Since I’ve started sharing my new moon ritual ideas and just general love for the moon over on my Instagram account @hannahrosecluley, more and more people have started asking me more questions about my ritual, so I thought I would write out a blog post explaining what I do every new moon.

Before I begin, just to explain, the new moon is the first phase of the lunar (moon) cycle, when the moon is on the same side of the Earth as the sun, and therefore the sunlight shining on the moon’s surface can’t be seen on us down on Earth because it’s on the other side of the moon. We have a new new moon (ha) roughly every 30 days. So with the new moon we can’t actually see it from Earth, but obvs it’s still there. In the Hebrew, Chinese and Hindu calendars, the new moon signifies either the start of their month, or an important date to set new goals or start working on new projects.

Many people believe (and especially throughout history), that, just as the oceans are effected by the moon’s cycles, so are we. Both the moon and sun have a gravitational pull on the Earth, and therefore on humans, animals and plants, there is no scientific studies that prove that the moon truly does affect us, but sometimes you don’t need a study to back up what you already know (like really, people go crazy around a full moon and my sleep is always fucked up, I don’t need a study to tell me whether it’s related or not).

Whether or not there’s a connection, I personally love the moon (it’s so pretty hey!) and I love that I have a firm place every 30 days or so to sit down, check in with myself, meditate and do my new moon ritual and goal setting. Before I explain, I would suggest a few things:

  • Get Moonology by Yasmin Boland – goes into so much detail on the moon and it’s my moon encyclopedia!
  • Get a note book or journal that you can use purely for your new moon rituals
  • Get yourself a nice candle or some palo santo for cleansing the air
  • Download the free app ‘The Moon’, it adds all full and new moons into your phone calendar and you can see what star sign the new/full moon will be in
  • Dedicate 20-30 mins 2-3 days up until the new moon to do your ritual
  • Create a happy, warm, calm and welcoming space for your ritual

My New Moon Ritual

Here’s how I do my new moon ritual:

What you will need:

  • Notebook & pen
  • Candle/palo santo/incense
  • Crystals (optional)
  • Quiet space
  • My phone for meditation timer (I use one called ‘Meditation’)

What I do:

  • Set everything up & light my candle/incense/palo santo
  • Pull 3 cards from my ‘The Universe Has Your Back Deck’ for some nice loving inspo
  • Write down a list of things I want to achieve in the next month, get real specific and make them realistic. For example if you have an overarching goal of ‘Move to the countryside’ then start to think of the smaller steps you need to take.
  • I then take a moment to just sit with those goals, and I manifest them, which means I truly start to believe in my heart that they’re not just ‘going’ to happen, but that it’s already a done deal, and that I don’t even need to worry about it. Yes I may need to work towards them, but I don’t have to feel anxious that they won’t come true, because they will.
  • I create my own affirmation for the month that is relevant to my goals. You can find loads of affirmations online if you need inspiration, don’t feel shy about using one someone else wrote.
  • Meditate on my goals, so after the manifestation I set them in place with a clear mind, sometimes I hold a relevant crystal in my hands if it feels right
  • I ‘ohm’ three times to seal my ritual

Please bear in mind this is my own practice and I have worked out what feels right for me, what feels right for you may be totally different!

Do you have a new moon ritual, if so how do you do yours?

Last Saturday myself and my best pal turned business partner (ish) Sabi ran our second Fitness and Flow event in North London. We came up with the idea of getting people together to sweat, stretch, meet some new people and then leave with an awesome goody bag, this time we made it a brunch event, and it was so great to see some lovely girls having a fab time working out and eating together and getting to know one another.

Massive shoutout to Rude Health, Pip and Nut and Ugly for providing the brunch food, and to Hangry Food Co, Missfits Nutrition, Boost Ball, wyldsson, Pulsin and Loving Earth for contributing to our goodie bags!

Sabi and I are running our next Fitness and Flow event on Wednesday 26th July in Moorgate, come along after work, do a full body HIIT session with me, then flow it out with Sabi and leave with a fantastic goodie bag and maybe even some new friends!

