The power of loving your un-best self too…

15492119_1099155403535617_6643494079082141638_n

As the end of 2016 draws to a close I’ve been in quite the reflective place. I’ve also been looking forward too… keen to plan/see/know what the future might hold. That’s how I ended up chatting to a psychic this weekend!

Not your average woo-woo, Stephen Paul is a down to earth trucker cap wearing dude who, when not tapping into his intuitive super powers, stunt doubles as a labourer on building sites. It was awesome.

More of a motivational coaching pep talk than a ‘your long lost relo has a message for you’ or ‘in five years you’ll [insert generic dream here]’ style convo, one of the strongest themes to come through our wide ranging one hour chat was the value that can come from stepping in (and up!) to completely embrace your dark side (or ‘shadow’, or any of those things you hide about yourself from the world).

I recently did a stocktake of all the self care Sunday, mindful Monday and other meaningful content I’ve posted here in the last two years. That the total amount of words I’ve typed on these topics is on the way to a PhD thesis blew me away!

I’ve loved these weekly writing exercises I set for myself for many reasons, but my chat with Psychic Steve today reminded me that even if the reason behind them is important to me, it’s still so easy to ‘curate’ your online life in a way that shields others from your reality.

I love photography and there’s so much power in telling stories visually, yet in our hyper-connected modern reality, whether through motivational memes, elevator selfies or Photoshopping/filtering images to reflect what we want to see, we control the view into our lives that others receive.

Weekly people reflect back to me their impressions of me from professional and personal interactions with me, and occasionally someone will say ‘wow, it looks like you’re doing amazingly from your ig/fb page’. Most of these interactions leave me shaking my head in disbelief: how can these people not understand that it’s my job to portray my brand values of wild, wise, wellness? For them to not know, as the saying goes ‘I do yoga to burn off the crazy’?! I totally do!

And sometimes when I tell people how I really feel about things, they’re shocked because they thought I was ‘nice’ (just ask Santa, he can verify I haven’t made that team for years!), or they just don’t know how to take it when I say something other than positive motivational cheerleading.

Or, bless -when I stop trying to protect everyone else’s feelings and ask for what I really need, people get offended and call me unyogic. That’s my personal fave! Hot tip from the teach: yogis are people too! We live the same lives, make the same mistakes and have to learn the same lessons as you…we’re all in this together and when you graduate from yoga teacher school -sadly-you don’t get a free ticket absolving you of being a total a-hole sometimes! We’re still on our L plates for life too! We’re not gurus, definitely not perfect! We’re just seekers along the convoluted path to knowing ourselves more deeply alongside you. We’re doing our best too. But I digress…kinda.

All the above examples serve to illustrate the essence of the reminder I received today: that in order to fully embrace yourself, YOU have to accept both those light, happy, fun bits (and we all know that’s easy, right?) AND those bits that are broken, crooked, twisted, askew, confused, in turmoil, ashamed, vulnerable (etc. you get the theme!) And this bit is HARD – this is our work. What all the yoga, fitness, goal setting, meditation, reflection is for. To learn to love those bits we’d rather extricate from ourselves, pretend aren’t there, don’t exist, don’t influence us…except until they do…

Like when you lose your shit for no apparent reason over the littlest thing, when the envy monster rises mysteriously, when the shame or the fear or the pain overcomes you and you’ll do anything to avoid it – eat, sleep, shop, yoga, run, lift, phone a friend, watch Masterchef.

What ever it looks like is individual to you – what’s not is that we ALL experience it. Some have mastered the lessons of self care and love, and evolved into a place of non-reactivity. Others are still blissfully ignorant of their base programming…others – like me, opened a door somewhere along the way – that led to the path of painful enlightenment. And after a few lessons learned you begin to see that just like removing a bandaid, that the faster you rip through your trauma/’stuff’/address and accept the dark, the faster you’ll heal…

Just like this stunning image I snapped in a Canberra cafe yesterday illustrates, the Raven – spirit messenger, dark like those parts of your soul you’re still hiding are – has a gift for you. And it’s beautiful, if only you’re willing to receive it.

I’ve been working on my dark side all year in 2016. With butt kicking coaching ably complemented by practical exercises in the form of shithouse life lessons, relationship and communication breakdowns, business failures and bucketloads of bad decisions both personal and professional. So even without the social media thesis, it’s been an educational year!!

And there’s plenty more lessons left to learn!

So here’s your Sunday evening reminder that despite what you might see in my social media feeds, just like you, I have shite days, bad days, sad days, broken days, ungrateful days, lazy days, dazed and confused days and fab days, glad days, proud days, ecstatically happy days, joyful days, playful days, memorable days, inspired days too.

Know that wherever you’re at, someone close to you has been there too. And if someone is being an a-hole, maybe cut them some slack, know that you too have a-hole within you and that with a little love and understanding we can all evolve together.

I basically got called out today on not applying my rules of engagement to myself! My work for 2017 is to love myself more-positive and negative, light and dark-they’re both me- and both worth equal lovingkindness 💖. And to let go of some of the fear about just being who I am… And giving waaaay less of a damn who likes me exactly how I come…unfiltered, organic, imperfect – but fabulous (obviously!). And finally to be gentle with my badass self too.

I hope 2017 holds much the same for you! Namaste.

Advertisements

Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself!

fuck should

Ever find yourself thinking ‘Well, I should…’ and then not feeling very excited about actually doing whatever that ‘should’ might be?

Have you ever stopped to think about where that ‘should’ really comes from?!

