Our greatest power is within

“Every genius has known something of the inner more than the outer world; find your inner power.”- Unknown

Never forget that your greatest power is within! Here’s an inspirational tale from ancient India that I just can’t wait to share with you:

Long back, humans were as powerful as the gods. But somewhere along the way, humans lost their way and starting misusing their powers. So, the gods held a meeting to discuss possible solutions. All gods agreed that the superpowers had to be removed from humans. Once decided, the gods had to decide where to hide them so humans couldn’t get them back.

One god suggested, “Let’s hide them in the top of the highest mountain.”

“No, they’re really courageous, they will climb it,” answered another.

Another said, “Then we’ll hide them in the bottom of the ocean.”

“No, they’re so clever they will find a way to it,” replied another.

Finally, one god said, “Let’s hide them really deep inside them. Since they’re always looking outside for everything they will have no clue that all the powers are deep within them.”

All the gods agreed that this was the best hiding spot for the superpowers and so the superpowers were hidden deep within each and every human.

Find, reclaim and then embrace your hidden superpowers.

Love and Sunshine,

Natalie

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Wondering where this beautiful photo was taken? Click on the following link to be redirected to my travel website to read about how to get here and view more photos like this one!

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How my life has changed in just over a year

Wow, a year can go by in the quickest of flashes! I just received a notification a little while back that it has been a year since I set up this website in the hope to share my love for yoga and meditation with others. I started writing my blog posts while I was in Thailand during my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). I felt so knowledgeable and more inspired than I have ever felt. The words just flowed from my fingers and onto the computer screen. But after getting back to Australia from an amazing 5 weeks of the YTT course and virtually going straight back to work and with my husband hospitalised, my thoughts of setting up a website as a place to actually post my pieces of writing went out of the window. I’m not going to lie life was tough in February last year. There just wasn’t much time for anything between working and going to the hospital.

It wasn’t until a friend and fellow yogini started her website, that I had the push to get mine up and running. At first, I was nervous; what if people thought what I was writing was utter shite? What if I got heaps of negative comments? What if this… what if that… But it was my ego talking. After meditating on it, I realised that I wasn’t writing to get ‘likes’ or positive comments, I was writing because I had something to say about something that has really helped me and something I love and people will get what they get from it.

So, with that realisation, over the past year, I have tried to stay true to my initial purpose; write about things I love, life lessons I’ve learnt, yoga and meditation, in the hope that my words will touch and INSPIRE others.

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I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year and a bit as so much has happened.

2017/ 2018 at a glance:

While the past must stay in the past- as dwelling will do us no good- I think that reflection is an important component of personal growth. So, here is my snapshot of 2017/2018 thus far:

 January- Completed my YTT. I left Thailand feeling recharged, rejuvenated and full of inspiration. I had been writing during the YTT and leading up to returning to work. I was pumped about the year ahead as I was going to be part of a new program that I thought would be amazing…

February- Returned to work. Damien got sick and ended up in hospital. Tried to set up a yoga, mediation & self-Reiki routine but found this difficult between commuting to and from work and the hospital.

March- Damien was released from hospital. I started my website: INSPIRE and it felt good to have a creative outlet. I started to hate work. The program I was locked in to for 2 years was not amazing, in fact it was horrible. Started to practiced yoga, mediation & self-Reiki every day.

April- Damien was still sick. Life at home was difficult. The new position that I was in was horrendous and I felt I had lost everything I loved about the job. Practiced yoga, mediation & self-Reiki every day just to balance myself; I was just staying afloat.

May, June, July, August, most of September was like Groundhog Day: Damien was still sick. Life at home was difficult. Hated work. The new position got worse each day. Practiced yoga, mediation & self-Reiki every day but still felt low, unfulfilled and uninspired. Something had to give. I was at breaking point.

End of September and October- We went to Nepal and India and made some decisions as a team, something that seemed to be impossible to achieve back home. Maybe it was the feeling of change and letting go/ leaving all our baggage at home, maybe it was because we got the opportunity to get a different perspective, I don’t know but whatever it was worked because things just fell into place after that. We both got a new lease on life and came back recharged. I started my travel blog- Nat’s Travels and started writing about my other passion- travel!

November- Things were different at home; life was on the up and up. I quit my job. It was still the same at work but I had a different attitude towards it. It no longer got me down all the time. I started to practise and experiment with different forms of meditation. I was feeling great and empowered!

