Eoin my global yoga teaching, surf-mad husband and I have been returning to Bali for the last thirteen years; and you might say that Bali is not unfamiliar to us. Yet, we are still surprised by the changes, development and increasing hipster-ness that continues to grow exponentially where we hang out in Canggu.
I’m joining the #WanderlustFestival family on the road this summer in Whistler along with an amazing tribe of yogis and change makers including (and not limited to) Janet Stone, Eoin Finn Fiona Stang Djtaz Kevin Paris Ryan C. Leier! Definitely hope to see YOU there! For tickets click here.
My offerings are below:
Thursday August 3
Urban Ayurveda: Lecture/ Discussion
Saturday August 5
Embodied Presence: Meditation
If you’ve been sitting on the fence for a last minute trip to Hawaii, this February, look no further. I am honored to be joining a tribe of amazing yogis and change makers from around the planet at this inspiring, love filled festival.
Dates: February 23 – 26, 2017 at Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.
Here’s whats on offer from me. I hope to see you at a class or workshop soon.
What is life like when we act from a place of no fear? When we tune into our truth and our inner light? I cannot think of a more POTENT day than this one to offer up a guided meditation that I created in collaboration with Halfmoon Yoga called “Embodied Light.”
Use it whenever you want more love, radiance and clarity in your life. Trust me, we need our inner light to be more vibrant and more alive, now more than ever, so in those proverbial words, let it shine.
Finally, don’t forget to follow Half Moon Yoga on instagram to join in on a special Meditation Challenge this month and be entered to win a free “sit set” made with love and care in Vancouver,Canada. We need more soul fire starters in this world, even more today than before and if this offering inspires you, please please SHARE it with your communities.
Embrace the wild beauty of the ocean and jungle in February 2016 for Love Wave – a retreat with a Valentine’s week twist with global yoga teachers Eoin Finn & Insiya Rasiwala-Finn.
Join Eoin Finn and I for our annual Blissology Yoga. Ecology. Surf retreat for 2016 at the jungle hide-out of Tierra de Milagros on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. In this blissful, off the grid setting you will practice yoga twice a day with Eoin Finn & myself, and enjoy all the amenities and activities this stunning location has to offer, from surfing to hiking to hammock time! You will be nourished by healthy organic meals and learn to make very special raw cacao truffles. This transformative retreat will help you connect to your “heart phones” (and get off your smart phones)!
- 7 nights accommodation in shared cabinas
- Twice daily yoga with Eoin or Insiya
- All meals: early morning light pre-yoga breakfast, a hearty brunch, snack, and dinner. Food is primarily vegetarian with fish included; vegan options are possible. Please notify us of any allergies to gluten, etc. so we can customize your meal plan with enough notice
- 1 Living Foods Raw Superfood Cacao Truffles “how-to” class with Insiya
- 1 Blissology Retreat “Love is the Ultimate Renewable Resource” tote bag
- Optional surf lessons
- Optional excursions to the nearby national park, nature hikes, tree climbing, spa treatments, and more
- Time to completely “unplug” and rejuvenate
I can tell you that I fell in love with the Osa this past year, it’s magic, wild nature and the simplicity of life there and cannot wait to return. I hope that you will join us.
NAMASTE + PEACE.
Travel to Bali, Indonesia this spring with renowned yogi + blissologist Eoin Finn, Insiya Rasiwala-Finn and a crew of great assistants. Participate in the Blissology Yoga 200 Hr Yoga Alliance certified Teacher Training. This comprehensive course offers an authentic, powerful and sustainable way for you to deepen your life’s purpose and meaning. You will live, experience and embody intelligent techniques to present Yoga in a way which maximizes the health and sustainability of our bodies, while evolving the way we view life and relate to our world. We call this the art and science of Blissology.
Our commitment is to offer you a pathway to bring more love, awe and joy into the world before you leave the planet.
“Welcome to 2012, a time of transformation, change and new consciousness. You roll your eyes as you read this. Welcome to another new year, you think. This is the year when everything is going to be perfect, your new years’ resolutions are going to stick and the next 365 days are going to be better, more creative, and more satisfying for you, your family and everyone you love and care about, way more than the previous year, and yes, we’re going to achieve world peace as well. Before you unleash your innercynic, hang in there for a moment and breathe. “
That’s an excerpt from a recent piece I wrote for the wonderful Asia Spa Magazine, which is based out of Hongkong. Not merely a showcase of fluffy spa profiles, the magazine has creative, inspiring and thought provoking articles under the helm of it’s current editor Rebecca Walker. I am so happy to have a lead story in the January 2012 issue, a story that marks my re-entry into the world of writing after the birth of my baby son ten months ago. I hope that you enjoy it. And yes, happy new year!!!
