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Category: Yoga + Spirituality


A YOGIC RELATIONSHOP WITH FOOD

A YOGIC RELATIONSHOP WITH FOOD

Posted November 23, 2011

After attending a yoga retreat last week and having very indepth conversations with like-minded yogis on health and nutrition, I came to understand that yoga has a profound affect on nutrition – the way we eat and the way we relate to food. That is exactly what happened to me after I began practicing but I didn’t realise that the affect was almost universal. As the food industry relentlessly bombards us with a new fad diet or confusing ‘must-do’, or rule we are all forgetting how to eat instictively healthy – feeding our bodies what we need to grow, be nourished and healthy. Through yoga there is a natural progression towards making better food choices without the guilt and emotinal battering we often put ourselves through. The physical asana practices creates a deep awareness, deeping our understanding of our body and what it needs. Through yoga what grows is a conscious of foods that create a consistent sense of wellbeing or even those foods that create a sluggish, tired body or overactive unsettled mind. Over time, yoga encourages it students to come into a more comfortable and balanced relationship with food. It takes time, be patient, begin to tune into the body and listen. Through building discipline in your practice, inviting patience and cultivating compassion you can begin to overcome alot of the food quirks we often have. No matter how formidable they may seem. And start to love your food in a healthier way. Enjoy it all. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live (and eat!) Cx Read more

THE ABC OF MEDITATION

THE ABC OF MEDITATION

Posted November 20, 2011

Last weekend I took myself away on a yoga retreat… I decided that after an incredibly busy, yet fruitful year that I needed to press pause, take a step back and just reconnect in a beautiful bushland setting, away from the city! 9 hours of yoga, 3 hours of meditation and pranayama, and countless amazing vegetarian meals later…  I feel like I’ve had a holiday! I had so much fun,  playing with creative yoga sequences (free-stand handstand! Whee!) and challening  poses (leg around the head anyone?), revisiting pranayama and cleansing techniques I had neglected and enjoyed conversations with like-minded people (instead of subjecting my boyfriend to a discussion about the joys of meditation I had many a willing participants!) During meditation on the Sunday morning I picked up on a little meditation tool that I found incredibly helpful. The ABC of meditation. I found this so straightforward and simple I thought I’d share this with you all in the hope that maybe it’ll help you explore meditation. We all love to label and compartmentalise things in our lives – even something as free and unanchored as meditation – we are human beings after all – so for those that need to place a little structure around something, give this a shot. A is for Awareness: Take your seat – make sure it’s comfortable and you are feeling secure and settled in the spot you’ve chosen to meditate. Now, with your eyes closed simply pay attention to yourself – your body, your mind. Can you become aware of what your body is communicating to you? Does your right shoulder hurt? Are you feeling a little lethargic – where in your body is that sense of tiredness coming from? Do you have a headache? Are you feeling restless – where in your body or your mind is this feeling originating from? Cultivate Awareness. Do not pass judgement, try to rationalise or understand what you are becoming aware of… but the simple act of ‘knowing’ is all that you need to do here. B is for Breath: Now, having come to a state of awareness, move your mind to the breath. Begin to focus in on the sound, the quality and the texture of your breath. Simply ‘watch’ the breath as your inhale and exhale through the nose… can you cultivate a smooth, steady, even breath? Can you control the breath, just enough to feel a calming, soothing sensation? The breath is your vehicle to a deeper, more meditative state. C is for Clarity: Now you sitting calmly, the breath is your mantra – your point of focus. Stay with this breath you use it to ‘drag’ your mind away from distracting thoughts. Clear thoughts from your mind – sweep them away with each breath. When a thought does enter your mind, place a label to it… categorise it and by doing so you can compartmentalise it. Then let that ‘category’ fall away and bring the attention back to the breath. Inhale. Exhale. From A to B to C… three steps to ground  and guide you within the practice of meditation. Clear stepping stones that you can rehearse over and over, using them as tools to help meditation become a skill. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

