Ten Reasons Everyone Needs a Digital Detox

8-Minute Read

Did you know that most young adults check their smart phone every 15 minutes? And that Instagram was rated as the worst social platform for its negative impact on our mental health? It’s a scary thought to think that we’re literally scrolling our lives and wellbeing away.

We truly believe a change is needed. People need to be more aware on how often they pick up their phone. If you wake up with Facebook and get easily distracted from all the tweets, pings and push notifications, it may be time for a digital detox.

It has been scientifically proven that refraining from using technology is extremely beneficial for your physical, emotional and mental health. Find out why we should reduce our tech-time and discover 10 reasons to have a digital detox.

TEN BENEFITS OF A DIGITAL DETOX

Reduce Stress

Tech overload causes anxiety, stress, and generally isn’t very good for your mental health. Push notifications, the need to instantly reply to messages, comparing yourself to others online, work emails after hours.. The digital world is increasing our stress levels, and chances are it’ll only get worse. Even if you don’t reply to a notification immediately, the fact that you know it’s waiting for you is a distraction on its own. Embrace a digital detox in the evening or on your weekends and allow yourself to fully unwind and reset.

Increase Productivity and Creativity

According to a study at Harvard Business School, multi-media tasking lowers our creativity and productivity. If you have less stress, you can concentrate better and your creativity will improve. Stepping away from a project you feel stuck on is the best thing you can do. Go for a walk or meditate for ten minutes. Your mind will clear itself of all the clutter and make space for new thoughts. Before you know it, a lightbulb moment presents itself.

Recharge your Brain

A digital detox allows you to slow down, unwind and fully switch off. You can’t give your brain a reboot when you are constantly distracted by email overload and feel you have to stay ‘in the loop’ all the time.

Improved Sleep Quality

Besides creating general restlessness and telling your brain to ‘stay awake’, the blue wavelengths from your screens can mess with your melatonin production (the sleep hormone), resulting in less shut-eye. Bedrooms should have a strict ‘no-phones’ policy. Try to use an actual alarm clock instead of your phone, and avoid screen time after 7pm.

Better Physical Health

We usually talk about the effects of mobile phone usage on our mental health. But what about our physical wellbeing? Hunching forward and leaning over your desk, looking down on your phone and too much screen time will have its repercussions. Nobody wants a text neck, a bad back or eye strain. A tech-free period will give your body a well-deserved break. Take it.

Improve Relationships

Let’s be honest. How often do you and your partner/parents/housemate have dinner in front of the TV? Do you sometimes feel ‘too busy’ to listen to their stories and needs? Taking a break from your digital devices will allow you to reconnect with your family and friends (in real life!). Spending more time with loved ones is important for our energy and mood levels.

Reduce Depression and Anxiety

Heavy internet usage has been linked to depression. And apparently, anxiety increases when our mobile phone usage increases. Looking at your friend’s perfect life, the constant fear you’re missing out, having less social interaction. All of this has been associated with increased restlessness, anxiety and unhappiness. There is a life to be lived in the real world. And unfortunately it’s a short one, so make every moment count.

Feel Happier

Following on from the point above, a digital detox will make you feel happier. A bold statement, we know! Spending more time online can make you feel socially isolated as you have less connection with real humans. And more interesting, a study at Nottingham Trent University in the UK discovered that one-third of the messages we receive on our phone worsens our mood.. So why are we so eager to receive them??

Mental Clarity

Taking a digital detox gives you the ability to refocus. With so many pings and notifications, your poor brain probably has 17 ‘tabs’ open at the same time. Multi-tasking is a myth. Rather than completing one task, you end up with 17 unfinished ones. A digital detox allows you to regain mental clarity so you can give each project the attention it deserves.

Free Up Time

Less time online, more time to do the things you never have ‘time’ for.. Or at least don’t feel rushed when you’re doing them!

Read a book, write a book, cuddle your pet, be creative, play a board game, talk to your partner, do yoga, meditate, play a card game, be mindful, start a business, do a study, catch up with a friend, listen to music, walk in the park, bake a cake, daydream about your next holiday, do some painting, pottery, make jewellery.. You get the idea.

By Sab at Retreat Here
Original Article Here

Why Yoga and Wine are the Perfect Pairing

2-Minute Read

Before you have visions of yourself lying in savanasa with an empty bottle in your hand, let me stop you right there. I’d like to start by saying we won’t be handing out Straws ‘n Shiraz during our yoga classes. There will be no drinking vino and tree-posing at the same time. Neither will we make you ‘stretch to reach for the bottle’. No no.

First we practice yoga, then we drink the wine. The obvious reason is to avoid any injuries, but more so to respect the practice. We know the general consensus of Yoga is that there are certain restrictions in place, and that most yoga retreats go hand-in-hand with organic, wholesome and super healthy foods/juices.