I just returned back to Vancouver and Ucluelet from a visit to a city I still call Bombay – my birthplace and former home town. Amongst the highlights were, spending time with my family, teaching some Blissology + Yoga workshops at a neat little studio called Yoga Sutra, researching some more spas for an upcoming Asia Spa magazine feature on Bombay spas; and casting my “eagle eye” over the yoga alignment at a Vogue, India photoshoot featuring local yoga instructors, that fortuitously enough, a friend from Vancouver, the super-talented Martin Prihoda, was shooting. One of those small-world stories.
Here are some of Yogue’s Mumbai picks:
Founded with the desire to reconnect to the roots of India’s vedic culture, Om Ved, a home and lifestyle store, offers a range of personal care and home products that are fashioned with the principles of Ayurveda, Vastu and Yoga. Find pure copper dinner plates – eating off this metal is considered very beneficial – organic bamboo clothing, meditation kits, organic, naturally dyed bed linens and pure essential oils. A must stop for anyone seeking some holistic inspired gifts.
Phoenix Mills Compound Unit No.12, Block No.43, Grand Galleria, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel Mumbai – 400013, Tel: 400 48218
Nepeansea Road Shop No.1 Shop No.1, Burani Mahal 59, Opp Priyadarshini Park, Nepeansea Road Mumbai – 400009, Tel: 236 10805
A week ago exactly, I was in Seattle, where I attended a workshop at the lovely 8 Limbs Yoga centre in Capitol Hill, with three master teachers, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Dr. Claudia Welch and Dr. Scott Blossom. Dr. Svoboda is an Ayurvedic doctor, while Dr. Welch and Dr. Blossom are both doctors of Oriental Medicine with a strong interest and practice in Ayurveda. Dr. Blossom also happens to be a wonderful Yoga teacher; and the workshop focused on the topic of “Cultivating Prana” through Vinyasa Yoga and Ayurveda.
In both the Ayurveda and Yoga philosophies, Prana is incredibly important. You may have heard of it as “chi” or simply as “life-force.” As Dr. Svoboda said, “In the context of a living system, prana is both stable and continuous.” It is elemental, in fact to our goal of truly connecting mind and body and having a sustained link between how we live from the neck up to neck down. If we want to live a truly harmonious life, our work is to try to draw in as much Prana as possible into our bodies through the practices of Yoga, mindful eating, mindful living, meditation and chanting.
The challenge of course is making the time to cultivate Prana and also not allowing our beings to be impacted by the de-stabilizing elemental force known in Ayurveda as Vata.
What is Vata, exactly? In brief, the ancient Yogis and practioners of Ayurveda, tried to make sense of the external universe by dividing the natural phenonmena that they observed by noting both the effects of these phenomena as well as their inherent patterns. So developed the idea of the universal elements i.e. Air / Space which is Vata (derived from Vayu or the sansrkit word for wind), Fire: which is primarily Pitta and Earth which is known as Kapha.
These external elements also exist within our own bodies, according to the Ayurvedic sages and if you stop and consider what the Vata element might be in your body, you could deduce that it would be that which causes movement within your being, i.e. just like air, it would move quickly and so you could say that the Vata force is responsible for both digestion and elimination. The digestive fire would be the Pitta element. In Ayurveda, digestion and elimination are central to our health. Digestion represents both the taking in of all food – not just the physical food we eat, but everything, thoughts, impressions, energy, time spent with people we like or have an aversion to, i.e. all outward stimulation; while elimination implies the optimal processing of nutrients, the body’s ability to take what it needs from the food you draw in and the easeful discharge of what you don’t need.
The thing is, when you consider that since 1997 over half of the world’s population lives in urban cities – and most seem to be tying with New York’s “the City that doesn’t sleep” reputation – you might say that we live in a state of constant over-stimulation. We’re bombarded by messages, advertising, conversations, sounds etc. and as we live with even more density, we are going to find that this feeling of over-stimulation is only going to increase, which gives more freedom to the Vata element to play its erratic dance in our lives. In fact to feel Vata’s inducing sense of overwhelm just spend ten minutes going through your email inbox on Monday morning, or better still, late on a Sunday night.
