Yoga instructor Steve Bracken reveals how to maintain good health naturally

Yoga and movement therapist Steve Bracken is sharing his expertise with guests at Constance Halaveli this month. Here, Steve outlines health tips we can all follow.

Steve Bracken, yoga teacher and bodyworker

Steve Bracken, yoga teacher and bodyworker

Movement therapy
My approach to health, yoga (movement therapy), fitness and bodywork was influenced greatly by the work of KRI Jagadish when I volunteered at his clinic in Mysore, India.

In his clinic people are treated with soft tissue manipulation, massage, yoga therapy and only food is used as the medicine. There I literally saw miracles of recovery on a daily basis and I came to realise the importance of treating health in a holistic manner.

Holistic approach & the health mandala
With the knowledge I gained there, combined with what I already knew, I put together the health mandala – a holistic approach to improving health that looks at the areas of exercise, diet, vitality/energy levels and our attitude. If we want to improve our health we need to look at all of these areas in relation to our health goal.

However, to begin we first must check that we are not coming from a place of self-blame or recrimination for any health or body issues we may have. If we attempt to make war on our body to force it into a healthier state we will ultimately fail. We need to accept but not necessarily like that we are in our present condition due to our unique life history.

Positive thinking
The next step is to focus on positive outcomes and understand the benefits of those outcomes. We can visualise living a healthier life and enjoying the benefits. We also need to have a highest goal that is not dependent on outside validation or an ideal image of ourselves. For example, instead of trying to lose weight we can focus on feeling healthier, lighter and more energised.

This is a goal that is growth orientated and flexible. It does not set us up for failure if we don’t reach our specific goal. We may still aim to lose weight, for example, but it should not be our highest goal. When we feel good about ourselves it is easier to treat ourselves well.

Steve Bracken at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Steve Bracken at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Stress relief
Another tip is to learn to listen to the messages of the body. The body will respond to any unhealthy stresses, especially if they are chronic, that are placed upon it in a negative way whether it is from food or drug toxins, nutritional deficiency, harmful physical activity or inactivity, emotional or psychological stress and so on.

The body is hard wired for health and happiness and lets us know when we are going against its best interests. Hence, an awareness of what causes us stresses and a willingness to deal with the cause through this mindfulness will change them or our attitude to them, and guide us to a healthier and happier way of living.

Steve’s holistic health tips

  • Exercise regularly and do something you enjoy but generally work to only 70% of your maximum capacity.
  • Eat less meat and that includes chicken. People generally consume far too much protein.
  • Watch less news and television in general. It is mostly negative, generally not the truth and does nothing for relaxation.
Find out more

Visit his website to find out more about Steve Bracken’s approach to yoga and movement

Get Steve’s expert tuition online with his Simple Mobilisation video 

Read Tanya Kemp’s guide to improving your health through yoga

Discover the ultimate luxury spa in Mauritius

Delight in the idyllic tranquil retreat that is Spa de Constance at Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius.

Spa at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Spa at Le Prince Maurice

Feel yourself begin to relax as you step into the haven of our peaceful spa set in a quiet corner of the resort gardens.

Lie back and relax on sun loungers and enjoy a drink made from a fusion of fruits and spices beside the thermal swimming pool as you browse the extensive spa menu.

Tailored spa treatments

How you choose to pamper yourself is up to you. Our spa team will design a program of treatments tailored for you, that will leave you feeling revitalised and refreshed in mind and body.

Indulge with expert care from the Spice Route-inspired Spa de Constance, the exotic sensorial world of Sisley Paris or hand and foot treatments by the world-renowned podiatrist, Brice Nicham.

Give your energy levels a boost with fitness classes designed for you by resident fitness guru Isabelle Lamant including everything from yoga to Zumba.

Current luxury spa offers

Create your own
Create a special treatment package just for you with a combination of back, neck and shoulder massage, scalp massage, hand and forearm massage and foot massage.

Time is luxury
Book a 90 minute massage and we’ll throw in a sumptuous 30 minute wrapping treatment. For those tempted by the luxurious 90-minute Sisley facial, we’ll now treat you to an eye, lip and scalp treatment as well.

Beauty package
Combine a sensorial Sisley facial treatment with a Brice Nicham pedicure and get both for a specially reduced price or indulge in a combination of Brice Nicham hand and foot treatment and receive an inviting discount.

Find out more

Marine biologist Robin Aieilo at Halaveli

Marine biologist Robin Aieilo reports on her latest diving adventures at Constance Halaveli.

