Canggu, Bali, August 2016

Buddhist Monastery, Banjar, Bali, August 2016

Yogi at Hindu Monastery, Kauai, Hawaii, March 2014

How is your Plastic-Free July going? Don’t fret if you’re finding it difficult. Cutting out plastic requires a great deal of commitment, organisation and time. Raewyn from Little Bit Daily  has put together a few handy tips that will help you to develop simple plastic-free habits and routines.

1. Put Together a ‘Zero Waste’ Tool Kit 

If you can, invest a little more on items that will last, are functional and maybe a bit cute so that you actually enjoy using them.

An ideal kit includes:

  • A tote bag
  • Cutlery, chopsticks and a stainless steel straw (in a handmade cutlery wrap or cotton bag)
  • Reusable coffee cup (KeepCup)
  • Drink Bottle (Lifetime Bottle)
  • Container (stainless steel or reusing a plastic one is fine)
  • A couple of small cloth bags (for bulk bins/baked goodies). I roll these up tight and secure with a hair tie/rubber band.

2. Be a Crazy Bag Person (reusable bag that is!)

Get bags. Lots of bags. If you’re on a budget, check out your local op shop, or you can sew your own bags from old sheets/fabric. If you’re buying new reusable bags, choose cotton, hemp or recycled fabric. Thin bags that fold up small are perfect for stashing away in handbags, jacket pockets and the glove box. You can never have too many bags.

plastic free july

3. BYO Snacks

Scroggin (nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate) isn’t just for tramping! Have some on hand in order to resist the temptation to buy packaged snacks. Popcorn is another healthy and affordable snack you can easily buy in bulk. I also like to make bliss balls and mini muffins.

4. Switch to Soap Bars

Shampoo, conditioner, body and hand wash bottles can all be replaced by soaps – check out the full Ethique range. Keeping soap dry between use will help them last longer.

plastic free july

5. Avoid Plastic Wrap

Give up cling film (plastic wrap) for a month and you’ll realise you don’t really need it. Use containers, jars, cloths or beeswax wraps instead. You can also use a plate or saucepan lid to cover leftovers in the fridge. 

6. Reuse Jars

There are endless uses for jars. To remove lingering smells, soak the jars with a baking soda and water mixture. To get rid of stubborn labels, soak in boiling hot water and scrape away, you can also use eucalyptus oil to easily wipe off sticky glue. Then use a china pencil to write on jars, it’s waterproof but can be rubbed off easily.

7. Make Your Own Products

Cleaning products are the easiest to make. All you need is white vinegar and baking soda. You can DIY all sorts of beauty, bathroom and kitchen products. Try to learn to make one new thing each week.

8. Check Out Your Local Farmers Market 

Supermarket produce is often covered in plastic. Get up early, take a coffee and get down to your local weekend fruit and veg market. Just make sure you take your bags! You can reuse old plastic bags or get some reusable mesh produce bags. They also often sell free-range eggs, bread, and local honey in jars. Return the empty egg cartons and jars to the famers next time you go.

plastic free july

 9. Try Bulk Food Shopping

If you’re unsure, just take one jar/cloth bag or even a paper bag to a bulk food shop and get one thing to start with. Places like GoodFor make it easy for you to use your own jars and bottles too.  It’s really fun. You’ll be hooked first time.

Finally, share the plastic-free message, there’s a steadily growing ‘zero waste’ online community happy to give advice and share in your success. Join the ‘Zero Waste in NZ’ Facebook page and check out the #zerowaste hashtag on Instagram. Spreading the message and inspiring others is a powerful way to make a difference.

Contributed post by Raewyn Pearce (@littlebitdaily)


Pumpkin is a powerhouse of mental health nutrients. It is also one of the most versatile vegetables that can be served many different ways. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin beer….there are so many ways to fix pumpkin! Pumpkin is widely available all winter and is very inexpensive. Pumpkins are also easy and fun to grow!

What’s so good about it?

  • Fiber

Pumpkin is high in fiber, which not only aids in digestion, it acts as a prebiotic for healthy gut bacteria. As we learn more about the important connection between gut bacteria and mental health, the more we know how critical it is to have good gut health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that strengthen our immune systems and even regulate our moods. Probiotics need fiber in the gut to colonize and flourish. A cup of pumpkin has 3 grams of fiber and only 49 calories. Adding pumpkin to a meal will help you feel full longer.

  • Potassium

Pumpkin is a great source of potassium. A cup of pumpkin has about 500 mg of potassium – more than the boastful banana! Potassium is a critical electrolyte that contains a positive electrical charge and works closely with chloride in regulating blood pressure and PH balance. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly. Potassium allows our muscles to move, our nerves to fire, and our kidneys to filter blood. The right balance of potassium literally allows the heart to beat.

Low potassium levels have been associated with greater risk for mood disturbances and depression. Potassium deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue, muscle weakness, cramps, Restless Leg Syndrome, and chronic pain. Depression and pain are intimately intertwined. People with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms – usually mood or anxiety disorders.

