Power Living Blog contains articles on yoga, meditation, nutrition & yoga philosophy. Power Living teachers and guest bloggers feature. It has studios in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Wellington, NZ.
When it comes to experiences that nourish us there aren’t many (if any) that beat a wellness retreat – especially a yoga retreat at that. Whether you escape to a local or an ashram retreat overseas for a week or even a few days, a yoga retreat has many health benefits. Three main benefits we call ‘disconnect, discover and detox’.
Divulge deep into these three benefits and find out how you too can experience self-growth at a wellness retreat.
We talk a lot about disconnecting from technology. Some health retreats have even been set up exactly for that reason – to get us off our devices. A yoga retreat definitely ticks the ‘free from digital distractions’ box. But it ticks other big disconnect boxes too – giving us a well-earned break from chores, work, kids, brunches, lunches and late nights.
This unplugging from our hectic lives means we relax, re-set, find inner calm, re-charge – all those things we need. It’s amazing what truly disconnecting can do to restore mind-body balance and give us a refreshed glow!
Discovering new stuff is good, right? Of course it is. Discovering fresh things is a great way to dive deeper into life! Because without new experiences we can easily get stuck in our same old routines. Through a yoga retreat you discover yourself, others, nature and yes, yoga!
Discover yourself – wellness retreats give us chance to reflect, to go inwards and to make decisions and set intentions for the future. Intentions like being kinder to ourselves and taking life less seriously.
Discover others – a yoga retreat is a sure-fire way to meet likeminded souls who love yoga and adventure. As strangers become friends you really can connect with and learn from fellow yogis.
Discover nature – day to day we spend so much time indoors and miss so many ‘stop and smell the roses’ moments. Not at a yoga retreat. Why? They’re held in stunning locations that showcase mother nature at her best, locations where we can really soak in the world around us. Like the stunning Govinda Valley – the setting of our next Power Living retreat – it’s a luscious bushland spot just outside Sydney where you can explore well-known lookouts, cascading waterfalls, spectacular hiking tracks and more.
Discover yoga – practicing yoga two to three times a day separates a yoga retreat from other health or wellness retreats. It’s a guaranteed way to deepen your practice – to discover poses and breathing techniques that you may not otherwise have the time or courage to tackle. You’ll discover, and be inspired by, new teachers too!
There’s no magic pill or quick fix potion when it comes to detoxing (really there isn’t)…but a yoga retreat, especially an ashram yoga retreat, comes pretty close. And, unlike most detox regimes, a yoga retreat is fun! You’ll detox body and mind with:
Nourishing meals – we’re talking fresh local produce, heaps of veggies, high fibre foods and no processed nasties! In most retreats, like our retreat in the Govinda Valley, meals are vegetarian and vegan and tick the principles of Ayurveda, the yogi’s ancient science of health.
Tons of yoga – to detox your internal organs, especially the digestive system, helping the body to eliminate toxins.
Meditation and mindfulness – with all of that disconnection and discovery any thoughts and emotions that aren’t serving you can be replaced by nurturing thoughts and intentions!
‘Move, Mantra and Music’ – Retreat with Adam Whiting
Inspired to retreat right now? We have a yoga retreat around the corner – from 21st to 24th March, at the serene Govinda Valley Retreat Centre, just over an hour from Sydney.
Playfully coined ‘Movement, Mantra and Music’ it’s led by the inspirational Adam Whiting – he’s headlined Wanderlust yoga festivals and taught workshops all over Australia. Reserve your spot now and join likeminded yogis to disconnect, discover and detox! Book in HERE.
It seems everyone’s into essential oils these days. Novices quickly become big fans who share stories about their favourite oil, the one that makes them feel energised, promotes deep sleep, helps them relax or de-stress.
For anyone new to or still discovering essential oils it can be hard to know where to start or where to go next. We think a great place to start, or continue your essential oils journey, is with oils for health and wellbeing. Why? Because essential oils are often a safe, natural and effective alternative to chemical laden products and medicines. So, here are five oils that can boost your health and wellbeing.
