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How my practice evolved and still does

I just finished a vigorous (for my anyhow) 90-minute guided vinyasa yoga practice and reflected afterwards how my yoga practice has changed and evolved of the years. Here are my reflections:

I liked the idea of yoga for a very long time. When I was travelling over 20 years ago I bought myself a small yoga book with a CD and started practicing as often as I could in the spaces I would crash. I dropped into an Ashram for 1 week when travelling in India, but that wasn’t a very good experience, due to it being very spontaneous and not well researched. Then I got into running briefly when I gave up smoking, but my knee joints did not like that at all. After that I came across Mat Pilates, which I practiced for some years and really enjoyed. I did some pregnancy yoga and then once the kids were little found myself drawn back to a yoga practice.

I started with a very vigorous Ashtanga class and promptly injured my shoulder, because I wasn’t listening to my body and just following instruction in a practice that was really way too strong at the time for me and of course the Ego – wanting it to do the poses just as good as everyone else when I very well knew it didn’t feel right – too fast, too strong.

After recovering I switched to a more traditional Hatha class which I loved and then trialled Bikram, also a very strong and vigorous practice. But I loved the heat with the Bikram. I found that the heat actually helped my body to make the poses more accessible.  However I didn’t like being yelled at in military style for long.

When I went to my first Yin class it felt like coming home. It was so different from all the other yoga styles I had experienced and my body just soaked it all up – it felt sooooo good.

I also dabbled in Kundalini Yoga over the years and love some but not all aspects of it. So I pick and choose the practices I like.

Yoga Nidra is one of my favorites and its on my bucket list to do a teacher trainer in this modality once I can save up enough money to do it. Locally Kate McLeay guides beautiful regular Nidra sessions I try to get myself to her sessions when I can find free time. There are lots of guided online Yoga Nidra sessions and I do them whenever I feel I need rest and restoration.

At some stage I wanted  to look into yoga deeper. I started reading books about the philosophy and learn the other aspects of yoga. So I looked into teacher trainings. I did a traditional Hatha teacher training and shortly after a Yin Yoga Teacher Training. In the past few years I did so much learning of complimentary or related practices as well- Sound Healing, Reiki, Aromatherapy, Breathwork, Anatomy, Mindfulness, Meditation etc. and I love all of it. I read countless books, did many courses, studied with different teachers. At the moment I am quite happy to just practice, absorb and try to live the wisdom. Its all good and well in theory, but to apply all the practices in everyday life is where the real work starts.

I also loved Kirtan for some time, but I haven’t been recently. It just never pans out to get to the sessions. I can still remember my first few mantras, some of which moved me to tears on many occasions and touched me very deeply. It also felt like a home coming. I still listen to Mantra’s most weeks, I can highly recommend to give Kirtan a go if you feel drawn to it. There are regular Kirtan sessions at The Yoga Space in Hastings. There are lots of yoga mantras on Spotify or Youtube. See what resonates. The first mantras I was introduced to my yoga teacher Doris Blum were by Deva Premal. The Gayartri Mantra was one of my favorites. I also loved the Hanuman Mantra a lot – there are lots of versions on Spotify.

First I guided both Hatha and Yin Yoga separately in my studio and really loved both for their different aspects.  Then I had to consolidate some classes and trialed a mix of Hatha and Yin in a class for the first time, which was well received by most students as it gives us a little bit from both worlds. Life was very busy at that stage for me and in my personal practice I definitely preferred Yin to come down from the busyness.

When I was travelling with my family and more rested I rediscovered a stronger Hatha practice. I had the energy to move into a stronger practice once more. When we returned to NZ and life felt like a landslide descending  on us with new challenges on a regular basis I only had energy for a slow and mindful yin practice and often no practice at all, other than moving as mindfully as possible through my days.

