The importance of rest

If you’re feeling stressed all the time, or like there’s never enough time in the day, the answer might just be more rest. In this post, I talk about the importance of rest and share some simple tips on how to rest well.

There’s almost nothing more important than getting enough rest. Not only does it help you recharge your energy levels, but it’s essential for all aspects of physical, mental and emotional health. Research has shown that resting benefits your immune system, stress management, mood, decision-making, creativity, and work productivity.

However, resting is one of life’s things that is easier said than done. We live in a society that encourages productivity, and being busy is often seen as a badge of honour and a marker of self-worth. Many people encounter constant pressure to dedicate more time to productivity, even if it means over-scheduling themselves and sacrificing sleep. In the Western world, slowing down or pausing has a negative connotation to it, but in reality, rest is vital for our well-being.

In many ways, yoga and rest practices complement each other so here are some ways to explore adding a more restful flavour to your week.

Start with the breath

From a physiological standpoint, the breath is one way that we can influence our nervous system to facilitate rest.

The branch of the nervous system associated with rest is the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) – the ‘rest and digest’ state. The primary nerve of the PSNS is the Vagus nerve which connects the brain to the heart, lungs, and gut. Influencing the breath has been linked to vagal nerve stimulation and therefore our rest response.

Working with the breath should be approached gently and slowly. It’s important to find a way of breathing that feels comfortable for you. However, any breath pattern that slows and deepens the breath, particularly lengthening the exhale, can help to engage the PSNS.

Finding time to practice breathwork (pranayama) in a busy home can feel hard to come by but the practice doesn’t need to be formal. Some of the most powerful moments of rest come in smaller pockets of time when we transition from one thing to the next.

Embodied approach to movement

Yin and restorative styles of yoga can be great at tailoring our practice to rest. However forcing the body to be still if your mind is busy can be triggering, particularly if you’re feeling anxious, restless, or a trauma survivor.

Adopting an embodied and somatic approach to our movement practice (asana) will naturally slow us down, create more space for being with the breath, and allow us to soften our edges through intuitive movement.

Supporting postures using bolsters and pillows might feel more welcome, although just letting the body move softly and consciously can be nurturing enough.

Restorative Yoga

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep as it is commonly known, is a powerful practice, and one of the easiest to develop and maintain. It’s a practice that everyone – from children to seniors can do, and can be done seated or lying down. Yoga Nidra is a guided practice and you can choose the length depending on how much time you have – it can be as short as five minutes or as long as an hour. This systematic practice takes you through the Pancha Maya Kosha (five layers of Self), leaving you with a sense of wholeness and feeling deeply rested.

Find time for meditation

Meditation has been used by a variety of cultures throughout history to achieve a sense of inner calmness and clarity. By relaxing your body and brain, it’s easier to quiet the distracting thoughts that keep your mind buzzing.

Studies have shown that meditation can help reduce cortisol, which is the hormone associated with stress.

Whilst 25 minutes per day is optimum, just taking 5 minutes daily has been proven to improve focus, self-compassion, mood, immune function and quality of sleep.

Make rest part of your routine

Resting is a habit that needs to be introduced and then repeated over a sustained period of time. Research shows that when we schedule any activity, including rest, it maximises its positive effect on our body, mind, and emotions. If you’re not good at resting, schedule it by using an alarm or calendar.

Identify your specific needs

It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Rest can include physical, emotional, mental, and social rest activities.

Walking may not be a good type of rest if you’re physically exhausted. However walking, particularly in nature, is a good way to restore your emotional and mental energy.

Meeting friends can be the worst thing to do for those who need social rest, but it can be an effective strategy for those who feel recharged by social interactions.

That’s why resting well requires deep self-knowledge. Rather than following what others do to rest, spend some time understanding your specific needs and designing your rest activities based on where you find the biggest deficit.

When do you know it’s time for a break?

Your body will tell you before your mind. Your jaw starts to clench, your shoulders start to go up to your ears and you hold your breath.

Excessive busyness may trigger or exacerbate muscle tension/pain, insomnia, headaches, inflammation, fatigue, digestion issues, a change in sex drive, cardiovascular disease or a compromised immune function.

If you recognise some or all of these signs you are too busy and it feels like they’re present in your life more often than not, it may be time to pause and reflect.

stressed woman

Having a treasure box of rest practices is a game-changer for the modern, plate-spinning human. In rest, there lies so much power.

At first, it can be daunting. Resting can bring up resistance and it is something we have been conditioned not to do unless we are sleeping.

For many of us, pausing requires permission, and a safe container to rest. Communal rest, such as every time we take Savasana (Corpse Posture) at the end of a yoga class, or during a nourishing yoga day retreat, is the perfect way to embrace collective rest which can take us deeper into our own rest.

