I was playing the music of Nina Simone on the morning of New Years day and the song “feelin good” came on as I made my first cuppa of 2021. Nina’s soulful voice and words resonated with me.
Now that 2020 is behind us I feel hopeful that this year we can move forward and feel as the song expresses, that each day is going to be “a new dawn and a new day”.
This year I truly hope we can also find lots to “feel good” about too.
We are not out of the woods yet but one thing that 2020 has taught me is to not take the simple things in life for granted anymore. Many of our choices and freedoms have been restricted in lockdown and we ALL have had to slow down, re-evaluate and adapt as the pandemic has unfolded.
We will all have different stories to tell of 2020 in years to come. I was given a leather journal by my daughters back in Xmas 2019, and I found it the other day unused with the date Jan 2020 on the first page. I am not sure why I never started to use it. Maybe it’s because I have always been against writing down resolutions or intentions for fear of disappointment, or I simply never allowed myself the time to use it. But here’s my chance to use it with purpose this year. It’s going to be my 2021 gratitude journal - to notice the simple moments and things I am grateful for each day. When we practice gratitude it helps the brain to rewire in more positive ways and it really can make you “feel good”. So I am walking into 2021 with hope sitting on my shoulder and feeling immensely grateful for our NHS services that are having a difficult start to the year. At the same time I am keeping a mindful attitude that each day is a new day and a new opportunity to find moments of stillness and peace or simply to just begin again....
I look forward to practicing with many of you as we ease out of the winter months and into Spring.
This term's winter offerings are listed below. Highlights include a mindfulness and sleep workshop and a nutrition and mindful living Spring workshop in February with nutritionist Alison Peacham - a wonderful opportunity to refresh your health with immune boosting recipes and energising practices. All classes will be online via zoom for now with a couple of dates in the studio planned for early Spring. New faces are welcome to my fortnightly open sessions and taster classes so please do share my teachings with those that may benefit.
Here are the last two verses of Nina Simone's version of feelin good recorded for the first time in 1965.
"Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean, don't you know Butterflies all havin' fun, you know what I mean Sleep in peace when day is done: that's what I mean And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me
Stars when you shine, you know how I feel Scent of the pine, you know how I feel Oh, freedom is mine, and I know how I feel It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me And I'm feelin'... good..”
Cover photo my daughter Bella photography by @nikpma
Online Nutrition & Mindful Living
In November last year I developed an online wellbeing programme with colleague and nutritionist Alison Peacham called Nutrition and Mindful Living. We trialled the 28 day programme with a group of like-minded women that wanted to boost their immune health and wellbeing during lockdown.
Through live coaching sessions and access to resources, recipes and mindful strategies via a private facebook group, we were delighted with the positive feedback we received. The programme proved a powerful instigator for change for many in the group; from supporting personal health goals, weight loss, emotional eating habits and lifestyle changes to help release the everyday stress and worry experienced during lockdown.
'I joined the Nutrition and Mindful Living Course to boost my health and wellbeing during lockdown, and what I achieved was much more than expected. Sam and Alison were fantastic mentors throughout the course providing us with excellent mindfulness tools and recipe ideas and handouts to support ourselves going forward. The sessions have provided me with a more positive and motivated outlook on my health and lifestyle. I would recommend the workshops to anyone hoping to improve their wellbeing''. Course participant Dec 2020
The programme will be followed up with a series of seasonal nutrition and mindful living workshops this year starting with a Spring Clean Your Life workshop on Thursday 4th February at 7.30pm. Costs are £20 per person and you can BOOK HERE via the website- please book early to avoid disappointment. There will be follow up workshops throughout the year with summer and autumn dates to be announced.
If you would like to know more about mindfulness or nutrition on a one to one basis both Alison and I offer individual mindfulness taster sessions and nutritional review sessions. You can contact Alison Peacham, Nutritional therapist & Health Coach at email@example.com or visit her website HERE
Teaching Offerings 2021
Since the start of lockdown all my teaching has been online via the ZOOM platform. It has proved to be a wonderful way of staying connected in shared practice together.
My last teaching class of the year was a Xmas Charity Open Session in which £100 was raised for a local project. Organised by @itsnotyourbirthdaybut over 50 comfort gift boxes were created for young people in care aged from 16 to 25 years and delivered to them all for Xmas.
Thank you everyone that came along and donated to such a wonderful project. The comfort boxes were well received!
I was fortunate to host my bi annual retreat day at the ZH wellbeing studio and grounds at the end of November for last term's 8 week mindfulness course. I plan to do the same for this term if all is well. Take a look at my timetable below for planned classes and courses, including my fortnightly heart - body - mind - open sessions for all beginners which start back on the 6th January and my regular monthly meditation group sessions for graduates and meditators from the 27th January - all on Wednesday evenings from 8pm.
2021 Teaching Timetable
TRY A FREE TASTER CLASS THIS JANUARY
During this taster session you will get a chance to try some practices for yourself, find out about the 8 week course and come away with an understanding of what mindfulness is and the science behind it all.
Tuesday 16th January 8-9.15pm All tasters are online - small groups only - Open to all - reserve your free slot - HERE
BOOKING NOW OPEN FOR 8 WEEK MINDFULNESS COURSE
Join my next MBSR accredited course for beginners
STARTS: Tuesday Evenings 8pm - 9.40pm from the 2nd Feb to 30th March
(no classes in Feb Half-term) Cost of course includes audio resources and a retreat session - £220 pp. Reduced prices available if finances are difficult. Returning MBSR graduates are also welcome to repeat the course to refresh their practice at a reduced rate. Contact Sam for details.
ONLINE VIA ZOOM - SMALL CLASSES ONLY
INCLUDES RETREAT SESSION on Sunday 21st March - to be held in a beautiful, peaceful local setting with outside space and an open air studio at the ZH Pilates Pavilion in Esher.
Full details of course dates, application forms, meditation & audio resources, plus deposit costs will be sent when you have booked your taster space online.
Please note: All Zoom classes are limited to numbers of 12 or less so that everyone benefits from a rich and meaningful experience, with built in reflection time just as you would in a face to face class room setting. There is also 10 minute technical set up time so that you can arrive and settle into your own space at home. Discounts are available for block bookings with discretional discounts for front line key workers and students or those with limited finances due to Covid. Please get in touch to find out more.
If you are worried about learning online - here's some recent testimonials from my last 8 week course to put you at ease...
'Thankyou for the group session this evening - it worked really well on zoom!
Much better than I ever expected & I felt so connected with everyone. I am sure I can get used to meeting like this, thank you Sam '
Research has shown that an 8 week mindfulness course can help reduce stress levels, manage anxiety & improve emotional wellbeing.
One to One & Couple Sessions
Group meditation and classroom settings are not for everyone. If you would like to know more about mindfulness for beginners or couple sessions, please get in touch by email. These sessions are online at present but from April this year there will be the option to book 1:1 face to face sessions at the Complementary Health Partnership in Claygate.
Winter is passing..
May you all keep safe and well during these dark winter months. Take comfort in the fact that the Winter Solstice has passed - light is on its way as the days get longer. On average two minute more each day until Spring is finally here bringing with it healing, hope and renewed life.
"I will love the light for it shows me the way
and I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars"
Words by Og Mandino & beautiful image by Robert Llewelyn/Corbis
Wishing you all a healthy 2021 filled with love, hope and kindness.