To get your ticket to the next event click here! Spots are limited so get on it ASAP!

After a busy few days in Marrakech, it was pretty spectacular to be invited for an afternoon at the Four Seasons Marrakech to sunbathe, swim and have a private yoga class.

The hotel complex is about a 30 minute walk from Gueliz, the old town, and after Sabi and I decided to brave it and walk the way (as opposed to getting a taxi), reaching the hotel gates 30 minutes later and leaving the dirt track (no pavement there peeps!) and stepping foot into what felt like a total sanctuary! Spreading over 40 acres, the hotel is more like a little village. We were greeted at reception, and taken in a golf buggy to the pool area, where we were again greeted, and taken to some sun loungers. We nipped off to get changed into our bikinis and came back to an ice cold glass of water and a menu, we didn’t even need the menu though as we knew we had been planning on having ice-cream the entire walk, so we ordered our big bowls of ice-cream and lay down for an afternoon of reading, swimming and sun bathing.

After a few hours by the pool it was time to be taken over the to the spa to get ready for our private yoga class with Manoj, the Four Seasons Marrakech yoga instructor. We were taken to a little private garden near the spa, and had an outdoor yoga session, where Manoj took us through a hatha class. I’ve never done hatha before, and it was really interesting to try a completely new style of yoga, and be taught by a teacher from India, as opposed to one from the west which is usually the case in London. It involved a lot of breathing and chakra opening, as well as looking at the correct alignment of some of the postures I do every single day such as warrior two, downward dog, trikonasana and even child’s pose.

All in all we had an incredible afternoon, if you’re looking for a high end resort to stay at, I would definitely recommend looking at the Four Seasons Marrakech, the pool was serene, the staff were attentive, friendly and completely beyond what I expected, and the entire complex was a dream. Palm trees and cacti galore, countless little spots to relax and enjoy a read in some tranquillity, and the hotel is just a short ride away from the bright lights of the Nouvelle Ville or the hustle and bustle and the snake charmers of the Medina. Check out their website and Instagram here!

I get a lot of questions on yoga and how to start practising over on my Instagram, I wrote a blog post last year about why I think everyone should try yoga, but I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post giving advice on how to start from absolute scratch.

Go to a Beginners’ Class or Retreat

I started practising as a complete newbie by going to a weekend retreat that was designed purely for beginners, and it was so helpful because everyone was in the same boat, and the yoga teacher (my amazing friend Roo Frith) explained everything to us in a way that complete beginners could understand. If you can’t find/afford a retreat, then there are bound to be yoga classes aimed specifically at beginners near you, and if not then there are definitely going to be classes that you can go along to if you’re a beginner it’s just best to let the teacher know you’re a beginner. If you live in London, have a look at Frame, Triyoga and Studio One, as they have dedicated options for beginners. Just have a search on Google and see what you find.

Practising at Home

I would personally recommend starting to go to a class, and then practice at home alongside that, purely because you cannot beat face to face yoga with a teacher who knows how to correct your form and take you through everything step by step. However, this might not be feasible for some people. Luckily there are so many ways you can practice at home. As a newbie, I would suggest using videos, you can get beginner DVDs but I honestly think the way forward is YouTube, as it’s free and there are SO MANY VIDEOS. I recommend Yoga with Adriene, Celest Pereira and Cat Meffan, as they do some lovely videos and I am big fans of their teaching methods. You can get guides and e-books, but because with yoga it’s so important to have correct posture, and have someone talking you through when to breath in and breath out, I would say that I’d hold off on getting any until you’ve got the basics understood.

