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 πŸ™‚ 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 ….. πŸ™Š!!

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 πŸ™‚

The price would be around Β£450-Β£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?

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰ #yoga #yogaeverydamnday #handstand #yogalove #yogagirl #yogaeverywhere #yogaeveryday #yogalife #yogapose #yogainspiration #yogapractice #yogagram #yogadaily #lombok #travellingyogi #travellingyogijenn

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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 πŸ˜‰

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 … how frickin awesome would that be? πŸ˜‰

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Why So Serious?

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Happy Saturday world! Following on from my post yesterday about finding time in your life to play, I wanted to bring the concept back to the yoga mat to encourage you to begin to explore your practice with a sense of curiosity and lightheartedness. This is something I’m really interested in and is a real focus in my classes at the moment.

We spend our whole lives trying to ‘achieve’, to strive, to push . Think back to your last yoga class … how did you feel when you fell out of that balance, when you spied the girl next to you with her leg effortlessly behind her head? Was there a sense of defeat, of frustration, or a feeling that you’re just ‘no good at yoga’ … something us yoga teachers hear all the time by the way.

Give yourself a break!!!! You turned up didn’t you? You’re on your mat, right? Now pat yourself on the back, turn the corners of your mouth up just a little, and let’s look at the bigger picture…

By allowing yourself to explore your body without inhibitions, to mess up … and be ok with messing up, we begin to detach ourselves from the pursuit of perfection (a dangerous little thing!). Watch as that frustration and doubt dissolves and your practice starts to become joyful and fun. After all, and let’s be frank … we’re not going to reach spiritual enlightenment when we can do a handstand πŸ˜‰ There you go, I said it (yoga police shoot me down) for me at least, the mastering of postures means diddly squat … we’re practicing yoga not contortionism.

Of course the feeling you get when you’re finally able to reach the floor in uttanasana or when you press up into your first wheel is incredible, as my wonderful teacher Julie says … If you’re here just to master a handstand, go to gymnastics class. There is a reason for practicing challenging inversions in yoga, and it’s not just for physical gains. They help us to develop tenacity, courage, determination and that all important sense of play.

It’s not about getting into it that handstand … It’s what you learn on the way up πŸ˜‰

Play … Not Just for Kids

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It’s almost the weekend! … what do you have planned? Housework, shopping, running errands… all sounds a bit like hard work doesn’t it? So this weekend I challenge you to schedule in a bit of time for play. “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m not a 10 year old child, I have things to do!” I hear you say, but bear with me for just a minute …

Our society tends to dismiss play for grown ups. It is seen as unproductive, petty or even ‘a guilty pleasure’. The notion is that once we reach adulthood, it’s time to get serious. But play is just as vital for adults as it is for kids. It brings joy into your life, fosters creativity and meaningful relationships.

You don’t have to put on a clown suit and act like a tit … play with your kids, get messy baking a cake, challenge your partner to a pillow fight, grab some friends and go to a comedy club, try a dance class, or if you’re me, dick around on the beach, get covered in sand and land on your head … A LOT!

So put down that wine glass, step away from the shopping list, ditch the high heels and go and have some good old fashioned, wholesome fun.

Happy Friday everyone πŸ™

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Welcome to Lombok

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Lombok … Like going back 20 years in Bali. It’s a land where children ride mopeds aged 6 and it’s not uncommon to see them smoking and hanging out at the beach bar at night time … then you see those same kids bathing naked in the lakes and running out into the road to wave and blow you kisses when you drive by. The beautiful juxtaposition of life in this undeveloped little corner of the earth

The significance of ‘Namaste’

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So I’ve just had a little tattoo on my forearm and quite a few of my students have asked me about the significance of the word ‘namaste’ …

The gesture of namaste is the joining of the hands together at heart chakra and is traditionally given as a greeting. It represents the belief that there is a divine spark in each and every one of us. It is an acknowledgement of one soul by another soul.

The literal translation of Nama-as-te is “I bow to you” and when done in a yoga class, is meant as a mutual respect and connection between student and teacher. It allows people to come together without the binds of the ego. Bowing our heads and closing our eyes allows us to surrender to each other.Β 

Namaste is a symbol of gratitude at the end of a class where the teacher gives thanks to both her students and her own teachers, and invites the class to connect to the immense lineage of yoga.

Β 

“I honour the place in you where Spirit lives,

I honour the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace.

When you are in that place in you,

and I am in that place in me,

then we are one”

Β 

Namaste ❀