Octopus at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Octopus at Halaveli

I can’t believe that my month on Halaveli is already over. How sad! The last week, like all the others, was full of adventure and fun. The diving seemed particularly good with wonderful sightings of sharks, manta rays and, with the full moon, lots of spawning fish.

Octopus sighting
One of the most memorable sightings for me was a very large octopus that gave us quite a show. We found it when it was hiding in a small crevice in the reef. After a few minutes of waiting, it seemed like it wasn’t going to come out and play, so we headed off to continue our dive. But as we started to leave I looked back and saw it start to emerge. So we waited…and out it came.

Parachute feeding
It was a stunning creature, nearly a metre long. We watched as it swam over to a nearby cave, settled down and started to feed. It would position itself over a particular spot on the cave wall and then extend out its long arms, one at a time, and reach into a small nearby hole to grab prey. Sometimes it would launch itself and suddenly ‘pounce’ to one side. As it landed the skin between its arms would balloon out, trapping all small animals beneath it – this is called ‘parachute feeding’.

We must have stayed with the octopus for at least 10 minutes, fascinated by the way it would instantaneously change colour and texture to blend in with whatever background it was sitting on for the moment. It really was a spectacular sighting.

Hawskbill Turtle

Hawskbill Turtle

Communication and interpretation training course
As the time for my departure from the island approached closer and closer, it seemed like I got busier and busier. I was deeply honoured to be asked by the dive team to run a course on communication and interpretation – this is a course that I have been running for the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry staff in Australia for the past 15 years.

We actually had a lot of fun – gathering on the Dive Center jetty after work, and discussing such topics as what is the difference between education and interpretation, what makes a good nature interpreter, and what are the best body language techniques to use to get your messages across.

The Halaveli Dive Team
For me, as an educator, it was especially wonderful to watch the staff use some of these new techniques into action during the following days. The staff of Halaveli Dive Team are the most wonderful group of instructors that I have ever worked with – they are professional, friendly and nothing, I mean nothing, is too much of a hassle for them to do.

And they have incredible eyes for spotting marine life underwater.

Especially turtles. One of the most popular snorkeling activities on offer through the Dive Centre is the ‘Snorkel with Turtles’ excursion. There is a reef nearby that has 7 resident Hawksbill Turtles, so the chance of seeing these gorgeous sea creatures is very good.

Here’s some insight into these amazing creatures.

Creature Feature – the Hawksbill Turtle

Hawksbill Turtle, Halaveli

Hawksbill Turtle, Halaveli

There are two common species of turtles in the Maldives – Hawksbills and Greens. Around Halaveli, we see only Hawksbills.

Why don’t we see Green turtles? Because Green turtles feed almost exclusively on sea grass, and there are no seagrass beds nearby – thus, no Green turtles. However, Green turtles are seen on other reefs that have lagoons full of sea grass.

Endangered
All sea turtles are endangered and in most countries they are fully protected. Sea turtles have been harvested for centuries, mainly for their meat, but in the case of Hawksbills they were also harvested for their beautiful brown mottled shell (carapace) – known as tortoise-shell.

The shell, when cleaned and polished, is made into decorative objects like jewellry, combs and other personal ornaments. Objects made out of Hawksbill turtle shell have been found in tombs and burial sites of many Egyptian pharaohs.

Watching Turtles
Hawksbill sea turtles are beautiful rare, animals. We are lucky that the ones at the reefs near Halaveli Island are very calm and undisturbed around people.

When you see one, the best thing to do is to stop swimming and just float above it and wait. Eventually, they must come to the surface for a breath – remember, these are not fish, they are reptiles, and cannot breathe underwater. In fact, their ancestors evolved on land but returned to the sea about 150 million years ago. They are one of the few species of animals alive today that are so ancient that they were also around before, during and after the time of dinosaurs.

Normally, when feeding, turtles come up for air every few minutes, but if they are sleeping or resting, their heart rate and overall metabolism slows, and they can stay down for many hours. But they always have to come to the surface!

So it is very important that you never to try to touch or grab a turtle – if startled or scared they might drown.

Hawksbill vs Green Turltes
Telling Hawksbill and Green turtles apart is easy – there are a couple key features that distinguish them form one another.

First – look at the head and beak. Hawksbill turtles have long, curved strong beaks for tearing the reef apart to get to sponges, soft coral and corallimorphs. Green turtles, on the other hand, have a very stubby, short beak that it used like a lawnmower to cut the seagrass. Remember, turtles do not have teeth – instead they cut the food with thier sharp boney beaks and swallow the chunks without chewing.

Second – look at the back end of the shell. Hawksbill shells are jagged and serrated whereas Greens have a smooth shell edge.

