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Living yoga off the mat with Lauren Penning

Living yoga off the mat with Lauren Penning

Posted November 03, 2015

This blog series is a reflection on how incredible yogis are living yoga off the mat – taking the powerful and ancient principles of yoga into their world. I’m honoured to have Lauren here on my blog, sharing from the heart how she lives Yoga off the mat. I’ve mentioned Lauren Penning from The Life Pod on more than one occasion. Particularly I’ve shared the beautiful work that Lauren does with mamas-to-be as a Prenatal Yoga Teacher, a Calm Birth Practitioner and a Doula. In fact, she was all three to me. When it comes to Yoga, Lauren certainly embodies the spirit, energy and philosophy of this practice with such grace, authenticity, honesty and love. She has such a beautiful and giving heart and I know that comes from her consistent (and dedicated) yoga practice – on and OFF the mat. Lauren has a tenderness to her. A gentle way. And it’s like being wrapped in a warm blanket. She is present. She is open hearted. She is real. And she is always willing to do the work, to open more and to support others on the same pathway. This woman held space for me during my pregnancy – held my fears, my hopes, my joy. She was there when my baby girl was born. She literally held me and carried me through labour. She cut Soleil’s umbilical cord. To say this woman is dear to me is an understatement. Everything she has taught me I still carry and tune into every single day.  I hope her words resonate with you and guide you towards oneness, just as it has done for her. Love + light, Claire xx Finish this sentence: My yoga practice is… sacred. A space to cultivate deep trust in my intuition. It’s my way of letting go of the busyness, my plans, deadlines, and responsibilities. My yoga practice is an opportunity for transformation, to release the tension that my body has absorbed, to soften the holding around my heart and to allow beautiful source energy to move freely through me. It is both sweet and intensely challenging. To me, yoga means… coming home, surrendering, being in the present with an open heart and a space to listen to my inner world. My experience off the mat has… been varied! I have practiced all sorts of physical yoga with many wonderful teachers over the years and my experiences have led me to the absolute knowing that we all find the right practice ‘on the mat’ at the right time in our lives. Over the years I have struggled with intensity in my body, with my ego and with my heart. It has been a bittersweet journey, as it is for so many of us, and it has been my absolute savior at the same time. I love moving my body and I love the feeling of freedom that yoga brings. My experience of the mat has taught me to trust in what is. That the present moment will always hold me and reveal what is needed. The biggest shift/epiphany/moment of insight I’ve ever had during yoga was… Yoga is the doorway into oneness. That was my greatest epiphany! That yoga, whether it’s moving, breathing, walking, swimming, meditating, being, feeling, opening, …all of it was my way into connection with God, Goddess, Source, Love, Joy and Union, with everything, everyone, ALL. This profoundly changed the way I both practice and teach. Over the years I’ve come to understand that everyone has a very different way into this connection and union and that we all need to have permission to find our own rhythm, our own individual path & journey. Sometimes this is on the yoga mat, however ultimately our yoga is in our everyday, with our kids, with our family, friends, partners, within our businesses, our community and deep within our selves. I absolutely love that everyday is different and that my body and my mind desires something particular in each moment. As a yoga teacher, birth educator and shamanic midwife in training, I feel so blessed to hold space for my students to fully be themselves and to find their unique way, to bravely drop out of the ego mind and listen to what they need to heal. Trusting the connection within and being guided by their own inner knowing. Yoga is so very beyond the physical and I am so thankful to have a deep understanding of how healing this practice is. To simply be held and given permission to be ourselves is the greatest gift, and what we all so desperately need to shine as brightly as we can. Quick Fire Questions What are the lessons you carry on a daily basis, off your mat? Be kind, be understanding, non judgmental and present – with myself and all other beings. Why are these important to you?  Because they all help to cultivate JOY and we all need to be more in that vibration, leading us back to our true nature and not further into madness and chaos. Kindness, understanding, compassion and presence will guide us back home, will lean us into love and help us all to see clearly, remembering who we are, earth angels x What yogic principle have you translated for yourself – what, how and why?  Truthfulness and self study. ‘Live your truth…discover what you are moved by and lean into it as lovingly as you can, and then repeat. This has become increasingly important to me over the years…age is a wonderful thing and gives you incredible perspective. Life is precious and there is only one me! I want to live my life as fully and as truthfully as I can, with passion, joy, energy and trust in myself. Another principle that I love and am beginning to trust in profoundly through my work as a shamanic midwife is ‘healer heal thyself’. We all have the wisdom to heal, it is within each of us, not in something outside of ourselves. If we can create […] Read more

