Love, Uncategorized, Wellbeing, Yoga

Exhale 2015 – A Tale of Community

As the sun shone on our faces and kissed our shoulders we settled in to begin welcoming the yogis and yoginis to Exhale 2015.  Wristbands on, schedule in hand the guests were ready to take on the weekend that was.

The festival opened with a grounding class from co-founder Carl who brought everyone together in a strong dynamic vinyasa practice.  Friday afternoon was then a plethora of yoga to suit all tastes from high energy partner work in acro to chilled restorative via the soft tones of Roberto.  No good festival would be complete without a campfire and the man to take on the melodies was Michael, a musical maestro who lulled us all with his joyful tunes.  As the party came alive we danced, shaked, hugged and grooved to Charlie Dark and Warrior One late into the night.

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Photo – Ana Cuba

Left feeling a little creaky after a night’s sleep in a tent?  Well it’s no problem at a yoga festival because after one session of yoga or a massage and you’re ready to roll again (quite literally in some cases!).  Carl helped us to open the wings of our hearts in a fun and uplifting practice, including a partner plank off and working with trust in balancing postures.

After refuelling on Pip & Nut nut butters, sourdough bread and an array of delicious cereals the troops were ready to bring on Saturday.  For those seeking the sweat-life there was Hot Pod yoga set inside a barn and Run Dem Crew’s version of a trail run around our neighbouring campsites.  The families received an unexpected sight as 20 lycra clad runners bounced past them!

With Friday’s theme of ‘togetherness’ running through the festival air, Saturday sought to strengthen the bonds being made between old friends and new.  The main barn was packed to receive a multi-teacher led class from the Boys of Yoga.  Whilst Chloe Brotheridge worked to hypnotise a room full of 50 people open to exploring new ways of thinking.

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Photo – Ana Cuba

The inquisitively titled “What the f**k is yoga” proved to be a beautifully bonding session on bhakti yoga; yoga of devotion and the heart.  A lot of happy, smiling yogis came out of the two hour workshop with Jim.

As light turned to dark the steady buzz that had been growing throughout the day erupted into a dazzling array of day-glow neon!  Yes that’s right, Black & Light yoga.  Part yoga, part rave this class had the barn shaking and the tunes pumping.  It was quite the spectacle for those partial to a bit of neon!  The rave set the scene for the rest of the night as Warrior One took to the decks.  Yoga, like life, is all about balance.  And rightfully so there was a well-stocked bar serving up craft beers and wine.  For those looking for a headache free wake-up there was the most incredible café, aptly named Inhale with probably the best range of Pukka teas a tea lover could ask for.

Early birds were treated to a festival version of the ever popular Morning Gloryville on Sunday.  Those of us still chilling in the campsite could feel the pulsation of a heavy bassline and watch in delight as people danced in and out of the barn creating a colour haze to the morning.

Still riding high on the energy from Friday and Saturday the camp were treated to a chilled Sunday of, of course more yoga, a ‘tug of love’ and a ‘switched on’ session with Nick Jankel, inviting us to explore the head, heart and mind.

Keeping in the tone of unity and comradery we snuggled up into the main barn as night fell, ready for the gong bath.  If you ever had the pleasure of singing mantras with 65 other people you will know what it’s like to have goosebumps all over and feel the reverberations resounding in your chest.  To round off what was truly an epic weekend the whole festival were treated to live traditional Indian music.  People cuddled and hot chocolate was consumed as eyes and ears were fixated on the two musicians.

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Photo – Ana Cuba 

We were lucky enough to witness a full moon on Saturday which illuminated the whole site.  It’s positive energy could be felt throughout as it shone down on us.

As Monday rolled in there were hugs all round as people made their way home.  Eyes shined a little brighter than before, hearts felt fuller and smiles were aplenty.  Building a sense of community in a festival is no easy task, yet Exhale held the space and those within it so well, it’s certainly something special to remember.

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Photo – Ana Cuba

If this little tale of Exhale 2015 tickled your fancy then guess what? Exhale 2016 isn’t far off! To check out the line up and nab yourself an early bird ticket head to www.exhalefestival.com. I will see you there!