Whereas we love clean eating, we’re also strong advocates of a life lived in balance. Enjoying the good things in life – slowing down, forgetting about Netflix and social media, admiring the sun rise, enjoying delicious meals paired with silky wines and flowing conversations. All of these are just as important as green juices and exercise.

BENEFITS OF YOGA AND WINE

Whether you step on the mat after a hectic day or curl up on the sofa with a glass of red, you’re allowing yourself to unwind and slow down. Practicing yoga and drinking wine (in the right moderation) are both experiences that can reduce stress, encourage social connection and improve relaxation.

By Sab at Retreat Here
Original Article Here

How To Balance a Healthy Lifestyle with Yoga and Wine


Yoga class? Oh, I thought you said, “Pour a glass.”


Considering my blog is all about yoga and wine, I cannot believe this wasn’t my first post! Nonetheless, here it is.​There is currently a trending idea of mixing wine, beer or other alcohol with yoga. You may have heard of classes like, “Glass after Class”, “Beer Yoga”, or “Downward Drinking Dog”. Besides the obviously clever names, it’s revolutionizing the way we look at a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Fifteen years ago, the general consensus of yoga was that it placed restrictions on what healthy is: no meat, no alcohol, no caffeine. I remember many years ago going to a Detox class with a highly disciplined yoga teacher who said she could “smell the meat” oozing off of the practitioners in the room. I swear she said this as she was passing by me, which totally brought heat to my cheeks.

I get why there is restriction. The concept of the 8 Limbs of Yoga leads us to ultimate Samadhi. Samadhi is considered the final stage, at which union with the divine is reached through intense meditation. Ironically, the term Samadhi also refers to a tomb, so it may be best not to take it too seriously. Nonetheless, in order to achieve Samadhi, one must experience the 8 Limbs of Yoga (Asana/Pose being one of them). And if your tummy’s acting funny from the toxins you’re putting inside of it, there sure isn’t a way to feel those higher vibes in meditation. You know what I mean?

That said, I would argue that yoga is no longer reserved only to those who have the intention of achieving Samadhi. That pretty much went out the window when western culture modernized it. Perhaps some of you are pulling your hair out at this claim but, I would sincerely ask you to take a step back and relax. There is room in this world for all of us to practice yoga in our own way; whether it be to reach Samad-hi or to reach an awesome Bo-dy (see what I did there?!). We all get to “own” yoga in our own way. Yoga can take on any meaning we want it to. You stay on your mat, and I’ll stay on mine.

With this theory in mind, let us consider the concept of combining activities that appear to be polar opposites. A wine glass on a yoga mat is going to get knocked over. It’s that simple. If you’re seeing a person on Insta posing with a beer glass in their hand while in Dancer’s Pose well, 1) to each their own but, 2) that doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience to me. Drinking makes me tipsy physically and, I have no business practicing yoga and drinking wine at the same time.

I love my yoga practice to be a sober experience. I approach my mat with respect for the body I am in, the studio I am practicing in, and the teacher that is spending their time to help me further my yoga practice.

Similarly, I approach drinking wine with respect for the body I am in, the winery that provided the bottle of wine, and the friends around me that are spending their time to help me further my drinking practice.

Sort of funny. But true!
​​
I look at these two activities as separate but equal experiences. In the right moderation (for both), these activities help ease stress, enhance social connections, and increase relaxation.

​Here are my Top 3 How-To’s on how you can find a balanced lifestyle between being active (I will call it yoga but, if it’s different for you, then edit the wording in your mind) and drinking (I will call it wine, but you know what to do).

Pairing Wine and Yoga at the Same Time is a No-No
It may be funny for a picture to appear like you are drinking wine while doing yoga but, I don’t actually recommend the act. Here’s why: (1) Drinking inhibits your inner balance. Yoga poses can be trickier while drinking, leading to injury. (2) Yoga requires a warm-up so that your body is ready to enter into advanced postures. If you’re drinking, you’re more than likely not warmed up. Your inhibitions are also lowered, and you may be willing to test advanced postures that you aren’t warmed up for or worse, haven’t tried before. Hello, injury!

First Practice Yoga, then Drink the Wine
Practicing yoga burns the calories needed in order to drink a glass of wine, free of guilt. For instance, Power yoga burns around 300 calories per hour for a 130-pound person! That’s actually two glasses of wine (shh…). Or drink one glass and use the other half to eat some chocolate! Win, win.