Potassium also helps regulate serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is primarily targeted by antidepressants. Potassium acts as a facilitator in the brain’s ability to utilize serotonin. Potassium’s positive electrical charge is necessary to spark neurotransmitters like serotonin to make us feel better. Even a slight decrease in potassium levels can trigger significant feelings of anxiety. “When levels of serotonin are high, you’re in a better mood, sleep better, and have a higher pain tolerance,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of numerous nutrition books, including her latest, Eat Your Way to Happiness.

  • Amino acids

Pumpkin is a good source of the amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine, all of which are associated with mood-regulating neurotransmitters. Tryptophan converts to serotonin in the brain. While antidepressants attempt to make serotonin more available, tryptophan is the only substance that can make serotonin. Pumpkin seeds are especially high in tryptophan and can be roasted for a delicious snack.

Pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium. Just half a cup of toasted pumpkin seeds has 92 percent of your daily value of magnesium. Magnesium is nature’s relaxer. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium has long been used to calm nerves and to relax muscles. Its therapeutic role in both depression and anxiety is well documented.

  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play a very important role in the management of inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to depression and anxiety as well as many other modern diseases and disorders.

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatories. They are extremely important for many aspects of health, including mental health.

Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory. In other words, they cause inflammation. We need inflammation sometimes. When we have a wound, we need inflammation to protect the wound and promote healing.

Many people are experiencing chronic inflammation, which is detrimental to our physical and mental health. Diseases of chronic inflammation are more prevalent in societies that eat a Western Diet. This is likely due to the high amount of processed food, junk food, and fast food that is full of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils. Oils like soy oil, corn oil, and canola oil are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and very low in omega-3 fatty acids.

The proper ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is critical for maintaining an inflammation balance. The ideal ratio is 1:1 to as high as 1:4. The Western Diet has a ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s that typically ranges from 1:25 to 1:50! It’s no wonder we suffer from chronic inflammation.

Increasing the omega-3s in our diet while decreasing omega-6s can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety. Many of the foods we eat commonly are high in omega-6s compared to omega-3s. Pumpkin is one of the relative few foods that have the perfect balance of omega-3s to omega-6s in a ratio of 1:1!

How to eat pumpkin

Pumpkin can be baked, boiled, roasted or pureed. It can be made into soups, smoothies, desserts, and casseroles. There are countless recipes online for the myriad ways to eat pumpkin. Pumpkin can also be substituted in almost any recipe calling for other types of winter squash. And don’t forget about the seeds, which can be eaten raw or roasted.

Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Overnight Oats. This recipe is full of mental health nutrients like tryptophan and omega-3s. It’s super easy, healthy, and a great way to start your day with pumpkin!

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

¼ cup regular rolled oats

¼ cup milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

¼ cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)

¼ cup canned or pureed pumpkin

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1-2 teaspoons maple syrup to taste

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)

Mix together all ingredients or place in a jar and shake until well blended. Leave in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy in the morning garnished with pecans.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mix 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, and ½ teaspoon cloves until blended. Store in an airtight container.

Thanks for the article Angela Dailey



Moving meditation ideas to quiet the mind


Find the right moving meditation practice for you.

For those who find it difficult to quiet the mind by stillness alone, consider these movement-based meditation options that may be your key to finding inner calm.



Gentle yoga often referred to as restorative, has a gentler pace that many other styles of yoga. It promotes attention to breath and tuning into the needs of your body. Other forms of yoga that are gentle specifically designed for quietening the mind are Kripalu, Hatha, Viniyoga and Sivananda.


Runner feet and shoes

Whilst also triggering ‘happy’ hormones, walking is a great way to relax your mind by focusing on moving forward, whats happening in your body and your planned route.

Gentle stretching


Focusing on the breath is a key to moving through stretching positions in a safe way. This attention to breath triggers the slowing down of your heart rate and allows you to “go into your body” to get vital biofeedback, listening to what your body needs as you go.

Feldenkrais Method and Alexander Technique

Woman in reclining twist yoga position

Both are considered therapies that are designed to treat pain and improve physical function, using gentle repetition of movement and practicing new patterns of self-awareness. These techniques both provide the tools of “self-observation through movement.”

Dance meditation

Woman with long brown hair, dancing

Kundalini meditation takes you through four stages of movement starting with shaking out the stress, heading into stillness. 5Rhythms send you on a journey through five different qualities of movement led by a meditation guide.

Traditional Martial arts and movement systems

Group of people doing thai-chi pose in field

Qigong, a posture, movement and breathing meditation practice and peaceful martial arts techniques like Aikido and Tai Chi involve the practice of kata, a sequence of movements performed carefully in mindful slow patterns.

Thanks for the article.


The Wellness Routine You Should Follow This Winter


Three tips to help you adapt to the seasons for better health.

Winter is the time for restoration, nourishment and nurturing, says Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat Program Manager, Donna Abbate. While venturing out into the cold might not seem like the most appealing idea, ensuring you get enough fresh air and exercise is just as important during the colder months as it is in summer.

1. Change up your exercise regime

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our energy and overall health are better balanced by adapting to the seasons. Adapt your exercise regime to the weather and get moving in the form of yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. This will help you consolidate your energy in preparation for the burst of new life in spring.

