JOMO in WA’s Southwest

Joy of Missing Out; (JOMO) a rebellion against saying yes to everything, and giving yourself the space to think and experience things without freaking out about what you ‘should’ be doing instead In our busy world, JOMO is an overdue concept. Here’s the … Continue reading

ReTreat Yourself!… Yoga Retreats 2014

Are you ready to retreat from the hustle and bustle? Escaping for a yoga retreat is the perfect way to find yourself, or lose yourself!  Immersing in all things health, relaxation, flexibility and general wellbeing is something I highly recommend. … Continue reading

Yogi in the City

Being new to yoga, I find myself regularly experiencing the wonder of ‘discovery’ that might get lost on a more seasoned yoga lover. 

Discovery for example, of how my body moves (or more to the point – why it refuses to move like most other bodies).  

Discovery of how, after a little time and attention to my yoga practice, I can execute unbelievable, incredible and marvellous physical accomplishments such as touching my toes, or bending without pain (something I cannot seem to recall doing for more than 10 years). 

Discovery that yoga holds unquantifiable benefits for my mental state, more than I could have ever have imagined (the most obvious of which is relaxation, but the most surprising of which is the unleashing of a more creative mind). 

One of the yoga centres that has really impressed me on this journey has been Yoga Alchemy in Northbridge.  I caught up with Amanda Noga, the founder and resident yogi of Yoga Alchemy, to find out more about all things yoga.

Amanda, what is it about yoga that has made it such a central theme for your life?

The practice of yoga has really given me a framework through which to understand and navigate the world.  Not only has it affected the way I eat, sleep and feel about my body – it has influenced the way I interact and relate to the people in my life and the world in general. I now firmly believe in the interconnection of all beings.

You have opened a beautiful studio in Northbridge – a place many of us would consider an unlikely place to relax.  Why did you choose this space and what makes it so special?

For me, it felt very natural to be in Northbridge.  The area has changed so much and I love the dichotomy of being amongst busy city life and finding balance. It allows the practice of mindfulness, patience and presence, regardless of what is going on externally. That can be so valuable.

You have a number of yoga instructors at your studio.  Do they each offer something different for your clients?  What styles of yoga are on offer?

All of our instructors are very passionate and we relish having a designated yoga space where we can share what we love and be creative. There are several class styles, as we all have different specialties and interests. There is a Beginners Class (and courses), gentle, slow styles of yoga (such as Yin and Restorative) and dynamic Vinyasa Flow. We also love incorporating live music so we run a creative Vinyasa class on the last Friday of each month, where we practice as musician’s jam out some beautiful tunes for us.

The next Yoga-Jam Session (and last session for 2013), is at Yoga Alchemy on Sunday, 22 December. See the Yoga Alchemy website for more details.

What is the meaning behind the name ‘Yoga Alchemy’

I like the metaphor of your yoga practice being a place where you can experiment and explore, to see what unfolds, without expectation.  In science (and yoga is an ancient science) Alchemy is the process of transformation, and essentially so is yoga.

Amanda Noga, Yoga Alchemy's founder, at her studio in Northbridge

Amanda Noga, Yoga Alchemy’s founder, at her studio in Northbridge

Some of the benefits I have noticed (in addition to the physical) have been greater mental clarity and an enhanced ability to manage stress in my life.  What other benefits does yoga have in store for me (or Burn & Learn readers who might like to try yoga)? 

Yes, obviously there is the physical changes which is what we notice first, such as increased flexibility, strength and balance. This balance also extends into the way we can maintain our cool, even when things get stressful. Over time, we tend to make better lifestyle choices in diet and the other substances we put into (and onto) our bodies. You will find quality of sleep improved, increased energy and vitality and a greater sense of ‘who you are’, along with a connection to yourself and to others and a capacity to be more compassionate, loving and patient to others (and to ourselves!).

Tell me about the meaning of ‘mindfulness’ and how it can be applied in one’s life

The thing I love most about mindfullness is that its so intergrated and applicable to daily life. Mindfullness (in short) is moment to moment awareness, ‘being present’ (with whatever is going on) whether its good or bad, and holding it ALL with awareness. Experiencing the fullness of life. The wholeness.

We can apply it when we are communicating with loved ones (and not-so-loved ones), when we are eating, walking, sitting in mediation or in yoga – every moment is an opportunity to practice mindfulness!

Are there any misconceptions out there about yoga that you would like to clear up?

Probably just that yoga is much more than just a physical exercise routine (although the physical benefits are vast).  When done with intention and attention, yoga can be a powerful tool for changing our lives in every way conceivable!

Burn & Learn’s central themes are food, fitness and fulfilment.  Please give us three of your favourite tips for each of our themes

Food: Smoothies!!  get a super dense hit of nutrients in a quick, easy to digest, portable drink!!

Fitness: yoga, dance, walking,…whatever makes your heart sing!!

Fulfilment: daily gratitude and living what you LOVE!!

Thanks Amanda for your tips!  Note to our readers:  Classes are held in a beautiful studio with whitewashed walls, hardwood floors and windows that open, just a short walk from Perth CBD.  See more at www.yogaalchemy.com.au

Thanks to Suzy Lou Photography for the beautiful images.

