"This is my last retreat" and other lies I've told

I’ve declared my “last retreat” several times now. In the lead up to the event, I always feel stressed with the amount of marketing and logistics that a part of me always feels like I’ve had enough. And perhaps there is an authentic desire there to put my energy elsewhere, however, when I am actually leading the retreat, I always get shockingly and sweetly surprised at how wrong that decision would be. Every time, I get blown away by the experience. 

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There are many things I have declared and claimed that were bs. Like that I'd never open a yoga studio or I'd never run a yoga teacher training, and then something inside me gets this magnetic pull and I can't help but do it. It's as if the external world has already plotted and planned that this is what I would do and then lays it out in front of me so that all I have to say is yes. 


I will not lie to you now though, I will admit that the amount of time that goes into running a yoga retreat is huge. Setting it all up, preparing marketing material, registration, the back and forth emails and then actually running the retreat, is a lot. It is much more complex operation than you might think but I've never been afraid of a little hard work. Because that work always leads to something bigger than the sum of its parts, and this is why I can't let go of retreats, just yet. 

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What unfolds on a retreat is hard to put into words because it is something so much more than a holiday with yoga. Yes we relax, yes we do yoga, yes we eat (a lot), but then there's something else that transpires. A little family gets created. Here we are, in a far off land, maybe knowing someone, maybe not knowing anyone. And yet for one week our attention, energy, love, support, and care is fully present with these new friends. We sweat together in the morning vinyasa practice and get snoozy together in the evening yin practice. We eat together with each other's undivided attention as we start to learn of one another. We climb volcano's, swing across rice fields, get wet under waterfalls, and discover the Balinese people together. We share stories after dinner until we are dozy at the table, we experience what a day of silence feels like and celebrate the Balinese New Years, together. Organically, we start to unravel and unfold into a little family from all over the world, brought together by yoga and the Balinese land. And this is the feeling that I can't quit. To create something that wasn't there before. Would we have all met and shared these experiences together if I stopped doing the retreats? Probably not. Would I myself get to experience the dynamics of beautiful people creating meaningful relationships under the Balinese sun? Nope. Would I get to have these students as (hopefully) lifelong friends afterward? Don't think so. 

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You cannot place a value of time or money to an experience like this. So sure, maybe a retreat is a lot of work to prepare but if that work equals something that you can’t place a value to, then why wouldn’t I do it? So until I run an event that doesn't light my fire, until I no longer feel nourished by retreats, I will continue to keep creating this space for us to unfold, discover and connect. Because somehow, every time, I think it means more to me that the students themselves.


Join me on my next retreat in Bali! March 3rd - 10th, 2019 

There is no light without darkness. There is no sun without the moon. Our invitation is to learn how to live our lives without preferring one over the other. Our work to living a full, conscious life is to honor both sides and see all aspects of ourselves and the world around us. The shadow and the light. 

Join Steph for this transformative and alchemic week in the Balinese Jungle. Centered around Nyepi Day, Bali's New Year's Day, we will explore and honor the infusion and merging of the sun and the moon, the masculine and feminine, the fire and ice, the yin and yang.

Through our yoga practice, we will explore both vinyasa and yin yoga to discover the dynamic play of these two forces within our inner landscape. By celebrating the New Years Eve Festival and participating in the silent day that follows, we will see and observe the dance of the masculine and feminine in the external world as well. 

What is a Yoga Community?

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By Steph Wall

COMMUNITY. A word I’ve thrown around for years without understanding the depth of its meaning. What and who makes up the “yoga community”? I always thought of it as the width of my social circle, or the yoga teachers or students who I knew of in Glasgow or Kelowna, but I’ve come to understand it’s actually the depth of people brought together, regardless of length of time we’ve known each other, if we know how each other earns a living, the stories of our past....all that “stuff”, the layers, are irrelevant and instead we are brought together through things like yoga, empathy, understanding, pain, similar transformations...

