Monday, 14 November 2011

Inner Patchouli Peace

Just how do we find this 'inner peace' everyone is raving about? Do we really have to start wearing Patchouli and always let the creepy man at meditation class give you one of those hugs when body parts touch that definitely really aren't meant to. For me, luckily, there is no creepy guy at meditation class, and I quite like Patchouli in small doses and if not used to mask a mouldy tent or wet dog smell. But I still battle with finding inner peace on the meditation mat, which is why I like to seek meditation in everyday life, whatever the weather, whatever the task in hand. Anything that we mindfully practice, focus on, take part in, or do, is a form of meditation if you completely focus on the task at hand.

Here are some examples, the first inspired by my good friend Ignacio. Before sleep he visualises waves, and surfing along them, over and over, calm and serene and perfect, obviously no wipe outs in the visualisation, the point is to keep your mind focused on one thing only, clear out the rest of the chatter. What better way to do that catching a perfect wave. For you this may be going for a run, you focus on your breath you look at the leaves you run over, you feel the fresh air on your face, you don't get into a conversation in your head about the cyclist without a helmet, you just concentrate on your run, one foot in front of the other, breathe, feel. Walk up your stairs and mindfully put each foot on a stair and concentrate on the mechanics of your body as you simply walk up the stairs look at your hand on the rail, slow your breath and move each foot with each breath. Brushing your teeth, focus on mindfully brushing (in a circular motion apparently is best says my Hawaiian themed dentist and his smile is perfect) Really think about what you are doing, I'm brushing my teeth on the left side in a circular motion, the toothpaste is foamy, my teeth are getting cleaned, I'm brushing the right side, I'm brushing my tongue (gag) Get the picture? Mindfully eat your real food, chew and chew until its a paste in your mouth savouring every taste, igniting every taste bud and nourishing every cell, think about your food and what its doing in your body, where it came from, turn the TV off. It may seem pretty dumb, but if you can get your mind to practice only focusing on one thing, you will eventually find it easier to switch your mind on and off for when its needed. There is no instant gratification Ignacio!  It takes time, and you definitely will feel calmer and more relaxed as soon as you start practicing mindfully living, but its the best long term investment you can make for your mind, body and soul connection.

There are so many advantages to meditation.  Try this 100? If you can't focus long enough to read a 100 point list, its definitely time to start meditating and finding 'some' inner peace, however that may be.

Physiological benefits:
1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow,slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigour.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- harmonizes our endocrine system
33- relaxes our nervous system
34- produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).

Psychological benefits:
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behaviour
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility
71- Reduces road rage
72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgements
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity

Spiritual benefits:
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- helps learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper spiritual relationship
93- Attain enlightenment
94- greater inner-directness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life

Meditation is also completely FREE! It requires no special equipment, it can be practiced anywhere, including Ignacio's rooftop. It can be done at any given moment, walking, running, brushing teeth, at a meditation class, on your bed, in a chair, lying on the floor ANYWHERE. It is not time consuming, try for just 5 minutes a day, and then try 15-20 min. per day. Best of all, meditation has NO negative side effects. Bottom line, there is nothing but positive to be gained from it! With such a huge list of benefits, the question you should ask yourself is, “why am I not meditating yet?” If you need a point to start from after some mindful practice, you could try some guided meditation, here are some free ones here I enjoy they can provide you with a good foundation from which to begin meditating. Just try it out, there are quite simply too many positives to just ignore it :) When you are ready to take the next leap on your Inner Peace journey, read this blog with some more meditation tips

Hell go buy some Patchouli too, it has some great benefits The plant and oil have many claimed health benefits in herbal folk-lore and the scent is used to induce relaxation, great to meditate. Chinese medicine uses the herb to treat headaches, colds, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Patchouli oil can be purchased from mainstream Western pharmacies and alternative therapy sources as an aromatherapy oil. Patchouli is an important ingredient in East Asian incense. Both patchouli oil and incense underwent a surge in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s in the US and Europe, mainly due to the hippie movement of those decades, its also used as a conditioner for dreadlocks. You can still be cool in Patchouli, just don't start hugging strangers in a creepy way, unless they are really fit. Then pull the portable twister out.

The wind in Vancouver was intense today, and I couldn't wait to be home and practice some cosy yoga safe indoors in warmth with views of the snow capped mountains in the distance. Our bodies respond to love, and enjoy stretches, especially to Louis Armstrong. I picked up this dreamy stretch from Semperviva's one and only tattooed armed Cameron. Starting in table top, pull back to child's pose, letting the hips fall to the left and right, circling your spine pulling your torso forward, and almost draw the infinity symbol which is a number 8 on its side, rotate your body back, and around, and hear those delightful pops and cracks and snaps, in a good way. Its called a Rice Crispy, not the most nutritional perhaps, but on the money. Enjoy, its my first of many video postings of me showing the poses and I'd love some feedback or some requests! Please help me help others and share my blog and repost and subscribe to the raw subscribers list which you can do by clicking on the tab to the right, thanks!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Everybodys free to feel good!

