Be kind to yourself:

  • Avoid too many commitments.
  • Schedule some me/couple/treat time.
  • Take a one or two minute break and breathe deeply, inhale love, exhale negative thoughts.
  • Do things that make you smile/laugh.
  • Give yourself a hug or pat on the back – sometimes getting up/through the day is a major achievement.
  • You are the best you in the whole universe.

Simple treats:

  • Self-massage with warm sesame oil
    Sesame oil is widely used in ayurveda and can help ground and calm promoting sleep. It is widely available in independent health food shops and online. Avoid the toasted variety unless you want to smell like a stir fry! Coconut oil or specialist ayurvedic massage oils are also available.
  • Treat yourself to a good book, or film
  • Listen to some relaxing or inspirational music
  • Light scented candles, or vaporiser
  • Take a candle lit bath.
  • Book a yoga course and relaxation events 🙂

Spring 2020 Events

  • Sound & Voice Meditation with Suzan – Friday 24th January 28th February & 27th March
    Buckland Village Hall, Buckland Village, HP22 5HU
  • Mini Relaxation Retreat with Suzan – Sunday 26th January – Haydon Hill Community Centre, 10 Dickens Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8SR
  • Yoga & Sound Bath with Suzan & Barbara Dancer – Sunday 2nd February – The Barn at Chartridge Lodge, Chesham, Bucks HP5 2TU
  • Yoga & Sound Bath with Suzan – Saturday 29th February – Haydon Hill Community Centre, 10 Dickens Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8SR
  • Mini Relaxation Retreat with Suzan, Sunday 29th March – Haydon Hill Community Centre, 10 Dickens Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8SR

Retreats 2020

  • Pancha Maya Yoga Retreat with Suzan & Barbara Dancer – Learning and Practices to Support Your Daily Life
    Saturday 14th-Sunday 15th March – Chartridge Lodge, Chesham, Bucks HP5 2TU Options
  • Pranamaya, the energy of self-healing with Suzan & Barbara Dancer
    A fun weekend, discovering the invisible energies that affect every aspect of your life and how you can use these energies to enhance well-being. Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th June – Chartridge Lodge, Chesham, Bucks HP5 2TU

1:1 Sessions

  • Yoga therapy
  • Sound therapy/healing
  • Personal development/healing with Suzan
    Are you at a crossroads? Navigating challenging changes and transitions? Looking for answers and meaning in your life?
    Suzan will support, guide & empower you to make lasting, positive.

From Overwhelm to Calm in 5 Minutes

  • Stop feelings of overwhelm, irritation and powerlessness
  • Activate your rest and digest system
  • See clearly
  • Become empowered

Try this 5 minute breathing practice (5 minutes and 22 seconds)

Focused breathing is powerfully transformative.  It allows the nervous system to settle, the mind and body to calm and harmony to be restored.

Daily – there are 1440 minutes in a day.  If you don’t manage daily do as often as possible.  In an emergency take 3 conscious deep breaths wherever you are.

What people say

“When I am stuck in traffic I use the breathing practice and the stress vanishes”. Lynne

“Dear Suzan   Just to say many thanks for the breathing programme.  My blood pressure readings are down, so no visits to the doctor for 3 months and no increase in medication.  I also feel a lot calmer and don’t get those feelings of panic which were very unpleasant.
yours with many thanks”. Betty E

“I was progressing with my Scuba diver training last weekend was struggling to maintain a level easy breath and as a result using far too much air. So 40 feet below the surface the following day I was thinking about concentrating on my yoga breath whilst trying to master the skills of diving, it worked!” Guy K

“I wanted to let you know I enjoyed the classes and used the breathing techniques throughout the pregnancy and during labour which was a huge help, so thank you” Clare P

If you would like to work deeper with breath and movement I have a range of online yoga groups and private sessions to support your specific needs and availability.  Email me.

Focused breathing will support you whatever is going on in your life – stress, the blues, living with change and uncertainty. Give yourself the gift of 5 minutes a day for a month and let me know the results.  I would love to hear from you.

Please email me  with any feedback or questions.


In an emergency just 3 conscious breaths will change the way you feel.

Five Ways To Reduce Stress

On a level of 1 to 10 where 10 is highest, how stressed are you right now? Make a note and check in over the next week to monitor your stress level.

Most of us experience stress from time to time and it is a normal event which has its places. But what about the long term effects?

The fight or flight response is designed for short term emergencies. It hasn’t evolved since the days we needed to run away from wild animals! It doesn’t even distinguish between real and perceived events! When the stress response is constantly in active due to high levels of stress, we become familiar with stress hormones and body chemistry preparing us to fight, flight or flee. It becomes our normal. And the familiarity may mean we are more likely to subconsciously search for stressful situations and drama, when life begins to be calm.

