Stripping to find myself

Step away from everything that is familiar to you like your job, friends and family. Then take yourself out of range of all the electronic noise from computers, mobile phones and the television. Now tell me this: When it is just you standing alone in the quiet of total solitude, who are you?

stripped

A few weeks ago I asked myself this question and realised how attached I am to who I am trying to be. I have shared previously how I sometimes wish I was 'wonder woman,' the desire to be everything for everyone commonly arises. I want to be the best mum, partner, daughter, teacher, colleague … you name it. Why? Because I think that's what makes me me.

This all came about when I had my car stripped of all it's stickers. I had originally branded my car for advertising, establishing my business and to show the world that I am serious about teaching yoga. I had heard to many times that such and such had done a 4 week course and become a yoga teacher only to end up having to quit because it wasn't financially viable. So when I decided that I was going to give teaching yoga my all, I really wanted to give it my all and to be taken seriously.

It was only when I removed the logos from my car that I realised how attached to them and my image, I had become. In a way, I had lost myself.

The phrase “find myself” gets over 5 million searches per month in Google. That shows how common it is for people to feel disconnected from their true self and how interested they are in reestablishing that long lost connection.

I know that I am not my car, I am not my business or the roles I play. Just as you too are not the work you do, the things you accomplish or the image you portray.

It is yoga that reminds us of this. It is yoga that revels our deeply held values, passions, beliefs, and response patterns. It's through the continuous self-inquiry that one discovers the WHY behind thoughts and actions and through this process we shed the layers and peel back to the core of our Inner Self.

For today, make at least 2 minutes to connect. I'm just asking 2 minutes out of the 1,440 minutes in the day. Close your eyes, notice your breath and soften into your being. As you are, nothing to do, no-one to please, no expectation to be met, nowhere else to be,nothing to fear, or achieve. Just be as you are. Prioritise this connection to you. Why? Because it is through knowing who we are that we settle into the deep contentment and fulfillment of being whole and complete.

Namaste,

Is yoga everyday possible?

Empower header

'Is yoga everyday possible?'

It sure is! No matter how long your to-do list, no matter how much you work, how many kids you have, or how messy your house is ... practicing yoga everyday is absolutely possible!

In this month's newsletter, blog posts, yoga retreat, online course and on the Satya Live Yoga Facebook Page, I am going to tell you how.

How you can incorporate yoga into your daily life so you can receive the bountiful benefits yoga everyday!

Namaste,

Peaceful Life

Empower header

'How to live a more peaceful life, through the spirit of yoga.'

Connect with Kino

kinoyoga.com/

[hr]

OM shanti, shanti, shanti. We can chant 'shanti' in our practice but finding that 'peace' in a world of chaos can be a real struggle. In this interview Kino shares with us how she turned to the path of Ashtanga Yoga as a genuine yearning to experience a true state of deep peace and how commitment to practice is the answer to a more peaceful life. Learn the 3 most important actions steps to make a home yoga practice work for you and how steady practice over time will give profound results. Find your discipline, dedication and commitment to embody the whole message and spiritual journey of yoga.

Enjoy!

Namaste,

Let’s Get Stoned!

Last week I said to John “let's get stoned!” He asked me in a joking way if I was serious. “Yes,” I said, “let's get stoned.”

I just wanted to escape, to numb, to loose all my responsibilities - even if it was for a minute. The excitement of getting high and altering my state of consciousness without effort was so appealing. I had gone into the 'stuff it' attitude and wanted out of reality.

I looked at Kailash and then sensibility hit. Marijuana effects breast milk and to think that my actions would impede Kailash and perhaps his brain development was more than enough to bring me to my senses.thumb

For as long as I can remember I have always been drawn to things that distract and exhilarate me. The euphoric feeling of sweet chocolate hitting my lips, getting tipsy downing cowboy shots, spaced out watching TV, impulsive shopping, smoking, adrenalin rushes … you name it, anything that gives a bit of a buzz, just like a moth to bright light, I can be seduced by it.

Too much of one thing is never good. When it comes to 'good' things I don't seem to have an off switch. Once I start with a substance or behaviour that elevates my state of being I want more and more and more.

This got me in to trouble when I was younger, so much so, in my teens I recognised these destructive tendencies were tearing my life apart. I was bought to my knees and joined Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous. These Twelve Step fellowships along with yoga have been an integral part of my life for over a decade.

Today I am blessed with freedom from addiction and more often than not, when I find myself mesmerised by something out of myself I get suspicious. It's easy to give away ones power. And being lured by the idea that I may get enjoyment out of smoking a joint screams alarm bells in my head.

So whats behind all thiminds? The truth of the matter is, sometimes life feels overwhelming. Sometimes living in the present and trying to be aware of all my thoughts and actions gets all too much. Constantly I'm working to improve my attitude, my beliefs and approach. Whilst this is truly a wonderful way to be and I wouldn't change it even if I could, the fantasy idea of zoning out and having a holiday from myself is enticing.

From experience I've learnt, no matter how tempting it may be to use a substance or behavour to avoid and escape life, it never works. In fact by having the awareness of these tendencies and then acting out in them, only brings suffering. Putting my head in the sand and running away from life is not the person I want to be today. No joint, martini, chocolate bar, or new dress can give the deep sense of self-worth and contentment I crave.

So what works? Firstly acknowledgement, then acceptance and finally action.

Acknowledging my thoughts and feelings without judgement and labelling as right and wrong gives me the starting point. How can one change and grow if one doesn't even know what's going on and where they actually are? Simply observing and assessing in an uncensored way can be a challenge, but much freedom and self-discovery comes from it.
The next step is acceptance. What I resist, persists. I will never find ease within if I am fighting the mind. Allowing and giving permission to be as I am automatically brings peace. Accepting that this is where I am at right now doesn't mean I have to like it, or I have to stay here, it simply provides the space to be. In this space comes the power.

The final step is action. What action can I take towards being the person I choose to be today. I love this step. It's exciting and empowering. To know YOU have a choice. YOU have the power. YOU can be however YOU choose to be. Wow, what more can I say.Magnet_empowered

For me, when I'm in a space of wanting to escape it can be helpful to do something that shocks me back to reality. Having a cold (or best I say coldish) shower works a treat. Breath awareness and various pranayama practices are my number one tool to get me out of my head and yoga nidra always relaxes my nervous system and alters my state of consciousness in a healthy way.

So there you have it. I was a little hesitant to write about this as my ego would love me to be beyond wanting to numb and avoid but I am just a human being, being the best person I can be today. I wish you an empowered day, a day of choice, being the person YOU choose to be.

Namaste,

Colour Therapy

Colour Therapy

Have you ever wondered why you chose to wear the green sweater today and not the red? Or have you walked into someone's house which is decorated in blue and felt more relaxed and peaceful than a house painted in yellow or orange colors? The theories of color therapy provide an explanation: colors affect your moods, personality, feelings and your physical energy. Each colour of the rainbow connects to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. Angela gives a great overview on colour and why it’s considered “Food for the Soul”.
The second half of the interview is extremely interesting with Dr. Mostovoy and Laurie-Ann Whitnall discussing thermography. A new technology fantastic for showing imbalances in the physical body.
Enjoy!
Namaste

The power of colour

What is Colour?abstract-rainbow-colors
Energy is the vital force of life. It is the source of every existing thing. It is a natural force of the Universe, which permeates everything from the smallest atoms and molecules to the largest planets and stars. It has the capacity of a system to do work, the ability to change things, and can be converted from one form to another.

Colour is simply light which is made up of different wavelengths and frequencies, together forming the electro-magnetic spectrum, which is energy that is visible to the human eye. Colour Therapy uses this visible spectrum of light and the colour's energies contained within.

The power of Colour ...

Each colour has its own particular vibrational wavelength and frequency, with red having the longest wavelength and slowest vibration, and violet having the shortest wavelength and highest vibration.

The seven colours of the spectrum resonate to that of the seven major Chakras or energy centres of the human body. It is a well know scientific fact that everything has a vibration, so if your vibrations are off-kilter, specific colours are used to treat afflicted parts of your body in order to heal, harmonise and rebalance.

The underlying principle of Colour Therapy is that every cell and organ in the body vibrates at a particular frequency, as do colours. By exposing light and colour to parts of the body, Chakra points or site of injury, one can bring about physical and emotional changes. The therapeutic energy of the colours can be absorbed through the skin, the body, sight and visualisation/through the mind. The attributes and qualities of each colour cause a shift in energy and this aids in restoring the body to good health and therefore alters our state of imbalance.

When we suffer from a disease or disorder, or simply feel 'off colour', it is indicative that parts of our body are not functioning at their proper frequencies - This implies a Chakra is imbalanced or has been blocked. An unhealthy body gives out a distorted and disturbed pattern of vibrations thus displaying a state of energy imbalance.

We need a balance of tchakrahe energy from the seven spectrum colours, so that the colour vibrations can nourish the physical cells and organs and influence our emotional, mental and nervous activity as well as our spiritual well-being. Colours will affect our moods. Some will be uplifting and inspiring while others depressing. Our feelings and emotions are directly affected by the balance or imbalance of hormones in our body.

To find out more join the this month's yoga retreat 'Colour Your Yoga,' at hummingbird!

Namaste

What’s wrong with school lunches

What's wrong with school lunches

Last week I saw a toddler in a pram drinking a bottle of coke. This raised my eyebrows! Whilst I'm not in any position to judge 'good' or 'bad,' 'right' or 'wrong,' it did make me wonder how I'm choosing to raise my little one. Kailash is five months old and has begun eating solids, already the debate, organic, bio/dynamic, locally grown, ethically produced etc. has filled my mind. Where does one draw the line? How does one find the middle path?

 

I came across this interesting Ted talk with Ann Cooper. In this inspiring discussion recorded in 2007, Ann talks about the coming revolution in the way kids eat at school — local, sustainable, seasonal and even educational food.

Enjoy!
Namaste

Plan Your Practice

Empower header

'The science of sequencing'

Helpful Template from Alison

Plan your practice

When people get on the mat, the biggest problem is working out what to do!

In this powerful call, Alison Smith shares her wisdom on how to plan a home yoga practice, so you will know what to do when you get on the mat. Learn how to put the postures together in a safe, effective and inspiring way, so that you can practice with more confidence and clarity.

Enjoy!

Namaste,

A month of self-worth

Each month I explore a different topic in my yoga classes, on the Satya Live Yoga facebook page and in the monthly retreat. For the month of May the topic was self-care/self-worth.worthy

Practicing what I preach, everyday I have stood in front of the mirror (usually in my pjs, like so), put my hand on manipura chakra, the solar plexus, energy center for self-worth and repeated three times out aloud -

'I am worthy, I deserve, I love and approve of myself.'

Then -

'I take care of my needs so I can then take care of the needs of others.'

To begin with, I felt somewhat uncomfortable. I read the words off a blu-tacked sheet of paper that I stuck on the mirror and sounded quite silly (I'm sure my partner would agree)! Regardless of these feelings and thoughts I had about myself or about what I thought others would think of me, I persisted and each day I continued with the practice.

To begin with I would gaze into my eyes and say these words as thoughts of disbelief and criticism entered my mind. 'You need to exercise more, look at the bags under your eyes, you don't have time to do a yoga nidra today.' How cunning, powerful and baffling the mind can be. Sometimes I would get entangled in the thoughts but more often than not, as I practiced, I could distance myself and see the thoughts for what they are - fluctuations of the mind.

Without pushing the thoughts away or pretending that they're not there, I acknowledged them and continued to repeat my affirmations. What I noticed after a week of practice was the old tapes and limiting beliefs of the mind began to lessen. The power of my dis-serving thoughts started to loose their grip. After two weeks of practice I really believed what I was saying and after three weeks these affirmations were Truth. Rather than a mere idea, or words on paper spoken out aloud, these beliefs emanate from within. When I say them I feel my body respond. As though my cells rejoice and my heart sing with joy. It feels good, really good.

This practice has left the bathroom mirror and I now find myself repeating these affirmations throughout the day and when my mind tells me otherwise.

I have been telling myself 'I love myself' when I open the wardrobe and see my jeans that don't fit and saying 'I approve of myself' when I'm seeking validation from another.

To me, this is really what yoga is all about. Connecting to Truth.

By no means is my life a bunch of roses, and I may always have thoughts that judge, criticize and condemn, but today, I can say with confidence and conviction, I am on the path to Knowing Thy Self.

 

I wholeheartedly recommend you give this practice a go. Even if, like me, you think it may be silly, not for you, or even a waste of time. Go beyond the monkey mind and be empowered in getting yourself, your True Self!

Namaste

Be honest and be real

Empower header

'Be honest and be real'

Managing and creating realistic expectations is a must for a successful home yoga practice.

We have to 'be honest and be real' in our approach, establishing a practice that supports us in our life and our current circumstances.

In this powerful interview David shares he's wisdom on how to set practical goals and provide tangible actions, so that you can make home yoga practice a cornerstone in your day, today.

Namaste,

Self Care Plan

The more we love, nurture, and support ourselves, the happier we are and the more health we exude. Through self-care, not only to we ourselves benefit, we the world around us does too. Self-care helps us to feel balanced and strong, and we can then radiate that health out to others and support them on their journey toward balance and a healthy spirit.

Below is a blank slef-care plan for you to plan out your own self-care! Print it out, or use a graphics program to fill it out. When you’re finished, remember to look at it from time to time to remind yourself to take care of you!
self_care_plan_blank

Everyone is a Mother

Everyone is a Mother

Mothers Day is celebrated all around the world but what is the meaning behind it? How did it come about and how can you use your yoga practice to connect to the essence of motherhood?
Watch to find out!
Celebrate YOU!
Namaste

Lessons from a psych ward

Each week I teach three classes in a psych ward. To be honest it feels like a real honor to have this privileged. The patients are filled with gratitude and almost always leave feeling so much better. To be able to brighten ones day brings me such joy and a real sense of purposefulness.

In saying this, it's not always easy. My dad has had a mental illness since my early years, sometimes I wonder if my birth was the cause, but regardless of what triggered it, it's out of my hands. Stories of he's nervous breakdown and admission into hospital brings me sadness. The heartache and pain my mum went through 25 years ago watching him in a padded room and hearing screams from patients down the hall who didn't want to have ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), gives me such an appreciation for my parents and where they've come from.

11

Many of the patients at the hospital I teach at are perfectly normal, functioning members of society with jobs, families, friends and a positive future, they just needed a little extra help and a safe, relaxing place to recuperate from their problems.

Problems, something everyone can relate to, obviously there are varying degrees. When I first started teaching there, some years ago, I would drive home in tears. I hadn't learnt how to detach. I could feel the pain, heartache and problems that some were experiencing and I took it on as though it was my own. It was like I identified with the anguish and sorrow that I saw behind glazed eyes and internalised it. Seeing the mental hardship of others provoked mental hardship in myself.

When I realised what was happening I saw that I needed to detach, yet I had fear around this. Detachment to me had meant to cut off and be cold or distant. Yet through self-exploration I learnt that true emotional and mental detachment is not a state of indifference, apathy or lack of energy. One can be loving, happy, helpful and energetic, and at the same time be detached. Detached from worries, fears, negative emotions and taking on board feelings of others.

True detachment manifests as the ability to think clearly, stay balanced, and not get agitated in response to those around you. Practicing it is a life long journey, one that I endeavor to develop each day.

For me, learning the art of detachment is the corner stone of self-care. It is through yoga I learn to observe my state of mind and to connect to the calmness and tranquility within regardless of my external circumstances.

For today, create healthy boundaries, prioritise self-care and remember to breathe!

Namaste

New MacDonald

New MacDonald

In a playful way, this video turns the spotlight on the true costs of conventional farming and the harm it does to environmental health.  Watch as these kids show what makes organic farming the choice for the future in a surprising twist on a classic children’s song.