​Plan a Night of it!
Plan a lady’s night or a couple’s night out! Visit a local studio in your area, and then head to a nearby restaurant for some yummy food and wine. A good yoga practice relaxes you and lifts away distractions, hence actually enhancing your senses. Colors and tastes are actually thought to be more distinct after a yoga class. Cool, huh? Talk about a great date!


A balanced lifestyle of being active and drinking can actually be very healthy. Making sure to mindfully choose moderation with both activities, you truly can maintain a lifestyle that lets you have your cake. And drink it, too.  ​​

3 Amazing Yoga Videos Guaranteed to Ease Shoulder Tension

A friend of mine recently reached out to ask if I could give him a few yoga stretches to help with back, neck and shoulder relief (shoutout to Kolby!). It came right after I took this phenomenal Yin Yoga class, so I’m all about the slow stretch feels right now. I of course answered with “Heck yes, I’ll create a blog post all about this!

That said, it actually got me thinking about all the amazing resources we have nowadays online. How we have a fantastic community of likeminded people creating and developing resources to help other people out. So, instead of creating my own video or photos this week (dare I say, reinvent the wheel?!), I decided to support my community and give shoutouts to those who have come before me by giving you a link to their videos.

I have added these based on timing (from 32 minutes to 8 minutes), so you can pick and choose based on the amount of time you have available in your busy day.

1) 32-minute visual and audio yoga class for shoulders and back

2) 17-minute audio and visual yoga class for neck and shoulder relief

3) 8-minute full yoga tutorial for neck and shoulder tension

What It’s Like to be a Power Living Yoga Studio Manager

With Courtney Nault of Power Living Studios

It’s a crisp, fresh morning in the heart of Manly Beach, a beach town residing just a 15-minute ferry ride from Sydney’s CBD. I’m excited for my first interview with Courtney Nault, studio manager and yogi-extraordinaire.

The best yoga studios are the ones where you walk in and feel like you’re already home; when the people behind the desk greet you like an old friend, and remember your name when you return. And that is exactly what I’ve experienced at Power Living. Founded in 2004 by Duncan Peak, the studio was the first of its kind, solely teaching Vinyasa flow yoga. Since then, they’ve established 9 studios, one being in Manly and managed soulfully by Courtney Nault herself.

A traveler at heart, Massachusetts’ born Nault has been “on the road” since 2008. When we sat down to chat, she was actually celebrating her 2-year anniversary of moving to Manly Beach. Her fiancé is an Australian and actually from Manly, so it seemed only fitting they would choose this place as their home. For now.

In what can only be considered a blessing too sweet to surpass, it was Power Living Studio that inspired Nault to plant roots in Manly. In fact, it was one of her very first stops after flying into the Sydney airport two years ago.

Of course, this is because Nault is an avid yogi. She joined her first yoga class in San Diego, and was instantly hooked. All over the world she has practiced and taught. Prior to Australia, she was teaching yoga to children in Thailand. And when she arrived in Manly Beach, Power Living seemed to just be waiting for her.

​“The day I moved here, it was so cold and rainy. had moved from Phuket, where it was the warmest of warm water, and the bluest skies. I was so unhappy. I probably Googled flights home at least twice a day, considering going back. I walked into the studio. It was a really busy class, and they said to come back when you’re ready to practice. The next morning, I had jet lag and woke up at 5am. So, I went to a class, with the studio manager teaching. She was so pleasant and I absolutely loved her. If I hadn’t found that connection with people, that search for the flight home would have become an actual booked flight home.” – Courtney Nault

Over the course of her two years at Power Living, she has taken her 200-Hr teacher certification, and now become studio manager. Truly her home, she finds she has to remind herself to stay away on her days off… Or at least not start in on her To Do list when she comes in for a practice.And what a To Do list Nault has right now. Getting married in San Diego later this year, she is planning a long-distance wedding, running a yoga studio with 2,000 bodies per week, and in her free time spending time training at a local gymnastics studio, rock climbing, spending time in the kitchen baking, and keeping up with her own yoga practice. Oh, and spending time with her fiancé, of course.

Q: What is it like to run a studio that is as busy as Power Living Manly?

A: I mean, it’s amazing. I walk into that studio every day with a huge smile on my face. I feel so grateful to be there. But at the same time, I have to step back because I get caught up in the littlest things. It’s so good, because for me it was the change I wanted. When I went for this job, I was teaching the same lessons to kids (7 classes per day) and it felt a bit monotonous. And then I get here and there is no monotony. You have to let it go that you know what’s going to happen any given day. While also having a skeleton to work from.
To compare, I was going to a studio in Thailand for three years; it was a very boutique studio. ​You practiced on their mats; there were two towels rolled up on each mat, they mopped the floor and mats between each class because they had only four classes per day on their schedule. So, in contrast, when I first started working at Power Living, there was a To Do list with essentially tasks every 15 minutes, because your time flies by here and there is just so much going on.Sometimes I’ll get in at noon and I teach the 8pm class, and I’ll look at the time and think, “How is it already 5 o’clock?” There are days when you are so busy, you have to be OK with that, knowing that you have the same thing coming at you tomorrow.​

Q: Had you worked in a yoga studio prior to this?

