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The Year of “The WE”

The year of “The WE”. Beyond self-love, self-care, self-improvement and EVEN selfies:  This is the year WE come together.

This December 31st at midnight I watched fireworks explode in the clear night sky above my house and contemplated classic NYE clichés. I relived sweet memories, ruminated on current goals, and considered what of the past year I wanted to leave behind. To my surprise, rather than the feelings of nostalgia on experiences during this time of year, I found that this line of thinking left me feeling stuck and stale. I couldn’t get past the pronouns of I and ME – what I wanted, what I needed. I found I was sick of thinking about myself. I had enough of self-serving photos, self-centered thoughts, and even the whole yoga industry focused on self-care and shameless self-promotion. I wanted more.

This year: I want you and me to have a conversation that’s more centered around the collective WE.

Self- Study or Svadhaya is an essential part of a yoga practice and living a well-examined life. Svadhaya is deep inquiry, which asks us to examine how we (as individuals) work. What is it about self-actualization and self-promotion that is so appealing? Is it that the Instagram “like” system is so incredibly gratifying? OR, is it the impression that we are well loved and valued by our colleagues, friends, and even strangers? What is it about our mental workings that equate this sort of stimuli to actual human connection? Can we dive deep into this sort of study without becoming self-indulgent? Can we recognize that we do this work in order to cultivate the presence of mind needed to genuinely relate to one another? Can we value the exchange instead of just the statement?

Where you and I become WE

The very word yoga indicates a need to yoke or connect on a myriad of levels. I believe we are ready to move beyond the self-awareness of the “me too” era into the solidarity and action of the “we too” era. In my own life, where I find this connection most whole-heartedly, is through my work with the Peace Through Yoga Foundation. The PTYF is a non-profit which funds an English and Empowerment Program serving young girls (Girls for Success) in the heart of the Caribbean paradise of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Paradise, however, holds both the lushness of a Garden of Eden, and the dangers. Here too, there are snakes offering apples – in the form of drugs, sex, and indifference. One needs nourishment on a holistic level to rise above the tangled vines of poverty and the dark arms of temptation to establish herself in the canopy of hope. Education plants these hearty seeds of self-worth. Nevertheless, left unattended for too long, these seeds can wither and die. Then again, watered daily with kind words and fed with love, these seeds can blossom. The center is both the fertile soil for growth and the shade of protection needed to flourish under the unforgiving Caribbean sun.

The Yoga of WE

Due to the name of the non-profit, The Peace Through Yoga Foundation, people are often surprised and a little saddened to hear we don’t actually practice much asana or physical yoga with our girls due to religious reasons. I see this as an opportunity for visitors and community members to grow in their understanding of what true yoga is. Yoga: to yoke, connect, or to join. Yoga on and off the mat is a celebration of the union of the breath with the body. Yoga is a way in which each person’s actions and re-actions can further connect her to her breath, body, and highest self. When functioning at such a level, we can incorporate this practice into our conversations, our relationships, and our work. True yoga has very little to do with a mat and a studio and more to do with the way we compassionately expand our understanding of one another. This comprehension nurtures our relationships those in our lives.

What Girls for Success needs, perhaps what we all need, is to widen the circle of those relationships. We all need to been seen, supported, and stood with. No one needs more flaky friends or Internet based acquaintances. The girls need partners and examples not just drive by donations and voluntourism. While the net of online communication can elicit once off efforts threads of connection, this is only at the level of empathy. We can all do better. We need to move beyond collective empathy for the difficulty of the “other” towards collective action.

Currently, the Girls for Success have had no school since September 2018 due to political strikes. However, because of the GFS program these girls HAVE continued to study and meet daily circumnavigating a void that could have otherwise consumed the better half of an academic year.

Where WE Can Come Together

My goal for 2019 is to see these girls receive the level of education they deserve. We are currently operating from a rented space and a deficit of funding. This year we are raising money needed to build our own school center. How will we make this goal of creating a new school a reality? How can we generate funding beyond one-time donations? How can I help to continue to provide education and inspiration to a community that I now consider family?

The answer is that alone I CANNOT but that WE CAN do it together.

This is me asking for help.
This is also an invitation to you to ask for help.
Where do your passions lie?
Where do you need help and how can we connect?

I maintain that connection at a heart level is where the real “Yoga” takes place. So let’s get together. Let’s talk, let’s eat, and let’s disagree. Let’s move with a force of love grater than singularity and make this the year of the WE.

 

Meghan is a yoga teacher and the current Marketing Director and a trip leader for the Peace Through Yoga Foundation; the non-profit which directly funds the Girls for Success Project. One Hundred Percent of all yoga retreats the foundation offers go directly to the Girls for Success Project. Girls for Success is a English and Empowerment program for girls in rural Hone Creek, Costa Rica. We are located near the beach town of Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean. Girls for Success is small but mighty, providing daily classes and monthly excursions to connect and inspire 16 local girls with the world at large. The foundation is currently raising money to build a new school center. However, the organization is always in need of assistance with fundraising, programming, and connecting. If empowering young girls in a rural area is of interest to you OR better yet; if you want to get involved in making impactful change please contact us here. You can donate directly using this secure link here. Please see our website to learn more and connect.

