Lifestyle

14 Life Lessons I Learnt At YTT | Part 2

October 21, 2017

Ever since coming back from India, I feel like I’ve stepped into a freedom I can’t explain, can’t quite put into words.

In Part 1 of this post, I’ve talked about some of the great things that YTT has taught me – celebrating the small victories, practicing gratitude daily, how expectations ruin everything and how we should just still more often.

Today I’m sharing some more, and some very deep, experiences that have helped shape and shift my mindset ever since I returned.

Side note: from the moment I returned from India, I was stressing to writing these two blog posts as quickly as possible for you guys. But in the end, I’m really happy that it’s taken me so long to get these out, because a lot of these things didn’t actually ‘click’ for me until recently. Well, they ‘clicked’, but they didn’t manifest into my life to the point that it actually changed the way I lived and did things on a daily basis. Which I feel like they now do. It’s sublte changes in life perspective that have slowly crepped up on me, and now, as I sit down to contemplate on things, I realize how they have found themself into my life.

I could probably write a part 3 and 4 to this, but for now this shall suffice. Without further ado…

8. No one has their shit figured out. “The only normal people are the ones that you don’t very well yet.”, as Alain de Botton famously said.

True story. At the surface, it seems like everyone else is cool, calm and collected 24/7. While you might feel like a crumbling mess 99% of the time. The thing is this: as humans, we are programmed to always put our best selves forward and show ourselves from our brightest, shiniest side. Hence why most people that we meet in passing or don’t know very well leave such a composed and put-together impression on us. But once you get to know that person (granted they allow themselves to be vulnerable), you will learn things about them that you would have never guessed. Or had no idea that they were dealing with.

Example: At the time when I was at my worst, people around me thought I was living the dream. Dream boyfriend, dream family, dream friends, what more could I want, right? I still get messages today from old uni friends/acquaintances who tell me they would have never guessed that I was struggling at the time.

So how does this affect me post-India? I’ve come to realize that there’s absolutely no point in comparing my low-lights to someone else’s highlight reel, because I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. I’ve also learned to stay open-minded and to always see the best in people, because they might be going through a rough time and that’s why they are being rude, annoying, aggressive etc. Most importantly, I’ve learnt that it’s OKAY to not have my shit together. And to admit it if I don’t. Because we all experience these emotions.10. The body holds on to emotions, stress and trauma on a deeply cellular level.

9. Love yourself unconditionally NOW .

For many years I knew the importance of loving yourself, yet I could only access the idea through my intellect, never my heart. But here is this: if you wait to love yourself unconditionally until you are at XYZ (insert: dream weight, dream job, dream partner, dream yogi flexibility) that you imagine you need to be to respect yourself, you will never love yourself unconditionally, because the message you will be giving yourself as you reach your goal is that you are damaged and cannot trust, your longings, your dreams, your true essence. The time is now.

I’m not sure what about my India experience made me look at this idea from a different perspective, but for some reason, it just clicked. Maybe it was seeing how content the locals are with their simple life, maybe it made me appreciate how truly blessed I am, and maybe it was because the combination of those two things made me realize that life is too freaking short to worry about the size of my thighs.

I have no concrete answer for those who want to know the quick-fix secret to long-lasting unconditional self-love other than to keep showing up for yourself and putting in the work (self-care, healthy routines, self-reflection, educating yourself, surrounding yourself with good-vibe people etc.) and hopefully eventually it will all come together for you too.

10. The body holds on to emotions, stress and trauma on a deeply cellular level.

Why do Western Medicine treatments like Acupuncture and Reiki work? This is a very loaded question, but to answer it simply: these treatments are healing modalities that treat the whole body and address the underlying emotional, mental and spiritual factors. The body keeps score of any negative experiences we go through, and if not dealt with, they can build up in our energy channels in the body.

In our 3rd week, instead of our usual morning Vinyasa class, we did something called shankaprakshalana – essentially drinking a gallon of salt water and vomiting it all out again. The idea behind it is to cleanse your intestines and hence detoxify the body. I’m not going to lie, it was a horrific experience for me; I couldn’t get the water out so I had to induce it by putting my fingers down my throat (sorry for the TMI), something I never thought I’d ever do again (read here for my ED story). The moment I realized I had to do it, I panicked and just couldn’t get myself to do it. I started crying and shaking uncontrollably and felt like an animal trapped in a cage. Long story short, I eventually did it and was haunted by flashbacks to the days where this was the norm for me.