AN INVITATION TO A MEDITATION WORKSHOP

AN INVITATION TO A MEDITATION WORKSHOP

Posted November 09, 2011

Stretch. Breath. Be Still… an invitation to our centring end of year workshop. My lovely girlfriend Frenchy (read about her here) and I have been in cahoots for some time. We’ve had a secret wish to plan a beautiful, nurturing workshop since we first met at a yoga retreat two years ago. I’m pleased to announce that we’ve finally got it off the ground for this December. As the year is drawing to a close, the silly season is about to kick in and the birth of a new year is just around the corner, what better way to find your centre, renew your energy and pause amongst the craziness than with an educational and soul-nourishing workshop. So, I’d like to invite you and your friends + family to come along to our workshop.Together, myself and Frenchy will guide you through gentle stretches, pranayama (breath work), meditation and chanting. Over a blissful 2-hour journey you will gently open your body as I lead you through a series of stretches followed by prepatory breath-work to clear the mind and centre your thoughts. From here you will be invited into a quiet space as Frenchy guides your body, mind and breath into stillness through three different meditation styles. We will reconnect the body and mind through a revitalising breath technique before closing the practice by experiencing the beautiful vibration of sacred chants. This workshop will allow you the chance to reflect on what has been in 2011, prepare your mind for the seasonal celebrations and encourage openness to what will come in the new year – inviting new beginnings. The Details: What: Stretch. Breath. Be still. Meditation Workshop Date: Sunday 4th December Location: Yoga Village, Level 1/ 36 Bayswater Road, Potts Point Time: 1:30 – 3:30pm Price: $25 for Members or $30 for Non Members If you feel in need of some reconnection, time-out and a little clarity, then this is for you. I also need to mention here that Frenchy’s meditation is so blissful… her yoga nidra sends me to an incredible warm, safe and delicious space. The feedback from current students at Yoga Village is that they love her just as much as I do… so it is a must. Shout out of there are any Qs! Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx *Pictures borrowed from Franziska Mayr facebook page Read more

SPOTLIGHT ON BADDHA KONASANA…bound angle pose

SPOTLIGHT ON BADDHA KONASANA…bound angle pose

Posted November 03, 2011

Teacher: Was your last pose Garbha Pindasana? Me: Umm, yes… (thinking I did something wrong) Teacher: Baddha Konasana… it’s time. This is what played out last Wednesday morning – the day before the new moon- at yoga. It was 7:15 am. I was hot, sweaty and thinking I was all but a few backbends and finishing poses away from beautiful, delicious, restorative savasana (relaxtion) when my teacher gave me the next pose. Baddha Konasana… bound angle pose. I’ve done this countless times. With blocks, straps, against a wall, on a bolster – every which way, you name it, I’ve done. All but one way… the Ashtanga Vinyasa way. All I have to say is %$!