A bit of background on the video -
In an effort to bring attention to the increase in genetically modified foods grown on farms and the pesticides used to keep them growing, cause group Only Organic, which represents organic food makers and retailers as well as ordinary citizens, launched an awareness campaign based on a mashup of the classic “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” song. Tennessee-based agency Humanaut worked with the group on the effort.

The campaign kicked off with a video in which a group of kids begin performing the song only to then change it up and sing about “a hormone here, a hormone there.” Cue shots of faux, freaked-out parents in the audience. The song goes on to encompass crop spraying, tightly caged chickens and other forms of “bad” farming.

The scene then goes dark, and a lone girl begins singing “New MacDonald Had A Farm.” She’s then joined by other kids who sing about freely roaming animals in open space pastures, chemical-free crops, uncaged chickens and no GMOs. Again, cue shots of faux, delighted parents in the audience.

 

Enjoy!
Namaste

How I Live my Yoga

“Whaa, whaa whaa.” Really?! I ask myself. It's 3.25am and I am getting up for the third time this evening! I feed, change and burp the little one then sit on the couch attempting to soothe Kailash into a peaceful baby slumber before my head explodes!

My eyes are protruding out of of their sockets, I have a cold sore, throbbing headache, it feels like there are daggers in my throat, slimy drool is running down my back, a big wet patch of baby spew covers the sleeve of my pj's, not to mention the overflowing bucket of dirty nappies and my to-do list, pages long!222

The thought 'maybe I'm not cut out for this whole baby thing,' enters my mind. 'This is all to hard, I have it so bad, why won't he sleep, how will I function in the morning, I'm not coping …' My mind is filled with thoughts yet the thoughts are entering and exiting without being all encompassing. There is distance, space and some sense of ease amidst the chaos of my mind.

I know that this challenging time will pass, just like everything in life. One moment moving into the next, constantly changing, flowing.

Still rocking Kailash, he begins to cry. I notice my heart rate and pulse instantly affected. I consciously slow my breath to calm my nervous system and like magic, I feel my body relax. He passes wind then is out like a light. A sigh of relief, I put him in his cot and slide into bed.

After a few more hours sleep, daylight breaks and our backyard chooks start clucking. Before getting out of bed, I repeat my sankalpa (positive affirmation), which puts in me good stead. I get up, feed the chooks and do some awakening yoga poses to release my stiffened neck and tired shoulders.

After a few minutes of Abhyanga - ayurvedic oil massage – and a warm shower, I use my tongue scrapper and practice neti.

Kailash is awake, I go to change his nappy and there is poo just about everywhere! I start to wipe him with a damp cloth and this immediately sets off the fire hydrant (so to speak). Pee squirts over me, the wall and carpet! How does such a little being make such a big mess?

Needing to leave the house by 7.30am to drop him off at my mums so I can teach two yoga classes at the hospital, I realise it's time to get moving! I feed him off one breast while expressing from the other. As I burp him, I steralise the breast pump and bottle, then eat my breakfast. After a quick tidy of the house, I pack his bag, click him in his car seat and set on my journey.

I turn the key and the car doesn't start. I try again. No luck. I want to kick and scream, 'why now? Why today? This shouldn't be happening!' Again my heart rate increases, I can feel the tension carrising ... a few conscious breaths gets me out of the car. I open the garage and find a battery charger. While hooking it up to the car, Kailash begins to cry. Thoughts fill my mind – 'could this get any worse?' What feels like slow motion, step by step, I pick him up, cuddle him close then clip on the leads to recharge the battery. He has an upset tummy and after some burping, my clean black top is now patterned with what looks like cottage cheese. Another change of clothing and some more washing to add to the pile.

Once the car is charged I put Kailash back in his seat, then restate my sankalapa. While driving I listen to my favourite kirtan and as I am singing along I realise this is how I live my yoga.

Yoga for me is not about how to make difficult poses look easy, or knowing every sanskrit term, it's about applying the practices of yoga in every moment - no matter what challenges arise.

There will always be ups and downs, highs and lows, good and bad. Yoga isn't about suppressing, numbing or putting a smile on one's face and being oh so spiritual! Acknowledging feelings, standing up for beliefs, being honest, integral, connected and present – actually present, living LIFE. To me this is yoga.

It is this type of yoga that brings union. It will enhance your life. It will enrich your relationships. It will give inner peace and happiness and I can say this with full confidence as I know it to be True.

To help you apply the practice of yoga on and off the mat, I have joined with Kara-Leah Grant to create the 'How to Live Your Yoga and Rock Your Life' webinar series. So you can truly Live Your Yoga and Rock Your Life! Join us.

I’m no wonder woman!

IMG_4932I want to be the best mother, partner, daughter, sister, entrepreneur, yoga teacher, business associate, cleaner, cook, gardener, waitress, facilitator, you name it ... I just want to be the best at everything!
The reality is I am just one being, doing the best I can. I make mistakes, I get it wrong, I stuff up and you know what? it's all okay. As I write that, part of me cringes. But why? Why can't it be perfect?
Living in the 'if only's,' trying to be perfect and putting unrealistic expectations on myself is not only energy draining, it's living in a world of fantasy.
I have this deep-rooted belief, samskara, that if I do it all 'right,' I'll be ok. If everyone around me is happy, then I am doing my job. Job? My job as a peacemaking wonder woman. Saying this sounds silly, but it's what, for so many years, I have unconsciously strived for.
Firstly I cannot control the emotions, thoughts or actions of others and I am defineatly no mind reading psychic. My biggest challenge is accepting mediocre, or should I say 'normal.' My pride and ego scream 'Nnnoooooo.' Yet when I break through the pressures and ideals, the drive and high standards, that I so naturally put on myself, freedom arises.
Freedom to be just as I am. To allow myself to be. To be a human BE-ing. I'm not a wonder woman DO-ing. I'm apart of the human race. No better, no lesser. No ordinary or extraordinary. This humility brings peace.
For today I am embracing ALL of me. Including the desire to be 'the best.' Instead of trying to be wonder woman, I am happy being superman's mother!

Are you trying to be a super hero?

Namaste

More than chocolate

HAPPY EASTER!choc

Whether you are religious or not, Easter provides a wonderful opportunity to connect and celebrate. Whilst it can be a time for family, holidays, festivals and chocolate, Easter is a time of new beginnings, a 'cleaning of the slate,' and spiritual awakenings. Easter is seen as a season of rebirth, bringing optimism and the feeling of a fresh start.

So this year, reach out to family, express appreciation for friends and remember the more you give, the more you receive, because you will keep the abundance of the universe circulation in your life.

Here are a few suggestions for an Easter themed practice:

1.) Take your asana outside (if you live in a climate where it is warm enough to do so). Fertility and rebirth are important parts of Easter. Touch, smell, taste, hear, see the world around you as though you had never before. Feel the breeze against your skin. Dig your toes into the grass. Connect with nature and the seasons.

2.) Practice Childbunny’s Pose with your arms at your sides, palms up, head turned to one side. (You kind of look like an egg here—and that’s the point!) The egg is a symbol rich in tradition, represents the possibility of new life. Think about any false beliefs or ideas can you ‘crack’ to renew yourself.

3.) Practice a heart healing meditation. Take the attention to your heart space. Visualize the heart center encased in an eggshell. Send your breath to this area. As though the shell was cracking open, picture light illuminating the heart. Rays of brightness begin to spread. Any negative emotions, tensions or injuries are transformed and released as your being is filled with this light. Picture the light spreading from your heart space throughout the body. Bathe in the healing light you have created.

4.) Do some writing on the question, 'What am I ready to let go of?'

5.) Become present to the natural breath - allowing the breath to do what it likes and stepping out of the way.

6.) Before bed, light a candle and practice trataka to clear your mind and cleanse your thoughts.

7.) And most of all, enjoy!

Namaste

Autumn Equinox

The Autumn Equinox is a point of union and balance between the Light and the Dark, between Fire and Water, between the Yang and the Yin. The Autumn Equinox reminds me to balance all parts of myself, the active and the passive, the known and the unknown, the outer journey and the inner journey, the seen and the unseen, the logical and the intuitive, the conscious and unconscious.

Autumn Equinox

As the trees let go of their leaves in preparation for winter’s hibernation and start anew in the spring, now is the time that can align with nature and also begin to turn inward to reevaluate our priorities and let go of what is no longer useful.
Take an honest look at your life (no judgements!) and become aware of anything that is holding you back – people, situations, negative beliefs, fears, and worries. Use the beautiful energies of this Equinox and just LET GO! If you’re in any doubt step outside, breathe in the crisp, clear autumn air and just look around – you never see a tree clinging onto their leaves for fear they won’t come back!

Let go and trust, believe, feel – that’s when the magic really begins to happen!

Happy, happy Autumn Equinox

Namaste

Be inspired, hear my home yoga practice

Empower header

Be inspired, hear my home yoga practice

Is your home yoga practice on a bit of a lull?
Are you finding it a challenge to get and stay motivated?
Do you want to enhance your practice & revive your love affair with yoga?
If so, this audio is for you!

In this audio Kate Connell from You and the Yoga Mat, interviews me on my home yoga practice. I cover -

ॐ my love story with yoga
ॐ  a-ha moments as a result of my at-home yoga 
 who my greatest teachers are 
ॐ what my practice consist of and how has it changed over time 
 what inspires me to get on the mat 
ॐ the practices + modalities that enhance my practice 
ॐ the techniques and tricks I use in periods of turmoil, change and chaos
And much MORE!

To listen in click here.

Enjoy your practice.

Namaste,

Love Has No Labels

Love Has No Labels

In this heartwarming, admittedly-tearjerking video for the U.S. Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels” campaign, an x-ray screen projects individuals behind it as skeletons kissing, hugging, holding hands, and dancing in front of a throng of curious onlookers.

When the skeletons step out from behind the projector, the crowd cheers in awe and delight. Why? Hit play and find out!

Namaste

Sleepasana

Whether you're a night owl with early bird aspirations, a troubled sleeper, or just in need of a little help relaxing before bedtime, some gentle yoga before you tuck in can help.

Studies, like this one, have shown that people who consistently practiced yoga for just eight weeks enjoyed significantly better sleep—both their length of slumber and its quality improved.

So to get a rejuvenating sleep, before bed practice these three poses -

Child's pose -
A deeply relaxing stretch for the back which also helps calm the nervous system so that you can sleep at peace.
Child’s Pose - Shashankasana

Legs up the wall pose -

An excellent pose to relieve tired legs and feet, helps increase blood supply to the brain and relieve mild headache, and calms the mind.

Spinal twist - Universal Spinal twist - Shava Udarakarshanasana

in Traditional Chinese Medicine the spleen considered responsible for digestion "not only of food, but of your day, the digestion of what's going on." In this simple twist we mildly compress the spleen which can help clear away some of the mental debris that makes it harder to sleep peacefully.

If you are wanting some fantastic yoga routines for sleep check this out!

Sweet dreams...

Namaste

Mini breakdown

It's 3pm and I'm still in my pj's waiting earnestly for Kailash to fall asleep. I just want to get some sleep or at least do a yoga nidra and feel somewhat human again. I am perplexed how such a little being can be so time and energy consuming!sleep

Last night I had a mini break down. The first, of many I'm sure, since Kailash was born. It was nearly dinner time, we had had a long day, out and about, running errands, doing chores etc. I was tired, emotional and worn down - I couldn't understand why Kailash was crying every time he went to feed.

When he is hungry he breathes in and out rapidly though his nose, similar to bhastrika, or for those not familiar with this pranayama, it sounds a bit like a steam train on speed! He also bobs his head around as though he is bobbing for apples.

I feed lying down, this helps with posture and also to slow down a fast milk flow, so when I'd place him on the floor ready to feed he would start crying, or should I say howling! So I'd pick him up, hold him close, moments later he would again breathe fast and bob his head, showing the signs of hunger. Time and time again I'd place him down and 'whhaaa, whhaaa!'

Noticing how this was affecting me, I slowed down my breath, which miraculously slows down his as well, and asked for patience. After several rounds Kailash would latch on. I'd sigh with relief and experience moments of deep ananda, in English, bliss.

My partner had just finished work so I was going down to buy some groceries. I hadn't planned dinner which was unusual because I love food and normally have the days meals sussed out well before it's time to eat. So I asked John what should we have? To my surprise he suggested chicken and chips. Only once in our 5 years together had we ever had chicken and chips. I set on the quest to get some groceries, chicken and chips. I went to the local grocer to buy veggies and the que was what felt like a mile long. Hungry with sore boobs and somewhat impatient I stood in line stressing that Kailash would awaken needing a feed while I was gone. To save time I thought I'd call the fish and chip shop and order $3 worth of chips. I needed to stop in and get a cooked chicken from the chicken shop but figured that wouldn't take long.

After putting in my chip order I drove to the chicken shop, eager to get home and either feed Kailash or express to alleviate the pressure from my milk supply. The chicken shop was all out of chicken but had some cooking and said they would be 10 minutes. So I called John who said "Kailash is fine, just take some time for yourself, there is no hurry." Great, I thought. Time for myself in a shopping center. I walked around to pass the time even though I wanted to stand at the counter tapping my foot. After 10 minutes I went back to the shop and the assistant said "It's going to be another 10 minutes." "Are you serious?!" I replied. I phoned John again and told him it would be another 10 minutes. He said, "Chill babe, it's fine." I replied, "Chill?! I'm standing in a f#$?ing shopping center waiting for chicken and I was meant to pick up the chips 15 minutes ago and you're telling me to chill?!" I took a breath and apologised for my outburst, then thanked him for listening. When I hung up the phone I bursted into tears shocked by my inability to think straight.

I phoned the fish and chip shop sobbing to let them know I'll be there soon. Once collecting the chicken I hoped in the car, tears streaming down my face. Uncontrollably I wailed all the way to get the chips. When I arrived home I was greeted by a happy baby and loving partner, for some reason this made me feel worse. I dumped the groceries, chicken and cold chips and went for a shower. Knelling in childs pose as the water trickled over my back, utterly overwhelmed and feeling totally drained, I sobbed some more. This time I was crying for the sake of crying.tears

5 minutes later the healing power of water and this asana had calmed my nervous system, I mustered up the strength to face my family and dinner. Minimal activity until bed, and only 2 wakes throughout the night. I greeted the morning to a tingling lip and a throbbing headache. Hoping a coldsore wouldn't develop and the pain behind my eyes would subside I have been wishing some down time today. Instead it has been an eventful morning and long afternoon consisting of lots of rocking, swaying, burping, crying and dirty nappies!

Funnily enough as I come to the end of this post Kailash's eyes are getting droopy. He's falling asleep!

Gotta go, it's yoga nidra time for me! Thank goodness for the incredible and powerful practice of yoga. I would be lost without it!

Namaste

Why do we sleep

Why do we Sleep?

Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist. Translation: He's an expert on the body's sleep cycles. In his 21-minute, fact-filled and sometimes humorous speech, Foster slays several common sleep myths. Not all of us actually require eight hours of sleep. And, sorry, while heading early to bed can make you healthy, there's no proof that it can make you wealthy or wise.

Foster says it's high time we take sleep seriously as a society. "This isn't some sort of crystal-waving nonsense," he says. "This is a pragmatic response to good health. If you have good sleep, it increases your concentration, attention, decision-making, creativity, social skills, health." And what's not to love about that?

