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Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Mat!

As I walk around Le Sport meeting and greeting with guests and introducing myself as the new Yoga Teacher, I’m seeing a common theme in the reactions I receive to the questions about yoga: self-judgment.  When asked if they’ve ever tried a yoga class, many guests respond with “I’m so inflexible”, or “I can’t even touch my toes”, or ”I would just throw off everyone else’s balance”.

And this is where I’d like to step in. These are all of the reasons we should be practicing yoga! We all have to begin somewhere and in a safe environment, where trying new activities and pushing comfort zones is a daily occurrence, Le Sport is a perfect place to give yoga its first shot.

A common misconception about “yogis” (those who practice yoga) is that we are all ‘amazing at yoga’, all extremely flexible and strong (you know, pretzel poses and legs wrapped around the ears? No big deal.). What I’d like you all to take home today is that yoga is a continuous personal development, physically, mentally and emotionally and that it has nothing to do with what the rest of the class is working on. Yoga is a learning process that never ceases, because your body, where you are at in your life, and your current state of mind are in constant transition and these are all major players in learning about oneself.

Yoga is about body awareness. It is about knowing your own limitations and coming to discover, embrace, and honour your body’s potential (and yes, we all have potential!).

A great starting point is to ensure that when you approach your yoga practice, that you’re not setting out just to master a particular posture or goal. Rather than using the body to figure out the pose, begin to use the pose to understand the body. Seeing each posture, or each class, as a learning opportunity will help increase body awareness and keep your mind interested as you move forward (or sideways, or upside down!).

You focus on your mat and I’ll focus on mine.

It’s important to remember that the only thing that matters to you in this yoga class is what is happening on your own mat!  Yoga is meant to be noncompetitive. It is most definitely not a race and all other yogis in the room are really only concerned with their own pace, not about what’s happenings over there on your yoga mat. Allowing yourself to fall prey to competition in yoga will ultimately lead to disappointment or even injuries, as you have shifted the focus of energy from one of sensation and body knowledge to one of goal-setting and winning.

Comparison is usually only created in the context of what other people are doing. Therefore, in order to avoid comparing and judging, remember to keep your eyes down and your focus inward.

What does being “good at yoga” mean?

It’s all too easy to blindly follow the yoga teacher and try out advanced postures that you’re not ready to move into. Even something as simple as the way your instructor raises his/her arms are personal preferences for his/her own practice and don’t necessarily need to be followed by you. If your range of motion isn’t as wide or long as the teacher’s, find a way to adapt. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you. Stop when you feel you need to and don’t judge yourself if you didn’t make it as far today as you had hoped. A class where you successful eased up from a posture and intelligently stayed at your own ability level is much more successful than a class where you chose not to listen to your intuition and pushed yourself too hard.

Where you are today is exactly where you should be.

You’re only a true novice once.

In closing, I’d like to encourage you to enjoy these beginning stages of your yoga practice, as they are the most humbling of all. You really only get to be a complete novice once, so embrace this time in your life and remember where you began. It will be all that much sweeter when you look back on your progress in the future.  What’s key to making this process enjoyable is to be able to approach your learning from a light-hearted and open-minded place, without judgment or attachment to results.

With that, there are no excuses not to give it a try! So I hope to see you on the mat!

See Amanda, our resident Yogi, for more life changing advice when you are with us!

Namaste!

The BodyHoliday Welcomes Balinese Practitioner Ni Nengah Ratmini

st. lucia spa resortThe award-winning Wellness Centre at The BodyHoliday, LeSport is excited to welcome Ni Nengah Ratmini to its team of Wellness Practitioners. Mini (as she prefers to be called) will present highly popular Balinese treatments to our guests at the Wellness Centre beginning July 1st , 2013.

Mini is a native of Bali Island in Indonesia, where she worked as a therapist for six years, laying the foundation for her craft. She then moved to Maldives where she worked for another year and then at the Hilton in Seychelles for 5years. Mini is proud of her development both externally and internally. She realizes that being a Holistic Practitioner is more than an occupation and sees herself as more of a traditional healer with the main purpose of healing her clients’ bodies and souls. She wants to help them achieve relaxation and feel beautiful both inside and out. Her main goal is to give the best service which will lead to maximum satisfaction.

The treatments Mini will offer include:

  • Balinese Massage – A traditional massage from Bali which incorporates a number of techniques including rolling, stroking, acupressure and reflexology combined with essential oils to relax and soothe the body.
  • Balinese Facial – This deep cleansing, exfoliating and detoxifying facial uses natural and fresh ingredients that have been used in Indonesia for generations for their beautifying and healing qualities.
  • Boreh Boreh Wrap – A Balinese wrap which uses a blend of turmeric, ginger, black pepper, clove and rice powder to detoxify and infuse dry skin.

