Friday Fave

Tiny Devotions Kindness

What’s my Purpose? 5 Ways to Align with your Destiny

photoAh, it’s that big question that enters our mind at some point in life! What’s my purpose here on this planet, why am I here, what am I supposed to do, and where do I find the answers? Never fear, fear will only take you further from your true calling! Many things in life seem daunting and overwhelming. Particularly trying to figure out what it is that were meant to truly do or be. However, part of our task while were here is to seek the answers, explore life and all its many facets. So how do we begin the journey and discover our purpose rather thansulking in the shadows? Here are 5 suggestions for you to connect to your callingand align with your destiny.

1. In stillness we receive. Take some time to become quiet whether it be through meditation, sitting in nature, or simply lying down and breathing in deeply until a feeling of deep calm washes over your entire being. These are the moments when we can truly and deeply connect to what our deepest desires are and to hear ourselves clearly. When we remove all the extraneous noise, we can hear our true nature calling us into action!

2. When your out and about exploring life, when your interacting with others, when your alone and have a complete and total feeling of contentment. Pay attention to these moments. Most likely your sensing something deeper than you realize. These moments are like tiny seeds being planted for future growth. All of the tiny little moments that take your breath away, send shivers through your body, make your heart skip a beat, and remind you that life is magical. You are aligning with your destiny in these moments

3. Getting very clear on your vision. Something that makes your heart sing, that you have a deep passion for, and that you truly without a doubt whole heartedly believe in!

4. Know that your right where you need to be for the lessons to come through. Most likely what your experiencing is something that you will be teaching and sharing in the future. Obstacles are meant to teach us, to build us, and to show us how to be more fluid in life. All of these lessons are meant to be lived in order for you to understand them and connect to what your purpose is.

5. Allow yourself to evolve, to be of service without any expectations from anyone, align with your higher self through service and be love! When you know what your life’s work is you’ll have a feeling of alignment with self and others. You will fall completely and madly in love with what you do and this will ripple out into the world! You will know 100% what your purpose is because it will show up as a calling or highest purpose. Everyone of us has a higher purpose or calling in life. And everyone has a beautiful talent or service to share with the world. You will know when the heart sings loudly and all else will make way for your destiny to unfold and be revealed! Enjoy the ride!

Costa Rica - 11Angel Lucia ERYT500, CHHC, RYS200, LMT
I have been teaching yoga and guiding students deeper into their own mysteries for the past 17. I run a successful yoga studio where coaching clients on holistic health and nutrition, training and mentoring teachers, and leading worldwide yoga retreats and workshops absolutely tickles my soul. Also an avid meditator, spirit junkie, and lover of hanging out deep in the woods and quietly listening to the sounds around. When I’m not in my studio I can be found strolling in nature, or relaxing with my best friend (hubby), dog, and cat! Oh yeah, and I love really good organic dark chocolate with sea salt, hanging with great friends, and Sunday bloody mary’s….just in case you were wondering! Lets surf life’s waves together! Connect with me!

Website: www.angelluciayoga.com
Facebook: AngelLuciaYoga
Instagram: @yogalovevibes

Five Easy Ways to Detox for Fall

ajgovonidetoxSo maybe you threw back a few ((several)) cocktails, over-indulged on burgers and chips, cut back on workouts and hopefully enjoyed time with friends and family to celebrate a final weekend of summer…GOOD. You should have! If you really want to see some gains not only fitness, but in your overall heath and outlook, then enjoying these simple pleasures of life are essential and vital to creating a happier, healthier you.

After a holiday ((or summer)) splurge comes the desire to get back on track, start over, really commit to a new plan,  to bounce back, as it were. Rather than viewing that mini vacation from your routine as a set-back from which you need to recover, view it instead as part of the process to progress – don’t necessarily bounce back, bounce forward. Be better than before. Your body and your mind appreciate the break, but make it one step back and 2 steps forward.

A common misconception is to go overboard on juicing, fasting, refusing food or returning pretty hard into your workouts. Not necessary. Instead, make a few little changes to set yourself back on a path of success.

Here are 5 easy ways to Detox the weekend ((and summer)) and begin to freshen up for Fall….no extreme dieting, juicing, or killing yourself in the gym required.