‘Should’ can be a dangerous word that keeps you tied to externally or internally applied expectations… That are often either unrealistic or out of line with your authentic self.

‘Should-ing’ all over yourself is a recipe for unhappiness, anxiety and constant feelings of inadequacy… I ‘should’ know, I’ve done it for most of my life! If you stop to really feel into it, you might have too.

I don’t remember who first shared the little piece of wisdom that ‘should-ing’ on yourself was a destructive dis-ease, but coming from a background filled with expectation, it resonated straight away and has helped me get to the bottom of my drives, ambitions and choices so they’re more aligned and right for me – rather than steeped in guilt, anxiety and unfulfillable expectations.

We all have our ‘should’s’ – don’t get me wrong – I’m all for brushing my teeth and paying my bills! But there’s a healthy line where you can learn to discern between when you’re acting out of unhealthy expectations that limit or burden you and when you’re moving from a space of self love and authenticity.

 

How will I know if I’m ‘should-ing’ all over myself?!

Before you make your next decision, tap into how you really feel about what you think you want or have to/need to/think you ‘should’ do. What’s the source of your desire for action? Is it intrinsic – a drive that comes from within? If so, is it authentic? Is it really yours? Or is it something you’ve taken on through familial, social or societal programming?

Ask if your desire for action stems from a deep place of self care and respect, a desire for change, achievement or transformation? Are you acting in alignment with your values? Is it in your highest and best good?

How does thinking about ‘it’ make you feel? Uneasy in your gut or light/powerful/connected/happy in your heart? Your body can often provide you with clues when your mind wants to play tricks on you!

Take some time this week to observe how often the word ‘should’ pops up in your thoughts and vocabulary this week – it might surprise you! These simple investigations can help you discern the roots of your conviction and help you own your actions so they serve you in evolving to be the very best version of you!

Wishing you a should-free week!
Namaste!

Finding Freedom – Yoga for Arthritis

IMG_7907

After last week’s solstice we are well into the chilly winter season that means feeling regularly stiff and sore for some of us. If you suffer from arthritis – whether mild or severe, seasonal or chronic – I’ve got a few tips here on ways that yoga can help you improve or manage your condition in healthy, supportive ways.

What is arthritis?

There are almost as many types of arthritis and related diseases, as there as yoga poses and ways to practice. This is lucky because that means that within all the many options there will be something that’s suitable for you!

Characterised broadly as an inflammatory response, predominantly of joints that causes pain, Arthritis sufferers can present with a wide range of symptoms from isolated pain, swelling and reduction of movement in one joint, to much broader loss of mobility, wider organ and nervous system involvement, and debilitating loss of physical function.

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient science that blends movement, breathing and mental concentration and contemplation exercises into a powerful self-care practice.

How can yoga help arthritis sufferers?

Physically, the practice of yoga postures (asana) can help build strength, develop balance and improve flexibility when applied safely. Gentle exercise that doesn’t inflame joints or aggravate pain has been shown to help improve joint health and prevent worsening symptoms that result from a sedentary lifestyle in people with arthritis.

Psychologically, the breathing (pranayama) and mindfulness (meditation) aspects of yoga can have hugely beneficial impacts in helping cultivate a positive mindset, managing pain, improving immunity and reducing feelings of stress and frustration that can be helpful for people managing a chronic condition like arthritis.

Move your body, change your life!

Even when restricted, movement is so important to our overall physical and psychological health. Arthritis sufferers, regardless of the extent or severity of their condition, can benefit greatly from incorporating some of yoga’s movement techniques into their regular wellness routine.

Despite what you may think, not all yoga requires you to turn your body into a bendy pretzel, or being able to touch your toes! There are plenty of ways a physical yoga practice can be adapted to your individual needs so that you can stretch, strengthen and relax in ways that are comfortable and accessible to your specific condition.

If you’re suffering from arthritis and looking to begin yoga, you can practice gentle variations in each of the families of poses – forward bends, backbends, twists, balances, standing, sitting and lying – within the bounds of your pain tolerance and range of movement. Incorporating supportive tools such as blocks, straps, blankets, cushions and chairs are an excellent way to help modify and assist your practice.

Where do I start?

  • Talk to your doctor first. If there are any specific movements they recommend you avoid, have them write them down so you can pass them on to your yoga teacher.
  • Find a qualified teacher who you can talk to about your specific needs (pick me!). Individual sessions are an ideal place to start if you’re new to yoga. I’m available on Wednesday afternoons for private yoga consultations where I’ll create a program tailored specifically to you.
  • If you prefer a group session, choose a beginner’s yoga class, a chair-based yoga class or a slower, prop-supported practice where you can begin learning what feels right for you.
  • Always listen to your body’s signals and never push yourself into pain.

Breathe yourself to freedom

The way we breathe can change our body chemistry and how our brains and nervous system function. The beauty of a moving practice of yoga is that it is usually paired with the deep, controlled breathing. For arthritis sufferers, even if you’re very movement limited, breathing is a powerful self care practice you can do anytime, anywhere to help create a state of calm and relaxation…or even increased energy if you feel like it too!

Through breath we can create states of calm or states of anxiety. Learning to know what your breathing patterns are and creating for you and finding new ways to produce peace and balance through focussed breathing can help you transform your state of mind, manage feelings of anxiety or overwhelm and cultivate states of calm and relaxation – by choice when ever you want to.

Where do I start?