You an also find us on Facebook and Instagram under the name @Peacethroughyogafoundation

You can find Meghan and her husband Ryan @ontheroamyoga

Living Simply: Ngalung Kalla

With the recent and rapid rise in technology, there are fewer places in the world we can be completely off-the-grid. Places to slow down, to enjoy the quiet, to learn from the elements. These types of sanctuaries are becoming a sort of endangered species. Yet, there are some amazing people out there who are walking the path of their dharma to keep these kinds of places alive. People that prioritize living simply, hope to create a better world, believe in harmonizing with nature and realize the benefits of multi generational environments. People that have a desire (vision), make an intention, and take action! The Sea family are some of these people. In just several years, they have brought their dream into reality and have created a full-on inspirational wonderland and educational/retreat center in Sumba, Indonesia. If you are someone who is curious, finds delight in exploring, and enjoys connecting with natural rhythms, you will love the magic of Ngalung Kalla.

From the words of Ngalung Kalla visionary, Christian Sea:

“We aim to be a small family owned and community led retreat where people can come to a very remote place and have an unforgettable experience. We offer accommodation, fresh local grown healthy food, excellent guiding to areas unknown, and empower visitors to live more simply and enjoy life more fully. We strive to do so in a low impact way utilizing solar power, permaculture principles, efficient and indigenous design, and local materials and staff whenever possible.

A trip to Sumba is not complete without a stroll through one of the incredible villages. A look inside one of their houses, a chat with an elder, maybe even a shot at the betelnut experience. We are not your average hotel. Nor are we your above average hotel. In fact, we don’t consider ourselves anywhere within that spectrum. We are a retreat away from the modern world and anything else. We consider ourselves (and are) a part of this unique community and our aim is to share this incredibly authentic life and place with you.

The majority of the people here still have “Marapu” as their religion. This literally means “the way of the ancestors” and is an animist system of medicine men/women, priests, kapus (Adat), and many associated ceremonies at the right times of year (also common for births/deaths/marriages). They use the moon, the tides, the animals, plants, the land, the forest and many other aspects of nature in determining their steps. It’s a very magnificent existence really. Their lives are still very much devoid of currency exchanges. Instead they use the things they can raise (food and animals), and make (hand woven fabric and mats, spears, knives, jewelry, etc.) for trades. What a beautiful concept!”

 


 

Newly certified yoga teacher and world traveler, Amanda Bertucci connected to a work exchange opportunity thru Yoga Trade and spent two months at Ngalang Kalla in 2018. Below, we catch up with Amanda as she shares about her experience:

Can you tell us what a typical day was like for you at Ngalung Kalla?

At Ngalung Kalla, your body clock is reset to align with nature. Live by the sun and eat when hungry. My morning would typically start between 5 to 6am, either on the boat, in the ocean or the yoga deck, during or just following sunrise. The yoga class schedule is determined nightly for the following day and caters to what the guests desire (sunrise yoga, dawn patrol surf or dive, early bird-watch hike, sleep in). Typically, if not on a paddle board or meditating on the floating pontoon in the bay, I would be found stretching on the deck. Waves crashing, flowers falling, tropical breeze from the overhead trees circulating calming aromas, this space is unlike anywhere I have ever practiced and meditative in itself. 

Following practice is smoothie and breakfast time! Fresh coconut water, papaya, and spirulina, and either a sweet or savory healthy brekkie combined with the shining sun supplements. A complete energy source for the day. The retreat is located in a bay shared with a local village and is home to some pretty special snorkeling and a premium right-hander surf spot and inside learner’s wave. This is usually where I’d be throughout the day, if not running around with the kids or exploring the jungle on a land mission.

Afternoons start with a yummy lunch usually followed by a boat adventure, surf, hike to the cool springs, tidepools, village, or mellow hammock hang time with a book. For the yogis we’d sometimes have multiple practices a day or kiddie yoga if the little ones want to wind down. Often, I’d find myself in the kitchen during the scorching parts of the afternoon, laughing with the local women as they would teach me to speak Bahasa Indonesian.

In the evening, we all gather by the campfire and watch the sky change colors as the sun sets over the bay. Cellphones, computers, and televisions are non-existent and not necessary when surrounded by the Ngalung Kalla family of like-minded, wonderful people. Conversations never fall flat and there is always the possibility of creating a special connection with someone new. “Sumba Midnight” is usually around 8pm after the sun has set and dinner has everyone feeling happy and satisfied. By this time, I know I’m ready for an ocean lullaby and dreamy sleep. Gratitudes to the island, this life and stoked to do it all again tomorrow.

What is your biggest take away from your time spent there?

Embrace the simplicity, less is more. Take quick efficient showers. Shout out to Christian on this one for a much-appreciated lesson of where the water we shower with comes from. From a hand dug well, water is carted and carried and can in fact run out if not conscious of our usage. In the villages, women and children of all ages walk for miles to and from the well with heavy loads of water for their families. Food for thought next time turning on a tap. Another big takeaway is understanding that what we need, we have. We are all so very capable of more than we may realize and give ourselves credit for. Openness to learn more about that which we don’t understand can change our lives in more ways than money. Leave mama nature better than you find her. Please and thank you. Less if not any plastic, more environmentally conscious (homemade and waste-free when possible) products, and please double check that your sunscreen is reef safe!

Describe the Sea family…

When you visit Ngalung Kalla, you are literally visiting the home of the Sea family. Three young girls; Deha (9), Kamali’i (7), and baby Wren Kaleleyanu (1), all raised on the island, fluent in Bahasa Indonesian and crazy intelligent. Full on jungle girls, kind, fearless and full of life. Credits to the radical parent duo Ka’ale and Christian who have lived on Sumba the past 14 years after moving over from Hawai’i. Deha will tell you that the animals are part of the family and I certainly agree! More than 20 “pets”, not including the geckos, toads, wolf snakes, mice and other creature friends they adopt. Five dogs, chickens, a pigeon, goats, ducks, and Lily the pig, Kamali’i’s sidekick and best mate. All cared for by Deha and Kamali’i. Some of my favorite days were spent with the girls, frolicking barefoot through the jungle, using fallen logs to jump over and splashing around in desolate cool water springs. Dressing up with monstera leaves and dancing around. Enjoying nature’s obstacle course.