With proper guidance, a community of support and a gentle introduction to smaller nuggets of pausing in your day, rest can become a space of solace and relief. In deeper states of rest, there really is a feeling of nothing else being required of you. There is nothing you have to do. There is nothing you need to do in order to be enough. You are already enough.

It is really only in pausing that we get to glimpse at the true essence of who we are. We can put down all our to-do lists, all our striving, all our masks, and rest in simply being, as we are indeed human beings and not human doings.

We should take rest with a heart of appreciation and gratitude. Rest gives us the right setting to open our hearts and connect to our true nature.

It is comforting to remember that out of nothingness comes much greatness. Prioritising rest is not self-indulgent, it is self-preservation and essential to our very existence. I hope this post has inspired you to take more time to rest.

Becs McBride takes a holistic, functional approach to well-being and uses a range of tools including yoga, meditation, breathwork and somatics. Becs has helped people transform their lives for nearly a decade by using a combination of Eastern and Western practices.

If you want more advice on improving your physical and mental health, contact Becs today for a complimentary consultation.

Stressed woman

What is stress and how can yoga help?

The demands of modern life in a fast-paced world can lead to endless stress, which in turn can cause exhaustion and a wide range of illnesses. But what if you took time to reconnect to your natural rhythm with yoga and meditation? In this post, we learn that the physical and psychological effects of a regular yoga practice are abundant.

Yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques can all help us to achieve a healthier mind and body by calming the stress response and taking control of our physical and emotional selves.

Stress is a natural part of life that helps to keep us alive and safe. Defined by Dr Hans Selye in the 1950s as ‘the nonspecific response of the organism to any pressure or demand’, stress is how your body and mind react to stressors. Selye and other leading researchers established that stress has a direct impact on our immune system which in turn makes us more vulnerable to disease.

Stress can be caused by a number of factors which range from an overwhelming workload to challenging personal relationships. Even things we deem to be good such as getting married or having children can cause stress.

Many of us have come to believe that it’s normal to live with excessive stress and it has become our way of life. Even our phone ringing can result in a nervous system response that leads our sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight, or freeze mode), to be activated. We may well be dealing almost constantly with mild states of hyperarousal which in turn keeps us in the loop of responding to non-threatening situations with a stress response.

A stress response occurs in 3 stages:

The initial fight, flight or freeze reaction mobilises the body for immediate action. The nervous system diverts energy to the muscles and organs needed for immediate survival. The body releases stress hormones, particularly adrenaline, heightening sense perceptions and creating hyperarousal so we can absorb as much information as possible.

A slower resistance reaction. In this longer follow-up phase, the body is mobilising all its forces to enable us to get to safety and begin recovery. The body releases cortisol and human growth hormone. Over a short period, these hormones produce increased energy, help our body repair damaged cells and reduce inflammation.

This sets in eventually if our body doesn’t get to a place where rest and recovery can happen. The body continues to produce large amounts of stress hormones. Prolonged exposure to these (especially cortisol) negatively impacts our muscles, bones and cells, and weakens the immune system.

Signs of prolonged stress

Over time, our mind and body will begin to complain by showing us the acute effects of stress. These can include shallow and erratic breathing patterns, increased heart rate, headaches, skin and digestive disorders, insomnia, weight gain or loss, cognitive impairment, hyperactivity and /or fatigue, anxiety and depression. If left untreated, these disorders can lead to more chronic stress-related conditions which seriously affect not only our quality of life but also our mortality.

The good news however is that by adopting positive lifestyle changes and a simple self-care routine, we can empower ourselves to address many of these acute symptoms of stress before they become chronic. Approaches may include limiting screen time, more time in nature, eating more whole foods, and putting some boundaries in place such as learning to say no more often… and of course practising the right kind of yoga, meditation and breathwork on a regular basis.


Yoga encourages mental and physical relaxation, which helps reduce the activation of the stress response. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the present moment. The physical postures (asana) promote flexibility, relieve tension, and alleviate pain. They also promote the release of mood-boosting endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones that can positively affect how you handle stress.

It is important when selecting yoga asana that we choose postures that allow us to breathe freely and deeply, and that we position the body in such a way that it does not have to resist gravity. In this way we are letting the body know it’s safe to relax and soften, allowing blood to flow abundantly to all our systems, allowing deep restoration to occur. Postures such as Legs up the wall, Childs Pose, Reclined Bound Angle Pose and a Supported side twist are all ideal for calming the mind and body.

