Barefoot Bootcamp – “it’s not about that”

Do you remember your first yoga class?  

I went into mine with all my preconceptions…yoga was ‘bendy’…yoga was feminine…yoga was ‘light’ exercise…yoga was slow and boring…yoga was a little bit weird!  “i’m not that flexible” was my nervous ‘hello’ as i walked into the mat filled room!  Apparently my Yoga instructor had heard that one before – about a million times!- and he smiled a big wide reassuring smile and said…“it’s not about that”.

He knew then, what I would come to know in time – yoga wasn’t about whether I could lift my legs behind my ears, it was about fascinating in where my body was currently at.  It was an invitation to stay connected to my breath in difficult and vulnerable situations.  it was exploring my body as a vessel for movement and blurring the lines between what was mind, and what was body.

This sounds like i’m bestowing yoga with magical powers, but any surgeon will tell you how freely the limbs move under anesthetic – as the central nervous system has been removed from the equation.  Thus, ‘stiff’ muscles seem to be only a small part of the equation.

Yoga is just a little bit 'out there!'

Needless-to-say, I left the yoga class with very different feelings from the ones I’d taken in!  This was in no small part due to the Yoga teacher I’d had the good fortune to select.  The role and value of the Teacher was brought to the forefront of my mind just recently when a good friend asked me to run some strength and conditioning sessions out of his shiny new Yoga studio.

I had some ‘kick-back’ when a photo of me ‘weightlifting’ was used to advertise these new classes.  it caught me a little off-guard – having worked with clients in their 80’s who’s strength was literally a matter of life and death if they were were to fall alone at home.  Having used weights to successfully improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s sufferers who were at a loss as how they would carry their groceries home, weighlifting just makes sense to me.  It suprised me there’s such a huge stigma attached to lifting weights…and like my yoga teacher before me I found myself in but “it’s not about that”  

So why weight lift?  Why build muscle mass?  Why come to Barefoot Bootcamp? 

Barefoot Bootcamp can happen anywhere your body takes you!

Having read the cutting-edge research which showed muscle in and off itself had a protective effect against alzheimer’s – not how active someone was, but actually how much muscle tone they had!  Knowing every Osteopathic governing body recommends weight lifting activities to thicken and strengthen bones, knowing building muscle builds a bigger, stronger more bullet proof engine for the body –  I’ll be continuing to lift weights and encouraging my clients to do the same as part of a healthy lifestyle and the ultimate quest to connect body, mind and spirit and to have fun of course!

Come and join me at my Barefoot Bootcamp and listen to your body afterwards – it will thankyou I can promise that.

Yours in strength



“Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say that high-intensity strength training produced significant improvements in quality of life, mood and motor function in older patients with Parkinson’s disease.”

“Some evidence suggests that exercise may do even more than boost strength and balance; it may protect brain cells from degeneration and make Parkinson’s medications work better.”

“High intensity strength training is recommended as part of a management strategy for osteoporosis.” —

“These recommendations are based on strong scientific evidence suggesting that weight-bearing physical activity plays a key role during the normal growth and development of a healthy skeleton. High-intensity exercise of short duration appears to elicit the greatest bone density increase in the growing skeleton. This information is especially important to parents, teachers and health authorities that are responsible for school curricula. A sedentary lifestyle, rather than an excessively active one, is more likely to be the risk faced by most children today” — Gortmaker SL, Must A, Sobol AM et al. Television viewing as a cause of increasing obesity among children in the United States 1986-1990. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1996;150:356-362.

This study indicates that over a 2-year period, a combined regimen of aerobics and weight training has beneficial effects on BMD and fitness parameters in young women. However, the addition of daily calcium supplementation does not add significant benefit to the intervention. — Friedlander, A. L., Genant, H. K., Sadowsky, S., Byl, N. N. and Glüer, C.-C. (1995), A two-year program of aerobics and weight training enhances bone mineral density of young women. J Bone Miner Res, 10: 574–585. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.5650100410

“Resistance training had a positive effect on bone mineral density at the lumbar spine of all women and at the femur and radius sites for postmenopausal women. It was concluded that resistance training has a positive effect on bone mineral density in women…regular weight-bearing exercise can result in 1% to 8% improvements in bone strength at the loaded skeletal sites.” Kelley GA, Kelley KS, Tran ZV. Resistance training and bone mineral density in women: a meta-analysis of controlled trials. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2001;80:65-77


5 Ways to Beat Christmas Weight-gain

Food, the Forgotten Medicine©

Christmas Cat

Cold weather, shorter days and festive cheer is the perfect excuse to overeat at this time of year, but if we understand our bodies a little better we can enjoy ourselves without over the top weight-gain.

Leptin Deficient Mousey & A very Normal Mousey

Your appetite – like most things – is controlled by hormones…principally ‘Ghrelin’ and ‘Leptin’.

They work on a feedback loop – when your stomach is empty, Ghrelin is produced and this signals the brain that it’s time to eat.  Leptin, on the other hand tells the brain to stop eating if we start gaining too much fat.  In other words, Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite, whilst Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite – if you want to lose weight, you want LESS Ghrelin in your system.


Here’s my top FIVE ways to look after your hormones this Christmas…


ONE – Sleep more!

Sleep deprivation is a great way to increase the production of ghrelin and decrease leptin production   If you’re going to a few parties these next few weeks then you’d better find time to throw some afternoon naps in the mix – buffets and increased ghrelin aren’t a great idea!

