Passion and practicality

Happy May everyone. It’s been wonderful to meet the many new yogis rocking my little studio, as well as students who are revisiting after having attended classes in the past. Everyone’s improvement and confidence in their practise has been truly wonderful to witness. We have a magnificent yoga community – no doubt about it.
So today I want to talk about PASSION!!! Does that make you think of being close and sexy next to someone? Well for me, it’s about feeling that passion in life can take a sudden stop and a back seat to safety and PRACTICALITY!!!! (BOOOOO BOOOOOO BOOO!!!)
My passion has been running a yoga studio for 13 years. My super dream job. It was definitely not what I thought I would be doing in my life, when I started my personal yoga journey in my 20s. I can tell you they were a bumpy two years. I was the tightest yogi you would have ever met, also super in my head, a muscly (back then), anxious, hard ball of doubt. But I turned a corner.
Yoga was my everything. I did classes, courses, went to Byron Bay on my own whenever I could (and this was 14-15 years ago, pre-Instagram era peeps) and attended Yoga festivals. I truly did yoga all day. I attended classes with teachers like John Ogilvie, Rachel Zinman, Lance Schuller and let’s not forget Simon Borg. I would go on a mat and just wait for the teacher’s guidance. None of my friends did yoga so amongst yogis I felt like I was in Heaven!!!
I did it all. Kundalini Yoga, Bikram, Power, Acro, Iyengar, Ashtanga. I hung on every word of my passionate teachers. They led with such big hearts. They loved teaching, and I loved yoga.
Once I met my late teacher, Acharya Upendra Roy, I made sacrifices, travelling from the airport to the city four nights a week to attend his classes. At that time, I worked three jobs. With Acharya, if you wanted to do his Teacher Training Course he gave you a testing ground of three months. You had to attend a minimum of 4-5 classes a week, and he would then decide if he was going to accept you in his course.
I did, and the rest if history.
That taught me that passion is giving it all you’ve got!!! Everything!!! It’s love and devotion. It’s pushing through your skin at times, past safety and precaution and doubts and charging on with passion.
Then you have practicality. Yes, I love teaching yoga marathons, but many students do not have the freedom of time to participate. There’s kids at home, the need to get ready for work for the next day, to meet and greet your loved ones, to organise, cook, clean, errands etc.
This term I had to hold off my ceramics class. I love my ceramics class, and I have enjoyed the sticky learning phase. But I had to be closer to home to help with my Dad who was so unwell (but he’s a fighter) and with Autumn colds and flus, more clients are coming for Homeoapathy. So this month, I was practical. It ruled. I look at practicality as the “safe” outcome or, at times, what’s “acceptable”. Practical jobs, practical love, practical routines, practical friendships. I asked my Mum for her thoughts about practicality. She said it’s simple and it works.
As a Yogi I seek the balance – in my body, in my heart, my soul and spirit.

Greece Retreat 2020

Are you ready for Greece 2020? I’m hosting an amazing, personalised yoga retreat in the country were every beach is a shade of blue that cannot be described, where history is everywhere, where the fruits and vegetables are astonishingly tasty because they have not been tainted by a plethora of chemicals and where people are out socialising and having fun after 12 midnight (and that’s on weekdays!)

There will be two one-week retreats. Choose between Retreat #1 from 14th– 20th July 2020, or Retreat #2 from 21st to 27th July 2020 (or join for the whole two weeks for a special rate!)

We will visit two islands during each week with a choice of Santorini, Syros, Kefalonia, Ithaki, Mylos, Hydra and Amorgos. The final decision about what islands we visit will depend on bookings and client demand J

Inclusions: Travelling with me, accommodation, transportation, sight-seeing, food, yoga, holistic therapies, meditation, fitness, health coaching and fun. You will be required to arrange and pay for your own flights.

Early bird special: Book and pay in full by 31st December 2019 and receive a special rate of $4,500 Australian dollars for one week. Book and pay after 31st December, for a standard rate of $5,200 for one week. OR join for the entire two week period for the special rate of $7,000.

The retreat is open to students of the studio as well as others – including international guests.

Requirements: You need to be open for adventure and ready to hear me chanting: Adventure before Dementia!

Contact me to find out more!