  • Deep belly breaths are the fastest way to calm your nervous system. They help switch off our stress ‘fight, flight, freeze’ response that’s triggered in times of stress and help bring your back to a calm, healing, restful state of body and mind.
  • You can bring your attention to your breath anytime, driving your car, sitting or standing at work, or lying down in bed! Ideally you have good posture and an even, neutral spine.
  • First start to notice the quality of your breath; is it deep or shallow, fast or slow, laboured or easy?
  • Then on an exhale squeeze out as much air out as possible, including squeezing your belly and ribs down tight. Try to hold your breath out for one or two counts is you can.
  • As you inhale let your low belly relax and fully stretch out, followed by letting your ribs fully expand up and out.
  • Take another slow, deep exhale for the count of at least four. Continue making your inhale and exhale equal length, repeat for as long as you feel comfortable.
  • Return to normal breath and notice how you feel.
  • Be mindful to stop if breathing exercises make you feel anxious, dizzy or nauseas.

Cultivate a positive mindset

Some people call mediation the ‘art of attention’. Mindfulness meditation helps provide a pathway for creating a new relationship with your self by paying attention to where your feelings and thoughts begin, how you get caught up in them and whether, in fact, your thoughts are really true, or just bad habits you’ve become used to repeating and eventually believing.

Learning to flex our attention muscle can lead to positive psychological benefits such as reducing symptoms of stress including – importantly for arthritis suffers; inflammation, reducing the incidence or severity of anxiety and depression, assisting with conditions including insomnia, and of specific interest to arthritis sufferers, helping change your relationship with pain.

Living with pain can be both physically and psychologically debilitating and practicing meditation has been shown to create measurable improvements in quality of life for arthritis sufferers.

Because pain science has found that the experience of pain is both physical and emotional, sometimes meditation can help where medication can’t by teaching you to become aware of your feelings, manage your emotions moment to moment, be compassionate towards yourself, practice acceptance and choose positive thought patterns that can help you create a more contented life with your condition.

Learning meditation is a wonderful way to start actively changing your mind, and therefore your relationship with yourself, and your condition.

Where do I start?

  • Download a free app such as Head Space or One Giant Mind and listen to guided meditations.
  • Enrol in a 6-week Managing the Madness course with Live Well.
  • Book in for a private consultation with me and I’ll set you up with a simple and specific meditation to practice on your own at home.
  • Start paying attention to when your thoughts start to spiral into negativity. Invite them back to the positive by thinking about something that you’re grateful for. A daily practice of gratitude has been proven to improve your outlook on life.

Convinced that yoga might have something to offer you?!

Whether you’re an arthritis sufferer, a regular yoga practitioner looking to deepen your practice or just yo-curious, I’m available for private yoga consultations here at Live Well every Wednesday afternoon and would love to work with you to create a tailored Yoga program that can help you achieve your wellbeing goals.

You can also join me on my upcoming Yoga and Wellbeing Retreats:

Spring Yoga Boot Camp – September 9-11: https://beachyogabootcampspring.eventbrite.com.au

The Paradise Retreat Sri Lanka – September 18-24: http://www.theparadiseretreat.com/

Yoga Big Day Out Canberra – October 23: https://springyogabigdayout.eventbrite.com.au

Namaste and be wild, be wise, be well!

Ramone

My Top Yoga Reads

ND4_8443

I love to read. Lately, I love to write as well. I love the power and creativity of language and words. I love books, paper, journals and pens. I’m yet to purchase a kindle but I think an audio book done well could be good listen!

I’m often asked to recommend Yoga-flavoured books to students staring on their journey toward teacher training and sometimes asked by students where I’ve learned what I share in my classes and retreats, or where they can find out a little more about something that’s piqued their interest when they’ve heard about it in class.

In fact I’ve been asked so many times that I’ve come up with a list, that I’ve emailed around to a few of the students that I’ve mentored so they can begin their own yoga libraries. I love my reference collection and refuse to loan my books!

So here’s a rather long list of books I love and recommend to anyone exploring a the journey of yoga, keen to deepen their self knowledge or just to learn a little bit more about the many different ways of viewing and interpreting the world.

One one caveat to devouring text after text is that Yoga is experiential in nature, it is the art of living, experiencing, learning and reflecting. So dive in and enjoy, but remember that the journey unfolds, off the page… and off your mat as well!

Happy exploring!

Most basic 200 hour yoga teacher trainings would include required reading of the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s yoga sutras. There are thousands of versions that you could choose from but these are some I’ve used and regularly recommend to my students.

For the old Indian texts (Gita and Sutras) you can either get straight translations or translations plus an author’s interpretation of the meaning of the ancient text.

These are two interpretation versions of the Yoga Sutras:

  • BKS Iyengar – Light on the Yoga Sutras and
  • Sri Swami Satchidananda – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

There are lots of versions of the Bhagavad Gita but I’ve got:

  • Steven Mitchell – The Bhagavad Gita
  • Sri Swami Satchidananda – The Bhagavad Gita

Physical anatomy from a yogic perspective:

  • Leslie Kaminoff – Yoga Anatomy
  • This isn’t a book but I think Paul Grilley’s – Anatomy of Yoga video is a must-watch!