If you will be staying at The BodyHoliday soon, be sure to book one of Mini’s treatments.

The BodyHoliday Debuts Caribbean Sky-High Cycling w/ New Tree House Spin Studio

bodyholiday spin studio

The BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia’s premier all-inclusive wellness resort, is taking fitness to new heights with the addition of the Tree House, a one-of-a-kind, glass-enclosed studio, which opened in early December 2012.  After the recent completion of a $20 million property refresh in October 2011, the resort is continuing property upgrades with the introduction of the new, high-rise studio, which serves as a multi-functional space for spin instruction, unique fitness and yoga programming, and elegant events.

A modern-day “tree house,” the 1,000 square-foot, glass-enclosed structure is situated on the hillside adjacent to the resort’s 30,000 square-foot wellness center.  Towering 25 feet above ground, the Tree House is surrounded by tropical gardens, and encased in 8-foot floor-to-ceiling glass windows, providing breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and lush Saint Lucian vegetation.  The Tree House embodies the same contemporary design aesthetic as the resort’s recent makeover and features an array of contemporary fitness equipment, including 25 LiveStrong-branded spinning bikes and a state of the art sound system.

In addition to the property’s signature BodySpin and BodySpin Max courses, the Tree House introduces a variety of new spin programming to guests.  Specially designed to inspire and energize riders of all levels, the new program offers everything from high-intensity classes to non-traditional rides led by world-class instructors. The Tree House also serves as an additional facility for group fitness classes and one-on-one sessions in Tai Chi, Pilates, fencing, meditation, yoga, and personal training.  As part of The BodyHoliday’s all-inclusive philosophy of promoting a stress-free vacation, these new programs are all included in the nightly rate.

One signature element of the Tree House is the open air “Zen Deck,” situated on the structure’s rooftop.  The space serves as a stunning location that functions as a yoga studio, archery range and secondary setting for candlelit banquets and dinner receptions. Additionally, the studio itself is an ideal space to host a stylish, intimate gathering as it can be easily converted to accommodate a wedding reception, wellness seminar or business meeting.  The space can be adorned with customized furniture and the floor-to-ceiling windows allow for an abundance of natural light, all while displaying breathtaking backdrops for any event.

Is Your Sleep Pattern Making You Fat?

So I’ve talked a lot over the past few months about food and exercise and their impact on not just weight management but overall health and wellbeing, so I thought this time I would mix it up a little and look at the importance of sleep.

I’m not talking about just getting an early night to make sure you wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed for the next day, I’m sure we are all well aware of the impact a poor night’s sleep has on our mood and productivity.

Let’s look at the good stuff, how does sleep affect our weight!  There have been numerous studies looking at the association of sleep and obesity and they have shown that short sleep duration is significantly associated with more body fat. Yikes, that’s worrying when the National Sleep Foundation reports that many people only sleep for 5-6 hours a night.

Let’s add to that now with more studies that show acute sleep deprivation appears to increase hunger, it has been found that the region of the brain stimulated by food is increasingly activated when sleep is restricted, basically meaning that you are more likely to over eat when you are tired!

I don’t know about you but that’s all I need to hear to convince me that a good night’s sleep is a must when it comes to weight management. So what can we do to promote a better night’s sleep?

  • Firstly get comfortable, your bedroom needs to be somewhere you actually want to be! If your bed is uncomfortable or the room is too hot or cold then getting to sleep is going to be more difficult.
  • Relax! Watching television may seem like a way to unwind at the end of the day but it can actually hinder your sleep as it stimulates the brain and the same can be said for being on the computer or mobile phone, so turn off the soaps and don’t be tempted to answer any emails. Taking a bath before bed is a great way to relax and unwind!
  • Get regular exercise! Ok so I had to get exercise into the blog somewhere! But exercising during the day can actually promote better sleep just don’t do it right before bed as this might inhibit you from falling asleep.

Hopefully you have some top tips for a peaceful night sleep tonight and for more personalised life changing advice when you are with us see Rachel, our resident nutritionist and BodyAware Consultant.

Stretch at your Desk

So we know that being slumped over a desk all day is not good for our posture and can cause tension in the neck and upper back, if you’ve ever had a sports massage from Billie here at the resort you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, she can find those spots in a flash!

But it is what it is right, you work at a desk and there is nothing you can do about it, you have to suffer the pain until the next massage.  No it’s not the case, I’m here yet again with some simple tips on how to stretch at your desk to ease pain, increase energy and improve circulation.

