Tag Archives: Healthy living

Bali Spirit Festival: Returning to Source with Tara Judelle

21 Mar

I’m working as a blogger for this year’s Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud…
So I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you here, too.

You can read more and find out more about the festival here

It’s my first class of the festival.

Mandala

It’s Nicola’s, too. She’s come over from Australia and as newly qualified yoga teacher, she’s relishing the opportunity to be “be a student again.”

As we walk into Tara Judelle’s 8am class, Nicola is buzzed: “I’ve watched Tara online and done her classes, but never in real life! I’m super excited to be here!”

The theme is Madhya: Journey to the Centre. Tara explains Madhya is the space between things: from sunset into night, or the dawn to the day.

“It’s the space between the in breath and the outbreath or the space between thoughts. The space at the centre of the body, the space from which you grew.”

She links the shushumna nadi, the body’s central energetic channel, to this idea of space and returning to centre: “If you were an apple, it would be your core.”

Strengthen Core

Throughout our practice, we return again and again to this idea; returning to our centre, to our core, both literally and figuratively.

“When we go back to source, origin or ground, we naturally start to embark on a journey that seeks wholeness and wellness.”

Tara Judelle is certified in the Anusara method, but has a background in dance, Tai Chi and movement improvisation. Her sense of breath, flow and focus are exquisite – whether she’s teaching you a class online at yogaglo.com or in person, her commitment to vinyasa is unquestionable. I never feel lost with her breath cues and always leave her classes feeling a part of something bigger.

After attending her class this past weekend at Desa Seni’s Yogathon fundraiser, I was excited to learn more from her in person. She’s one of those rare teachers who can drop in complex anatomical terms when describing alignment and biology without sounding completely pretentious.

Today’s class ranged from discussion about Caroline Myss’ Anatomy of the Spirit to the sense you get when you’re entering the edge of consciousness to the other name for the pineal gland (the epiphysis. Who knew?)

For those of us used to a more dynamic practice, this was a beautiful, calming class. Tara encouraged us to move into a space of softness, with soft, wide eyes and soft movements. Despite moving into dynamic poses like koundinyasana or ardha chandrasana, we moved with softness and quiet purpose, always leading from the centre.

As we moved deeply into eka pada rajakapotanasana (pigeon) with a long twist, Tara invited us to dive into the space, the Madhya, where all things merge.

“Be the canvas,” she said. “Co-create with the elements as they exist.”

We were surrounded by activity: music from a nearby Zumba class throbbed beside us, chanting filled the air and the chatter of passersby. But as we breathed through rounds of kapalabhati pranayama and settled into a grateful savasana, I couldn’t help but think it was the perfect practice to begin the festival.

A masterclass in finding your centre amid the colour and the noise and always, always being prepared for sweaty surrender.

Welcome to Paradise…

18 Mar

After a whirlwind of flying and movement and running around Bangkok, I’ve arrived on the Bay of Love ahead of the next
Shiny Happy Healthy retreat.

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It’s been a year since I was last here at the Sanctuary and it feels oh, so good to be back.

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The water is crystal clear and I’m stuffing myself full of delicious salads and drinking loads of yummy, healthy smoothies. All in the name of research for our retreat menu, of course!

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We still have a couple of spaces left on the retreat, so if you’re interested in coming along on March 30th, get in touch!

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It’s paradise here…We’d love you to join us!

The Summer Day

12 Feb

Zambo sunset

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

– Mary Oliver,
The House Light Beacon Press Boston, 1990.

What’s Happening…

15 Jan

Some exciting bits and pieces coming up!

The lovely folks at Lululemon in Cottesloe got me in this week to teach a free vinyasa class…

And we’re doing it again this Monday, 20th January!

The last class was absolutely packed, so they’re taking bookings…Make sure you email the team ASAP to secure your mat space!

Bhujapadasana

I’m swinging through Melbourne on my way back to Thailand and the Australian Yoga Academy will host my Shiny Happy Healthy Flow workshop on Sunday, 9th February from 2pm – 5pm.

You can find out more here & book online here.

Places are limited, so get in quickly.

Can’t wait to see all your gorgeous, shiny faces again, Melbourne!

Last but not least, the Thailand Retreat in March is down to its last few spaces.

The Sanctuary Beach

If you’re thinking you’d like to get bendy in paradise, please let us know ASAP so you don’t miss out!

All the details are here and you can email shinyhealthy@gmail.com with any queries.

Hope you’ve had a delicious start to 2014!

Resilience

14 Jan

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed…
Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
– Michael Jordan

Sometimes, you have those days, those weeks, when it feels like you’re running in the same place. In mud.