December- December consisted of finishing up at work and starting to pack up our house- it was stressful times! I started to forget to practice yoga, mediation & Reiki every day, the time I needed it most. By Christmas I was falling apart again and just wanted to sleep all of the time.

January 2018- We said goodbye to family and friends, while we were still packing up the house. The first half of January was an extremely stressful time. I was edgy and worn out. On the 16th January, we arrived in Hawaii and it felt like a weight had just been lifted from my shoulders. We were greeted with wonderful weather and friendly people. I had lots to write about (probably too much) and my travel blog started to explode.

February/ March- Travelled around Maui, Big Island and O’ahu in Haawii. Flew to Mexico. Travelled around Cuba and then back to Mexico. Fell in love with Belize all over again…

And that brings me back to the here and now, the end of March 2018, sitting in Antigua, Guatemala writing this blog. Ain’t life grand?

Looking back at a period of time all at once, like a snapshot, can allow us to see what we’ve accomplished and how we’ve grown and changed- spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can also show you just how much life ebbs and flows through good times and the rough times. It shows you that life comes in phases- both good and bad. These phases are here to teach us something, and if we are prepared to listen and learn from them, they won’t be repeated again. The truth is that I was chasing something that would never make me happy and unfortunately, it took a terrible position at work and a sick husband to realise it.

On New Year’s Eve Damien and I said let’s forget about 2017 as it was a terrible year for both of us but the truth is that whether your year was full of big changes, or small changes, good ones, or not so good, it’s always best to look back with a smile. Be grateful for all the year’s experiences as they have all taught you something and have been integral part of your personal growth. It is a healthy practice to be proud of your accomplishments and look at hardships as both opportunities and learning experiences. Know that everything is happening as it should- and use this reflective snapshot as ammunition to create the best next year of your life.

Namaste,

Natalie

 

P.S. In case you are wondering, I have hyperlinked a post for each travel destination throughout this blog, please feel free to click on any of the links provided to read one of(and hopefully the rest of my blogs) about that country!

Make Experience, Memories & Connections

The last 2 weeks in Hawaii have given me lots of time to reflect on the past few years leading up to this life changing decision. I have been thinking mostly about work and how much of my time it actually took up and what my reasons were for working so hard… It turns out that I work to make experiences and memories. 

We are all working so hard and for what? A nice car, a big house, clothes, shoes? Sure, all these things are nice but when you listen to stories from people, do they tell you about the size of their house they live in or the brand of watch they are wearing or how much cash they have in their wallet?

No, they certainly don’t! The best stories and the best memories are about real connections, real adventures, real laughs and the unexpected. It’s great to work hard and provide yourself with stability and nice things but don’t forget to experience life; spend some money on the experiences, the moments, and on helping other people… make time for adventure and make time to connect with people.

I can guarantee you that these are the things that you will look back on in the end.

Happy Tuesday my Yogi friends and remember what you are working for!

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                                                                Don’t miss experiences like this!                                                                                (Spoiler alert- Sneak peak at a pic from my upcoming Blog on my Travel website: Nat’s Travels

 

Mahalo from Hawaii.

Namaste,

Natalie

 

Trust your intuition

Trusting your intuition is a lesson that I have to keep on learning over and over again…

Have you ever had a time when you felt something was not quite right, but didn’t trust your gut? Or felt a sense to do something, but didn’t act on it? Or have you ever felt bad vibes about a person, but ignored it?

In today’s world where logic is supreme, it can be tricky to know how to trust your intuition. I would classify myself as quite intuitive but it is a shame that I have spent most of my life not listening or following through with my intuition or ‘gut feelings’.

All day I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right but as usual, I ignored it. It wasn’t until we got to the baggage drop at the airport on our way to our first destination, Hawaii, of a 10-month journey that I realised why my gut had been telling me all day to go to the airport early.

After lining up for AGES, the gorgeous assistant behind the counter told us that our outbound flight wasn’t good enough and if we didn’t book another outbound flight from the Americas we couldn’t get on the plane. In fact, they couldn’t even check us in.

So, there and then with 20 minutes left to check in we were frantically searching our phones to find a cheap flight. The flight we ended up booking was the shittiest flight ever and cost us quite a lot of money. If we had have been at the airport earlier, like my gut had told me to do we would have had plenty of time to jump on my laptop and do a proper search and find a great flight out of the Americas.

