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Why Doing The Dishes Will Make You More Appreciative

7 minute read

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This article written by: Gustavo Razzetti and sourced from Medium.com

Daily Stretch : turn chores into a meditation

If you are reading this, either you missed the headline or you want to know what’s the catch.

Sorry. But there’s none.

Scheduling meetings, printing copies of a presentation, setting up the room, the workplace is full of chores too. And no one wants to do those meaningless tasks.

We believe small tasks are a burden. Just like doing the dishes.

Reframe your daily chores into something meaningful. Enjoy doing them rather than feeling you are wasting your time.

You are skeptical, and that’s okay.

But here’s the deal: I promise to help you reduce the burden of daily tasks, you just need to spend three minutes reading this piece.

Or jump to the exercise at the end.

How we do anything means everything

“Wax on, wax off.” — Mr. Miyagi

The movie Karate Kid contributed to one of the most viral memes on chores. If you haven’t heard about Mr. Miyagi’s “wax on” training method, no worries. Check this video.

Its storyline focuses on how an elderly Japanese master teaches Karate to an impatient teenager.

The only caveat is that Daniel, that’s the boy’s name, never asked to be taught. Even worse, the training was disguised as a set of painful chores.

Anything we do should make us proud. But, unfortunately, the social hierarchy made some activities cooler than others. If not, check the definition below.

Chore/noun: “A routine task, especially a household one.” “An unpleasant but necessary task.”

Daniel suffered doing chores.

“Wax on, wax off” turned into a nightmare for our protagonist. The repetitive tasks felt unpleasant.

Mr. Miyagi was slow-paced but anything but soft. He was determined to make skeptical Daniel do those chores over and over.

Every night, after long hard work hours, the kid was exhausted.

Until, later in the movie, Daniel realizes he wasn’t just doing chores. He was learning Karate skills and moves. The master was teaching him the foundation of a martial art through the repetition of mundane and tedious tasks.

Why does this matter? Because it can help us reframe our daily chores as lessons in disguise.

Let’s approach them with an open mind and joy. Not because of the chores per-se, but of what they can teach us about ourselves.

Today’s daily stretch: turn chores into a meditation

“Before enlightenment, carry water and chop wood. After enlightenment, carry water and chop wood.” — Buddhist saying

Chores can be a burden. Or a way to build your foundation.

Kids run because they want to. Adults run because they want to stay healthy. Running has become a chore for many.

We are always anxious and busy of doing nothing. Because we turned everything into a chore. Small tasks feel like a lot of work. But they are not.

Let’s recover the value of doing small things.

Chores nurture our patience.

Daniel didn’t just learn Karate moves.

Like most teenagers, he was impatient. He wanted to understand why he was doing chores. Daniel wanted to master Karate before learning the basics.

We all want to achieve immediate results. But becoming good at something requires method and practice. And you can’t accomplish that without patience.

Shortcuts are anything but cheap, as I wrote here.

Chores help us fight laziness.

The brain is a lazy muscle.

If you don’t stretch it often, it will default to the most comfortable position. It will either choose to do nothing or take the easiest route.

Six years ago, my cholesterol went crazy all of a sudden. My doctor asked me: “Do you have someone who shovels the snow for you? Do you hire someone to mow your lawn? Well, start doing it yourself.”

While I didn’t exactly follow his advice, I learned the lesson. We delegate smalls tasks to others, but then we pay the price.

Now, I always walk from and to the train station instead of driving. Not only my cholesterol has gone down. I’ve turned a trivial task in a moment to clear my mind.

Walking to the train station helps me organize my day and wind down on the way back. It’s also when my best ideas show up uninvited.

Chores help us recover the pride and joy of doing.

I love cooking. People get impressed by the looks of the dishes I prepare. What they don’t realize is all the small chores required to get there.

I have all kind of appliances. But nothing can beat the joy of kneading with my own hands. Same happens with cutting vegetables. Sounds trivial but I do it faster and nicer than with a food processor.

Give me mushrooms, and I can spend hours slicing them. I appreciate the precision of the knife when I’m focused and enjoying a simple activity.

Chores help us build resilience.

Daniel had to wax a car multiple times until he learned how to do it well and fast.

He was beaten many times until he learned how to win a combat.

No one becomes a Karate master overnight.

The moment when you feel you should abandon something but you keep trying, that’s when your resilience is built.

Overcoming the burden of doing chores, makes you stronger.

Chores are a form of meditation.

“We never noticed the beauty because we were too busy trying to create it.”

Most of us think that meditating is about sitting with our legs crossed and breathing slower and slower.

Meditation is the training of the mind. Not just relaxing and slowing down our thoughts.

It prepares our mind to be more adaptive and less reactive.

Stop worrying about the chores that you have to do.

Train your mind to be more appreciative of what you have rather than suffering from unfulfilled expectations.

Appreciate doing small chores.

Two exercises to turn chores into a meditation

“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” — Buddha

1. A Warm Up

Here’s a simple trick that you can use to reframe how you talk about chores.

The words we use impact our brain. They can either inhibit or promote positive behaviors. That’s precisely what we will practice here: how to reframe our conversation about chores.

I borrowed this exercise from Bernie Roth, author of The Achievement Habit.

Choose a partner. You start by sharing a chore that you “have” to do. The other person will reframe it replacing “have” by “you want”.

“I have to do the dishes” — you say.

“You want to do the dishes” — the other person replies.

Hearing someone reframing your story into a positive one is very powerful.

Continue doing this exercise for 2–3 minutes with different chores. Then switch turns and repeat.

2. Turn doing chores into a meditation

This exercise requires practice to change a behavior. Its purpose to help become more appreciative of small tasks.

Choose a chore that you want to master or one that you usually do but dislike.

  • Set-up the scenario and remove distractions (phone, TV, etc.).

  • Mise-en-place is a French term that means “set in place”. It’s one of the first things that is taught to aspiring chefs. It’s much more than having all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.

  • Mise-en-place is not just about saving time. It’s a celebration — by setting up the scenario — before starting an activity.

  • Focus on the activity. If you are going to do the dishes or clean the kitchen that should become your only priority.

  • Start by taking a couple of deep breaths. Focus your energy on the activity. You want to do it. And to enjoy it.

  • Focus on the chore. Capture every detail of what you do. How can you improve the outcome? How can you make it feel less repetitive? Try new ways of doing the chore.

  • If you feel distracted, try to re-focus on the chore. You are not just doing somethingYou want to become the best at doing the dishes or chopping the onions.

  • Once you are done, clean the space (if needed). Wrapping up the scene with care increases appreciation.

  • Take a second to appreciate your “art.”

  • Repeat and monitor your improvement. You are on a journey to master a chore. Compare how it feels when you appreciate chores versus approaching the same task as a burden.

If you’d ever need motivation, remember Miyagi’s mantra: “Wax on, wax off.”

Before You Go

Change happens one stretch at a time. Turn everything into an opportunity to learn. Even chores.

Travelling Mindfully

 Image source: http://www.meiklejohn.co.uk/

Image source: http://www.meiklejohn.co.uk/

 

Travelling is the perfect opportunity to break out of the norm and give your mind and body some new data and information to digest.

Travelling Mindfully enables us to really immerse ourselves in the culture of the land we are witnessing.

Next time you are fortunate enough to experience Wanderlust, take a moment to be present and to really enjoy your surrounds.

Here are a few little strategies to get you on your way!

 

🌏Having to be “on” like when in a busy airport, new environment or out of your norm will cause your breath to be excited and shallow.

Stay grounded by  breathing deeply and slowly. I do this when walking into massive tourist crowds, when taking off and landing and whenever I’m in line waiting (which can be often as a traveller)!

🌏Put down the camera. Put down the phone. Not everything needs to be splashed across your socials. Instead of witnessing the magic through your lens, witness it through your eyes. Take in the sights and sounds and notice what is around you instead of reliving it through your camera roll later. Be present. Be in the moment.


🌏 Practice going beyond the surface to consider the gift of life and appreciating the opportunity to be able to #travel
Part of the joy we discover while traveling is how the world is a smaller place than we first thought, and that all people share beautiful things in common like the joy of music and food!


🌏 A friendly smile is a universal gesture that knows no borders - so...S M I L E :P


🌍 Traveling for the sake of wanderlust is truly a luxury. It takes resources like money and time. It takes courage and curiosity. Every weird food, strange ritual, odd sign… Observe and appreciate that your journey is a great gift you receive each time you step outside of your norm!

 
 
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Beginners Guided Meditation

Look, perhaps you might feel as though mindfulness and meditation is reserved for the sage burning, socks and sandal wearing folk of our planet, believe me, I used to think the same thing.

but, Boy, oh Boy was I wrong.

I too started small.

Before you begin, check out the 'How To Meditate' Guide - A super quick read and beneficial before you get started!

The below Guided meditations have been written with you in mind, they have been created to help you create some space without making you feel like you've stepped off the deep end. Give it a go. See what you find.

The Beginners Meditation is only 6 minutes, once you're comfortable with this, level up and give the 15 minute meditation a go.

Just like training for a big run or practising a skill, Meditation is also a skill that benefits greatly when the practise is consistent.

And above all, Be kind to yourself.

Spend less time mindlessly stalking a stranger on Instagram ( realising your 8 pages deep and are now looking at holiday photos of Gigi Hadid's best friends auntie's daughter...) and more time stalking your thoughts.

B R A I N ~ B R E A K S

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B R A I N  ~ B R E A K S
20 minute CBD lunchtime sessions


As a former suit, turned meditation teacher, I understand the pressures of the daily grind. 
Fuelled by coffee and cortisol led me down a rabbit hole to burnout. 
I was very quickly forced to step back and recognise the detrimental impacts it was having on my happiness & health and  began to immerse myself in the world of Mindfulness & Meditation.
After feeling the positive impacts on my daily life, including my health and relationships around me, I wanted to share what I was learning with everyone! 
Having since developed simple and practical techniques and programs for the corporate world, I am excited to announce that I will be teaching 20 minute lunch time session in Melbourne CBD!

Everyone is Welcome! 
Commencing from Wednesday, 19th September, 2018

WHEN >

Wednesdays
(Commencing from 19th September, 2018)
12:00-12:20
12:30-12:50
1PM-1:20
1:30 - 1:50

VENUE > 
KDM studios
Level 4, 
140 Queen Street, 
Melbourne

COST >More affordable than a bento box.
$10 per session

NO NEED TO BOOK. JUST DROP IN.
Q'S? HELLO@THEHAUSOFHEALTH.COM

 
 

Finding your Authentic Self 

Finding your authentic self involves learning who you truly are.

Your authentic self is the real you, the person you are truly meant to be.

Your authentic self is the person you are at your core, the person you can be if nothing holds you back.

METTA - Loving Kindness Meditation 

Metta meditation introduces an element of opening the heart and focusing on  developing feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards others.

A way of developing compassion.

Most of us know first-hand the value of kindness and generosity. We have the instinct to help people but our lives involve bumping up against situations or people, perhaps a frustrating situation at work, a neighbour whom is abrasive  – for whom good wishes or compassion feel harder to generate.

"Metta meditation," also known as "loving-kindness," is about extending kindness and well-wishes to everyone, (yes, everyone) which means even the people we find it hard to like.

This is a practice that often accompanies mindfulness the breath.

Metta Meditation brings to mind the meditator in a non-judgemental compassionate way, they then think of people they love, people they know, everyone everywhere and wish them well may they be safe, happy and healthy.

What is Meditation?

 

Freedom.

You already have all of the chutzpah within. 

Meditation allows you to unlock that inner freedom allowing your mind to traverse to a higher field of awareness.

Sounds wild right?

No wilder than your body being made of stardust and no wilder than the organic supercomputer within your skull.

We all Breathe. We all experience emotions.

Meditation can help with relaxation, understanding your own mind better and becoming less reactive to situations. 

With consistency, compassion and an open mind, meditation can teach you to concentrate, raise your emotional intelligence, confidence, and, overall wellbeing. 

It is learning to expect nothing but remaining open to everything. 

And that my friends, is powerful. 

 
 

All it takes is ten minutes…

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking?

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment.

(No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

Superhumans: The remarkable brain waves of high-level meditators

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman: The co-author of the book Altered Traits is a neuroscientist, Richard Davidson.

Transcript:

He has a lab at the University of Wisconsin. It’s a very large lab, he has dedicated scanners, he has about 100 people working there, and he was able to do some remarkable research where he flew Olympic level meditators—who live in Nepal or India typically, some in France—he flew them over to the lab and put them through a protocol in his brain scanners and did state-of-the-art tests and the results were just astounding. We found, for example, or he found that their brain waves are really different.

Perhaps the most remarkable findings in the Olympic level meditators has to do with what’s called a gamma wave. All of us get gamma for a very short period when we solve a problem we’ve been grappling with, even if it’s something that’s vexed us for months. We get about half second of gamma; it’s the strongest wave in the EEG spectrum. We get it when we bite into an apple or imagine biting into an apple, and for a brief period, a split-second, inputs from taste, sound, smell, vision, all of that come together in that imagined bite into the apple. But that lasts very short period in an ordinary EEG.

