Author Archives: Joanne Bull

Summer Solstice – a time to reflect & celebrate the year so far

Yesterday we welcomed the longest and brightest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. In York, the sun has been particularly bright and hot so I’m enjoying a bit of shade in the Loft.

At the halfway mark in the year, I like to do a personal well-being recap to see how I am getting on.

I find it helps to take myself off to a cafe or a park (basically away from the distractions of home and work) and have a bit of unhurried time to do this so I can feel relaxed when I reflect on my choices and actions.

If you sign up for the newsletter you will receive your very own mid-year well-being review!

The Spring ‘Inner Peace’ ( somatics and sound) event raised £250 for Ukrainian charities. I’d like to thank Sophie and Linda from the Stables who matched ticket sales and offered the room for free.

What’s next? This Summer I signed up to paddle in the York dragon boat race which takes place on Sunday 10th July in York. This is taking me out of my comfort zone! I am hoping I can muster the energy required to help the Kyra team through the races and to raise as much money as I can for sponsorship.

Find out more about Kyra who are a York based womens charity here I have to raise a minimum of £150 sponsorship so I have a cunning plan!
I’ll be raising funds –  by sharing the love of yoga and calm 😊


To do this I’ve made two recordings available for the Kyra fundraiser

There was great feedback about the Inner Calm guided relaxation recording shared in the last newsletter; used for sleep aid, morning relaxation and mid-day resets. What I love about these is that you need no experience!  You just need to get comfy and then listen.

The recordings are:

1) Somatics it contains simple floor-based exercises which you do slowly to relax and calm the body and mind

2) Inner Calm is a guided relaxation technique using the practice of yoga nidra aka as yogic sleep ( you could listen to this one seated but it’s comfier lying down as you could drift off!)

In total, they last just over an hour. You can listen to just one or both in order – it’s up to you!

To keep it simple to manage I’m going to set this up as an ‘honesty box system’.

Make your donation by clicking HERE  enter the amount you wish you sponsor me and use JOANNE BULL ( + gift aid if you are in the UK) in the comments box

Then CLICK HERE to access the two recordings – listen as often as you want to and the more you listen the more you are teaching your mind to focus and your body relaxes.

You can access them until midnight Monday 11th July. The day after the dragon boat race!

**** And finally a celebration! ****

I’ve been based in The Loft for 9 years in July!!

So much has changed in my life since I started out learning how to take better care of myself and now I feel privileged that I get to support clients to reconnect to themselves in body, mind, and spirit.

I’ve added a few extra yoga classes in July so have a look and see if anything caught your eye plus the massage clinic will be open.

The monthly Loyalty Membership scheme has a couple of places available too (minimum 3 month sign up)

If you’ve been sitting on the fence or have forgotten how your body benefited last time then get in touch and let’s sort something out.

– Want to learn more skills to build your resilience?
– Need to learn how to be more ‘in the moment’?
– Have muscular discomfort and aren’t doing anything about it?
– Want to explore a slower more embodied type of yoga?
– Desperate for some ‘me’ time away from the stresses of life?
– Want to come away on the ‘Rhythmn of being’ retreat?

If you anserwed YES to any of these then contact me!

If you are wanting to see change and support your well-being then I would be happy to have a no obligation chat to hear what’s happening for you and to see if we are a good fit.

Take great care & stay calm,


P.S. Feel free to forward this onto your loved ones and share some Inner Calm!


Nourish yourself for a restful sleep

With World Sleep Day on Friday 19th March and I’d like to offer some ideas for you to support a better nights sleep.

Did you know that our sleep pattern is dictated by something called the circadian rhythm? This is managed by the section of the brain called the hypothalamus and is sensitive and affected by stimulants such as light, exercise and diet. 

World Sleep Day - tips for a sumptuous slumber!

One of the easiest ways we can influence our sleep health is by going to bed at roughly the same time nightly to embed (no pun intended!) a good pattern and rhythm. As well as this you could try some of these ideas.