Along with the physical body we also have an energetic anatomy in Yoga. These are a couple of good explorations/comparative studies of how one version of the Chakra system ‘works’:

  • Caroline Myss – Anatomy of the Spirit and
  • Anodea Judith – Wheels of Life and Eastern Body, Western Mind

Yoga also has a ‘sister science’ called Ayurveda that, similar to Chinese Medicine, offers a framework for managing health. A good introductory explanation of Ayurveda is:

Robert Svoboda – Prakriti: your Ayurveda Constitution

Below are lots of options that explore specific practices, yoga history, philosophy and the endless possibilities available when we begin looking at the body, mind and spirit:

  • TKV Desikachar – Health, Healing and Beyond and The Heart of Yoga
  • Bernie Clark – Yin Yoga
  • Pramahasa Yogananda – Autobiography of a Yogi
  • BKS Iyengar – Light on Life, Tree of Yoga, Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama
  • Michael Roach – How Yoga Works
  • Georg Fuerstein – Tantra, the path of ecstasy
  • Ana Forrest – Fierce Medicine
  • Peter Levine – Healing Trauma
  • Judith Hansen Lasseter– Restorative Yoga
  • Bernie Clark– Yin Yoga
  • Liz Koch – Psoas, muscle of the soul

Have fun with this and don’t be overwhelmed – the right information will speak to you or fall into your lap at the right time, when you’re ready to hear or integrate its wisdom!

Namaste!

The magic of being in the moment… Or how three months in Japan made me let go of ‘the plan’.

Powder Yoga

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I stepped off a plane in a foreign land for the first time on my own.

That land was Japan and I was on a brief stopover on my way to a new life in another land, the United States of America. That was my only plan… the rest, I was winging it!

Little did I know how significantly that first overseas trip would change the trajectory of my life and shape me as a person. Never could I have imagined that one day I’d return to Japan to spend time sharing a hobby I picked up whilst on my travels, that turned into a passion, and eventually into way of life and my source of comfort, wisdom and income.

This amazing yoga-glowing photo video was taken just minutes after the end of the final class I taught at Powder Yoga Niseko this season. It was possibly my favourite class I’d taught all season…one of those ‘Goldilocks’ moments where everything was ‘just right’; the intention, the energy, the breath, the movement, the space, the stillness, the people that came together to co-create it, the soft winter afternoon light streaming through the studio and the crystal clear views of Mount Yotei our constant silent guide. Half of the class I had planned… the rest of it just unfolded. Here’s to winging it with confidence!

It’s magic moments like these that fill my cup and help remind me why I love to do what I do: Yoga – whether as a personal practice or an offering. My thanks go out to everyone at Powder Yoga Niseko for inspiring me and keeping my inner candle flame burning bright these last three months… because not all of my moments this season were light.

Along with all of the powder filled wonder and fun of this season… there’s also been some challenging times with many long-repeated scenarios in my life resurfacing for release and – hopefully – resolution. Unlike that first time I travelled away from home, this time I went to Japan with expectations and an agenda for how I could best use my time… I wanted to plan my next steps, and move forward with my business and my life. I was quickly schooled in the folly of believing I could control what lies in the future and was constantly called back to the present moment, by roadblocks like illness and other situations that were like signposts to how my beliefs and actions developed in the past have shaped my current view of life.

Sometimes it’s important to have a plan, a strategy, an image in your mind of what the future might hold. It can help you bring it to life and manifest your dreams into physical form. Other times – like my time here in Japan, you’re called to drop into a deep trust in the process and let go of the fear, the control, the insignificance of your mortal thoughts and egoic mind and float down the river of life without a raft or a paddle.

My travels in Japan have been a timely reminder that sometimes we don’t know what’s best for us and that somehow, somewhere there’s ‘something’ directing us to let go of everything we think we know and allow ourselves to be guided towards something unfamiliar, unexpected and new. New and unfamiliar can be scary – a feeling we usually try and avoid. But it is in exactly these raw and vulnerable moments that we invite magic to unfold and find some of the most powerful and transformative experiences of our lives. Call it intuition, flow, synchronicity, magic, trust, universal guidance, god, faith, divine timing, feeling the fear and doing it anyway – what ever floats your spiritual boat or moves your soul – it is all the same life lesson in trust and letting go. And I have very recently been schooled! 

I’m still not sure if I have graduated with flying colours but I am grateful for the reminder that things work out for the best, regardless of how much energy I invest in worrying about them being a particular way. And that when I do just open up and allow people and experiences to flow lightly both into and out of my life there is an incredible richness and ease to both my relationships and the opportunities that come my way. 

Now that my time in beautiful Niseko is over and I am once again back in the land down under, I feel more and more like this trip was like the end of a volume, rather than just the end of another chapter of my life. It’s more like a bookend to an epic and adventurous tale I began at 20 with a rocking party and flying stop over in the land of the rising sun on the way to an unplanned new life. It feels good to be back in that state of adventurous flow where anything is possible and almost everything is unknown!

In this ripe time of receiving, my meditation practice helps me stay open to guidance and in tune with my intuition. Each morning I open to the question ‘I wonder what is possible?’ and sit quietly open to the answers. It’s been a great practice for Mindful March that I plan to continue as I readjust to life back in Oz and wait for the signals on what my next move might be. 

I’ve been attached to my wanderlusting lifestyle from that very first adventure that began in Japan. Over this time I’ve realised that sometimes doors stay open, either wide or ever so slightly so you can slide back inside the places and stories of your life that make you comfortable. Other times, doors are closed firmly, either for you or by you to end certain chapters of your life.

It feels interesting and different to let a story about myself go, to let a door gently close and sit quietly in the moment accepting not knowing what the future holds. I’m excited to explore what’s possible as I reveal a blank page on which to start a new volume of my life…

I  am grateful to all the characters who’ve their played parts, small or large in bringing my story to life so far! Thanks for the memories, and here’s to leaping bravely into the unknown once again and embracing the magic in each moment.

Namaste!