What was stunning was that the Olympic level meditators, these are people who have done up to 62,000 lifetime hours of meditation, their brainwave shows gamma very strong all the time as a lasting trait just no matter what they’re doing. It’s not a state effect, it’s not during their meditation alone, but it’s just their every day state of mind.

We actually have no idea what that means experientially. Science has never seen it before. We also find that in these Olympic level meditators when we asked them, for example, to do a meditation on compassion their level of gamma jumps 700 to 800 percent in a few seconds. This has also never been seen by science.

So we have to assume that the special state of consciousness that you see in the highest level meditators is a lot like something described in the classical meditation literatures centuries ago, which is that there is a state of being which is not like our ordinary state. Sometimes it’s called liberation, enlightenment, awake, whatever the word may be we suspect there’s really no vocabulary that captures what that might be. The people that we’ve talked to in this Olympic level group say it’s very spacious and you’re wide open, you’re prepared for whatever may come, we just don’t know.

But we do know it’s quite remarkable.

Follow Big Think here: YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom

Hydrating Hemp Face Mask 

So first things first, you cannot get high from smoking hemp, eating hemp or slathering hemp on your face.

Whilst Hemp and Marijuana look identical and stem from the cannabis plant, they are indeed vastly different. Hemp has virtually undetectable levels of THC (the psychoactive compound found in cannabis) and is actually derived from an industrialised cannabis plant, this is the  type of hemp that is used to make biodegradable paper, clothing, oil, body care products and cosmetics.

Hello Hydrating Hemp Protein!

When your skin is glowing and clear, it’s a sign that you’re getting enough vitamins, minerals and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Hemp protein is an excellent source of all of these nutrients.

The amino acids in hemp protein also help support skin health by aiding in collagen production. Collagen helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and maintains the skin’s elasticity (the first thing to go as we continue to age, or grow wiser!)

Hemp  has trace levels of THC that are just enough to offer an antioxidant effect, and are heavy in omegas, which are essential for hydrating dull skin. As an antioxidant, hemp can combat wrinkles and fine lines, and scientists and dermatologists are currently studying the ways that it could combat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

It's a wholesome natural addition to throw into your skincare routine, but for those times you'd like to treat yo’self at home and give your fabulous face a little extra lovin’ consider yourself covered with our Hydrating Hemp mask!

 

 

METATRONIA

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Singer-songwriter Solange Ferguson  has tapped into the world of alternative healing for her latest installation, Metatronia, on display at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Metatronia is "an interdisciplinary performance piece and reflection featuring dance and sculpture," states the museum website.

According to Solange’s artist statement, the piece pays homage to the process of Metatronia—a form of therapy that focuses on vibrational sound healing—as a tool to create space for clarity, creativity, and meditative movement. "Metatronia explores the process and mapping of creation. The piece is an exercise on following the intuitive force that guides us, helping us to create space, and silence the mind to create the work."

For Solange, Metatronia also serves as an exploration of interests in wellness as they relate to the interplay of movement, meditation, and architecture. "Continuing my practices and interest in exploring the relationship of movement and architecture as a meditation, Metatronia centers around building frequency and creating change through visual storytelling."

The video features a diverse cast of dancers from California State University, dressed mostly in white and moving rhythmically to music that is fittingly akin to the audio you’d likely hear in a sound bath meditation session. The stark aesthetics painted against the green pastures of California are striking in the least and call upon the calming effects of nature as integral to the piece's overall majestic quality. It's like being transplanted in the middle of the outdoors with a meditation soundtrack and soothing visuals.

This isn’t the singer-songwriter’s first foray into meditation as a medium for artistic expression. Her 2017 "Musical Meditation" performance piece fixated on the premise of healing to "encourage a moment of meditation and reflection to build internal energy through music and fellowship," according to a statement.

The therapeutic benefits of art and landscape are perhaps underexplored in the realm of wellness, but leave it to Solange’s unwavering curiosity with visual storytelling to combine sculpture and dance to create community and access to different modalities of healing.

Check out the video here


Sourced From:

www.mindbodygreen.com

Krysten Peck - mbg Movement Writer

Krysten Peck is a writer for the Movement section at mbg. A city dweller with island roots, she's hooked on all-things ginger and likes to play in the kitchen. When she does exercise.

 

Associate Professor Dr Craig Hassed | Science of Mindfulness

 
 

Dr Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer at Monash University discusses benefits of mindfulness and its impact on health.

 
 

Meditation for little (and BIG!) kids

 

Its wonderful watching children interact and play, they are so honest and real, they don't have preconceived notions of what constitutes 'good' or 'bad' and chances are, they haven't (yet) been bombarded with biased opinions, marketing trickery and the opinions of adults who can be a product of opinions, ego and societal obligations.

The imagination of a child is pure and unlimited.

Its expansive and vivid and the same social constructs that we experience as an adult simply doesn't exist for a child.

Their imaginations are free to play and explore! 

This mental freedom is liberating and I have been working on remembering what it is like to 'think like a child' - It is all innately inside us, we just have to remember how to get back to that place before we 'grew up.' 

This 'kids meditation' is a wonderful first step to reigniting your imagination.

Give it a go & See what you find.

 

'The Hemp Revolution’, explores the modern day hemp industry - it’s sustainable & ecological qualities, as well as the (unfounded) taboo and stigma surrounding its use. Why do petroleum based products have a monopoly on most industries, when there are much more sustainable materials that we should be using?

The Science of Meditation

 

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson about the current scientific understanding of meditation practice. They speak about the original stigma associated with meditation, the history of introspection in eastern and western cultures, the recent collaboration between Buddhism and western science, the difference between altered states and altered traits, an alternate conception of mental health, “meta-awareness,” the relationship between mindfulness and “flow,” the difference between pain and suffering, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and other topics.

Daniel Goleman, known for his bestselling books on emotional intelligence, has a long-standing interest in meditation dating back to his two years in India as a graduate student at Harvard. A psychologist who for many years reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times, Dr. Goleman previously was a visiting faculty member at Harvard. Dr. Goleman has received many journalistic awards for his writing, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize for his articles in the Times, and a Career Achievement award for journalism from the American Psychological Association. Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984.

Davidson has published more than 320 articles, as well as numerous chapters and reviews, and edited fourteen books. His research has received many awards.

Their most recent book is Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body. Want to support the Waking Up podcast?

Please visit: http://www.samharris.org/support

Get Sam’s email newsletter: https://www.samharris.org/email_signup

Follow Sam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/samharrisorg

For more information about Sam Harris: https://www.samharris.org

 

The most commonly asked question - Does hemp get you high?

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Simple answer. No.

Longish answer. Below.

There are two strains of cannabis that get you high, the tall scraggly sativas that originated in South East Asia and the bushy short indicas from the Middle East. Cannabis, grown for its flowering buds for reasons of smoking or THC extraction, are generally short and wide.

BUT there is a third strain, called cannabis ruderalis, from which we derive industrial hemp.  Hemp, on the other hand, is tall and narrow as it is not grown for its buds. Hemp is low in THC and is often grown for a variety of purposes including the manufacture of materials.

These three species all produce a pair of chemical compounds cannabidiol (CBD) and thetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the psychoactive property in cannabis) - albeit in varying ratios.

Ruderalis aka Hemp is the opposite of its cousins in that it contains virtually ZERO THC and massive amounts of CBD. This is the result of both the species' natural disposition and generations of breeding.

So what the heck is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is one of more than 60 compounds found in these plants.  It acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system, creating physical changes in the body, which can be beneficial in many ways.  In recent times, it has become increasingly understood that taking a CBD supplement or a product high in CBD, can have a positive influence on many aspects of life and health.

CBD interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system. First discovered in the late 1980’s, the endocannabinoid system regulates the body’s homeostasis, or general state of balance, impacting such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response. As the environment around us impacts our normal balance, the endocannabinoid system “corrects” by mediating our body’s reaction to keep us level.

 

Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds

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There’s been a lot of discussion about what kinds of mental activities are actually capable of changing the brain. Some promises of bolstered IQ and enhanced brain function via specially-designed "brain games" have fizzled out. Meanwhile, meditation and mindfulness training have accumulated some impressive evidence, suggesting that the practices can change not only the structure and function of the brain, but also our behavior and moment-to-moment experience.

Now, a new study from the Max Planck Institute finds that three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in corresponding brain regions. The results, published in Science Advances, have a lot of relevance to schools, businesses and, of course, the general public.

Participants, who were between 20 and 55 years of age, engaged in three different types of training for three months each, totaling a nine-month study period. The first training was dubbed the “Presence” module, and was very similar to focused awareness meditation, an ancient practice that's been studied a lot in recent years. In this study, participants learned to focus their attention, bringing it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations.

The second training was called “Affect,” which sought to enhance empathy and compassion for others—participants learned “loving-kindness” (metta) meditation, and did work with partners, the goal of which was to enhance one’s compassion and empathy.

The last was the "Perspective" module, akin to mindfulness or open-monitoring meditation. Here, the focus was on observing one’s own thoughts non-judgmentally and enhancing understanding of the perspectives of others.

The researchers wagered that training in each of these methods would lead to volume increases in corresponding brain areas. And this was largely what they found, as they scanned the participants’ brains at the end of each module and compared groups against one another. Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. Affect training was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions like empathy; and Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others, and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.

The results are exciting in that they offer an even more nuanced look at how meditation can change the brain, and in a relatively short amount of time. Lots of research has found that experienced meditators have significantly altered brain structure and function, but a growing number of studies has also found that relatively brief meditation training in novices (for instance, the well-known eight-week MBSR program) can also shift brain function, improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

And, the authors say, the results may be applicable in a number of settings, for kids and adults alike. “Our findings suggest a potential biological basis for how mindfulness and different aspects of social intelligence could be nurtured."

They add that this kind of sensitivity is especially important nowadays, as our community becomes more global, and understanding of others' experiences more essential.

“With growing globalization, interconnectedness, and complexity of our societies, ‘soft skills’ have become increasingly important," they say. "Social competences, such as empathy, compassion, and taking the perspective of another person, allow for a better understanding of others’ feelings and different beliefs and are crucial for successful cooperation.”

Meditation, in its different forms, may be a powerful way to boost the types of intelligence that matter most.


This article was found at the following address through reddit.com

WRITTEN BY:

Alice G. Walton , CONTRIBUTOR

I cover health, medicine, psychology and neuroscience.Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

 
 

Straight up.

Use a timer. Start small.  See what happens.

Consistency is where the magic happens. As with any new skill, it can be tricky to begin with, but just keep practising.

(If you are cbf on reading all of the steps in detail, just read the bolded sections)

Step 1. 

To meditate, you don't need to be flexible, you most certainly wont need to sit cross legged with your palms facing up and you definitely don't need to journey to the top of a mountain (though that kinda sounds fun) to meet a spiritual counsellor. In order to meditate, all you need to be is YOU. And you're already doing that, so congratulations, you have slayed step 1.  

Step 1a.

Always remember - There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Again, its about what's right for YOU.

Step 2. 

Get comfy, whatever that feels like for you; it could be sitting, standing or perhaps lying down. Whichever position you choose and without strain, keep a straight spine.

Step 3. 

Close your eyes. 

Step 4. 

Feel your breath. Pick a spot; your belly, your nose or chest. Really try to feel the breath. Notice the tempo, notice the temperature. Notice it moving in and out of your body.

Step 5. 

This one is important. Everytime you get lost in thought, (which you will, because the thought train hurtles about on its own schedule), observe and be curious. Like our eyes see, and our ears hear, our mind's job is to think. When you're ready,  gently return to the breath. 

Step 5a. 

Above all, be kind to yourself. 

 

Give it a go here!

 

"Beginning again and again is the actual practise, not the problem to overcome." - Sharon Salzberg

 

 

THE QUEEN OF THE SIDE HUSTLE

(That's me apparently!)

 

 

This week I was interviewed by  Sonya Mcintyre-Reid, Girl Boss over at  KISS Marketing where we discussed all things side-hustle!

A key point that came up was that you really need to be hands on with your business. Some things may seem techie and overwhelming but as a small business looking to grow, the reality is you likely don't have $5k to spend having someone to develop your website. You also likely don't have someone writing your opt in and creating your ads on Facebook. It really emphasised the importance of getting in there and getting your hands dirty. 

30.06.17

 
 
 
 

PODCAST: Turning your passion into a business

 

How do you turn your passion into a thriving business? Many people are also juggling other workloads - whether that's full or part time workmanaging families or studying. In some cases - people are juggling all these elements!!!

This episode focuses on this topic: turning your passion into a business.

Joining me is Angelina Morino, co-founder of The Haus of HealthThe Haus of Health have supported many Relauncher Workshops through gifting in the gift bags.

Their products consist of handcrafted wholefoods consisting of a range of food toppersspice blends plus more...

 
 

Butt Naked Skinfood 

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We recently caught up with Patrizia from Butt Naked Body, a Melbourne based Body Care business specialising in all organic Skinfoods!