Namaste

The Year of the Sheep

T0001016_year-of-the-sheep-joyhe Chinese New Year coincides with the second new Moon after Summer Solstice, beginning this year on the 19th of February.  2015 is the year of the sheep/goat/ram and falls under the element of wood. The Sheep is a Yin energy, a symbol of Peace, Harmonious co-existence and Tranquility. The primary and fundamental mood for this year is on healing and diplomacy. Sheep correlates to the Western sign Cancer, the sign of the mother and nurturer. This will be reflected by the desire for intimacy, family, and close friendships, encouraging us to be more caring, kind, and sensitive with each other. This is the year to develop a wild heart, open to love and acceptance on all levels.

Another theme for this Sheep year is to express your creative side, making it the perfect time for artistic development and cultivation of beauty.

In the wild, Sheep are surprisingly tough and able to tolerate sever weather and scarcity of food. Sheep have this natural ability to survive when one must, and are far stronger than they asheepppear. A Sheep can be calm and charming, yet is very focused and determined. They won’t be told what to do, stay at a job they dislike, or be forced to compromise. This animal is also unable to move backwards or sideways and can only move forward, making it a powerful time for development and progress … A steady path, generosity, and keeping the peace are this year's mantra. Onwards and upwards ...

Namaste

Love Yourself! [MUST SEE Video by Erin Janus]

How to love yourself

An awesome inspirational video from Erin Janus to re-program the organic computer in your head so you can be your best self. Trust yourself. Learn to love yourself. Teach yourself to love yourself. You've got nothing to lose... except what holds you back.

Namaste

One Month Old Today!

One Month Old Today!1 month
In the last month we have used 1 disposable nappy, 18 eco-disposable inserts, washed 326 cloth nappies ... and Kailash still prefers to go nude!

I'm someone who likes to be organised, focused and on time! I knew that I'd need to let go of these ideals as a new mum and embrace the chaos and unpredictability of this next chapter in life.
Thank goodness for yoga! Today I had plans to go to a meeting in the city and do my fruit and veggie shopping at the local markets. After a virtually sleepless night and morning of a restless baby, I could see leaving the house would be like trying to get water out of a rock. Instead of pushing upstream and holding onto my determined nature, I took a few breaths, smiled and realised how much easier it is to go with the flow. For years I've been teaching this in classes and practicing it in daily life yet I still forget! This is why I believe yoga isn't just something we do for 90 minutes a week on a mat, it's a practice to live by.

How quickly my pride has me wondering 'why is this not working the way it should be?!' Let me correct … 'why is this not working the way I think it should be?!' I get caught up into thinking I know how things should be and then complain to myself when they don't go to plan. It reminds me of the saying – 'I plan and God laughs!' God, Universe, Divine, Higher Power, whatever you choose to call it, when I'm trying to be the Director and manage this game of life, I'm bound to be resentful and unhappy.

The more and more I practice 'going with the flow,' accepting things as they come and truly trusting it will be as it's meant to be, I find myself in a state of peace and freedom. It's no longer a battle. There is no-one to fight. I can let go and BE.

Each time I change a nappy and 2 minutes later it's dirty again, I think to myself, this is exactly what I need to be doing right now. Being in this precious moment, with the most important person in my day, my beautiful one month old, Kailash Ananda Carroll.

Wishing you a day of ease and effortless flow,

Namaste

Inspirational Unconditional Love Will Touch Your Heart.. True Story

Inspirational Unconditional Love ... True Story

"My Beautiful Woman" is a Thai short film sharing a beautiful, true story of unconditional love. Jane is a young mum who is the target of rumors in the neighborhood ...
It brought tears to my eyes, very moving, worth the 7 minutes and English subtitles.

Namaste

Why I am teaching by donation classes?

Why am I teaching by donation classes to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation ...

For reasons dear to my heart!breast

My family is riddled with Breast cancer. So much so, my mum is having a Double Mastectomy, both breasts removed, later this year. Being the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Australia, my intention in supporting this cause is to make a real difference to the future of breast cancer research. Being a new breastfeeding mother, my passion is heightened by the importance of these organs. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have the privileged of fueling and nourishing my son with milk from my body and only hope that through greater awareness and research we can lessen the development of breast cancer so other women can also enjoy this incredible experience.

Namaste

If Gandhi took a Yoga Class

If Gandhi took a Yoga Class

Gotta laugh, Not even Ghandi can handle an LA yoga studio. Perfect. The people at College Humor are so creative.
Happy Sunday!

Namaste

Yoga with my 18 day old

Yoga with my 18 day old

My yoga practice has changed dramatically over the past month. Kailash adores lying on the mat while I practice. It's just beautiful. Hope you like it.

Namaste

My baby boy … I owe it all to yoga

72 hours since the birth of our baby son Kailash Ananda Carroll...I sit here in complete awe. chris

I know he is all thanks to the practice of yoga.

At the age of 16, I was told I would never be able to have kids naturally. I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that affects how the ovaries work. Whilst I had ovarian cysts surgically removed, doctors told me that my condition would leave me infertile.
Being quite young at the time, this didn't hit me hard until years later when I was volunteering at an orphanage in Vietnam. I grieved the loss of the hope of ever being a biological mother.
For 8 years I had no menstruation and tried everything from mainstream treatments to alternative therapies. Thousands of dollars spent on hormonal testing, Chinese medicine, naturopathic sessions, acupuncture, cupping, reiki, visualisation techniques, embracing my creativity … you name it, I tried it!

Miraculously I had my first 'rechristmas babyal' (not artificially produced) period when I was living at Mangrove Yoga Ashram. The yogic lifestyle, structure, food and practices have phenomenally done what I was told could not be done!

Yoga began to heal and balance my body.

I was thrilled, I celebrated and literally cherished every mensuration, the idea that I may be able to experience the miracle of procreation myself was astounding.

Without getting my hopes up, John and I decided we'd leave it up to the universe. Rather than charting my fertile phases or doing ovulation tests we trusted that if it was meant to be, it would be.

The day of my 28th birthday our little one was conceived! We discovered I was pregnant when we were out shopping for our 'Spices Garden to Fork Yoga Retreat.' I'll never forget the intense smells aIMG_4119nd nausea I felt!

It was such a surprise. Straight after taking the pregnancy test we rushed to the doctors for confirmation. “It's 100% positive,” we were told. When I told my mum she burst into tears, totally perplexed by the news.

9 months later here I sit, my baby in my arms, my heart overflowing with love, like I have never felt before. It's been a long night. My breast milk amount hasn't quite fitted 'the norm' so I've been expressing every hour! I can honestly say it is such a privilege, an honor and a joy to be in this moment, this experience, right here, right now and I owe it all to yoga.

 

Thank you for all your love and support.

Namaste,

Summer Solstice

Jai summer!sun

Today, in the Southern Hemisphere, we celebrate the Summer Solstice. It is the height of the summer—the longest day and shortest night of Earth’s solar year.
Solstice literally means “standing of the sun” so the easiest way to connect to this stellar turning point in the Earth’s yearly cycle is by reflecting on our own personal journeys, how far we have come, since the Winter Solstice.
From this point until the winter solstice everything on Earth will be turning within. Using this time to focus on what we wish to develop and sustain in ourselves during the coming months is a great way to utilize the energizing paths that lead within that are prevalent this time of year.

So questions you can ask yourself in meditation or during asana are -

What do I want to encourage in my life?
How do I balance the light and dark within myself?
What lights my fire, what turns me on and what do I desire?
How do I celebrate, nurture and nourish my body, mind and spirit?

And of course, doing this Sun Yoga practice, maybe even in the sun if you’re feeling frisky, is a great way to welcome this new time in our lives:

1195585

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2254670

All I want for Christmas

All I want for Christmas

The past 9 months have been such an incredible experience. To capture some of the precious moments I made this short clip!
Enjoy!

Namaste,

facebook

[hr]

[hr]

The 30 Day Affirmation Challenge

What is the 30 day affirmation challenge?
It's a challenge to change the way you think and feel. Out with the Negative, In with the Positive!

Often on the 1st of January resolutions are made, most only last a few weeks! Yet everyday is a new day, a new beginning and that's why this year I'm inspired to start each day declaring positive statements to influence the quality of life. I invite you to join me.affirmations

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha

How can affirmations change my life?
The quality of our thoughts determines the quality of our lives, therefore it’s imperative that we control what we think!  Whatever we intently focus on becomes our reality.  Affirmations help to direct our focus.  At first, you need to consciously practice your affirmations, however, in time they will become automatic.  It is natural that your old beliefs/negative affirmations will come up but if you persist, the positive affirmations will become more powerful and it will be the reality you will experience.

What is an affirmation?
Every thought you think every word you say is an affirmation. All of our self-talk or inner dialogue is a stream of affirmations. We are continually affirming subconsciously with our words and thoughts and this flow of affirmations is creating our life experience in every moment. Our beliefs are just learned thought patterns that we have developed since childhood, many of these work well for us, but others may now be working against us, they are dysfunctional and may be sabotaging us from achieving what we believe we want.

Knowing and understanding this brings great power. From here we have the ability to input specific statements to target the subconscious mind and replace negative beliefs with positive ones.

How often do I practice affirmations?
How often you practice affirmations depends on the individual and how strong the old beliefs are that require change.  There are no rules around it; they can be practiced one hundred times a day or 10 times a day.  You could set a reminder in your phone or you could make an effort to practice at the following points of the day: on waking up in the morning, while brushing your teeth, when you get into the car before turning on the ignition, in the shower, while cooking dinner.  The main idea is to practice them as often as you can.

How the challenge works?
Each day on the Facebook page a new affirmation will be listed for you to practice throughout the day. If you are not on Facebook, you can print of the below sheet that lists the 30 days of affirmations.

30 Days of Affirmations

Namaste,

The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance

It’s always good to begin a new year with a positive outlook and clear resolutions, but it’s not so easy to maintain these as work piles up, deadlines loom, and the day-to-day grind wears away our best intentions.

With this in mind, I wanted to start the year right by presenting this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor who shares he's thoughts and years of research on the correlation between happiness and success.

Namaste,

Seva – selfless service

Seva (pronounced say-va) is a Sanskrit word yet there is no word in English that really defines seva. Service itself is not seva. Seva is serving and helping others with compassion, serving not for personal gratification but to uplift others. Seva is not meeting your own aims, but offering that service as a homa, as an offering in the yajna of life. seva

Seva contains the best there is in you. When it is offered to another being and it contains your best thoughts and feelings, your love and affection, sympathy and compassion, then that action becomes a blessing in disguise to uplift another being.

With the desire to uplift and assist people, giving help and compassion to others with no thought of what is to gain or what is to be lost by doing so it becomes a miraclous gift and the on the path to self-realization, which is the essence of yoga.

Practice seva. Give back to others without the expectation of any reward or acknowledgment.

Give a Surprise

Give a Surprise

Hear we are on day 11 of our 12 Days of Giving countdown to Christmas. Today is all about giving surprises! I was totally touched by this clip and had to share it - GiveBackFilms made a great little clip on paying for people's drive thru.
For today, get the karma and creative juices flowing, go and surprise someone!
Namaste,

Give a compliment

Give a Compliment

Hear we are on day 2 of our 12 Days of Giving countdown to Christmas. Today is all about giving compliments! I was totally touched by this clip and had to share it - SoulPancake recently set up this give a compliment/get a compliment booth in L.A., and tons of people came out to make each other feel special. Whether is was a co-worker and boss, mother and daughter, life-long friends, and everything in between, this video will definitely pull a heart string!

 

Now's the fun part, go out and give someone a compliment to help them feel all warm and fuzzy!
Namaste,

4 Days of Silence

Every year I partake in a Vipassana Meditation Course. Normally the courses run for 10 days but being 8 months pregnant I was invited to do just 4 days. Thrilled by the opportunity, considering it may be my last for some time, I packed my bags and set off to Worri Yallock, Victoria.

As usual the experience was mind blowing - literally!vipassana

No reading, no writting, no talking, no eye contact, no yoga, no mantra, no pranayama, no reiki, no yoga nidra, no distractions ... just sitting with me, my thoughts and Guru (the name of our baby in the womb)!

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, an Art of Living. There are centers all over the globe, I've been fortunate to stay at 3 of them. The main teacher, S.N. Goenka, who has now passed, explains the practice through audio and video recordings, while the course itself is run by an assistant teacher who you are able to ask questions about your practice if you are having difficulties.

For me, this course was quite different to others I've sat. Obviously being pregnant, I knew my experience would differ but I was surprised by the variance.

 

Firstly I was given dinner, this was such a blessing, generally old students aren't to eat after midday and new students are offered 2 pieces of fruit. Having a warm scrumptious vegetarian meal (left overs from lunch) was very comforting and satisfied my desire to overeat at lunch. I think Guru was impressed by the food too!

Next came the sitting itself. As Guru's head is already engaged, and has been for the past 6 weeks, there is a load of pressure on my pelvis. So much so that it actually feels like I'm being stabbed in the pelvis with a sharp knife! There is a name for this, symphysis pubis dysfunction, and it's quite common for those who are quite flexible already. When the hormone relaxin, which softens your ligaments in order to help your baby pass through your pelvis, is produced in the body, it furthers the flexibility of the ligaments. The baby's head is pushing on these joints and connectivity of the pelvis creating pain.

Instead of being able to sit cross-legged in my normal meditation posture I needed to sit in Vadrasana. The issue with this was the fluid retention in my legs which ached with the added pressure.
To give you an idea of what the daily schedule looks like -

4:00 am Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions
11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break
12noon-1:00 pm Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions
5:00-6:00 pm Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm Question time in the hall
9:30 pm Retire to your own room–Lights out

 

As you can see there's about ten hours of meditation throughout the day, which is a long time to sit in discomfort!

In a usual 10 day course on day 4 one is introduced the practice of “strong determination.” In three of the one-hour meditation sessions students are to adopt the attitude of “strong determination,”  which means meditating without moving, without opening one’s eyes, one’s hands or one’s legs. Sitting still and steady, like a stone, impassive, perfectly “equanimous”, to use Goenka’s favourite term.

Since my course was only 4 days, I was invited to begin this practice on day 2 and as usual profound Realizations were made.

 

Often when pain presents itself in the body on unconsciously makes effort to remove the pain. Naturally, when you are itchy, you scratch, if you get pins and needles in your foot, you shake it, if your back is sore, you shift to relieve it. Adversely, rather than reacting to the mind, in this practice one is to sit and allow the sensation to be - 'as it is, not as you'd like it to be.'

 

Why? You may wonder?!

 

As we yogi's know, our body and mind are so connected. Vipasana works on the premise that every experience of craving or aversion we’ve ever had – liking or disliking, pleasure or pain from our mind — gets stored as a sensation in our bodies, in our cells. When we stop producing new cravings or aversions, the old cravings or aversions, collectively known as sånkhāras (impressions/mental conditioning), start to surface and dissipate. Remembering this when my legs were throbbing was very helpful. To think that the discomfort arose from the fears, aversions and all the negative reactions I’ve had, coming to the surface to be experienced and released, gives much more purpose and ease to the somewhat unpleasant situation.

The lesson one learns through the experience of deep meditation is this: attaching a judgement to an experience – like/dislike, love/hate, right/wrong – results in misery. The answer is to give up judgement, to just observe the experience without judgement. This is what I love about the practice. The pain or discomfort may not go away but my tolerance to it increases and funniliy enough when I exlopre the sensations for what they are, instead of putting a judgement on them, there is nothing really that bad! (I hope to remember this in labor!)

 

In conclusion, the universal law of nature is that everything is changing, arising and passing, arising and passing, and that pain and pleasure are arising and passing like everything else. Accepting what is allows us to experience real peace, real harmony, real love.

Anicca, Anicca, Anicca*

May all beings be happy.

***

* Change, change, change.