Now that life seems to normalise I try to practice a mix of Hatha, Kundalini and Yin Yoga. I realised I had lost alot of  strength through just practicing really gentle and slow movements and that doesn’t feel right anymore. I also noticed that my students at times lack strength and as we age I think its important to maintain some degree of strength and steadiness. So now I really love a slow flow of Hatha and Yin to get the best of both worlds in my weekly offerings and in my personal practice. Now over the holidays I moved into stronger Vinyasa flows. I guess its all just a daily figuring out what we need and what feels right.

I still do love my 2 hour super slow and relaxing Yin Yoga classes to dial the Nervous System down, move really slow, tune in, listen and observe more deeply. I might give these a break over summer and recommence my monthly session in Autumn.

What your body needs will change over the years and the practices and teachers / guides that resonate might change too. Also what your body needs might change on a daily / weekly basis. Some yoga practices you you might have to take more rest, while in others you might be able to follow through. I feel so much more comfortable in my practice now that I have the confidence and awareness to do what feels right for me, rather than what is being instructed. When I do a guided session with a teacher I quite often choose to do something else in between or take some rest when I feel I need it. I hardly do any guided session these days where I follow 100% of the instructions like I used to when I first started. The main thing is that you feel comfortable, pain free (that might not be possible if you have chronic pain) and safe.

Its really good to try different styles and teachers to see what works best for you at this time. We are so lucky in Hawke’s Bay to have so many different movement practices on offer. I really hope you find what nourishes you and your body.

Photo is from the boat in Turkey when my body felt rested, strong and healthy. Practicing on the front of the boat was such a joy and to have time to practice when I felt like it was really special.

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Letting go of addictions

The end of a calendar year and the start of a new one is always a good time to reflect what I can do for me to feel more nourished in the coming year. In my blog today I am talking about my Caffeine Addiction and giving up alcohol (not an addiction for me, but just interested to see how I feel without it).

Over the past 17 years I have taken my health more seriously – because I want to have a long life to be here for my children and I want my family to be healthy and nourished. I have done lots of research on nutrition, studied Homeopathy for a year, studied about herbs and essential oils, learned to be kinder to my body. I spend a lot of money and time on my and my families health and wellbeing. Unfortunately and much to my frustration now that they are teenagers they seem to undo so much of the good work I have tried to do over the years, making organic home cooked meals, reducing sugars, toxins, having almost no processed foods, only toxic free cleaning and body care, only very limited screen time etc. etc.. Ah well, at least they had a good start I guess…

I am eating and cooking a lot more consciously, although admittedly my family is not super excited about my ideal diet, so I am making a lot of compromises due to the lack of time.  I try to move my body regularly – even if its just walking the dog or standing instead of sitting at my desk. I try to get enough sleep, to drink good stuff, to use good supplements when I feel I need them. I try to schedule regular selfcare, like nourishing holistic facials, a massage, acupuncture, chiropractor etc. Not all at once of course, but I try to mix and match and do at least 2 nice things for myself a month.

I try to take care of my mind and spirit. I stopped watching TV years ago and only watch carefully selected things now. The rule is – if it doesn’t leave me feeling good I don’t want to see it. I very much limit news and only “consume” carefully – I don’t like how media is run and how selectively and usually one sided they report and I am too sensitive to absorb all the misery shown in the news several times a day. A reporter told me once the first thing they learn is journalism school is “if it bleeds it leads”…. Anyhow that would be a whole other blogpost.

Instead I try to learn new things that interest me, journal, crochet, draw, paint, listen to audiobooks, go a for a walk, do some yoga, do a meditation etc. I have very little time to myself currently, but the little time I do have I try to spend with things that I find calming, relaxing and nourishing.

In the past year I had the inspiration to try and do away with Coffee. My hubby and I had a shared passion for coffee over the years – we were kinda coffee snobs. Tim still is enjoying his brew. But I realised I liked the ritual of sitting down and having a nice drink more. I am also fairly intertolerant to dairy and plant milks are so expensive (I have my coffee with lots of milk). I realised everytime I would have coffee my heart speeds up and I also realised I needed it (addiction hellooooo). I am also going through peri menopause and have quite a bit of physical stuff going on, so was interested to see what happens if I cut it out. I had headaches for 3 weeks after going cold turkey. Then I was fine for a few months. However I love the smell of coffee and being surrounded by coffee drinkers at home and in the office and feeling I needed the “energy boost” I had the occasional one. And then I realised the addiction kicked in again. I wanted more and I wanted regular. I noticed that I mood was declining on it too, my fuse was shorter and felt more grumpy. So I gave up again – this time it was only a few days of headaches.

