Tag Archives: health

Yoga Body: The Backlash

17 Jan

I loved this piece.
It’s such a great reminder that yoga is for EVERY BODY.

Also great to remember that “yoga” is many things: breath, balance, meditation, awareness…

Never just the poses.

body divine yoga

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Two years ago I wrote a popular post titled Yoga Body: The Conspiracy. At the time it was very warmly received, generating thousands of hits, hundreds of shares and loads of positive comments. But lately the commentary hasn’t been very affirmative. In fact, its been making people pretty angry. One yoga teacher was enraged enough to call me an ignorant, lazy, pissed off “fat chick”. Nice. So what I wondered, was suddenly getting people so upset?

A lot of commentators disagreed with my claim that the ‘perfect’ yoga body used to sell yoga mats, clothes, DVDs, books, workshops, festivals, retreats, studio memberships, etc. was not a healthy ideal, that it was a body overworked and underfed. They saw it as a glowing icon of inspiration, the natural outcome of a wholesome yogic lifestyle (i.e. self-discipline and dietary control). And as one person pointed out, if I didn’t have a yoga…

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Yoga Ruins Your Life

26 Aug

The brilliant, inspiring Richard Freeman hits the nail on the head, yet again!

“In fact having yoga ruin your life is a huge relief.

Because when you practice yoga on a regular basis, the auto-pilot of “life” that, if you’re like most of us you may have fallen into, slowly transforms into a life that is naturally more awake, balanced, healthy and happy.

The little things that used to bother you don’t so much any more.

You feel less stressed and happier.

Relationships become easier as emotions thoughts and feelings become clearer and less reactive.

And best of all, who you really are shines through.

So yes, your auto pilot life is “ruined,” but that’s not so terrible after all.”

Yoga Ruins Your LIfe from Yoga Workshop on Vimeo.

Bali Retreat Countdown!

21 Aug

It feels so delicious to be back in Bali…

Villa Gaia

Today, I’m putting together little goodie bags for the upcoming retreat…

Beautiful, organic oils…

Locally made sweet-scented soaps…

Gorgeous covered notebooks…

And generally enjoying hanging out in THIS glorious space:

We have one bedroom left, if you felt like joining very last minute…

All the details are here

🙂

What To Do When You’re Thwarted

25 Jun

A couple of nights ago, newly returned from an inspiring visit to Bali, the supermoon rose and bathed the sky with light.

Supermoon!

Full moons always feel like a special time to me, more than the new moon. They seem powerful, life and energy giving. An opportunity to pick yourself up and try again.

To reinvent. To renew. To recreate. Renovate! Innovate!

Yet here I sit, only a couple of days later, feeling utterly thwarted.

All great changes...

I’ll admit, I naturally grate against those conversations where people encourage to “go with the flow.”
These past few years of my life have been a practice in learning to be more flexible, to let things lie, to be calm about what I cannot change.

When things aren’t moulding into the shape I want, I used to go out with my sledgehammer and MAKE them into what I wanted. With brute force or sheer force of will, I would doggedly attain a goal. It made me stressed and rather unhappy.

Nor does my current lifestyle seem to serve me. The nebulous plans, constantly shifting and changing, being without a base – it’s hard to grow anything without roots.

 I’m straddling the divide of two lifestyles: one where I wake up in the morning and don’t need to be anywhere doing anything in particular and one where there are expectations and deadlines and juicy projects.

This year was going to be about putting down more roots. Putting my head down and working in a more intentional way. Focussing energies.

Yet this last month has seen several of the doors I thought I was going though, close. Events and projects I have been organising have been thwarted or cancelled or had cars run over their feet.

My usual course of action, if I’m honest, would be panic.
Then I would roll up my sleeves and DO, DO, DO: whatever is needed to make it happen.

But I’m noticing for the first time, I’m not panicking. Instead, I’m watching the situation with more than a little curiousity. Why is this happening? How did we get to this space?

