Five years, eleven months, three weeks and 2 days ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It feels like a lifetime ago.
Today my oncologist declared that I was “discharged”, which is code for “don’t come back, we don’t need to see you again”. I didn’t realise, until she said those words, just how much I had been needing to hear them.
When the receptionist asked if I needed another appointment, I answered “No. I am DISCHARGED”, with a little fist pump. Nonplussed, she just said “have a nice day” like she didn’t realise the importance of my statement. Most probably just another day at the office for her. For me, it was momentous.
I was surprised to feel so emotional. You see, I consider that I was “free” of cancer almost 6 years ago, they day they cu...
In 2015, my partner and I made the decision to move to Tasmania and had started to look at properties. I had a clear vision - I wanted lots of trees, great views and a peaceful setting. When we drove into the property that would eventually become our home, I took one look at the enormous shed and thought "that would make a great yoga studio".
Whilst my partner and I tossed around ideas for turning the shed into part yoga studio, part workshop/man cave, we dithered and procrastinated for a few years. It wasn't until 2018 that we started to get more serious. However finding a builder in Hobart is not an easy exercise and the dream simply stayed in idea phase.
I have noticed in life that once you get clear on your dreams and goals and then serio...
If you have ever built a brand, run a business, defined your purpose or been asked what you value in life, then you may have spent time thinking about "what is your why?"
I was recently asked why I do what I do. Why do I teach yoga? What is the change that I want to create by bringing yoga to my community?
Apparently you are supposed to answer that in a 30 second elevator pitch. Short, concise, clear. I couldn't do that, so I did a brain dump of all the messages I try to convey through teaching yoga and meditation.
In the end, rather than a short purpose statement, I decided that what I had created instead was a manifesto. A manifesto for Santosha Yoga Australia, but also a manifesto for my life.
I showed it to my partner and he asked, sincerely, "D...
Some moments in our lives are pivotal to our futures. Particular people, experiences and places that touch us, and influence us in ways we often don’t realise at the time.
For me, it is the town of Banff, and the story of how it led me to regional Tasmania. I first visited this picturesque town in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in 1997. I was only there for 2 days, but at the time I had an incredible sense that I would live there one day.
Life happened, relationships came and went, so did jobs. The pull to live in Banff became increasingly strong and in 2004 I moved there on a 12-month working-holiday visa.
Prior to this, I had been a big city dweller with a city girl life. Suddenly I found myself hiking, canoeing, rafting, skiing, snowboarding. It w...
Last night I was watching a fictional TV show that presented in interesting ethical dilemma: the upshot was that a Doctor was making decisions that were against the law, but which she believed to be the ethical and humane choice. So the storyline pitted what was legal against what was “right”, which is a much more subjective concept than what is written in the law.
By nature, I have always been more of a rule abider than a rule breaker. Rules serve to provide boundaries and guidelines, to establish order in a civilized society. Yet if a rule seems wrong, or ridiculous, or not grounded in a strong rationale, then my tendency is to ignore it.
The longer I study and practice yoga and meditation, the more I am questioning the so-called rules that go w...
The 3 core values of Santosha Yoga Australia - contentment, acceptance and gratitude - are based on my personal belief that developing and practicing these 3 things are crucial to inner peace and emotional and physical wellbeing.
Santosha is the Sanskrit word for contentment. Contentment is not something you achieve, it is a practice, a choice. It doesn’t always come easily or naturally. Contentment is about finding joy in what is.
In modern society’s endless pursuit of happiness, too often we make happiness conditional: “I will be happy when I change jobs/lose weight/find a partner/get out of this relationship/earn more/travel the world/move house/eat chocolate”. You get the picture.
In contrast, contentment is about finding the good in whatever s...
The other day someone asked me how long it takes to get good at yoga? I really hesitated before answering, and first asked what she meant by being good at yoga. As I expected, being good at yoga to her meant being able to do the “harder” poses, like arm balances and inversions, and being able to do the strong power flow style practices with ease rather than struggle.
I really empathized with this woman, because this was also how I previously measured what it means to be “good at yoga”. I have spent much of my 16+ years of practicing yoga struggling with feeling “not good enough” at yoga because I can’t do the arm balances or inversions, or the fancy binds. I can’t forward fold well, I can’t back bend, and I can’t get deep into poses like Triangle...
A friend of mine recently posed some thought provoking questions to me: what were the best choices or decisions I had made in my life, and what were my regrets?
The first question was relatively easy to answer: I could name several good decisions I had made. Unquestionably one of the greatest was the decision to move to Tasmania and devote more time to practicing and teaching yoga. I have found it incredibly rewarding to share the benefits of yoga with my community.
It has also been a great way to build community, and I love to see students talking and interacting before and after class. It is through this yoga Kula (tribe, community) that I have also made wonderful connections. It has helped me feel part of a State that I am a newcomer to.
In modern yoga, we are very focused on alignment: where should I put my hand? Which way should my foot point? You’ve heard many alignment cues from me and I am sure, many other teachers: “Aim your knee over your middle two toes. Don’t bring your knee forward of your ankle. Bring your hands shoulder width apart. Pull your shoulder blades down”.
But whose body are these cues for? Because we certainly don’t have the same bodies. And what are these cues for? Are they about safety? Function? Or aesthetics?
In Paul & Suzee Grilley’s Anatomy training we are learning about a functional approach to yoga – that means, that we focus on what the function, or purpose, of a pose is, and then place our bodies in the best position for us that achieves the desired...