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Movement + Bodylove

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Movement + Bodylove

Posted December 12, 2014

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Part 3 – Movement + Bodylove Honestly, before I was pregnant (and I’m talking years ago) I would’ve thought I’d be the girl who would stubbornly insist on exercising in the same way I always had, despite the changes in my body. Being a yogi – that is my main form of movement – I’ve tried every style of yoga under the sun. That is until I really honed my own personal ‘home’ practice. BTW: If you would like to do the same check out my recent post on Starting a yoga practice at-home. Today though, well and truly on the home-stretch to birthing this bub, I attribute the much more nourishing, soul-satisfying and body-loving movement practices I’ve been enjoying during this pregnancy to that home-practice. Why? Well it taught me how to be INTUITIVE. Being Intuitive is EVERYTHING when you are pregnant Have I mentioned yet how freaking mind-blowing the changes that unfold in your body are? Well if not, read that sentence again. They ARE! You have the hormone relaxin course through your body softening your pelvis, your joints and even the valve that keeps your food DOWN. Progesterone is slowing down digestion so baby can absorb more of the good stuff. It’s also causing membranes to swell (hello stuff nose) and helping you store extra weight to grow bub but for breast feeding down the track. There is more blood pumping, your heart rate is going faster, your breath is shorter (squashed lungs) and on it goes. Now I’m not telling you this to scare – most of it is manageable. But I am share this to really drill home how much more vulnerable your body is. It’s doing a BIG thing – building and growing a human being is a miracle. And because of this miracle your need to move and breathe in a way that always feels good and supportive. Let me say this loud and clear: This is not the time to be pursuing and reaching new exercise goals. There is no need to run further, lift more weights, push harder. Soften. Surrender. Nurture. You get me? Accept that your body will change (I’ve put on 10kgs!) Accept that things will look and feel different. Accept that it’s all part of this divine process. Despite everything I just said, pregnancy is not a license to blog out. Countless studies have proven that movement and exercise during pregnancy is vital for the long-term health of bub and for your strength and recovery. You would never enter a marathon without training, right? So the same goes for pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Now this is where your intuition comes into play. The key to striking the balance between Softness + Surrender with Inspired Action is to use your own body and mind as your navigational system – your guidance. How do you feel? What would support you best? What is your body craving You must embrace movement + exercise during your pregnancy in a way that feels supportive – that helps you maintain good health and that ultimately makes you feel really freaking good. If you are a runner, and it still feels good to run – then RUN. But do not take it up just because you are pregnant. Same goes for anything else. I would say Yoga + Swimming are probably the two things you can safely start if you never have before. And please note that everything you do requires modification. There is NO way that my yoga practice looks anything like it did before. It’s much more fluid and less dynamic. I don’t practice deeper backbends and inversions only come out every now and then. Arm balances just don’t feel right. There is so much I CAN do – physically my body still is able to lift into a crow pose or a backbend – but mostly I don’t do them because they intuitively feel ‘wrong’ in my body right now. They feel damaging, harsh… and luckily I am not so attached to the ‘poses’ that I can’t go a few months without them. For me my ‘movement routine’ has looked like this: 1 x Prenatal Yoga Class per week 1 – 2 x Barre Body Classes per week 3 x Personal yoga practices (at-home, at the park by the beach or using an online video) + Regular walking + swimming I’m going to break it down for you here: Prenatal Yoga I’ve been attended Prenatal Yoga with Lauren at The LifePod. But I’m sure you can find many options in your area too. Now, it’s not that the sequence in Lauren’s class isn’t something I could do on my own – as a yogi and teacher sequencing is something I’m comfortable with. But it’s the energy held within the space that is so vital. Being in a room full of women, going through the same thing (in their own personal way) and who are willing to open, connect and explore… well that is why I keep going back. Not to mention that Lauren facilitates the class with so much love and respect for each of our journey. The room is flooded with her understanding, compassion and appreciation for pregnancy. She invites us to dig deep yet to be soft, to grow, yet to be present and still… She cultivates inspiration, motivation, passion and release (emotionally and physically!) Prenatal Yoga is a beautiful way to enter yoga if you’ve not done so before. It also will carry you through the journey in the most loving way. I’ll be sad when Prenatal yoga is no longer part of my week!   Barre Body Barre Body is a Barre studio founded and directed by my bestie – Emma Seibold. The classes I attend are a hybrid of Yoga, Pilates and Barre work. And I love them! They provide me the dose of dynamic energy, strength work and power that I need to stay fit and strong. I, of course, can’t do […] Read more

