Why should I do yoga?

Yoga, Ashtanga, Yoga, Healthy Mind, Body and Lifestyle

Why should I do Yoga? you may ask yourself. What’s in it for me?

I try not to go on too much to people who I meet, friends and family, I do believe that it’s a personal choice. But ask anyone who already does it and they will probably tell you it’s one of the best decisions they made in regards to their health.

 

Claire yogagogo Camel pose in Mysore, India

 

Yoga works on the BODY and the MIND more than any other style of exercise. Arguably people find moments of meditation and or calmness of mind during running, cycling, many other sports, but yoga is as much about the mental as it is the physical and unlike other sports you should leave a class practice feeling calmer and more positive than when you entered.

‘I really regret going to that Yoga class’ – said NO ONE EVER!!!!!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As with most people I came to Yoga from a purely physical perspective, as a dancer it was a good way to keep flexible and what other class do you get to lie down and have a little rest in at the end?!! As I dived deeper into the yoga ocean I started to like how that ‘little rest’ left me feeling relaxed, positive and calm. During a time of emotional turmoil I started my teacher training and now can say, without any exaggeration that Yoga changed my life.

So, that’s me, and if you don’t like Yoga no worries, find something else that works for you, but as the one of the western world’s fastest growing ‘fitness’ style it is proven to work for many.

 

eight limb pose, ashtanga, mysore, India

 

So WHY should you do Yoga?

Here are just some of the amazing benefits:

  • Stress relief, helps anxiety and depression
  • Helps breathing problem, respiratory related illness
  • Improves strength, balance, dexterity, and mental clarity
  • Helps physical ailments improve, particularly back pain
  • Improves your awareness of a healthy diet, and sustainable living and eating
  • Tones the body using own body weight
  • Helps the mind focus and stay positive
  • Brings loads of lovely, comfy yoga pants into your life ūüėČ

So, if that hasn’t convinced you to give it a try then I don’t know what will!!!

But seriously, I find it the best thing for me, and I would love to share that passion and enthusiasm with you – so if you live in Gloucestershire, UK, come and join me on the mat! Details of classes can be found on my Facebook page:

Claireyogagogo

bird of paradise, hotel metropole, Mysore, India

 

NAMASTE xxx

Mercury – my reflection on life this week

My reflection on life this week – and why I’m blaming Mercury.

 

sunset, Haad Salad Beach

 

So I’ve been feeling all down in the dumps this week. And having a crap ‘I hate my body’ week. churning up old feelings of inadequacy and beating myself up about it.

It’s taken a lot of internal arguments with myself to not go complete hermit mode and I’ve had to force myself to practice, and even just to have dinner and¬†socialise with friends. Then I read this:

Mercury retrograde wants us to move back spiritually. It is providing us with a chance to re-examine various areas of our life which may need a little more work, so that we can move forward to a bright new dawn. Now, more than ever, the time is right to look at things with clear eyes. Delicious, fresh perspectives are revealed. We often have major breakthroughs ‚ÄĒ intellectual, emotional or spiritual ‚ÄĒ during this time.

taken from: Gala Darling

So, I’m not going mental after all! It’s just those pesky planets spinning around, the new moon probably needs to take some of the blame for this too…but mostly yes, a time to reassess and re-evaluate what has been, and what is to be.

Oh hang on though, am I not supposed to be living in the now? Erkhart Tolle will be very upset with me thinking about the past and future. Gosh, all this spirituality is very confusing and contradictory.

 

Rainbow, Haad Salad, Koh Phangan, New Moon, Mercury Retrograde

 

I have written before in¬†this post – ‘What Yoga Means To Me’

It has made me reflect on the life I had, the person I was and make some positive changes. I feel healthy and happy and have a true sense of who I am. I’m working on my practice and myself everyday.

But this week I have been reflecting in a negative way, I don’t feel healthy OR happy, jeez louise my world has gone tits up!

