5th March 2018

by Brendan Murphy (Shanti Warrior Yoga)

If your spine’s not healthy, then all the hard work that you’re doing to develop your muscles could be wasted!

So it’s important to consider how your lifestyle is impacting your spine…

Due to the fact that many of us spend a lot of time sitting hunched over a desk, we are putting a lot of pressure on the front part of our intervertebral discs. These discs could be described as the “shock absorbers” between the bones of the spine…

In other words, if you don’t balance out the muscles at the front and the back of the body equally, you can end up doing yourself a mischief! That’s why (in my biased opinion!) Yoga is so great…

If you tend to over-round your back and neck (looking down at your phone for a large portion of your day, for example), you can end up with a prolapsed (or “slipped”) disc in the spine. This is because the intervertebral disc is squished at the front of the spine by the continuous pressure of the vertebrae pressing down at the anterior section, which can cause it to bulge out at the back…

No matter what your passion (Boot Camp, Football, Rugby, or Ballet!), keeping your spine healthy is always going to be important. Since Yoga places a huge emphasis on keeping the spine strong and mobile, then you start to see why so many top-level athletes and sportspeople use this practice as a compliment to their training…

One of the most important sequences in Yoga is the Sun Salutation – a series where you essentially flex and extend the spine by doing forward folds and backbends. This works the muscles in the front and the back of the body equally – which, in turn, makes sure that we balance out the pressure on the front and the back of the intervertebral discs.

This means you’ll end up with better posture (if you’re doing it right!), and that your spine will be better able to deal with whatever gets thrown at it…

Of course, the spine is also the home of the spinal cord, which transfers all the messages from the brain throughout the body – so a healthy spine is also key to stopping you getting things like trapped nerves, which can be debilitating…

So – if you’re the type of person who always focuses on just doing those ab exercises for the washboard stomach, you must make sure to do some lower back strengthening too! Ladies (and gents, I suppose!) – if you’re on the “booty boost” vibe, don’t neglect those lower back stretches too!

Remember that too much of anything is not good for you…It’s all about balance – but then, as a Yoga teacher, I WOULD say that…

About the Author

Brendan Murphy is the Founder of Shanti Warrior Yoga – a form of Yoga that focuses on building strength and flexibility in equal measure, as well as helping with stress relief and relaxation.

Brendan has been practicing Yoga for over a decade, and has been teaching since 2013. He prides himself on being able to teach people of all abilities – whether you’re a professional athlete, or someone who hasn’t done much exercise in years. As Brendan likes to say: “Just do what you can do – and every time you don’t give up, you win!”

You can get in touch with Brendan at Shanti Warrior Yoga by calling 07540 848791, following @ShantiWarriors on Twitter, or searching for Shanti Warrior Yoga on Facebook.

1st April 2017

Sleep is a massive talking point in the fitness industry right now and we thought we’d share with you some sleep knowledge.

When we’re sleeping, the body uses this time to recover from the day’s work, stress, and physical activity it’s been through. Many people believe that it’s the time their heads are on the pillow that counts as quality sleep but this couldn’t be more wrong. It’s actually the quality of the sleep that’s the important thing. Another thing to think about is sleep deprivation, as this is one of the biggest causes to overeating.

To achieve a good night’s sleep, you should try and create your own sleep sanctuary. There are a few things you can do straight away to improve the quality of your sleep.

  1. The body repairs itself better in a cooler environment, so turn down that heating.
  2. No snacking 2 hours before bed or in bed, there’s only 2 things we should do in bed and that’s sleep and sex.
  3. No devices before bed. You’re trying to prepare your body to rest, not give yourself things to think about while you try and dose off.
  4. Try as best you can to blackout any light that comes into the bedroom.

In a study between 2 groups of people carrying out a lifestyle change, one group were deprived of sleep and only managed 5 hours sleep a night, while the other group had 8 hours sleep in their own sleep sanctuary and the results were phenomenal. The group that slept for the 8 hours burnt a massive 55% more fat whilst sleeping than the group who slept for just 5 hours. WOW.

When sleeping, the body produces lots of hormones to help repair it for the next day, some of these are HGH (human growth hormone) Leptin, which controls your satiety status, Ghrelin which is your hunger hormone, Cortisol which helps to metabolise fat and lots more, and really importantly Melatonin.

Melatonin does a whole lot of things in the body but one of them is it creates brown adipose tissue in the body. Now I know everyone thinks adipose tissue is fat and you are correct it is but there are two types. The difference between brown adipose tissue and white adipose tissue, is the brown tissue helps turn fat into energy and the white tissue  stores fat. Melatonin is also known as the best anti-cancer hormone and which is increased th with a better quality of sleep.

In summary, getting around 8 hours sleep has so many benefits. Create that sanctuary and happy dreaming.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to get better quality sleep then I recommend Shawn Stevenson’s Sleep Smarter.
By Michael Cox

1st April 2017

At this time of year, every shop and supermarket stock their shelves with bunny and egg shaped treats. While very tasty they are full of sugar, syrups and hard to pronounce stuff. Of course we would never tell you to forego chocolate especially at this time of year but you can choose a healthier chocolate with added health benefits. Dark chocolate with 70 percent or more cacao has been shown to help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and help to regulate stress. There are literally hundreds of studies on chocolate, but most pro-chocolate research say you should opt for dark chocolate over milk or white if trying to be healthier.

Here are some yummy easter treats…num num num


Green and Blacks dark easter egg;


Hotel Chocolat City Bunnies;


Lindt Excellence Dark Shell Egg