Start a yoga practice at home

Start a yoga practice at home

Posted November 25, 2014

Yoga is my religion. Whenever I hit the mat it’s a ritual, a time to pray and a time to fully express myself in mind, body and soul. Whatever I’m feeling and experiencing in my daily life, yoga allows me to embody that. To own it. To  breathe into it. Lean into it. So it’s no surprise to me that my yoga practice has evolved and changed as I have done the same over the last 7 years. Some yogis are very dedicated to and maintain a powerful bond with one particular style of yoga. I love them for that commitment and that unbreakable union. For me though, yoga is about flexibility, and not just of the stretchy kind. I have to be flexible and experimental with yoga, because it keeps my mind much the same. It allows my soul to expand a little more and helps me to stay ‘unattached’. Over the last few years I’ve really honed my self-practice. Learning how to carve out the time and space in my home to unroll my mat and ‘pray’ is something I directly thank the practice of Ashtanga Yoga for. Practicing Mysore Yoga for 2+ years gave me so much to be grateful for – mainly the ability to move and breathe, creatively and autonomously. What has been the most beautiful aspect of my self-practice is learning how to mould the practice in direct response to my feelings, emotions and life circumstances. For example; When I need a really strong dynamic practice I get the chance to experiment, push my own boundaries, play and dive right in. When I to hold myself delicately – perhaps my heart is feeling fragile – I am able to create a practice that flows, intuitively and wraps me up in it’s nourishing embrace. And now, being pregnant, I’m not only learning to respect new limitations of my body but I’m even more embodied. I now move in a way that feels respectful of the physical, emotional, mental and energetic transformation I’m going through, but that also honours the life I am nurturing and growing. Start a yoga practice at home and you’ll learn how to guide yourself on AND off your yoga mat. Not just in how you move your body, but tuned in to your mind and soul.. It’s about integrating your mind, body and soul as you learn to reference every layer of your being – respecting and responding to what is needed. Self-practice cultivates self-healing. It’s almost as if you were in your own personal counseling session. The yoga mat is the therapist’s lounge. And instead of words there is the breath. Instead of advice there is the movement. Instead of venting there is the quiet meditative stillness of savasana (final relaxation). To supplement my self-practice I frequently attend classes, visit my favourite teachers, use online resources like YogaGlo and attend workshops and teacher training courses. It reboots and reinspires me. And then, once again I take that fresh knowledge back to my mat and my space. The other HUGE reason why I highly recommend you start a yoga practice at home is the simple fact that you can take yoga anywhere. Practice in your living room. Stretch it out by the beach at sunrise. Get bendy in a park under your favourite tree. Iron yourself out at the airport between long flights. Wherever you land and travel too yoga can be there with you – the ritual of it. The inward focus of it. The solitude. The peace. The opening…. It is so deeply supportive to take yoga with you. To truly ‘yoke’ yoga into your life to me feels like a lifeline. An umbilical cord back to myself and my centre, no matter where I am. ++ With all that being said, I want to help you, if you are ready to start a yoga practice at home Here are a few tips that you might find useful. First off, if you don’t already have one buy yourself a yoga mat. I love Manduka yoga mats. But my all-time favourite is the Lululemon ‘Le Mat’. Sturdy, good grip. Great on carpet and even outdoors. Suit yourself up in a yoga get-up that makes you eager to practice and get a gorgeous candle you might like to light whilst practicing (when at home). And finally, get a playlist going. Sometimes I like to practice in silence. Otherwise I like to move to music – it might be a floaty, ethereal and softly-softly vibe, otherwise it’s punchy, raw and banging! If you are already practicing yoga quite a bit, and attending many classes I invite you to begin by dedicating yourself to one or two 20 minute sessions at home. Don’t feel stressed about what to do. Don’t fuss about planning a sequence and don’t over commit. Just carve out (book it into your diary!) the time and roll your mat out. Do a few cat + cow stretches, hang out in child’s pose. Get down with your dog. Chuck in a few sun salutations and standing poses. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’, just do something. If you are completely new to yoga I would first advise you to visit a local studio and do a beginner’s courses. Whilst you are doing that try to practice a few of the poses you’ve been doing in class at home. At the end of an amazing class once I was back in my car I take a moment to note down in my phone the poses/sections of sequences that I loved! I’d then try to resurrect them another day when I was back at home and on my mat. Another suggestion – visit my YouTube channel and check out some of my instructional videos and classes. Sign-up to YogaGlo or GaiaM TV. These are great online resources for those of you that still feel you need guidance but want to practice at home. Finally, be committed, be dedicated. You need focus when […] Read more

