Decluttering: Steps to embrace the minimalistic life.

We came across this amazing post and felt the need to share it with you. I personally feel that this is one way to obtain a healthy and happy lifestyle. – C

Introducing a guest post from Melissa of Simple Lionheart Life.  From Candice of YogabyCandice

There are many benefits to embracing minimalism. Most importantly, minimalism gives you the time, space and freedom to create an intentional life where you can focus on what matters most to you.

Decluttering the excess “stuff” from your life is the first step towards embracing minimalism. But taking on a big project like decluttering your whole home is a lot of work. It can feel overwhelming at times, or maybe you don’t even know where to begin!

The key to starting and finishing decluttering, is having a plan in place to keep you motivated and on track throughout the process. Use the following 7-step decluttering method to get you started decluttering and help you finish the process too.

1. Start with your “why”

It’s important to have a clear vision of why you are decluttering. What do you want to achieve for your home and life by embracing minimalism? Without a clear vision of why you’re decluttering, it’s easy to get sidetracked or lose momentum.

Here are some examples of reasons why you might want to declutter your home and embrace minimalism:
– More time and energy for the people and activities you love
– A more spacious, peaceful and calmer home
– More financial freedom by choosing to own and buy less
– More mental clarity and focus by removing the clutter and distractions from your home
– Less stress trying to manage everything you own
– More freedom to focus on your goals and priorities
– Less time spent cleaning, while easily maintaining a tidy, organized home
– Reducing your environmental impact by choosing to own and buy less
– More gratitude for what fills your life, both tangible and intangible
Figure out what is motivating you to declutter your home and embrace minimalism. Get clear about your vision of minimalism you want to achieve, and use it to motivate you to put in the time and effort to declutter your home.

2. Make your decluttering plan

A decluttering plan takes the guess work out of how you will do the work decluttering your home.

First, decide how you will declutter. Will you declutter room by room or by category, decluttering all like items at the same time?

Next, plan and schedule when you will declutter. You can declutter a little bit everyday, or schedule larger blocks of time to devote to decluttering. But the key is to schedule your decluttering time, then stick to those times just like you would any other appointment.

Another important part of your decluttering plan is deciding what you’ll do with the items you are getting rid of. There are 3 general options: donate, sell or trash. Choose where you’ll donate items. Then plan where you’ll try selling items. Also figure out what you’ll do with any garbage.

Knowing what you’ll do with the things you’re decluttering in advance will make it quicker and easier to get them out of your home. Following through and removing the items you’re decluttering from your home quickly is important. Don’t give yourself or other family members time to second guess your decisions. Go with your first instinct. If you put it in the decluttering pile, keep it there and get it out of the house right away!

The last piece of your decluttering plan is deciding the order you’ll declutter the spaces in your home. Rank each area of your home from highest priority to declutter to lowest priority. The highest priority spaces will be those causing you the most stress because of the amount of clutter in them.

3. Do a quick decluttering sweep through your whole house

The best way to kick-start decluttering and get you in a decluttering mindset is to grab a box or laundry basket and do a quick sweep through your whole house. Look for anything you don’t use or love, especially easy things to let go of that you have little or no attachment to.

Making a decluttering plan is an important step, but actually getting started is even more important. Doing a quick decluttering sweep through your whole house is a great way to take the plunge and start!

4. Clear key surface areas and work on keeping them clear

Pick a few key flat surface areas in your home and clear them off. Great places to start are the kitchen counters, dining table, coffee table, bathroom counters, night stands, etc.

Get rid of things you don’t use or love, then find or make places for items you’re keeping. Clearing these key surfaces will immediately reduce the visual clutter in your home and encourage you to keep decluttering.

5. Declutter somewhere easy

Before diving into your highest priority area, declutter somewhere easy. The bathroom is a great place to start. Bathrooms are usually smaller rooms and don’t hold many sentimental or emotional items.

Thoroughly decluttering an easy space helps build confidence, motivation and momentum to continue decluttering the rest of your house.

6. Declutter each area of your home, starting with your highest priority area

Start decluttering your highest priority areas from step 2 above. Tackling your highest priority areas first will free up so much of your time and energy, and allow you to immediately see the benefits of decluttering.

Work through your whole home decluttering. Make sure each item you choose to keep is either something you use regularly or something you love.

7. Assess your home after you’ve decluttered

Once you’ve finished decluttering your entire home, decide if you’ve achieved the vision for your home you imagined in step 1.

Don’t feel discouraged if you need to go back and declutter more. Not only do you get better at decluttering the more you practice it. But you also might find once you begin experiencing the benefits of decluttering, the more you are willing to let go of.

Following these 7 steps will help you declutter your home and begin experiencing the benefits of minimalism. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you as you work through the 7 steps above:

– Take before and after pictures of your spaces to track your progress and keep you motivated.
– Have an on-going donation box accessible at all times. Whenever you come across something you don’t use or love, add it to your donation box rather than putting it away.
– Try to declutter for at least 10 minutes everyday. These small decluttering sessions will add up to big results over time.
– Don’t focus on organization until after you’ve ruthlessly decluttered. Organizing items you don’t use, need or love only wastes your time, space and energy.
– Become a gatekeeper of what you allow into your home. Stop the incoming flow of “stuff” by shopping more intentionally. Then use the “one in, one (or two or three!) out” rule to prevent clutter from reaccumulating.
– Schedule regular maintenance decluttering sessions to maintain your newly decluttered home.

Visit Simple Lionheart Life to download your FREE 7-page decluttering workbook to create your decluttering plan and start decluttering your home today!


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Bio:

Melissa is a tea drinking, yoga loving mama whose favourite place to be is at home. She writes about creating a simpler, more intentional life by decluttering and embracing minimalism. Minimalism has given her so much time, space and freedom. She can’t say enough good things about the changes it’s allowed her to make in her life! If you’re looking for easy, practical ways to simplify, declutter and embrace minimalism, find her at Simple Lionheart Life! You can also follow her minimalism journey on Instagram.

How to get the Kiddies in on Yoga Practice

By Ruby Andrew

Brief introduction and benefits of Yoga:

It is an art of performing physiological, psychological and philosophical practices with a view to tone the body system for the attainment of permanent peace of soul and mind.

Physiological benefits:

It includes like improvement of energy levels, immune system becoming stronger, endurance increases, improvement in the respiratory system, muscular strength increases, and reaction time increases and so on.

Psychological benefits:

It includes like concentration improvement, social skills increases, anxiety decreases, memory improvement, cognitive functions improves and many more.

Philosophical benefits:

It includes like one feels the inner peace of mind, the practitioner becomes more proactive then reactive, feels excited and enthusiastic, behavioral modifications, etc.

Some feel that Yoga is the direct way to unite our soul with the god and for the attainment of peace and prosperity in day to day life. Getting your child practicing yoga at such a tender age benefits the overall health of your loved ones.