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THOH: So, tell us, Who is Butt Naked?

The Brand
Two Melbournians who came together and started Butt Naked Body in Feburary 2016.
With a passion for our furry friends, healthy lifestyles and wanting to promote a healthy, human and animal-friendly product into the Australian Market.

  • Australian owned and run our products are 100% Vegan / Natural and preservative free.

  • 5% of profits donated to Save a dog Scheme in Melbourne


We live by the mantra Life’s better in your Birthday Suit. We keep things simple, clean and compassionate by using only nature’s bare essentials. We inspire to live authentically, be bold and let the human spirit embrace their awesome butt naked self.

Us.
Patrizia: We are Carissa and Patrizia. We are Vegan and Vegetarian. We are animal lovers.

Our friendship goes back to our younger years where we would pine over musicians and watch Ricki Lake whilst eating maltesers in ice-cream. From the day that we first met all those years ago, we immediately felt like kindred spirits. Still to this day that’s how we describe our friendship and even address each other in emails! Carissa’s background is within the health food and wellbeing industry which is where her passion for a cruelty free and clean lifestyle grew.

She is the product master, sometimes I have no idea what’s she’s talking about but I trust her knowledge and expertise!
I am the designer of the pair, I grew up with a love for all things artsy and pursued a career as a graphic designer, my love of branding helped inspire me to try my hand at something a little bit different.

 

THOH: What was the inspiration behind creating Butt Naked Skinfood and did you always plan on running your own business?

P: Both Carissa and myself have always been passionate about a animal welfare and a clean, simple and sustainable world without cutting out life’s simple pleasures. With both  Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyles we found it hard to find brands that we could 100% trust to be Vegan without all the other nasty stuff. This inspired us to create Butt Naked Skinfood, a brand you don’t need to second guess, what you see is what you get.

I have always had an interest in doing my own thing, in life and in business. Being a designer by trade gave me opportunities to dapple in ‘the business thing’ straight out of uni.
I knew the 9 to 5 life was something I could never see myself doing forever, for someone else, so that’s where the entrepreneur in me stemmed from. Butt Naked evolved from the combination of my determination and fearlessness to just give it shot and our (both Carissa And I) passion for all things natural and furry friend friendly.

 

THOH: As a small business with big plans, what is the biggest challenge and most rewarding aspect to your job?

P: A good friend said to me ‘if you have anything, it’s time’. I never really believed that, (because I felt like I never had time) but he’s right, you just have to MAKE the time.
It has been challenging and a huge learning curve adapting to the commitments of your own business, your personal life and trying to find ‘me time’.

It can get tough but I have learnt the importance of making time for yourself and the important people in your life. I adopted the notion of ‘this one can wait till tomorrow’, because it’s vital for your state of mind to switch off once in awhile, for yourself, your relationships and for the benefit of the business.

There are so many projects and opportunities we want Butt Naked to be apart of, it can get overwhelming trying to decide what the right choice would be whilst working within the budget of a startup. Sometimes unexpected issues or opportunities that weren’t ‘in the plan’ surface themselves but we have learned to just roll with it and hope it works.

It’s rewarding to see your passion project continually growing and receiving so much love and support. It’s inspiring and motivating when we hear people who love the product and what we are doing. The knowledge we have gained so far along the journey has been so worthwhile and opened our minds to many new ideas and possibilities.

 

THOH: Where does the inspiration come from in terms of your package design and the ingredients in the scrub mixes?

P: We believe in keeping things clean and simple in all aspects of life, no bullshit, just the way you are is fine. No need for gimmicks, just the bare essentials.

 

THOH: What does an average working day look like for you?

Pat: After a gym session and dog walk. It generally starts with some heavy duty list making, I’m big on to-do lists.  Then a phone call call to catch up to speed with kindred and all things product. From then on, it's generally head down, bum up.  

Designing, networking , looking at product development and all the boring in between stuff like spreadsheets and contracts, and in between this I get sidetracked by Hunter (fur baby) and his attention seeking antics. The variety is good, keeps it interesting and keeps me learning.

Carissa:  I start my day taking Milly (my doggy) for a walk around the farm before contacting potential new retailers/stockist, managing all incoming emails from customers, researching and trialing upcoming products (and making a mess in the kitchen). Milly likes to sit on my lap, with paws on the keyboard and helps with all the computer work.

 

THOH: We’ve seen that you support furry little critters, can you share a little more about this with us?

P: We are both massive animal lovers from childhood, so it wasn't a hard decision when creating Butt Naked with where we wanted our values to lie.

The treatment of animals for cosmetic or money making purposes is horrific and unjust. There are alternative options to animal testing and puppy farming so we strongly believe these methods should not exist. My best friend is my dingo fur baby, the unconditional love an animal has  is not only irreplaceable, but so therapeutic, the thought of someone wanting to harm these beautiful creatures devastates us and that is why we choose to support save a dog scheme, a Melbourne based animal shelter that implements a no kill policy.

 

THOH: What’s your biggest achievement to date with Butt Naked Skinfood?

P: Our biggest achievement to date would be how much we have grown in the last 12 months, we never imagined our product would be stocked with so many great businesses and brands in such a short time period.

 

THOH: Any new or exciting projects on the horizon?

P: There maybe be one or two collabs coming up.. and some new products, our lips are sealed. Stay tuned….;)

 

THOH: Feel like throwing a code out there for the beautiful humans?

P: Use code NAKEDHEALTH to receive 15% off on our online store!

Check out Butt Naked Skinfood here and here! 

 

Cape Town - South Africa

CAPETOWN
 

South Africa

Africa is an enormous continent spanning across a multitude of cultures, time zones, climates and land mass.  To clarify, South Africa is a country within Africa, located on the Southern most tip of the continent with Cape Town as one of its capitals.  

No doubt when you think of Africa, you conjure up imagery of vast, arid, savannah plains teeming with wild animals, and, whilst this is mostly the case, Cape Town is surprisingly vibrant and green with temperate climates!  With eleven official languages, three capitals, expansive coastlines and the longest wine route in the world, Cape Town combines the likes of culture, adventure and Mother Nature at its finest.

Lace up your walking shoes and explore the great outdoors.  Hike up Tabletop Mountain, a 500 million year old sandstone formation that has recently been dubbed the new seventh wonder of Nature, it’s stature certainly provides a dramatic background to the city.

Head further South and visit the Cape Of Good Hope - the most South Western point of Africa, marvel at the sight of hundreds of penguins, but watch your back - Baboons in this area are aplenty and they love tourists backpacks!  

A fusion of foodie offerings combines traditional African fare with hearty Dutch elements, paired with wine from some of the world’s best vineyards. Whilst exploring the depths of the city you will undoubtedly stumble upon quirky vintage stores spinning records from yesteryear, charming cafes with arguably better coffee than Melbourne (just kidding! But its pretty darn good!) and more biltong than you could imagine.

The city is made up of resilient inhabitants, both culturally and ethnically diverse. Given the troubled history, unity remains a fragile balancing act and there are many stories told with both dire and uplifting endings.  Visit the apartheid museum and learn about the past, visit the townships, speak to locals, and learn about the present. Despite what was, there is still an immense sense of pride and hope that makes up the essence of South Africa.


 

I was lucky enough to sit down with the fantastic folk at Allied Magazine for a bit of chat about all things Biz!

Have a read and then head on over to their website to read about all things health and body! 

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BERLIN

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BERLIN, Germany

Berlin is dynamic yet tenacious, a sprawling metropolis guised in a rich tapestry of historical

events, a city packing enough hustle to satisfy even the most discerning traveller. The 20th century

alone saw the European powerhouse stage a revolution, be led by Nazis, be bombed

to oblivion, divide in two, to then reunite and regain its reputation as a powerful European nation.

Hire a bike and pass through the famous Brandenburg gates, traverse along the remnants of the

Berlin wall, visit checkpoint Charlie and get educated about the repercussions of history at the Holocaust Museum,

a dramatic building designed by world-renowned Architect, Daniel Libeskind.   A truly moving experience.

 

Berlin is a multicultural city where its inhabitants are laid-back and innovative throwing caution to

the wind when it comes to status. Its people are friendly and forthcoming. The city lends its soul to

a never ending flurry of cultural experimentation and creativity thus establishing itself as a global

leader in a multitude of areas including music, design and contemporary trends.

 

Conscious about the impacts of big city business, Berlin is brought to life by vibrant parks dotted

throughout the concrete jungle. With its early beginnings in the 16th Century as hunting grounds,

Tiergarten is now Berlin’s largest and most popular urban garden spanning across 520 acres.

Locals and tourists alike are resplendent to be seen enjoying picnics, bike rides and the joys of

nature in the big smoke.

 

A finely balanced juxtaposition of pure grit and effervescent glamour, Berlin is shaped by a rich

historical past cloaked in effortless chic and vibrant diversity. This alluring city is a decadent

smorgasbord of history, architecture, debauchery, art and culture encompassed by the alluring

night lights always poised to party. A definite stop on any European adventure!


 

Getting down with Blushstroke

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BLUSHSTROKE - Merrie McCulloch

We caught up with our fab friend Merrie whom is the creative genius behind Blushstroke.  Her works are whimsical and inspiring and we were so excited to be able to get the low-down on the inner workings of all things Blushstroke!

What’s your creative philosophy when it comes to new works or finding inspo?

I'm inspired by so many things- usually from nature and the world around me. The patterns in nature and colours that just occur naturally together- whether it's where the forest meets the sea at the Daintree or just a stormy day over the bay near my home in Beaumaris. I love playing with colours that come naturally. A lot of my approach is guided by my clients too. I always make sure I get a really good idea of what colours really resonate with them, and where they plan to hang their piece to make sure every aspect of it makes them happy and suits their home and tastes. 

What was the inspiration behind creating Blushstroke?

Funnily enough, Blushstroke kinda came out of nowhere! I never imagined I'd establish an art business, even though I've drawn and painted for my entire life. The last time I had sold a piece of art was from my folio back in high school. But for my last birthday, I received a gift voucher for a local art store, and decided to use it to try some new mediums. People absolutely loved the end product, and wanted their own, so I started taking requests and it went from there! Every custom I've done has been through word of mouth, or social media, which is crazy! 

What makes Blushstroke art so unique?

The main piece of feedback I hear from many of my clients is that they can genuinely feel and see the love and care that has gone into each of their Blushstroke pieces. I work with my clients through their needs ranging from size and shape, to colour palette to make sure that every detail is perfect before I begin a custom, and I keep my studio a really beautiful environment for producing artwork. Light, bright, airy and full of plants, books, and music! I adore painting and working on pieces, and I feel like the love I pour into the work then pours back out when it's in the home. 

What does an average working day look like for you?

Funnily enough, I'm a primary school teacher. On weekends you might find me watching some of my students play soccer locally or baking up something for the school fete. Actually our school has an Art Show later this year, and I can't wait to help out. Most of my painting happens very late at night, early in the morning, or on weekends. Because each piece takes a long time with lots of curing in between layers, it works out well to be able to leave a piece for a day and come back to it later. But sometimes I get so drawn into what I'm working on that my husband Ryan literally has to drag me out of the studio or I'll be late for work! 

What is the biggest challenge and most rewarding aspect to your job?

When it comes to painting, seeing a client's face when they receive their artwork is my favourite, that's pretty much the reason why I always offer to hand-deliver where possible. That way, I get the satisfaction of seeing someone go from wall-to-wall in their home - like a kid with a new toy - deciding where to put it. The greatest challenge for me is probably balancing the business with my other commitments, for example, I won't be taking any custom orders over Report Writing season at school! 

We’ve seen that you only use non-toxic materials (no brainer!) – Was it difficult to source these products? Are you noticing any trends to move into more ‘eco-friendly’ mediums?

To achieve the Blushstroke abstract look, I use a combination of eco-friendly 'fluid art' mediums on acid-free cotton canvas. To be honest, yes it took me a long time to get the balance right, to make sure I was happy with the look I was producing without using any toxic or animal-tested products.  If you look on the internet at resin artists at work, they all have gloves, gas masks, blow torches, agh! That stuff's just not right for me. Everyone's different, and I have a lot of respect for artists using what works for them, but it doesn't align with who I am- I only use products that don't test on animals and are certified non-toxic. Just like I wouldn't want those things in my body, I wouldn't want them in my home.  I've had so many other artists approach me about my non-toxic methods- they all want to know how I achieve that 'resin-look' without using epoxy resin, so yes, I can see that others are realising how important it is to consider the environment in their studio practice. Also, some artists and art companies out there now are working to lower the toxins emitted by their art products into the home, as well as reducing the yellowing and warping problems that can happen over time with resin art. I'm working hard all the time to make my artworks both beautiful and kind, so I tell myself the same thing as I tell my students -  you can be a masterpiece and a work-in-progress at the same time. We're all learning. 

What’s your biggest achievement to date with Blushstroke?