Living Yoga Off The Mat with Shona Vertue

Living Yoga Off The Mat with Shona Vertue

Posted October 28, 2014

This blog series is a reflection of how incredible yogis are living yoga off the mat – taking the powerful and ancient principles of yoga into their world. Having 10 years of practical Yoga experience and a dedicated background in Elite Gymnastics and Dance under her belt, Shona is known for her attention to detail and passionate enthusiasm towards health and fitness. Extensive training in Strength and Conditioning, Chinese Massage and an ongoing BOS in Nutrition have gifted Shona with an eclectic and holistic approach to health and fitness, which is clearly evident in her classes and training sessions. With over seven years industry experience teaching Yoga in several independent studios in Sydney, Australia, and co-facilitating health retreats around the world in places as diverse as Thailand, Taiwan and Samoa, Shona successfully and simultaneously managed her own Personal Training business where she instilled a strong foundation of knowledge and experience in her clients. She sees her mission in life to broadcast the message, as widely as possible, that the key to happiness comes from enjoyment and commitment. She ascribes to the words of American author and businessman, Herman Cain, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you’ll be successful” This is a lifestyle philosophy that she enthusiastically practices and preaches. Finish this sentence: My yoga practice is… 24 hours a day 7 days a week – it tests me, challenges me, uplifts me in every moment of my waking life. My asana practice is a chance for my soul to dance, for my mind to clear and my body to regenerate, lengthen and strengthen. To me, yoga means… coming home, wherever I am in the world. My experience off the mat has… been way more challenging than any asana could ever be on the mat! But just as it is rewarding when you finally get your feet off in crow, or float your way into a stable handstand – connecting with yoga off the mat and finding peace in the storm of life, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a yoga practice. The biggest shift/epiphany/moment of insight I’ve ever had during yoga was… (tell me what it was, what you learnt, how it changed you) Ah! So many! I think I have a shift or awakening in just about every Jivamukti Class I take! But I’ll go with the first one my intuition brought to me – I used to practice in Sydney with Kelli Angela Prieur (one of my favourite yogis) – she would always talk about surrender (and funnily enough had it tattooed on her arm), at the time I was obsessed with asana and wished she would just hurry up with starting the vinyasa already so I could get ‘my yoga on’. Her stories on surrendering and it’s relevance to life never failed to speak to me, however, it wasn’t until some 7 years later, sitting on a towel because I couldn’t afford a yoga mat, in a cold and dirty flat in London, feeling alone and sorry for myself that her lessons on ‘surrendering’ would hit me hard. Suddenly I realised that I was swimming upstream, I was focusing on all the negative around me, I was impatient and fearful of the unknown, I didn’t trust myself so how could I trust the universe, but it was then that I saw Kelli’s beautiful face and a wonderful reminder to surrender, and trust. I have absolutely never ever looked back – now surrendering is one of my favourite practices – it is now no longer a challenge and it makes life so much easier – when things aren’t going right, there is a reason – surrender and allow what is supposed to unfold, unfold – it has allowed for the most magical life in London. Quick Fire Questions What are the lessons you carry on a daily basis, off your mat? Non-judgement towards myself and others – this is a hard one when we’re all so addicted to facebook and instagram, comparing our lives, trying to out-happy one another. Everyone at their core however, is just another being trying to release suffering and experience joy just like you and me. Why are these important to you? It makes life so much easier. Easy like Sunday morning. What yogic principle have you translated for yourself – what, how and why? Satya is powerful and has always been a struggle for me. I’ve spent a great deal of my life trying to gain the acceptance of others – my parents at first, then my peers, then boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, you name it. I would often lose my identity or truth in order to appeal to what I believe they needed. I searched for acceptance and love from others because deeply, I didn’t feel as though I deserved it, I couldn’t love myself, so I would have to be what others ‘wanted’ in order to be loved. This got me into a lot of sticky situations, I’ve hurt myself and others because of it. Honour the truth of who you are because it IS truly beautiful. Really it is. You are beautiful. What does ‘Living Your Yoga’ mean to you? All of the above? 🙂 I think this changes as the lessons change – for me right now, and I’m going on my intuition here, it means: Falling in love with myself – when I love myself, I take care of my body, my mind, and I am more capable of taking care of others. Connect with Shona | Website | Instagram Read more