Ever just listened to what your body wants? What your body needs? What your body likes? What would you like to eat right now, what would you like to be doing right now, what would you like to feel right now? Dance, eat chocolate, drink red wine, be silly, do yoga, run really fast, kiss your neighbour, be naked, wear something outrageously different, shave your head, high five the bus driver, tell a story, laugh REALLY loud, speak up with your opinion, jump off everything for a day, hold a baby, flash your knickers, flex your muscles, sing your favourite song on the tube, book a road trip, stop shaving, get a tattoo, make a new interesting friend, touch someones skin, just do it because you can, and because it feels good. Shouldn't everyone be allowed this? Everybody's Free to Feel Good! Crank it up, and have a thought for fundamental human rights.

Preserve your good times, and relive them over and over, feel grateful for the Freedom you have in your life however big or small that may be. Our bodies are amazing at storing a memory, an emotion, and when we store the good ones we can tap into that feeling we felt over and over and remember to keep making new good memories. Its coming into Winter now, and if you're a sun worshipper, you can easily tap into those moments of warm rays on your face and feel good in the rain, wind or shine. Feel good! Why make ourselves suffer by complaining, its so much easier to feel good and be nice, think positively and be full of love and smiles. Suddenly you'll find you are surrounded by the same things too, and like dominoes you will ooze the feel good hormones!

Being a veggie, pasta used to be a massive part of my diet up until the last five years, and I still miss the comfort factor pasta can provide. Living in Italy last year for a couple of months, I overdosed in pasta along with the Italians and loved the way they just kept it simple. Some quality organic oil, fresh tomato and basil. Really??? Here is a great Raw Food option for a pasta dish without the pasta that will leave your taste buds screaming 'Ancora!'
3-4 courgettes (zucchini), 12 sun dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil, 12 fresh baby tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, 1 tsp of salt (try Himalayan), 0.5 cup of organic olive oil, pine nuts.
Chop the courgettes into thin strips, I used a potato peeler and a knife, it took time but the effect was amazing. You can go all fancy and buy a 'spiraliser' machine which does make it look amazing, but it will still taste the same! Chop the tomatoes into pieces, you could also blend them if you preferred a sauce rather than a chunky style Mediterranean style, stir in the olive oil, salt to taste. Top with basil and pine nuts (or feta if you are allergic to nuts) Crack open the organic red wine (better for hangovers - read blog 'Comfortable in your own skin') Slosh your wine glass around, invite a hot Italian over for dinner and enjoy!

I met a new lovely friend called Jasmin, originally from Germany, and lived all over the world. Who said the English and the Germans can't be friends?? Oh yeah male football lovers, get a life guys! :) Jasmin married the same guy twice and gives me renewed faith in that old thing called Love. We are at the same school studying Holistic Nutrition together, not the same class, but definitely the same wave length. Walking on the beach getting to know each other, playing in the leaves, talking about love, autumn, cats and dogs, food, babies, silly and yoga! What a great way to spend an afternoon, I'm grateful to meet lovely new people everyday, they keep showing up all around me and suddenly I don't feel lonely anymore. Sitting on logs and creating 'Cactus' pose in our shadows looking out to the snow capped peaks over on North Vancouver, Grouse Mountain and her sisters slowly get covered each day with more snow, its wonderful to witness. I'm so happy to be here!

Back bending into Wheel pose means you can look at the mountains upside down!! I took advantage of a potential soft sand landing and having a camerawoman. Besides it just FELT GOOD!

The word Urdhva-Dhanurasana which means "raised bow", and the term Chakra Asana which comes from the root "to move" both describe the Wheel posture. This pose is quite energizing and is the advanced version of Bridge Pose. You can perform the posture in the morning or day time. It has positive physical and mental effects when practiced regularly and is a great tonic for the body. Wheel Pose is a backbend that benefits the spine. It strengthens and lengthens every vertebrae, therefore increasing elasticity and flexibility of the spine. As you hold yourself up in the pose, you are strengthening your arms, shoulders and chest as well as stimulating the entire cardiovascular system.
This pose opens up the chest area, strengthening the lungs and allowing more oxygen to enter the rib cage. It improves the respiratory system and great for those with ashma or any other breathing problems. It's important to breath deeply in the pose with both nostrils. If you suffer from any digestive disorders, then the wheel pose can help. It also enhances the nervous system and improves secretions of the hormones keeping you balanced and healthy.

