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.

There’s nothing to be frightened of | by Steph Wall

"We have all been in situations that grant us reasons to be cautious of repeats in our future but I wonder what life would be like if we just lived it."

A very intense concept has been lingering in my mind lately. It wasn't until I began studying about the brain in psychology that all the lose ends of my straggling thoughts came together. I was reading about "phantom limb syndrome" when the text book asked, "How can we feel something that's not there?" Bingo. My thoughts of fear came together.

Lately, I noticed something about myself. I stopped being afraid of things. I'm not saying I'm a big, tough, strong human that fears nothing. I won't even pretend, hell I still hate being alone in the dark. But I noticed that I haven't felt nervous, apprehensive or fearful of things coming my way. Death doesn't scare me. The future doesn't scare me. Fear of failure in any aspect of my life doesn't scare me.  Why? Well, I realised something key that goes hand in hand with "living in the moment". What we are scared of doesn't exist.

You've heard it before but here it is again; the only thing that exists is this very moment. If this is the only second we know we have, why spend it being afraid of something that might happen?

The best example I can use to explain this is relationships. I find that people, myself included, are so afraid of letting any walls down, of opening any doors, because of fear of something that could, maybe, potentially happen. Like getting hurt. Attached. Losing independence. Whatever. But here's what I realized. I was spending so much time and energy stepping away from any open doors and open hearts because of the fear or failure that I was living far from the present. I actually felt feelings and emotions for something that hadn't happened yet. Being hurt didn't exist, it didn't happen, yet I was acting like it was going to, or it already did. Like fearing a breakup when you haven't even started a relationship yet.

Now I know its rational to consider the consequences of certain things and I'm not saying it's wise to live balls blazing with no thought of the future but here's my point. How often do you actually feel the excitement of having massive amounts in your bank account when you actually don't? Or how often do you feel the excitement of falling in love with someone you aren't in a relationship with yet? Probably not that often. So why is it ok to feel scared or fearful for things that might happen in our future? If I could add up all the wasted hours of being stressed or worried about things that never actually happened, I would shake my head. Mark Twain sums it up nicely, "I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened."  How much time have you spent worried about something that never actually happened in the end? That's my point.

So why do we chose to be afraid of things? I’m not totally sure. If I had to guess I would say it's because we like to chose the path of least resistance. Better to be afraid of something and do what we can to protect ourselves from it than to live it out and see what happens. We have all been in situations that grant us reasons to be cautious of repeats in our future but I wonder what life would be like if we just lived it. If we used the wisdom of our past to guide us to an intelligent future. I wonder what it would be like if we paid better attention to why certain people come into our lives, to the opportunities that come into our lives, to the doors that present themselves. If we chose to see the positives of the what if's  instead of the scary and let that potential out weigh what frightens us.

The key is understanding that what we are afraid of hasn't actually happened yet. There are many scary things that could happen to us at this very second but it's not. We're just sitting behind a computer reading. Therefore, there is nothing to be frightened of.

How Bali Transformed my Life

And why I chose to do my retreat in Ubud, Bali 

I visited Bali in 2014 when I was doing my advanced yoga teacher training and it rocked my world. I was in a really interesting phase in my life. In a weird “in between”. At this point I knew I was wanting to live abroad, I just didn’t know where I wanted to go yet. I had already left my yoga teaching jobs, my part time job as a care giver and left university (again). I wasn’t really living anywhere, I knew the relationship I was in would be ending and all my things were already packed up, so I arrived in Bali knowing that after my trip my life was going to drastically change. In this “in - between” I was very uncomfortable. Anxiety tore through me as I began my journey into the unknown. I was filled with worry, doubt, insecurities and distrust in myself for what the future was to hold. I questioned everything. Here I was in the most beautiful place on Earth, worrying about the future. But Bali held me so sweetly as I was sick from fear and shedding infinite amounts of tears every night…

There’s something magical about this island. I can’t put it into words. The only other place I’ve felt this is India, Whistler and the Scottish highlands. It’s as if my breath was coaxed into becoming longer, deeper, more relaxed. And yet there’s this buzz in the air like you’re about to spot a fairy. And even though I knew there was medicine in the air, the landscape still managed to take my breath away. The water tastes, smells, feels more clear than you could imagine and it saturates your cells with the most perfect nutrients. Bali demands you to stop and see what is right in front of you. Not ahead, not behind, right in front. Her beauty demands your attention, you cannot ignore it. 