A couple hours later when the initial shock of the experience dissipated, I looked in bewilderment at how intensely my body had reacted. I couldn’t control the crying, the shaking and just felt out of control of y own body. And then it dawned on me: even though I’ve worked through my ED on a rational and even subconscious level, there were still parts of my past buried in my body on a deeply cellular level. I needed to go through this to get the last bit of my past out of my system. You know how they say your body has muscle memory? It has an emotional memory too – I feel like my body had somehow internalized the purging process & that this whole thing triggered the memories to resurface. As horrible as it was, I felt such a sense of relieve and inner peace afterwards that I really do think I had to go through this in order to let go these memories completely.

To bring it back to the point: the body stores trauma, stress on a deeply cellular level. If you think you have some sh*%t from the past that’s ‘trapped’ in your body, it might be worth it to look into alternative healing modalities as well.

11. Take time for yourself when you need it. Being alone does not equal being lonely.

I know for myself that I am an empath that takes on negative energies of others, so when week 3 hit and everyone was getting all cranky and frustrated, I was feeling the intense urge to retreat and spend some time by myself – and so I read, listened to podcasts, went to the rooftop to watch the sunset while listening to music, all by myself…I’m glad I had the self-awareness to do this , because if I hadn’t tuned in to the voices between my ears, I would have missed out on very important messages that my brain was trying to show me and maybe I would have gotten too much affected by other people’s mood.

If you are an empath yourself, you need to be super selective with who you let into your space, who you give your energy to. And you need to be hyper-aware of when other people’s energy’s affect yours, because you are more sensitive to it than others.

Which brings me to the next point…

12. Self awareness is the key to all your problems – “Study thy self, discover the divine.”

Why do you go for comfort food when you are having a bad day?  Why do you pull away from a potential partner when things get too serious? Why do you always feel that weird knot in your throat when your boss calls you in for a chat?

When you are curious and when you are questioning, you are practising Svadhyaya, which is Sanskrit for the study of self in alignment to the yoga principles.When you explore yourself, your thoughts, your actions, your words, it has the potential to create a deeper connection with yourself.

Overcoming my eating disorder had a lot to do with becoming more self-aware. I knew I was getting in my own way by having self-destructive habits, though at the time I didn’t really understand why I was doing the things I was doing. Like eating something long past the point of enjoyment, just for the sake of diving into oblivion rather than remaining conscious & sitting with myself & waiting out whatever it was that filled me with anxiety & pain.

Can you imagine how your life would be different if each time you were feeling sad or angry, you’d say to yourself “Come here, sweetheart, tell me what’s going on. It’s OK, we can talk about it. Why are you sad, why are you angry?”

Self-awareness is a constant work in progress, and I try to be as open-minded and honest with myself as possible. At the moment, a big one for me is my tonality and choice of words when I talk to myself. I’m bringing huge self-awareness to this at the moment and am actively overwriting the inner mean girl  voice whenever it pops up by choosing kindness above all to go along with my words.

As Geneen Roth says:

Our work is not to change what you do, but to witness what you do with enough awareness, enough curiosity, enough tenderness that the lies and old decisions upon which the compulsion is based become apparent and fall away.

13. We must constantly challenge ourselves and step outside our comfort zone in order to grow.

There’s nothing like being thrown into a powerful community of yogis to shake up your sense of self. Everyone who’s there already has some self-awareness and is probably dedicated to being their authentic self, so there will be plenty of opportunities for deep internal reflection. Be prepared for lots of old emotional baggage to bubble to the surface. You’ll be confronted with the parts of yourself you usually choose to push away. We all have our shit, and most of the time it’s not pretty when that shit gets stirred. Your lifelong conditioning and limiting beliefs that you unknowingly have carried around with you for years will suddenly come out – ‘I’m not good enough’ , ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘I don’t deserve this’ are especially popular.

As you know, I had already done a lot of spiritual work on myself before embarking on this journey, so I can’t say that a lot of new things came up for me. Expect maybe the cleansing ritual drama. But apart from that, I didn’t suddenly discover new daemons that had been hiding out in my subconscious all along. That said, putting myself into this environment and having the time and space to reflect really allowed me to go that next level and analyze every yet so small thought and emotion that came up in the 3o days. And I learned a lot from it.

Challenges help us grow. Pain is a teacher. Stepping outside our comfort zone is a must if we want to move forward and learn. So don’t ever be afraid of challenges and pain, because without them, we would be stagnant and life would be boring.