Meditation and Mudra


Breathing exercises, known as Pranayama, teach you to relax, regulate your breath and breathe deeply. This helps reduce stress and calm your body and mind. Breathing techniques can also enhance your sleep quality and encourage mindfulness. You can practice breathwork during your yoga practice, or when you want to focus on relaxation throughout the day. These techniques are also useful when you experience uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations.

Meditation & Mindfulness

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.  We can also use it to change how we respond to stress by shifting how we perceive and handle challenging situations. Doing this will change what happens internally.

Becs McBride takes a holistic, functional approach to well-being and uses a range of tools including yoga, meditation, breathwork and somatics. Becs has helped people transform their lives for nearly a decade by using a combination of Eastern and Western practices.

If you want more advice on improving your physical and mental health, contact Becs today for a complimentary consultation.

Female reproductive system

Embracing perimenopause and womanhood

How much do you know about peri/menopause? In this post, I talk about my own journey, and how a holistic approach can help women to embrace this transition in their life. This post is for men too, because peri/menopause doesn’t just impact a woman’s life but all of the relationships a woman has, be it at home or work. Men can be aware of this transition so they are able to better understand and support the women in their life.

I was completely taken by surprise when I found myself in the throes of perimenopause. I was 43 years old, and I’d genuinely not expected it to come so soon! It took me another 18 months to get to grips with it and so I wanted to share my story in the hope it might inspire other women in their peri/menopause journey.

Some facts

A woman’s life is made up of several cycles, with her midlife cycle known as perimenopause, which occurs on average from the ages of 40-45 and usually lasts around 5 to 10 years. Perimenopause refers to the time when a woman’s body makes its natural transition towards menopause and marks the end of her reproductive years. The menopause is only one day long and is defined as the one-year anniversary since a woman’s last menstrual period.

There are around 13 million women in the UK who are currently peri or menopausal (Wellbeing of Women) which is the equivalent to a third of the entire female population.

It is during perimenopause that the physical and hormonal changes that we associate with menopause start occurring. A fluctuation of hormone levels can lead to well-known symptoms such as hot flushes, surges of anger and irritability, weight gain (especially around the belly), headaches and poor sleep.

However, there are over 30 other symptoms that can affect the brain and cognitive function leading to memory loss and brain fog, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, extreme muscle and joint pain, urinary tract infections, stress incontinence, pain during sexual intercourse, digestive issues including bloating and constipation, skin and hair thinning and many more! These menopause symptoms can continue for up to seven years past the end of menstruation.

Understandably then, there is often much negativity around perimenopause and menopause and women have been taught to dread this life stage. However, this powerful time of transition can lead women to deeply connect to their inner wisdom and find new purpose and ease in the second half of life. This time, which can be called a ‘second spring’, is often accompanied by surges in creativity, vitality, new-found ambition, and the need to be of meaningful service to the community in a larger way.

Peri Menopause Stats

My own journey

I remember it vividly. It was winter and I started to wake in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep. At first, I blamed it on the new lightbox I’d purchased in an effort to help me get through the long, dark winter months.

One of my teachers kept saying to me ‘Becs, are you SURE you’re not in Perimenopause? I laughed, ‘of COURSE not’!

Once able to spring out of bed and onto my yoga mat at 5 am every day, it became harder and harder. And yet I kept pushing. ‘I was able to do this before’, I’d tell myself, ‘therefore I have to do this now. I won’t be beaten.’

Alongside the lack of sleep, my hair started to fall out in big clumps, to the point where my once luscious curls appeared wiry and thin. My skin changed, my face changed shape, I put oodles of weight on, my anxiety rocketed, and I had zero energy. I was in a vicious cycle. Too tired to do anything which made me more lethargic. When I looked in the mirror I saw an old lady looking back at me. I had NOT signed up for this!

Finally, I decided to research peri/menopause and realised that this was the reason for the dramatic changes I was seeing. I’d always thought I’d be much older before I would see any symptoms so I was still in some kind of shock and denial about the whole thing.

My next steps

Practically speaking, I bought a weighted blanket and an earthing sheet. These actually solved my sleep problems. I’d discovered in my research that strength training was now imperative so I joined a local gym – the Body Transformation Centre which specialises in training women over 40.

I started working with a coach who was able to guide me through this transition in relation to my work. I rearranged my diary so I had more space in my day and I cut out most of my evening work.

I purchased skin care products that were suitable for menopausal skin and I researched which supplements I might need now my body was going through this big change. Within a few days, my energy was restored and my hair became fuller.

It felt like such a relief that finally I was starting to feel more human again and I even had enough energy to start waking early again.

female practising yoga

How yoga can help

Yoga can help manage the physical and psychological symptoms that we experience during the transition from perimenopause to menopause. It can also improve our long-term physical and mental health in post-menopause when the depletion of oestrogen can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis (brittle bones), sarcopenia (muscle loss) and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Research shows that not only does yoga provide a variety of health benefits as we age, it can also help ease the symptoms of menopause.

