Read this: Wanderlust: a Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self by Jeff Krasno

Wanderlust: a Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self
by Jeff Krasno

Good morning sunshines! I hope everyone’s having a great start to 2016 🙂 After starting the year with my new year’s resolutions, I wanted to carry on with the theme of finding your true north and share this brilliant book with anyone else who’s been struggling to find their path and is looking at 2016 as their new start.

Last year, I discovered Wanderlust, an incredible tribe who are best known for their global yoga festivals, held regularly every where from Oahu to Thredbo. They also run their Wanderlust 108 event around the world, a “mindful triathlon” consisting of a 5km run, a mega yoga class and a guided meditation, which I participated in for the first time last year. When I found out that Jeff, the co-founder of the festivals had put a book together, I knew it was something I had to get my hands on.

The book is a gorgeous collection of ideas, writing, stories, photographs and practices from Wanderlusters around the world. Yogis, artists, thinkers, philosophers, meditators, mind-body experts and business leaders have all lent their voices to this tome, contributing pages on what they know best.

The title is a little deceiving – it’s not just about yoga. It’s about wellness. Yeah, there are a few fantastic guides to physical yoga practice, but there’s also a lot more to it. It touches on all aspects of wellness. Guided meditation practices, wholesome recipes, hands on activities and worksheets to help you plot things out (goals, vision boards, that kind of thing). There are beautifully written essays and provocative pieces to really make you think and re-assess your priorities and direction, and the photography is bohemian perfection.

The main themes are about finding your true north (your direction, your meaning, your path) and finding your tribe:

“In yoga, we often hear the Sanskrit word kula, which means intentional community. The basis of any kula is the feeling that life is best when shared.”

I’ve had this book for 6 months, and it’s stayed on my bed side table since the day it arrived. It’s one of those books you can flick through any time you’re feeling a bit lost or flat, any time you’re needing a little guidance or soul re-setting. The little yoga flows are fantastic when I need a quick 5 minute practice to re-calibrate, and so many of the ideas resonated with me – with so many different contributors, they each connected with a different part of me.

I’m already looking forward to attending my next Wanderlust event and am researching right now which one it’ll be (maybe I could travel a little for one…?!) and as I sit on the train finishing this off and hitting the POST button knowing that today is going to be a stressful one at work, I think I know what I’ll be doing when I get home tonight…

Grab a copy here, brew a pot of tea, and enjoy finding your true north 🙂

Speaking of which, any new year’s resolutions you want to share?

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WANDERLUST 108: Melbourne 2015

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Back in 2006, I completed my first and what I assumed would be my last triathlon. I don’t like swimming, running or cycling, so it clearly wasn’t something I did of my own free will; it was something I had to do in order to graduate from university and complete my Bachelor of Exercise Science. While I am a competent swimmer and bike rider, I don’t enjoy either of them, particularly not in a competitive setting like a triathlon. I also have a tendency to struggle with heat exhaustion; my triathlon was held on a 36°C Melbourne summer day. I had met my now husband a few years earlier, towards the start of our time at uni together (we studied the same degree), and will be forever thankful to him for getting me through that. He grew up in the water and is a better than good swimmer, so he helped me through the half-kilometer ocean swim leg. I was fine on my own for the 20km bike ride (I didn’t enjoy it, but it was at least pretty easy for me). By the time I got to the 5km run, I was spent. The heat was ridiculous, and I was in a world of pain. Dad was the only family or friend either of us had there to cheer us on and meet us at the finish line; he later told me that he met husband at the finish line and husband’s first question was “have you seen Jess?” Nope, not finished yet, answered Dad. Husband back-tracked a few kilometres to find me in a hallucinatory state, poking his chest and asking if he was real, and walked the few kilometres back with me to the finish line. That was when Dad decided he was a keeper and part of the family.

Anyway, despite how proud I am of myself for finally finishing, it was a shitty experience and one I never intend on repeating. So you can imagine my husband’s face when I told him I’d entered myself into a triathlon this weekend. Not just any triathlon though; the Wanderlust 108. The “kind” and “mindful” triathlon.

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Wanderlust is a global lifestyle group that focuses on keeping both the mind and body fit and healthy, and they’re running a triathlon unlike any other in cities all around the world.  What they’re all about, as they write on their website is…

Wanderlust’s core mission is to create community around mindful living.

Mindful living is a conscious, value-based approach to leading a sane & healthy life. At Wanderlust, we focus on a few simple principles:

Practice Yoga

Practicing yoga helps clear the mind, tone the body, and heal the spirit. Wanderlust is committed to creating inspiring places to practice with a broad array of the world’s most accomplished teachers.