 

14. It’s easy to do yoga, but harder to live yoga.

Who can relate to the following scenario: you go to a yoga class and have a beautifully relaxing flow. Shavasana is pure bliss and you lie there thinking just how zen and at peace you are. You leave the studio thinking nothing can get in your way that day. But then something small happens that pisses you off and BAM you’re back in the non-yogi version of yourself where frustration, annoyance and aggressive swearing at drivers who cut you off, are the norm. Although carryover is one of the promised benefits of yoga, it’s not that straight forward.

But if you keep showing up, the benefits of your practice will sooner or later bleed into other parts of your life. Your practice will start affecting your behavior, your thoughts, your actions, your food choices and so much more than you ever thought possible. Just stick with it and watch the magic unfold. Until then, you might want to warn your family and friends that just because you do yoga, you’re still going to get pissed at them from time to time. You’re human, after all.

14. Stop hiding under a mask and let your true self be seen.

 It was so easy to connect with my fellow yogis in India. It feel like in this type of environment, your true side really comes up because you have no place to hide, and the intensity of the yoga and the program cracks you wide open. There are no typical superficial how-are-you-what-do-you-do-for-a-living type small talks, but you go straight to the juicy stuff, the stuff that makes you cry for someone else’s suffering and brings shivers down your spine. True human connection. On a physical level that meant not wearing make-up for a month and not giving a crap about how I looked, and on a deeper level it meant acting in congruence with my true authentic self. Saying yes when I meant yes, and no when I meant no. Allowing myself to be vulnerable. And gosh it felt so liberating, so free, so natural.

I know the Western world doesn’t make it easy for us to just BE.  Social media, status, reputation, success, money, fame, material possessions, the list goes on. Then there’s the emotional masks – not feeling powerful so you become a bully, feeling insecure so you become the class clown, feeling unloved so you become angry at everyone and everything.

Ask yourself: What mask(s) do I wear?

 

How do you feel about the face you’re portraying for the world to see? Are you truly yourself? Do you feel that you can be you, no matter what social situation you’re in?

What I’ve realized over the years is that it’s exhausting to live an inauthentic life. It also robs us of our fullest potential and prevents us from being able to heal our deepest wounds. We weren’t born with masks, rather we were conditioned to put them on. That means we can learn to take them off again.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.

I could go on and on about what else I learnt at YTT, but ultimately I can say this – go do it yourself and watch your life transform. Everything I read before I went sounded so cliché – “Oh it will change your life bla bla bla…” , but looking back at it now I can say that it’s true. If you ever thought about doing a yoga teacher training yourself, this is your sign, go and do it.

Namaste!

Food

I’ve trialled the Eat Fit Food 3-day vegan reset plan…This Is What I Thought

October 9, 2017

Eat Fit Food 3-day vegan reset

Once September hits, it seems like time flies by and before you know it, it’s already Christmas. Am I the only one that feels like the last couple of weeks have just gone by in no time? It’s all a bit of a blurr to be honest. Fair enough, I’ve had my hands full with my full-time job, coaching, teaching rooftop yoga at The Old Clare (tickets for next week via Eventbrite), daily workouts, events and collaboration, but seriously, TIME IS FLYING. It’s kinda scary.

With a tight schedule and my 6W2S boot camp in full swing, meal prepping has been super important for me lately. Most days, I go straight from my workout to work and have breakfast in the bus/train, so I need to have my breakfast + lunch and snack all ready for the day by the night before. As much as I enjoy my Saturday morning farmers market visit and meal prep on Sundays, sometimes it’s just nice to not have to do any of that. Cause who are we kiddin’, meal prep can be a pain in the bum sometimes!

And that’s where Eat Fit Food has once again been a life safer for me. I’ve  trialed their 5-day program last October (full review here), and I’ve already spoken really highly of them then. Since then, I have tested a couple of other meal delivery services in Sydney, but to be completely frank, none of them have matched my experience with EFF. And I’m not saying this because I got to test their newly launched 3-day vegan reset plan for free, I really do mean it.

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Lifestyle, Real Talk, Travel

14 Life Lessons I Learnt at YTT | Part 1

September 17, 2017

YTT India

6 weeks have passed since I did my Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India. Certified yogi: tick

The one question I get after “How was it?” is this:

“Did it transform your life like everyone said it would?”

In other words, they want to know if I’ve come back a zen AF yogi that has found enlightenment at the end of the tunnel.