I'm proud of each and every piece I create, which is all I've ever tried at achieve with Blushstroke. I've been given lots of funny opportunities that I could have taken up but haven't because they weren't really aligned with my goals. Like, having my artworks sent to the US and turned into silk scarves, or exhibiting at a big showcase event in the city with 200 other artists.

I'm actually just happy doing my thing here at home in the studio! I have been asked a few times though to work with fundraising bodies and last year one of my pieces was auctioned off at the National Breast Cancer Foundations Pink Ribbon Breakfast. It was such a large-scale event and they raised a huge amount of money for breast cancer research. It was such a good feeling to be involved and I'm always happy to help out where needed.

Any new or exciting projects on the horizon?

Well, I've actually just started combining my love of Astrology (and awesome birthday presents) with my art, and producing Custom Birth Moon paintings. I draw up a birth chart for the client, find out the moon phase from their birth and create a completely customised piece based on what was going on up there at the moment they were born. I love producing them, using birth colours and stones to guide the palette, and painting the piece with a 'gallery wrap' so it really stands out on the wall when it's hung. They even come with a mini birth chart on the back so the client can read all about it. So far the people that have ordered one have been really happy with the end product and how personalised it is. From a painting perspective, I approach it completely differently from my fluid art style - it's nice to pick up a paint brush every now and then!

If you could have any work of art hanging in your lounge room; what would it be? 

In my house, aside from drawings from my nieces, nephews and students that adorn my fridge, the walls are full of framed photos. Everything from friends, family, my wedding, pets, but mostly HOLIDAYS! There's at least one framed black and white photo from every country I've visited and they would certainly be a good conversation starter at the dinner table... if I had one. My dining table got turned into the studio table months ago and never got replaced. Oops! I also love checking out and coveting the work of other local artists on Instagram, there is so much talent out there, so don't forget to #shoplocal! 

Looking for your own customised work or perhaps an extra special gift for a loved one? 

Check it out here and here!

 

 

 

 

Set Sail and see the Croatian Coastline!

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SAIL THE CROATIAN COASTLINE

Set sail and island hop your way through the Adriatic Sea. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit,

sunnies and big floppy hat and get ready to explore the dazzling Croatian coastline.

The sapphire waters of this mediterranean beauty will capture your imagination, leaving you

spellbound. Find your sea legs as you cross the gangplank to your floating home!

First stop is the island of Split, Croatia’s second largest city. Expertly balancing the modernities of

today with the essence of yesteryear, Split is a city buzzing with life and energy. Dramatic coastal

mountains serve as a picturesque backdrop to the humming cityscape below, climb to the top of

the fortress and marvel the expansive turquoise coastline.

 

Sail onward to the birth place of Marco Polo, the island of Korcula, a Medieval walled town also

home to an abundance of vineyards, olive groves and a myriad of small villages. The old town is

littered with narrow winding laneways that branch off the main street, interestingly, the town was

designed in such a way so as to protect its inhabitants from both sun and wind providing them with

comfortable accommodation all year round.

 

Next stop, Dubrovnik! The enchanting Baroque architecture, gleaming marble streets and the

gentle musings of the Adriatic Sea as it laps the coastline are sure to captivate any discerning

traveller. Amble along the medieval walls as you explore ancient fortresses, climb aboard the cable

car and witness the exuberant city below or if your adventurous spirit beckons, jump on the back of

a scooter and explore the city like a local.

 

Slowing down the tempo, as you dock at Mljet, be sure to disembark, rent a pushbike and explore

this natural wonder. Covered in lush forests, vineyards and dotted by small villages, Mljet is not

only an island but also a pristine National Park. Thriving vegetation and spectacular saltwater lakes

are resplendent to be seen. Legend has it, that the great Greek King, Odysseus, was so captivated

by this little island that he spent seven years enjoying the tranquility!

 

Finally, kick back in chilled out Makarska. Meander along the waterfront promenade as the

limestone streets pave the way to your dinner date. During high season, this sleepy little city turns

into a bustling little hub of thrill-seekers as the active types take advantage of hiking, rock climbing,

paragliding, wind-surfing and mountain biking!

 

If balmy days spent exploring sapphire waters and medieval architecture sound like the perfect

Mediterranean adventure, jump aboard and set sail!


We met Sonya whilst waiting for coffee at a Wellness event in Melbourne and through a random turn of events met again six months later and began working together on all things marketing related for The Haus Of Health.

Her professionalism and expertise in the field blew us away and it was a no-brainer to get her on board to join the journey! 

Hey Sonya, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Can you tell us a little bit about

your background and the inspiration behind KISS?

 

I started my commerce degree with a major in finance and economics. I honestly thought marketing was a waste of time and wanted to get stuck into the ‘serious’ stuff that actually made businesses money. I wanted to be in a big office building working with numbers all day. Then, I had to take a  compulsory marketing subject one day and I was BLOWN away by the lecturer. Unlike a lot of my lecturers whom were purely academics, this guy had actually worked in the industry and was just teaching this one subject.

He was incredible and so passionate and suddenly I was excited to go to class. Without what felt like much effort at all, I smashed that subject with my highest score yet. I made the decision the next week to change my major to marketing and management and I haven’t looked back since.

Kiss started when I saw what big agencies were doing and I thought ‘I can do that, but better!’ These small businesses are being ripped off and enticed by agencies that have zero personality and no niche. So I decided to focus on small businesses owned by women.

 

What is the process behind KISS?

 I’m a self-confessed digital marketing nerd and I think this is really where the process behind Kiss comes in.

I build websites, design branding, set up google adword campaigns, manage social media, create digital strategies, coach women and empower them to embrace all that techie stuff and understand their online analytics.

 

What inspires you to do what you do?

I’m sick of seeing crappy websites, people half-arsing it on social media and fugly branding.

Marketing is shallow, but so are people. It’s not just the aesthetics that inspire me though, I love the data and analytics and tweaking a marketing strategy to build upon this.

I’ve got this balance that I’ve found is so rare for marketers with an appreciation for design and the analytics to back it up.  

 

 Social media can be incredibly overwhelming for small business.  What do you currently see as the most beneficial platform for brands to get their message out into the world?

 Ooh what a meaty question! The partnership between instagram and Facebook is a beautiful one and I love using them both in really different ways. For instagram, I see it as a way to inject personality into your business. It’s still quite organic and gives you the ability to document and for people to follow your business and the journey. As for Facebook, I don’t use it to just push out posts, it’s AMAZING for advertising. The results are better than any platform out there at the moment and unlike traditional tv or print advertising, you can track everything (there’s those analytics again that I’m so crazy about). I can’t stress the importance of a small business having someone manage their facebook ads or at least understanding how to do the basics themselves. I don’t recommend just boosting a post for $13 - there are so many better ways to spend that money. But more to come on that, I’m putting the finishing touches on a guide for small businesses to set up their first Facebook ad.

Watch this space!

 

 I know at The Haus Of Health, we can find juggling business, family, friends (and sleep)  to be somewhat challenging at times.

How do you maintain balance in these areas of your life whilst nurturing a growing business?

I wish I knew! I’ve been running Kiss, working a full-time job, travelling back to Albury every weekend, trying to see friends, playing sport and still managing to sleep for about 8 months now. I’ve just started the technique of batching to stop the overwhelm when it comes to business.

Monday I work on current client work, Tuesday; I create and plan for my new BOOM YOUR BIZ PROGRAM. Wednesday; I do my own marketing and promotion including, content planning and emails, Thursday; I’m back to doing client work and across the weekend is when I get creative.

I’ve found by doing this I have more focus.

Also, if I don’t exercise every day I’m a crazy lady! It just gives me a clear head and so much energy.

 

 We have most certainly made many ‘mistakes’ along the road of creative pursuits, have you experienced any major screw ups as an entrepreneur? (even though we all know they are actually kick arse life lessons!)

Oh boy, there have been a few. How about the time I thought having big lips greet people on my website home page was a good idea and not even little bit tacky?

No, to be honest I think my mistakes have been around not trusting my gut. I worked with a client last year who I knew wasn’t right from Day Two  and I let it go on for a month.

The level of anxiety I would get when I received an email from her was just not worth it. She had a beautiful product I was really passionate about but trust me, you’ve got to have a good working relationship with your client or it’s going to drain you and take away from the work you’re doing with other clients. But I totally agree,  situations like these are life lessons. I won’t be making that mistake again.

 

What do you think is a major contributing factor in successfully marketing your brand/product/business?

Consistency! You can’t be posting on social twice a day for a week and then have people not hear from you again. Create a plan that includes Facebook advertising, instagram posts, google adwords, blogging and an eDM component and STICK to it!

Also, on the note of consistency please please please be consistent with your branding. Brand guidelines are created for a reason - use them!! I’m talking the same fonts and colours for EVERYTHING.

 

What is the most challenging part and the most rewarding aspect of running a business for you? 

At the moment, the most challenging part is time management (I’m not convinced that will ever change!) The most rewarding is working with women who have incredible businesses with products and services that I’m passionate about.. The work I do helps them grow their businesses - my client’s success is my success and I get such a buzz when something great has happened in their biz.

 

What does ‘Success’ mean to you?

Waking up excited about life

 

Do you have any advice for any budding entrepreneurs? 

Just start!

You’ll learn sooo much by just jumping in.  I look at where I was 12 months ago compared to know and it’s amazing how much you learn in a short period of time.

Read, read, read!

 

What is next on the horizon for KISS?

 I’ve just launched by boom your biz program and I’m working on a Facebook advertising guide for small businesses.

 

DOWNLOAD A FREE MARKETING GUIDE HERE!

 

Interwebz details:

@kiss_marketing

 

 

 

 www.kissmarketing.com.au  

hello@kissmarketing.com.au

GUIDED MEDITATION FOR ENTREPRENEURS

written by  ARI BANAYAN

The Importance of Freeing Yourself Every Day

The mental beating that entrepreneurs take on a daily basis is no joke.

Every entrepreneur knows what it feels like to have a mind that moves at a million miles an hour, with a never-ending to-do list, and a lack of time to get everything done. It’s really one of the hallmarks of the entrepreneurial struggle.

We work tirelessly to push forward step by step toward our goal of creating something that demands respect. Something that will bring us financial success, change the world, and put us in the company of the world’s elite businessmen.

Here’s the problem.

Being an entrepreneur requires engagement in this constant internal battle to keep pushing against yourself. To keep moving forward when you have nothing left in the tank. It requires constantly making difficult social and personal sacrifices with the aim of achievement of something great.

The bigger the vision, the more that is required of you.

Entrepreneurship isn’t a game. It’s not some hobby you do when you’re bored.

Your reputation, career, and your dream are completely dependent on what you’re willing to give up to make it happen.

What many of us don’t realize is that the perpetual mental and emotional battle takes a serious toll on our well-being.

Bonus: Download the free action guide checklist now! This an awesome 3-step guide for a better meditation experience! 

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to Find The Time to Slow Down

When you have a million and one things to do every day with a limited of time to get it all done, it becomes normal, customary, to ignore your own needs. We forget to take care of ourselves because we become so conditioned to take action at every moment. We strive for accomplishment from the moment we wake up, and our minds don’t rest until we actually fall asleep.

It’s inevitable that we will feel doubt, fear, and frustration. It’s really a part of the job description. But as I’m sure you know, the way we deal with all the bullshit is what governs our output. The way we face adversity is what defines us.

Your mental and emotional well-being are absolutely vital to your efficiency and productivity. To operate as effectively as possible, one needs clarity, focus, health and to be liberated from one’s own mental anguish.

I don’t care if you have the greatest work-ethic in the history of mankind and you can work 80 hour weeks for months at a time.

If you don’t find a way to take care of yourself mentally, and take time every day to separate yourself from the mental bullshit that goes on inside all of us, you will feel the effect. And it will have an impact on the quality of your life.

My Story

Early into my second year of law school I had an opportunity to start working with a few friends on a business idea that I really fell in love with.

Law school is tough on it’s own, but I almost immediately started working full time on this startup. I had partners that weren’t in school, and I had to sacrifice my time in order to make all of this work.

I was already that guy that woke up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym and still get to school before 7 to start studying or working before the rest of the world woke up. I knew I had to get even more serious if I really wanted to make it work.

I actually remember having a conversation with myself soon after we really started moving forward in developing our business idea.

“You’re good… This is nothing new… You know how to sacrifice… You know how to sit down and get your shit done… Don’t sweat it… Just prioritize, stay organized, ignore the rest of the world and get it done. This is your time.”

And that’s exactly what I did.

Until one day, a few months later, I woke up really confused.

“Wait, what am I doing? I’m a law student. Shouldn’t I be trying to find a job? I can start making serious money next year.. am I really going to give up on all the work I’ve put into getting into a good law school and killing myself for good grades to start a business? There’s no way I can get this all done.. wow it might actually be impossible. I have no time. I have no life. Where am I going? What do I want?”

The conversation ate at me. There I was, completely lost.

I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. It affected my work output. It affected my studying.

Even though outwardly I was still “making it work,” internally I felt like I was losing control of who I was. I was trying to please everybody. Keep all my relationships intact, keep my family happy, keep my partners happy… and that’s when I realized.

