Tag Archives: retreat

A New Year

3 Jan

Oh, 2014.

Last year was about risk for me. Risking my heart, my business, my relationships.

There was a moment during the retreat in Thailand that I stopped and looked around at the glowing faces of my students as they danced around the room, embracing each other, revelling in the week they had shared, and I felt possibly the greatest happiness I had ever known. First: I had caused that! I had so much pride that it had come together, that it was worth all the work and hours and preparation.

Shiny People

Mostly, I felt such a profound gratitude that I was able to share myself with these people and have it land with them in a way that made a difference in their lives. Doing this work has become about what I can give away, and it has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

And then I decided to move to the big smoke.

“Why don’t you stay in the wilderness?  Because that isn’t where it is at; it’s back in the city, back in downtown St. Louis, back in Los Angeles.  The final test is whether your experience of the sacred in nature enables you to cope more effectively with the problems of people.  If it does not enable you to cope more effectively with the problems – and sometimes it doesn’t, it sometimes sucks you right out into the wilderness and you stay there the rest of your Life – then when that happens, by my scale of value; it’s failed.  You go to nature for an experience of the sacred…to re-establish your contact with the core of things, where it’s really at, in order to enable you to come back to the world of people and operate more effectively.  Seek ye first the kingdom of nature, that the kingdom of people might be realized.”  
-Willi Unsoeld

I’m so excited about the possibilities of bringing this work to city life. It’s one thing for me to be balanced and zen in the jungle in Bali, on a beach in Thailand or Mexico. It’s quite another to bring it into fluorescent lit office buildings, to stressed workers, glued to phones and computers, panicking about mortgages, obsessed with having the latest products or thinking that life can never be any other way.

But how can I operate in that world and not suffer from the same malaise?

Be Yourself
My transition to San Francisco has plugged me back into the matrix, the perfect way for me to better understand and empathize with the people I am teaching. Yet I am also experiencing a world where kindness doesn’t always feel like the best answer; where rampant honesty is not always welcomed; where bringing your heart fully can mean being battered and bruised.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”
– Mahatma Ghandi

Is it naive to think I can “be the change I want to see in the world”?

I know when I show up with a full heart, good intentions and an earnest approach, my life feels more full, I expect the best in people and I feel more alive. Seeing the glass half full makes me happy.

But it’s also teaching me that bringing that energy is not always the best path. Sometimes, what’s needed is both a soft heart and a sharp elbow.

The Bhagavad Gita talks about ten Yamas, what we sometimes call the Yogi Commandments for ethical living. Dhŗiti, the sixth of these, has been translated as “to act with determination”, “patience” and “perseverance”. I love to describe it as “steadfastness”. You can read more about this tenet here, but at its core, practicing Dhŗiti, you “succeed in every undertaking by having a clear purpose, a wise plan, persistence and push.”

Smooth sea Skilled Sailor

“A ship that can endure and persevere on its course even when tossed about on the waves of a turbulent sea.” – Gurudeva


Sometimes, life here feels impossibly difficult. I’ve stood in front of an entire aisle of unknown brands of toilet paper and felt overwhelmed. Negotiations feel unkind. Showing too much of yourself, or admitting weakness might not be admired. Sometimes it feels like the work I’ve done to become more vulnerable and to wear my heart on my sleeve is a distinct disadvantage.

And yet, my students and clients seek that same openness. They are desperately looking for connection and a way to safely express a more vulnerable heart.

Maybe, what’s actually needed is more conviction to inhabit that space.


So with that, I declare 2015 to be a year of courage, growth and determination. 

I will bring my heart to every aspect of my life, even though I’m scared to do it. I will fail and get back up again. Reconnect with nature and myself. Be big and bold and vulnerable.
And practice, practice, practice, with ferocity. For all is coming.

Practice all is coming

On Retreat in Mexico

21 Apr

I’m off the grid for a couple of weeks, teaching two retreats in Sayulita in Mexico.

This week..?
Haramara Retreat Centre.

(Yes. I am pinching myself.)
Haramara Pool

Haramara 4Haramara 1haramaraIMG_7301IMG_7292

“If  you have a true relationship with nature, then you have a relationship with mankind.”

-J. Krishnamurti

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!


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!

How To Find Cheap Flights to the Bay of Love

31 Oct

An oldie but a goodie…And it all still applies!
I’ll be posting information about ferries and trains soon, too…

Shiny, Happy, Healthy.

A few years ago, when I first started jetting around all the time, a frequent flyer friend of mine taught me a few little tricks to save on airfares. This can sometimes take longer than flying directly to where you want to go, but for me, it has been a great way to see more places on my transits and I’ve saved thousands of dollars in the process. 

You want to find the cheapest way to get to the other continent and then use local carriers to get around within that continent. 

Using Melbourne to Koh Samui for the retreat as the example, here’s how I do it: I use a flight search engine like Adioso.com, Kayak.com or Skyscanner.com to check first how much it costs to fly directly. 
Right now, Malaysia Airlines have flights from Melbourne for around $690 to Koh Samui. Usually, flying directly to Samui will cost at least…

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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…


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


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…


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


Bali Yoga Retreat 2013

1 Jul

Today is the last day to secure the Early Bird price for the Shiny Happy Healthy Bali yoga retreat!