#@#%^!!!!! Ok.. I have alot more to say than that (surely, you know me better by now?!) but at the time it took alot of self control and respect to not swear out loud. Instead, breathlessly I just kept saying “oh, wow”… don’t fooled, I wasn’t feeling any joy here, simply pain… and opening. Now, most of my students know that I am the first to admit I have very tight hips. It’s something that I actually had to overcome mentally when doing my teacher training and in the first few months of teaching. In my head I would always think “how can I be a teacher when my hips are tight and I can’t even get into lotus pose (I can now, though!)… it took a while to realise that you don’t teach with your hips, you teach with your heart and your mind. Either way, I had read that Baddha Konasana adjusted the Ashtanga Vinyasa way could be extremely painful and takes a lot of breath control and focus to get through. Let’s just say that was written for me… To perform this posture it pays to have someone there to adjust you – it’s still an incredible pose without a teacher/adjustment, but really, to get into the hips and groin deeply you do need the adjustment. Here is a step-by-step guide. Be warm! Don’t do this pose cold, you’ll regret it. Step by Step 1.  Sit with your legs straight out in front of you, raising your pelvis on a blanket if your hips or groins are tight (this is the Iyengar in me – Ashtanga does it prop-free!)  2.  Exhale, bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together. 3.  Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can. With the first and second finger and thumb, grasp the big toe of each foot, turning the soles of the feet up towards your face. Keep the outer edges of the feet firmly on the floor.        If it isn’t possible to hold the toes, clasp each hand around the same-side ankle or shin.   4.   Firm the sacrum and shoulder blades against the back and elongate the front torso through to the sternum. 5.   Release the heads of the thigh bones (not the knees!) toward the floor – the knees follow.  6.   Lead with the chest, aiming to bring your sternum to your own feet. here – your teacher/adjuster will lean into you (evenly against the lower back and thoracic spine) whilst pressing your outer thighs down – rotating out. Stay here for 5 slow, smooth breaths. 7.   Inhale to come up. 8.   Next, curve the spine forward and draw the head towards the feet – rounding the back. Your adjuster can keep their hands on your thighs, further opening the hips. 9.   Stay here for 5 slow, smooth breaths. 10. To finish, stretch the legs out to release. Baddha Konasana gets in deep – really, really deep. It can be a little painful… ok, alot (my teacher said… don’t worry Claire, I hear it’s worse that child-birth) but it’s well worth it. Baddha Konasana stimulates the abdominal organs (ovaries, prostate gland,  bladder and kidneys). It stimulates the heart and improves circulation, stretches the  inner thighs, groins and knees, soothes menstrual pain and helps to prepare the  body for childbirth. Give it a shot. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx P.s – groin or knee injuries definitely sit on a blanket and prop another two under the knees for support.  Read more