It’s a kind of magic

2019 you are here and I’m still saying “Happy New Year”. I have given myself until the end of February, and I promise that will be it!!!It’s a New Year that I feel is moving so, so fast.The studio has been thriving with abundant events and amazing Yogis.

We had Yogi Charu teach an amazing Masterclass in January – an experience which made me giddy with happiness. It was exhilarating. I am beyond grateful for this amazing Yoga and spiritual teacher whom I met 10 years ago when he lived in Sydney and whose classes I have followed since. He donated his precious time and it was truly an honour to host him in our space with our yoga community. Everyone was so inspired, especially when we were assisted in doing headstands without using the arms as a base to balance. Ohhhh my goodness, so inspirational. His next base will be Florida, USA.

There was also a free Full Moon meditation on 21stJanuary (which coincided with my birthday woohoo!) After the magical session, we enjoyed lovely cakes, vegan raw desserts, fruit and wine. Yogi Joanne Saunders made me an amazing gin and tonic cake which was an absolute winner – such a talented cook!!! I also loved the mango cashew vegan ice-cream cake. Thank you all for your messages, gifts, kind wishes, words and hugs. I’m so grateful.

 

The first weekend of February was devoted to a yoga retreat at Callala Beach. It was wonderful to have all the elements came together – we even spotted dolphins playing close to shore for over an hour during our Sunday morning sunrise session. I screamed in happiness and I’m surprised I didn’t scare them away. As always, a huge thank you to my Mum for cooking up a storm for all of us, there is no one like her.

By the way, my word for 2019 is “magic”. These experiences have all been magical and magic is the word currently dominating all the stories I tell while you’re in plank posture. I’m open to all moments of dazzling beauty and magic is seemingly everywhere. Nothing is more magical to me than bearing witness each night to all phases of the moon and the gradual, subtle change it undergoes when the sky in Sydney is clear. I find magic in the enjoyment of daily tasks, eating and savouring scrumptious food, reading a book that transports you to a different world, a performance on stage, a yoga class when you get to do a posture and it feels so effortless and there’s a moment that the mind stands still.

I’ll end in saying that I’m grateful to all yogis who have re-joined and are continuing their yoga journey with me consistently. I’m also grateful to the new students who have recently joined. You are all amazing!!!! Our yoga community is one of a kind xoxoxox

Welcome.

Spirituality and faith

I have been hovering over this topic for the last two months both in my head and asking yogis: what does spirituality mean for you?

Faith, belief and spirituality. Are  they entwined?

When I started attending my glorious teacher classes (under Acharya Upendra Roy), that’s when I truly started to believe in my core that yoga was my calling. He would commence each class with a guided relaxation. After each session I was always just so surprised. How did I relax? Where did my thoughts go? I felt so light in my body and mind. How could this mental burden – my head space – become vacant? My heart was rejoicing in this experience.

I was such a physically inclined individual but what made me continue the path of yoga was how uplifting it was for my spirit. After stretching the limits of how hard I pushed my body in my 20’s, I repeated that pattern on and off for another decade. Yoga taught me that the physical body is just one part of the equation of who we are.

My faith is a strong part of who I am. I believe in God (probably a weird statement to write about). But our faith is our personal compass that we steer to either daily, or when we are in need. Faith for me is also believing in myself. Believing that my actions do not only affect me, but create a ripple effect on the lives of others.

I believe in being the best person I can be (don’t worry, I pull myself up when i’m a  bitch!) We all have that side. The “not that nice” side. A lot of times that can be solely directed towards ourselves, and our self-talk can be brutal, negative and unnecessary.

Faith is magical. We look at the sun and all the colours it can transmit at all the different times of the day. Plant life. Animals. When a dog stops and looks at you, it has faith that you will pat it.

Faith is daily. Please I hope I get that job, pass that test, that my cake turns out, that I won’t be stuck in traffic.

Faith is everywhere. Constant.

Faith in a yoga class has helped me through teacher training, and faith helped me in deciding where and how will I start teaching. Faith is with me daily. I believe that the universe is on my side. Wow – I’ve been in business for one more week, one more month, one more year (actually, 14 years!) But I take nothing for granted. Ever.