Can you explain the benefits you see for families to visit Ngalung Kalla?

I think visiting a place like Ngalung Kalla and seeing how simple and doable sustainable living can be, is inspiring for anyone and everyone, especially families! To slow down and reconnect with nature is not only a humbling and grounding experience for adults, but an important part of childhood development and connecting to the roots. Socializing with new friends, talking about the environment, witnessing a beautiful culture, and creating bonds with animals. The lack of modern day distractions allows families to be completely present with each other and experience compassion and gratitude for being able to enjoy something so magical, together.

Did your relationship with nature change at all while you were there?

Totally! And once again I have my two favorite little jungle sisters to thank for that. I’ve loved being outdoors and surrounded by nature since I was really young – digging out worms in the garden to save them from the birds soaring above. At Ngalung Kalla, sleeping in the open air, showering outside and counting on one hand the time I even wore shoes, truly strengthened this bond. My curiosity about permaculture and living off the land heightened and in the same moment I realized how little I was among the vast ocean and jungle. I know that my life course is directed to living as closely with nature as possible.

What’s next for you?

Following two months at Ngalung Kalla, I spent a short time travelling before fully immersing myself into the yoga community on Bali and taking the time to expand my personal practice. I’ve always been a kinesthetic learner and teach based on experience rather than theory. I spent a month of daily Mysore with an incredible mentor, expanding my practice to new branches of asana and meditation and finding my niche. While I love the challenge of an intense practice, my teaching style guides me in the direction of active restorative and conscious vinyasa. Healing pain and ailments in the body through simple, balanced movements, while strengthening the core through combined breathwork. I will be returning to teach at Ngalung Kalla for March and April 2019. As of now I do not have further plans and will be feeling out opportunities, open to what the universe has to offer as I continue traveling and teaching.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I consider Ngalung Kalla to be the most epic and untouched oasis I have been lucky to have come across on my journey through life and around the world. Picture this: you get off a plane only 50 minutes from Bali, to an island untouched and uncrowded. Inhabited mostly by locals in homes so beautifully created by the land’s offerings that they are camouflaged within the surrounding nature. Ngalung Kalla is an eco retreat with that same naturalistic design, with a focus on permanent agriculture and operating as sustainably as possible. Fresh, organic, home-grown fruits and veggies and a coconut grove that would bypass any palm tree lover’s wildest dreams. My favorite thing about Ngalung Kalla, besides the ocean view villa, delicious fresh food and killer weather, is the ability to learn something new everyday if you’re willing. There truly is something for everyone. For me it was tying different knots, finally learning to play chess (thanks Kama!), operating the boat, identifying wildlife, plant medicine and of course, surfing. This time around I’ll be spending more time in the garden. In my opinion, raw luxury is the best way to describe Ngalung Kalla; rugged and natural with comforting amenities like a hot shower and cozy bed. The retreat isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of place and each individual is bound to have a different experience and gain a new perspective on a unique type of life. But that’s just my take. My suggestion: fly way outside of your comfort zone, explore the beauty Sumba and Ngalung Kalla have to offer and get inspired!

Connect with Amanda and follow her on Instagram here:  @amandabertucci

 


 

Ngalung Kalla is a remote family owned and operated eco-retreat and farm in West Sumba, Indonesia. They provide an adventurous, healthy, comfortable experience for guests. The center is designed with maximum respect for the Earth and consideration for the local climate and people. The local indigenous culture and community have a high priority in all aspects of this retreat’s design and implementation. It is a wonderful place for families, friends, and solo travelers. Experience simple goodness. Visit Ngalung Kalla!

Website:  ngalungkalla.com

IG:  @ngalung_kalla

Check out this exciting and upcoming event they are offering in March 2019!

 

 

Evolutionary & Educational Yoga Experiences 2019

At Yoga Trade, we love learning! We believe that one of the most important pillars for yoga teachers is to embrace the seat of the student as well as the teacher. Continuing Education enables us to learn, grow, and tends the inner fire! Check out these recommended educational yoga experiences in 2019. We wish we had superhuman powers and could attend all of them:)


Starting in January 2019, 300 HOUR ADVANCED YOGA STUDIES in the U.S.A.

with Vira Bhava Yoga

virabhavayoga.com

Have you been thinking about doing a 300 hour training but not sure of the right one or unable to take a month off to do so? Vira Bhava Yoga offers powerful and thorough trainings that are held over 5-6 weekends within one year’s time at cities across the states. Trainings starting in Sacramento, CA and Atlanta, GA this upcoming January! In this training you will learn practices and gain tools that you can: take with you for the rest of your life, implement in your day to day, and enhance your practice and purpose in the world.

https://www.virabhavayoga.com/300-hour-yoga-training/


January 27-February 7, 2019, SPANISH LANGUAGE COURSE FOR YOGA TEACHERS in COLOMBIA

with Yoga Internships

yogainternships.com

Comprising eight classes of 2.5 hours, plus free attendance to all our Spanish language asana classes, this language course will prepare you to communicate effectively in Spanish during a yoga class. It is estimated that over 400 million people in the world speak Spanish as a native language, putting it second behind Mandarin and ahead of English in the rankings. It can be a huge competitive advantage to be able to work bilingually. Not only can you cater to the Spanish speaking population in your own country, but you can travel and work in Latin America, where yoga is just beginning to explode, or in Spain – a wildly popular yoga-tourism destination, with many well-established studios. So join us for this fun, interactive and practical course to get you started with your career as a Spanish language Yoga teacher!