Be thankful for everything you have in life....even the stuff you thought was crap.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 30 Gratitude

‘’It is better to travel well than to arrive." ~Buddha

So my 30 day challenge for Outreach is over, and time for me to reflect on my experience so far. Instantly I know that this isn’t over for me, I love to share ideas and information, I love to know I’ve helped a few budding yogi’s along the way. Or maybe you just took the body brush tips, or the hot lemon water. If you took anything from the challenge so far, then thank you, I’m truly honoured you took time to read this and even try out the advice.  Blogging my raw experiences along the way has also helped me study at school, think more clearly about my yoga practice, and look at how I really think about certain issues. I would highly recommend keeping a blog, a diary, a journal and get your thoughts out on paper, or just share them with a friend, talk things over. Don't have thoughts swirling around like leaves in your head, there is too much living to be done to be raking them up all of the time. It really helps too, so thanks for listening :)

My intention for the challenge in practicing yoga for 30 days consistently, was to blog my experience, explain some yoga asanas, share my thoughts and advise on everything from nutrition to love. My ego gets in the way sometimes, I feel it brewing and I still post the LOOK AT ME photographs anyway, but the intention was to grasp your attention in the hope you would find the blog more enjoyable and fun. Funny how ‘sex sells’ the blogs containing arse, boobs and body all definitely had the highest hits, and on reflection I was manipulating my readers with captions like ‘Are you looking at my tits’. All in good spirits of course!

My longer term intention is to keep sharing yoga with everyone who is interested, keep sharing nutrition advice for everyone who needs it, and mainly keep sharing love for anyone you wants it. Thanks so much to everyone who sponsored me and donated some pennies, now the challenge is over and I’ve successfully completed it would be great if you could spare a couple bucks/pounds/euros and help Outreach Charity continue their fine work in helping the vulnerable through Yoga. I’ll be continuing to work with them during my stay in Vancouver teaching yoga to those suffering with trauma, depression and abuse. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE spare some cash for the charity if you can.

I’ll be continuing my blog, with some new interesting angles, its my aim to continue sharing yoga and holistic nutrition forever and it will be with you coming to staying in my holistic yoga homestay retreat in the mountains somewhere with the ocean. If you have anything to share please send me an email with some suggestions for the blog, would love to research anything nutrition, holistic, yoga, and the world related! Thanks for all your sweet messages, thanks to GOD AND MY MOM AND I ACCEPT THIS OSCAR...oh...wrong gig.

What a lovely bunch of coconuts!

Once mistakenly thought to be bad because of its saturated fat content, coconut oil is now known to contain a unique form of saturated fat that actually helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and hardening of arteries. The saturated fat in coconut oil is unlike the fat found in meat or other vegetable fats. It is identical to a special group of fats found in human breast milk, which have been shown to improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and protect against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. These fats derived from coconut oil, are now routinely used in hospital IV formulations and commercial baby formulas. They’re also used in sports drinks to boost energy and enhance athletic performance. However, there is nothing better than drinking pure coconut juice straight from the costa rica... Coconut Oil Miracle benefits;

Reduces risk of atherosclerosis and related illness
Reduces risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions

Helps prevent bacterial, viral and fungal (yeast) infections
Promotes weight loss...healthy!

Keeps skin soft and smooth (get your partner to rub on, lick off?)
Supports immune system function

Helps prevent osteoporosis
Helps control diabetes

Supports healthy metabolic function

Provides immediate source of energy
Supplies fewer calories than other fats

Supplies important nutrients necessary for good health

Can make great bikini top with coconut shells and move to Hawaii

Improves digestion and nutrient absorption

Is highly resistant to spoilage (long shelf life)

Helps prevent premature aging and wrinking of skin....ditch botox
Helps prevent against skin cancer and other blemishes
Makes you always feel on HOLIDAY!!!


For the last Yoga session as part of the Outreach challenge, Mark and I opted out of Occupying Vancouver again, and took a Hatha Meditative class, with some yin and really restored and reflected. The class was just what I needed, deep long spinal twists with a cheeky revolved triangle to remind me, to practice!!! Does practice really make perfect?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 29 ZZzzzzzzz!