During my time in Kelowna, Canada I’ve fully felt the power of community. Being H E L D by people who don’t care much about me except for who I am deep down, my soul and essence. And will hold the space for me to experience life whether I’m hurting or laughing. AND me to them. And to know deep inside that when I’m experiencing hurt, transformations, highs, it’s for the greater of the community. My experience is theirs. Theirs is mine. No separation, never ever. All connected. Always always”

Join Steph for her Vinyasa Yoga Classes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:15!

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The Most Loving, The Most Fierce Mother

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Kali is easily one of the most misunderstood figures in ancient mythology. To simply look at her image without seeing her symbolically or with complexity, one might just see a violent image of an enraged black woman. Many people shy away or dismiss this figure due to staying on the surface and taking powerful symbols literally, however Kali is not an energy to dismiss. For those who know the basic qualities of Kali, we know that she epitomises the dark, mysterious, vast, infinite unknown. She works via death and destruction and is not for the faint of heart. However there is a side to her that often gets missed and that is her as the all loving Mother.

When we think of the role of Mother we might immediately turn to qualities such as warmth, kindness and softness. And although these are indeed qualities of Mother, they are not the only ones nor should they be placed at a higher value. Another face of Mother is the face of Kali; fierce, relentless and direct. What all faces of Mother have in common though, is Love. For anyone who truly wants to grow and experience self transformation, preferring one expression of Love over the other may be a mistake. Sometimes the love, the lessons, the nourishment we want is not what we actually need. Sometimes we really do need a strong, tough, fierce love that might be painful and knock you off your feet as a way to transcend lifelong limitations we’ve placed on ourselves.

Kali is not a Mother to dismiss because she doesn’t show up the way that is preferred. She is a Mother that will love, tirelessly and endlessly, to hold you as you transform. Sometimes that Love just might need to be a bit tough and scary.

KALI THE MOTHER

By Swami Vivekananda

The stars are blotted out,

The clouds are covering clouds,

It is darkness vibrant, sonant.

In the roaring, whirling wind

Are the souls of a million lunatics

Just loose from the prison-house,

Wrenching trees by the roots,

Sweeping all from the path.

The sea has joined the fray,

And swirls up mountain-waves,

To reach the pitchy sky.

The flash of lurid light

Reveals on every side

A thousand, thousand shades

Of Death begrimed and black —

Scattering plagues and sorrows,

Dancing mad with joy,

Come, Mother, come!

For Terror is Thy name,

Death is in Thy breath,

And every shaking step

Destroys a world for e'er.

Thou "Time", the All-Destroyer!

Come, O Mother, come!

Who dares misery love,

And hug the form of Death,

Dance in Destruction's dance,

To him the

Mother comes

Why We Have Expiry Dates and Cancellation Policies

At The Kali Collective Yoga Studio, we understand it can feel frustrating to lose out on classes that have been purchased because of our cancellation and expiry date policies. So we would love the opportunity to clarify our position on this matter. 

The reason we have a 12 hour cancellation policy is to ensure we are allowing the maximum number of students to participate as possible. When someone signs in to class and does not show up, or cancels without much notice, other people are prevented from coming to a class as the class may be full. We are now in a place with our studio that full classes are a common occurrence and feel it is only fair that people who sign up stay committed to attending or be penalised for taking another person's spot.

Signing up in advance is not mandatory or enforced so the act of booking and the consequences of not coming to class is the full responsibility of the person who made the choice to sign up in the first place. We understand things come up and will make exceptions for illnesses or a force majeuer. 

As for expiry dates, any pricing option other than a 1 time drop in rate will have an expiry date of either 3, 6 or 12 months. This is because the classes are sold at a reduced rate and therefore have less flexibility. This also allows for the studio to run with manageable cash flow which is imperative in running a steady, stable business. 

We feel our expiry dates are fair and allow for enough flexibility should something arise in the time that it has been purchased. We provide several different options to empower our students to make the best decisions for themselves. As with our cancellation policies we do make rare exceptions for illness and a force majeuer. 

We hope this helps to clarify our policies around this! 

How I Sold Out My Retreat In Bali

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I had a major shift recently while promoting my latest yoga retreat to Ubud, Bali. Long story short, I overestimated the ease of people signing up for this yoga adventure and with only 3 months to go, I had a mere 3 people signed up. Which is grand, except for the fact that I was paying for 10 people, whether 10 people showed up or not. Which meant at the time, I would be about $6,000 in debt from running the retreat. It was time to have a serious conversation with myself. 