1. WATER. Drink hot water with lemon upon rising, lemon helps cleanse and detoxify the body, and hot water helps to get things moving. Drink a lot of good quality H20 throughout the day (aiming for 2-3 liters or roughly half your body weight in ounces). It’s best to drink water before and between meals, avoid drinking it with and shortly after meals since this can cause a slow down of digestion, creating a back-up. And spice it up! Adding ginger and cayenne pepper to hot water helps detoxify and eliminate any bloat you may be experiencing after a weekend binge.

2. MOVE.  Sweating is the best way to release toxins in the body. You don’t need to spend hours on the workouts though, just get moving, now. Aim for 30-45 minutes of intense work four to five days a week, and utilize major and multiple muscle groups in your workouts, along with HIIT (high intensity interval training) to efficiently burn more fat. Check here for a total body workout to do! However, it’s important to move through out the day in addition to your workout. An hour workout is great, but if you sit for the majority of the day, you’re not only doing your health harm. but that chair/car/couch could be the reason you’re not losing stubborn weight. Do YOGA- for a number of different reasons- specific asanas aid in detoxification, pranayama techniques help purify the body, and yoga, overall, can ‘de-clutter’ your mind. Move when you wake up and before you hit the hay. Start your day with a 20 minute jog or brisk walk before breakfast, or some sun salutations. This can help burn extra fat. End your day with a 20 minute post dinner walk, and stretch before bed.

3. REDUCE. There’s no need for starvation dieting, fasting or juicing, but reducing your intake of certain foods is important. Avoid foods that cause inflammation, increase cravings, and those that your body stores as fat. Examples of these are:caffeine (which raises cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body, stubborn weight maintainer), alcohol (your body has to metabolize this first, meaning everything else consumed is stored as fat), dairy (can cause inflammation and mucous in the body), SUGAR (sugar is a nasty little drug that does quite a bit of harm on the body. Even reduce your fruit intake to 1-2 pieces, and keep it to the lower GI fruits during this time), gluten and grains, processed meats and packaged foods. No you don’t always have to get rid of these things, yet if you want to see changes and reap the health benefits of a detoxification, then as much as possible, these foods need to be reduced or eliminated from your diet while you freshen up.

4. EAT. The worst thing you can do is to go into starvation mode after a weekend holiday binge. All this will do is wreak havoc on your metabolism, and cause for a grumpy, more hungover-feeling. If you’re going to fast, do it between dinner and breakfast. Aim for a full 12 hours without eating between these meals. Your body needs this time for maintainence. Don’t eat within 3 hours of going to bed. Feed your body, and fuel it up with the good stuff it needs to thrive throughout the day. This means increasing your veggie and fiber intake, incorporating lean, high quality proteins with each meal, and include cucumbers and leafy greens – they will help balance pH levels (which can be really acidic after a weekend of booze, meat and chips).

5. REST & RELAXATION. It’s September, and other than January, it tends to be the month where everyone is ready to  get back on track. Take a little bit of time writing down your goals and setting yourself up with a rhythm that you’re looking forward to starting, and one that’s attainable and maintainable. Set small goals for yourself, check in on them frequently to measure your progress. In a month where school and work come back in full swing,  managing stress levels is crucial to help your body recover and ‘detoxify.’ When cortisol levels are high, your body has a natural tendency to hold onto fat, particularly around your midsection (a self-preservation technique that dates back to your ancestors). Incorporate yoga or moving meditation into your day, practice breathing techniques and get out in nature…everyday. And most importantly, sleep. Sleep is the time your body repairs and rebuilds. Get your 8 hours of sleep and be a happy camper.

ajgovoniAJ Govoni is an accomplished fitness professional, yoga teacher, and beach-bum traveler, with a love for using nature as her gym. She leads outdoor fitness programs and specializes in training and yoga for athletes and women. Through rockin’ playlists, happy vibes and sweaty flows, AJ’s classes will leave both your body and mind feeling good. Her sense of adventure has brought her backpacking to different regions of the world where she became fascinated by the activities, healing techniques, diets and lifestyles of other cultures. She fuses these discoveries into her work to bring a fresh perspective on active living, health and happiness. Follow AJ’s journey on Facebook , Instagram and her workouts and writings on her blog. Catch the ride with her! www.ajgovoni.com

