Health – my approach

We have down dogged, balanced and lengthened through and already reached midway through the year!!! Hello Winter 2017.

I’m in awe of everyone’s dedication, how much you have improved in your Yoga practise and also how you have welcomed guided relaxation and meditation more and more into your classes.

Yoga is the tool that saw my own wellbeing improve out of sight. The practise, the breathing and the meditative focus of living in a space of peace has made my life (as I am heading into my mid-40’s!) better then ever. With getting older and being around the health and movement industry for a solid 24 years, my definition of health goals and wellbeing have definitely shifted, by looking at a collective of all my students daily.
1: Community, Communication and Interaction
Socialising and connecting, communication, support and respect. I cannot describe how important it is to me for yogis to step into a class and to be acknowledged with a “Hello, how are you?” Yoga is conducted in a space of sharing  and brings likeminded, caring people together (something our big city is seemingly starting to lack more and more – humanity). To talk, to share, to have a conversation. I’m such a proud Yoga Mumma when I observe students introducing themselves to new students or striking up a conversation with someone in the class afterwards. We talk and see the same people everyday, but how do we reach out to meet others? Are we more isolated then ever before? I love social media but do you truly feel connected in your soul? There are countless studies in medical and psychology journals about how social interaction helps us fight depression, improves our immunity and helps older adults to combat the ageing process. So get chatting yogis, meet and greet and be open to conversation, and of course I will get cracking to organise some more yoga socials!
2: Chemicals and fake substances destroy our health and our planet’s health.
It is so unfortunate that we live in an unhealthy environment. Sydney, you really are a polluted mess!!! The air we breathe is a toxic cocktail of pollutants, and unfortunately so is your hairdressing salon, nail studio, public transport, clothing, homeware, fast food, the majority of items in the supermarket aisles, beauty and make up products, 24-hour gyms, oceans and …….. the list is endless. Rubbish and plastic sucks – the amount of McDonalds bags of rubbish that Mum and I pick up from outside our house is friggin’ shocking!!! I feel we need to step up our environmental consciousness that bit higher and strive to lead a chemical-free daily life. This is real, everyone!! Just for June, try looking at the following:
  • In the shower at the start and end of day – in every product you use, how many chemicals are listed? Also, that packaging – can it be refilled? Recycled?
  • Hair products and make up – do you need to use all those products? Are they tested on animals? Do you choose the less toxic brands?
  • How much plastic and plastic bags are you using daily? No, really!!!
  • Food???? Are you reading the ingredients? The more the numbers on a product list, the more concern you should have about ingesting it!!!
Am I a perfect advocate of a chemical free life? No!!! I love to drink Pepsi Max at times, which is a cocktail of chemicals and carcinogens. I wear Yoga tights and some of my Yoga wear is made from synthetic substances so BOOOOO meee!!! But I’m trying, shifting and getting super real with myself. Chemicals impact our health of body and mind, today and in the future. This planet is not renewable.
One of the immediate changes I have decided to make is that all the food we sell in the studio will now be in recyclable glass containers (or you can bring your own containers). Even all vegan and vegetarian soups will be in glass containers and when you return them you get a $1 refund back!
Love to us all. Compassion and deep gratitude for all that we have.
xx
Eleni

All about the March yoga retreat

It was the first retreat of the year and what was on everyone’s mind: Is the rain going to stop? With the blessings of the universe, there was clear, stunning, hot weather all weekend.

I jam packed the car with everything but the kitchen sink and I was so grateful that yogi Emily helped by letting us fill her car as well with goodies for the retreat.

I love road trips and of course there were stop offs to Berry both on the way there and back (the markets at Berry showground were amazing!!!)

Yoga and fitness were the main highlights with sessions conducted on grass in the amazing space at the back of the house and on the sand. The beach was a five minute walk from our beautiful accommodations, with an amazing stretch of sand and wonderful views. Everyone was sublime in getting up early in the morning – I loved the commitment that all the participants had.

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IMG_0934Yoga outdoors is the most amazing feeling and although I feel it’s harder to practise standing balances in an outdoor setting, everyone just nailed it!!!! Walking and running on the sand was total bliss and lengthening and stretching the body with the sound of the waves was just beautiful. Hearing the call of nature rather then cars and buses and angry drivers beeping at each other was my heaven. It’s amazing how deep the noise pollution can be in the city (including all the notifications and beeps that come from everyone’s phones!)