I will confess, I let my ego guide me too often and for a long time I was running retreats with the wrong intention. With selfish intentions. It was a way for me to potentially make more money and a way to travel and adventure with my expenses being paid for. I also think there’s some false belief that if a teacher is running a retreat and people are signing up for it, they must be a good teacher and I wanted to join that club. 

So when I realized that what my ego wanted was going to cost me a lot of money I had to sit down and get really clear on what the hell I was doing this for. Underneath my selfish desires, there was something bigger being created, I just wasn’t fully connected to what that was yet. I sat down with my journal and wrote at the top something along the lines of “what the fuck am I running retreats for?”. Then I reconnected with what really lit me up about past retreats and I was overwhelmed with excitement at creating that again. It was all about the intimate connection that gets created when a group of like-minded people spend a week together somewhere gorgeous and do my favorite thing, yoga. It was about arranging a trip where people who might not otherwise feel comfortable, can join a group of people and have the logistics taken care of to experience Bali. I zoomed back to what I loved so much about Bali and honestly, felt so passionate about it that I truly wanted others to experience it. 

I looked at my branding and description of the retreat, all that I had put out into the world and realized none of it was connected at all to what I held most dear to my heart. All my communication about the retreat came from a really egoic place of sell, sell, sell, and "you should do this because…” honestly, it was fear driven. It might as well have said, "come on my retreat so I can live a crazy dream without having any deep connection as to why I'm doing it at all!" Not cool Steph. So with only a few months out, I completely removed old posts and descriptions and started fresh with a deeper connection in mind. 

2 things happened; first, my fear about losing money on this trip dissipated. I felt that even if those 3 people who signed up were the only ones to come, for me to experience that with them would be worth the loss. I saw it as a small trade-off for what we would experience together. But that wasn’t what happened because the second thing that happened was that a big flux of interest came my way about the retreat. People weren’t connecting to it before because there wasn’t much to connect to, but once I put out on social media the value of the experience and what my intention was, well it would be hard not to connect to that. I sold about 1 spot per week up until a couple weeks before I took off and wound up with a group of 10 incredible women to share a week in the Balinese rice fields with. 

This was a huge lesson for me that when you put things out into the world that are soulless, driven by fear and good only for your ego you’ll get a little nudge that you’re not moving in the right direction. If you are like me and want to live a life of passion, creativity, heart, and soul then don’t think for a second you can get away with trying to do anything less than that. What you do with the little nudge is up to you, you can blame the lack of flow on everyone and everything but yourself.

Or, you can hear the call and transform who you are and the work that you do to elevate yourself, your students and your community. 

 

Interested in joining me for a retreat in Bali? 

We are going back again March 3rd - 10th 2019! Click here for more details! 

 

5 Ways to Invoke the Energy of the Goddess Kali

Written by Steph Wall

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I will confess when my friend and I decided to name our studio The Kali Collective, we didn’t fully understand the depth of this goddess or exactly we would call on her for, other than the obvious which is self empowerment and transformation. I didn’t even understand the potency or power that would be brought forth by invoking the energy current of this archetype into my life. But my goodness did I ever find out hard and quick shortly after creating a community space in honor of Her. She wasted no time with me. Here is a brief description of her, but do not be fooled, a few lines of description only scratches the surface of her depth, complexity, and power. 

Kali is the Goddess of time, change, and destruction. She is the energy current inside of you that is wild, empowered and all loving.  This energy is deeply involved in the life/death / life cycle to keep you growing and transforming, as does the rich practice of yoga.
The Dark Mother in all her love and ferocity will guide you through transformation by dissolving all forms and time. She will tear things up to help you see what is needing to die inside of you, such as self limiting beliefs or attachments to the past that prevent you from moving forward. These deaths then create a fertile field for growth and creation of the new.
She’s the darkness most of us fear. She is fierce. She is loving. She will transform you.

