Treat yourself to a healthy holiday!

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Treat yourself to a healthy holiday!

Easter treats for the soul 💜🐰

BE MORE POPULAR THAN THE EASTER BUNNY WITH THE TOP 5 EASTER TREATS THE LAB LOVES


  1. Vegan blueberry cheesecake bars

This raw vegan dessert is as beautiful as it is healthy. Satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt.

© Delicious.com.au

© Delicious.com.au

2. Sugar free protein clinkers

Let your imagination colour your clinkers – we used leftover beetroot, pistachios, frozen berries and a nub of turmeric lurking in the fridge.

© Delicious.com.au

© Delicious.com.au

3. Wagon Wheel slice

This superfood slice is inspired by the much-loved Wagon Wheel treat of our childhood. Rice malt syrup is made from fermented rice, it’s fructose free and is a natural sweet alternative to other refined sugars.

© Delicious.com.au

© Delicious.com.au

4. Sugar free chocolate and sticky date pudding

Make a date with your couch to best enjoy the warming goodness of this take on an indulgent sticky date pudding from Elena Duggan.

© Delicious.com.au

© Delicious.com.au

5. Chocolate almond cups

The healthy chocolate treat thats also vegan friendly, dairy free and refined sugar free!

© Delicious.com.au

© Delicious.com.au

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Nap Time

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Nap Time

Ideal Nap Lengths for the Perfect Shut-eye

Do you know how long to nap? There is both an art and a science to the perfect nap. Naps are the perfect way to unplug, even if it’s just for a brief period and the right sleep pattern can provide you with a lot of health benefits.

Sleep experts say naps make for a better, more functional worker.

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Sleep studies provide enough evidence that napping reduces sleepiness while improving cognitive functioning, psychomotor performance, short-term memory and mood.

The Science of a Perfect Nap:

Power Nap: 10 to 20 minutes

Most sleep experts agree that if you want to have a quick jolt of alertness, vigour and/or decrease fatigue, take a 10 to 20-minute nap. So for example: if you are taking a road trip and begin to feel the effects of drowsiness with no Red Bull in sight, pull over to the side of the road and take a quick nap–it packs a big punch!

Grogginess Nap: 30 minutes

Some studies have shown that when you take a longer nap, the effects of sleep inertia begin to settle in after you wake up. This is the brief period of grogginess you feel when you first wake up in the morning. Your body is still in a state of rest and parts of your brain are not full awake yet. One way to combat this is to set your alarm at the end of one of your 90-minute sleep cycles, rather than in the middle of it. So the best time to wake up would be somewhere between seven and a half to nine hours after you have begun your sleep cycle.

Short-term Nap: 60 minutes

We all know that somewhere between 30 to 60 minutes is when we start to graze the surface of our deep sleep cycle. This is when our brain waves begin to slow down and will have some benefits like:

  • Remembering facts

  • Remembering places you’ve been

  • Remembering names and faces

In one study, a group of researchers asked one set of participants memorise a set of cards and then told them to take a 40-minute nap, while the other group had to stay awake. After the 40 minutes, the groups were tested on the memory cards. The group who took a nap recalled 85% of the patterns on the cards, while the non-napping group recalled just a little over 60%.

It seems that napping pushes our memories to our neocortex while we sleep (our brain’s permanent storage facility), preventing us from losing any sort of data. The downside to a short-term nap is that the moment you begin to wake up, you will feel minor effects of grogginess (sleep inertia).

REM Nap: 90 minutes

And finally, we have REM (rapid eye movement) napping. This when you have reached your full sleeping cycle and dream. A 90-minute nap has been said to improve:

  • Creativity

  • Emotional and procedural memory, such as learning a new skill

A nap this long helps you avoid sleep inertia and makes it much easier for you to wake up. Although sleeping for 90 minutes during the work day but it sure does have merit when you need some rejuvenation. and maybe best saved for the weekends.

Experts say that the ideal time for a person to take a nap is generally between 1-4p.m. Napping later than that could interfere with your night schedule. And, if you find yourself dreaming while you are napping during the day, this may mean that you are sleep deprived and will need to re-adjust your sleep schedule so that you can get adequate rest at night.

Happy napping!

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Magnesium - Mineral Magic

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Magnesium - Mineral Magic

Want to reduce your muscle recovery time from five days down to two?