  1. Leave a gap between work and sleep. An hour minimum and make a list of anything you need to empty out of your head for the next day.
  2. Turn your mobile phone off or turn off your data so no unwelcome emails or social media posts will interfere in your night time routine.
  3. Take a cleansing bath or shower to signify the working day is over and it’s rest time.
  4. Enjoy a calming herbal tea, there are lots of special nighttime blends on the market so pick your favourite
  5. Do some slow ‘nighttime’ yoga (restorative, yin or somatics) and meditation
  6. Write in a diary or doodle in a journal. It could be something as simple as expressing something that you are grateful for from your day.
  7. Listen to some relaxing music.
  8. Use calming essential oils. A few drops on your pillow or in a diffuser. You might try camomile, lavender, frankincense – see which you prefer.

As well as the above it is important to create a calm and serene bedroom so choose your colours wisely, a pale green is more calming than a bright red!

According to the Sleep Foundation your bedroom needs to be cool. They suggest around 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius for adults, keeping it dark and having few electrical devices. An alarm clock versus a mobile phone is always best! With this almost cave like description you are setting the scene for a good night’s sleep.

As night time is about unwinding also avoid any stimulants; food, drink ,conversations or TV. 

And practice the tips above alongside relaxation techniques like yoga nidra so your body can learn how to unwind. This also allows for nourishing periods of ‘active rest’ which help us to rest and regenerate. Though these practices are generally short generally up to half an hour.

It’s also important to know that we are all different when it comes to our sleep patterns.

You might find it helpful to do this free quiz from Michael Breus aka The Sleep Doctor to see whether you are a dolphin, lion, bear or wolf. You’ll discover insights into how much sleep you need, your optimal times for waking and going to bed and so much more.

I found it insightful! And it’s a great thing to do as a family.

Once you know this information you can plan your schedule to fit in with your natural rhythms. Watch his TED talk for more information on that one 

Let me know how you get on and if you’d like to explore unwinding your mind and body why not try the Friday night Inner Calm session? This has gentle floor based somatic stretches followed by a yoga nidra. The perfect way to drift off into the weekend. 

Don’t just take my word for it though. A recent attendee Hattie Rogers said, ‘Thank you for last night’s session. Lovely, restful and restorative as always’.  No experience needed. Currently Fridays 6-7pm via Zoom. Book here to experience it for yourself. 

Let me know your comments on this topic.

Take care

Joe 🙂

International Womens Day 2021 #choosetochallenge

As the ex chair of the York International Womens Festival committee I have participated and organised many events in the past – this year it feels even more important that we have an event of BEINGness. It really is enough!

This event is about having a pause to appreciate all that you have been doing, to celebrate and to also let go of anything that you can so that you can feel lighter and ready for the rest of the day and your role as a change agent.

Active rest session for deep rest, idea for the stressed, exhausted and those with low energy. No experience required.

This will be a 30 minute ‘Active rest’ session of guided breathing and relaxation techniques. It will include a little gentle music and my voice. No experience necessary just come with an open mind and heart 🙂

Whatever your personal circumstances I believe that we are all able to create change in ourselves first and foremost and then within our community. Small steps, ease-full breathing and conscious movement can bring us back to our essential being-ness.

Forget about the DOing in this session all you’ll need to DO is book on and then come ready to listen, breathe and just BE! It really is enough.

International Womens’ Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

This years’ IWD theme is #choosetochallenge – so my challenge is to change how we perceive rest and relaxation – something flufffy and a ‘treat’ or, a conscious act of empowerment, nourishment and self care. We all need to make time for ‘active rest’.

There are many ways that we can come together in community and when we acknowledge what we have achieved, the challenges that we’ve worked through and the struggles that may still be present it can help foster a feeling of empowerment.

I hope you will join me and do share with your friends and loved ones. Let’s #choosetochallenge

This a FREE 30 minute event – come with pillows, blankets and maybe headphones

And I’ve got a new booking system for these online sessions! BOOK IN HERE

Please you do not need to share your video on this Zoom call in fact it improves the call quality if you have it off. Make sure that you take responsibility for yourself during the call. I will offer prompts and invitational however it is up to you if you listen to them you may wish to just come together and rest, As I said it’s enough to do just this act alone.

Isn’t it?

See you soon Joe 🙂

Practicing mindful moments – 10 ways to keep you in the now!

Stay in the present moment………. be mindful not mind full!

What will lockdown mean this time round? Possibly juggling working at home? Homeschooling? Front line support work? It will be something different for each of us and I’m sure we’ll take a bit of time to juggle things around to find a new ‘normal’ routine. One thing that can help us during turbulent times such as these is to use mind tools like mindfulness to help us find a sense of inner balance, calm and to build.