After our sessions we would walk back to the house where food was ready to be devoured with many choices and wonderful flavours to be explored. My mother Regina/Gina/Ginsky is a star and the yogis just fell in love with her and her food. Her fan club has grown with more members than ever. Yes, her kitchen even offered meat, seafood, coffee, alcohol, IMG_0983 IMG_1031chocolate and dairy, but all in a balanced ratio, and prepared with the utmost care and love. Many organic choices were on offer, including drinks. I admire a woman who can whip up a Moussaka with eggplant she has grown and picked from her garden just prior to leaving. Her stuffed calamari with rice, vegetables and her secret flavours was another hit. Both Mum and I are vegetarians and she does not eat chicken or eggs, but her omelettes with kale, tomatoes and Greek cheeses were so divine. A raw salad of beetroot and her special touches even had to be remade for dinner on Saturday night because everyone ate it and could not believe the flavours.

Thank you to ALL the amazing yogis who attended from different locations in Sydney. They had to plan so much so they could attend to there souls and bodies for the weekend. I truly hope you enjoyed it and I appreciate all the feedback.

Also stay tuned for more fabulous getaways xxxxxx

Callala Beach Yoga Retreats 2017

Situated in the beautiful Jervis Bay region of the South Coast of NSW, is Callala Beach. Join me for a fabulous yoga getaway to this incredible location, staying in a quaint house, and a weekend of beach yoga, relaxation, meditation, swimming, fitness and delicious, freshly made food. There are only 8 places available for each retreat.

Dates:

Retreat #1: 4pm Friday 31st March to 3pm Sunday 2nd April.

Retreat #2: 4pm Friday 26th May to 3pm Sunday 28th May (NOTE THIS RETREAT HAS BEEN CANCELLED AS AT 18TH MAY 2017)

Inclusions:

  • Accommodation
  • Yoga, fitness and meditation sessions
  • All food
  • All drinks (yes, including some wine!)

What you need to bring:

  • Your fun vibes
  • Yoga gear, swimmers
  • Linen – towels, bed sheets and pillows

Cost:

Book and pay before Wednesday 8th March for the special early bird price of $400 per person.

For bookings after Wednesday 8th March, the price is $450 per person.

How to book:

Notify me via email. Please note which retreat you would like to book, and any dietary requirements in your email.

Just 8 places are available at each retreat, and bookings will be taken as first in, best dressed. Your place will not be confirmed until payment is received.

Thank you and I’m excited!!

Namaste
Eleni xx

The year that was 2016 (and what’s up in 2017!)

2016 was the year where I started teaching without a wall in front of me in a split room position and carpet burn (hahaha!)
It was a crazy set up but it worked for 11 years!!!
2016 was the year that I opened my studio in a new location and it became OUR new yoga studio.  I was (and still am) so excited to start a new chapter for Eleni’s. At times, I’m overwhelmed, but I also feel this has just been my calling in life.
2016 was the year that I started to host fabulous workshops with amazing yogis and teachers of different disciplines of movement. Persian Yoga and Circular Strength Training with Kashi, a Prana Wheel Workshop with Sara from Ocean Love Yoga, Johnny Ivan Vasilj taught Fundamentals of Handstands and we even held an Introductory Workshop To Hooping with Spin Joy Hoop Dance.
In 2016, the most popular classes on the timetable were Saturday 8:30am General Yoga and Monday 7pm Open Yoga.
In 2016, the least attended class was Monday 5:30pm Gentle Yoga and Meditation.
In 2016, as in the past, there was a surge of new students from all walks of life.
And 2o16 was the year where more than ever more male students entered the yoga space and were willing to explore and make it a weekly ritual for themselves.
In 2016, students attend two classes a week on average, which is fabulous!!! I truly hope some more yogis will start making that commitment (you will not regret it.)
In 2016, I taught a crazy number of classes – around 565 (not including my own practise and self-development workshops). I also took the step to cancel classes which at times had less than 3 or 4 students booked to attend (so please confirm your attendance and bookings!)
In 2016, I planked around 1,980 times, lunged 2,000 times and did about 3,000 down dogs. My forearm plank stories were either extreme entertainment or lately very sedate as I am having a hiatus from dating. My swearing and talking in class have remained consistent.
In 2016, more students than ever booked in for Homeopathic consultations. My orders for remedies increased 200%.
In 2016, the most popular food on the yoga menu was Gina’s Vegetarian Gemista and Coconut Rice Puddings.
In 2016, the most purchased holistic products were eye bags, summer body oil and eco sustainable yoga mats.
And now it’s 2017!
So, what’s ahead?? More fabulous workshops and yoga classes with Sunday mornings dedicated to outdoors.
Yoga Freedom Retreats, in Australia and Greece. No timetables, no strict itineraries. Not for the fainthearted, but you will not regret it. Adventure, yoga, ocean, movement and creativity. A total commitment to you. Stay tuned.
In 2017, I hope the world will become a more peaceful place.
There are loving, caring souls out there. I encounter them every day. I feel blessed that you share your personal journeys with me. We travel through such challenging moments in our lives but I also feel you yogis have been there for me.
I am truly grateful.
Big love everyone and see you on your mat sometime in 2017
xxxxxx
Eleni