How about being able to fall asleep more easily and even better stay asleep all night? If you’ve answered YES! then read on - there is so much more to the wonder of magnesium and the benefits for your body!

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

So first up,

what is magnesium and why is it so important?

Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body, in fact it’s our fourth most abundant mineral. It is a bit of a wonder, as it is involved in hundreds of different biochemical reactions in our body. It plays an important role in supporting the immune system, maintaining nerve and muscle function, strengthening bones, regulating blood glucose levels and assisting in the production of energy and protein, amongst many more.

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So how does it actually help muscle recovery?

Two of the keys benefits we speak to most at the Lab is muscle recovery and sleep quality.

Taking a magnesium supplement can aid with the after workout soreness known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) . DOMS occurs because when we work our muscles in a different or more intense way than they are used to, it causes microscopic damage to the tissue, and in turn makes our muscles grow. Our body repairs this damage by making more of the proteins myosin and actin that bind as filaments, which is the process that grows and tones our muscles.

Magnesium affects muscle function in several ways including oxygen uptake, energy production and electrolyte balance. 

Taking magnesium can help ease cramps and tension as the tissue rebuilds by competing with the calcium in the muscle that binds with proteins such as myosin. When the calcium binds with a protein it changes the shape of the proteins and generates a contraction. So when magnesium binds calcium to the binding spot on the proteins, it helps to prevent contractions and relax your muscles. This battle with calcium is also how it assists in regulating your heartbeat, as the heart is a also contracting muscle.

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

How do we get enough?


Although it’s optimal to get enough magnesium directly from our diet, statistics show that approximately one in four Australians are not meeting their daily needs. This is a worrying number when we know how many processes that it supports in our body.

Ideally we receive magnesium from foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, black beans and flax seeds are high in magnesium. 

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If you’ve done a big workout or high intensity session at the Lab and want an extra boost you can find it in a supplement form as well, there are even special blends to help you sleep. Look for high quality practitioner recommended supplements.

The body can also absorb magnesium very effectively through the skin so if supplements aren’t your jam you can target a sore area with topical magnesium such as an oil or spray. 

Some Ninjas even like to soak in a magnesium bath post session. If you really want to boost your absorption of magnesium, a combination of both oral supplements and topical application will be the most effective.

All round magnesium is a winner for your body no matter how you receive it and can definitely help you sleep a little sounder at night - who wouldn’t want more of that!

© Salt Lab | saltlaboratory.com

© Salt Lab | saltlaboratory.com

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Fascia and Flexibility

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Fascia and Flexibility

“Life requires balance. For every down there is an up; for every outside, there is an inside. Yoga also requires balance.” Bernie Clarke

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

There is a reason that you feel so light and limber when you leave the Lab

An aerial yoga practice is great for building strength, increasing mental clarity and allowing relaxation, but it also helps to lengthen and massage our body creating access to greater flexibility, through whole body traction and fascia hydration (connective tissue) leaving us feeling like we are walking on air.

Yoga is a practice of searching for union and balance within movements. In Sanskrit this is known as sthira and sukha, the state of effort and ease. There a difference between engaging muscles and releasing them. Engaging muscles can help to develop strength, define the aesthetics of the physical body and increase our Yang, more active energy. Flying in the Lab builds strength, agility and coordination, while relaxing into passive inversions creates a sense of melting into the practice, releasing tension, loosening muscles and working into the deeper layers of the body, the connective tissue, ligaments and joints. In classes like our Aerial Yoga Melt class we experience longer poses allowing softening of muscles and working into these deeper layers. By relaxing and letting go of tension, we encourage our body to release, encouraging our softer Yin energy to flow.

© Medium

© Medium

Physical movement and massage (tension and release) helps to hydrate our fascia, the thick web of connective tissue that keeps your skeleton in shape, guides movement and stabilises posture. Our fascia is made up of up to 70% water so it is important to keep it hydrated. A sponge is a common analogy used to describe how our fascia absorbs water, by massaging it, we release water and in turn it can absorb more, fresh water that brings lots of good proteins with it. Although it is important to drink plenty of water, drinking alone won’t actually help to hydrate our connective tissue.

Research has shown that while stretching initially decreases the water content of your connective tissue (like squeezing a sponge), after 30 minutes of rest the water content increases beyond the pre-stretch quantity and remains higher for up to 3 hours afterwards.

