Never tried yoga before? Never tried SUP before? This summer I challenge you to give them both a try on my floating yoga studio. Get out of your comfort zone and onto the beautiful waterways of Noosa with me!Read More
Still creating your new years resolution list? Here's why you should make booking yourself onto an overseas yoga retreat your number 1 priority!Read More
What an absolutely perfect weekend filled with laughter, great food and the blissful practice of yoga...
As you can expect, hosting my first ever retreat was an exciting experience that filled my heart and my stomach with butterflies. But the minute I saw my guests as they arrived in the resort reception I knew this was where I am meant to be and a weekend that I was ready to share with them all.
The energy was incredible, a bunch of beautiful women all there to enjoy a relaxing weekend that combined practicing a completely new type of yoga and experiencing all of the natural beauty that Noosa Heads has to offer.
Our first dinner started with a bit of story telling, sharing a moment that we had each felt fear and ended in laughter, some goosebumps, a decadent 2 course meal and a cocktail. The atmosphere was beautiful sitting there amongst the candle light I loved getting to know all of my guests and seeing them connect with each other finding out who they were and where they came from. The night came to an end after a gorgeous dessert and as we said our goodnights I still felt an amazing buzz about what was still to come.
Waking up the next morning to muted skies with the clouds holding the piercing sunshine at bay, we flowed and moved through a gorgeous beach yoga session to the sound of the crashing waves. The sequence took a few twists and turns ending with some upside down practice to help everyone let go of their predisposed ideas of what they would and wouldn't be capable of and to acknowledge and then release the fear that we hold in our minds. Our practice began and ended with pranayama and a deep relaxing savasana focusing on the rolling movements of our breath into and out of our bodies just as the waves roll onto the sand and retreat back into the depths of the ocean.
Our breakfast was ready and waiting at the resort upon our return and after a short break we popped on our walking shoes and ventured out again. This time we were off into the Noosa National Park for some Koala spotting (yup we saw one) and a blissful swim at the gorgeous Tea Tree Bay.
Throughout the walk there were glimpses of the stunning turquoise waters that surround the headland until finally we came to the northern end of Alexandria Bay and Hell's Gates where we were treated to a gorgeous view of bright white sands, tall cliff edges and deep azure as far as the eye could see. As we wandered along the pathways the chatter of our voices, conversations, laughter and getting to know each other provided an amazing atmosphere amongst the sounds of the waves, the birds and the wind. And I couldn't help but smile from the deepest depths of my heart at the beautiful friendships we were all creating at that moment.
Slowly we made our way back to the resort to be treated with Green Smoothies (pineapple, coconut milk, coconut water, spinach, banana, avocado and a strawberry on top) on arrival and after finishing our lunch we all separated for a few hours of relaxation (or shopping for some) at Stephanie's Ocean Spa, by the stunning resort pool and by the beach.
Finally, the moment that we were all waiting for came... wandering down to the waters edge the group was a mixture of chatter and excitement, dressed in our swimwear, yoga wear and towels in hand we boarded our private boat to take us to a secluded spot, sheltered from the wind to float and flow as the sun set on a what was an incredible day.
Launching our boards into the water and joining our boards in a raft we all took a moment to just breathe, to feel the movement of the water beneath us and to tune into the beauty of the nature that surrounded us.
Slowly we began to move and feel comfortable on our boards, allowing the gentle rock of the water and the wake beneath us to teach us where to stand, what muscles to use. Keeping our eyes on the horizon and looking towards the sunset we moved through a sequence of standing and then seated postures. As the sun set completely behind the mountains, we came to savasana, lying on our boards, dipping our toes and fingers into the cool water and bringing peace to our mind and our bodies after a busy day of moving, stretching and flowing. The water was still, the air and wind sweeping across our skin, our minds coming to rest in a place of gratitude for the practice we had shared.
Unfortunately, we had to come back to reality (although I could have stayed there all night) getting back on the boat and sharing a few snacks from At One Foods (raw superfood bars), Drink Maple Aus/NZ Maple Water and Natural Raw C Coconut water.