https://www.yogainternships.com/language-course/


February 18-28, 2019, KUNDALINI AND THE RADIANT BODY in INDIA

with Kia Miller

kiamiller.com

Step away from life as you know it and join Kia Miller for a special practice driven immersion in the foothills of the Himalayas, the birthplace of yoga. This is a unique opportunity to accelerate and stabilize your practice. Access deeper levels of connection and wisdom, facilitated by specific Kundalini kriyas, pranayama, and meditations.

https://www.kiamiller.com/product/kundalini-radiant-body/


February 21-March 2, 2019, SEVA SAFARI + Y12SR TRAINING in KENYA

with Mary Tilson

marytilsonyoga.com

“Look Forward, Give Back”. This 10-day journey to Kenya offers personal growth, opening the hearts and minds of participants while creating a sustainable impact on our local community in the process. Plus you will participate in and bring the powerful Y12SR (Yoga for 12 Step Recovery) training to 60 Africa Yoga Project teachers and experience this transformational program alongside them.

https://www.africayogaproject.org/blogs/service-trips/look-forward-give-back-seva-safari-feb-21st-mar-3rd-2019

Also, check out Mary’s MENTORSHIP program for yoga teachers by clicking HERE


February 23-March 11, 2019, PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE in COSTA RICA

with the Yoga Farm and Friends

yogafarmcostarica.org

Come as a student, leave as an ecological designer! A wonderful complimentary certification for all yoga teachers! We will be leading a small group of permaculture students on a whirlwind of experiential and lecture-based learning. You will take home a solid foundation in permaculture design, the building blocks of a regenerative lifestyle, and a deep appreciation for natural systems. Daily yoga classes. Upon completion of the course, all students will receive a Certificate of Permaculture Design.

https://www.yogafarmcostarica.org/permaculture-design-course-2019/


March 1-8, 2019, FREEDIVING LEVEL 1 COURSE + YOGA in BALI

with Blue Chitta and Come One Yoga

bluechitta.com // comeoneyoga.com

Freediving and Yoga! Discover your true potential in this unique 7 days all-inclusive Retreat by the Sea led by Gabrielle GQ & Natalie Rudman. You will be breathing a lot; exploring various pranayama that can be applied both in the practice of Yoga and Freediving, connecting your mind and body through Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Flows, eating delicious local vegan/vegetarian food and learn how to explore the ocean on a single breath! Participants will receive their Level 1 Freediving certification thru Apnea Total.

https://www.bluechitta.com/bali-retreat-2019/


March 22-30, 2019, SACRED EARTH in PERU

with Sarah Kadel

sarahkadelyoga.com

Deep in the Sacred Valley… High up in the Andean Mountains… Journey to the Sacred Inca Valley in Peru. Open up to the magic of the mountains. Walk through the Ancient Forest, feel the vibrations moving through your feet. Open up to the mysterious stories of the Ancient people. Absorb the incredible beauty and healing power of Nature. Restore harmony within yourself and with Mother Earth. Discover a deeper Love for yourself, nature and the divine. Recognize the sound of your heart calling you home to greet your highest self! Remember that everything is Sacred.

https://www.sarahkadelyoga.com/sacredearthretreat/


March 23-30, 2019, SURF COACHING, YOGA and SUSTAINABLE LIVING in COSTA RICA

with Rochelle Ballard and Yoga Trade

yogafarmcostarica.org

Refine your wave riding skills with former WSL Professional Surfer, Rochelle Ballard (also the founder of Surf Into Yoga) as she takes you through a week of understanding the flow of riding waves, tuning into your body and the parallel life lessons that surfing and yoga can teach us. Co-hosted by the founders of Yoga Trade and the Yoga Farm! Surf playful beach breaks and long left hand point breaks. Practice daily yoga designed for surfers to create strength, flexibility, and restore and regenerate the body and mind. Eat healthy all week, make new friends, and learn about sustainable living as we share living space off the grid in beautiful Southern Costa Rica.

https://www.yogafarmcostarica.org/surf-with-rochelle-ballard-and-yoga-trade/


 

April 9-14, 2019, DEEP ECOLOGY of WELLNESS in COSTA RICA

with Yoga Trade and Friends

yogatrade.com

A unique and special retreat gathering! Join the Yoga Trade family for six days and five nights at Punta Mona, Costa Rica: an off-the-grid botanical center where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea. A space for Yoga Teachers, Wellness Professionals, Permaculturists, and those with a desire to learn from around the world to come together in an intimate and natural conference setting. Enjoy Movement, Yoga, Nature Connection, Community Building, Continuing Education, Storytelling, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Joy. An incredible line up of passionate teachers and magic in this land. Let’s share our wisdom and grow together!

https://yogatrade.com/deep-ecology-of-wellness-2019/


June 9-16, 2019, 75 HOUR ADVANCED TEACHER TRAINING in ITLAY

with Anton Brandt

thesacredfig.com

This 75 hour, 8 day module dives deep into The Katonah Method. Katonah incorporates classical Hatha yoga with Taoist theory, geometry, magic, mythology, metaphor, and imagination — in a practical framework designed to potentiate personal and communal well-being. Learning refined alignment + biomechanics is a given on our trainings, but we don’t stop there – be prepared to explore things like personal development, confidence, and speech. At the core of the The Sacred Fig philosophy is connection + community. Not only do our thoughts affect us in tangible ways, but we also have the extraordinary capacity to affect those around us, and the environment we live in. And so as yoga practitioners and teachers, we strive for the extraordinary, so that we may serve as a beacon of possibility for those around us. We see the divine in everything around us, but we also know that it lies within us. So before trying to shape & control everything outside of us, we first look deep within, and do the work ourselves.