Here are the 5 Ways to get your children Practicing Yoga with You:

    • Disclose in front of children’s:

Children’s are inquisitive to their parent’s actions. If you practice yoga in front of your children, they are more likely to ask you questions about it. Try out some balancing or stretching yoga postures so that they can easily perform and make them feel exciting and interesting. At the end the positive and refreshing experience definitely makes them to love yoga.

    • Involvement of fun:

It’s all about spending quality time with your children. Always remember to have fun and let them win. On the contrary, most parents want their children to get perfect in the manner they are. In that expectation they start building pressure on their children to improve his posture, again and again correcting their faults that sometimes even discourage them. They start feeling it to be monotonous or irritating. So, make sure to try in their own style as long as they don’t endanger themselves.

    • Try to make it simple:

If you want to encourage your children about yoga never ever perform difficult poses at the initiation. Always choose easy and attractive poses that your children will be able to do without much exertion. Make them to try out some poses that sounds better like Bridge pose, Dancer pose, Sandwich pose, happy pose, etc. so that they get interested to perform yoga.

    • Make them express themselves:

To foster your children about yoga allow them to produce an own space for practice, buy them yoga accessories like mat, warmer, and track pant or other things. Make sure that allow them to utilize anything that can advace them towards yoga. Including certain poses that your children love and giving them priority can really alter to love yoga by your child.

    • Teach Some Breathing Exercises:

If your children finding difficulty in practicing yoga poses. Teach them some basic breathing exercises. Focusing on the breath is an important exercise and it can improve discipline and concentration and most important thing is it’s simple to practice. Do not expect your child to practice for a long period. A few minutes of breathing practice can have a calming effect. To make it more interesting and exciting, make your children to sit on your back while doing pushups or in your lap.

Practicing yoga together can benefit you and your child. The most important thing to remember is to teach your child yoga in a fun manner so that your child will be excited and practice yoga daily.

 

11 Ways to Make Meditation a Daily Habit

In light of our Focus Meditation week last week, we’ve found a suited blog post to get you started on your meditation journey, If you’re interested that is ;).

To go straight through to his blog, click on his name below:

11 Ways to Make Meditation a Daily Habit

While not quite “mainstream”, over the past 30 years in the West, meditationhas quickly begun to shift from being perceived as some “woowoo” practice for hippies by most to a useful tool which holds valuable benefits towards cultivating greater well-being.

Nowadays, people of all different backgrounds meditate from executives to employees, doctors to patients, teachers to students, parents to children, and people of all walks of life in between.

It’s no secret that the benefits of meditation aren’t permanent. Meditation is a practice, something which needs to be practiced regularly, if not daily, to gain consistent or continuous benefits from the practice.

And yet I’ve found that, in both my research and personal practice and teaching experience, very few meditators are able to stick to a consistent meditation practice. In fact, most drop off altogether because of their challenge with sticking to a consistent practice.

For years, I struggled to stick to a consistent meditation practice. I had experienced the beauty and benefit of the practice early on and knew what it did for me, and yet, I just couldn’t bring myself to stick to this thing which I knew was good for me (forget “good”, let me speak truthfully: life changing). Something always got in the way, but rarely could I pinpoint it.

It took years before I was able to really deconstruct the central challenges that stood in the way of us and sticking to a consistent meditation practice and create a daily practice of my own.

However, I can now happily say that I’ve meditated consistently for years and enjoy the fruits of that practice, from greater peace and balance in my daily life to improved patience with my family (among other things).

 

11 Ways to Make Meditation a Daily Habit

1. Keep It Short and Sweet

It’s a common misconception that you have to meditate for some great length of time, such as 20 or 30 minutes. The truth is, even 5 minutes of meditation is highly effective and all you need to begin establishing meditation as a consistent practice.

The reality is, when trying to adopt a new habit or make some sort of positive change, we need give ourselves every advantage possible. A whole host of things will attempt to keep us from making that activity or behavior a regular part of our lives and we’ll give ourselves every excuse as to why we can’t do it, so you need to make the activity as simple, easy, and convenient as humanly possible.

By meditating for, say, 5 minutes for the first few weeks of your practice, you’ll have established a strong foundation with which to build from. You can then begin to increase your sessions from there to 10, 15, 20 minutes and longer (whatever you choose).

2. Set a Regular Meditation Time

This is a simple and, for the most part, easy point (the setting of it is easy, sticking to it often isn’t), but I’ve found that it’s something most people don’t consider when attempting to make meditation a daily habit.

Virtually all of the most important activities in your life are scheduled. Think about it: meal time, work, time with family, important meetings and errands, time out with friends, kids activities, and just about everything else is scheduled.

In order to make something a part of your life long-term, you need to make it a part of your schedule.

3. Be Mindful in Daily Life (Don’t Restrict Your Practice to the Cushion)

It’s easy at first to get the idea that you can only meditate while sitting in a specific way, with your eyes closed, on a cushion. However, you can practice mindfulness anywhere, while doing anything, and at any time.

You can be mindful:

– In a waiting room – In your car (driving and stopped) – While cleaning – In the restroom (yep) – At your office desk – During breakfast, lunch, and dinner – While taking out the trash – While walking to your car – While grocery shopping

Also, it’s important to note that you don’t need some specific environment or set up to practice mindfulness. Sure, these things can help, but they’re not necessary.

First, you don’t have to do something more slowly to do it mindfully. In the beginning, this may be beneficial or even necessary to learn the practice, but once you get the hang of it you can walk at your normal pace mindfully.

Secondly, you can practice mindfulness in a crowded area. The only caveat to that is the voices need to be indiscernible. By that I mean if you can clearly make out a conversation nearby you’ll be likely to lose your concentration. If you can’t make out the words, the jumbled sound creates a consistent backdrop, which is easy to concentrate amid.

4. Meditate for (at least) 11 Days Straight

We all know (or at least believe) it’s best to do something consistently for a long stretch of time, because then you’re more likely to make it a habit or a more “automatic” behavior. However, exactly how that affects meditation practice hasn’t always been so clear.

Coach.me, the goal-tracking app, reviewed data from users who participated in a meditation course and found that meditators who practiced for just 11 days were over 90% more likely to continue in their practice from the 12th day and on.

So, create a streak of at least 11 days straight and you’ll give yourself a strong advantage to making meditation a regular part of your life.

5. Do What You Can

The reality is, if you want to stick to a consistent meditation practice, you need to be flexible.

Somedays, things will come up and block you from either meditating during your regular scheduled session, or, from meditating as long as you usually do.

When this happens, just adapt and roll with it. If you’re short on time (actually short on time, not just convincing yourself you are), meditate for 5-10 minutes instead of your usual 20 minute session.

Whatever you do, the most important thing is that you get yourself on the cushion, even if for only a few minutes. That’s a huge part of creating a consistent meditation practice.

6. Make Friends with Your Critical Mind

Something interesting happens when we start meditating: we come face-to-face with the mind. However, for most of us, it’s not a joyous occasion (at least at first). That’s because, for most of us, all we find is utter chaos.

And as a result of coming face-to-face with the chaos of our mind, we learn that we’re naturally very, very critical of ourselves.

