Category Archives: Health/Wellness

7 fascinating facts about Colombia

On July 12th I’ll be hosting a group of fascinating, adventurous and interesting peeps for my 3rd yoga & writing retreat. We are retreating in Santa Marta, Colombia.

This is the first time I’ll be leading my retreat in Colombia and I’m anticipating and great time.

Why Colombia?

Because it’s gorgeous! I spent quite a bit of time in Colombia last year, mainly in Bogota and in San Augustin in the south and I knew, immediately, that I wanted to find a property to host an additional yoga retreat in that country.

Colombia is raw in its natural beauty, rich in diversity and culture, and still on the fringe of tourism.  This is because, as we all know, the country has a ‘history’.

Unfortunately, Colombia is still crawling back from a sordid past and crime riddled reputation. There have been significant changes in the country since then (albeit controversial) and it’s a relatively safe place to travel through. It’s slowly starting to be recognized as a ‘hot’ destination; being voted by Conde Naste Traveler, National Geographic and other publications as a top destinations for 2015.

I know that in a few years time it will be the next sought after holiday and tourist destination so I wanted to get in early. Yoga is still more obscure in Colombia than in, say, Costa Rica so it’s exciting to be at the helm of some cultural shifts.

We all know that Colombia is known for coffee and cocaine but it has so many more interesting facts to consider:

It’s not all coffee & cocaine!

1/. Colombia is the second biggest exporter of cut flowers in the world (the Netherlands is the biggest)

2/. Per square foot, Colombia is the most bio-diverse country in the world. It has more species of birds and frogs than any country in the world, as well as over 2000 plant species that have yet to be identified.

3/. Colombians get 70% of their electric power from hydro. Their country’s rivers and winds are capable of supplying their energy needs twice over.

4/. It is particularly well-endowed with orchids: it has more varieties than any other country in the world, many of which cannot be found anywhere else.

5/. Corinto, in the department of Cauca, is the only place in the world where chickens have learned how to swim, which they do in order to mate with the ducks that live on an island in the local river.

6/. Colombia has more freshwater than the United States and Canada put together.

7/. Colombia is bound by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean to the north. The Amazon runs along its southern border, and the Andes run north to south, giving the country a huge variety of climates and ecosystems.

….7 Facts that I know first hand…

1/. Amazing Tamales
2/. Fresh Arepa’s
3/. Fresh Papaya, mangos, pineapple…..the list goes on
4/. Chocolate caliente – the most delicious hot chocolate in the world.
5/. The sexiest salsa dancing.
6/. Fried plantains (always comes back to food)
7/……and some of the kindest and happiest people I’ve encountered.

I hope you’ll join us.

Why I teach a yoga & writing retreat that really isn’t about yoga or writing. (Or, the yoga retreat for non-yogis and non-writers.)

“I’m not a therapist. This isn’t the place for your problems. This is the place to find story and joy….” This is the opening discussion at my week long yoga & writing retreats. Harsh? Maybe, but I’d like to think it’s more responsible, clear & honest. I do go on to point out that I am available to talk privately but I want to set the boundaries and be clear what the retreat is really all about. Because the truth is, I’m not a therapist. I’m a yoga teacher. I’ve done a lot of therapy, I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve immersed myself in the healing of my own… Continue Reading

10 profound benefits of going on a yoga retreat

10 profound benefits of going on a yoga retreat

  When I was organizing my first yoga and writing retreat in India, I kept thinking about my intention for it and returning to the experience I was hoping for, for my participants.  I had such a profound and rewarding experience on my first trip to India that I wanted to use that experience and turn it into an opportunity for others. I had never gone on a retreat myself but I knew the benefits of immersion.  I contemplated going on someone else’s retreat before undertaking the responsibility of running my own, just to see how someone had set theirs up but something deep inside stopped me from signing up… Continue Reading

Trust your practices

A few years ago, I attended an all day business conference with Marc LeBlanc.  He was funny, insightful, relevant and the conference divulged some brilliant practices for running a small business.  One of the nuggets of wisdom I took away was his insistence that we trust the practices that he was teaching us.  He talked about moving to California, many years prior, and hearing the phrase “I just trust the universe,” when asking business owners about their businesses.  It baffled him, as you could imagine.  So, now, after more than 20 years of coaching and developing practices for his small business clients, he advises them to trust the universe, after… Continue Reading

Life Loaf – an edible love story.

**Please note, I am not a health coach, this is not a ‘food’ based blog, I don’t claim any expert knowledge on nutrition or nutrition based healing.  However, I do inform myself quite a bit on food and its nutritional content and I am always curious about new recipes.  Please click the links I provide for the real experts about this.  I just wanted to share this – once you read the story, you’ll know why** About three years ago I was visiting my home town of Melbourne, Australia.  My friend, Sonya, and I took a yoga class at a studio in the trendy suburb of South Yarra and she… Continue Reading

I meditate to avoid being an asshole.

I meditate to avoid being an asshole.

Guest blog by Vicky Cook. I introduced you to Vicky last year when I wrote about the reiki treatment she gave me.  I really dig this woman and love what she has to offer.  She has a committed meditation practice and has taught meditation series’ for a while now.  Meditation is gaining recognition in mainstream society.  It’s necessary.  We’re barreling forward, like a fast-moving train, toward a life of complete connection to machines and devices and technology.  To a lifestyle where, each moment between awake and asleep is filled with projects and tasks or pressure, stress and trying to achieve better and more of whatever it is we think we… Continue Reading

Never give up…..except when you should

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali. When I first started practicing yoga, one of the more compelling things about it was the autonomy it allowed.  It meant that I didn’t have to rely on anyone to win and, most importantly, no one had to rely on me to win.  And thankfully the only game I was trying to win happened in my head, it did not involve sticks, rackets, clubs, gloves, balls, nunchucks and… Continue Reading

I saw the meaning of life…..

I am staring at a blank screen.  I take a deep breath.  I settle.  I need to take another one.  I settle again.  I decide just to type this, a stream of consciousness, since anything else seems too forced, too far reaching.  Inauthentic?  Not sure. Right now Olafur Arnalds is playing on my ITunes.  I recently tweeted that his music, to me, is the sound of a deep breath; if it could play the piano (or an orchestra).  I need this music in the background to keep me from not moving; to a new screen, to wash the dishes, to make a phone call.  It’s keeping me still.  Here.  … Continue Reading

My Guest Post – About my cleanse

I am on my last day of a ______ (insert under the breath cough here) juice cleanse, a modified cleanse I like to call it.  I wrote about the half way mark over at my yoga studio’s blog (you will be re-directed).  You should check out this blog in general.  It has some great writing in it, lots of interesting voices and observations from great yoga teachers, and my friends – whom I adore! You can read the entire piece here: Half-way to Heaven.  Here’s a little sample of the piece of I wrote: “….The truth of the matter is, I’m bored.  I am really freaking bored of drinking on my own… Continue Reading

A winter soup I couldn’t resist sharing

So, perhaps by now you may have figured out that I don’t subscribe to any ‘labels’.  I go weeks (months) without eating meat, but I don’t consider myself a vegetarian.  Occasionally I buy Gluten free bread and my only banana bread recipe is gluten free, but I am not gluten intolerant, nor do I have celiacs disease.  I practice and teach yoga, but I don’t wear “it’s all One” t-shirts and drink green juice everyday.  I am socially responsible and interested, but only managed to spend a few hours at Occupy Wall Street.  I am liberal but I’m kinda pissed off at Obama right now. Call me non-committal or just… Continue Reading