Episode 1: Welcome! My Holistic Health Story

Welcome to The Beautifully Balanced Podcast. I am your host, elemental yoga teacher Samantha Dinnage. Join me as we explore holistic approaches to find more balance in today's hectic world. I invite you to follow me on Facebook and instagram with the user name at The Beautifully Balanced Podcast.


Hi, in a big, big warm welcome to Episode 1 of The Beautifully Balanced Podcast, I'm Sam, a yoga teacher in the UK who's passionate about holistic wellbeing, I decided to re training yoga with a focus on chakras. Ia Vader in traditional Chinese medicine, along with becoming a rake, a practitioner after getting burnt out, is a secondary school teacher. After some chronic health problems, I started my journey of recovery in 2015 and I've been using a range of ballistic tools to help me to manage anxiety, depression, IBS, speech problems and migraines. And I haven't felt this good for a long time, and I have more energy. I feel happier and I'm enjoying life so much more, and I feel like I finally found my purpose here in the yoga and holistic wellbeing world, so stay until the end to listen to my current three favourite holistic habit that I want to share with you.


So, The Beautifully Balanced Podcast, I've been thinking about this for a while and what exactly I want to share. So hopefully it's going to be of some interest to you. I'm gonna be offering personal tips, holistic tools and bring in specialist guests to shine some light on topics such as sleep, yoga, money, mindset, three to food, and a whole host of other things in between. I'm a strong believer that everyone is individual and unique. So I heard that you can take from it what you need to empower you to support your own wellbeing journey.

So a little bit about my story, if I rewind back 10 years to 2009, my health really wasn't in a good place. I remember every morning standing in the kitchen, being bent over with stomach pains. My head would be absolutely banging, I had some terrible sinus infections and ended up having surgery, and I definitely definitely struggled to sleep. I would be lying awake with pains all through my body and getting up to go to the bathroom. And well, my mind would just be racing mess, living on on that same cycle, work - home - work and I felt exhausted every single day.


Fast forward to 2015 and had actually lost my voice several times, which I thought must be something to do with my voice box. There must be something physically wrong. Anyway, during 2015 everything finally came to a head on when I just couldn't put a brave for it face on any longer and begin to function in my role as a college lecturer. So after receiving help from a speech and language therapist, which is one the best things that ever happened to me and began course of cognitive behavioural therapy, I finally started to understand that not everything about my health was physical and actually the emotional or mental side played a huge part. To be honest, that was all quite new to me at the time, and it really took me a while to get my head around that, and I think it's really amazing that this much more talking awareness about mental health today. Looking back for the previous 10 years, I would say I did so many things that really didn't serve me well. Car journeys, oh my goodness; whether I was driving, whether I was a passenger, I would sit there going over and over situations from my past in my mind. And this just really, really brought me down.


How many of us find ourselves saying, we should do this or I ought to do that, that's why I'm going to xyz. That was totally may saying yes to many things when really I wanted to say no. I felt really overwhelmed and like I couldn't cope, but I would trying and carry on anyway. Hello!! My body was trying to tell me to slow down and make some changes. But oh, no - trooping on because I thought that was the way !I’ve spent a lot of time comparing myself to others and feeling inferior. I would feel helpless and like my health within the hands of GPS and consultants instead of in my own control. And to be honest, I thought that I needed to worry about others because I thought that meant that I cared. I would certainly put myself last because hey, thinking about yourself to me at that time was totally selfish. But of course we need to fill our own cups up before we can go out and help others. So if you can relate to a few of these, as you probably know, that's a whole dose of stress right there. So come and join me on this wellbeing journey on The Beautifully Balanced Podcast. And let's do this! Let's make some changes and take back some empowerment and ownership!


So moving forwards in time. In 2016 I moved to Japan for my husband's work, where I soon started a weekly Yoga yoga class. I had previously done some prescribed throat and neck stretches from a speech and language therapist a few months before, and I was still doing those, and I could literally feel the difference, as I touch my neck and my throat, how much looser and less tense they felt. And actually, how about made me inside feel so much better as well! So I thought, what if I stretch the whole of my body? Surely that's going to have a massive impact, too. So, as I said, I started these yoga classes, and to be honest, I thought, it's going to be a bit boring. It's going to be a bit slow. It's probably not gonna be my cup of tea. But hello, that was exactly what I needed and I soon got hooked!


I was moving my body in that way meant that the pains at night soon disappeared. My mind, amazingly, gradually started to become calmer. I couldn't believe it! After taking migraine tablets every day for many years, I could finally reduced them down and come off them all together. And in terms of my IBS, it started to improve more than I'd seen in years. Even though I'd been on several different diets, tests, different medication, yoga seemed to just just be the thing for me. So I just knew that I had to continue with yoga and therefore from all these benefits, it was something that I wanted to share with others.


