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Monday, 24 October 2016

Super Green Beauty Buys

There's a real explosion of brands new and old doing fabulous #greenbeauty products. What's this? Cruelty free, natural-based products that harness the power of plants, oils, environmentally friendly packaging and sustainably produced and manufactured ingredients.
These used to be ridiculously expensive products only available via luxury stores or, at the other end of the spectrum, packaged in ugly brown boxes at the local organic co-op. Thankfully, a rise in consumer demand for ethical, beautiful, luxurious and yet affordable beauty products means you have a treasure trove of Australian and international brands and products to opt for. I've tried, tested and truthfully recommend the following.

For cleansing, Sukin Purifying Gel Cleanser and the Super Greens Facial Scrub are divinely scented, gentle and under $15 each. In fact, the Super Greens is my favourite range (the face moisturiser is a must) and post workout shower time is 100% better with the Botanical Lime Coconut Body Wash. No sulphates and no parabens in any of these products!

Botani is a small, local operation that does beautifully packaged, scented skincare that is environmentally conscious, designed to nourish the skin and also the soul. I know that sounds hokey! I just breathe this in as I'm using it though, and I know it's one of a small batch, not created in some massive factory without heart. It's available at health food stores, Go Vita, Priceline and Great Earth. I especially adore the Acai Berry Active Antioxidant Serum (it's berry, berry good!) and the Boost Balancing Moisturiser for non greasy hydration.
Simple is available all over Australia and online. It's also super affordable for budget beauty babes. The name says it all really. Nothing but the basics and really, you don't want to settle in with a mug of tea and a blanket to have to read through the ingredients list of your skincare. I use their new Aqua-Lock Cleansing Facial Wipes for the post-workout, pre-shower period where you just don't want to get sweat and germs all over your iPhone. The Hydrating Cleansing Oil is ideal for when I've been overdoing the retinol and just need to use something really gentle and non violent.

J'adore this Swiss nail polish and nail care range. Sure, Mavala doesn't have the fancy, funny names like OPI, but it does have the most gorgeous mini nail polishes and if you are a creature who loves change and tends to only use nail polish 10 or so times before the next colour beckons, you won't need full sized lacquers. These are also 5 free, cruelty free and definitely get the Green Beauty prize for nail care. Fabulous range of colours too. Those Swiss beauty designers are way ahead of the game on knowing what the international fashionistas are going to want to opt for in regards to colours. From neutrals through to pastels, brights, gothic to glam, not a colour missing from the range. Love Alpine Green and Blue Curacao mini nail lacquers, and the lip liner in Innocent Pink for an everyday, subtle definition to the lips. I'm all about pencils.
The Body Shop is an international green beauty and wellbeing name that everyone knows. Begun by an entrepreneurial and ethically driven woman with a vision for beautiful products that emphasise sustainable ingredients, manufacturing, fairtrade and supporting farming communities. There is no doubting that vision carries through to this day and while all the classic fragrances and ranges are still going strong (Vanilla, White Musk, Vitamin C) it is some of the newer ranges that are truly exciting me! As a banana paddlepop devotee, the banana shampoo and conditioner is heaven for me. I am also all about a fresh, citrus scent and Pink Grapefruit body mist and the eau de parfum has the perfect balance of sweet and zingy. It can be worn alone or layer the body mist with something a little more herby like sage or jasmine based lotion or eau de parfum.

Avalon Organics does a great range of Vitamin C based skincare as well as their popular lavender range. I use the Vitamin C cleanser, Lavender scrub, Vitamin C Toner and moisturiser. No nasties, just simple formulas that are potent. There's a reason you will easily find Avalon Organics at health food and organic stores. People who care about what they put in and on their bodies are fans of this brand and have been for decades. Vegan, no false fragrances and no synthetics or parabens.

Burt's Bees does the basics with pizzazz, from moisturisers to hand creams, baby powder and lip balms to the new range of makeup that is gorgeously packaged in honeycomb inspired columns. I adore the beeswax based lip and face products. They are fabulously packaged, deliciously scented and sustainably, ethically produced and sourced. I adore the Baby Bee Skin Creme as an all-round balm (even nostril balm come hayfever season!) and any and all of the cleansers.

