Tag: yoga

Positive Vibes – 6 Things I Learnt From Yoga…

I have done yoga on and off since I was a teenager.  While traveling I attended classes when we visited beach towns and hippie villages and I always loved my experiences but I was never able to seriously commit.  Then one year ago, when walking through the park near my house, I discovered an evening yoga class going on and decided to sign up.

Since that point I have made Yoga a big part of my life and made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  My teacher, Elena, is incredible and not only do we learn Hatha Yoga for fitness and strength, we also study Vinyasa (or flow) Yoga, Meditation, Mantra, Chakras and Breathing.  I now love to take part in Yoga seminars and retreats to push my body and learn more.  For the lovely ones of you who follow me on Instagram you saw that yesterday I attended an amazing lesson all about Thai Yoga and how yoga poses can be used to release aches and pains – so amazing!

I only started a year ago, so I still have a lot to learn, but it is amazing to reflect and see how much growth I have made in such a small space of time, because I honestly think starting Yoga has been one of the best things I have ever done.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.38.04.png

(photo taken from pinterest.com)

Here are six things Yoga has taught me…

1 – Connection

In Sanskrit the meaning of yoga is union or connection.  To a lot of people Yoga means bending yourself into crazy positions and drinking detoxing teas.  To me Yoga means feeling connected to my body, to my emotions and feelings, to my experiences and to the world around me.

2 – Strength

A big part of yoga is stretching out your muscles and building up your strength to allow your body to hold the poses.  When I first started I could barely touch my toes and had little-to-no core strength.  One year on and I am able to hold poses I never imagined I could do and every time that happens I feel so happy and empowered.  As well as physical strength I have gained inner-strength and know I can achieve anything I desire.

3 – Commitment

As much as I would love get up at sunrise and spend my days doing yoga and meditation on the beach, for me this isn’t possible.  However I have made the commitment to fit yoga into my modern lifestyle.  As well as practicing two-to-three times a week I also listen to my body, follow breathing techniques, mediate and practice awareness and this commitment has increased my self-belief, happiness and ability to manage stress.

4 – Release

It is taught that with great release comes great gain and that by letting go of what no longer serves us we are creating space in our being for new, more positive things to enter our life.  I love this sentiment and by releasing my worries, fear, mistakes and negative feelings I am opening my heart to positivity, motivation, love and inspiration.

5 – Presence

Yoga teaches us to be present in the moment and listen to our body, our breathing and our mind.  To me this also means to fully enjoy the present moment I am in.  To stop worrying about the past or the future, to appreciate how beautiful the moment is now and to make the most of every experience.

6 – Awareness & Acceptance

Yoga is hard work and requires you to have awareness of your body & mind. You have to be realistic of what your body can do and accept yourself for the stage you are at now.  It’s not possible to go in day one and start doing head stands and meditating for three hours straight!   For me that led to becoming aware of my actions, thoughts and feelings and to accept that its ok not to be perfect all the time.  This awareness led to me notice when I do start feel negatives thoughts or emotions and allows me to remedy those with positive things.  And accepting myself for who I am, mistakes and all, has brought greater self-love, confidence, happiness and peace into my life.

Like what you read… Don’t forget to give me a follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest.

Beating September Blues

As I sit writing this post I am snuggled up on my sofa with a hot cup of tea because it is TORRENTIALLY raining outside.  Its looking really cold and really grey and really wet.  Living in Italy means I have not seen weather like this for a while and I am taking its presence as a sign autumn is definitely on its way.

I actually really like the start of Autumn because I think it brings with it a sense of renewing and restarting after a long summer break – I still get that ‘back to school’ feeling – and I love seeing the autumn colours in the trees. (See my Ciao Milano post for 20 reasons I am happy for autumn in milan.)  But I admit, as the evenings start to creep in earlier and the weather starts to turn bad I do sometimes get a pang for summer to return.

If you feel the same then here is my list of fun ways to beat September Blues…

Top Tips For Beating September Blues.jpg

1) Have a hot bubble bath… 

Light candles, bring a good book and turn off your phone for some relax-time.  I love using bath bombs and bubbles bars from Lush.  They smell amazing and always make me feel really pampered.

2) Start shopping for new Winter clothes…

Nothing makes me more excited for a changing season than shopping for new clothes to wear.  Autumn time is great for fashion because it brings so many options; think soft layering, chunky scarves, cosy knits… Plus winter always calls for new shoes, coats, boots and sweaters.  Have fun and experiment with some new looks.

3) Go for a long walk and see the autumn leaves…

Wrap up warm, meet some girlfriends and go for a long walk to see the pretty colours of the autumn leaves.  I admit I am still a child at heart and I love walking through big piles of crunchy leaves – I’m sure you still do too…

4) Go back to school…

Use the dark evenings as a change to sign up for evening classes.  You could learn a language, do a beauty course, start crafting or try yoga… Learning new stuff is energizing and fun and its also a really great way to make new friends.

