Happy Tree Pose Simple home yoga practice for finding balance everyday


Home Sweet Yoga

Happy Friday friends!

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I have some fantastic news, I have finally launched my new business! 

Home Sweet Yoga Build a unique yoga practice, so you can feel confident, calm & comfortable in your own skin.

Home Sweet Yoga connects you with experienced, highly qualified yoga teachers to practice in the comfort of your own home. You can set up a group class with your friends and family, or benefit from one on one attention and focus. Alternatively, for those of you who aren’t located in Sydney, you can set up an online consultation with one of our experts online!

We’re on a mission to reframe the way we approach yoga – you are unique, your practice should be too.

So excited and happy to be able to share this with you, I do hope you’ll join the growing tribe over on Facebook.

This business is the result of months of work brainstorming, writing, long discussions with friends and family. There were many chats over coffee, tea and the occasional wine about how I wanted to make a difference, and what I found frustrating about the current yoga teaching model.

I love yoga and the amazing things the practice has done for me, but there is no one style/brand/teacher who suits me to a T. I have to mix it up depending on my current health, stress levels and lifestyle. I enjoy teaching general hatha vinyasa classes and yin classes, but I still felt that what these students need is something more…. Something tailored, a practice that suits them and their unique needs.

I started teaching privately. Just a couple of groups at first, friends, family, colleagues.

Bingo.

It was clear – I had found my niche! No one session is the same with my private clients, no one approach to asana will work for all of them and each person needs a different blend of the yoga practices for their body/mind. The idea for Home Sweet Yoga was born.

FBHSYHome Sweet Yoga can help you build a personalised practice that’s uniquely tailored for your needs. We offer group classes and private classes here in Sydney, with highly qualified and experienced yoga teachers. Alternatively, we will consult with you over Skype to help you solve any yoga problems or to help you take the practice deeper. Our signature package is the Build Your Home Practice – 6 sessions either face to face or over Skype to build your home practice, customised to help you experience yoga using the methods that are right for you. 

I’m on a mission – I want to change the way we approach yoga. Let’s move away from a reliance on certain styles and types of classes, to take ownership of our practice and make sure it works for us.

You wouldn’t take your Mum’s prescriptions, you wouldn’t follow your partner’s personal training regime – why should you practice yoga exactly as someone else has had it work for them?

It’s time the industry matured – away from competing with the aerobics classes, towards a professional personalised approach. Ironically, this requires us to remember how yoga was initially taught by one of the Grandfathers of yoga, Sri Krishnamacharya.

“He always taught what was appropriate for each individual.  The purpose and the capability of the person determined the practice.  He always designed the practice depending on the person and the purpose.” ~ From this article on the legacy of Krishnamacharya.

This is why an Iyengar class is so different from an ashtanga session – Krishnamacharya gave BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois different practices to suit each of their individual needs! They then took their routines out to the world, teaching students yoga as they knew it, based on what worked for them.

While this brought yoga to the rest of us, it set the trend for yogis to claim that their way of practicing is THE next way for students to follow – think anasura, jivamukti, shiva’s flow, baron’s power. Is it any wonder that my body/mind doesn’t fit with any of these approaches exactly? Why should it, given that this is not the way yoga was ever intended to be taught?

Home Sweet Yoga will focus on connecting experienced teachers with students who want an individualised approach, a yoga practice that is designed just for them. I suppose the one slight exception would be the private group classes that we offer, but even then with a small group I feel it is easier to modify for each individual student. These classes are perfect for groups such as mothers groups, or close friends who are of a similar age and fitness level.

So far the other yogis I have on board are incredible, with a yoga therapy background and a committment to working with students from all backgrounds and abilities.

Above all I want to help more people establish their OWN practice. Something they feel at home and comfortable with, and confident practicing. These days the question “Do you practice yoga” is usually followed by “oh, what style?”. I think it would be amazing if we could replace this with “Do you have a yoga practice” then “What does that include at the moment for you?”.

Your practice will grow with you over time, shift and deepen and consistently offer you the chance to experience yoga, even if the precise methods you use vary as the years pass.