Eminence Organics is an award winning green beauty cult brand. I have been guilty of opening jars of blueberry and acai berry spiked serums and desperately wanting to eat them! The smell is so divinely pure and genuine, you could believe you were about to coat your face in strawberry puree. While it's not a budget buy, you absolutely get the quality you pay for. I adore Coconut Milk Cleanser (very gentle, very yummy) and the Sweet Red Rose Tonique (will make you want to get out and literally smell the roses!)
Certified organic, Australian beauty brand The Divine Company is a new player in the green beauty game. They hit David Jones stores in Australia only this month! I predict a riot, as some Britpop lads would say. Now, look, I'm as sceptical of marketing messages as any smart, savvy shopper, but in fact I really like what The Divine Company state on their website. They acknowledge that many beauty products and brands are entirely about the external appearance whereas beauty and self-care are much more about being elements of a holistic approach to wellbeing. I've been using The Miniature Series which is excellent, again, for the gym bag or for throwing in your carry-on bag when travelling. Try ACO Organic Certified Illuminating Day Cream and the Purifying Series (cleanser, toner, day cream).
As a pineapple and coconut scent addict, the whole (ALL AUSTRALIAN) bx Earth range totally appeals to me. Fortunately, it is super affordable (you'll find it at the local supermarket!) so you can afford to nab every scent combination. My tips? Desert Lime and Coconut hand wash and Pineapple and Coconut. It's like a G-rated mojito for your body!
Promising to "be friendly to your skin, and the environment" - I genuinely love the playful approach they have taken to product packaging, names and the level of care and consideration they've put into using quality ingredients and crafting the most appealing scents and formulations. Try You Scrub Up Well and Good Morning Sunshine (citrus fresh tangerine!)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Melbourne Yoga Teachers

In the many years I've lived in Melbourne and been doing yoga - mostly around the inner, northern and eastern suburbs, I've had the great privilege of meeting and learning from a diverse and divine variety of Melbourne's finest yoga instructors.
Naturally, the teachers we are most drawn to is a subjective matter and this is not a "Best 10" or "Top Rated" style post. Instead, these are some of the teachers that have inspired me to think, study and appreciate yoga philosophy, culture and physical poses. I would recommend seeking them out and making time to do a class. If time and location doesn't permit that though, perhaps their recommended reading, clothing and cafes will encourage you to connect with them beyond the mat!

Name: Joel Hill

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: My favourite pose for as long as I can remember is Utthita Trikonasana, it always seems to hit the right spots.

Must Read Yoga Book: If I had to choose one book it would be Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar , I always find new inspiration from it and things I've previously missed, even twenty years after I first layed eyes on it.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: The Iyengars are always a source of inspiration as is my teacher Glenn Ceresoli. Their teaching inspires the way I approach my practice heavily. In the last eighteen months I have been following the American yoga teacher and Sanskrit scholar Christopher Tompkins work very closely. His scholarship has very much revitalised my interest in yoga philosophy and history, I highly recommend anyone interested in these areas to check out his online offerings.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: For me these days it's any cafe that is kid friendly, I'm very much out of the loop on this.

Currently Teaching at: Currently I'm taking classes at Gateway Osteopathy and Pilates in Eltham and am also teaching Anatomy for The Yoga Social YTT programs.

Name: Gena Kenny

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week : I’ll begin by sharing my favourite translation of ‘Asana’ which is “To find a comfortable seat within, so that no matter what is happening without, you can remain at peace in your home.”

Yoga for me is exactly that, it is finding ‘my seat’ within.  How I do that is different from day to day; some days it requires simple and mindful breath work, other days it requires more physical movement.  Over the years my work with the physical Asana has become more refined and more subtle.  I have moved into a very different practice that is not necessarily broad gross movement but instead has it’s very foundation in the more subtle realms.  I have found that through sustained and regular practice I have learned how to move into the stillness that is in between, inside and throughout all movement.    This movement into stillness helps me to deal with my day to day life interactions and circumstances with more grace and more ease.  So not a favourite yoga pose, but a favourite way to utilize yoga for a more graceful life.

Must Read Yoga Book :  Wow.. this is a difficult question for me to answer as I love so many different yoga books; some for the anatomical information, some for philosophical learning, others for delving more deeply into the ‘Self’.  So I’ll share one of each with you . J

“Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff

“Bringing Yoga to Life” by Donna Farhi

“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer

 Teacher Who Inspires Me : I am most inspired by Donna Farhi, who has been teaching teacher’s for close to 30 years. I highly recommend any yoga teacher who has not either read Donna’s books or delved into her teachings with the Yoga Teacher intensive programs, teacher training courses or retreats that Donna runs.. to do so!!
What inspires me most about Donna is her embodiment of the practices that she shares.  She has ‘lived’ her practices and embodies them in how she teaches, lives and moves through the world.   I share a quote for you here from her book “Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit”.

