Comfortable In Your Skin - Featured on Violent Orange Blog

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SUP Yoga Retreat Photo Diary by Chloe Wilson

I met the beautiful Chloe via Instagram when she entered our Active Nourish Grateful competition in July 2014. Little did I know at the time but Chloe was just beginning her wellness journey and less than 12 months later I had the pleasure of finally meeting her in person at my SUP Yoga Retreat. 

Chloe has inspired me since the beginning, her heart felt words, her perseverance, the fact that she replies individually to every comment on her page (and trust me that is a LOT as she gets so many comments on her gorgeous posts) and the way that she is able to find inspiration in every day life whilst providing inspiration for every single person who reads her posts. She is the girl-next-door LJ Fit Ambassador and a beautiful person on the inside and out and I am so blessed and grateful to not only have her support, her friendship but also that she came to my first ever SUP Yoga Retreat! 

For your little glimpse of the action at the luxury SUP Yoga Retreat through the eyes of my beautiful friend Chloe - keep reading below or check out her instagram @chloeawilson

Big love to you beautiful, thank you for your inspiring words Chloe x 

 

 

Packing for my SUP Yoga Retreat tomorrow! 1 more sleep! If I can get to sleep. Too excited. Feeling sparkly. x

 

 

 


Life to me should be an incredible, chosen but unpredictable adventure. It should be about learning and growing from experiences, dealing with the downs as well as relishing in the ups, it should be about falling in love and falling out, and not just with people, but things, places, careers, figuring out what it is that truly feeds your soul and it should be about finding your calling and making it your purpose one day at a time and then every single damn day from then on. Every day I am creating my adventure and making it happen. Are you living your adventure or are you holding back, waiting for it to happen for you? Life doesn't wait, time is precious, your adventure is what you make it. x


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Feeling blessed and a little bit sparkly. x

 

 

 


 

Yesterday's sunset. So beautiful. Soon I am off to our first early morning beach yoga session run by the beautiful yoga teacher and host of the Luxury SUP Yoga Retreat @yogakiss. Feeling excited, open-minded and ready for anything. Looking forward to having sand between my toes again and the ocean breeze sweep over me during practice. I can't wait to just soak it all in. x

 


 

Last night at dinner at the resort's restaurant we all arrived to a beautiful gift sitting there waiting for us at the table. @yogakiss you are amazing. The food was divine and the company and all of the new faces were even better. Feeling so grateful in this moment. I have some beautiful and exciting photos to share from this morning's beach yoga session today. Stay tuned. But for now I am going to jump into the resort pool. x


 

 

 

This morning's yoga studio. Total bliss. x

 

 


So, this happened today! During our first beach yoga session this morning. I have never attempted any form of headstand or forearm variation before, but have always wanted to, and I even came into this retreat feeling like this is somewhat a fear to me, that I wouldn't be able to do this. Because of Kat and her incredible guidance and help I was able to manage one assisted first go and I am beside myself. So, so, so proud. I wanted to come into this retreat with an open-mind and a willing heart to give anything a go. Today I let go of doubt and grew. x


 

 

Yesterday's breakfast at the resort's restaurant with a soy latte on the side, which was pretty much what I had this morning too. Just yum. Perfect post yoga. x

 


 

 

Resort pool fun yesterday before a mid morning national park walk. x

 

 

 


 

 

Just one of our breathtaking stops on the mid morning national park walk yesterday guided by our beautiful Luxury SUP Yoga Retreat host @yogakiss. So beautiful. There are just so many moments of the retreat that took my breath away. x


 

 

Green smoothie post national park walk as part of our lunch back at the resort's restaurant yesterday. The most delicious glass of green goodness. x

 


 

Getting ready for our first SUP Yoga lesson at sunset with @yogakiss on Saturday. This bikini was a little reward that I got for myself to take with me to the retreat to wear specifically for SUP Yoga and I am so glad that I just went for it and wore it with confidence. It was too pretty not to. I can't believe how much I've grown on a personal level in just a few days. x


 

 

The location for our first sunset SUP Yoga lesson on Saturday. So calm and peaceful on the water amongst nature. Total bliss. x #supyoga

 


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Sunset SUP Yoga on Saturday with our retreat host and yoga teacher @yogakiss. This particular photo means so much to me. It feels so surreal that here I am doing yoga, SUP Yoga at that, with someone who inspires me so much in so many ways. So thankful and so grateful for all of these incredible lessons and moments throughout the retreat. This was our first SUP Yoga lesson. It was exciting, challenging but so rewarding. What an experience that I can't wait to do again and again. x (Repost: @yogakiss#supyoga