Spirituality is my body, my heart, my breathing, my understanding,  my soul, all entwined. I’m a miniscule dot of life, in this living web. I’m a spirit of joy and love.

Spirituality, I believe, is everywhere, in every living matter on this planet as well as life gone.

In a yoga class we’re constantly shifting energy. Physical, emotional and spiritual.

What is beyond this earth, beyond what can be touched, measured or tampered. Spirituality is how we live our lives this moment, how we respect all living beings on this planet, how we honour life gone and life that will come.

Below are some beautiful writings of students about this topic. Some are anonymous.

I will also print more with January’s blog. I loved reading what people reflected. Deeply touching and moving. Thank you.

Xxxx Eleni

Romina:
“I love the topic you have chosen to write about, Spirituality and Faith. I think this is so relevant at this moment in our existence, because we have had plenty of opportunities to investigate, defend, choose, be part of, accept, feel one belongs to a specific faith and this is often associated with religious beliefs. I think today humanity is ready for an open discussion, and more so in Australia where our faith is so varied, of course among those with similar beliefs one can discuss  more openly, but as we go about our day and mix with people from all walks of life and realize that we are more similar than we think, our spirituality becomes a stronger connection, a bridge where we can meet half way, because we all have a spirit. Spirituality for me is an invitation to uncover who I am in this physical world, to remember what I came here to do, to discover my spiritual gifts and share these, its an introspective journey. Faith on the other hand, has changed meaning for me as I got older. Faith for me was the exploration of the spirit through religion, in my case Roman catholic as this is what I was exposed to as a kid, however when I got older I became curious about other belief system, hence I read about these. So, in a way this exploration of faith lead me to spirituality and, today I see faith as a joint concept, faith in our personal journey where the mind, heart and words are aligned with love and our truth, we express our spirituality, our God like energy which creates an open space where differences are not important. We are one, we are everything, hence in my personal journey I like to remind myself that where I was born and all I am exposed/conditioned to are opportunities to peel the layers and learn more about myself. Anyways bella, I have to get ready for work, I love opening my heart and talking about life, its meanings and many colours. Thanks for giving us an opportunity to share with you a bit more about ourselves. I am a big fan of ur magical spirit, keep shining your light! Love you!

Janet:

   

Anne Marie:

Summer at Eleni’s

Summer, summer –  I feel super grateful to be within your reach again in 2018. Looking back at the year, I am so proud of every yogi in every class – you have all become such amazing practitioners. I’m in awe of your commitment, your discipline and your big hearts and I love being part of an aligned community of yogis who see and feel the benefits of their practice.

My youngest students are in childcare centres and are aged 3-5. My eldest students are – well, what’s old?! To all of you, of every age: keep moving, keep breathing, be conscious of the present. It’s truly precious.
 
To new students who are thinking of embarking on a new yoga practice, just start. Don’t wait for the anxiety to ease, to lose weight, to wait for a friend to agree to come with you. I would love to welcome you to the friendliest yoga studio in Sydney.
 
Now, read on because this blog has a list of changes to the timetable which will start from 1 December 2018 – including new classes, pop up classes, summer yoga retreats, fundraisers and more!
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Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon classes:
Will finish on the last weekend of November. They will be back in February 2019.
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NEW Saturday morning class:
7am – 8am – Sun Salutes and Meditation. The 8:30am class will follow as normal.
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Sunday mornings:
Will feature bush walks and beach yoga classes at various places around Sydney. OR get your Yoga Fix at the studio with Nourishing Flow with Jane at 9am
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Beach Yoga: will recommence on Tuesdays at 6:30am at Brighton Le Sands, from 4th December. What an awesome way to start the day.
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NEW Friday morning class:
9:30am – 10:30am – Yoga Burn. A great class to energize for the weekend this Summer!
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Pop Up Class #1: 
Yoga Midweek Marathon = Sweat
Tuesday 4th November
5:30pm – 8:30pm
Come for regular classes at 5:30pm – 6:30pm or 7:15pm – 8:30pm OR stay for 3 hours of yoga!!  Cost: 1 sticker for members + donation (select either Guide Dogs Association or World Vision)
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Pop Up Class #2:
Fridays Twilight Yoga by the Beach
6:30pm – 7:45 pm
30th November, 7th December, 21st December, 11th January, 18th January
Exact location will be posted on social media closer to each day.
Cost: Casual $23, Members 1 sticker, Kids (6-10 years, must be accompanied by an adult yogi) $12
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Private sessions will be available to book Wednesdays between 6am and 9am, and Fridays 1pm – 4:30pm  
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Callala Beach Yoga Retreat is back!
Join me for a Summer weekend from Friday 1st February to Sunday 3rdFebruary. A weekend of yoga, swimming, beach fitness, road trips, relaxation, meditation, healthy food and of course the magic ingredients will be fun and laughter. Food will be cooked by my Mumma Regina (such a treat, so grateful) Early Bird Price: $450 (includes accommodation, meals and yoga). Must be paid in full by the 14th of December. For bookings after 14thDecember, cost is $550.