 

 

 

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Adventure, Love, Poetry, Yoga

Increasing Observations

There can be so much focus that the bigger mass of who we are is temporarily lost. Sometimes my eyes are down and fixed and I unwillingly ignore the magic around me.

Be open and switch off to tune in. Be open to new things and follow your passions because otherwise what are we doing?

Do your work with love and offer gratitude for the pleasant in equal measure for the things that challenge us.

I wrote this musing yesterday after my second day of prenatal yoga teacher training. There was a moment of deep realisation today during day three. We were given a task in groups of three to be the talker, listener and observer. With each person taking it in turns to be one of the three. The topic was ‘yoga mother’. In between each person talking we sat for an equal amount of time to absorb. 35 women sitting in silence. Except it wasn’t silent because the hum of vibrations was all around us. The peacefulness, the understanding and appreciation was almost tangible.

We had to pick which postion we felt most comfortable with and which least comfortable. I loved listening. I found the position of observer difficult. Then that magic moment, CLICK. I turned the pages and there was the musing above. I NEED to observe more. Maybe in the sense of my yoga classes; getting off the mat, demoing less, looking more. Or perhaps observing more prenatal classes. Or maybe it’s just being more present in each moment. Putting the phone down. Looking up because there is so much beauty to see.

Life has changed so so much in the past year, especially in the past five months. Times have been hugely rewarding and challenging. Ultimately I have grown more than ever before. I have been consciously making an effort to appreciate everything. From the hot shower in the morning to the mattress bought for me. I am so lucky to have my support network, food in my belly and money in my bank account. I offer up gratitude for the smallest of things and I feel so much happier for it. Never take for granted the small things yet always look to the bigger landscape.

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Love, Poetry, Yoga

Sublime Moments 

Diary entry – dated 28th March 2015.  The day I left Suryalila and a week into my YTT training.  Sat on a bench outside the airport in Seville.

“Just know that in this moment everything is sublime.  I sit alone, perfectly alone in my own company.  I sit on green grass, sun beating on me, music through my headphones.  Appreciative of everything I have right now.

The two feet I stand on, the New Balance I bought, jeans that cost £9, an old tank top and my Senheisers.  The fact that all I need right in this moment is here. Everything I need is here.  

I’m about to fly to Barcelona, the trip continues.  I’ve just been paid the most money I’ve ever been paid in one month.  All the fruits of my labour are beginning to pay off.

From within the gentle appreaciation of all brings great pleasure in the smallest of actions.  Be grateful for what we have, for it is so rich and wonderful.  The grass, the light, the shadows and the trees.  The flows my heart wants to make.  Energy follows thought.  In each sweet encounter be glad for all that encapsulates it”.

Words that flowed so naturally from me that I had to capture them.

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Health, Love, Nature, Poetry, Uncategorized

For You

Looking for a voice within,

Words, expressions, the mind is thin.

Time to build, grow, evolve,

All the problems, I cannot solve.

Patience is my greatest friend,

Accept to love, learn to bend.

Enjoy these moments,

Treasure them whole,

Before I know it,

I’ll be old.

Moments though, precious & sweet,

Grateful drops, they are my treat.

Love today, love tomorrow,

Kiss the pain, heal the sorrow.

Be kind with all you can do,

Look up, appreciate, see the blue.

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Astavakrasana
Love, Wellbeing, Yoga

Balance

As with Astavakrasana (8 limbed angle pose) my life at the moment is increasingly about balance.  Too little throttle and things don’t move forward, too much boldness and things are rushed and can fall apart.  To appreciate the good I need to have the harder times too.  A stressful moment is soon forgotten with a bike ride and the sun beating down on my skin.  I’ve been thinking about balance a lot recently.  Sometimes in the literal sense, like in yoga class when I’m trying one-legged Bakasana or attempting Pincha Mayurasana.  If I never give these postures a go then how do I expect to improve?  Yet it I over do them then it’s a face plant territory.

