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GRATEFUL MUCH? Unexpected Joy…

GRATEFUL MUCH? Unexpected Joy…

Posted October 13, 2011

Grateful Much? Today I’m grateful for unexpected joy. Yesterday I woke at 5:15, as usual. I say ‘woke’ loosely, as I had barely slept all night. Blame it on the full moon, or the (natural) peanut butter toast I had at 9:30pm after teaching a double… either way my mind wouldn’t stop replaying the day like a fuzzy movie. So, when I rose with that heavy feeling, dressing quietly and slipping out of the house to drive in the darkness to my morning yoga practice I was quietly convincing myself to not focus on the lack of sleep and just ‘be in the moment’. Anything to create some positively around the fact that my both my mind, my ego, and my body didn’t want to do anything, let alone 1.5hrs of dynamic yoga practice . *pic kindly borrowed from sarahjanestudios.com But, underneath the ego nagging at me to stay in bed I knew that there was a quiet little voice trying to be heard. One that really, really couldn’t wait to hit the mat. To be in that beautiful, warm, cave-like shala that is YogaMoves. After quietly warming-up (and yawning) I began my Sun Salutation. I was met by a wave of intensity, strength and focus that nearly floored me.My breath was deep yet subtle, warming yet revitalising. My body was open and strong and my mind was very still. It felt so centred and almost meditative. By the end of my practice I was buzzing… Sighing with relief and contentment but mostly… Joy. When I lived with my beautiful friend Emma, many times I witnessed her bound up the stairs at 7:30am after her morning ashtanga vinyasa practice literally giving off a joyous, warm energy. I had felt many feelings in my yoga practice but I was never sure if I felt what she felt… Now I get it. My gratefulness isn’t so much around the joy, as such, but the expectedness of it… The ‘oh, hello there joy, who invited you’ surprise that I felt. I welcome it, yes. I lavished in it, but mostly I just noticed it, watched it and said thank you! A few hours later, the joy wore off somewhat (lack of sleep tends to catch up, even for the joyous!). But hey, I’m human. I’ve got it locked away in my heart now though… I’ll remember it. Did you experience anything unexpected this week? Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx Read more

GRATEFUL MUCH?

GRATEFUL MUCH?

Posted September 30, 2011

I am starting a regular blog post on Gratefulness. Through my yoga practice and studies I’ve learnt the art of giving thanks. I guess you could call it prayer in the traditional sense, but without asking for anything. Simply noticing the big, the small, the mundane and especially the things that change the way you think and feel. Today I simply want to honour and thank the people in this world that put themselves out there. Hearts flung wide open, emotions, feelings, fears – all of it – worn on their sleeve, right there in public for all to see. This week I was reminded how important it is to live openly, because with each gesture you act out, or phrase you utter with an open heart you pass on love, kindness and inspiration to those around you. I am blessed to have some pretty incredible friends in my life. Some of which continually surprise me, others that challenge me, some give me more love than I’m sure I deserve and then there are the ones that motivate me and reaffirm my belief that I am on the right path and meant to be out there helping people. This week a beautiful friend, whom I met during yoga teacher training, wrote me the most heartfelt message. She simply wrote to tell me she was loving my blog and that it had inspired her. What rocked my world was that she was living 100% openly in that moment. When she wrote that message she probably didn’t understand the weight that her words would have on me, but mostly I’m sure she was just living in the ‘now’. She wanted to reach out and share her feelings – no insecurities, no second guesses, nothing manipulative or calculated. Just simply being openly grateful. And although she said I have inspired her, in fact, it’s the other way around. Because through the act of her writing that message, the words in it and the idea that I could actually have helped one person (that’s all I’ve ever wanted) my entire perception of who I am and what I could possibly achieve has changed. Who know’s maybe next week something opposite will flip these feelings around, but right now I am feeling deeply grateful to have that connection and to my friend for being open. So, I ask… Why aren’t we more open? Why can’t we live our lives with a little rawness? I know we are so scared of being ‘out there’, naked, alone and shaking with the reality that everyone knows the truth of who we are, how we are feeling, what we want. But what is so wrong with that? Perhaps a lot of good can come from being honest with ourselves and those around us. I truly believe that there is a way to live more honestly, openly and free from the incessant questioning and insecurity that circulates in our mind. I also believe that there is a way to do this whilst protecting your heart and retaining energy and life-force for yourself – nurturing you and those around you, simultaneously. I also don’t mean lets share every nasty, vindictive, manipulative thought we have – yes, that’s just cruel, but mostly, because that’s NOT who you really are. It’s your ego, your insecurities and your fears snapping away inside your mind and convincing you that maybe you aren’t as nice as you thought. Wrong. We are above that, we just need to go deeper within and connect with our true selves – living in truth and living in the moment. I was reminded of an important lesson this week. One about living with kindness, openness and compassion. Every morning after my yoga practice I hold my hands in prayer at my chest and I give thanks for love and compassion in my life and I ask that I am always able to live openly – putting compassionate out to the world. Now, I am also going to give thanks for the people in my life that live this way and share their hearts and ask that I always attract these kind of people in my life. I ask that others do this too. How do you live openly? What are you grateful for this week? Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