RETREAT FLYER Learn how to begin and maintain a meditation practice

Move your yoga practice to new levels (especially those tricky arm balances & inversions!)

Unlock a sense of peace & wellbeing

Learn techniques to uncover your purpose in life

Unleash a new sense of creativity

Discover how to find joy in yourself, your practice & your life, no matter your circumstances.

This retreat is for all shapes, sizes and ability levels.

To register today, email shinyhealthy@gmail.com

For more information about this year’s Bali retreat, head to Retreats.

And to whet your appetite…

Fit Your Own Oxygen Mask First

10 Jun

We’re halfway through our retreat.


As I lay in savasana, waiting for our afternoon practice to begin, Belinda invited us to come up with an intention, a sankalpa. I usually start putting words into my brain: abundance, love, joy – all the things I enjoy and have a connection to.

Belinda asked us to repeat the word in our mind, like a mantra, inviting it in, feeling it in our bodies. As I started my litany, another word arose, unbidden.


It took me by surprise. I know how to set my intention! Where had this come from?

But as I stayed with it, I saw how perfectly it fitted right now. I saw how much I have been running around, making things happen, helping, pleasing, being “nice”.

But amid that activity, I am leaving myself behind.

Key to Success

I’m starting to notice that most moments of stress or feeling harried arise from a sense of taking on too much. Not for myself, but for other people.

I have so many projects I want to be working on – yet I’ll do a favour here, help someone out there, “just quickly” attend to something which will mean I won’t have time to do something that’s important to me. That’s not to say the people in my life are not important, but there needs to be a balance.

I’m reminded of the all too familiar line I’ve heard hundreds of times on an aeroplane: Fit your own oxygen mask first before helping others.

Fit your own mask first

What does it feel like when someone does something for you under duress, or out of obligation?

I’m starting to see how saying “no” can be a gift. That it can be said with grace and respect. That doing a favour with resentment is not a favour at all.

By nourishing myself, by taking care of myself first, I will be able to give more freely, lovingly and with greater generosity.

Because I’m worth it.

Why Definitions Are Limiting You

7 Jun

I’m back in Bali.

Back amongst the green, the aroma of incense, the bright skies and cuddling humidity.

Not a bad view for a yoga space...

Not a bad view for a yoga space…

Being away from Australia, giving myself this time, always gives me the space to reflect.

I’m remembering a conversation I had recently with a lovely older friend of my parents.
“So what are you doing with yourself these days?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I laughed. “Run around the planet helping people discover how to be more joyful?”

“Yes, but what is it that you DO?”

“Well, I run yoga retreats and teach workshops and classes,” I said. “I write articles. Sometimes I sing. And sometimes I work as a broadcaster.”

“So are you a journalist or a yoga teacher?”


“But what’s your discipline? What are you focussing your attention on? What are your goals?” He actually raised his voice at this point, as though I wasn’t hearing him properly.

I had to say to him that it was all those things, because for me, they’re all expressions of who I am. They use my skills in a way that feels meaningful.

You are Not your job

I’ve done some big “achievements”: I bought property at 25, was engaged, won some awards, had some really cool jobs, interviewed important people.

I was still pretty dissatisfied with my life. With myself, in general.

I also know I can go back to that if I want. I can set myself strong goals and work solidly towards them. I can be focussed and ambitious and can work 70 hours a week. Give myself a title, a definition. I know I can. I’ve done it. It’s sometimes still a struggle for me to stop working before something is perfect or complete.

I’ve just arrived back in Bali to assist on a beautiful retreat run by Melbourne yogi, coach and counsellor, Belinda Bailey. This woman walks her talk.

She’s gathered a remarkable group of people who are ready to dive deeply into themselves, to learn to set intentions and how to “juicily relate.”

When I’m here, teaching this stuff, or supporting someone who is, it takes me out of the world of “what do I do” and puts me into “what is needed in this moment?”

Chuck Palahniuk put it beautifully:

“I want out of the labels. I don’t want my whole life crammed into a single word. A story. I want to find something else, unknowable, some place that’s not on the man. A real adventure.

A sphinx. A mystery. A blank. Unknown. Undefined.”

Can you honestly say you’re just a teacher? Or a lawyer? Or an electrician? Aren’t you a son or daughter? Maybe a parent? A lover?
Patient? Kind? Happy? Sad?

We are able to choose ourselves in every moment. Putting a name to who it is that you are, based on what you do, can put you in a little box. Or maybe it can make you  feel like you’re standing on that little box. Do you judge yourself for your title? Are you judging other people because of theirs?

Forget What We are

So to answer the question truly?

My goals are to be happy, calm and centred.  To feel as though I’m making a difference in the world. My focus is to be connected, to love and be loved. To show people the ways I’ve been making that happen in my life – and show them how it can make a difference in theirs.