Try These 1-Minute Meditations to Feel Calmer

By Rachel Grunwell (wellness coach/yoga + mindfulness meditation teacher/author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, which features 30 global experts sharing advice on how to live healthier and happier as well as 30 nourishing recipes). Buy the book for yourself or someone you love. Click HERE

Below are three different types of meditations that are just 1-minute-long each. They’re easy, relatable and quick. They will help you live life more grounded and present in the moment. I love teaching these mindfulness tools to clients. These are brain-training tool that helps you to live life more joyfully in the present moment (and less in the past or future). Meditation is handy for calming stress levels and feeling less anxious. It’s a tool that can help anyone. And all you need is a minute. Please share these meditations below with someone you love and care about who could benefit from using these. I’d be so grateful – Rach x

ps the below meditations that I share in links below are:

Senses meditation – a meditation that helps you cultivate mindfulness and present-moment awareness through tuning into your senses ie sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.

Body scan meditation – a mindfulness meditation where you scan your body and raise awareness around relaxing different parts of the body to feel calmer, and grounded. This one is especially good just before sleep!

Box breathing meditation – a simple, easy meditation based on breathing in for four counts, pausing for four counts, breathing out for four counts and pausing for four counts. You put this on repeat. 

Try a 1 Minute Box Breathing Meditation exercise to feel calmer, less anxious and more grounded. Click HERE.

Try a 1 Minute Senses Meditation with a Cup of Coffee. Click HERE

Try a 1 minute Body Scan Meditation to calm your stress nervous system. Click HERE.

To find out more about Rachel’s book Balance and all the different wellbeing experts included click HERE. Balance includes 30 nourishing recipes too like the beetroot juice you see below.

Run Recovery Tips

By Rachel Grunwell – Wellness expert, Rotorua Marathon ambassador, yoga + meditation teacher, marathoner, coach, PT and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness

This post is kindly sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event – NZ’s most iconic run event which has a distance option to suit every walker and runner including the Red Stag Marathon, Red Stag Half Marathon, Go Media 10km, First Credit 5.5km. Find out more about the event HERE.

  1. Stretch. Stretching will always be my No 1 tip after running. This helps to bring length back to tight muscles and helps you to walk with more ease. Decode: You’ll walk less like a cowboy going into a gun-totting standoff! Ever tried to walk down stairs after a long run? Yeah, you want to avoid that awkward walk that huuuuuuuuurts with every move you make and every breath you take. Trust me, I’ve conquered (decode: survived) 25 marathons and you want to stretch so you can move better. Check out my instagram for some quick vids on how to stretch and use a foam roller.
  2. Use a foam roller. This will help you to “iron out” your body so to speak. Target those knots and tight spots and gently use the foam roller to free your body up.

3. Rehydrate well. This is an energy sapper otherwise! Also, your body works harder to pump the blood around your body if you haven’t had enough fluid. And make sure you have water and not the sweet stuff, of course.

4. Refuel well. You’ve obviously burnt some calories out on your run – and so eat some healthy, wholesome kai. A big mistake is people think they can eat LOTS of crap food because they run. In reality, you can’t outrun a crap diet. But I do believe in balance. I will be celebrating after the run with a glass of champagne and a burger. Yum.

5. Contrast Therapy. I love using cold water and hot water therapy after a run. It stimulates blood circulation and helps you to unwind, relax and rejuvenate. It’s bliss-inducing stuff. The ultimate is going for a soak at the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua where they have a cold plunge pool and lots of hot water pools on the lake edge of Rotorua. This is a blissful place to unwind, relax and you’ll get the best nights sleep afterwards I promise!

The Polynesian Spa has alkaline pools that are great for giving you soft, smooth skin. While the acidic pools are great to easing aches and sore muscles.

I help to co-lead the Mindful Moments Retreats at the Polynesian Spa by the way and I love coming here after a run or walk in the Redwoods Forest which is the location of the Rotorua Marathon’s half marathon course.