Posted September 26, 2011

Sorry for the lil break between posts. I was too busy enjoying Spring! Now, this might seem like old news to some, but I know this is a list that I appreciate. The Environmental Working Group creates an easy quick reference guide to the fruits and veggies with the highest pesticide residue. Handy huh? Especially considering the toxicity levels in our bodies. We are exposed to so many chemicals each day – think about it for a moment. Shampoo/Conditioner, skincare products, haircare products, perfumes car fumes, pesticides, smog and pollution and so it goes… On, and on and on. So anything that helps us reduce that toxicity, even just a little will have an affect on our health. I know some people think that’s total bollocks, but hey – I don’t, so here it is. The Dirty Dozen 2011 – choose organic instead Apples Celery Strawberries Peaches Spinach Nectarines  Grapes  Sweet bell peppers Potatoes Blueberries  Lettuce Kale/collard greens As my beautiful sister also pointed out,  (thanks G!) unfortunately we need to add the brassicas to this group (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower etc). In Australia these vegies are sprayed for the cabbage moth about 16 times in the growth cycle! Sorry, what?! Anyway they slow down your metabolism (store more fat) and are best eaten alongside foods that need a slower metabolic rate for absorption such as pork and fatty meat. But that’s a whole other story. But, don’t fret too much. The EWG also creates the Clean Fifteen list. These are the fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticides. Which means, less dosh spent on organic.     How’s this for a fun-fact. The EWG has noted that if we choose to eat five servings of fruit and veg from the Clean Fifteen instead of the Dirty Dozen list then we can reduce pesticide ingestion by 92%. Now that is a whopping figure. Clean Fifteen 2011 Onions Sweet corn Pineapples Avocado Asparagus Sweet peas Mangoes Eggplants Cantaloupe  Kiwi Cabbage Watermelon Sweet potatoes Grapefruit Mushrooms Now, in no way am I saying organic and only organic. I’m realistic, I get that it’s expensive and it’s hard to include in your diet. So I’m all about picking and choosing what you can and can’t do in order to live healthier and happier. If this list gives you a little more direction, then great. If not, make sure you scrub/wash your fruit and veg as much as possible. It won’t get rid of all the pesticides but it’ll help somewhat.    The other option is to keep it local. If you can hit the markets, like Eveleigh in Sydney, you can actually meet the farmer’s themselves and ask questions. Perhaps avoid being really blunt – ‘ Hi, do you use pesticides?’ may not go down to well. But you could quietly approach them and suggest that you are really working on your health and trying to avoid toxins, ask if they would mind sharing how they pest control their crops.    I hope this helped!   Do you opt for organic? Or do you like to keep it local?   Signing off with an exhale.   Pause. Listen. Live.   C x  Read more

THE CENSUS MADE ME RETHINK ‘RELIGION’

THE CENSUS MADE ME RETHINK ‘RELIGION’