  • Shoulder stretch: Take the right arm across the front of the body, take the left arm under the right and gently pull in closer to stretch out the right shoulder. Repeat on the left side. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, take a deep breath in as you breathe out gently try and increase the stretch for another 30 seconds.
  • Scapula retraction: Sit with both feet flat on the floor and place your hands on your hips. Set your shoulder blades back and down and squeeze together hold for about 15 seconds, relax and repeat.
  • Chest stretch: Sitting or standing place both hands on the small of your back and stretch the chest forward, aim to get your elbows as close together as you can! Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, take a deep breath in as you breathe out gently try and increase the stretch for another 30 seconds.
  • Chin Tuck: Sit with both feet flat on the floor and place your arms at your sides. Face straight ahead and gently lower your chin to your chest, hold for 30 seconds then relax slowly to the starting position and repeat.
  • Side stretch: Sit with both feet flat on the floor, take your arms above your head and interlock your fingers, keeping your hips in place stretch your arms up to the ceiling and lean over to one side. Hold the stretch for 30 before you take a deep breath and increase the stretch further. Repeat on the other side.
  • Back stretch: Place your hands at the edge of your desk and slowly push your chair backwards away from the desk so your head is between your arms facing the floor , hold for 30 seconds then relax slowly to the starting position and repeat.

Just taking a few minutes a day to complete these stretches may help relieve stress, increase concentration and productivity and generally make you feel a whole lot better!

See Rachel, our Resident Nutritionist and BodyAware Consultant, for more life changing advice and top tips when you are with us!

The Truth about your Cup of Joe!

So why is it that people feel the need to whisper or apologize to me about the fact that they drink a cup of coffee in the morning? I’m the first to put my hand up and say there is nothing better than the smell of fresh coffee brewing in the morning and I can even tell you the best coffee houses in every city I’ve ever visited. So here it is the reasons why you don’t need to hide your cup of Joe from me the next time I’m walking by.

  • Coffee is a source of powerful antioxidants which can lower your risk of illness and disease including heart disease.
  • The antioxidants can raise HDL cholesterol a.k.a the” good” cholesterol which improves total cholesterol.
  • Its caffeine content can enhance the body’s use of fat for fuel
  • Coffee can enhance your performance if drunk before a workout or training session

BUT as with everything you shouldn’t abuse coffee, it is a stimulant and increases stress hormones so if you are a highly stressed person coffee might not be the right choice for you, it may also affect your sleep patterns if you drink it later in the day, so try not to use it as an afternoon pick me up, err on the side of caution and don’t drink it past 1pm. Finally the quality of your coffee has a huge impact on its health benefits, where you can always buy fair trade, organic and if you can brew it fresh, commercially produced or instant coffee is usually high in chemicals and as you know by now I’m all about reducing the chemicals in your diet to assist the body’s natural detoxing system.

So enjoy your morning brew and see Rachel, our resident nutritionist and BodyAware Consultant, for more personalised life changing advice when you are with us!

ACV what’s all the fuss about?

What springs to mind when I say vinegar? Goes great with salt on my fish and chips possibly? Or great for cleaning the bathroom mirror with yesterday’s newspaper, well not any more, now you can say great for my health. That’s right apple cider vinegar, which has long been used in home remedies, has been shown in recent studies to help with high cholesterol, diabetes and even some cancers.

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty strong tasting stuff so if you are new to ACV I wouldn’t recommend trying to drink it in water straight away as many cleanses suggest. You could start incorporating it into a simple salad dressing, soup or juice to ease you into the flavour, just remember ACV can be harsh on your tooth enamel so never drink it undiluted and use a straw where you can.

However you decide to use it, it’s well worth it for some of these amazing health benefits.

  • Help prevent indigestion
  • Aid detoxification
  • Promote weight loss
  • Stabalise blood sugar levels
  • Alleviate skin problems
  • Keep hair healthy , soft and shiny
  • Combat bacterial infections- clear your stuffy nose or upset stomach!!

The top benefit of ACV: it’s inexpensive and you can usually pick it up in the vinegar isle at your local grocery store so no hassle of hunting it down in health food stores. You want to check the label and look for raw, unfiltered with the “mother of vinegar” to ensure it is unheated and unpasteurized. If you are worried about the high acid content affecting your throat, stomach or any other medical condition you may have, you can always check with your doctor, otherwise try it out and as always let us know what you think and how you feel!

See Rachel, our resident nutritionist and BodyAware Consultant, for more life changing advice when you are with us!

Injury Prevention for Runners

injury prevention, runners

So those of you that were at the resort last week might have seen me jumping for joy at the news that I have a place in the New York City Marathon, if you weren’t here, then to say I’m excited is an understatement. In light of this news I thought I would make this next blog running related so those of you that have an upcoming race, whether it’s a 5k, marathon or even if you run just for the fun of it can pick up a few tips to help you improve your performance.

