Find out about different styles of yoga and why it’s good for your mind, body and soul via my interview with Carly Flynn on the Long Lunch radio in June. Click HERE – Rachel X
Article by Rachel Grunwell: Director of InspiredHealth, collaborating with businesses to inspire Kiwis to live healthy and happy. Award-winning writer. Magazine wellness columnist for Good magazine & Indulge magazine. Wellness expert often on radio. Yoga & meditation teacher, teaching de-stress skills to Kiwis to uplift performance. Qualified fitness consultant. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.
To learn learn mindfulness and de-stress techniques, find out more about attending a health retreat with Rachel at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa click HERE.
Why Workplace Happiness Matters – plus 7 tips to reduce sitting time
Switch off from your busy life and experience two days on our Mindful Moments Retreat to bring your mind, body and spirit into balance. Surrounded by the natural elements of Rotorua and Polynesian Spa’s therapeutic alkaline and acid waters, you will be guided through yoga, mindfulness, meditation and wellness workshops. We will also be taking time to indulge in world-renowned Polynesian Spa therapy treatments.
Mindful Moments is hosted by our highly experienced Spa and Retreat Manager Helena Keenan and inspirational Polynesian Spa Health and Wellness ambassador Rachel Grunwell.
This unique geothermal bathing and soul soothing retreat originated here at Polynesian Spa in 2016 and has established itself as a must do health and wellness experience for those wanting to unwind, relax and reset.
RETREAT DATES & COSTS
Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August
Saturday 8th September – Sunday 9th September
Saturday 10th November – Sunday 11th November
$479.00 per person
Relaxation & Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness & Meditation Session
Yoga Class hosted by Rachel Grunwell
Entry to the Deluxe Lake Spa
Transport to Walk Location
Premium Retreat Gift Bag
CHECK OUT THE THERAPIES YOU HAVE A CHOICE FROM:
*Please note the Pure Source Mud Polish will be used for the AIX Therapy*
We can offer exclusive rates for The Millennium Hotel Rotorua to those joining us on a Mindful Moments Retreat for accommodation rates please contact us upon booking. Bookings will need to be made directly with the hotels reservation team and Terms and Conditions will apply to the booking, these are at the discretion of The Millennium Hotel Rotorua.
There is also a wide selection of hotels, luxury lodges, lake-side bachs, charming motels available in Rotorua to check options click here.
POLYNESIAN SPA RETREAT LEADER: HELENA KEENAN
Helena’s personal experience with Meditation began in 1992 developing for her a deep interest in the Wellbeing benefits of Meditation. Further studies and reading into Mindfulness Meditation created a goal to pursue formal studies in this area. Eventually the opportunity to study Mindfulness Meditation Teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler arose and in 2009 Helena completed her first training course in this field. More recently Helena has completed further studies with Ian Gawler and Ruth Gawler in Australia in the practices of Guided Imagery and Contemplation. Now settled in Rotorua, Helena brings a diverse and extensive skill-set to Polynesian Spa.
Nurture. Nourish. Thrive.
These are the beautiful words that underpin the mission of Te Atawhai retreat, nestled out in the countryside at the foot of Mount Te Aroha in the Waikato area, in the North Island of New Zealand. It’s about two hours’ driving from Auckland, or about an hour drive from Tauranga.
Te Atawhai specialises in offering a four-day “wholeness retreat” (although they offer one-day retreats at request too). Here you can learn, grow and flourish by learning healthy habits based around a blend of movement, mindset, real foods, and rest.
The retreat is run by an all-women team including: Rebecca, who worked for many years as a nurse in the mental health sector; Sherryll, who has 20+ years experience as a personal trainer; Well-known NZ fashion designer and businesswoman Annah Stretton. Rebecca and Sherryll run the retreats generally, while Annah drives the business-side of the venture and often joins guests for a meal.
Each of these three women have inspirationally transformed their own lives to be healthier and happier in recent years and so want to help others rise up in the same way too.
Pictured, Sherryll, left, and Rebecca, right.
I experienced Te Atawhai in December 2018 and felt the retreat was heart-led. Rebecca and Sherryll care about the guests and keep numbers relatively small – so everyone gets incredible personal attention.
The absolute magic in Te Atawhai truly is the people. They care about what they do and put their hearts into helping their guests. They are heart-connected to those who come to this place to re-set.
Te Atawhai is not a bootcamp-style environment. You are challenged, but not pushed. You can go at your own pace and opt in challenges at the level of intensity that feels right for you. It’s not a yoga retreat – there is stretching in the morning, but it’s about mindful movement and starting the day inspired, rather than learning difficult yoga poses. This makes the retreat accessible and relatable to most people.