Taking number one spot for good reason, lavender oil, with its fresh and floral aroma can promote physical and mental health. It’s made from lavender flower buds and is used in aromatherapy oils, baths salts and more. There are heaps of reasons to invest in a bottle of pure oil. It can be applied topically for skin problems (like acne, eczema and dry skin) and to soothe headaches, cuts and stings. Or, for trouble sleeping try diluting lavender oil with water and use it as a pillow spray for deeper sleep. It can help with stress or anxiety too – just add a few drops to a warm bath to feel calm and relaxed.
You’re likely familiar with eucalyptus as koala food. But what you may not know is that eucalyptus oil is extracted from those same leaves of the eucalyptus tree! It’s an oil we think really is essential, especially as the colder weather approaches. Why? Eucalyptus oil is great for avoiding colds and flus – thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It’s also said to stimulate the immune system and combat lung inflammation. Eucalyptus oil really can be your first port of call if you’re coming down with a cold or are congested. To clear your sinuses just add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and steam your face for a few minutes.
In our top five for it’s all round calming properties, chamomile oil comes from the chamomile flower and has a mild scent. It’s a soothing oil that can calm the body and mind and help with everything from anxiety, to insomnia and restlessness. Because it’s a mood lifting oil chamomile is perfect too if you’re feeling a little low and it can even be used for depression. Like lavender oil chamomile is great for skin health and can come in handy for eczema, dermatitis and more.
Often called the ‘King of Oils’ frankincense has a warm, spicy aroma. Although a little but pricey we think frankincense oil is worth the splurge – not least because it’s the perfect yoga or meditation companion. Diffuse it in an aromatherapy oil diffuser for a quieter mind and increased focus during a yoga practice or to enhance the spirituality of your meditation. And there’s more – frankincense can be a go-to oil for psychological conditions like anxiety, fear, nervousness and panic attacks.
Bergamot oil comes from the peel of a citrus fruit. It’s the oil that gives earl grey tea a distinctive scent and is used widely in aromatherapy. Bergamot oil should be part of your oil toolkit for its calming effects. Research shows bergamot oil can relieve stress, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation of the nervous system. You can diffuse bergamot oil in an aromatherapy diffuser, add it to a warm bath or dilute a few drops with coconut oil and apply topically to the skin.
With a few of these oils under your belt it’s time to get fragrant in the studio! We use essential oils in all of our Power Living studios to accompany your practice and create a calm and beautiful atmosphere for you to practice in. See you on the mat.
“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. “ – Edgar Allan Poe
One thing I have learned on this journey of Yoga is that our practice must hone our ability to be increasingly sensitive. Not just as it relates to our ego, or emotions (although that can be helpful too), but also the sensitivity of becoming intimate with the placement of our limbs and muscles through space. It is this sensitivity that teaches us how to move with grace, precision and strength. The more sensitive we are with our bodies, the more we begin to uncover and awaken different aspects of who we are.
I have found it helpful over the years to view alignment in yoga not as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but as a method of increasing this ability to be sensitive to what we are doing; a method of increasing self-awareness. When we take the time to understand alignment and use it to inform the construction of poses, it creates magical and transformative experiences for ourselves and our students.
This is why I created Sacred Architecture; a training to share my passion for alignment and its ability to help us understand ourselves and take us into new experiences.
This immersion is dedicated to learning six alignment principles that will support us as we move into advanced asana. We will use props in creative ways to support the uniqueness of our bodies and create space for us to feel stable and flourish. We will nerd out on practical anatomy and apply it directly to the alignment principles and asanas as we practicing them each day.
This is a truly well rounded training where we will spend equal time discussing concepts and practicing them. Our asana practice will cover inversions, arm balances, backbends, standing poses and hip openers, all in a way that is accessible, balanced and well supported.