So much of this sentiment can be applied to life.  I can sometimes throw myself into things so forcefully that I lose touch of other parts of myself.  Practising yoga has become ingrained in my day-to-day, I crave it and I love it.  But I also need to listen to my body and pay attention when it’s tired, again not overdoing things and ignoring aches and pains.  The same can be said for spending time with loved ones.  The past two months have been incredible, deciding to do the YTT was the best decision I ever made.  Whilst absorbing all this information and learning I sometimes have to remind myself to take things slowly and graciously.  And spend time with those who I love, catch up with them, share with them and be grateful for laughter shared, hugs given and kisses on cheeks.

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Dating, Love, Yoga

Learning to sit with Vulnerability

I went on one of those date things.  After a bit of a hiatus on the old dating scene I thought I would give it another go.  As fine as it was I immediately got the impression he wasn’t interested.  Yes I am going on assumption but from the look is in eye I felt it was a ‘thanks but no thanks’ situation.  We’ve all been there, you know when someone isn’t keen.  Yet it still kinda sucks, rejection doesn’t taste good does it?  I know some people love the dating lifestyle, seemingly swinging from date to date.  I on the other hand find them a little less enjoyable.  I never feel nervous before one, my attitude is what will be will be.  Yet i’ve been trying to work out why I don’t particularly enjoy going on dates and have come to this conclusion…..

Nude photo shoot?  Not a problem for me!  Yet put me in front of a stranger on a date and have me talk about myself and my gawd I feel vulnerable.  Vulnerable is the best word I can think to describe my feelings.  I feel like i’ve been opened out for this person to judge me, I feel exposed.  For someone who is so confident in many ways when it comes to the opposite sex I am like a little turtle popping my head back in it’s shell frightened of the outcome.  Am I boring?  Am I hideous?  Is what i’m saying really dorky?  I haven’t worked out how to turn these feelings around and be more confident in myself when it comes to guys.  I guess it’s a journey I just have to figure out for myself.  If I feel intimidated I just pull back, for fear of making a fool of myself.

London is a tough bugger to be single in.  Us London folk don’t tend to strike up conversations with attractive strangers.  The likes of Happn now mean that cute girl or guy you passed may just be on the other end of this app available to chat behind the security of a mobile phone.  Messages to and fro are great but until you meet that person face to face and can feel chemistry you don’t really know if you will like them enough to take it further.

Anyway enough with the self-pitying.  I was in a grump and you know what?  It was really fricking dull, hence some writing and a blog post to express myself.  At the moment my life is a continuous cycle of yoga and work and i’ve never felt better for it. In the run up to my YTT I’ve been practising at Stretch everyday for the past month or so.  I feel more connected, more aligned and more open than ever before. Asanas are what we practice on the mat, yet the yoga really begins out of the studio.  I’m learning daily about what my body can and can’t do.  I’m finding spots that are tight, emotions that are hidden.  Practice needs a healthy dose of patience to go with it.  I am truly having to learn to sit with patience and just be.

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Love, Surfing

The Fear

F.E.A.R

The feeling/thing that stops you from doing something.  I’ve been thinking recently on past behaviours and it brought out interesting findings to the surface of my consciousness.  Fear is the thing that stops me making the drop on a wave I know I want to go for.  Fear is the thing telling me I will nosedive/fall off/stack it/hurt myself.  But what is the fear actually achieving?  It stops me from progressing.  I fully know that with patience and practice I can improve.  From the age of seven I went to Gymnastics.  As a little girl I would sit, enchanted by the acrobats on TV.  I thought it looked ‘easy’ and joined a club, that’s when I discovered it was anything but.  I went every week, and slowly but surely I improved.  I did moves I never thought I would be able to, back flips, handstands on shoulders and the splits.  Yet when it got tougher and I became frustrated, I left.  I had fear.  Giving up gymnastics is a massive regret of mine.  But I just didn’t think I would ever be good enough.

I am itching to get out into the sea and try and push past the mental block of fear.  I’ve traveled the world to amazing surf destinations and let waves be snaked or felt shame if I pulled out of one, the shame is on myself.  It’s an irrational fear, if I don’t ever take the bigger/faster/steeper waves how will I know what they feel like or if I can do it?  So still I am stuck in a cycle of being in my comfort zone.  I love nothing more than going surfing, why do I let the fear take the limelight?


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