Whatever distance your run at this event, enjoy it and be proud of yourself for getting out there and doing the Mahi. Running is epic for your body, mind and soul. It’s a place within yourself to find flow and feel more in balance.

The Polynesian Spa is also a great spot for a recovery smoothie or juice that’s healthy or a massage!

Rachel is the author of the book Balance. She does wellness speaking and mindfulness sessions. She loves to run and lift weights and do yoga. She sees movement as essential for moving well, feeling well and living well.

Leg Love! 4 Ways to Stretch Your Legs

Leg Love for Runners!

By Rachel Grunwell – Rotorua Marathon ambassador, marathoner, coach and yoga teacher

This blog was proudly sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event. Find out more about the event on May 6, 2023. There is a distance for every level of walker or runner. Click HERE.

See a video demonstration (with tips) for these yoga poses too via instagram. Click HERE.

I recommend dynamic stretches before you run (to prepare your body for moving well so you can run well) and static stretches post-running (to bring length back to tight muscles and so you can avoid walking like the lego man)!

Stretching overall is a good injury-prevention tool.

Ps, I caution that you should never force a stretch, or bounce fast through movements. You can risk pulling a muscle. If you are tight then you can feel uncomfortable, but you should never feel pain.

Remember to breathe as you move and find joy in the movements!

#ad #yogaforrunners #mobility #rotoruamarathon #rotoruanz

Peddle your feet in downward dog.
Hold this stretch for 40 seconds to 90 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times each side.
Hold this stretch for 40 seconds to 90 seconds each side 2-4 times.
If you don’t have a yoga strap at home… just use a belt. You might have one on your dressing gown.
Only go into this stretch with 60%-70% effort. Never force the stretch. If you are shaking, then don’t go into the stretch too deep. Be kind on yourself. If you are relaxed, then you will go into the stretch with more ease (over time).
Sign up for the Red Stag Marathon, Red Stag Half Marathon, Go Media 10km, First Credit Union 5.5km event by clicking HERE

Note: Reach out to me on social media if you have any questions. I’ve run the Red Stag Rotorua Marathon 42km distance four times – including three times guiding blind runners. I’ve done the Red Stag Half Marathon and Go Media 10km event twice too. I’m an experienced runner and I’ve conquered 25 marathons. I love teaching yoga to athletes to enhance their training and performance. It’s an injury prevention tool that I am passionate to share.

I also love this iconic Rotorua event. I’ve run it with my dad, my kids, friends and their kids, and guided disabled athletes through the event too. This event is joy-filled and for real athletes like you and me, plus the elites are inspiring to watch too!

Connect with Rachel on Instagram or Facebook

3 Hip Stretches for Runners

By Rachel Grunwell (coach, yoga teacher, multi-marathoner and author of the book Balance: Food, health + Happiness)

Note: This post was sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event which is on May 6, 2023. Choose from the full marathon, Red Stag Timber Half Marathon, Go Media 10km, or First Credit Union 5.5km distance. Find more information HERE.

Most runners do the same stretches day in, day out. But did you know there are 2100 yoga stretches to choose from. So, there are so many different ways to stretch each body part. So it’s fun to change it up. It’s also great to find a stretch version that suits your body best. I put a poll out to runners to ask what stretch they wanted most and hips/thighs came up as the most wanted. So here are three ways to stretch your hips:

This standing pigeon pose targets the hip flexors while you are in a stand position. The pose strengthens the standing leg, challenges your balance and focus and is a great option if the ground is wet or dirty! A good cue to remember is to sit back like you are sitting onto a chair. The lower you go, the juicier the stretch! Also, try not to collapse your shoulders. Keep your shoulders back.