It is my hope that as yoga teachers we can view ourselves as skillful architects who build asanas that not only support and transform our bodies but offer the opportunity to be sensitive. If we can hone our ability to be sensitive, we might be more likely to feel the soft touch of sun even on a cloudy day.
A healthy digestive system is integral to living a balanced and wholesome life. The gut plays an essential role in a variety of functions throughout the body, and when undernourished and out of balance, the gut can contribute to a number of health conditions.
Some of these health issues include:
Mood disorders (anxiety and depression)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Headaches and migraines
Poor nutrient absorption
Bloating, constipation or diarrhea
How yoga benefits the gut
A healthy lifestyle has the potential to profoundly benefit our gut health and act as a preventative measure to many illnesses. Yoga, in particular, is a great way to begin this journey where it can heal our microbiome through stress reduction, gentle exercise and in aiding digestion.
The gut is so important in regulating stress responses in the body, where it is involved in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine, and GABA, as well as the regulation of other hormones. The microbiome is highly sensitive, where it can be thrown off of balance when hormones are produced to signal that the body is in stress, be it mental or physical. Yogic breathing and meditation has been researched to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which clears stress responses within the body, thus restoring the health and balance within our gut.
Increases microbiome diversity
Consistent exercise is correlated with higher levels of microbiome diversity as well as the amount of healthy strains of bacteria within our gut. As a gentle exercise practice, yoga has the potential to support a flourishing and diverse microbiome.
Aids with Digestion
Ayurveda, the oldest healthcare system in the world and the sister of yoga, believes that a healthy digestive system is vital for optimal health. Specific asanas can promote “agni” (our digestive fire) to facilitate digestion as well as cleanse and release toxins within the body. Certain asanas can also act as a massage for the internal organs as well as improve oxygenated blood flow to a variety of organs and lower blood pressure.
Top 5 Asanas to heal your gut
Yogi masters have been quoted to say that if you practice this pose regularly, it doesn’t matter what you eat. This pose places pressure and cuts blood flow to your stomach, liver, intestines, kidneys and spleen. Not only does this increase the digestive fire, but once released, fresh oxygenated blood flows to the organs, reducing the production of toxins in the intestine thus improving function. This is the perfect yogic detox pose!
Revolved Crescent lunge or Seated Twist
These poses aid in digestion, where pressure from the twist is applied to the organs. This facilitates with digestion of fluids and foods, as well as the release of toxins, and helps eliminate waste.
This is the perfect stress reduction pose to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and keep your gut happy and stress free to restore balance within the rest of the body.
This stimulates digestion by rocking forward and backwards on your belly, and also provides a massage to the internal organs. This also increases blood flood flow, oxygenating and revitalizing the digestive system.
These are great in stimulating the digestive fire, as a few sun salutation combined with inhalation and exhalation of breath, produce heat in the abdominals, facilitating detoxification and digestion.
Fresh herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, increase diversity of gut flora, and bitter herbs in particular trigger the release of digestive enzymes to promote digestive health. Some of these may include:
These are often fiber rich which feed the probiotics in our gut. Prebiotics and probiotics work synergistically to help our gut microbes flourish and diversify.
Yoga has taught me to listen to my body and given me the desire to work with it, rather than against it. I never had much of an awareness of how my body was feeling or what it was trying to tell me. I didn’t notice how stress manifested in my body or the amount of tension I held in my shoulders.
We are often told in class to feel our way into a pose, or to observe the physical sensations that arise, which has given me an awareness of myself I did not previously have. The connection I feel to my body has improved in a way I never thought possible, which has only fueled my desire to treat myself in a loving and healthy way.
Yoga teaches us to be true to ourselves, where we strive to be a true expression of our inner nature on our mats. By practicing authenticity (which is a huge underpinning of yoga practice), we learn to listen to our body and honour what it is asking of us in the moment. It is a practice that teaches us to tune in and then respond accordingly, regardless of what others are doing. On my journey to be my most authentic self, yoga has given me the strength to not only embrace who I really am on the mat, but has also given me the confidence and freedom to be that person off my mat as well.
