14 years. Just as well I like even numbers, haha.
My goodness were did 14 years go? I’m older, more in tune with my energetic soul and my passion for yoga, holistic healing and health is off the charts. I actually enjoy teaching now more then ever, and I’m always aware of how big my responsibility is as a yoga teacher.
I registered the yoga studio on the 22nd of August in 2005, and when I received the certificate from the Office of Fair Trading I was like: “Wow. Here we go!”
At the time I was working around four or five jobs. Mum and I had a cafe on Eleventh Street Mascot, I had the contract at State Parliament in Macquarie street teaching fitness classes, I was teaching as a permanent regular at gyms such as Fernwood next to Wynyard station (which doesn’t exist anymore), training private clients and studying homeopathy.
It all came together so organically and bit by bit.
My emblem was designed by a beautiful soul named Renata who I have lost touch with through the years. I had met her in Simon Borgs’ 6:00am classes at Bondi Junction. When I told her what I was embarking on, she offered to create my logo and sign. Payment? Bartering. I trained her with outdoor fitness sessions and, well, you have seen my symbol. Blessings of the universe.
While reflecting on the past I started looking for my diaries. I’m very passionate about documenting my feelings, life, events and my integration in this world. I would design my own diaries and add clippings from magazines that sparked my interest. I have kept a record of every student that has come through the studio doors through all these years.
Let me remind you that when I started the yoga studio there was no Facebook or social media advertising. No Instagram, no website. My yogi customers came from pamphlet letterbox drops and referrals. People called me for enquiries (I still have the same phone number) and I wrote all the enquiries and address down – so cute.
I have so many stories from the last 14 years I have no idea were to start, but there’s a yoga book that I will be getting out in the future. I can’t help it, I’m a story teller and a big talker!!!! Would you still believe me if I told you that I still get a few butterflies at the start of some classes? Yes I do.
I have been teaching group and private classes for 25 years every day, every week, with the only breaks being while i’m on holidays (HELLO GREECE!) or public holidays. I don’t take sick days but I started this year saying “no” sometimes (for example, I won’t teach that class today because it’s not busy, or my vocals are exhausted or my legs.)
My strength as a teacher is that I can teach any age group. Of course I have so much to learn and I’m always learning and refining. I have had many students and clients become yoga teachers over the years. Recently I had a homeopath contact me for a remedy, and I realised she was a homeopathic client of mine before she became a homeopath herself.
To stay around for 14 years it comes down to the community of people who back you up. A strong foundation of yogis who want to learn and are passionate about their practise. It’s not a fad, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s a part of you.
My discipline matches my students’ discipline. Passion for the yoga is the gift that we hold in our soul and also share with our loved ones.
I am truly grateful for all my students, from the past, the present and the future. I have no words, just hugs.
My number one supporter has been my Mum. What a woman!!! Without her, i’m not sure if I would have had the strength at times to continue. She has my back and her advice and the way she boosts my confidence when I lose to the fear cloud.
What does the future hold for me and us?
Well there’s no denying that leading yoga retreats in Australia and taking small groups of yogis to Greece for health, fun, yoga and fitness is my passion and what i’m working towards more. Greece 2020 dates and prices are up on the website. I will also be leading yoga teacher training courses in the near future. That will be amazing, and your responses and interest so far have inspired me even further.
My homeopathy practise has become so much stronger and the results are what gets me more and more bookings. Did you know I’m officially a national homeopath, registered for 10 years and winner of clinical training? I’m thinking of branching out to a practise at Bondi Beach or the Shire. How much time do I have and what can i fit in?? haha, I have no idea.
And there will be a 14-year yoga party for sure!!! But I’m waiting for Summer. I love our gatherings at Nielsen Park and we are so due for one.
Big love to you all,
PS. There will be a surprise offer, which will appear on social media close to the studio’s birthday either on my Instagram account or Facebook page. Follow, share or if you’re old school like me, phone me. 😉
What makes us happy, what makes us laugh? I’m sure if you have attended my classes you will know that i do randomly call out how yoga makes me happy.