Bali In-Villa Yoga with Bali Yoga Canti

Interview with Tomoko Kubota, Yoga instructor with Bali Yoga Canti 

Twice now I have been to Bali and organised my own private in-villa yoga retreat.  It goes something like this – rise and shine with early morning walk on the beach, have Tomoko visit for private in villa yoga, eat healthy breakfast, shop or relax by day, then at 5 pm get dressed to attend a gorgeous Bali restaurant, eat too much, drink too much, sleep, repeat repeat repeat.

Tomoko Kubota teaches hatha yoga, however she "likes all types of yoga"

Tomoko Kubota teaches hatha yoga, however she “likes all types of yoga”

One day I would like to go to Bali and just stick with the first half – early morning walks on the beach, yoga, meditation, healthy fresh and organic foods and early to bed.  Perhaps next trip this will eventuate as I’m sure I am stopping short of an incredible experience. So while I do not put into practice all that Tomoko could teach me, I have been fascinated not only by her beautiful approach to yoga, but her peaceful energy and wonderful lifestyle.  I knew she had to be one of the first posts on our blog and I hope to interview her more in the future.  She clearly has so much she can teach us.  Read on…..

What was it about yoga that attracted you to pursue it for yourself and as a career?

Yoga is my life. Yoga allows me to connect to my inner self by living in the present moment. We live in this world and experience various things every day and every moment….. joyfulness, sadness, pain and greatness.  Yoga has taught me how to notice these moments, accept them for what they are and ‘let go’ as an observer.  I can then expand my inner self.

What styles of yoga do you teach?  Which is your favourite?

Meditative Hatha flow, however I like all styles of yoga!

What is your faith or spiritual philosophy?  Do you believe yoga has something to offer people of any faith?

We are all servants of the universe, and we each have a special purpose for living in this world. By following the heart, you may follow the amazing universal plan by connecting to inner self (through Yoga and meditation). Yoga was created for human beings to make life better, happier and more peaceful – it goes beyond religion, culture and the colour of one’s skin. Yoga leads us to make our body, mind and spirit unite as one, and reach to our inner self.

You continually tell us to breath and relax throughout yoga.  Tell me how important breath is to yoga practice.

Humans can live several days without water or food. However, it leads to death in a few minutes if you do not breath.  Proper breathing is called pranayama, which is a Sanskrit word that means Prana or “life energy”, Yama means “control”.  To control breathing is the same thing as to control the body and mind. Thus it is so important to flow the energy to connect the body, mind and soul.

Tomoko, I come from the hectic business world in Australia and when I visit Bali and do yoga with you, I see you as very peaceful and calm soul, doing something you love each day and helping people better themselves.  How true is my perspective?  Tell me about your lifestyle.

My life is slow and flowing! I meditate every early morning before sunrise and do regular yoga practice at home.  I teach private yoga in the mornings and may have lunch with friends at a beachside cafe or Japanese restaurant. At sunset, I go to the beach to ‘reset’ with my son and husband. Sometimes I go to a fullmoon or newmoon workshop at a resort near Seminyak. I really feel blessed to share yoga with people and to connect with beautiful people all over the world.

Tomoko Kubota, Yoga Instructor, Seminyak Bali

You have such a wonderful energy about you.  Were you born like this or have you become this way over time? 

… thank you. I feel more cleansed and purified with my energy after years of yoga practice. I believe everyone has a wonderful soul, what is needed is polish! Yoga is one of the ways to polish one’s soul.

Tell me about the potential for Bali as a place where health and happiness can be pursued.  What does it offer that a Western lifestyle does not?

Balinese have an amazing and beautiful concept for their basic life, called ‘TRIHITAKARANA’ – which means ‘only after harmony and respect between humans, between God and man, and between man and nature, are we are able to obtain the wellbeing of human’.  Bali reminds us we are not the only human beings in this world.  It reminds us that we should appreciate without words.

What is your general health and wellbeing philosophy?

What you eat and how you eat is what you are. So pick the freshest and most energized foods and eat full of appreciation, without any other thought! Our thoughts become words, our words become actions, our actions become habit. Habits become character, character creates ourselves. Always use positive thinking! All is well!

Burn & Learn’s themes are “food, fitness and fulfillment .  Please share with our reader’s your 3 best Bali tips for these themes.

Food:

  • coconut water : amazing taste, natural and full of nutrition
  • ‘jamu’ : traditional spice blend healthy juice
  • tropical fruits

Fitness:

  • Yoga!
  • Nature rice field walking

Fulfillment:

  • spa, balinese massage
  • healing: Balinese healing, karma purification, crystal stone chakra healing.

If there was one thing you could recommend people do to improve themselves, what would it be?

Practice yoga and meditation. It will allow you to live in a present moment and give you more strength and flexibility.

Who has been the most significant or influential mentor in your life?

My husband…! he is my life partner who allowed me to dive into yoga, showing me how amazing it is to connect to our inner self.  He is the most influential mentor for me.

If you had one wish that could come true, what would it be ?……

To share yoga to all over the world, and become a ‘bridge’ to introduce yoga in Bali! Tomoko owns Bali Yoga Canti with her husband Putu, and is available for private villa or beach yoga. Contact Tomoko through  www.baliyogacanti.com