So today, more than any other day I decided to just focus on the breath and movement, the steady rhythmic flow of the vinyasa. Being mindful of my body and listening to it, breathing deeper in the postures, trying to release the tension from my body and mind.

 

childs pose bw

 

And guess what, I left the shala feeling OK, not awesome, or amazing, just OK, which was better than yesterday. No problem, that’s OK. Shake it off, tomorrow will bring something new (ha! just realised the irony here, tomorrow is LITERALLY the New Moon!)

I bloody love Yoga. And life, yeah life is pretty good too, even when it’s rubbish. So you keep on retrograding Mercury, I know what your up to….and from NOW I will start to use it as a positive. Thanks.

Gratuitous link to one of my favourite songs:

Where to eat in Canggu – my top choices to eat in Canggu

Ok, I’ll stop harping on about Canggu after this (did you book your flight yet?) but eating for me in Canggu was on a par with the surfing and yoga – in fact I could say it was the highlight to my stay!

As you may have realised I’m passionate about eating a healthy diet, and Canggu has plenty of inexpensive options of places to eat and nourish your body and mind. So here is a guide to my favourites:

Peleton

Entrance to Peleton Cafe 'Supershop' Canggu, Bali

 

I visited Peleton for my first lunch…and I thought wow! the rest of the places I’ve researched have a lot to live up to! I could have just eaten here for the whole week it was that good. They serve a mixture of healthy vegan food – breakfasts like the Biker Bowl, The Tandem Toast and Pedel Power Pancakes. They have a range of lighter dishes and amazing salads, hot drinks, juices and smoothies. A pretty impressive plethora of food and drink.

What I ate: The Fuel Good Salad, a mean mix of FUEL GOOD Kale, Spinach, Purple Cabbage, Capsicum, Broccoli, Mild Chillies, Carrot, Beetroot, Green Onion, Toasted Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds, Sesame, Smashed Pumpkin and Hummus. Quite possibly the best salad I have eaten. EVER.

Fuel Good salad, Peleton Cafe, Canggu, Bali

close up of Fuel Good Salad, Peleton cafe, Canggu Bali

 

I also got food  envy of the table next to me who were eating the Burn Out Burger Рit looked so damn good. The decor in the place is as you would expect bike orientated. The staff were so lovely and friendly and the place had a more chilled vibe and was quieter than the places along Batu Bolong as it is a little more out of the main drag on Pantai Berewa. If you go to Canggu or even staying in nearby Seminyak, you MUST try Peleton. It rocks.

inside Peleton cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

wall monuted single gear 'fixies' at peleton cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

Crate Cafe

Crate Cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

Well, having to meet my expectations set at Peleton, Crate Cafe did not disappoint. Full to the brim with the post yoga and surf crowd I had to wait a while to get a table, but it was a great people watching place so a wait so I did not mind – This is the place where the cool kids like to hang out.

I had an ah-maze-ing flat white (again something I had been missing on Koh Phangan) and a breakfast bowl, a deliciously thick, creamy fruit smoothie with fruit, granola and coconut on top, (the name of which can’t remember) and then went back the next day to have the ‘Peas Please’ a huge chunk of sourdough bread with peas, spinach, feta, avocado and a perfectly poached egg balancing on top.

flat white - yeah life is crate at Crate Cafe, Bali

 

breakfast bowl, lifescrate, Crate Cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

Peas Please, brunch style at Crate Cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

The decor is industrial graffiti and there is a real buzz in the place. The friendly attitudes of the staff here is wonderful, something that unfortunately I had been lacking in Thailand of late. Crate I salute you. Life certainly is ‘crate’ here.

wall menu at Crate Cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

Betelnut Cafe

Betelnut Cafe at Sunset, Canggu

 

Betelnut is probably the most ‘famous’ of the cafes in Canggu, and is in the ‘centre’ of Batu Bolong, opposite Deus Ex Machina so easy to find. Having a small air-conditioned downstairs section the main seating area is upstairs where you can see across the rice fields to sunset in the early evening, when I visited for an early dinner.