Yoga Newbie? How to Prep for your First Class

TDFW13shootLondonWEBREZ294One of the things I hear most often from people when I suggest that they should try a yoga class is “I am not flexible enough for yoga”. The second most common response I get from people is “I will when I get better” or, “I am scared! I need more practice first.” Sound familiar?? If it does, know that you are not alone! As a yoga instructor, I want to take you all by the hand and gently lead you to your mat and remind you that your practice starts there no matter if you are at home, or in a studio. Here is a short list of things you need to know and understand that will help you take that first step..

 1. Research + Review. Google yoga studios near you and look at the reviews, as they indicate what kind of experience other people have had. Don’t be afraid to ask around for recommended teachers, studios and classes. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and will give you a starting point in finding the right studio fit for you. Finding the right studio is important! If you are in a class that just doesn’t jive well with you- don’t let it turn you off of yoga altogether. Try another studio or another instructor before calling it quits, but doing a little asking around first may help point you in the right direction of where to begin.

 2. You’ve got to begin somewhere. You do not need to have an advanced practice to take a class. You don’t even need an ounce of experience at all! What you need is the will to walk through the door. Whether you have no experience whatsoever, or have a basic skill level from a home practice and want to transition into a live studio class, I do suggest starting with a Intro Level class.  Chances are, no matter your yoga experience if it is your first time to attend a class, you may feel lost. Don’t fret! You will get used to the pace and verbiage and begin to find your way, I promise. Intro classes are generally slower paced and can give you a strong foundation for what lies ahead, so start there and keep progressing. When you feel comfortable, then branch out and perhaps try a higher level class. Keep in mind that even in more advanced classes, instructors usually give modifications so that no matter where you are at in your practice, you have options, so don’t be afraid. There are always options! And if nothing else, if you find yourself in child’s pose the entire class.. it is still yoga.

 3. Keep it simple. You do not need fancy clothes or equipment. This is a tough one because it helps to feel confident when trying new things and sometimes a new outfit gives us that boost of courage. And hey, if that is what you need, then go for it! It is important to remember though, that it is not necessary.  No one is going to look down on you if you don’t have the latest and greatest labels. The people next to you on the mat are on their own journey. Forget judgments and forget the fear of being judged. You may be mesmerized by the gorgeous yoga wear in the lobby of the studio, but inherently, it is not the reason for you being there. Focus on yourself and your practice and splurge on the yoga pants later down the road if you wish. Remember first why you are at yoga class to begin with. It is to feel better, deepen your practice and extend the journey within. Which brings me to the next part..

 IMG_87294. Get emotional. Expect (at some point) your emotions to overflow. Yoga can be extremely powerful not only within our muscles and bodies, but within our hearts and minds as well. I can attest personally that the physical manifestations of yoga can bring out incredibly intense emotions. I have seen tears fall many a time during savasana, and have cried tears on my own mat as well. It sort of sneaks up on you actually and when you least expect it, catharsis happens. Sometimes a teacher can lead you into a series of movements and guide you with a series of thoughts and questions to ponder and suddenly you find yourself acutely aware that you are getting more than just a workout within the safe confines of a yoga class. It is a little like therapy for the body and soul at the same time! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.. but look forward to it. Letting go of old stuff feels, in a word- liberating.

 5. Say hello! Before class starts, make sure to introduce yourself and tell the instructor you are new and also make them aware of any issues or injuries you have, old and new. Neck or back issues? Let them know before class! That way, they are prepared if they need to give specific modifications to you for anything planned in class and additionally they are sensitive to any issues if they perform adjustments. Also know your limits. If something feels wrong, don’t do it! Listen to modifications given and hear what your body tells you to avoid injuring yourself.

 6. Relax! Be prepared to have fun! Yes- you will have to look around during class at others to figure out which pose you are supposed to be doing, and yes- you will find yourself lost sometimes, and yes- you very well may fall on your face, or into your neighbor while attempting a pose! But hey- we have all been there! You are not the first new person that has ever walked into the door, and you won’t be the last. Take comfort in knowing no matter where you are in your journey, there will be people in the room who were at your exact place at some point in time.