Special workshop

SPECIAL WORKSHOP

Saturday 5th Of November
10:30am-12:30pm
Workshop with Johnny (@talldarkandhanstand)

Join us for this fun workshop featuring handstand and upside down fundamentals with a funky Vinyasana flow component. Bookings are essential!

Cost: $40 for members, $45 for non-members

Be careful, because you might have fun

As I’m embarking on the 12th year of my studio, I have to say it’s not always been easy. Small business ventures are hard!!!! In every sector of our community.

I have struggles the same as everyone else. What has helped me constantly is that my day is filled with  bursts of fun. Yep, I have fun!!! I have joy in my work and I teach with the element of fun. I love to laugh and I so look forward to my classes and my days of teaching.
When was fun not taken seriously for us to feel in yoga?
Why is everything we do daily another tick or cross on the to-do-list?
I just don’t want  yoga to be one more thing to be ticked off in our weekly to do list.
Joy, fun and happiness are such important feelings that can be facilitated from our yoga practise, our meditation, our conscious breathing and cleansing rituals.
We all come to the yoga mat for different reasons ranging from mobility, strength, flexibility, to assist and prevent injuries, stress relief, unity, health, manage anxiety, to assist depression, mindfulness and so much more.
As we get on our mats we feel our bodies restrict us or our thoughts: “Why am I not more of this? (flexible, coordinated, thinner, stronger, better at balances, able to get a posture etc) and boom, we get down on ourselves. Then we have a look on Instagram and freak out at the thousands of  yoga models  and range of practitioners and question our practise.
Please don’t!!!! Fun and yoga can mix!!!! Come to yoga to feel and not just do.
So what if there’s something we can’t do? We constantly learn.
Learning is fun, adapting is fun.
Wondering at times “what the hell is my body doing?” Yep, that’s fun too.
Sometime, the best yogis are kids! I love teaching kids, because their hearts are glowing in lightheartedness.
Every kid, even if they have not been shown formally, will perform a downward facing dog and alternate raising a leg.
Yes, they love anchoring their head down as well and I go NO, NO, NO WITHOUT STOPPING THE FUN.
We have to do so many things in life such as pay bills, (yep, like yoga fees), clean the bathroom, study for exams, wash, clean, put petrol in the car.
Just please don’t let yoga be another element that hangs for us as a duty.
Gratitude is massive – be grateful that we got on the mat, and that equals an internal smile.
I aim to have a laugh when I teach. I’m not a quiet, serious yoga teacher (and at times I do love serious quiet yoga teachers) but I feel joy in interacting with all the yogis.
We go through a journey of self discovery constantly. Laughter is the best medicine. It has lifted my soul.
So don’t feel that yoga is all doom and gloom.
Connection of mind and body=fun
Mindfulness and self awareness=fun and joy
We are all pure beings of light.
We want health, vitality, energy, calmness, a smile and laughter – and mine can be a snorting chuckle!!!!
With the start of Spring we feel a new energy and perception of life and love. Ask yourself: Do I have bursts of fun during the day?
Come to yoga and it will uplift you in so many ways. But be careful, because you might have fun.
xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Eleni

SPECIAL PRANA WHEEL WORKSHOP

SPECIAL PRANA WHEEL WORKSHOP
11:00am – 1:00pm – Saturday 24th September
$45 (pre-booked) or $55 on the day

Screenshot 2016-07-20 08.33.07The Prana wheel is designed to cultivate flexibility in the spine and open the heart. Prana Wheel workshops are designed for you to expirience the benefits that come with regular use of a Prana wheel. You will explore different ways to improve flexibility, strengthen and deepen your backbends plus we embrace a huge element of play into our two hour workshop. The instructor will take you through step by step how to effectively and safely use the Prana Wheel. Whether you decide you want your own Prana Wheel or not, there is huge benefit in joining in a workshop. Everyone is welcome our Prana wheel workshops are suitable for the complete newbie to yoga to the experienced yogi. Plus they are super fun and you will be left feeling fantastic!