2. Nourish the body

Remember also to adapt your diet to match the season. Eat more cooked foods, root vegetables, spices, porridge, hearty soups and stews. Support your immune system by keeping hydrated with more drinks, such as herbal teas and hot water with lemon and ginger. These will also help you feel warm and nourished.

3. Adjust your everyday rituals

Finally, align your daily habits with the change in weather. Go to bed earlier to ensure adequate rest, and keep the kidneys warm by rugging up in the cold. Keep your head, neck, upper back, and belly warm and safe from wind. Wear a hat and a jacket with a warm collar or scarf.

Gwinganna offers a speciality program designed around Winter Wellness from 7-10 June and 19-22 July 2018. For more details visit

Thanks for the article.





Painting, Pampering & Yoga Retreat


Unleash your inner vitality & radiance. Join Paula Knight artist & painting tutor and I for a tropical journey to indulge your senses and relax into a truly inspirational environment. Set in a luxury coastal villa, we will be sharing with our guests our collaborative knowledge base with dedicated relaxation, pampering and creative inspiration to feed your soul. 


September 20th – September 26th 2018 (6 nights)

​What you can expect

On arrival to our villa, life becomes a dream. This week is about relaxation and connecting to your creative flow. Paula will lead you through fun, confidence building painting exercises and guide you while you create your watercolour and acrylic paintings.

Practising YogAlign, modified to accommodate each inviduals ability, set in a tropical garden. Everything is optional, and we encourage our guests to relax as they need to.

Safe and easy

We have a preferred travel agent who will help you with flights and get you onto the same flight as other guests. We will arrange a driver to meet you at the airport and bring you to either the villa or if you prefer a day or two prior to the retreat, prearranged separate accommodation, where you can join us and the others in your group to relax and catch your breath after your flight. We will also have a meet and great before we leave NZ for those who can make it.

Booking options available for couples, singles and small groups. You can sign up to Paula's email alerts at so you don't miss out.


Who’s there

Paula Knight: renowned art teacher, mentors, guides and advises, as well as helping you to deepen your creative connection and maximise your time there amongst the magic. Covering botanical watercolour painting and acrylic on canvas painting. Suitable for all levels, no experience needed. Paula loves introducing beginners to painting.

Leonie Main: YogAlign instructor & wellness enthusiast will teach you a complete healing modality integrating mind, body & soul. 

Harriet Meyer-Knight: architectural talks explaining local Balinese architecture. Plant-based food demonstrations, happy tummy delights and beautiful creations to make you smile.
The villa staff will be on hand to make your whole experience that little bit more special – you just wait and see!


The food


Delicious and healthy meals, using local produce, including authentic Balinese cuisine. We will be offering nutritious plant based, raw food options and cater for gluten, vegetarian and dairy free diets. 


Our Villa

Our secluded luxury villa has panoramic views overlooking rice paddies and surrounding tropical jungle, near Balian beach. 

Our beautiful bedrooms are shared or private, all with ensuite bathrooms, luxury linens and overlook the tropical garden. Fresh fruit and purified water being replenished daily. Massages at the villa and plenty of time relaxing on king size daybeds by the infinity pool, overlooking the beautiful tropical gardens. Staff can arrange any extra pampering as you feel. Your entire week will be about looking after you.


Surrounding areas

You are 2min from the beach by car. Alternatively you can walk and enjoy the glimpses of Balinese life on your way. Only 1km from the sacred Balian river, Balian beach and the lively local village.

Rice field walks and visits to water temples, beach & local night market.



Bedroom with king bed & ensuite NZ$3295 pp  (NZ$2995 pp king share)

Twin share rooms & ensuite NZ$2995 pp 

All beautiful bedrooms have ensuites, air conditioning & lovely views. 

NZ$250 discount for all Earlybird bookings paid by 30th June 2018


Dates: 20 September – 26 September 2018 (6 nights) 

​What’s included?

+ 6 nights luxury villa accommodation

+ Private or twin share rooms all with ensuites

+ Each room is serviced daily by our attentive local staff
+ Guided nature walks in surrounding rice fields
+ Transportation for our excursions, visits to all natural sites & temples
+ Adventure to the beach, sacred Balian river & hike (weather permitting)

+ Local architecture narrative from Harriet who holds an architectural degree

+ All your delicious, healthy breakfasts, lunches and 4 evening meals at the villa included. We cater for vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and other dietary requirements 

+ Raw plant-based food demonstrations
+ Daily tropical, fresh fruit platters
+ Bali coffee & fresh herbal teas
+ Filtered water, fresh fruit juices

+ Daily YogAlign classes

+ Individual client assessment & YogAlign consultation

+ Powerful tools to create awareness & self-heal

+ Re-set your body with proper alignment, breathing & self-care

+ Release self-limiting beliefs

+ Meditation in movement
+ 1/2 or 1 hour Balinese massages


+ Acrylic on canvas painting. Take your piece of tropical paradise home with you 

+ Botanical painting in water colour

+ Confidence in your creative side & general self-expression 

+ Relaxing art therapy

+ All art supplies


Why us?

