Cactus Plant


Shadow on Concrete Wall
Celebration Cactus Crew!

“I can't even describe how much yoga has changed my life.”

Gosia has been a die-hard loyal member of the Cactus Crew before it even became the 'Cactus Crew'.  

She was shiny new to yoga, and at first, as with most of us, curious but sceptical as to what it was all about and this 'wonder stuff' of which I spoke.  Throughout lockdown Gosia remained committed to attending practice regularly on Zoom every week and even during a whole month in Poland, she was still there with us. 

Gosia is full of spirit and generosity and always arrives on the mat with this in abundance. Her commitment is to be applauded, I have so much respect for her not just showing up, but for always being here and present at every practice. 

I also want to recognise the growth I have seen in Gosia in her time with us, how she breathes, moves and thinks now compared to when she first stepped onto the mat is so very different, and brings joy to my heart and according to her, very much so to hers! 

Gosia tells me how much this practice has changed her physical body, how it feels and how she feels about it, as well as recognising the need to take care of herself more.  She is an inspiration to us all and a joy to practice with, thank you for choosing Smooth Cactus, we love having you!


(here at Smooth Cactus we like to celebrate our crew, if there is a crew member you think should be celebrated next month, let me know who and why) 
Keep breathing, H


Lou Hanif 151020.jpg
Celebration Cactus Crew!

This month, we want to give props to Lou Hanif! Can I get a 'Hell Yeah' 'You go girrrl!'

Lou has been a member of the Cactus crew since May and working with me 1-2-1 since July.  Before Smooth Cactus, she was frustrated & fed up having been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis.  This had resulted in Lou having to give up exercise and activities she had previously very much enjoyed.  Lou also works in a physical job on her feet all day (uh-hum, she's an awesome hairdresser by the way!).  Lou was experiencing pain in her knees, hips, feeling lethargic and her mobility had become more and more impacted.  

Fear not, this tale of woe, ends with joy! Lou began coming to yoga with Smooth Cactus on line during lock down and could see the benefits and changes this was making to her physical and mental health.  She therefore began weekly 1-2-1 practice with me and working to videos we did together in addition to attending practice to explore this further.  

The results Lou has achieved are A-MAZING! I am so, so proud of her. When Lou was first practicing, she was unable to cross her legs, or bring her leg through from down dog to the front of the mat.  Now just you try and stop her!  She is even now taking on Malasana! Her mobility has increased significantly, as has her strength, mental health and of course, therefore her overall wellbeing.  It is a joy to practice with Lou, as it is with you all and the light well and truly deserves to shine on her right now. Kudos to you Lou! Well done.


Let’s talk about breath…..we all do it, we all take it for granted. Of course, in our yoga practice we use our breath (pranayama) as a fundamental part of the practice, but do we continue this when we are not on the mat?


Breathing has been shown to stimulate the Vagus nerve, which helps our bodies step out of its sympathetic state (defense & survival), into our parasympathetic state (repair & regenerate).


The benefits of activating the parasympathetic nervous system are a’plenty, here are some of the areas it adds value:


Blood circulation & hydration

Brain function

Cardiovascular health




Pain relief


Stress/Anxiety (reduction)


Premature aging

Aging (slowing)

Processing trauma


Unfortunately, we have spent the majority of our lives in the sympathetic state, so it takes some effort and mindfulness on our part (at least to begin with) to effectively make the shift in our repair and regenerate space.  Therefore, knowing how to breath properly is essential.


Posture plays a huge part in how we breath, as does muscles we use to make the breath happen.   Establishing the natural curvature of your spine and lengthening tall through the crown of your head is a great place to start.  Want to learn more?

Watch this space, we could have a little treat coming your way….


Erm...What is it?

Well, it's an organ in our bodies that is a connective tissue, it wraps, connects and divides our entire body - wow! It is now recognised as a key bio-motional regulatory system within our bodies, so let's be good to it and get to know it a bit.

It interweaves & penetrates between all organs, muscles, bones and nerve fibres, providing us with a functional structure and an environment for all our body systems to work together - gee thanks fascia, you rock!

Fascia is sensitive to what we do to and with our bodies, it can and does retain trauma (in an effort to protect us), think sporting accident. Likewise, if we are stressed, hold unhealthy postural habits, unhealthy diets, all will have an impact on our fascia and thereby our wider physical bodies and systems.

In short, as with our amazing bods in general, we need to take care of our fascia. Stretching our bodies is a great start, shoulder rolls, moving our scapulae, being mindful of your posture, moving your body with your fascia in mind...hummmm..I may just treat you to some short vids to demonstrate!

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©2020 by Smooth Cactus. Photos by Flora_Westbrook