Pidgeon pose in recline position is a good option to stretch your hips if you get sore knees – as all the pressure is taken off this area. You can relax your upper body in this pose and just breathe deeply thorough the stretch on each side. Remember to relax the foot on the side that’s the support for the foot on the knee. Remember to breeeeeeeeathe.
This version sees you flip your pidgeon onto your tummy. The higher the bent leg comes up towards your face, the deeper the stretch – if you wish. Try moving your hips from left to right and feel the nature of this stretch change.
To add a thigh stretch to this pidgeon pose, just reach your hand to the foot and bring the heel towards your glute. The closer the heel comes to the glute, the deeper the stretch. If you can’t reach your foot then use a strap or dressing gown tie and loop it around the foot.
If you want more stretching Inspo, then follow me on Instagram. I share flows and poses there from time to time, as well as wellness and fitness guff.

  • Rachel is a proud ambassador for the Rotorua Marathon and has been sharing coaching, stretching and wellness inspiration with runners in this role for six years now. She has run the Rotorua Marathon event four times, done the half and also conquered the 10km distance last year with her son and other family members. Three of the four times she has done this marathon she has guided blind runners through the Achilles charity. She loves to run, and help others run too.
  • This is proudly a sponsored post by the Rotorua Marathon

Tips to Manage Stress

Tips to Manage Stress 

By wellness expert Rachel Grunwell – co-leader of the Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreats, yoga + meditation teacher & author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Make uplifting your wellbeing the goal for 2023 , doing it one tiny step at a time. Your wellbeing is your true wealth.

You could work on how you move, eat, sleep – or how you manage stress.

The latter is a common issue for most people. So, you are not alone. Here are some tips to manage stress. I hope one resonates and helps you.

Do joyful things because they are mood-lifting and uplifting for your soul.

Joyful activities are also a great distraction from your never endling to-do-list. As researcher Brene Brown, when we are in a state of joy colours are brighter, exercise feels easier and smiling happens involuntarily. We also don’t lose ourselves; We become more truly ourselves. Consider something you love to do that makes you feel joyful and do it regularly.

    •    Find calm in a way that resonates with you.

For me, yoga and meditation put me in a calm, happy, grounded state. I feel more myself and “in balance”. But yoga isn’t for everyone. It’s all about finding “your thing”. For you, it might be a walk in nature that helps you to feel calm.

Nature Nurtures: Rotorua’s majestic Redwoods Forest in incredible. You’ll feel calm as you walk through this special, quiet, beautiful and peaceful place.

For others, they might find calm by doing tai chi or having a hot bath at night in candle-light. One sure way to feel calmer and happier is patting your dog or cat if you have one. This releases feel-good hormones in your body like oxytocin.

    • Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend or a child.

Self-talk can be toxic when we talk to ourselves. It takes practice to change the way we think and talk sometimes. The next time you feel frustrated at yourself, stop, pause and remind yourself that you deserve thoughts that are loving and kind – just like everyone else. Remind yourself that you are doing your best and deserve to be happy.

    • Book a retreat where you can learn lots of de-stress skills like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, mindfulness and where you will experience time in nature.

The Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreat is a perfect weekend-long getaway that’s affordable. You’ll get pampered here with a massage included in the retreat fee and indulge in nourishing food with our sumptuous lunches (provided on both days of the weekend). The goodie bag is what everyone really raves about though! It’s worth $350 and includes lots of incredible beauty products as well as my book, Balance; Food, Health + Happiness. The book includes wisdom from 30 global experts including psychologists, neuroscientists, nutritionists, emotional intelligence experts, and happiness researchers + 30 nourishing recipes. Retreat-goers spend time in nature (biophilia, or forest bathing) in the majestic Redwoods Forest. Yoga is included and you’ll learn incredible meditation and mindfulness skills from the spa’s highly experienced manager, and meditation teacher, Helena Keenan.

Here are some pictures to tempt you:

Here’s an example of the goodie bag. It’s different every time but always includes beauty products, a Balance book and a bag.

Here I’m in a private pool, but there are 28 lake-side pools to choose from on site – of different temperatures. Some are acidic and great for muscle aches and pains, while there are also other pools where they are alkaline and these leave your skin silky smooth.

The pools are bliss…


Rachel and Helena are experienced wellness experts who love to share research-backed tools on how to uplift your wellbeing.