Travelling Yogi

“Travel is such a condensed life journey that occurs over a period of time”. This is what I texted my beautiful yoga friend Ellesse while I was overseas.

Everything changes when you’re on holiday – who you interact with, your schedule, your perceptions, your plans. On the other side of the world, my eyes observed different colours and shades, and my skin adapted to different temperatures. I moved with a different purpose.

I took a long time in planning for this getaway. Lists galore!!!! To do lists for myself, for the yoga studio, for the yoga retreat, for yoga teachers who were filling in for me, for home life, for the schools where I teach, for my private clients. Luckily, I love the process 🙂

The joy I feel and the love I have for Greece is undeniable. This country has a pulse, a magic thread running through its earth, ocean and sky. History is everywhere. I love its rhythm, its honesty and its life force.

Yoga is like that: pure connection, pure love and pure heart. It envelopes you, it cradles you. You have a space to breath, to nourish, to just stop. (And also like Greece, yoga with me can be crazy, unpredictable and hot!!!!)

Greece yoga retreat

‘Adventure before dementia’ is something I would often repeat to my Aussie yogis Paula and Angela, who joined me for a yoga retreat in Greece.  I’m sure you have heard that or seen it printed somewhere. Mine is printed on my luggage tag.

While the retreat was an amazing exploration of yoga, health and Greece – and one that the three of us will remember for a lifetime – there are two stories which stand out (if only because Greece and yoga with me are crazy, unpredictable and hot!!!!)

 

Before departing for Chios from my place in Kaisariani, I planned with the Aussie yoga girls a day of bushwalking, sightseeing, yoga at Ymittos to look at all the cute turtles, as well as going to Galopoula for Spanakopita (spinach and fetta pie) and of course cold coffee (Freddo Cappuccino, mmmm sooooo good!!!) Unfortunately, none of that happened. Due to the intensity of the day’s heat, entry was denied due to the high fire threat. Instead, we practiced yoga in the grounds of a monastery. So beautiful.

Driving in Chios was also an experience.  On another day, we had visited these beautiful villages, and we were recommended by a local how to get to a beautiful, secluded beach.  What we had not counted on was driving so close to the edge of the mountain on a road where one car could barely fit – with cars speeding towards us in the opposite direction. All I remember is the FEAR and someone screaming in the back seat! Eventually we did a u-turn and headed back (although not before buying the yummiest sweets to celebrate my Mumma Regina’s birthday.)

If you’re interested in joining me in 2019, dates for the next Greek Yoga, Health and Discovery Retreat will be advertised in December 2018. There will be  7, 10 and 12 day options, with an early bird special.

 

Celebrating 13 years

With the craziness of travel, I also had no time to mark the studio’s 13 year anniversary. In case you haven’t noticed, I have already added two specials on social media this month and if you have reached this far into the blog and are still ready, here is one last special just for you:

Share any post of mine from Instagram or Facebook with a caption you like, and the best four shares will receive a 30% on a 10-class pass (which you can keep or use as a  gift for someone). Conditions of expiry still apply as normal and you can start at any time in October.

Thank you everyone for your beautiful feedback and messages while I was in Greece as well as checking up on me with the tragedy of the fires that occurred in Greece. It’s something I will never forget.

Xoxoxoxoxo
Eleni

Auditing Yogi

Hey everyone, we jumped over the half year mark of 2018!!!! I cannot believe it.