I initially trained as a yoga teacher in Goa in 2017, with Trimurti Yoga and have since completed my 300 hour advanced training with them also. And since that day in early 2017, I've been teaching yoga ever since. I have to say is just a slight contrast to my school job teaching business and economics to a group of teenagers. A little calmer, a little slower. And, of course, everybody wants to be there. So I now offer a range of classes in my local area through my business, Beautifully Balanced, which I proudly launched in January 2018, after I just returned home from Japan.


I started yoga, as many other people do for the physical side. However, once I got into it, I realised that yoga offers tools to connect the mind, body and soul together. And what I learned on the mat can be re-created to help me in daily life. And I truly believe that it's through yoga and other holistic approaches that I now feel better than I have done in years. I've gone from feeling helpless and being told there's nothing that can be done about the way that I feel, to empowering myself, to manage my own well being on a daily basis, which has led me to feeling way more balanced with more energy. I sleep better. I worry less, I've got more focus on my goals and my ambitions, my passions, and I feel like I have a bit more of a better perspective of life and all the time things are always changing, evolving in transforming. I can't control everything and you know what, that's ok because I have the tools. So, really, how does it get any better than this? And this is exactly why I'm so excited to share this podcast with you, to create a community to talk about holistic tools!


As a big contrast today, I spend more time being in the present moment, enjoying life rather than over thinking. And if I do start thinking and I know it's going off in a spiral, I have that awareness. I can catch it and I can pull myself back. I think I have a much deeper appreciation that I'm unique and everybody else has their own storeys and experiences, too. There's really no point comparing ourselves to others. It's like comparing an elephant with a leopard. We all have our own special qualities that were here on the planet to share.

Now rest, I still still find it difficult not to overfill my to do list with things that I want to do within a certain amount of time. But I'm definitely getting better at giving myself a bit of rest time. How many of us can think we're not been productive when we have an a rest, when my having a chill? But of course, that is essential to give us a bit of space to process things. If all this sounds interesting and you're wondering if that this podcast is right for you, I can tell you that this podcast will not be about quick fixes. Skinny diets of pushing through pain. In my opinion, holistic wellbeing is a long term approach. It's not about target numbers for example, the ideal weight or the desired kilograms to lift at the gym or a low number of calories to eat per day at the expense of your health and well being. Those approaches are only going to be sustainable in the short term, they are not building a sustainable lifestyle for health and happiness in the long term.


One of the biggest things that really made me change my perception about wellbeing in time, was when I stepped back and realised when we consider our wellbeing journey over the course of a year, a decade in a lifetime, that is no immediate rush to implement everything right now and set unrealistic goals that difficult to achieve. How many of us start off with all these great goals and resolutions that you're gonna lose two pounds or you want to eat healthier and you want to cook healthy meals from scratch every single day when perhaps you only realistically do this it once per week at the moment. How easy is it going to be for you to switch from cooking from scratch one day per week to seven? That's quite a lot of effort along with the busyness of life. That's already quite a lot of pressure. It is probably adding a bit of stress. However, if you thought about this on a bit more of a long term basis, it would be easier to build up from one day to say, two days within a month or a few weeks and so on. You can add in the number of meals that you cook from scratch per week. Well, vegans, a big thing isn't at the moment, so maybe you want to add in a couple more vegan meals per week. Realistically, your’re probably gonna easily switch to being vegan over night. And the same goes really when it comes to our mind sets, we're not just gonna flick a switch and change things within it that we want to change. So it's important to nurture and give yourself some time in space to grow and develop and set yourself some realistic challenges rather than goals that pretty much set up for failure from the beginning.


So coming back to The Beautifully Balanced Podcast. I am so super excited to build up the community. I invite you to pick and choose the inspiration that calls out to you. I can't promise that it will feel comfortable. And if we stay in our comfort zones, hey, things don't really change. Which means if you're looking to step into a better version of yourself with more energy, purpose and happiness, you need to change things up, and now is exactly this time to start and it's totally in your hands. You may not believe it, but it's true. Don't forget my three current favourite holistic habits are coming up., so stay with me till the end.


And now let's have a quick look at the definition off holistic, holistic means relating to the hole of something or the total system instead of just its parts. Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, and not just the injury or disease. So this holistic approach links to typical Eastern health systems, which focuses on preventative health care to maintain while being this is multi dimensional and focuses on lifestyle in nature, impairing the individual to better manage their own health and well being. How good does that sound? This is a contrast to the typical symptomatic approach in the West.