Part of a woman’s journey through menopause is becoming better acquainted with her body and fine-tuning her intuitive skills so it is easier to understand clearly what she needs when.

A range of different practices may be needed such as Restorative Yoga to calm the nervous system, Yin Yoga to release long-held tension in the body, and Flow Yoga to re-energise and build strength. Yoga Nidra and Sound Healing can help to calm the mind and improve the quality of sleep.

Certainly, my own yoga practice changed. Once able to practice Vinyasa and Power Yoga daily, I switched to more gentle practices that nurtured my body, and I began to learn more about Somatics which helped me tap into the inner wisdom of my body.

Learn to let go and embrace

As my meditation teacher taught me so well, what we resist persists. Meaning that by resisting this change in our life, we can end up feeling so much worse. By making some really simple changes, however, we can embrace this powerful transition.

Allow time for self-care, deep rest and reflection by giving yourself more time to move through life. Tapping into your innate wisdom is incredibly empowering.

Let go of negative thought patterns and the comparing of your ‘old self’ at this time of life, and instead practice self-love for who you are today. By letting go of the girl you used to be, you can embrace the wise woman you are today.

Embracing this powerful transition in our life is liberating and I hope this post has inspired you. Ultimately, it’s all about finding what works for YOU.

Becs McBride takes a holistic, functional approach to well-being and uses a range of tools including yoga, meditation, breathwork and somatics. Becs has helped people transform their lives for nearly a decade by using a combination of Eastern and Western practices.

If you want more advice on improving your physical and mental health, contact Becs today for a complimentary consultation.

Changing seasons

Cyclical living in the modern world

Over the last 2 years, I’ve been learning more about seasons and cycles. What I discovered is just how disconnected we have become from nature, and that living cyclically is the key to better mental and physical health, energy, and contentment.

In this post I talk about the different cycles and seasons we encounter, and how we can live more in alignment with them. If this is a relatively new concept to you, then I hope that you find this as life-changing as I have found it to be.

Burnout sucks

It all started in January 2021 when I suffered a pretty major burnout. It wasn’t the case of feeling a bit tired for a few weeks, but rather something that took me 18 months to fully recover from. Through that journey, I realised I had to make some changes in my life to ensure I didn’t go through it again. Part of those changes was to embrace cyclical living.

At first, I felt somewhat embarrassed that I’d hit burnout, particularly as someone working within the wellness industry. But I soon discovered that I was not alone. We live in a society that thrives on being busy, and we’re driven by productivity, wealth, and growth.

88% of UK employees have experienced burnout in the last 2 years. Almost 28% of workers believe that they are less productive at work due to a poor work-life balance. 82% of Brits do not take a full lunch break, with two-thirds of workers eating lunch at their desks most days.

A recent report from Indeed found that burnout is on the rise so it’s vital that we take steps to prevent it so we can live and work more sustainably in a way that boosts our longer-term health.


Everything about you and your natural environment is based on a cycle. They’re integral in shaping the world around us and creating balance and harmony within life. Many cultures and spiritual traditions view cycles as a source of innate wisdom and guidance.

When we journey back before the Industrial Revolution, we see how our ancestors lived in accordance with the land, seasons and nature. When the days were longer, the sun was higher, energy was more abundant and so more work was achieved. When the nights were shorter, sleep was longer and rest was an important aspect of life and living well. We flowed with life, not against it.

There are many different cycles that govern our life, nature and the universe.

Natural cycles in nature such as the changing seasons and the sun. These cycles govern weather patterns, plant growth, animal migrations and the life cycles of various species.

Biological cycles such as the circadian rhythm and the 24-hour internal clock that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. Women experience menstrual cycles and hormone fluctuations throughout their lives. Even our breath goes through a cycle.

Life cycles from birth to death: infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.

Cosmic cycles such as the stars and galaxies, the lunar cycle, and the rotation of planets. These cycles influence the tides, celestial events, and cosmic phenomena.

Societal and cultural cycles from economic cycles of growth and recession, to historical cycles such as the rise and fall of civilisations.

The conveniences of modern life have made it dangerously easy to ignore these cycles. The world around us is designed to be on all the time. Artificial light changes night into day. Our devices operate continuously with the expectation that we can do the same. We override the urge to rest or wake by ignoring the natural cycles that keep us healthy, happy, and sustainably productive.

For every push there has to be a pull. By embracing the cyclical nature of existence we can find comfort in the knowledge that change is a natural part of life.

