Kassandra Reinhardt: Yoga, YouTube and community

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Kassandra Reinhardt: Yoga, YouTube and community

Whether you’re a regular yogi or are just starting out, it’s likely you’ll be familiar with Kassandra Reinhardt - or at least her YouTube channel, Yoga with Kassandra.

As one of the first instructors to embrace online teaching, Kassandra is on a mission to help others feel great through yoga, and with over 230 million views, it’s clear the bitesize, accessible approach is resonating. So what’s next for Kassandra and her +2 million community?

Hi Kassandra, when did your yoga journey begin?

I started yoga at 18 years old without knowing much about it. I grew up doing ballet and always struggled with my flexibility, so a friend suggested I try yoga. I took a few drop-in classes here and there, and eventually found a teacher and a style that I really resonated with. I liked how yoga placed no emphasis on the way I looked, and instead focused on mindfulness and personal growth. I ended up leaving the world of dance and completely immersing myself in yoga.

Once I understood the richness of this spiritual practice, I knew I wanted to dive deeper and learn more. After a few years of practicing, I took my first teacher training and haven’t looked back since.

Remember that this is a practice about embracing the journey, there is no destination

Tell us more about your bitesize approach to yoga

I’ve always believed that doing a little bit of yoga every day is more powerful and effective than doing a one-hour session once a week. Longer sessions on the mat are really wonderful, but not always realistic to fit into people’s daily lives, so I wanted to give students permission to embrace a “less is more” philosophy.

Our yoga practice is so much more than poses we do on our yoga mat, it’s also in the way we treat ourselves and others, and how we show up in the world.

By spending a little bit of time every day moving mindfully with our breath, we can remind ourselves of what matters and come back to our center.

Can anyone practice yoga?

In the west, we’ve come to think of yoga as a strictly physical practice, but it also encompasses breathwork, meditation, ethics and philosophy. If you can breathe, you can do yoga!

If movement isn’t accessible for people for any reason, practicing pranayama or breath control is an excellent place to start, as is meditation. For those interested in asana or yoga poses as a beginner, I always recommend starting off slow.

We’re lucky to live in a day and age where so much is accessible to us for free on the internet, so I’m confident that there’s an online yoga class out there for everyone. Search for ‘beginner-friendly yoga classes’ and remember that this is a practice about embracing the journey, there is no destination.

Props are a great way to make yoga poses more accessible, but beginners practicing at home often don’t have any. Instead, you can substitute traditional props like blocks, bolsters and straps with household items such as thick books, dense cushions and blankets and belts.

I liked how yoga placed no emphasis on the way I

8 good news stories to make you smile

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We've gathered together some positive news from the past month to break through the noise and show you there's good in the world

1. Write on time

8 good news stories to make you smile

Two transatlantic pen pals, who have been messaging since 1938, celebrated their 100th birthdays with their first video call. The milestone moment saw the lifelong friends, Geoff from Devon and Celesta from Texas, embrace modern technology. But their story spans not just an ocean, but the Second World War, the Civil Rights Movement, and economic struggles. Through it all, they kept in touch – and plan to continue doing so!

2. The future is… terracotta?

The 3.5 million tourists who visit the Pompeii ruins each year have a lot to marvel at, but some things that might have gone unnoticed are the roof tiles of the House of Cerere building. And there’s really no reason to suspect them. The terracotta tiles look exactly like the ones that would have been used by the Romans, with one key difference: they’re solar panels.

These invisible solar panels are made by small family business Dyaqua. The idea for the tiles came from father and visionary Giovanni Batista, who wanted to create a solar panel that blended in with its environment, without affecting the historical features of buildings. The result: tiles with a polymer compound that can be made to look like stone, wood, concrete, or brick – and which allow the sun’s rays to filter through.

Currently, Dyaqua mainly supplies historic buildings, where retaining the external historical features, while finding new ways to be sustainable, is of the utmost importance. But their work opens the door to new opportunities, challenging others to think differently about sustainable solutions.