Sleep is so essential to our bodies, and I got an extra hour this morning without even knowing it YYIIPPPEEEEEEE! We repair and rebuild, rejuvinate and restore whilst we enter dreamland. Eating a small amount of protein in the evening is best for rebuilding. Dreaming is only for sleeping, not for awakening. Here are some points from Harvard on why sleep is so important for us;

Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

Whats your sleep hygiene like? If you are struggling with sleeping, there are some really easy ways to take a look at what the problem is. Whats happening in your life at the moment, stress, work, family, poor nutrition, not enough exercise, too much TV, too much coffee, too much chatter in the monkey mind, and many more things that all of us have each day adding to our toxic load. Yoga and meditation can help with stress and clearing the mind, you can reward your body with simple movements with breath, focus and relax. Cut down on coffee or cut it out, or stop drinking it in the afternoon. Try some hot lemon water, or some Matcha green tea. THINK about what you eat, if you are eating on the go, its probably not going to nourish you. Plan what you are going to eat for the week, do your shopping on a day off and do some prep for your food. Have a portable lunchbox to take with you with snacks, my last boyfriend used to take his everywhere, it would be filled with a hard boiled, egg, an apple, carrots, some nuts and seeds, tomatoes. I would laugh at him filling it each day, now I'm just the same except my lunchbox is pink, oh hang on, so was his. Seriously, when we are hungry we always grab the naughty but nice things, or crave sugar. Its better to plan ahead, cut up your veggies and store them in containers in the fridge, freeze up some homemade soups, have your snack box, be prepared, drink lots of water.

The TV is a LIAR. It will lie to you, scare you, make you feel miserable, and waste your life away. TURN OFF THE TV. Watching the shite thats aired will stimulate your brain in the wrong way, do you really care about some reality D star blowing off pigs, or a soap shows endless amounts of funerals and murders and deaths. Its all so negative and draining to your soul, if you do watch TV then watch things that have purpose. Research who owns the news channels you watch, and research some more and find out what the real news is. None of this rant applies to anything by David Attenborough and True Blood of course.

Have a look at your bedroom, de-busy it and remove any visable clutter, paint your walls nice calm colours, have nice bed linen thats always fresh and clean that makes you want to star jump into the middle and do some bed karate. Do you share your bed with a snorer? BOOT THEM OUT! After sleeping in hostels with many snoring nightmares I understand how painful it is to bear the snores, when really the repsonsibility should be on the person snoring. There are plenty of products out there to aid snoring and showing some compassion on both sides will definately reduce the need to stuff a pillow in their mouth shouting BEEEE QQQUUIIIETTTTTT OR DIEEE! Kidding. Kind of. Don't have anything electrical at all in your bedroom, think about the electrical magnetical waves roaming about your eyelids as you try to peacefully sleep, don't have your phone glued to your pillow, its unhealthy, you are sleeping! Phone off and in another room, buy a cheap wind up alarm clock, our bodies our clever and if we get up at the same time each day, it will naturally awaken you.

After school this morning, I treated myself to a Thai massage on Broadway offering a special deal. No not seeding Bangkok style, although the lovely ladies there were both from Bangkok. The massage was traditional Thai done on a bed that the massuse could walk around you, over you, up and down you and on you :) I opted clothes off style (Warrior memories...) and enjoyed the extreme stretching, cracking and pressing these little powerhouse ladies are capable of using their hands, elbows, arms, feet, knees, legs, bum??
'you have velly velly nice skin, you look after it well, you velly flexible too'
'Really, thanks!!' I gush all proud...
'but why you full of all these bruises and cuts, what you do to yourself??'
'Errrr I went over my handlebars on my bike' (and played bed karate)....feels silly...and slutty.

After the amazing massage, I spent the afternoon watching the rain and listening to music writing blogs, and happy with my own company. I did some wind down yoga, concentrating mostly on my breathing. 

Add this to your sleep hygiene, and you will be sleeping like a baby as they say. Take a leaf from my sisters other gorgeous baby Dylan.

Goodnight, nameste :)

If you get some better sleep, then say thanks by leaving a donation for charity, or share this advice with someone else who could use a good nights sleep.


Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 28 Beautiful Fall

After experimenting with organic red wine, I can safely say that I did not have the usual sledgehammer feeling when my eyes peeled open and I unstuck the crusty yogurt lid from my cheek. I hadn't lost my phone, my purse was still full of cash, and my heels were not covered in dirty chewing gum. I did however have a strange man in my apt, some things just don't change hey Laura? The small headache was eliminated within half an hour with some hot lemon water, a fresh papaya fruit salad, some stretching and groaning in the shower and a little more Francais. Not necessarily in that order :)

Something about the fresh cold air in Vancouver, the sky is blue, the sun shines, its cold and so colourful outside, autumn is simply divine. Walking around my neighbourhood looking up at the trees, feeling grateful to be here, looking out to the mountains and smiling at the snow that cups the tops and knowing that I'm part of this world, I'm part of that mountain, I'm part of you. You're part of me. What does Autumn make you feel like, share with me? I LOVE RED! Isn't it amazing the colours of this season?? Ever notice how the veggies are the same??

