Aerial Yoga for Fearless Inversions

If there is one element of yoga that I have never been truly comfortable with, it is inversions. I can happily master a wheel or an inversion, but anything resembling a headstand or a handstand and I’m out. All the preparation can step nicely in to place. I can even tiptoe my feet forward in to a super upright dolphin, but the second my full weight comes up and over my shoulders, I freak out. After years of practice it hasn’t gotten any better which is pretty sad given that I actually love being upside down. So the only solution for fearless inversions…aerial yoga.  Once you are able to set aside the feeling of motion sickness when you’re rocking around with your head grazing the floor, you feel like anything is possible.
The freedom you feel from being suspended gives a new sense of courage, just like floating in water. You can take this new found courage and run wild, exploring things you could never do on the ground. The best part of all this, is that after challenging yourself for 60 minutes, you get a rewarding savasana like no other, wrapped up in your own suspended cocoon. Well worth trying out an aerial class if only for the savasana!

Bur. Ning. Man: Believe

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So the time came to finally get a chance to get hands on Burning Man tickets. There I was, sat in a bagel shop in Prescott Arizona with my friend after a yoga class with my heart beating out of my chest. This was largely owing to the iced coffee I’d foolishly consumed whilst waiting in the online queue poised and ready to click. I had barely slept all night in nervous anticipation and / or thanks to the brilliant full moon eclipse.
I was excitedly talking to 4 different friends around the world, in Reno, NYC, Zurich and Tel Aviv all ready to go. With 70,000 people online and only 30,000 tickets available, the odds were against us all. I was trying to remain optimistic the entire time, but getting nowhere close to the payment page, all my friends were in the same predicament. After 30 minutes of torture I received the message I was dying to see coming in from Zurich. Tom had successfully bought a pair and I proceeded to do an excited dance all over the shop, dragging in customers to revel in my infectious delight. After 3 years in the making of failed attempts to attend, this will be our year to shine!
I got straight back to the tablet and hoped that I would be able to buy my friends tickets to join us. After 7 false hopes and 2 hours of trying I admitted defeat. The news came in that it was sold out after only 35 minutes and I had to abandon ship when the shop owners kicked us out. Obviously I was devastated that my friends were unable to get any, but there’s still hope for them to join yet.
It all came down to belief. I was ready to give up before the process had already began, but I was repeatedly told to believe that anything is possible. So I did and it became my mantra. The universe is being really good to me and I am beyond excited to finally attend, time to get costume planning.

Back across the pond – Easter in New York and Arizona

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One of the most remarkable privileges of my current lifestyle, is having the freedom to jump on a plane to visit friends anywhere in the world. The best part of which, is actually being spoiled with having friends strewn all over the planet itself. So I decided to treat myself with a last minute flight to New York for Easter, with a mid week break to Arizona in between.

With this being my third visit to New York, it felt like I was returning home to somewhere really familiar, despite it being the ever growing gargantuan metropolis. Revisiting favourite haunts in Brooklyn and catching up with old friends made it seem like it was a neighbourhood I’d never left. Finally having an opportunity to party in the city was an absolute game changer. What’s more, having a real event to dress up for in the coldest of winter meant that I went to the effort of gluing feathers to my face!

10 days of back to back yoga marathons peaked in Prescott, where I could practice with my fellow TTC course friend Perry. Taking delicious yin classes and seeing him thrive in a community he has created was heartwarming. My state of bliss peaked with the success of getting Burning Man tickets. I could not contain my excitement just across the border from Nevada, where I will return to in just a few months. The peace and quiet there in the mountains entwined with the craziness of NYC was just the perfect combo. The inspiration for costumes from drag queens and the abundance of thrift stores got my creative juices flowing and I truly cannot wait cross the Atlantic once again in August.
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Mother’s Ruin: Gin and Tonic Cake

imageThis this was a second attempt at a gin and tonic cake. The previous being a triumphant roaring success and the second simply woeful. I’ve used this recipe both times with a 50% success rate. Simply because I’m not one for strictly sticking to recipes. Beginners luck was on my side last time. This time I couldn’t remember exactly how I’d previously flounced the rules, and I got scared of the vast sugar content and tried to dodge some of the drizzle. When it’s good this cake is really damn good, just don’t waste your best gin, like I did, it’s only baking! Serve it fresh out the oven still warm with a scoop of lemon sorbet…Perfection.

 

Egypt: Round Two

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There’s only one thing to do when your Mum turns 50 and its been a quarter of a century since this photo was taken in Monaco…reunite on another holiday. March birthdays tend to limit hot destinations within reach of shorthaul flights in Europe, so Egypt was the natural choice. Despite having been to Sharm el Sheikh before it was easy breaking my vow of returning to destinations already visited thanks to the lure of off season diving in the Red Sea.