The faster you try to run, the more you fall, the dirtier you get.

There are days when you just sit in that mud puddle and wallow.

But maybe, while you’re sitting there, you notice there is another way. A different way you never saw before.

Star gazing is good for the soul...

Star gazing is good for the soul…

I caught up with a dear friend yesterday. The past 12 months have been challenging for him. Finding his feet again, reestablishing his purpose. One of the things I noticed about him is his language.

He never says “but”, as in “I really loved that piece in the paper, but it wasn’t very long…”

He uses “and” instead: “I really loved that piece in the paper, and it wasn’t very long…”

Suddenly, something that might have been a criticism becomes a part of the positive. “But” is so often used to diminish or kill an idea, or make an excuse.  How many times have I said “I’d love to, but…”?

Imagine if you removed that excuse?

I don’t know why it makes such a difference, but it did to me. I left our meeting grinning from ear to ear and feeling like anything was possible. I caught his enthusiasm.

There is a great series on the American Network PBS called This Emotional Life that examines our reactions to our circumstances.

One study they refer to, lead by Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, shows that positive emotions are the “fuel” for resilience:

“They help people find meaning in ordinary and difficult events. Finding meaning in life events leads to more positive emotions, which in turn leads to a greater ability to find meaning and purpose. Fredrickson calls this an “upward spiral” of greater well-being. They also found that resilient people still felt as many negative emotions as less happy people, often very intense ones.
But they felt more positive emotions, and it was the positive emotions that accounted for “their better ability to rebound from adversity and stress, ward off depression, and continue to grow.”

“Their increase in happiness came from feeling good; not from avoiding feeling bad.”

If At First You Dont Succeed

This year IS going to be different.

Because I said so…

Yoga Retreat Thailand Dates Announced!

22 Oct

It’s happening!

We’re returning to the Bay Of Love…

The Sanctuary Beach.

..for the Shiny Happy Healthy Retreat 2014!

30th March to 5th of April, 2014. 

7 days, 6 nights of yoga…

This could be you...

This could be you…

Fresh, healthy food & juices…

Why, yes, that is the view...

Why, yes, that is the view…

Meditation…

And how to, if you never have before...

And how to, if you never have before…

And workshops…

How to be Shiny 101

How to be Shiny 101

Oh, and did we mention
“Tropical Island Paradise”?

Thailand Retreat

The Bay

The Bay 3

Find out more on our RETREATS page…

Places are limited and our earlybird offer expires on November 30th, 2013

So book now!

Bali Yoga Retreat…So Far…

3 Sep

Wow.

We’re having such a juicy, delicious week here at Villa Gaia in Ubud.

I’ve been blown away by how willing this group is to dive deep into the process and really shake themselves up!

We’re just over half way and I feel like we’ve already transformed.

What a joy and a blessing!

With love from Bali…

xxx

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.

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.

How To Be Brave

31 May

You’re right. It’s not always easy.

The road might be difficult or rocky or scary. You might trip, or fall or have your foot run over by a car. You might look stupid. These are all possibilities.

A head full of fears

But you might also kick ass. You might succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Meet amazing people. Grow yourself. Expand your heart. Change your life and the lives of those around you.
You might wake up every day and spring out of bed because you are so excited about what’s going to happen today.

And so. It’s time to start.
You might think you will actually DIE, but you won’t.

Fear is a Liar

First, you start taking little steps, moving outside your comfort zone.

You climb more trees.

Sometimes it seems impossible and daunting and those lower braches call out to you with their comfort and familiarity. Sometimes you spend time clinging to the trunk, weathering yet another storm, praying you can hold on until it passes.

And then you get better at climbing. You start looking for more interesting and challenging trees to climb. You start to see that there’s a whole forest for you to explore and climb and play in.

Your world becomes bigger.

Treetops

Notice how you speak to yourself, as you climb. How do we speak to a child as they take their first steps? Try their first words? We respond with wonder and laughter and praise! Even if they fall or make mistakes, you are kind, encouraging, gentle. Be the same with your dreams, in their infancy.

Because that encouragement will keep you going. Guide you on. Pull your heart to its rightful place.
And one day you will stop, and look out across the tree tops and realise you have the most beautiful view in the world, stretched out below you. You feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face and stretch your arms out above the canopy and thank God/the universe/the planet that you’re alive.

That you get to be where you are and who you are.

And you spy that first tiny sapling you were afraid to let go of and realise you would never have seen any of this if you hadn’t taken those first little steps.

Leap of Faith

THAT’S how you find courage. By realising the end point, or something along it’s way, is worth facing your fears.

“Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.”
– After Earth

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

– Mary Oliver