We are frequently reminded in class that yoga is a personal practice, encouraged to turn to child’s pose for rest when we need to, to modify poses in any way we feel, or even pause to mentally send ourselves some love and attention halfway through a vinyasa class. It is ultimately a class on compassion, where you learn to accept the ‘shortcomings’ of yourself and those around you and to allow whatever is surfacing within yourself to be. Once this becomes a habit, it can have profound changes on your day-to-day life. I’ve found after acting more compassionately in my own practice, my desire to treat others the same way has increased dramatically, as well as the amount of love I feel within myself.
Connected me to my inner child
Whether it’s sitting in child’s pose or happy baby, there’s something about yoga that is childish. It is almost like a game between the mind and body to increase and test your limits. It allows your childhood self to step forward and help you break free from the limits you’ve created in your adult mind both in your practice and in your daily life, as well as adding a little bit of fun and carefree nature into your life as well.
Yoga is a platform to explore your behaviours, actions, feelings and thoughts, and how they are serving you or affecting others. By observing the mental patterns that arise on the mat, it is often synonymous with what comes up off of the mat in your life. Some of the poses can be challenging, you may lose balance and fall, or simply not want to make a fool of yourself. Part of practicing yoga is recognising those fears holding you back and letting go of them to enable yourself to grow and move forward. Not only does this deepen your trust within yourself, but it is an amazing tool to improve the quality of your thoughts and life.
Start your journey at Power Living. Check out our studios and timetables and even our online platform, Yogaholics, to practice at home.
All pathways of yoga are great (and none are better than others) but, with so many types, knowing what the differences between them all can become quite confusing. One question most commonly asked is, “what is the difference between Power Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga” and we don’t blame you for being confused.
The word ‘vinyasa’ comes from the Sanskrit term ‘nyasa’, meaning ‘to place’ and the prefix vi, meaning ‘in a special way’. In vinyasa yoga, the body moves in sync with the breath, creating fluid and smooth movements, so it’s also known as “flow” yoga. Power yoga is based on these same principles, but is typically way more athletic and physical which is why it is growing in popularity in gyms, not just yoga studios.
Let’s shed some light on it all in a bit more detail.
In Vinyasa Yoga, the body moves in sync with the breath. Moving in alignment with inhales and exhales, the focus is on creating fluid and smooth movements. Vinyasa yoga is a strongly asana-based (physical postures) style of practice. Usually including lots of Sun-Salutation poses, these allow previously static asanas to become more dynamic. Taking influence from Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa can offer more fast-paced sequences of flow or can be slowed down to focus on varying needs.
Vinyasa yoga has the ability to take you deep into a physical experience through the asanas and flow so as to surpass worldly distractions and arrive at a quieter place a little closer to home. Classes can be held in heated or non-heated rooms.
Power Yoga is a stronger form of practice that encourages students to engage more fully in body as a tool to get out of their head. It has a physical focus, working on stamina, strength, flexibility and endurance. Like vinyasa, there are no set sequences and the sense of flow is present. Unlike vinyasa, a power yoga class is always fast-paced enough to be a workout.
The emphasis on intensity is not to just get stronger, or more flexible, but to rewire how we interact with ourselves by pushing the boundaries of what we subscribe to as ‘possible’. This can be worked towards in Power Yoga through fire (heat) burning through the hardened exterior layers of the self, casting aside doubt and desire to set your being free.
Sleep is a huge subject and there are many theories out there on how to fall asleep, how much sleep we should be having, and even what your sleep should look like.
Some cases can look like people resisting bed time due to the scary thought of not being able fall asleep. Because of all the worry and angst, the person in fact does not fall asleep, thinks they have a problem and thus a vicious sleep problem cycle begins.
Yoga for sleep
There are many sleep aids and sleep therapy out there and one that is not given near enough credit is yoga. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a national survey found that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep. Over 85% said yoga helped reduce stress. Why not give it a try?