“If you go deeply enough inside yourself, you will find not something small but something immensely spacious”.

I had read Donna’s books for many years, but hadn’t actually been to any of her teaching intensives until I suffered a debilitating back injury whilst working as a Firefighter in the Melbourne Fire Brigade.  At that point, I didn’t know if I could ever work as a firefighter again or even complete a yoga practice without pain ever again.  But through Donna’s in depth teachings on the structure, the nervous system and movement patterns, I am now pain free and teaching yoga for spinal care.

 Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne : My favourite new cafĂ© is in Albert Park and is called Zea Food Journey on Victoria Avenue (just next to Jocks Ice cream).  For those who know me, you will know that I have a sweet tooth and Zea meets that sweet tooth with a fusion between France and Greece. French style crepes with a Greek style yumminess packed inside!!  Plus they have amazing coffee and real love packed into whatever they do.

Currently Teaching at: I have my own yoga studio which is in Port Melbourne and is called Ohana Yoga.  “Ohana” is a Hawaiian word which is translated to mean ‘connections’ and that is what Ohana Yoga is about.  We  have an incredible community of students and teachers who get to know each other through classes, coffee/tea after class and different events that we offer; which include free talks on different subjects to share knowledge, insight and just simply those moments of being able to connect with others who are in the community.

We also offer a really fair teacher rate which is $10 to encourage teachers to take time for themselves and give back to themselves .. we all know that being of service can lead to the ‘sharing, caring’ people in our world sharing a bit too much, so we like to encourage teachers to give back to themselves through restorative and mindful practices.  I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity, inclination and energy to be able to create a studio that offers an enriching daily yoga practice, yoga teacher training’s and most importantly a space that is real community hub for those who have found us.

Name: Andrew Mournehis

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Savasana (Corpse pose) / Yoga Nidra.
In my eyes, THE MOST IMPORTANT ( yet often neglected) POSE in our yoga practice.
As my Ayurveda teacher and mentor would say... you WILL practice Savasana and yoga nidra for 5 mins every day for the rest of your life... the teaching has stuck!

Must Read Yoga Book: The Bhagavad Gita ... favourite translation by Stephen Mitchell. A must read for any yoga practitioner or teacher on learning how to live, love and serve.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Elena Brower... for her courage to face her shadows, live with integrity and congruence ..:and be willing to live a life of Forgiveness, Light, Love and Truth.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: Oooohhh, so many, but my current fave is Merri Cafe at Ceres ... beautiful community.

Currently Teaching at:

  • Pranahouse in Thornbury Mon and Wed mornings 930am-11am
  • Workshops and intensives from "Breathing space yoga" in Prahran
  • Teacher and facilitator for TT at Academy of Yoga Learning since 2003 
  • Retreats both nationally and internationally since 2003

Details at Divine Grace

Name: William Wong

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Handstand!!!

Must Read Yoga Book: Not specifically a yoga book but The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Claudia Whitney

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: Pana Chocolate or Raw Trader

Currently Teaching at: Power Living Fitzroy, Yoga 37, Virgin Active and Fitness First

Name: Amanda Pittard

Favorite Yoga Pose this Week: Natarajasana | Dancer Pose as it allows me to open up my body, clear my mind and breathe evenly so that I can unlock truly profound discoveries about myself, physically my flexibility and balance, energetically opens my sacral, solar plexus & heart chakra allowing me to find balance in the realm of sensuality, personal power and love & compassion, Spiritually allowing me to notice where I get unstuck, so I can release my samsara.

Must Read Yoga book: "Your Body, Your Yoga" by Bernie Clark

Teacher Who Inspires Me : Sarah Cresswell at Teacher & owner at KX Yoga Malvern. When I'm on my mat I love listening to her kind thoughts, mindful manner & positive reinforcements of how wonderful we all are & what we bring to ourselves each & every time we come to practice.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne : The Bakers Wife in Burke Road, Glen Iris, the menu is amazing & fresh.

Styles of Yoga I teach : Vinyasa Flow, Slow flow, Yin, Yin Yang, Kids & Teens

Currently teaching at : Endless Lifestyle Balwyn, KX Yoga Malvern (assisting) Goodlife Camberwell, ReCreation Malvern, South Pacific Chadstone, Swift Fitness (kids/teens), Genesis Caulfield, Firbank Grammar Brighton (kids), Prana House Thornbury. Will commence shortly at the Habitat Space Malvern & Daya Wellbeing Hawthorn.