Book now

Change is scary….but yoga = change

Change is overwhelming.

Change is inevitable.

Change is movement.

Change is necessary.

My year so far has been a year of constant change, on every single level of my life and at times I have been left feeling crushed, exhausted, exhilirated, surprised, scared and excited.

Why can’t change happen in an orderly fashion? Why does the Universe not ask me: Hey Eleni, are you ready for change number one? How long will it take you to adapt to this change? What and how will you support this shift?

Then once you have adapted to that change, number two, it’s your turn now!

But nooooooo. It’s BOOM!! A roller coaster where the ride ends briefly for an inhalation and then BOOM, the time has expired and off you go again.

Change in our personal lives is a test. If we are not moving forward to continue our growth and discovery path, we may get lucky and get a big shove to GO! GO! GO!

I feel after the last six months of 2016 that change is growth – growth to a deeper level of consciousness. Change is inevitable as time shifts, as our discovery paths unfold, through our creative soul of discovery and daily searching.

My adaptation to all the craziness of the last few months has been my holistic lifestyle and the beautiful support of the people around me. My yoga practise, stillness on the mat, my morning meditation, my breathing exercises. Regardless of workload, my connection to nature, some silence and supplementing internally with remedies from my homeopathic dispenser. This year I have allowed myself to ask for help and accept assistance when people offer. That has been a massive change for me because I have always been too proud or pushing myself to get everything done. I have also had support from other health professionals with massage, cupping, acupuncture and visiting my own homeopath.

Has it been all smooth sailing? No! My eczema flared up which built up in consistency and growth to parts of my body that I never thought possible. Stress grows in the body then spills out, and that’s the picture of my eczema. I’ve also been too psyched up to sleep, but I do my little rituals and i usually fall asleep by 1am.

Since moving studios, I have been talking a lot about change and really looking forward to writing this blog topic. Because guess what?

YOGA = CHANGE

I have been practising yoga for 15 years (which in a yoga lifetime, means I’m still in primary school. When I started yoga, I did not fall in love with it instantly. I just persevered and competed internally with the yogis in my class (EGO!!!!) After two years that changed. I use to practise religiously at 6am every day – this has changed to one or two sessions a week which will suffice. If I did not do a vigorous practise then I felt incomplete and deflated and I spent too much time worrying what my body looked like, and kept pushing to change it (although my hips and hamstrings eventually became more flexible!!!)

Yoga changes so many factors which reflect on daily with my students and clients: energy levels, seasonal changes, injuries, our mindset, disease, our adaptation, spiritual connection, motivation, passion, age, spiritual connection.

Last year I incurred a shoulder tear after a crazy incident with my dog, which changed what I could and could not to do in yoga. This year it was my right knee. But yoga is change so we try new postures and we fall in and out of love with aspects of our practise. Learning new things about ourselves on the mat: THAT is change. I’m sure that I’m not the same yogi  now as I was 15 years ago or that I will be in five years from now.

And all this change, i will continue to welcome while i take a holiday – a change of routine and experiences. I’ll keep you posted. See you in class for our shifts of change and deep manifestations of self love, care and growth.

Love always,

Eleni

xxxx

Why I love, love, love Down Dogs

Adho Mukha Svanasana – otherwise known as Downward Facing Dog.

