Wellbeing

8 simple ways to live with more ease

There’s a TED talk I watched years ago called “Life Is So Easy,” by a man named Jon Jandai. He talks about how he moved from his homeland in Thailand to work 9 to 5 in Singapore. He soon realised that despite working more hours; he was financially poor, time poor and his relationships were suffering.

He moved back to Thailand and began building his own house on a farm, harvesting his crops only three months of the year and taking the rest of the year off to read, spend time with his family and enjoy life. He had less money, but he had more time and financial freedom.

This is just one example of someone that decided that life didn’t have to be so difficult, it could actually be enjoyable and heaven forbid, it could be easy. So why do some of us make our lives so hard?

A lot of it has to do with our beliefs. If we’ve grown up with the belief that working ‘hard,’ is the only way to get through life, then we're not going to live a life with much ease. But what if there was another way, what if we could make it easy for ourselves?

Well, we can; it all comes down to changing old habits and beliefs. It’s like a domino effect; once we start implementing habits one at a time, they eventually grow to become a whole new way of life. Before we know it, we're looking back on your old way of life, wondering how we ever lived that way.

Here are 8 simple ways to start living life with more ease today;

Adopt positive physiology

Our bodies are a direct reflection of your mind and the way we walk, talk, breathe and smile say a lot about us, so by bringing awareness to these things, we can begin notice when our breath is short and tense or our posture is defeated. Practicing longer and deeper breaths has the opposite effect of fight-or-flight, signalling to the brain that we’re safe and everything’s alright. Hunching is also a defensive posture and indicates that we’re retracting from the world or protecting our heart, but we can change our physiology very simply by standing tall, making us feel instantly more empowered and open to the world. The words we use are also a good indication of our self-talk. When we’re kind to ourselves and back ourself up, we're available to be kind to others and our interactions with each other feel easier and less-judgemental. If we have no idea how to implement these things, yoga is a great way to open up our posture, to smile and breathe when things are difficult and to adopt positive inner-world. 

Make movement a natural part of life

When people talk about exercise like it’s a chore or a form of self-punishment, they’re making their lives phenomenally difficult because every time they go out to exercise, it’s attached with a feeling of obligation, rather than a feeling of joy. But there’s another way to look at it. Movement was once a natural part of our everyday lives, but our 21st century lifestyles are more sedentary than they used to be. When we become hyper-aware of how many hours a day we might spend sitting down, we'll naturally start to feel inclined to move our bodies more. Exercise doesn’t have to be a separate part of life that need to be ‘completed,' it’s much easier when we can make a natural part of our lives. If we work close to home, there's the option to ride a bike, if we're catching up with a friend, we can go on walk instead of sitting at a cafe. Not only does it help develop a healthy attitude towards moving, but there's no need to find the motivation when it's genuinely enjoyable.

Be kind to yourself

How do we practice Self Kindness? We can start by noticing our internal dialogue. It might be surprising at first how, often it's negative. If we notice we put ourselves down a fair bit, it’s time to stop and become our own number one biggest fan, because we'll soon realise that all the validation we ever needed was within ourselves all along. Backing ourselves up no matter what happens in life is not a form of egotism, it’s essential. Ironically, the biggest critic we need to back ourselves up from the most, is ourselves. Next time we notice negative self-talk, we can practice giving ourselves the same patience and understanding we’d offer a friend if they made a mistake, by saying “it’s okay, I’ve learned for next time, I’m only human.” Becoming our own ally makes life a lot easier, because when our inner world is a better place, so is our outer world. Buddha said “you yourself as much as anyone else deserves your love and affection.”

Start educating yourself of new ways of living

In school, they don’t teach us how to have good relationships, replace limiting beliefs with expansive ones or how to be more productive — but thankfully, there’s plenty of resources available to teach ourselves these skills. There are so many books, articles and podcasts available that are great to listen to when commuting to work or during a morning walk. A lot of the time, we’re influenced by the same people over and over again, our colleagues, our friends and our family. Introducing new influences from books, travelling or meeting new kinds of people can change beliefs rapidly. When people travel, they often come back saying they’ve ‘found themselves,’ but what’s often happened, is they’ve met new people that have exposed them to new influences and new ways of living that have made them see new possibilities for their lives. 