With June and July comes the end of financial year, where our attention and planning are needed for tax time. We assess what we make, spend, save and invest. We have bodies such as the Australian Tax Office with power and authority and accountants, financial advisors and bank managers who help us with this assessment.

Then we have yogis like me and you. How do we assess our yoga life, our spiritual journey and reflect on how far we have travelled in 2018? Do we assess our yogi life? Our human quota of love and support? Do we reflect on our physical and mental health? How do we manage our happiness and self love and care for ourselves, families and community? What keeps us truthful? Who picks us up on terrible behavior, self sabotage or when we head to a channel that will not support our health and beautiful life journey?

Believe me, this blog is not the place where I will be giving you any magical steps and exercises to find these answers! I’m actually so disheartened that everyone has become an “authority”, “coach”, “guru” who can help me live a so-called more powerful, happy life which can only happen if I lose weight, buy these products, read this book etc (the list is endless). There are too many untruths and lots of money to be made by making us feel more insecure, needy and helpless, and of course not feeling like we are enough.

My experience and journey so far has been intertwined with the reflections of my students as communicated to me at the studio – and this has made me feel so positive and super inspired!!!

Getting on the mat we stop, start, reboot, continue, settle, move, breath, align, believe and nurture ourselves. We don’t create destruction, or inflict pain. I don’t have to be anyone but me. That’s every time we practice yoga, which is an entire process of self updating and accepting. Being in the moment and doing what I’m capable of doing. Can I breathe without rushing? If I choose to stay longer in this posture will it make my hip feel better or tighter? How will I cope with my thoughts running so fast on the mat?

Time on the mat is time to feel and be. That’s what a yogi does – looks within. Yes, you are guided by a teacher, but then it’s you. Feeling and being there for you. Yoga is about relating better with yourself, which allows us to relate to people we come across every day – better, nicer, calmer, more truthful, pleasant and relaxed.

I process and look at my shitty thoughts or crap behaviour when they arise. I work on affirmations, positive self talk and restraint. Some of my downfalls may surprise you. I pull myself up on the following:

  1. Don’t be jealous!!!! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!!!!!! (I shout to myself) A yoga teacher I follow on Instagram travels to all the places I want to go, and teaches yoga. Damn it, why her!!!!!!??? What’s so special about her???
  2. I don’t have to agree with everyone’s point of view and not everything has to be right or wrong. Keep it simple and move on
  3. Don’t be harsh and judge others – this is so HARD!!!!!!!!!!! I struggle so much. So many emojis I could add here. So much that I could express
  4. I don’t have to give advice all the time. People’s journey will take them there. If someone authentically wants my help then they will book a private class or homeopathic consultation

That’s some of my negative and non-productive thoughts and from the start of this year I started with small constructive steps: awareness, clarity and grounding, yoga and meditation.

Stay truthful, fun and loving yogis.

xxxxx Eleni

Part 2: Gotta Groove

Gotta Groove. The word is so retro!!!!! Groove is fun, groove is when you seek a non-linear approach. It’s not necessarily to dance, (although how amazing do we feel when we dance and I definitely include in that the “daggy dance!”) Groove is to find that right moment and enjoy the Yoga pose. Enjoying the ritual of moving in breath and being aware and present of the miracle and gratitude of our health.

It’s a pulse. It’s being present and feeling light in your body and breath. That comes also from our meditation. Stop and enjoy the calmness and stillness. When your brain stops over thinking , analysing and judging. It’s pure.

Groove is a smile. It’s when you build up your courage, your self-determination, your self-worth, your inner strength. And it’s not just based on things like how long you hold plank (apparently Cher can plank for 5 minutes and she’s nearly 72!!! Whoooohoooo)

Groove, for me, is wearing something hand-made and not manufactured by a mega chain (this does not include this year’s favourite shorts from Kmart. Yes I’m honest.)

I wear colour, I wear too much jewellery, I jingle and jangle, even when swimming or running. Because Groove is colour, flavour, movement, the sounds of nature, music that makes us fly, seeing a live performance.

Groove is to change one of your daily tasks on your fabulous To Do list and run and do something completely different. When was the last time we called a friend rather than text? Picked up a magazine and pretended you can read Italian or French? I pretend I can read Italian – just check my collection of Italian Vogues.

What is Groove for you, Yogis?