Name: Tania Perry

My Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Humble Warrior. I named my business after this pose and tend to incorporate it into most of my classes. It reminds me to stay strong and grounded, to surrender and let go of that which no longer serves, with grace and humility. Humble Warrior symbolises for me the strength and beauty of yoga. It requires a balance of effort, ease and courage.

Must Read Yoga Book: The complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clarke. I have always been a Yang Yogi, this book has taught me how to find stillness and to yield in my practice, to take time in transitions and to be more mindful. I am a convert to Yin Yoga. I always try to find a balance in life, and yin Yoga brings me closer to this. Yin makes me a better Yoga teacher. This a wholistic approach, nurtures the body and softens me both on and off the mat.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: There have been so many over the years, but any teacher who connects with me personally, gets to know my practice, offers adjustments, inspires me and makes me a better yogi. I love Nicky Hanley (AYA Prahran), for her free spirit and creative sequencing. For my own professional development I attend classes with Zoltan - Swami Gopal (Yoga in Daily Life/ Fitness First), he has an authentic, calm nature and his classes always challenge and inspire.

My go to cafe in Melbourne: Combi in Ormond Rd, Elwood. The best raw treats, tumeric lattes, organic, to make you glow, from the inside out. The raw caramel slice (sugar free/vegan) is to die for!!

Currently teaching at Om Yoga Sth Yarra, Fitness First, Sth Pacific Gyms and Humble Warrior Yoga and Wellness.
I also teach Meditation, Pranyama  and Chair Yoga at Salts of the Earth Prahran.

Name: Jennifer Crescenzo

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Elephant Pose - it's a dynamic variation of a wide leg forward fold that involves keeping your legs strong and feet grounded while playfully twisting your trunk!

Must Read Yoga Book: Yoga: Fascia, Anatomy, and Movement by Joanne Avison

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Paul and Suzee Grilley - I have studied with them for nearly 8 years now and through the years they have changed the way I understand and experience my own body in movement and meditation.  Whether they are teaching functional anatomy or the Bhagavad Gita, Paul teaches with great precision, passion, and humor and Suzee's boundless curiosity about movement makes the asana practice both practical and playful .  I just returned from studying Patanjali's Yoga Sutras with them and when I arrived we hugged and then they immediately started quizzing me about my Olympic Lifting and how it was influencing my body and the way I'm teaching yoga.  The way they engage with their students makes for a really dynamic and creative training environment and I always leave their company feeling simultaneously grounded and charged!

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne:  I live and teach south side so locally I like Magic for coffee and Urban Projuice for healthy, nourishing food.

Currently Teaching at: For the past few years I've been writing and co-facilitating 200 Hour Hatha Yoga TT's at The Yoga Social and MOVE Yoga and developing and facilitating Yin Teacher Training in Australia and internationally.  I teach weekly Yin, Yin/Yang, and Flow classes at MOVE Yoga, Ohana Yoga, and Yoke Yoga.  And I'm about to rejoin the team at Yoga Flame at their new Windsor studio!  My schedule of classes and events is available at

I'm 100% sure I'm still to meet many fantastic Melbourne yoga instructors. Come and let me know whose class you absolutely wouldn't miss on Core Integrity With Cat Facebook.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Head & Shoulders: Dandruff Causes and Treatment

Just like drinking milk from the carton or wearing your pyjama pants to the supermarket, dandruff is one of those things we just don’t like to fess up to. Fortunately, aisles full of treatments and targeted products suggest it’s a common malaise though!
In working at gyms, studios and various locations where I put my hands all over weights, yoga mats, fitness equipment of all descriptions and so on, I know I’m coming into contact with all sorts of possible allergens, sweat, body oils and bacteria. This is going to be something many people face in their daily life – whether through work or leisure choices. This relentless bacteria onslaught can put the immune system under stress to battle and react daily. Ultimately, an imbalanced and exhausted immune system will start sending signals that it’s struggling. A sensitised, itchy and dandruff-prone scalp is one of those warning signs.