TWO – Avoid *Hyperpalatable Foods

If you really want your brain chemistry messed with, eat highly processed foods.

Food manufacturers know that fat, sugar, and salt send our reward centers crazy, meaning we always want more.  Essentially, we can’t ‘hear’ the signals from our gut through all the dopamine ‘noise’.

Stay away from highly processed foods altogether –  better still make your own treats and you’ll know exactly whats gone in them!  Check out this blog post for Festive Treats.

THREE – Eat Slower

If you choose to eat like an industrial hoover then it’s inevitable you’ll get a LOT of calories down your neck before your brains even received the signal that your stomach is full – best advice here is to chew your food and appreciate the textures and flavours.

FOUR – Eat Mindfully 

It’s a good idea to stop eating (not always) before you’re completely full, and that requires a focused dialogue from gut to brain.  Watching TV, messaging on FB, or driving whilst eating, are a sure-fire way to break that connection!

FIVE – Keep Your Balance – Energy Balance that is!

Bear in mind that you can’t out-train a sloppy diet – not even the magic of Christmas allows this! 

However, that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t powerful stuff, and i wouldn’t wait until the New Year to start…even if its just 5 minutes, do something today, and by the time January roles around, your body will not be thrown to the bootcamp HIIT wolves!

Talking about intensity (HIIT), shorter exercise durations at medium-to-high intensities has been shown to illicit less cravings – particularly in women.  So, if your idea of fat-loss is hours of treadmill or cycling, you might want to consider how that impacts your appetite later that day and wether you increase your meals and snacks to compensate!  Your best bet is to keep the duration relatively short and ramp up the intensity.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 21.49.30
image & data courtesy of



Finally, what if there was an activity that not only got us moving, but aided our digestive health too!

To many, Yoga is about being bendy – or perhaps graceful & bendy – but for me it’s more an internal practice – check out these 14 yoga postures that aid digestion.

Of course there are Yoga teachers who are focused on the bendy-aesthetic, and Yoga Teachers who are focused on the intelligent side of yoga, so choose your class accordingly!  If you’re located in the North East of England, then Jambo Yoga certainly fits the latter!


Whatever your journey, have an AMAZING time!!!


Happy Christmas!


Magic ‘The Grinch’ Manos



*Hyperpalatable foods is a term coined by Harvard-trained pediatrician, and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD

Chew Your Food II – The Eagerly Anticipated Sequel

Chewbacca dandruff
Chewie had terrible dandruff before we cleaned up his diet.


If you haven’t read, ‘Chew Your Food’ (find it below) , then please read that first.

If you have read it, and haven’t slept since Christmas waiting for the sequel, then fear not, here it is!!!

Here’s the inside scoop… my correspondence with Chewie’s distressed owner – she’s graciously let me share it here so we can heal doggies all over the World one tummy at a time!

Hi C

Hope you’re well! 🙂


Dogs are essentially wolves – They prize organ meats, and they actually get a lot of their energy from undigested grass and plants in the tummy of their prey.  They are great survivors and not afraid of a bit of scavenging -berries, herbs, grasses, plants and the odd worm!

Whilst farmers have historically shot wolves to protect their sheep I’ve yet to find one who was worried about wolves decimating their wheat fields.

And yet wheat, along with oats and corn (cereals), are the main ingredients in commercial dog foods. It’s not hard to see why – cheap to produce, easy to store and transport &  bulky, they look good value for money!

To that end, lets remove the grains, and replace with organ meats and plant material (vegetables)  – which we’ll need to cook as Chewie’s never been exposed to raw food – and see how he’s doing in a months time.

Remember to consult with your vet, but here’s what I feed my two beauties!


2lbs LIVER
2lbs HEART
1lbs CATERING MINCE (the fattier the better!)

Find your largest pan. Fry the mince before adding the other ingredients. Add 1-2 cloves of garlic (helps with digestion, fleas & ticks – too much is toxic), and a tablespoon of dried parsley (anti-inflammatory) or mint (doggy breath!).

Mix everything together as it’s cooking. Cover and cook for a further 45mins. Stir periodically to stop sticking.


4 CARROTS – top & tail
1 SWEDE – peeled
2 APPLES – Cored

Keep things simple – peel if you need to, chop everything the same size, place in large pan and cover with water. Boil and simmer until soft.  Drain water and blend with hand blender (wand type) or similar food processor.

This little lot will pack your pup with fibre (soluble – the good kind!) and keep a spring in his step.

Look for a glossy coat and an extra bounce (I’m serious!) in a few weeks!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Yours in healing

Manos Venus


Chewie’s owner followed the guidelines above to the letter and guess what?




Chewie made a complete recovery…YAY!!!


2013-12-08 13.31.39
Chewie with an extra spring in his step shows his pall a clean set of paws as he races away!


This recovery didn’t surprise me if I’m’ honest.


However the speed of recovery was remarkable – within a week Chewie’s welts had all but dissipated and, he’d stopped scratching his ears.


Luckily Chewie had youth on his side, and so was able to demonstrate an astonishing ability to self-heal – A few more years on commercial dog food and it would’ve been a different story!


If you have, or know, a dog with similar ailments, at least consider the dogs diet before pumping the poor thing with drugs – consult a  holistic veterinarian for professional advice.


Yours in Hound Health