Working with seasons

We have less energy in winter and more in the summer, and we get an urge to declutter in the spring. But did you know that we have our own personal seasons too?

We can move back and forth between seasons as we navigate life transitions and this can apply to our relationships or work projects too. Often we will find ourselves in a season within a season – for example, when we experience grief, we are in our own personal winter but it might be summer outside the window.

In the months leading up to my burnout, I was constantly in the season of summer. I’d been working ridiculously long hours and didn’t allow myself any time for rest and recuperation. It was like I was taking inhale after inhale and not allowing any time to pause and exhale. I ignored all the signs my body was giving me to rest and kept on pushing until my body forced me into a winter for over a year.

Cyclical Living

What each season represents

This is a season of renewal and new possibilities, characterised by feelings of hope, excitement, and anticipation for the future.

Summer brings an abundance of energy and high motivation. This is a time for getting things done. We may get a sense of empowerment and experience growth and expansion.

A season that involves letting go of what no longer serves us. It’s a time of transition in which we may experience the need for self-reflection and slowing down.

This is a time for consolidating all we have achieved and is the perfect time to rest and recharge. We may experience a sense of relief and acceptance.

Cyclical living

Cyclical living is the practice of finding alignment with the cycles and rhythms that are present in our lives. It could be living in accordance with the natural cycles in and around us, and applying the principles to a project or how we plan our working day.

We are living, breathing human beings and not robots. We’re not designed to operate like machines. We have natural rhythms that are constantly influencing our energy. Cyclical living allows us to ebb and flow with life instead of against it.

When we tap into our innate wisdom, we discover that we already have a deep understanding of these rhythms. Cyclical living is the practice of listening and remembering.

There are many ways of incorporating cyclical living into your life. You could start by reflecting on which season you’re currently in and whether you’re honouring that particular phase by giving your body what it actually needs. You will likely find that you naturally spend more of your time in one or two cycles. Balance is being able to move through all four phases of a cycle smoothly.

By making small adjustments, we can align a little more with our rhythm. That might be taking a daily Yoga Nidra, or swapping a high-intensity workout for a Yin Yoga class or meditation. Cyclical living isn’t about finding a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s about honouring the unique rhythm of your own life. There will be times when things don’t align and life feels overwhelming, but knowing you have permission to rest when you need to will always be an option when you embrace cyclical living.

This is a practice for life – noticing where you are in a particular cycle and choosing how you can best support yourself in that place.

As the world gets busier, now is the perfect time to start working with seasons and cycles and create a sustainable and holistic approach to your life.

Becs McBride takes a holistic, functional approach to well-being and uses a range of tools including yoga, meditation, breathwork and somatics. Becs has helped people transform their lives for nearly a decade by using a combination of Eastern and Western practices.

If you want more advice on improving your physical and mental health, contact Becs today for a complimentary consultation.

How to get a better nights sleep the natural way

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep but how many of us actually get one? This post will break down some of the key things to help you shift your relationship with sleep and fall into dreamland blissfully each night.

Very often, when bedtime comes at the end of a busy day, it’s hard to allow the body and mind to slow down. You might check email, scroll through social media… and consequently fall down a rabbit hole. Before you know it, it’s midnight, the blue light from your electronics has thrown off your circadian rhythm – the body’s biological clock that regulates the 24-hour cycle of each day – and you can no longer fall asleep properly.

A good night’s rest affects how you relate to the world, and decreases depression, anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure. Proper sleep increases stress resilience, optimism, memory, metabolism, and even our ability to problem-solve. Sleep allows you to digest all things from food to emotions and if you’re not getting enough sleep, you miss a vital opportunity to heal.

We all know we should be getting between 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night, but there is a whole lot more to getting a good night’s sleep than that. Here are my top tips.

Have a set time to get up and go to bed

It’s way better to go to bed at the same time every day and have a set wake-up time – that includes weekends! Lying in at the weekend or staying up later, will throw out your internal body clock. So if you’re doing this and waking up tired on a Monday morning – now you know why!

Create a peaceful environment

Make sure your bed is comfortable and that you won’t be too warm during the night. We have a better night’s sleep when we’re slightly cooler. Remove any artificial lights so your bedroom is as dark as possible. If you have a ticking clock, or anything else making noise, take it out of the room so it’s as quiet as possible.

Bedtime Routine

Creating a bedtime routine is one of the easiest steps you can take to enjoy better sleep. Humans are creatures of habit. Bedtime routines help your brain separate the day from the night, clear your mind and body of the day’s stresses, and relax into sleep.

No screen time

Electronic devices all emit strong blue light which floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake.