3. A bold & brilliant breakthrough

A new drug developed to tackle Alzheimer’s is being hailed the ‘beginning of the end’ in the search for effective treatments. Clinical trials have found that Lecanemab, which targets a protein that builds up in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s, can slow down memory decline by as much as 27%. While there’s still a way to go, it’s a positive sign that scientists are on the right path, and life-changing treatments could be on the horizon.

8 good news stories to make you smile

Artist | LUAP

4. Artist’s childhood toy rides again

Whether it’s a hand-knitted blanket or an old toy, most of us will have something lying around that brings back fond childhood memories, and a sense of comfort in our times of need. For contemporary artist Paul Robinson – better known as LUAP – this was a pink bear, and it’s an image that has become central in his artwork today.

During a challenging time in his life, Paul sought therapy to help him overcome loneliness. “I’ve always tried mixing with people, but felt awkward whilst being around people,” he tells Happiful. “The exception is when I’m working or exploring the outdoors. Then everything becomes easier and makes sense.”

It was during his time in therapy

Cost of living: the impact on our carers' mental health

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With almost one in two carers stating that the cost of living is having a negative effect on their mental health, we take a closer look and highlight the support that’s available

Cost of living: the impact on our carers' mental health

New findings from Surewise.com reveal that nearly one in two carers agree that the current economic crisis is negatively impacting their mental health, with 70% not confident that they’ll make it financially over the next year.

The survey of 2,709 UK adults aged 18 and over highlighted a common theme around money worries and financial insecurity. To save money, many carers are restricting daily essentials, such as food and heating, as well as cutting back on hobbies and leisure activities - all of which are taking a toll on their mental health. What’s more, mental health support for carers is lacking, with 73% feeling that their career itself is contributing to poor mental wellbeing at times.

Director of Surewise, Stuart Bensusan, notes that the lack of mental health provisions for carers has been brought to light “again and again,” but the cost of living means they are suffering “more than ever”.

“Despite the hard work and sacrifices that carers, both paid and unpaid, make every single day, it’s also clear that there is a fundamental failure to provide financial support for those working in this sector”, Stuart says.

Where can I find support as a carer?

It’s clear that more support is needed for our nation’s carers, both financially and emotionally. With 47% of carers believing that increasing their career benefits is the top priority, what other help is available?

  • Carers allowance - financially, you may be entitled to a carer's allowance. This is additional income from the Government for those who care for someone at least 35 hours per week. Alongside this, you may be eligible for additional support including council tax reduction, pension credit, and grants and bursaries.
  • Unpaid carers - if you are an unpaid carer, you can find support at the Carers Trust.
  • Carer's breaks and respite care - looking to take a wellbeing break? You can find more information about carer’s breaks and respite care on the NHS website, including getting assessed and the types of breaks available.
  • Young carers - find out about the support available for young carers, including getting help at school, making friends, and having a helping hand.
  • Counselling - if you’re able to afford it, counselling provides a safe space to focus on yourself, your needs, and to discuss your thoughts and feelings. You can find more information on counselling for carers on Counselling Directory or use the search bar below to find a qualified therapist near you or online.

Further help

5 supportive tips for dealing with information overload

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We’ve never been more connected, but the ever-present onslaught of information can be difficult to deal with – here’s how to cope

5 supportive tips for dealing with information overload

Sometimes, it can feel like our entire day is made up of social media notifications, breaking news alerts, and streams of work and personal messages. If it’s not updates on conflicts around the world, it’s news of political unrest or troubling social issues – and that’s before we even get to the hurried texts and emails from our jobs, family, and friends. Especially in the aftermath of the draining Covid-19 pandemic, such an onslaught of information can leave our brains feeling scattered, making it a struggle to know where to turn our attention.

If you often find yourself feeling this way, you’re not alone. A 2020 Pew Research Center survey found that 66% of adults felt worn out by the amount of news they were consuming. And it’s having a real impact on our mental wellbeing. Psychologist Ella McCrystal says: “This information is coming in faster than we can fully digest and understand it. This overload can make us vulnerable to lowered mood, information fatigue, and increasing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“And the impact of attention fragmentation is that we become less productive, less creative, and less able to make good decisions.”