Not a great way to start our journey but it all worked out in the end… well except for the fact that we are a lot of money out of pocket for a really terrible flight. LOL

But how do I know it is my intuition speaking to me?

You will know it’s your intuition because you will feel the “rightness” of it. You might be a bit scared, but if you are honest, deep down you will feel that it simply feels right.

When you feel something deeply, rather than over analysing it and asking yourself, “Why?”, which will often paralyse you from taking action, simply be obedient to your deeper impulse. As you take a step, life reveals what you need to know as you need to know it. So, next time you feel a gut feeling, pay attention.

Trust it.

Act on it.

You are being guided by life itself.

 

Namaste,

Natalie

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We made it to Hawaii! 🙂

 

P.S. If you would like to follow our travels in Hawaii and see more pics like the one above, please click on the following link to our website: Nat’s Travels. From here, you can explore the rest of our website and travelling adventures.

Abhyanga & Skin Brushing

Skin Brushing 

Benefits-of-Dry-Skin-BrushingThis Ayurvedic technique requires a very small-time investment, but has many benefits such as: shedding dead skin cells (and encourages new cell renewal), resulting in smoother and brighter skin. It can also help with ingrown hairs and assist in improving vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.

Dry brushing can be done daily, preferably in the morning before showering. Using silk gloves or a dry skin brush, start at the feet and work your way up to the crown of your head. If using a dry skin brush, start with a gentle brush and soft pressure and work up to a firmer brush and apply firmer pressure over time. Brushing toward the direction of your heart drains the lymphatic system and can help the body move waste more quickly while stimulating the burning of fat. For added benefit, this technique can be practiced preceding self-massage.

Abhyanga

Self-oil massage, or abhyanga, helps calm the mind and nervous system. Daily abhyanga is especially important for Vata types, as it helps alleviate dry skin that is often a result of Vata imbalance. Massaging your body can soothe the entire nervous system and emotions. Abhyanga, when performed daily, enhances balance in the energy bodies and overall longevity, releases toxins, calms the nervous system, increases circulation, softens skin, stimulates nerve endings, and tones muscle.

How to Perform Abhyanga:

1)    Heat the abhyanga oils to a pleasant temperature, the oil should always be applied warm to the body.

2)    Place a small amount of warm oil in the palm of your hand for each point listed below (using small amounts will help you avoid feeling too oily).

3)    Now start applying oil to your head gently massage the oil into your scalp using fingers and palms (if you do not wish to put oil in your hair, simply skip this step).

4)    Apply oil to face and neck, front and back, and the outer parts of your ears.

5)    Massage the arms, using a back-and-forth motion over the long bones and a circular motion over the joints.

6)    Use a circular motion to massage over the heart and a clockwise motion over the abdomen.

7)    Massage the legs, using the same long motion over the leg bones and a circular motion over the joints.

8)    Last but not least, massage the feet. Take your time doing this since the feet contain many important Marmas (pressure points according to the principles of Ayurveda) if massage properly can boost circulation. While massaging your feet make sure to apply oil to the entire foot (i.e. between your toes). Use your palms to massage vigorously back-and-forth over the soles of your feet with firm pressure.

9)    After massaging is complete allow for the oil to marinate into your skin while you sit quietly for 15-20 minutes so that oil is deeply absorbed by your skin. You can also meditate or perform other Dinacharya (such as Pranayama- breathing exercises). Once the oil has absorbed, follow with a warm bath or shower.

When Abhyanga Massage Is Not Recommended

  • During the menstrual cycle: Ayurveda does not advise massage with deep pressure during the menstrual. During massaging the body can initiate a release of ama (toxins) at a time when the body is already a bit burned.
  • During Pregnancy: Massaging during pregnancy is not a good idea to stimulate any type of detoxification process. This is for the precaution to protect the growing embryo and fetus, as massage may risk it or cause unnecessary exposure to a ama.
  • During Injury: When you have injury, cuts, wounds, swollen or painful areas in the body it is generally not recommended.
  • During Illness: During any type of sickness such as fever, chills, flu or acute indigestion or taking some medication for certain illness.

Namaste,

Natalie

P.S. This post is part of my Ayurveda series, if you found this post interesting, please check out some of my other posts in this series: Being healthy in AyurvedaOil Pulling and Tongue Scraping, Shirodhara, and Pinda Sweda.