If you can, avoid using electronics in the evening as much as possible. If you find yourself scrolling on TikTok or Facebook before you go to bed, ditch this in favour of reading a good book, journaling, or even a bath with some essential oils.

Dim the lights

Start dimming the lights at least 1 hour before you go to bed. If you like to read, then why not use a night light that removes blue light so it won’t affect your sleep. This is the one I use: Glocusent Neck Reading Light.

Get jiggy with it!

Sexual activity can often contribute to better sleep. After an orgasm, the body releases hormones like oxytocin and prolactin, that can induce pleasant and relaxing feelings. Sex also reduces levels of the hormone cortisol, which is associated with stress.

Restorative Yoga

If sleeping does not come easy to you, then restorative yoga is a magical practice that calms and soothes the body, the mind, the breath, and especially the nervous system. This nervous system soothing is what makes restorative yoga such a powerful practice for regulating your sleep patterns and encouraging deep, restful sleep.

For a yummy restorative yoga practice, check out this 50-minute video: Pillow Yoga for Deep Rest.

Morning Routine

It really depends on what your personal circumstances are and how much time you have but a consistent morning routine is vital and will improve your overall quality of sleep.

No snoozing!

One of the worst things we can do is hit snooze. This will make you feel MORE tired. When your alarm goes off, that’s it – time to wake up. The best thing to do is get as much light as possible into your eyes as soon as possible so the body knows it’s time to wake up. Then get up and put the kettle on so there is no chance you will fall back to sleep.

Start your day with intention.

The first thing we do in the morning really does set us up for the rest of the day, so choose it wisely. If you don’t feel like you have your own time in the morning – maybe you have children to get up etc – then why not set your alarm just 10 minutes earlier so you can use that time before the rest of the house awakens?


The first thing you should do after waking is drink a large glass of water. I add freshly squeezed lemon juice into mine for extra goodness.


Some people swear by getting up and exercising for 20 minutes – I tried this and it didn’t work for me. I like to treat myself to a hot steaming mug of adaptogenic (mushroom) coffee and read something inspiring before heading to my mat to practice yoga. Aim for no less than 15 minutes of stretching to wake up the body, ease tension and get your energy flowing.


It doesn’t have to be for long – in fact 5 minutes is better than not at all. If you leave it until later in the day, it’s easier to justify skipping it. Meditation can help to eliminate anxiety from your day by being in the present moment. It will prepare you to manage anxiety and beat off those mind monkeys in the middle of the night.

A walk in the morning sun

I know we don’t get that much sun in the winter, but if you are lucky enough to see it, the best thing you could do is get out for a walk in it. It needs only to be 10 minutes round the block if that’s all you have time for. But catching those early morning rays will do wonders for your sleep!


The science has been done on this and it has been proven that having a daily gratitude practice actually doubles your happiness! You can do this first thing in the morning, or last thing at night – it doesn’t matter but do make time for it daily. Write down 3 things you feel grateful for. How do they make you feel? Write all that down too!

So you’ve done all of the above, and you’re still not sleeping so well. What now?

The monkey mind

We all get struck by the monkey mind from time to time. It can stop us from getting to sleep, or if we wake at 3 am, it can stop us from getting back to sleep again.

Mindfulness practice

The first thing I do is count my breath. Counting inhales and exhales, up to 10 and then starting again at 1. This usually works but sometimes the monkey brings friends…

Breathing practice

I find Box Breathing helpful too.

Breathe in for 4… Hold for 4… Exhale for 4… Hold for 4… Try this for 4 minutes.


If you’re still awake, the next thing to do is put on your night light and grab your journal – hopefully, you have one next to your bed. You could start by writing about what is keeping you awake. If you’re not even sure, then just write anything… Allow the words to flow freely. Then try again to go back to sleep.

Reverse psychology

This has worked for me a few times. We can watch the minutes turn into hours and all we DESPERATELY want is sleep. So tell yourself you’re really not that bothered about sleeping and see what happens! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but when all else fails, it’s worth a try!

Other things that may affect how you sleep


You might feel sleepy after a glass of red, but alcohol actually causes insomnia. So after a few hours of sleep, alcohol can cause you to wake up and have a difficult time getting back to sleep.


Many women experience sleep problems during perimenopause, the period of time before menopause when hormone levels and menstrual periods become irregular. Often poor sleep sticks around through the menopausal transition and after menopause.

Getting a proper night’s sleep is the ultimate in taking care of yourself and your health so I hope this post has inspired you. Ultimately, it’s all about finding what works for YOU.

Becs McBride is a registered yoga, meditation, and pranayama teacher who takes a holistic, functional approach to well-being. Becs has helped people transform their lives for 10 years using a combination of eastern and western practices. If you want more advice on how yoga, meditation and breathwork can boost your physical and mental health, contact Becs today for a complimentary consultation.

