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…

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.

How to Achieve the Perfect Yoga and Wine Pairing (Satire)

It’s no secret I love the Yoga-then-Wine lifestyle. So how do you know what varietal of wine to drink after a yoga class?

Vinyasa Flow (Power Yoga)

This type of yoga class is all about the salutation flow, and meant to keep you moving and flowing for the entire length of the class (besides seated postures and savasana). Because of this, you’re going to be hot and sweaty post-workout, and need something refreshing, chilled and light. I recommend a glass of… SAUVIGNON BLANC.And because you worked out so hard and burned about 300 calories / hour, I recommend you pair it with cheese (like a Gruyere or Chevre) and crackers. You deserve it, babe.

Ashtanga Yoga

This is another very active yoga class, and is especially awesome for Type A personalities. It’s actually a set of six series, the first being the most commonly practiced (because it gets f*ing hard) and is a set sequence to follow. It can be taught by an instructor or, self-led with a teacher there for support (Mysore). After class, you’re going to be sweaty, and also excited because you just nailed a new level of a pose you haven’t achieved before (because you’re Type A, hello). Because of this, you will want something refreshingly chilled to the taste, dry and sweet, just like you. Might I suggest a glass of… ROSÉ.

Hatha Yoga

This type of yoga class is all about the basics, and essentially is a slower moving class. Most instructors place attention on being gentle with your body throughout this practice. Expect to leave feeling soft and mellow. You’re going to want something full-bodied to match those feelings, so I recommend a glass of…MERLOT.

Restorative Yoga

The point of this type of yoga class is to relax and restore. It is so incredibly slow in fact, you may only hold 5 poses the entire class. The idea is that in slower holds your body has a chance to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system to truly experience deeper relaxation. Imagine yourself lying across a bolster, blissed out AF. After class you will probably have a sense of grace and delicacy, but at the same time full of energy and love for your body. So, tap into your inner Goddess and try out a glass of… PINOT NOIR.

Bikram Yoga

Taught in a 35–42 °C (95–108 °F) room, with a set of specific postures, this is going to be another class that you sweat in. A LOT. I mean, a lot a lot. So, because of this, I recommend you drink a glass of…WATER.

*Thanks to my good friend, Maureen Mukai, for giving me this awesome idea for a post. 🙂 ​​​

Weight Gain and Road Rage: This is Real Life Yogi Confessions

Confession time.

For years, I was nervous to call myself a “true yogi”. I was afraid if I proclaimed it loudly enough, that the real yogi’s would hear me and the worst thing would happen to me (not that I even fully asked myself what that would entail?). After all, I ate meat, and (gasp) I drank wine, and participated in so many other things that this modern society offers to us that just doesn’t feel “yogi” enough.

And yet, I showed up on my mat almost daily, I practiced mindfulness and kindness, and I studied and spent the time to become a yoga teacher. I started to question why I was so afraid to be me, exactly as I was. That I could practice yoga and still enjoy other activities that make me just as happy, and balanced. So guess what? I started calling myself a yogi. And I started working on being unapologetic for also calling myself a wino. And a Netflix binge-watcher. And a music lover. And a frozen yogurt feen. Because perhaps then, I could start finding my peeps. You know, like those people who love to be healthy and active but also can stuff 4 cookies in their mouth at once? Yeah, those are my people.

Here’s a compilation of 5 yogis who weren’t afraid to share their confessions, either. Each of them sways a little from the yogi tracks and I love them all the more for it. I hope you do, too.

The witty author of this post made me giggle and nod emphatically at the similarities that we so closely share. Like yelling at drivers, and not always listening to her body. I bet you’ll find similarities, as well!

Confessions of a (Temporarily Fat) Yogi

about Trina Hall
Really interesting read (and video!) about this yogi who purposely gained weight after talking with another yoga instructor friend about weight issues. She learns some amazing lessons along the way.

Quirky new Instagram account takes yoga off the mat and into the real world
about Jordan Berger

This guy is actually one of my favorite yoga instructors at my home yoga studio, Power Living! He teaches yoga and also works for an alcohol company; doesn’t get more “balanced” than that! Check out his crazy awesome photos on Instagram of yogis in the real world, doing their thang.

Confessions from a Stiff Yogi

by Ricardia Bramley
What immediately drew me to this article was that she was a gymnast growing up (like myself). Being inflexible is something that deters so many people from trying yoga. But let me ask you this: would you not go to school because you can’t read? Go to yoga and practice your flexibility. Or, just show up to yoga and do what you can, flexibility shmexibility! You’ll be the same as 96% of the people in your class.

5 of the Most Creative and Unusual Yoga Trends
by Elise Moreau

I had to throw this one in here, because I am a huge fan of people who push the boundaries and create something new from an old(er) idea. Like Doga. Yep, Doga!

The Inside Scoop on what it’s like as an American Expat Living in Australia

Three months ago, my husband and I got rid of most of our belongings, packed  our suitcases and moved across the world to Australia. I must have scoured hundreds of websites to figure out what to expect. What should I bring? What should I leave behind?