“The spirit of viniyoga is starting from where one finds oneself. As everybody is different and changes from time to time, there can be no common starting point, and ready made answers are useless. The present condition must be examined and the habitually established status must be re-examined.”

- TKV Desikachar

All of this exciting news and discussion brings me back to this blog, and to you lovely reader. I have decided to end my Happy Tree Pose journey, so that I can focus on Home Sweet Yoga and pour my energy into growing this business and vision.

This will be my last blog post here.

Some of the content from here will move over the the HSY blog in the new year (I’m currently developing the full website, this current one is just the first iteration!) and when I do that, I will be redirecting happytreepose.com to my new blog.

I want to thank you for reading and supporting me over the past couple of years. Blogging has introduced me to so many fabulous people, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey Happy Tree Pose started me on! From law school to entrepreneurship, yoga and blogging have supported me the whole way through.

I do hope you’ll join me on this next phase of the adventure, and feel free to get in touch – hello@homesweetyoga.com.au – with any questions, support, just want to say hello etc!

You’ll still find me on Twitter, Instagram and my brand new Facebook page too!

All the best, have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you over on the other site xxxx

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This Lovely Life

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I don’t want to freak you out, but we have 6 1/2 weeks until Christmas. Less than two months left of 2013!!

Craziness. My oh my how this year has flown by.

Ditto the last few weeks! Business planning, website designing, yoga teaching and catch ups in the sun have filled my life with a happy busyness of late. This weekend I’m going to try to counter this with a little more time spent in meditation, I’ll be attending this and I’m hoping that will set me up to lengthen my daily meditation time over summer.

Do you meditate daily? If so, how long for?

I find that taking time to be grateful for the everyday things that make up our lives helps me savour the passing moments when life is busy.

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As always with these little update posts, here are some of the things that have kept me happy over the past few weeks, my little gratitude round up!

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a LOT of chai. I mean it, a hell of a lot of chai.

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{Sticky chai at CopperMill in Alexandria would have to be my favourite. Amazing.}

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{Corona introduced me to the cute little Chez Dee in Potts Point after we both had a lovely yoga class with Cora at Yoga Village}

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{Home made chai in between classes}

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{How pretty are the mugs at the T2 cafe in Hornsby? Adorable.}

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{Finally made it to Gertrude and Alice in Bondi! Chai was delicious!}

After this last cuppa, my sister and I went and checked out the gorgeous sculptures by the sea. Such a lovely day for it!

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I had to do this ^^. My form wasn’t great, as I wanted to hurry – so many people started taking photos!! Haha, how awkward… So grateful my shoulder lets me do wheel again though, finally.

Sydney’s weather has been crazy recently – bush fires, smoky days, dropping back to cardigan temperatures then soaring back again…

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{The Sando building in Newtown. Nostalgia!}

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{Said hi to the snails in Sydney Park on this hazy evening.}

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{What a view they had!}

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{Feels like summer…}

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We have finished spring cleaning the flat, so I treated myself with a little shopping…. Love these beautiful bright coloured cushions!

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{At the local Afghani interiors shop on King St}

As for my other current obsession, this month also saw a fair few plant purchases… The balcony is going strong, despite a recent infestation of fungus gnats (ew) most of the plants have flourished despite the crazy hot & gritty conditions!!

I’m in love with succulents in particular at the moment…

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{Present for Mum}

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{So many to choose from!!}

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{Local inspiration}

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{Bought this guy…}

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{…and this beautiful little one! Perfect in the terracotta.}

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{Also picked up these cuties at Pre-Loved Roots in Alexandria. Three for $10!!}

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{Gorgeous flowers in Pyrmont}

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{Rose in my mother-in-law’s garden}

I took part in Quiet Quest this October, and also took the opportunity to have a month off alcohol. I’ll be honest, I had one beer with my sister during the month, but other than that not drinking was a breeze.

Celebrated November in style with a friend last week though!