I tried to replace it with a ceremonial cacao (Seleno, Keith’s or Mamamuti) which is a bit of an investment and very rich – I don’t like it all the time. I have tried Matcha tea, but its not quite the same. I like herbal teas and drink heaps of them, but I still missed the coffee smell and ritual, until a friend came around and said why don’t you try decaf – it tastes the same and doesn’t have the side effects! Well why I didn’t think of that myself I don’t know. I found a nice organic one where the caffeine is removed via water extraction: Good Fortune Coffee. They also have a little message in the coffee, like in a fortune cookie. That was such a lovely surprise (see photo). Just for your info decaf has about 2% caffeine vs. over 90% for a normal one. So now I can still get my coffee ritual with out the jittery side effects. Yay.

Apart from Caffeine I am also going to try Alcohol free / Sober life starting today. I want to see how I feel without stimulants. I don’t drink much anyway. Much to my hubbies annoyance I usually have a sip of his beer, because I wouldn’t be able to drink a whole bottle myself. I might have a glass of wine here and there and I have been known to enjoy a Gin Tonic and sometimes even a good spirit, like a Whiskey with the hubby or herb schnapps for digestion.  I am not sure how this one is going to go. It will be interesting. I have several friends who have started their sober journeys over the years and I followed with interest and queried it with myself. But because my alcohol consumption is so low and occasional anyhow, I thought its not something that really bothers me.

I grew up in a drinking culture in East Germany. We were drinking Schnapps out of the bottle when we were young and I was drunk too many times than I care to remember. I see a similar drinking culture here in NZ. I have observed lately how people talk about getting drunk / pissed as if it was something to be proud of. Responsible, nice adults too. I can’t relate to the need to escape into an alcohol haze anymore. I guess I have enough other places to escape to that I have learned over the years, that feel way more nourishing and authentic to me. It repels me to be honest, when adults get drunk and silly and think its funny or something to boast about. Also I have a nearly 17 and 14 year old now and alcohol discussions have been regular and fierce at our house. I don’t want to discuss here what concerns my children, other than that I want to be good role model and be a living proof that one can survive without alcohol. And of course I totally believe its not good for the body, mind and spirit anyhow.  Here is a podcast I listened today that was recommended by someone who also started their sober journey 7 months ago. Its a bit longwinded and American, but has some good bits of information in it as to what alcohol is doing to your brain, hormones, gut, organs etc.

I will keep you updated on the decaf and sober journey. Perhaps you feel inspired to reflect what you can let go of in the new year. I have another few things in the pipeline that I want to let go of, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself and prefer to take it one step at the time. I trial different things at different times to see what makes me feel good and what feels right and authentic to me. Some things I stick with for some time, some things I let go of after a while, some things I do regularly, some irregularly. Its good to stay curious about ourselves and our bodies.

I am wishing you a happy, healthy, fulfilled, nourished New Year, wrapped up in love, care and kindness.



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Positivity Aromatherapy blend by Valerie Ann Worwood

We all can do with a bit of positivity in these times. I found this lovely blend in “The complete book of essential oils and aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood and thought I would share it with you:

In 30 ml bottle put the following mix of essential oils and top with a carrier oil of your choice (Fractionated Coconut Oil, Jojoba or Almond oil etc.) You can use it as a body oil, in baths or don’t dilute in Carrier Oil and put 3-4 drops of the essential oil mix in your diffuser for inhalation.

10 drops Geranium

8 drops Grapefruit

8 drops Petitgrain

4 drops Frankincense

Do not expose skin to direct sunlight 12-24 hours after application, as citrus oils can cause sunburn / sun sensitivity / sunspots.

