Retreat and find your calm with Sweet Yoga

A New Year’s resolution to mark the new millennium has become a way of life for Justine Farnworth.

She is now on a mission to share her love of yoga through her own health and wellbeing business and divides her time between her homes in Buckinghamshire and Portugal.

After seeking out a yoga class to help with pains in her back, neck and shoulders which were symptomatic of years of working in the corporate world as an Executive Assistant, Justine quickly became hooked on the whole, calm and centred feeling that comes from practising yoga and was soon in teacher training and on a life and career changing journey.

Justine now runs www.sweetyoga.co.uk a retreat set among the pines of Portugal where she welcomes guests who take part in Vinyasa, Yoga Therapeutics and Restorative Yoga. Her life is a million miles away from the high stress and hectic corporate world that she once worked in.

Whole, calm and centred

Justine said: “From the first class I attended I remember feeling whole, calm and very centered afterwards. I know now that impression was my spirit coming home. My first teacher introduced me to the concept of transformation, before long I was in teacher training with Yogacampus in London and by 2006 I was fully qualified.

“I studied with world famous teachers like Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, Judith Lasater, Scott Blossom, AG Mohan and more. More recently, my calling has shifted towards therapeutic applications of yoga and I’m currently studying Integrative Yoga Therapeutics with Bo Forbes. Personal and non-personal experience of trauma, stress, illness, suicide, anxiety, grief and depression place me well to teach this style of yoga. I also bolster my expertise with insights gained from a biomechanical osteopath because I like to look beyond the original texts of yoga to apply a real-world approach.”

Restorative

Justine teaches Vinyasa, Yoga Therapeutics and Restorative Yoga. Vinyasa means mindfully flowing through sequences combining movement with breath – using the main muscle groups and connecting with deeper subtleties. Restorative means total body support with no movement – first aid for the nervous system leaving you nourished and well rested.

She added: “By exploring and pausing in postures we can view our internal dialogue and bring about a more meditative quality. That way we experience a whole mind-body practice not only growing physical strength but mental resilience too – by releasing old tensions we can oust old beliefs about ourselves. I teach both active and dynamic practices plus passive and restorative classes always tailoring it to the needs of the group or individual. My class atmosphere is one of safety and guidance primarily, then space for students to honour their personal journey becomes second nature as it did in the beginning for me. By nurturing growth and community, students can embrace the practice and make it their own.

Holistic experience

“Refining my own practice and teaching is an ongoing process. My students say I have a sensitive touch and good awareness for their needs. My goal as a yoga teacher is to help people read their physical and energetic bodies. I think yoga should be a holistic experience where you draw on life experiences and trust your intellect and intuition. For me yoga is much more than the poses. ”

With nearly 20 years mat time, Justine respects the roots of traditional yoga but integrates modern day findings for a unique experience.
She added: “My passion is to reveal the wonder of yoga through practices with good breath flow and body smart movement. With guided mind-body connection and mind-mood output, the journey back to the body wisdom is inspiring and energising. My non-dogmatic teaching style and sensitive touch gives me a good awareness for my clients needs. Delivered in English and Sanskrit with demonstrations and safe adjustments.
My practice gives me space for self-work where I can search, feel and embrace what my body is holding that my mind cannot express.
“Our retreat is set in a luxury country villa in the pines of Portugal, to give you all you need to self-restore through yoga, heavenly food and a spacious natural setting. By adjusting to a new rhythm you will unwind residual tension to invite a greater sense of vitality in your life.”

By taking yourself off on this retreat and pulling away from your busy life, you will be creating time for self-understanding through yoga. The morning practices are of vinyasa style and the afternoon are restorative, reframing and releasing. The practices are carefully choreographed to give you an intimate but fun experience. Much of what you do will raise your curiosity about what’s beyond the poses whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or a newcomer to yoga. As you plug-in to your own body’s wisdom you will be less inclined to un-plug. Through that interconnection you will be shown how yoga can infuse your life and not just be limited to your mat.