Bali is a special place for us, having been there a combined total of over a dozen times and we wish to share Bali with you as a place for inspiration, growth & healing. A friendship spanning over 30 years, Leonie & Paula share a love of nature, art, travel, people & cultures. We will be in Bali to nourish, support & teach you, while allowing you to find & maintain your optimal wellness in a way only a creative retreat can.


We invite people of all ages & stages to join us!

Get in touch through Paula's website to reserve your spot, you don’t want to miss this years Bali Magic! 
(limited spaces remain)

Earlybird offer! From NZ$2745 until 30 June.





3 Lifestyle Hacks to Dampen Inflammation  

Inflammation is a natural and needed process in the body; it is part of an effective immune system response. The body uses beneficial acute inflammatory reactions to direct blood flow, immune cells, and nutrients to areas in need of healing, such as wounds and infections. But when inflammation gets out of hand or occurs in the wrong place, it can result in tissue damage, hormonal imbalances, and even death.

The body releases chemicals, hormones, and other mediators to bring about and direct an inflammatory response. You have likely experienced the pain, redness, immobility, swelling, and increased temperature that occur when your body initiates acute inflammation in response to a cut or infection. On the other hand, chronic insidious inflammation often occurs deeper in the body where the signs may not be as obvious right away.

How Chronic Inflammation Affects the Body

Chronic inflammation may result from the failure to eliminate the cause of an acute inflammatory response, such as an infection, an autoimmune disorder where the body mistakenly attacks normal tissue, or exposure to internally or externally generated toxins or irritants. These inflammatory processes can also be triggered by chronic food allergies and sensitivities, imbalances of bacteria and fungi in the gut, constant psychological or physical stress, and environmental toxicity.

When these inflammatory chemicals circulate in the body over time at a certain level, they can disrupt normal function and cause damage. This may result in symptoms of fatigue, pain, fever, and psoriasis. Over time, chronic inflammation may contribute to many lifestyle-related disorders, including:

Lifestyle Strategies to Balance Inflammation

Like many chronic conditions, the development of inflammation-related disorders is often influenced by lifestyle choices. There are some powerful steps you can take to optimize your lifestyle habits and build abundant health. Since each body and lifestyle is unique, always check with your healthcare provider before making major changes. Consider some of these strategies to reduce chronic inflammation and prevent future disease.

1. Fill Up with Fresh, Real Foods

Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is a good start to keeping chronic low-level inflammation at bay. To keep inflammation levels in check and blood sugar levels stable, it is important to eat real, whole foods without added, refined sugars, processed carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients.

An anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in a wide variety of colorful organic vegetables, natural fiber, essential phytonutrients, and probiotics can help to nourish a healthy microbiome and squelch excess inflammation.

There are also some specific foods that have anti-inflammatory properties:

  • Berries
  • Dark leafy greens including kale and spinach
  • Cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel
  • Spices like ginger and turmeric
  • Herbs like basil and parsley
  • Organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Naturally fermented foods like raw sauerkraut and supplements like probiotics

2. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Your levels of chronic inflammation are also highly influenced by stress. Like inflammation, stress is a normal process that your body uses to protect you, but too much ongoing stress can become harmful and contribute to chronic inflammation. Relentless emotional, physical, and psychological stress weakens the immune system and promotes unchecked inflammation.

Research suggests that chronic psychological stress results in the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The stress response involves the release of hormones, like cortisol, which help to prepare the body to fight or flee a perceived threat.

Immune cells are also influenced by cortisol. In normal amounts, cortisol seems to influence immune cells to limit and regulate the acute inflammatory response. But when immune cells are chronically exposed to stress hormones, they become insensitive to the normal regulatory effects of cortisol, and inflammation can become out of control.

People who respond to stress with anger and hostility are also at risk for increased inflammation and heart attacks. Unhealthy coping strategies such as smoking, alcohol use, and overeating can worsen the impact of chronic inflammation and contribute to the risk of chronic diseases.

Instead, opt to cope with stress in a way that soothes the mind and body.

3. Remember Your Oral Health

Keeping your mouth clean and healthy not only results in great oral health, it can also help reduce your overall levels of inflammation. Good dental hygiene keeps bacterial levels in the mouth under control and gums healthy so that bad oral bacteria do not escape into the bloodstream and trigger inflammation.

Consider incorporating some lifestyle habits that help to maintain good oral health.

  • The mouth needs fat-soluble vitamins, like D and K, along with the right balance of minerals, like calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, to stay healthy.
  • Tongue scraping (jihwa prakshalana) is an Ayurvedic self-care practice to support oral hygiene. It reduces undesirable bacteria and volatile sulfur compounds, which are linked to bad breath, dental decay, and inflammation.
  • Oil pulling is another Ayurvedic self-care ritual that can benefit oral health. Use one tablespoon of organic sesame or coconut oil and squish it around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes before disposing of it in a trashcan (avoid spitting it in your sink as it may cause clogs).

Use these lifestyle practices to allow your nervous system, mind, and body to stay balanced and keep inflammation in check!

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
Thanks for the article.

Come join us in Bali for 6 nights in a luxury villa, from the 20th to 26th September 2018.

Indulge your senses in a tropical oasis & let your creativity flourish.

Myself & artist/teacher Paula Knight will be sharing our knowledge & create an amazing experience for those who wish to join us.