To preface this, my husband and I are both pretty tech savvy (he’s worked in the tech industry for the past 10 years, and I make a living via an online business). We live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We both stay active regularly, enjoy eating nutritious food, and love binge-watching Netflix in the evening over a glass of wine. So umm…pretty normal.

If you’re anything like us, this is perhaps what you can expect as an American with plans to move to Australia, or vice versa as an Australian moving to America. This blog post also applies if you are already an American expat living in Australia because frankly, this is a moment where we can bond over our frustrations and excitement living in this beautiful country. Last but not least, you may also love this blog post if you’re just darn curious what the heck it’s like for some person to pack up all of their belongings and move to another country!

THINGS I MISS BEING AN AMERICAN IN AUSTRALIA

The other biscuit

Much to an American’s surprise, a biscuit here is actually a cookie. Think sugar and flour and yumminess. Yep! Much to my dismay, you won’t find (American) biscuits anywhere. What you may find are scones, which are similar to (American) biscuits. However, you will not find biscuits and gravy.

Driving (and walking) on the left side

I was nervous about moving here and having to drive on the left side of the road. But I figured I wouldn’t be driving, so it wouldn’t be too bad. What I didn’t realize is that people also walk on the left side of the sidewalk. Back home, you might not even realize it but, we totally favor the right side of the sidewalk. Therefore, it only makes sense that Australians favor the left side of the sidewalk. And let me tell you, walking in the Sydney CBD (that’s “downtown”) at 5PM on a Friday will make you get it right quick.​ I mean, left quick. 😉

Amazon

Oh, Amazon. How I miss you. It’s not that you can’t get items shipped to you here. But, there is no Prime 1-day or 2-day shipping here. Sometimes you do get lucky and get your package delivered in 1 or 2 days, and it’s always really exciting when that happens.

Starbucks

Guess what? Australians are addicted to coffee. And it’s not Starbucks. When I first moved, I was looking for familiarity (and free wi-fi) and I was shocked that there wasn’t a Starbucks on every corner. Apparently, Starbucks tried to make it happen but, haven’t had much success yet. And on the note of free wi-fi, Starbucks here also have free wi-fi, but you have to type in a PW they give you at the counter and, you are limited on the Gigs you can use before they cut you off, circa 2008.

High-Speed Wifi

Speaking of wi-fi… The Airbnb we stayed in when we first moved to Sydney told us we had 1GB of data we could use per day. Hello, I use that much before my morning tea! And it was so incredibly slow; I couldn’t download a photo while I was streaming a show. It was connected to a phone line; They call it ADSL. When we moved to our new home in Manly Beach, I thought, “No matter what, we are getting high-speed unlimited wi-fi; I don’t care how much it costs.” Well, it turns out it is expensive and actually really hard to obtain. Everyone, and I mean (mostly) everyone, just accepts that ADSL is standard. Circa 2008. But we put our foot down and found the one company that offered cable internet (Telstra), paid an arm and a leg to get it installed, and now I’m thinking about running a side hustle where I offer high-speed wi-fi to anyone who is interested (or desperate) to have legit wi-fi.

Expensive Beer and Liquor

Beer and liquor is so expensive. I am talking about imported and local. If you go out to drink, you will more than likely pay $18-$30 AUD for a cocktail (that’s about $13-$22 USD). There are good deals during the week, so don’t you worry! As for beer, you can’t easily find a decent 6-pack of beer for under $18 AUD (that’s about $13 USD). Luckily, you can usually find deals for beers when you go out to bars and restaurants. And the best news? There is so much good local wine, and totally reasonable.

Opposite Seasons

Although there is something pretty neat about experiencing a warm North-facing view and seeing the water spin counter-clockwise, I have to say watching friends from back home in the States bathing in sunlight on a boat while we deal with our second winter in a row, is sort of well, miserable. Granted, Sydney winter is a ton more mellow than a Seattle winter, but there’s something to be said about enjoying four seasons in a row…Having two winters in a row was just tough. That said, the build-up for summer is AMAZING. I am so friggin’ excited for a Sydney summer at the beach!

Mexican Food

This is a cuisine that is almost unheard of here. Luckily, Mexican restaurants have been popping up slowly (we have a Mexican restaurant within walking distance called Chica Bonita). However, I would say that it just hasn’t tasted the same. Also, you can’t purchase fresh pico de gallo at the grocery store. Argh.

Hot Sauce

Did you know that Sriracha only showed up in Australia a couple years ago? My expat Canadian friend told me this, and I was so thankful we showed up after it arrived! In general, the flavor “spicy” is not a thing here (unless you’re talking Thai food).. You ask for hot sauce at pretty much any restaurant, and they give you a blank stare or a really old questionable bottle of some no-name sauce you’re not sure of. Australians just don’t know spicy like Americans do.

Alaska Air, Southwest, and Virgin America

What I’m getting at is, if you fly domestic in Australia, you have very limited choices. You either have Qantas or Virgin Australia, which are exceptionally expensive. Or, you have a plethora of extremely cheap airlines, such as Jet Star and Tiger Air. Your flight price will look reasonable, but then they charge you for everything. To assign yourself a seat, you have to pay $15. To bring two carry-ons over 7kg (about 15lbs), you also have to pay. To drink their water on board, you have to pay. It’s ridiculous! Alaska Air, where are you? I miss you!