I had forgotten to keep myself happy.

 

Guided Meditation For Entrepreneurs – A Step By Step Guide

When most people hear the word “meditation” they think about it as some abstract concept. Like its just some random thing people do where they sit and close their eyes for some weird random reason.

It’s actually weird for me now to think about why we’re so resistant to just sitting for a few minutes with our eyes closed without engaging in any other activity.

In the end of the day, “meditation” isn’t really an “action.” You’re not really “doing” anything. As an entrepreneur you spend a lot of time in action. You know what it means to move at a fast pace.

Meditation is in one sense, the complete opposite of action, and in another sense, the most active thing a human being do.

As human beings, we have the ability to evaluate our own behavior, consciously. We can take a step back and somewhat objectively look at ourselves with a different set of eyes.

Meditation is the practice of opening that new pair of eyes.

Step One: Preparing Yourself For What You’ll See

As an entrepreneur, you should learn over time not to “expect” anything. You do what you can to the best of your ability and the results are well, the results. You can’t change what happens. You can simply evaluate, take action, re-evaluate and refine the approach.

Expectation is one of those human characteristics that almost always defeats us. Nothing is ever as good as we “expect.” The problem is that by having an expectation, we project an image that isn’t based in reality of what we want to happen, might happen, or should happen, which leaves us bitter about what ends up actually happening.

The expectations, doubts and fears all arise automatically as waves in our mind. If you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep, you know the intense experience of being with your wandering mind.

Meditation (at least at first) is similar.

The first step you need to take to start dealing with your own expectation for the day is simple: Before the day starts, sit in a chair or pillow with your back straight, and close your eyes.

Step Two: Finding Something Stable

We have resistance to “meditation” because it is actually, weirdly, really hard to just be with ourselves. The moment we close our eyes we start dreaming and imagining. We think about the day to come, what we “expect,” what we “fear,” what we “desire.” We think about other people, at what points we felt like someone “wronged us” yesterday. We start judging ourselves.

All you need to remember at the point you actually get yourself to sit and close your eyes is that everything that is going on in your mind, the actual content of what it is saying isn’t important.

Your thoughts move on their own in an indestructible stream, and its only true goal is to continue in perpetuity.

This is where you have to come in and find something stable that you can hold on to in spite of the rapid movement of your thoughts and imagination.

You have two options: either your breath, or your body.

Here’s the thing about the mind: There’s nothing stable about it.

You could be thinking about yourself sitting in your chair for one moment and at the very next instant you’re in China where you vacationed last year. Two seconds later, you’re cringing while thinking about how your most recent ex-girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you.

By contrast, our breath and our bodies don’t move from place to place. They don’t have imagination, they don’t fear, and they don’t expect anything. They simply are.

The goal is to try to find a sensation of a body part, or of the process of inhaling and exhaling. Then, you need to find a way to stay with it.

Step Three: Hold On Tightly

What you’ll find immediately is that we have such little control over our attention that it’s almost pathetic. That’s actually the reason most people never follow through with meditation in the first place. They think, “I can’t do it.”

All you need to remember is, “I can’t do it,” is simply another slippery thought that will quickly transform into something else.

That’s why you need to find a way to grip either your breath or your body. To find something stable in the midst of the movement.

The most difficult part of all of this is that we inevitably try to stay attentive with our minds, which is largely the most unstable part of our being. When you realize that you’re lost and you’ve wandered off into China or you’re stressing about the day ahead, come back to your breath or body.

Repeat.

What You Get Out Of This Process

I ended my personal story above with, “I had forgotten to keep myself happy.” The connection between what it would mean to “keep myself happy” and meditation is simple. I started to learn not to take the BS that happens in my head so seriously all the time.

When you’re moving quickly through life with an extremely active mind, you don’t have the time to differentiate between what’s valuable and what isn’t. You stop remembering to be grateful. You don’t think about how amazing it is that you have this opportunity to create something amazing, with the God given ambition to actually make it happen.

What I believe is the true hallmark of an entrepreneur is the elimination of a “problem” from your vocabulary. Entrepreneurs don’t believe in “problems.” They only know situations, events, setbacks that are nothing but mere barriers that have to be broken.

But without taking even just a few minutes every day to remember all this, we can lose our vision and our way. Every entrepreneur knows the power of a thought.

So meditate. Slow down. Take the time to remember what’s important.

Take the time to let your thoughts roam.

 

Because you have a long day of work ahead of you.


For more awesomeness, head to : Habitnest

Tokyo, Japan 

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Let your imagination run wild...

Arriving in the land of the rising Sun was like being teleported into another dimension. A foray into a world like no other. It’s 23,000,000 inhabitants, expertly, operate in a state of delicately organised chaos.

Tokyo is a high-rise metropolis made up of many little suburbs or ‘wards’ each with their very own glorious quirks, nuances and personalities. The streetscapes are impeccably clean and the little winding alleyways beckon, as they lend themselves to unbridled curiosities.

Harajuku, made famous by Pop stars worldwide, is as bubblegum as you would expect. Locals dress up in wild and wonderful outfits expressing their creative flair through fashion and fun as onlookers jump in for photos and free hugs. The streets are lined with vintage stores whilst dessert cafes have locals pouring out onto the streets clutching sugary mountains of ice-cream and waffles. Only a stones throw away, Yoyogi Park, known for its Ginko Tree Forest, serves as a welcome break from the concrete jungle as it turns into a luminous shade of gold during Autumn.

Shinjuku screams party and debauchery and you don’t need to look hard to find the spiralling staircase to the underground. Luminous lights, all night eateries and hordes of people pepper the streets. If you want to see wild, time your trip with Halloween!

Shibuya is rumoured to be the busiest crossing in the world, traversing simultaneously like an elegant ballet, it is hard to believe you are watching 1000 people navigate their own unique path.

Tokyo is a fascinating juxtaposition of traditional values and futuristic amalgamations infused into the fabric of its soul and people. It is a cultural explosion of fashion, food and fantasy. The people are charming, polite, quirky, helpful and effortlessly stylish and the depths of the city draw you in, change you, and leave you forever lusting for more.

The quintessential muse of creativity and unparalleled imagination, here, the impossible becomes the possible.

 
 

Trekking The Inca Trail - Peru

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Day UNO.

Rise and shine its 430am!

Leaving Cusco to embark on the world renowned, brain draining,  muscle flailing, emotion  invoking Inca trail.

Four days of intense physical and mental trials and tribulations ensues – 

 

12 tourists, 3 guides and one driver, like ecstatic school children heading to an uber-exciting excursion.

We were bused for an hour and a half to a small village to purchase last minute snacks, drinks and coca leaves (the most important commodity).

We stocked up on agua sin gas, muesli bars, chocolates, juices, paracetamol, toilet paper, peanuts and corn kernels then piled back onto the bus and drove for an hour and a half to reach the beginning of the Inca trail.

We stamped our passports, were rigorously I.D’d, participated in a pep talk and were dubbed the ‘Extreme Condors’, then lifted our walking sticks in the air as a good luck salute and before we knew it, we were on our way.

The altitude was already somewhat of a battle for some as others persevered and pressed on. We walked for what seemed like hours but were well rewarded when we finally reached our lunch site.

We were all foreseeably flabbergasted. The porters had set up two huge tents. One acted as a lunch room and the other a kitchen. On arrival not only did we receive applause but also ‘chicha morada’ a traditional Peruvian drink made from purple corn. The taste was somewhat reminiscent of blackcurrant or Ribena. 

As we relaxed and attempted to recover, the porters organized a bucket  of warm water so we were able to wash before lunch.

Then…Lunch was served.

We were treated to an incredible ‘ceviche’, which again is a traditional south American dish consisting of fish marinated in lime, lemon and an assortment of spices. Following ceviche we had ‘sopa de verdura’ (veggie soup) then when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat anymore, we were a served our main course which consisted of corn, quinoa and seafood. The porters did an incredible job setting up and providing us with a scrumptious and very nutritious lunch.

Once we rubbed our enormous bellies and let the food digest  we again began hiking.

Another three or so hours before we reached camp for the night and as the adrenalin subsided and exhaustion kicked in, we were all feeling very lethargic and ready to hit snooze by 8pm.

Day DOS.

A 5am wake-up call.

The porters gently shook our warm tent as we slowly remembered what we had gotten ourselves into.

They served us coca tea in our sleeping bags to assist with the altitude giving us the much needed morning kick.

We packed our duffle bags ready for the porters to whisk away and set up at our next site. We crawled out of our temporary homes and made a beeline for the breakfast tent.

Fresh mixed fruits, toast jam and butter, pancakes with chocolate, porridge and tea and coffee awaited us in all it’s delectable glory.

We ate, not unlike a pack of starving wolves in an attempt to sufficiently fuel up for what is dubbed the ‘hardest day on the trail.’

The porters were then introduced to us one by one, we learnt their age, number of kids and number of wives. Twenty in all, ranging from ages 19 to well in their 60’s and each carrying approximately 30kgs.

Our day then began.

It was 6:30am and with muchos gusto we embarked on what would be, not only physically but an incredibly mentally challenging climb.

The porters were off and running and as we turned the corner to continue the journey, we were immediately met with an enormous hill. Using our walking sticks and well conditioned legs we began to power on as a pack. As the day progressed so did the space between each member of the group, each finding their own rhythm and pace.

Five hours of intense physical exertion, litres of sweat and tears,  predominantly uphill terrain, porters hot on our heels and countless muesli bars for fuel later we reached dead woman’s pass.

An epic 4200m in the air, extreme cold, our head in the clouds and enormous cheers from fellow Trekkers we had finally reached the summit.

The sheer elation, personal achievement and adrenalin was a feeling of something entirely unexplainable. We were all cold, sweaty and tired but ecstatic to have finally reached our goal for the day.

From here on in it was one hour of pure knee-crunking downhill rocky terrain. I decided to run the majority of it whilst others took it slower taking in the scenery.

Beating my personal best at being a mad dawg was of utmost importance at this point.

Without Fred Durst and Christina Aguilera in my ears  there is no way I would have made it!

We finally reached camp at approximately 130pm. Wet wipe baths ensued and we all exchanged stories and laughs that occurred on the hike.

Lunch was promptly served, fried onion rings, veggie soup, baked eggplant, egg omelettes, stuffed capsicum and veggie quinoa.

After we all had a long lunchtime siesta it was time for popcorn and card  games as the blue sky grew to night.

Dinner was later served, some of the extreme condors had to miss out as they were suffering severe bouts of gastro.

Day TRES.

A sleep In was allowed. The porters shook our tents at 530am offering us all a hot cup of coca tea to get us up and raring for the day ahead.

We had 18kms and ten hours of hiking ahead of us.

A few more awoke with signs of gastro as we all discussed our bowel movements at the breakfast table over tea, toast, omlette, porridge and frittered bananas.

We began our trek as soon as our tummies were well full.

Forty minutes of pure uphill fiascos which lead to an incredible Inca building, we then had a history class and found out the building was built in the 1400’s and only discovered in 1911. It was strategically constructed to ensure all areas of access to the site were visible in case of the threat of intruders or enemies.

We persevered on for another one hour uphill battle.

Then, for the next three hours, it was all knee-jarring, thigh jerking, 6000 stone steps of downhill strutting.

I heard along the Inca grapevine that lunch was being served at the third Inca pass.

The lunch spot was incredible. We were witnessing Veronica Peak, surrounded by snow capped mountains and low-level cloud.

After everyone began arriving we all sat down for a meal, followed by a very welcome half hour siesta.

We still had approximately two hours worth of hiking to our night site, where a cold cerveza (beer) and jugo de naranja (orange juice) was promised.

After a two hour trek and countless repeat plays of Pitbull’s  ‘Hotel room service’ (reserve all judgement thanks) I had finally reached the next stop.

There were loads of other gringos (tourists) scattered about the site. There was a bar setup, a real banjos (toilet) with a seat and a hot ducha (shower). We all relished in the booze and celebrated an almost victory with beers, wine and a farewell banquet for our porters (cooked by the porters)

We all got rowdy (vino and altitude is not a good combo) but hit the hay promptly as we were told our tents would be shaken at 330am!

Drunk and disorderly hikers all frog-marched straight to their sleeping bags as soon as this hour of rising was set upon them.

 

Day CUATRO

Waking at ridiculous O’Clock, our eye was on the prize and Machu Picchu (meaning old mountain) was only two hours away.

We began walking at approx 5am and arrived at the world famous site before all the other loco snaparazzi tourists did.

We enjoyed the history, architecture and picturesque location on an incredibly clear sun-filled magnificent day. Today the sun gods were really treating us. There were adorable fluffy llamas roaming about freely, thousands more steps, incredible Architectural techniques and all perfectly located in a self-sufficient Eco-system .

 

Although the trek was physically and mentally challenging feat of strength, comradery and perseverance, I’m super pumped to say  ‘I survived the Inca trail!’