https://www.thesacredfig.com/teacher_trainings/pantelleria/


September 7-28, 2019, FOUND EXPERIENCE in BALI

with Jake Paul White and Friends

letsbefound.com

It’s time to find a better way to live with more balance between work & your wellbeing. In this immersive 21 day experience we will guide you towards being the founder of your own life. If you have a vision for where you want to take your life, we can help you discover the right path. You can become the founder of your chosen life, by enrolling on this immersive 3-week experience, and learning by living the life you want rather than studying it in a book. Our mission is to help you take control of what your lifestyle looks like now, and for the future. We’ll guide you through setting the foundations of your own business, and building it around a lifestyle of wellbeing, community and travel, ultimately leaving you empowered to continue the journey alone.

https://www.letsbefound.com/


Do you know of additional evolutionary and educational experiences in 2019, you’d like to recommend to the Yoga Trade community!? Post about them in the comments below!

Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

***UPDATE***

Today is December 18th, 2018 and we have picked the winner at random. Big CONGRATULATIONS to Yoga Trade member @bevinking !!! YOU WON! See you in the jungle! Big thanks to all who participated! A few more days to sign up with our earlybird pricing. Use the discount code AMIGOS at checkout to receive $200 off before December 20th!


Yoga Trade is excited to announce our Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

One lucky member will receive free admission (5 nights shared glamping accommodation, three meals a day, all workshops and classes) to Deep Ecology of Wellness, April 9-14, 2019 at Punta Mona, Costa Rica. ($950 value)

Deep Ecology of Wellness is a unique and special retreat gathering (limited to 100 participants max). It is will be held at an off-the-grid botanical center where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea. A space for Yoga Teachers, Wellness Professionals, Permaculturists, and those with a desire to learn from around the world to come together in an intimate and natural conference setting. Enjoy Movement, Yoga, Nature Connection, Community Building, Continuing Education, Storytelling, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Joy. Check out the incredible line up of passionate teachers HERE.

HOW TO ENTER:

(Please read directions carefully, it’s a 3 step process)

1. To enter, log into your Yoga Trade account and LEAVE A REPLY (post comment) below at the end of this BLOG post. In the comment, state why you are excited to attend the Deep Ecology of Wellness event! Within your comment, feel free to also share about your own experiences with Yoga Trade. You must be a Yoga Trade member to post a comment. (If you are not currently a member, you can sign up at yogatrade.com)

2. Visit the Facebook page for this event (https://www.facebook.com/events/329849784255275) and mark that you are either ‘GOING’ or ‘INTERESTED’.

3.  Finally, SHARE about this BLOG/EVENT GIVEAWAY post on at least one social media platform of your choice (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You must share this link:  https://yogatrade.com/deep-ecology-wellness-giveaway/

That’s it. You’re Entered!

Thank you for contributing to this flourishing community. We look forward to growing together!!!

The WINNER will be chosen at random (random.org) and will be announced on December 18th, 2018.

*Only ONE entry allowed per person. You must be a real human to enter. The giveaway is only valid for persons age 18 and above. The event ticket is not transferable to another person if winner is unable to use. The event ticket includes full admission (shared accommodation, food, and classes), and does NOT include transportation to the event or other travel costs. The event ticket is not redeemable for cash. 

Learn to Handstand. Learn to Love.

I am currently midway through the final week of the online course 6 Weeks to Handstand with Kyle Weiger. During the past few weeks I have felt new areas of my body ‘wake up’ and strengthen. I am slowly but surely seeing progress in my handstand form and shape. But the biggest take-away thus far is that although these drills and exercises are making me physically stronger, this course is really about learning to love. We all have the ability to change our ‘state’ anytime and we can begin to see results in any area of our lives in as little as 6 weeks. This series is about much more than nailing a handstand, it is about diving deep into; curiosity, doing the work, dedication, self-care, integrity, and keeping the flame alive! These are great teachings that can be applied to all areas of life. I reached out to Kyle to learn more about his story, and he was kind enough to share some wonderful insights. Big thanks Kyle for the inspiration. May we all keep loving the journey!

Tell us a little bit about your yoga background?

I got into yoga after literally 6 years of a friend nagging me because he said I spent too much time in the gym and I needed to work on my flexibility too. Little did I know that his persistence would change the entire trajectory of my life. Well played, Sir.

Can you share with us about your initial curiosities with handstand and your handstand journey thus far?

It definitely started with yoga. I had an obsession for learning all the arm balances and Handstand was one that I played with often. However, it wasn’t until I got into Gymnastics training, and Circus after that, where I realized just how differently each modality approaches the pose.

Gymnastics was the first time the idea of “the line” was drilled into me, and watching and training with Circus hand balancers was where I first realized it’s so much more than just a single pose. Handstanding is its own art form, and my current journey has me exploring it from this angle.

Do you see your approach to learning to handstand as a metaphor and a way to approach life in general?

Oooh! My favorite question!! Yes yes yes! This is one the BIGGEST things I talk about in my workshops.

SPOILER ALERT: BEING ABLE TO DO A HANDSTAND DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON…

Rather, I use it as a teaching tool to reflect on how I handle tough situations. When things get challenging, do you get frustrated and quit? Or do you learn to laugh at yourself, be willing to put in the work, and approach things with a light-hearted attitude.

Check out a video I did on this very topic: 

What is your favorite verbal cue to say to someone learning to handstand?