The waterfront is blissful, I live not too far from Jericho beach, and being able to wander down to the sands through the many small parks on the waterfront, kick some leaves, practice some Nature yoga, and just BE is heaven. Heaven is here on this earth for us to enjoy whilst we are alive folks, so don't waste time thinking about the place you think you're headed when you die. What matters is RIGHT NOW. Lao Tzu wise words tell us....

Heaven and earth last forever.
The reason why heaven and earth last forever
is that they do not live for themselves.
Hence, they last forever.
Therefore, the True Person leaves self behind
and thus is found in front,
is not guarded and thus is preserved,
is self-free and thus is able to find fulfilment.

Reverse Warrior:
From Warrior II pose (with the right knee bent), bring the left hand down to rest on the left leg. Inhale the right arm up towards the ceiling, and reach the fingers away from each other. Look straight ahead or up at the ceiling. Keep the right knee bent, pressing into the feet with the legs strong. Sink the hips down toward the floor and relax the shoulders.  Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths. To release: inhale the arms parallel to the floor coming back into Warrior II. Repeat on other side. Benefits + Contraindications: Benefits: Reverse Warrior stretches the side of the torso and arm, opens the hips and builds lower body strength. Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, back or shoulders.
Find the Warrior within you!

After a morning of LOVING this city. I spent the afternoon reading and relaxing some good R&R time. I gave Tamsin (my landlady) and her cute little girl Gabrielle who is 5 a private kids yoga lesson. I really enjoyed adapting the flow of the lesson and getting in touch with the kid inside us (not hard for me I LOVE SILLY!) We did some body shaking, rag dolls, downward dog tail wagging, butterfly wing flapping, table tops, snakes, tickle toes and giraffe heads. Its funny as Gabrielle was really really good and flexible and soooo fragile, but the pose she got into the most was savasana! She seemed to love the chill out and the foot and head rub, and she even helped me do mums. I really enjoyed it, and it helped me understand how kids work in Yoga, and how to keep their attention. Next time, I will have to insist on no eating cheese in 3 legged downward dog :) How did she do that anyway??? Hahahahaa! Get your kids into yoga, keep their bodies supple, its great bonding time for parents and its good for your soul. Its so great to watch your kids having fun doing something that is so good for their wellbeing without them even knowing, it means you get to practice to.

TURN OFF THE TV AND GET A YOGA MAT. I had a good chat with my sister back in the UK, absorbing the love and getting the best pose EVER from her gorgeous new baby Blossom.

HAPPY BABY pose has never been done so well in history, thanks Blossom you are a Yogini in the making! Love xxx

Thanks for following the challenge, if you'd like to make a donation for Outreach a charity who supports helping youth at risk by bringing Yoga into their lives, please make a donation here:

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 27 Something fishy?

Its the day Vancouver Yogi's have been waiting for, the Vancouver Yoga Conference and show and I'm meeting up with the lovely Michella whom I met at Teacher Training in Costa Rica ca ca ca ca. The show hosts loads of exhibits with the latest stuff out on the market for yogi's, but also loads of nutrition, free passes for new yoga studio's and teachers, opportunities to volunteer teaching, free tea, free cacoa, free coconut water, free yoga, free free free free free welcome to the FREE WORLD. Kind of :) I enjoyed chatting to everyone working on the exhibit stands and sharing their passions for each of their products. Some were able to answer, some were a little stuck, 'So what makes your yoga studio stand out more than others?'....'free shampoo with showers' SOLD! Its interesting what draws a person to a particular studio, I personally think that variety is great, and we should have a go at everything and keep our body guessing to whats next. Prana Yoga seemed to have some interesting music and ethnicity to it, Kundalini Yoga had amazing tea blends and a dangling carrot guaranteeing you to learn more in a week, than you could in a year about yourself and yoga...interesting. Just not diggin the white turban... especially since what you wear shouldn't be so important? Everyone was buzzing about Y yoga, seems to be the trendy place...Im not into trendy yoga, my armpits always need shaving, Im musty and have holes in my leggings from falling off bikes, not to mention Im not a lulu, BUT Ive have a free pass and Im told the teachers are amazing. New studio Chopra Yoga looks interesting, with Deepak coming in January to share some wisdom. So many studios, so many teachers, so much passion for Yoga everywhere you look, the vibrational energy was pounding off our bodies.