This is where using mindfulness can come in helpful!

So with this in mind I’ve drawn up a list of 10 simple mindfulness exercise and prompts to help you stay present. Just in case you have missed the ‘mindfulness movement’ a quick revision.

Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present moment. Being fully in the now and not living in the past ( history) or projecting into the future (fantasy). Mindfulness practices bring the mind to a focus something to concentrate on to avoid ‘thought tornadoes’ or focusing on things we have little control over. The simplest practices can have us using our breathe and sensory experience as they are with us always. I’ve given you a few more examples below.

Try these 10 mindfulness practices;

  1. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Make yourself a warm drink and savour the sensations – the heat, the aroma, the taste. Sit and enjoy it.
  2. Take your walk in a nearby park or green space. Keep your eyes wide open to what you can see around you.
  3. Listen to the birds singing. Can you distinguish between the different birdsong?
  4. Observe nature changing right in front of your eyes. Buds are appearing already.
  5. Feel your feet on the floor, carpet, earth notice how they adapt to the surfaces. Go barefoot if you can. How does it feel? Which do you prefer?
  6. Tune in to your body. Listen to the rhythm of your heartbeat. Feel your your breath and how your body breathes itself.
  7. Take a bath, light some candles and just enjoy the experience. The scents and how your body moves in the water. ( Take an Epsom salt bath to ease any tight muscles or overactive minds it will help you unwind)
  8. Immerse yourself in a book or a jigsaw. Just one activity. How does the time pass?
  9. Self massage your feet and hands. How do they feel? Are they sensitive? Dry? Just notice.
  10. Listen to a piece of classical music. Here’s one of the artists I like playing in one of my favourite places. How does it make you feel?

New to mindfulness? If you are a beginner to get the most of these mindful moments just focus on the one activity you’ve chosen and immerse yourself fully in it. Strictly no multi tasking or screens, leave the technology turned off or at least muted until you’ve completed your mindfulness practice.

If you are experienced in these ideas then flow between different sensations and observations.

These acts performed regularly will help you to stay present with what is. Just avoid the temptation to overstimulate your eyes with multiple screens. Do one thing at a time.

Choose whatever works for you and commit to them to help you through your days. See how time feels when you give yourself space to just do one thing at a time.

I hope it will bring you some focus and enjoy being curious to the world around you.

Keep well & stay calm



Let walking be your medicine!

Movement is really helpful for our state of mind and also our bodies natural immune cleansing system aka the lymphatic system which unlike the circulatory system doesn’t have a pump like the heart and so relies on movement to keep it going. The easiest exercise is to walk – it’s free and it can bring you many health benefits!

Energy boost by walking!

Here’s my 5 top benefits to get you out walking!

1. It may help lift depression

Exercise improves self-esteem, mood and sleep quality and reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover.

2. It’s brilliant for your brain

A King’s College London study suggested fitter legs are linked to a fitter brain, as we get older. The study of twins found that simply walking more can improve brain function in later years.

3. You’ll live longer

A Cambridge University study suggested a daily 20 minute walk could reduce the risk of early death. It found twice as many deaths may be due to lack of exercise than obesity.

4. It’s as good as running

In fact, it might be better. US researchers found that running reduced the risk of heart disease by 4.5% while walking reduced it by 9.3%. High blood pressure and high cholesterol risks were also lowered by more than running and diabetes risk was reduced equally by running and walking.

5. It helps heart disease and osteoporosis

Not taking your daily walk? Feel like you’ve not seen sunlight for days? Vitamin D levels can really be effected if you are choosing to stay indoors. So instead get out and soak up the sunshine vitamin whenever possible. It will not only boost your energy, it’s also essential for maintaining a healthy heart and strong bones.

Here’s a short and fun video explaining more about why 10,000 steps is the optimal distance to walk!

Despite the continuing lock down period it is essential to make the most of your exercise time and being in nature to get your free daily healthy dose of mental and physical wellbeing. And if you are under an extended lock down period you could sit in your garden or near an open window listening to the sounds of nature or listen to nature sounds or guided relaxations with nature sounds as this will also bring you some benefits.

Keep well & stay calm