Kali is not an energy to invoke lightly but from personal experience, I can say she will make changes in your life where they are needed. Examples of how she transformed me were the following:

  • Destroying lifelong beliefs that my voice is not worthy or valuable 
  • Dissolving intense bondages guarding me against vulnerability and authenticity 
  • Opened me up to find a deep, meaningful love for myself 
  • Transformed my habit of living in fantasy and instead helped me find a true love rooted in truth and reality
  • The courage to follow my dreams and run a yoga studio and yoga school in a far away, magical land 

Not bad! My life has been completely transformed but don’t think for a second it was easy. Who I was even 1 year ago is completely different to who I am now and the person I was for so many years was hard to let go of. My life as I knew it completely changed and the pain that came with it was intense. So make no mistake, it’s not as if I named my studio after her, meditated on her a few times and that’s it. It took much more work than that!

Here are some reasons why you would invoke her:

  • Dissolving limiting beliefs
  • Self empowerment 
  • Facing fears
  • Releasing egoic constructs/beliefs
  • Changing perspective on life and death 
  • Liberating yourself from old attachments 
  • Invite the wild, divine feminine into your life 

Ways to invoke Kali:

  1. Meditation - visualise her image and see what arises
  2. Self reflection - ask yourself questions like, where are you suppressing your wild, feminine self? Or, is there somewhere in your life you are playing “nice” instead of expressing a more truthful, angry, enraged self? 
  3. Asana - Take goddess squat and let out several primal roars from the belly 
  4. Offer your negative beliefs to Kali. Visualise bowing down to her and offering her your limiting beliefs for her to destroy. 
  5. Journal with Kali - ask her the following questions: What do you have to teach me? How do you express yourself in my life? How are you suppressed? What do you think needs destroying in my life?

Remember, Kali is not an energy to take lightly but she is loving. If you are ready to come alive, wake up and live your life fully, She is a necessary force to guide you there. 

Not good enough | by Steph Wall

What you’re worth. 

The majority of the years I have spent on this planet, I have spent feeling like I was never good enough. For certain people, places or experiences. For things I owned, for gifts I received. I constantly felt guilty of what I had because I never felt worthy. And you know what? That feeling is really shitty. 

Although I chose to not dwell on the past, there are certain experiences that contributed to my current teeter tottering of self worth. The biggest contributing experiences where those with the opposite sex. The way I allowed myself to feel during and after a relationship. Several times I allowed myself to be treated poorly and instead of smartening up and realizing it was their own insecurities and issues that led them to that behaviour, I instead internalized it and took it personally. I allowed myself to feel as if that was the way I deserved to be treated.

It’s funny how situations you thought you dealt with actually linger on and plant a deeper seed. Over time, I finally felt the weight suffocate me and split over into other situations. After personal successes in the yoga world however, I started to question the way I thought of myself. Although it was hard for me to acknowledge I was even feeling this way deep down, I eventually realized how wrong I was. So I dealt with it on my mat. I focused on the good, reflected on the positives, acknowledged the tiny accomplishments and let everything else slide off my back. But I’m not writing to tell you my story, I’m writing to talk about yours. 

One of the many things I enjoy about teaching yoga, is the opportunity I have to really see the most raw and pure form of a person. When someone expresses themselves on the mat fully, I see them. I connect with them. I understand them. What I see all to often are students watch in defeat as others float, balance or fly into more challenging poses. The one’s who prefer not to try something new for fear of failure. The one’s who laugh as if it’s a joke that they should ever be able to do an inversion. Those are the one’s that bother me because I so badly wish I could open up their brains, change some thought and behavioural patterns around and stitch them back up so they could realize that they ARE good enough. When I see these students, I see myself. I am reminded of the person deep down inside that spent years feeling unworthy. 

I’m here to tell those of your questioning your self worth that there is nothing in yoga and nothing in life that you are not good enough for. I have taught paraplegics, quadriplegics, students with injuries and I myself managed to practice daily when I physically had everything against me. And not a single one of us isn’t good enough for yoga. Not a single one of us is not good enough for the things we want in life. 