Memories, emotions and longings

Justine added: “Our bodies house memories, emotions and longings so to process-through-practice is a wonderful way to find greater freedom. Through movement and stillness our two yoga sessions a day create space to embrace what shows up ~ strength or weakness, overwork or neglect, joy or sadness. The most effective laboratory for self understanding is through the body. In my opinion yoga is the perfect discipline to improve awareness – the more you practice, the more you become aware. You won’t leave empty handed. Apart from all the wonderful memories spending time with like-minded people, you will naturally gather a sustainable repertoire of techniques and tips on how to regularly release tension from your body. You will also receive a gift from me to help you with this for your onward journey through yoga.

We only use high quality mats, props, bolsters, blankets and belts and few personal additions I’ve created along the way.”
There are 6 luxury large bedrooms all ensuite, air conditioned with balconies overlooking the vineyard and surrounding woods.
Justine added: “The rooms have comfortable seating inside and out for quiet time alone or to read your book. All beds are king size except for one twin room. We do not charge single supplements because most guests prefer a room of their own but should friends/couple want to share we will give you a 10% discount each.”

The villa overlooks its own garden and positioned perfectly for sunrise or sunset on the horizon. It has a pool with sun loungers and a tennis court but just a few minutes walk away is a beautifully kept river beach where you can dip your toes in the crystal blue-flag waters, try a spot of safe and easy wild swimming, or simply watch life at a slower pace from the cafe.

An experienced masseuse can be booked to visit during your stay along witha manicure or pedicure in the comfort of your own room.

Guests can also chill out at the villa in some of the comfy social spaces or sunbathe and swim in the pool. There is also a tennis court and a multi-media room and bicycles (you must bring your own safety helmet). From the villa there are many country walks or if you prefer to wander through the well serviced village you can sit at a cafe and watch rural life go by.
Food is inspired by recipes from River Cottage, Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi all with added flair giving the meals an abundance of colour. A abundance of really fresh local produce is used and guests can stroll through the garden and help themselves to figs, apples and grapes. Homemade preserves, relishes, nut butter, sourdough and kefir milk are a speciality, along with Portuguese olive oil and pasteurized local cheeses.

Justine added: “Food is such a big part of our retreat and we enjoy serving our predominantly vegetarian/vegan menu. We also have many wheat free dishes available too. If guests have other dietary requests we will be happy to accommodate. There are two large interior kitchens; the ground floor is the main kitchen with a canopy covered outside eating area. Both lunch and dinner are served here in a homely way. We serve various homemade fruit waters but if you would like to try Portuguese wines and beers we have a selection available to purchase at local prices. On the second floor is the breakfast kitchen where you will help yourself to bircher or cook up eggs – if you like to start your day quietly you have an option to eat on your balcony or as a group at the kitchen table. At anytime during the day you can help yourself to cold/hot drinks, fruit and snacks.”
A quality yogi breakfast with bircher muesli, fresh fruit, eggs, toast and homemade jams is self-served from 8am. The morning yoga session starts at 10am with time afterwards for discussion and individual questions. Lunch is served at 1pm then guests are free to relax until the afternoon yoga.
Justine said: “The most popular afternoon activity is a massage which we organise and is an additional cost as is a manicure and pedicure in your own room. On top of all that you can also enjoy the atmosphere at the local river beach and go wild swimming. We regroup for the afternoon yoga session at 6pm and your evening meal is served at 8pm.”

Visit  Sweet Yoga this summer

If you would like to visit Sweet Yoga this summer and recharge your batteries, available dates are as follows:

16-22 June 2018, 7-13 July and 8-14 September
Price
£649 per person / £585 per person if sharing includes:
o round trip airport-to-venue transfers from Lisbon airport
o full-board ensuite accommodation with your own room
o vegetarian-vegan breakfast, lunch and evening meals freshly prepared, locally sourced
o yoga twice a day, pace set just right for the group (newcomers to experienced)
o afternoon excursion to a beauty spot
o fruit, snacks, spring water and homemade healthy cakes
o lovely, tranquil environment with pool, sun loungers & local river beach
o Sweetyoga gift to enhance your practice
o quality yoga equipment of a high standard and clean!
Excludes flights, massages, manicure & pedicure and incidentals.