And that’s just the elements. Then there’s the people, and the Balinese know what’s up. You will see offerings everywhere, on the streets, on the statues, they pray to their food, I even saw a ceremony to pray for their motorbikes! What an beautiful way to live, in absolute honour for what we have. And I got to be in the energy of that, of sincere and deep gratitude for life. 

While in Bali, I did some self care treatments that were really transformative. I saw Wayan from Eat, Pray, Love and she gave me herbs, foods and different natural treatments to help me heal. It was a 2 day process of one treatment after the next and ingesting all sorts of teas and eating the strangest things. I got rocked. I also did a 3 day colonics treatment which was actually life changing, and I'm not exaggerating! Years of built up junk, physical and emotional, was cleared from my body. It was an emotional process and I let go, in every sense of the word, and cleared myself of toxins. I left Bali a different woman. 

Being immersed in the sunshine, the jungle air, practicing yoga, ingesting beautiful foods and being surrounded by incredible humans rocked my word. Something changed not only on a physical and emotional level but it went right down to my cells. I came back to Canada different, in the greatest way. And from that place, I made my scary decision to move to Glasgow, which was by far, one of the greatest decisions of my life. 

This island is nothing short of magic, that really is the only word I can use for it. It helped heal me in ways I didn’t know I needed. Everything from the sound of the rain, to the crisp, sweet sun, to my favourite meal, Nasi Gorang, was magic. I promise this won’t be anything short of an experience of a lifetime. I promise, Bali will transform you too. 

There are still spaces left for my retreat! I'd love for you to come. 

  • When: March 10 - 17th
  • Where: Ubud, Bali
  • Investment: $1895 USD - Early Bird Special $1795
  • Contact steph@kalicollective.com for more info! 

My 5 Favourite Things to do in Bali

My 5 favourite things to do in Bali and why you should be joining me on my retreat in March! 

Bali is one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been to. My favourite place on the island is Ubud. It’s saturated with the most incredible yoga, food, adventures and shopping! There is a lot to see and do, I promise you won’t get bored! Here is my list of my 5 favourite things to do in Bali. 

  1. Yoga. DUH. How about 3 hours of it a day? Yes please. Vinyasa, Yin/Restorative and meditation while breathing in the alchemic air and soaking our cells in the sweet energy of the Balinese jungle. My favourite avenue for self empowerment and transformation is the practice of yoga. An obvious #1 choice. 
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2. Relax in the sunshine. Another obvious one but seriously. March is the perfect time to get away and soak up some much needed Vitamin D after the winter. I feel instantly happier and lighter when I can be in the sunshine and it just so happens that our resort has an Ozone swimming pool and sun beds with our name on it! On the retreat you will have plenty of time to relax every day if you want to lay by the pool with me! Oh did I mention, you get one free massage on the retreat? 

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3.  FOOD. I love my food and I have to say, I think Bali tops the list for my favourite food on Earth. It’s fresh, clean and prepared with love. The cafes in Ubud are like none other, the smoothies, juices, coffees…soul food indeed! On the retreat all your meals are included and of course options for vegetarian are offered. I can’t wait to get some Nasi Gorang in my belly and have unlimited Kopi coffee at the resort….

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4. The healing. I spent a lot of time in Bali healing, which included seeing several different types of healers. I just had to see Wayan from Eat, Pray, Love and YES she rocked my world. I also did some colon hydrotherapy sessions which changed my life. Colonics will not be included on your retreat however you will have plenty of time to engage in many different healing treatments such as spas, baths, steams, acupuncture, qi gong, reiki etc. My favourite place for this is Radiantly Alive . I cannot wait. 

5. Nature. The elements in Bali blow me away. The night rain, the sweet breeze, the rice paddies and bright green fields. I can’t wait to go exploring with you. One of my favourite places is called the Tirta Empul Temple - it’s a beautiful walk and we can participate in purifying ourselves in the gorgeous springs. There’s also an incredible walk I did called the Campuhan ridge, which gives a stunning view of the town and landscape. We will have plenty of time for this on our retreat :)  

Those are my top 5 but a few other things to do include:

  • Shopping at the local markets
  • Cooking classes
  • Offering making classes 
  • White water rafting
  • Bike tours 

There are still spaces left for my retreat! I'd love for you to come. 