Now, stay with us. We don’t mean a whole 60 minute vinyasa flow class, or even yin. Sticking with three or less yoga poses can aid sleep due to their restorative nature and all you need is your bed and a wall and maybe a yoga block (hello good nights sleep).
With their being many restorative yoga poses for sleep, here at Power Living, we believe there is one that stands out from the rest, to be extremely effective in activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System (which helps to counteract stress and promote relaxation). Below we have listed six sleep-inducing yoga poses with our number one at the end.
Keep in mind that every body is different and what might work for some, may not work for others, so we have included six poses for you to mix and match, toss away or add in depending on your individual preference.
Six yoga poses to help you drift off
1. Legs up against the wall (Viparita Karani)
If you spend a lot of time on your feet or this pose is for you. Prop your lower back up on top of a block or pillow and have your legs extended upwards with the wall as your support.
Why is this our number one sleep-inducing yoga pose? One word. Circulation. Your circulation will improve in this pose, creating a soothing, healing effect on almost every system in your body, making you more than ready for sleep.
2. Neck release with block
For those with tightness in their necks, this pose is great to open up those muscles that carry us around all day. Use this pose with caution or omit if you have neck problems.
Place a block underneath your neck and tilt the block away from you so the block is now on an angle. Moving your head slowly from side to side can release neck pain significantly in this pose. Keep the head neutral and linger in those sticky spots to really get deep in there. This pose is basically a self neck massage and who doesn’t want that every night!?
3. Child’s pose (Balasana)
We always come back to this pose for a reason, it is where we find rest, comfort and safety. Child’s pose provides an excellent opportunity to breathe deeply into the back of the torso, something we can find hard to do in our busy daily lives.
For additional support you can place a pillow under your stomach or chest.
4. Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Release the days tension in your chest and shoulders with a Sphinx pose in the comfort of your own bed. When held this pose can soothe the nervous system. It is also a gentle back bending pose and can easily be done before lights out.
5. Supine twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
This twisting pose twists or ‘wrings’ the abdominal organs to improve circulation throughout the gut. The gut is responsible for the production of 90% of our body’s serotonin which affects our moods and in turn can lead to sleep disorder.
To help release tension, use each inhalation to create space in your abdomen and each exhalation to coax your muscles to adapt to the twist.
6. Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
A great hip-opening pose, place a pillow length ways underneath your back and with every exhale let go, deeper into the pillow and really feel the benefits of this supported inner hip opener. Supta Baddha Konasana can help to relive symptoms of stress, so start reclining all you corporate workers.
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘yoga’? A room full of sleek, impossibly flexible, activewear-clad young things making pretzel shapes on a mat, all the while maintaining beatific Zen-like smiles, perhaps?
While this stylised (and idealised) image of the ancient practice has become the quintessential image of yoga in the modern world, I’m here to tell you that the reality of actually becoming a yoga teacher is as far from this polished and contrived scene as you can get. It’s a journey that is messy, confronting, exhausting, and one filled with frustrations, anxiety, tears and tantrums. Believe me, I know.
Teacher training journey
As I write this I’m mere weeks out of a four-month long yoga teacher training course and while it has been admittedly arduous and confronting, now that I’m on the other side, I don’t regret a second of it. Whether you’re curious about what’s involved, have decided to explore yoga as a career, or you’re looking to deepen your own practice, you’re not alone.
As of last year, according to research yoga was ranked as THE fastest growing fitness activity in Australia. One in 10 Aussies aged 14 and over now practice it (up from one in 20 in 2008), plus yoga and natural therapies combined are now the fourth fastest growing industry in the world. Yoga is big business and as its popularity grows, so does the number of yoga teacher training courses.
“We’ve graduated around 2,500 people through our 200-hour course over the 13 years,” says the founder of Power Living, one of Australia’s biggest yoga schools, Duncan Peak. “Yet only 20 per cent of students go on to become yoga teachers.”