5) Get reading…

When it is cold and grey outside nothing is better than snuggling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book.

6) Plan something exciting to look forward to…

Christmas feels like a really long time away so plan something fun to do in October or November so you have something to look forward to. I have a weekend staying in a county cottage booked with my girlfriends in October and I cannot wait! Other ideas could be a mini-city break, a spa weekend, a shopping trip or even a fun dinner party at home.

7) Have a girls sleepover…

Fill your living room with blankets and pillows, put on your favorite films and eat a ton of chocolate.  It doesn’t matter what the weather looks like outside when you are spending time with your best friends.

Have any suggestions of your own, please share them in the comment below…

Like what you read… Don’t forget to follow me on Blog Lovin!

Arugam Bay – My Beach Town Guide

Following my recent posts about our wonderful travels around Sri Lanka I have had a lot of people asking advise about places to visit and stay, particularly in Arugam Bay.

As we were there for two weeks we got to know the scene quite well and we found some cool places we really loved.  There is so much to see and do there that we were busy exploring and having fun everyday! So I decided to write a list of my top spots in Arugam Bay.  Hopefully you can check out some of these places when you visit and see if you likes them as much as me…

IMG_9771

peanut farm beach

SEE

Main Point Beach. Drink a fresh coconut while watching world class professional and amazing locals surf the waves breaking at the point on Main Beach.  It will give you some inspiration before starting your surfing lessons.

Wild Elephants at Sunset. End your day at the beach by stopping at Crocodile Rock before heading back to town.  Climb the rock at sunset to see herds of wild elephants coming out of the forest to graze! We saw a herd of 15  – so beautiful!

Pottuville Lagoon at Sunrise. Take an early morning canoe ride through the lagoon and see crocodiles, elephants, monkeys and countless wild birds.  The atmosphere is so tranquil and peaceful.

DCIM106GOPRO

coconuts on the beach

sunrise at potuvil lagoon

pottuville canoe trip

DO

Early Morning Yoga Class. Start your day with an energising Yoga Class before hitting the beach.  I loved the rooftop classes at Bay Vista Hotel for the amazing ocean views.

Ayurveda Full Body Massage.  A deep tissue, ancient healing technique using holistic oils.  I took a treatment at the Ayurveda Healing Center for a natural and authentic experience.  Learn more about my experience here.

Eco Wave Cooking Course. Learn how to make traditional Sri Lankan dishes taught by local women from the village.  Even better all the food used is grown locally on organic farms so, as well as having a fun day with lots of food, you are also helping out the local community too.  We loved making the coconut sambal and fish curry!

Surf Lessons. Take lessons or rent a board and try out at the many surf sports around Arugam Bay. For beginners Elephant Rock or Peanut Farm are great places to practise.  Hasan’s Surf House is a cool place for board rental.

fishing boats at main beach

fishing boats at main beach

Eco Wave Cooking Course

eco wave cooking course

EAT

Spicy Snacks from the Street Venders.  At the top end of the beach road you will find several street venders selling freshly made spicy snacks.  Super cheap and extremely tasty, it is so much fun buying a mix and having a picnic on the beach.  We loved the vegetable rotti’s and fried lentil dhal.

Organic Curry at Danny’s Soul KitchenThe best place we tried for local food.  All ingredients are grown locally in the organic farm.  Order curry of chicken, beef or fish and enjoy trying the amazing selection of vegetable sides with mountains of red rice.

Health Smoothies at Zephyr BarGrab an amazing fresh smoothie and relax on one of the huge bean bags on the beach.  The perfect chill out evening.

fresh rotti's & spicy sauce

fresh rotti’s & spicy sauce

EXPLORE

The Beaches. As well as Main Beach, Arugam Bay has several secluded beaches all within around a ten minuet tuk-tuk drive away. Our favourite was Peanut Farm for its isolated setting and great surf! Visit them all and see which is your favourite.

Kudumbigala Forest Monestry. Take a day away from the beach and explore this little visited Buddhist Monastery in the middle of the forest.  See some of the 200 cave shrines and climb the sacred rock for incredible panoramic views of the countryside.  We were greeted by lovely monks who gave us cakes to eat at the top and saw snakes and monkeys while walking through the forest.

Lighthouse Point. 23KM from Arugam Bay town this amazing beach is little visited and extremely beautiful.

buddhist monks at peanut farm beach

buddhist monks at the beach

kudimbigala monastery viewpoint

kudumbigala monastery viewpoint

SHOP

Ethical Accessories from Rice & Carry.  Made from recycled rice sacks by local women from the villages, this brand is super cute and works for a good course.  Choose from backpacks, tote bags, clutches and purses – you will want to buy them all!

