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Vinyasa Flow Workshop Announced

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Whether you are new to yoga or looking to try a new, explorative way to practice, come and join me for a fun vinyasa flow workshop at Barefoot Birmingham on Saturday 10th October. We’ll be exploring postures using flow and breath, and trying out some funky variations so you can find your own unique expression of each posture … This is a fun, lighthearted practice. A chance for you to explore your body with curiosity and gratitude … all set to an awesome, uplifting playlist. Explore, play, enjoy, be ok with falling over and remember it’s not about touching your toes, it’s what you learn on the way down 😉 for more information or to book go to http://barefootbirmingham.com/category/workshops or drop me a message

See you on the mat! 🙏

12 Weird things travellers do when they come home …

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1) Putting our loo roll in the bin, not down the bowl – this is now a completely automatic response with all toilet related situations

2) Spitting if we get water in our mouths whilst having a shower – blame the anti-malaria reflex

3) Loudly having a very personal and totally inappropriate convo in the back of the cab, and then remembering the driver speaks perfect English 😳

4) Totally disregarding most aspects of the Highway Code … providing we actually remember how to drive anything with 4 wheels

5) Eating pretty much everything with our hands (bonus points if it’s always the right)

6) Flicking off our flip flops before entering a shop … I did this at the local Tesco on my first day back – totes embarrassing!

7) Being incapable of setting an actual time for social engagements beyond “around sunset”

8) Revel in the joy that is walking past a shop and not being harassed. You’ll notice a traveller by the stupid grin they’re wearing as they walk very slowly past every available retail establishment on our (actually quite rubbish) high street

9) Adopt curious never-seen-before gestures when talking to our friends … Indian head wobble anyone?

10) When meeting people, going in for 5 cheek kisses / a slight bow / a wai / a gesture of namaste (delete as applicable) and ending up head butting your friend’s Mom or full on mouth kissing her – #awks

11) Leaning over the table and helping ourselves to everyone else’s food at a restaurant without asking. What? It’s communal!! 😉

12) Foregoing the offer of a nice comfy sofa at our Nan’s house and sitting cross legged on the carpet because it ‘feels more normal’ these days. Just watch the shell suit next to that pesky gas fire 😉

The traveller who is tired of travelling

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The world is full of opposite forces that push and pull against each other … sun & moon, light & shade, masculine & feminine, internal & external, love & hate. When these balance each other out we find harmony … you can’t really have one without the other. But what happens when there is a struggle between the two and we can’t seem to find that equilibrium. Can you love something and hate it all at the same time? How do you balance this and find peace within yourself?

I have a confession … I’m a traveller but recently I find myself growing tired of travelling. I’m done with the transient nature of it, the living out of a backpack, the not knowing what comes next.

After nearly two years on the road I’m missing stability, I’m missing a ‘home’. I miss simple things like having a fridge, knowing where to go for a decent coffee, I miss not having a space of my own to decorate with beautiful things, I miss having my pets and close friends nearby to offer a listening ear when I’m wavering on this path. As much as I love what I do, and I am truly blessed to have found my calling in life, this journey can be challenging and I have come to realise that I don’t really have a home. A realisation that can at times be upsetting, especially when friends who are 10 years my junior are settling down, getting married and having babies, especially when I have a perfectly lovely house in the UK but have no desire to go back to it.

And so I begin to weigh up my options. How can I continue to follow my dream of teaching yoga and living in a beautiful tropical country yet find the stability and the ‘home’ that I crave. I’ve come to realise that I’m fine when I’m in a place for a period of time. Last season in Goa was incredible … largely because I was there for 5 months, I worked for a great studio, I had an apartment (with a fridge) and made wonderful friends. I like to stay in one place, to immerse myself in the community and become part of that community. So I’ve resolved to spend at least 3 months in one place when I can.

I also understand that, for the foreseeable future, going back to the UK is not an option for me. I’ve committed to this path, this journey to find my own little slice of heaven where I can set up my dream studio and to go back would be to sell out. Instead I continue to navigate my way through this life, trusting my intuition, trusting that the universe will provide. When all is said and done, all we have is our authenticity, and all we can do is live our truth and do our best to cultivate that unshakable faith that everything will turn out alright… If we have the courage to live what we love.

For details of my upcoming yoga retreats go to http://www.artandsoulyogaspace.com/morocco-retreats

Multi-style Yoga Retreat Confirmed!

yoko yoga

I am super excited to collaborating with my good friend and acro yoga partner Yoko Swami on the first week of this year’s Morocco retreats.

Together we’ll be offering a unique opportunity to experience several different styles of yoga in one transformational week in beautiful Morocco this September. Whether you are a beginner looking to try out different classes to find a practice you really resonate with, or an advanced practitioner who wants to expand your yoga repertoire, you’ll enjoy the expert tuition of not one, but two teachers, delicious gourmet veggie cuisine and lots of free time to soak up the culture, surf or simply chill out at our stunning mountain riad.