In failing to consistently hold concentration on the breath- because our mind is a crazy unrelenting monkey- we think, “Im not cut out for meditation”, “I can’t meditate”, and “I’m not doing it right”. However, what we don’t know when we’re by ourselves meditating on our cushion is:

  1. Everyone goes through this and you’re not adverse to meditation.
  2. This is perfectly natural. Being with the mind as it is, without judgment, is what the practice is all about (whether that’s chaos or calm) and it’s how the practice is supposed to be.

More than being at peace, mindfulness meditation is about being with the mind in whatever state that might be. One day you might feel relative peace, another day might be sheer chaos.

However, your approach to both meditation sessions is the same: be with the mind mindfully and nonjudgmentally, fully accepting of whatever thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise.

This is how, with time, you learn to make friends with your critical mind.

7. Remember Why You Practice

When it comes down to it, motivation is mostly just a measure of how aware we are of our reasons for taking a particular action (and the emotional intensity of those reasons).

Make no mistake, motivation is a critical part of sticking to a daily meditation practice. By identifying clearly what drew you to meditation as well as what meditation practice has done (or is doing) for you, you’ll be far more motivated to continue sitting in meditation.

Get clear on why you meditate and make sure those reasons are emotionally compelling. Once you’ve done this, keep these reasons top-of-mind to begin to draw that mental connection between your practice and these compelling reasons.

This is absolutely one of the most powerful things you can do to stick to a more consistent meditation practice.

8. Let Go of Expectations (Just Sit)

Most of us go into meditation practice with certain expectations. We want to levitate by one year, achieve nirvana and self-combust, or become enlightened and live off the dew of a single ginko leaf and the energy of the universe (yes, that’s a Kung Fu Panda reference- they’re my kid’s favorite movies).

Jokes aside, often these expectations are attached to our reasons for practicing. However, they don’t have to be and aren’t the same thing. One can be utilized positively while the other is generally a hindrance to practice.

Expectations are dangerous because it causes us to judge our meditation sessions and gauge whether or not we’re “progressing” at the speed, or in the way, we believe we should be progressing at.

This is the worst approach to take with meditation practice because it amplifies the already difficult to handle critical mind and makes it seemingly insurmountable, at least until you let go of those expectations. And really, it’s against the practice of “accepting the moment for what it is” entirely.

You may have come to meditation practice for a reason, but it doesn’t mean you need to expect anything in particular, in a particular amount, or in a particular amount of time in connection with that reason.

It may take practice, but you can cultivate a “no expectations” state of mind when sitting in meditation (and outside your meditation practice) by allowing yourself to relax and sit with whatever comes to you, openly accepting the meditation session as it is, and letting go of the desire for anything more than what is now in this moment.

9. Make It a Way of Life

Meditation isn’t a prescription you pick up and use to cure some condition, henceforth being freed from said condition and no longer in need of meditation.

Meditation helps us cultivate important qualities such as peace, balance, and a sense of space and work through many big challenges, which gives the practice a real sense of progression. However, the journey never really ends because you need to continue to meditate to maintain those various qualities and benefits.

Instead of looking at meditation as some new positive habit you want to adopt to help cure something such as stress or anxiety, to make meditation a consistent daily practice and maintain these benefits you need throw out the idea of an “end point” and just decide to make meditation a part of your life long-term.

By the way, doing so really helps remove expectations. This is because, by shifting your mindset for the long-term, you stop thinking so much about “when am I going to get to X point?” and can simply enjoy your practice more.

Meditation is a beautiful practice, one which comes with numerous significant and potentially life-changing benefits, so make it part of your life and simply sit enjoying this beautiful practice.

10. Be Accountable

Accountability is key to creating any new habit and meditation is no different.

Accountability comes in two forms:

  1. Accountability to yourself
  2. Accountability to others (single person, group, or both)

In the case of meditation, accountability to yourself can be done via a simple session tracking sheet in Microsoft Excel, Google Docs, or some similar program or even a simple sheet of paper.

Accountability to others can be a simple line of communication between two or more people over email or in person that each person reports to daily to confirm whether they meditated or not.

Why is accountability such an effective tool for sticking to new habits?

Accountability works off of the basic set of pain and pleasure motivators which control many of our actions in our daily life already. By either being accountable to yourself or (especially) accountable to others, a pleasurable feeling develops in connection with the idea of completing the task and a painful feeling in connection with the idea of not completing the task.

This alone can sometimes be all that’s needed to help someone develop a new habit because the potential for pain is such a strong emotional motivator.

11. Don’t Forget- Have Fun

This might seem like a simple or rather obvious tip, however, it seems like a lot of people eventually forget that you should enjoy your practice.

This is an important part of the Buddha’s advice for walking the path of awakening (whatever you personally consider that to be). That is, walking the journey in an easeful and joy-filled way.

If at any point you feel your practice has become a chore, you can be sure you’ll drop off soon afterward. It’s just the way that it works.

You should enjoy your practice, for the most part. If you get to a point where you do feel like your practice has become difficult or cumbersome, and not because you’re sitting through an internal challenge but rather because you’ve just gotten bored or tired of it in some way, switch it up and try something unique like mindful walkingmindful driving, or mindful cleaning (assuming your core practice is sitting in meditation) or an entirely different meditation technique like loving-kindness meditation.

If you’re feeling brave or up to the challenge, this boredom or frustration is also something beneficial to sit with. When you feel it arise, sit down and notice the feeling, and whatever arises along with it, a few times before getting up. Doing so will help you bring clarity to what’s going on.

Conclusion

The challenges that face us in sticking to a daily meditation practice consistently are numerous and varied. However, we also have numerous tools which we can utilize to work through these challenges.

With the proper motivation and the right tools in hand, you can make meditation a daily habit.

Chakras explained

 

“Your Energy is worth more than any materialistic object. The greatest gift that you could give to others, as well as to yourself is your thoughts, intentions and energetic love. Use your energy to bless your loved ones.”

Chances are that if you’ve attended a yoga class, meditation sessions or a reiki class, you’ve probably heard this word. But for those of you who are new to this whole concept let me explain what Chakras are..

Literally, “chakra” from the Sanskrit translates to “wheel” or “disk,” it also references a spiritual “energy centre” in the human body, of which there are seven along the spine, and through the neck and the crown of your head.

As spiritual as these things seem, they’ve somewhat become a trend in the social media community, along with yoga and crystals. Fact is that they have been around since 500 BC, found in the Vedas (earliest Sanskrit literary records.)

“So what do they do?”

They are each linked to specific organs as well as physical, emotional, psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of your being and influence all areas of your life, through pure healing energy all around us as well as within us ( Olivia Fern )

Note: there isn’t much scientific evidence that translates spiritual energy into physical manifestations, the study of the seven chakras and chakra alignment—whether it be through meditation, reiki, or yoga—is rooted in the belief is that “when the chakras are open and aligned, our energy is constantly free-flowing ( Olivia Fern ).