Good to know before you go: A good level of fitness and pre-trip training is essential for the Inca Trek. You will trek on hilly terrain or mountainous terrain at altitudes of up to 4200 metres, for up to 7 hours per day.

Ensure to pre-book with a tour guide or tour company, I went through Geckos, whom were fantastic as number of hikers are limited every year.

Below is a packing list, however, I was very un-prepared completing my climb in jeans and a T-shirt.

Packing List

1 pair light walking pants

1 pair jeans

 underwear

3 t-shirts

3 pairs running socks

1 rain jacket

1 Rain Pants

 water bottle

 First Aid Kit

1 light thermal top

1 light thermal bottom

Beanie

light gloves

hiking boots

NO SHOWERS which mean Wet Wipes are your best friend!

deodorant

bandaids

safety pins

toothbrush

toothpaste

sunblock

chapstick

Electronics

camera

memory cards

Headlamp

Torch and batteries

Other Stuff

day pack

passport

Fill your music player up with tunes!

 
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Re-Connecting To The Sacred Feminine

Taiyla Bayne from Earth Bebes

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Lately, I have become quite aware that many women are still so disconnected from their own bodies, their ability to love themselves and to appreciate other women. These three elements, come hand-in-hand with each other. If we don’t embrace one, I think we fall out of connection with the others. I feel that this has happened as a result of us unconsciously, holding false beliefs, for far too long!

I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for our womanly abilities. I mean, we can hold an entire human in our womb. Is that not ridiculously epic?! As young women, we don’t learn the real ins and outs of our own bodies, or the true relevance of our menstrual cycle. This really puts a stop on us, from getting to know the full divinity of our bodies! All we come to learn is that it is inconvenient to our busy lifestyle and sexual interactions. We cringe at the word ‘period’ and push the entire process away because we hate the symptoms, that seem to come along with it. But what if these symptoms, are simply messages from our bodies, to honor the process?
It makes sense that we experience altered moodiness, as it allows us to push others away. After all, it is a time of inwardness, self exploration and self-care. So if we aren’t in an environment that supports that, we create one instead, by unconsciously causing arguments with loved ones. We can put an end to the less than desirable ‘symptoms’, by heeding the lesson to slow down, when our bodies send us the message through physical pain.
We have the ability to consciously understand the needs of our bodies and meet with the transformational energy of our womanly cycle. By doing things that increase our self-love, we can find the space to embrace the process, instead of just unconsciously letting it ‘happen’ to us.

Appreciating our physical bodies for all that they naturally are, can be one of the most wonderful ways to re-fill our self-love meter. It can also be a difficult ability to master! Too often, we talk down about our bodies, to others and ourselves. We have learnt that being happy with our bodies and being confident with who we are inside, comes off as being arrogant. As a result, we have come to know that finding flaws in ourselves and other people, is the more socially acceptable route to take.
The best example of this, is the scene out of the aptly named, ‘Mean Girls’, when each member of the group points out something they hate about their physical body. After not describing a flaw of her own, Cady is glared at, until she feels enough social pressure and judgement, to break. This is what I feel has happened to women in our culture.
I think if we realized that language has a powerful effect on our psyche, we would be more selective with the words we use against ourselves. Each of our words, has an energy attached to it. Do we want that to be positive or negative energy? Healthier self-talk, results in increased self-love! It’s time to start catching our negative self-talk in the act, before it creates an even stronger habit. It’s time to start celebrating ourselves!
Self-care rituals, like actually making the effort to run a candle-lit bath with essential oils, going for a mindful walk or indulging in foods that you feel great about eating, are all beautiful ways to give yourself support! Without mastering the ability to love ourselves in all ways, we cannot experience the magic of true self-love.
Self-love not only helps us to manifest a happier life but it also opens us to being able to show more love towards others.

A statement that rings so true, is one of Eleanor Roosevelt. ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’
When we are lacking in the self-love department, we tend to start putting our attention on others instead of ourselves. We begin to compare and focus all of our energy on finding flaws in others, to make our own perceived ‘flaws’ seem smaller. This allows our egos to feel satisfied, for a very minimal amount of time.
In order to have healthier friendships and authentic connections with other women, we need to abstain from the habit of finding flaws. The habit of not complimenting fellow women due to perceiving them as a threat, or because of our egos stubbornness. We seem to have an irrational fear of someone being better than us. How can someone be better than us, if we were all created as individuals? No one can be better at being you, than you!


We are so perfectly and uniquely designed. We were not made to be a copy of the person next to us. We don’t need to strive to be like anybody else. Rather, I think we are meant to embrace our unique quirks, ideas and different ways of thinking, so that we can grow and learn from each other!
So, what if we started empowering other women? Not just the women, who our egos perceive as being weaker than us, or friends who are in our comfort zone but women who are as strong as us, or who are strangers? Our ability to truly empower other women, of all kinds and strengths, is a good indication of our own level of self-love!
Our integrity as women, is constantly tested when we consistently find ourselves in situations, where people are talking about other people. Sometimes it can even be an unhealthy, ‘bonding’ over a discussion about someone else’s life or short comings. Is enganging in this kind of talk, really serving our highest potential? We have the choice.

It is time to start challenging ourselves to show compassion to ALL that cross our path! It is time to start speaking our most authentic truth. It is time to start paving the way for future generations of women, so that they can feel safe and supported, in being their highest self. It is time to truly bloom as the beautiful women we are and re-connect to our long-forgotten, sacred, feminine energy.

Surf Coast Sweat

The first of its kind health and fitness event for the Surf Coast which raised $2110 for the YGAP Polished Man campaign.

Starting the day off with a HIIT sweat session by the legends from The HIIT Project. We then got ready to get our heart racing and body pumping, as we all sweat it out through the different exercises made to get us lean and ready for summer!
To calm things down a bit after the workout, Upstate yoga took us all through one of their beautiful flows. 

All profits from the Surf Coast Sweat will be donated to the incredible ygap foundation www.ygap.com.au

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The Upbeat Retreat was a unique blend of workshops and classes that were  designed to nourish our mind, body and soul, treating a group of amazing women to a truly refreshing, blissful (and fun!) day out. 

A little more up-tempo than your usual retreat, this day out still provided time and opportunity to connect with members of our community, sharing many mindful moments and a sense of rejuvenation and relaxation.

Settling in and checking out our goodie bags!

Beginning the day with meditation

Rachel Kable on Mindfulness

Hip-Hop Yoga hosted by Twosix Wellness

Starting with some stretches...

 Downward Dawg

Downward Dawg

 Let the laughing yoga begin!

Let the laughing yoga begin!

The amazing laughing yoga guru Emily Patterson and glorious new mama Sandy Jensen 

Learning to let go and laugh!

Hi-5 galfriends!

Learning to re-connect with our inner child and letting go of inhibitions! 

The laughing yoga continues...

These two beautiful women sharing a moment

Learning to create glorious raw treats!

 Getting very expressive!

Getting very expressive!

Raw Lemon Cheescake was divine!

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa

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Day ONE.

Rising in a comfortable and very warm hotel bed at 630am, I quickly remembered why I was  in beautiful Arusha, Tanzania.

As I made my way down to level one of the hotel for breakfast, I pondered the implications of the next six days that lay ahead, I took a deep breath and told myself I was more then capable of reaching the summit.

I enjoyed a delicious omelette and some fresh watermelon for breakfast before meeting our tour guide Elly, the owner and operator of Kili Dreamers.

Elly was a very slender, charismatic and handsome 33 year old man. He had completed over 170 climbs to date and was well versed with the challenges that the great mountain beast might throw our way.

We piled into a van that was adorned with garish stickers ofRihanna booty shakin’ and I met the cook and a few of the porters joining us along the trek. A two hour drive ensued as we picked up last minute necessities, including water and ‘power snacks’ and then made our way to the starting gate…

We met the ten porters whom would be joining us on this great adventure as they efficiently packed kitchen equipment, tents and our personal belongings into large white potato sacks then swiftly lifted them high in to the air plonking them back down on their heads. I later attempted to copy this technique nearly dislodging my body parts.

After signing our lives away at the Machame entrance gate we were ready and raring to go.

We were ascending from 1800m and were to reach 3000m by the end of the day.

And So we began.

My travel buddy, George, up front, Elly in the middle and myself last.

I could certainly feel the effects of the altitude, my breathing became heavier and deeper as I tried to draw in as much air as possible. Elly suggested I breath through my noise and out thru my mouth and to picture walking through a park – Easier said than done.

I had taken half a diamox tablet and was experiencing the side effects of very tingly feet and hands. The terrain ranged from a series of ups, downs, and relatively flat man made tracks. At one point it seemed as though we weren’t even ascending! My breathing continued to bother me as the uphill sections became increasingly taxing on my lungs but with a bit of perseverance we reached our first campsite in roughly four hours.

The porters (lets be honest – secret ninjas) had already set up camp (a very welcome experience) and proceeded to bring us a bucket of hot water and soap to wash up in. Following shortly we were served tea, coffee, milo, hot chocolate and popcorn and told to rest and regain our energy as tomorrow would become more tedious as it was predominantly an uphill battle.

At 6pm we were served a delicious dinner consisting of pumpkin soup for entree and bolognese sauce with Mashed potatoes for the main followed by a plate of bananas and avocado.

Though it was only 8pm, the mixture of altitude, hiking and the last couple of weeks of tent sleeping sent us off to the land of zzzz.

Day TWO.

I managed to sleep the majority of the evening although at about 3am the temperature dropped significantly, waking me with a chill, attempting to go back to sleep was proving to be quite the impossible task, though, at some point I must have dozed off as I was woken by the porters at a very reasonable hour of 7am. We were served coffee in our sleeping bags, provided with a bucket of warm water to freshen up and at 730am, breakfast was served outside on a large rock. Porridge, eggs, sausage and papaya were on the menu.

We rolled up our sleeping bags, squished our clothing back into our backpacks, made a last toilet pitstop and at 840am, set out to conquer day two.

I hit shuffle on my playlist as today would be a day I would need some assistance from Mr Fred Durst.

It was certainly an uphill day as we scaled rocks of different shapes and sizes traversing along natures trail. We walked slowly but efficiently and the time seemed to fly by. It was a very relaxing though slightly challenging ascent. My breathing seemed to have become regulated in comparison to the day before. Loading up on my fluid intake the tingle from the diamox was quickly subsiding.

Finally reaching 4000m after four hours and twenty minutes of hiking, we were finally beyond the altitude half way point. We descended to 3850m to where our campsite was already set up, we then basked in the glory of completing day two!

We were advised to have a nap with the promise of visiting Shira Cave. I dont know if its the altitude or the trekking but we had no trouble falling asleep!

Shira cave was once the sleeping quarters for the porters, though it was cold and dangerous. In 2000 Kili treks became somewhat regulated prohibiting such use, ensuring porters received the same treatment as tourists. Dinner was served as we mentally began preparing for Day Three’s 8 hour trek.

Day THREE.

And what a day it was. After very little sleep from the night before due to uncomfortable terrain,  a four hour uphill battle ensued.

I struggled to get one foot in front of the other from the beginning as a combination of increased altitude and lethargy set in. We ascended from the previous nights camp of 3850m to our final highest point for the day 4600m. We walked onward for roughly four hours as I felt the burn in my legs until we finally reached lava tower for lunch. A very welcome break indeed.

We proceeded to descend to 3950m which was to be our next camp. I managed to fall and slide on my bum as the rocks and pebbles below me acted like an unexpected rolling treadmill.

Finally reaching camp after another two hours of downhill walking, we saw the challenge that lay ahead…..

I have confirmed that I am completely and utterly nuts.

Day FOUR.

SUMMIT DAY.

Our walk began at midnight, I was exhausted, irritable and very cold. Slowly with one foot in front of the other and with only a headlamp to illuminate less than a metre ahead, we were making tracks. I looked up a few times and couldn’t decipher if the twinkling lights above me were other hikers or the stars in the night sky. Either way, this was incredibly tough. Mentally I was almost beat and physically I was struggling – I remember thinking that maybe I had finally reached my limit.

I couldn’t distract my mind and at one point dropped to my knees…almost ready to give in –  Elly swiftly stepped in, grabbed my arm and lifted me back up. He would not let me give up. Giving up was not an option. He took my backpack and onward we marched.

Nothing mattered at this point other than getting to the top. I kept my head down and my legs moving. It was dark and very cold.

After passing many other hikers and what truly seemed like an eternity, we finally reached Stella point for some water and a snack. I was told the peak wasn’t far from here, which was music to my ears!

We pressed on and truth be told reached the summit much quicker and far easier than I had expected! The tricky part was over and it was now time to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. The sun was peeking over the mountain and the clouds were floating amongst us. It looked as though we had just landed on Mars.

It was incredibly cold and windy up top but the overwhelming feeling of of accomplishment was certainly warm and fuzzy.

It was truly a life changing experience and upon reflection really enhanced my outlook on life. Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s not worth the stress. Now, when I hear myself complain, I say to myself…pfft that’s nothing in comparison to climbing Kili!