Let go of beliefs that make you feel low and un-empowered

Beliefs are the linchpin of everything, they’re the difference between feeling lethargic or feeling energised and positive throughout our day. If we don’t believe you can live the life we want, then we won’t allow ourselves to dream of it, let alone reach for it. What’s more, if you do try reach for something, but our beliefs aren’t in the right place, our subconscious mind will find ways sabotage us in the process. Our minds don't discriminate and it believes whatever we tell it, whether that’s positive or negative. Programming our minds to believe work is fun or we have the power to change, can be the difference between living a life with ease and pushing a bolder up a hill. 

Embrace doing things the easy way

If our problem is productivity and organisation; there’s a book for that. If it’s feeling anxious all the time; there’s endless information in forums, podcasts, books that can help to move through it. If we want to find easier ways to change our beliefs; there’s a book for that. Whatever it is, go out and find a better way; there’s always an easier way — knowledge is power. 

Let this moment inform your life

This one is simple, we can only do what we can do in the moment. The past has already happened and the future is not worth worrying about because it’s all a hypothesis. Letting thoughts of the past or the future contaminate the present moment, only causes us to lose focus, spontaneity and joy. Words to live by; “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever."

Accept the full Spectrum of your emotions

Anger, sadness, guilt and anxiety are the perfect messengers and allies. They’re either there for our survival or to let us know when something in our lives is out of balance. We can welcome each emotion to our door, let ourselves feel it fully, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it is and listen to what it’s telling us. These emotions tend to push us in the right direction if we use them as a gauge to make positive changes, rather than unpacking our bags and living there. If we’re anxious for example, it might be an indication that something in our lives needs changing, whether it’s a relationship for example, or our beliefs about a relationship — it’s all there to teach us. When we look at it like this, we begin to see that there’s no bad emotions, only teachers.

coffee with studio owner dirima cuthbert \\ finding your core values

Based on the old adage that to ‘know thyself’ is to find empowerment; Studio Anthro helps people explore life’s important questions through one-on-one consults, interviews, bookclubs and long table dinners. With her background in Anthropology and Architecture, founder Dirima Cuthbert combines the two unlikely disciplines to help people to find self-empowerment. Her clients walk away from her one-on-one consults with more clarity about their core-values, leading some of them to make career changes, start a successful business or even go back to study.           

How did the idea for Studio Anthro come to be?

Studio Anthro grew from my interest as an Anthropology major, and the idea that there was so many great grains of wisdom that I learned from that, that I thought people would get a lot of benefit from to apply to their everyday life. Anthropology can be of enormous daily benefit to people and so I developed it from what I saw was an opportunity to make a difference in people’s everyday lives.

So your consults draw from your background in the arts and humanities. Could you elaborate on that and how it seems to help people make lasting changes in their life?

Consulting is at the heart of what we do. We start from the idea that you can’t really know your world until you know yourself. The idea being that when you do know yourself, you make better decisions, make less mistakes, you get more out of life and you can give more to others. There’s lots of ideas associated with mindfulness around, and some of them tend to be a bit navel gazing. I like the idea at Studio Anthro, that knowing yourself is the main step towards being able to offer a positive contribution to the world. The idea behind the consults, came from a combination of my degree in anthropology and design. In a way, they’re like a ‘design your life’ concept where we look at how people live and what motivates them to live that way. How that reflects on who they are and from that we get some ideas about how they can live better every day to have less stress.

How are your one-on-one consults structured?

It’s got three parts to it; including an initial meeting where we look at how people live and then we do another one, two, or three weeks later, with more formal questions, to establish how and why they live that way. The whole point of the ‘core-values’ is to find out your core essence and weed out what you do, from who you are. By the end of the second meeting, we have a good idea of some words that can help define what you value most, and we work with our clients to ascertain what they are.

Do you give them a guide of where to use their core values? How do they work in people’s lives?

At the end of that, they know from conversation what their words are and after two weeks they get a report that’s loosely based on what I’d do for an anthropological report. The report shows what we did, why we did it and what the results were. We then meet to discuss the report and make up a little booklet that’s A5 size so you could carry it in your bag and it’s only about 10 pages long, although mostly people memorise their key values.