Michella and I gorged on Costa Rican memories, surfing, hot boys, yoga practice with a break out for crystal heated beds that drain heavy metals from your body, and a machine that jiggled everything from your bum to boobs that was meant to improve circulation and reduce fat. You can eat ginger and less cakes otherwise? :) It was great to spend some 'easy' time with a familiar friendly face, having the same passion for yoga (and hot boys) and life! Looking forward to getting to her next gig, look them up and check them out, she is a powerhouse! The best thing I learnt from todays show, was that its never the end with Yoga, there is no end, we are always discovering internally. I LOVE YOGA! I'm so happy and grateful for everyone who has let me know about their own yoga story, or have maybe started to learn yoga from reading the blog and feeling the cyber hip gyration, its great!!! :)

I spent the evening cooking up some delicious snapper, with some roasted beets, and butternut squash with some chopped up stripey tomatoes and garlic and olive oil, inspired from a recipe in Dels blog I'm trying to stop eating salmon and tuna, and understand a little more about sustainable seafood and the amount of these types of fish we eat. Bottom line is, we have raped the oceans of food and the supplies are getting low, thinking about our food and where it comes from really helps with nutritional decisions. Having only introduced fish back into my diet in the last 6 years, I'm a little fussy with textures that can appear meaty, but I enjoy the variety it gives my diet and I understand how important Omega 3 is to our health.

In order to have a healthy diet you may need to add Omega 3 fats to your food plan. Adding fats? Yes adding fats but these are good fats and can reverse, prevent, or alleviate some health concerns. Omega 3 fats are important for the production of prostaglandins a hormone like substance that is needed for such things as control of smooth muscle contraction. It also helps to lower blood pressure and body temperature as well as reducing inflammation. Other physiological functions that are regulated by prostaglandins are blood clotting, nerve transmission, kidney function and inflammatory and allergic responses. The production of other hormones is also aided by prostaglandins. A diet rich in Omega 3 helps cell membranes to function properly. Other health issues such as cancer, heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and ADD/ADHD can be positively affected by consuming Omega 3 fats. Brain and retinal health is supported by Omega 3's. DHA in high amounts will benefit brain function. Alzheimer's and memory are also improved with adequate amounts of Omega 3 fats either in your diet or in supplement form. Although there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Omega 3, it is recommended that approximately 2% to 4% of your daily caloric intake.

This can be achieved by adding flaxseeds and certain fish to your food plan. There are many other foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats. Spinach, Brussell sprouts, Collard Greens are dark green vegetables that have high amounts of Omega 3's. Walnuts, salmon, scallops, halibut and shrimp are also rich in Omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fat supplements are available in capsule form. They are also available in concentrates. The concentrated forms are available over the counter or by prescription. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine if Omega 3 fat supplements are something you should consider adding to your dietary regimen. It is extremely important to look at labels aswell as knowing where your fish came from, is it caught wild, and is the does the company practice sustainability. This means, they dont overfish and allow the fish stocks to reproduce and increase their volumes before fishing again, check out what it really means and some useful info here

Saturday evening was spent learning French with some private lessons and drinking wine, they go hand in hand really don't they? Michelle is a French name afterall, I like the way it sounds with a Parisian accent.
I'm hoping to see much more of Canada including the Frenchie parts too. Did you know they speak French in Morocco? Oooooo la la! Merci de lire mon défi, faire un don!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 25 Comfortable in your own skin?


Similiar to waking up and shouting YEAAAHHHHHHHHH from your bedsheets, shout it to your neighbourhood! See how it makes you feel? :)

'Be yourself. Everyone else is taken'
Oscar Wilde.

How comfortable in your own skin are you? Being comfortable in your own skin and content with your own company is a magical gift you can give to yourself and everyone in your life.

Since when did it matter what clothes a person wore, does that make them who they are? Before I started travelling I decided to give most of my 'stuff' away to charity, or trade at car boot sales with the 'karma' pile inspired by Marcus, 'Take what you want, pay what you want, or don't pay anything, just smile.' Interesting experiment when most are heavily burdened with skeptism. I was ashamed at how many pairs of shoes, and endless bags and more and blah and URGH and things and and just meaningless 'stuff' I'd been brainwashed, bored, and tricked into purchasing, and I didn't really need any of it, I just wanted to be cool in Choos. Don't get me wrong, I still have an eye for glamour and a good set of heels when the time is right, but these days I've jumped out of the consumer rat race. Aside from a vintage old lady jacket I picked up in the salvation army for $5, come ooooooon I needed it to bring the Kate Moss Vintage glamour to lululemon world!!! It makes me cool!!! Doesn't it???