Our fascia is made up of cells, fibres and the gel-like hydrating fluid known as ground substance.  Ground substance is up to 70% water and it is a source of nutrition for our tissues, helps to eliminate waste products and lubricates our collagen fibres which ultimately leads to increased flexibility and happy, hydrated connective tissue.

Collagen is what makes our connective tissue strong, while the elastin gives it elasticity. If the collagen fibres aren’t lubricated enough they stick together, making the area stiff and inflexible. Lack of movement is one of the main reasons that fascia becomes dehydrated, which is why physical practice helps to keep us supple and flexible. Foam rolling compresses and massages the tissue to increase the water that is absorbed and prevent the fibres from sticking. It creates space in the fibres and prevents knots in muscles. Movement and massage is vital to tissue hydration because it is needed to feed and cleanse the ground substance, like a sponge absorbing fresh water.

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

Try this simple experiment to see the benefits of releasing connective tissue and the impact that it has on everyday life:

Stand up and try touching your toes, observe how it feels and see how far you can reach. Got it? Good.

Now use a tennis ball or small muscle release ball and roll the sole of your foot on it for about a minute (if you don’t have a ball handy you can give the underneath of your feet a strong massage with your hands, really pressing in)

Once you have done both feet for about a minute, try touching your toes again. See? There is a considerable difference in how far you can reach and how comfortable and flexible you feel.

This is because by massaging or rolling underneath your feet you’ve released the plantar fascia that begin there. This connective tissue runs all the way along the back of your legs, over your buttocks, your back, shoulder, neck and finishes just before your forehead. This is how we begin each Aerial Yoga Melt class and work through the whole body!

Releasing and hydrating the connective tissue through massage and movement has endless benefits for your posture, strength, flexibility and mobility.

Aerial Yoga Melt in the Lab allows us to stretch entire lines of superficial fascia at the front and back of the body, from your toes and feet, all the way to the side of your neck and back of your skull. The postures are designed to challenge the lines of your body and add different pressure and release so you can intuitively find balance and hydrate connective tissue. When you discover this balance during Yoga, you will notice how stress in the fascial web begins to release and bring a lightness to your limbs so you can continue to open energetic lines, and build strength and tone the physical body. 

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

As we delve deeper into our practice of Yoga using the philosophy of sthira and sukha and the awareness of how everything is connected, it creates space and lightness in the body, helping us to move and feel better.

Written by 

Jade Hunter 

Our Aerial Yoga Melt class has a new time now on Sunday mornings at 10:15am

Come join us and book your space here

Aerial Yoga Melt is designed for you to move freely in all directions of open space as your body floats through a series of gentle gyro-kinetic motions. Using both the aerial hammock and foam roller to allow flexibility of the entire spine, hips, and hydrating fascia. Incorporating foam roller for deeper muscular and fascia release, trigger point release, neuromuscular activation of the nervous system, partial and full zero-compression inversions, deep hip flexor release, levitating meditations and best of all floating savasana. 

Here’s what our clients have to say:

"The most amazing and important class you didn't know you needed!" 

"If you have muscle pain, you can skip physio and come to this relaxing class. my body feels amazing after the class."

"Use the roller to get into those sore points, then the hammock to stretch into serenity"

This theraputic combination works as a portal into deeper spinal flexibility, muscular and myofascia release and mind/body connection.


Book your space here

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Winter Transformation

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Winter Transformation

 

The cool grey winter skies make the Lab glow more than usual and we instinctively want to comfort and nourish our bodies

© Sky-lab

© Sky-lab

Winter can be the most transformative time of the year. Spring is the season that gets credit for change but, it’s actually in the work and habits we cultivate through the winter that will really set us up for powerful personal transformation. It’s no secret that our body and mind function differently in the cooler months. The lack of sunlight and warmth have a tangible effect on our energy levels, sleep patterns, mood and cravings.  Despite our modern, urban lifestyle, we are still tuned in to the natural rhythms and seasons of the Earth- which is why winter has such a profound effect on our physical and emotional state. At the Lab we understand the importance for nourishing self-care and supporting your body through the winter chill.

There are many things about winter that influence our mood and energy levels. Reduced sunlight can affect the body’s circadian rhythms (internal body clock) and may amplify feelings of sadness or depression for some people. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and plays a big role in our sense of wellbeing. The reduced exposure to sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels, which is why we can sometimes feel slightly down in winter, especially if we’re putting in long work hours inside.