How to boost your immune system naturally this Autumn

This post is packed with ideas on how you can engage with Autumn in a way that supports and boosts your immune system.

In our modern, fast-paced and technology-led world, we have become separated from nature. By following ancient Chinese and Indian wisdom that dates back over three thousand years, you can live life in alignment with the natural world in a way that enables your wellbeing to flourish.

The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease and is influenced by many factors as you will see in this post.

There is nothing quite like the change that autumn brings as the seasons change. The crisp, cold mornings with shimmering beams of sunlight, the vibrant colours of the leaves before they fall to the ground, the stunning sunsets and sunrises, and a feeling that earth’s energy is gathering inward and preparing to ‘let go’ for winter.

Nature is setting an example by slowing down, with the shorter days, longer nights and dropping temperatures. It’s a time to relax and adapt to a slower, more gentle routine.

It’s also a time for allergies, flu, or colds to flourish. The immune system performance lowers during the autumn months due to the temperature dropping, increased rain, and a lack of Vitamin D. This increases our risk of getting sick and can turn a season of beauty and magnificence into a miserable season of sickness.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to support your immune system and balance its response so you stay healthy and in flow with the season.

Priorities for Autumn

This is the time to practise breathing properly because it balances the emotions and clears the mind. Practice yoga breathing techniques (Pranayama) daily.

Cardiovascular exercise is beneficial but not in excess. It promotes good blood circulation which helps your immune system to its job more efficiently.

Balance outward activities with a yoga class which focuses the mind and builds a reserve of power.

Activity in the home is also important so have a good clear out, getting rid of all those things you no longer need.

It’s a time to clear your mind of negative thoughts and to think positively keeping your mind open to new ideas.

Sleep is essential for the health of your body and brain. Sleep needs vary by person however for most adults, 7-9 hours per night is the ideal amount.

Go for regular walks and get plenty of fresh air – particularly when the sun is shining.

Sort out anything that is bothering you, or find a friend to talk to. It’s a time to let go of relationships or things that are no longer serving you.

Things to avoid for Autumn

Overworking or having long periods of concentration without taking a break. Taking regular breaks gives you time to digest information, just as relaxation and down time allow you to digest life’s experiences.

Getting stuck in the same old routine. Try changing it by doing something new – be spontaneous.

Overburdening yourself and taking on too much. The energetic theme of a typical autumn day is one of doing less.

Sitting still or slumped for long periods of time.

Daily Habits

Start the day with eight full breaths to energise yourself and your brain – it needs 30 per cent more oxygen than other organs.

Mucus is overproduced by the body at this time of year when it is aggravated by weather conditions. Keep as mucus-free as possible by starting the day with a ginger and lime infusion.

Dry skin body-brushing from the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands, upward/inward towards the heart. This is essential at this time of year as the skin can become dry as the weather changes. You can also rub lotion or oils onto the body to stimulate the lymphatic system.

Sit for ten minutes every day and meditate. Inhale through the nose for 3 counts and exhale through the nose for 6 counts. It will increase a feeling of relaxation and letting go.

Start to wear warm clothes, keeping wrapped up to avoid getting chilled.

Nutrition for Autumn

Eat healthy comfort foods! You should be introducing warm foods back into your diet. Enjoy more spices to keep up the internal temperature and to stop mucus forming.

The ideal cooking style for autumn is to prepare and cook for longer, using methods such as roasting, pressure cooking, steaming or boiling.

Cut down on refined white foods such as white flour products, white sugar and white rice.

Eat in a calm and relaxed environment and take your time with a breather in between courses. Chew your food well and do not eat on the run.

Include foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, Miso, Spirulina, and chlorophyll rich foods such as leafy greens, spinach and cabbage.

Drink plenty of water – caffeine-free hot tea can count as part of your daily water intake.

Autumn food list

Apples, Apricots, Carrots, Celery, Chestnuts, Grains, Mushrooms, Olives, Pears, Tangerines, Turnips, Walnuts, Watercress, Cinnamon, Ginger, Ginseng.

Autumn is an opportunity to listen to nature and our bodies, bringing wellbeing and environmental connection. Taking care of yourself will help your immune system take care of you.

Autumn is the perfect time to begin a holistic healthcare routine. Becs McBride is a registered yoga, meditation, and pranayama teacher who takes a holistic, functional approach to wellbeing. Becs has helped people transform their lives for 10 years using a combination of eastern and western practices. If you want more advice on how yoga, meditation and breathwork can boost your physical and mental health, contact Becs today for a complimentary consultation.