Here are the retreat dates for the Mindful Moments Retreats in 2023:

Saturday, 20th May – Sunday, 21st May 2023

 Saturday, 19th August – Sunday, 20th August 2023

 Saturday, 18th November – Sunday, 19th November 2023

 $689 per person

To find out what’s included and to book check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE

10 Wellness Tips to Live More Vibrantly Alive

By Rachel Grunwell

AD/ This blog was sponsored by the Polynesian Spa in my role as their ambassador. I co-lead the Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreats. Book the next retreat here via this link:

10 Tips to Live more Vibrantly Alive: 
1. Surround yourself with people who make you belly laugh and feel joyful. This will make you smile, brighten your day and uplift you from the inside to be more “kid-like”. We need more joy, always. It lifts our mood and make life fun.
2. Focus on eating more foods that nourish your body to feel better and perform better. It’s not a focus on aesthetics; It’s a focus on uplifting “you”. Ie omega 3s in salmon are great for the brain, while the antioxidants from blueberries are epic brain-food too, for example.
3. Note three things you are grateful for today, visualise these things in how they look, feel, taste, and soak up the magic of this in your life! You could think of people, places, foods you love, an animal you love… whatever you like!
4. If you are feeling hungry around that 3pm “snack attack time”… try drinking a large glass of water instead, wait ten minutes and then notice if you are still hungry. Somethings we confuse being thirsty with being hungry.  If you quench your thirst first… then you may not be hungry… you may just have been thirsty!
5. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed… then try taking a short walk outdoors with a friend. The fresh air, sunshine, gentle movement and good company can shift your mindset to a better space. 
6. Spoil yourself. Take a mindful moment to spoil yourself, treat yourself, or just savour some quite “met time” to re-set. It could be taking a moment to have a coffee or cup of tea in the sunshine to savour some alone time, meeting a friend for lunch for connection time to feel happier, or one of my faves….getting a decadent massage (and of course my top place to go is the Polynesian Spa!) You’ll feel pampered here, relaxed to a whole new level and rejuvenation.
7. Take time to dream about working on a goal or dream you’d like to achieve. The only thing holding you back is “you”. Remember small steps get you wherever you want to go, I promise. 
8. Keep learning, growing, thriving. Keep curious and doing things you love doing to find “flow” – that psychology state that helps you to feel “happy”. For me it’s doing things like music, art, running etc. But for you it may be something entirely different. Just do what you love! You deserve this “me time” to recalibrate. 
9. Want more energy? The power of a good night of sleep can never be underestimated. This helps you to perform at your best – and better still, it’s free! 
10.   Looking for a healthy elixir recipe to help you during Winter? Try ‘Rach’s Remedy’ which is delicious and full of great nutrition!

* Find more tips from Rachel via or on instagram

6 Tips to Boost Your Corrosive Self-Talk

AD/Your Self-Talk Matters – It impacts everything from Weight-Loss, to Anxiety, Depression… to Fuelling Your Success in Sports to your Work…

– Blog By Rachel Grunwell (wellness coach, speaker, & author of Balance: Food, health + Happiness). Rachel co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa. Book a weekend-long retreat getaway HERE

Connect with Rachel via Instagram: @rachelgrunwell 

Negative self-talk is a trend I witness with many of my wellness coaching clients. It breaks my heart.

My clients are juggling all the balls in the air but still struggle with love for themselves. They lack self-love and often practice negative and damaging self-talk. Their inner dialogue with themselves is mean, unkind and is holding them back from their true potential.

They see themselves through a lens of “not enough”. Not pretty enough, slim enough, smart enough, fit enough, or good enough. They feel guilty about taking “me time” to uplift their health. They feel like “me time” steals time away from giving more to others.

I tell my clients: You are enough. You are worthy. You are special. You are beautiful. You deserve to be seen, heard, and loved. It’s okay to nurture yourself, your health and look after yourself. You matter too. You deserve the chance to chase after your dreams, goal-crush and be the best version of you. The only one holding you back is “you”. If you look after “you” then you can give even more back to others you love, I promise”….