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{Margarita and a Mint Julep – yum}

Must say though, I’m really glad for the month off. It has helped with the heartburn I often suffer from, and generally I really didn’t miss it. As we enter the silly season, I’m going to do my best to keep my drinking to a minimum – no more than a few days a week, no more than a few drinks at a time.

Finally, I want to share a recipe with you that I made up! 

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{Nom nom nom}

Oatmeal, Almond and Coconut Cookies

These guys were so freaking tasty. I’m so glad they worked out!!

Here’s what you’ll need…

Ingredients (Cookies)

160g Almond Meal

80g Oats

20g Tapioca Flour

130g raw sugar

2 eggs

tspn nutmeg

tspn cinnamon

80g sultanas

(Topping)

1 tbsp golden syrup

a little hot water

handful of shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to fanforce 180 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then add the oil and eggs until combined. Add the sultanas. Form into small balls and gently squash down onto a tray lined with baking paper.

Mix the golden syrup with a little hot water and the shredded coconut. Add a little of the wet coconut onto each cookie, but make sure you allow any excess water to drain off before you put this onto the cookie mixture.

Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!!

Mmmmm….

So that’s what I am grateful for over the last few weeks, great tea, good cookies, time in the sun, plants and busy days at my desk.

How about you? What is one thing you are grateful for this week?

I’ll be back next week to announce my brand new business! Very exciting!

Have a lovely weekend xx

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How to Practice Pressing Pause

How often do you pause during the day?

Stopping for a moment to take a few breaths in the present moment?

When life gets busy, sitting daily for lengthy meditation practice may seem impossible. Pausing isn’t. Gently bringing your focus back to the breath, even for a moment, can be a beautiful way to stop and savour the moment.

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I was reminded of this practice by an article written by Pema Chodron which I re-read recently:

“Pause practice can transform each day of your life. It creates an open doorway to the sacredness of the place in which you find yourself. The vastness, stillness, and magic of the place will dawn upon you, if you let your mind relax and drop for just a few breaths the storyline you are working so hard to maintain. If you pause just long enough, you can reconnect with exactly where you are, with the immediacy of your experience. ~ Pema Chodron”

This moment of stillness, of quiet breathing, doesn’t have to be long. You might rest at your desk for a minute, gaze out of the window and take in everything you can see with a kind of intense curiosity. Go for a walk, mindfully make a cup of tea, sit for a moment on the grass outside.

Or, perhaps you are driving and you pull up to a red light. How about you focus on your breath while you watch the light and stay completely present – hitting mute on the internal dialogue – until the light goes green?

These pockets of time are available to us throughout the day – each a precious chance to look around for a moment and remember that we are alive, right now, in this moment in time.

In this space you might be able to let go of the stories that consume most of our waking hours – the work that must be done, cleaning that has to happen and worries that need our attention. Stories, that take up valuable space in our minds.

Mindfulness can help us slowly put gaps between these hurried thoughts. 

Each day I find myself practicing my pauses whenever I remember to, and over time this simple skill has helped me feel calmer more often. When we allow ourselves time to be completely present and still, we can remember that some of the narratives our mind clings to aren’t real or helpful, and that we can always find time to come back to ourselves.

“Pause, connect with the immediacy of your experience, connect with the blessings; liberate yourself from the cocoon of self-involvement, talking to yourself all of the time, completely obsessing. Allow a gap, gap, gap. Just do it over and over and over; allow yourself the space to realize where you are. Realize how big your mind is; realize how big the space is, that it has never gone away, but that you have been ignoring it.

…So find ways to create the gap frequently, often, continuously. In that way, you allow yourself the space to connect with the sky and the ocean and the birds and the land and with the blessing of the sacred world. Give yourself the chance to come out of your cocoon” ~ Pema Chodron

Can you pause now? 

Do you use this technique already?