 7. Bring a friend! Sometimes things are easier in twos. And it also makes it a little less awkward feeling when the neighbor you fall into is your friend..

 8. SMILE. Enjoy the journey! Seriously.

Now get to class. You will love it! Namaste Friends!

IMG_8831Tiffani Shipman graduated from University of Oklahoma with degrees in Psychology and Sociology, received her RYT200 through Tiffany Cruikshank Yoga Medicine, and is currently studying Acupuncture, Holistic Therapy and Sports Medicine. She is a contributor to Misfit Yoga and Wellness and you can also find her blog, yoga schedule and more at www.tiffanishipman.com When she isn’t studying her craft or teaching yoga, you’ll find her playing practical jokes on her friends and family, restoring old cars, baking cupcakes, hula hooping, or enjoying a beer in the backyard. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband and three boys.

4 Simple Ways to Live with Intention this Fall

TDFW13shootLondonWEBREZ73It’s that time of year again. When the world seems to speed up even faster. Things need to be planned. To be scheduled. To be added into your already busy life.

It’s when the children are heading back to school and holidays become memories. And the time of year when we start to worry about all the things that need to get done, rather then of all the things we want to enjoy.

But my goodness, they are some of the most beautiful months of the year.

As we move forward into a busy-making time of year, I just want to remind you of the true nature of this time of year. 

While everyone is running around adding in weekly meets, daily schedules, monthly events and everything in between, nature is reminding us that this is the time to let go.

Surrender, transformation and letting go are all qualities of the world around us during the Fall months. 

And isn’t it ironic that while we feel the need to control, build, add-to our lives – that nature around us is taking its time, eliminating the non-essentials, letting go of the need to grow, push and expand.

The leaves slowly start to change from green to gold. The garden reaches it’s most bountiful. The sun falls a little sooner leaving us cooler and more contemplative.

Just as the Summer draws us out into the heat to grow, achieve, do, push and strive – the Autumn season calls us back into receiving, allowing and surrender.

Even when we don’t feel like we have the time for it. 

We are reminded to slow down and dress with a little more mindfullness – warmth and comfort in mind.

We are blessed with the fresh vegetables as they come into the end of their growing cycle – nourishing us a little more deeply.

We are invited to reflect on all the things that we need to let go of in our lives – as we begin to restructure our daily lives.

Today I want to share with you a few things you can do to step into the next part of the year with grace and ease.

Especially in those moments when you feel like you need to do this or need to be there.

This week – choose to be on purpose with the things you add to and release from your life. 

It can be way too easy for us women to allow the world around us to dictate what we will do next, where we should go and how we should spend our time and energy.

But as always, we have a choice. And with that choice, we have the ability to offer the people around us the best version of ourselves.

Maybe taking some extra time out will make you a better partner. Maybe saying yes to yourself will make you a better friend. Maybe investing in yourself will make you a better person.

Maybe you matter more then you are willing to admit. And saying you will take care of your body next month, next year and next is very different then actually setting the intention to make the change. 

In this moment, choose to live with Intention this Fall and repeat after me…

“This week I will live with intention by choosing…

 The Way I Spend My Time - I will schedule in non-negotiable time early in the morning and just before bed to relax, nurture my body and take time for meditation and reflection. If this means getting up earlier or cutting back on television/internet time I will make the changes I need to in respect for myself.

The People I Surround myself with - I will get really clear on the people I choose to spend my time with and energy on. This includes both in person and online. If there is someone I’ve been missing, I will call them up and set a date to meet. If there is someone who is draining me, I will limit or eliminate the time I spend with them, lovingly and with kindness.

The Places I Spend My Time -  I will be mindful of where I spend my time and how it feels to be there. If my living room feels messy and disorganized, I will take time to tidy it up and change things around till it feels fresh and inviting. If I drive the same way to work, I will change it up and walk. If my bedroom is a mess of clothes, old magazines and things I no longer need – I set time aside to create a sanctuary.