Male vs Female
It is easy to tell male from female turtle apart just by looking at their tails. Males have longer tails that extend out past the edge of their shell, while females have shorter tails that do not stick out past their shell.

A Final Note
So, the next time you see a turtle diving or snorkeling, take your time and wait. The ones around Halaveli are so used to divers and snorkellers that they do not swim away. In fact, they will usually come up to the surface right next to you. It is an amazing experience to have one of these special creatures so close and so curious. Sometimes they will even approach you and look right into your mask.

Enjoy!

Robin.

Find out more

Night dives in the Maldives

Discover the lush vibrant colours of the ocean by night with a night dive at Constance Moofushi or Halaveli in the Maldives.

Alimatha night dive at Constance Halaveli, photo copyright Marco Care

Alimatha night dive

Experienced divers and beginners alike will be amazed by the differences visible on a night dive from those taken during the day.

What you see diving at night

Although some divers may initially feel nervous about the unfamiliarity and limited visibility of a night dive, these worries are quickly replaced by the exhilaration of discovering an entirely new nocturnal world.

The ocean at night is a riot of colour with many of the corals opening up after dark and becoming more vibrant. Many fish also feel safer coming out to eat at night so there is always a wide variety including some you won’t see during the day like the moray eel and octopus.

Some fish even change colour at night. Other fish sleep and you can see them nestled into their sea-floor or coral beds. It’s not unusual to see a reef shark lying quietly on the bottom of the ocean.

A highlight of any night dive is the moment when the dive lights are turned out and divers are able to see the phosphorescent plankton light up the water like ocean fireworks. A treat which will inspire awe in even the most experienced divers.

Where to night dive at Constance Halaveli

Trigone, night dive in Maldives, photo copyright Marco Care

Trigone, photo copyright Marco Care

Night dives are held in relatively shallow waters where the reef top is no deeper than five metres making for a safe, enjoyable exploration.

Favourite sites for night diving at Halaveli include Bathala House Reef, Bodu Thila and Ellaidhoo Thila.

Find out more

Shiseido offers new taster spa collection at Constance

World renowned Japanese beauty brand Shiseido introduces a collection of taster spa treatments for guests at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Ephélia and Lémuria.

Shiseido spa at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Shiseido spa at Constance

These treatments provide relaxation and visible results, using Shiseido’s award winning products and formulas.

The taster collection is already available at Belle Mare Plage, and will be on offer at Ephélia and Lémuria in the Seychelles from June.

Guests can choose from the following:

Shiseido Deluxe Facial Experience
45 minutes

Shiseido Express Facial Experience
30 minutes

Shiseido Relaxing Body Experience
60 minutes

Shiseido Relaxing Back Massage
30 minutes

Find out more

Yoga and bodywork specialist Steve Bracken to visit Halaveli

Rejuvenate your body and mind at Halaveli this Spring with guest yoga teacher and bodyworker, Steve Bracken.

Steve Bracken, yoga teacher and bodyworker

Steve Bracken, yoga teacher and bodyworker

Feel the stress of daily life slip away, loosening muscles and easing the mind through Steve’s holistic approach to body and spirit.

Offering both private and group sessions, Steve will be at Halaveli from 30 March – 23 April.

Yoga style draws from Iyengar and Scaravelli

Steve’s own yoga teaching style draws from the Iyengar and the Scaravelli tradition focusing on the physical poses which improve suppleness, build strength, create inner relaxation and promote general health and well-being.

While teaching at Halaveli, Steve will be offering two yoga classes per day. For guests, your first yoga group class is complimentary. Private classes and massage/sports therapy treatments are also available.

Bodywork with Steve Bracken
As well as yoga, Steve specialises in bodywork and injury healing. He combines massage along with structural bodywork and soft tissue manipulation to address any injuries, chronic tension or pain. The range of treatments include:

  • Soft tissue manipulation
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Structural bodywork
  • Sports therapy
  • Deep tissue energy release
Steve Bracken, yoga teacher

Steve Bracken

Steve describes his treatments as offering a profound difference to people’s lives. ‘To have pain, injury, tension, stress or trapped emotion released from our body is like the dropping of a great burden. It is joyful and life enhancing.’

As well as teaching yoga around the world, Steve runs workshops and courses on his holistic approach to bodywork. His treatments are effective for healing a range of common complaints.

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Chronic tension
  • Disc problems
  • Sciatica
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpel tunnel
  • Emotional detox
  • Physical trauma

Find out more

Read more on Steve Bracken’s website

Discover more about Constance Halaveli and check booking availability

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