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Escape winter with a yoga retreat in Greece!

Join me for an unforgettable trip to Greece this European Summer, and escape the Sydney winter.

No shuffling in tourist buses – being herded and told what to see, and what to eat. You will be surrendering to adventure , with a small group of women and a fierce leader who is really Groovy (hahaha).

It will be all about amazing experiences, breathtaking beauty a time to celebrate yourself. You will be swimming in beaches that will make you question: is this real?? Am I really here??? It’s about the culture and passion of Greece that you will always remember and make you want to come again and again.

Don’t delay. Say “Yes” and meet me in Greece this August. Packages on offer are weekly and include food, my touring, yoga and fitness instruction, meditation, transport and accommodation.

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Also: thank you all for being so wonderful with your bookings and giving me ample communication when you need to cancel. It has been a great help ?

Want to join me for a yoga retreat in GREECE?

Come along to this information night to find out more:
Thursday 5th April
6:00pm at the studio
At the Studio

RSVP to: info@elenisyoga.com.au. I hope to see you there!

Gotta move, gotta groove, gotta breathe, gotta live

Part 1: Gotta Breathe. Gotta Live.

The title of this blog came first, and then I expressed it in writing. 

We hold with bated breath, but, we don’t allow ourselves to stop at times; awaken the senses, go through the motions and practice conscious breathing. Yes you all tell me in class, ‘we’re breathing Eleni, otherwise we would be dead’ BUT are we really breathing? And are we mindful of its true gift? 

Breathing – taking that steady inhalation, is the most thoughtful step you can do for yourself this minute even as you’re reading my blog (hopefully) … 

I become acutely aware of the session of breathing, of the act, every time I have to take instruction, to listen, to teach, to participate, to wait.  

I tell myself to breath when I fear. 

I was paddling from Cronulla Beach to Shark Island with the masters group I train with every Friday. This was my second paddle around Shark Island. But this particular afternoon there was only four of us training and I was on a lighter Board (which for me means of a higher chance of falling off), and if you lose the board you have to swim for a LONG time to get back. I had to be conscious of my breath there was not a moment of doubt, especially as I lost view of the other 3 Ocean Warriors. The only way was to get through was to breathe, to push out fear and not to panic. I had to be clear headed about where I was heading with the waves ahead otherwise I would be pushed into the rocks. 

If you take the time to breathe, to feel the motion of the steady tide and take a breath in and out you can think, assess, protect, fight, run, and work through what’s really going on, instead of holding your breath in anticipation.  

I have become a bit of lover of fear, I thrive on diving into zones of discomfort, but with the knowledge and support of a group, teacher and immense passion with what I undertake. 

That’s the beautiful aspect of being in a class, you are supported by ME, but also the energy, compassion and open hearted souls of the group. It is our breath that will make us go past the big unexpected waves and if or when we get pushed to the danger zone, (I truly wish it never does to us), I know that I will be able to regroup and start again.

You Gotta Live!!!! I love routine and we need routines, but are we really living? Feeling, touching, talking, eating with our hands, rolling in grass, travelling, having blocks of time of freedom to do nothing or everything 😉 Does life begin and end on the weekend?  

Living is such a gift, that I feel should be treated and experienced with such grace, compassion and truthfulness.  

Living is not looking at a Screen all day, both waking and non-waking hours, living is not avoiding human contact or nature. 

Living is can’t be eating and drinking everything from a plastic container. 

Let’s make living exciting!!!! 

I think a realistic start for all of us, is too live and appreciate the present moment. 

You may be in class on Monday but thinking about something that needs to be done at work?on Wednesday. We are missing the now, the present, the fulfilment of this minute, this hour.

I feel that everytime you are in a performance concert when everyone is filming, they are just not enjoying the moment. They are stressing about getting the right angle to film, to post, to #. Ughhhhhhhhh too much hard work. They have missed the essence of the moment. 

For me living is participating in new experiences and actions, that includes every time I plan workshops for the yoga studio, retreats as well as the up and coming trip to Greece for myself as well as yogis who want to join. 

What enhances your Prana, your joy, your daily Living? 

Please write and express to me and I will include it in the second part of this blog: Gotta Groove, Gotta Move. 

Eleni 

xoxoxoxooxox