“Positivity is not about grey areas, its about being optimistic and proactive – the kind of attitude that creates its own luck.

Positive people construct strategies to improve their chances of success. Rather than leaving things to chance, they put the odds in their favor by planning carefully and learning to deal with different situations. Positive people don’t daydream that one day it’s all going to get better, they set themselves realistic goals and for them, step by small step. and they don’t blame themselves for every little mishap. Mishaps are to be expected, they are part of the drama, but don’t allow them to rule your life.

Life is all about good and bad, and the trick is to find a balance in which there  is more good than bad. That’s all we can do. Optimism is key, and it is the attitude that good will ultimately prevail in the universe.

Essential Oils are like little packages of positivity, a helping aid in the move toward optimism. They gently nudge you forward until you find yourself saying, “Oh, maybe things aren’t so bad!” I don’t know of an essential oil that doesn’t add positivity in some way.” -Valerie Ann Worwood”

If you are interested to purchase the doTERRA essential oils, please message me [email protected] or check out the essential oil section on my website.

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On Getting Real from “The Velvetin Rabbit”

When I red the book “The Velvetin Rabbit” to our children the first few times I choked with tears and emotion. Once I even had to hand the book to a friend to carry on reading when we where on a long weekend away together. Brene Brown read this passage in one of her books I listened to recently and I decided to write it in my journal. Here it is for you to enjoy and ponder:

“Real isn’t how you are made” said the skinhorse, “its a thing that happens to you when a child loves you for a long, long, long time. Not just to play with, but really loves you. Then you become real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes.” Said the skin horse. For he was always truthful. “When you are real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up?” he asked. “Or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once.” said the skin horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily or have sharp edges  or have to be carefully kept. Generally by the time you are real most of you hair has been loved off and your eyes drop off and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you re real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

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Notes on whole hearted living and courage by Brene Brown

I love ALL of Brene Browns books. Recently I have listened to Daring Greatly again and took notes of 10 points for whole hearted living in my journal. I have just come across them again in my journal and thought I would share them with you. I guess we all know them, but its good to be reminded to shift our focus to what matters regularly:

  1. Cultivate Authenticity and let go of what people might think of you.
  2. Cultivate Self Compassion and let go of perfection.
  3. Cultivate a resilient spirit and let go of numbing and powerlessness.
  4. Cultivate gratitude and joy. Let go of scarcity and fear of the dark.
  5. Cultivate intuition and trust faith. Let go of the need for certainty.
  6. Cultivate creativity and let go of comparison.
  7. Cultivate play and rest and let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth.
  8. Cultivate calm and stillness and let go of anxiety as a lifestyle.
  9. Cultivate meaningful work and let go of self doubt and supposed to…
  10. Cultivate laughter, song and dance and let go of being cool and always in control.

Its something we could all hang on the fridge, over our desk, by the bathroom mirror, by our bedside to remind us regularly to shift our perspective.


Courage has played a big part in my life. Its a play between courage, fear, bravery, anxiety and everything around and in between. I liked this definition of Courage by  Brene Brown and it’s also in my journal to remind me:

“COURAGE is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor. – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences – good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage”.”

Over the years I have been drawn to writers and mentors who courageously and authentically share who they are and how they experience the world – honestly, fully. Its invited me to share more fully about my experiences and allowed to me to process lots of buried stuff. Writing and sharing helps to process and also to connect to other people with similar experience and feel less lonely and alien in this world. Recently someone sent me a private message, that I should not share about personal aspects of my relationships and our journey publicly. But for me that would be just a highlights reel and we already have enough of that. I think those highlights reels are responsible for a lot of anxiety, depression, unrealistic expectations of how things ‘should’ be and how things are for other people causing FOMO and jealousy and comparison and all sorts. If we all shared more authentically and courageously of what’s really going on I am convinced we would live in a better world.