Om Shanti

Chitwan Elephant Breeding Centre

I saw them in the distance, one of my favourite animals: swinging their trunks and tails in all possible directions but as I neared them I saw why they were doing that. Chitwan National Park is also known for its elephant safaris but to be honest, knowing how it is possible for humans to ride on the back of an elephant has made me never want to be involved in such an archaic and cruel practice. As I approached the shelter, I saw them paired, chained, hot and distressed: Mothers with their little babies, one as young as 10 months…

Today’s inspiration has come from my disturbing experience at the Chitwan Elephant Breeding Centre in Nepal (if you would like to read about this and get the word out to other fellow animal lovers, please click on the following link: Chitwan Elephant Breeding Centre. Read, like and share- Get the word out that exploitation of animals is not alright and we do not support this archaic and cruel industry).

Yoga is not only about finding inner strength, peace and love on the mat, it is also about finding that in the real world, when you are off the mat, when it really makes a difference. To stand up and say when something is wrong, be the voice for the unheard, to not do something you know to be wrong just because it is easier or because ‘everyone else is doing it’.

When faced with a decision or a problem, it is sometimes easy to ‘go with the flow’ and do what everyone else is doing but it is far more important to stick to our morals, to break away from the pack and do the right thing, after all:

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Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu is a Sanskrit mantra which means:

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

Namaste,

Natalie

 

Peace Pagoda & Lake Tewa

Peace Pagoda & Lake Tewa

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Today we visited the Shanti Stupa, shanti being Sanskrit for peace and stupa being pagoda, an immaculate white shrine atop Ananda Hill that was built by a Japanese monk.

Balanced on a narrow ridge, 1,100 metres above sea level, the brilliant-white World Peace Pagoda was constructed by Nipponzan Myohoji clan monk Morioka Sonin. The entire initiative was led by Nichidatsu Fujii, the founder of Nipponzan Myohoji clan of Buddhism who is famously known as the initiator of constructing Peace Pagodas across the world.

Situated high above Phewa Tal, the Pagoda is one of the major tourist attractions of Pokhara. It has got two tiers for tourists and religious people to circumnavigate. The second tier consists of 4 statues of Buddha gifted as souvenirs from Japan, Sri Lanka, China and Lumbini (the birth place of Buddha) in Nepal.

Shanti Stupa is the shrine built as a symbol of peace which got me thinking, there are so many definitions of peace and different types of peace from inner peace to world peace.

I found this quote that talks about peace of mind that I really like:

“Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.” ~Unknown

What is your favourite peace quote? What does peace mean to you?

Om, Shanti.

 

P.S. Please feel free to add your favourite quotes in the comments section. 🙂

P.P.S. If you would like to visit my travel Blog, please click on the hyperlinked title above.

Day 10- 8/10: Australian Base Camp to Pokhara via Khare

The Magic of Metamorphosis

“We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.”-  LeeAnn Taylor

Today was our last day of our trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal (See: Australian Base Camp to Pokhara via Khare to help me celebrate this amazing feat). As I reflect on the last 10 days; the beauty I have witnessed, the happiness of the people and the serenity of nature. All of what I have experienced reminded me of a poem that I read a long time ago and resonated with me deeply. I feel that this poem encapsulates my experiences trekking in Nepal.

“-We need more love, to supersede hatred,

-We need more strength, to resist our weaknesses;

-We need more inspiration, to lighten up our innermind.

-We need more learning, to erase our ignorance,

-We need more wisdom, to live longer and happier,

-We need more truths, to suppress deceptions,

-We need more health, to enjoy our wealth,

-We need more peace, to stay in harmony with our brethren

-We need more smiles, to brighten up our day,

-We need more hero’s, and not zero’s,

-We need more change of ourselves, to change the lives of others,

-We need more understanding, to tackle our misunderstanding,

-We need more sympathy, not apathy,

-We need more forgiveness, not vengeance,

-We need more humility to be lifted up,

-We need more patience and not undue eagerness,

-We need more focus, to avoid distraction,

-We need more optimism, not pessimism

-We need more justice, not injustice,

-We need more facts, not fiction,

-We need more education, to curb illiteracy,

-We need more skills, not incompetence,

-We need more challenges, to make attempts,

-We need more talents, to create the extraordinary,

-We need more helping hands, not stingy folks,

-We need more efforts, not laziness,

-We need more jokes, to forget our worries,

-We need more spirituality, not mean religion,

-We need more freedom, not enslavement,

-We need more peacemakers, not revolutionaries…with these, we create a heaven on Earth.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

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What type of Earth do you want to create?