Contact Justine sweetyoga@gmail.com for more information and to book.

What are you waiting for…get your best knickers on!

A lot of my clients are women. Not all, but many are. This doesn’t mean I don’t like coaching men, because I do, it just seems that more women contact me than men. Simple!

One of the things that I find time and time again is the reluctance for the women I work with to put themselves first and value themselves highly. I ask them in the first session to promise me they will put themselves first on their list of priorities and values and many look at me as if I am mad. They roll their eyes, they look to the heavens and I know what they are thinking. (Some even laugh at me…)

I get this. I really do.

But, I am not asking anyone to be selfish, a diva, a showoff, a nasty, uncaring person and I am not asking them to ignore their responsibilities or stop loving or caring for people. I am simply asking them to look after themselves better.

For many of the women I work with, this is an alien concept and not a request that necessarily goes down well. The reality is that if we don’t practice effective and authentic self care we are not really going to be working at our optimum level and therefore have the potential to not be much use to those around us anyway.

When I explain my request in those terms, it is like watching a series of lightbulbs gradually flicker on-particularly in a group workshop when they all look at each other as if to say, ‘yeah…ok..maybe she’s not mad after all.’

Then they stop laughing and start smiling.

So the process begins to help people get over those barriers and encourage them to think highly of themselves so that they can work towards becoming the best possible version of themselves as quickly as possible. Because it doesn’t matter how much I believe they can make big changes, THEY have to believe it too.

We have all been guilty of neglecting ourselves, thinking there are other priorities that are more important and convincing ourselves that we are not special enough to have time to ourselves, or indulge in a treat every now and then. Mostly we feel like this because of our limited self belief systems. Limited because we have chosen to believe what other people have told us about ourselves and those beliefs have gradually become our reality.

Small steps can make a big difference to how we feel about ourselves and how we believe we should be treated. Simple actions such as taking some time to read a book for a few minutes a day can have a big impact.

Just being quiet and still can be a great way to gather our thoughts and be calm and in the moment. How many of us have been given lovely sets of beauty or bath products as presents and never opened them? They sit there in the bathroom gathering dust because we are saving them for a special occasion. We have clothes that we are saving, we have ideas to do things that we will get round to one day. Well now is the time! Crack open the bubble bath, read the book that has been gathering dust and put your best knickers on my friends  because life is short!

IMG_3608

I love a beauty product as much as the next person, and I used to buy them, get given them and basically hoard them away-ridiculous behaviour!

No longer! My current favourite is this lovely stuff from Tropic Skincare. I am definitely not saving it for a special occasion and my skin has never looked better!

You can order some for yourself from the lovely Michelle French because YES you ARE worth it.

 

 

Celebrate every step

Setting goals is a big part of the creative coaching that I offer clients.

I set them for myself and encourage my clients to set them too. After all-that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Setting goals, making a plan and achieving great things

One of my major goals for this year (when I reach 50!) is to get that damn book written! In fact-I have two book ideas on the go, both of which WILL happen this year. The reason they will happen this year is actually quite simple.

Firstly-one of the books HAS to be written because it is a handbook for a course that I am already delivering and the second reason is because I have actually already written them both….confused?!

Well the reality is that I have been so fixated on writing the book, making plans, lists, mind maps and inspiration boards and creatively visualising my book signing…all leading to my ultimate goal that I have totally overlooked the very basic fact that I have already written hundreds of thousands of words over the last couple of years that would probably fill several books-let alone a meagre 2!

Let me explain….! (for my own sanity if nothing else!)

I am first and foremost a writer and a journalist. I have come to coaching in the last few years as part of my role as a university lecturer and as someone who works in challenging and hard to reach communities with vulnerable people.