Believe it or not the first thing that went through my mind when I opened the confirmation email was not the shock horror that I have to be able to run 26.3 miles in 6 months, but that I have to start taking more time to look after my legs and avoid injury. It’s possibly the most underestimated part of most people’s training regime, but failure to incorporate injury prevention into your program could result in you being laid up on the sofa with an ice pack on your knee, not ideal when you have some serious training to do.

So here’s what I’ll be doing for the next 6 months to remain injury free and hopefully cross that finish line with the same smile that I had last week!

  • Staying within my limits.

Yes I have to run 26.3 miles, but not next week! It would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking I have to do too much, too soon, too quickly, but I have 6 months to build it up, running too much is the number one cause of self-inflicted injuries. One of many guidelines for preparing for longer distances is the 10% rule; it is thought that by increasing your training mileage by no more than 10% per week will prove for an injury free program and success on race day.

  • Building a strong body.

Strong muscles, ligaments and tendons will help keep my body aligned, guard against impact and improve my form. Strengthening my core, hips and legs is going to be vital to keep muscle balance and ensure stability, so you’ll probably see a lot more of me in Pilates class soon.

  • Stretching.

Stretching will not only help me recover after my training sessions, but help improve circulation, increase range of motion at my joints, promote better co-ordination and decrease muscle tension. So that’s me in Yoga class tomorrow then!!

  • Getting a sports massage.

Regular sports massages will improve circulation, loosen tight muscles and reduce the stress on my joints which should improve my overall performance in training and on the day. If you haven’t had a sports massage from Billy yet here at the resort, you must try her on your next visit!

  • Wearing the correct shoes.

I’m sure we’ve all been blown away by the wide selection of running shoes that are on the market these days and my number one tip here is to choose what’s right for you. You can listen to what your running buddies suggest but it really is trial and error to work out the right shoe for you. Remember running shoes are not a fine wine, they do not get better with age and running in old shoes will only increase the risk of injury! Look to change your shoes every four months.

See Rachel, our resident nutritionist and BodyAware Consultant, for more life changing advice when you are with us!

Fodor's Top 100 Hotel Awards 2012

The BodyHoliday LeSport is proud to be named one of the Best All Inclusive Resorts in the world by Fodor’s on CNN Travel.

“Our Fodor’s editors and contributors are constantly evaluating hotels throughout the year, and the Fodor’s 100 represent our top hotels for travelers right now,” explained Arabella Bowen, Fodor’s Travel executive editorial director. “We look for properties with great amenities and stellar service that offer a unique experience to guests – every traveler will find a dream hotel on this list, no matter what their travel personality.”

To read more about what Fodor’s had to say about the BodyHoliday LeSport, click here.

How to Become a Morning Workout Person

morning workout in st. lucia

Very few people like to hear the alarm clock bellowing in their ear first thing in the morning and worse still if it’s the signal for you to drag yourself up and get to the gym, but hitting the snooze button one too many times can be detrimental to your fitness goals if it means you frequently end up skipping your workout.

If working out in the morning is your only option due to work or life commitments in the evening then becoming a morning person should really become a priority to help you maintain health and wellbeing. I’m not going to kid you and pretend it’s easy, it’s not, you will feel tired and sluggish to begin with, but after a few weeks it should begin to feel natural, you should start to see results and feel more energized throughout the day. You’ll start to love the feeling of checking your work out off your day’s to do list before you even hit the office and when you don’t do it one day you’ll miss the post workout satisfaction.

So what can you do to make it a little easier to throw off the duvet and find the umph to blast out an awesome workout!

  • Commit to it! You might say easier said than done, but even if you’re cranky on waking not giving up will over time turn into habit.
  • Force yourself to move! Put your alarm clock on the opposite side of the bedroom so that you have to get out of bed to switch it off and then if you’re up you may as well workout!
  • Make it fun and enjoyable! Even on a sunny day a class or workout you find boring is not going to motivate you to get up. Even more important in winter is to find a fun workout that you feel you are missing out on if you are not there.
  • Make friends! Once you’ve been a few times you’ll see other regular early birds and making friends to meet up with will help you stick to your routine.
  • Pack your bags! The night before pack your kit back and get everything ready that you need so in the morning you can just grab it and go.
  • Plan ahead! If you are going to a class sign up ahead of time so you are committed to turn up, if you are doing your own workout, write it down or use an app for inspiration so you don’t have to think about what to do when you arrive.

As I said it’s not going to be easy, it’s about making the time to exercise not finding the time, but the health and fitness gains in the end are worth it.