Dinner that night was at a decadent italian restaurant on Hastings Street called Locale. The chef was incredibly accommodating and his orders were to simply keep sending out tapas plates until we said we were full! The food was a mixture of vegetarian options off their Cichetti Menu which we again coupled with a glass of incredible wine or one of their amazing cocktail creations.
Heading back to the resort that night, we were all exhausted, calm and ready to lay our heads to rest. Through the night we were treated with a downpour of rain, which amongst the trees that surrounded us created the most incredible sound of being in a rainforest and as we woke in the morning the clouds began to clear ready for another gorgeous day ahead.
We met at 5.30 am in the morning to set off for our boat pick up to again head to a secluded spot in the Noosa Woods Bay.
The water was beautiful and calm with barely a breath of wind and only the tide to move us as we began to float. We started with our pranayama, centering our energy to our hearts, remembering the thoughts of love that we created the day before and holding that close to us, choosing that feeling over fear for our SUP Yoga that morning.
This class was the fun one, after mastering our foundations and the feeling of the board beneath us we were now ready to take it to the next level practicing our standing anjanayasanasa (crescent lunge), vrksasana (tree pose), urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose) and variations of sirsasana (headstands) amongst a range of sun salutation variations.
Finishing our practice with a final savasana, listening to the sounds of the birds as they wake for the day, the water gently lapping against our boards and the sounds of the wind and ocean all around us we came to a place of complete peace and serenity, our thoughts slowing our muscles melting away into the sea...
But it wasn't over yet, we had another gorgeous breakfast, packed our bags to check out and were off for our last group adventure together.
Our walk up to the top of the Noosa lookout where we had 180 degree views of the whole of Laguna Bay and Noosa Heads was the perfect spot for a spot of meditation and post-yoga stretching. We lay out our mats, battled with the ants (Emma) and allowed nature to do its thing while we came to a place of stillness both in our minds and in our bodies.
At the end of the session, I couldn't help but give everyone a heartfelt thank you from the bottom of my heart for a weekend shared with friends. It was amazing to know that some incredible friendships and memories had been formed, lots of laughs shared as well as so many moments of bliss and stillness where our lips couldn't help but form a smile. And as a few tears started flowing between us, we all shared one more giggle and of course a group photo then headed back to the resort to say our final goodbyes.
So thank you to every single person who made that weekend a magical weekend of adventure mixed with relaxation. I wouldn't have changed a single thing and felt completely in my element like I was simply showing a group of long lost friends around my very own piece of tropical paradise for the weekend. You are all amazing and I have locked all of the memories we created away into the depths of my heart where they will continue to put a smile on my face for years to come.
Namaste and love to you all x
By Kat Harding
What an amazing, incredible, eye opening, awe inspiring, laughter filled, zen weekend…
From SUP Yoga to backbends, to Wanderlust videos and photo shoots, braids, flash tattoos, catsuits inspiring passionate speakers, music and more. You can’t possibly find a better array of wellness classes and experiences than at Wanderlust.
The venue was stunning, passing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, cruising the vast Sydney harbour lined by beautiful houses, walkways and parks you finally arrive at an island which from the outset looks small but is full of character from an era gone by. Surrounded by beautiful blue waters Cockatoo Island has ample green grass, shady areas and a mixture of beautiful industrial buildings that create incredible backdrops for photos, yoga and live music.
I took a leap and went alone for the weekend, and within minutes of being on the island I had met with a friend who I had previously only spoken to online and as more yogi’s and wellness gurus arrived on the island my network of smiling, happy faces around me began to grow.
Throughout the weekend I was spoilt for choice with so many styles and forms of yoga and movement that it was really hard to schedule for. Whilst I had picked the classes that I wanted to attend over the weekend in advance it became difficult to stick to ‘the plan’ as I met more teachers, experienced different styles and classes and learned to listen to what my body was telling me I was capable of.
The beauty of it for me was that there was not one person that I had either met in person or knew at Wanderlust and not one teacher who I had experienced a class with before. The weekend was one of many firsts for me and the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and to get inspired were everywhere I looked.