More details for this luxury retreat to follow.

New Zealand – 10 Day YogAlign Certification – 19th - 30th November 2018

North Island, New Zealand – Mangawhai Surf Club.  Beautiful, beachfront location in the North Island.

Learn to teach YogAlign in this 10 day event. Suitable for yogis, bodyworkers, physical therapists and trainers, fitness and wellness educators.

Course includes a download of the YogAlign book, which is required reading for the course, as well as anatomy worksheets which must be completed before the course start date.

Monday to Friday 19 - 23 November and Monday to Friday 26 - 30 November 2018 (weekend of 24 - 25 Nov is free time) $1700 NZD, $250 discount to $1450 NZD if paid by 1st September 2018.

Housing and food not included. Kitchen is located on the club premises and reasonably priced accommodations are nearby.

Book online



Natural Ways To Boost Your Energy


Does your energy need a boost? Try these eight tips from human behavioural expert

Dr John Demartini.

It is commonly believed that we lose energy as we grow older, but the level of energy one has in life is not so much connected to age as it is to state of mind. Naturally, when someone is coming to the end of their life and is more susceptible to disease, they may not have the same reservoir of energy and vitality as someone much younger.

The people who are at the most risk of ‘suffering’ a lack of energy are those who do not feel like they are living purposefully; they feel lost, overwhelmed and out of focus. They are scattered and are trying to live other people’s lives. Often their diets and lifestyles are not all that ideal.

The body and mind are inseparable in their interactions and, therefore, we need to be accountable for how our psychology may be affecting our overall health. For instance, distraction and lack of direction in life can be a major contributor to low physical energy. Often people spend their day carrying around a long list of tasks in their mind; things that they think they have to do, should have done, or could do. The mental energy expended just thinking about this never-ending to-do list can leave you feeling drained, lethargic and completely overwhelmed.

In today’s fast-paced world it is essential we learn how to delegate and not try to take responsibility for everything. Try putting this imaginary list on paper, reviewing it and then separating what only you can do from what you know you can delegate to someone else. Once you have done this you will not feel as overwhelmed and immediately more motivated and energized.

There are several other ways we can enhance our energy and vitality, without reaching for the coffee or cola:

  1. Prioritise your daily actions. When you fill your day with high priority, energizing and inspiring actions your day won’t fill up with low priority, de-energizing and despairing distractions. The former elevates your self-worth and the latter drains and lowers it.
  2. Prioritise what you eat. Eat the most vital and invigorating foods. Eat them with moderation, rhythm, and consistency. Eat to live. Don’t live to eat. Fuel your body with quality nutrients.
  3. Drink clean water – the universal solvent – more than sweet or falsely energizing drinks that initiate volatilities in your blood sugar levels that induce rises and falls.
  4. Do moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga, or dancing.
  5. Breathe deeply and diaphragmatically until it is your daily standard and habit and you will have a tight abdomen and loose shoulders instead of tight shoulders and a loose abdomen.
  6. Do not eat heavy and lie down. Eat light at night.
  7. Read classical and inspiring books written by inspiring originators and masters.
  8. Document what you are grateful each day. When you are grateful for what experiences you receive you receive more experiences to be grateful for, and you will generate an increase in energy and physical well being.

By making changes to the way you approach your life and by placing greater emphasis on personal fulfilment, purpose and congruence with your highest values, you can enhance your vitality naturally, and without outside stimulants.

Dr John Demartini is a renowned entrepreneur and human behaviour expert, founder of The Demartini Institute and author of 40 books. For more information visit

Thanks MiNDFOOD for the article



Plant the seed of positivity into your mind,

nourish it daily with love

and happiness will flower,

as fear begins to die.

Leon Brown

The One Practice That Taught Me To Shed Labels — And Embrace Freedom

Katina Mountanos - mbg


From the time we are young children, we place labels on ourselves to make sense of the world. We are either skinny or big-boned; cool or unpopular; a musician or an athlete.

And while these labels at times can be helpful to create some form of an identity, they are often extremely limiting. They place us into boxes—or out of them—and continue to follow us well into adulthood.

For a long time, I labeled myself as inflexible. I was a strong runner with an athletic build—not like the tall, lanky women we see gracing the covers of magazines. I completely took myself out of the "yoga" box because I assumed that in order to do it, you needed to have a certain body type.

It also didn’t help that by social media standards, yogis seemed like they could pop into an oddly formed shape anywhere—whether they were on a yoga mat or in an airport. It was intimidating to think that I could barely touch my toes while sitting down, let alone put my foot behind my head on the beach.

But I soon realized that the purpose of yoga was quite the opposite. Because yoga is really a practice of shedding labels, of removing the layers to get to your true self.

I realized that yoga as a practice only really begins on the mat.

As I began going to yoga class regularly, I realized that practice only really begins on the mat.

Asana, or the physical practice that we typically think of when we imagine yoga (beautiful studios and class memberships aside), is really just the first step on our yoga journey. It’s considered preparation for all the deeper aspects of our practice such as pranayama (breath work) or pratyahara (meditation).