Where to get your OM on while I’m away

We are so blessed to have an abundance of highly skilled and authentic yoga teachers on the Mornington Peninsula. So I have no doubt that you'll find a class just right for you!arms outSimon Yoga Head shot-crop

Yoga in the Park Mornington continues this year! Beginning on Saturday 27th December through January (no class on new year’s day). Enjoy your daily dose with Simon, same time, same place, all information is on the website yogainthepark.net au

 

For thobettinase in Mornington, Mt Eliza or Frankston I highly recommend you check out my dear friend and awesome teacher, Bettina. Her beautiful boutique studio in Frankston South is just Divine! See her timetable here.

 

From Mount Martha, Safety Beach and Dromana check out the brand new studio, Pinnacle Fitness in Dromana. debMy favourite yogi, Deb is teaching Monday's and Thursday's, to tempt you even more, the first class is FREE! See the timetable here.

 

And for those in Rimages (1)osebud, you'll love Lee from Santosa Yoga who's holding classes at Rosebud Pier til the end of January. Tuesday & Thursday 7.30-8.30am, Wednesday & Saturday 9-10am. For more information call Lee on 0409 380 839

download

Last but not least, there is a beautiful qigong and tai chi class with Eva on Tuesday's from 7-8pm at Mornington Park, Call Eva on 0400 078 135

 

The Power of Giving

The Power of Giving

I was incredibly touched and moved by this short Thai film made by TrueMoveH. It reminds me how sometimes the ones who give the most are also the ones that need it the most. I remember a quote I once read which goes something like - 'we come to the world with nothing, we go with nothing, the best we can do while we're here is give.'

For today get out of yourself and give. It can be something as simple as offering your time, your smile or sending someone happy thoughts.

Namaste,

T’was the night before Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas and right through the space
All the yogis were chanting and vibrating with grace.YogaSanta
The yoga mats were rolled along the floor with care,
In hopes that ease and comfort would soon be there.

The students relaxed from their head to their feet
while life hurried by, outside on the street.
With John in his yoga pants and I in mine too,
We all closed our eyes to connect with the personal guru.

When up on the roof there arose such a blast,
I took a deep breath knowing these distractions wouldn't last.
And what to my wondering third eye should I see,
But Santa himself, breathing in ujjayi.

His hands placed in mudra, he looked so free,
Sitting in lotus, right under the tree.
“Santa!” I exclaimed, “how can this be?”
“I've come to align your chakras,” said he.

He rose up to standing, such a jolly old man,
I awaited with eager, intrigued by his plan.
We connected to the breath, aware of our inner flame,
And he whistled and shouted each yoga pose name.

“Now up dog, now down dog, now to cat/cow!
On cobra, on side plank and finish with plough!”
The prana was flowing, my worries were gone,
My mantra, “I am grateful,” carried me on.

Santa helped me realize, that much like an elf
Through yoga I'm creating a gift, of peace, for my Self.

“Your practice need never be out of your sight,
Empower with Home Yoga is with you, all day & night.”

I heard him exclaim as he drove off in his sleigh,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all Namaste!”

How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over

How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over

Take it as grab-‘em-by-the-collar advice. Mel Robins is known for her candid outlook to life problems. That should work to jolt our mental blocks. In this talk she gets to the point quickly on how to get unstuck. The secret which is no secret is that you have to force yourself to do things that aren’t part of the routine. It’s worth it.

Namaste,

The Practice of Others

Empower header

The Practice of Others

Just goes to show a Home Yoga Practice can be so vast and versatile!

[hr]
facebook_cta

[hr]

Namaste,

Feeling like a failure

Being 32 weeks pregnant, I know my hormones are all over the place but I can't help but feel like a failure.

To promote my online, Empower with Home Yoga courses, this year, I launched two telesummits. The first one was successful, I learnt a ton, inspired hundreds and made a profit. The second one, which has just finished, was also an incredible experience and it connected me to hundreds of students from around the world, however I didn't sell any of my courses.32 weeks
I'm disheartened by this, as I know my online courses work. I've seen so many establish their practice and reap the benefits from participating in them.
My motives weren't purely based on financial gains but I made a commitment to myself and my partner, if the summit wasn't profitable I wouldn't do one again. I gave all that I had - time, effort, tears and love. Not making a dime and being out of pocket for the prizes etc. saddens me. I feel as though I have lost apart of myself. My dreams, my visions and what felt like my dharma.
What did I do wrong, wasn't I good enough, perhaps I didn't speak clearly, or maybe my videos weren't up to scratch … on and on and on, these thoughts of failure and 'not-enoughness,' fill my mind.

Thank goodness for my practice. Allowing these feelings to arise, without having to numb or suppress them. Feeling the pain, crying, writing and grieving for the loss of my project and all the effort that went into it.

Experiencing the clouds, rain and storm and learning to embrace every aspect of my being has enabled my to move beyond the sadness and see the light.

What I have learnt through this process ... Perhaps there will be times that you feel less than whole, but when those moments come, encourage yourself to remember a time when you made the world a more positive place. Regardless of where you are on your path, that moment mattered.
The moment you share your light, the world becomes a brighter place.

For today shine, just like you're made to!

Success in your practice

Empower header

Success in your practice

Success in your home yoga practice really depends upon your state of mind. It's easy to get hard on ourselves and think we are not doing enough, not practicing 'good' enough or 'should' be doing something else.
What we focus on gets bigger! So by focusing on the lack or the things that we aren't happy with we'll see more of them.

For today focus on your yoga success! Congratulate and reinforce the things you are doing to enhance your health and well-being.

Namaste,

Unique Home Yoga Practice

Empower header

Unique Home Yoga Practice

Everyone's home yoga practice will be different. There are innumerable styles, techniques, times, places, props etc.

Finding your unique practice, one that suits you, is apart of the explorational journey of yoga.

 

On the quest to find uniqueness and inspiration, I was fortunate to interview Robin to find out how her practice works for her.

Listen in and prepare to be inspired and perhaps pick up some tips for your practice!

Namaste,

Procrastination in your practice

Empower header

Procrastination in your practice

There is no 'right' time to practice. Procrastination can often stand in the way.

Rather than to and fro about when, where, what etc. just do it! Getting really clear on the benefits practice gives and what you are consciously choosing to do in it's place, helps us to define your priorities and overcome procrastination once and for all!

Namaste,

Distractions in your practice

Empower header

Distractions in your practice

Distractions are inevitable. To set ourselves up for success we need to know the distractions that arise and how to work with them.

Get honest, observe your patterns and become aware of all the obstacles that limit you, so you can overcome the distractions and enjoy the benefits of yoga on a more regular basis.

Namaste,

Yoga in everyday life

Empower header

Yoga in everyday life

Take your practice off the mat and into everyday life by using the innumerable tools of yoga!
By applying the ancient techniques and systems that yoga offers you can live your life with more ease and liberation.

For today, make your practice work for you!

Namaste,

Reflecting on what works

Empower header

Reflecting on what works

Learning from our past to see what works for us and what we enjoy can really help to shape and sculpt your home yoga practice practice.

For today, empower yourself by making some time to reflect.

Namaste,

8 secrets of success

8 secrets of success

Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart, or are they just lucky? Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute presentation on the real secrets of success.

Namaste,

The next Home Yoga Summit

The next Home Yoga Summit!

www.satyaliveyoga.com.au/summit/

I'm super excited to be launching the next Home Yoga Summit on October the 6th and would love you to join me. I've interviewed some of the best yoga teachers from around the world to find out their tips, tools and motivations to inspire you in your home practice and over the duration of the summit I'll send you an interview each day for you to watch and be empowered!

All you need to do to sign up for this free online event is click on the link below and enter in your name and email address.
www.satyaliveyoga.com.au/summit/

I can't wait to share this with you,

Namaste,

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!

Embrace this magical time of transformation and rejuvenate yourself with asana, pranayama, meditation, nourishing foods, herbs, and self-care techniques. This month in all my classes, the half day retreat and on the facebook page I'm focusing on cleansing and how you can utilize this ancient practice to bring balance, health and vitality to your body mind and soul!

 

Namaste,

Aware of your Habits

Empower header

Aware of your Habits

We are all creatures of habits and our habits and routines serve a purpose, they help us throughout the day. By doing things the same way over and over again we don't have to think or be so engaged in the task at hand, at times this can be very beneficial.

 

To bring more yoga, connection and union, into our lives by simply noticing these patterns and making small changes to them, we draw our attention into the present moment. We help to create new neural pathways in the brain and begin to change deeply rooted impressions (samskaras) from our psyches.

For today, take your practice off the mat and into everyday life by switching off autopilot and bringing your awareness into the moment!

 

Namaste,

4 yoga moves to boost immunity

It seems as if the cold and flu season is packing an extra punch this winter. But did you know that yoga can boost immunity and help you prevent getting sick?

Yoga can help protect you from marauding viral invaders like cold and flu germs because it:

Detoxifies and oxygenates your system
Reduces stress and fatigue, two precursors to lowered immunity
Balances the hormones you need for a strong immune system
Triggers acupressure points said to help evict viruses and bacteria from your body

Add these yoga poses to your regular routine and say, “Good riddance, sniffles!”

SN Mountain pose - Parvatasana

Parvatasana also known as Downward dog

When you invert, as you’ll be doing here, it provides you with a full body cleanse, assisting your lymphatic system to sweep out those pesky toxins. If you really firm your fingertips into the floor and hug arm muscles to the bones, you’ll activate the points all along the hands and arms that are thought to help boost immunity and release pain and joint compression.

Kandharasana also known as Bridge PoseShoulder pose - Kandharasana

This posture is not only great for opening the heart, it also presses directly on two main acupressure points. You’ll get the Sea of Vitality in the lower back, two inches away from the spine, and importantly, the Bearing Support, on the shoulder blades, two inches off the spine. This point is said to help govern immunity, especially to colds and flu.
Remain here a bit longer, aim for one minute or more. If this is hard for you, place a high block or two under your hips.Cobra pose - Bhujangasana

Bhujangasana also known as Cobra pose

This pose stimulates the thymus gland nestled behind the breast bone, which sends out T-cells, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight diseases or harmful substances.

Simhagarjanasana also known as Roaring Lion PoseRoaring Lion - Simhagarjanasana

This pose has a positive effect on the throat, nose, ears, eyes and mouth. It helps to clear the sinuses and redirects blow flow from the legs to the abdomen stimulating the digestive system, which in turn builds the digestive fire, generating more heat in the body.

 

If you loved these tips and would like to hear more from me, sign up to my newsletter.

Namaste,

 

The ecstasy of surrender

Dr. Judith Orloff on the ecstasy of surrender. You can sabotage success by pushing too hard. Surrender is the antidote to stress in a world that relentlessly conspires to interrupt creative thought. Surrender boosts your brain's endorphins--euphoric, opiate-like pain killers--and serotonin, a natural antidepressant that allows you to relax, have more fun, and succeed more wildly than ever before. Life becomes easier and more blissful when you can let go.

Create a sacred space

Empower header

Create a sacred space

Rituals are what create the sacred space. People can get confused and think you have to go somewhere to experience that sense of ease. That you have to go somewhere to do your yoga practice.
This isn't true. You can practice yoga in your own home, in the office, in your car, on the bus, it is limitless as to where you can practice.

 

What creates the space and gives it more meaning is the rituals ... the things that you are doing before the practice, during and after the practice. This is what creates the sacred container for your practice.

Go ahead and make your own rituals, I wouldn't be surprised if you become aware of rituals you are already doing!

 

Namaste,

2014 Blissful Retreat

Reminiscing over the Blissful Bali Yoga Retreat in May this year. Can't wait til the next one!

To check out the next upcoming retreats check the retreats page

Havans – Sacred Fire Rituals

Last month on our Winter Solstice retreat we embraced an ancient Tantric yoga practice, a sacred fire ceremony, called a havan.

Havan is a fire ritual also which has its origins in Indian Vedic culture dating back over 4500 years. It is also called agnihotra, homa therapy or yagyopathy and these terms tend to be used interchangeably. Multiple healing therapies are involved. All natural ingredients are used in havan which have Ayurvedic healing properties. Mantra’s are chanted and offered to the fire which intensifies the effect of the mantra.

Havans are not mere rituals, they are a means of purification and have a powerful, transformative and healing effect on oneself, others and the environment. In a havan all aspects of manifest creation are used which is represented by a combination of five basic elements — prithvi (earth), jal (water), agni (fire), vayu (air) and akash (ether). Of all these elements, agni, fire, occupies a special place. While it is possible to pollute all the other elements, agni cannot be polluted. Rather it is a medium of purification and transformation of all the other elements.

 

Swaha

"The act of offering is called ahuti or oblation. With each offering 'Swaha' (I offer) is said. All ritual offerings into the sacred fire are offered with this mantra; sva means 'oneself' and ha means 'to offer'. The implication is the offering of oneself for the sake of others; the oblations are meant as substitutes for oneself. One is reborn through the act of sacrifice, the old being is burnt up and a new, divine being emerges, consecrated to altruism. Thus yajna is truly a transforming rite of passage ritual." - The Ancient Sacred Fire of Yajna by Swami Muktananda Saraswati (Australia)

Samagri

"Various symbols and actions are used to redirect our senses and heighten our sattwic emotions. The fire represents God or truth. The sacrificial food, the samagri (mixture of seeds, plants, resins, grains, etc.) is offered into the fire. The mixture represents our worldly samskaras such as attachment, greed, violence, etc. that bind us to our lower nature and trap us in egocentric thoughts and desires. We offer the seeds of all future actions into this fire of self-knowledge to be completely consumed. Symbolically we are offering our very lives into the fire of purification and sacrifice. While a specific number of people will actually offer the samagri, each of us can participate equally in the ritual by the degree of our sankalpa, awareness and surrender.

The offerings are substances that sustain life and always the best quality available is offered. Many of the items are natural antiseptics and aromatics. As they burn, the subsequent vapours pervade the atmosphere, destroying pollutants and purifying the environment for many kilometres around. The vibrations of the mantras enhance the beneficial effect of these vapours. This ritual not only benefits the external environment, the participants of yajna also benefit as purification takes place in each individual's internal environment as the vapours and mantras permeate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual entity." - The Ancient Sacred Fire of Yajna by Swami Muktananda Saraswati (Australia)

Why perform Havan?

"A havan is performed for internal growth, purity, health, long life and purifying the surroundings. It is also conducted to express and ignite love and respect towards all natural assets, to be in nature’s surrender, to understand ones thoughts and feelings and above all to achieve and evolve a psychic state, which only thinks of the welfare of others, to expand ones thought to make it universal. All these are possible by consistently performing havan. To the ones we love the most we offer the best. Hence through the process of havan we learn to beautify our whole being, offer it to the source of our being, and surrender to it. This is the ultimate prayer." - Meena Om

"Medicines and herbs are vaporized by offering them as oblation in fire and they enter the human body in gaseous form through nose, lungs and pore of skin. It is easiest, less risky method of intake of medicine and it makes sure that it reaches every cell of the body." - Treatment by Yagyopathy (Yagya Vigyan) - Nikhil Kalp Kuteer

Vibrations and the mantra AUM

Every wonder why you chant AUM in yoga? It's explained here.

Please note - this was one of the first videos I created ... don't hold it against me! Whilst it may not be one that I'm super proud of, the content is very valuable.

Water, Consciosness & Intent

Water, Consciosness & Intent: Dr. Masaru Emoto

Dr. Masaru Emoto undertook extensive research of water around the planet not so much as a scientific researcher, but more from the perspective of an original thinker. At length he realized that it was in the frozen crystal form that water showed us its true nature through. He has gained worldwide acclaim through his groundbreaking research and discovery that water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness.

Sometimes, when we cannot see the immediate results of our affirmations and or prayers, we think we have failed. But, as we learn through Masaru Emoto's photographs, that thought of failure itself becomes represented in the physical objects that surround us. Now that we have seen this, perhaps we can begin to realize that even when immediate results are invisible to the unaided human eye, they are still there. When we love our own bodies, they respond. When we send our love to the Earth, she responds.