Wherever you are, I hope you have a beautiful week. This time next week I will be announcing the details of my brand new business, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

xx

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7 Ways to Spruce Up Your Space this Spring

Spring is well and truly in swing in Australia now, and with it so is spring cleaning and rearranging! For those of us who practice yoga at home regularly, this is a lovely time to reassess our space and spruce it up a little. You might like to shift where you practice at your place, or reorganise the way you set up each time you roll out the mat. I recently bought a beautiful soy candle at the markets, now when I practice the beautiful coconutty vanilla smell wafts through the flat. Mmmm.. IMG_20131001_173210 Yesterday evening I also reorganised the bookshelf that the above set-up sits on, and gave the whole thing a good clean. This lead me to think about how else you and I might spring clean the area where we practice! I came up with a little list of ideas for you. Here are 7 straightforward ideas for brightening up your space: 

  1. Swap the direction you face when you stand on your mat. This is super simple, free and fun – just stand at the other end of the mat when you begin! Always helps mix things up a little.
  2. Add a photo of someone or something that inspires you to practice. This could be a teacher, your child, a loved one or even a beautiful sunset over the beach.
  3. Collect a few shells, pebbles or maybe buy a crystal or mineral (like the amethyst cave picture above!) to bring some of the outside in. To remind you of how beautiful our earth is. I have an ammonite on my yoga space shelf – a lovely reminder of just how old this planet is, and how brief our time in the sun really is.
  4. Pin up an inspiring quote or your favourite saying that you can read before beginning each session. For a while I simple pinned up a little piece of paper that said – inhale, exhale. Useful when you forget to breath while holding a tricky balance!
  5. Pop some flowers in a glass or maybe purchase a small succulent to sit in your space.
  6. Make or buy a new cushion or eye pillow in a fun colour. Sitting on a big comfy cushion for meditation is practical, comfortable and you can make it pretty too. I know it’s corny, but bright colours do help lift my mood!
  7. Keep the space clean and tidy. Declutter – remove any books you’ll never read again, donate pictures you no longer want to look at, stream line and clean. You want your yoga spot at home to feel welcoming, safe, healthy, comfortable.

Do you have any other suggestions?  Hope you’re having a beautiful week xx

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This Lovely Life

Don’t you just love Spring? Beautiful blooms, blue skies, hot hot days that cool to cardigan-required temps in the evening.

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I love the above quote, it really resonated with me when I stumbled across is (here) last night. Launching a new business has forced me to embrace complexity, dive straight into the deep end and immerse myself in working towards the launch. I want to go all in, I want it to be the best and most helpful and most amazing version of the idea that I can make it. (I’ll tell you more about it soon, but for now I’m remaining cryptic, sorry!)

Similarly, I’m not interested in settling down into a little yoga niche with my teaching – I’m feeling the call to expand, learn more, stretch into different methods and read even more widely. Going deeper, challenging myself – this is where life is at right now. Feels invigorating and gives me butterflies.

Anyway, as always with these little updates on my yogi life, here are a few of my favourite things from the past couple of weeks – people, moments, places and things that I am grateful for.

First up, this weather!!! Far out it has been hot, sunny and gorgeous. Today is a little cooler, which I’m thankful for, but the October sunshine has had me escaping to the beach more and more. Last week I made it over to Manly and Freshwater.

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{Trip to Manly on the ferry, LOVE this city!!}

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{From the ferry, looking out to sea…}

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{Freshwater Beach}

As I said above, I have been reading even more than usual. This classic deserves a re-read every year or so.

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 {My new copy of one of my favourite books. Also, loving this tea}

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{Market finds}

The Blog Society picnic in the park was a beautiful event! It was so lovely to meet lots of fabulous Sydney bloggers and friends. The styling was particularly wonderful – set up by the Lily Pond, we enjoyed picnic blankets and tables laden with goodies and beautiful beverages. How fabulous.

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{Look at how pretty it was!!}

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{So pretty}

Meetings for work (and play) aplenty at the end of last week. Coffee, chai, iced choc, juices, and lots of excellent conversations and brain storming sessions. I’m so gratueful for all of the wonderful people I have met online!!

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  {Coffee and catch ups on sunny mornings}

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{Oh, and of course, Iced chocolate. Hot choc in winter, but spring is here so bring on the ice cream!}

Speaking of gratitude….. Working from home has been blissful recently. Initially I struggled with setting proper work hours and not scheduling in too much fun time (haha). I think I’m finally getting productive, and my office is either standing at my awesome desk inside, chilling at a cafe in Newtown or Erskineville, or relaxing in the sun with my Moleskine… Yeah, as I said, feeling pretty darn lucky.