Regular yoga retreats usually focus on one or two styles of yoga, but with so many classes on offer in studios all over the world, we recognise the need for students to have the opportunity to experiment with different styles to find the one that really fits their individual needs. In this 8 day retreat we’ll explore the very best of ashtanga, vinyasa flow, hatha, slow flow, meditation and pranayama (yogic breathing). There will be plenty of time to relax and explore the local area and of course both teachers will be available to advise you on your practice and yoga journey.

Yoko’s yoga journey began in India in 1998. He has since spent many years exploring life and spirituality in India, a country he feels deeply connected to. Yoko has experimented with various types of yoga and meditation techniques over the years, with a special interest in the work of Osho. However, he has always returned to the traditional teachings of ashtanga and hatha yoga, where he finds discipline and structure. Yoko enjoys embedding these values into his teaching, guiding students to explore and master this beautiful practice and helping them to link breath, asanas, and mind, so that their practice becomes a meditation in movement. As a teacher, Yoko specialises in physical adjustments to ensure a safe practice where students’ can improve and deepen their understanding of the postures. As an experienced assistant in yoga teacher trainings, Yoko is able to adjust students of all levels intuitively and mindfully to help them deepen their practice while honouring their physical limitations.

For full details of pricing and schedule please visit http://www.artandsoulyogaspace.com/morocco-retreats

We look forward to welcoming you in beautiful Morocco!

Have you practiced yoga today?

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As a teacher, I’m often asked how much yoga I ‘do’. When people ask this they’re usually referring to how much time I spend on my mat, and although yes, this is a vital part of any teacher’s day, my yoga is so much more than my physical practice. My answer is that I try to practice yoga all the time, in everything I do.

‘Yoga’ in its simplest form means ‘union’… to unite ourselves with the universe around us. Our ‘yoga’ can be the loving kindness we show to others, the compassion we develop for ourselves, looking after the environment and being grateful for the awesomeness of every day.

So if you don’t feel like banging out some sun salutations today, that’s perfectly fine 🙂 go spend some quality time with your family or with yourself instead. Rest, nurture, love, appreciate, respect, LIVE!! Now you’re practicing yoga!

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Is Yoga Really a Universal Language?

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As wonderful as it is, teaching abroad has it’s challenges … you rarely teach the same person for more than a few classes, people are invariably late as they’re in holiday mode, they sometimes turn up a bit squiffy after one to many lunchtime beers (I’ve had one student turn up high on mushrooms!) and you get people coming to class in teeny bikinis (yes, really).

But by far the most challenging is teaching to people who have limited English language.

Ok, I know some of you are thinking “but what about the ‘universal language of yoga’ that has the power to transcend dialects and language barriers?”. Yup, for experienced practitioners, fair do’s but for the beginners in the room it’s more like a universal panic of “I haven’t got a frickin’ clue what she’s banging on about, how the hell am I meant to follow this!”

I’ll openly admit to using pretty flamboyant language in classes. I’m trying to take people on a journey so I like to use imagery and provoke imagination. I also teach to music as I feel it helps people to move more freely and explore their capacity for movement. And while I would love to teach all my classes with bells and whistles, sometimes we need to honour our students and simplify things. For me that means leading some classes with … wait for it … NO MUSIC!! Using simple instructions and speaking slooooooowwwwwwly (my friends will appreciate how hard this is for me!)

But this isn’t a skill only international teachers need to master. How many times have you heard a teacher instructing beginners to “load ujaii breath” without a demo or explanation? Fine if they’re regulars and have been taught ujaii, but I had to laugh when I heard one student having a post-class discussion with another student about his ‘faginii breath’ … sounds like ….. 🙊!!

So this week my challenge is to simplify, to slow down, to nurture my students and to teach with empathy. Namaste #yoga #yogaeverydamnday #yogalove #yogagirl #yogaeverywhere #yogaeveryday #yogalife #yogapose #yogainspiration #yogapractice #yogagram #yogadaily #lombok #travellingyogi #travellingyogijenn

Embracing Change

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It’s a daunting thing doing something new … thrusting yourself well and truly outside your comfort zone. After all, life is just a damn sight easier when we stick to what we know. We get to stay inside our safe little box, and its a lovely place to be because we know it – inside out and back to front.

But what if there comes a time where you’re unceremoniously thrown outside your comfort zone? What happens when it’s not your decision? When it hits you square in the face and there is no other choice than to immediately change tac.

Would you be frightened of change or would you embrace the unknown?

If we can begin to introduce elements of change and newness into our daily lives, it prepares us for those inevitable moments when the shit hits the fan. After all, nothing in life is permanent … not our careers, our relationships, our health, our emotions … all this will pass. The only thing that is certain in this life is change.

I’m beginning to learn that, for me at least, the key to happiness is the ability to be adaptable, to embrace change, to roll with the punches and accept every part of this beautiful and sometimes brutal journey of life, without expectations. I know, I know … easy for you to say … Right?