Really, though, all of these parts of yoga are meant to prepare us for those tough moments in life—like when we get frustrated with our boss at work or our train is running late.

Because at the end of the day, the majority of us humans don’t have the flexibility—in terms of both our time availability and physical limits—to pop into a yoga pose in the middle of the day when things get rough. We need to be able to access that mindset wherever we are in the world—and it begins by being kind to yourself on the mat, whether you're flexible or not.

I was forced to confront my deeper feelings and emotional roadblocks.

After a couple of years of regular yoga practice, I decided to take the next big step and complete my 200-hour training. I realized that I was seeking to learn more about yoga than a 60-minute class in between work and dinner could give me.

Of course, I thought that at that point I had come to face all of my fears (don’t we all?). I thought that I had resolved my issue with inflexibility. I was growing more flexible by the day, and heck, it didn’t even matter to me anymore—or so I thought.

But oddly enough, before I even entered my teacher training, I spent hours practicing the perfect handstand. I wanted to walk into that room confident that I was a true yogi, that I was capable, that maybe I was even the best.

But yoga has this funny ability to shine a mirror on our deepest issues and make us confront them head-on. And my experience was about continuing to shed those self-induced labels.

During my training, I quickly learned that yoga practice is different for every body—and sometimes even varies by the day. That on some days, you may be strong enough to hold crow pose, and on others, child’s pose is the most you can do.

I had to learn to stop comparing myself to my neighbor and even to myself the day before.

I had to really sit with the labels that kept coming up and negative self-chatter that we all know so well: You’re not good enough, strong enough, flexible enough for this. Maybe you should just quit.

I had to stop defining myself by my outward "successes" and really get in touch with my true self, which if you've tried, is not an easy thing to do.

I released self-limiting beliefs and embraced kinder thoughts.

It is the first experience I’ve had that you can’t just "achieve" and complete. Almost everything in life that I’ve done had an end point. As a runner, you could only complete so many marathons. But with yoga, your teacher training is really just the start of an entirely new world and mindset.

For me, setting an intention to be kind to myself before each practice has helped me continue to shed those labels. Whenever I find myself looking over to my neighbor’s mat or beating myself up for falling out of a pose, I take a breath and come back to my intention. It’s a difficult, continuous practice that we all must work at—but one that overflows into the rest of our lives.

Over time, I’ve also come up with daily rituals that help me reset and continue to dig deeper toward the truest version of myself. While a daily yoga practice is on that list—it’s not the only thing. Taking time to meditate, journal, and even take a 10-minute solo walk (without music blasting into my ears) have all helped me quiet the noise and continue to shed those labels.

Of course, it’s a process. But with each step comes the beauty of finding your most raw, beautiful self—without labels.



Natural Ways To Manage Period Pain


Feeling queasy? Sick of cramps? Try these six tips for relieving pain associated with menstruation, naturally. 

Queasiness and stomach cramps often go hand in hand with menstruation, and while painkillers may temporarily provide relief there are natural ways you can ease discomfort. Susan Johns, clinical dietician and distributor of Lunette in New Zealand shares her top tips for managing period pain naturally.

Why whole grains?

Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that stimulate the brain in order to release serotonin, a hormone which makes you feel good. Ever notice that your body feels like it took a thrashing from the inside-out about a week before your period is due? Studies have shown that whole grains can reduce that tension and fight depression because they are loaded with vitamin E and magnesium.

Put it on your plate – almonds, spinach, quinoa, cashews

Your best spud

Vitamin A plays a huge role in saying goodbye to our PMS symptoms. An increase in Vitamin A will fight PMS symptoms, like acne and heavy bleeding, as well as problems that occur like fatigue when vitamin A levels plummet. One sweet potato provides 120% of our daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.

Put it on your plate – kumara, carrots, kale

The good kind of fat

Good fats make good hormones; bad fat makes bad hormones. Simple, right? Keep your saturated fat intake low and boost your intake of unsaturated fats, especially in the week leading up to your period. This’ll help keep your hormones happy.

Put it on your plate – avocado, coconut and olive oil, whole eggs, salmon

Cereal killer

B vitamin deficiency, particularly B6, is known to play a role in increasing PMS symptoms such as forgetfulness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and moodiness. Add period pain to the mix and your day just got a whole lot worse.

Put it on your plate – fortified breakfast cereals, chickpeas, chicken, tuna, banana

Nuts about nuts

While your uterus is busy cramping your style, the muscle lining can get fatigued and develop a lactic acid build up, just like your legs after an intense session at the gym. Magnesium, found in high concentration in nuts, is key here to give relief to cramping pains.

Put it on your plate – nuts, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, spinach, fish

Zinc overdose

Upping your intake of zinc-rich foods a few days before you are due has been shown to have a positive effect on cramps, bloating and inflammation. Zinc needs vitamin B6 to be absorbed, so be sure to pair your zinc-filled foods with foods rich in B vitamin.

Put it on your plate – peas, asparagus, spinach, red meat, seafood.


"If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation." - Dali Lama 


By Shyam Kumar for Yogibeings


In Part 1, we looked at how a consistent sleep routine enhances the quality of rest and rejuvenation. In Part 2, we focused on synchronising our sleep routine with nature’s doshic rhythm and in Part 3, we looked at practices that help you relax in the evening. Now we look at some more evening routines for better sleep.