But no article or words from a stranger can change years of accumulated thought patterns, so maybe instead I’ll say this; I feel you. I’ve been there and as I slowly crawl my way out of this self made hole, I’m starting to see what true and honest self worth looks like. It looks like relaxed shoulders, a proud chest, a lengthy breath. It looks like a dedicated effort doing handstand kicks. A wobble leg in tree. A subtle topple in balancing half moon. A determination towards achieving the possibilities. To gaining what we deserve. 

It looks like an image I have in my head of the first time I saw a lion up close in Africa. He was powerful. He was fearless. He was strong. A thick layer of stillness, calm and peace poured over him. Nothing in the world bothered him, not our jeep, not our cameras, not our excited giggles. Nothing in the world could shake him.

Nothing in the world could take away the fire in his eyes. 

Steph Wall Yoga - Gentle Evening Yoga

Investing in rest is a key element of living a balanced life. Steph Wall speaks about our own evening rituals, and takes you through a gentle evening yoga flow to help you create the best foundation for sleep.

"People often ask me which poses are best to do before bed. Well, here are a few of my favourites! I often have troubles falling asleep but I find a short yoga practice before bed really helps me get into my body and ready for my rest. So grab yourself a cup of sleepy time tea, get the lights nice and low, turn off your phone and enjoy preparing yourself for a lovely rest."

We offer many evening classes at the studio. Check out our time table here and join us! 

Who is Kali?

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Kali is the Goddess of time, change and destruction. She is the energy current inside of you that is wild, empowered and all loving.  This energy is deeply involved in the life / death / life cycle to keep you growing and transforming, as does the rich practice of yoga. 

The Dark Mother in all her love and ferocity will guide you through transformation by dissolving all forms and time. She will tear things up to help you see what is needing die inside of you, such as self limiting beliefs or attachments to the past that prevent you from moving forward. These deaths then create a fertile field for growth and creation of the new. 

She’s the darkness most of us fear. She is fierce. She is loving. She will transform you.

Body Scan Meditation with Steph

Want to meditate?

Meditation is a process to be more still in the mind. It can create a sense of stillness and calm, away from the stresses of life. There are no expectations with meditation, you do not need to sit completely still or have an absolutely still mind. Life is much more complex than that and meditation understands this. All we are trying to achieve in meditation is a slowing of the mind. A great way to begin meditating is with a guided meditation. Here are two videos by Kali's owner Steph to help you on your way!

If you are interested in learning more about meditation, why not try a slower yoga practice such as Yin, Restorative or Nidra to introduce you into a quite space? 

The Gift of Yoga | by Steph Wall

What yoga gave me. 

By far, the best thing that has ever happened in my life is yoga. It saved me. This is how. 

Yoga gave me my body back

When I first stepped on a mat at 19, I was physically and mentally deteriorating. I didn't realize at the time but looking back, I see how small I was. My shoulders slouched, my skin was dull, my head hung in worry, anxiety, fear and stress. My hair lost it's lustre, my heart lost it's vigour. At such a young age the years of built up stress from zero confidence, zero self worth, zero self love, dumped onto a pile of regrets took it's toll mentally and also physically.  It's no wonder I developed a disease in my back. I carried a heavy load for a very long time. My back finally collapsed on me at 23.  Three doctors urged against me to do my yoga teacher training, which was five days away, but I was still pushed to stay with my practice. I mentally gave the doctors the middle finger, tossed my prescriptions for painkillers, listened to my gut and hopped on that flight to Nicaragua for my training. 

Although I saw the affects of yoga from the moment I first started, the real excavating began during my training. I did three hours a day of practice without being able to do a forward fold. But I still did it. 99% of the time in the back corner with tears in my eyes but I still freakin' did it. I wonder what would have happened if I took my doctors advice and popped pills, refunded my teacher training and became another person that goes through life with back pain. 

Yoga gave me the strength mentally to take control of my body, face my challenges, and chug along with my very imperfect, wonderful body. Not only can I wake up and fall sleep without pain in my back, my skin glows, my hair shines and curls into a crazy mess, my heart pumps fuller and harder, my lungs expand wider. 

Yoga gave me the chance to be me again. 