A good menu of comforting burger and wraps, salads and juices, the standard for all these places in Canggu. I had a divine Turmeric Lemonade and the Falafel Wrap with Fries.

Turmeric Lemonade at Betelnut Cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

Falefel Wrap, Betelnut Cafe, Canggu

 

The upstairs view was pretty awesome

The Sunset View at Betelnut Cafe, Canggu, Bali

 

The Shady Shack

The Shady Shack, Canggu, Bali

 

wave after wave

 

I was recommended The Shady Shack by a Canggu local who came to eat at The Yoga Retreat in Koh Phangan, she told me it was her favourite place to eat, and I see why. A fabulous menu in a beautiful space. Again a vegan and vegetarian healthy choice paradise, Canggu you are really spoiling us with these places!

I ate the ‘Signature Shady’s’ from the All Day Breakfast menu – Onsen eggs with sprout, carrot, beetroot and fennel salad. The herby, lemony dressing was TO.DIE.FOR – the gluten-free bread and smashed new potatoes made it a meal I deserved after an Ashtanga Practice AND a surf.

signature dish at Shady Shak, Canggu, Bali

 

Onsen Eggs - poached to perfection, The Shady Shack, Canggu, Bali

 

The decor was so nice, and again, that Balinese welcome from friendly staff made you feel at home, and, I have to say, the best cafe toilets in Canggu! I love a good bathroom tile!

 

interior, The Shady Shack, Canggu, Bali

 

bathroom blues, The Shady Shack, Canggu, Bali

 

Little Flinders

Little Flinders, Canggu Bali

 

For my final choice I went to Little Flinders, a bit further south on Batu Bolong from Crate and Betelnut. It is more of a restaurant than the cafes, and also has meat and seafood on the menu.

I had a refreshing Ginger Ice Tea and the Rosti Burger (naughty but oh so nice) and as they didn’t have any wedges left I had mashed potato – delish!

 

veggie burger and mash, Little Flinders, Bali

 

ginger tea

 

It was beautifully decorated and I was lucky to hit it just before the evening rush and had the place almost to myself so I was able to take some nice interior shots

beautiful floor tiles, Little Flinders, Canggu, Bali

 

soft seating interiors at Little Flinders, Canggu, Bali

 

If this post hasn’t convinced you to go to Canggu then I don’t know what will. There were many other places to eat and of course drink, Old Mans, Deus, Avocado, Local Warungs, but these were my top choices, as I am always trying to look for the healthy options. Most of the dishes will set you back about 50/60k Indonesian Rupees, that’s about ¬£4 – so it’s still cheap in the grand scheme of things.

Canggu – it was a brief love affair, maybe someday we can have a longer term relationship??

Superfoods – what’s so great about them?

Whilst I am not fond of the word ‘Superfood’ itself, these foods are not going to don a cape and start saving the world, I do believe that they can play a major part in saving your health, and therefore probably do deserve a title as strong as this. They are super! and they are food! Ok, justification for the title over, let’s get on with the key foods.

Cacao

cacao spoon from google images

Apart from being a fun work to say (and yes for some reason I always want to shout it like a bird call…) this yumptious bean from South America or Mexico is arguably the king of all the ‘super’ foods.

This is the highest anti oxidant food ON THE PLANET!!!!  Antioxidants stabilize and ultimately destroy free radicals in your cells and tissues, meaning that they help fight diseases (mainly heart disease and cancer) and can help with longevity of life. Raw Cacao (nibs or powder) contain plenty of B vitamins, Magnesium, Iron and Chromium.

Adding it to your diet can improve your cardio health, bones, cell repair, decrease inflammation and increase your mood and energy levels.

Add powder to breakfast bowls, energy balls, make chocolate desserts, chia puddings, smoothies, chillies, chuck that stuff in everything!