The Things I Put in and on my Body - I will be aware of the things that I eat each day and how those foods make me feel and the energy that they give me – including the water I drink. Equally, I will be mindful of the products I put on my body, always asking myself- are they natural? do they make a difference? is there something less-toxic I can use instead?

Here’s the the thing, you may not feel like you have the time to join the gym, do a detox or make it to yoga every week.   You may not even be prepared to simply start meditating or moving your body each day.

But you will still have to move through your life with the energy, wisdom and clarity to make a difference in the lives of the people around you. 

Because you care about your family. You want to be a wonderful partner and friend. You have dreams you want to reach and goals you want to achieve.

…and because if you choose to put yourself last, it’s not only your mind, body and Spirit that will pay the price.

It’s the people who care about you. 

So for this week and the rest of the year, I invite you to live with intention. Especially in how you spend your time, who you surround yourself with, where you live/go and what you nourish your body with. And let each choice be loving, kind and intuitive. 

Because in the end, you are really the only one that knows what’s best for you. 
amber86Amber Chalus is a Free-Spirited Adventurer, Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Certified Yoga Teacher. She lives in the heart of Saskatchewan with her charming British husband and adorable rescue dog, Indi. You are invited to join her growing community of spirited women at her online sanctuary, AmberChalus.comHer mission is to help and inspire women to nurture their physical and spiritual health through yoga, holistic nutrition and radical self love. She believes that every woman deserves to feel connected to her body, radiate with confidence and live the life of her dreams – naturally! She is also the co-creator of the 30 Day Wildly Nourished Challenge at wildlyvibrant.ca

Disconnect to Reconnect

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How to Set Intentions with Mala Beads

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Balancing Act: 5 Ways to Balance Mind + Body + Spirit

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 1.51.40 PMLife is all about finding balance. Striving to create harmony within ourselves and within our lives. If we do too much in one aspect of our life than the others suffer and the same goes if we don’t do enough, then we become stagnant and stop growing. Listening to our instincts and our bodies when it signals overflow can be difficult when we all have so much to do but it is crucial for proper balance and ideal health. The yin and yang. The male and female. The giving and receiving. Finding the courage to expand and move forward but the wisdom to know when to rest and have reverence.

Here are 5 yoga and spiritual practices that can help you find “The Balance” in your life.

1. Yoga. Yoga is amazing at balancing the body and mind. There are certain poses that you can do that specifically focus on the physical aspect of finding balance. Vrksasana or Tree Pose. Mastering how to balance physically translates spiritually. The attention it takes to find balance in difficult poses, helps you to clear your mind. If you find tree pose easy then try Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose). Remember that balance doesn’t always mean stillness, it is more about being adaptable and giving more or less depending on the situation, it is constantly changing.

* Vrksanana – Plant your left foot into the ground, foot pointing straight ahead and pressing all four corners of the foot into the mat. Bring your right foot high into your inner left thigh and resist your foot with your inner thigh by firming your standing leg. Rotate your knee to the side by drawing your tailbone down. Bring your hands to prayer at your heart or reach your arms up to the sky. Find something to focus on that is straight ahead. This is called yoyr drishti. For more advanced, try looking up towards the sky. Repeat other leg.

* Natarajasana – Start with your left leg strong and firm just as you did in tree pose then with your right hand, grab the inside of your right ankle. Avoid dropping the chest and instead resist your leg with your arm and reach your leg and chest high up towards the sky. Try to keep your shoulders and hips squared to the front of the room and bring your left arm forward into whatever mudra is comfortable for you. Find your drishti and balance as long as you can. Try the other leg.

2. Pranayama or Breathing techniques. Prana meaning life force or vital energy. Nadi Shodhan or alternate nostril breathing is a perfect technique, as it is known to clear out blocked energy channels in the body, creating calm and balance.

* Nadi Shodhan- Sit on the floor, cross-legged. Leave your left hand on your leg palm up or down and bring your right hand up to your face. Closing your first two fingers, this is called Mrigi Mudra. Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your ring and pinky fingers. Open and exhale slowly through the right nostril and repeat. Continue to do this a couple of times then go back to your natural breathing.