The only drawback about diving at this time is the water temperature, I was wearing a shorty over a long wetsuit and still managed to freeze. No amount of tea personally delivered to a cabana, whilst your wrapped in towels laying in the direct sun will warm your bones. The biggest thing to overcome after a long absence from diving was thew shock news that a swimmer had died from a shark attack nearby just days before. It was impossible to not take advantage of the lack of tourists and take some quiet dives. This culminated in a special boat trip on Mum’s birthday where my auntie bravely jumped in to the blue to see the reefs I had been raving about. It felt amazing to be back with the bubbles after over a year of drought since Honduras.

Despite being in the lap of luxury and with a busy set of dives on a week trip, I couldn’t resist the temptation to fly to Luxor to see the Valley of the Kings. The childhood travel explorer in me could not pass the opportunity given that I still use the hieroglyph bookmark my auntie brought back as souvenir 20 years ago. The sites were absolutely mind boggling, and given that there were hardly any tourists, having the time to fully explore with space around you was heaven. It still breaks my heart that Egypt has to prostitute itself to exploit its natural wonders with very little protection, knowing full well that future generations won’t have the privilege to see any of it. This makes me feel all the luckier to have such a golden chance.

Overall I’m certainly not one for all inclusive resort holidays, but certain life events call for this kind of treatment. Egypt’s tourist industry is on its knees, which is a crying shame given the millennia of fascinating cultural heritage it has to offer. Given the bonus of amazing dive sites and visibility, I’m sure I’ll be back again.

 

Gratitude – Practice the art of being thankful

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting the very best out of life. We should always evaluate our personal situations to ensure that we are living the life we want and deserve. However, what we should practice more often, is being grateful. The pure sense of joy that comes from assessing all the things we are grateful for in life is overwhelming. Just try it.

Practising gratitude is easy, all you need is a few minutes to sit down and take stock of how unbelievably privileged you are to have such fortunate circumstances. You may only need to do this once and bask in your own bliss. Or maybe this can be a daily exercise to remind you just how lucky you are. If so, start your day by being truly thankful for all the beauty in everything you already have. If you want to share this positivity you can radiate your gratitude out in to the world by simply smiling (its infectious). Better still, tell someone just how much you appreciate them, this in turn will create a chain of events spreading even more gratitude in to the world.

Take time to appreciate all the things that you have, the things you’ve achieved and the people that surround you. Acknowledge how lucky you are to be safe, healthy and loved. All too often we beat ourselves up for not accomplishing the things we are currently aspiring to achieve and take for granted all the fortune. Stop worrying about all the things you don’t yet have. You’re probably already working towards achieving them, so worrying will get you nowhere. Instead be appreciative of the huge bundle of stuff you already do have.

Practising the art of gratitude only leads to positivity, so go forth and be thankful.

Engelberg: Purple pistes

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What do you get when you mix a blue run and a red run? A purple one. As a beginner (I’ve now been skiing a staggering 4 times), I tend to stick to blue runs. Red, the universal colour of danger appears somewhat threatening to a novice so I avoid red runs like the plague. Heading up to Engelberg I was sent off on a blue course alone, confident that I could handle it. The sun was shining and I got chatting to a lovely Dutch pensioner who showed me how to dismount a chair lift. Having spectacularly ballsed that up I brushed off the snow and continued down the seemingly easy hills of a comfortable blue run. Little did I know that this merged with a red run ahead in an oncoming blizzard.
In these situations there is only one way to get down, so you plough your heart out and hope for the best. After countless times falling I gave up, dismounted my skis, laid them down on the ground and headed down on my front, head first. At the time it seemed like the only sensible thing to do. With no real ability to break, you just have to close your eyes and believe that you’ll make it to the bottom alive.
Exhausted at the lift I contemplated finding my friends for lunch and picked up my skis. It wasn’t until I reached the top and tried clicking in to them that I realised that they were not the skis I rented. In the most stealthy manoeuvre possible, I made it back down on the next funicular, dropped the temporarily stolen skis and located my own in time to get back on the next lift. With all the mix up, I’d managed to rid the adrenaline from the previous attempts at skiing and became confident enough to get back to the restaurant for a cheese coma.
I still may not be ready for purple runs just yet, but on the second attempt I made it all the way down without falling over once. Once again I learned to believe in my physical capabilities. It is really easy to give up when something is difficult or scary, but given that this was only my fourth time on the slopes, I’m actually nailing it.