Spirulina

spirulina powder images from well being secrets.com

 

I first came across this wonderful ‘weed’ in New Zealand, and I am amazed just how unused it still is in my home country. It’s a type of algae and it’s normal found in powder form. Grown in both fresh and salt water. A little goes a long way, and gram for gram it is the highest source of complete protein on the planet –¬†and also contains B vitamins, copper, iron, omega 3’s and¬†magnesium, potassium and manganese – wow!

Adding this bad boy to your diet can help with muscle repair and growth, again fight those pesky free radicals, reduce inflammations, help against heart disease and reduce cholesterol.

Easiest way to eat it if you don’t want to make ALL your food green is to add it to a smoothie or just blend it in with some coconut water and neck it back!

Goji Berries

goji-berries photo from bestherbalhealth.com

 

Used in Chinese medicine for over 6,000 years, these little shrivelled up red berries are from China and Tibet. They contain 18 amino acids and 21 minerals, Iron, Beta-Carotene and Vitamin C.

So, again these berries, like the humble blueberry (which by the way are a cheaper alternative), also come up high on the anti oxidant charts, with all the benefits formerly mentioned plus also help with healthy skin and building your immune system to help fight the common cold.

Kale, the lead singer of the Cruiciferous Vegetables Band Рand the rest of the band  РBroccoli, Sprouts, Cabbage and Cauliflower.

image of cruicerfous veg from pblifestyles.com.au

 

So, at last, a super hero food that we can all get at regular cost from our local supermarket or green grocer. Hurrah!¬†Rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They also are a good fibre source. ¬†Currently in research with National Cancer Institute these dark green vegetables should be included in everyone’s diet to help prevent cancer. They also contain the anti-oxidants so helping with chronic illnesses such as auto immune disease and Lupus. Not just that – they are yummy and cheap, and super easy to cook and add to all your meals. Stir fries, soups, curries, salads and so on.

Chia Seeds

benefits-of-eating-chia-seeds photo from authority nutrition

 

Chia seeds are normally from South or Central America, and are related to the mint family! Who knew!

These mighty seeds contain protein, fibre, Magnesium, Manganese and Omega’s. They¬†were used by the Aztec and Mayans (Chia means ‘energy’ in ancient Mayan) to build pyramids and really really large steps…

As well as this they provide all the anti oxidant benefits mentioned previously and help muscle repair. As they are high in protein and low in calories so they can help with weight loss. Because they are filling, and expand in liquid or if used whole expand when inside your stomach, making you feel fuller for longer.

My favourite is chia pudding made with coconut milk, but you can add them to pretty much anything and they work well in smoothies and breakfast bowls.

With all this information now in your brain, you can see why these foods have been given the accolade of ‘SUPER’ – and rightly so. Yes, apart from the green veg, they are a little pricey, but to help you justify the expense, what price do you put on your health and welfare? I wanted this blog to help ¬†people become the ‘best versions of themselves’ so surely the benefits out-weigh the costs? Also a little goes a long way.

You deserve it.

 

Plant Based? Raw? Detox? Juicing?

The health food business is booming, and with so many options what one is right for you? I have a small but growing¬†obsession with watching food documentaries on YouTube, as interesting as they are some of them seem downright unattainable or non sustaining (yep I’m talking about you HCLF-ers)

So, what should you choose? I’m going to just put it out there and say, how about ALL of them? All of the options in the title,¬†Plant Based, Raw, Detox, Juicing….they can all make up a balanced, healthy, diet – and remember whenever I use the word DIET in this blog it will be referring to the food you habitually eat, rather than the food you eat to lose weight. If however, you are over-weight or obese, then changing your current diet to an all natural, vegetarian and more plant-based diet is going to help you lose weight. But maintaining this FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE is what is going to keep you healthy, forever.

