You don't need to spend a fortune or travel to Thailand to get the wellness tips from Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Spa Resort. They've shared their trade secrets here.
Ready or not, spring is well and truly upon us and the prospect of getting our pins out is no longer a faint possibility and now a major threat. Feeling ready? Neither are we. That’s why we spoke to Karina Stewart, co-founder of Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Spa Resort in Thailand which was awarded the Worldwide Health and Wellness Destination of the Year. Here she shares her very best advice to get your body and mind back on track.
Sounds simple but taking a moment to drop in with your breath can literally work miracles on our nervous system. “One great way to slow down and to stay in balance is to 'pause' what you are doing and take 10 long and deep abdominal breaths,” says Karina. An abdominal breath is a full, deep, expanding inhalations followed by a slow, long, relaxed exhalation. “Ideally, pause for two to three minutes every hour throughout the day. The difference in your vitality and wellbeing will be phenomenal.”
Connect with nature
Feeling overwhelmed? Step away from the computer and get outside, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. “The immersion in nature helps you become absorbed fully in the present moment, but also slows you down and helps to bring things into balance with a clear perspective,” says Karina. Paying attention to your surrounds is a tried and tested technique for bringing you back into your body and alleviating anxiety almost immediately. “Just listen to the sounds of birds, smell the scents of plants and flowers and allow all of the senses to expand,” Karina explains.
Go for a walk
Brilliant news, running and other high impact activities are not the only way to nix tension. “Low impact cardio activities such as walking, swimming and cycling are ideal to get more oxygen moving throughout the body and transported into the brain,” says Karina. “This clears the mind and has even been found to help prevent cognitive decline as we age.”
If you’ve had a bad day or you’re feeling overwhelmed, the Indian breathing technique known as Pranayama is a brilliant way to calming the nervous system. Alternate nostril breathing, where you block one nostril, breathe in through the other, hold then block the opposite nostril and breathe out, “helps sharpen your mind and enhance mental clarity,” says Karina. “Practice for 15 minutes twice a day over the course of one month and you'll be surprised how much calmer you feel.”
Make sleep a priority
You’ve heard sitting is the new smoking, but did you know sleep deprivation isn’t far behind in terms of major threats to your health? “Getting enough sleep is vital for prevention, management and treatment of various health imbalances,” says Karina. Less than eight hours shut-eye on a regular basis has been linked to all kinds of health issues in research conducted by University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “A weaker immune system, higher risks obesity, heart disease, depression, diabetes and even colon cancer according to the study published in 2011,” says Karina. “Research has shown that we recover best when we go to bed between 9.00-10pm, allowing our body and mind to wake rested in the early morning.”
Move your body every day
Moving your body, even if it’s just a gentle walk, will pay dividends to your overall wellbeing. “Whether it is walking, swimming, dancing or stretching. It should be something you really enjoy doing,” says Karina. “A good 45 minutes daily – ideally outdoors in nature will have a large impact on your overall health and wellbeing.”
Cut back on meat
There’s no need to do a drastic vegan detox but increasing your veggie intake and scaling back on meat is a gentle way to give your body a refresh. “Research suggests that a plant-based diet, around 80-90 per cent vegetarian, including fresh and highly nourishing ingredients is ideal for maintaining optimal health,” says Karina “Dark green vegetables are particularly good because they are high in magnesium, which is necessary for the healthy function of the nervous system, muscular relaxation and replenishment of adrenal glands.”
Ditch all the sugars
You know sugar is bad news but taking note of what you’re eating and drinking by looking at labels is important. “This includes corn syrup, fructose, and sugary foods and beverages such soft drinks, pastries and candy as well as refined carbohydrates, which are basically just broken down into sugar,” says Karina “These foods provide only short-lived energy bursts with little to no nutrient value. They also disrupt blood sugar balance, which leads to mood swings.”
Taking time to look after yourself is usually the first thing to get bumped to the bottom of our to-do list, but making time, even if it means scheduling it into your diary, is crucial to your emotional and physical wellbeing. “Everybody deserves ‘me’ time, but this won’t happen unless you create it,” says Karina. “If you make sure to take care of yourself you will be better equipped to take care of others around you.”
Do what you love
Right behind putting yourself first, having fun is often something we let slide, but having fun is actually crucial for leading a healthy, happy life. “Nourishing a creative outlet has been found to give you a strong sense of wellbeing and pleasure,” says Karina. “No matter if you like painting, cooking, music, photography or gardening - being creative is a positive emotional experience and can help you to stay emotionally balanced, even in difficult times.”
Learn more about Kamalaya’s full list of health and wellness packages here.