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{My outdoor office this week}

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{Palms above me}

I love my pets. As you will know if you follow me on Instagram!! I drive over to Mum’s as often as I can to see these guys, and my little brothers/rest of the family of course ;) Pixie is the adorable siamese princess, and Gretel is the unbelievably affectionate Doberman. Together, they are just too cute for pictures or words. They love each other, and we love them.

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{Love these two. So much.}

More work, this time in town, soooo freaking excited!!!

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{Looking up in the lobby of our accountant’s building. The new company is on it’s way!!}

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{Newly blonde hair just in time for the heat! So happy as a blonde.}

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 {Flowers flowers flowers galore. As always}

Finally, I’m not drinking this month, and that has helped kick start a really healthy phase for me. Last week I finally made Kitchari – a delicious, comforting Ayurvedic meal of rice, mung beans and yummy spices. I used a mix of this recipe and this one. Used the coconut/coriander/ginger paste from the first, and the spices recommended in the second. I was super impressed, Karl loved it too, this will most definitely be on our go to dinner list now!!

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{Everything you need for delicious Kitchari}

That’s it from me for today, time to get down to work writing copy for the new site and teeing up a couple more meetings.

How was your week & weekend friends?

xx

 

 

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What Sort of Yogi Are You?

Earlier today I was looking at Facebook and a lovely bright coloured yoga selfie appeared in my news stream – as it will when you’re friends with lots of yogis!

The picture was beautiful – with a flying acro yoga pose captured at sunset. The yogi in question looked relaxed yet super strong, fit and flexible… effortlessly resting on top of her partner’s feet.

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{It wasn’t this pic, but this is another awesome acro example}

The picture was gorgeous, and the yogis are clearly physically talented. All day though, I kept thinking back to it, and thinking about my own body and my own yoga poses. The old inner critic started up again…

This weekend, I’ll be shooting a video for 21 Days – a beautiful course that I’m honoured to be a part of.

I have the sequence organised, a nice gentle but dynamic spring mix of standing poses, balances and some fluid vinyasa. I teach this day in day out, I practice every other day, I got this.

Right? Hmm… Self-doubt is an insidious beast.

You see, I’m not the typical & stereotypical super bendy yogi. I don’t have my heels all the way on the ground in downward dog, despite 10 years of practice (hamstrings are a bitch hey?) and I don’t take headstand because of neck issues (namely, it’s too damn long!). So, I have been freaked out that I’m not the sort of yogi who should be shooting video sequences and posing for pictures.

I’m the sort of yogi who is dedicated to my personal practice, passionate about sharing all that yoga has to offer with as many people as I can, and happy with tree pose in it’s simplest variation. I can go into detail about the eight limbs and the beauty of a deep and committed meditation practice, but I can’t for the life of me fold forward completely in paschimottanasana (hamstrings, again!).

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{This is definitely NOT me}

I’m not the sort of yogi who practices for two hours a day, or can headstand for 1/2 hr before bed. I don’t drink green juices all day long and I’m not vegan.

All of this over-thinking and self-criticising can give a girl a headache. I didn’t even realise I was thinking so negatively until I got on my mat at home this afternoon. In meditation, I noticed this cycle whirring in the background – I’m not flexy enough, strong enough, can’t do that, can’t do this, shouldn’t be xyz, should be able to abc.

Basically – I’m clearly not the ‘physically talented’ sort of yogi, and thus I’m inferior. Or something. My brain is confusing and the criticism doesn’t need to make logical sense.

BLERGH

How very boring.

Eventually this afternoon, fennel tea in hand, resting after a hot day’s work teaching, I realised the answer to my own question has been obvious all along.

What sort of yogi am I? I’m me. What other sort of yogi could I possibly be?!

I know it’s corny and you’ve heard it before, but if you’re anything like me it requires repeating… In the word’s of Dr Seuss:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~ Dr Seuss

I am me and I am a me sort of yogi.