  • When: March 10 - 17th
  • Where: Ubud, Bali
  • Investment: $1895 USD - Early Bird Special $1795
  • Contact steph@kalicollective.com for more info! 

Steph Wall Yoga - Gentle Morning Yoga Flow

What do your mornings look like? What would your ideal morning look like? How do you start your day? Discover's Steph Wall Gentle Morning Yoga Flow, to help you kickstart your day! 

"My favourite time to practice is first thing in the morning to start my day. This helps me get into my body and acknowledge how I'm showing up, physically and mentally on that day. Here are some of my favourite yoga poses to do first thing in the morning. It's a slow, sweet vinyasa practice full of love to get you excited and energised for your day!"

If you have any questions, email hello@kalicollective.com

10 Tips to strengthen your Home Practice

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The end of the year is a busy time for all of us, with all the commitments Christmas entails, and that can often takes us away from our regular yoga practice at a studio with a teacher.

It can be frustrating to let go temporarily of that precious mind-body time in our week, but we believe a flexible approach to self-care is key to keep grounded throughout this period and beyond.

Steph Wall, owner and principal teacher at the Kali Collective, has put together for you her 10 best tips to help strengthen your home practice and navigate the end of the year busy-ness peacefully.

  

For years I struggled with maintaining a home practice. I made a million excuses, such as I didn’t have the space, I didn’t know what I was doing or I didn’t know how to do it right. But after discovering these techniques, I slowly created a strong home practice. Now I wake up early every morning to move in my own way. During this time, I find my balance, my grounding and my strength to set me up for a beautiful day. This is also where I create sequences to teach during class. This alone time where I can express myself fully. The creativity that arises from my home practice is staggering and exactly what I need to be able to share my practice with others. 

10) Find a quiet place. Set yourself in a place where you know you won’t be interrupted. I prefer to set my mat at the end of my bed rather than in the living room because I know no one will bother me in my room. Finding a quite space is vital for me, otherwise I have the constant worry of being interrupted during my private practice. 

9) No distractions. Phone off. Tell your roommates or family members you need this time for yourself and can’t be bothered. Make it clear to others and to yourself that this is alone time for you. 

8) Music. Set a playlist that you know you can run for a while without wanting to change the song. For me, music has always been my escape. Whether it’s the Nine Inch Nails or Bon Iver,  when I practice with my favourite tunes in the background, I know I’m allowed to wander into my own world.

7) Keep the lighting low. I really enjoy practicing in the near dark, either as the sun is rising or after it has set. Losing that sense of sight by not seeing myself in studio mirrors or even my own body in the light, allows me to just feel what’s going on in my body. What I look like doesn’t matter, as it never really should. 

6) Take advantage of online resources. It’s amazing how many free classes are online. Just google or youtube free yoga practices. Being guided by someone at home opposed to a studio, allows you to create a space in your home that belongs to yoga. This is a great way to get you moving at home until you are able to turn off your computer and move in your own way. 

5) Educate yourself on the basics. This allows you to stay safe. Once you start moving on your own, take the time to figure out the basics. When is it safe to do deeper back bends, twists etc? By trusting and listening to your body, you should have a good gauge of what’s right and wrong.

4) Ditch trying to make a sequence. It is not necessary to have a perfect sequence created in order to practice on your own. Yoga teachers have done hours of sequence training to develop creative, safe ways to move.  For now, maybe consider covering the basics first before making longer sequences. Do one or two poses at a time until you become more comfortable and able to remember a longer order of poses. And if you try something and forget it by the time you get to the other side? Who cares! Do it when you remember. 

3) Keep your practice short. It can seem intimidating to try to create an entire 60-90 minute class on your own. Try setting a goal of moving for just 10 minutes on your own. Once you become more comfortable being your own teacher, you will find that you need more and more time for your practice but let that come naturally. 

2) Trust yourself.  You don’t need to be a yoga instructor to be able to do your own home practice. As long as you know how to stay safe, anyone can practice yoga alone. If you are unsure about a pose, try it, close your eyes and go with how it feels in your body. Your body know’s what’s right or wrong. When you no longer have a teacher there to tell you the correct alignment, you then need to check in with the physical feeling of the pose in your body. If it doesn’t feel right, play around.