There is no alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy or refined sugar on the menu here, but rather nourishing, healthy, seasonal and real foods that are delicious. You will feel full at every meal too (and I do like to eat a lot and so I’m a good measure for this!) This is not a retreat about weight-loss, but rather the focus is wellness. I really love this – because the emphasis is about building healthy bodies and minds.
Karissa is the whizz in the kitchen and is passionate about serving seasonal and nurturing food that’s truly delicious. The flavours she creates are memorable. She picks fresh produce from the garden daily to add to meals. One guest kept saying “I can’t believe healthy food could taste so good”.
Check out this healthy breakfast. This was one of my faves.
The retreat is run from a large house in the countryside, where cows are thy neighbours and you get to see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Check out this view from the bedroom I stayed in. This is bliss.
It’s like a home-away-from-home, rather than a fancy-pants, minimalist resort. There are books scattered around the house to read, a pool, health teas always on offer and you get to breathe in fresh air, unplug from technology and escape a hurried life and set goals for a healthier way forwards.
Each day starts with a gong to rise (you are encouraged to leave your watch in your suitcase for the four days). Then it’s a swig of apple cider vinegar (which boasts many health benefits), some gentle stretching with Sherryll and a sit-down breakfast. A challenging walk is then on the agenda – and each day you go to a different location for memorable scenery. An absolute highlight was climbing to the top of Mount Te Aroha (it took me 2.5-hours to get to the top at a gentle pace and 1.5hrs to come down). Half of the group opted in for this, while the rest of the group felt the half-way point was a challenge right for them.
At the top of Mount Te Aroha, I felt on top of the world. You can see the sea.
You can also see green for miles miles and even the hump of Mt Maunganui far in the distance (in the far right of the picture). I wished I could sit there for hours. This, to me, is the definition of magic.
Being in nature is a therapy in itself, plus there are the movement benefits of course!
After walking, there’s a spa dip at nearby mineral hot springs (and you can opt to pay for a beauty treatment if you wish). Then in the afternoon there is an educational health seminar and some free time to relax. Then it’s a sit down chat for some reflection on the day, dinner and then free time before bed.
On the website, Annah Stretton writes “Come to Te Atawhai to Nurture, Nourish, and THRIVE”.
Rebecca spoke memorably about learning “awareness” – “which is a key to setting you free”.
I’d also say come along too to this home-away-from-home to connect with these incredible women. Here you can learn tools to inspire you to live your best life.
* Watch a quick video interview with the retreat’s chef Karissa about nourishing kai. Click HERE
* Rachel was kindly invited to review the retreat as a professional wellness blogger.
If you are passionate about being fit, and excelling at your sport, then don’t make the BIG mistake of ignoring all that post-workout recovery stuff.
It’s important if you an elite athlete – or a “weekend-warrior” (and health-geek) like me.
Rest, recovery, getting enough sleep, and tapping into all those awesome recovery options will help the body repair and strengthen. Recovery is as important as all those running miles, or all those tough hours you’ve committed to at the gym.
Sadly, recovery is an area that many athletes and gym-goers often ignore. But they should be aware that overtraining can lead to injury.
Here are some of my top recovery tips:
- * Get enough sleep (adults generally need at least seven hours nightly). If you feel tired then listen to your body and rest. If you turn up to a workout when you are exhausted then you are at risk of injury. It’s just not worth it.
- * Hydrate and eat nutritionally-rich foods that fuel your body well. If you want recommendations for nutritionists then comment below and I’ll recommend some top peeps. J
- * Wear compression gear. It supports your muscles and reduces movement (so there’s less soft tissue damage and soreness post your workout). I love the brand SKINS (which I am wearing in these blog pitures). I feel like Olivia Newton-John in the movie Grease trying to put them on (they’re supposed to be snug and tight by the way for the best support). But man, they feel like an amazing snug, second skin and I love wearing them when I run. I made the mistake of wearing a pair of yoga tights in a race once and spent the whole time hitching up my pants! So, it’s compression tights, or nothing now when I run. And the latter option isn’t pretty, so I’ll keep wearing compression tights, thanks… If you want to check out the SKINS range then click HERE.
- * Do yoga, Tai Chi, or just simply stretch your body gently and mindfully. This will help you to move well and perform better. It will also help you to walk less like a “cowboy poised ready for action” too. You know, when you walk funny because your muscles are so tight from a tough workout.