An astrological call to action… New moon solar eclipse in Pisces on International Women’s Day

Caroline-Maniere

As some of you know I’m an astro-hoe. One of my fave things to read and write about is astrology. It’s been a while since I’ve done an astro post but today I’ve been moved to again. I’m not a qualified astrologer but I do love the metaphorical magic of how celestial energies can link to our life paths, in both subtle and significant ways.

I very rarely share my opinions on global issues or things that are close to me heart but today I think there’s a beautiful conjunction between things that I deeply believe in and I feel it’s a pertinent time to share them.

Today is a significant day. And not just because it’s International Women’s Day. Today there is a profound combination of astrological energies that if you choose to engage with them, can significantly change the trajectory of your life. And if you believe it, and engage with it, possibly change the trajectory of humanity too.

Today is a new moon, a supermoon and tomorrow the sun is eclipsed by the new Pisces moon. How are International Women’s Day and a new super moon solar eclipse related?! And more importantly what does this mean to me… and you?

Where shall I begin!? Maybe with the sign of the times; Pisces. Pisces is the watery final sign of the zodiac. Attributed with the qualities of emotionality, fertility, possibility, permeability, empathy… sound like familiar qualities?

They are deeply tied to the archetypal feminine. These traits empower their bearer with the qualities of empathy, kindness and compassion for others – whether they be human, animal or non-sentient elements.

One of the biggest issues I see with the world today is the lack of application these qualities towards the ‘other’: whether that other be gender, race, animal or mineral.

Within the archetypal power of the feminine lies the responsibility to apply these innate instincts as a duty of care – to our families, our communities, our environments.

Female goddesses from across cultures have been attributed the stewardship and wise, caring, even fierce mothering, protection and guardianship of both family and nature across time. From Gaia to Artemis, Demeter, Dionysus, Pachamama, Freja, Bacchus, Ceres, Diana, Ostara, Durga; the divine feminine has overseen and defended the health, wealth, pleasure and fecundity of our society and environment throughout generations.

New moons signify new beginnings and this new moon in watery Pisces opens a door that offers us the opportunity to step into our innate deeply rooted feminine energies and act as a powerful yet compassionate steward of our world.

The astrological signature of some of the aspects to this new moon – especially that of the wounded healer, Chiron – show us that at this time we have the chance to deeply heal and then finally seal old wounds. The amplified power of the Supermoon (meaning the moon is physically closest to the earth in it’s orbit) deepens the power of the pull or the call means it might be finally time to clear the skeletons out of your closet once and for all so you can begin with a completely fresh wardrobe; free of fear, doubt, shame, guilt or regret – and full of the powerful goddess energies that lie within you.

The planet Ceres also features in the mix. Ceres, the mother goddess of the grain in Roman mythology (i.e. cereal –geddit?!), signifies our connection to the earth as a provider. Without the health of our planet we are without a basis on which to build our material worlds. Is there a way in which you can be kinder in your choices about how you choose to nourish yourself? And be mindful of the sources of your nourishment? From sustainable use of our basic resources of mother oceans, freshwater sources and agricultural exploitation…what is your relationship you have with the earth?

Eclipses are significant as amplifiers, they can both open and close doors. This eclipse is calling you to look within and ask: is there something deep within you that you really care about – and have the passion to fight for? To defend? To put yourself on the line for? To strive for and achieve?

Now is the time to go for it, to let any of your facades or personas fall away and step into being powerfully and authentically you. The universe is fully supporting the healed you to shed your cocoon, spread your wings and soar into heart opening success. Your time to shine is now. Your opportunity is to tap into the divine feminine and choose a path that is at once self-satisfying but also of service to the greater good… of society and/or the planet. In this way as we transform, we bring our communities with us. We make the world a better place by becoming more authentically, yet selflessly ourselves.

Whenever there is opportunity for growth – there is work and challenge to achieve change. I’m all for going with the flow but sometimes we have to embrace the fire to alchemically transform into the next version of ourselves. The Yogis call the process Tapas – the burning off of waste through dedication and commitment in order to shed that which keeps us from truly being our best selves (which for a yogi is true union or ‘yoga’).

So you may find that as you’re called to your destiny it will be hard, you will face challenges and you may butt right up against people that you love and that love you and even people that don’t love you. This is all part of the process and an opportunity to call on some of your divine feminie energy to fiercely, yet empathically defend your beliefs and your families, communities and your place in the world.

So I suppose my musings on the alignment of the stars and their mythological meanings on this important day of celebration of the power and potency of the feminine point to the offering I’d like to open up to you – to ask yourself at this time – How can I behave in a more mindful, compassionate yet powerful way to evolve as an individual and thereby directly influence those around me by example and thus impact positive change in the world?

Even though it’s a misquote, you literally CAN be the change you want to see in the world. And now is an opportune astrological time to allow yourself to evolve in ways that you may have never believed possible before. You are fully backed and supported by the universe to be your most powerful self.

So on International Women’s Day I feel it’s important that you tap into your innate feminine and go spread your wings beautiful butterflies! You have good to share with the world and your transformation will help make it a better place. Do you. That’s why you’re here and the world is waiting for you!

Namaste Goddess Sages!

Here’s to strong women, may we be them, may we know them, may we raise them. We are the stewards charged with making the world a better place.

Amazing image by the artist Caroline Maniere via Mystic Medusa My astro sage and mystical mentor!

Namaste!

 

Does it bring you joy?

IMG_8551

As I’m slowing my life down a little and my mind is correspondingly easing back into stillness after many months of overdrive and overload, I’m starting to once again hear and listen to the quiet voice of my intuition, and noticing the signs and signals the universe conspires to leave along my path throughout each day.