I am me plus yoga, not the yogi who shines out from the cover of Yoga Journal. I’m a yogi who will never put her feet behind her head (um, ouch?) or live in an ashram in India for a year (probably). I’m Emily who practices yoga, has tight hamstrings, a history of neck injury, and a nerdy love of yoga philosophy. Complete with the typically human insecurities, worries and doubts. Luckily balanced out with years of practice in self-compassion and a good deal of self-awareness chucked in for good measure.

Turns out I have been defining myself in terms of what I am not, rather than what I am – committed, happy, passionate and unique.

So, I’m sorry for the trick question title – you are you and you don’t need to be a bikram yogi, or an ashtangi, or a yin yogi exclusively. There’s more than enough room for us all, and there’s room for each of us to have our own appropriate personal yoga practice – one that blends posture, meditation, breathwork, compassion, and service in a ratio that suits your particular needs.

For anyone who has fallen into the trap of not feeling good enough or bendy enough, or enough of an *insert your profession’s stereotype here* this little post is for you.

Go ahead, be you and be true and be uniquely whatever you are through and through.

That is all.

Hope you are having a lovely Thursday wherever you are yogis xx

ps. Despite my fear, I’m super pumped to be part of 21 days that starts on Monday! You can sign up for the beautiful course here.

 

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Now for the balcony

Since overhauling the flat at the start of the year, life at home has been so much more comfortable. We managed to give away bags and bags of clothes, books, shoes and odds and ends. I like to say we simply ‘up-spaced’ instead of ‘up-sizing’ :)

The last thing on my at home to do list was the balcony…. The filthy, empty, grit-covered, hot and noisy balcony.

This sad little space made me sad every time the blinds were drawn the whole way:

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{Before…}

Looking at this picture, it really doesn’t display just how sad and lonely our outdoor space had become. Those poor plantys have been out there for 6 years…. Yep, 6 years of neglect!!! Such shame…

Finally, last Wednesday, I decided things had to change. Once and for all.

I started looking for inspiration online, and there was plenty!! Beautiful balconies abound in urban areas around the world, I was encouraged and ready to get to business.

To the hardware and garden stores! I’m so thankful I have a wonderful friend who is super knowledgable about all things plant-related, and agreed to come to the shops with me. If my little potted garden can ever look half as pretty as hers I’ll be very happy!!

Many many $$ later (oops) I returned with the first batch of goodies and got straight to work….

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{We used 10 1/2 bags of potting mix in total!!}

Wow, I never knew gardening on a balcony could be such hard work!!

This took all of Wednesday evening, and almost all of Thursday….

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{Can’t wait to watch these bloom, and the seeds to flourish… Fingers crossed}

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{Such a pretty sight already}

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{One of my favourites}

I then went a little balcony-garden-mad. I started searching Gumtree and eBay, visited many op shops and took a couple of long walks Newtown and Glebe….

The bricks etc in pics above came from The Bower and Reverse Garbage in Marrickville. LOVE these places, such treasure troves of random stuff.

I still needed a stand for the flowers in the planters though… Something that would allow me to get them off the floor and display them well. To the vintage stores on King st!

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{Super cute step ladder}

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{Was hooked on the ladder idea for a while}

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{Plant stand?}

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{Watering can!! … Yeah, I was going a little crazy…}

Eventually by Sunday night the balcony looked like this: 

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{After!!}

But the shopping continued….

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{Definitely going to get more succulents!! So pretty, and so hardy}

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{Riding home with one new succulent, another palm, and two more in the boot…}

Eventually, last night, Karl and I repotted the old faithfuls who had stuck it out on their own for 6 whole years. While they look pretty scraggly, I’m still very hopeful that they’ll make it through!!

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{Oh old friends, hang on in there!!}

Earlier today I made my final purchase for a while, a plant stand!! This little beauty, found on eBay:

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{Retro, useful, love it}

Picking this up on Saturday, so the flowers will finally have a proper home. I’m so excited, it’s ridiculous.