Backbending – Power Yoga Poses to Open Your Body

Backbending – Power Yoga Poses to Open Your Body

Posted October 13, 2013

 Backbending in yoga opens up the body like nothing else. They are true power yoga poses. There is absolutely no other set of postures that give you that beautiful, cracked-wide-open feeling. Empowered. Delicious. Alive. Energised. I personally see the collection of back bend poses in yoga as power yoga poses. Yes they are difficult. They require a combination of deep flexibility and strength. To me, they are power poses because of the profound impact they have on the health of your body, chest and spine, but also how they powerfully open you up energetically. Beautiful, heart opening poses.   Back-bending has not come easily to me. I have the natural strength to lift myself up, but my back wasn’t always open and flexible. Back-bending didn’t always feel like the power yoga poses they are today. (I still have to be mindful of past injuries!) Having said that back-bending is something that everyone can experience and ultimately  work deeper and deeper into.   Today’s mini back-bending sequence demonstrates a few beginner to intermediate back-bends. I’ve left out more advanced postures here as I wanted to make it accessible.   I would recommend adding back-bending after you’ve properly warmed up. These previous sequences I’ve created would perfectly prepare you for back-bending and also be a gorgeous way to start the day.   Start with Sun Salutation A. Click HERE.  Follow with Sun Salutation B. Click HERE.  Next – do a few standing postures. Click HERE. Hip opening to help prepare for back-bends. Click HERE.  Add in today’s back-bending video here: See below!  Finish with twisting to release the lower back. Click HERE.  Finally savasana – rest + restore!   Click to play mini back-bending sequence. I hope you enjoy these back-bending power yoga poses. Don’t be discouraged, stay with it and your body will thank you. love + light, Claire Read more

HOW YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS TO OTHERS ARE AFFECTING YOU!

HOW YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS TO OTHERS ARE AFFECTING YOU!