“GET TALLER”…..It’s the simplest cue, but it will immediately fix a lot of inflection points in the body. When you get taller, you press through the heel of your hand which will activate your traps and straighten out through the shoulder.

Meditation and journaling is a huge part of your practice. Tell us more…

Journaling is a daily activity for me, particularly the act of gratitude journaling. I like to give my attention and focus to all the things I am grateful for in this life. Whether it’s a deep conversation I recently had with my BFF, or if my Handstand felt significantly strong during a certain day, or if I pull my winter jacket out of the closet and find a $5 bill in it. I seriously write so much in there, so i go through journals like crazy.

As far as meditation, some yoga practitioners may disagree with me when I say that Handstand can be meditative. It requires your attention to direct to a single point of focus, a single task, and you have to be fully present or else you come out of balance.

Thus, seated meditations using visualization exercises are huge for me! So when I get upside down I can re-access that state of presence and purpose.

You are an entrepreneur and and have created a successful online business. Can you share some of your daily practices for finding the balance between wellness, community, work, and play?

This is also one of my favorite things to talk about. I’m actually in the midst of writing a course just for yoga professionals on how to do exactly what I did by using bare-bones resources.

At first, it wasn’t balanced…at all. It was a huge grind 12 months ago to get the product up. With launching a business, there’s no way around it but through it. That’s just how these things go.

Then over time, I found myself working on my website less and traveling to do workshops more.

I think it’s a lofty goal to have every individual day be perfectly balanced. Rather, I look at it in phases or waves. When I first launched 6 Weeks To Handstand with a $200 marketing budget and no clue if it was going to sell, it was a very stress-heavy & work-heavy phase of my life. Now I’m in more of a play-more-laugh-more kind of phase.

Those two balance each other out in the big picture, so I’m ok with sprints or bursts of hard work to have access to more abundance later.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’m moving more and more into the role of business consulting in the fitness industry. My business background is in Sales & Marketing, Paid Ad Campaigns, and Email Funnels. I want to share what I know with other people in our space. And of course I’ll never stop teaching Handstand!!!

Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations?

My biggest inspirations are my friends: I have a few pretty special people in my life that I draw inspiration from every single day: Clayton, Del, Katy, Ali, Madison, Bobby…you know who you are:)

As far as Handstanding, there are sooooo many talented people out there, but the coaches I’ve learned the most from are Miguel Santana, Yuri Marmerstein, Andrey Moraru, and Janchivdorj Sainbayar.

Anything else you’d like to share…

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abe Lincoln

 

 

Kyle Weiger is on a mission to show you that you are far stronger than you think you are. And not just in a rainbows-and-unicorns-motivational-speaker kind of stronger….more like a belief-shattering breakthrough “Holy Sh*t! I can’t believe I just did that!” kind of stronger. Kyle teaches Handstand course workshops around the world at Yoga Studios, Festivals, CrossFits, and Fitness Facilities alike. Regardless of the setting, his methodology and approach to learning Handstand just flat out works for students of all shapes and sizes.

kyleweiger.com

Connect on IG:  @kyleweiger

 

Our Thirst for Experiential Travel

The very essence of travel has always been about seeking unique and memorable experiences. However, in recent years, we have become ever so dissatisfied with the same old well-trodden tourist trails. More than ever before, we are actively seeking to expand our horizons and dive deeper beyond the worn pages of a guidebook. We have developed a near-insatiable thirst to wander unique pathways and to connect with local cultures and real people. Rather than merely sightseeing or ticking off popular bucket-list itineraries, our travel plans are made with the desire to authentically immerse ourselves within a destination.

It is no surprise that experiential travel is the most significant, systemic trend in worldwide tourism today. The term ‘experiential travel’ typically refers to the idea of having a more immersive, local, authentic and/or active travel experience. While travel is inherently experiential by definition, how we travel and what we want from our bursts of nomadic living has seen a dramatic shift over the last decade.  

For many of us, experiences now far outweigh material possessions, and alongside this thirst for seeing the world is a global demand for travel that resonates on a deeper emotional level, more than a mere physical level. More than mere consumers, we seek to navigate our own journey and emerge at the other end transformed in a significant and memorable way.

This exciting shift is driving the travel industry to become more adventurous, more personalized, and more attuned to what makes each destination unique as they strive to convey a meaningful experience to travellers in a short period of time.  

The notion of the pre-packaged travel brochure has long seen its heyday. The hunt is now on for an experience that is unique, enriching and as far from the beaten path as possible. The one-size-fits-all package is now no longer appealing or relevant to the modern savvy consumer. Rather than sit by a pool with cocktail in hand, we want to have life-fulfilling journeys that closely align with our own personal values. Where travellers once talked about what they saw or did on a vacation, we now focus more intently on whom we met on the road and how a journey offered us a new worldview from which to ponder our own life and existence.

Earlier this year, Airbnb launched ‘experiences’ which are offered alongside the overwhelming amount of popular holiday rentals. This addition to the platform allows you to not only select your vacation property from any far-flung destination around the world, but to also choose from a diverse range of activities in that region, all offered by the local community. These can range from making crepes in Paris, to a graffiti tour of Barcelona, to a fabric workshop in Mexico, to a DIY tattoo session in Shanghai, to photography cycling tours through Prague and anything and everything in between.

Holiday companies around the world are following suit, expanding their offerings to meet this new demand. Travellers can try chocolate making in St. Lucia, sunrise yoga on a sandbank in the Maldives and street food safaris in Vietnam. Across the board, companies are creating fresh appeal for modern travellers by opening up opportunities where they can connect with local people. Whereas traditionally hotels have always devised ways to tempt their guests to stay within the hotel grounds to maximize revenue, the boom in experiential travel has encouraged hotels to act more like community portals, introducing guests to popular local experiences outside the realm of the hotel boundaries.