 

So let me get on to explaining the 7 Chakras:

The Root Chakra:

What it is: (AKA first chakra) “the foundation of your house (your body)” —it’s solid, stabilizing, and supportive, keeping everything safely connected as long as it’s functioning properly. It’s associated with the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae. This Chakra is responsible for an individual’s sense of security and survival.  Therefore, it’s closely linked to your basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety, as well as your more emotional needs such as alleviating fear and feeling safe. As you well know, when these needs are met, you tend to worry less.

When it’s blocked: A variety of afflictions can occur from blockages, including anxiety disorders, fears, or nightmares. Physically, the first chakra is associated with problems in the colon, the bladder, elimination, or with lower back, leg, or feet issues.

 

The Sacral Chakra:

What it is: This Chakra is located above the pubic bone and below the bellybutton, it’s responsible for our sexual and creative energies. It is associated with the colour orange and the element of water, when your sacral chakra is aligned, you will likely feel great: You’re friendly, passionate, and successfully fulfilled while experiencing the feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. (Sounds amazing to me, don’t you think?)

When it’s blocked: This usually happens when you have a creative block or your emotions are a tad bit unstable. Likewise, this can also be associated with physical sexual problems; you can also be experiencing fear of change, depression, or addictive behaviour.

 

 

The Solar Plexus Chakra:

What it is: The third is said to be your “Confidence Chakra” your very own source of individual power, your rule of confidence. It focuses on your willpower, personal power, and commitment.” Located from the belly button to about your ribcage, it reportedly controls

all things metabolic, digestive, and stomach-related.

When it’s blocked: You can suffer from lack of self-confidence, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. Note that it’s not just feeling badly about yourself, but also may lead you to outwardly express apathy, procrastination, or that you’re able to be taken advantage of easily. Likewise, you’ll also possibly have a tummy ache of some kind such as digestive issues or gas. (How awful.)

 

The Heart Chakra:

What it is: This is known as the central chakra, found at the centre of your chest, it represents where the physical self and the spiritual self-meet. It’s physically said to enclose the heart, the thymus gland (which plays a vital role in your endocrine and lymphatic system), the lungs, and the breasts. “It’s the awakening to spiritual awareness, forgiveness, and service,” says Olivia. This Chakra is associated with the colour green and pink (yes, the millennial, rose quartz kind), it’s believed that when your heart chakra is aligned and balanced, love and compassion flow freely. (Giving and receiving.)

When it’s blocked: A closed heart chakra can show signs of grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others (remember this)—especially in the form of holding a grudge against something or someone.

 

The Throat Chakra:

What it is: This one is all about speaking your inner truth ( Finally ). The throat chakra rules all communication. The throat chakra is linked to the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. When this chakra is in check, you’re able to fully listen as well as speak and express yourself clearly.

When it’s blocked:  You may struggle to speak your truth, you find it hard to pay attention and stay focused, or fear judgment from others. Physically, this blockage may cause a sore throat, thyroid issues, neck and shoulder stiffness, or tension headaches.

 

 

 

The Third-Eye Chakra:

What it is: You can find this Chakra located between your eyebrows. Organs including the pituitary gland, eyes, head, and lower part of the brain are said to be controlled by the third eye.

 

When it’s blocked: You may have trouble clocking into your intuition, trusting your inner voice, remembering important facts, or learning new skills. A third-eye blockage is linked with depression, anxiety, and a more judgmental attitude—while physically, it’s said to cause headaches, dizziness, and a massive pot of other brain-health issues.

 

 

 

The Crown Chakra:

What it is: It’s known as the centre of enlightenment. As the name suggests, the seventh chakra located at the crown of your head. When aligned, you are said to notice pure awareness, consciousness. (Basically, bigger than yourself.)

When it’s blocked: A crown-chakra blockage may create feelings of isolation or emotional distress—basically feeling disconnected from everyone and everything. Or, you might feel like your normal self—just not in an exalted state of spiritual connection and enlightenment, which is totally okay and seriously normal. Unlike the other chakras, the crown chakra is often only opened up fully through specific yogic or meditative exercises.

 

Now that you have an understanding on what your different Chakras are, and what they affect when blocked, we need to learn how to balance and heal them.

Keep in mind to read our next blog post, out on 23rd May. 

Thats all from me.

C.

Meet March’s Yoga Studio/ Instructor of the Month: Tiziana le Roux

As humble and as strong as they come.

Tiziana le Roux is known to the Durban Yoga Community as a kind, charitable and yet such  a strong and powerful woman.

Stepping off of the body building stage and onto a Yoga Mat, Tiziana has since made an impression on many Yogi’s in the Durban/Umhlanga area.

Holding intensive Yoga classes, this woman shows no mercy, but pushes you with a smile, to only achieve your best and encourage you to grow.

She also takes joy in teaching littlies and introducing them to the world of serenity though yoga practice.

This mom of 3 sounded like a force, we wanted to get to know and a heart that we wanted to introduce to you.


How and what was the motivation that made you start Yoga?

I decided in 2014 to try a new form of exercise having being in the industry since I was young. Formerly a ballet dancer, gym addict, personal trainer and competitive  body builder. Yoga was something I always looked upon as being similar to my dance life and thought it was something I would like to explore more.

 

How long have you been practising?

I’ve been a yogi for 4years.

 

What type of Yoga do you teach/practise?

I teach Hatha, restorative and children’s Yoga.

 

What do you enjoy most about this particular form of Yoga?

Hatha is traditional yoga and for everyone. You dont have to be flexible, fit or a certain body type. It’s for everyone and easy to follow. Obviously it is also graded beginner, intermediate and advanced.

 

Why is Yoga important to you?

I love yoga as it grounds me and keeps me supple and peaceful..

 

How do you build relationships through Yoga?

People that do yoga understand the mindset of yogis and somehow we connect without having to ask too much as there seems to be a spiritual understanding.

 

In what point in your teaching career did you decide- I want to open a Yoga Studio?

I started yoga and was quite frustrated not understanding the full concept of the “art” and wanted to explore the philosophy and background more so decided to do a course in 2015 in order for me to be able to open my own studio.

 

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as a Yoga instructor/studio owner?

Challenges are part of life and I think it’s keeping people interested and motivated . It’s not a priority for some people to do yoga as they don’t see results as quickly as maybe someone that pushes weights. They ya e to understand yoga is a lifestyle and it’s about letting go the ego and accepting self.

 

What is your favourite memory of opening the studio?

During my teachers training , I decided the only way to learn and understand and develop confidence was to open a studio immediately . So what I did was run a studio from my home which was formerly my gym and ran it on a charity basis. I decided to get a bunch of volunteers to come to my classes and in exchange of my teaching they were to provide food for the SPCA which I collected in my garage. At the end of the year I had the Northglen News come over and photograph my students and our huge collection of food donation. It was a great moment.

 

What piece of advice can you give to future yoga studio owners?

Never give up on your studio. Even if one person comes. Give them you undivided attention and positive energy they always come to get.

 

What’s the most difficult situation you run into on a constant basis?