Eat Well

We are what we eat, and at Wanderlust — and in our personal lives — we support local farms and purchase organic, sustainably grown products whenever possible.

Be Green

It is our solemn responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. Wanderlust is committed to sustainable practices, including waste reduction, recycling, composting, the utilization of renewable energy sources and carbon offsetting. Sustainability is a moving target, and we also pledge to improve year after year.

Practice Purpose

Wanderlust is a purpose driven company, and we build partnerships with like-minded companies who value social good as well as the bottom line. Some of our greatest power lies in what we do, what we purchase and who we associate with.

Create Awareness

Many of the great challenges facing us today, from environmental damage to food shortages to disease to political upheaval, can be improved or solved through mass action. But mass action requires awareness, so wherever possible, we will use the Wanderlust platform to highlight — and with luck, resolve — the most important issues of our time.

Showcase Art

Wanderlust is a place where creative expression is both valued and open. We treasure our community of artists and are honored to provide a canvas for their work.

You can find out more on their website, but basically, the event looks something like this:

  • 5km-running course
  • 90-minute yoga class
  • live music
  • inspiring lecture by One Giant Mind’s Jonni Pollard
  • lawn activities such as acroyoga
  • delicious locally sourced organic food

They run these events all around the world, and I was pretty excited to find out they were hosting one in Melbourne! I found out about it exactly four weeks before it was scheduled; I entered myself online, immediately downloaded the Couch To 5K running app to my phone and instructed husband to drag me along to the gym with him when he went three mornings each week, so I could complete the program on the treadmills there. Let me emphasis what a big deal this is; I have always hated/completely sucked at running. I’ve never been good at it, I’ve never enjoyed it, I’ve never understood the “fun” concept of a “fun run.” But at this stage, I was just beginning to take my depression/anxiety/disordered eating recovery seriously and thought this was the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, and a great way to train my body to achieve something other than losing weight. So I did. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5.30am and every Sunday around 7.30am for the four weeks leading up to it, I got up, put on my workout gear, and hit the gym. I kept up my own yoga practice, a few sessions per week, leading up to it too.

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So, how was the day itself? Pretty amazing! Despite the event running a little late to start, it was a fun day! I surprised myself with how well I did on the run and couldn’t have been happier when I crossed the finish line 🙂 The 90 minute yoga class was good fun with great tunes from Aroha, led by the incredibly motivating “flying nomad” Simon Park – seeing 1500 people practising their downward facing dog in the park on the beach overlooking the sea is one hell of an experience!

I also got a lot out of listening to Swisse ambassador, the gorgeous Bianca Chatfield, captain of the Melbourne Vixens netball squad, superstar athlete, founder of The Ignition Project and all around lovely lady 🙂 Hearing her speak about not only the importance of working hard, but the importance of resting and taking time out to look after yourself, too, was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

A big thank you to the team at the Lulu Lemon hub as well – how they kept up on the bag check front (the best ever complimentary service that could have possibly been on offer), as well as selling their gear, I will never know. But they did, and they made everyone’s lives a lot easier because of it! Oh, and the food was hella good, too – I hit up the team at Mastic twice – firstly for the black rice risogalo after the run and before the yoga (black rice and coconut milk/yoghurt pudding deliciousness, topped with toasted coconut and pomegranate), and then went back for one of the phenomenal quinoa falafel souvas after the yoga class, by which point I was famished!

Hellenic Republic Kew on Urbanspoon

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Wanderlust108 Melbourne was an awesome experience, and I think something that most of us would benefit from; taking the time to slow down and make time for ourselves, to both challenge ourselves physically and mentally, as well as nurture ourselves, and to be around other people wanting the same things, is a truly uplifting and inspiring experience, and I’m super thankful for the opportunity to have been part of it all! Was anyone else there on the weekend, or done any of the others in other cities around the world??

Read this: Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

Yoga Girl
by Rachel Brathen

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Unless you’ve been living under a social media rock for the last year or so, chances are you’ve heard of Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen. Her wildly popular Instagram account has been gracing the feeds of young (mostly) women and inspiring the #yogaeverydamnday movement for quite a while now.

The Swedish native/Aruban transplant gained a cult following with the beautiful, colourful photos she posted of her yoga poses and life in Aruba, but primarily because of the raw, honest writing that went with her photos; that’s how the book is written, too.