On Saturday after our sunset SUP Yoga we got out of our activewear, dressed up and went out for dinner to a beautiful Italian restaurant not far from the resort, where we were spoilt with some serious soul food. So many moments of the retreat took my breathe away but the food and Italian wine here took my tastebuds to Italy and back. I still can't believe I haven't had warmed olives sooner. What a treat and lovely night out with all the girls during the retreat. x


 

 

Up before the sun on Sunday morning and off to our second SUP Yoga lesson at sunrise with @yogakiss. x #supyoga

 


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Bright eyed, smiling and ready on our way to our sunrise SUP Yoga lesson on Sunday. x 

 

 


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Sunrise SUP Yoga on Sunday with @yogakiss. Another blissful morning full of challenges and rewarding personal moments. Yoga on the water takes the already amazing experience of the practice to a whole other level. My heart is so full of gratitude and I am determined to take my love for my life right now back into reality with me every single day. x (Repost: @yogakiss#supyog


 

 

Our final yoga session location after SUP Yoga and breakfast on Sunday. At one of the most stunning lookouts I have ever seen. It was so relaxing and peaceful. The perfect close. x

 


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I remember just breathing in, breathing out, listening and nothing more. I was totally at peace within myself and entirely in the present moment after our final yoga session, after lying in Savasana, I was all there. I am stepping back into reality today and I am taking my presence, my open mind, my positivity, my sparkle, my passion, my growth and all that I have learnt in these incredible few days away in paradise with me today and every single day from here on in. Sometimes all you need to do is to step away and to let go to find your path again, where your soul wants to be. I have let go of doubt and I know exactly who I am and where my heart truly lies. Feeling balanced, grounded and full of love. x


Kat's (@yogakiss) Luxury SUP Yoga Retreat was everything I thought it would be and so, so much more. The stay was luxurious and the food was perfection. It was exciting putting myself out there and meeting new faces. I loved the intimacy of the small group which made it easier to get to know everyone on a more personal level and also added a lot to the experience as I know we have all now left as friends. After doing beach yoga and SUP yoga I am not sure that a studio will ever be the same, it was total bliss. As soon as Kat started teaching you wanted nothing more than to be in the moment with her and to be right where you were, peaceful and happy in nature. She helped me grow and step out of my comfort zone more than I ever thought possible in just moments during beach yoga, SUP Yoga and all of our adventures. She helped me let go of doubt and believe in myself. Kat is so passionate about her practice and teaching it that her love for yoga and life is contagious. I feel so grateful to have attended her first ever retreat. She is an amazing teacher, has the biggest heart and the brightest soul and was an absolute pleasure to just be around, as were all the other beautiful women who attended. I highly recommend Kat's retreat to anyone wanting a luxurious escape in our own beautiful country right here in Australia, to learn, experience, challenge themselves, make lifelong friends and find their balance, and of course anyone who loves yoga. I promise that you will leave with no less than a heart full of love and a smile that you can't wipe from your face. I am still smiling. Thank you for everything Kat. Because of you I now feel like yoga with practice will become a part of who I am. I love every depth it makes me feel and I want to make it a part of my life every single day. Feeling so blessed. What an adventure. x


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Before I finished my weekend away and headed home I took myself to a gorgeous little cafe for coffee and to journal about every moment, every feeling and all that I had learnt throughout the retreat. Photos are one thing but to me written pieces evoke incredible inner feelings and I really wanted something to take from the retreat before reality came back into play again that I could stop and take a moment and use to take me back to moments of complete happiness whenever I wanted to. So glad I made the time to do it. Writing is a passion of mine and hopefully one day, when my stars align, all my notes and journalling might just come together in one single piece to share and to send out into the universe. Always dreaming big and making it happen. x


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Throughout the retreat I posted a photo of our Welcome Gift's we received on the first night at dinner, still wrapped up. So this is what is inside, so spoilt! Now I am home I can't wait to enjoy all of these products and take time to really appreciate them for all that they are, and maybe do a little shopping too with the vouchers to treat myself for letting go and being brave over the weekend. A big thank you to all of the amazing companies that helped Kat put this together for her first Luxury SUP Yoga Retreat attendees. How lucky are we. So thankful. x


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Thankful for moments not things. Thankful knowing that I will be back by the ocean again, sinking my toes into the sand in just a week. Thankful for learning, growing and becoming the person I would want to meet. What are you thankful for? x