Now that I charge people it’s always a challenge and I don’t like chasing people for payment. At the end of the day I run a business.

 

How did you decide upon your class offerings, type of yoga instructors and the vibe of your studio?

I plan my classes according the week’s theme, be it twists, inversions, meditation etc I don’t have outside teachers teaching.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully still teaching but doing more charity work and helping children more.

 

What is your greatest achievement in life?

My greatest achievement in life is raising three beautiful healthy, content, daughters, and instilling a sense of love , honesty, compassion and independence in them. Besides that just keeping myself in shape is a great achievement.

 

What is your greatest strength and does that show through in your practice?

I’m a very determined person by nature and love a challenge. I never give up on what I set my mind to. I’m physically and mentally strong so it does give me an edge in life.

 

Do you see Yoga as a way of life or a form of exercise and meditation? (please elaborate)

Yoga is a way of life. It encompasses so many aspects of ones life, physical mental and spiritual. One becomes very aware of life and self and how we treat one another and in particular ourselves . To not judge and be hard on one self but to be more accepting. To create a community of like-minded people who resonate an understand peace love and harmony in nature and life itself. Meditation is listening to god, prayer is talking to god so we do both 🙏🏻


Tizi, you’re so inspirational, and Im sure that our readers and followers, after reading this interview agree.

Thats all from me – C

Meet March’s Teacher of the Month: Natasia Cook

 

Her first passion was dance.

Having trained in various forms of dance since the age of 5 and later working as a professional ballet dancer for 7 years, Natasia had gained a huge respect for the “incredible human body and its ability to transform and heal itself.”

After retiring from the stage she moved into the corporate world and later studied Reflexology & Meridian Therapy, registering as a Therapeutic Reflexologist and running her very own practice “The Sole Sanctuary” for 6 years.

Continuously returning to and reverting from the corporate world over the years, Natasia learned a great deal but not quite enough to feed her soul.  Until she discovered the practice and her Yoga journey commenced in 2001 : the day Natasia took her first Yoga class.

Finding Yoga felt like coming home.

Through-ought her journey, Natasia has been exposed to the Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Indieyoga, Sivananda, Budokon, Yoga Synergy, Yin/Restorative, Partner/Acro and Dharma styles, thus helping her discover where her interests lie – in body alignment and the healing potential of Yoga.

Natasia was blessed with phenomenal teachers who, evidently made an impact that changed her life.

I am grateful to my teachers;

The late Ingrid Eriksen was her guidance into teaching in 2008,  Kerry Weavind’s ( from Haum of Yoga (now Indieyoga)) insightful and life changing 200hr Indieyoga course (2013) was the inspiration behind Natasia’s leap from her day job and journey into sharing this incredible art and discipline as her full time passion.

I never realized that I would love teaching so much! What a privilege it is to interact with people from all walks of life and watch as they develop their own awareness, strength and peace

Natasia started Namaste Yoga studio on an impulse in 2008 and it has grown over the years to become her very own “happy place, community and purpose.”

Intrigued? ( Keep reading. )

 

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as a Yoga instructor/studio owner?

*The biggest challenge (apart from the usual business owner’s challenges of paying all the bills and multitasking) is finding time to get on the mat for myself. I don’t think I’m alone in this as we all tend to teach at the same times, so it’s a bit of a juggling act. Staying true to the discipline of the practice and keeping it fresh are always on my mind.

 

What is your favorite memory of opening the studio?

*The night we opened our new full time premises there was such an amazing energy in the studio; at the after party my best friend’s 9 year old daughter was dancing unselfconsciously while everybody mingled, munched and connected. It warmed my heart so much as I looked around and drank it all in.

 

What piece of advice can you give to future yoga studio owners?

*I definitely don’t have all the answers as I’m always trying to figure things out too, but I think to be organised, consistent and true to your gut feel, while not neglecting yourself.

 

What is the most rewarding part of teaching yoga?

*The connections with the yogis and seeing how they blossom and release their tension. Yoga is such a great leveller as there’s always something that will challenge you and something that feels great, so it keeps you honest as a yogi and teacher!

I love how yoga enables one to disengage from life’s stresses and strains, and that it is non-competitive and non-punitive. Yoga is a unifying force. It speaks to us as human beings and heals on a subtle level as well as a tangible one.

 

How do you build relationships through Yoga?

*How do you build relationships anywhere? By being approachable, treating people with respect & compassion and letting them know they’ve been seen.

 

How have you improved your classes since you started teaching?

*I think as you develop experience you find your own flow, your own unique way of articulating things, and this changes as you change and as you learn more about and from those you teach. Still working on it all the time as I do believe the more you learn the more there is to learn!

 

Do you prefer to instruct small groups, large groups or one on one?

*I’m comfortable with all three as they all offer something different. Individual or small groups offer a chance to really give tailored attention. The group energy in a larger group is contagious though, especially if they’re in a playful mood!

 

What is your greatest achievement in life?
*Reinventing myself several times in different industries and learning to be more adaptable (still working on this one)

 

What makes your yoga classes unique?

I believe my background of 27 years of dance, years of complementary therapy and of course yoga training all combines to give a unique perspective of mind and movement. I think I’m fairly approachable and have been told my classes are playful yet nurturing.

 

Who is your greatest motivator and why?

*I can’t name only one as there have been many over the years! All our yogis, but especially my two 75 and several 60/70 + year old yogis, who show up consistently, do their best and prove how beautifully strong, brave and graceful you can remain through staying on the mat and being engaged with life.  Also anyone who reminds me what compassion is and my teachers, loved ones, friends and colleagues who show grace under pressure daily.

 

Why is Yoga important to you?
* It literally saved my life when I needed to find a way to fill the void that my dancing left. It’s taught me to let go of a lot of the rigid self-discipline and harsh self-criticism that I used to punish myself with, and brought me so much joy. It’s taught me to appreciate my body again, even though it’s not perfect, and enabled me to join a community of like-minded, awesome, authentic individuals!

 

How long have you been practising?

*I’ve been practicing for around 17 years.

 

What type of Yoga do you teach/practice?

I teach Indieyoga, Hatha and occasionally Yin/restorative. However, I believe our teaching is influenced by all that we have experienced before, so some other elements may creep in as the mood takes me. I practise what I can get to; Indie, Yin, Budokon, Hatha, Vinyasa, I’m always exploring!

 

What do you enjoy most about this particular form of Yoga?
*With Indieyoga no two classes are the same; by connecting to your independent spirit you find your own strength, expression and flow, as a teacher and practitioner.

 

Do you see Yoga as a way of life or a form of exercise and meditation? (please elaborate)
*Oh Yoga is a way of life for sure.  Its effects sneak into the rest of your life in a lovely way, whether it’s the ability to detach from drama a little better, practice more self-care and compassion, or shift your perspective as your awareness grows. People often come to yoga as a form of exercise and/or meditation and then the other aspects make themselves felt. A happy side effect is the strength, flexibility and balance it brings, or as one yogi put it: ‘the ability to stand on one leg and scrub your foot in the shower!’