Ultimately, you must take a holistic approach to ensure that any treatment is long-lasting. That means identifying ways you can strengthen your immune system with lifestyle choices as well as topical treatments (targeted shampoo and conditioner). From the foods you eat, to the amount and quality of sleep you get, to your exercise and creative endeavours... choose an approach that makes you FEEL good so that your body has the energy and the strength to function optimally.
Getting plenty of vitamin rich veggies and fruit, protein-rich grains, pulses, milk, eggs and fish are excellent ways to bolster energy. Don’t rule out any food group unless you have a legitimate allergy. Avoid ruling out whole food groups and remember also that the way you FEEL about what you’re eating affects the way you digest. So if you’re going to eat half a pack of Tim Tams, EMBRACE the chocolate goodness and do it with joy.
I’ve tried a few dandruff treatment shampoos and conditioners and found that many of them are really harsh and leave my hair super dry. Thankfully, Head & Shoulders has a new (very budget-friendly!) range out that is designed for everyday use so much gentler on the scalp and hair. This is down to a pH formula that is effective in treating dandruff deep in the roots without upsetting the natural balance of oils. Head & Shoulders Clean & Balanced 3ActionFormula Shampoo and Conditioner is my secret weapon and  as a dark-haired damsel, I am in need of all the fortification I can get!
I was revisiting some articles I contributed to on yoga for beauty and health on BeautyHeaven and came across the recommendation for Head & Shoulders. You can read reviews on their site.

Post sponsored by Head & Shoulders. Product genuinely used, reviewed and promoted with integrity. 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Difference Makes Us

After reading my last post about the essential appreciation we must have for being connected, I am posting on the celebration of our differences.
I have the symbol for Pi on my shoulder. When I first had it inked about 8 years ago, I did so with a vague but determined understanding that Pi represented the scientific and quantum concept that there are patterns and powers that govern nature and the elements, including human nature. This doesn't mean anything, especially humans, are predictable and acting and feeling according to scientific formulas or rigid systems.
This means there's mystery but magic existing alongside all of us, interconnecting us and nature, the planets, the elements. Though it can be easy for me to fall into believing I am alone when I get down, I also never feel alone for long because I do feel connected. I imagine that beyond my room is my city and my country and beyond that, every country, all oceans, marine life, clouds, planets, dark matter, meteors, ozone... and we are all affected. It is also inherently tied to ideas within Chaos Theory. The most common example given of this is the butterfly that flaps its wings on one side of the planet and a tidal wave eventuates on the other. Everything affects another.

Well, that was a long way of explaining that despite us all being deeply connected on the deepest level, we are all entirely different and beautifully unique in our self-expression. This is being authentic. We express our style and values, our passions and personality,through fashion, makeup, hair style and colour, the way we move and gesture.

One of my favourite marketplaces is running the Difference Makes Us campaign right now. Etsy has a new Australian homeplace with loads of local makers trading their goodies. Here's the bonus.

Post a picture on Instagram of a unique item you own and love and tag it with with the hashtag #DifferenceMakesUs for a chance to win an Etsy gift card valued at $1000

Here are some of my favourite Etsy finds, local and international.

Handmade Ballet Slippers by Antoni at GrandGear (Australian!)
Customised sportswear by Misty at mysticclothing.
Om Lotus Sterling Silver necklace by elisdesigns.
Nike Sneaker Poster set by PigeonStudios.
Ashtanga Bra at AryaClothing
Glow In The Dark Yoga Shorts at UriahClearLight.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Bringing Yoga To Life

Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are many books on yoga, but not many really delve into what it means to study and engage in yoga practice beyond the mat. What makes yoga different to simply doing stretches or gymnastics at the local recreation centre?
In Bringing Yoga To Life, Donna has an easily relatable and no-nonsense style of writing and teaching. She can illuminate very complex ideas and concepts through stories, both personal recollections from her classes and retreats, and also from yogic texts like the Bhagavad Gita.
Essentially, though this concept is easily articulated, it is the very heart of yoga and cannot truly be appreciated and integrated into our practice and our daily living until we are open to learning. Yoga is the unity of not only our own body and mind, but a unity with the world. It is, as Donna tries to examine and explain, finding our self in every thing (leaf, animal, air) and every person and also, knowing that we are in everything around us also. Donna describes this idea as being like a matrix of energy, or a silence, that exists behind all the noise of daily living and our own mental chatter. It is our connection to the universe that hums along eternally. This is also the concept of Om, often chanted before and after class. The unity of our bodily selves with our infinite selves and with everyone and everything around us.
If I’ve lost you already, then this book may not be for you yet. If you have just done your first class, or your fifty-thousandth class, this book will confront and challenge your ideas about yoga and about your life. I know I have spent nights awake and stopped at the traffic lights considering everything from my approach as a teacher to whether I’m breathing fully and what my intentions genuinely are for every choice I make. As yogis, we aren’t going to do everything perfectly. Donna recognises the obsessive and ritualistic approach of a well-known yoga instructor in her book and his rigid adhesion to his own practice is so determined, he leaves the class he is conducting to go and do his personal practice alone.
What this also illustrates, inadvertently, is that yoga is a diverse school and there are many approaches. Donna’s most enlightening chapter, for me, was about seeking the teachers who resonate for us and recognising the traits that we most seek, require and benefit from in our teachers are what we really need to absorb into our approach to ourselves.
For me, I seek teachers who are frank, no-nonsense, challenging but also with a deep joy for living, movement, sharing and able to challenge my ideas and movement so that I push further than is comfortable, but doing so with a compassionate and attentive instructor overseeing.
I seek teachers who are passionate about what they know and always open and curious to learning and seeing what they know in a new light. I seek teachers who are exceptional students. I see this in myself as a deeply curious person.
Using anecdotes, spiritual texts, poetry, stories passed down from family and friends, Donna has not written a step-by-step guide for dummies on the spiritual life by any means. This is, however, not also a prescriptive text but one that like all great teachings, invites us to question what we think we are certain about and then to indulge new ideas and practices in our daily life and to also appreciate that our approach to life and to yoga will change with circumstances, age and experience.
My only niggles are very few really. I also think that with time and consideration, and more practice, I may change my mind on finding them niggles at all. Towards the end of the book, one chapter makes a few references to what particular age groups, from the 20s to the 30s “normally do”. As a yoga instructor and a writer, I meet many people of all cultures, ages, gender identity and what I have learned, is that there is no “normal”. In yoga particularly, instructors are a wild and diverse group of spiritual seekers of all ages and physical abilities. To define age groups and what they should or should not be doing is an exercise in narrowing down what a life ought to look like. This is perhaps just my sensitive interpretation though!
Donna is candid to a very controlled and short extent, in revealing family trouble that lead to an eating disorder in her twenties, exacerbated by dance training where her teacher made derogatory remarks about her less-than-bony physique. This is a common experience for many who studied dance or gymnastics as children and teens and found their bodies became battlegrounds for control and aesthetic worth. I know I have had my battles and it is enormously comforting to me to also know there are many well-known and honest international yoga teachers who speak about overcoming these lethal disorders to find a love and appreciation for their bodies through yoga. This may sound simplistic, and it is not through doing tree pose and having some amazing moment of enlightenment that acceptance and appreciation is nurtured in the body.
It is, as Donna reveals in Bringing Yoga To Life, through questioning, studying, and also accepting the mystery of life and having faith. This doesn’t mean worshipping God or Buddha or identifying with a religion. This means accepting the enormous joy and rarity of actually being here at all, of all the endlessly possible genetic and energetic combinations of a human being, you are here. This means accepting that we are not alone – we exist as part of the universe, and it exists in us. I am still considering what I read in Donna’s book. Hourly, daily, weekly. It has inspired me to seek more reading and to approach my classes with a greater curiosity and desire to inspire that same curiosity and joy in yoga as a spiritual practice in which asanas are an element but not the end goal.
Originally published in 2005, this is a book that has not aged nor can I imagine it will ever be redundant. For curious yogis and those who seek to embrace yoga on, off and beyond the mat and the routines of daily life. I had the great fortune to read this book via SocialBookCo.

View all my reviews

Friday, 16 September 2016

Vitamin C For Body And Skin

So many products, from bottled juice to hand cream, claim to be rich in vitamin C. It's a great marketing spruik, but do we actually know what value it has and whether it is effectively absorbed? Do we even need it?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant (fights free radicals) that plays an essential role in collagen synthesis. It is responsible for healing cells and this explains why it is so often a key ingredient in skin care. Vitamin C has been shown to prevent and treat ultraviolet photodamage (pigmentation/burn). The skin is made up of layers of dermis. Both the epidermis and he dermis have high levels of Vitamin C concentration, though this declines with age. Concentration of Vitamin C in the skin also decreases with exposure to pollution (car fumes, cigarette smoke, etc), UV light and stress.

Vitamin C benefits for the skin include increased hydration and a more youthful appearance as a result. The skin is also more resilient to sun exposure and pollutants.
Both topical and oral supplements have shown to have positive results for skin health. Since Vitamin C in the skin is normally transported from the blood stream, an oral supplement that delivers sufficient dosage is beneficial but excessive doses don't increase the concentration of vitamin C in the skin so be sure to follow instructions on any supplements.