A: No. I did property management back in the States, and I worked at a camp. But this was my first studio job.

Q: Are you responsible for retaining new clients, and how do you do so? 

A: Essentially the first time a person walks into that studio, it can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never practiced yoga. Everyone seems to already know what they’re doing. My job as studio manager is to prepare the educators [the people at the front desk] to make that first visit as smooth as possible.
So, they come on a buddy pass. They come in with a friend, or they do a drop-in. Most teachers are really good at connecting with them after to see how it went. I always recommend a Level 1 class to someone who’s never practiced yoga. After that, we educate the new person by telling them about our intro pass (1 month unlimited for $49 AUD). It’s important they know it takes about 10 yoga classes to really know what you’re doing.We call them after about a week to see how they are doing, and make sure they know their options. If they’re on an intro pass, we like to check in about half way through and look at the classes they’ve done. Have they tried the vinyasa and the yin classes? The balance between them is so important. And some people get stuck on Level 1 classes, but there are not as many Level 1 classes on our schedule. So, we like to encourage them to attend a Level 2, letting them know it’s not that scary!So, that’s what we are doing to make people become more committed; to acknowledge people for practicing yoga. Because that’s really what I want. I just want more people practicing yoga, because I know what it does for you.I’m part of someone’s first class through their intro until they’re members. I have people that have been members since I started, and I’ve watched their practice and confidence evolve. To be a part of someone’s change like that, that’s why I’m here, that’s why I do it. To support it and witness it.​

​Q:
 Do you have goals you have to hit as a studio manager?
A: We have goals like any successful growing business. In order to keep the business and community growing, the goals are there to get people doing more yoga.
It’s interesting because in the fitness industry, it is becoming more buffet style. That’s why we offer the new freedom pass. It allows a no-contract but unlimited practice. You can cancel at any time with a 14-day notice. With that pass, it allows people to feel less stuck to one studio. We also offer the 10-class pass. A few years ago, a membership was the only ​option, and our targets were based on that. But like ​anything, you have to evolve and make sure the people we are serving are getting what they need.

Q: ​How do you balance your many hats?

A: Whenever I’m about to switch roles from studio manager to yoga teacher for example, I have a really awesome coach who once told me, “Do something. Whether or not it’s going upside down for a minute, or going in the back room and taking three mindful breaths, do something to switch off.” So that’s something I’m working on. It’s going really well.For me, the way I balance it is having support in those different aspects. For example, I have the person that helps me with my teaching and sits me down and holds me accountable there. I have the regional manager that helps me with my studio manager role. Etc.

Q: What is your favorite class to teach?
A: It’s probably my Level 1 class. There are people that have been practicing yoga for years, and some that are stepping into class for their very first time.
For me, the classes are challenging in the sense I need to make sure everyone is practicing yoga for longevity, and not bringing harm on themselves. It’s a class to dive deep, and find out what they’re confused about in their practice. It’s very much about getting them into their body so they feel aware enough to advance to a Level 2 class. To watch someone evolve, it’s awesome!

Q: I read in your profile that your favorite pose is Ardha Chandrasana [half moon] pose. Would you still stay that is your favorite?
A: For me, that pose is the most expansive you can get your body while still staying grounded. Whenever a teacher says, “Open to Ardha Chandrasana,” I’m like yes! I get as big as I can, sometimes even forgetting the alignment! You can sort of turn off in other poses. But for me in Ardha Chandrasana, I’m there, ever present.

Q: How do you connect with your fiancé with your busy schedule?

A: He unfortunately tends to be the one that suffers the most. Because I commit to all these things! But he always says, “Go ahead, Court.” He’s definitely the most understanding. He won’t fire me. I like to be busy, but he also knows when to call me out. “Court, slow down… Stop doing your 6am trainings when you’re teaching until 10pm.”  I also come home and find he has made my lunch and dinner. He’s amazing.We love to travel together. We went to Canberra this past weekend. There’s more things like that, like planning a wedding. That in itself is hanging out!

Q: Is drinking alcohol a part of your lifestyle?