This is why, finding a way to calm Vata, by cultivating our Prana or life-force is even more valuable today than it was for those ancient Yogis, thousands of years ago. You can bet that they probably had more peaceful lives than we do today.
For Dr. Blossom, the way to cultivate Prana through the Yoga practice is to draw the attention to the deeper tissues of the body, where the prana should be stored.
Just as we noted earlier that Prana is stabilizing, “the bone structure is the stabilizing tissue in our bodies,” he said. “It is also our body’s response to gravity – it sucks us down.”
This was interesting to me, as focusing on the bones is definitely how I have been practicing Yoga through my study with all my teachers. When you line up the bones and the joints in the body, your Yoga practice requires less muscular effort and there is a feeling of all parts of your body being connected with one another.
Yet, I liked how Dr. Blossom extrapolated this idea further. “The bones are very quiet, while the muscles are assertive, determined to be heard. To get to the bones, you have sift through. Plus the bones allow you to find the most efficient point of balance.”
A simple way to feel this in your own Yoga practice is to try Utkatasana (sometimes known misleadingly as Chair pose). Start with your toes touching, heels slightly apart, then focusing on your ankle joint, start to allow the knees to move forward as though they are pulling a string on the back of the knees taut. Stop when you find the maximum bend from your ankle joints only. You may realize that you have not gone as deep in this pose as your normally do, but you should feel really, really stable. In fact, your feet will feel as though they are sucking down into the earth. Now draw the weight back more onto your heels, as you do this, you’ll realize how there is more effort on your quadricep muscles and hip flexors to hold you up, now lean forward and you’ll feel more work again, even your toes will work harder, then come back to the place we arrived in first and stay here for a few breaths.
I found that I could have stayed here all afternoon, there was a comfort and buoyancy in the pose.
We moved on to a few sun salutations, again drawing awareness to the bones and then practiced some fluid side to side lunge movements that are part of the Shadow Yoga movement lexicon, the tradition Dr. Blossom teaches. It struck me how similar these movements are to what my husband Eoin practices and teaches as part of what he calls his surf/yoga superflow movement patterns, or Shiva Rea with her Kalaripayattu inspired vinyasa krama. And it is not surprising, given the melding in all these practices of years of hatha yoga, martial arts and mindful movment, each with their own nuanced approaches that call for a more fluid, seamless way of moving and being.
One thing I forgot to mention is how much I enjoyed standing in the “horse” stance, also familiar to tai-chi practioners, but here as part of the Yoga session. We are such electro-magnetic beings and it is inspiring to feel the tangibility of Prana.
Dr. Welch took us further.
“To feel Prana, you have to get really still” she said. And so, we sat in a simple meditation pose, while she led us through a flow of breath, focusing on our Pranamaya Kosha, explaining that we can get rid of old habit patterns and places in our body where the Prana is stuck, through the simple yet challenging act of focusing our attention there.
I remember putting my hands on my lower back on my kidneys – this place felt very stuck for me, but slowly, the breath started smoothing its way there. “It is the process of unbecoming” she said. Afterward, I thought about how often we are so quick to label ourselves as certain things, wife, husband, sister, brother, teacher, yogi, businessman, artist, chef.
What are some of your labels? And how attached are you to them?
The labelling process makes it hard to become unstuck. And isn’t this what we are trying to do through our spiritual practices? To not be so rigidly attached to habits, so we are free to try a better option of being? To be open to possibilities?
Ultimately, that was for me the biggest lesson of the weekend. As. Dr. Svoboda put it, “Languages are methods for conceptualizing reality.”
They are not reality.
Namaste + thank you for reading.
Please feel free to post your comments.
2010 is the last year that acclaimed Ayurvedic Scholar Dr. Robert Svoboda will be offering Public Lectures. You can view his schedule here.
Dr. Claudia Welch’s book on Womens Health is due to be published imminently. Stay connected with her here.
Dr. Scott Blossom practices acupuncture in Berkeley California and teaches Shadow Yoga with his wife Chandra. Learn more about them here. For more about Shadow Yoga, click here.