A common misconception is that students are all eager to become teachers, whereas in reality most enrol to improve their personal practice, and to gain a better understanding of yoga philosophy. Certainly that’s my rationale for signing up. A student of yoga for more than a decade, I decided to finally bite the bullet after years of deliberation.
Arriving at the Power Living Bondi Beach studio early, I have ‘first day at school’ nerves, though I needn’t have had any concerns. Each of my 15 or so fellow students are lovely, and as the course progresses their support becomes invaluable. We have conversations that are deep, open and honest; we talk about our hopes, fears and dreams – often revealing parts of ourselves that even our closest friends haven’t even seen – and at lunchtime we revise and practice together.
From the beginning we learn that yoga is far from just making shapes on a mat – physiology and anatomy, pranayama (breathing), class theming, and even counselling skills. Then there’s the philosophy – the study of sacred yoga texts, and more than 5,000 years worth of yogic spiritual teachings. Combined this leaves my head spinning.
One moment I feel on top of the world, the next I can’t even stomach the thought of looking at a yoga mat again. Frustrated at my inability to remember skeletal structures and muscle origins and insertions, I often leave the studio at night cursing myself. Amidst the internal highs and lows, I have developed a huge newfound respect for my yoga teachers past and present. I realise that, though leading a yoga class may look pretty simple to an outsider, in reality it’s really not.
For the residential week of the course the setting changes from Sydney to coastal Bali. Joining students from studios in Australia and New Zealand, our days comprise morning meditation, anatomy revision, a long session on the mat, practice teaching and philosophy lectures. But at the centre of the retreat is an exploration of understanding how the mind works and using yoga theory to help reduce the suffering caused by our “negative core beliefs”.
Exercises help us understand our reactions by looking at ‘triggers’ (scenarios, events, or interactions) that bring these beliefs to the surface. Bound by the experience, the group reveal emotional traumas, some of which are pretty heavy-hitting. But after an afternoon of tears, the mood is lightened with an evening of dancing, group chanting, and other bonding exercises. At the end of the six days, almost everyone I chat with seems to have come away with a new perspective or goal.
Back in Sydney and feeling euphoric from the week-long immersion, many of my fellow students, who hadn’t initially thought about teaching, are now seriously considering it. One of them is Roberta Montorfano, who joined the course after falling in love with yoga during a trip to India two years ago.
“Yoga came into my life when I needed it the most,” she says. “During an intense period of changes and uncertainties, I needed to find space and ground myself, so I started practicing twice each week, then three times, and then daily. It was the only time during my day when I could really try to stay present. After a 10-day yoga retreat in Byron Bay I realised that teacher training was going to be the next step.
“I didn’t enrol with the intention of becoming a teacher – I just I wanted to learn for myself, but now I’m open to it and am studying and attending coaching sessions and practicing with my friends. However, I’m also learning how to stop overthinking and letting go of attachment and expectations. I am only at the start of this journey and am enjoying the process and each step at a time.”
It’s a statement echoed by another recent graduate, Tiffany Payton: “I didn’t go into the course wanting to teach,” she says. “I just wanted to strengthen my own practice. I changed my mind after our yoga retreat part of teacher training – I did so much practice teaching that I already felt like a teacher and I liked it. I also realised teaching yoga is not about telling people how to do poses. It’s about taking people on a journey through yoga.”
Currently assisting and teaching, Tiffany is already making the leap into turning yoga into a profession. “Classes are unpaid at the moment because I’m still new,” she says. “Once I feel more confident in my skills then I may suggest donations. The plan is to do these free classes until I feel confident in my teaching, whether that takes three months, or 12 months.”
The juggle of teaching
While the stress-free life of a yoga teacher must rank at the top of the wish list for ‘zen-ployment’ seekers, the reality can often be very different, particularly when starting out. More and more students teaching means increased competition with each batch of new graduates. Plus, a significantly reduced income can also hit hard.
“The shine of teaching 15 to 20 classes each week can wear off fairly quickly!” says Power Living’s national programs delivery manager, Emee Dillon. “The juggle of teaching, and being able to stay in a place of consistent self-practice and training can be a challenging balance. We pepper in helpful realities and possible insights through the training to gently allow awareness of this.”