I advise my clients to practice self-love if they want to be successful in this one, precious, short life. You must talk to yourself in a similar way that you’d talk to your best friend or a child. – with tenderness, compassion, kindness, understanding and love. Otherwise, you’ll stay “stuck”.

How you speak to yourself fuels how you feel on the inside. It can have a ripple effect too with others. And those beliefs that you have inside your head can influence how you behave. You need self-love for kick-ass confidence in the world and to move forwards.

If your self-talk is negative and said out loud then the impact can be even more corrosive. If you say you are stupid and then your child hears this and copies your role-modelling… it will feel devastating to hear them repeat those words about themselves.

Positive self-talk can impact on your success on uplifting your health. An example of positive self-talk might sound like: “I’m tired today and so I won’t make it out for a run today and that’s okay. Tomorrow I’ll go and move my body and keep trying my best. I deserve this healthy me-time”. This positive self-talk is more likely to lead to more positive healthy behaviours.

This is rather than saying something negative like: “I’m not going running today because I’m useless and I may as well give up now…” 

The latter sentence will likely result in future fitness inaction.

My dream is to help more women believe in themselves and so they can goal-crush. I’d like to inspire everyone to help to stop this unhealthy cycle of negative self-talk. We need to fuel a culture of self-acceptance, worthiness, self-compassion, and self-love instead. We need a nurturing self-talk revolution.

Critical to living a wholehearted, authentic and full life is loving ourselves, writes Brene Brown in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’. Positive self-talk is a key to leaving dark thoughts and to living more in the light.

Being kind with our self-talk is also all about helping us to move forwards, feel resilient and live

more vibrantly alive.

Tips for more positive Self-Talk: 

1. Use a ritual daily to practice a self-love mantra that helps you to change your self-talk dialogue. For instance, one of my girlfriends Cristina tells herself out loud 

“I am beautiful” daily while she puts on her moisturiser in front of the mirror. 

While she massages in the cream, she says these kind words to herself. This is instead of things like “I shouldn’t have drunk wine last night or stayed up so late and that’s why I look tired”…

2. Embrace your imperfections – and realise this takes time and commitment. These are things that make you look beautiful and look like “you”.

3. Make a conscious choice to believe in yourself and say positive things out loud. Let kids hear you speak these kind, positive, uplifting mantras.

4. Set boundaries. Say no to things you don’t want to do – otherwise if you say “yes” you feel resentment later. A no for someone else, is a “yes” for your soul health.

5. Find something that calms your nervous system. I personally use yoga, mediation, and I savour my cup of coffee mindfully daily where I pause and feel gratitude for the upcoming day. If I feel really anxious then I reach out to uplifting friends, or go for a walk (which in my book Balance explains how this calms anxiety).

6. Take time to do things you love to do. Practice being playful. These things can boost your mood and confidence.

  • This is a sponsored post by the Polynesian Spa. Rachel is an ambassador for the spa complex where she co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats.

One Minute Meditation

Find a cosy spot, sit or lay down, close your eyes… & let me guide you through this one minute meditation, which can help to calm your nervous system. – Rachel x Click HERE

7 Exercises for Back Pain

Book review by Rachel Grunwell

Book title: McKenzie Method:  Treat Your Own Back – by Robin McKenzie

This post is sponsored by The McKenzie Method company #AD

If you have ever experienced back pain, you’d be interested in this helpful easy-to-read book…

This can empower you on how to avoid or manage self-care for your back.

This book is penned by the late Kiwi physiotherapist Robin McKenzie, who is renowned for developing the McKenzie method to help people self-manage low back pain.

An acronym for the McKenzie method is mechanical diagnosis and therapy (MDT). McKenzie passed away in 2013. But his work lives on. Medical professionals have used his method worldwide for decades and continue to do so.

This 120-page book distils myths about acute back pain, lists common causes, and then details exercises and remedies on how to manage symptoms. 

The book is short and easy to read (ie not too much medical or technical jargon). I like that anyone can pick this book up and read it with ease. The exercises are also easily explained and not too difficult to do. Many of them are yoga poses I teach as a yoga teacher, but they go by different names in the book.