What kind of feedback have you received from your clients?

I can see the feedback every day. There are people around who’ve got businesses that they otherwise wouldn’t have had, that are thriving and people that’ve chosen to go back to university. It’s not a quick fix, it’s an opportunity to find out who you are and live that with confidence. It takes away a lot of the Q’s of ‘who am I’ ‘should I be doing this’ etc.

What do you think this style of consult offers that’s different from going to see a psychologist or a life coach?

It’s meant to be a way for people who wouldn’t normally see themselves in a problem-stage or needing help, to reflect on who they are. My typical client is someone who is pretty successful, they just need some tweaking. I have turned people away if it seems like they need more from the experience. Usually I can test that quite easily by ascertaining if they’re looking for someone to hold their hand along the way which is not what we’re about, that’s more of a life coach or a psychologist’s job. What Studio Anthro offers is a way to help people get a little bit more on track. As a result, I do tend to get a lot of 40-something women that are wanting to make the next half of their life count.

How do the core-values of Studio Anthro inform your business?

Ours are beauty, kindness, discernment and knowledge. One of the great things about doing my own values, and realising beauty was one of them, was that it helped to put things in perspective. I’d often been conflicted about being attracted to beautiful things, ‘cos it felt shallow or vain, but it was great to do my core values and be able to own it for what it was. For me beauty was a certain honesty. It helped me gain confidence of who I was and Studio Anthro was born from that. It helps us to think about how we look, what our core mandate is, what directions we go, what we offer and I run everything through that process, from our web layout to our conversations.

Was living from your core values something you were already doing in your life or something you honed specifically?

More of the former, Studio Anthro is like me on a page. Clarity comes from not only knowing yourself, but knowing how you react to what’s going on around you. That’s what’s unique about Studio Anthro, because a lot of other businesses might provide one but not the other. They give you this opportunity to go into yourself but they don’t help you deal with how annoying it is that Donald Trump got elected for example. Through that, people realise they’re not alone and this helps to put some of these things in perspective and to cultural context. I think you’ve got to be able to respond well to the chaos in life.

When you know how you’re responding. Say you might get out of control and it might not be a desirable response, how do you reconcile it?

When you know yourself that well you tend to not get out of control. It’s not to say I never have arguments, you do but I guess you do become a lot more mindful about who you are and what you want in a bigger picture, so a lot of the small stuff becomes less important to sweat, because you’re not so prickly to start with. Maybe ten years ago someone might’ve said ‘you’re so vain’ and it would’ve offended me but I know in my mind how its justified. But I’d think, well they might see it that way but they’ve got the wrong understanding of what I think about beauty.

What happens with your core values if you start to change as a person over time?

I’m of the opinion that your core values don’t change that much over your life. People come in and say ‘I kind of know my core values’ you know ‘my family etc.’ But I just say it’s not really a core value, that’s life. But we’re looking at bigger picture values, not ones that come easily to people’s minds. It’s really important with the core values that its relevant enough that people can apply it to every day but no so specific that they can apply it across the board. 

What are the common reasons that your clients that book in for a one-on-one consult? Are they usually in a career transition or a little bit lost?

I think all of the above and also, we have so many choices nowadays, which is a blessing and a curse. So many people are concerned if that they make a choice, it might be the wrong one. Most people aren’t super confused, but they just want to make the next forty years count and get more from life in a way that’s hard to do if you don’t know yourself well. I’m not saying core-values are the be-all-and-end-all, but it’s just another useful thing to put in your toolbox.

 

 

 

coffee with ava irani \\ the business of self-realisation

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 10.05.32 AM.png

Meet Ava, the founder of Spanda School; a thriving community hub on Blinco St Fremantle that is much more than just a yoga studio. With a wide range of classes, retreats and events, Spanda School's unique offering allows its students the opportunity to forge their own self-tailored spiritual path. From hridaya meditation, kundalini, tantra, satsang and cacao meditation, much of what Spanda offers can’t be found anywhere else in Perth and is entirely unique to the school. I began teaching yoga at Spanda School when it first opened and it has been amazing to watch its rapid growth in just one year. It has evolved into a large, nurturing and supportive community engaged authentically with personal evolution and self-realisation. I caught up with Ava to find out more about her vision for the school and how she incorporates the practices she offers in her own life.  