A: I don’t drink a lot but when I do, I get really excited! I love live music. There’s something amazing about having a craft beer while watching live music. I’m flirting with wine. In the States, I never would drink wine. I had red wine once and I put ice in it and Greg was like, “You can’t do that. You just drink it room temperature.” OK… So, I don’t drink wine much. When I go out, I usually order beer because it’s bigger and lasts longer!What truly inspires me about Nault is her unequivocal desire to create a strong community. When asked if she would consider being featured for my blog, there was absolutely no hesitation and in fact managed to compliment me and my blog on her quick reply. She thrives on supporting and uplifting the community that surrounds her, making her a truly fantastic studio manager and wonderful person, from the inside out.
I love the support I have from the other yoga teachers. Our teachers are amazing, and they see you. There can be up to 60 people in a room, but they’re still looking. They’re teaching for longevity, and not just for the moment. We have the head office in Manly studio. It’s amazing to watch the marketing team do what they’re doing, and the programs team do what they’re doing.”  – Courtney Nault
From her bright smile to her funky spirit, Nault is truly a treasure on and off the mat.

How to Host a Seriously Amazing Yoga Wine Night

Doing yoga and drinking wine is pretty much all I ever really want to do. How about you?! So if you’re looking for a fun and unique party idea for you and your pals, how about hosting a yoga and wine party? Here’s how:
Choose a Venue for the Yoga

Figure out how many yoga guests will be attending the event. You will need about 2 square meters (or 21 square feet) per yoga guest. For instance, if you have 10 guests coming, you will want to find a place that has about 20 square meters of space. 

It’s best if the space is void of big obstructions such as walls or columns, as this can affect the way mats are set up and how sound travels. 

Venue ideas include: outdoor areas such as backyards, beaches, parks with grassy areas, and yoga studios. Oftentimes, yoga studios will be happy to rent out their space (especially a second studio space) if they don’t have a class going on at that time. 

Once you have chosen a venue idea, make sure to double check rules and regulations and make sure you abide and agree to them.

Choose a Venue for Drinking the Wine​

Ideally you would practice yoga, then drink wine at the same venue! But this isn’t always the case. Regulations placed on drinking in public areas for instance, could affect where you can drink wine legally.

Drinking wine in one’s home is probably your best bet. Have everyone pack up their mats and head to your place!

Check out local bars and restaurants! Consider making reservations and asking about large party options such as fixed or open wine bar, depending on how much you want to spend!

Choose a Yoga Instructor

Most yoga instructors would love to be hired for a private event! Why? Because they will (more than likely) make more than when they teach a studio class. And it’s arguably more fun!

Reach out to yoga instructors via social media (check Instagram and Facebook) or search by Google Maps. Reach out to 5+ instructors, so you can choose. Be sure to tell them the date and time of your event, the amount you would like to pay them (anywhere between $75 and $150 for an hour-long yoga session is pretty standard), and be sure to double check they already have yoga instruction insurance.

Once you choose a yoga instructor, make sure to sign a contract with them. This holds them responsible, as much as it holds you responsible for the event.

Ask if they would like your guests to sign a liability waiver. If so, ask the yoga instructor to bring X quantity to the event to distribute and collect.

Invite Your Guests! ​

I am a sucker for snail mail invites. If you are too, think about doing something custom! Evites are also great, because they are so efficient.

Make sure to include an RSVP date so that you can account for all guests attending!

Favours for your guests ​

No party is complete without fun (Instagram-worthy) favours, right? A couple ideas would be to have a wine glass or tank  designed for the event!

BYO Mats and Props ​

Let your guests know that they will need to bring their own mats and props of choice. You could also ask the yoga instructor if he or she has any extra mats to bring along. They may charge you a rental fee for these, FYI.

Check the Wine Count​

You should plan for 2 glasses (or ½ bottle) per guest (some will drink more, and some will drink less). Consider getting a mix of White, Red, and Rose, depending on the time of year. Winter I recommend going red-heavy, summer I recommend going equal parts White and Rose. Wondering what varietals I love the most? Just ask!

Games to Play ​

No party is complete without conversation starters. So how about considering games to play that relate to wine?

Have Water and Snacks Ready! ​

Yoga and drinking wine both can be dehydrating and energy burning! Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks available to your guests! Consider filling a pitcher of water with one of these fancy additions.

And Have an Amazing Time, of Course!

Have you hosted a yoga and wine night? Have any additional tips or have any questions? Comment below to help build the Balance + Vine community!

An Interview with a Nurse and Yoga Teacher Expat Living in Australia

When you move to a new home (whether it be a new country, city, zip code, neighborhood, yoga studio, fill-in-the-blank), establishing a community can be so important. It helps ease the newness when you meet people who share like-minded values. For me, moving to Australia from America, I was determined to meet a community that loves practicing yoga. I also wanted to meet friends that love to relax and drink wine on the weekends. It really was one of the main reasons I created this blog, in the hopes that it would attract to me a community with similar values.