Her book chronicles her life from young trouble maker and substance abuser to the zen goddess she is today. Her book is a beautiful mix of “this is my life and how I got here” stories, instructional photos and descriptions of yoga poses, a few healthy recipes, gorgeous photos, and “loving insights” as you can see below; think of these as tips on how to go about life in a happy, zen, yoga way.
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I swear it’s not all quite as “hippy dippy” as it may sound – I was a little skeptical about a book written by a beautiful, young blonde who always looks great in a bikini, living in Aruba with her lovely husband, cutie pie dogs and running a successful empire, all while she’s still in her mid 20s. I’d been following her on Instagram for a while and bought the book hoping that it’d be as raw and honest as her Instagram posts. It was so refreshing to open a book that wasn’t all about “10 yoga poses to make you skinny” or detox recipes or “just love the world” bullshit. I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself reading something written with such honesty and such openness. It takes a lot of courage to open up about your lows in life. Yeah, life is amazing for her now. Rachel truly has created an empire, she’s gorgeous, she’s living a beautiful life. But to read about the hard times that got her to the good times was beautiful, and it felt like an honour and a privilege to be let into the heart and soul of someone I find so inspirational. It also gives me a lot of hope, at a time in my life where I’m really struggling with my own inner demons, that not only can things get better, but overcoming your struggles might mean that you can help more people than just yourself.It was also great to get some practical and instructional information on some yoga poses, which is what her empire is obviously built on. Added bonus – there are a lot of “try this easier version if you’re not up to the harder version” options, as well as a few more advanced options.

This book isn’t just for aspiring yogis, it’s a great book for all women. At it’s soul, it’s about a journey we’ve all got to take. It’s about growing through the bad times, making ways to help yourself rather than waiting for someone else to come and “save” you. It’s about finding and feeding your passions and creating a life that you’re excited about living. It’s one of those books that’ll be worth keeping on my side table, because I know I’m going to read it over and over again. I think you might, too. Grab a copy here, and enjoy  : )

Fear & yoga :)

I try not to get overly emotional anymore, and I try not to share my emotions if I can avoid it. But this time, I’m going to make an exception, because I feel like it needs to be put out there, and might be able to help and inspire someone else…

I got into yoga about 2 months ago. I struggle with depression (which, for me, is often made worse when I’m super stressed) and body image issues, and I needed a way to re-connect with my body, give it a new physical challenge, and to learn to deal with stress in a healthier way. Apparently yoga is pretty good for that kind of stuff! I lucked out and found a really great studio near my house, and started attending regular classes. I’ve gradually been getting better, in small steps. Anyway, Monday night’s class involved some practice of scorpion pose. Everyone else took up positions near the wall to practice. I made an excuse that my back was sore and sat out. I was scared of falling (failing). So I sidelined myself and watched everyone else.

I stewed on that all day Tuesday. I reflected on how much I’d missed out on in life because of my fear of failure. I’ve always felt pressure to be perfect, to get everything right. I’ve never wanted to be outstandingly good at anything, because that’d mean I’d stand out, which I’d hate. I don’t like to be noticed, even if it’s because I’ve done well. But I’ve never wanted to fail at anything either, because that’d be noticed, too. So, I guess I’ve spent my life aspiring to be a wallflower, invisible and unnoticed. But, I digress. After spending the day thinking about that, I decided that my lifelong fear of failure could finally stop.

I got home from work, changed into some workout gear, set up my mat, and swallowed my fear. I gave it a try. I was terrified, trying to kick my legs up high enough to touch the wall, literally a few inches in front of me. But I kept at it, I eventually got one foot to the wall. Kept trying. Got two feet to the wall. Took a break to catch my breath. Got back up and tried again. Got both feet up and managed to drop them down a little. 2 hours later, and here’s where I got to. I only held it for a few seconds before I tumbled out, but I did it!

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Despite my exercise science degree and my black belt, I am NOT a natural athlete. This is really, really challenging for me. But, I managed to overcome my fear of falling and failing, and somehow garnered enough mental and physical strength to get this done. This, from the child who wouldn’t even attempt a handstand in kiddies gym class. That’s right – 28 years old and finally attempted something resembling a handstand for the very first time in my life hahaha 🙂 Once I caught my breath, I realised that when I am practising yoga, I really can mentally step away from my problems and stresses. I’ve had a shitty few weeks, but when I practise yoga, I don’t think about anything that’s been going on. It requires my full attention, so much so that I simply cannot think about anything else. It’s really meditative for me!

Anyway, the point of this is that it’s pretty damn liberating to overcome fear, even if it is something as ridiculous as falling out of a yoga pose. We all have our crap to deal with, we all have our own stresses. My wish for everyone reading this (and everyone else who isn’t) is that they have a way to get their peace in those tough times, a way to overcome a fear, and manage to get a win this week, too 🙂