What To Expect from a Class

This depends on the type of yoga, and there are sooooo many different types out there, but here in the UK and in the Western world we tend to practice Vinyasa Flow (this is stereotyping a bit but I’d say it’s the most popular type at the moment), Vinyasa Flow is using poses (or asanas in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language that we use a lot in yoga), with the breath, so you do one pose as you breathe in, and move into the next post as you breathe out, you continue to do this throughout the session as you move from one pose to the next using your breathe (it will sound less complicated when you go to a class!). You will usually go through a few sun salutations (a sequence of poses where we salute the sun, sounds a bit hippy dippy but you’ll grow to think of these are your yoga pillars) and then depending on the teacher you will move through the poses they have selected. You’ve probably seen on Instagram some crazy and cool poses that people post, well I would probably expect not to touch on some of those for a while. I am nowhere near most of those poses, and will probably stay far away from them for a while. A lot of the time people go into yoga expecting to learn now to do a headstand or different arm balances or how to nail the splits, but that’s not what yoga is about, if you’re looking for that then you’re getting off trying gymnastics or something similar.

So What Is Yoga About?  

Good question, and not an easy question to ask, as the answer is probably going to be different for everyone who practices. For me, yoga is about learning to accept yourself. Yes you get on your mat and you work your way through poses, but the self-discipline and self-love you learn through practising, is so crazy and mind blowing, that you take it off the mat, and I am pretty certain that you will improve mentally just as much as you will physically. Don’t get me wrong, some people just go to yoga for the physical aspect and that’s more than coolios, because you will gain strength and flexibility, but the mental progression is the most important. In short, I feel like a completely different and BETTER person, since practising yoga, and I hope you’ll feel the same too! One major thing I have learnt through yoga is to love my body, love what it can do, and to not look at any limitations as actual limitations. For someone with an injury that means I can’t do quite a lot of things, it’s really helpful in more ways than one.

What Will You Need?

If you’re going to a class, check that they provide mats, which most do, and just rock up in your gym stuff, leggings and a top are fine, and you might want to take a jumper for savasana (the part where you lie down and play dead at the end) in case you get cold. I’ve read online a lot where it says wear loose fitting clothing, but take that with a pinch of salt, as I always wear leggings and a sports bra (a low impact one as you want to be comfy, and I have no boobs), but you can really wear anything sports wear-y, you’re going to be doing a lot of fluid movement and stretching so yeah, wear stretchy clothing that you feel comfortable in and will be able to move in.

If you’re going to be practising at home, you will need a mat, 100%, and a yoga mat at that, sorry but the £5 one you got from Argos isn’t going to cut it. I recommend this Yogamatters mat for beginners, and then here are two more mats, the Lululemon one and the Liforme (basically the ultimate mat ever) one. Once you’ve practised a bit and have decided, ‘yup, I like this weird thing called yoga, I want to carry on practising’ you might want to get some blocks and a strap, to help with some poses that you find harder to get into, I got mine from Yogamatters.

Some Little Yogi Tips

Here are some things I’m glad I was told/wish I’d been told as I started practising yoga:

  • You will probably feel like you’re shit at it, but that’s fine, you’re not shit. Yoga is challenging for everyone, even people who have practised for ten years, it’s challenging, because you set your own rules, you do the modification that suits you, at your level, on that day, at that time.
  • You might cry, a lot. I cry all the time in yoga, the first time it happened was weird, but get used to it, accept it, and it will help a lot. You also might not cry ever! But I have found I do all the time ahahaha.
  • How much you like a class will depend on the teacher. If you don’t like a teacher, go and try a different one. I’ve tried a lot of classes where I’m not a fan of the teacher, but it’s those teachers you completely gel with that make it so much more amazing.
  • There will probably be a lot of words said by the teacher that you don’t understand, these are mostly in Sanskrit, you’ll learn what they mean the more you do.
  • Getting the breathing right is super important, it takes time, but when you get it you’re just like OH MY GOD THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER I GET IT NOW.
  • Fanny farts, and normal farts, are completely normal, especially when you’ve been upside down, just get it out, try to do it quietly, but I doubt anyone will notice, and if they do, blame your neighbour (jokes, just pretend it didn’t happen)

I hope you enjoyed this post, it is bursting with info so if you need to come back to it a few times, no worries!