Posted August 12, 2011

The other day my boy and I were at home doing our first census together. It was interesting to say the least, especially when it came to listing our income and trying to remember all the places we have lived over the last five years. There was one question that I tripped up on. Religion. There was a whole list of ‘religions’ listed to choose from… none of which really fit me. My boy looked at me and said ‘wait, you are saying ‘Catholic’ right? Umm… no. I felt sheepish (and a little silly) saying this… but my answer to his question was – “I’m not really religious, I was raised a catholic, but I’d say I’m more spiritual?” So after a little back and forth, we decided that I would write just that on the census form. It made us laugh, seeing ‘SPRITIUAL’ written in the little boxes and thinking about the person on the other end collating the data… but I had to be true to myself – that’s just what made sense to me. The difference between spirituality and religion? Well, I’m definitely not an expert and I’m only a new student in this long spiritual journey but I feel (not know) that spirituality is more about the internal life. It is the continuous search for meaning and the understanding of me, myself, the ‘I’, in this universe. So ultimately, it’s about moving inward and finding that still point – I talk a lot about this when teaching a yoga class. Slowly loosening the strong-hold grip on the outer world and reconnecting with your true, inner being and that being which is born from and forever tied to the source, the divine. And in turn I feel that I become more connected to the world and the people around me and hopefully continually improve as a person, a soul. When I think about religion I see it as external spirituality with a story, in a structured house, with guidelines and rituals that are shared within a community. An experience, a doctrine, a map to life and one that brings people together. I’m not going to go into how religion can bring about pain and suffering – I know you all have your opinions on that – I’m just talking top line here, peeps! Now, don’t get me wrong; I totally and utterly respect religion. It was and still is the saving grace for my mother. Without a shadow of a doubt it has offered thousands of people in difficult situations refuge and faith to stay strong and move forward. But to me, believing is enough. If you want to believe in the trees, the sun, the sky, all of mother earth and that is your religion, then so be it. If you want to bow to a statue of every spiritual icon that walked this planet, then so be it. If faith, religion, spirituality of any sort helps you feel whole, connected and true and in turn makes you a better person to those around you, then so be it! For me, my religion, my spirituality is most definitely an amalgamation of experiences, passions and lessons throughout my life. It consists of meditation, private prayers to the universe (or God, whatever you wish to call it), my yoga practice – a silent meditative prayer with each breath – being in nature and community experiences (such as Kirtan, or yogic events) shared with like-minded friends. Relishing in the moment, sharing what I’ve learnt with my students, enjoying time with friends, being there for my family, living my life by giving and receiving happiness, being true to myself. So, how did you answer the religion question on the census form? I’d love to hear your thoughts on spirituality/religion? What do you think is the main difference between spirituality and religion? Signing off with an exhale. Pause.Listen.Live Cx Read more