THE FRIDAY FIVE… BREATHING TECHNIQUES

THE FRIDAY FIVE… BREATHING TECHNIQUES

Posted October 07, 2011

Many people come to yoga because they’ve heard that it helps with breathing. It’s true, yoga really brings the breath (or lack of it!) to the forefront, really highlighting how poorly we breath on a daily basis. Our breath is our life-force on a physical and energetic level and we squander it away through our short, sharp, stressed breathing. Yoga teaches you how to cultivate a more nourishing breath but also a connection to the physical movement and to your inner being. It’s incredibly grounding and meditative to focus in on the breath, harness it to reenergize the body and find peace by moving inwards with its energy. Through a regular yoga practice you may be exposed to pranayama (breath control) techniques. In Sanskrit, Prana means Life-Force and Ayama/Yama means extension/control. Below are five breathing exercises that focus on extending the life-force energy via the breath. Life-force is similar to what the Chinese call Qi (chi) or the Holy Spirit in Christianity. It’s your own connection to the source, the infinite and it is life-giving and nourishing – your true essence, residing within that feeds you. These five techniques are often best learnt in person with guidance from an experienced teacher.  It is interesting nonetheless to understand the different exercises and their benefits. This list is less about the ‘how’ and more about the ‘what and why’. 1)      Ujjayi Sometimes called the ‘conquerors’ or ‘victory’ breath, Ujjayi is a deep, ocean or whisper-like sound. It is created by contracting the back of the throat – the glottis – as you inhale and exhale. To you and perhaps the person next to you the breath should be audible. This breath is often practised too intensely – you can hear students forcing the breath and over exaggerating the sound. Although it’s a strong sound it should still feel quite subtle and soothing – not harsh and raspy. This breath works to quiet the brain, making it the perfect partner to flowing yoga practices – helping you reach a more meditative state. Ujjayi slows and smooths the flow of breath. It’s both energising yet calming. 2)      Nadi Shodana This is the channel cleansing breath. Within our body, on an energetic level, we have Nadis – these are energy channels that correspond with our own veins/arteries on the physical levels. Nadis carry the prana (life-force) or breath throughout the subtle/energetic body. This pranayama technique works to cleanse two of the main Nadi’s – the Ida (feminine, moon, cool energy) and Pingala (masculine, sun, hot energy) which exit the body at the left and right nostril respectively. Nadi Shodana works by closing off one nostril at a time, inhaling through the other. Holding the breath and then releasing the closed nostril to exhale. The breath count is even, e.g. inhaling for four counts, holding for four and exhaling for eight. 3)      Sheetali This is the cooling breath and best practiced only in the warmer months. Sheetali calms the mind, reduces the stress or fight/flight reaction, cools the body and lowers blood pressure (careful if you already have low blood pressure!) For those that can, sheetali is performed by rolling the tongue in and creating a tube shape. Gently inhaling through that tongue which cools the breath before it enters the body and exhaling through the nostrils. Many people can’t roll the tongue so simply pursing the lips and creating a tube shape through the lips will work just as well. 4)      Kapalabhati Kapal means skull and Bhati means lightness. So this pranayama refers to the cleaning or cleansing of the mind. The breath here is short, rapid and strong. Using the lungs to pump and expel waste. Kapalabhati is a series of alternating short, explosive exhales and slightly longer, passive inhales. Exhales are generated by contracting the lower belly to push air out of the lungs. Inhales are responses to the release of this contraction, which sucks air back into the lungs. 5)      Viloma This is a great technique to complete energise the body. It is about learning to master and control the flow of breath, inwards and outwards. When practising Viloma, the breath is interrupted by several pauses. When inhaling the breath is paused every 2-3 seconds. By filling the belly/diaphragm first, then the rib cage, the lungs and the upper chest last you elongate the inhale to around 15-20secs. When exhaling, you do so in reverse and pause at each stage. Releasing the breath from the upper chest, then the lungs, rib cage and finally letting the belly draw in. Similarly, with interrupted exhalation, the out-breath is lengthened from twenty-five to thirty seconds. It’s simply like climbing up and then down a ladder with a pause at each step. You are left with a feeling of calmness and lightness to the body, and a sense of exhilaration. It increases endurance by learning to elongate and control the breath. The art of deep breathing is learnt with precision, ease, and comfort. Learning how to harness the power of the breath provides countless benefits – from a calmer state of mind, more focus, the ability to settle your nervous system, distress and sleep better. And sometimes, just pausing and checking in with your breath will give you a clear signal to how you are feeling – allowing you to bring yourself back into balance. Signing off with an exhale (how appropriate!) Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