I also have some other yoga themed blog posts below if you’d like to check them out:

Why Everyone Needs to Try Yoga

Favourite Yogis on Instagram

My Favourite Yoga Accessories 

Ah Christmas, the time when we indulge, eat all of the food and relax and enjoy some well earned downtime with our close ones. However, after this indulgence, we all decide to buckle up and prepare for the new year and the proverbial ‘new you’. It’s a lot of pressure to put on one’s self, all the resolutions, the huge changes, the goals that are probably not all that attainable. Whilst wanting to make a change is important and amazing, it is also best to do so in a way that won’t make you hate yourself if you fail, and in a way that means you actually won’t fail at all. Here are some tips on getting back on track and how to set goals for the new year.

Stay Active over the Holidays

You don’t have to do a HIIT session every morning, but you could very easily go for a family walk, or do a yoga video in your sitting room (like I did this morning with my mum and aunt). This way, you’re keeping your body moving, but your not actually doing anything too strenuous. The hardest bit in this scenario is just starting. In my opinion the best way is to just do it. Get it done. Don’t procrastinate.

Turn all the Leftovers into Healthy Eats

All that leftover turkey, potatoes and roast veg can easily be turned into healthy meals that you can either share with your family, or portion off and put in the freezer. We turned our turkey into a massive turkey curry (find a nice recipe here) whilst our veg got blended and made into a warm and hearty soup (recipe here) This way nothing gets wasted, and you don’t have to have yet another turkey sandwich.

Make Realistic Goals

I think the biggest problem is when people make New Year’s Resolutions, and they make them completely ridiculous and unachievable. Make your goals something that you can actually achieve. Instead of saying ‘I will go to the gym 6 times a week’ think logically about how many times you will be able to get to the gym (also stepping outside your comfort zone a little bit) and instead maybe say ‘I will go to the gym 5 times a week’. Instead of saying ‘I am going to eat 100% healthy’ say ‘I will eat a healthy and balanced diet’.

Another idea is to write down your goals, and expand upon them. If you want to go to the gym 5 times a week, roughly what workouts will you do, maybe one yoga class, one HIIT session, a leg day, a core day and an upper body day? Or if you want to start eating healthily, you could say you’ll treat yourself to one meal of whatever you like every week. Or you will eat healthily and this is what it will consist of.

Put Your Goals Somewhere You Will See Them

A really cute idea is to get your goals for the new year printed off, and putting them in a frame so you can see them every day! I think I might do this, this way you will be able to read your goals every day and will constantly be reminded of them subconsciously.

Transition in a Way That Works For You

Cold turkey (‘scuse the pun) might work for some people, but more often than not, slowly transitioning into your new goals is a better way of doing it, and far more sustainable too. Slowly make it a part of your routine and before you know it eating healthily or going to the gym most days won’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. Having said that, I know that personally throwing yourself in at the deep-end does work better for me, so it might be worth analysing how you work as a person and doing what best suits you.

Set Rewards For Yourself

A nice way to keep the incentive going is to assign yourself awards if you make it to the one month mark, and then again at the two month mark etc. Choose a prize that you really want. Whether it’s a new set of leggings, a night at the theatre, or a new picture you’d like for your living room. Giving yourself a treat for doing well is – whilst sort of patronising – will actually work wonders. It’s also best to avoid choosing food as the prize, as assigning food that sort of prestige can be dangerous if you’re like me and you love food!

My Intentions for 2017

I thought I’d share my intentions with you all for the new year:

  • Work hard at upper body & core strength
  • Reduce refined sugar and dairy intake (completely if possible)
  • Improve posture & work at shoulder mobility
  • Continue with meditation and Headspace app
  • Work to improve self confidence & self love

My goals might be a bit specific, but I have thought hard at them, and whilst I have other goals, these are the things I need to improve on the most and work hard at. I will do a check up post at the end of January to see how I am doing!

What are your goals/intentions for the new year? I would love to know!