 

Beet Treat, Raw Juice
Beetroot and Ginger Juice

 

Now, I am certainly not demanding you all become vegetarians or vegans, but maybe think about the amount of meat you consume and where it comes from. For example, I would only now eat meat if I knew its provenance (most good supermarkets and butcher’s should be able to tell you where the meat has come from) and I will only eat seafood, especially shellfish if I can see the sea (ok, within reason, but you get my drift? I once got food poisoning from Ceviche in a five-star restaurant in Marrakech, go figure). So that aside, do eat meat if you desire just be mindful of what you eat.

 

Beetroot and Quinoa Burger
Beetroot and Quinoa Burger, Orange and Carrot Salad

 

Next, bring more fruit and vegetables onto your plate. No question, no explanation, just DO IT. It will change your skin, hair, energy levels, internal organs – really! Try to eat at least 8 portions of fruit and veg per day – and if you think that’s a lot, the simplest way to do this is in a juice or smoothie. You can even put all 8 in one glass. Done.

 

floras and smoothie
Green Juice and Fruit Salad

 

I get inspiration from all over the internet, pinterest, and the following blogs which make eating vegetables a work of art…..My New Roots is¬†my favourite veggie inspiration site¬†Another resource for plant-based and vegetarian recipes¬†Oh She Glows

Also this documentary changed my (eating) life –¬†Forks over Knives

Raw food is another easy addition. When I mentioned to an old colleague I was eating more raw food these days he thought I meant raw meats and sushi etc…..but this simply means food you do not heat. Salads, juices, smoothies, energy balls, the list goes on and on check out ¬†the wonderful Kriss Carr¬†for some ideas, but I must stress here that my personal opinion is not to eat purely a raw food diet, just mix it up with the other things I am suggesting.

 

veg wrap
Raw Vegetable Wraps

 

Detoxing – I’m not a massive fan of detoxing but I do see it’s worth and especially think it is a fabulous way of resetting your body if you have a ‘bad’ diet. Once you have done a detox you will be more mindful of what you pollute your body with (toxins) and it can help you kick-start your new healthy life.

I hope to bring many recipes to this blog in time and some guides to eating healthily whilst travelling.

 

noodle soup, thailand, south east asia
vegetable noodle soup with tofu (South East Asia)

 

My golden rules (I will keep coming back to these):

No processed foods – EVER

Natural sugars only 

Eat seasonal, fresh produce where possible

Limit you alcohol (I’m still working on this!!)¬†

Limit your caffeine (again, work in progress for me) 

A LITTLE of everything in moderation, but try to be strict with this one, a piece of chocolate (milk) or cookie or a plate of fries once in a while, but not a whole day of ‘sod it all’ !

 

Diet – habitual nourishment?

I’m using the word diet here in its noun form, as the Oxford Dictionary describes it ‘The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats’

NOT the verb ‘dieting’ so don’t panic I’m not about to either go on a diet myself or convince you to.

I just am so passionate these days about healthy eating. I have been a 5:2 vegetarian for 18 months, and I now only eat fish and seafood. I’m not saying this is the way you should eat, but this particular way of eating works for me, giving me the essential calories I need to create enough energy to be able to go about my daily business with some vigour!

I made this decision to become healthier and also hopefully keep my weight at a stable, healthy weight. For many years after retiring from performing dance I tried many different ‘diets’ and through this I think I became a little obsessed with body image and what I should or shouldn’t look like, rather than whether I felt good, had energy and built up a strong immune system so I don’t get ill in the future.

Maybe it was coming from the competitive world of dance, or using mirrors in the dance studio every day, or maybe I would like to blame the media, and the worlds current obsession with what is or isn’t ‘beautiful’

 

photo from quickmeme.com
photo from quickmeme.com

 

I know, easy for you to say Sophia Loren, but I truly do believe this sentiment. I wish that the media could send this message to every young girl out there, but alas it is not so and we are feeling the pressure younger and more and more to be ‘perfect’

Anyway, I am digressing slightly, I would like to be able to share with you some of the health and nutrition tips I have been following over the last two or three years, just in case people out there are still uneducated about how to look after yourself and become beautiful from the inside.