In fact, being a massive geek, I spent an hour yesterday putting all of the plants names/care instructions/potting & fertilising date & a picture from day one into a massive spreadsheet. Hopefully this nerdiness will ensure at least a few survive the summer!! I’ll do my very best to keep them happy….

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{Couldn’t resist these daisies}

For now, the balcony is in bloom for the first time in six years and I have a wonderful new hobby. Over the next few weeks it will be so lovely to watch the seeds sprout and grow, and see how all the new members of the family settle into life on the balcony. This waiting game is all about patience, which is a lesson in itself.

Bring on the summer blooms!

xx

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Meditation Mondays

Do you meditate regularly? 

It took me ages to build the habit, and the key was to do little and often. Not necessarily everyday to start with, and definitely no longer than 3 minutes at a time.

I’m going to suggest you start having a regular time each week on a Monday, when you sit down to meditate for 3 minutes.

Let’s call these sessions Meditation Mondays and use the hashtag #meditationmondays to inspire and motivate each other to keep going! 

Who’s with me?? 

If you said “sure!!” then my challenge to you is simple – find 3 minutes today, set a timer, find a comfortable seat with a nice tall spine, slow down and focus on your breath. If you need more guidance for how to get started, you can check out my simple guide here.

As for me? Well this was my morning meditation spot:

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Sitting in the filtered sunlight under a tree in Camperdown Cemetery. In the middle of the hustle bustle of Newtown, I took 5 minutes out of my day for contemplation. I feel so much better for it.

Where and when will you meditate today? 

I do hope you’ll join me!!

#meditationmondays – do it ;) 

xx

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This Lovely Life

We have been enjoying SUCH a beautiful Spring this year in Sydney. The flowers are blooming, blue skies more often than not and when the sun dips behind the horizon there’s still a cool breeze to counter the heat of the day.

The last couple of weeks in my world have had me focusing on family, rest, and business development. I’m in the process of building my own small business (yoga related, naturally!) and it’s so so very exciting for me. Setting up a new domain, investing in beautiful branding and honing in on exactly what this new venture can offer the world has been draining in the most positive of ways!

Here are some of the things I have been grateful for recently….

Escapes to the coast…

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{Kiama, beautiful and blue }

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 {Cheesy smile please!! Happy Em}

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 {Jones Beach at Kiama Downs}

I’ve also been so thankful for my yoga practice recently. I’m finding my physical strength is slowly building again, and I have been able to get back to class. Off the mat, I am trying to stop and take deep beautiful breaths when I remember – practicing moments of stillness.

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{The gorgeous space at Jivamukti Yoga in Newtown}

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{Beautiful blossoms in Rozelle}

As you can see from the pics, blue skies abound at the moment. I’ve been making the most of the weather with daily walks in the sunshine, and catch ups with friends have been relocated to the park where possible!

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{Sydney Park, love those smoke stacks!}

In a bid for more quiet, and to help raise money for The Yoga Foundation, I have signed up to take part in Quiet Quest. Each day for the month of October, I will find time 30 minutes to be quiet, meditate, journal, unplug and slow down. What a beautiful idea. You can read more, sponsor me, or sign up for yourself here.

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{Quiet Quest}

I will be writing a full review soon, but wanted to include this pic and a simple suggestion – if you teach yoga or are a keen practitioner, this book is a must read. Loving the remix of the sutras, I find new pearls of wisdom each time I dip back into the text.

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{Threads of Yoga by Matthew Remski}

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{Friday flowers}

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{Mollymook Beach, what a stunning reading spot!}

Finally, I wanted to let you know that the lovely Jessie from Under My Bodhi Tree has an interview with me up on her site! You can check it out here.

That’s it from me, how are you doing this week? Are you able to take a moment now and then to practice some deep breathing? What are you grateful for right now?

Have a beautiful week yogis xx

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22 Ways to Feel Better

Taking time to practice self-care might sound corny, but when the going gets tough, knowing a few things that you can do to lift your spirits can be really handy. In times of stress we need ways to unwind and restore our energy more than ever.