Unfortunately the authentic and open sharing is two fold. It opens the doors to new connections that would otherwise not happen, but it also invites online trolls and people who “know better than us” to give us unsolicited advise or worse make comments that hurt deeply. Sharing authentically, courageously and openly required a soft hart and a strong back – also a Brene Brown saying. It has taken me many years to develop both and I still regularly get thrown off center. But I have enough tools to shake off what needs shaking off and get back to MY center.

Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.



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Essential Oils to support your creativity / aromatic anchors

Aromatherapy can support us in our physical and emotional world and I certainly make use of my precious plant essences on a daily basis. I roll on an oil several times a day, change the essential oils I add to my body and face oils, I apply them to acupressure points, inhale deeply from the bottle and if we happen to be in a marina I also use my diffuser (not enough solar power here to do this daily anymore).

The essential oil is the blood of the plant, the soul, the lifeforce. – Tiffany Carole

One of the secret tools that not many people know about are aromatic anchors. If you choose one oil and repeatedly use it for the purpose of getting your body / mind into a certain space, your brain after some time will automatically switch without you doing anything about it. For example if you use Lavender every night at bedtime in your diffuser or as a foot rub or similar you body will learn when it detects the smell its sleep time and sleep will come alot easier. This is also a great tool for children. Same for mornings. If you choose for example Peppermint or a Citrus Oil and diffuse every morning your body will automatically know its wake up time.


Same can apply for your creative space. I would highly recommend hovering over your oils box and choosing an oil that you feel drawn to for your creative space if you are looking for an aromatic anchor.

  • Tree oils are usually grounding and full of wisdom. When I think of tree oils they are for me deeply connected with the root chakra and also with the third eye and crown chakra.  Examples are Cedarwood, Myrrh, Frankincense, Silver Fir, Manuka, Douglas Fir, Black Spruce
  • Citrus oils are light, creative, uplifting for me. They invite freshness, alertness, happiness to my body. A perfect match for creative time. Examples are: Tangerine, Wild Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit.
  • Flower Oils are sweet, harmony, balance, mystical, feminine. They invite softness, exploration, forgiveness, femininity, exploration. Examples are: Rose, Geranium, Jasmin, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Magnolia
  • Spice Oils are warm, comforting and healing to me. They feel like a blanket that I can wrap in. My favorite is Cardamom, but other examples are Ginger, Cinnamon / Cassia (very well diluted!)
  • Herb Oils are healing, cleansing, fresh, helping to digest emotions. Examples are Basil, Cilantro, Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme

I often apply an oil over my belly, heart, on my feet on my third eye or crown chakra. Before you sit down at your creative space create a comfortable, safe and happy environment, turn your diffuser on, place an oil and your body, close your eyes for a moment and tune in.

From the “Essential Emotions” book:

Essential Oils to support Creativity:

  • Wild Orange, Tangerine, Citrus Bliss, Clary Sage, Passion blend, Green Mandarin
  • Query: Am I open to thinking outside of my box? Where can I go to receive inspiration? Have I moved enough physically to clear my mind and heart? When have I been burned in the creative process? D I trust that this can be used as a fit for my growth?
  • Affirmation to say when applying the oil: “New ideas now flow naturally and abundantly to me.”
  • Visualise: See light pouring from the sacral chakra / reproductive area of your body, bringing gifts and ideas beyond your own.

Essential Oils for Inspiration:

  • Passion blend, Roman Chamomile, Lemon, Rosemary, Elevation blend, Blue Tansy, Arise blend, Green Mandarin, Tumeric
  • Query: What will it take for me to connect to the inspiration waiting for me? What life experiences have caused me to limit myself?
  • Affirmation: I am now open to infinite possibilities. Solutions are now waiting for me.
  • Visualise: See light pouring from the sacral chakra / reproductive area of your body. Visualize a gift being handed to you that contains ideas beyond your own. See your mind expanding to hold more.

Essential Oils when feeling Blocked:

  • Cypress, Thyme, Oregano, Litsea, Hinoki (Thyme and Oregano need to be very well diluted!)
  • Query: What am I avoiding? What will it take for me to feel confident in moving forward?
  • Affirmation: I can now trust my internal compass. I now move forward in confidence and faith.
  • Visualise: See yourself dismiss the conflicting voices on either side. Imagine your eyes and face cleaned, allowing a clear perspective to emerge.