I’ve been lucky enough to say I have already met a remarkable community of like-minded individuals, and the community just keeps expanding. One of my favorites would have to be Carly Rockwood. A Canadian-born expat residing in Sydney, Australia for the past two years, Carly and I met at a festival called Taste of Manly (think lots of food and lots of wine). The first words out of her mouth were telling our mutual friend about a gymnastics studio she’s been going to. I was immediately taken! If you don’t know this tidbit about me, I was a gymnast for the first 14 years of my life. I only quit because it got too competitive and time-consuming.

But I am a gymnast at heart, and crave any opportunity to cartwheel, handstand or back walkover.

In the bout of just 15 minutes, we discovered our mutual love of yoga (both of us being yoga instructors, too!), and made plans for a yoga date that same weekend. And we’ve been hanging out ever since. Over yoga and wine, we’ve bonded and grown to be fast friends. Of course, I couldn’t resist interviewing and snapping photos of her beautiful yoga practice for my blog.

What would you say is your favorite thing about yoga?

I feel like it’s home. I get on my mat, and I feel immediate relief. Anything else is going on in the world, I can forget about it for that length of time. The good feeling that it brings to my life, and keeps me grounded.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

I went to my first class when I was 17. The studio in my hometown had yoga classes on Friday night, so sporadically my friends and I would go to Hot Yoga and sweat it all out. When I was 21 and graduated University, the same studio had a free month offering for nurses and doctors and I joined. I became completely hooked.

What do you think it was about yoga that got you hooked?

Ever since I was really young, I was a very anxious child. It got really bad when I was 10, to the point I wouldn’t hang out with anyone outside of just a couple friends. If I was in an unfamiliar situation, I would have panic attacks. In that day and age, nobody was taking those habits too seriously. My parents at the time didn’t really understand it, and didn’t know to get me help. At one point when I was in high school, it got really bad. I felt really bad for my parents. Thankfully some of my friends supported me and helped me get back on the right track. In my second year of University, I had a terrible breakdown and asked for help when I was 19. I was on medication for years, going to therapy. When I was 21, I found yoga. I realized how much it was helping me, and I actually was able to go off medication. Yoga helps you find different coping mechanisms; knowing that we are in control of our own emotions. Now whenever I’m feeling out of sorts, I just turn to my mat.I would highly recommend yoga to anyone, who is feeling any sort of anxiety, depression or body issues.

What connections have you made through yoga?

It brings you a community of like-minded people all over the world. I have friends in so many countries because of yoga. And everyone is really nice.

How often do you practice yoga?

Daily. At the studio, or at home.

Where did you get your teacher training at?

I did it back home in 2014, through the Olive Tree Yoga Foundation. My good friend Paul was one of Baron Baptiste’s assistants and ran a training in my home town, London, Ontario. The Foundation was started by him and his ex-wife to bring yoga to Palestine, running teacher trainings within refugee camps. I was an ambassador for them, and when Paul started a sister foundation called True North Yoga Foundation in Canada, I did work with them in Indigenous communities in Canada assisting with teacher trainings and doing yoga with the children.

Did you choose to teach yoga after going through your yoga teacher training?

I taught the kids through the True North Yoga Foundation and taught a little bit at a yoga studio back home in Canada. I do like teaching, but at this moment I like to be a student more. I want to continue to be a student and grow and learn more before I get back into teaching. Right now, I would love to learn more about the philosophy of yoga so I can bring more philosophy to my classes.

Do you see yourself advancing your teaching through more teacher training?

I would love to do a yin yoga teacher training and learn more about that style of teaching. Also, I have a goal to go to India in 2018 for a month or two, and just live in an ashram and deepen my meditation and practice. A little bit of Eat, Pray, Love. [laughs]

How do you live a balanced lifestyle?

Well, it’s getting better [laughs]. When I lived in Canada, I was a lot more balanced. When I moved here, social life [in Manly] is so easy because you live close to your friends. You could hang out with friends every night of the week if you want. I think it’s about setting priorities. I know if I don’t practice yoga, after even just three days, I notice a difference in my mental health.

What would you say is your favorite yoga pose?

I don’t know if I have a favorite, to be honest. I like yoga poses that challenges me. Like right now, it would be forearm balance. Because I can’t really hold it for long right now but, I’m trying so hard to get it. Since starting practicing gymnastics, my shoulders have gotten stronger and I’ve been holding it longer!My go-to party trick pose would have to be King Pigeon [laughs].

So, have you ever done drunk yoga?