The book shows you strategies on how to put your back “in” too if you have put it “out”. It also advises around how to try and avoid a recurrence.

McKenzie writes in the book that back pain affects nearly everyone at some stage and is a common ailment. 

He writes: “It is often described as fibrositis, slipped disc, lumbago, arthritis in the back or rheumatism and, when it causes pain extending into the leg, sciatica.”

Some common causes of lower back pain include sitting for a long time in a poor, flexed rounded position. You know, that slumped in a chair kind of position. Or prolonged forward bending (take note: gardeners, or anyone using a poor lifting technique when picking something up!)

McKenzie writes that when pains of postural origin are first felt they can be easily eliminated merely by correcting your posture.

If uncorrected, the habitual poor posture can cause changes to the structure and shape of the joints. Excessive wear can occur, loss of elasticity resulting in premature aging of the joints etc.

A key point of the book is teaching readers the importance around how to keep natural posture ie when you stand, there’s a natural inward curve in the small of the lower back just above the pelvis (called lumbar lordosis). The lordosis is lost whenever the low back is rounded ie sitting hunched over and bending forwards. It becomes an issue if the lordosis is lost for long periods.

McKenzie explains in the book that unless you do exercises to restore normal flexibility, your healed tissue can produce back pain or stiffness – possibly for years. The pain can then escalate if scar tissue forms and restricts movement and you feel pain whenever you stretch…

I found it interesting in the book that lots of people blame sports or vigorous activities for back pain. However, McKenzie writes that in fact often it is after the activity when people sit, slouch or collapse for long periods in a chair. So, it’s not the sport, but often the posture we do post activities.

Resting or sleeping in some positions can also fuel back discomfort. Even surface (a bad mattress) can be a problem.

The book helps guides readers through stretches to help remedy their discomfort – and what to do if pain persists.

There are stretches and varied advice in the book to combat different issues and there are many areas you can feel the source of the back pain. He shares tips on what to do to handle niggles, all the way up to acute back pain. There’s advice on when to apply certain exercises also in an emergency scenario if you get a sudden onset of acute pain…

Note. If pain persists, please seek the advice of a qualified McKenzie physio to get expert advice.

7 Exercises For Back Pain:

Exercise 1. Lying face down.
Exercise 2. Lying face down in extension.
Exercise 3. Extension in lying.
Exercise 4. Extension in standing.
Exercise 5. Flexion in lying.
Exercise 6. Flexion in sitting.
Exercise 7. Flexion in standing.
To find out more about the McKenzie method click HERE

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell: Qualified coach, yoga + meditation teacher, wellness speaker and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. Follow Rachel on Instagram or her business Facebook page

The Number 1 De-Stress Tool I Share with Corporates

Rachel Grunwell plank yoga pose

By Rachel Grunwell

Feeling stressed, anxious, or sad? Firstly, I want to assure you that you are not alone. Life is a roller coaster – for everyone. It is full of ups and downs. We all have tough days. It’s part of being human.

I share lots of de-stress strategies in workshops with corporates. What’s my number 1 tool that I always share that’s science-proven? It’s called diaphragmatic breathing (or in simple terms, it is just plain belly breathing. This can powerfully help you to calm your nervous system in a matter of moments.

What do you do? Essentially… just sit, soften your shoulders, and take three, slow calming breaths into the belly area.

For example, you can count to four on the in-breath. Pause. Then, count to four on the out breath. Pause. Repeat this 2-3 times.

I hope this helps to re-set your body, mind and soul.  

Ps remember to reach out and talk to loved ones, friends, colleagues, anyone. Connection helps to uplift you too.

And keep believing in the power of love and kindness. Always.

For more wellness tips follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook. Rachel is the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. She’s an award-winning journalist. Wellness expert. Coach. Qualified yoga a + meditation teacher. Rachel is also a key note wellness speaker and runs wellness workshops for corporates.

Rachel Grunwell personal coaching