For our own bodies at birth are more than 60 percent water, and the percentage of water in our bodies remains high throughout life (depending upon weight and body type). The earth's surface is more than 60 percent water as well. And now we have seen before our eyes that water is far from inanimate, but is actually alive and responsive to our every thought and emotion. Perhaps, having seen this, we can begin to really understand the awesome power that we possess, through choosing our thoughts and intentions, to heal ourselves and the earth.

 

To see more of Dr. Masaru Rmoto's work see he's website - http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html

The 4 ways sound affects us

Julian Treasure gives this profound 5 minute talk on the 4 ways sound affects us. It really enhances the awareness as to what and how we can select our environments to assist our physiological, psychological, cognitive and behavioral responses.

When we chant the mantra 'AUM,' listen to our breath and tune into the sound of our heart we are connecting and resonating with vibrational qualities that move beyond the outer layers and can positively influence us at a cellular level.

Hips and hamstrings

HamstringOne of my beautiful home yoga students recently asked for a 15-20 minute morning sequence to target the hips and hamstrings. So here it is. This intention of the practice is to provide relief from backache and hip stiffness by stretching and massaging the hips, hamstrings, and calves, enjoy -

 

Thunderbolt pose - Vadrasana

You might like to begin in the kneeling position of  Vadrasana, alternatively, another seated position. Take a few conscious minutes here to settle into your body, breath, chant the mantra 'Aum' and set an intention for your practice.

When ready for movement, extend your arms in front of you and practice Wrist Rotations to warm and release through the wrists.

 Cat Stretch Pose - MarjariasanaCat Stretch Pose - Marjariasana (2)

Move onto all 4's and practice Marjariasana to open and stretch the spine, creating space between the vertebra of the back.

 

Bring the body back to the Table Top Position, then draw the right knee towards the chest, take it out to the side, back, around and to the center, performing hip rotations by drawing big circles with the right knee. Do 7 in each direction then swap legs and practice 7 in each direction with this hip.

 SN Equestrian Pose - Ashwa Sanchalanasana

Raise up to a standing kneeling position, then extend the right leg out in front for Equestrian pose. Lunge deeply in the front leg, finding length through the hip flexors of the left thigh. Ensure the front knee doesn't go over the toes, if it does, shuffle the foot further out.

 

From here, with hands and back knee remaining on the floor, lift the hips, shift the weight back to make the front leg a little straighter, warming into the hamstrings of the front thigh. You might like to  point and flex the foot a few times to deepen the stretch. Then send the weight forward releasing and coing back into the Equestrian pose. Tuck the toes oSN Mountain pose - Parvatasanaf the back foot under, raise the back knee and shift the front foot back to come into Downward dog

 

Bend the knees alternatively to stretch into the back of the thighs. Then lower the knees, raise the torso and step the left foot out in front for Equestrian pose. Lunge deeply in the front leg, finding length through the hip flexors of the right thigh. Once again ensure the front knee doesn't go over the toes, if it does, shuffle the foot further out.From here, with hands and back knee remaining on the floor, lift the hips, shift the weight back to make the front leg a little straighter, warming into the hamstrings of the front thigh. You might like to  point and flex the foot a few times to deepen the stretch. Then send the weight forward releasing and comning back into the Equestrian pose. Tuck the toes of the back foot under, raise the back knee and shift the front foot back to come into Downward dog

 Cobra pose - Bhujangasana

Play around in this pose for as long as you like Downward dog feel free to lift on leg, get creative, fluid. If you'd like to create more warmth, strength and practice for longer, come into Eight point salute or Plank down to Cobra and back to Downward dog.

 

Walk the hands towards the feet, or the feet towards the hand and hold in this forward bend Padahastanana. Strengthen and bend the opposite legs to stretch into the hamstrings.SN Hand to foot pose - Padahastanana

 

Take hands to hips raise the torso up, release the arms and give yourself a few shoulder rolls.

Turn onto the side of the mat/space and take the foot out wide, as far apart as comfortable. Take the hands to the hips, fold forward bring the spine parallel to the floor, either remain here or lower the body further down, releasing the hands wherever they fall. Hold and breath here. Count 10 breaths. You can make this more active by using the breath to deepen the stretch. Inhalation to lengthen the spine, exhalation to fold further forward.

 Head to toe pose - Sirsha Angustha Yogasana

Bracing the core, raise the body up and practice the Head to toe pose to each side.

Finish the poses with a balancing Tree pose.

Corpse Pose - Shavasana

Then rest in Shavasana. Soften the whole body, surrender your weight to the support of the floor. Sensitise the awareness to the sensations within your body. Notice the natural breath, it's ebb and flow. Relax into this pose. Either let the mind drift or focus the mind on the breath. Count the breath backwards from 27 to 0, aware of each and every breath. Once ready end the practice however you prefer, perhaps with palming, changing the mantra Aum or some pranayama practices.

 

DIY Yoga Props For Your Home Practice

Empower header

DIY Yoga Props For Your Home Practice

Props are common in yoga classes nowadays and if you are familiar using them in the studio, it can feel a little odd practicing at home without them.
The great news is ... "You don't have to go out and spend a mini fortune on yoga props to assist your home practice. You can recreate your own using things around the home!"
In today's video I share with you a few of my favourite homemade yoga props for bolsters, blocks, eye pillows and yoga straps.
There you have it. Simple ways you can make yoga props from everyday household items.

Get creative! Experiment and enjoy your home yoga practice.

Namaste,

The ABC’s of teaching private yoga

Join-30-yoga-experts-for-the-Yoga

I feel so honored to be apart of the Yoga Teacher Blog Tour. 30 Yogis from around the world share their skills behind teaching private yoga! This blog post is one in a series of the #yogateachertour, a blog tour for yoga teachers looking to up-level their impact by teaching one-on-one private yoga sessions and creating a sustainable business around, powerful individual work.

I must say, at first I was hesitant to be apart the tour. Writing isn't really my thing and I teach my private classes to people through my online courses, Empower with Home Yoga, so I felt I might not be the ideal expert on this topic. After speaking with Kate Connell (the organiser of this OMazing event), I realized so long as I speak from the heart, I can't really get it wrong and my wealth of knowledge in teaching individuals online would definitely benefit others. So I came up with my ABC's of teaching private yoga. Enjoy!

A is for availability
When working with people from all around the globe one needs to be available. Sounds straightforward huh?! I realized though, managing my time around people in Europe, Canada, the States, Russia and New Zealand was a challenge. I was trying to manage the different time zones, how to fit people in around my classes and life - it got all too hard. That is until I found some simple appointment scheduling software (I use Timetrade, but there are many more to choose from). This did it all for me. All I had to do was enter in my availability send it to my students and they would find a time that suited them!

B is for Block it out!b
When running your own business it's great to work when you want, but more often than not, it can be an endless supply of to-do lists followed by hours on websites, facebook, twitter, pintrest, etc ... before long your business is ruling you and working when you want just isn't an option anymore. Blocking time out in your calendar for set things is a must! I have blocked out every morning my own practice. If I have to leave at 5am my practice is shorter but it always happens before answering emails and checking social media. Blocking out time for family and friends is a great practice and assists with a greater work/life balance but I also find blocking out time for all the other things that need to get done a profound time saver! Scheduling set time to answer emails, to check facebook, to write blogs etc. gives power. One can take control over their schedule and rather than reacting to whats in front of them, consciously acting on what has been planned. Now in saying this, there are always exceptions to the rule, however I find something magical happens when I know I have 20 mins twice a day to answer emails, they miraculously get done!

C is for consistency
So we all know consistency is a must in our practice and it's just as important in our business too. Here are the reasons why -
Consistency allows for measurement
Until you have tried something new for a period of time and in a consistent manner, you can't decide if it works or not. How do you measure effectiveness if what you are measuring isn't performed consistently? By consistently being there for my students, sharing ideas and providing them with valuable tools I can see the benefits in my message and how home yoga can really enhance ones life. Seeing my students, time and time again succeed and be empowered shows the success of my business.
Consistency creates accountability
Being consistent in my classes, my teachings, my responding to emails, answering calls, etc. brings accountability. It reminds me what's important, where I need to focus my attention on and how to go about it.
Consistency maintains your message
I am all about developing a home yoga practice. Taking what one has learnt in a class or on the mat and incorporating it in everyday life. I teach this in my classes, my courses, my retreats and workshops, it maintains my message of empowering people with their home yoga practice.

D is for dates with yourselfheart
You know that feeling you get when you meet someone you like and you go on a date with them. Perhaps this hasn't happened in many years, or maybe it's happening right now ... The feelings of excitement, apprehension, endless possibilities, enhanced awareness, joy, love etc?! Well it might sound a little corny but you can have these feelings when you go out with yourself (maybe not in the extreme, but they can definitely be present). Making dates with yourself is an empowering and sacred practice. Why might one do this you may ask? Well, why not?! If you think about it, the deepest most intimate relationship one can have is with oneself. Getting to know yourself, sending time with you, loving and cherishing all there is about you ... who better to build a relationship with, other than yourself! So what do I do on dates with myself? What I enjoy. I love lighting candles, incense, putting on some soothing music and having a bubble bath. I also enjoy going to other yoga classes, walking along the beach and eating breaky out, doing my Vipasana meditation, having a massage. Whatever speaks to you. It doesn't matter what you do, so long as it's with you.

E is for education
Something I've found with yoga is the more I know, the less I know! This paradox is a common one. I am constantly bamboozled at the wealth and depth this ancient system has to offer. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. This is why I think education is so important. The need for continual training is paramount when teaching. Your students benefit, it sparks your enthusiasm, keeps things fresh and you grow as a teacher and a member of society. As teachers and students of yoga, we never stop learning. So go ahead, book yourself in for some more education and see you teachings flourish!

F is for features versus benefitsq
My invaluable mentor Chris King helped me understand the huge difference between features and benefits. I was telling my students the features of Empower with Home Yoga rather than the benefits. Yeah it's great that my course includes a comprehensive yoga class, pranayama practices, yoga nidra, facebook group, one-on-one skype call, daily emails etc. But what will students actually get from these things? Their own personal home yoga practice that they can do whenever they'd like, wherever they'd like and in whatever they'd like to wear! This gives empowerment and freedom, to be able to communicate this makes it much more appealing than just stating the features.

G is for generating
The light bulb. bubble wrap, iPod, facebook ... these inventions, products and business all started with an idea. Everyone has ideas, generating them, useful ones, is a skill that truly adds value to your teaching. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Generating ideas moves the business along, it keeps it fresh, alive, charged and prana infused. First tip is to carry a notebook (so you don't forgot your brainwave ideas), then listen to your students, ask them what they want, get in nature, be inspired and do something new. Generating ideas allows you to get creative and expand your horizons with teaching.

H is for humanness
When relating to any business, be it a small yoga business or a large corporation, people love humanness. To be able to relate, to talk to a real person, to feel valued and appreciated. These are qualities and traits I aspire to and in my eyes they take one's business and teachings to the next level. Being real, down to earth ... a human, it's what your students want. Show them the true you to open up and deepen your connection by far!

I is for invitationwelcome
This might feel a little awkward at first but you have to invite people to work with you. For years I wished students would just ask to join my online courses. I sent out a monthly email with a sidebar listing my online courses, so I was telling them about it right?! Wrong. People often don't hear what you have to offer in an email, sometimes it actually takes a little more communication - like face to face, on the phone or a personal note. This doesn't need to be a hard sell, your not trying to push them into anything or doing some sleazy marketing ploy. Instead you're providing an opportunity, a space for discussion, questions and for your student to see whats on offer. Showing them the benefits and how private sessions or online courses can take their practice to the next level, to truly empower them. Who wouldn't want this?!

J is for journaling
Journaling is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to accelerate your personal development and business. By getting your thoughts out of your head and putting them down in writing, you gain insights you’d otherwise never see. Journaling allows you to break free of the brain's sequential thinking and examine your thoughts. You can see things in black and white. How they really are. It helps to solve tricky problems, gain clarity and verify your progress. What are you waiting for, grab a pen, a notebook and begin!

K is for knowledge
Most of us have heard the phrase “knowledge is power” - whilst it's one thing to gain knowledge, using it is another. When it comes to teaching privates through my online courses I work closely with people. Sometimes I am privy to personal information I wish I didn't hear, but none the less, I understand that this knowledge is useful. Generally it helps me to empathize with my clients a little more. It gives me the ability to sculpt their practice to suit their needs, address their concerns/limitations/desires and in essence it provides me with the opportunity to be more powerful. More powerful in my teaching and more powerful in relating to others. The best advice I was ever given about gaining knowledge was ... be teachable. Yep, that simple! Don't assume to know, be open to learn. Even when I think I know, I try (I'm not perfect at this) to be open to the possibility that I don't know. With a clear and receptive mind I learn so much more.

L is for listslist
Lists, lists and more lists! Making a list helps you to be more organized, productive and efficient. It reduces anxiety, boosts brain power and improves your focus. Need I say anymore?! A bit like journaling, getting it out of your head and onto paper gives perspective. From this point it's easier to prioritize and give appropriate time frames. If you haven't got a list, whether it be a to-do list, a planning list or a wish list don't delay, begin today!

M is for message clarity
Message clarity is so important! Students need to know what you offer and so do you! I made lots of mistakes when I first began to market my online home yoga courses and the main reason? I wasn't clear in my message. I knew it would benefit my students and anyone who wanted to accelerate their practice, but I didn't know how to share this. I'd stumble along telling students the course would be great for them, but I didn't know what else to say! After some reflection I learnt that people don't know what's on offer unless it's communicated clearly, I first needed to get clear and then I could be clear with others.

N is for nicheniche
I really battled with the idea of a niche and honing on in a specific target market. For me yoga is all inclusive so I wanted to serve everybody, literally. In affect I was serving nobody (or hardly anyone)! Having a niche doesn't mean you can only serve that type of client, it instead means you have a specialty area. Rather than restricting this enhances your offerings enabling your ideal students to hear you above the others.

O is for offerings
When giving time, love and support to my students it can be easy for my offerings to get blurred. Having boundaries and being clear on what is provided is critical in maintaining a healthy and professional relationship. I always like to understate and over deliver. This way I feel as though my offerings exceed expectations ... everybody loves unexpected bonuses! In saying this, I've learnt what an appropriate amount of energy is to give. This has taken lots of trial and error. I find it quite natural to take on others peoples problems as though they were my own, then go out of my way to try and help them solve their problems. Two main issues with this ... me trying to be Mrs. Fix-it and me taking on board other people's stuff. I'm not a councilor, I'm not God and I definitely can't try to be. When I notice this wonderwoman hat coming into play, I know to take a step back, breath and provide the most I can within the boundary of my offering. Be clear, professional and save yourself the heart-ache of loosing yourself and giving too much.

P is for practice what you preach
For me this is a must. How can I possibly be teaching one thing, swear by it, wholeheartedly say it works, and then do something else?! For sometime I felt inauthentic because my message was my ideal, not my reality. I learnt that my students want to hear my experience - the good and the bad. The more honest and open I am with them, the more real and accessible I become. This is where practicing what I preach and living what I teach, unifies. I feel good within myself and my students know it's real.

Q is for qualityqual
I want my students to rave about the Empower with Home Yoga Course! I want them to tell their friends, their family, the guy next door ... everybody, what a great program it is and the profound difference it has made in their life. For this to happen the standard and quality of my courses needs to be high, really high. My offerings need to dazzle my clients, to give them what they paid for at a degree of excellence and to satisfy their needs. To reach this level I've needed to iron out any kinks, address issues as soon as they arise, be approachable and actionable and most of all, ask for feedback and invite my students to give their suggestions on ways the program can be improved. I clearly state that I want my courses to be the best they can possible be and encourage/reward any input others have. The result has been delightful. The quality of my offerings increase and I hear over and over again the profound results my students receive from taking the course.