Uh-huh. Hasn’t everyone?! [laughs] I also have done the worm at parties [cringe face]. I guess I wouldn’t recommend drunk yoga for everyone…

How to Throw Away that Mayonnaise for Good

I love mayonnaise. Who is with me? You’re either on the mayonnaise train, or you hate the texture. That said, just one tablespoon of mayonnaise has 90 calories, and is high in fat. But, who is good at staying under one tablespoon per serving? If you order a burger at a restaurant, it is pretty much guaranteed to be served with more than that. And what about potato salad or deviled eggs (my favorite)? ​

What I’m suggesting is tackling the mayonnaise dilemma from two angles. Here goes:

At a restaurant, ask for the mayonnaise/dressings on the side.

This request puts you in control of your own portion sizing. Keep in mind, the restaurant will more than likely give you more than what they would have included on your burger or salad (so that it fills up the ramekin properly). So make sure you don’t just dump all of the contents on the plate. Take a spoon and scoop up a light spoonful and spread onto your burger or salad, and then let go the rest.

At home, consider replacing mayonnaise with one of these 5 following healthier options:

Hummus: I looove hummus! Trying all sorts of different flavors is my favorite activity. It is made from pureed chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, garlic and lemon juice. It’s usually about 25 calories in a tablespoon, with fiber and protein to boot.

Olive Oil: This Mediterranean staple is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids (aka good fats). Calories do add up here, though, so be sure to watch your portion size here, too!

Avocado: Sign me up for some avonnaise. With just a quarter of the calories of mayonnaise, and full of healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, Vitamin C and folate, this naturally creamy spread is where it’s at. Just peel, mash with a fork, add herbs, salt and pepper to taste!

Low-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt: One tablespoon of Greek Yogurt is just 8 calories and 1.5 grams of protein and calcium! I always add some fresh herbs (dill or cilantro, for instance), along with salt and pepper for taste.

Soft Goat Cheese: With about 35 calories per tablespoon, this yummy mayo/cow cheese alternative is a perfect addition to your sandwich or salad. It’s also richer in nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It’s also easier to digest!

Got any additional tips to keep mayo off the radar? Share them below!

Artemis, Make My Aim True

“Artemis, huntress of the moon, make my aim true. Give me goals to seek and the constant determination to achieve them. Allow me the strength and wisdom to be my own mistress; not defined by the expectations of others.”


I first heard this quote from Kathryn Budig, during her Aim True workshop about 8 years ago. I was completely mesmerized by her words. If you know anything about me, you know that I have a girl crush on Kathryn Budig. She is fabulous. Even though these past couple of years have been tumultuous for her (she went through a divorce, started focusing less on yoga and more on other things in her life), I still see everything she does as the truest testament to staying true to yourself, first.

We often spend our lives pleasing others, whether we recognize it or not. Do you have a hard time saying no? I know I do, and so do countless others. Even when you do say no, do you automatically have a feeling the person you said no to doesn’t like you anymore? Yeah, that is common, as well.

So, what would it be like in your life if you had the strength and wisdom to aim true to you, first? To say no when you need to, to say yes when it best for you? To achieve your goals without apologizing to the world for your light shining bright?

​Here are some suggested ideas to help you accomplish this on a daily basis.

Write Affirmations on Your Mirror Everyday

The Artemis quote above is an amazing option. I had it on my mirror for years (until we moved to Australia), and it helped remind me everyday to aim true to me, and what I need in this life.

Set an intention at the beginning of every day and follow through with it.

We simply feel better when we have a purpose or intention. In the morning, just think about your intention. This could be something as simple as, “Love my children for all their happiness and energy.” or “Appreciate my husband for the little things he does for me today.” It can also be about work, “I will complete this task before I let my e-mail Inbox distract me.” It doesn’t have to be big; it just has to mean something to you. You get the idea.

Let go of relationships/friendships that don’t suit you.

It’s OK to not like someone. You aren’t being mean by cutting them out of your life. It is more poisonous and confusing to keep them there. Focus on relationships that are reciprocal and supportive. Don’t feel like you have that in your life right now? That’s OK. Create an affirmation to turn to everyday, speaking to what you are looking for in this world. Example: “I aim to create a relationship in my life that is supportive, genuine and healthy.”

Write down a list of qualities you like about yourself.

And keep re-visiting it. You can still be humble and appreciate who you are.

Choose actions of love, not fear.

There are fewer categories of emotions than you think. In fact, it is theorized that most emotions can fit under two categories: love and fear. And this concept changed my life. ““There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.” – Elisabeth Kubler Ros

Looking for more on the subject? I highly recommend you check out Kathryn Budig’s book Aim True. Absolutely gorgeous book full of wisdom.

10 Genius Lifehack Recipes that will make you re-think Healthy Meals

I’m going to let you in on a big secret. I haven’t always eaten healthy. In fact, I don’t even eat 100% healthy all of the time now! But, that doesn’t mean I don’t strive for a healthy balance every day. And I bet you do, too. But what happens when you get those super crazy cravings for a cheeseburger and french fries? Or, an iced latte with ice cream and a honey-drizzled honey muffin?

