So honoured to be given the opportunity to present at Yoga Fest 2016
If you’ve ever stepped foot onto a yoga mat, then you’ll probably be familiar with the warm, fuzzy feeling that gradually starts to envelop you as you ride the vinyasa wave. Usually, by the time you peel yourself up from savasana (relaxation), you have well and truly reached that blissful yoga high that’s keeps yoga addicts (dedicated yogis) coming back for more. But what is it that creates this amazing feeling and how can you experience more of it?
With ancient roots in Indian culture, the 5000 year old practice of yoga has well and truly stood the test of time. While yogis may have swapped their loin cloths for lululemon and their mountaintops for yoga studios, it seems the essence of the practice has remained the same and science is catching on.
Recent studies indicate that yoga and meditation can help everything from reducing blood pressure, losing weight, decreasing back pain, sharpening the mind, increasing cognitive function, lowering cortisol levels (the stress hormone), decreasing depression, triggering DNA, stimulating melatonin (the sleep hormone), and even making you look younger!
Research says that yoga and meditation may be able to influence gene expression and perhaps even limit the genes associated with inflammation. A 2014 study showed that lifestyle changes like movement, meditation and nutrition can actually reverse the ageing process at the cellular level (C. Gregoire, 2014) by elongating telomeres which are caps used to protect the end of chromosomes that make sure cells are functioning healthily (Dr Dean Ornish, 2013).
Further to this, a 2015 Havard Medical School article found that yoga has even more benefits beyond the mat. From a better body image, through to increasing mindfulness and boosting endurance and cardio vascular health, it seems crystal clear how the practice can give you such an amazing feeling both on and off the mat.
Another way of looking at what’s behind the yoga high, is through the traditional yogic model of The Koshas. Often used to describe the path of yoga itself, The Koshas suggest that a human being has 5 bodies or 5 layers of awareness and experience. These layers move from the external and the most dense (annamaya) through to the internal and more subtle dimensions of consciousness (anandamaya).
We naturally integrate these Koshas in our yoga flow as we connect mind, body and breath. Perhaps this natural integration allows us to gradually become more aware of the subtle layers or realms of our perception expanding the experience of Anadamaya or bliss.
Whatever it is behind the yoga high, whether you believe it is science or philosophy, there is one thing that we can all agree on. You will never walk out of a session wishing that you hadn’t gone and that usually, you’ll float out on a cloud of warm, fuzzy feelings that make the world seem just a little brighter.
Take a sneak peak at The Yoga Sessions at Fresh Holistic Health
Thanks to the awesome people at Wanderlust Australia & New Zealand for this FEATURE in the Wanderlust 108 promo clip! Always such a pleasure to be involved.
What got you into Yoga? I’m not exactly sure what got me into yoga… I just remember how AMAZING I felt after my first class and that I knew I had found something really special that I wanted to experience again and again. Kinda like falling in love I guess ;-) My grandmother was a bit of a pioneer yoga teacher in Canberra during the 1960’s and 70’s and my dad used to practice with her when he was younger too. He then went on to become a gymnast... so… maybe you could say yoga runs in the family?!
Favorite Pose? Depends on how I’m feeling, but I usually tend to favor more passive and cooling poses like standing forward fold and pigeon… I’m really interested in Yin Yoga at the moment too… I think holding postures for extended periods of time can really deepen the effects at not only the physical level but the emotional and mental level too.
Favorite music to practice/listen to? Music is HUGE in my life… I recently completed a Music Degree and my passion is blending yoga, mindfulness and AWESOME playlists. I love working on yoga/dance mashups with live music and DJ’s… it creates more of an event feel to the practice and REALLY fosters a sense of community and connection for the participants. At the moment I am a little obsessed with a band called Flight Facilities, but really, I love ALL genres of music and my playlists can contain almost anything.
What is your True North? My True North is all about living the best and most authentic life I can and sharing it with others. I believe in looking on the bright side, aiming for the top, being grateful for each and every moment and turning dreams into reality. Life is such a gift.
Favorite food? I am such a foodie… and so diverse in my tastes. My favorite is probably anything that is fresh, seasonal, and nutritious and most importantly prepared with love. I swear you can taste the love!
Scariest thing you’ve done? When I get nervous I tend to become forgetful… so I really can’t think of anything. Once the scary thing has happened it usually turns into a win so I don’t think of it as scary anymore. I know I am pretty brave, I try not to let scary things stop me, I just think of them as challenges.
Favorite place to wander? Sunny Coast, QLD is a pretty good spot (I live there), but the Northern Rivers of NSW is one of my all time favs. Most people know Byron Bay itself, but if you ever get a chance to wander through the hinterland of the region it’s pretty magical. It is a mecca for creative and alternative types… so many cool cats live down there.
Next adventure on your to do list? Uluru… it has been calling me for a while now.
Where do you teach/practice? ‘The Yoga Sessions’ runs pop up events and classes on the Sunny Coast. Other than that, I can usually be found practicing on my lounge room floor lol... I enjoy outdoor yoga too.