                                    Looking back at the beast as we descended

                                   Looking back at the beast as we descended

PREPARATION

The best exercise that you can do to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro is…funnily enough…hiking.

There are plenty of hardcore programs out there that are supposed to preapre you for the climb. DO NOT FREAK OUT.  The best thing to prepare yourself for the hike is… to go hiking – Simple! Get used to walking significant distances, break in your hiking boots and get used to walking with poles. Ideally, you should try to hike as much as possible on hills or mountains to simulate ascension of Kili. Doing day hikes is great training and if you have a partner to join you, practise hiking in the evening to get used to cooler conditions and restricted visibility (summit climb begins at midnight). For those who do not have access to trails or hills,  you can also train on a stair machine. If you have the chance, practise walking downhill also, condition your knees and legs to descending as this can also be very taxing on the joints. Ultimately your success(if not prevented by Altitude sickness) will be determined by the power of your mind.

You must remain positive and on the summit day, focus on your legs, one step in front of the other. I can assure you it is absolutely worth it, so stay strong!

*A note on Altitude Sickness. Being fit and healthy will somehwat prepare you for altitude sickess but unfortunately your ability to acclimatise is largely due to genetics. Stay very well hydrated and if you feel any symptoms stop and rest. Remember at the end of the day, your safety is most important. Pole! Pole! (meaning Slow! Slow!)

Packing List:

Technical Clothing
1 – Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
1 – Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down
1 – Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
2 – Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Waterproof Pants, breathable (side-zipper recommended)
2 – Hiking Pants (convertible to shorts recommended)
1 – Fleece Pants
1 – Shorts (optional)
1 – Long Underwear (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
3 – Underwear, briefs (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
2 – Sport Bra (women)

Headwear
1 – Knit Hat, for warmth
1 – Balaclava, for face coverage (IMPORTANT for Summit day)
1 – Bandana (optional)

Handwear (IMPORTANT!)
1 – Gloves, warm (waterproof recommended)
1 – Glove Liners, thin, synthetic, worn under gloves for added warmth (optional)
Footwear
1 – Hiking Boots, warm, waterproof, broken-in, with spare laces
1 – Sneakers, to wear at camp (optional)
3 – Socks, thick, wool or synthetic
3 – Sock Liners, tight, thin, synthetic, worn under socks to prevent blisters (optional)
Accessories
1 – Sunnies
1 – Backpack Cover, waterproof (optional)
1 – Poncho, during rainy season (optional)
1 – Water Bottle
1 – Water Bladder, Camelbak type (recommended)
1 – Towel, lightweight, quick-dry (optional)
Plastic Bags, various sizes, to keep gear dry and separate

Equipment
1 – Sleeping Bag, warm, four seasons
1 – Sleeping Bag Liner, for added warmth (optional)
1 – Trekking Poles – Can be Hired from Elly
1 – Head lamp, with extra batteries (IMPORTANT)
1 – Duffel bag, for porters to carry your equipment
1 – Daypack, for you to carry your personal gear

Other

Music Player – this really got me through the days!
Toiletries
Prescriptions
Sunscreen
Lip Balm
Insect Repellent, containing DEET
First Aid Kit
Hand Sanitizer
Toilet Paper
Wet Wipes (recommended)
Camera, with extra sd card
Immunisations for Africa:

Jump onto traveldoctor.com.au and it will bring you up to speed with what shots are needed. Regular precautions apply such as avoiding water and salads. Ensuring you wash your hands properly and using mosquito repellent! If you are taking Anti-Malaria tablets ensure you apply sunscreen liberally as it makes your skin sensitive and more susceptible to suburn.

(All information above is from my own personal account and experience and is really only a rough guide – Make sure you do your research and prepare yourself for an incredible experience!)

Who Am 'I?' – Opening Up To Our True Selves

 Unicorn Falls -  Mullumbimby

Unicorn Falls - Mullumbimby

Hello, beautiful beings!

I am bringing this to you from a quirky little beach shack on the coast of NSW, Australia. In this moment, all I can hear is the alluring sounds of the ocean and it is seriously mystical! This recent change of environment has really got my writing wheels rolling.

Today, I have been pondering over ‘identity’. What defines us and makes us ‘who we are’ and is it even real?

A big part of our human existence involves trying to understand ourselves and those around us. To do this, we subconsciously or even consciously try to define or categorise ourselves and others, to mentally make ‘sense’ of things. It is easy to put labels on our selves and others, so that we fit into a certain box, so we feel as though we have some control over our identity. I have found that this is somewhat counter productive. As by doing this, we make it harder to access the best versions of ourselves because we become restrained by our labels.

There are countless words that we can use to describe our personalities and we use them without realising how much of an affect language can have on our psyche. We might tell ourselves we are ‘opinionated’, ‘strong’, ‘loud’ or ‘shy’ and ‘scared of confrontation’. Any deviation from this and our comfort zone is shattered and we begin to wonder what we are. For example, I used to adamantly tell myself that I was more of a boys girl, than a girls girl. In reality, males are just in the realm of my comfort zone because I have four brothers and I knew I could communicate well with them. (Well that and if I’m being totally honest, females in high school are cray!)

That realisation, lead to a huge transformation in my relationships with other women. Though, not without a moment of questioning myself! We tend to get frustrated with ourselves if we do anything that isn’t in line with what we have told our selves we ‘are’, should be or need to live up to, in the eyes of others. We in turn, stop ourselves and others from being able to grow to our true and highest potential. If this goes un noticed, we may begin to feel confusion, disappointment and a loss of identity. It begins as a means to try to understand our inner and outer world and develops into a pattern of habit.

This habit can easily be weakened by keeping an open mind and by being more aware of the mental talk that passes through our mind (that voice in our heads that so badly wants to judge experiences and people). I have had to break through unhealthy thought patterns by literally training my mind! During my younger years, I would sometimes find myself unconsciously ‘people watching’ and thinking judgemental thoughts.

Having a mantra (a simple sentence or short phrase to use as a reminder) is helpful to counteract thoughts like this and to help reverse our negative self talk. My personal favourite is, ‘the mind has wandered’. I find this phrase quite powerful as it brings me back to the present moment. Choose words that have power for you! Just being conscious of the fact that our mind is doing this, is enough to break out of this learnt behaviour and start shifting our perspective. Most of us don’t even know we are doing it!

It is important to know that this negative, anxious, insecure and judgemental mind, is not who we are. We should never allow it to make us feel negatively about ourselves. It is just one part of our mind, that shouldn’t be ignored or shunned but instead, observed consciously and neutrally!

Ideally, we should all feel safe enough to be one thing, or say one thing, at one point in time and then have the freedom to change our minds and become something else. This is how we are able to grow and create incredible possibilities, beyond what we thought was available to us before.

We can sometimes fear change because it is a time where we have to let go of our tendency to control and surrender to the present moment. The classic, high-school, ‘you’ve changed’, used to make me cringe but now it shows me that I am on the right path. We are meant to change!

Human beings are multi-faceted and diverse, with a range of emotions and our world is always changing. So of course, our ‘opinions’ will change too. Keeping our minds open to the fact that ourselves and others are constantly evolving, is an important element to this dance of life!

Stand strong in the truth of what you feel, in every moment. Even if it is different from what you were yesterday!

 

With love,
Taiyla

 

earthbebes.com

 

Bold health claims have been made for the power of turmeric.

Is there anything in them, asks Michael Mosley.

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Michael Mosley is certainly an interesting character and I love how he makes science and learning exciting! Have a read below of an article that was recently published on BBC

Turmeric is a spice which in its raw form looks a bit like ginger root, but when it's ground down you get a distinctive yellowy orange powder that's very popular in South Asian cuisine. Until recently the place you would most likely encounter turmeric would be in chicken tikka masala, one of Britain's most popular dishes.

These days, thanks to claims that it can improve everything from allergies to depression, it's become incredibly trendy, not just cooked and sprinkled on food but added to drinks like tea. Turmeric latte anyone?

Now I'm usually very cynical about such claims, but in the case of turmeric I thought there could be something to it. There are at least 200 different compounds in turmeric, but there's one that scientists are particularly interested in. It gives this spice its colour. It's called curcumin.

Thousands of scientific papers have been published looking at turmeric and curcumin in the laboratory - some with promising results. But they've mainly been done in mice, using unrealistically high doses. There have been few experiments done in the real world, on humans.

Find out more

  • Michael Mosley is one of the presenters of Trust Me, I'm A Doctor, broadcast on Thursdays at 20:00 BST on BBC Two - catch up on BBC iPlayer

Find out more about the experiment

This is exactly the sort of situation where we on Trust Me like to make a difference. So we tracked down leading researchers from across the country and with their help recruited nearly 100 volunteers from the North East to do a novel experiment. Few of our volunteers ate foods containing turmeric on a regular basis.

Then we divided them into three groups.

We asked one group to consume a teaspoon of turmeric every day for six weeks, ideally mixed in with their food. Another group were asked to swallow a supplement containing the same amount of turmeric, and a third group were given a placebo, or dummy pill.

The volunteers who were asked to consume a teaspoon of turmeric a day were ingenious about what they added it to, mixing it with warm milk or adding it to yoghurt. Not everyone was enthusiastic about the taste, with comments ranging from "awful" to "very strong and lingering".

But what effect was eating turmeric having on them? We decided to try and find out using a novel test developed at University College, London, by Prof Martin Widschwendter and his team.

Prof Widschwendter is not particularly interested in turmeric but he is interested in how cancers start. His team have been comparing tissue samples taken from women with breast cancer and from women without it and they've found a change that happens to the DNA of cells well before they become cancerous.

The change is in the "packaging" of the genes. It's called DNA methylation. It's a bit like a dimmer switch that can turn the activity of the gene up or down.

The exciting thing is that if it is detected in time this change can, potentially, be reversed, before the cell turns cancerous. DNA methylation may explain why, for instance, your risk of developing lung cancer drops dramatically once you give up smoking. It could be that the unhealthy methylation of genes, caused by tobacco smoke, stops or reverses once you quit.

So we asked Prof Widschwendter whether testing the DNA methylation patterns of our volunteers' blood cells at the start and end of the experiment would reveal any change in their risk of cancer and other diseases, like allergies. It was something that had not been done before.

Turmeric

  • Perennial herbaceous plant native to South Asia
  • Spice is gathered from the plants rhizomes (roots)
  • As well as being used in Indian food, turmeric is used in traditional medicine and as a dyeing agent

Turmeric recipes from BBC Food

Fortunately he was very enthusiastic. "We were delighted," he said, "to be involved in this study, because it is a proof of principle study that opens entirely new windows of opportunity to really look into how we can predict preventive measures, particularly for cancer."

So what, if anything, happened?

When I asked him that, he pulled out his laptop and slowly began to speak.

"We didn't find any changes in the group taking the placebo," he told me. That was not surprising.

"The supplement group also didn't also show any difference," he went on.

That was surprising and somewhat disappointing.

"But the group who mixed turmeric powder into their food," he continued, "there we saw quite substantial changes. It was really exciting, to be honest. We found one particular gene which showed the biggest difference. And what's interesting is that we know this particular gene is involved in three specific diseases: depression, asthma and eczema, and cancer. This is a really striking finding."

It certainly is. But why did we see changes only in those eating turmeric, not in those taking the same amount as a supplement?

Dr Kirsten Brandt, who is a senior lecturer at Newcastle University and who helped run the experiment, thinks it may have something to do with the way the turmeric was consumed.

"It could be," she told me, "that adding fat or heating it up makes the active ingredients more soluble, which would make it easier for us to absorb the turmeric. It certainly gives us something, to work on, to try to find out exactly what's happening."

She also told me, because our volunteers all tried consuming their turmeric in different ways, that we can be confident it was the turmeric that was making the difference and not some other ingredient used to make, say, chicken tikka masala.

There is a lot more research that needs to be done, including repeating the experiment to see if these findings can be confirmed. But in light of what we've discovered will I be consuming more of the stuff? Probably. It helps that I like the taste and I've already begun experimenting with things like adding it with a touch of chilli to an omelette.

-Michael Mosley will be doing a live Facebook Q&A session on Friday 23 September .What would you like to ask him?

Convinced? Yep! So are we! Head to our shop and grab a bag of the Golden Superhero!

WINTER WELLNESS SERIES

Hosted by Jessica Sepel

Dreamed up by Colour and Coconuts

*

A night of total luxury, healthy indulgence and inspiration.

From a fun fitness class at Studio PP to a healthy high-tea thanks to T2, treats provided by Pana Chocolate, an incredible menu created with JSHealth recipes followed by a fascinating Q&A discussion  after dinner – the whole event was absolutely divine.

We were all treated to personalised snuggly robes, PJ's and epic active wear thanks to Cotton On Body!  

To finish the epic evening off, we were treated to oodles of zebra dream ice-cream, cobs popcorn and more pana chocolate treats...PLUS we watched Clueless...As If!

Breakfast in bed and a late checkout later we were all feeling ultra zen.

B Nutritious is a nutrition consultancy based in Melbourne's South East, founded by Nutritionist Brittany Van Steensel.