For many years I floated through life not sure of who I was. I allowed myself, as many of us to, to be defined by what others thought of me. People said I was shy, so I became very introverted. I got made fun of for my skin colour and big eyes so I forever avoided mirrors in shame of what I looked like. I was told I wasn't funny so I stopped making jokes. The list continues. Yoga however, allowed me to discover who I was. Actually, It forced me to. It chiselled and chipped away at all the layers of who I believed I was, until I was faced with the inner, deep, buried, chunk of gold which is me. 

The process was ugly, ungraceful, and hard. I cried many times on my mat, I've had to run out of the studio to throw up during practice, I have dealt with inner anger, resentment, frustration and many more ugly things on my mat. But I discovered who I really was. The first time a teacher offered up “letting go with every exhale” I was like really? I can let of my junk just by breathing? I'll tell you, I let go with every damn exhale after that. 

As I exhaled I found a new space that needed to be filled. The tiny speck of gold that was at the core of my being began to grow and filled all the empty spaces. I didn't know who I was until I was ripped apart, chewed up and scattered all over my mat during this thing called Power Yoga. For me, only once the bits and pieces of who I thought I was were laid out in front of my eyes, did it become clear. The gold was put back together into something brighter and strong, and all the rest was taken out with the trash. 

Yoga allowed me to be the most imperfect person on the planet. 

Yoga gave me power.  I quickly discovered that who I was on the mat was who I was becoming off the mat. I liked yoga a lot initially because I found it was the only place where my monkey brain would shut up. It was the only place I found quiet in my chaotic world. It was the only place I was relaxed. Without even trying, I saw this transcend into my daily life. Slowly, this calm and peace carried on with me after practice, longer and longer until (after a couple years) I found that there was no difference to who I was on or off the mat. Once I allowed myself to calm down and de-stress, the fun began. Who else could I become in the studio? What else could I create? If I could be powerful, strong and steady on my mat, could I be that person when I left? Damn right I could! I could be a fierce warrior, a steady tree or a still lotus in the studio, and no one said I couldn't be that after I rolled up my mat. So I became that. I found the power to take control of who I was and I allowed myself to live out all the great qualities I found in myself as I breathed, stretched and sweat. 

I'm not trying to make myself sound tough and awesome. I fall a lot in practice. I fall a lot in life. I cry on my mat sometimes. I cry in my bed a lot.  Sometimes I don't know how I'm going to make it through practice. Sometimes I don't know how I'm going to make it through the day. I get scared, feel vulnerable, and doubt myself, as I do also in my daily life. But what yoga gave me was a nod to carry on, keep my chin up and keep moving. Yoga gave me life. It gave me the power, strength and confidence mentally, emotionally and physically to experience all that life has to offer. With passion. With vigour. With courage. With audacity.

Steph's SUPER DUPER BALLS

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These are the most amazing balls. I am no calorie counter and I am no vegan however I can assure you that these balls are so healthy and delightful you will end up making them weekly, like I do! They are quick, easy and filling.

I do not like being told what to do, so I do not follow recipes. However I have attached the two recipes I kinda, sorta, very loosely follow to make sure I don't end up with bad balls. Something that is not on the recipe that I always add is Neat Nutrition Protein powder. 

Enjoy your yummy balls! 

FROM DELICIOUSLY ELLA

COCONUT CHOCOLATE BALLS

– 1 cup of desiccated coconut

– 1 cup of almonds

– 1/2 a dozen medjool dates

– 4 tablespoons of cashew butter

– 2 tablespoons of raw cacao

– 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Start by putting the almonds and coconut in a food processor and blend for a minute or two, until a flour starts to form. Then add the cashew butter, coconut oil and cacao blending for a few seconds before slowly adding in the dates.

Continue to blend until everything has been combined together to form a sticky mixture. This mixture can then be rolled into balls and covered in more coconut and left in the fridge to firm up for an hour or alternately you can enjoy it with a spoon straight from a cup, or be like me and eat it straight from the blender! Either way you’ll love it! If you can resist not eating the whole mixture then keep the remaining bites in the fridge in a container.