Trouble is, when life gets you down and the stress builds up, it can be hard to remember to practice small acts of self-care. To take time to relax & be present, to try to do things that make us feel good.

“Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki

I’ve had a rough week. I won’t go into details here because it’s all family dramas and sad news, but late on Monday afternoon things got a little darker, and a little ball of tension formed at my core. Yesterday afternoon I managed to escape to the coast for an hour after spending time with my family, and then I set aside an hour for restorative yoga when I got home. Slowly this ball of stress loosened, and I’m ready to take a deep breath and keep going.

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I’m so very thankful that I know myself well enough now to know what I need when stress begins to mount, so grateful for the lessons of the past. I managed to cut back on my commitments to make time for sea air, the company of a dear friend and yoga. My very own self-care must-haves.

Last night, I was trying to think of things my Mum could do to feel better at the moment (as I said, the whole family is suffering currently) and I started a list. I emailed her these ideas. This morning I decided to share them here with you, as these are universally good things to do when the shit hits the fan or you are generally feeling blue! I hope they help in some way.

Feel free to pass along to a friend who might need some self-care inspiration, or bookmark for a rainy day :)

Here are 22 things you can do to feel better:

1. Move your body – get your yoga mat out, go for a walk, take the bike for a spin. The key is to get out of your head and into your body for a while. Plus exercise releases all the good chemicals that help you feel better naturally! Win win.

2. Borrow a box set or download a complete season of a new show (recommendations include Orange is the New Black, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation).

3. Make and eat this: Breakfast Polenta.

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4. Browse here: http://imgur.com/r/aww/

5. Make a good pot of tea. Theanine in tea helps calm you down, it’s science. Also, tea is just generally lovely.

6. Sit and meditate, even just for 3 minutes. Here’s my simple how to guide, and here’s a really interesting article about how meditation works.

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

7.  Make popcorn from scratch, add macadamia oil, salt and maple syrup. YUM.

8. Paint your nails a ridiculous colour. Or (even better) treat yourself and get someone to paint them for you.

9. Lie on your bed and rest your legs up against the wall. Possibly nap. Probably wake with a start as your legs fall off the wall when you fall asleep. Feel better either way.

10. Eat chocolate. Or drink hot chocolate. Basically – chocolate.

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11. Drive to the sea. Sit and stare out at the ocean and smile at the fact that you get to sit and stare at the ocean right now. That’s pretty special. While you’re there, breathe deep. Fresh & salty sea air – there’s really nothing like it.

12. Message someone you haven’t spoken to in a while just to ask how they’re doing at the moment. You’ll brighten their day.

13. Re-watch When Harry Met Sally or Love Actually. With chocolate. Or popcorn. You can invite me over too ;)

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14. Browse a few of your favourite blogs. This one, this one and this one perhaps.

15. Go to bed early but make a ritual of it – shower, turn off all electrical devices, cleanse/tone/moisturise, read a book, journal, maybe do some bed-time yoga then fall into bed.

16. Alternatively, if you are up for it, organise a night out with friends who make you feel good. Or a brunch/lunch/afternoon tea. Pick people who make you smile, laugh and feel great about life. Not those friends who make you feel inferior, like you don’t quite stack up and don’t really fit. Nope.

17. Do 10 minutes of yoga in your underwear at home. Trust me.

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18. Write a post card to a friend overseas. Even if they are originally from your town, they will smile when they receive a touristy post-card, and will appreciate the sentiment.

19.  Treat yourself to a bunch of bright & beautiful flowers.

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20. Pull that book you have read dozens of times off the shelf and re-read.

21. Take three deep breaths and sigh loudly on each exhale. Feel your shoulders relax as you do so.

22. Book a massage or a restorative yoga session. Something passive for your body that will leave you feeling good, and help relieve some physical tension.

At the end of the day, try to remember that everything passes eventually – the clouds make way for the sun and the waves calm. This too shall pass, you just need to take it one breath at a time.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” ~ Albert Einstein

I’m going to take my own advice now and wash my hair, paint my nails, do some yoga and make popcorn. Probably not in that order.

 

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