ASHTANGA LOVE…

ASHTANGA LOVE…

Posted September 28, 2011

Are you wondering who the guy is in the picture? Well that’s Pattabhi Jois, the modern day Guru who introduced the Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa system to the world. A man I now pay my deepest respect and gratitude too. Why? Because he has brought me Ashtanga Yoga Love… It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. I can just see my Ashtangi friends smiling broading from ear to ear when they read this. Most likely thinking ‘I told her so!’ But it’s true. It’s time to confess. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and I, well, we are lovers. AVY followed me around for a couple of years, nagging at me, trying to woo me, entice me into a little affair. But I was too loyal to my beloved Iyengar. So much so that I actually feel dirty writing this post. But, I do believe its time to put it out there, tell it like it is and hope for the best. So after much nagging (and encouragement from earlier mentioned friends) I embarked on a relationship with AVY. You can read all about that here. I won’t lie – the first month at Yoga Moves (you can see Pattabhi Jois above wearing a YogaMoves tshirt. His student, Eileen Hall, is my teacher) and on my the mat I spent fighting the voices in my head. I sound crazy, right? Sometimes it felt that way. But the voices went something like this: “Oh F#%*! I hate this, WHY am I here. My body isn’t designed for this kind of practice. I am not designed for this…” And then swinging to moments of pure elation and joy… there aren’t voices to transcript here, because when there was bliss and joy, there was peace, quite… no thoughts except a soft, lulling sensation. But, I am dedicated. As it says on the Yoga Moves website, ‘Transformation through Dedication’. And I really beleive that. So I am dedicated to everything I embark on. If not forever, for long enough to feel confident that I tried, really, really hard. And so it was. I persisted and somewhere in that persistence (read:  5:30am starts in the middle of winter, driving in the pitch black with eyes still puffy, entering the warm and cosy cave-like Shala  and well, moving) without realising it, the voices become much quieter… almost non-existent and the joy started to wash over me. Now, I see the beauty of the practice. I’m still so new to it and moving slowly through the primary series, but with each new pose I receive I am faced with a whole new set of challenges, including asanas I never really knew about. This week Eileen, my teacher, gave me two new poses. Garba Pindasana and Kukkutasana. The first one I can get into… although let me tell you, I need alot of humour and calm breathing to do it. It involves a spray bottle for lubrication, trust that my arms can actually fit through the non-existant space between my lotus and alot of core work. The second pose is where the humour really kicks in. Imagine holding this pose and then rocking back and forth, 9 times, in a clockwise position only to reach the finale – Kukktasana – where you live your own body weight off the floor. Let’s just say this is still definitely a work in progress. The final few poses that really get the heart pumping and push me to my boundaries are these poses (in order) Bhujapidasana Kurmasana Supta Kurmasana Tittibhasana Garba Pindasana Kukkutasana Other people at the shala make it look so easy… but I’m only 3 months into Mysore practice so I’m trying not to place pressure or judgements on myself. Either way, even when I fall flat on my face, struggle to get the pose, or when I nail it, I feel the same thing – elation. Just trying leaves me with this buzzy feeling… and I love it. What I love even moreso is savasana – because AVY is such a dynamic practice I give my little airy, vata body a loooooong relaxtion to properly settle my nervous system. I never used to do this with other yoga methods. Now I take rest, properly. I loll about, languidly in my mind, letting everything settle – the breath, the body, the mind. It’s just like that long, delicious sigh that you let out as you hit your pillow at night. Now, I haven’t totally ended my relationship with Iyengar, that’s probably considered a little disrespectful to some – such as those purists out there. But I still have a deep affinity for the practice and find it benefits my own teaching ability more than any other style can. Plus, i’m not a purist. Never have been. I’m a melting pot in everyway – I like to throw everything in the mix and see what comes out at the end. For me… what I’ve learnt the most since starting this practice, besides a set of challenging postures, is that not all things are love at first sight. Sometimes, we just need to peel away the layers, look beneath, scratch the surface – see what’s below and we may just like (or love!) what we find. This is definitely something I’ll carry off the mat. How can I not? It makes sense when you think about all the different people and experiences in our life that we are so quick to judge, only to find out that, hey, its not so bad. In fact. I really, really like it. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx *Pictures kindly borrowed from http://www.clasesdeyoga.info/ Read more

