Spring wellness trends
The new ways to achieve Zen include these great spring wellness trends. We love…
Spring has sprung, and never have we been more ready for bank holidays and Easter eggs. But the new season also marks the start of new beginnings, so what better time to bring mindfulness to the forefront of your health and fitness goals? Your home isn’t the only thing that can benefit from a spring clean; your mind will also enjoy a seasonal overhaul and we’ve got just the thing. Here are the spring wellness trends we love.
Sure, you can go to a fancy city yoga class or meditation seminar to unwind, but what if the key to mindfulness was on your doorstep? ‘Zen gardens – also known as Japanese rock gardens – were first created at temples of Zen Buddhism,’ explains Nicky Roeber, online horticultural expert at Wyevale Garden Centres. ‘They were originally designed as peaceful spaces to aid meditation, but they’re now a popular choice among homeowners who want a tranquil space of their own to relax in.’ With many styles of Oriental garden to choose from – including pond, dry landscape and tea gardens – Nicky maintains it’s important to plan your garden’s design carefully as each element needs to evoke a sense of harmony.
‘In Oriental gardens, there’s less of an emphasis on plants – it’s more about how all of the different elements work together,’ she says. ‘Rocks, water, gravel and cleverly positioned shrubbery are all common features of these gardens. They should all come together to create a peaceful setting for you and your family to enjoy.’ The secret? ‘It’s imperative that your zen garden is enclosed, as stepping into it should make you feel like you’re leaving the stress of everyday life behind,’ Nicky adds. ‘Put up a screen that will separate your new haven from the rest of your garden, so stepping over the threshold will feel extra special every time.’
If 2016 was the year of juicing, 2017 sees ‘sprinkling’ emerge as the latest wellness trend. One of the easiest ways yet to incorporate good foods into your diet and boost your nutrition, sprinkling sees ingredients such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, goji berries, hemp seeds and nuts – you guessed it – sprinkled over meals from breakfast through to dinner. Research has shown that a daily ‘sprinkle’ of the recommended daily allowance on any of your meals throughout the day will often actually double your nutrition intake, and health and fitness gurus Madeleine Shaw and Dr Hazel Wallace are both already fans.
Leading the trend is Linwoods and its line of superfood blends, which provide a natural source of omega oils, dietary fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Don’t believe the hype? Take the nation’s favourite breakfast, porridge, as an example. Despite high levels of minerals, one single 50g portion of porridge amounts to just 0.05g of fatty acid omega 3, which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Add two full spoons – or ‘sprinkles’! – of Linwoods Flaxseed & Goji Berries blend and the humble porridge gains an impressive +4.447g of omega 3.
Translated from the Japanese ‘shinrin-yoku’, which means ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’, Forest Bathing encourages people to quietly enjoy and explore the natural environment, focusing all their attentions on what their senses are telling them about the forest’s sounds, smells and colours. It is thought the practice can reduce blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels, which consequently aids relaxation and promotes mindfulness. It must be working: in Japan, a quarter of the population regularly participates in the immersive natural experience.
Now the wellness trend has reached the UK with the Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest Spa in Nottinghamshire creating a brand-new Forest Bathing area, including open-air walkways, outdoor relaxation areas submerged in the forest and a treetop sauna offering panoramic views over the forest canopy. ‘At the new Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest Spa, we’ve created a bespoke Forest Bathing area where guests can truly absorb the natural forest environment and reap the benefits of this calming Japanese trend,’ explains Kay Pennington, Aqua Sana group spa manager.
Bedtime stories for grown-ups
You may not have heard one since you were a child, but bedtime stories are making a comeback for a rather different audience. An extension of the ‘colouring books for adults’ trend that swept that nation, ‘Sleep Stories’ by meditation app Calm is the latest natural sleep aid helping grown-ups unwind and drift off. Testament to its abilities, since the brand’s December 2016 launch, over 350,000 people have listening to almost two million stories. So far, Sleep Stories comprise 23 tales narrated by mindfulness experts that mix soothing words, music and sound effects to help induce sleep. Most range in length from 20 to 30 minutes and can be anything from an original story devised by mindfulness experts or a slow-tempo ‘retelling for adults’ of a classic children’s tale such as ‘The Ugly Duckling’.
‘There’s a paradox to sleep in that it comes when you’re not trying,’ explains Dr Steve Orma, clinical psychologist and specialist in treating insomnia and sleep problems. ‘When you try to sleep your mind monitors your efforts, which then keeps you awake. Instead, have the intention of relaxing and letting go. This can be meditation, reading (nothing too exciting) or now listening to a ‘Sleep Story’, designed to help you let go and ease into a peaceful slumber.’ Intrigued? To celebrate its launch, all 23 Sleep Stories are currently free to all for a limited time.
Yoga on tap
Yoga is easily one of the easiest and most effective ways to find your Zen, having long been praised for its body and mind benefits. But rather than hitting an expensive yoga studio or tentatively backbending to a YouTube video in your living room, Yogi2Me brings the quality yoga to you. Based on an idea that both yoga beginners and experienced practitioners had to fit to a strict studio schedule, the app allows users to access a leading pool of yoga teachers throughout London. Book a teacher in minutes and enjoy a private yoga class that suits you and your busy schedule, whether that be at home, at the office or from a hotel room. Pick from a wealth of different yoga types and choose your perfect teachers by watching short video clips online. Private lessons cost from £60.