R is for respond
Respond rather than react. This can be tough especially if you're on the other side of the world leading a retreat, people are trying to buy your course online and your website goes down! Stuff like this happens! Action needs to take place quickly but when we act in that state of emotion and impulse, things are bound to go wrong. Simply using our practices - taking a breath, pausing and blending logic with emotion, we can mindfully take action and solve problems in a calm and effective way. As with everything, we get good at what we practice, practice responding!

S is for summitprofile
Earlier this year I ran my first 'Home Yoga Summit!' My list build went from 200 to over 1,000. It was an amazing offering to give to my students and the world. I learnt so much about myself, overcame many fears and broke through lots of barriers. The experience 'priceless!' Can't wait to launch the next one later this year.

T is for time management
Yoga offers some great insights and reminders to help us with time management.
* Mono-task - when confronted with a large to-do list, we tend to ‘multi-task’ – taking on more than one activity at the same time. Just like in balancing poses we need to stay focused on standing on one leg, to finish and complete the tasks at hand we also need to stay focused on one thing at a time.
* Satya - When we set goals, we need to keep the value of “satya” (truthfulness) in mind and only strive for achievable, realistic goals. By being truthful to ourselves and to others, we can stay stress-free and time efficient.
* Discipline - It can take a LOT of discipline to establish and maintain a daily home yoga practice. It also takes a bit of structure. In the times I’ve been the most successful at accomplishing my tasks, I’ve done it by being structured and disciplined in my work. The mind will kick up a storm but regardless, just like my practice, I do what's in front of me and allow the thoughts to go on flowing.
*Ahimsa - We need to recognize that by striving to ‘over-achieve’, we are actually hurting ourselves, both physically and emotionally. By keeping the value of “ahimsa” (no harm) in mind, we can prevent physical injury and emotional stress.
* Take breaks - by taking breaks we allow time and space for answers to come and the mind to rest, this encourages greater productivity and efficiency.

U is for urgency
I learnt this lesson from the renown book “habits of highly effective people.” Simply using the below table to work out which task are actually worth my time and energy makes things super easy to prioritise!

urgency

V is for value
We will only buy something if it is valuable to us. I'll repeat - we only buy something if it is valuable to us. It needs to fill a desire, need or problem, to give us something worth having. Understanding this has been of great help in marketing my online home yoga courses. I have filled them with value and communicated the value. The result … more people seeing the benefits a home yoga practice. More people wanting a home yoga practice. More people doing the courses and enhancing their lives!

W is for websiteweb
By golly, this is a never ending project. Super rewarding but never ending! Having a very small budget to begin with, I virtually built my website myself. My number one tip here is to have a clear direction. When establishing my website I didn't know what I wanted it to do, I just knew I had to get one and to make it great! Literally thousands of hours spent on pages of content that today I am culling and deleting. I've learnt that having hundreds of asana, pranayama and meditation techniques listed on my website is great and provides lots of value but to make that value consistent and meaningful my website needs to collect names and email addresses for my database.

X is for xenophobia
Xenophobia is the fear of strangers or their culture. When working with private students from all around the world I come across many different backgrounds, beliefs and understandings. Sometimes I notice resistance or uncertainty in myself when a student goes against my views or says something that doesn't feel right for me. The fear that arises often comes from a place of protection and provides me with an opportunity to explore what is really under the surface. Using the yogic tools, our vivek (discrimination) and jnana (knowledge), we can decipher if working with a particular student is of value to us or not. It can be a difficult thing to see, especially if you have a similar desire to mine, 'to empower everyone with their own home yoga practice!' I've learnt that there are just some people that aren't compatible for me to work with, to honor myself and them, I let them know.

Y is for you timetake-time-for-you
This is crucial! I wholeheartedly mean this. So many times I've thought I was super woman and could manage my schedule and whatever was given my way. I didn't need 8 hours sleep, a day off, a night out or to sit down to eat. The Truth … in order to live a life worth living, I DO! I am not a robot, I can't sustainably go, go, go. Even when I kid myself into thinking I can just do one more thing, the people around me suffer. Today, even though it is sometimes soooo hard, I take time for me. More often than not I cherish this time. Over and over again I see that I'm much more productive and can respond rather than react!

Z is for zip
Get some more zip in your practice, your teaching and your life is a must! That vigor, oomph, pep and sparkle ... it's contagious. As we know like attracts like so just by giving some gusto and pizzazz you'll' be generating more and more. Getting zip, zest and zing in my teachings and life makes me feel more drive, spirit and prana, the result ... Ananda - BLISS!

 

Make sure you check out yesterday's Yoga Teacher Blog Tour--by Wendy Weymann 5 ways daily meditation practice can help you be an awesome private yoga instructor: And check out Kendall Covitz's blog here for tomorrow's #yogateachertour goodness!

 

 

What you’re really thinking during yoga

Just reminds us how easily the mind gets distracted. The best tip is to notice what your thoughts are saying ... this creates some distance between the thoughts and the Higher Self. We can remember we are not just thoughts, we are beyond!

Namaste,

Healthcare Rebates

More private health funds are offering a rebate as part of "extras cover" for yoga classes. Contact your health fund directly to find out if you are eligible. Advise us of the specific receipt requirements (each fund asks for different details).

Health-Funds

Always let your teacher know of any injuries or relevant medical information especially if you are new, or have a new condition, or have a new teacher. Then we are better able to guide your practice and keep it safe.

Read more about health funds offering rebates here.

Yoga while traveling

Empower header

Yoga while traveling

Tips in practicing when you're on the road -

Be flexible
During travels your asana practice on the mat changes daily, sometimes you won’t have enough space in your room to actually unroll the mat or the towel so you might have to improvise and explore different postures on the bed or perhaps practice a few moves in the shower!

Adjust your expectations
Whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure or both, travel changes your daily schedule. When your schedule changes you may be inclined to throw in the towel and skip practicing all together. Consider your practice while on the road to simply be maintenance. You don’t skip brushing your teeth while you’re traveling even though you may be using a lousy toothbrush. And, it’s still worth it, right? We’ll the same goes for your practice.

Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are
I unapologetically did some arm and side stretches while waiting in the queue for the airplane bathroom. And I thoroughly enjoyed a nice restorative yoga pose (legs up the wall with pillows instead of bolsters) while reading in my room. It didn't take much time, but I was so much more comfortable afterward.

Go beyond asana
Like discussed in the video, there are so many ways you can practice yoga without even moving! Explore pranayama, yoga nidra, meditation, chanting, kirtan, reading spiritual texts ... there is an endless supply of practices you can draw upon to center, ground and connect.

Remember All the Amazing Benefits
There may be days when you just don’t feel like it, but I promise you won’t regret making time for yoga while travelling. Here is a list of the benefits I noticed on these trips…decreased anxiety about travelling, feeling less jetlagged and more relaxed, better digestion and overall wellness when I was eating new/different food.

To sum it up ... traveling provides an opportunity for you to explore your body, breath and mind in a different environment. It gives you the ability to deepen your awareness and enhance your experience, enabling you to enjoy each moment to its fullest.

Whether you're at home, at work, in a traffic jam, on a plane or abroad, you can have a yoga practice to suit you.

Namaste,

8 Foods to Boost the Immune System

It takes more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away! These pretty surprising nutrients will help keep your immune system on guard and add an extra flu-fighting punch to your winter dishes!

Yogurtyogurt
Probiotics, or the "live active cultures" found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs. About 70% of our body’s immune system response is found in our GI tract and because our gut is on the front lines when it comes to contact with external bacteria, it’s important to keep our gut healthy to keep us healthy overall.

Oats and BarleyOats and Barley
These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than echinacea! It boosts immunity, speeds wound healing, and is known to help antibiotics work better.

Mushrooms
Mushrooms strengthen your immune system because they are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and other minerals.Mushrooms
Like oats and barley, mushrooms contain powerful compounds called beta-glucans, which have been long known for their immune enhancing properties. The beta-glucans in medicinal mushrooms (especially Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake) are notable for their ability to activate/modulate your immune system.

Garlic
This flavorful member of the onion family is a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting whitegarlic cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production. The immune-boosting properties of garlic seem to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides. Garlic can also act as an antioxidant that reduces the build-up of free radicals in the bloodstream.

Ginger
Ginger comes to the aid when we're sick in some powerful ways. Besides soothing a scratchy throat, it has Gingerchemicals called sesquiterpenes that target rhinoviruses -- which are the most common family of cold viruses -- as well as substances that help suppress coughing. Ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer and a mild sedative so you -- ll feel more comfortable and be able to rest easier. Add a couple of tablespoons of shredded gingerroot to your tea, or make ginger tea (it comes in tea bags, but you can also simmer fresh sliced ginger to make a potent brew).

Citrus FruitsCitrus fruits
Citrus fruits contain hefty doses of powerhouse vitamin C. Studies have found that this antioxidant can reduce cold symptoms by 23 per cent, and all that's needed is just one to eight grams (1,000 to 8,000 milligrams) to do the trick. Besides citrus fruits, other foods that have high amounts of vitamin C include papaya, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts and red bell peppers.

Honey
Honey has numerous medicinal properties and honeybecause it coats your throat it is a natural way to soothe sore throats. It also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties to help fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Cashews
Cashews are so much more than just a delicious snack; they’re also a good source of zinc and when zinc levels are down, your immune system is down. Your body needs zinc to develop Cashewsand activate T-lypmphocytes, which help the immune system respond to infection and act as a first line of defense in attacking infected cells. Other good sources of zinc include: beef, chicken, fortified cereals, crab, and beans

Self-knowledge through the Chakras

Understanding the chakras, or vital energy centers, gives us self-knowledge at every level of our being...

The word chakra literally means a “spinning wheel”—an apt metaphor, as spirit uses the chakras to weave the fabric of life. The chakras govern our behavior, shape our emotional life, give expression to our deepest desires, and build the structure of our physical body and personality.

Understanding the chakras gives us self-knowledge at every level of our being.Chakras

Luckily for us, the chakras also map out the journey to fulfillment and enlightenment. Yoga is designed to use the energy of the chakras to accelerate that journey.

The chakra model describes how the life force, prana, circulates between two poles, one in the physical world of the body and the other in the realm of pure consciousness. We humans, strung out between them with all our longings, joys, doubts, and desires, embody both the gross physical reality and the infinite potential of consciousness. Prana nurtures and sustains every aspect of our body and mind through the six energy centers arranged on an axis through the core of the body between the top pole, infinity at the crown (the seventh chakra), and the bottom one, at the pelvic floor (the first chakra). For easy reference, you can view the chakras in respect to their position along the spine, but keep in mind they are not physical structures; rather, they are the loci of subtle energy, which manifests on many different levels, not just the physical.

To find out more about each energy centre, click on the below...

Sahasrara Cimages (2)hakra  

Ajna Chakra

Vishuddhi Chakra

Anahata Chakra

Manipura Chakra 

Swadhishthana Chakra

Mooladhara Chakra 
Namaste,

Mindfulness

My dear friend Melli, also known as Mrs. Mindfulness, has created this awesome video on mindfulness. What is Mindfulness ... And What Does it Mean to You? This is particularly beneficial for taking your yoga practice off the mat and into everyday life!

Namaste,

Mindfulness in May

The Mindful In May One Month Challenge


Mindful in May is for beginners and more experienced meditators. It aims to bring the benefits of meditation to you, whilst improving the lives of others.

For the month of May 50% of profits from our community yoga classes will be donated to Charity Water, a not for profit organisation that builds clean water wells in the developing world.

Garden to Fork Yoga Retreat

Here is a glimpse of the last Garden to Fork yoga retreat. Our focus was RAW food.
The next retreat is on 10th May to 'Spice up Your Life,' we are learning about spices and how you can make bland foods taste yummy! For bookings - Yoga and Food Retreat

Relax with awareness

Stress is anything that disturbs the body’s homeostasis and causes it to go into the fight or flight response. It’s our bodies mechanism to protect itself. We need it for creativity, learning, and our very own survival.  Stress, however, becomes a problem when it is overwhelming and the stress levels are extended for a period of time.
When stressed the body releases adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase the heart rate, elevate blood pressure, raises sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream and boosts energy supplies. The body goes into a fight or flight mode. This interferes with the body’s ability to properly digest and assimilate food, contributes to many health problems and can cause a lack of sleep.

One of the first steps to releasing stress is becoming aware that one is stressed. Through this awareness we have the ability to change. This awareness brings us into the present enabling us to create new ways of responding to life rather than reacting to it. For today, take a look at when you're stress, when you're holding your breath or tensing your shoulders, ask yourself ... 'is this helpful to be, can I soften, relax?'

Namaste,

 

The opposite of fear

What's the opposite of fear?

Fear, it can be gripping, intense and paralyzing to our entire being. Every one of us has experienced it at some time in our lives, and for some, many times. However, if we surrender to it and draw upon our innate rimagesresource of wisdom through our higher selves, we are able to be present and can then move forward, fearlessly.

Today I pondered on how to cultivate fear's opposite, but I realize it's not a simple task - I'm not even sure what the opposite of fear is!

After contemplating for a while and doing a 'Google' search to get some insight, I came up with an array of answers.

Some websites say the opposite of fear is love, others say  courage, or confidence, or assurance. According the thesaurus, the opposite of fear…is safety. The opposing feeling to being scared is feeling secure.

The word that resonates most with me is faith. For me the opposite of fear is faith. This begs the question, how does one find faith? Faith comes from both trust and knowledge.
For example as a child I was afraid of monsters. My parents told me that monsters weren't real and while I trusted them and it ease the terror it wasn't until I grew older and had knowledge that monster weren't real that the fear totally slipped away.

Often we fear that which is a mystery to us; the unknown. So it stands to reason that knowledge alleviates fear because it produces faith.
Some tools in which to deal with the immediate impact of fear, connect with our true selves and resolve fear to trust include -
 
1) Breathe, relax and affirm you are safe. This will reduce adrenalin and anxiety, then you’ll then be able to think more clearly and make rational decisions, if necessary.
2) Surrender. Choose to let the fear go.
3) Remember who you are. You are a wise being. Inside us all resides a gentle, yet powerful soul.
4) Connect with your higher & true self and take back your power.
5) Be present. The past is the past, the future yet to come, be ‘in the now’ moment.
6) Change your perspective. Detach from the situation and see the truth surrounding your fear. Is it a real threat, or a perceived one?! Are there any positive actions you need to take?
7) Remember everything is exactly as it’s meant to be and that we experience things as opportunities for our souls to grow and evolve.

Yoga for Diabetes

Yoga for diabetes includes postures and breathing exercises that are designed specifically to target and stimulate the pancreas. By improving blood flow to the pancreas, yoga postures for diabetes rejuvenate the organ’s cells and improve its ability to produce insulin for the body.

When beginning yoga for diabetes, it is important to start with simple asanas. Avoid heavy exertion and instead focus on smooth, even stretching and abdominal compressions.

Several poses that have been found to be especially effective for diabetes include:SN Mountain pose - Parvatasana

Downward dog/Parvatasana
Improves digestion and helps to alleviate high blood pressure.

Cobra/Bhujangasana
Helps to stimulate proper pancreatic function.

Head to knee/Janu sirshasana
Speeds blood flow to the liver and kidney, aids digestion and strengthens the pelvic floor muscles.

 Thuderbolt/Vadrasna
Improves digestion and strengthens the pelvis, and it helps alleviate high blood pressure.Triangle pose - Trikonasana (2)

Triangle/Trikonasana
Stimulates all your abdominal organs and aids in digestion. It’s particularly helpful in keeping kidneys healthy.