No it’s not easy, it’s bloody hard, especially when it feels like life is handing you lemon after lemon but this is why we need to bolster ourselves with a bit of practice.

Step outside your comfort zone … take yourself out for a beautiful meal, alone … talk to strangers … apply for the job you’re underqualified for … tell that person how you really feel … call the friend you fell out with years ago … plan absolutely nothing for the weekend and just see what unfolds … book a riad in Morocco and hope people turn up for your retreats!

Change doesn’t need to be scary. Embrace it, learn to love it, and then when life hands you lemons, you’ll make lemonade.

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Morocco Retreats Announced!

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Happy Tuesday ❤️ Exciting news – I’ve been speaking to my friend Sam who owns a beautiful riad in Morocco about running a retreat there in September. Just putting the feelers out before I firm everything up. Please share this post with friends!!

Potential dates are …

Sat 19th – Sat 26th sept
or
Sat 26th sept – Sat 3rd oct

7 nights in a beautiful Moroccan riad, gourmet veggie food (menu looks so yummy!), 1 meditation and 2 yoga classes a day with me and lots of free time to explore amazing Morocco – souks, surfing, hammams, massages, a trip to Essoueira or just chilling and taking some well needed time for yourself. I spent 10 months working in Morocco in 2013/2014 and can honestly say it’s an amazing place! I’m so excited about going back 🙂

The price would be around £450-£550 for the week including accommodation, transfers, all yoga & meditation classes and 3 meals a day. Check out pictures of Sam’s beautiful venue at
https://www.facebook.com/TaghazoutlMountainRiad

Who’s interested in coming along?

Live Your Truth

image Starting at a new studio is always a really interesting experience for me … explaining why I need a plug point for my speakers, and no, I don’t need the Tibetan singing bowls or the yoga straps thank you 🙂

Going through this process with a new studio always makes me reflect on why I teach the way I do.

When I first started this journey I really struggled with my identity as a teacher. I stuck to the sequence I was taught in my training, working very classically with yoga postures, I definitely didn’t teach to music and yes … I had a ‘yoga voice’ … you know the one I mean, like a children’s primary school counsellor in slow mo 😉

I realised I wasn’t connecting with my teaching. Don’t get me wrong, I loved giving class, I just didn’t experience that profound feeling of joy that I heard my other yoga teacher friends talking about. I wasn’t being ‘me’.

So I started experimenting with music … yoga-friendly stuff to begin with and my practice began to unfold … I began to explore, to create, to dance, to let go and really get into my body. I started to teach with humour and lightheartedness … I started to teach to Snoop Dog.

It’s taken me a long time to be ok with the way I teach though … for a long time I thought, ‘this feels great, but it’s not yoga’. I realise now that all life is yoga. You don’t have to do chaturanga to develop that deep awareness of yourself. Sometimes you just need to let the beautiful animal of your body move freely, use your breath to guide you, and trust yourself to guide yourself.

Be authentic in all you do. You’re not on this earth to be liked, you’re here to live your truth. I’m a self confessed ‘people pleaser’ but I’ve come to realise I can only share what I know, with sincerity and love.

I’ll continue to look forward to that weekly traditional hatha class I love, because the teacher teaches from the heart… and in the meantime I’ll be putting the finishing touches to a new yoga dubstep playlist for my inversions class.

Happy Tuesday gorgeous beings

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No Fear

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Ok so we’ve established the importance of play both on and off the mat to create a fun and joyful practice. If that wasn’t enough to coax out your inner child … I’m hoping this post will have you playing hopscotch with your neighbours kids 😉

We all know children seem to have no fear right? They throw themselves wholeheartedly into activities with little thought of the consequences. Case in point … have you ever seen a child practicing handstands on the beach or in the park? They try, they fall, they cry and go running to Mommy, but after a quick cuddle, they’re back out practicing within minutes, having seemingly forgotten they ever messed up.

I don’t believe children are like this because they have a lack of fear of hurting themselves, it’s because of their lack of inhibitions. They really don’t give two shits if they fall over and look silly … How many adults can truly say the same?

We are so concerned with what other people think of us, so frightened of not getting it right, that we sabotage ourselves.

In my classes I encourage my students to learn as children learn. Turn up … Try … Fall … Laugh … Repeat. That’s yoga!!!

As you can see from this video, my handstands are still a work in progress. I do my best and it’s perfectly enough that I just show up for myself every day and embrace the challenge.

So, can we start to honour the child within and use yoga as a tool to forget our ‘failures’ and keep going, viewing each challenge as a new experience. And if we can develop this tenacity on the mat imagine the possibilities if we apply it to our daily lives. We would throw ourselves wholeheartedly into life, embracing challenges and living fully in the present moment … Now how frickin’ awesome would that be 😉 #yoga #yogaeverydamnday #handstand #yogalove #yogagirl #yogaeverywhere #yogaeveryday #yogalife #yogapose #yogainspiration #yogapractice #yogagram #yogadaily #lombok #travellingyogi #travellingyogijenn

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