Doing inversions at the Lab helps to naturally restore the hormone levels that become depleted in winter. Zero compression inversions stimulate greater cerebellum function, increasing the release of neurotransmitters from the brain and stimulating the release of “happy hormones” – serotonin, dopamine, enkephalins and endocannabinoids.

Even more reasons to go upside down! 

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

Lack of sun also affects our melatonin levels. When the days are shorter and darker, our bodies produce more melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. This is what causes the sense of lethargy that makes us want to stay in bed or relax in savasana longer. Getting enough sleep and honouring our natural internal system is important to help maintain our energy levels, especially in the winter. 

If afternoon naps aren’t your thing then meditation is great to unwind and it’s also proven to increase alertness and focus. Just a few moments each day can rest your body and renew your mind. You can do it at home or anywhere it’s nice and warm.

This combination of decreased serotonin and melatonin can also make us crave different foods. Our body is looking for a quick burst of happiness or energy, so it sends signals telling us to reach for foods high in carbohydrates or fats to spark a serotonin increase. Instead of reaching for unhealthy treats, you can try a short meditation or a warm drink to give you a winter boost and stay healthy. 

Drinking cacao tea is a Lab favourite way to warm up, satisfy cravings and boost our immunity. Our immune system’s response is slower in cold weather, which is why it’s important to make sure we are taking care of ourselves by nourishing our bodies. 

The Labs loved cacao blends from the Husk Mill are the perfect combination of decadence. The tea is made from cacao husk, giving it a delicious, chocolatey flavour plus all the calming and detoxing benefits of tea. The added power of cacao that makes it taste extra delicious also means it is high in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins as well as magnesium, potassium and fibre. Because winter also wreaks havoc on sleep patterns because of the increased melatonin, it’s important to reduce stimulants. Cacao husk tea also contains theobromine, which differs from its relative caffeine. Theobromine has a slow release effect, and helps release our body's endorphin's to give us a pick-me-up, without affecting much needed rest.  thehuskmill.com

Another way to warm up and add extra immune boosting benefits to your tea or cooking is a few drops of oregano or clove essential oil. Sarah Halloran, founder of Natural Virtue recommends just one drop of oregano oil into your cooking for cleansing and purifying benefits and when a cold is coming on she tells us to rub a drop into the soles of our feet at night.

© The Husk Mill

© The Husk Mill

The list of winter woes continues, with our skin becoming dehydrated due to the lower humidity levels outside. Because the water in our skin evaporates more quickly when the air outside is cold and dry, our skin can lose up to 25% of its ability to hold water in winter. Essential oils are a great natural way to rehydrate our skin. Halloran suggests lavender and geranium oils in winter. “Geranium has natural hydrating properties to keep your skin glowing and lavender is known for its calming benefits and ability to help heal imperfections on the skin. Both these oils also help to calm the nervous system and reduce stress – the perfect winter combination for our skin.” She recommends using the oils topically on our skin (added to a carrier oil if you have sensitive skin) or adding 4-5 drops into a diffuser for a calming aromatic effect to create an atmosphere of cosy winter zen.

Cold temperatures can reduce sensory feedback, dexterity, muscle strength, blood flow, and balance – which is why our balance can feel off or we don’t feel as strong sometimes and can’t quite work out why. This is for a number of reasons, and movement is the perfect tool for helping improve the winter wobbles.

Interestingly, the aches in pains and body stiffness we notice in winter is actually because of the clouds. When there are more clouds and rain in winter, it means that atmospheric pressure is decreased and our bodily fluids move from blood vessels to tissues, causing pressure on our nerves and joints that leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in some people.

When our body gets cold our blood vessels start to constrict, which is why our hands and feet get cold first and what it makes it harder to grip the silks when our hands feel cold! The added warmth and movement of Yoga and especially inversions will stimulate our blood flow and create heat, to make us feel more aligned and ease the effects of the cold weather.

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

So as we move about our days, pushing through the added challenge of wind and rain, remember that winter has a much greater influence on us than just an inconvenience in our routine and reason to rug up with those extra layers. Give a thought to the changes that our bodies are going through, the natural adaptation process that is occurring. It’s so important to tune in to that and make extra time for restoring activities and sensory experiences to nurture and support your body during the change of season as our environment changes, so too, must we.

 

Written by

Jade Hunter

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