I’m lightly exploring alternatives, but mainly, just sitting with the situation as it unfolds.

One Way Or Another

Coach and therapist Martha Beck calls these kinds of moments in our lives “rumble strips”.

“What virtually always happens is that when destiny swerves, we proceed straight ahead. We step on the gas, ignoring the fact that we feel trapped in the dead relationship, stifled by the secure job. We go blind to the landscape and the road signs, steering by our assumptions about what life should be, as unaware of those assumptions as a sleeping driver is of her unconsciousness. 

Et voilà: rumble strip. 

Suddenly, everything’s shaking, jolting, falling apart. We have no idea what’s happening or why, only that all hell has broken loose. It gets worse and worse—until we wake up, see through our false assumptions to the deeper truth of our situation, and revise our life maps. This isn’t punishment. It’s enlightenment dressed as chaos.” 

You can read her full article here. It’s certainly helping me make sense of what’s happening right now…

And when we’re in it? Driving down a rumble strip? Beck advises we stop. Take a breath. Take stock. Look around you. What are you missing?

Be Still and Know

Could this be that balance? The space between dynamism and passivity? Between stress and apathy?

I don’t know yet. But I feel calm about big changes for the first time in my life, and that has to count for something.

Setbacks

29 May

We-would-never-learn-to-be-brave-and-patient-if-there-were-only-joy-in-the-world

Oh, the delicious irony that I wrote yesterday about finding contentment with your circumstances as they are.

You may remember last week I had a little run in with a car while riding my bike. Unfortunately, it’s caused a bit more damage than I originally thought.  It’s certainly thrown a spanner in my plans and I’ve had to push back the Melbourne workshop series until July.

It’s so easy to immediately react negatively and blame everyone else for this situation:

“But you don’t understand! Someone ELSE ran over MY foot! Now I am not getting to teach what I LOVE when I want to! I’ve had to change my plans! It’s inconvenient! I have to change flights! And dinner dates! Life is not going how I want!!! WOE IS MEEEEEE!”

Oh, life.

Can't Stop Waves…Learn to SurfI’ve also had set backs enough to realise that when things like this happen, there’s golddust in the experience. (Is this the getting of wisdom? I certainly hope so…)

Whether it’s noticing how I react under difficult circumstances to considering that I’m just not supposed to be in this place at this time. Who knows? Think of something that empowers you and trust that it’s all going to work out, however it happens.

I notice when I let go of the disappointment or anger at things not going the way I wanted, it frees me.

More lightness rushes in. I stop straining against what ISN’T and surrender to what IS.

That’s not to say I can’t change my circumstances again. But in this moment? I surrender. My foot is hurt. I’m not coming to Melbourne. I’m not going to see people I love and have been missing and looking forward to seeing.

What’s the expression? No grit, No pearl?

Man, it’s going to be worth it when I get there!

Patience

Moral of the story? Don’t be attached to outcomes.

Stop trying to control everything.

And always get the details of someone who hits you with their car.

Shiny Song #8

23 May

Bike Mark TwainI had a run-in with a car this morning.

Or more accurately, a car had a run-in with me. The driver was slowing down for the red light and didn’t see me on my bike, already stopped at that red light.

Aside from a bruised leg and a run over foot, I’m fine and feeling very lucky that I am. Today on the radio we had dozens of calls from people who have broken bones and been hospitalised after run ins with aggressive drivers or drivers who simply aren’t aware that cyclists share the road with them.

Bike Hemingway

Here’s to sharing space with love and respect – from drivers AND cyclists. Hopefully this tune helps us all lighten up.

Mark Ronson – The Bike Song from Kairos Mosaïque on Vimeo.

Keep Calm and Bike On

Walk & Be Happy

23 May

A friend of mine recently came out of a very long relationship.

They had been together the better part of a decade, and she’s struggling.
“All the little things feel so hard…” she wrote to me this week. “I just can’t seem to get over this.”

