I’m a beauty junkie, and each new launch gets me hopping with excitement: how will it smell? What new miracle cures lie within this bottle? Will this be the elixir to eternal youthfulness? But simultaneously, something weighs me down.
The plastic packaging destined for landfill or oceans, the carbon footprint transporting the products around the world and the ecosystems disrupted when ingredients aren’t sourced responsibly. Beauty doesn’t come guilt-free.
Though there are some really responsible brands out there, the pursuit of glowing skin doesn’t have to come packaged in a tube that has been placed in a box and then wrapped in plastic. So it’s beauty without the bottle that this column will explore.
The London Meditation Centre
I have tried, failed and tried again to integrate meditation in my life.
The best I’ve managed is deep breathing for ten minutes upon waking, and although I prefer the calmer wake up this gives me (rather than reaching for my phone: an instant heart-racer), the London Meditation Centre taught me that meditation can give us so, so much more.
After an initial informal talk where you learn about what the course involves, you’ll need to set aside a weekend where you can dedicate two hours a day from Friday to Monday. This is where you learn, deeply, how to meditate according to the centre’s method. You’ll be given a chant best suited to your needs, and you’ll have to develop the discipline to manage 20 minutes of meditation, twice a day. I know! For many of us, this seems like an insurmountable task: where would I find 40 minutes extra in the day when what I really required is an extra hour?!
However, the benefits are so extreme that it’s utterly worth it. The meditation helps you enjoy sleep with a quality that is so vastly superior to what many of us are used to, and I’ve always said that the ultimate beauty treatment is a decent kip! More than this, you’re being kind to yourself, which is something that lots of us lack for manifold reasons. And when we’re gentle on our bodies, our bodies are gentle back, illuminating our skin from the inside out.
The Breathing Tree: Transformational Breath Workshops
I know, I was a tad sceptical too. Why do we need help with something our bodies automatically do?
Well, if we automatically breathe, we also automatically store our sadness, anxiety, excitement and anger in our bodies too. Picture yourself nearing a deadline, feeling swamped as email after email rolls in and there are not enough hours in the day to address all of your tasks. Shoulders seize upwards, foreheads crinkle into frowns and breath becomes shallower.
My experience of the breathing workshop has been profound. My therapist, Rebecca Dennis, had me breathing deeply through my mouth whilst touching certain acupressure points and repeating affirmations.
Other times I had to pump my arms and my legs while vocally exhaling. Reactions have included hands seizing up (the release of trauma) and crying but also an incredible sense of calm, acceptance and freedom. Personally, I’m a talker and can go around and around in circles, but this gets me out of my head and therefore enabled me to release a lot of pain. It’s also helped instil good practice in terms of breathing deeply and thus allowing the body to work at it’s optimal capacity. The deep breaths, the release and the energy swirling round my body combined mean I walk away from each session having lost years off my face.
Topical creams help hydrate, but they’re not going to get muscles truly taut and toned. Otherwise we’d all be able to cancel those gym memberships and slather ourselves in Nivea! The care many of us put into achieving toned arms and sculpted bums is increasingly being channelled into facial exercises, too.
You do simple facial exercises, combined with acupressure and relaxation. It’s so easy to slot in before bed or in the morning. I do it at night after cleansing and putting on my serum.
I can definitely feel my it in the muscles of my face, plus it helps work in the product and relax before sleeping. There are some skin-friendly smoothie recipes, yoga sequences and DIY beauty hacks too.