I started using personal development tools to help my students, became very interested in the whole thing and then studied for  a level 7 diploma as an accredited life coach.

I have worked in the media industry for 30 years and during that time I have written a lot of stuff. My coaching programme Write Your Life revolves around writing!

 

I LOVE the products from www.bestself.co they really do help me stay on track and give my productivity levels a much needed kick up the arse!

 

I have now realised (why it has taken so long is anyone’s guess!) that while I have been panicking and putting myself under pressure to write the damn book-I have actually been writing it anyway. The words are already there-they just need a bit of organising and sorting out. I have more than enough material to well and truly finish two books this year.

I feel slightly cheated that I haven’t taken time to stop and realise this before now! I have been so focused on the end game, that everything that has been happening in between has been largely ignored.

When I coach clients-individually or in groups-I am always keen to remind them that the goal is important but so is the journey and that we MUST celebrate every single step-no matter how small we think that step is. All those small steps make a BIG difference and if we don’t celebrate them all and acknowledge we are making progress then we will just arrive relieved and exhausted rather than energised and lifted.

So…if you are setting goals then please do carry in doing that but make sure that you know WHAT is going on WHEN with each step of the process. I am off to listen to my own advice and finish those books….coming soon to all good bookshops!

Signs of Spring

Today it is cold-not quite as cold as it is at the Winter Olympics, but nevertheless it is very cold. However, I am quite sure that Spring is already starting to show its sleepy head and brighter, warmer days are on the horizon.

I am a firm believer in hibernation and the fact that nature has definitely got the right attitude when it comes to dealing with the colder months of the year. But I am also an eternal optimist and believer in positivity as a tool for creating significant change in our lives.

fullsizeoutput_146d

Getting stuck is something that happens to all of us at one point in our lives or another, and the feeling of being seemingly unable to make any forward progress can cause us to either feel frustrated  at our apparent stagnation or sometimes disappointed in ourselves and disenchanted with the hand that life has dealt us.

When we find ourselves stuck and unable to make any positive inroads into the life that we would really like to have, it is easy to give up and settle for what we have-convincing ourselves that good things only ever happen to other people, and that we will be forever on the outside looking in at everyone else’s seemingly perfect life.

Well here is the news my friends! Everyone else does NOT have a perfect life and we can all have the life we want if we are prepared to put the work in. It is increasingly harder to keep things in perspective in this age where every single minutiae of everyone’s life is shared on social media. It is easy to have envy,  jealousy even, of the lives of sometimes complete strangers-people who we choose to measure our own lives against even though we have no connection with them. I would question why we invest so much in holding these people up as those we want to aspire to be-for the very reason that the perfect lives they appear to have are far from perfect.

fullsizeoutput_5a8

In my book, having a purposeful and happy life with meaning and making a valuable contribution to your community does not equate to being the thinnest, riches, best dressed or perfect person that social media would have us believe. It means being authentic, real and honest and it means not giving up when we feel stuck but drawing on all the resilience and strength we have to get through those times by making positive plans for a brighter future that will bring us enormous rewards.

Take spring flowering bulbs as an example. We plant these dull, non descriptive and ugly brown lumps in the autumn-just as our gardens are planning their winter hibernation. And then we wait. We wait. And then we wait a bit more and then all of a sudden bright green, hopeful shoots start to emerge from the frozen brown soil like some kind of miracle. The cold weather does not deter nature from making a positive plan for the year ahead and neither should it deter you. The bulbs you see sprouting may appear to be making little progress and may even appear stuck but trust me-they have a plan and before you know it you will see the results of their plan-so now its time for you to make yours.

What are you waiting for?

Contact me today and book a no obligation coaching session with me for just £10 to see how I can help you to plan for a happy and authentic spring season and beyond.

hello@sarahadams.me.uk

IMG_1161

Keep it simple and make progress

We are a week into the New Year, so what are you looking forward to in 2018?