Speaking to other teachers I learn that most of them either subsidise their income with private classes and retreats, or with an additional part-time job. And just like any other business there are costs and considerations, including liability insurance – yes, yoga teachers can get sued! Being realistic about this is part and parcel for wannabe teachers making the transition. And while establishing a full-time career is no small feat, the positive stories from those that have abound.
The last two weekends of the course arrive. The first of which is dedicated to learning how to assist – an occupation in itself with ninja-like adjusting and correcting of students to promote safe safe alignment and joint movement. The second and final two days are the written and practical assessments. Plagued with nerves, neither were as scary as I imagined, far from it.
And after demonstrating our new teaching skills, I’m suffused with love for my classmates. When anyone struggled, whether it be forgetting a pose in a sequence, or succumbing to nerves, the rest of the group banded together offering encouraging smiles, cheers, and applause.
Celebrating our new qualifications I reflect on our respective transformations. Certainly I’ve confronted my issues with public speaking and feelings of self-worth. It’s these personal breakthroughs that are an added bonus for the teachers guiding students through the training.
“I’ve had the fortune of seeing many of these,” says Emee, smiling. “For me it’s amazing to witness, and to observe the ripple effect that it has on the community once everyone has unfurled together, it creates a beautiful bond.”
So, what else have I learned, aside from making soul connections with people like I haven’t before? I’ve learned that it’s okay to fail and that there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ yogi – as much as I was desperate to be one. I’ve learned that no matter how much you prepare, you’ll be unprepared and that becoming a yoga teacher, or indeed a yogi, doesn’t happen overnight and there’s no real end point to the process. Changing your life and developing your practice is never-ending.
Tough? Most definitely. Worth it? Absolutely. And for anyone considering embarking on a teacher training course, I have some final words of advice: there will be times when you want to throw in the towel, times when snot and tears will sully your Lululemon shorts, but throughout it all you need to have faith, and to be open to the possibility that training might not take you on the path you originally intended.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, or simply choose to enjoy this cuisine from time to time, your choices of eateries seem to be expanding daily! If you’re visiting our studio in Fitzroy, why not stop by one of these local eateries that cater to the green-friendly crowd?
Young Green Food is a Fitzroy institution! The menu is wide and everything is tasty. Raw, vegan, organic, and gluten-free options abound, with Buckwheat Crepes and Kelp Pad Thai being a favourite.
Neko Neko, is a cute little Japanese restaurant, at the bottom end of Gertrude Street and they make vegan ramen. Enough said.
Eat Israeli at Tahina on Brunswick st (or Hight St, Northcote). There is a cute courtyard to enjoy Falafels, Quinoad Salad, Roasted Eggplant and other delicious dishes. Ideal for a quick lunch, or for a casual gathering with friends.
A bit further, at the Abbotsford convent you can enjoy a pay-as-you-like meal at Lentils as Anything. The food changes everyday and everything is vegetarian or vegan and on Saturdays you can also enjoy Sri Lankan street food – to die for! With a lush green garden to eat and lounge at, the setting isn’t bad either!
Feeling like spice? Head to Mukka, owned by two Indian brothers, everything tastes like it does in the Mother Land. Unlike many other Indian restaurants, they make real Dosa (if you’ve been to India, you know the feeling of the cunchy outside and the mushy inside).
You can be sure to find a wide selection of vegetarian salads at Alimentari (Brunswick St and Smith St) to eat in or take away.
Terror Twilight makes a copious brunch/lunch. You can create your own veggie bowl or broth or order one of the delicious brekkie options. Try ‘Breakfast with Eri’!
La crème de la crème when it comes to raw vegan food can be found at Shoko Iku, in Northcote. Chef Yoko Inoue (also a yogi) offers amazing elixirs to boost your health, delicious and inventive raw dishes and of course some delightful raw vegan desserts. Keep an eye out for her juice cleanse and her occasional banquet dinners – such an experience!