Vitamin C is absorbed through topical application where the pH level is below 4.0 (greaer acidity) and greatest absorption is seen in a 20% vitamin C solution. It crosses the epidermis and reaches he underlying layers of skin. Exposure to heat, air and light degrade the quality and concentration of Vitamin C though. Don't store any skin care in sunlight or leave open longer than required.

Vitamin C has shown benefits in boosting skin hydration and improving healing time for wounds.
I like to hit my skin and body with double barrels, so I take high quality oral supplement, Viviscal (all the celebs and models do it, you know!) and Medik8 C-Tetra Cream. Both are not cheap, but they last at LEAST a few months and the high quality means you get results rather than cheaper products with lower concentration and shelf time.
Make sure Vitamin C rich foods are part of your diet too - I don't believe any of us are about to suffer scurvy but better safe than sorry.
I'm a little bit in love with Nourish Atelier for great recipes and inspiring ideas with food. Her latest genius recipe is Butternut and Kale Lasagne with Quinoa and Red Pepper Sugo. Go there.

Thanks to Oregon State University for Vitamin C info.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

What I Listen To For Inspiration

Are you a podcast junkie like me?
Do you just love a bangin' good dance mix to get you through a circuit routine or a cardio session?

I've got you covered. There's so many free music and radio resources. You could even learn Spanish while you're sweating it out! Here's my pick of what to listen to and I'd love to know if you have recommendations for me. Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and tell me what you listen to and love.

Soulcycle on Soundcloud

If you can't be in one of these cult cycle classes, you can tune in to the remixes and playlists that make the grade in LA, NYC and Chicago.

The Do LaB on Soundcloud

An LA company that is behind interactive events and exhibits at festivals like Lightning In A Bottle - get into these playlists stat.

ABC Radio National Podcasts

You can call me a nerd, but this is a great way to tune in to politics, culture, science, economics, news and current affairs either for the whole show or just snippets you want to tune into. I love RN Breakfast, All In The Mind and Pats Karvelas on RN Drive.

BBC Global News and Business

Twice daily on weekdays, this is a round-up of what's happening around the world both in news and also in business. I tune in via iTunes but you can listen directly from the site or via iPlayer. The business pods are really interesting and meaty discussions on business and I haven't found an Australian podcast that can do this HALF as well.

Move Beautiful

An Australian pilates and movement podcast by physiotherapist and pilates pro Lana. She has over 20 years experience in pilates, rehab and movement for ultimate health and wellbeing. She takes a really joyful, curious and considered approach to the body and this podcast is really enlightening for teachers and those with a general interest in alignment, pilates and strength.

Beyond The Movement: The Pilates Podcast

No longer current, BUT these back episodes are a great insight into the purpose, benefits and business of pilates and the body.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Wrist Support For Yoga, Pilates, TRX, Weights

I know many of you get pain through the wrists during yoga, pilates, balance, core and TRX or circuit training. I've done my research and asked those in the know and the resounding recommendation is WAGs. There are several models to choose from depending on the level of support you need and the type of workout. Get yours at WAGS.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Be A Glow Getter

Alpha H

Exclusive to Sephora Australia, I've been using Clear Skin Daily Moisturiser to blitz a couple of spots (can't always cleanse and tone between yoga and barre classes...) and I can thoroughly recommend it. It isn't as addictive as the Liquid Gold that tingles but leaves skin thoroughly revitalised if you apply overnight.

VMV Hypoallergenics

Exclusive to Sephora in Australia, VMV Hypoallergenics is ideally suited to sensitive skin and also to skin prone to acne, rashes, eczema, psoriasis and allergies to typical makeup.
Their packaging is beyond design 101. Little suitcases package eyeshadows, blushers and bronzers. The Skintelligent beauty blush brush comes in its own recycled paper bag with soy-based ink. If you are a fan of #greenbeauty you are ticking every sustainability, environmentally friendly box on the way to karmic heaven. You’re going to look especially lovely when you get there too. My picks are Smauve and Heat blush palettes and you absolutely MUST have a blush brush and no-water-required brush cleaner spray (hypoallergenic of course!).

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess
Look no further if you’re after luxe and a brand name you know and trust. I once read a book on Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. Though Estee Lauder didn’t enter the picture until towards the end, all those makeup queens were the true pioneers and entrepreneurs of their day. BronzeGoddess has been a cult hit for beauty lovers since it was released some years ago. With a fragrance, colour palette and face/body bronzers as part of the collection, you have your pick of products.
Right now, it’s all about highlighting and the “strobing” effect where the skin is given a glowy effect all over. That said, you don’t want to blind people with your ridiculous luminescence. Be subtle. The Bronze Goddess Palette has a bronzer, coral hued blusher and gold highlighter. Each shade could be used alone but in combination, it adds vibrancy, shade and light to your face.