Avoid backlit screens


Turn of all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. Backlit screens interfere with your biological clock and fool your body into thinking its daytime, straining your eyes and stimulating your mind. Spend this time with yourself. Indulge in soothing meditation or self-reflection, listen to relaxing music, or read an uplifting book (although not in bed!).


Avoid reading in bed


Reading in the bed can confuse the body by signalling for sleep and alertness at the same time. Designate a place to sit down and read. Avoid reading excessively emotional or distressing content. If you struggle with sleeping, try giving up bedtime reading.


Keep a journal


Spend a few minutes writing about your day to clear your mind and remove any residual emotions associated with the day’s events.


A soothing glass of milk


If your system allows it, drink a glass of warm milk, with a pinch of cardamom and honey, to promote deep sleep.


Relax your body


Once in bed, consciously relax your entire body. Bring your awareness to each part of the body and will it to relax itself. Then focus on your breathing and gently drift into sleep.


Sleep according to your dosha


Vata types may suffer from irregular sleep routines and have to take extra effort to establish a daily sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every day, even if you don’t feel sleepy. Sleep on your left side to encourage breathing through your right nostril, to promote heat.


Pitta types tend to easily get disturbed from their sleep. Keep your bedroom quiet and fragrant. Sleep on your right side to encourage breathing through your left nostril, for cooling.


Kapha types have a tendency to oversleep and this causes imbalance. Ensure you wake up before 6 am. Sleep on your left side to promote heating.


Incorporating all these practices into your daily life may sound daunting. Choose a few of these that appeal to you most and commit to doing them every day. As you become comfortable, you can gradually add more practices into your routine. Observe how your body feels and celebrate the small improvements—these are your body’s way of thanking you.  


Here at the YogAlign Yoga Studio in Mount Maunganui, I will be showing the Broken Brain 8-Part Docuseries, Heal Your Body, Heal Your Brain.

Host Dr Mark Hyman has brought together the world's top experts on brain health to bring you the most cutting edge information & research on brain health.

Broken Brain is an 8-Part Docuseries that addresses the root causes of our biggest brain challenges, how to really go about healing them, & how to optimise your brain function. We refer to our "Broken Brain" by many names - Alzheimer's, depression, anxiety, memory loss, brain fog, attention deficit disorder or ADD, autism & dementia - just to name a few.

If you (or your family & friends) are looking to achieve more mental clarity & become sharper, more focused & more joyful, you won't want to miss this documentary. Everyone Welcome!

You don't have to suffer with a Broken Brain anymore!

I will be playing the 8-Part docuseries hosted by Dr Mark Hyman, over 8 evenings.

Episode 1    The Broken Brain Epidemic / My Story - Thursday 12 April

Episode 2    Gut Brain Connection: Getting to The Root of a Broken Brain - Thursday 19 April

Episode 3    Losing Our Minds - Alzheimer's, Dementia & MS - Thursday 26 April

Episode 4    ADHD & Autism - Thursday 3 May

Episode 5    Depression & Anxiety - Thursday 10 May

Episode 6    Traumatic Brain Injury - Accidents, Sports & More - Thursday 17 May

Episode 7    7 Steps to An UltraMind (Part 1) - Thursday 24 May

Episode 8    7 Steps to An UltraMind (Part 2) - Thursday 31 May

Venue: YogAlign Studio, 125 Oceanbeach Road, Mount Maunganui

Time: 7pm start - bring a pillow or bolster for your comfort (we have some available :) and pen & paper

Cost: $5 per single session or $20 for the full 8-part docuseries

Dates: Thursday evenings starting Thursday 12 April to Thursday 31 May 2018



By Shyam Kumar for Yogibeings


In Part 1, we looked at how Ayurveda considers sleep to be essential for good health and how establishing a consistent sleep routine goes a long way in enhancing the quality of rest and rejuvenation. Part 2 explained how the night is governed by different doshas at different times and how to synchronise your sleep routine with nature’s rhythm. Now, let’s look at establishing a soothing evening routine to help you wind down and prepare for a night of restful sleep.


Following a regular routine reassures your body that everything is well, providing a tremendous sense of comfort. Establishing a daily evening routine ensures that, with time, the body learns that these are signals that the day is ending and to prepare for a good night’s rest. It’s important to be consistent with the routine. Here are some things that you can incorporate into your evening routine:


Avoid that evening cup of coffee


Drinking coffee or any other stimulant prevents your brain from responding to fatigue, instead making you feel fresh and energetic. This causes problems in trying to sleep early. If you are suffering from sleep-related problems, cutting down on caffeine may go a long way in helping you sleep better.


Turn down the lights


Our biological clocks are highly sensitive to light. For most living beings, sunset is a signal that the day is winding down and it’s time to rest. In today’s modern life, there is so much artificial lighting that it severely interferes with the natural biological response to sleep. One of the best things you can do is to dim the lights at home as the sun goes down. This sends the signal to your body that the day is ending.


Reduce exertion


It’s best to reduce strenuous physical and mental activity at least two hours before bedtime.