Disconnecting from technology entirely isn’t all that practical – so how do we combat the issue of information overload, while grappling with the need to stay up to date?

Turn off notifications and alerts

One easy change you can make to set boundaries with the outside world is to turn off all of your notifications, be it email, WhatsApp, or Instagram. “We need to give up the fictitious narrative that we need to be on top of everything,” Ella explains. The reality is that very few things need our attention so urgently – so denying these outside influences’ constant access to you is a helpful way to protect your wellbeing. If the thought of turning off all notifications makes you feel anxious though, schedule in five minutes every hour or two to check your necessary platforms.

Schedule in chunks of time to disconnect

“Giving our brains downtime to process new information input is a critical element of learning and thinking,” Ella explains. In order to do this, it’s helpful to disconnect at regular intervals during your day. Not only will this help you to process what you’ve read and seen, it’ll also help you to calm any feelings of anxiety it may have sparked.

Try meditation, or simply sitting quietly, looking out of a window for five to 10 minutes at points during your day. Therapist and author Marisa Peer says: “While these ‘mindless moments’ might feel like a time waster, it actually gives your mind the time to reboot.” If this doesn’t work for you, you could try getting outside for a 10-minute walk without any digital devices, or practising some relaxing yoga poses.

Do a brain dump

One of the main problems with information overload is that it can leave us unable to prioritise – how can we plan out our family’s weekly schedule when our mind is full of the worldȁ

What is sleep tourism?

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With one in eight of us feeling tired all the time, could sleep tourism help us feel more rested and relaxed? Or is it just another wellness trend to get us to book a new kind of vacation?

What is sleep tourism?

As a nation, we are tired. According to YouGov, one in four of us feels tired most of the time, while one in eight feels tired all the time. In fact, we’re so tired that two in five of us would rather sleep more than spend time with our families. It’s no wonder that so many of us are willing to try anything to get a better night’s sleep.

What is sleep tourism?

Sleep tourism refers to any kind of holiday with programmes focused on getting a good night’s sleep. Thought to be a top trend for 2023, the travel industry has reported seeing more sleep-related services appearing on hotel and tourism-related websites and packages. Designed to promote restful sleep, relaxation, and overall wellbeing, you can even find specific ‘sleep retreats’ to help guide you towards improving the quality of your sleep.

Why are we focusing our holidays around sleep?

While the thought of building a vacation around rest and relaxation seems natural, the idea of going on holiday to sleep more can seem a little strange. But sleep expert and CEO at MatressNextDay Martin Seely thinks we could all benefit from trying a sleep retreat.

“Going on a sleep retreat could benefit anyone. This is because sleep is essential for many, many reasons. Sleep helps us learn new information and consolidate memories. There’s also evidence that lack of sleep can make you more prone to depression or anxiety by affecting your moods and emotions, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)”.

While the reasons why we may feel the need to seek help to get a better night’s sleep can vary, Martin explains that there are often common themes. “Many people have trouble falling asleep at night because their minds are racing with thoughts about work or life in general. Others have trouble staying asleep due to stress or anxiety about what tomorrow may bring.”

By taking a break from our normal routines, we may be able to help break the cycle of bad quality sleep (and our anxiety surrounding it), helping us to reset and gain a better night's rest.

Counselling Directory member and therapist, Nicole Grilo, (MBPsS, MBACP, FDAP) explains more about the benefits of sleep and how it can be seen as a superpower linked with better health outcomes.

“Sleep is so beneficial and essential, as it facilitates body restoration and repair. Sleeping heals our body and is what [we need] after a day of movement or exercise. Give yourself at least nine hours in bed. Stay away from coffee and sugar at the end of the day. Give yourself time to wind down [and] keep a consistent routine.”

What to expect from a sleep-focused retreat

If you’re considering building a holiday around improving your sleeping patterns and overall feelings of rest and relaxatio