Posted September 10, 2013

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. This sanskrit prayer is often sang before or after a yoga practice. When I hear it I feel whole, a little more connected and at peace. First, let me explain what inspired this post with a little story for you: One particular Friday during my morning routine I scribbled this affirmation into my journal: (which I posted on my facebook page) Today I remember that we are all truly one. From this truth I offer up the love that I AM ( that we all are) to someone that needs to be reminded of who they are! I step away from my needs for a moment and in doing so I connect with another soul, and ultimately connect with and heal myself. I then headed off to yoga. On my way there I heard from a friend in real need. This left me feeling really concerned.  Once I got into the yoga class we were partnered up with a total stranger. We were asked to sit, facing each other and silently say “I wish you well, I wish you happiness, I wish you freedom, I wish you love”. I could tell this was very confronting  for my partner. I loved it. I poured my heart into that experience. Finally, on the mat, before we began we all sang the above prayer. This whole experience brought up so much stuff for me. I had a beautiful practice but I was also deep in exploration. I  spent the next hour diving into that prayer in light of the affirmation that had come to me that morning and the news that a friend needed help. I started to dig deeper into the ideas of negativity. It took me on a journey through the ego, on to the challenge of retraining habits that don’t serve us and finally to the idea that we are truly one. Stay with me as I take you through that journey. Negativity is habitual Negative thoughts and actions are habits we’ve learned over the years. They are patterns of behaviours that are incredibly powerful and profound. Maybe we don’t even realise how powerful they are because we feel that our negative thought process is limited to our own headspace. They aren’t. The thoughts you have about someone else, yourself or life in general permeates throughout the universe like toxic waste. All thoughts, all actions, are energy. Everything is energy and there are no boundaries to where this energy can go. It’s not restricted by time and space. Which means that the power of our thoughts, even the negative ones, can be felt far and wide. Our patterns of negative behaviour and mindset has a domino effect – filtering into the lives of others, even if somewhat undetected at first. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to absorb a bad mood from someone else? It takes a strong energy field to block that sort of negativity. Or how your own negative state affects your entire day (traffic, can’t find a parking spot, lose money, everything goes wrong!) The ego feeds off negativity When we first notice that we have a habitual pattern of thinking and being from a negative space we then start to realise something else; the EGO – that ‘voice’ that is often cruel, unkind, irrational, angry, limited – is propped up and built on negativity. It lives off it. It LOVES the drama and the confusion. It feels good when we cut someone else down, to build ourselves up. It loves to take you down a notch too. It revels in limiting beliefs and behaviours. It’s out for it’s own survival – if you are completely present, positive and centred, the ego doesn’t exist. So being in a negative state is ideal for the ego. Many of us are stuck in and identify with that voice as if it’s who we are. Worse still, we keep feeding it through those negative thoughts and actions, including the thoughts and actions directed towards others… which ultimately, comes back to bite us! The most bizarre thing is how we feel comfortable with that negativity. We find the ego and its games to be familiar, normal… ‘the way we are’. Despite the turmoil it causes we tend to stay in that pattern and ego identification because it’s easier. Retrain your habits There is hope. You are not your ego. No, you can’t ‘get rid of it’. But you are not ‘IT’. Which bodes well. If you can start to truly believe that you aren’t that limited, negative set of habits and egoic nature then you can begin to bring about change. Our brains are flexible. Through neuroplasticity there is evidence that we can literally retrain our brain. It can evolve  (neural pathways and synapses) from changes in behaviour, mindset, environment and more. Which, thankfully, means we can retrain ourselves to habitually think and behave with a positive, peaceful, open and limitless energy. Change through awareness Change doesn’t happen without conscious effort. I don’t mean ‘trying’ or forcing something to happen. That would be counter-intuitive. But we have to place our attention of what is happening for us in order to bring about change. First, we notice those habitual negative patterns. Maybe you literally take note of the running commentary in your head. Maybe you begin to ‘look’ at it objectively – watching it with benign interest. Next, there might be some ‘weeding’ you need to do. Perhaps it becomes clear that there is some residual ‘stuff’ that you need to clear and detox. I don’t believe in getting stuck in the story of your past, but I do also believe that unless you LOOK at what’s going on for you, clear out the weeds and get real that you can’t just ‘push’ it […] Read more

ALWAYS MAKING EXCUSES? 5 THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS TO BREAK THE HABIT!

ALWAYS MAKING EXCUSES? 5 THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS TO BREAK THE HABIT!

Posted January 31, 2013

You can imagine that as a health coach and yoga teacher that I hear alot of excuses. I listen to many individuals are they find ways to navigate away from the truth. Let me tell you, they do it well. We all do. Me included. We are experts at avoiding what needs to be done. Imagine if we applied that much focus and skill to that which we need to get done. It’d all be much easier! We talk about wanting to get up early and go to yoga. We talk about wanting to quit sugar, eat less crap, drink less booze, be kinder to ourselves, practice more self love… and on it goes. But somehow we rationalise and analyse ourselves into a circle until we are back at the beginning with the wheels of change stuck, motionless. Let me just say, I get it. Truly I do. I’m human and I have the same thoughts and the same desires. I also have the same blocks, battles and lack of motivation. But let me just say this, at one point in time, my desire to change became stronger than my desire to avoid… or should I say my perceived need to stay where I was in mind, body and spirit no longer held up. Also, that desire to change was something that CAME to me… I was shown where I was headed for and my body found a way to yell out, loudly. It got my attention and I finally responded. We all come to that moment in our own time. But for many of us, we’ve had that moment and yet we still make excuses. Do I sound harsh? I’m not trying to be, I just know that most of the things we are all after – health, happiness, balance – are all so easily achievable. It’s not rocket science. It just takes dedication for transformation to come about. Patience, determination and the desire to live as the best version of yourself. So, I have a few questions for you and I’d like you to pull out a pen and paper and answer these as honestly as possible 1) What do you really want to change? 2) What’s stopping you – honestly? Are your excuses genuine? 3) What are you afraid of? 4) Do you believe in yourself? If not, why not? 5) What are three easy, simple things you could do to set this change in motion? How did you go? Did you discover something that you already know but weren’t willing to face up to? Ok, so let’s be straight up with each other. Who’s kidding who? It’s time to ditch the excuses, the story-lines that restrict you and it’s time to move FORWARD. 2013 is your year. Go and get it. What you want is already in you, just let your light shine and be the best you! You want it, right? Saha to you, Claire Read more