Tiffany Cruikshank and Duncan Peak were amazing teachers, I resonated with everything they were saying and their flows and am so glad to have had the opportunity to be there in that moment with them for what was truly inspiring yoga. Living on the Sunshine Coast (QLD) we don’t often get the opportunity to have teachers like Tiffany and Duncan visit us in order to soak up their wisdom on asana, anatomy, compression vs. tension, handstands, arm balances, headstands, hip openers, yoga flows. The experience left my mind buzzing with information and inspiration and ready to take my practice and my teaching to the next level.
The community that I felt throughout the whole weekend can only be described as incredible. You could almost guarantee that if you stopped to chat with any person that was there you would be greeted with a smile, a run down on their favourite moments so far, recommendations on where to go next and would share a laugh about the weird and wonderful experiences that Wanderlust has created for them.
Reflecting on a weekend that could only be described as liberating brings back incredible memories and a smile that you will not be able to wipe off my face.
I thought I would share with you all my 6 key learnings from the weekend that you will see more about in a series of blogs I’m going to post during the coming weeks…
- Inversions take more than just strength, it is equal parts balance, flexibility and strength (Tiffany Cruikshank)
- Consider whether an Asana isn’t for based on Compression Vs. Tension (Duncan Peake)
- The space in between asana’s is just as important (Kate Kendall)
- Dance is the hidden movement of the soul (Yoga For The Bass)
- You attract what you fear. You repel what you want (Melissa Ambrosini)
- You are enough (Franny & Alex from Violet Gray Design)
The Wanderlust experience is a must do for anyone who simply wants to break free for a weekend of wellness, ‘ah-ha’ moments and yoga, and it’s not jut for yogi’s it’s for everyone who wants to feel part of a global community. See you at the next one!
To sign up for Wanderlust updates click here.
As most Yogis’ will have seen or heard recently, Stand up Paddleboard Yoga or ‘SUP and Floating Yoga’ is the new trend for the summer months around the world. All you need is a stand up paddleboard, some relatively calm water and the courage to dive in head first to test your yogi skills on water.
For some, the thought of paddling out on to the water or ocean to try SUP Yoga brings up thoughts like, ‘My balance isn’t good enough’, ‘I’m not great in water’ or ‘I don’t want to fall in’. But I’m telling you, you will be fine and you will love it – this is the mind stuff that Patanjali tells us to be aware of and to silence in order to take those steps towards something new and something we never believed we could do.
The first bit of advice I would give to you if you are intrigued by SUP Yoga is to let go. Let go of what you think you know, let go of any fears you have of the water and ocean or the creatures that reside in it or even your yoga ability. Like any yoga class you are guided, enlightened, given the information you need and the freedom to ask for more throughout the class in order to ensure your experience is one to remember.
Secondly, don’t worry, enjoy it and have fun! Not everyone is a water baby, just like flexibility and strength varies between people. You may fall off (although we try to keep you on the board) so just go with it. The more you fight your emotions the less relaxed you will feel which in essence defeats the purpose of SUP Yoga. Being on the water may not feel natural to some, but if you take a deep breath, allow your body and board to move with the water and be at one with the environment around you, you will LOVE it. And for all you water babies already out there this could be your way into the beautiful world of yoga!
Like most yoga classes or even standup paddleboard classes, the activities of the day are tailored towards the students and the environment or props available. Some students may wish to try a stand up paddleboard class first to get used to the feel of being on a board, but true beginners can still come along to try and learn some different yoga variations, and lots do.
The best thing about SUP Yoga by far is that you get a different perspective, a different perspective on yoga, a different perspective on watersports and most importantly a different perspective on the natural world surrounding you, as you look out from your board across the water in lotus or easy seated pose.
When in savasana tune into your breath whilst listening to the water lapping against the bottom of the board and remember that amongst all of the madness of modern society there is a place you can always escape to and go within yourself to find your very own piece of paradise.
If you are in or around the Sunshine Coast come and join me for SUP Yoga Classes in beautiful Noosa at Noosa Standup Paddle on Saturdays at 8.30 am. Follow my instagram account @yogakiss or facebook page Yoga Kiss for further updates and details on how to contact me for more information or to book your spot, places are limited.