A Fitzroy institution is definitely The Vegie Bar, they offer a wide range of vegetarian/vegan dishes – the chef’s specials are always a treat! Open for brunch until dinner, they also make delicious sweets.
Taking a vegan on a date? You are sure to impress if you take your date to Smith & Daughters – 100% vegan on the plate. The cocktails are remarkable too!
My heart melts for Transformer – a delicate menu with a mean cocktail selection, choose the ‘Feed me’ menu for an adventure, or pick a few dishes to share ‘A la carte’. You will lose yourself in flavours and in the exquisite vegetable walls (they also offer a boozy brunch, some people like that).
If you are into Asian food, head to Ichi Ni Nana, the place is just stunning and the food makes you travel – best lotus root chips in town!
I also love Rice Paper Scissors, inside is great for a group of people, but if you go on a date, try the bar or the outdoor tables out front.
Why do people always say that if you want to find love you have to love yourself first? It turns out that the most important relationship you have in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself. Pretty simple right?
Many people forget this when seeking love and can put their whole purpose and self-worth in another individual, leaving them empty. Self-love is so important not only in relationships but also the relationship with yourself such as the food you eat, the people you surround yourself with, and how you make quality time for yourself.
We put together a little guide to loving yourself below because we believe once you truly feel self-love, then you will attract happiness and love in abundance. And who doesn’t want that?
How to love yourself first
How to love yourself first starts with building your self-esteem and building self-confidence. Self-esteem is created by acknowledging and appreciating what you see in yourself. Explore who you are. What are your values and beliefs? What are you passionate about? What do you take pride in? What do you offer in friendship, at work, in relationships that is valuable and valued? How you feel about yourself affects your mood, the way you carry yourself, and your confidence. Self-love builds on understanding what it is in you that builds your sense of who you are: your confidence, your challenges and nurturing to those aspects of self with compassion.
Practising self-love can look like anything from taking 10 minutes for yourself, with no phone in hand, and simply being to taking a one-hour vinyasa yoga class, cooking yourself a nutritious meal or even creating something. These small practices get largely overlooked as life is rapidly moving along and we can often find ourselves at the bottom of our priorities list.
When we’re not looking out for ourselves, we can tend to look for our self-worth and happiness in the external world, indulging in habits, things, people that make us feel better. Doing things that make YOU happy and that speak to your inner self will help you to build your self-esteem and confidence, so you know that thing you keep saying you’d love to do? This is the sign you’ve been waiting for that you should just go and do it!
Guide to loving yourself
Be nicer to yourself
Every word we utter, we are creating energy and, in turn, a belief. Think of it like this – if you said to yourself “wow, I actually did my best during that meeting and I can already see how to handle it even better next time” instead of saying “I’m hopeless and I’m going to get fired”, how much more empowered would you feel? Probably a lot less stressed too. Appreciate yourself as often as you can.
Don’t forget your tribe
Surrounding yourself with positive influences is important as we all need support in our lives. There’s nothing like having a laugh with your best friends, meeting new people, building a network of positive energy around you. Once you begin to feel self-love you will radiate that love outward and increasingly attract like-people so that healthy relationships can be built.
Delve into your spiritual self
Appreciate your authentic self through finding what it is you believe in when it comes to you, the world around you and the things that happen to us all. Explore what spirituality means to you. It can open up huge doors for you, give you more purpose, and maybe even help build your intuition, something many people leave untapped until much later in life.
Love your body
The saying goes, your body is a temple, so why not treat it like one? Intentionally feed your body nutrient-dense foods bringing energy and nourishment to your soul. Do this not only because you want to look good but because you want to feel good too.
Do things you’re good at
Doing things you are good at and genuinely like to do brings out the best version of you! Your self-esteem will get a boost and so will your happy hormones. So, if you love to bake, pre-heat that oven. If you love to dance, sign up to a dance class. Once you get started, the possibilities are endless.