THINGS I LOVE AS AN AMERICAN LIVING IN AUSTRALIA

Tim Tams and Tea

Australians may not have good Mexican food but, they have Tim Tams and Tea (The Tim Tam Slam) and it’s about the best thing I’ve ever eaten. It sounds like Target in the States now has Tim Tams! I’m sure you can also find them at World Market. Make sure you follow the tutorial. The first time I tried it, I had been instructed by an Australian but, she wasn’t with me when I actually did it. I totally bombed the experience. The second time I did it? Nailed it, and Oh. My. God.

Australian Accent

Because I am totally in love with the way Australians talk! You know what’s funny? The American accent stands out to me now. I smile really big when I hear the American accent somewhere around me, because it feels a bit more like home. We also hang out with some British expats and it’s safe to say I love the way they talk just as much as I love the way Australians talk. One funny note is that many Australians have said that when they were younger, they wished they could talk like “the people in the movies and TV shows” talked. But it seems that as they’ve gotten older, they’ve lost interest in having the American accent. Don’t know what that’s about, sheesh.

Free Range Eggs

You know when you pay $12 at a farmer’s market in America so you can get truly free-range eggs that have really fluorescent yellow yolks so you know they’re good and delicious? Yeah, that’s all eggs here. You go to your local grocery store, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an egg short of brilliant yellow.

Biscuits

Because yes, biscuits are cookies here, and I love cookies.

Koalas, Kangaroos and Penguins

There’s something so special about finally for the first time in a lifetime meeting these “exotic” animals I never thought I’d meet outside of the zoo.

BYO (Bring Your Own)

OK, this one is sort of funny because it does technically exist in the States. As in, you go to a restaurant and bring a bottle of wine and pay a corkage fee. However, the first time we went to a restaurant here that served BYO, there was something so novelty about it. Most places charge less than $3 PP to bring your own bottle. Our new favorite thing to do is pick up our favorite bottle of $8 McGuigan‘s Red and go out for Thai food.

Public Toilets

You know how in the States, you rarely use a public bathroom? Here it is totally normal and there are actually a ton of them. The ones in the CBD are a bit sketch (after you use them, you close the door, and then it sprays the entire inside with some antibacterial mist) but, if you’re in a pinch, there’s actually options here.

Wine Bottle Screw Tops

Pretty much every (good) bottle of wine in the States has a cork, not a screw. And in fact, I would argue that the belief is that screw top wines aren’t as good. Here in Australia, it’s the exact opposite. We have seen exactly one wine bottle with a cork, and perhaps hundreds (ahem) of wine bottles with a screw top. And I haven’t missed the act of trying to track down a wine opener one bit.

Free Coin Exchange

In the States, you have to use Coinstar to get rid of coins, unless you want to spend hours stacking coins into those round wrappers. Am I right?! Here in Australia, banks have coin counting machines and they are free. This is probably because Australians have a $2 coin, which really adds to how many coins you get when you spend cash. Oh and speaking cash, there are still a ton of places that are Cash Only. WTF.

The Weather

We live in Sydney, so we can really only speak to here. But let me just tell you, Sydney is amazing. We literally live on a whitewashed beach (I believe San Diego would be the closest example in the States, or perhaps Key West), and my husband Jason takes a ferry to the CBD everyday. We have only experienced the Sydney winter and it’s been between 17-25 degrees Celsius everyday (that’s 64-80 degrees Fahrenheit). There have been rainstorms and they only last for minutes at a time. The summer is supposed to be amazing with 25 degrees or higher everyday.

Coffee

I had to include this one as an ode to my husband Jason and pretty much every Australian. I don’t drink caffeine (health reasons), so I’m the odd woman out. Australians love their coffee and are actually very picky about it. You don’t find much automatic coffee machines over here; they love drip. Jason is an avid coffee drinker and his drink of choice is a Long Black.

Here’s some other interesting facts that didn’t make the top 10, but still you might now know about Australia. I only found these out when I moved here!

  • At a restaurant, an appetizer is actually called an “entrée”. You call your entrée a “main” here.
  • Screens on windows and doors are very uncommon here. So are double-paned windows. Ironic for a place full of insects and critters, isn’t it?
  • To convert to Fahrenheit, you multiply the Celsius by two, and then add 30 (ex: 20 degrees Celcius x 2 = 40 + 30 = 70 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s not exact but, it’s close enough.
  • There are wild cockatoos here. They look exactly like your neighbor’s exotic cockatoo. But they’re wild and hang out on your balcony.
  • Cilantro is called Coriander here, and Bell Pepper is called Capsicum here.
  • At a restaurant, you say “Take away” instead of “To go”. They actually look at your funny if you say the latter.
  • Clothes dryers are really uncommon! Clotheslines are like, normal here.

What are some things you have discovered as an expat? Or were surprised by in this post? Comment below and help me expand the Balance + Vine community!