Yoga Teacher Becs McBride

Finding the right yoga class & teacher

It’s that time of year when people start looking for something new to try. Summer is over and we need something to inspire and motivate us as we transition into Autumn and what will be the long, dark months ahead.

There is an abundance of yoga classes out there so when it comes to choosing the right class for you, I get that it can feel pretty overwhelming. There are lots of styles of yoga, different levels and oodles of teachers too. So where do you start? In this blog post, I hope to break it down so you can find a yoga class and teacher that is just right for you!

A good place to start is to decide how you want to learn. The options are attending an in-person group class, a one2one (or one2two), or practising online. There are benefits to all of these so I’ll go through each one.


If you crave community and meeting new people, this could be the right way for you to go. The teacher will have a class plan which is generic for the whole group, however, a good teacher will offer options in poses so you get to choose which one works best for you.


This offers a highly personalised experience that is tailored to your specific needs. Private yoga classes are great if you’re working with an injury or recovering from an illness as your teacher will come up with a dedicated plan just for you. If you have a busy schedule, you can practice in the comfort of your own home or even virtually taking away any unnecessary travelling. Think of a bespoke service that gets you ALL of the teachers’ attention. 


If you have an all-over-the-place schedule and would struggle with finding the same time and day every week to practice, this is a good choice. There are online memberships available that offer live classes and also have video libraries so you could practice at 2 am if needed (so long as you have a decent wifi signal). Online classes are also great if you feel anxious about stepping outside and would rather stay in the comfort of your home where you feel safe.

Find a teacher

The next thing to do is start checking out different teachers in your local area. You could try a google search, ask a friend if they have any recommendations or keep your eye on local notice boards and social media for teachers advertising their services.

Finding the right teacher is really important so don’t be afraid to contact a few different teachers and ASK QUESTIONS.

There are teachers out there who are trained to work with particular groups of people: pregnancy, anxiety, trauma, specific injuries or illnesses such as back pain or cancer. 

If you’re looking for something more general, then think about what you want to achieve from your yoga class. Is it to get stronger, become more flexible and mobile, feel more relaxed, or explore spirituality?

Ask the teacher if they have a speciality that would suit what you’re looking for. It’s also worth pointing out here that it’s a good idea to ask your teacher about their own experience of yoga and their teacher training. There has been a huge increase over the last few years in sub-standard courses churning out teachers with little to no experience. This has led to an offering of classes that don’t really meet people who suffer from any kind of issue. I will talk more about this in another blog post but do be mindful and ask questions.

Once you’ve identified a few teachers that offer what you’re looking for, try out a few different classes and styles. It’s important to find a teacher that you resonate with and this may mean attending a few until you find the right one. It’s okay to have a couple of teachers. I have one teacher who is brilliant with asana and correct/safe alignment, and another teacher I learn about yoga philosophy and chanting.


Figure out what time and day you have available each week. Consistency is key. It’s the same as going to the gym – dipping in and out may be of some benefit but if you really want to see results, practising every week is what you should commit to. 

Yoga Styles

There are plenty of yoga styles out there – hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, dru, goat yoga, chair yoga… I doubt I could even list them all, but classes should have a description alongside them so you should get an idea of what you’re getting. If you’re not sure, ask the teacher what to expect. If you’re unable to get up and down off the floor without aid, walking into a class that expects you to do this will leave you feeling frustrated so it’s better to ask first.

I’m a firm believer that yoga can be enjoyed by everyone. Whether you’re in your eighties, recovering from a neck injury, inflexible and can’t touch your knees let alone your toes, a marathon runner or weightlifter, struggling with mental health and feeling delicate or vulnerable, into strength and fitness, or wanting to find a deeper meaning to life, there is a yoga class and teacher that is just right for you.

Welcome to my new site!

After several months of planning and working very hard with a talented bunch of people, I am delighted to announce the launch of my new website. Hopefully you love it as much as I do.

Whether you are a regular student of mine, or you have never tried yoga before and are considering giving it a try, my new site is packed full of useful information on Hatha Yoga, meditation and mindfulness, my philosophy and teaching style, and what you can expect from a Becs McBride Yoga class.

I am really passionate about healthy living and so my blog will not only be an opportunity to tell you about the exciting goings on of Becs McBride Yoga, but also a chance to share thoughts, photos, videos and ideas that inspire and motivate me.

Please check back regularly for updates and new information.

I’d also like to give a special mention to Joe Coulam who built my website, Becky Boamah for designing my logo, Laura Blanksby for copy reading all my content, Vikash Patel for much of the photography and to my wonderful Mum who has shown me massive support along the way.

Enjoy, and I’d love to hear what you think!