Today a concept that has crossed my computer screen, not once but twice in the space of a few hours is: ‘KonMari’ or ‘the art of tidying up’, a Japanese method of de-cluttering and organising your life, based in principles of Zen.

Dubbed the ‘life changing magic of tidying up’ by it’s creator Marie Kondo, it’s guiding principle is first asking yourself about any object in your possession ‘Does it bring you joy’? Whilst predominantly a technique for clearing crap out of your closets, it’s a hugely effective concept that can easily be applied to your desk, your relationships and other aspects of your life that have run off track and are feeling stale, cluttered or draining your energy.

Being gently prompted to take stock of what aspects of my life bring me joy – and weed out those that do not today – is a timely reminder of how I’ve let my mind, expectations and ego take over my life and prevent me from living simply, intuitively and…joyfully, for way too long.

So this Mindful Monday I invite you to tune in to your intuition, listen, look and feel for the signs and signals you’re being sent and, whether it’s the clutter on your desk or the off kilter relationship with your boyfriend or BFF, ask yourself ‘does it bring me joy’?

Your instant answer is your truth, and in your own way and in your own time you’ll know how to act accordingly to tidy up your life so that all that remains are the aspects that fill you with joy. You will feel lighter, more spacious and more in line with who you are in the present moment once you allow yourself to let go of that which no longer brings you joy.

Namaste and happy heart-healing, de-cluttering and joy creating KonMari today!

 

Can yoga travel save the world?

 

FullSizeRender (6)

Back before I was Yoga Travel Girl, I had a successful career as Sustainability Barbie. I worked in wildlife conservation and sustainable development because I wanted to make a positive difference in the world.

Unfortunately the fit between bureaucracy and me was less than ideal and I was mostly miserable working in my office setting. The calling to return to the health and wellbeing industry I’d been ignoring became louder and more appealing, and the path became clear for me to transition out of trying to save the world through paperwork and institutions and into saving people from themselves – thereby influencing them to make better decisions about how they view and interact with the world.

Not only has this transition been incredibly rewarding for me on a personal level, it has allowed me to realise that we really can, as just one individual, have a profound positive impact on the world by the choices we make and the actions that we take.

When I initially brainstormed my Wild Sage Wellbeing ideas, I realised that I had all of the skills, tools and talents I needed to create exceptional experiences that would help people learn (or remember) what and how it feels to be deeply connected to themselves, in tune with the world around them and live harmoniously with other beings.  I started running yoga retreats because I knew that these experiences could bridge the gap for disillusioned urban yogis to find their peaceful warrior flow again.

Today I was reminded that there’s a strong link between how we treat ourselves and how we perceive and act towards the world around us. I don’t often talk about my ‘past lives’ (my many pre-Yoga Travel Girl careers) but each and every thing I’ve done in my life has prepared me for the role I now play in facilitating personal healing and transformation.

I’ve been sharing ‘Self-Care Sunday Reminders’ for a few months now on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. At the cusp of the Chinese New Year my post today touched a little on some of the core guiding values that I’m passionate about and that drove me to start my business in self care, with the intention of helping make the world a better place, one enlightened individual at a time.

I do think that Yoga Travel can change the world and if you’d like to find out why read on – or even better, come and join me for a first hand experience! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Self-Care Sunday Reminder: Never stop exploring… It’s how to make the world a better place.

Curiosity and inquiry will take you great places both internally and in the world. Life is a great adventure if you’re willing to explore within yourself and to look with an open heart, mind and eyes around you.

Chances are, if you’re privileged enough to be reading this on your personal mobile device or laptop, you’ve probably got both the intellect and savvy to increase your self awareness, and the financial means to travel.

In my opinion, these two activities combined; travel in places or cultures different from those you were raised in, and the application of self inquiry and reflection, create a human being who is self actualised, open hearted, open minded and compassionate. That’s why my Yoga retreats combine both: self inquiry practices and sustainable travel.

What the world needs now is more humans with not just passion to serve their own needs, but people who bring their talents to the table in the service of creating a healthier, more sustainable and more compassionate world.

We live on a planet with finite resources and infinite diversity that is in crisis on every level. From environmental to social to economic issues we are over using, under caring and applying fear-based, unsustainable, outdated concepts to manage and navigate our lives.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by, or to completely ignore these challenges; especially if you’re an empathetic person or conversely, when they don’t seem to directly impact you.

But, YOU CAN make a positive difference in the simplest of ways. Choosing to be your best self – through constant learning, and applying what you learn by making informed, compassionate choices creates a cascade of positive actions that flows outward from you.

When you come from a position of privilege, you are gifted with the power of choice. The choices you make DO matter. Your life matters. You can have a positive impact on the world.

What ever it is that you’re passionate about, that you dream of doing, that lights your fire or stirs your soul, START IT NOW. You’re doing a disservice to yourself and the world by holding back your unique contribution. As you let your flame shine brighter, so you ignite a light to shine in others around you.

You may never know who you are an inspiration to, it could be just one person or millions. Size doesn’t matter, the impact is the same: hearts touched, lives changed, more positive choices made, the butterfly effect flowing onward and increasing the positive vibration of the planet.

So whether you choose to explore the world as I do through travelling, seeking, learning and teaching, or you have your own path and practice of personal evolution – keep at it; keep exploring, keep delving, keep learning, keep sharing, keep shining and keep believing that you are a gift to this time and this place and this planet.

Because it’s true. We need you. Choose the planet and choose you. 💖

Namaste this Self Care Sunday my wild sages. Go do you. The world needs you.