What were you doing before you opened Spanda School? Could you share some background on how it came to be?

Before the school opened in Feb 2016 (so not even a year ago), I was teaching overseas in Thailand and in Mexico at the two headquarters of Agama and Hridaya Schools and it looked to everyone like I was travelling around the world, but really I was at these two places. I’d come back to Australia every couple of months to do little retreats and see Jarred and my family but then I’d head back over.

What is the basis and vision behind it and how has that evolved from its original idea in theory to what it has become now in practice?

It was always meant to be a replication of these other schools that I saw doing so well. The structure and community are the same, but of course the content that we share at Spanda is very different. It’s promoting a very specific type of lifestyle and the thing I want to share most is a transformative lifestyle. But really everyone is living a transformative lifestyle, because the way you live transforms what you are. Everything that you do as soon as you get up, the type of people you hang out with, when you hang out with them – everything about your lifestyle is changing who you are and visa-versa. Outside is inside and inside is outside and they’re just reflecting and configuring each other.

What I found that blew my mind all these years ago at the other schools, was that these people were living an epic lifestyle where, you’re going to school, but you’re going to the best school ever. You get up and everyone’s doing the same thing in the morning, everyone’s living in these separate houses (rich people are living in the richer houses and poor people are living in the discounted bungalows), but when everyone gets up, it’s cleansing practices. You clean your nose, you clean your tongue and everyone’s doing yoga purification practices when they wake up. Then they’re doing their own practices, yoga and meditation in their bungalow or they’re going to school because their course is on. Everyone’s going to the beach every day and juicing, fasting, praying, detoxing, going to kirtan or doing retreats, it’s a lifestyle that you get to immerse yourself in. There’s an energy that radiates from the school that says if you want to be a part of it, you need to commit to this stuff. There’s all these people that hang out on the periphery that kind of come to a class, or they’ll only come to the kirtan. But the people who had committed to it were just miles ahead, because it’s the whole lifestyle – you’re not just learning a course or practicing yoga, it’s this whole package. You didn’t just learn a great course or go to a great class, you have all of it, which of course will transform you. What if your entire life was the personal development program?

With the amount of heaviness around money collectively, it’s almost impossible to keep going on and be totally in flow and in abundance with cash that you have to do something almost every day.

The school is not at its full expression yet, it’s about one-fifth of what I would like it to be running at, because it’s only 80 square meters and needs to be bigger and that’s why we’re expanding. So we need that big centre, we need more space to house everything that we want to do to create this thing. The vision for the school is a place where you can immerse yourself without having to pay thousands of dollars to travel to experience this. I got really triggered by one of my students the other day who said “I think I’m going to go try this one-week retreat in India, it’s three thousand dollars” and I was like, “so you’re going to compromise yourself and work your ass off in a job you hate, to go and do something that you don’t even really know about.” This is what I’m creating the school for, because it makes no sense that you work your ass off and struggle so that you get a little bit of freedom. This is what the whole model of this school is, to create a lifestyle for people and lots of places are doing that - but there’s no competition – because our lifestyle will not be for everyone. We are almost a closed bubble that will continue to grow, but it will have no threat to the Crossfit community that’s right next door, because they have a different lifestyle and set of values.

The degree that you see that it’s you is the degree that you realise that its irrelevant to work on anything else but you.

People that work in wellness or spiritual industries often say that combining a spiritual practice and business can be challenging. What have you learned about this since you started Spanda and how do you balance the two?

You know that common question of spirituality and money, which has been a blockage or something that I’ve totally identified in myself but so long ago. I probably did some real work on it about two-and-a-half, three years ago. I did a lot of work because I love money and I need money, but I was living a lifestyle where I was not going to work a normal job so I needed to sort out the money side of things. The clearest answer would be that it’s an individual issue that each of us have towards money. The way we fit in and struggle with society and our own sense of value is going to be reflected in money, so you have to sort that out so that every step you take with your business to be as financially abundant as possible are all natural steps, so you’re falling forward. I don’t feel money is an issue with the business anymore. Little things come up but they’re very much on the periphery. I work with money every single day in a yoga-term; Jarred and I do something called a ‘mental bank ledger’ which we did years ago, it’s a self-hypnosis technique that we do every single night. Every day I work with money in some way or another. With the amount of heaviness around money collectively, it’s almost impossible to keep going on and be totally in flow and in abundance with cash that you have to do something almost every day. For example, you’ll see pictures of Lakshmi all over my wall in my room and I do a lot of work with her.