Long term activation of the stress response can cause health problems including disrupted sleep, raised blood pressure, obesity, suppressed immune system, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, anxiety and depression.

Here are 5 simple ways to reduce stress:


Focus on your breath – as few as 3 conscious breaths can completely change the way you feel.


Connect with nature.  Open a window, go for a walk, have plants in your work space and home.


Yoga helps reduce stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol and stimulates the production of endorphins, the feel good chemicals in the brain.


Let meditation wipe away the day’s stress, just 5 minutes can bring inner peace.


We think the causes of stress are outside our control.  What if we decide that it’s okay not to be okay?  This leaves us free to focus on making positive changes.


The Benefits of Therapeutic Yoga

The appropriate practice of yoga unifies all aspects of the system.  It works on many levels and can be adapted to suit a wide range of needs.  The key is REGULAR practice – The more regularly you practice the sooner you will see results

Physical – improves:

• Posture
• Breath length which helps with lung function
• Balance – helps prevent falls
• Improve or maintain mobility
• Improve or maintain strength and flexibility
• Improve or maintain bone density
• Rehabilitation, can reduce pain including chronic pain, especially effective for reducing low back pain
• Energy levels
• Sense of well-being
• Digestion/elimination

• Heart rate
• Muscle tension
• Flight/flight syndrome
• Blood pressure
• Stillness and pain

Cognitive – improves:

• Concentration
• Focus
• Mental clarity
• Memory
• Staying present
• Dexterity
• Co-ordination
• Reaction times

Emotional – improves

• Mood
• Resilience
• Awareness
• Anger control
• Mind-body connection

• Stress
• Anxiety
• Trauma
• Fear


• Reduces sense of isolation
• Group support
• Make new friends
• Improves confidence

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council states that “Yoga can help with a wide range of disorders and stress related problems. Including back and joint issues; breathing disorders; issues during PMS, pregnancy and menopause; emotional issues such as anxiety, depression; injuries, surgery and illness. It may also enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases”.

I am currently working with clients experiencing fibromyalgia, MS, ME, cancer, arthritis, back/neck pain, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, IBS, osteoarthritis, & crohns disease

Yoga therapy can be used alongside conventional medicine and other complementary therapies.

back pain forward bend semi suppine chair twist

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy – Viniyoga approach

Yoga therapy is a holistic therapy to optimise our health and well being on a physical, energetic, mental/emotional and spiritual level.   Often when thinking of yoga it is the physical aspect and perhaps breathing that comes to mind, however, yoga incorporates a wide variety of tools, as well as postures and breathing these include: diet & life style advice, meditation, relaxation, affirmations and visualisation; personal ritual, mantra, chanting and study of yoga texts which date back thousands of years.

 Yoga postures are adapted to suit individual needs rather than forcing the body into various positions.  This can help develop strength, flexibility, ease and balance in the body; reduce weakness and structural pain according to need.  Moving in time with the breath helps spinal movement; it can ease spinal compression and lengthen the spine increasing range of movement and comfort.  This emphasis on the spine has a positive effect on the nervous system, it helps calm the mind and reduce anxiety which is further developed with seated breathing practices, meditation, chanting etc

What is involved?

Yoga therapy involves taking an active part in your own healing process.  The therapist devises a practice, taking into account physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs interests, lifestyle and living arrangements.  To gain maximum benefit, you are encouraged to practice at home on a regular basis.  It does not need to be as long as a group class, just 20-30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week will be very beneficial.  In acute cases you may be given a shorter practice to do twice daily.

How quickly does it work?

Positive results are often seen within a few weeks, sometimes within days, the key is regular practice. The more regularly you practice the sooner you will see results.

What conditions can Yoga therapy help?

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council states that “Yoga can help with a wide range of disorders and stress related problems.  Including back and joint issues; breathing disorders; issues during PMS, pregnancy and menopause; emotional issues such as anxiety, depression; injuries, surgery and illness.  It may also enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases”.

I am currently working with fibromyalgia, MS, ME, COPT. scoliosis, PTSD, cancer, arthritis, back/neck pain, stress, & anxiety.

Yoga therapy can be used along with conventional medicine and other complementary therapies.

Further information

How Healthy is Your Heart ?

Latest news and research about the heart, click on each link for more information

  2. Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer
  3. Most deaths from heart disease are caused by a heart attack
  4. Heart disease kills more women than breast Cancer
  5. An under active thyroid, can raise blood pressure and so be an issue for heart health
  6. Men who don’t have breakfast are 27 per cent more likely to suffer heart attacks or heart disease
  7. ’Broken heart’ syndrome usually occurs in women, and can be triggered by stresses such as bereavement
  8. The UK spends nearly £2 billion each year on the healthcare costs of treating coronary heart disease
  9. heart in bodyCarbohydrates/Sugar, is the Root of Heart Disease
  10. Saturated Fat Does NOT Promote Heart Disease
  11. Taking exercise, eating a healthy diet and being aware of dangers such as smoking, drinking, high blood pressure, and stress are all important for your long term heart health, whether you currently have heart disease or not.