2012. MY YEAR IN PICTURES.

2012. MY YEAR IN PICTURES.

Posted January 16, 2013

2012 – I think I’m only just now digesting it and truly allowing myself to be humbled by it’s awesome-ness. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of difficult moments… but now, with perspective, I can see that they too were just as awesome as the more obvious examples. Seeing as I’ve only just chewed up 2012 and swallowed it down, I’m ready to give you (and myself!) a snapshot of the year that was. I feel it’s only right before I find myself deeper into the well of 2013. The biggest take-out for me in 2012, was to let go… accept and go with the flow, instead of swimming upstream and fighting pointless battles. Sometimes surrender is all there is. Towards the end of 2011 I had that kind of earth-shaking, life-changing moment that propelled me to make the biggest decision of my life – leaving my full-time career in PR to live the life I had dreamed of. Building my coaching business full-time and teaching with passion, working for myself, living the lifestyle that I preached and finding joy in each day, not snippets of borrowed time between someone’s else’s time. This decision paved every element of 2012. It was the biggest, and still is, change I’ve ever made. I am forever grateful that I finally got the gumption to take a leap of faith… _____________________________________________________________________________ Once I resigned I had a month of work. My beau and I headed off to Fingal Bay for some sunshine, peace and connection. _____________________________________________________________________________ January. My favourite month. Sunshine. Ocean. New dawn, new day. And not to mention my birthday. I turned 30 in 2012 and the miserable rain made planning my ultimate yet very relaxed harbour side bbq very, very difficult. Last minute changes made… and yep, I STILL had such a heart-opening, soul-warming evening with my favourite people in the world. _____________________________________________________________________________ With The Wellness Project growing I was literally walking around each day awe of the life I had created. Sessions by the ocean with amazing, wellness-seeking individuals just had me gobsmacked. Really? This is my life? _____________________________________________________________________________ At the end of summer I was lucky to skip out of town not once but twice! First to Byron Bay for the Spirit Festival with two of the most amazing women I know, Emma Seibold and Nadia Rihani. Then next to the Phoenix Weekend where I met some amazing people that I am still friends with and which also opened the doors to awesome yoga teaching opportunities. _____________________________________________________________________________ When I look back at 2012 I can’t deny that I spent ALOT of time in the kitchen. If you follow my instagram (claireOwellness – go, on!) you’ll know what I mean. Working for myself means I work from home where I can cook and eat exactly what I like. Cooking for me is like a moving meditation. It’s my creative time. It’s spiritual. So FOOD gets a special mention here. And boy did I enjoy some delicious, healthy food. _____________________________________________________________________________ I also starting teaching more private yoga classes – one of my favourite things to do and got serious about my meditation practice. Not to mention teaching at the amazing Yoga Village. I love every student in that place, every teacher and every moment teaching there. _____________________________________________________________________________ Autumn was all about the L.O.V.E. My honey, Christopher, proposed to me at Ballast Point Park with a love lock. Overwhelmed. Overflowing with Joy. Incredibly in love. We didn’t waste anytime locking down a venue – so we headed up to the Hunter Valley to find a venue. We are getting married this April at Roberts Restaurant. It was an easy choice for us. Chris loves wine, I love good food and nature and we both fell in love with the colours, the fresh air and the rustic, homely feel of the place. _____________________________________________________________________________ Throughout winter I really got stuck into building The Wellness Project. There were workshops, new programs launched, a new website, lots of exciting changes and even more brilliant clients (not to mention all the amazing, special like-minded souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, working with, laughing with). When I wasn’t teaching, coaching or at yoga I spent alot of it in my office or reading with a cup of tea.   _____________________________________________________________________________ At the end of winter I flew to Melbourne to visit my soul mate, Emma Seibold and her family. I also got myself a wedding dress. This IS a big deal. Not being the kind of girl who ever dreamed up her ultimate gown, finding something in Melbourne was such sweet relief. In less than three months I’ll share some wedding pics. _____________________________________________________________________________ By the time the jacaranda trees were blooming and the spring sunshine was glowing it was time for some R&R. Off we went to Bali for the wedding of two very special friends – Valeria + Santiago. I was a bridesmaid with a few other girls and we had such a brilliant time. Despite being on the back end of some crazy virus (again, another reminder to slow down!) it was the most awesome trip and it really served to recharge my batteries. Eating our way through Seminyak brought a whole new meaning to wellness. _____________________________________________________________________________ India. I almost don’t know what to say. But here goes. New amazing friends. Food, and lots of it. Yoga – challenging, difficult, eye-opening, inspiring. Early nights, early mornings. Traveling with my dear friend, Nadia from Yoga Village, we got to share something really special. Goan sunsets. Heat. Tears. Spices. Dogs – angry ones. Longing. _____________________________________________________________________________ To wrap up the year we spent the last few days of 2012 and the first few of 2013 at Seal Rocks. Camping is an annual trip with a big group of amazing people … they are like family. We eat by the campfire, we sing along to a guitar, we lazy around in hammocks. It is our chance to switch off and reconnect. And also to spend 6 hours each […] Read more