There’s been no obstacles, there’s just been lesson after lesson and for sure, in the past I’ve looked at things as obstacles, but now it’s so obvious to me that that’s the only way I could’ve done things.

You mentioned to me once that everything you do, you first work on in the mind – could you tell me a little bit about this practice and how it’s manifested in your life so far?  

I think it’s really interesting how someone manifests something into their experience and it’s also really important, because it’s all a subconscious process. The subconscious relies on examples from the outside, so the more cool examples that you hear of other pople manifesting things, the more you start to configure into that direction. Most of the time all of the examples we see are ‘I struggled and I tried and didn’t do it’ or ‘I want it, but I don’t have it,’ so those examples are usually the ones that are configuring the way we believe we can create stuff. So I think those examples are really inspiring; like the school and my house and the partner I’m with and the manager and staff and community I have at the school are examples of my inner work. But the meat of it is, that the more you experience that everything outside of you is exactly what’s inside of you - the more that you actually see it that way and it’s not just words. It’s moments of awakening, awareness, practice, things lining up and the more that you see that it’s ‘me,’ then it becomes totally, undeniably your responsibility. Everything else it irrelevant. The degree that you see that it’s you is the degree that you realise that its irrelevant to work on anything else but you. In Spanda, everything is an emphasis on what you are.

Were there any inner-obstacles you overcame? What were they?

There’s been no obstacles, there’s just been lesson after lesson and for sure, in the past I’ve looked at things as obstacles, but now it’s so obvious to me that that’s the only way I could’ve done things. You know, mistakes I’ve made in the year or learning to communicate better and things like that. This year’s been a huge learning-year for me with the school being a directly reflection of what I’ve been doing, so it’s impossible to frame it as obstacles but more so, lots of lessons. Because of that there’s just no way I could’ve done things differently, but since the beginning of my journey, obstacles would be things like money, although even looking back it wasn’t an obstacle. When it arose in me that it was an obstacle it immediately shifted into a lesson that I could dig into and figure out. So over the past 7 years or so it’s been lots of obstacles in hindsight, but as soon as it actually became “fuck I got no money and this doesn’t feel right” then it became “okay cool, practice time or evolution time.”


Last time we had a chat, you spoke very highly about Hridaya meditation and said it is (and will grow to be) the cornerstone of Spanda School. Why is Hridaya meditation the heart of Spanda above all else?

But the Hridaya meditation which is a part of the whole yoga system, is the realest thing I’ve ever found. It’s what everything else that’s pointing up is eventually pointing to, but it’s just been systematised, clarified and shared and it’s like magic. Hridaya yoga or meditation of the spiritual heart, which is not the heart chakra but a sense of being. It’s basically dropping into stillness and that’s it, but there’s a whole system around it. It’s the only thing I ever want to do, so of course my business is going to reflect that. The thing I value most and prioritise the most is what I want the school to offer, but also knowing that it’s not for everyone and offering other tools as well.

What does a Hridaya session look like?

Hridaya is the name of a whole system. It’s based on Kashmiri Shaivism which is a type of yoga (not with the physical body), hatha, tantra, kundalini and even karma yoga so it’s this new system that’s incorporating all of these traditional yoga practices. In the past one lineage of yoga would serve you your whole life but in this day-and-age, we need all of the yoga’s, and why not? We have access to it and there’s a school that teaches all of it in one.

What does a day look like for you?

