I have been so busy and am now in a position to start thinking about blogging again – for this blog as well, again as other sites.

Please feel free to check out some of the articles I have.  Also feel free to feed back!  Is there anything you would like to see?


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Yoga Nidra Meditation Workshops

We are excited to announce a series of four weekly meditation workshops starting Sunday 13 September 6 – 7 pm at Abundance Thorndon.

Yoga Nidra is a deep relaxation meditation so the timing is perfect to end the weekend and to start your week relaxed and calm.

We are unable to take bookings so please arrive a little early to ensure a space. We also won’t have access to the studio’s eftpos facility, so please just bring cash – $10 per class.

For any additional information, please visit the Abundance website or contact the studio manager, Lauren Sgarlato, or myself on here

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Anger and compassion

Someone who is angry is someone who doesn’t know how to handle their suffering. They are the first victim of their suffering, and you are actually the second victim. Once we can see this, compassion is born in our heart and anger evaporates. We don’t want to punish them any more, but instead we want to say something or do something to help them suffer less.” Thich Nhat Hanh​.

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What does a young British Cordon Bleu chef do to help with yoga?

I wrote this article about a year ago. It really can be a little bit of a challenge sometimes – we all sometimes feel a little disconnected. Or distracted. So as teachers we learn where and how to find inspiration for classes. Keeping in mind that I think we all don’t just want to find an amazing theme for a class, you want to offer something useful, helpful.

Rachel Khoo – beautiful young British Cordon Bleu chef, who lived in Paris for a while and now London, has the habit of wandering around the city with a camera and a notebook, with the purpose of finding inspiration for her philosophies and designs and dishes.

I am a keen people observer. I love walking around. I love just quietly being in nature. I love writing. I always have my class book with me. Put my iPod/phone camera in the mix and I have everything I need to try that too! So I am going to do more of that. With the purpose of finding inspirational classes.

Where does a yoga teacher’s inspiration come from? As a teacher you, of course, want to start every class knowing you have something to offer your students. You would like every student to take something away with them. So it remains a constant…
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Our thoughts are with Vietnamese Zen Master, Thích Nhất Hạnh, who is very ill.

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

We talked about Svadhyaya in class tonight – self study. Getting to know and understand ourselves. Extend that understanding and love to yourself as much as you would to a loved one.

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Yoga – the University of Self

One of the underlying and key things I try to convey to my students is that yoga is us learning about ourselves.  And so do I!  

I have often found it hard to look directly at students – I sort of look at the body part we are working with.  Occasionally I am able to look at someone and crack a joke.  It’s simply that it becomes really close when you look at someone, in their eyes.  It makes me feel really vulnerable and at present I am a little freaked out if someone comes close.  When I was teaching Body Balance/Centergy ( group fitness class based on yoga), it was easy – but then you are on a stage and you have a microphone.  Connecting directly is easy then. You are also then dealing with a large number of people.  A yoga studio is smaller and people are closer.  

So today I plucked up the courage to look at my beautiful students.  I connected more directly and so closely with them.  It was like having a two way conversation.  So I am getting that ego – that vulnerability – out of the way.  And so I, too, am learning and growing.  ❤

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The Trinity of Yoga and Resilience – Part III

Over the last two weeks we looked at what helps us with resilience.  In the first week we looked at flexibility – adaptability and then we looked at balance.

Today in class we started on the third element in resilience – strength. We talked about how strength is not necessarily a rock or a loud voice. Strength more often is flexibility and balance. Knowing when to let go and when to be soft – flexibility. Knowing when to stand strong. I dedicated class to my mom – Joan Elizabeth (Egen) Vorster. The strongest person I know. And we talked about Mahatma Ghandi. The impact he had on the world. And just like my mom, never a harsh word uttered. Ever.

At end of class – quoted: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet little voice at the end of the day that says: I will try again tomorrow.”

Sending love  ♥


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The Pendulum Swings

I have been teaching my classes over the last three weeks based on the trinity of yoga:  strength, balance and flexibility.  Danna Faulds, a yogi and poet, expresses these concepts so well in her poems:

Have patience. The pendulum
that swung too far in one
direction will swing back.
At the moment of its turning,
everything hangs in the balance.
All the momentum of past actions
is suspended in mid-air, and
those who care about what
happens next are poised with it.

There is a long and anxious
pause before the motion shifts,
and then a sense of free fall,
when the world is turned on
its head and nothing is known
or normal. Have patience then,
and do not rush to either extreme.
The way will paint its own arrows
on the trees if you can wait for clarity.

~  Danna Faulds

I ask my participants to think about an area in their lives where they feel they might need a little more balance – work/life balance,  balance in a point of view, perhaps a reaction to a situation or a person and then to look for these in their asanas.