Have an early dinner


Have an early dinner to ensure that the food is completely digested before you sleep. This prevents the accumulation of toxic waste (ama) in your body, which could make you feel dull and lethargic. It’s ideal to leave a gap of three hours between dinner and sleep time. To get used to eating early, you can begin by eating a lighter dinner than usual.


Wash your face


Wash your face with lukewarm water, preferably using an Ayurvedic cleanser. This cleanses the dirt accumulated through the day, removes oil from the pores and helps your skin breathe at night.


Massage your feet and scalp


Take a few drops of oil and do a slow, relaxing massage of your scalp. Wash and dry your feet and apply a few drops of oil slowly from heel to toe in slow, circular movements of your palm. This removes excess heat and relaxes the entire body.


In Part 4, we shall look at a few more things you can do before bedtime and how to incorporate these into our daily lives.



By Shyam Kumar for Yogibeings


In Part 1, we looked the vital role of sleep in maintaining overall health, improving immunity and enhancing cognitive function. Establishing a consistent sleep and wake time goes a long way in enhancing the quality of rest and rejuvenation. Now, let’s see how different parts of the night are governed by different doshas, and how to synchronise our sleep routine with nature’s rhythm.


Ayurveda divides each day into two cycles:


1) The solar cycle which begins at 6 am and ends at 6 pm.


2) The lunar cycle which begins at 6 pm and ends at 6 am.  


The lunar cycle plays an important role in establishing sleep rhythm. This twelve-hour period is divided into three intervals of four hours each. The first interval from 6 pm to 10 pm is dominated by Kapha, the second interval from 10 pm to 2 am is dominated by Pitta, and the third interval from 2 am to 6 am is dominated by Vata. This fundamental understanding, along with knowledge of the current season and your doshic constitution helps establish a proper evening routine that is in harmony with the doshic influences.


Ayurveda recommends going to sleep before 10 pm. During this time our bodies are dominated by Kapha’s earthy, stable and grounding properties—ideal for a deep, soothing sleep. The period from 10 pm to 2 am is dominated by Pitta, whose qualities are intense, hot, sharp and acidic. This might make you feel energetic, impatient to be active, and prevent you from falling asleep. Staying awake at this time causes a phenomenon called second wind, where you stop feeling drowsy even when you are exhausted. Moreover, Pitta increases the digestive fire and leaves you craving that midnight snack!


The time dominated by Pitta is used by the body to repair its tissues, clean out toxins, enhance your immune system and perform daily maintenance tasks. This is also when the mind processes the undigested thoughts and emotions caused during the day and comes to terms with them.


Pitta gives way to Vata dominance at around 2 am and the atmosphere is dominated by qualities of lightness, mobility and coolness. The body begins the process of waking up around this time. Ayurveda advises getting up an hour and a half before sunrise when Vata dominates, so you can begin the day feeling light and refreshed.


Sleeping fewer hours in harmony with these cycles can leave you feeling more relaxed and energetic than sleeping longer hours going to bed late. However, falling asleep early is not easy for many of us. In Part 3, we look at establishing a simple evening routine that helps us to wind down and get ready for a night of soothing sleep.



By Shyam Kumar for Yogibeings


Do you wake up in the middle of the night, fully awake and unable to go back to sleep? Do you start your mornings in a state of exhaustion? Do you find yourself unable to fall asleep at night even though you are tired? Most of these stem from our irregular work schedules which have made food and sleep patterns and our lifestyle in general increasingly erratic. These irregularities affect our metabolic rhythm and lead to tiredness, heartburn, loss of appetite and other health complications.


Ayurveda highly recommends establishing a daily rhythm, “Dinacharya", taking into account your constitution and the cycles of nature. Adhering to Dinacharya ensures tri-doshic balance and provides a deep sense of relaxation, enhancing overall wellness. In this series, we will be looking at establishing a daily evening rhythm that leads to restful sleep.


Sleep is of fundamental importance in Ayurveda. It allows the body and mind to relax deeply, detoxify and rejuvenate. This is the time the body needs for tissue repair, muscle growth, removal of metabolic wastes, and enhancing immune function.  Quality of sleep has a direct impact on our cognitive functions including level of attention and our ability to learn. Therefore it’s vital to get a good night of sleep.


Ayurveda gives no universal recommendation for the ideal duration of sleep. Based on your constitution, this may vary between 6-8 hours. Kapha predominant body types need little sleep and Vata types need the most. Too much sleep can imbalance doshas and causes dullness and lethargy. More than eight hours of sleep are recommended only for pregnant women, the aged and the sick.


Merely sleeping the right number of hours isn’t enough to ensure good sleep quality. It’s important to establish a consistent sleep routine with predictable sleep and wake times. This helps the body settle into a daily rhythm. Once you have understood the duration of sleep required for you, fix a wake up time, preferably early in the morning. Then work backwards to decide on your sleep time. Regularly adhering to these times creates a deep rhythm in the body and leads to a night of relaxing and refreshing sleep. 


In Part 2, we shall explore the doshic nature of each part of the night and how it affects our sleep rhythm. Adjusting our sleep routine according to these greatly enhances the quality of rest.


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