I just love, love, love Down Dogs, and if you are reading this and have attended any of my classes in the past or present you are nodding your head and chanting YES, I KNOW!
I incorporate the asana in all of my classes to link and to create fluidity in our practise. A centredness is sealed. A moment to be on your own. It’s a soothing place, because you can either keep the posture, or you are in a perfect position to surrender to Child.
Where would we be without Sun Salutations in Yoga?
Down Dog creates a bridge in linking so many beautiful combinations of postures and shapes. It’s a link of strength and stability.
Down Dog makes me feel secure and when I want my own internal space, that’s what I do. Those moments where I feel overwhelmed or at times disheartened, my soothing place is upside down.
If you are a yogi who can’t do Down Dogs due to any contraindications, I recommend that the same shift of length and space can be experienced by standing facing the wall, palms outstretched above the shoulders, and extending and lengthening without pressure on the wrists or shoulders. A few of my students will also perform Dolphin Pose on the forearms, as a great variation.
Here are the three most common challenges for students when it comes to Down Dog (and I will be brief!):
1- Holding the weight on the upper body, rather then lengthening
2- Not spreading the fingertips of each hand, not utilising the web of the Hand between the thumb and index finger
3- Not being mindful of the continuous focus of breath and attention to the moment. Mental focus is key.
If you think any of these challenges apply to you, or if you have any further questions about your Down Dog, please approach me before or after class.
Also if injuries are prevalent, do get medical clearance and support from your doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath etc. It’s a long term investment to your health.
I know exactly what it’s like. I experienced a shoulder tear injury 11 months ago and have only recently started feeling  less pain and have better utilisation of my right arm. UUUGHHHH I can still remember that Wednesday afternoon when my dog Jedda took a swipe with her mouth at a small white dog in the park. I did manage to save the dog by pulling on Jedda’s collar – but that meant all 40kg of her wrenched my shoulder. My rehabilitation incorporated physiotherapy, rest, homeopathic remedies, supplements, acupuncture and of course my own Yoga practise. I’m still mindful of what I can and can’t do with my right arm, so please, please, please don’t think that one yoga class a week or fortnight is enough support for healing and strength.
The benefits of inverting our body in Down Dog are skeletal, (hello spinal column), muscular (legs of steel), so rejuvenating for our abdominal organs, and soothing for our nervous system. You can still smile when you’re upside down!!!
See you on your mat, fabulous yogis.
xxxxxxxxxx

NATURE, BREATHING AND YOGA: A call to practicing outdoors

As a summer lover – (regardless of my painful experience getting bitten by a blue bottle this weekend while swimming. This blue bottle had such power, it made my arm burn and double in pain for 24 hours. I loved the ambulance staff that attended to me. So helpful and reassuring. Deep gratitude) – I feel that yoga and meditation should be taught and practiced outdoors as often as possible, not just on random weekends, retreats or holidays.

I love yoga due to the freedom of movement and the beautiful relationship that it has with mother Earth. When I teach, I try to describe the postures from the fundamentals of nature’s creations: Earth, Sky, Sun, Moon, Animals and Plants.

That’s why I love standing postures so much. I stand and watch from above. I stand and feel as one. I breathe with deep consciousness of the Life Force to soothe, restore, calm and relax me. Breathing and meditation is most effective outdoors, especially by the beach (my ultimate passion) or amongst trees and plants.

It’s our human calling to practice yoga and meditation outdoors, to feel the prana, to step on the earth without shoes, to sit and move without the limits of walls. Yoga and movement outdoors has the ability to filter away our overexposure to chemicals, environmental pollution, internal stress and resentment, over reliance on technology, fatigue and our daily imbalances.

Yoga allows us to improve our sense of self and inner connection which expands to our community and the world.

I started teaching “Yoga at the Beach” nine years ago and I always feel such power watching the water move and the constant evolving change. It has such a magnet-like feeling.

It taught me not too be too hard on myself if my plans did not succeed, especially as a teacher. I can’t count the amount of classes that have been interrupted, changed or cancelled by rain, thunder, strong winds, mosquitoes, ants. We need to flow, like the tides that rise and fall.

My proposal is for more sessions outdoors. My yoga fitness classes have been conducted all throughout Bardwell Park, Marrickville and all its reserves. I would love to get more of us out and about.

Before joining one of my outdoor classes, please checklist the following:

  • For walking / running / bushwalking activities, wear reliable, comfortable and appropriate shoes.
  • If you’re feeling sick or weak don’t attempt a two-hour session in the great outdoors!!!!
  • Bring sunscreen, water, snacks and sometimes a change of clothes.
  • Bring an extra bag (biodegradable if possible) to dispose of rubbish as well as cleaning up rubbish when we can. We are using Mother Earth, so we need to give back. A fair exchange I think.

Share an outdoor yoga class with someone you care, love and celebrate.

Thank you and Happy Summer everyone.

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