I’m very much an early morning person. So I get up at 5.30/5.45am and the first hour is for myself. I have a quick shower – I’ll do a cleanse and moisturise and treat that as a ritual; I tend not to wear make-up every day. I try to be mindful at this time in the morning and keep away from my phone. At 6am I meditate for 20 minutes, and then I’ll do my own yoga practise, which sets me up in a good mindset for the day ahead. And it prepares me for my 7am group class, which is currently online.
I tend to not eat for these first two or three hours of the day so by 9.30 I’m really hungry! I might have a protein shake, and I love porridge, even in the summer – at the moment I’m having it with stewed rhubarb and a blob of Greek yoghurt – it’s so delicious, like a dessert.
I’ve been a big sea swimmer from a very young age. I’m originally from Wexford and we lived near the beach so the whole family would swim from May to October. And I’ve continued doing this throughout my life, with maybe a gap during my teens. For the past two years I’ve swam even in the winter. I love it – for me it’s the most grounding thing, something that brings you right back to yourself. There’s also a great social scene, so even if you go down to the sea on your own, there’ll be someone to chat to.
I find my skin feels great after a swim. I am obsessed with moisturising so after a warm shower I’ll use loads – my skin can be on the dry side, and if you don’t shower straight away you can get white salty streaks on your skin. I use the Aveeno® Daily Moisturising range, designed for skin that’s normal to dry – I’ve used it for years. I love the way there’s no added perfume – it’s simply a good quality moisturiser that just sinks in.
THE BEAUTY OF MOVEMENT
Before becoming a yoga teacher, I worked in insurance for a long time. Although I always had quite good skin, no acne or anything, in my mid-20s my skin started to flare up – I was quite stressed in my job and I think this was stress-linked. As I started to do lots of yoga, my skin would get better. You really do get a good glow from exercise – you get that oxygen moving around the body, and that shows on your skin.
I believe that anyone can get something from yoga. The key is to find a class and a teacher that suits you – look for “kind” classes for beginners or people who have not been on a mat for a while. Online classes via Zoom have encouraged a lot of people to try or return to yoga, as the camera can be off and there’s no commute or time pressure – you can opt for a recording at a time that suits you. Roll your mat out the night before so you’re all set to go first thing in the morning.
The idea of an hour’s class can be daunting, but even if you take two or three minutes to stand up from your desk often throughout the day, it will make a difference. Have only a small glass of water on your desk so you have to keep getting up to refill it or set little reminders to move every hour at least. You can do some simple movements at your desk – open your arms out wide and press your shoulder blades together to stretch; put your arms behind you and hold the back of your chair, to open up your chest. We are all guilty of sitting hunched over a laptop for hours on end, and it’s so important to get up and move. Try taking five minutes to do a downfacing dog or child’s pose or go for a ten-minute walk – even a short break like this can help to lift your whole mood.
As we get back to sports again, the cat/cow move can be good for opening and closing your spine beforehand – it’s so good to stretch, especially if you’re at a desk all day, and it’s so important for releasing stress.
I do tend to go to bed early – I’m definitely a morning person, so I like to get plenty of sleep. I try to eat dinner before 7pm as eating later tends to affect my sleep. I like to go for a walk in the evening after dinner, and that helps with digestion.
I like to do some Yin yoga in the evening: this is a relaxing form of yoga that taps into your parasympathetic nervous system, restoring your body to calm. It removes you from that “fight or flight” instinct and is a real heart-opener – even just five minutes helps me to feel grounded and totally slow down.
I try to remove the phone after say 8 or 9pm, as otherwise it’s easy to find yourself endlessly scrolling; I’m trying to get into the habit of keeping off it for two hours before bed. I love to have an evening bath a few times a week, too, with magnesium salts in to help my muscles.
TIME FOR YOUR SKIN
I’ll often be teaching in the evenings but I make time for skincare as it’s an important ritual in the evening – I give it more attention at night. My mum always taught me to keep moisturising, and I was always stealing her moisturisers from a young age (she’s a big Aveeno® fan too). I give my whole body a good moisturise, and I’ll use night serums and face oils on my face, so I feel relaxed and refreshed before bed. I moisturise my skin two or three times a day. For me, the main thing with moisturising is the consistency – not just putting on some cream once every now and then, but regularly. And especially when we’re using hand sanitiser all the time – our skin needs that hydration.
I try to go as natural as possible with my skincare – I love a bit of make-up now and again but with skincare I try to avoid long lists of ingredients that I don’t understand; I like to know where ingredients come from. I think it’s important to let your skin breathe. And my desert island beauty product? I’d be happy as long as I have moisturiser to put on after swimming in the sea!
To find the right AVEENO® product for you, visit www.aveeno.ie
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