Growing up, I hated eating healthy. My Mom was a total health nut, but everything we ate tasted healthy, so I just didn’t believe that eating healthy could be tasty. When I moved out of the house and into a dorm room, I thrived on Top Ramen and eating out. I was freeeee from being healthy! Woo hoo!

Sad to say, that Top Ramen lifestyle caught up with me. I gained weight, I was unhappy and hormonally imbalanced. I practiced yoga but I always felt heavy. Do you know what I mean?

So I started eating healthy. It has honestly taken me years (and thousands of hours on Pinterest) to master the art of eating healthy food that actually tastes delicious. And I thought I would take a moment to share some ideas with you! Here are my top 10 lifehack video no-fuss recipes that look and taste like junk food but, are healthy for you! Whaaaaat.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Tasty (who this video is by) add mozzarella cheese. I personally prefer goat cheese, because it’s easier on my tummy.. Look for a hard goat cheese like a cheddar and aged style goat cheese, to easily shred.

Flourless (Protein) Pancakes

I seriously cannot believe how easy it is to make pancakes now! OK maybe they weren’t that hard before with the store-bought pancake kit but, like seriously now they are so easy. I like the recipe below but, I highly recommend adding protein powder and baking powder in addition to the 3 ingredients you see here. I don’t know about you but, I need protein in the morning, and adding protein powder is just the ticket. It adds a really nice pancake texture to the recipe, as well.

Cauliflower Alfredo Recipe

Fettuccine Alfredo was my all-time favorite dinner growing up. In fact, every time we would go out to eat at a restaurant when I was young, I would ask for it even if it wasn’t on the menu. How mortifying is that?! I am curious if anyone actually said yes to me! Note on the below; the video calls for parmesan cheese. If you want it to be vegan, simply skip that ingredient! It still tastes delicious without.

Chicken Salad

OK, some of you might have thought chicken salad was healthy. But when you add all of that mayonnaise? I don’t think so! Here’s a healthy yummy alternative! I might recommend instead of the pita bread, to try whole grain bread. Or even skip the bread all together and add raw spinach and nuts for that extra crunch!

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love ice cream?! And I simply can’t. eat. it. It hurts my tummy so much. So instead, I turn to fro yo. Here’s an example of a super easy, cannot believe it’s not ice cream, option! Try dousing it with nuts and berries for some extra texture.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

OK I know, this is my second pancake recipe on here but, did I mention I love pancakes?! Again, you might consider adding protein powder to these for an added protein kick. That said, you can also dip them in peanut butter as the video suggests and that also works as a great protein addition.

Spaghetti Squash

Technically, this
video only gives you the how-to bake the spaghetti squash but, if you’re anything like me, you prefer the tutorial to be easy and simple and then come up with the main recipe on your own! Ha. But nonetheless, squash can become any form of “pasta” when you’re done cooking it! Try it with marinara, pesto, cauliflower alfredo, to name just a few ideas!

Grilled Cheese with Cauliflower Bread

That’s right, Cauliflower bread. I repeat, cauliflower bread. I’m beginning to think you can turn cauliflower into anything?! So here is how to enjoy a grilled cheese without the high intensity carbs. Also, because my tummy doesn’t like the cow cheese, I’ll suggest a goat cheddar cheese here, as well!

Avocado BLT

I’m not talking about a BLTA (believe me, I love those, too). But let’s take the bread out of the equation permanently. As in, replace with avocado. But don’t replace the bacon. Never replace the bacon. Unless you’re vegetarian, then I say, you do what you have to do.

Onion Dip

Onion dip doesn’t have to be sour cream. I know, gasp, shocker! Try greek yogurt for a lighter, more nutritious option! And then dip cauliflower in it because, you can turn cauliflower into anything you want. Oh right, it was already a perfect dipping device…

The point of this article is this: there are so many ways to re-think old tried and true recipes. What worked for previous generations is probably not going to work for you, if you are looking to be healthy. Here are some healthy alternative ingredients to get creative with!

Cauliflower

Can take so many forms and is extremely light in flavor. It can replace bread or be mashed up, as examples.

Spaghetti Squash

When baked, becomes stringy and has a carb-like texture

Greek Yogurt

Is an amazing replacement to sour cream and mayonnaise.

Sweet Potato

Great alternative to potato. It also has a naturally sweet flavor, so consider what you could do to swap out sugar ingredients.

Almond Milk

I use almond milk for anything that is supposed to be milk! Try putting it in your mashed potatoes. It gives a really nice nutty flavor!