The Millennial demographic, perhaps more than any other, are driven by exotic locales and hands-on, adventure activities that push their boundaries and offer both transformational and also ‘insta-worthy’ moments. While there is a great deal of focus on Millennial travel trends, older generations are also driving significant demand for more experiential and adventurous travel options. The modern traveller, regardless of age, wants to forge deeper connections to the people, traditions and customs of the places they are visiting, adding a more meaningful and memorable component to their vacation. Travel companies are witnessing rising trends for new and more remote destinations within Asia, South America and Africa. This older generation of travellers are also inspired by personal interests; it’s not about seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Colosseum, it’s about learning how to make homemade tiramisu or stomping grapes during harvest season.

In the luxury segment, travel has become more focused on total curation and customization. Guests are encouraged to craft their own itineraries and high-end hotels and luxury travel companies are letting go of strict timetables and pre-determined plans to allow travellers to set their own agendas. If money is no issue, savvy travellers can create the most exclusive journey tailored to their wildest dreams; from Porsche ice-rally driving in Sweden, to luxury sea-kayaking trips around Indonesia in search of legendary komodo dragons, or a designer glamping safari tour along the Congo River from Kisangani to Kinshasa. Wealthy vacationers have often been the pioneers of adventurous travel into emerging destinations, proving again that adventure and experiential travel is not only for hearty youth, willing to risk life and limb for heart-stopping thrills.

The concept of experiential travel has also dramatically reshaped the wellness industry. The days of massage and wheatgrass shots have been surpassed by life-changing wellness journeys, meticulously crafted and seamlessly executed. Health and yoga retreats have dramatically multiplied in recent years as the demand for combining an exotic vacation with a healthy holiday has skyrocketed. At the click of a button we can browse a plethora of five star Ayurvedic resorts in India, exotic health spas in Thailand, guided luxury treks through Nepal or yoga sailing expeditions through the Greek islands. Popular health resort Six Senses, has recently introduced new multi-lodge wellness circuits that offers roaming wellness journeys that are set to redefine the wellness travel experience like never before.

So, what’s driving this new era of experiential travel? Chances are you have already guessed correctly. The dramatic interest in experiential travel can be primarily accredited to the predominance of social media in our modern lives. More than ever before, we are connected. We are acutely aware of what is going on around the world, we communicate daily with people in various time zones, we are bombarded with tens of thousands of images every single day; our horizons have dramatically expanded, primarily through the screens we are attached to and subjected to 24/7.

The frenetic nature of modern society induces a sense of urgency and desire. The rise of FOMO – the popular acronym for ‘fear of missing out’ – has driven us to want more, need more, and experience more, now. Driven and steered by social media, we are constantly searching for inspiration, gratification and happiness in unique ways. With our horizons broadened, experiential travel has stepped in, luring us to faraway lands. We are not only influenced by the happy travel snap shots offered by close friends and family. We are powerfully swayed and coerced through our infatuation with social media celebrities. Images of distant lands, people and cultures infiltrate our news feeds and inadvertently, our minds. Cliché vacations to Bali or Mexico no longer hold our interest when we are presented with glamping tents in Morocco, underwater hotels in the Maldives, clifftop cabins in Patagonia or luxury treehouses in the desert plains of Kenya. Digital nomads, millennials, Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers alike are all dialed into these latest travel trends which inspire cultural immersion far beyond the traditional UNESCO World Heritage Site lines.

When presented with these incredible global image hooks we have the means to search, click and book in moments. Platforms such as Bookings.com, Tripadvisor, Airbnb, and Sky Scanner have taken the power out of the travel agents hands, and delivered it directly to us, the consumer. But even as we roam further off the grid, we still want to stay connected. We want to update our status through our real-time experiences. With live Instagram stories, location pins, shared hashtags, and ‘checking in’ on Facebook, social media has become our publicly accessible travel diary and is an integral part of the modern travel experience.

The influence of experiential travel has also come to infiltrate our regular daily lives. No longer are we content with grabbing a coffee from Starbucks; we want to visit our local roaster, perch on handmade crate furniture and know which village the organic coffee beans have been ethically sourced from. No longer do we enjoy a glass of wine at home with our girlfriends; we want to visit the winery, do a tasting course, pick the grapes and understand the fermentation process. No longer do we eat out at the restaurant down the road; we take a Sunday drive to a free range farm where we pick our own greens from the garden, smell the bread baking and watch the chooks peck seed meters from our communal table. As we become tourists in our own cities, there are limitless ways to engage in experiential travel, whether it’s for a month, a week, a weekend or an hour.

If this trend is anything, it is optimistic. It proves that as a society, we want to connect, explore and broaden our knowledge and understanding of ourselves and one another. It proves that we want to push our boundaries and that we want more than the 9-5 with the annual family camping trip. It proves that we are drawn towards new horizons and that we are inherently programed to transform. It proves we want to be more than mere consumers on a predetermined path and we want to create our own journeys that we can filter and hashtag accordingly. It proves that we want more than mere stamps in our passport. It proves that we want to look back on our life, and be deeply moved by the people, places and journeys that we experienced.

 

 

Kelly Alexander is a passionate yoga teacher, plant-based chef and writer who has traveled and worked extensively across the world in health resorts, detox centers, raw food restaurants and wellness retreats. Kelly completed her 200hr yoga teacher training in Byron Bay, Australia in 2008 with Rachel Zinnman. She has a Raw Chef certification, is a qualified Holistic Health Coach, a published author and has a degree in Media & Creative Writing. A nomadic traveler and lover of nature, you are most likely to find Kelly upside down on her yoga mat, chasing a sunrise, or wandering through a local farmers market on the hunt for new culinary inspiration.

www.raw-by-nature.com

IG:  @_rawbynature_

 

Join the Yoga Trade family April 9-14, 2019 in Costa Rica for an immersive travel experience!!!