8 WAYS TO BALANCE YOUR VATA

8 WAYS TO BALANCE YOUR VATA

Posted August 10, 2011

I’ve mentioned Ayurveda before, here and here… It’s one of the health/lifestyle systems that I truly connect with and leaves me with a sense of promise. Why promise? Well I find it so inspiring that a 5000-year-old tradition was and still is so far ahead of our modern day. Ayurveda, unlike modern medicine focuses on treating the individual to come into balance or Perfect Health, rather than treating the disease in a isolated way. The other reason I love Ayurveda is because it’s the sister science to Yoga – we all know how much I dig Yoga! Together, when combined they complement each other. So Ayurveda (pronounced eye-yer-vay-duh) is an Indian Holistic health system that means ‘life knowledge’. Forget quick fixes, drugs and hospitals, Ayurveda works at achieving optimal health, every day of your life for your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga, nutrition, meditation, pranayama (breath-work), herbs, massage and more encompass the healing method that is Ayurveda. The bit I heart the most about Ayurveda is that it simply looks at the individual – YOU – in the scenario. What is happening in your life, around you, what are you eating, what are you exposed to – all the different elements that could be throwing you out (mind/body/spirit) of balance. And YOU are made up of more than one energy – Vata, Pitta, Kapha – which are called doshas. And each dosha relates to one of the five key elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth. In a nutshell – you could be dominantly Vata with a little Kapha, or equal parts Pitta and Vata or a different combination. The key is to understand the doshas, or your individual Prakriti or nature and bring them into balance. Now… Let’s talk about Vata. Vata is an Air + Ether Dosha. It is the energy of movement. The best way to describe Vata is by inviting you to visualise the air, the wind. It is ungrounded, floaty, changeable, cool, dry, erratic. But it’s also free, mobile, doing its own unique, creative thing. Vata is referred to as the ‘king of the doshas’ because it is responsible for any movement in the body – blinking, heart beating, dancing, running, talking, jumping, circulation, elimination and so on. But, as you can imagine, Vata people, made of air and ether or those of us with a Vata imbalance (perhaps caused by an unstable situation at home/work etc) generally need to work at creating stability and grounding. The other thing to note here is that despite that fact that we are all blessed with a different Dosha mix – a different Prakruti – we are all living in a predominantly Vata world. A world of fast cars, fast entertainment, fast information. Everything is now, quick, speedy. So often, each of us can be affected by Vata even if we don’t have much of it in our Dosha – our own nature will be effected by the world and environment around us. So these 8 tips to balance and ground Vata are vital for all of us. If you have had a hectic, all-over-the-place, feeling kind of spacey week – then these are perfect to bring your Vata back into balance. 1) Slow down + stop. Practice meditation. Learn to still the monkey mind each day, even if it’s just 10 – 20 minutes. Find quiet and see how Vata quietens too. 2) Practice grounding yoga. Avoid too much Vinyasa or Dynamic style practices, or at least, go slow if this is the style you prefer. Find a way to earth yourself in the practice – focus on the breath and move fluidly and with calm. 3) Breath into it. Focus on the breath – simply sitting for 5 minutes each day and practicing breath awareness. Watch the breath, feel the quality of it as you inhale and exhale and automatically the breath begins to slow. This helps Vata move from fight or flight mode (sympathetic) to the more calmer state of parasympathetic nervous system. 4) Keep Oiled. Add nourishing oils to your meal. Oil is warming, soothing and grounding. So avoid crunchy, fresh salads sans oil – don’t be afraid to add in some good quality Olive, Coconut or Walnut and notice how much more stable and nourished you feel. 5) Get warm. Seek out the sunshine and feel the warmth on your skin. Not only do you get your Vitamin D hit but you will feel less of the cold + dry Vata qualities and more energy and balance through the heat. 6) Stick to schedules. Having a solid routine from morning to night is best to ground the airiness of Vata. Try to wake up at the same time each day and follow a similar routine – exercise, meditate, breakfast etc… This will help Vatas who tend to be forgetful, late and constantly change their mind! 7) Rise with the sun. Between 2am – 6am is when Vata is most active. Ever noticed how you might wake between these hours and you are wide awake and unable to fall back asleep? The best way to work with Vata is to rise with the sun – this will get your energy going and help you maximise it! 8) Get your massage on. If you are feeling particular airy, ungrounded and restless try an oil massage in the morning. Get your hands on some good quality sesame or coconut oil and perform a mini massage. Starting at the feet and working up towards the head, massage with strokes towards the heart. Work clockwise on the belly and around the joints. Wait 5-10minutes and let the oil soak into the skin before showering A few tips to help you find stability in our crazy Vata world, and especially good if you have a lot of Vata in you – will bring you into balance. Love + light to you, Cx *Images kindly borrowed from http://www.yogaanonymous.org, http://www.ayusarathi.com and www.peacefulmind.com Read more