Essential Oils for Worthiness / Worthlessness:

  • Bergamot, Slim & Sassy (or Smart & Sassy), HD Clear, Copaiba, Beautiful blend, Cassia
  • Query: Is this a feeling that will help me progress or turn to my Higher Power? Is it possible this feeling does not originate from a source of truth? Am I trusting in false thoughts about myself? What is clouding my perspective of myself? What am I to change?
  • Affirmation: I can now reject falsehood. I am now cherished, valued, and worthy of infinite love. I was born with intrinsic worth and value. I now reject belittling thoughts about myself.
  • Visualise: Imagine yourself held in loving arms. See what value you truly hold. Imagine your heart open to receive all the love that is yours.  See your heart, mind, and gut surrender any feelings of unworthiness and be filled with love. Open your arms to receive all that is yours.

Essential Oils for Authenticity:

  • Wild Orange, Cassia, Spearmint, Black Pepper, Steady blend, Kumquat, Pink Pepper, Amavi blend
  • Query: What will it take for me to stop comparing myself or my life mission with others? Am I safe to express what I think, feel, and desire?
  • Affirmation: I now choose to be true to my authentic self
  • Visualise: See you body as a cluster of circular colors. Take a deep breath and honor the beauty of the colours Dismiss anything that does not belong in your space.

If you have any questions or would like to share your oils or insights, I would love to hear from you. [email protected]

If you are interested to purchase doTERRA essential oils I am happy to support you and help to set up your account. You can find more information HERE or you can message me on [email protected].

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Musings from the sea on creativity

I really, really enjoy all the creative time and space I get at the moment. Its one of the things I am most grateful for and try to be entirely unapologetic about. It makes me realise how much of that side of me has been unattended, unseen, unexplored because of the lack of time and headspace. It makes me realise how much creativity will lie dormant in so many other people, because of the lack of time and headspace.

Its easy to say you just have to prioritise this time, but I can very well remember that I was most of the time just functioning with all the responsibility I had and work that needed doing in my businesses, around the house and garden, in our household. the social commitments etc. I am so grateful for this time to explore this side of me, drawing, writing, reading, listening to audiobooks, and doing crochet.

2 of my recent drawings. I usually make a quick sketch or a note in my journal if an inspiration comes in and when I get a moment I can bring them to life with my paint brush. I am secretly dreaming of these becoming cards and a book one day. 

I am just slowly reading bits of the book “Out of our minds” by Sir Ken Robinson – all about creativity, creative thinking and living. Its really reaffirming. Lots of the things I have been thinking and feeling were out of kilter for me in previous years and that brought me to where I am today. The structures for my life had to be rearranged in a big way quite a few times so that I can feel aligned and fulfilled. Each time in those big shifts I was scared, fearful and doubtful and each time (so far so good) it was the best move ever. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect and I float on a rosy cloud, but it means I can live more aligned and closer to my truth and heartspace.

I also simultaneously work my way through the book “The Artists way” by Julia Cameron chapter by chapter . One thing that made me chuckle yesterday was a quote I came across in this book:

“Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” Erica Jong

I also got my first sunburn, as I was reading right in this spot in the hammock and it felt too nice to feel sun on my skin again after months of cold and winter.

Its all good while its all good, but when things go wrong there is only me that is to blame for making bold, brave and out of the box decisions. That is a bit scary, it feels so convenient and comforting having the possibility to blame someone else. Our kids are masters at this 😉 and at making star art – Luca below working with his origami stars and Nina’s on the right side making a wordspiration box. So proud that both of them can express in so many creative ways.

Another thing I noticed is that I go through cycles with my creativity. I have burst of inspiration for drawing. If I ignore them they keep niggling until I get my brush out. Then there might be nothing for a few weeks or even months until a new inspiration or niggle comes. Same with my writing – there are times when I feel really inspired to write and times when nothing will come. There are crochet projects that just work and feel right and there are some that don’t and get undone. I found this quote in the same book that reassured me:

“Marathon runners suggest you slot ten slow miles for every fast one. The same holds true for creativity.”