Har Har Waheguru
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Yoga for Bodybuilders

Although exercise and weight training is important for health and vitality, body builders can face problems related to joint and muscle pain. Yoga is a useful solution to help realign the body properly and improve flexibility. Beyond helping with any muscle or joint pain, yoga can also help improve poses and movement.

Risks in Body building

Body builders spend hours working on improving muscle mass and physical exercise, but that does not necessarily mean that good health will always follow. Common problems with health can occur as a direct result of building up a large amount of mass and hours of exercise for extended periods of time.

One important risk that a bodybuilder might face is injuries. Lifting weights, particularly heavy lifting, can result in injuries to the muscles and bones.  Even minor injuries from general weight lifting and exercise, such as sprains and strains, can add up over time causing pain and discomfort.

Beyond the physical risk of injuries, body builders often face a reduced range of motion due to increased muscle mass. Building up muscle has a risk of losing flexibility. Range of motion decreases and the body becomes less capable of stretching and moving freely. Along with the reduced ranged of motion, stiffness in the muscles can develop that requires longer periods of time stretching to regain the same level of physical movement.

Joint damage is another common problem that occurs over time while bodybuilding. The reason is simple: the joints take on more pressure due to exercises, weight training and increased muscle mass. Over time, the joints can cause discomfort and pain. When measures are not taken to correct the joint pain, inflammation and arthritis can develop.

Although body builders often spend hours exercising, they face health risks that are possible to prevent. It is not necessary to lose range of motion or face uncomfortable injuries due to increased stiffness.

Improvements with Yoga

Many body builders see positive changes by adding yoga to a normal routine. Beyond the improvements to flexibility, yoga can help improve sleeping habits, energy levels and general happiness. Sleep is a necessary part of healing after exercise because the body takes that time to repair muscles. A greater amount of energy can provide the opportunity to enjoy exercise without losing focus or taking unnecessary risks due to fatigue.

Here are a few poses to try:

Downward Facing Dog

The asana called downward facing dog is a basic pose found in several yoga practices. The movement increases general flexibility throughout the body and improves circulation. It also stretches out all of the muscles throughout the body.

Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands forward and adjust the knees so that they are below your hips. Slowly, lift the knees off the floor and pull the tailbone away from the spine. Move your heels toward the floor. Draw your shoulder blades toward each other and keep your head between your arms. The proper form has a shape like an inverted V. Stay in the pose for around five to eight long, deep breaths.

Seated Twist

The seated twist helps improve flexibility in the back and helps reduce the risk of back injuries from lifting.

Sit on your mat (or the floor) with your legs out in front of you. Now put your right foot (knee up) next to the outside of your left knee. Tuck your left heel close to the buttock (or leave that leg straight if this is difficult). Keep the sit bones even on the floor and lift up through the top of your head, then twist from the shoulders toward the right. With your left arm, hug your right knee toward your upper body. Look over your right shoulder. Hold this pose for a few breaths – lengthening the upper body on the inhale and twisting a little more on the exhale. Then uncross the legs and do the other side.

Warrior Pose

Warrior pose is a pose of power that improves general balance and builds core stability. Start with the legs together. Do a side lunge with the front foot facing forward and the back foot facing sideways. Hold the arms straight from the shoulders, activating the arms. Hold the pose for a few seconds, release, then do the other side.

Bridge pose

Bridge pose is a great chest stretch. Lie on your back and bring your feet, soles on the floor, close to your buttocks. Keep your arms on your mat, palms down. Be sure that your toes face the front and feet are parallel to each other. Now, as you inhale, start lifting the hips. With every inhale, lift a little higher. You can support your bridge with your hands or a block under the hips.

Cow face arms

Cow face arms are an element of cow face pose, in which the legs are crossed and the feet tucked close to the buttocks. (That is a great hip opener!) For this purpose, you could also just sit with legs straight in front of you. Stretch your left arm out horizontally and then tuck it up between the shoulder blades. Now stretch your right arm up, then tuck it behind your head, toward the fingers of your left hand. It may be necessary to use a strap to hold between the two hands. Hold this for a few breaths, then do the other side.

If you are unsure, why not attend a class? Most instructors are experienced in helping all body types and would help you find the best way for you to practice. There are so many more asanas that can help.

Yoga can help body builders improve flexibility, create more space and reduce the risk of injuries. Although it might seem difficult at first, the practice can increase the amount of time that body builders are able to continue working out and enjoying their workout while also improving mental and physical health.  I have a few muscle men in my classes and they love their yoga practice!

Om Shanti Om


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