How many of us go to the GP when we already have a problem. I remember going to the GP with terrible stomach pains and being given a range of pills to try and treat my symptoms, which for me didn't actually work. We didn't actually get to the root cause of my problems. Even after several several elimination diets and examinations up you know where, I was still struggling and felt helpless during this time. Did anyone look at the larger picture of me as a whole? No. What I realised now is that stress and anxiety play the largest role in my digestive health.


Western science has been amazing in the past. It's focused on physical advances, and if it was in a serious accident, I would definitely want to be in a hospital receiving care. What I'm finding fascinating now is that science is catching up with the mind-body connection, and we're starting to be recommended a lifestyle backed up by scientific evidence that is very similar to that of ancient Eastern wisdom. And I think the general approach to health care is really going to shift in the next decade, which I think is truly exciting in yoga is already becoming a big part of that being talked about a lot on the NHS, and I think it's even prescribed in some counties here in the UK.


However, currently, the Western health system tends to put our health problems into separate boxes rather than looking at them together as a whole. In Eastern systems such as Ayurveda, it's about working with the mind-body balance of the individual and get into that root cause. For example, someone who's struggling to lose weight may be struggling to let go of things emotionally. Or, it might be that you're holding a lot of weight around your middle because that's protecting your organs because deeply inside you don't feel safe. So Ayurveda recognises that we are all unique and I will talk about the different Ayurveda mind-body types in future episodes.


So, as promised in today's episode, I told you that I would share my three current favourite holistic habits that I'm currently using that might inspire you to make some small changes too. I suggest choosing one and setting a reminder to do this and notice how it feels. Please do let me know how you get on in the comments on my Facebook page. And if you enjoy this episode, please feel free to leave a review, it would be much appreciated.


So, holistic habit number 1: turning my phone to aeroplane mode. Okay, so this means I'm not going to be getting any notifications coming through on my phone. I don't know if you like me, but the phone is really distracting. Even though I know when the notifications come in through might not be a) urgent, or b) important, my mind loses focus. I've lost my train of thought of them got to catch back where I was and you know I've really know is that my anxiety increases with my use of screen time. And sometimes I'm just scrolling through Facebook as a distraction so that don't have to process what actually happened in my mind right now. But putting my phone on aeroplane mode or often when going out I leave it at home. When I go out, it creates some space for me to become aware of my phone habits and refocus on something that I'd rather spend my time doing, which has helped bring me into more balance. It's also great to switch it to aeroplane mode when I'm on holiday. When I'm using the phone is a camera or to relax and listen to music because I can't on the Internet, I can't send a message. I'm not saying anything that's pinging upon my phone, so it really is just a nice break for a little mini detox from technology.


Holistic Habit number 2: You might have guessed it, it’s yoga! Even 5 to 10 minutes of yoga poses or simply focusing on the breath always makes me feel so much better. Even when I can't be bothered to roll out my mat, I always always feel better for it afterwards. And if there's no mat even just a few stretches on the bed or on the carpet does wonders for my body and mind. And if you need a starting point, check out some of my short videos on my Beautifully Balanced YouTube channel. So click on the link roll out your mat or find a comfy carpet.


Holistic Habit number 3, is journalling. Nice and simple, dog out a paper and pen I realised when I was a secondary school teacher, looking back that I had very little time to myself to actually process my day, which was full of many stressful moments, along with some joyful in exciting ah ha moments in the classroom as well. But not having that time to process my day accumulated into a lot of tension inside of me and what I've really found is that writing down what's happened, during the day or just what's on my mind by doing a bit of a mind dump. Interestingly, this in the evenings before bed really does help me to sleep better. I recently started drawing my day is a wiggly line full of ups and downs, which helped me to just go through my day kind of hour by hour and make sure that I had taken the time just to process it and let it go. And it's actually a bit of a joke with my husband now, because when he comes up to bed, he says, have you done the squiggly line yet? I've probably just about to do it or I have.


But for me, consistency is the key key thing here. Rather than doing something once or twice every now and again, it's nice to try and build up some holistic habits that you did on a regular basis, even just for five minutes here and there. They really start to make a difference and give you that pause in that time for yourself in today's crazy, busy and generally stressful world.I will dive deeper into these holistic habits in future episodes.

Just to give you been a bit of an insight, coming up in episode 2, we’ll be learning about the stress response, and I'll explain how we can switch on the opposite, which is the re axation response instead.


Thank you so much for listening and please press subscribe to help boost The Beautifully Balanced Podcast. Remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram at The Beautifully Balanced Podcast.

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