1) Stop thinking! Just move. Your practice doesn’t need to be or look perfect. Shut your brain off, forget about being your own teacher and instead do what feels great. Just because you do a warrior 2 every single studio class doesn’t mean you need to do that at home. In fact, take that time to explore other things. Breathe, listen, honour and move.

Take time to develop your practice. Let yourself make “mistakes” and enjoy the expressions that arise within you. 

 

For those of you who are ready to advance their yoga practice after the festive period, Steph Wall is inviting you to Bali on March 10 - 17 2018, on a very special retreat entirely dedicated to fulfilling your potential. With only a small deposit required at this stage, why not treat yourself with a Christmas present with long lasting effects, well into the New Year? 

Connect to the beautiful energy within | a guided meditation by Hannah Moore

The Kali Collective welcomed a new teacher in September: Hannah Moore!

The beautiful and gifted Hannah is now teaching her Vinyasa 1 class every Monday at 5pm. Come and say hello!

From the very beginning, we were very taken by her guided meditations, so we've asked her to record one as a special gift just for you... Let's connect to the beautiful energy within...

Yoga Nidra | The Practice of Welcoming | By Katie Boyle

Yoga Nidra | The Practice of Welcoming | By Katie Boyle

Yoga nidra has taught me that every feeling we experience has a message. The issue is that we tend to welcome only some of our feelings and reject others. We want the difficult feelings – sadness, fear, judgement, guilt, shame, loneliness – to go away and leave us alone. Yet until we listen to what the feeling is trying to tell us, it will only get stronger.

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An Introduction to Arm Balances & Inversions | By Steph Wall

An Introduction to Arm Balances & Inversions  | By Steph Wall

We flew, we balanced, we fell...

And we certainly laughed too! Remember all those reason we spoke about for wanting to learn arm balances and inversions!? Well, top of the list was to have fun and be challenged! And that's exactly what happened. You rocked it and it's been so fun to see some of you put those tools into practice since the workshop! 
I wanted to do a little write up about the workshop because I know it's easy to forget things. Remember that everything is a progression and we build bit by bit until we are upside down and flying around! 

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6 Tips To Advance Your Yoga Practice | By Jenny Clark

6 Tips To Advance Your Yoga Practice | By Jenny Clark

The practice of asana opens us up to possibility, both mentally and physically. You may find yourself in a pose that you once thought impossible or being in a meditative state after a stressful day. When you step onto the mat, promoted my the teacher or not, begin to set intentions. Ask yourself, why am I here? What do I need from this practice? What am I in need of in my life right now? What energy can I invite into my body through this practice that will take me further to my ideal state? Your answer might be the same for a while or it might change from class to class

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How To Squeeze Every Last Drop Out Of Your Yoga Practice | By Jenny Clark

How To Squeeze Every Last Drop Out Of Your Yoga Practice | By Jenny Clark

Schedule your practice into your daily routine. If you need motivation to get on the mat then think about how you felt when you left your last yoga class, that always works for me!

Commit yourself not only to getting on the mat but to fully be there. Arrive to your class at least 10 minutes early. Make contact with the teacher, even if it is a simple hello or a smile. Set up your mat and props. Find a comfortable position and have a mental clearing, releasing anything that is running through your mind and keeping you from being present. Put those thoughts to one side, tell yourself you can revisit them after class. When your make that commitment to be mentally clear you create a clearer path for the teachings of yoga to be absorbed. The next 60-90 minutes is all about you, your body, your energy and your practice.

 After class, move slowly and speak quietly. Take as much time as you need to reintegrate into the world. Sip water or tea and thank yourself for your practice.

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Transitioning into the New Year

On Jan 3rd, our belied teacher, Zac and Hollie taught a beautiful 2 hour class themed around transitioning into the new year. A challenging practice to help us move through blockages, shake the dust and come into this year brighter and firm on our feet.

A Thank You doesn't cut it! Our thanks will be embodied action that will ripple through our communities and beyond. 

We love you Zac and Hollie!

Yoga & I | By Yoga Student Nicola Carr

If you had told me a year ago I was heading towards becoming a cruelty free, non-meat eating, yoga practicing person I would probably of laughed in your face.  