Half spinal twist/Ardha matsyendrasana
Massage and improve circulation to your internal organs. Some studies suggest that improved circulation, particularly to the pancreas, could help improve glucose sensitivity.

As always listen to your body and maintain an awareness on the breath. These yoga poses and many more can support you along with other lifestyle changes in relief for diabetic symptoms. Enjoy!

coverI am so excited to announce the BIG project I've been working on -

I've created this online event to empower YOU in your home yoga practice.

The best thing is it is totally free and you can do it in the comfort of your own home!
Join me with 7 experts from around the world to find out exactly how to develop a home yoga practice.

Find out how to overcome resistance? Where to start? How long you need? Finding the time? The space? The motivation and drive? How to get astounding results? How it will improve your life?

Get your questions answered!!! Take part in The Worlds First EVER Home Yoga Summit to transform your life through a home yoga practice.

Join us and affirm your dedication to your health, giving yourself the gift of home yoga ...

Christina

Simply click on this link and sign up.

Namaste,

The Power of Words & Positive Thinking

Empower headerBringing awareness to the power of words and positive thinking to inspire you to be mindful to your thoughts. This is where we take our yoga practice off the mat and into everyday life, yes you yoga practice can be apart of your thoughts!

Part One

 

Part Two

 

John Vincent's experiment

Self-care is self-less

Over the years I have had a lot of resistance towards 'SELF-Care' even mentioning the words raised the hairs on my back. I felt guilty. Indulgent. Unworthy...

Believing that I must put my family, my partner, my work, my students, my emails, my calls, my neighborselfcare, my pets, my....(the list continues), above me, sent me to a place of complete exhaustion.
In the end I couldn't be anything for anyone.

When trying to address beliefs around 'self-care', our Western society applauses and actually encourages the idea of pushing yourself to the limit and achieving the most possible. Many religions advocate self sacrifice. Taking time out and looking after oneself can be seen as lazy and slothful.

However self-care is not selfish. Infact, self-care is selfless. Through self-care we can be more to more people. We can be better parents, employees, spouses, friends. We become able to withstand the demands of modern life and respond from a place of balance and ease.

On an airplane, an oxygen mask drops in front of you. What do you do? As we all know, the first rule is to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others.

Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It is also one of the easiest things to forget. Often we stop when it's too late. When we are worn out, stressed out and run down. You do not have to be 'running on empty' to remember to slow down...you can do it right now!

Give yourself permission to re-fuel and lead by example. Treat yourself as a worthwhile person, showing that you are valuable, competent and deserving.

Where to begin? You may wonder...
You don't need to spend hours or hundreds to give yourself some loving. It can be as simple as doing some yoga at home, taking a Bath, nourishing your skin, preparing a healthy nutritious meal you'll love, play some soothing music, go to bed early, have a massage, walk on the beach, listen to the birds, whatever you do, do something to take care of YOU.

Making you time is the secret to maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit.

Namaste,

Goal setting

What are goals?goal setting2

Goals provide visualization of a future outcome. They are precise statements of specific commitments to produce measurable results. The translate priorities into action.

Why set goals?

Gives clarity - How are you supposed to manifest and achieve your dreams if they are not clearly spelt out? Setting your goals gives you clarity on what you ultimately want. It makes you crystallize and articulate the desires floating in your mind. It ensures that you are channeling your time, energy and efforts into things that really matter to you. It makes you live more consciously.

Drives you forward - Your goals are a representation of your inner desires; desires which motivate you in life. Goals give you motivation; they are the fuel which drives you forward and keep you going when the going gets tough.

Gives focus - Goals give you a single focal point to place your attention on. They allow you to hone in on exactly what you want to spend your time and energy in. You may have a broad idea of what you want to do. But until you clearly articulate it out as specific goals, it’s easy to get sidetracked.

Makes you accountable - Rather than just talking about what you want all the time and not do anything concrete about them, you are now obligated to take action. Setting a specific goal gives you clarity on whether you are living up against what you committed yourself to do when you first set your goal.
This accountability is accountability to yourself, not anyone else. This accountability is what you hold up to when you choose the healthy salad over that piece of fried chicken. It is what you answer to when you got out of bed early to do your meditation instead of pressing the snooze button three times. When you stay accountable toward your goals, you are in fact staying true to your desires.

Be the best you can be - Goals help you achieve your highest potential. By setting goals, you set targets to strive against. These targets make you venture into new places, new contexts, new situations which puts you into growth mode. They make you stretch beyond your normal self and reach new heights.

How do you write an effective goal?

The structure of a goal includes -
Outcome - what you will do and how success will be measured.
Activity - the action(s) taken to accomplish the outcome.

How Can I Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals For Health and Well-being?

Whether your goal is to create more YOU time, increase your awareness or become more centered, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals will give you an edge by keeping you focused and motivated throughout your endeavor.
S – specific, significant, stretching (what do you want? why do you want it? who will help you? where will you achieve it?)
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational (how will you measure progress?)
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented (how will you accomplish this goal?)
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented (is it doable and meaningful to you?)
T – time-based, timely, tangible, trackable (when will you accomplish this goal?)

Putting this into action

Your task is to set yourself a minimum of three physical related, three mentally related and three emotionally related goals to achieve in the future.

Physical Related Goals

Specific Goal
How will it be measured?
Action required?goal setting
Is it realistic?
Completion date?
Mentally Related Goals

Specific Goal
How will it be measured?
Action required?
Is it realistic?
Completion date?

Emotional Related Goals

Specific Goal
How will it be measured?
Action required?
Is it realistic?
Completion date?
Now's the fun part...putting what you've learnt into action! Good luck, let me know how you go!

Gift for you

This one hour class is a balanced and well rounded practice to help balance and restore the body, breath and mind. Enjoy...

Namaste,

Eat your greens

Did you know dark leafy greens are the foods most commonly missing from our diets? Do you remember being nagged as a child to 'eat your greens?' Learning to incorporate them into your daily menu is absolutely essential to keeping your body healthy and your immune system strong. Greens purify the blood, improve circulation, boost energy, improve kidney and liver function, and clear up congestion. And let's be honest: After a winter of roasts, hot chocolate and other indulgences, who couldn't use a little liver detox?eat your greens

 

Pound for pound, leafy greens have the most nutrients of any food for the fewest calories. In fact, when we nourish ourselves with greens, we may naturally crowd out the foods that make us sick, such as sugar, refined carbs and excess meat and dairy.

 

So, why are leafy greens still missing from our diets? If you're cringing and complaining about the taste and texture, please let me stop you. Here are four ideas that will make eating those greens a treat instead of a chore!

 

Four recipes for leafy greens

1. Drink leafy greens in a smoothie.

Supercharge your morning with this blender-ready smoothie combo:

Kale + Coconut Water + Banana + Chia seeds + Almond Butter + Cinnamon

 

2. Add leafy greens to a stir fry.

Add hardy greens (e.g., kale, spinach, silverbeet, etc.) to any stir fry combo by slicing them into long ribbons. It's a great way to take in the powerhouse nutrients of leafy greens without having to worry about taste or texture.

Try this recipe:

Saute onions, garlic and any combo of chopped veggies (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, bell pepper and bok choy). Season with a splash of tamari and fresh ginger; serve over a bed of brown rice!

 

3. Add a little "sass" to your pesto or marinara sauce.

Dark leafy greens like spinach and silverbeet cook down considerably, so it's easy to add them to the meals you are already used to eating, like spaghetti. Adding greens to your sauces makes it easy for even the pickiest of eaters to consume these high-nutrient foods.

Try this recipe:

Chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces and add them to the sauce about five minutes before it's ready.

 

4. Grill those leafy greens!

Seriously, it's the perfect time of year for a grilled salad.

Try this recipe:

Split a head of cos lettuce lengthwise, keeping it intact on the end so that it doesn't fall apart. Brush both sides with coconut oil or ghee, season with salt and pepper, and grill on a hot grill or grill pan until lightly wilted and slightly charred on each side. Squeeze lemon over the top and enjoy!

 

Inspired by Jennifer Flanagan.

FREE online live classes

Satya Live Yoga goes 'LIVE!'Free live classes

Seriously, who doesn't enjoy having loads of energy, radiating wellness, shining from the inside, thinking clearly and feeling nurtured and healthful?!

As you know, yoga will provide these awesome benefits, so, to support you in your well-being, we have a gift for you....

FREE live online YOGA CLASSES!

Every Tuesday for the month of November there will be a free live online yoga class from 6-6.30am (EST)

Everybody is welcome to join and if you can't make it, no problem, the recording can be viewed on youtube. A link for the broadcast will be provided on Monday....stay tuned!

Can't wait to be sharing yoga with you in the comfort of your own home! See you on Tuesday, if not before

 

Namaste,

Fun Photo Competition

This spring we celebrate Yoga for everyone and Yoga everywhere!

We invite you to join us and STRIKE A POSE...
Take it to the streets, the park, the patios – wherever inspires you. Take a quick snapshot in your favourite pose.
Post your photo to our facebook page by 30th Nov for your chance to win!!!

1st Prize: $108 gift voucher for any Satya Live Yoga course, class, retreat
2nd Prize: One month unlimited Yoga in the Park Mornington membership

Photo Competition

Photos to receive the most Facebook LIKES wins. So...get snapping, posting and liking.

Cant wait to see where you get to on your Yoga adventures.. the opportunities are endless ;-)

Namaste,

P.S. Spread the message of yoga and invite your friends to like your photo!

Validation

Validation. A simple way to feel great...go and validate!
Check out this fun video -

For today, tell someone how great they are!

Excess water killed me, yoga healed me

Today tonight interviewed me to capture just how important it is to have moderation. In the broadcast they unfortunately missed the most important part....Yoga healed me. Read on to know the whole story and how yoga was a big part of the recovery process.

7 years ago I thought I was as healthy as ever. I was exercising daily, eating unprocessed foods and drinking 4 litres of water a day. I was told that this amount of water was too much but I figured I didn't drink any tea, coffee or juice so it seemed reasonable. My naturopath suggested if I stopped adding salt to my food I wouldn't be so thirsty and my water intake with subside.

I took on this advice and cut out salt from my diet – no soya sauce, Vegemite, sea salt etc. Two weeks later I felt dehydrated and sick. My head was thumping. I started vomiting. So much fluid was coming out of my body, I drank more water.

That night I went to bed praying for the pain to leave. My head hurt badly, the agony was excruciating.

Little did I know, I had depleted my body of sodium. During the night I fell unconscious.

I didn't show up for work the next morning, my colleges knew something wasn't right so they called my mum. My mum rushed home to find me blue and surrounded by feces, urine and vomit. I wasn't breathing. She called the ambulance in a fluster, desperate to keep me alive. The ambulance arrived and rushed me to the hospital. On the way, the ambulance stopped to revive me, I had died.

At the hospital I was induced into a coma. The lack of oxygen to my brain caused a hypoxic brain injury. After awakening from the coma life as I had known, had completely changed. I was a dribbling vacant being. Doctors were indecisive as to how, if ever, my brain would heal.
I had to relearn everything. From blinking to talking. This was so difficult. I knew what I wanted to do, but was unable to do it. Frustration, despair, distress. I had no idea what was happening. My mum patiently and lovingly sat by my hospital bed trying to explain the events. She believed in me. She had so much hope and faith in my recovery, she did what ever it took to assist my brain's repair.

Recovery felt unattainable. Even though the ability to talk and eat came back naturally, my short term memory was severely impacted. So much so, I needed to write most things on paper. My brain just couldn't absorb information. 5 minutes after eating my lunch I had no recollection of eating. If I was watching a television show, in the ad break, I couldn't remember what I was watching. The pain of not understanding how my brain was affected or how I could heal it was tormenting. I cried and cried and cried. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to face the world. I was scared. I was so scared because my brain, my memory, my thought processes could no longer be trusted. The way I functioned in the past was no longer working, I felt really lost.

I was told by neurosurgeons that the brain, just like any other muscle, could be strengthen. I had to depend on those words and I grasped onto the hope that someday I'd be able to work , to drive and to function normally again.

Gradually my brain recovered. It was as though I'd take two steps forward, one step back. I started to volunteer at a juice bar, because I was unable to work full time, but after a few hours helping out I'd go home exhausted, so exhausted my brain couldn't comprehend talking and I needed to sleep for most of the next day. But we persevered. We, being my mum and me. I relied completely on her. She was the only one who understood what was happening and she reassured me daily that it was ok, that I was safe. My mum drove me to see dozens of specialists, I tried reiki, acupuncture, EFT, NLP and numerous brain training programs but what really showed a noticeable difference was my yoga practice.

Subtle but powerful, the practice of Yoga Nidra. This systematic relaxation helped me to conquer the extreme fatigue I was experiencing. In the early days of my recovery I was sleeping 18 hours a day, utterly exhausted. Yoga nidra accelerated my brain's renewal and the more I did it, the less sleep I needed.

Through the practice of asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation my mind became more focused, clear and coherent. The neuromuscular functioning improved. Through regular practice, new neural pathways in my brain were form and my autonomic nervous system pattern shifted. This process gave be the ability to do what doctors didn't think was possible - fully recover from this type of brain injury.

This life changing event encouraged me to delve deeper into the traditional and holistic practice of yoga. I spent 2½ years living, studying and teaching in Satyananda Yoga Ashrams around the world.

Today I teach as much as I can. When I'm not in the community, at schools, hospitals or sports centers sharing yoga, I am connecting to my students online with my home yoga courses.

In all honesty I am privileged to be alive.

I feel it is my duty to spread the message of yoga, as it has honestly transformed my life, and, daily, I see this holistic practice positively benefit the lives of many others.

Namaste,

September Equinox

As those of us who live in the Southern Hemisphere of our planet embrace the return of the light and sunshine of Spring, our sisters and brothers in the Northern Hemisphere are embodying the exact opposite experience as they prepare for theSeptember Equinox Autumn winds.
The beautiful reflection of the opposite experiences embodied within the whole of our planet is something to ponder and hold dear.

 
For as we all move toward a rebalancing of opposites within and without, we see that this duality within the whole is an intrinsic part of Reality. One cannot exist without the other, and the seasons and the ebb and flow of life reflect to us this elemental wisdom.

 
Wherever we find ourselves on the spectrum, it is the time of balancing the dark and the light. In the Southern Hemisphere, as the days grow longer, we we move our way back into the world and bring out our inner light to share with the world. In the Northern hemisphere, as the days get shorter and the outer light recedes, we move inward to kindle our inner light.

 
Everything in nature is constantly giving and receiving. This balance is essential, and it is part of the expressive energies of yin and yang that we are re-balancing as a collective.
So this September Equinox, may we all remember this intrinsic BALANCE  and ACTIVATE IT within us.

 

Namaste,

Couples Yoga – Funny Film

Check out this short funny film, good for a laugh...

Natural Detoxification Process

"Spring Cleaning" for Our Body!

The body has its own systems that work to eliminate waste products and toxic substances. This is the Natural Detoxification Process. Three of these systems are the:spring detox

1. Circulatory system 
Pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen to and carrying waste products away from the cells of the body.
2. Digestive system
Processes food, separates nutrients from waste, and eliminates what the body doesn't need.
3. Lymphatic system
Intracellular fluid is moved throughout the body, transported to lymph nodes where harmful constituents are removed, such as bacteria or other contaminants, before the lymphatic fluid is returned to the bloodstream. Lymph moves around based on how much we move around. The only way to ensure proper lymph circulation is through exercise or massage.
These systems work well on their own in a healthy body, but if we don't eat well, don't get enough exercise, or if we're stressed, then these systems don't work as efficiently. This results in a build-up of toxic material which can leave us feeling physically and mentally sluggish and sick.