MEDITATION 101…what can happen + how to make it work for you

MEDITATION 101…what can happen + how to make it work for you

Posted September 19, 2011

A while ago I posted on meditation and the type that I practice – Primordial Sound Meditation. I also posted five different meditation styles, here. I’ve been meaning to write again about meditation and break it down a little further – what you can expect in a meditation session and the benefits you may reap. In my romantic vision of meditation I used to think that by simply closing my eyes and gently repeating my mantra that I would enjoy the stillness and reach some form of enlightenment. Wrong. So wrong. Let me walk you through a typical morning meditation experience. Now this is going to sound like I’m trying to convince you not to meditate. But quite the contrary. I’m trying to de-mystify the experience, mostly to demonstrate that meditation isn’t this inaccessible experience nor is it only for the truly enlightened and spiritual’. It is, however a skill that needs to be learned, practiced and approached with dedication. Here’s a snapshot of a standard meditation session: Wake Wash face + brush teeth Light candles Sit in meditation chair Set timer to 20 minutes (I keep this on really low, with a gentle alarm tone and no vibrate!) Close eyes and begin gently repeating mantra Battle non-stop with the words and thoughts whipping around my head – continually steering back to my mantra Fight the urge to give up early, open my eyes or feel frustrated at every single distraction/sound! Alarm goes off – stop repeating mantra Rub hands together and then press palms into eyes Gently open eyes As you can see – hardly enlightened or blissful, right? My morning session is usually the hardest one. Being a Vata dosha I am the most active – mentally – during the morning. I struggle to tame the monkey mind. Generally the 50 things I have to do before getting to work are simmering underneath the surface. Each ‘thing’ wants to be acknowledged and set free to run rampant through my mind, banging into each other and generally causing a mess. Even though it’s a struggle, that AM session is actually the most necessary. Without it, the monkeys in my mind multiply throughout the day and that’s when the struggle truly begins. I battle to find stillness, and just sitting and ‘being’ with the experience, whatever that may be. It feels impossible to formulate my day, act with patience, stay clear and maintain ‘big picture’ thinking. Over time I’ve slowly found a routine that helps me domesticate the wilderness messing about in my mind. These usually happen before I settle into my meditation chair. I don’t always do each one but pick and choose depending on how I am feeling. Stretch – a few gentle sun salutes and long held hip openers connected with ujjayi breathing (a gentle whisper/ocean like sounding breath created by contracting the glottis in the throat and breathing in and out of the nose) Journal– I take some time to note down my intuition for the day, expectations, goals and desires, or simply just a stream of consciousness to help me get ‘stuff’ down onto paper and out of my mind. Affirmations – I have a written list of affirmations. Really they are desires written as if they have already come into fruition. This helps me remember the ‘bigger picture’ and makes me feel a little more connected to myself. It reminds me of what I’m working towards without getting too micro, as we do most days with our ‘things-to-do’ lists! Pranayama – practice a few yogic breath-control techniques. My favourites are Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) and Kappalbhati (forceful breathing) My advice, if you struggle with your morning meditation session don’t be afraid to find a routine for you that works. You could try the above or even some other options such as: Rise Drink hot water + lemon to cleanse the body Morning exercise – sometimes a run or workout really , pen the body + mind allowing you to go deeper Shower, dress and get organised before sitting down to meditate. I know alot of people would disagree and they believe it’s important to move into meditation not long after you rise but some people wake with a really active mind and need to find ways to help them along the way For me, things have changed a bit. Now that I am practicing Ashtanga-Vinyasa every morning at 6am (out the door at 5:45am) my morning meditation practice has taken a bit of a battering. At the moment, I make sure my meditation and savasana (relaxation) session at the end of my yoga practice is at least 15-20mins. I use this time to totally bliss out and let go. Previously, savasana would only last 5 minutes at the moment and I was always so aware of my surroundings. Now, I let the sound of the breath as students flow through their practice wash over me like a wave, lulling me into a deeper state. By changing how I meditate in the morning it has placed a greater focus on my midday and evening meditation session. Which can only be described as delicious. The slight wear and tear of the day is still in my body – you know, that residual tiredness – and that makes it so much easier to slowly, languidly slip into the warm bath of mental stillness. Sometimes I meditate at lunch, sitting in the park, or even in my car. In the evenings I meditate in my yoga room with a candle lit, wrapped in blanket – the snug, cosyness makes me feel safe and protected. The energy is much more subdued and my mind almost seems eager to be rid of its thought-shackles to hang out in ‘the gap’ – the place between your thoughts, the pause button where you can let out a big exhale. And when I am there, it is so soothing and blissful. My mind wobbles between the gap and thoughts, so it is still […] Read more

SPRING IS HERE… TIME TO (JUICE) CLEANSE!

SPRING IS HERE… TIME TO (JUICE) CLEANSE!