 

What skill would you like to master?

* Ooh I’d love to be able to fly free like a bird!

 

What amazing thing did you do that no one was around to see?
In my dancing days – Six pirouettes (a ballet term: turns on one leg) – pretty close to how I imagine flying must feel actually…

 

What risk is worth taking?

*Following your passion when your gut tells you its right.

 

What is your favorite quote?

*”Lighting another’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any less brightly.”

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

*When I was debating whether or not to enroll for my Reflexology training my wise Mom asked me, “how long is the course?”. I told her and she said “the time will pass anyway so you may as well do it”. How right she was! It opened me up to a whole new world of complementary healing and, as she always says; “nothing you learn is ever wasted”

  • Incredible!

Thats all from me, C

Meet March’s Yogi of the Month: Chelsea Hall

Introducing our Summer Lovin’ Yogi of the month – Chelsea.

 

 

Evidently this Capetonian is a HUGE animal lover – and proudly veggievore for 9 years running ( and counting ).

She first started practicing yoga back in 2014. From then on Chelsea was never coming back, as her love for the practice only grew stronger ( as it would ).

Over time, her desire to become a teacher thus spreading the love & knowledge of yoga, finally became a reality in 2017, where she was able to complete her 200hr teacher training at YogaLife.

Even as a teacher, Chelsea continues to grow and evolve, staying both mindful and curious, on and off the mat. She loves pizza and ice-cream ( veggie friendly options! )

Her pup, Luca ( who you can also find on Instagram | @lucathewolfdog ), is her “utmost pride and joy, she wouldn’t give him up for anything” 🙂 ( Man’s best friend? More like a woman’s first love. )

Minutes after viewing her entry photo, I was sold and needed to find out more about this gem of a Yogi. I’m sure you would love the privilege to meet her as well, so naturally, I decided to bring the interview to you guys!


How and what was the motivation that made you start Yoga?

Funny enough, Instagram. I was amazed and inspired by the beautiful images and poses I saw online. Only later on, did I realize, that Yoga was about far more than just pretty pictures and being able to bend and fold like pretzel.

 

How long have you been practicing?

I’ve been practicing for about 4 years now.

 

What type of Yoga do you teach/practice?

I practice and teach Vinyasa Yoga, as well as Power Yoga.

 

What do you enjoy most about this particular form of Yoga?

It connects you with your breath, it allows you to move inward and really get a feel for how important the breath and breathing really is. It gives you the freedom to move. It’s also a great workout!

 

Why is Yoga important to you?

Yoga has given life a whole new meaning for me, it has given me a purpose, something to be passionate about. I just want everyone to feel that way about Yoga.

 

What is your Yoga Philosophy?

I don’t really have one to be honest. If it feels good and right, go with it.

 

How has yoga helped you connect with yourself spiritually?

That is honestly still a daily struggle, or lesson. Although, it has helped me become more in-tune, as to what I’m feeling and how I can deal with or overcome any feelings I don’t feel comfortable sitting with.

 

How do you build relationships through Yoga?

You are able to feel and feed off others’ energy and that is amazing, in that it helps you notice those around you, and connect you with the right kind of people, people who share similar interests, or make you feel good. Those kinds of people usually stick around.

 

What obstacles has Yoga helped you overcome?

Ashamedly, I used to be known for my temper and anger issues. Yoga has definitely helped me zone in and calm down considerably. It has allowed me to express myself in a more spiritual way. There are others, but we won’t go into detail!

 

What advice would you like to give beginner Yogi’s?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. If there’s a specific posture you are working on, give it time, practice, and you will see the results. Give yourself the time of day, to dedicate to your practice, even when you feel like you really don’t want to get on your mat, those are the days you really should, but listen to your body, always, it knows best, trust me.

 

How has yoga changed your life?

In too many ways to mention. It has brought such incredible people into my life, it’s given me purpose and happiness beyond compare.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Definitely still doing and teaching Yoga.

 

What is your greatest strength and does that show through in your practice?

I like to think that I have gotten pretty in-tune with myself and with my body, it moves the way it feels, I feel as though this is expressed through my physical practice.

 

What risk is worth taking?

Any. If it is going to get you where you want to be, take the risk!

 

What is your favorite quote?

“Oh, the places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

 

What is your favorite binge food?

Has to be pizza!

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Stay curious.

 

What skill would you like to master?

Handstand for sure!

 

What would be your ideal way to spend your weekend?

Sunbathing on the beach, doing yoga and eating all the yummy food.

 

What is your claim to fame?

I make a mean Mojito hahah…

 

What city would you most like to live in?

London.

 

What is the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to you?

I’m actually quite lucky when it comes to winning Instagram competitions, I’ve won a few!

 

What is the best compliment that you’ve ever received?

Hmmm…I often get comments like, “You’re so inspiring!” or, “You make it look so easy!” and, “Wow, that is so beautiful.” – these kinds of comments make me feel good, because I can only hope that I am actually inspiring and motivating others to pursue their own interests and passion.


No words.


OH and just before you guys decide to click on the “X” on the right/left hand side of your screen to close this tab.

CAN WE PLEASE JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO ACKNOWLEDGE LUCA. ( I hope all of you have already followed his Instagram page – as mentioned in my introduction. )

 

 

 

After briefly researching Chelsea and Luca, I noticed that he has so much confidence ( He rates he’s just as beautiful as his owner, so why cant he look majestic in her photos, right? ) – I mean look at the pictures below – what a pro photo-bomber.

  I mean props to Chelsea for helping him create his very own Instagram page! YOU GO GIRL!

( Turns out Luca also loves Summer colors ) – Like Mommy, like pup.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga balances a fast lifestyle and has this amazing ability to heal physical and mental, stress related  symptoms.

As our lives run in a fast motion, our minds tend to follow at twice the speed.

Restorative yoga balances a fast lifestyle and has an enormous capacity to heal physical and mental symptoms that are stress related

Restorative yoga practice is a phenomenal way to help to anyone who suffers from is chronically illnesses or  is on the road to recovery from some injuries.

Benefits of Restorative yoga

The beauty of Restorative yoga is that there are no muscular contractions involved.

We believe we have to “work” to increase our flexibility (problem), but often we achieve opening in parts of our bodies by slowing down and relaxing (yes,it is possible) than through an active asana practice. During a Restorative yoga sequence, you still stretch, but you relax fully in the stretch so that tension can slowly be released. (Even the sound of that seems relaxing.)

Due to the relaxation of the mind and the body, we also create a space where we can get in touch with our compassion and understanding of ourselves as well as those around us.

 

Restorative yoga benefits

  • Enhances flexibility (This benefit is number 1 on my list)
  • Deeply relaxes the body (Flip, we all need this on the daily)
  • Stills the mind
  • Improves capacity for healing and balancing
  • Balances the nervous system
  • Boosts the immune system (No more being a sick puppy, *cough cough* sick cat)
  • Helps you improve your compassion and understanding of yourself and those around you.
  • Enhances mood states (men, take note)

 

Foam Blocks and restorative Yoga.