Lots of informal practice and a little bit of formal practice. So most days I’m teaching at least one or two classes and also having private sessions with people. Then I do a lot of creative work which is also a practice, which would be karma yoga. Most people think Karma Yoga is volunteer or unpaid service, but what it is, is a consecrated practice - to be present when you’re doing anything. Anything can be karma yoga, it’s just about being present and offering it to something greater than yourself. Lots of my days are spent doing karma yoga, my business work and creative work and hridaya meditation in the morning and evening. Sometimes I’ll do physical practice of yoga for the physical body, which I’ll do only do twice a week. I get in 6-7 hours of exercise in the week during teaching that’s informal. Diet’s also a huge thing, so I fast until the middle of the day on lemon water or sometimes I might have a juice. But I definitely go with what’s feeling natural, I’m not strict with anything and if I wanted to eat in the morning I would. I’m huge into an Ayurvedic diet and recently I’ve been experimenting with leveraging the phases of my hormonal cycle with my diet too. So depending on whether I’m in my luteal or follicular phase, having a different diet to support that, which is a little bit more Chinese medicine - which I’m not studied in - but I’m moving in that direction to experiment.

 

5 ways your world will change when you go to yoga class

If you’ve been living in the 21st century (provided you haven’t been hiding under a rock), you’ll have probably noticed more people are wearing yoga pants than actual clothes these days. Some of you might roll your eyes and see it as another fad to take with a grain of salt, understandably. Distracting images of impossibly good-looking people in expensive yoga pants doing the splits on Instagram is, of course missing the point. There are many thousands of years behind this thing called Yoga and its benefit are tried and true; just look no further than the many devoted yogis in India living past one hundred. Below are some reasons we think you should get your butt down to a studio, none of which involve body sculpting or appearances.

You’ll Discover Body Awareness

It scares me to think how I got around the place knowing sweet nothing about this four-limbed machine I was running. In the same way that people who drive manuals say they feel more connected to their car, people who do yoga can drive their body better. Even if the most physical exertion you do equates to lifting a box or walking up the stairs, yoga will train you to do these things optimally to avoid injury, by engaging the right muscles and stacking your joints correctly. Not only that, you’ll start noticing the effects certain foods or beverages have on your body, you just won’t be able to help it. Next minute your posture is amazing, you discovered you have a core and life is coming up roses.

You’ll Feel Much Better Than Before

You will probably begin to develop two personalities; the Zen-master ‘you’ that did yoga today and the slightly more Godzilla version of ‘you’ that skipped it. Jokes aside, yoga doesn’t end when you get off the mat, it follows you everywhere you go, making you kinder to the guy who stole your parking spot, reminding you to breathe when you’re stressed and helping you to locate that peaceful feeling you’ve started to cultivate more and more when you’re in your yoga class. Yoga is the most comprehensive tool for living there is; incorporating body conditioning, meditation, breathing exercises and basically everything you ever need, bundled into a mere hour and a half of your day.

Home is Where the Yoga Is

You can travel the globe or be without a home, but still unroll your yoga mat, stare between your shins in downward dog and find home. Like navigating a new city; after breaking through the initial weirdness (and sometimes confusion) of putting your body in all these unfamiliar shapes, they will eventually become familiar to you, just like street names stick in your mind like old friends. Each pose will provide something for you; a hip release, core strength, balance – all of which correlate to a release in the mind, strengthening the mind and creating a more stable and balanced mind. Each pose will start to feel like home, a place to come back to, so you can draw from it what you need on any given day.

You’ll Ditch the Past and The Future for a New Lover

A buzz word that people on Oprah love to use, mindfulness is the new jam. Yoga provides a daily practice so that you can train your mindfulness muscles in the brain, so you get better and better at tapping into the present moment – that’s where the party’s at. It’ll help you concentrate, think less about your problems and feel alive, instead of going through your day on autopilot or getting from A to B without remembering how you got there. The past was so yesterday and the future hasn’t happened yet so who needs them anyway?

You’ll Find Measurable Progress

Some of us need to get fit and others need to stretch out. Whatever your goals are, each yoga pose is a progression to another more difficult pose and the possibilities are endless. Yoga provides an outlet to suit a beginner in their 80’s in need of a gentle practice, to a gymnast in their 20’s that wants a physical challenge. The best part is, the strength and flexibility you acquire is visible, whether that’s getting further to the floor in a hip stretch or kicking up into a forearm stand. 