The practice of yoga is one of the methods that supports the functioning of these systems.

A well-rounded practice of yoga postures systematically stretches, twists, compresses, and "upends" all parts of the body to help eliminate impurities from different organs and to allow oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to flow through the organs.

A few of the benefits of this practice over time, include more energy, mental clarity, better sleep, better digestion, clearer skin, fewer aches and pains, and less illness.

Another great reason as to why we should practice yoga!

 

Cleansing Kitchari

Kitchari, kitcharee, kicharee however you spell it is the most basic nourishing meal from the Indian sub-continent. It’s a mushy mix of rice and beans. Turmeric turns it yellow and enables g.i.Cleansing Kitchari tract reparation and optimization. Other spices are added to warm the gut, digest ama, and work their adaptogenic magic. All in all, kitchari is the simplest healing meal that you can live off indefinitely. Mung beans are used because they are the easiest legume to digest. White basmati rice is traditionally used for it’s not-too-heavy, not-too-warming, not-too-drying qualities which help Kaphas, Pittas, and Vatas respectively. However a zillion variations exist which affect the doshas in all sorts of combinations.

Ingredients:

½ cup Basmati Rice
1 cup Mung Dal (split yellow)
6 cups Water
Piece Ginger
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Ghee
Spices - ½ tsp of each Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder, Whole Cumin Seeds, Mustard Seeds, Turmeric Powder
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
Fresh parsley

Method:

Wash the rice and mung dal twice. If you have time, let the mung dal soak for a few hours before cooking, to help with digestibility.
Add rice and dal to the water. Bring to a boil, and boil 5 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Turn down heat to low, and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop.
Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors.
Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal and rice mixture. Once it is done it is something between a soup and a stew. The consistency it totally up to you. Add the salt and chopped fresh parsley and serve.

5 Reasons Why Athletes Should Do Yoga

Yoga offers tremendous health and wellness benefits for everyone. It is becoming increasingly popular among athletes and sports enthusiasts. Here are 5 key reasons why Yoga can be beneficial for those involved in sports and athletic training programs.yoga-athletes-01

1) Yoga enhances recovery - most vigorous sport activities generate lactic acid in muscle tissue.  If lactic acid is not removed properly, it can adversely affect performance in future training sessions or events.  Yoga postures can help in the removal of lactic acid by gently circulating lactic acid out of muscle tissue and into the blood stream where it will make its' way to the liver for processing.   Yoga also has shown to improve sleep patterns. Proper rest and ample sleep are critical periods for an athlete's recovery process.

2) Yoga restores balance and can help reduce injury.  Many sport activities are dominant on one side of the body due to specific movements and joint loading.  This mechanical dominance can create musculoskeletal imbalances that can generate chronic injuries.  Yoga can be beneficial in reducing these tissue and joint imbalances.

3) Yoga improves biomechanics and energy conservation.  Moving a joint requires energy.  The more tension one has around that joint, the more energy is required to facilitate that movement.  The goal of athletes is to have maximum performance with the most energy conservation.  Yoga exercises that improve flexibility and joint range of motion reduce muscle tension and enhance sport biomechanics.  This enhancement reduces the amount of energy needed for those movements, thus allowing an athlete to perform at higher levels and/or longer intervals.

4) Yoga improves body awareness and focus.  Yoga employs physical and mental exercises that deepen one's sense of body positioning and movement (proprioception).  Enhanced proprioceptive skills are crucial in the development and progression of athletic training.  Yoga's use of breathing and centering techniques can be valuable tools for event preparation, routine and skill visualization, as well as stress/anxiety reduction.

5) Yoga improves breathing function.  Yoga exercises, particularly pranayam exercises, have been shown to improve breathing mechanics and lung capacity.  Focused breathing exercises develop one's ability to maximize function of all breathing mechanisms (diaphragm and intercostal breathing).  Maximal lung health is vital for athlete's, especially for those who partake in aerobic-based sports and require efficient lungs to deliver sufficient oxygen uptake.

 

Article by Kreg Weiss, BHKin

Funny Yoga Scene

Our favorite quote: 'Remember, this is not a competition...'Although you two seem to be the best in the class.'   Hope it brings a smile to your dial xx

Relaxation poses

Proper, purposeful relaxation offers the greatest amount of renewed strength in the shortest length of time. After extended exertion or stress, perfect rest in the form of relaxation is the principle which revitalizes the nerve centers, collects the scattered forces of energy and invigorates the body. The three relaxation poses of Yoga for complete relaxation are Matsya kridasanaShavasana and Advasana.

Matsya kridasana Flapping Fish - Matsya kridasana

This is considered best for sleeping, as it is the most comfortable. To take the pose, lie relaxed with your right arm under your head, using it as a pillow. By lying passively on the right side, you favor emptying of the stomach and make breathing movements easier. In practice, it has been found that sleeping in this manner generally inhibits dreams and nocturnal emissions and improves digestion. A short period of sleep becomes the equivalent of a longer sleep for recuperative purposes. It is also recommended for short periods of waking relaxation.

ShavasanaCorpse Pose - Shavasana

This is recommended for use when the student of Yoga experiences fatigue during any of his exercises. This pose is described in the tracts as "destroying fatigue of the body; quieting the agitation of the mind." Lie face up with your feet extended. Remain motionless with a sense or feeling of sinking down like a corpse. Gradually relax every muscle of the body by concentrating on each individually, from the tip of the toe to the end of the skull. Exercise absolute resignation of will by trying to forget the existence of your body and detaching yourself from it. Hold this posture until you feel restored.

Medical authorities have confirmed that the Shavasana pose brings about a fall in the blood pressure and pulse rate and establishes an even rate of respiration. If this pose is kept for more than ten minutes, the deepened respiration and lowered circulation in the brain will probably bring about a tendency to sleep.

AdvasanaReversed Corpse Pose - Advasana

Lie down with your head on your folded arms, as if on a pillow, and concentrate as in Shavasana. Relax all your muscles. Then stretch your hands and legs out fully, and permit the power of gravity to take over the weight of your body as you relax every voluntary muscle.

 

Marjarasana – Yoga the back

Marjarasana, also know as the cat-stretch pose is a simple yet powerful yoga asana for many back ailments.

The pose does many things, among them

  • establishes ideal spinal alignment
  • strengthens and stretches back muscles
  • develops coordination of spinal movement.
  • Stabilizes the sacrum to release lower back pain
  • Supports back by engaging abs
  • Loosens spine
  • Stretches hips

A Way to Experience Ideal Spinal Alignment -

By getting on all fours, and positioning your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, the cat-cow allows your spinal alignment to occupy a supported and centered position. Doing the pose regularly will give you a sense of what this feels like and will help you to develop postural balance.

Coordinating Your Spine as a Whole -

The cat-cow pose establishes an ideal spinal alignment from head to pelvis, with no parts left out. This is done by means of your knees and hands securing you to the ground, called "closing the kinetic chain." To do the pose, first roll your chin to your chest and hunch the spine like a cat (flexion of the spine) and then slightly arch your back while lifting the head (extension of the spine). The slow arch of the cow stretches your neck and the front of your torso, while the curve of the cat helps to relieve stress by lengthening the spine and improving the circulation to the discs between the vertebrae. Your abdominal organs will also be massaged, stimulating both digestive and reproductive systems in your body.

A Pelvic Tilt with More Challenge -

Have you noticed that the cat-cow has you doing a similar action in your spine to the pelvic tilt? If so, you are not imagining it! Like the pelvic tilt, the cat-cow provides flexion and extention of the spine. Unlike the pelvic tilt, in the cat-cow you are also balancing yourself on all fours, so your muscles have to work harder to keep you in good alignment. And, by being on all 4s in the cat-cow, you have a different spatial orientation than in the pelvic tilt. This develops coordination.

Strengthening and Stretching Back Muscles -

When you go into the cow part (arched back) of the cat-cow pose, your back muscles get a workout. When you go into the cat part, they are stretched.

When to practice -

Pretty much, anytime! As the pose promotes deep relaxation and deep breathing, the cat-cow stretch is great to practice before bedtime, engaging you in a physical chant through its simple but rhythmic sequence. Women will gain extra treats from this pose as it’s been used to relieve menstrual cramps and is usually included in prenatal yoga classes!

 

 

 

Prenatal Yoga – the power of sound

Vocal Toning can be one of  the most VALUABLE tools for the birthing muPrenatal yogam. The voice is one of the key areas of expression: expression of joy, pain, sorrow, anger and the list goes on. Most women in labor naturally use their voices. Vocal toning allows you to capture the power and usefulness of your voice and use it to your advantage rather than your disadvantage.

To understand why vocal toning works, first we must understand that there is a neuro-muscular connection between the cranium/throat and the sacrum/pelvis. When the throat is choked (with fear, pain or unexpressed emotion, words we can not express etc), this tightness is reflected in the pelvis/sacrum. When the throat is open, this opening is then reflected into the throat of the birth canal, the opening of the cervix.

In addition to the benefit of the open throat reflecting the open pelvis, vocal toning also releases sound vibrations throughout the body. Sound Vibration Therapy, Sound Wave Therapy, and other types of sound therapy have been common in the Alternative Healing sectors for many, many years. Sound vibrational waves are thought to affect the body on a cellular level, and have been touted to: relax muscles by carrying tension from the body, improve circulation, maximize energy flow within the body, alleviate some disease such as arthritis, heal past injuries, even diminish cellulite!

Seeing as the voice is one of the first choices of expression, it is no wonder that during a powerful contraction often the first reaction is to use your voice to say: "OW", or "it hurts", or sometimes to even scream. These are all normal natural, intuitions. The point is, to try to use the voice in a way that doesn't trigger your flight or fight response, as a scream or painful reaction would do. When you are using these habitual reactions to painful, fearful situations your mind believes what you are telling it, and this is counter-intuitive to labor's progress....

21 Days of Yoga

Home yoga practice - I'm so excited to be sharing this with you. 21 Days of Yoga has been a project I have given love, tears and over 500 hours to. And now it's ready! I developed this course because many students have21 Days of yoga home yoga practice expressed how challenging it can be to practice yoga regularly. They love yoga and love the way they feel after practicing, but finding the time, space and motivation can be a real obstacle. I know this oh so well. I spent 2 1/2 years in yoga ashrams and I still struggled! Through my own experience and those I have taught, I've learnt how to overcome the many difficulties that one may face in achieving a regular home yoga practice. This course is designed to help you find your own home yoga practice. The best news is...it works! If you have any questions or want to know more, feel free to email or call me. Thank you for walking this path with me, Namaste Christina

 

 

Polenta Pizza with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes.

polenta pizza - satya live yogaPolenta is a wonderful dish that goes with breakfast, lunch and dinner and it can be served hot or cold, soft or hard making it one the most versatile foods. Since polenta is gluten free it can easily replace wheat based meals.

Serves 4
Time - 2 hours (1 hour 30 mins prep, 30 mins cook)

INGREDIENTS -
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for pan
½ cup whole milk
2½ cups water
Salt and pepper
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 cups of mushrooms, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 cup shredded fontina or any other pizza cheese

DIRECTIONS -
1. Brush a layer of olive oil on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, water and a large pinch of salt. Bring just about to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and add cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking all the while to prevent lumps from forming. Turn heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, until thick, 10 or 15 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick, whisk in a bit more water; you want a consistency approaching thick oatmeal.polenta pizza - satya live yoga

2. Stir 1 tablespoon oil into cooked cornmeal (polenta). Spoon it onto prepared pan, working quickly so polenta does not stiffen; spread it evenly to a thickness of about ½ inch all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator until it is firm, an hour or more (you can refrigerate polenta overnight if you prefer).

3. Heat oven to a moderate temperature. Put polenta in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it begins to brown and crisp on edges. Meanwhile, put one tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released all of their moisture, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to take the mushrooms out of pan; set aside. Add spinach to skillet and sauté until it releases its water and pan becomes dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Take polenta out of oven, sprinkle with cheese, then spread spinach evenly on top of cheese and top with mushrooms and sliced tomato. Put pizza back in oven for two minutes, or until cheese begins to melt and the toppings are warmed through. Cut into slices and serve hot or at room temperature. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and chilli lakes, if desired.

Be OK with your MUD

In the yoga tradition, the lotus is rich with metaphor that inspires us to embrace all parts of ourselves - the beautiful flower that is above the surface as well as our roots and origins in the "mud".

Your "flowers" are the parts of yourself that you find most appealing, it's "your good side" and your "best light", it's even the "final form" of the yoga pose.

Your "mud" is the dark times, your unconscious shadow side, all the pain, suffering, and challenge that has inspired you to grow towards the light and even the struggle you go through when working towards a more advanced yoga posture.
Often, we only want to show our "flowers". We want to be impressive and have others think highly of us. However, our "mud" is our depth and what feeds our life's purpose and meaning.

Here is a little mud on me -Be OK with your mud

- Getting comfortable with my feelings is a life mission. From a young age I tried to escape them and 'numb' the feelings with food, cigarettes, alcohol, excessive and compulsive behaviors. I began practicing yoga because I felt a peace with my feelings.

- At 20 I overdosed on water! Unintentionally of course, but it showed me the importance of moderation in EVERYTHING!

- Obviously I hadn't fully learnt this lesson and at 22 I quit my job, sold my car, renounced society, shaved my head and went to live in yoga ashrams for 2 ½ years. There I understood that balance is the key - this is why I love balancing poses.

- Home yoga practice has been a huge struggle in my life. On again, off again. When I was practicing I felt great, when I wasn't I felt guilty. When I let go of the 'good or bad' label, I freed myself up to enjoy and listen to my body, rather than my head. Believe it or not my body loves practicing, it thrives on, so now I enjoy regular home practice effortlessly.

 

Every one of these stories is a little bit of my shadow, my "mud". Sometimes, with teachers or public figures, we only see the "flower" - what's above the surface - however, we all have our mud deep below.
And I want you to know about my "mud" because I believe the sharing of our stories and our "mud" builds compassion, connection, and understanding between us. Not to mention, we get to see that these challenges are rich, fertile soil for personal growth.

I encourage you today to get comfortable with your "mud"?

We live in a culture where we are bombarded by images and ideals of perfection - we're shown just the flower (and often a photo-shopped and digitally enhanced flower at that!) - embracing and expressing our mud will hep us live more authentically and more freely.

Namaste,

Connection

connection

We hear this word often in yoga world, and in the non-yoga world for that matter. Connection. But what does it really mean? Does it mean to hop on facebook and post something on someone’s wall?

To find the answer to this questions I got on my yoga mat to be in complete inquiry.

As I moved through my practice along side my partner, John I realised in that moment that I was fully connected. I was fully connected to myself and to John . It was a true, authentic, loving and non-judgmental connection. Even though we were on separate mats, doing our own thing, I was with him and he was with me moving through the postures.

I am fortunate to teach many people from all different backgrounds. Yoga makes that possible. One of my favourite moments of seeing this happen was at a public high school during exams. Perhaps one of the hardest classes I've ever taught. The teenagers were rowdy, stressed and their attention span was limited.

After a physical asana session, the students began to open, trust and they let me in. In that moment, we were all the same. We were connected. There was no difference in our ethnic background, economic status, hearing and speaking abilities, or age. We were one, moving on our mats and sharing a space that created lightness, hope and possibility.

I have experienced these moments a hundred times over, in India, in the upper class parts of Melbourne and in those moments with my partner on my mat. Each connection is on the surface completely different, but in the end the same.

Connection is about being a stand for others. It is about dropping everything you know about yourself and the other person to create a clear space that will allow you to completely be yourself, your authentic self. It is allowing yourself to connect like children do with innocence and hope.  And what can come out of this connection is powerful. It can change the world.  I see this change in action every single day. And it all starts by getting on the mat.