I have practiced yoga a little each day, either in the morning or at night since the retreat and intend to every day from here on in. Whether it be a yoga flow or just spending time with my legs up the wall after a long day I am making time to do it, to stretch out my body and give my soul the love it deserves. I am going to a private studio tomorrow morning for a yoga class for the first time in a long time. Mostly since moving away from Brisbane where I originally discovered my love for yoga classes a couple of years ago now I have just been doing Body Balance classes since at my current gym which incorporate some yoga but I know it's time to step up my practice again if I want to progress. So excited. Love new journey's. I have tried to make yoga a part of my daily life in the past but this time, it will be. With the help and mentoring from good teachers, Ebooks and surrounding myself with the right souls I know in my heart it will be. Happy Fri-Yay! Inhale. Exhale. Let's do this. x


This time last week I was off to the most beautiful yoga class that I have ever been to on the beach. What an amazing group of beautiful, inspiring and grounded women to share a first experience and an incredible journey with at @yogakiss's very first Luxury SUP Yoga Retreat. This particular morning, the first morning and our first beach yoga session was just beautiful. It was during this session that we all started to really connect from supporting each other and this was when I really first started to unravel and grow the most. There's no feeling like being surrounded by others who seek to lift you higher and want to believe in you. So grateful for everything in this moment. I may not have the beach every day but I feel like with all that I have learnt that yoga can be a part of who I am every day. Doing the best I can, with what I have, where I am. Hello weekend. x


Love my beautiful new 'Happy' soy candle from @lemoncanary. It was one of my very special Welcome Gift's from the Luxury SUP Yoga Retreat. Perfect for tonight while relaxing during Earth Hour. Who else is turning off all of their lights at 8:30pm and joining in for 1 hour to save our planet one switch at a time? Every action in our lives changes something and makes a difference. Leave as little footprints as you can, your story is what matters. Turning off. x


Photo credit goes to Chloe Wilson - find her on Instagram @chloeawilson for some daily #fitspo and #wellness inspiration!! 

Luxury SUP Yoga Retreat Wrap Up

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. 

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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 



The Asana Lab - Downward Facing Dog

What a great way to start a brand new segment you will see once a week on my blog, The Asana Lab. 

Inspired by a class I attended at Wanderlust Festival, this regular addition will help you explore asana's or yoga postures a little differently or maybe it will inspire you to try something new. 

So I thought I would start with the phenomenon that is Downward Facing Dog. This asana or posture has to be the most popular and well known yoga posture in the world, and that's potentially because it is a very attainable pose with a HUGE range of benefits. 

Ever heard a yoga teacher say "breathe in as you lift your hips to the sky, adho mukha svanasana" and wondered what they are talking about? Well Adho Mukha Svanasana is the sanskrit translation of the pose and literally translates to down-face-dog-pose. 

The benefits of this pose are endless, everything from a subtle strengthening of the shoulder and wrist joints, a beautiful stretch through the spine, backs and insides of the legs, a gentle toe and foot stretch, an inversion combined with abdominal strengthening and more... 

But for all it's benefits and promotion across the world I too often see a downward facing dog where the pressure is uneven between hands or feet or all of the above, and I myself am no stranger to needing some gentle cues to adjust my 'dog' in order to come to a pose that is most beneficial for my body and my mind. 

So here are a few of the cues, starting from your base that you need to know to perfect your Adho Mukha Svanasana:

  • Spread your fingers wide, place your hands shoulder distance apart, make sure your middle fingers are parallel to each other and facing directly ahead
  • Press the ground away from you, straighten your arms and pull your humerus into your shoulder sockets (pull your arms into the shoulder joint), create room between your neck and your ears
  • Keep your ears in line with your arms, don't extend your neck too far
  • Pull your naval into your spine, allow your pelvis room to tilt
  • Stretch and extend through your legs, activate your heels and push them to the floor (ps. it doesn't matter if they don't touch the ground)
  • Try to place even weight between your hands and your feet, adjust the distance between them to find your very own sweet spot 

Let Your Body Heal Itself

After an amazing workshop with Ross Rayburn at Shri Yoga Brisbane on Sunday, my mind was a whirlwind of inspiration. 

And some of the words that Ross spoke were so poignent to me that I immediately began to type.  The one comment that I won't forget easily, but one that is all too easy to forget was one of Ross's final remarks for the day was "Never forget that we all have access for our bodies to heal themselves". 

So here is my take on one of the most important ways to help your body heal itself... 

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