What a difference a year makes.  This summer, while on holiday with my family I got a message from a friend asking if I wanted to go to a free yoga class at a studio that had recently opened in Glasgow. The class was only 30 minutes long and so I agreed, having done very little yoga previously (mainly via You Tube in the comfort of my own home).

Fast forward to the day of our class and my friend had to cancel last minute (Don't feel bad if you're reading this Helen!).  It's important to note that at this point, anxiety and panic attacks ruled my life alongside a daily battle with serious body confidence issues.  I instantly spiralled into a pit of self doubt: there was no way I could walk into a room where I didn't know anyone and take a class that was completely foreign to me.  I spent the whole day in a state of panic.  It would of been the easiest thing to just hit the cancel button however I couldn't escape a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I needed to go this class. I somehow forced myself to listen to my gut  and found myself outside of the studio with my boyfriend practically pushing me out of the car.   Once inside I couldn't even bring myself to speak to anyone, my voice just disappeared.  I hid at the back of the class and I practically ran out of the room as soon as the class was over however...I FREAKING WENT AND FINISHED!

 

Almost five months on, I am now a member of the most beautiful yoga studio The Kali Collective  and I'm practicing yoga almost daily.  I've attended a six week mindfulness course which has introduced me to meditation, taken various workshops that have really expanded my mind and completed a 30 day yoga challenge.  It hasn't been easy and I've cried on my mat more than times that I can count but the differences I've felt both in my body and my mind have made it all worth it.  Here are the three main things I've learned through my practice:

Compassion: I've changed a huge amount in the last year and this can be contributed greatly towards my decision to live a more compassionate lifestyle.  However, I would often forget to practice compassion towards myself.  Being mindful of how I talk to and about myself has really opened my eyes to how destructive I could be towards my own self worth.  This in turn has huge implications towards my panic and anxiety.  Think about how you speak to yourself - would you talk that way to  or about other people?  I know I never would.  Replace thoughts like 'I can't do this' (which I'm the queen of) with the acknowledgment that trying something new can be scary or difficult and think 'I'm going give this my best try' and if you don't succeed at first, that's ok, you tried your hardest.

Yoga has given me the time and space to start peeling away the layers of self doubt and anxiety that prevented me from discovering my true potential; practicing self compassion has been key to this.

Gratitude: In the first week of my mindfulness class, we focussed on gratitude.  I started writing a gratitude journal which has really helped begin to change my mind set.  It can be the tiniest of things, (like today I am grateful for my huge Vego bar) however learning to appreciate the gifts that life has given me has allowed me to open my mind towards the possibilities that I may have previously let slip by due to fear.  Practicing gratitude has equipped me to better deal with the shitty situations life throws up. An example is how I deal with panic attacks.  With each panic attack (which are getting fewer and fewer) I get better equipped at dealing with them.  I'm given the opportunity to put what I've learned into practice.

Leading on from this, yoga has taught me to be grateful for my body.  I've struggled greatly with body confidence issues.  I was diagnosed with PCOS this year and for a long time felt like my body was working against me, I'm a serial yo-yo dieter, my weight fluctuates up and down, dragging my self confidence along with it.  I've found that with each new pose I learn, each time I twist a little deeper or stretch a little further, my focus shifts from how my body looks to what it can do.  The more consistent I am with my practice, the more my body craves movement.  

Empowerment: This has come from practicing at The Kali Collective whose ethos is 'empowered movement'.  Yoga has empowered me to explore my mind/body connection.  It still amazes me that I can twist my body into a particular pose which in turn invokes an emotional response (I cry practically every time I'm in pigeon pose for example).  Yoga has given me the chance to take back control of my body and thoughts.  My practice gives me the time to take a moment to work on myself which can be scary, exciting and empowering all at the same time.  I vividly remember the first time I  was taught camel pose. I had the most intense thumping in my chest which for the longest time was the first signal of a panic attack.  However, I had created this feeling through movement and it felt amazing. I finally felt like I was regaining control of my body again and for that, I will be forever grateful.

So here I am, five months later crying while I write this for the girl at her first yoga class, who felt  completely lost and overwhelmed by a ball of panic. If only she could see herself as I do now, one of the bravest people I know.