THE UNIVERSE GETS WHAT THE UNIVERSE WANTS

THE UNIVERSE GETS WHAT THE UNIVERSE WANTS

Posted June 26, 2011

Isn’t it funny how we all insist on ignoring the signs? I mean, sometimes they are screaming at us, right up in our face… and still, nothing?! We pay attention to street signs, instructions, directions and more on a daily basis. But do we pay attention to the signs that really make a difference to our life? It’s only lately that’ve I’ve had the enough ‘pause’ in my mental chatter to actually notice the little calling cards the universe has left me. I think it might be because of the daily meditation, or perhaps focusing on my breath in yoga, or maybe it comes with maturity? I don’t have the answer, but I do know something. If we listen to the universe it’s just trying to help. Without trying to philosophise the ‘universe’ too much or dance around a topic I don’t fully understand, there is one thing I want to break down. What is the ‘universe’ that people speak of? To me… it’s quite simply me, you, ‘us’, everything all around. We are all connected to the same source, the same energy, the same vibration (more on that later!)If we literally tune in, the universe we’ll find that it is continually ‘talking’ to each living thing on this planet. And it’s working at making everything happen the way it should – be fulfilled. So, I got to thinking about the universe on Friday. It had been a long and literally painful week. After changing my yoga practice to Mysore, Ashtanga my body was feeling it and so was my mind – it left me a bit shaky. That was the first sign. I had made plans to do an inversion workshop at Jivamukti in Newtown with my friend Nadia. All day I was quietly concerned about how I would get through a 2-hr workshop after a week of dynamic yoga, full time work, study and well, LIFE. I worked through my issues and stuck to my commitment to Nadia. Driving to the workshop I sent Nadia a text. 5 minutes later, no text and a thought literally popped into my mind – “Oh wow, she thinks the workshop is next week’. Second sign. I heard it, I acknowledged it but silly me thought I was bigger than it. I pushed the thought out and kept driving. As I arrived at the studio Nadia rang me. Would you believe it? She thought the workshop was the following Friday. Relief swept over me! The universe had tried all day to tell me I needed to listen to my body and go home, but my ego – the part that doesn’t want to let a friend down – got in the way. So I persisted and so did the universe, until it got its way! All I could do was laugh, genuinely. I thought the whole situation was hilarious and I felt comforted knowing that the signs are always there. I just need to take the blinkers off, tone down the ego and listen. So what I am now wondering is – how far will the universe go to get the message through? Does it eventually give up when it goes unnoticed? Ignored? Is that how so many of us end up unfulfilled with our dreams washed away? A few ‘universal’ thoughts to ponder over. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx Read more

HEAD IN THE BOOKS

HEAD IN THE BOOKS

Posted June 20, 2011

This year I’ve started studying… again. I say again because in 2010 I completed my teaching certificate in hatha yoga. It was a really intense year – my social life suffered and my body underwent alot of physical transformations. Not to mention trying to absorb information from ancient texts whilst learning all the yoga poses in sanskrit! But I loved it. I mean, really deeply connected with it. The community created amongst the teacher trainees, the shared experiences, the joy in our achievements, the chance to fully immerse myself in my passion, the internal exploration and overcoming my fears of standing in front of people, teaching them. So, 6 months ago when I finished the course I decided to take everything slow no studying, teach a little … which goes against every instinct I have. I tried, really I did. But by May I was itching to sink my teeth in again. I had noticed that I was pouring over the nutrition magazines and blogs. Having come from a family built on health, nutrition and fresh whole food it came as no surprise to many that I was gravitating towards nutrition and holistic wellness. It came as a surprise to me though! Yoga had changed my life in so many ways but ultimately it had brought me full circle. To a place of balance, happiness and a desire to live in health, the seeds of which were first sown by my parents. Despite having told myself I needed to slow down and assimilate everything I had learnt during teacher training, I jumped into the deep end. Again. After hearing about this course three times from three seperate sources I decided it must have been a sign. But I ignored it. To drill the message home to a clearly ignorant person (me) I heard a little voice, which I sincerely hope was mine, during meditation one morning. It basically woke me right up and pushed me to enrol. Two weeks before the start day I enrolled in The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. A New York based school with an amazing online course that covers over 100 dietary theories, speakers and lecturers such as Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and David Woolfe. A course that will certify me as Holistic Health Coach. Hopefully the perfect compliment to my yoga teaching. Which brings me to this blog. It is this course at IIN that has driven me to finally take the leap and start this blog. Mostly to download and integrate everything I am learning and to share it. I’ll be sharing more soon on IIN. Signing off with an Exhale. Pause.Listen.Live. Read more


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