Bobbi Brown
Talking of glow, the only foundation I consistently return to over and over is Bobbi Brown. I loved the cushion foundation but I'm a bit old school and a liquid foundation that I can pump out a reliable and ritualistic amount is perfect for me. Totally recommend the Skin Nourishing Glow Foundation. I wear it to the gym and it still lasts all day without giving me spots. Bam.
My next trial? The Foundation Stick. My shade is Warm Ivory but there's a zillion to choose from whether you're icy pale or Grace Jones. Also, for highlighting heaven, you can't go past the subtle gold glow of Telluride Highlighting Powder.

Hello budget beauty. Not only will you get change from your weekly pocket money allowance, you’ll also have the happy glow of knowing many e.l.f products are vegan and therefore, cruelty free and ethically produced.

There is a full makeup range for face, lips, eyes and also a skincare range if you’re so inclined. A makeup artist friend highly recommended their brush sets (a BUDGET quality brush set? YES!). I can back this up. Most of the brushes are vegan but not all. If this is of concern, do your research and you can always ask via email or online.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Activewear, Yoga Pants and Accessories on Etsy

Are you a natural hunter? Could you be thrown into the wilds of the urban wilderness and hunt your way to coordinated pants, tank top and sneakers with ankle socks thrown in for good measure?

If so, trawling through the stock standard shopping sites for yoga pants is not going to give you the hunter’s high of “I FOUND THIS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!” which is so good for you!

This is where Etsy kicks in. Not only can you find gear that nobody in your neighbourhood is going to be rocking at the same yoga class, but you can talk directly with the owner/designer/maker and know you’re supporting an entrepreneurial spirit in their business.

Without further ado, my favourite Etsy yoga gear purveyors. Hunting for yoga gear has never been so much fun...

Lily Jara Leggings
Day of the Dead meets yoga pants? Heck, yes.
This is just one of the crazy fine designs from Lily Jara. She also does awesome 80s geometric rainbow patterns, balloon print, donuts and leggings with one side devoted to fries and the other to ketchup. Yup, this is fun and fabulous.
Mermaid leggings for adults AND their mini yoga sprogs? Definitely. Also, Lily is a super babe and if you’re in the Florida area, I’ll be hugely jealous that you might be hanging out and doing yoga in balloon print leggings together.
My pick is the sugarskulls print leggings and while I haven’t yet been to Mexico, I feel like I’m embracing the gothic culture of Dios De Los Muertes (Day Of The Dead) in these.
Lily Jara Shop

Funky Leggzis Clothing
Funky indeed. Peacock print, Mario Brothers, Alice In Wonderland, the Eiffel Tower. If you can dream it, you can wear it on your pins thanks to Angela at Funky Leggzis.
My super strong personal training client rocks the peacock print leggings while she slays some heavy duty deadlifts so these are not only for fashion – they’re totally fitness friendly.
Made in Hobart and shipped internationally. Check them out.
Funky Leggzis Clothing

Another super talented lady with a knack for leggings you’ll love. Ruta makes divine fitness and fashion forward leggings with sweet, hand-detailed designs.
I fell in love with the mini foxes but there are also bicycles, trees, panda bears and bird prints on t-shirts, leggings, baby suits and even decals for your Macbook.

Fashion Jewelry Online
I’m a bit of a sucker for an anklet, and so are the fashion pack judging by the recent spate of sandals and sneakers with built-in ankle chains! If you’re a pilates, yoga, barre regular, you know you are going to spend a lot of time looking at your ankles (ah, blissful forward fold!) so you may want to give them a bit of zazz with the bohemian, yoga and Buddhist-inspired anklets, bracelets and necklaces from the delightful Puspamurti in Western Australia.
Fashion Jewelry Online

Modern Homewares
The lovely Aussie behind ModernHomewares store on Etsy creates cute, covetable pillow covers, ironing board covers and – essentially for me – yoga mat bags. Yes, no longer do you need to wrangle your yoga mat under one arm and your handbag under the other while you attempt to get through the studio door without knocking over the Ganesh statue and upsetting the decorative bamboo by reception.
My pick is the orange and white chevron print bag. A sling-shoulder harness allows you to pack and go. Without the mess!


And if you are more about creating and selling than buying - you can sign up and become a shop owner immediately. Get sewing, knitting, crafting and snapping photos stat!

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