What are you looking forward to the most at Wanderlust Sunshine Coast? I was lucky enough to attend Wanderlust Cockatoo Island earlier this year and it was one of the BEST experiences of my life! Not only are you attending classes, talks and performances with world-class yoga teachers and musicians, but you are spending your days surrounded by conscious, like-minded, inspiring people, who become like old friends throughout and long after the festival has ended. The vibes are SO HIGH at Wanderlust that it is a bit of a shock when you get back into the real world… but the beauty of it is that you take a little piece of the magic back into your day-to-day life. It’s a really special space and I can’t wait to share it with all the visitors and with the Sunny Coast community.
The Sunshine Coast Kawana Weekly has shown their support for 'Namaste Nepal' by running a story on the event on THE FRONT PAGE! We are so grateful... Namaste xo
Lately I have been spending most of my free time building a little yoga business, that will I hope will inspire a sense of connection and empowerment for those who are involved. My days have been spent creating logo’s, scouting locations, designing websites, social media, organizing insurance, council permits, writing eBooks – the whole process is enough to make a girl fall into an exhausted child’s pose on a yoga mat and stay there for the afternoon!
While I’ve been light-heartedly indulging in my first world problems… the people of Nepal were struck by a devastating natural disaster. The 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit 80km from Kathmandu and the reported death toll nears 8000 (Daily Mail Australia, 2015). In addition to the fatalities, millions of Nepalese people have been made homeless and it’s estimated that a total of 8 million people have been affected. These are BIG numbers and according to The Red Cross, there is a supply and demand problem… everyone is in need.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word for union and one of the many reasons that yoga practice and philosophy resonates so strongly with me, is the amazing community and connection that it seems to inspire. All over the world, people are coming together to create awareness and motivate social change. Take MC Yogi, an American Hip Hop Musician and Yogi who heard about the Nepalese Earthquake and immediately began thinking about what he could do to help. Thinking big, he used social media to encourage his network to join him, in staging a worldwide yoga benefit called ‘Namaste Nepal’. The benefit will raise money to donate to charities and directly help the support, relief and recovery programs of the region.
‘Namaste Nepal’ is set to take place on the weekend of the 27th and the 28th June 2015. It is a yoga event that will contribute toward the rebuilding of displaced Nepalese people homes and infrastructure. The exciting news for my local community, is that alongside Lush Mala Beads, Varsha Yoga and Sunshine Coast Meditation Group, The Yoga Sessions will be hosting a community fund raiser with all proceeds being donated to ‘The Red Cross, Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal’. It will be a great morning of yoga, music and meditation dedicated to the people of Nepal.
While I am excited to build my own yoga business, the ‘to do list’ has been put on hold for now, while I focus on a cause that is much bigger than myself. Although I’m still scouting locations, organizing insurance, creating social media content etc, it’s for the people of Nepal. I’m working in collaboration with some amazing men and women who are committed to taking yoga off the mat and using it to help those who need it most. If our event can help even one earthquake affected person in Nepal, then it is a success.
The word Namaste is used in Nepal and in yoga communities. Loosely translated it is an acknowledgement that we are all connected. What affects one, affects the whole. So lets work together to create a sense of connection and empowerment not just locally, but globally and assist those who need it most.
I am yoga convert/lover/promoter/teacher/student… you get the picture… I really like yoga and I would love everyone to experience the amazing benefits of the ancient practice. While I never struggle to get myself to a studio class, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have many moments that I found it almost impossible to step onto the mat when I’m at home on my own.
This has made me very passionate about finding and sharing inspiring ways to incorporate yoga into our daily lives. Sometimes it seems like every mundane task that I have been putting off for months quite simply can’t wait another moment and must be attended to immediately. Who knew cleaning bathrooms and rearranging messy drawers could be so satisfying?! I’m sure you’ve been there too!
This got me thinking, how can I make my solo yoga practice as enticing as studio and group practice? As a creative arts graduate and musician, the answer for me was simple. Create a killer playlist and give myself permission to practice what I have affectionately coined ‘micro yoga’. I realised that part of the reason I was procrastinating was because on some days the idea of a 30 min or hour long solo practice was just too much and rather than skip yoga all together I could allow myself to just do a round of sun salutations, practice my favourite (or not so favourite) postures or even yoga inspired dance to one of my favourite tunes. This gave me a 3 to 10 minute practice and provided the daily consistency that would have been lost had I not stepped on the mat all.
Busyness has become a standard way of life for so many people and our ‘to do’ lists are getting longer and longer. These ‘micro yoga’ bursts are awesome because they give your body and mind the benefits of the postures but they also give you the feeling of satisfaction for turning up on the mat and to quote Woody Allen ‘80% of success in life is just showing up’. I would love to know what you do to inspire your practice and how you mix things that you love into your yoga. So please take a micro moment and share with our community.