3. Figure eights. Close your eyes and make slow figure eights with your eye balls. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t take much to do and you can do it almost anywhere, although you might look a little crazy. Drawing the infinite figure eight with your eyes is a way to balance the male and female within yourself.

4. Balance your bodies ph levels with diet. What you eat effects your bodies chemistry. If you are too acidic you will feel off and vice versa, but most Americans diet make them more acidic then too alkaline. Eat whole organic foods, free of processing, microwaves, additives, and excess sugar and alcohol. You can buy a saliva test kit online to check your ph levels at home. Notice how you feel after you eat certain foods. If you swing too far into a diet regimen then you could be missing out on some fun but too much fun becomes a breeding ground for disease.

5. Sleep & Exercise. Try and go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Irregular routines can cause stress hormones in the body that can cause serious health issues. This complex reaction or “fight or flight reaction” is a natural alarm system that should not be constantly under attack. Proper sleep can prevent you from feeling “off” and creating a spiral of eating bad and feeling unbalanced. Exercise is just as important. Breaking a sweat and getting your heart rate going everyday is ideal. It is important to know the difference between being exhausted and being lazy. Some people need to learn to rest and not over do it, while others need a little more motivation.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 1.52.28 PMJesse Golden is a model, yoga teacher, mother and woman living with an auto-immune disease.  Every challenge she’s  had throughout life she’s chosen to take an optimistic approach and accept the Universe’s opportunity for her to create more light.  She wants to help others by sharing all the different tools that she’s learned that have kept her going through life’s challenges. 

Website: www.thegoldensecrets.org 

Instagram: @jessegolden

10 Things to Think about Before Planning a Yoga Retreat

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 3.08.55 PM1. What do I need in my life right now?
Create an intention for what you would like to achieve from a Yoga retreat. Attend regular Yoga or meditation classes to gain clarity and focus about what you currently need. Ask your body the question…’What do I need?’ Trust in the higher intelligence of your body to give you signals that will guide you towards your highest needs. Consider what you are looking for to decide on the most suitable retreats that will best fit your needs. Study the retreat descriptions carefully and find the one that speak loudly to you personally. Seek the ultimate retreat that appears to be customised just for you! When I design a retreat I’m aiming to create an experience that will refresh the spirit, reignite passion for living, rediscover balance in life and deepen our yoga and meditation practice.

2. What do I yearn to learn?
Retreats offer all kinds of different benefits and learning experiences. Exceptional retreats will offer a combination of many benefits and topics with an overall theme focus. Here’s a few to consider regarding what you may need and what may excite you.
• Restorative and nurturing yoga classes
• Energizing and dynamic yoga classes
• Advanced yoga postures
• Yoga philosophy
• New healthy rituals
• Ayurvedic lifestyle rituals
• Personal development
• Self healing
• Letting go of negative emotions
• Self love rituals
• Detox and cleansing
• Nourishing and energising food
• New foods and cooking demos
• Positive thinking and manifesting dreams
• Chakra energy centres
• Chi energy flow
• Learning new Yoga styles
• Peace, tranquillity, harmony
• Daily meditation
• Chanting
• Mantras and mudras
• Healthy weight and positive self image
• Self time; down time
• Adventures : skiing, horse riding, surfing, stand up paddling, snorkeling

Shambhala_Hangin Hammock _Bern copy3. Do I know the organizer or teachers on the Retreat?
It may be your own teacher or a teacher from your local studio who is running the retreat and you aspire to learning more from their lifestyle and wisdom. Does this teacher make you feel supported and cared for? Are they warm approachable and knowledgable? If you do not know the teacher then it’s best to spend time researching their credentials and experience and importantly check out their guest testimonials on past retreats. Feel confident in asking the teachers or organisers what their professional intention is with the retreat? You want to feel reassured that they are designing and guiding the retreat with a deeper passion to help, transform and improve peoples lives while immersed in the depths of Yoga practice, spiritual and healthy rituals.