Posted September 07, 2011

After being sick (I am SO much better now) and because it’s spring, I decided it was time for a little cleanse. After all, spring is the season for cleaning – mentally and physically, not to mention your home. According to Ayurveda, Kapha is the dosha associated with late winter and early spring. Kapha energy is all about lubrication and structure responsible for keeping our tissues strong and supple. However, Kapha is increased by heavy emotions, excess food and lack of physical movement – otherwise known as WINTER! Leaving us with mucus (not my favourite word) and a slow, lethargic, heavy mind and body.  So to shake Kapha out of our systems we need to melt out all that heavy, mucousy yuk.  BUT… as Kapha slowly releases out of our system in the transition between winter to spring we have to be careful of not disturbing our digestion and leaving ourselves open to various imbalances – colds, flus, hay fever. Have you ever noticed how at the change of season you are feeling great – light, happy, open and then BAM! You are knocked down with a cold/flu? Well that is Kapha releasing, but it’s also Kapha releasing without any boundaries. So, Ayurveda (and me) recommends cleansing safely, staying dry and warm and keep moving. In winter we focused on heavier, oily foods that were nourishing and grounding. Now, slowly we start to introduce more light, bitter (greens) and fresh foods.  Spring is all about new birth – so fresh produce like dark leafy greens, berries and spring fruit are important in helping the liver and kidneys release and detox safely – removing the accumulated Kapha build up from winter. Coming back to my own ‘Spring Cleaning’. Yesterday I started a Juice Detox. This is my fourth time doing the 3-day Urban Remedy Cleanse. I absolutely LOVE it. I only do the cleanse at season change-over – winter to spring and summer to autumn – as a way to help my liver + kidneys to safely detox and provide my digestive system a break in order to cleanse out my gut.  And before you have a coronary over the fact that I am just drinking juice for three days, know this. There is a ridiculous amount of fresh fruit and veg in each day. The juicers used ‘press’ the fruit/veg rather than crush, which means they are fresher for longer and retain more nutrients. AND, It’s only 3-days. We aren’t talking a marathon cleanse here. I’m so against 10 day juice detoxes  out there that ask you to live off lemon + maple syrup (they make me angry!) but this one is about giving your system and break whilst ensuring you are absorbing a heap of nutrients and antioxidants. Check out the cleanse: It includes 6 juices – packed with a heap of veggies, fruits, natural antioxidants and good fats. You receive each days worth of juices in a mini-cooler bag so it’s super easy and there is no messing about with juicers (who can be bothered?) There are different levels depending on your needs. Level 1 has more fruit = more sugar. Level 3 more veggies = less sugar!  Now, Urban Remedy also sends you emails to keep you on track and lots of information on what to do pre, during and post-cleanse. Day 2 and I’m feeling amazing. I had a spectacular practice at yoga – I sweated like a mo’fo but felt so light and free! I’m drinking herbal tea like it’s going out of fashion. I’m pee’ing A LOT – I think I went 8 times yesterday. I slept like a baby last night – waking at 5:25am before my alarm went off feeling so fresh and revived. I miss food for all of a minute or two and then remember that it’s such a short time and food is always there. We live in abundance. I’ll never go without. I don’t drink coffee so I’m lucky that I am avoiding a caffeine withdrawal, which makes it a lot harder. I’m well and truly on my way to ridding that crappy pneumonia from my system and melting Kapha away too. I’ll update again post Day 3. If you haven’t considered a spring cleanse, then hop to it. Otherwise, the below list includes a few non-juicey ways of cleansing in case only drink juice for 3-days freaks you out! Other tips to help you with your Spring Cleaning: Yoga – asana really helps on an emotional and physical level to detox. It’s especially helpful to focus on twists and backbends – helping the internal organs to open and release Focus on lighter meals with plenty of fresh, whole foods – go as GREEN as you can Try a big morning smoothie for breakfast – a great way to get your sustenance and energy without too much effort for your digestive system. Check out these recipes Dry body brush – start at the base of your feet and move in upward strokes. This assists the lymphatic drainage system to cleanse the body through the skin. Sip on ginger, cinnamon or fresh lemon tea. Thyme tea is also great for congestion Maintain a routine – focus on staying balanced here, even though you might want to quickly shake things up because the sun is out and shining. Meditate regularly – spring clean from within! I’d love to hear if you have other spring cleaning tips – please share. Happy cleansing! Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more