It’s a feeling that perhaps can’t be described in a simple blog post, but it is what has glued me to this practise for the last 17 years.
There’s a joy in the physicality of a practise – a stillness, and a true involvement of all the senses. As a student you need to listen to your body, to my instructions, to your intuition, and to sustain a comfortable rhythm of breathing.
On a mat there’s a variety of movement in all directions. You stand, fold, unfold, sit, rise, lift, twist and lie down.
Yoga is humanity, yes it is. You come with a group of students or yourself and you unfold into the life force, the prana, the today, the nectar.
Natalie is a young student at the studio who just finished high school in 2018 (yes you think you feel old!!!) I always ask what each student needs from the class prior to starting the yoga session. Natalie’s answer is always: “I want to have fun”. And that’s it, my friends. I smile as soon as I hear this.
Your practise is hard work, you try to do the postures or the meditation that at times we resist internally. What?!?! Cobra???!!! Planks??!!! Balances??!!! Sit for 5 minutes and observe the breath???!!! But you stop, breathe and concentrate. Then we try, we put effort, we have a smile, we give ourselves an internal warm high five and move on. I call that happiness.
Yogis groaning in class, yep I call that happiness too – haha!
Happiness is when you simply observe your toes and that’s it. Happiness is having that time and momentary stillness to listen to your breath. It’s magical. Happiness is fumbling with some postures and being fine with that. Not beating yourself up, not been hard on yourself.
Teaching young kids is something I truly love. The 4-5 year old demographic – boy do we have fun. 5-12 year olds – you are sublime and giggly. I learn from kids all the time. They see right through us. They live for joy and are gifts to this world. I just wish adults could get off their phones and be amongst the happiness of kids.
Happiness is to have time to see the light, to find the inner knowledge, the inner spark, to smile. Life is crazy nuts!!!! Yoga and meditation makes me sit back. At times, I fail. My current test is related to the traffic that is growing daily in Sydney’s streets. The beeping cars moving past, and being stuck in traffic at peak times in front of our serene yoga home. I try not to roll my eyes, but to crack a joke instead (hmmm I think they need yoga and move on!)
Yoga is the sun and moon, the feminine and masculine, and with happiness we have sadness. With my late teacher, at times in Shavasana, I have experienced moments of tears streaming down my face. Just a pure release. While undertaking my yoga teacher training course it was at a period of my life that was constantly shifting. I was post a shock divorce, an abrupt end to a love story that had bad timing. While going through the divorce, an eating disorder that reared its ugly head. I worked three jobs, as well as studying and figuring my new path in life. We all have a story, don’t we.
But!!!If you are experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, please tell me, or list it in your medical clearance form so we can have a discussion. Shavasana at the end of the class may not be relaxing for you and may bring you to an anxious state, when that’s not something we need to experience in a class. An 80-90 minutes class may be too much too handle. I will advise you and guide you.
Yoga is a proven therapeutic modality for anxiety and depression, but do discuss with me what you are currently experiencing, so that we have a clear path of where we are heading. If you are taking anti-depressants, list them on your form. Some of the side effects I will need to draw your attention to, so I may give you variations in your practise, in a subtle way.
Yoga is my happiness and my light and I hope it’s yours as well. Tune to the breath, to stillness, to love and compassion for yourself, others, animals and the environment.
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!
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
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.
“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!
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!
Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon classes:
Will finish on the last weekend of November. They will be back in February 2019.
NEW Saturday morning class:
7am – 8am – Sun Salutes and Meditation. The 8:30am class will follow as normal.
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
Beach Yoga: will recommence on Tuesdays at 6:30am at Brighton Le Sands, from 4th December. What an awesome way to start the day.
NEW Friday morning class:
9:30am – 10:30am – Yoga Burn. A great class to energize for the weekend this Summer!
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)
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
Private sessions will be available to book Wednesdays between 6am and 9am, and Fridays 1pm – 4:30pm
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.
“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.
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:
- 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???
- 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
- 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
- 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.