- * Use a roller to iron your muscles out. This is a great self-massage tool. Even better, see a great masseuse weekly (if you can afford it).
- * Do something to chill out daily. It will help your body to unwind and de-stress – and you’ll be a nicer person! Just saying..
- Here’s a legs-up-the-wall yoga pose that’s utter bliss for recovery!
- * If you feel stressed then do a five-minutes’ meditation (better still do meditation with your legs up the wall (my favourite yoga pose) and take in some slow deep belly breaths to calm down your nervous system. Count to four breaths as you inhale and feel the belly rise, and then count to six as you exhale slowly and feel the belly deflate. Keep repeating this for a few minutes and then I promise you will feel more Zen-like. Doing this at night before bed-time would be an awesome idea.
- * Be positive. This helps your body function at its best. X X
- ps: this post was sponsored by the awesome peeps at SKINS. I’ve worn their compression tights for a few marathons I’ve run.
Dealing with Injury – what you can do
By Rachel Grunwell
Runners generally fear getting injured. The best approach is to adopt injury prevention strategies like yoga, using a foam roller, compression tights or self-massage to reduce the likelihood of injury (or see a professional masseuse if you run longer miles and can afford this).
Last year, I suffered my first running injury due to overloading. It was eye-watering painful.
I saw physiotherapist Vaughan Craddock, a director at Sports Lab who works with elite athletes and weekend warriors. Incredibly, he helped me go from hobbling (for weeks!) to running pain-free (and able to do the Chicago Marathon just a few months later). He diagnosed my problem quickly and told me what I should do to avoid aggravating the injury.
Then he gave me clear instructions on what I could do fitness-wise to maintain my base fitness. It was reassuring to have a firm plan to help me return to running. Vaughan says seeking specialist advice is ‘empowering’. I’d agree!
To avoid ever being in my (run) shoes, here are Vaughan’s tips to avoiding injury below:
Pic of Vaughan on his mountain-bike.
- Firstly, he recommends that you listen to your body. If you’re tired, then rest. If you miss a workout, do not rush to make it up. “This is a common mistake that people make,” he says. It can be a fast-track to injury…
- If a niggle does not clear in 2-3 days, see a specialist. Ignoring an on-going niggle can see things escalate.
- Vaughan recommends runners reduce any ‘stresses’ in life, hydrate and eat well, get good sleep, and make sure you get enough relaxation to recharge.
- Stretch too, says Vaughan, “because if you feel tight, then how can you expect your body to move well”.
- Lastly, he says: “Be positive”. This can have a ‘dramatic effect’ on healing timeframes.
This column was published by Fairfax newspapers.
Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a mum, experienced runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of lifestyle website InspiredHealth.co.nz. Follow her personal journey to get race-ready with her family on Facebook & Instagram
Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner. Yoga teacher. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Director of InspiredHealth. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for inspo, recipes & giveaways. ps there’s a marathon entry giveaway coming up on the Facebook page soon!
Yoga Tips For Runners
Runners can be reluctant yogis. We think our time is better spent continually pounding the pavements.
It’s usually an injury that will force us into finally doing a stretch routine. But if you’re smart, then incorporate stretching (and strength work) into your training programme now.
Here are some yoga tips for runners:
Gently ease into stretching. You would never run a half-marathon overnight without training well or run too fast, too soon. So, have the same approach to stretching. Do a little bit and, slowly over time, you will improve.
Use yoga exercises to strengthen your core. The slouchy-look is uncool – and a sleepy middle limits your power.
Yoga can help to re-balance your body. If you’ve got a niggle, then you can end up compensating in another area and then injury is inevitable.
Avoid burn-out with the de-stress elements of yoga. Forget the body benefits for a moment; this stuff comes up trumps for the mind.
Yoga incorporates some great breathing exercises so you can better learn how to harness your breath. Maintaining steady, calm breathing in those last miles can give you an edge. While, shallow breathing will leave you breathless, steal energy and slow you down.
Sharpen your focus through yoga by using a mantra. Yoga can help you to silence distractions and truly focus on race day. In those final miles of an event, lots of runners want to give up. This is when your mind drives your legs.
Yoga will improve your range of mobility. This will help you move well and run well.
Your posture and alignment can be improved through yoga. So, you’ll look better, and run better too.
Lastly, make sure you stretch “smart”. See a yoga teacher or personal trainer so they can check your alignment and technique is correct.
Meanwhile, here’s another blog with 7 easy stretches for runners – Click HERE.
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