 A good spring clean of all that 'stuff' thats been collecting is a great way to spring clean your mind creating space, not just in your closet but inside yourself, making room for more of the real you.  Think about the environmental impact all that stuff does to the world A good challenge would be to test your consumer addiction, ask yourself what joy does the 'stuff' actually bring you, maybe cut down to just 1 new pair of shoes a year instead of a season/month! Or when you get holes in them :)) Donate your things to a nonprofit charity, or recycle them onto friends, car boot sales, kids, or recreate them into new. Point is, your 'stuff' especially your clothes does not make you, who you are.

Who said that skin meant naked anyhow Freeman?

I guess the weather is getting chiller, so old lady vintage jacket and some woolies from back home are definately needed to keep warm. Thats what purpose clothes have, but would I wear a tracksuit and matching headband to yoga, or frilly socks and stilletos and hotpants to the cinema, or maybe my Breakdance tshirt to an interview? I too have my limits, and Im programmed to know what I like to wear for comfort, and how I perceive myself. Guys, if you think this is all girl talk, then wear a t-shirt with your favourite sports team opponent. It would be like asking a Liverpool fan to wear a Man United shirt for the day, it just wouldn't happen. We like to send a message with the clothes that we wear, but at what point do we stop caring and judging the clothes, and take people for who they are, not what they wear.

'So how do we feel comfortable in our own skin, and have a sexy air of self-confidence that radiates an appeal to others around you? Some of us look in the mirror with disgust, and focus on the culturally-programmed-and-perceived 'bad' bits, rather than gazing at themselves with appreciation, embracing every part of their beautiful selves with a natural form of self-love. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! With the depth of awareness provided to an individual via dedication to a yoga practice, you teach yourself to look beyond the curvy hips and rounded belly - it takes you further into your true, loving, glorious self, where you are always feeling relaxed, sensual and cheekily sexy ... a place of peace and passionate awakening that brings a fire to your inner glow and empowers you to truly live life for the 'orgasmic' moment of existence itself.

But how does yoga help? The body shapes we create in yoga are a reflection of how your mind works; as you improve your postural alignment within these body shapes, this will, in turn, reflect back upon the workings of your mind - as you become more open and flexible, your everyday situations will become more adaptable to change and new opportunities. For example, with back bends - as you embrace and open deeper into the pose, your life will become noticeably freer, and you'll find yourself being more flexible in regards to helping yourself and others. Yoga is a tool that is used to channel stillness, to find love for yourself, and to embrace the positive - every moment of each and every day. And by nurturing this inner landscape of endless beauty, your yoga practice will shift your perspective of the outer world around you, and how your divine temple of the body is a fantastic instrument for connecting to this wondrous place we call 'home'.'

As an experiment, after you've spring/autumn cleaned out your closet and got the bag ready for your favourite charity, GET NUDE. Make a cup of tea, look out of the window, notice the sky, walk around your living room, dance, do whatever you like, just for 5 minutes even. Forget what you are not wearing, it doesn't matter. You will look more beautiful in that little black dress, if you forget you are wearing it. Call your partner, but don't tell them about your birthday suit attire, laugh at yourself, love yourself, do some naked yoga!

Be comfortable in your own skin!
Send me a pic for the blog ;-)

If you've enjoyed todays blog, then make a donation to the Outreach team, or donate a bag of warm clothes to a homeless shelter, there are people out there who would value 'any' stuff right now. Winter is coming, and the homeless fight to stay warm and alive, spare some CHANGE.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 24 All we need is Love

On or off your yoga mat, always try to find stillness in your breath and notice the moment. Let go of the past and trust the Universe when it comes to your future. All that is, is now. Nothing is permanent. Stay connected to others through community and love. John Lennon famously reminds us, 'All you need is love, love is all we need'.
Being from Liverpool, the Beatles are a part of my life, and its great to be from a part of the world that is known everywhere for beats of the scouse boys. I've been missing 'familiar' lately, my aura feels 'lacking' but I'm embracing change with an open heart, not just in the external world. Thanks for embracing me back Canada, I'm so grateful to be here, play me another Beatles tune?

Epigenetics reveal that our environment determines the growth and reproduction of each seed and cell. Rather than a pre-determined destiny, based on previous experiences, genetics or out-dated prophecies, we have  the power to program our reality simply by choosing our vibrational state. Pretty cool huh?

Choosing to see Beauty in all things fills our Hearts with Gratitude. Beauty inspires and delights our senses, and we remember all life is Sacred, perfect and profound. Attuning our senses to Beauty and the glorious nature of creation provides a nourishing environment for our cells to thrive!