B Nutritious was founded on the principle that the path to great health begins with a holistic approach to nourishing our bodies. This approach not only focuses on a simple, effective means of healthy eating, but also considers you, the individual, as a whole.

We caught up with Britt to see what she had to say about all things Health!

Name: Brittany Van Steensel

Occupation: Nutritionist

 What did you study and what was your original intended career path? 

I studied a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University in Melbourne with the intention of going on to complete my Masters in Dietetics. After launching my business ‘B Nutritious’ I decided I would put my postgraduate degree on hold. I really believe this was the best decision for me as it has allowed me to dedicate all of my time and energy into my clients. I have learnt so much in the past six months and I really think that will be an invaluable tool for my future as a health professional.

 

Tell us a little about your career thus far. 

In October 2015 I launched my private nutrition practice ‘B Nutritious’.  It has been a complete whirlwind and I never expected it to take off so quickly and successfully. As well as offering nutritional advice, I educate people on how they can create healthy lifestyle habits and achieve physical and psychological balance.  I hold various nutrition talks and workshops at gyms, corporate workplaces and schools in my local area. I have also teamed up with a good friend and personal trainer in running an 8 Week Boot Camp, which has been a huge success.

 

What inspires you to do what you do? 

My clients. They all have a different story to tell and have had completely different experiences and relationships with food. I learn so much from them and they inspire me to research the cause, treatment and prevention of many dietary conditions. Being able to help people who have struggled with their relationship with food for several years is a very uplifting feeling and I love being part of their journey to good health.

 

What do you find most challenging about your industry? 

Multi level marketing weight loss programs (pyramid schemes). The power of social media is at an all time high, which is both exciting and dangerous. The amount of nutrition advice being given out by people without the appropriate qualifications is really scary. It also makes it extremely confusing for people who think they are adopting a healthy lifestyle by losing weight; only to find out they are now faced with a myriad of physical and psychological challenges.

 

What do you find motivational about your industry? 

There are so many inspirational men and women whom are promoting health right now and I believe that is so important for our younger generations, especially concerning body image and disordered eating issues.

 

It is no secret that Western Culture is rapidly becoming unhealthier with so many varying factors but mostly the rise of convenient and cheap, though unhealthy, foods readily available at any given moment.  Where do you see the Health industry moving over the next few years? 

I would really love to see more government funding for Nutritionists/Dietitians in schools. A program that involves educating students, teachers and parents together could be very effective in changing the current perceptions and behaviours based around food. I think it’s really important to teach people that healthy food does not have to be expensive or inconvenient, and how they can achieve this.

 

Education and Knowledge is Power! What do you believe is an important message to convey to younger generations about being healthy? 

Keep it simple. Nourish your body with real, whole foods rather than processed foods and never put pressure on yourself to eat ‘perfectly’. Good health is all about balance and creating a positive relationship with food.

 

How do you come up with your deeeelish recipes? 

I have always loved cooking! This paired with my passion for health and wellness sparked my interest in ‘raw’ foods and cooking techniques. I have had my own struggles with disordered eating as a teenager, and cooking in this way really helped me overcome the fear and guilt that I associated with food.

 

Do you have a fave recipe that you could share with us, pretty please with a cherry on top... 

My green smoothies are always a hit in my household. This one is perfect for the hot weather that has just hit Melbourne.

Ingredients:

1 small granny smith apple

½ cup cucumber

½ cup spinach

½ cup freshly squeezed pineapple juice

¼ cup water

Ice

Option: add some fresh ginger for an extra nutritional hit to aid digestion

 Method:

 Wiz all ingredients up in a high-powered blender and serve immediately

 What is next on the horizon for B.Nutritious? 

I would love to do more writing, so this year I am really going focus on my blog and try to use that as a tool to help people who may not be able to see me directly for advice. I would also love to promote the B Nutritious brand and philosophy by collaborating with other like-minded individuals and businesses. 

Where can we find B.Nutritious?

www.bnutritious.com.au

Email: info@bnutritious.com.au

And the usual suspects:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Name:

Emma Somerville

Occupation:

Personal Trainer / Yoga Instructor

 

What did you study and what was your original intended career path?  

In 2013 I completed a bachelor of health science at Deakin University majoring in exercise science, physical health and activity 

and health promotion. I also have a diploma in sport development, certificate 3 and 4 in fitness and personal training. And most 

recently, I completed a yoga teacher training qualification. I was never entirely sure of my intended career path. I followed the 

direction of what I understood and felt a certain passion for, without a doubt health and fitness is the path I was meant to end up on.

 

Tell us a little about your journey thus far.

In terms of my introduction to the health and fitness industry, I can probably trace it back to school when the only subjects I was 

good at were PE, health and psychology. This sent me in the direction of studying Sport Development at TAFE, I then went onto 

get my fitness and Personal training qualifications.  In 2006 at the age of 21 with a fairly carefree attitude about life I decided to 

start my own business. I had no business experience and not a heap of confidence so I decided a franchise was a good way to go. 

I launched Step into Life Box Hill in October 2006. If you told me I’d still be here 10 years later I’d have laughed at you! 

In 2008 I decided maybe I was smart enough to finally go to uni and went on to complete my Health Science degree.

Going to  uni as a mature age student was one of the best things I could ever have done. You want to be there, you’re eager to learn 

because you’re studying something you know makes so much sense to you. I think it’s important to maintain a hunger for 

learning, the more knowledgeable we are the more we can empower others. 

 

Gradually all this learning started to turn inwards and I become more curious about self study and personal development, I 

started to become more aware of what inspires me to become a better person and of how much more I could open my mind 

and my eyes to the world around me. Creativity has been a huge player in this development. I did a creative journaling art 

therapy course and discovered a side of myself I didn’t know existed.

Embracing this creative side has allowed me to be more expressive, mindful, playful and confident.

 

You never know where the journey will take you, but I've learned to follow my gut and do what makes my heart happy. This 

frame of mind has lead me to the practice of yoga and to add yoga instructor to my tool kit. Yoga has given me strength and 

flexibility in a physical and metaphorical sense. Similarly running and training for running events has also given me strength and it's given me determination.

Both yoga and running give me a space to breathe well, to practice mindfulness and to find courage and confidence to take with me on my journey.  

 

 What inspires you to do what you do?  

Every day I go to work and I am still blown away by the determination, strength and commitment of my clients. We set goals, 

they do everything they can to achieve them and I can't express how proud I feel every time a finish line is crossed, a smaller 

pair of pants needs to be purchased or a life is enhanced because someone sleeps better or has more energy every day or can 

be outside being active with their kids.

These people have inspired me to fulfill my own dreams, without their encouragement 

and faith in me it is unlikely I would have felt confident enough to go to uni and get a degree and I would never have believed I had what it takes to run a marathon.

 

What do you find most challenging about your industry?  

I have major concerns about body image and the desperation of so many to want to look a certain way. It’s a dark and very scary 

side of social media. Good health and well being is not something that should have image attached to it. It should be about how 

we feel.

Feeling energetic, feeling strong, the feeling of breathing easier when you run, feeling motivated and inspired, feeling of 

enjoyment of being active and how your body feels when you feed it nutritious food and clean water.  I think in this body image 

issue is exacerbated by the stereotypes, I’m not sure why people aspire to want to look like a barbie doll or steroid injected Arny?!

 

I also find the amount of conflicting information available challenging. People grasp onto fads and crazy ideas they read on the 

internet in the hope it will provide a quick fix. Rather than seek the advice of a trained health professional that can assess your 

individual situation and guide you in the best and safest direction. Optimum health will always come down to the same simple 

principles – move and nourish! Everything in moderation - don’t over eat and don’t sit still. Don’t starve yourself and don’t grind 

yourself into the ground and never rest. You won’t win! There is no magic pill, diet, book, program, app…. Just be sensible.

 

What do you find motivational about your industry?  

The capacity to change lives for the better, people making positive choices that improve their quality of life. People 

realising that by putting their health first everything else gets easier. It’s an industry that promotes good health, this 

should be the most important thing in everyone’s world. Without good health what do you have? 

It’s a fun industry! I love my particular job of group personal training. I think training with other people makes a huge 

difference to people sticking at fitness programs and achieving results and I love seeing my clients motivating each other and celebrating each other’s success.

 

It is no secret that Western Culture is rapidly becoming unhealthier with so many varying factors. Where do

you see the Health & Fitness industry moving over the next few years? 

I believe people are becoming wiser about what’s good for them and what’s not, contrary to what I said above about the 

amount of conflicting information available, there is also a lot of credible information and resources out there if you know where 

to look. I think at the moment we have 2 extremes – we have a body image obsession creating dire mental health implications 

and we have ignorance resulting in poor decisions when it comes to health.

I can see, or perhaps I’m hoping the health and  fitness industry will become more of an educator and focus on positive health and behaviour change, that individuals learn to take responsibility for their own health. 

 

Education and Knowledge is Power! What do you believe is an important message to convey to younger

generations about being fit & healthy?  

There is nothing more important than your physical, mental and emotional health. Be smart about the choices you make about 

your health; be informed by credible sources of information. Do nothing to the extreme. Do not compare yourself to others. 

Figure out what you enjoy doing for exercise and go with it, try new things, push the limits, be adventurous. Realise how 

miraculous the human body is and treat it with care every day. Fresh food is available to us because that’s what we need, we 

need nutrients, every cell, and every miraculous function in our body needs a different nutrient or enzyme. Don’t poison this 

miraculous machine with processed foods and unnatural sugar, chemicals are not meant to be put into us. 

 

What are the best foods to eat before and after a workout? How much time should you wait after you’ve eaten

before you workout?

It depends on the individual, what you can tolerate, and what form of exercise you are doing, what time of day you’re exercising. 

I believe we need a certain amount of carbohydrate to fuel a workout particularly a cardio based workout. You generally need 

something light that won’t sit in your stomach. First thing in the morning, a small piece of fruit may be enough. I’m a runner and 

if I’m heading out for a long run in the morning I would have some toast with jam and a coffee. However I have no gut issues and 

this works for me, I like the caffeine for a bit of a kick!  I would however avoid dairy as it can cause stitches and stomach upsets. 

Post workout again it depends on the activity, a gym session I’d go for something higher in protein with a small amount of carbohydrate.

 

If you’ve done an endurance session for more than 60 minutes carbohydrates are really important for kicking your 

immune system into repair mode. If you don’t replenish depleted glycogen stored your run the risk of getting sick and the body not recovering well leading to injury risk.

 

Nutrition is a very complex area and should be taken seriously, my advice is if you’re not sure or you’re not feeling good during 

or post workout, or not recovering well find a good sports dietitian to work with in assessing your individual situation and  putting a plan in place to get the best out of your body.

 

Do you have a favourite workout program you could share with us?  

I love a high intensity cross training kind of session. With a bit of cardio and a bit of strength work mixed together. Here’s a couple of examples – 

5 rounds of:

  • 6 burpees, 7 push ups,  8 mountain climbers, 100m sprint OR work within a time frame -
  •  5 squat shoulder press + plank and 20 alternating toe taps   –  within 75 seconds when completed rest until 75 secs and  start again X 5 rounds, you can throw in any exercises to this kind of drill 
  •  
  • Running

I also love running drills, fartlek drills are great for improving pace and really pushing outside the comfort zone. I took this one 

yesterday – (float means dropping back to a comfortable pace without completing resting between hard efforts) –

1 min hard: 1 min float + 2 mins hard: 1 min float + I min hard: 1 min float + 3 min hard: 1 min float + I min hard: 1 min float,

Repeat 3 for mins and go back down to 1.

 

Do you have a fave go to recipe after a big day of training clients?

After a morning session I love a good old fashioned omelette – throw in some spinach, mushrooms, capsicum or whatever veggies are in the fridge.

At the end of the day, that’s a hard one I love all kinds of food. I love cooking with as many veggies as I can. Probably 

at the moment, my favourite dish is salmon and stacked veggies, baked in the BBQ – super easy, I just slice some 

veggies such as zucchini, capsicum, mushies, green beans, place them on some foil, place salmon steak on top, 

drizzle some lemon juice, grate some ginger and garlic to put on top, bake for 25mins. Serve with mash or rice.  

 

Do you have a favourite go to program?

Chucking on a pair of runners and heading out the door for a nice jog around the neighbourhood. Or heading along to my fave yoga studio.

 

Do you have any fitness idols that inspire you?

The fitness idols that inspire me don’t take the form of a well marketed fitness industry figure or athlete. I’m inspired by anyone 

who has found courage to start a new fitness program, to overhaul their unhealthy habits and create healthier version of 

themselves, who has dreamt of achieving something unimaginable and had a crack. Who has felt the vulnerability and joined a 

group to train with any way. These people are hero’s in my eyes and are the reason I do what do with so much passion. 

 

Interwebz:

http://www.stepintolife.com.au/locations/australia/VIC/box-hill

http://emmasomerville.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HealthyExistence/

https://www.facebook.com/StepintoLifeBoxHillVIC/

Instagram pages: 

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