4. What type of Yoga do I prefer?
Some retreats are based on specific types of Yoga styles (Hatha,Vinyasa, Anusara, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Yin, Acro etc) Enquire about the type of Yoga if you’re uncertain about the descriptions. Also check out the level of yoga (beginner, intermediate, advanced, all levels) and make sure the retreat you choose will accommodate your personal level of practice so you feel supported or challenged as much as you need. Unless specified as ‘advanced’, most retreats will cater for all levels Be prepared to embrace your individual journey without judging your ability or level. Most guests are surprised at the broad range of different levels and how comfortable and accepted they feel as they immerse into the retreat experience.

5. Location…location!
What landscape, culture and climate most inspires or deeply relaxes you? Are you more relaxed near the rainforest, by the ocean or in the mountains? Do you need adventure, culture, exotic locations and other elements to be included as part of your pre or post retreat experience. Retreat locations can be a monumental influence on the whole retreat experience. An amazing location will provide a powerful and positive flow of energy and negative ions, it will host a picture perfect backdrop and establish a beautiful soft ambience.Consider the location that most relaxes or excites you. Perhaps you’re interested in discovering a new location and new country and you can include the retreat as a healthy start or finish to your overseas holiday. Consider If you prefer luxury 5 star options verse basic rustic accommodation. The retreat accommodation should be clean, immaculate, stylish and esthetically pleasing. The layout should be feng shui considered to optimise a positive energy flow and additional touches such as crystals and ancient mythology statues will also support the energy and spiritual nature of the location.

Banyan tree entrance6. Does it look professional and organized?
The retreat description should clearly outline the theme, style, dates, location, costs, general overview of activities and all inclusions. You can also submit prior interest in the retreat to receive the itinerary or schedule to gain more information on what to expect on the retreat and how to be prepared. Once your booking is confirmed you should also receive the comprehensive time schedule with your daily rituals, preparation guide, packing list and a health medical questionnaire form to assess your health status and intentions for the retreat. The greater the attention to logistics, the more nurtured and supported you will feel during the transition from your home to the retreat. Your dietary preparation pre retreat and your special food requirements should also be requested and recorded.

7. What are the Costs?
Most retreats should be inclusive of accommodation, food, yoga and all activities except airfare. Additional extras may include optional spa treatments and massages. Retreat costs will vary greatly depends on the number of nights stay, the luxury elements of the accommodation and the exact location. Choose retreats within your budget but also be prepared to save and invest in the retreat of your dreams!

8. When should I go?
It’s ideal to be organised well in advance however, if your life is completely off track and you feel desperately out of balance then don’t wait to start healing, rebalancing and renewing. Get happy and harmonised! Go now!

9. What foods turn you on?
Yoga Retreats will vary greatly with food choices and some may only offer vegetarian or vegan options. Some retreats will encourage you to eliminate certain foods pre retreat to alkalise the body and enhance your retreat experience with more energy and less joint stiffness. Remember that Yoga retreats are designed to energise the liver, nourish the adrenal glands and support the body from the inside out. Try to accept the cleansing of sugar, toxins and acidic products from your diet as the beginning of a whole new anti-aging and happier lifestyle. Ask to see the retreat menu and check that the food is supplied from fresh organic local suppliers if possible.

10. Is there soul surrender time just for YOU?
Choose a retreat that offers down time and personal surrender just for you. On a quality retreat even the yoga is optional. Choose how much or how little you want to participate.

category_images_9 (1)Madonna Williams is a modern day Yoga and meditation therapist, health presenter and educator with a soulful approach to celebrating the body’s wisdom and inner spirit. Internationally accredited as a Yoga teacher and personal trainer, Madonna is the author of the successful book ‘Zen Soul Your Life‘ and the creator of the community Yoga movement ‘Zen Soul Yoga‘ that offers weekly Yoga classes and regular Yoga retreats. She is also the creator and presenter for the upcoming new online series ‘Yoga Zen Soul’. Trained in Zen Thai Shiatsu healing and food/nutrition coaching, Madonna also offers personal mentoring, healing massage and life coaching. Her work has been featured in media platforms such as Well-being Magazine, Cove Magazine, Get It Magazine, Gold Coast Magazine, Dolly Magazine, Channel Nine and the Gold Coast Bulletin. Madonna is a leader of body-mind-spiritual teachers and intends to help others ‘peace, nourish and nurture’ and always aim to ‘manifest your best’!

Aim True with Kathryn Budig!

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