 

ULTIMATE ENERGY BALLS 

They also only take 3 minutes to make and require almost no washing up, which is always fantastic!

Makes 15 – 20 balls, depending on size

– 1 cup of medjool dates

– 3/4 of a cup of almonds

– 3/4 of a cup of walnuts or any other nut

– 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

– 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

– 1 tablespoon of hemp protein powder

– 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

Start by placing the almonds, walnuts and chia seeds in your food processor. Blend for 1 minute, until the a flour forms and the nuts have crumbled.

Then add the remaining ingredients, pitting the dates before adding those. Blend for another minute until a stick dough forms.

Use your hands to roll the mixture into little balls, place in a bowl and store in the fridge.

Bite and enjoy! Just try not to eat them all at once!

What is the Core?

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What do we mean when we say "core"?

Everything stems from your centre. Who you are, what you do, all that makes you unique starts from the very core of who you are. Our movements should be the same! Therefore, we define the core as the centre of our body, that which encompasses the area around the spine. 

When we take a deeper look at the anatomy of the core we will see that it’s much more complex than thinking it’s just our 6 pack muscle, or rectus abdominus. When we peel back that layer we also see that the transverse abdominus, pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus and obliques all play a big role as well, along with a few others. 

Why should we care about moving from the core?

Because this allows us to move with efficiency and in a way that keeps the spine safe. By having an awareness and access to these muscles we can properly stabilise the spine to take us safely into backbends, arm balances and to flow with grace through our postures. Also, functionally speaking it’s important to have stable core so we can move, run, play and engage in life without worrying about putting our back out. For those of us with back pain, understanding the core and strengthening our stabiliser muscles can really help ease any discomfort. 

Benefits of strengthening your core include:

Improved posture and balance

Help with back discomfort 

Graceful yoga transitions 

Arm balances

Inversions

Functional movement 

Running

Weight training 

And much more! 

 

Why is yoga so good for the core?

In yoga we do many postures that help activate our deep core stabilisers such as plank, cobra, locust and side plank. Almost all of the postures require some sort of core stabilisation so it’s hard to get away without doing core in yoga! 

We love and appreciate the core so much we have dedicated an entire class to it called Core Flow. What to expect in this class are exercises designed to help strengthen your center. By combining practices such pilates, ballet and yoga you will be sure to leave feeling strong and empowered in your centre!

Steph Wall Yoga - How to do Sun Salutation A and B

Whatever your level, beginners or advanced, Steph Wall, The Kali Collective owner and principal teacher, takes you through the basics of Sun Salutation A and B.

It's really important to do these poses with integrity and proper alignment - Steph Wall

I get asked all the time how to properly do a sun salutation A and B, so here you have it deconstructed! We do this sequence many times over in a vinyasa class, so it's really important to do this poses with integrity and proper alignment! This video is great if you're a beginner but also useful to get back to the basics if you've been practicing for a while.

For weekly opportunities to practice with Steph, head over to our schedule: http://www.kalicollective.com/timetable-and-bookings/

Any questions or comments, please email hello@kalicollective.com

Steph Wall Yoga - Quick Core Blast

What is the core? All teachers will answer this differently but I believe the core is much more than just your "6 pack abs". It's important for us to have a strong core which requires a toning and strengthening in the front, sides and back of our centre. In this short video we will be working on the muscles that surround the spine to help you feel strong, steady and stable! This video is also great for anyone that may have back pain but please be mindful to take it slow and modify where you need to so you can feel strong and healthy in your body!

Check out our Core Flow and Pilates classes for the perfect core workout: http://www.kalicollective.com/timetable-and-bookings/

Any questions or comments, please email hello@kalicollective.com

Steph Wall Yoga - Quick Vinyasa Yoga Flow

This one is for everyone with a busy, hectic life... Take your practice where you are: at home, in an airport lounge, your hotel room or in a cottage by the sea on a weekend break! 

You don't need much time at all to get into your body and feel better physically and mentally - Steph Wall

"I often get asked for tips and tricks on how to fit yoga into a busy day. It really is simple, you don't need much time at all to get into your body and feel better physically and mentally. Doing even a few minutes of yoga is better than nothing. So find a quiet space and enjoy this quick 25 minute vinyasa yoga flow in the comfort of your own home!"