Just for today ...
Be present to the Beauty all around. Open your gaze and let yourself be amazed at the infinite ways Love is expressed in the world, pat a puppy, smile at a stranger, open a door, let someone out in traffic, volunteer, have a voice, look at the colours of autumn, give your coat to a homeless guy. Know this is simply a reflection of the Beauty you are, and will always BE. Pay attention to when you find yourself repulsed by something you judge as ugly or imperfect. Give thanks and courageously seek to find the Beauty in the illusion of imperfection. As you do, you return to innocence, purify the Heart-Mind and raise your vibration into one of Love and Gratitude. This provides the optimum environment for our cells to thrive, programming them to deliver more and more to be grateful for!
This is how we Birth New Reality.  

"The new science of epigenetics recognizes that environmental signals are the primary regulators of gene activity. As described in book, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles, cells read and respond to the conditions of their environment using membrane protein perception switches. Activated switches send signals to control behavior and regulate the activity of the genes.  This editing process can provide for normal or dysfunctional protein products from the same gene. You can be born with healthy genes and through epigenetic processes, express mutant behaviours, such as cancer. Similarly, you can be born with defective mutant genes, and through epigenetic mechanisms, create normal healthy proteins and functions. Perceptions shape biology and behaviour. The conventional belief that the genome represents the equivalent of a computer's 'read-only' program is now proven to be false. Epigenetic mechanisms modify the readout of genetic the code-- which means that genes actually represent 'read-write' programs, wherein life experiences actively redefine an individual's genetic expression. The 'new' biology is based upon the fact that perception controls behaviour and gene activity!

The control is with YOU."

A couple blogs ago I suggested researching your passion, your inspirations, finding a mentor you aspire to, some spiritual guidance. If you are new to Yoga, or a devotee, here is a head start to the Yogi's essential reading list (I'm still working my way through!) Read with a purpose, feed your intelligence you were born with! Every considered you were being numbed down by reality shows, junk food and constant advertising to brainwash us all into consumerism madness?
If you have any additional great books on Yoga to share, please leave a comment with the advice, would love to hear from you!
• Anatomy of Hatha Yoga : H. David Coulter
• Anatomy of Movement : Blandine Calais-Germain
• Bhagvad Gita for the Common Man : the Vedanta Kesari Vol 95, No 12, December 2008
• Hatha Yoga Pradipika : Yoga Swami Svatmarama
• Iyengar Illustrated Light on Yoga : BKS Iyengar
• Kundalini Yoga Physical Wisdom : as taught by Yogi Bhanjan, compiled and illustrated by Harijot Kaur Khalsa

• Sahaja Yoga : Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
• Surya Namaskar and Mantras : author unknown
• The Book of the Vedas : Virender Kumar Arya
• The Kundalini Yoga Experience : Guru Dharam S. Khalsa and Darryl O’Keeffe
• YinSights : Bernie Clark
• Yoga of Sound : Russill Paul
• Ayurveda Encyclopedia : Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha
• Bhagavad Gita,  A New Translation : Stephen Mitchell

• Bhagavad-gita As It Is : A. C.  Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
• Co Ex System as Systemic Phenomena : Stan Grof
• Deepak Chopra 7 Spiritual Laws : Deepak Chopra MD and David Simon MD
• Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light : Namkhai Norbu
• Ego, Hunger and Aggression, the Gestalt therapy of Sensory Awakening : F.S. Perls
• Family Secrets : John Bradshaw
• Family Soul : Burt Hillenger
• Love’ s Hidden Symmetry : Burt Hillenger
• Paramhansa Autobiography of a Yogi : Paramhansa Yogananda
• Pathways to Healing : Don Ollsin
• Phenomenological approach in Psychotherapy : Burt Hillenger
• Pranayama, beyond the fundamentals : Richard Rosen
• Raja Yoga : Patanjali
• Repetiton Compulsion : Freud
• Siddhartha : Hermann Hesse
• Taoism : Eva Wong
• The Essential Yoga Sutras : Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally
• The Mozart Effect : Don G. Campbell
• The Science of Flexibility : Michael Alter
• The Roar of Silence : Don G. Campbell
• The Web That Has No Weaver : Ted Kaptchuk
• Yoga for Wellness : Gary Kraftsow
• Yoga, the Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness : Erich Schiffmann

Thanks for following the challenge, sing me out Beattles, my mum used to sing this song to me... she still does... I've been wearing your  hippy jacket, from the 70's? It looks like autumn and feels like you mummy, guess you are cycling the streets of vancouver with me afterall... I miss familiar...

If you'd like to leave a donation for Outreach an amazing charity, for whom I'm writing this blog in support of, that would be tres formidable!