Controversially for a life coach, I don’t make New Year Resolutions. I tend to make my plans in September to coincide with the start of the new academic year as this ties in really well with the university lecturing that I am involved with.

However, I have spent this weekend with my husband planning our financial future and setting ourselves some big, ambitious yet frighteningly simple goals that we plan to smash this year.

Whether you make plans with someone or alone, taking time to really think about what you want and how best you can achieve it, will really be time well spent. Your goals should resonate and reflect with how you want your life to be. Ask yourself what will make you happy, less anxious, satisfied and provide you with a life you are proud to own and proud to create.

Goals don’t need to be complicated and I am a firm believer that they shouldn’t be. Simple goals are achievable because you have the advantage of clarity to start with. If your goal is clear and simple then the first crucial step of working towards it should be relatively straightforward. The de-cluttering session that I work through every time I set a goal, is also the starting point for everyone I work with. Think about what you need to clear in order to start reaching your goal.

For example, if you want to start working for yourself this year then think about what is actually standing in your way. Granted, it may not be as easy as simply giving up work one day and opening for business the next, but often we over think things we would like to do and then suddenly it all becomes unattainable because it is too hard or complicated and we simple don’t have the energy to wade through the process.

However, if we break down our big, ambitious and fantastic goals into simple, bit sized chunks we are able to make progress instantly.

Start with a list of what your working life is like now compared to how you would like it to be and then clear the clutter. Start to imagine how your working day COULD be and the type of things you would LIKE to do.

Just six months ago I made a plan to start this blog and complete my life coaching training as well as to do more university lecturing and to leave a job that I have had for almost ten years. I planned, I set goals and I visualised all of those changes and guess what…I have done it! This year I will working with ore clients, running more workshops, be writing more about coaching and working on my book and an online course to help anyone to navigate a way through their life and reach some great goals.

I kept it simple and made steady progress-de-cluttering as I went and checking in my with myself weekly to make sure I was on track. It wasn’t always easy and things did sometimes go wrong but because I chose to take a calm, simple and sometimes longer approach my journey was easy to manage and I could see and feel real change happening. I bookend the beginning and end of my day with a gratitude exercise and I know that this simple action pays huge dividends.

So, keep it simple this year. Set goals to do things you KNOW will make you happy and be grateful for all you have because we all have so MUCH that we often forget about.

 

 

Embrace the fruits of autumn and declutter your life

Autumn has definitely arrived-tomorrow is Halloween, followed swiftly by bonfire night and before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner.

This morning, here in Oxfordshire, we had our first frost of the season. My garden is still looking gorgeous with the last remaining blooms reaching out to enjoy a cold but blue sky day-it is day when we should all be glad to be alive and be out there taking in the air and enjoying a crisp autumnal walk-once this has been posted that is just what I will be doing!

 

IMG_0581

I love autumn-I see it as a season of celebration. Quite apart from the bountiful fruits and vegetables that we are still enjoying, if the weather is bright and dry then surely we should see this as a positive. This morning I caught up with a friend-we both spotted a rambling rose bush that was still in flower with an abundance of gorgeous vintage pink blooms-it looked stunning against the blue sky as the sunshine bounced off its slightly crisp petals.

FullSizeRender (14)

This was a visual treat and one that once the wet and cold of November kicks in will be a distant memory so I savoured it and enjoyed it in all its glory. My friend had another take on this and sighed-saying what a shame that summer was over and that soon there will be no flowers left until springtime. She saw this in a completely different way to me. While I saw the roses as a positive and uplifting seasonal punctuation to my morning, my friend saw it as a loss, a regret and something that made her feel low and lacking.

FullSizeRender (9)

Autumn can be seen as the season that rids us of summer rather than the season that allows us to enjoy the final days of brightness before enjoying a period of rest and recuperation ready for spring. Nature is edging into a period of dormancy and consolidation and it is time for us to do that too. Rather than see this time of year as  negative, we should take our lead from nature and conserve our energies and remove anything from our lives that will not serve us well in the future.