Places we recommend to get started:

THE YOGA VINE

Located at the heart center of the Perth CBD, the Yoga Vine has something tailored to suit everyone from core power lovers, to those in need of a little roll and release. Pop in on for a 45-minute lunchtime express, very cleverly tailored to those with a crazy schedule in need of some balance and rejuvenation.

LOWER GROUND FLOOR, 187 ST GEORGES TCE, PERTH

MIND BODY HEART STUDIO

Going beyond movement, Mind Body Heart studio combines the addition of cooking classes to their Yoga and Pilates program, providing comprehensive holistic support in the tranquil streets of Wembley. The beautifully designed studio is host to a wide range of events from sound healing, to wellness rituals and Pilates by candlelight.

81 NANSON ST, WEMBLEY

YOGAWORX

International facilitators of famous yoga names like Sean Corn and Janet Stone, Yogaworx not only provides brilliant classes, but a platform for yoga gurus to return to Perth year after year, providing world class workshops that help expand and enlighten Perth’s wider yoga community. Home to some of Perth’s best teachers, Yogaworx attracts a devoted and nurturing community of all levels - though you best get in early as their classes fill up quick! For class updates and daily soul-filled inspiration, you can follow them at ‘Yogaworx’ on Instagram or Facebook.

 

Goa, India - Inside the Shiva Shakti Yoga Teacher Training

[October 2015]

The Monsoon Season in Goa dries up around October, where you'll find a once empty beach propped up with the scaffolding of soon to be restaurant fronts, bars and nightclubs. The Shiva Shakti Yoga Centre is on the bank of a beautiful river, surrounded by palms and dotted with colourful wooden boats. The accomodation is very basic and consists of a small tin shack with no hot water, but you'll eventually become accustomed to the thud of coconuts falling the roof every night or the odd visit from furry eight legged creatures. 

The teachers at the centre are extremely dedicated to their practice from an early age and both of them have practiced yoga from a really early age as it had been passed down through generations. At $1300, it was one of the most affordable trainings available and also one of the most authentic.

After only two years of a consistent practice, I thought it was too soon to do a teacher training, but when I arrived, I found that everyone's experience level varied from 2 months of practicing yoga to 5 years — one couple booked their training a week in advance just for the experience. 

The day-to-day included practicing Kiryas or 'cleansing practices," which involve things like pouring water through your nostrils or 'flossing' them with a piece of string, but you can opt out on these practices, though our teacher encouraged it, he said ultimately to listen to our own truth. 

Each morning began with a half hour Kiryas followed by a half hour Pranayama session or 'breathing practices.' We then had a short food break before doing a two hour yoga practice. After lunch we did theory with our teacher Jagi, including philosophy, anatomy, mantra chanting and a short half hour meditation. The last part of the day involved teaching methodology, where our teacher Chida taught the alignment of each pose in detail, it's contra-indications, benefits and how to teach. 

The food at the training was vegetarian and mostly cooked food, including curries, rice and all the usual suspects, but they were cooked with very little oil, salt or spices. This yogic way of eating, avoids over-stimulating foods, as it's said to bring balance to the mind and the digestive system. It felt really good to eat this way. 

download (4).jpeg
canva-photo-editor (5).png

On our breaks, we would take a Rickshaw called Palolem just 20 minutes away. Palolem is filled with stores selling Indian textiles, jewellery, crystals, bookstores and healthy vegetarian and vegan cafes including Space Goa; a beautiful oasis of healthy food including kombucha, juices and fresh salads. 

40 minutes north of the yoga centre is a waterfall and a Sacred Bubble Lake, where it's said bubbles surface when you chant to it. We chanted one of the 9 mantras we learned at the training at the Netravali Bubble Lake and watched the bubbles miraculously surface. The locals believe that the bubbles happen because they worship Shiva deity in Gopinath temple next to the lake, but scientists say that it's the ;limestone, co2 or sulphur dioxide content in the water. 

The faith and spirituality present in India is woven everywhere, from the things you buy to the food you eat, the rituals you take part in and the cab drivers with their religious iconography strung around their rearview mirror. The Shiva Shakti Yoga Center wasn't a Balinese luxury experience, but I felt like an honour to learn yoga in the country it originated.