Staying Grounded – 3 tips to keep you centred


Getting back to nature and following the seasons as in days of old really helps us stay connected, grounded present and aware.  Our routine and diet should reflect the season

Ayurveda is considered a sister science to yoga.  It is one of the world’s oldest healing systems, originating around 3000 years ago in India; it was used alongside yoga to support the body.

It says that our constitution and stage of life, the seasons and time of day comprise one or a mixture of dosa:- vata, pitta and kapha – the tridosa.

In autumn vata predominates.  Vata is linked to the elements of air and ether; it is light, subtle, dry, mobile, rough and cold.  If vata is predominant in the body autumn will aggravate it further.  You may feel off balance or ungrounded.

Suggestions to help ground and balance include:

1.  Eat foods that are warm and moist (soups, stews, steamed vegetables) to reduce and calm vata.

2.  A warm oil massage

3.  A slow, steady, grounding, consistent yoga asana practice.

7 Ways to Keep that Summer Feeling

A beautiful summer lifts our spirits. Here are 7 ways to bring the summer feeling of energy and wellbeing into your daily life:-

Field of Summer Flowers

Field of Summer Flowers


  • Nature: Spend time in nature, just 10 minutes a day is beneficial.  A plant on your desk will bring nature into your workplace.
  • Food: Eat as healthily as possible.  Reduce processed items and increase fresh produce.  Make time for breakfast.
  • Exercise:  Daily gentle yoga stretches or qigong will keep the body and energy moving.
  • Sleep:  Aim for 8 hours a day.  If you have problems going to sleep or wake during the night start a calming routine before bed including some long deep breaths focussing on relaxing as you exhale.
  • Meditate:  A few minutes in reflective stillness during the day will help calm, relax and focus the system.  Make sure you are comfortable, its fine to sit on a chair, just check that the back is upright.
  • Gratitude:  Express thanks for the wonderful summer and for the coming joys of autumn and winter.  A positive outlook makes a great difference.
  • Laughter: Look for the humour in difficult situations, spend time with happy friends and smile and laugh often.

Stress and anxiety

What is stress?

Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. In emergency situations, stress can give you extra strength to avoid accident or injury. In manageable amounts stress helps you stay focused and energetic, however, too much or chronic stress may cause problems to your health, relationships, and quality of life.

Effect of stress

affects of stress on the body

Effects of stress and anxiety on the body

Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system which triggers the “fight-or-flight” response. The Mayo clinic describes the effect of stress below

“When you encounter perceived threats — a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance — your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.”

When the threat is over the parasympathetic nervous system becomes active and the body comes back to homeostasis balance (rest and digest).

Excessive/chronic stress
Just as when you have a nightmare the body reacts as if the event was happening, the body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats. When you are under permanent stress, the fight or flight response which is designed for short term emergencies is constantly in operation and the symptoms of stress become an accepted part of your life. This can cause many health problems including disrupted sleep, raised blood pressure, obesity, suppressed immune system, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, anxiety and depression.

Causes of stress
Any thought or event that puts a lot of demands on you whether it is positive or negative may cause stress and each of us responds to these events differently. Stressors may include: –

Major life changes
Relationship issues
Financial problems
Being too busy

Reducing stress

Identify what is stressful to you
Become aware of your response
Change or avoid situation if possible
If you can’t change the situation you can change your response
Let go, when you are away from the stressful situation focus on positive, relaxing things
Practice yoga, tai chi, relaxation, breathing, meditation

For further information please contact Suzan

Ways to reduce stress


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Symptoms of stress

“Symptoms of stress often build up gradually before you start noticing them.

Stress can affect how you feel, how you think, how you behave and how your body works.

It affects people in different ways but if you are stressed you may have some of the following symptoms:

Your feelings

You may feel:

  • irritable
  • anxious
  • low in self-esteem
  • have a low mood

Your thoughts

You may find that you:

  • have racing thoughts
  • worry constantly
  • imaginine the worst
  • go over and over things

Your behaviour

You may notice you’re:

  • having temper outbursts
  • drinking more
  • smoking more
  • on the go all the time
  • talking more or faster
  • changing your eating habits
  • feeling unsociable
  • being forgetful or clumsy
  • being unreasonable
  • struggling to concentrate

Your body

You may be suffering from:

  • headaches
  • muscle tension and pain
  • stomach problems
  • sweating
  • feeling dizzy
  • bowel or bladder problems
  • breathlessness
  • dry mouth
  • sexual problems”

This information is from  NHS Choices