Slowing down in Yoga? Is that a thing? Is that even beneficial?

*sigh* Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be making such a big deal out of this blog post!

After you experience the phenomenal renewing and relaxing feeling of restorative yoga poses with a block, you – and your body – will fall in love with restorative yoga, I mean FALL IN LOVE.

Below I’ve attached a link to an amazing 17-minute restorative yoga sequence to get you comfortable with using a yoga block. It involves stretching, lengthening, breathing and renewing.

And in all of this, lets not forget the true meaning of yoga

The true meaning of Yoga is to experience union. To see through the illusion of being a separate being. To see that we are all pervaded with and made out of the same energy, which is the ground of all being.

I hope that I have motivated you to take the time out to practice Restorative yoga. Especially if you are the type that feels you rather do something active, because you don’t have enough time. You will benefit most …

Restorative Yoga is considered to be one of the most advanced forms of yoga, as it requires a great deal of introspection.

Yours truely

C.

Meet February’s Yoga Teacher of the Month : Tarryn James

The Yoga Journey all began back in 2013.

Tarryn walked into a Vinyasa class at her local gym with the aim of gaining flexibility, and instead, when she walked out she had gained something else. ( Not weight, keep reading)

She left the studio with much more than a stretch – she left with a sense of discovery, a drive… a curiosity, so she continued to practice yoga through her days at the University of Pretoria, at the gym and following YouTube videos. After years of playing sports such as provincial touch rugby and university hockey, she knew her body needed a change, and Yoga gave her that sense of change.

Tarryn found comfort in the practice of yoga.
It was the only place I could turn to in difficult times, when anxiety struck and when I didn’t quite feel like myself.
It was the place where she could find herself, yet lose herself at the same time.
Tarryn completed her Yoga Teacher Training in 2016 and has not stopped learning since. As a qualified Occupational Therapist, her knowledge of injuries and anatomy has helped her to treat every student as an individual..
One of Tarryn’s many other passions lies in Musical Theatre. As a singer, dancer and actress, she is always fascinated by how yoga has helped her grow; in her physical, mental and emotional self. The holistic approach of mind, body and soul is always the focus.
She has a passion for developing the yoga community and started the initiative Yoga South Africa to build awareness within her country. Yoga South Africa has grown tremendously and she couldn’t be more proud to be involved with this community.
And I think I can speak for us in the community, we are super proud to have YOU in it! I mean damn! ( I think I need to diversify myself a bit, clearly i’m slacking! )
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Lets see what we spoke about?
Trust, you’ll be as blown away as what I was!
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1. Tell us about your practice style and how you chose your Yoga method.

My practice is mostly in the style of vinyasa. I like to keep a strong basis on alignment as well as bring a bit of playfulness through arm balances and inversions. I think my style is largely influenced by my first yoga teachers, who presented a strong yet thoughtful flow. I really focus on bringing in creative sequencing that allow my students to become completely mindful when they move through the postures. I have always liked to try different styles and have practiced ashtanga, bikram and yin yoga. I do believe there is an importance in bringing variety into your practice – mixing it up between strength and flexibility, fast and slow etc. Some days I like a very challenging power yoga class and some days I just spend it in longer yin yoga poses. Variety is key and I think it is important to allow your body to experience those different styles of yoga.

2. What is your mind-set when you step onto the mat?

It varies so much. Most of the time when I DON’T feel like stepping onto my mat, is the time I usually do. While teaching yoga and balancing the other demands of life, it becomes tricky to dedicate time to my self practice. There are days when I am super motivated to practice, to learn and to challenge myself. But on other days I need something a bit more restorative, a place to just breathe and relax. Stepping on to my mat is like coming home. I have always said that yoga is a way of finding yourself, yet losing yourself at the same time. Whenever I feel worries, or stressed, or overwhelmed; I practice. When I am happy and excited, I also practice. There is never a non-yoga moment, and that’s what I love about it.

3. What led you to become a Yoga Teacher?

I had been practicing yoga since my varsity years, while I was studying Occupational Therapy at the University of Pretoria. While completing my community service year I had the drive to keep learning, and I knew a natural progression would be to do my teacher training. I was interested in developing my own personal knowledge when it came to yoga, but I also wanted to share my passion with others. At that stage, I was practicing yoga with Eon Swiegers, who I regard to be one of the best teachers in South Africa. When I found out he was offering a teacher training it was as if the universe had just aligned 😉 I signed up immediately and I am so grateful to have done my training with someone that I have the greatest amount of respect for. I look forward to advancing my knowledge and skills and hope to complete my 500hour teacher training one day.

4. What was it like teaching your first class?

When I was completing my teacher training, Eon (my trainer) had suggested we started teaching as soon as possible. I started offering free classes in my house for some of my friends. It was such a wonderful way to learn. The environment was so supportive and welcoming – and fun being with all my friends! To see them grow in their practice was so motivating and that is when I knew that being a yoga teacher is such an honor. After I qualified, I started teaching at studios and that’s when I started becoming nervous! Although intimidated, I was confident that I could offer something new to the students. I always strive to be approachable and welcoming in my practice and have found that that has led to me connecting more to my students. I have only been teaching for 18 months and each day I learn. I still make mistakes in a class but that’s how you grow as a teacher.

5. What insight have you gained whilst teaching yoga?

Wow – so much! Each day I am learning. I consistently try to attend classes in new styles, with new teachers. The best way I learn is from experiencing. Cape Town has some of the most amazing teachers and by simply attending one class, there is so much you can take from it. I also do a lot of YouTube yoga videos with international teachers and it is interesting to note how they teach differently or what they offer. When I am doing self-practice, I try to be more mindful about what my body is doing – and I use that to instruct and cue when in a yoga class. On more than a physical level, I have learned the importance of meditation and mindfulness. As someone who gets easily overwhelmed, I look forward to those moments of stillness where I can just turn inwards. Meditation is something I really only became comfortable with once becoming a yoga teacher. It is a skill I am still working on but it is so rewarding.

6. Has Yoga changed the way that you connect with your body?

Yes. Yoga has taught me a lot of self love. It has taught me to appreciate the space I am in, without any judgement. I am in aware of all the amazing things my body can do, that I try not to waste time on thinking about the negatives. Yoga teaches you to honor your body, your breath and your mind. For many of us that is a challenge. I struggle with it too and that is why it is such a long journey. I am constantly working on self-awareness and acceptance and yoga is a big part of that.

7. What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching Yoga?

The release. My favorite part about teaching a yoga class is seeing everyone come out of savasana with those look of complete rest on their face. Every now and then you might catch a little smile. That look of complete joy, ease… release. I live for that moment at the end of the class. I also enjoy the little moments of progress in the students. I love watching how each person grows in their progress- whether its achieving a new pose they never thought they would be able to do. Or even just the belief that they start to develop in themselves. People arrive on their mat each time to honor their journey. Whether its something physical, emotional or spiritual – there is always something that they are learning and I am so grateful to be a part of their journey,

8. Has Yoga changed your day to day lifestyle?

Definitely. Since becoming a yoga teacher, I practice a lot more. Sometimes I teach 3 classes a day and will still try to include a self practice. The feeling that I get from spending time on my mat completely changes my attitude for the rest of the day. Some days I get to start the day with a 15 minute meditation, other days I only squeeze in a practice in the afternoon. For those moments in between I try to bring yoga into every day moments; deep breaths, practicing patience, being mindful… I try to live yoga on and off the mat.