 

Originally published on   Magic's in the Make Up, Nicolas blog

The Power of Commitment

When a desire to commit presents itself, give it a go. You never know what may happen. Nicola, participated in our llast 30 day challenge. She practiced 6 days a week at the studio and took on a home based practice one day a week. 

Our next challenge starts January 5th. Start 2016 off in the right direction. Committing to a yoga and empowered movement practice gives both physical and mental benefits. You will feel stronger, taller, more flexible and you will move through your classes with increased sense of play and belonging.

Sign up and commit to 30 days of physical and mental personal growth.


My Journey into Stillness | By Steph Wall

A series of events put me in a situation Ive never been in before.; an experience more powerful than anything I could have ever paid for, any course I could have ever taken, or any advice Ive ever heard. As a person who thrives on excitement, determination and achievement, this experience came to me in the most unlikely of places: I gave everything up and got really still.

 

It all started because I decided to take a job overseas. Had it not been for prior commitments at home, I would have leapt across the pond to the UK immediately. Instead, I have had to spend several months in transition. I decided it that would be perfect to slow down and enjoy my remaining time in the beautiful Okanagan. So I left my jobs, moved in with my boyfriend got super quiet.

 

I was one of those people that busied myself beyond belief and could give you a thousand reasons why

 

My life used to be insane. I was one of those people that busied myself beyond belief and could give you a thousand reasons why. I was teaching around 15 classes a week, working twice a week as a caregiver for a quadriplegic and going to University. I practiced yoga once a day and my spare time consisted of juggling friends, a relationship, homework and marketing my yoga business. So when I took time off, I thought it would all slow down - but I quickly busied myself in other ways doing things I never had time for before like cooking, studying yoga, running and seeing friends and family.

 

It didnt take long for me to realize I was filling my time to ease the intense anxiety I had towards doing nothing. In the rare quiet moments, I felt all the things I was trying to hide. I found myself anxious to get things done when I had nothing to do. I would create weird little deadlines for things that held no importance. I felt guilty for relaxing, as if I didnt earn it. I struggled with my self-worth as I quickly realized I valued myself by who I was as a teacher not a person: my pay-cheques could no longer determine my value because I wasnt getting any. Worst of all, I questioned my relationship with my boyfriend many times. Now we were living together and spending much more time with each other than before. My insecurities bubbled up fast as the tables turned and now time spent with my boyfriend revolved around his schedule and not mine. He was the one that needed some space now, not me. I had to let go of the control I held for so long in order to find a compromise with him. It hit me hard realizing how much I love control -even harder seeing all the excuses I used and believed as a way to justify distracting myself.

 

I realized then, that it was time I had a serious sit down with myself. I made a deal with myself to get more curious about this illusive stillness I was trying to avoid. Here was my opportunity to look straight at the deepest parts of myself and see what I knew it would be the ugly truths behind my anxiety, guilt, insecurities, lack of worth and value, and need to control.

So I got even quieter. I enforced limitations on my phone use: turning it off between 9 p.m and a.m. and only using it on wireless. Realizing the studio was my little escape, I began practicing yoga at home, and no more than necessary. I stopped filling my schedule to the brim with coffee dates and dedicated much more time to just being still, allowing myself to go wandering outside without my phone, to lay in the sun without checking the time, to sit and meditate without setting a timer, to lay on the couch watching repeats of The Mindy Project without feeling guilty. Most importantly, I created space to observe the emotions that would start to rise from the nothingness and then patiently watch them leave. And the lesson I learned was priceless.

My conclusion is this: I understand that the things I do are not nearly as important as I thought. Who I am is what’s important. My friends and family dont care if I teach zero classes or 15 a week; they care that Im happy and healthy. The pay-cheques from overworking were temporary moments of satisfaction that hold little real value now. And all those extra classes I jammed into my schedule because I thought I should, didnt help me feel any less guilty when I sat down to relax. All that happened when I glorified my busy-ness was I let the most special feelings you could have about yourself come from what I did not from who I was.


Feeling valuable without a decent income is difficult for me. So is feeling loved without a jillion coffee dates, and feeling worthy without teaching full classes, or feeling wanted when my boyfriend needs more space. Through working to cultivate these things on my own, though, Ive learned that I cannot allow the external world to define me; as the universe continues to teach me, all those feelings of love, worth, value, and security can still be present when you have nothing at all. Because stillness is not nothing.