WHAT IS THE SAHA SPACE?

WHAT IS THE SAHA SPACE?

Posted January 11, 2013

Many of you have been following this blog since it’s inception over 1.5 years ago. Others might be much newer and perhaps you are wondering why this blog is called The Saha Space? Considering that I sign off every blog with ‘saha to you’ I thought it was high time I explain it because it’s not just a name, it encapsulates so much more of who I am, why I live, breath and coach in the way that I do and what I hope to pass onto others. Today I’d love to share the story of this name with you. As a teenager and even in my early 20s I would never have fathomed that I would one day be a Certified Yoga Teacher and a Certified Holistic Health + Wellness Coach. I was never an overly atheltic child – definitely not the kind that felt confident to do all those things children love to do – handstands, backbends and general body contortionism! Nor was I focused on health. Being naturally petite I could get away with eating anything and everthing so I rarely thought about what I was putting in my body. I think one of my many nicknames in high school was human trash-can, because I would eat anything and everything! But when I look back to the past and remember a word I grew up with, ‘Saha’, I realise there was no other way for it. I am exactly where I should be. The Arabic word Saha, loosely translates to ‘good health’ but to me it means so much more than that. Growing up with Middle Eastern parents, the word ‘Saha’ filled my days. Upon hearing this word I am immediately transported to the kitchen of my parent’s home. It is here, in this kitchen sitting at the old, worn wooden dining table – which quietly, stoically, respectfully supported us through arguments, tears and giggles – that my journey began. As the youngest of five children to parents hell bent on raising their kids in true health; I slowly absorbed (amongst the mayhem) the countless snippets of spiritual, nutritional and emotional nurturing. From instructions to chew my food 25 times, to looking inside when I need guidance, or one of my father’s usual debriefs on why the spoonful of his homemade tahini (en route to my mouth) was so precious. With each morsel of heavenly food, love, spirituality and affection I would hear the word Saha, uttered by my mother, father or siblings. Saha is a word acknowledging that which gives good health. A word filled with pleasure and true respect to the blessings in our life. A word entrenched in gratitude. A word that invites you to exhale with contentment. You know that feeling when you are staring out at the expansive, never-ending ocean… the sun is warming your shoulders and you can’t help but smile at the beauty of it all. That feeling is saha to me… that big, deep sigh of real happiness from within. So it’s no surprise to me, in hindsight, that as I sat in deep meditation one day that the word SAHA bounced within the walls of my mind. It was like a whisper with a gentle knudge. As I opened my eyes, feeling whole, happy and healthy, I realised this should be the name of my new blog – all those months ago. The Saha Space was born. Each time I write that word I pay homage to it, to where I have come from, the the thousand times its been uttered with love and to balance, true happiness and perfect health. With that, I invite you to be part of The Saha Space. Be here, explore, learn, share and express your own experience of saha with all of us. Saha to you. Claire x Read more


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