So, please subscribe or keep checking the blog as I try to update with my health tips as often as possible.

 

healthy lifestyle meme

 

 

Mysore – first stop on the yogi express

So the first stop of the ‘claireyogagogo yogi express’ led me to Mysore. After talking with my most trusted and experienced yoga friends I took the plunge and decided to set of on this journey, and felt the best place to start was the origin of Ashtanga Yoga, Mysore.

Mysore, in the state of Karnataka, South Central India is famous for its silk and sandalwood, and thanks to Krishnamacharya and Sri. Pattabi Jois is the home of Ashtanga Yoga.

Ashtanga¬†Yoga, Pattabi Jois and Krishnamacharya all deserve posts, whole blogs even of their own. If you’ve arrived here at my blog of your own volition then I recommend maybe googling them to find out more about Ashtanga and the eight limbs, or follow this blog where I will hopefully start to write more on them as time goes on….

Yoga (Ashtanga) is not just exercise for me now, it’s a way of life, nay, a lifestyle. And with this comes less the urge to have the cutest yoga pants and take Instagram selfies but more to delve into the self and challenge what you find there.

outside shala

I don’t think I can put into words the feeling of achievement I have from completing the month of study with Saraswathi in Mysore, which has been at times frustrating, annoying, jubilus and rewarding. In the end it wasn’t about completing the series or achieving certain asana, it was about a development within me as a person and a yoga practitioner that I can now bring to the mats of the people I teach.

Ashtanga (Mysore) the Pattabi Jois lineage, the ‘parampara’ has an energy and spirituality of its own that I don’t think you can fully understand unless you come here to the birthplace.

I will never forget walking into the shala on the first morning to the sound of the ujayi breath like the ocean breaking onto the shores, sometimes as I walk through the shala after practice I look at the other practitioners and thought that it looks as beautifully choreographed as a ballet, yet as calm as  Buddha in meditation.

Ashtanga will reveal things about yourself you may have wanted to keep hidden. It will test you physically, mentally and spiritually. It will make you want to cry and make you jump for joy, all in the same practice. It will make you reassess how you live you life (and not just the yamas and niyamas) it will control what you eat, when you sleep and may well ruin your social life, unless your social life is with the other ashtangi’s who understand that you have to leave the party at 8.30pm to go to bed.

Ashtanga changed my life at this point, and shaped the way forward for it. So through the friends I mentioned at the start of this post I went to the next stop on the ‘yogi express’ and found myself in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Travelling Yogi

So the point of starting the blog was to be able to write about my time as a travelling yogi, meaning how I hope to be able to see the world via teaching and sharing my love of yoga. Firstly, let me point out that I am pretty well-travelled, I did my backpacker bit way back when from 2002-2004 (I know, I’m old right?) so I could write about my experiences from then, but as the world is changing at a ridiculous rate, what I tell you about the countries I have visited just won’t be relevant, or current, and you may end up going somewhere and it being nothing like I remember it! So I will really only speak of my travels this year, from February 2016 and keep adding to the blog as I move around, or indeed stay in one place (which I’m still classing as travel at this point as it’s not my home town – get it?)

I started the travelling yogi journey in Mysore, India and have made many blog posts about my time there back on my old blogger page:¬†ye olde blogge¬†I will do a whole post about this wonderful city and how it really took a piece of my heart and kept it there. I am hoping to return at some point towards the end of the year. I would say, although I heart Mysore, as a non yoga tourist you may only want to factor in a few days here. Really, it’s all about the yoga in Mysore for me.