IMG_0511

Self limiting beliefs can start to kick in more as the year progresses. We often feel tired, perhaps dread the cold and starkness that winter can represent and find it hard to deal with fewer daylight hours.

Instead of focusing on the perceived negatives of the season, grab your journal and write about the colours, the crispness and all that we have to be grateful for this autumn. Find joy in small pleasures-wrapping up in your favourite scarf or investing in some bright jewel-coloured knitwear, maybe treating your hands with a new luxurious hand cream or getting out and taking advantage of autumn light to take some fabulous photos. Take your coffee or hot chocolate or tea outside-wrap up warm and sit in the sunshine while you enjoy your warming beverage.

Stock up on logs for your woodburner, create delicious warming recipes and fill your home with candles, sumptuous blankets and throws and comfy cushions. Catch up on your reading and writing-and declutter!

Clearing your cupboards and drawers at this time of year is the ultimate therapy and clears the way for positive change in your life by giving you clarity and a new pathway to plan your goals for the coming months. So grab your notebook and start planning!

Set some short term goals, go through the process of decluttering and embrace all that autumn has to offer.

Write.Believe.Receive.Repeat!

FullSizeRender (17)

 

 

I can feel an idea coming on…

If you are anything like me (and I suspect you might be) you probably go through phases of having many, many ideas for ‘things’ you would like to do. Now, I am not talking leisure pursuits here (although they are good things to do anyway) I am talking about career development or business ideas.

Having lots of ideas is great-it shows that you have energy, dynamism, imagination, creativity and a desire for change, all of which are excellent character traits that will serve you well on your personal development journey. But-what happens when you find yourself in overwhelm or overload mode?

Often, when life is not quite working out the way we would like it to, we become very good at distracting ourselves from whatever the difficulty is. We do this by basically ignoring it, hoping that it will go away, and while we are pushing that particular challenge away we start to focus on something else-something new and exciting that will effectively distract us from the challenge that needs to be dealt with.

This challenge quickly grows a trunk and large ears and becomes the elephant in the room of your progress. It will sit there patiently day in and day out-waiting for you to acknowledge it and deal with it.

Here’s the thing about elephants-they are pretty massive and they can’t be hidden for ever.

The way I work with clients who come to me for personal development coaching is to tackle the clutter first and to do that we have to talk about what that clutter looks like. The clutter is the elephant in the room-whether you label it as a challenge, an issue, a difficulty or a massive pile of steaming crap-it is my friends undeniably clutter that will do a great job of stopping you from moving forward.

Trying to plot a positive path through life, setting goals along the way that will help you to achieve amazing things will NOT work if you do not deal with the clutter first-and all those brilliant ideas and notions that you keep having are just doing their best to divert your attention from what REALLY needs to be dealt with.

So the message today is this-continue to have your amazing ideas and write them down in your journal-then park them. Park them for as long as it takes you to de clutter whatever areas of your life need the most attention.

Here are three areas of your life for you to look at a decide if they need decluttering:

Physical decluttering-your home/office/car/handbag/briefcase-if you are surrounded by stuff you don’t need but are just hanging on to then it will drag you down and black your progress. Take one area at a time and tackle it.

Emotional decluttering-how is your self-belief system? Do you have doubts about your ability to change your life? Write down how you feel about the changes you want to make and identify any negative thoughts-then de clutter those thoughts and move on.

Friendships/relationships/colleagues: Negative people will drag you down-I am not suggesting you actually get rid of people in your life (although some of my clients have decided to end relationships and friendships) that is up to you, but if the people around you are not supporting you then acknowledge that and find people who will.

Having ideas is great-I have lots all the time but I have learned that the only way for me to reach my goals is to always return to de clutter mode first. Once I have clarity and can see a clear pathway forward I can pursue my new idea with vigour-make a plan and reach my goal without having to deal with any elephants blocking my way.

The first step towards personal development work is to declutter-only then can you effectively define your goals and start manifesting positive changes.