Resolve to Evolve in 2016

FullSizeRender (2)

Well hey there you! Welcome to the end of a HUGE 2015!

You know you don’t need an arbitrary date to start fresh, change your mind, your direction or your actions right?

Sometimes though, it is helpful to have a symbolic beginning to motivate you to do the work of reflection and projection required to envision what you’d like to invite into your life for a fabulous future.

And here we are at that time of year again…when focus turns to what possibilities a new year might bring. The start of a new year is both a traditional and an opportune time to reset our focus.

I’ve spun around the sun a few times now, and know about myself that having some goals I feel passionate about helps keep me motivated, focussed and discerning in my life choices.

What I have also learned is that making attainment of an ‘out there’ goal the perceived source of how I’d like to feel leads to dissatisfaction and disappointment, because this approach puts power OUTSIDE of yourself and somewhere other than the PRESENT.

Too many times I’ve thought that achieving, receiving or attaining ‘something’ would make me feel how I wanted…loved, successful, respected (for example)…only to arrive at my desired goal to find my life/health/relationships were a train wreck and the self satisfaction of box ticking was short lived.

So for the past few years, inspired by the talented Danielle La Porte and my amazing friend and mentor Krista Jane, I have used a process of identifying what I’d like to embody and experience in my life on a daily basis FIRST…and from there stepping up to the big picture stuff.

Getting under the WHY of what you want – deeply and intimately – to how you’d like to FEEL (as opposed to what you want to do, be or have), helps set you up for making choices that are aligned with your values, that you can apply in real time = right NOW.

There are goals and then there are goals with soul. The way you set yourself up to create your goals can revolutionise your life and experience of success.

I like to think of goal setting a little like yoga – if you can put your foot behind your head but are still an a-hole daily – you’ve kind of missed the point! Life is a choose-your-own-adventure that unfolds with many chapters and plot twists…and the journey is the everything, there will be many destinations along the way.

In the past I’ve run a face-to-face course on soul-goal setting called the Resolution Revolution, but this year I am not studio based so I thought I’d offer up my tips on identifying and setting soul based goals for y’all here as a little seasonal manifestation motivator!

Below you’ll find my 8 step guide to creating a high vibe life in 2016 and longer! If you’re ready to resolve to evolve in 2016, let’s play!

8 steps to creating a high vibe life from goals with soul!

Step 1

Get prepped! – You’ll need writing implements and something to write on! If you’re keen to do this all in one session – set aside at least 2-3 hours of undisturbed you time. I usually run this is as a whole afternoon activity with yoga, healthy snacks and inspirational tunes!

Step 1 begins with a meditation on gratitude. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Take 5-15 minutes to sit quietly, breathe gently and allow your heart to bring up all in your life that you’re grateful for. You can travel back as far through time as you like and make your way towards the present. Spend another few minutes writing down what – from this year in particular, including today – you’re grateful for. This will bring you up to the present moment with a positive mindset about all the good you’ve got in your life right now – a great energetic space to begin manifesting from!

Step 2

This is a chance for you to look into your desires and values – What’s important and meaningful for you? What drives your decision-making? And then delve into WHY… and see if we can identify some feelings around them!

To begin:

Divide a page into three columns. (Or if like me, you write too much, feel free to use three separate pages!)

On the left in Column 1, write down what you think you want to be/do/have (now or in a chosen period of time in the future).

In the middle Column 2, next to each item you’ve listed, spend some time unpacking WHY you want attain, obtain or achieve this particular goal. Hint: look to find a feeling word, and an emotional connection to your answer…it might take 5 or 10 why’s to REALLY get to the bottom of your answer. Keep asking and be honest with yourself.

E.g.: I want to lose 5kg…WHY? Because I want to fit back into my old clothes…WHY? Because I looked hot when I wore my skinny jeans…WHY? Because I FELT confident = BINGO!! The external goal might be about 5 kilos on the surface, but the internal one is really about regaining a sense of SELF CONFIDENCE… Can you see where I’m going with this?!

Rather than trying to drop a dress size by going on an unsustainable crash diet, there are plenty of ways to start incorporating feeling more confident into your daily life. A commitment to healthy movement that you enjoy and that works with your lifestyle and finances is one of them…the by-products of increased physical activity include not only weight loss (if paired with appropriate eating), but improved mood and physical health… All winners for improving how you feel about yourself and importantly, much more sustainable in the long run too!

Your turn! Don’t be shy – be honest and own your truth… If it’s because you want someone else to think/feel something about you (I’m totally guilty of this), delve a little deeper into how you could cultivate that feeling for yourself or get to the bottom of the why behind your need for external validation…it’s a process!

In the 3rd and final column, take some time to identify and write down what activities, pastimes or behaviours or give you the most pleasure, enjoyment and sense of pure joy! You can go back as far in your life as you want for these…sometimes it’s useful to tap into our childhood sense of simple pleasures and wonder! Again, use this as an opportunity to delve a little deeper into how these made you feel.

Why do we do this last column? Because fun, joy, lightness and positivity are all great motivators. If your goals feel heavy and like ‘hard work’ they will be, and you may not be so inclined to stay the course if this is the case. However, if your goals feel like a natural expression of your joy, passion, heartfelt service or creative mission the energy you draw on to fulfil them will come from not just from you, but from your essential source too and therefore be limitless. Sounds a bit woo-woo, I know, but trust me!

