I have just returned from our wonderful Aloha Yoga Retreat on Dartmoor.  It is always such a privilege and an honour to work with such inspiring groups and to be teaching alongside my colleague, Jagdambe Ma.

This year we allowed plenty of time for creative activities alongside yoga classes, massages, walking and of course rest.  On the Saturday morning we hosted a Raw Chocolate Workshop making a Raw Chocolate, Oats and Almond Milk Breakfast Smoothie; Raw Chocolate Fudge and a Clay & Raw Chocolate Face Mask.

We forget that play and laughter are important sources of relaxation for adults.  By developing our playfulness we can feed our imagination, creativity, develop problem-solving skills and improve our mental health.

In our busy lives, we may focus heavily on work and family commitments and having fun can be a low priority.  Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we have stopped playing and we may take life a little too seriously.  We all need to play so it is so refreshing to have the time and space for some fun!

We had the added bonus of being in an area with no phone signal and limited WiFi access so it was the perfect opportunity to be creative, playful and also have a digital detox.

There are numerous benefits to play such as:

  • Stress Relief – Play can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.  This helps to promote an overall sense of well-being.  The social interaction of play can also help ward off stress and depression.
  • Improve brain function – Puzzles or activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function.
  • Stimulate the mind and boost creativity – It is easier to learn new task when it’s fun.  Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and problem solve.
  • Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others.
  • Keep you feeling young and energetic – Playing can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease.

Here’s the Clay and Raw Chocolate Face Mask Recipe from our Raw Chocolate Workshop.  It’s great fun to do and makes your skin feel so smooth and glowing.

Clay helps to draw purities out and away from skin. Cacao is packed with antioxidants to help repair skin and flavanoids to reduce inflammation. The copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc in cacao can also promote healthy cell growth. Combined, these ingredients can help your skin feel fresh and cleaned, while also offering the aromatherapeutic pick-me-up benefits of chocolate.

Choosing to use green tea in this mask instead of distilled water can offer additional anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, which is particularly helpful around tired eyes.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of powder clay

1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon distilled water or cooled green tea

Method:

1. Place the clay and cacao powder a bowl and blend well with a spoon.

2. Add purified water or cooled green tea to produce a paste that is of medium consistency — not too thick, not too runny.

3. Using either your fingers (or a clean brush if you prefer), apply a thin but evenly distributed layer of the paste to your face in upward strokes paying particular attention to your t-zone and nose, but avoiding the eyes and lips.

4. Allow the mask to dry for 15 minutes. Take this opportunity to put your feet up and relax. Once the mask has dried slightly, gently rinse your face with warm water and gently pat dry with a clean towel.

If you wish, you may follow this with a gentle face wash and toner, but most importantly, don’t forget to moisturize. This mask is not recommended for people with eczema. If you have sensitive skin, please do a patch test first.