Here’s some gratuitous pics from Mysore just to spice up this page/post

 

I am currently in Koh Phangan, teaching and working on a wonderful Yoga Retreat, of which I will also dedicate a whole post to…but for those of you when you hear Koh Phangan think ‘Full Moon Party’ with lots of young people drinking way too many bucket cocktails in neon vest tops, think again, the ‘other’ side of Koh Phangan is a deeply spiritual Yoga haven.

So, that’s basically a heads up before I start to do separate, more specific posts on the cities and islands I have been to this year. I don’t want to become a blog of ’10 bests’ I really want to try to write more holistically about the feel I get for a place, the Yoga in that place, and of course the food on offer in that place. If you like the sound of that, give me a follow – and thanks already for your support by just reading this post!

Yoga for the Body and the Mind

In a recent interview with LA Yoga magazine Sharath Jois commented:

‘Nowadays, it [YOGA]has become more physical, like how to do handstand. There is no spirituality in that. It‚Äôs just physical, how to bend your body and how to align your body, but classical yoga is about how to bring the discipline to your body and your mind, and how that discipline leads you towards spirituality. That is called yama and niyama. These are very important limbs in yoga practice. Not many people are putting attention to these. They are putting attention only to the physical aspect of yoga‚Ķ.there is no breathing, no vinyasa, no gazing. All these things, what we call tristana, are very important to our asana practice’

Oh sweet music to my ears…why only one year ago was I obsessed with being able to do a handstand, and thought I was not worthy if I couldn’t?

Social Media is a great platform for building a business profile for sure, but it does tend to promote too many images of ‘perfect body’ yogi’s doing complicated asana….and how is that being true to the origins and spirit of yoga??? I have been in classes, even handstand workshops with people, like myself, who were not physically ready for such a strong asana, but everywhere you looked on social media people were handstand pressing like it was all there was to do…props to Erin Motz (of Bad Yogi) who at least kept it real with an ‘expose’ video of what goes behind getting the perfect Instagram shot.

It was almost simultaneous, when I got to Mysore earlier this year, that I stopped taking yoga selfies for my Instagram and Facebook pages…and I started a real study of yoga.

classical yoga is about how to bring the discipline to your body and your mind’¬†

Coming on the to the mat, day after day, working on the basics, learning so much about your body, how it works in every single asana, from samashiti to shavasana, and how the mind works alongside it, and then how you can take what you have learnt from that off the mat into your life, and the lives of others you interact with. And the irony is my body and asana are so much stronger than they were a year ago, so I am probably capable of doing a fairly decent handstand – but I don’t care anymore

That’s yoga, that’s union, that’s bringing together the body and mind. ¬†Let’s all stop trying to be the ‘perfect’ yogi (as depicted by Instagram et al) and start trying to use the practice to change ourselves for the better?

Woman Has to Leave Sight of the Shore

Or Man, it’s not gender specific.¬†But I recently posted this quote on my Instagram account and changed the gender – just felt like having a feminist moment.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to leave the shore. A quote by Andre Gide. The sentiment is there, you cannot discover new things in life until you can let go of the old things, the routine, the norm. I suppose this quote can be related to life in general and not just travelling. I found it perfect for me, especially when I was leaving sight of one shore (job, home, family, friends) and heading out to discover the new oceans out here.

IMG_20160609_122540

It’s so easy to stick with what you know, but you know, what you know will still be there should you wish to return to it after you have done a little, or a lot, of discovering. I’ve been away almost 5 months and I really feel I haven’t actually travelled that much! MY plan was always to study in Mysore for a month, go and check out Goa (as in my previous trip to India I didn’t get there) and then…well, there was no major plan, but it involved getting a job teaching yoga somewhere in the world, and if I could also get some surfing done, even better. Well fate had me end up in Thailand for now, where I am teaching at the wonderful Yoga Retreat, and having a ball. As I sit on my balcony with a view of the Gulf of Thailand across to the mainland I think how lucky I am to be ‘brave’ enough to have left the comfort and security of the shore. And how there is so much more out there yet to discover…..