9. What advice do you have for students who are intimidated by difficult Yoga poses?

Patience. These days it is so easy to get caught up in the idea of “what yoga is supposed to look like”. We are constantly seeing instagram photos and yoga videos of amazing bodies doing all kinds of weird and wonderful things with their body. It is important to note that that is not all what yoga is about. Yoga is about doing what YOUR body is able to do. It is about challenging yourself within same parameters, in an environment that you feel comfortable in. It is important to find a studio or a teacher  that you really resonate with. By starting off with a beginners class, you will learn the basics and start feeling comfortable with Sanskrit (yoga terminology), your body, as well as a class environment. I started yoga on YouTube and found that was great for me. Some people need more guidance and that is also OK. It is important to highlight that yoga is not a spring, its not even a marathon, it is a way of life. Postures will happen when your body is ready for it. So while you get there, breathe and enjoy it.

10. One piece of advice do you have for aspiring Yoga Teachers?

Self Practice & Give your all. In each class I strive to give my very best to those students. Even when I am tired, or frustrated, those students have taken time out of their day to practice. In respect of them, I try to give them the best teaching I can. Focus on each student as an individual and guide them through. That is why they are coming to your class – to learn, to be guided, to experience your teaching. I try my very best to meet each person on whatever level they are at and work through their journey with them, at their pace. Self practice is so beneficial to you. Once you start understanding your body in yoga and build up your observational skills in a class, then you will be able to incorporate this into your teaching. Self practice facilitates learning, and continuous development and stimulation is important for a teacher.

11. What is your favorite food?

Peanut butter for sure!! Since becoming vegan about 2 years ago I live off of this. Peanut butter on toast, in smoothies, by the tablespoon… everywhere. I cant get enough <3

12. What is your favorite Quote?

“You will get there when you are meant to get there, and not a moment sooner. So trust your path, breathe, and be patient”

“Happy teachers will change the world” – Thicht Nhat Hanh

“Always be a work in progress”

“Everything you need, your courage, your strength , compassion and love, everything you need is already within you.”.

AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT?

This woman is bloody amazing!

Oh and Tarryn has the cutest Doggo ever!

 

Meet February’s Yogi of the Month : Carmen van Reenen

 

Accountant by day.  Yogi, photographer, wife and cat mom by night.

She loves movement. Yoga, dance and even running.  She loves challenging herself.

Best of all, Yoga and dance have always been a part of her life and her journey will continue on.  Carmen has  completed a 250hour vinyasa teacher training in 2012 to deepen her yoga knowledge.

Besides that she even has a passion for anatomy and is looking to further her studies in this field, as she is fascinated by the human body and its capabilities. Needless to say Carmen has definitely caught our attention!

Being a photographer , Carmen loves outdoor scenery, the beach and the ocean. And as a photographer, she is fond of capturing the beauty of others and to show them a side of themselves they hadn’t seen.

“The asana of yoga is so beautiful to me as a photographer.”

Given this small amount of information, we were already falling in love with this woman, and were at the edge of our seats to find out more! ( I’m sure you are too! ). So we conducted a interview with Carmen:

 

1.Tell us about your practice style and how you chose your Yoga method.

I started out with straight up Hatha.  That’s going back to my teens.  I eventually found Vinyasa yoga which I was drawn to because of my dance background, I love the flow.  I couple of years ago I stated practicing Ashtanga as well.  I enjoy the “discipline” of this style and I also feel like it helps develop your practice no matter which is your “main style”.

2. What is your mind-set when you step onto the mat?

Honestly just taking a time out for myself.  I have a busy lifestyle and even if I can only get a twenty or thirty minute practice in, I have to have it.  Wanna see me in a bad mood?  Mess with my yoga time!

3.Besides Yoga, what other forms of exercise do you enjoy participating in regularly?

I regularly attend Zumba classes to get my dance on.  It’s nice to just shake it out once a week and maybe even have a laugh at yourself.  I did a lot of running at a stage.  I pulled back from it a lot because of how it tightens your hips and hamstrings (a no no for yoga), but I do want to get back into trail running again just with shorter distances and maybe take it more leisurely.

4.Has Yoga changed the way you connect with your body? If so please elaborate.

Oh definitely!   For one thing I’m definitely more accepting of my body.  If I feel good and strong on my mat then I feel good about my body.

5.How has this practice helped you overcome fear?

 Lol, it’s helped me overcome the fear of face planting!  Some of more advanced stuff you can’t do without falling a few times first.  Or at least I can’t.  So I always say you need to learn to fall first.  We can translate that into everyday day life right?  Every day we learn new things and when we fall, we have pick ourselves back up and try again.  I may have gone a bit off topic J

6.Has Yoga changed your day to day lifestyle?

Most definitely!  I always say yoga is a lifestyle!  You just become so much more aware of everything from what you eat to how you treat your environment.   You also start to gain a better perspective of what’s important in life.

7.How and why did you start Yoga?

Going back again to my dance background, there is a bit of a cross over.  And at the same time my grandparent and mom used to do yoga.  My Gran had this book, a 28 day yoga exercise plan that we all used to do yoga from.

8.Are you self-taught? Or who was your greatest mentor/teacher?

Building on how I started yoga, yes I am self taught.  Back when I started practicing yoga there weren’t yoga teachers around.  At least not in the small dorpie I come from.  I’m going back about 20 odd years ago, so you can just imagine.  I used the books I could get hold of and videos to teach myself, but again my dance background helped as there was already body awareness and a bit of alignment and just a certain way of moving built into me.  I had an amazing Dance Teacher growing up.

9.What advice would you give to a beginner Yogi?

Keep showing up every day.  Get on your yoga mat every day, even if you don’t feel like it.  Do as little as ten minutes.  Chances are ten minutes will quickly turn into twenty or thirty minutes, and if you still aren’t feeling it after ten minutes, that’s OK because you showed up!

10.What time of the day and where do you feel most relaxed?

I think at the end of day.  I mentioned I have a busy schedule so it’s all go, go, go from the moment I wake up, so at the end of day I can relax.  Although I have a regular home practice, my weekly Ashtanga class is also a place to relax and escape from everyday life and technology.

11.What is your favorite food?

Um, pizza J  I love a good wood-fire pizza.

12.What is your favorite Quote?

Something my Ashtanga teacher Jen says in class which originates from her time with Guruji “Slowly, slowly,  all is coming”.  Life is so fast paced nowadays and we live in the age of instant gratification, so it’s so important to have this reminder both on the mat and in daily life.

Oh and did I mention that shes a CAT LOVER?