Going into the training, I knew I would learn heaps of cool stuff and valuable life lessons. I mean I was about to spend 10 weeks in yoga land… how could that not do me good? I didn’t place any crazy expectations on the experience (actually, I went without any expectations but more on that later), but I admit there was a part of me hoping that this would bring me closer to…to what I’m not 100% sure. Maybe I felt like there was still some inner demons inside me (old destructive ED/binge thought patterns) and so I guess I was hoping that YTT would shine light on whatever part of this big life equation I hadn’t quite figured out.

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Real Talk

A Letter To My Younger Self

September 1, 2017

Letter to younger self

If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what would you tell her?

This is what I would say to my younger “eating disorder self”…


Letter to my younger self

Dear Me,

You probably don’t recognize me now. You won’t recognize me for the happy, healthy person that you see before you. I know that you are not in a good place right now, but I just want to let you know that you will get through this. In fact, you won’t only get through this but you will come out of the other side as a better and stronger person.

It won’t be easy. You are going to want to give up. You will believe that you are the only person in the world dealing with these inner deamons. The ED will hijack your mind. When you look in the mirror, you will only see what the ED wants you to see.

A part of you will want to leave the ED behind, but you will also be afraid of what life would be without it. You won’t want to let go. If you try, your struggle with food might even seem to get worse at first. It’s normal – you are upsetting your inner mean girl, so she will roar up and try to take back control. Now, here’s the hard truth – this voice will never go away fully. But you will learn to disengage from the voice. You will learn that freedom is hearing the voice nag and complain and roar and lecture and diss you, but you won’t believe a word it’s saying anymore.

One of your biggest hurdles and turning points will be to give up the “diet mentality” and practice radical self-love instead. It sounds impossible now, but with daily practice, step-by-step, you will learn to love yourself. Trust me. At times it may feel like you are taking steps back, but trust me when I say this is all part of the process.

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Food, Lifestyle, Travel

Morning Walks and Brunch Locations With A View + How to Eat Out Healthily

August 31, 2017

Brunch at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

On the list of things I missed the most while I was in India, Sydney’s brunch is definitely in the top 10. Having spicy rice for breakfast is alright and all, but boy did I miss my morning cappuccino, smashed avo and sourdough bread. Aussies just know how to brunch, am I right? The cool thing in Sydney is that their brunch scene doesn’t equate to big boozy escapades with all-you-eat-buffets (reminds me of Dubai times, #foodcoma).

It’s quite the contrary actually – my favoite way to brunch here is to wake up early for a morning workout to up my appetite and then head straight from the studio to my favorite brunch spot. I admit it. I am one of those people who are brunching in their active wear. Thank the lord for barre to brunch athleisure wear. So if you see me out, I may or may not have come from yoga, but I can guarantee you I’ve at least walked to the cafe – so that’s something.

And Sydney has lots of beautiful walks to offer. Since I moved to Bondi in April, my favorite walk is the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, duh. But I haven’t found that many great brekky spots in that direction yet…If you have any good recommendations, please do share.The other direction, however, has some great post-walk brunch spots to offer.

My favorite so far is the Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel, mainly for it’s yummy menu, beach luxe vibes, beautiful scenery and of course the mandatory Bondi to Watsons Bay coastal walk to get there. Of course you could drive or get there via ferry which is scenic in its own right, but in my opinion, nothing beats working up a good appetite before cozying up with a waterfront view at their Beach club to enjoy a healthy brunch with friends. It’s just so much more satisfying when you’ve worked for it.

Last time I went, I enjoyed their massive Breakfast bowl – a mix of hummus, heirloom tomato, dukkah egg, quinoa, raw carrot, sprouts and kale. Yum! They have some awesome healthy sides as well, like Portobello mushrooms, smashed avo and sautéed kale, so I found it quite easy to choose a healthy option.

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Fitness, Travel

What It’s Like To Do Your Yoga Teacher Training In India

August 14, 2017

Yoga Teacher Training In India

I leave India with a 200h yoga certificate, new found friends and a heart bursting full of joy, appreciation, and gratitude for this experience, for myself, my body, mother nature and this beautiful earth we live in. Doing my Yoa Teacher Training in India was everything I hoped for and more.


It was…

It was like one big summer camp for adults.

It was practicing yoga 3-4 hours a day, 6 days a week.

It was morning neti pots and herbal teas.

It was learning how to breathe and meditate and sit still for an hour.

It was being a sweaty, dirty mess for a month, but not caring how I look.

It was getting weird rashes and allergies all over my body and not knowing what’s going on.