It’s so hard to know what to say to someone in these situations. I just want her to feel better, but I don’t want to be flippant.
Telling someone in pain, “there, there, plenty more fish in the sea,” – it’s almost cruel.

I remember a time, several years ago now, when a long relationship I was in ended. It coincided with several other life upheavals and was compounded by reporting on some particularly traumatic events at work.

I remember my housemate at the time telling me that one day I would wake up and I would feel ok. I remember thinking, I would be carrying this anvil around in my chest forever. That the weight of it would prevent me from ever being able to love or taste food or feel anything ever again.

Walk Feet

“The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.”
Charles Dickens

I started walking home from work, mainly because I couldn’t bear the thought of arriving home quickly to spend yet another evening occupying the couch with my tears.

I started taking detours: down back roads, through parks, circling the lake. My walks started getting longer. They became the kind of aimless wandering that allows your feet to take you in any direction while your mind climbs whichever hills it needs to.

I would rug up against the wind and put sad songs in my ears and trudge, despondently, until I found myself back home.

Somehow, it just got me out of my head. Sometimes, I found a song that I could hum along to. Sometimes it was a song that made me cry. Sometimes I would wrap my scarf high around my mouth and sob into it and the wind. I would grip my arms around myself, pretending it was the weather that made me feel so cold.

All the while, one foot in front of the other.

RoadWalkingQuoteUnknown

I discovered some amazing albums, during that time. Music I had loved and forgotten, new albums I thought would lift me out of my funk, sad songs I used to indulge my misery. Even now, when I buy a new album, I go walking  to hear it through for the first time. It’s my gift to myself, to my feet and my mind and my ears.

It was over a year later that I remembered what my housemate had told me and realised that she was right.
I did feel better.
Happier; more myself and more centered than I had ever been. The mended cracks had made me stronger than before.

I remembered laughing, almost in relief, at the memory of that sad girl, trudging the lake, tears staining her cheeks.

 Maybe sometimes, that’s what’s needed? To give yourself permission to feel sad or angry or whatever else is coming up?

To be with what’s there but know that this too shall pass.

“You are loved,” I wrote to my friend. “You will love again.”

In the meantime, maybe it’s time to go for a walk.

walking-away

New Workshops, New Retreat!

17 May

I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to make it to Melbourne this visit to Australia…

But life has a funny way of working out!

I’ve just announced a delicious weekend program for June 1st and 2nd at the truly gorgeous Gertrude Street Yoga studio in Fitzroy.

stay shiny

I adore this space and had a blast teaching a morning intensive series here last year.

You can find all the details on the Workshops page – we’ve designed it as a choose your own adventure weekend, but I recommend you surrender two days to me and come to EVERYTHING. You’ll feel shiny, juicy and delicious with a new sense of purpose by the end of it all!

I also didn’t think I’d be running another retreat this year, but everyone has been asking for it, so WHY NOT?!

We’ve just locked in a week at a gorgeous space in Ubud, Bali, starting the last week of August.

I’ll be announcing all the delicious details for that here very soon, but in the meantime, here’s a little sample of the gorgeous time we had on the Thai retreat earlier this year on the Bay of Love…

Keep it Simple. And Breathe.

16 May
Seriously. Breathe.

Seriously. Breathe.

Shiny Song #3

6 May

Today I’m jumping out of bed punching the air. 

I’m making choices for me.

Telling it like it is and taking no prisoners. 

Gone are the self-doubts, the second guesses.  

If there’s fear in here, it’s not stopping me. 

Today, I’m honouring myself.

Taking the last piece of fruit in the bowl.

Putting myself first. 

Making big, juicy plans that light up my life, 

Not waiting for approval or ducks in a row.  

Uncorking the bottle on the kick-ass genie that is me. 

Today, I command, I demand, respect. 

And I’m gonna dance to Aretha, to remind myself.