YOGA VILLAGE OPENS THIS WEEK

YOGA VILLAGE OPENS THIS WEEK

Posted September 05, 2011

I’m excited. This week is the start of new beginnings. And, being spring, which is all about new beginnings, it makes this even more appropriate. My beautiful friend and amazing yogi, Nadia is opening her beautiful new studio, Yoga Village, in Potts Point, Sydney, which I will be teaching at. The doors open this Wednesday 7th September. I’ve watched Nadia slowly water the small seed of an idea – to open her own studio – from the beginning into a fully-fledged yoga space. Nadia is the kind of woman who seems fearless. Every human being is filled with doubt and insecurity but Nadia, perhaps through her dedicated yoga practice, finds a way to overcome them and jump in the deep end. And, here she is, a true inspiration, jumping straight in to make her dream a reality. I am filled with inspiration and excitement for Nadia and am so chuffed she has asked me to teach at Yoga Village. I asked Nadia to choose three words that describe her relationship to yoga… she chose passion, freedom and presence. Simply beautiful. Three words that I think perfectly encapsulate the yogic practice and three words that I hope inspire you to experience yoga if you haven’t done so already. But, instead of trying to convince you to do yoga or try and bring to life Yoga Village here is an interview I did with Nadia instead! Hopefully this gives you a little more insight. 1. So Nadia, Yoga Village sounds pretty special. Tell me a bit about Yoga Village – where is it, what is it like, what is it about? Yoga Village is a welcoming Yoga space opening this week in Potts Point. We are an experienced group of yoga teachers who wish to share this life changing practice with a new community of students. 2.What kind of yoga does Yoga Village specialise in? Yoga Village is dedicated to the practice of Hatha Vinyasa, a flowing style of Yoga linking the breath to movement in and out of sustained postures. With these flowing sequences, breathing techniques and yoga philosophies, students will find not only a beautiful physical experience but also tools to apply to the ebbs and flows of life. 3.What can a student expect from a class at Yoga Village? Classes are relaxing yet dynamic so students can expect to work a little but feel amazing afterwards. In each class an experienced teacher will guide you through a dynamic sequence of asana designed to challenge, energise and revitalise your body whilst quietening your mind. Classes are similar in format and style so you will feel a sense of improvement and progression with each class attended. While maintaining this familiarity and consistency, we will regularly introduce new and challenging postures to aid you in your development and expand your personal Yoga practice. 4.What makes Yoga Village different? We are dedicated to creating a community, a space where students feel welcome, no pressure and free to experience this practice for exactly what it is. Our classes aren’t huge so students will receive individual attention and adjustments to get more out of their practices. Our classes are also all drop-in (i.e. no booking and no courses) because we understand that committing to a timeslot can be difficult for most people! 5.Tell me about the Yoga Village teachers? We have some amazing teachers from a range of backgrounds and also from all over the world! I was attracted to them each for their energy and love of the practice; but you’ll need to come along to discover that for yourselves! 6. Tell me about yourself and why did you decide to bring Yoga Village to the Sydney people? I began casually practicing Yoga after finishing university as a way to escape the pressures of a corporate job. After quickly feeling the benefits of Yoga I began practicing every day and gradually Yoga became a bigger and bigger part of my life; that was when I realised that I wanted to dedicate all of my energy to this practice. I undertook teacher training with Trevor Tangye and have since trained with many more great teachers in Australia, India and America who have helped both the development of my practice and teaching. Although I was content teaching in various schools I wanted to create a space that was dedicated to the style of yoga that I truly love and believe in. I felt that there was a distinct lack Hatha Vinyasa studios, especially in the inner city area and felt that Potts Point was the perfect location. 7. What do you love about yoga? Everything! I love the way it challenges me, the way it can turn a bad day into a good day almost instantly, the way it bonds people together, the way my troubles disappear the moment I step on the mat and most of all the discovery that our bodies are capable of doing so much – this has transmitted all through my life and I know believe the possibilities are endless! 8. What inspires you? Seeing a student progress and change and the delight on their face when they can first do a pose that originally they had thought was impossible. I am consistently inspired by my students, and really feed off their energy and commitment. 9. What are the three most obvious changes you’ve undergone through your yoga practice? The biggest change would be my ability to handle stress. I used to fly off the handle a little as soon as things went wrong I now process it and find the breath really helps me to reassess situations before I start to panic! As well as this I have experienced a huge lifestyle change and met some amazing friends who I never would have met without this practice. 10. What are some misconceptions about yoga? The main one I hear is that you need to be flexible to do yoga, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone can do yoga, just […] Read more


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