Step 3

Imagine and then write down your absolute, supremo, PERFECT day! You can envision it as today, tomorrow or it can be 1+, 5+ or more years from now… As you write what your day entails, be detailed and descriptive – include everything from who you spend time with to what you do and especially remember to pay particular attention to how you FEEL as you move through…these elements are key!

If you can’t conjure up your Perfect Day just yet, it sometimes helps to imagine the current ‘you’ meeting your ideal future self and having a conversation about how awesome your life is in the future. Again, let the conversation be intricately detailed and emotionally charged. Your feelings will guide you to your highest and best expression.

Have fun and be limitless! Play with what’s possible!

Step 4

Find a highlighter or another coloured pen. Grab your three column list and your ‘Perfect Day’ story.

Cross check your list of WHY‘s from Column 2 with any feelings you listed in your Perfect Day…these are hot ticket items for creating the basis of your everyday.

Write them all down on a separate sheet of paper as a master list of the feelings and values that most resonate with you and that you’d most like to embody everyday. Also check Column 3 against your Perfect Day – if there are any feelings here that are not listed in your perfect day and they resonate with you, transfer them to your master list of feelings & values.

Compare columns 1 & 3 – are there any activities on your list of things that bring you joy that are also on you list of goals or within your goals? If so great! If not, are there any ways you can bring some of them back into your life?

Finally, looking at your master sheet of feelings now, can you identify up to THREE of these that stand out the most? Highlight or rewrite these on another sheet of paper.

Step 5

Look again at your Perfect Day, your list of goals/behaviours and your list of feelings. Is there a way you can now re-frame and rewrite your goals with new language that incorporates the top three feelings you want to embody? Use active language in the present tense – you never know how soon this could be you!

Also identify whether your new soul goals are weighted in any one particular area of your life… It’s easy to load up on career goals and forget about interpersonal relationships or your health and wellbeing for example… And if there are elements missing, create new ones to fill the gaps!

You might like to create groups based on your interests and life or bundle a few things into broader categories. Personally, I like bundling together:

  • Business/service – because for me these two are interlinked, societal & charitable contributions might live somewhere else for you
  • Creative/learning – because my personal development is a creative process for me
  • Relationships – incorporating personal, interpersonal and universal which captures interactions on both the worldly and spiritual planes for me, and
  • Wellness/lifestyle – because how I live impacts my health and vice versa.

Once you’ve got a holistic set of soul goals you can even turn them into daily mantras or manifestos: e.g.’I am confident, serene and aligned‘… ‘My actions come from confident, calm decisions made in line with my authentic values‘…

Also if there’s anything left on your goals that’s actually a ‘should’ – it needs to GO – or be reframed just like the all other ones – so that it resonates with your positive vibe, and feels like something you actually WANT to do: e.g. Turn that obligatory sounding ‘start saving for a house‘ into ‘I am super stoked that I invest 10% of my monthly income in my dream home on the waterfront in Byron Bay‘…!

Step 6

Define what success looks like TO YOU… and break ’em down into achievable daily actions!

No one else gets to say when you’ve achieved your goal. Your soul, heart and mind will tell you what success looks and – no surprises here – FEELS like to you!

Long-term dream realisation requires mini motivators along the way. Breaking down your goals into smaller, achievable chunks helps keeps them manageable and motivational.

Once you’ve spent some time chunking down the big ticket items into yearly, monthly, and daily actions that help you embody your desired feelings, outline exactly what success might feel/look like for you at each stage.

Heading back to our losing 5kg vs. self confidence example; since redefining your goal, you may not necessarily feel that fitting into your skinny jeans is the signature of success anymore… You might now set your goalpost as… ‘I will know I’ve regained my self confidence when I can look in the mirror and say something kind to myself, instead of something critical‘… and once you’ve achieved that, the goalpost might shift…to everyday for a week, a month, a year… Whether or not your jeans fit may become irrelevant to the relationship you’ve rebuilt with yourself. Which is a deeper, more lasting success (in my opinion!).

Step 7

Now you get to be creative and bring your vision to life!

If you’re visual/crafty you can collect some images from magazines and make yourself a good old-fashioned vision board poster. I LOVE these because I’m super tactile and enjoy the cut and paste collage action like a five year old! I still have a collection of old vision boards and occasionally revisit them and bring forward some images that have remained meaningful to me.

If you’re more technology or electronic media inclined Pinterest is a great place to create yourself a range of electronic vision boards. Or you could use a program like Google Slideshow to prepare your own vision slideshow or video!

Step 8

Here’s where you put your money where your mouth is… It’s time to take action! Nothing happens with out you communing with the universe and exercising your power of CHOICE. Free will is a wonderful thing, and you’re in the driver’s seat! The only place you can apply the power of choice is NOW and the only true freedom we have is to choose our thoughts…so the work begins within first – and them moves out.

You also have powers of focus to help you on your way, and like a muscle, focus can be exercised and cultivated through practices such as meditation.

Well Done!

I hope you’ve had fun getting to the bottom of WHY you want what you want and HOW you’d like to FEEL in the coming little while!

I’ve followed this exact process to create a kick ass life and lifestyle change for myself over the last 5 years and totally think it’s worth a try! I’d love to hear your feedback on how it goes for you!

So go forth and live your dreams my manifesting mavens! Dream big – but remember – the universe has a WAY bigger and better imagination than you! You’ve set some goals for the future based on how you’d like to experience your daily life – but don’t let yourself be limited by them. Always leave a little room for magic to happen! Spontaneity is the spice of life!

Wishing you a marvellous year ahead of feeling exactly how you want to in each moment, and living the life you’ve always dreamed about!

Namaste!