For our weekly class schedule to fit your busy life, head over to http://www.kalicollective.com/timetable-and-bookings/

And for questions or comments, please email hello@kalicollective.com

My disease, my crutch | by Steph Wall

What defines me who I am today, as I live and breath. Pure, raw and true.

Let me tell you about the most conflicting best news I’ve ever received.

A few years ago I injured my back in yoga (I hadn’t been enlightened on this “ego” thing yet), subsequently discovering I had Degenerative Disc Disease. Several doctors confirmed. The x-rays were proof. There I was, five days before my yoga teacher training, unable to do a forward fold and in agonising pain. Not liking being told what to do, I ignored my doctors advice and went to my training. I persevered, I conquered, I eventually folded.

The prognosis was heartbreaking. I was told no more impact. No snowboarding, no running. Oh and this whole teaching yoga thing? I was told to revisit that idea in five years once my back was “better”. I was now at risk of compressing my spine because of the lack of cushion I had between the vertebrae in my low back. But within two years I was physically feeling freakishly fantastic. Pain was minimal, folds were deep, core was strong. So the other day, out of curiosity, I visited a new physio to get a little check up on my back. Although I felt great, I wanted to be sure my discs and spine were happy. That’s when I got the worst best news ever.

“Who the heck told you you have DDD?” he asked after 30 seconds of doing a spinal range of motion test.

“Three doctors confirmed....why?” I replied, curious.

“There is no way you could have Degenerative Disc Disease with this range of motion in your spine. It’s phenomenal. There’s just no way. I’m not sending your for x-rays, if you feel fine, there’s no point.”

I left feeling over the moon. I called my parents right away and I texted my besties. Then I realized something awful with this great news.

Over the last two years, I unknowingly began identifying myself with my disease (notice I even call it my disease, as if I owned it). I let the DDD become a part of who I was. My recovery, proving to the world the healing power of yoga and using my story to inspire others was my thing. Now I was being told there’s no way I could actually have it. I felt like my story was taken from me. I felt like a fraud.

A light was now shone on to all the excuses I made because of my DDD.

“Of course I can’t do inversions, what would happen to my back if I fell wrong?”

“Of course I can get into a deep forward fold, that’s how I slipped a disc because I have DDD!”

“Look at me, I’m the teacher that was told I’d never do yoga again!”

Except now maybe this wasn’t the truth. 

One would think I would feel relief but I did not. I felt confused and apprehensive as I saw all my justifications and excuses fall through my fingers. I felt like I was standing on the ledge of a very deep pool without my water wings on. No floaties now. No safety net.

It’s funny the excuses we bring onto our mats. It’s crazy the excuses we make in our lives. All the crutches we fall back on. My realisation extended beyond the physical as I started to rethink the chunk of me I attached to this disease. Shit, if I allowed this part of me to be associated with a label I had for only two years, what other stories did I let become me? Instead of trying to dig up old bones and find more discoveries, I cultivated one massive piece of wisdom that I chose to carry with me from now on; I am not what I have.

Two things either happened from my physio appointment. Either my diagnosis was wrong the entire time, or I beat my “disease”. Regardless of what the clinical conclusion is, my truth it is this; When I strip away my titles, my stories, my labels, my diagnosis, what’s left is just me. In my most true, raw and pure form.

I went through the pain. I dealt with the challenges and often times still do. I healed through yoga and have inspired others with my story. I know this would not have happened without my injury and for that, I am grateful. However, my past stories are now irrelevant. I want to inspire people with who I am today. That is, a a pain-free body that supports my active lifestyle. Mountains of experience. A dedicated practice. A deep gratitude and respect for my body and it’s limitations. A shrunken ego.

The wisdom I gained from yesterday I speak with my words. My physical and mental strength I gained from rebuilding a broken body and heart. I have many things; labels, stories, relationships, money, objects. But they are not who I am. They do not define me. Alternatively, a lack of what I have also does not define me. What defines me who I am today, as I live and breath. Pure, raw and true.