Here are some of my crochet projects from the last few weeks – a blanket for me, a shirt for me and shirt for Nina. Its colour therapy, a moving meditation, a quite space of creation and fulfillment. 

And I also marked these in bright pink in my book:

“Anyone honest will tell you that possibility is far more frightening than impossibility, that freedom is far more terrifying than any prison. If we do, in fact, have to deal with a force beyond ourselves that involves itself in our lives, then we may have to move into action on those previously impossible dreams.”

“I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow.” (Gosh did we need that seatbelt in the last 1.5 years!)

“In my experience, the universe falls in with worthy plans and most especially with festive and expansive ones. I have seldom conceived a delicious plan without being given the means to accomplish it. Understand that the what must come before the how. First choose what you would do. The how usually falls into place of itself.”

” Take a small step in the direction of a dream and watch the synchronous doors flying open. Seeing, after all, is believing. And if you see the results of your experiments, you will not need to believe me. Remember the maxim ‘leap and the net will appear’.”

“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.” -Goethe-

Here are some actions for reflection from the book, that you could work on this month:

  • Where does your time go? List your five major activities this week. How much time did you give to each one? Which were what you wanted to do and which were shoulds? How much of your time is spent helping others and ignoring your own desires?
  • Take a sheet of paper. Draw a circle. Inside that circle, place topics you need to protect. Place the names of those you find to be supportive. Outside the circle, place the names of those you must be self protective around just now. Use this map to support your autonomy.
  • List 20 things you enjoy doing. When was the last time  you let yourself do these things? Next to each entry, place a date. Can you do and schedule some of these in the next week/month?

I would love to hear and see your creative projects and any thoughts that might come up for you reading / seeing this.

And lastly a beautiful quote that touched me:

I shut my eyes in order to see. – Paul Gauguin-

My yoga mat is one of the places where I find peace, inspiration, where I shut my eyes, listen to my body, move stagnant energy, place some oils on my body, breathe deeply, feel the wind and sun on my skin, smell the salt in the air, close my eyes to see…




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Breathing exercises to improve your wellbeing

I have practiced different breathing techniques for many years now and observed the many benefits of bringing consciousness and practice to breathing cycles. I definitely expanded my lung capacity big time and when I breathe shallow or have periods of holding my breath when stressed or panicked I am now aware enough to bring myself back to deep, slow, conscious breaths. There is nothing like a big sigh of breath out and a deep inhale.

Pranyam – Breathing is a key practice and in this book he mentions that breathing in yoga came long before the asanas – movement where developed.  I practiced mainly yogic breathing techniques over the past 13 years, but I also loved attending workshops with Helle Thompson, who holds space for Transformational Breath sessions privately or for groups in Havelock North.  There are many different breathing techniques from so many teachers.

I have just finished reading the book Breath by James Nestor (link below to Amazon), which outlines and explains important research on breath. Many people are unaware how bad mouth breathing is for example and how many people have health problems because of mouth breathing. He even goes through an experiment with another breath expert, where they plug up their noses for several weeks and monitor all their vital functions and get their health monitored and checked before and after thoroughly. James Nestor visits lots of specialists and pulmonologists around the world and at the end of the audio book there are a few breathing exercises explained that we can implement into our daily rituals.


Here are a few breathing exercises you can practice and implement in your daily rituals. For all those techniques its best to sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair, spine straight, shoulders and face relaxed. Remember to never force anything and not overdo, especially if you are just starting out with these breathing techniques. Make sure you do the breathing exercises in a comfortable, safe environment, where you can be fully present.

Many of the breathing techniques have similar effects – lowering heart rate, blood pressure, stress, expanding lung capacity, calming the mind.