Hideaway Sunday Morning Market. Serving up happy vibes, Hideaway’s sunday morning market sells cute handmade products from the local community.  See artsy postcards, funky jewellery, ethic fabrics and colourful sarongs.  Great for present shopping.

rice & carry accessories

rice & carry accessories

As you can see we loved our time in Arugam Bay lots.  Have any suggestions from your trip – please share in the comments below.

Ayurveda Healing Massage – Feeling Zen in Arugam Bay…

I always love to learn about new beauty therapy techniques and when travelling I love to try beauty practices traditional to the local culture. In Sri Lanka ‘Ayurveda Healing Techniques’ are widely used and upon arrival I was really excited to try it out for myself.

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing treatment. The philosophy of Ayurveda treats the mind, body and soul as inter- related properties, all needing to be in balance to have a healthy body and life. It focuses on treating the root causes of beauty problems or ill-health. The techniques involve using massage and natural plant beauty products to deeply cure and remove toxins from the body. Indian Head Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Full Body Massage using organic and natural oils are all treatments practised at Ayurveda Spas.

In Arugam Bay I saw many Ayurveda Spas attached to the beautiful, bohemian resorts lining the beach.  But I decided instead to try my treatment at Arugam Bay Ayurveda Healing Centre (a natural healing spa used by the locals) for a more authentic experience. I signed up for a Deep Tissue Full Body Massage & Indian Head Massage. I was greeted by my massage therapist and taken to by own cabana where soft mantra music was playing and scented incense was burning. She started by asking about my health and any areas of tension in my body – I have terrible shoulders from always carrying heavy bags of clothes to and from photo shoots! She selected a special oil for my treatment called Abhyangam Oil which detoxifies and revitalises the body while also working as an anti-ageing and anti-stress treatment and the massage focussed on the deep muscle tissue and removing tension.

The treatment was amazing and after I felt so relaxed. I really recommend it to you when you are visiting Sri Lanka or India yourself.  Since my massage I have continued my Zen feeling by doing a Yoga class overlooking beach every morning at the beautiful Bay Vista Hotel.

Postive Vibes – What I Have Learnt Before Turning 24…

The month of July has been really busy for me with photo shoots, meetings, travel and my birthday.  With one week left before we go on holiday I decided to give myself this week to feel relaxed and balanced before going away.  I have a lot to catch up on but I am also giving myself time to do things I love like yoga, reading, cooking and seeing friends.

At the end of a busy period I always like to evaluate how things have gone and make some goals for what I want from the next months. While thinking about this I came across a blog post by one of my favourite bloggers Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks who wrote a post about eight thinks she has learnt since her last birthday. As it was recently my birthday I thought it appropriate to give it a go myself.

Since leaving university and entering the ‘adult world’ two years ago I feel like I have learnt a lot about myself and the directions I want to go in.  So I decided my list refers to the past 12 months between turning 23 and 24.

Things I have learnt…

1. Be happy with my natural body shape. I used to always want to be skinny but in the past year I realised it is so much better to be slim, toned and strong. I have a good body weight and now I love where I have curves too. Of course there are areas (like my abs) I want to improve, but my goals are to tone them up instead of trying to loose weight. Eating healthy and exercising regularly And feeling good is more important.

2. Building from that I now LOVE exercise. Don’t get me wrong I still hate the gym! But I have learnt I love exercising outside and now do a combination of  yoga, cycling or swimming five times a week. My body feels great but it’s so good for de-stressing my mind too.

3. Comparing myself to others is a waste of time. I now know where I want to take my life and career and I have set goals to help myself get there. As long as I am achieving those and feeling happy in the process then it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. I can just sit back and feel happy for them instead of comparing and feeling bad.

4. Working towards my goals slowly has better results in the long term. Since moving to Italy I noticed the attitude they have of working towards goals a little bit at a time, instead of trying to do everything all at once. The phrase Rome wasn’t built in a day applies here. When I started thinking about how I could apply it to my own life I noticed I became much better at sticking at things because I was setting myself for realistic goals. It might take a longer, but by doing a little everyday I am much more productive and focused.

5. Don’t do things to try and keep other people happy, but make my decisions based on what feels right for me.

6. Loving and appreciating the amazing friends I have. Even if I live far away from them we are still so connected and close and that makes me happy.

7. Making time for the things I love (yoga, cooking, reading, cycling, travel, music) is so important for a happy lifestyle.

Things I want to learn/do before turning 25…

1. More yoga. Since starting in May I am loving the effect on my body and mind and want to keep up my four lessons a week.

2. More Italian. I just got to keep getting better.

3. Become more selfless. Helping people, getting involved with charities, following a good cause… I feel like I need to do more to help other people.

4. Scuba Dive at least once. Because I love it and I never do it.

Like what you read… Don’t forget to follow me on Blog Lovin!