Namaste,

Natalie

Day 9- 7/10: Tolka to Australian Base Camp (10.29 kms)

On self-worth & Inner Strength

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” said Christopher Robin to Pooh. –AA Milne

One thing I learnt from trekking in Nepal (Please visit my travel blog: Tolka to Australian Base Camp) was that I am stronger, more resilient and more capable than I ever thought I was. Today I feel like I have the inner strength of a Warrior.

So, for my second last post from the Annapurna region trek, I’d like to share with you Warrior II Pose. Warrior II is a strong, powerful pose, which always makes me feel capable of achieving anything, which I now know is true.

 

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Warrior II

 

The term ‘Warrior’ shouldn’t be interpreted as a negative; the idea is that you are a strong compassionate warrior, facing challenges and gaining strength from your practice. As with all aspects of Yoga, the idea is of non-violence and compassion.

Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga teacher, if you have any issues or concerns, please check with your doctor before performing the pose below. As always, listen to your body and modify as necessary.

Warrior II Pose:

  1. Standing, spread the legs apart about three feet, one foot pointing forwards, one turning slightly inwards.
  2. Raise the arms outwards, palms face down, shoulders relaxed.
  3. On an inhale, bend the front knee deeply, and turn the head to face the outstretched hand on that side.
  4. The waist and centre of the body should remain facing forwards.
  5. Breathe.
  6. Smile.
  7. Hold for a count of three deep inhales and exhales through the nose, and repeat on the other side of the body.

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Namaste,

Natalie

Day 8- 6/10: Jhinu to Tolka (16.94 kms)

The Chakras

Hey Natalie, why am I hearing about the chakras a lot lately?

Lately, the concept of a mind-body-soul connection has become more popular and accepted within many ‘Western’ cultures, but it has been a governing philosophy in many Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Let me take you back a step first…

What are the chakras?

There are many powerful energetic centres located in the human body, and they are most commonly referred to as “chakras”. This Sanskrit word originated in India, and literally translated, means disk, vortex, or wheel.

In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, the chakras are said to draw energy from the world into our bodies while simultaneously sending energy from our bodies out into the world, connecting us to our environment on a deeper level.

Although our bodies consist of a number of energy centres, we tend to focus on the seven major chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. Each chakra comprises of energy relating to specific life lessons and experiences, and each one is associated with a particular element and colour based on the frequency of vibrations (please see below).

To visualize a chakra in the body, imagine a swirling wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet. This invisible energy, called Prana, is vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive.

What are the 7 major Chakras and what do they do?

RootThe Root Chakra

Functions: Safety, grounding, right to live

 

 

SacralThe Sacral Chakra

Functions: Emotions, creativity, sexuality

 

 

Solar PlexusThe Solar Plexus Chakra

Functions: Will, social self, power

 

 

HeartThe Heart Chakra

Functions: Compassion, love, integration

 

 

ThroatThe Throat Chakra

Function: Personal truth, etheric, expression

 

 

Third EyeThe Third Eye Chakra

Functions: Extrasensory perception, intuition, inspiration

 

 

CrownThe Crown Chakra

Functions: Wisdom, transcendence, universality

 

 

Why am I writing about Chakras?

Well, I am currently on my last few days of trekking in Nepal (See: Jhinu to Tolka if you want to find out where today’s inspiration came from) and it is my belief that not only is hiking good for the physical body, mind, and spirit but also for our chakras. This is because each chakra also relates to a sense and an element:

  • First chakra (Root) = smell/earth
  • Second chakra (Sacral) = taste/water
  • Third chakra (Solar Plexus) = sight/fire
  • Fourth chakra (Heart) = touch/air
  • Fifth chakra (Throat) = hearing/sound
  • Sixth chakra (Third Eye)= “sixth sense”/light
  • Seventh chakra (Crown) is off the body and unrelated to the sensory world, so it has no associations, except to pure consciousness.

Therefore, when you are hiking you are stimulating all your senses (smell, sight, touch, sound, and taste- as taste and smell are strongly linked- or so my friend, who is a scientist, tells me). You are also connecting with the earth with every step you take, fuelling your body with water, filling your lungs with pure fresh air (most people hike in pristine locations not dirty, polluted ones), indulging in the sounds of nature and exposing your bare skin and eyes to light. I cannot think of a better way to heal and awaken your chakras.

Namaste,

Natalie