Alternate Nostril Breath:

Put the 2 peace fingers (pointy and middle finger) of the right hand on the 3rd eye chakra between the eyebrows. Use your thumb to close right nostril and the ring finger to close the left nostril. The little finger is just relaxed. Close right nostril with thumb, inhale through left nostril. Close left nostril with ring finger, open right nostril, exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril. Close right nostril with thumb, open left nostril, exhale through the left. Inhale through left, close left, open right, exhale. Carry on for as long as it feels comfortable and right. 10 – 15 cycles to start with.

Kumbhaka Breath:

This breath is called box breathing in the above book, but is also a yogic technique, called Kumbhaka breath. The inhale, exhale and hold of breath is all done to the count of 4. Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4. You can slowly increase your count if it feels comfortable.

For more relaxation / before sleep  change the count of the breath to Inhale 4, Hold 4, Exhale 6, Hold 2.

Another variation of this was made famous by Dr. Andrew Weil, called 4/7/8 breathing. Inhale through Nose for 4, Hold for 7 and Exhale though mouth with an audible sigh for 8

Repeat Cycles for as long as feels comfortable and right

Belly breathing:

I personally find this super relaxing combined with legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani) before sleep, but can also be done sitting. Put one hand on belly, one hand on chest. Breathe into belly and feel belly expand. On exhalation feel belly lower. Do a few rounds like this then try to fill the belly with breath first and then the chest next, feeling both rise as you breathe in and as you breathe out you first try and empty the chest – feel it lower and then last the belly. Carry on for a few cycles.

Conscious breath restriction methods from the book Breath:

Inhale deeply through the nose, then pinch nose closed with fingers and hold breath for as long as feels comfortable. Use a stopwatch to measure progress over the weeks. You should not be gasping for breath on inhale. Slow and steady inhale.  Something to aim for is 45 seconds – 1 minute breath holding. Start slowly and take small steps.

Something more rhythmic is inhaling for 3, exhale for 6 and imagine anchor sinking really deeply as you exhale.

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The Artists Way by Julia Cameron Book Recommendation

This book has been in my bookshelf for many years, but I never made the time or headspace to work through it. It was one of the few books that made it all way from New Zealand to our boat in Greece. I bought it second hand in the Little Red Bookshop in Hastings. One of the main practices is to write morning pages on a daily basis in freewriting, ideally by hand straight after you get up. The other practice is to have an artists date with yourself once per week.

I am only in week 1 so far, working my way through the program week by week and really loving it so far. With my key word being fluidity and really tuning into what works for me I have adjusted the practice to writing on my laptop. Handwriting just frustrates me, as I write with 10 fingers on the keyboard and its so much faster. While I love the idea of handwriting, I simply don’t enjoy it and if I don’t enjoy it I don’t do it.

The artists date can be anything creative. Whatever makes your heart sing, cooking, crochet, drawing, pottery, writing, tidying, decorating, parenting. I was always one of those people who thought that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body and I have since changed my mind. I am finding the idea of creative living and exploring creativity in everything I do fascinating. At the moment I explore my creativity in the following areas:

  • Writing (writing helps me release & process and it makes my heart sing)
  • Drawing with back ink and water colours (it helps me to visualise my thoughts and I love to play with shapes and colour and turn words and emotions into something visual)
  • Crochet (colour therapy, feeling texture, making something with my own hands, creating something unique that can be used, a mindfulness practice – ticks so many boxes for me)
  • Living in general – what else apart from the mainstream narrative is possible? (It feels so scary to do this as a family – hello fear and vulnerability)
  • Parenting (an ongoing mystery)
  • Marriage (getting better at it every year I think – but certainly requires copious amounts of creativity)
  • Business ideas – lets be honest everyone has to survive and earn money. I would love to find a way to feel abundant and prosperous in all areas of my life and money has always been a red flag for me. I would love to earn enough money with something that feels authentic and brings in enough money to cover basic living expenses in New Zealand and some luxuries like travel, alternative healthcare.

Would love to hear your thoughts on creativity and art and what makes your inner artist sing and if you have already read and worked through this book and how its impacted you.