It was dancing like no one’s watching and singing my lungs out to Indian Bollywood songs and mantras.

It was being surrounded by incredibly inspiring and uplifting people, and both laughing and crying together.

It was getting to know the Indian culture and falling in love with their generosity.

And falling in love with myself again.

It was feeling deflated on days where the yoga flow just didn’t seem to happen, and feeling elated when a challenging pose finally seemed in reach.

It was lying in bed at night wondering what my purpose in life is.

It was allowing myself to be more vulnerable than ever before.

It was realizing that everything is OK.

It was realizing that things are coming full circle for me and that I truly feel at peace with myself.

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Real Talk

Why Waiting To Buy New Clothes Until You Lose Weight Is The Worst Idea Ever

June 8, 2017

I know….

You don’t want to buy that dress or shop for new jeans until you’re at least 5,10, 15, 20+ kilos thinner than you are now.

You imagine this beautiful new wardrobe you’ll buy when you’re skinny and image how fantastic and confident you will feel.

I get it. I didn’t always smile like in the picture below when my bestie announced “Let’s go on a shopping date!”. Other girls would be excited, I on the other hand would be petrified.

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Food, Nutrition

6 frozen foods that deserve a spot in every freezer

May 17, 2017

A full freezer is only useful if it’s stocked with foods that can help you put a meal on the table quickly on a busy weeknight — unfortunately, Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t count. I have a tiny freezer, so it’s even more important for me to use the space wisely and freeze things that I know will make mealtime easier when time is of the essence. If you’ve been staying up-to-date with me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I’ve been obsessed with meal prepping lately. I’ve gotten into such a good routine when it comes to planning my meals in advance, and it’s helped me stay accountable and on track even with the new job and moving apartments.

Probably one of the most overused excuses for not eating healthy that I hear is “I don’t have time”. But honestly, with the help of a few staples, it’s incredibly easy to throw a variety of dishes together quickly and with little effort. Here’s a list of my top 6 frozen foods, meals, recipe ideas and tips on how to stay on track when you’re in a rush:

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Travel

Best Healthy Hotspots In Byron Bay

April 22, 2017

Healthy Hotspots in Byron Bay

When you drive into Byron Bay there is a welcome sign, saying, “cheer up, slow down, chill out,”. That pretty much sums up my Byron experience.

From the day I moved to Sydney, going for a long weekend trip to Byron Bay was on top of my travel-list. I had heard endless stories about the region’s bountiful organic produce, health conscious culture, long beaches and laid-back vibes; I was convinced before I even got there. Plus the weather is picture-perfect almost all year round, what’s not to love? It’s also just a short 1 1/2 – hour flight away from Sydney, making it the perfect quick city escape.

Part of what makes Byron Bay so wholesome and grounding is the food. This beach town is home to some of the world’s most passionate and sustainable foodies, meaning you won’t be short of healthy cafés and restaurants to check out. In fact, in the five days that I was there, I barely got through all the places I wanted to dine at (unless I was up for having 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, a post-lunch raw treat, an arvo smoothie, a pre-dinner snack, a 2-course dinner followed by another vegan dessert…). Whether you’re looking for organic food cafes, super foods, gluten free delights, raw food treats, gut healing concoctions or slow cooked creations, – Byron Bay has it all!

Below is a list of my favorite healthy hotspots as well as some recommendations on what to do while you are visiting. But without further ado, get your Instagram camera ready, because foodie shots have never looked this divine! 

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Recipes

Rosewater Berry NanaBowl Recipe + Get To Know The Founders of NanaBowls

March 28, 2017

NanaBowl

I first connected with Phil and Jess through social media two years ago when I was travelling through Phuket and discovered their Instagram accounts. I then had the pleasure of meeting Phil during my detox holidays at Phuket Cleanse – he was working there as director at the time. I only got to meet Jess some time later when I went to London – at the time she was working for Deliciously Ella and I was intrigued to join the team. Maaaan I just love social media – in this day and age, it’s so damn easy to connect with like-minded people and to find ‘your tribe’. Without Insta, I would have probably never met these two super inspirational people! Case in point: check out Phil’s Ted Talk that he did a couple of months ago on “how to get your mojo back”.

These two have now joined forces in a new venture – Nana Bowls. As you can guess from the picture above, it’s all about mouth-watering delicious smoothie bowls! Read the interview below on how they got started + some more insight, or scroll straight down if you want to recreate their Rosewater Berry NanaBowl for yourself. Enjoy!


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