DEEP ECOLOGY of WELLNESS: Weaving the love of yoga and travel with regenerative lifestyle design.

https://yogatrade.com/deep-ecology-of-wellness-2019/

 

The Women of Bali

Their sacred melody drifts across the Island of the Gods, over endless rice terraces, past rumbling volcanos, and crashing seas. Balinese women’s lives play out as a moving meditation. They spend their days crafting offerings from bamboo leaves, stomping rhythmically in dance, and toiling in the rice fields under the bright Bali sun.

Local women of Bali often greet you with their infectious smiles, however, behind many of those smiles, are years of struggle and pain. After experiencing many hardships herself, Ibu Sari wanted to bring women together and empower women in difficult situations. PKP Women’s Centre is dedicated to providing education and meaningful activities to guide Balinese women into leading happy, fulfilling lives.

In support of these women, Yoga Trade has collaborated with Yoga Design Lab and The Nomadic Filmmaker to create this video to raise money for PKP Women’s Centre. Any donations are greatly appreciated! Let’s help these women grow, prosper, and receive the support that all women deserve.

Donate HERE

How Every Yoga Teacher Can Benefit From a Permaculture Design Course

As a student and teacher of yoga, I am consistently  called to continuing education. This January, I completed a Permaculture Design Course at Punta Mona: A Center for Regenerative Design and Botanical Studies. It is situated in a unique and remote location where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea in Costa Rica. The property has one of the largest collections of useful plants in the country and is a beautiful place to deeply connect with nature. Besides the center and facilitators being top quality, there are also these draws: daily yoga classes, the ocean front location, and the fact it’s called “The land of freedom!”

What is Permaculture?

“Permaculture is the art of designing beneficial relationships.”  -Starhawk

“Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.”   -Wikipedia

We can create and nurture beneficial relationships many places in our lives; in our gardens, our home design, our community, our businesses, on our yoga mats, etc. Permaculture can be applied to all aspects of our lives and society. It teaches us to observe patterns so we can design our lives with a holistic mind set and return back to the basics and live simply.

Permaculture helps us gain practical life tools to see the land as a canvas for opportunity and to see the Earth with fresh eyes. Practicing this philosophy is a great step in an important life long journey to see the world in a new way.

Permaculture Ethics:

Earth Care: Cultivating a deep respect for nature.

People Care: Self care for ourselves and others.

Future Care: Living with the intention to create a positive legacy.

Fair Share: Letting go of the competitive mind set and thinking about ‘co-opertition’.

The basic curriculum in the course includes class topics such as; ethics, principles, design, soil health, water strategies, plants, energy, earth works, and social systems.

How Permaculture Compliments a Yoga Practice:

-Ignites progressive thinking and regenerative design.

-Empowers leadership and positive action.

-Encourages creative problem solving. “The problem is the solution.”

-Inspires a return to the basics. Simple living.

-Builds resiliency practices.

Participating in a Permaculture Design Course creates space for amazing potential to birth new projects and collaborations. It is a wonderful place to build lifelong friendships that have optimisitc solution based perspectives.

Grow. Expand. Take Action.

Create your guild!

Deepen your practice as a student and a teacher by blending Permacutlure Design into your life on and off the mat.

Visit this educational paradise!

Punta Mona:

puntamona.org

FB: puntamonacenter

IG: @puntamona

 

 

 

Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

 

The Power of Story: Writing Rituals to Complement Your Yoga Practice

“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The practice of yoga teaches us the importance of developing regular rituals to enhance our transcendent state of flow as a means of accessing the intuition and divine guidance of our highest self. Yoga is a journey of unravelling and re-writing. Of profound honesty and integrity beyond a blissfully ignorant harmony. A peaceful warrior path of self-knowing – not exactly for the faint of spirit.

As a writer, surfer and yogini, the fluid experience of flow, style and self-expression is fundamental to the living art I know more certainly as my soul’s every day survival. And I’ve come to understand that like the liquid dance of life and death swirling around the epicenter of the stories in our hearts, the sensory feeling in the cultivation of our creativities is primal to our health and wellbeing as humans – particularly as women, and especially as yogis, both on and off the mat.

As meditation, mantra and asana practice allow us to clear our minds of chatter and connect with spiritual wisdom, developing a writing practice is a powerful complement to finding greater flow in living our yoga. As many of us know, our sacral and throat chakras (svadishthana and vishuddha, respectively) are fundamentally aligned at the junctures of creativity and voice, cultivation and expression – the sacred seeds of our most profound personal power. Writing is one of the most meaningful ways to access this sacral-throat chakra connection while attuning our energetic bodies to the unique rhythms of our divine creativity.

For women in particular, our stories allow us to speak our authentic truths loudly and unabashedly where the historical silencing of our profound knowing remains nothing short of normal, even in this modern day and age. In expressing otherwise obscured realities as a platform for sharing our deepest source of truth, our stories are our power.

And similarly, our stories matter. In the paradoxical place of knowing the self beyond the self – the sat nam at the core of our spiritual being – we are able to discern between the stories in our joyful hearts that speak of purpose, fulfillment and meaning, versus the life-defeating stories in our polluted minds that keep us living small, in constant fear of our own innate greatness. Ultimately, the stories we write and believe about ourselves create our realities, our identities, as well as our inner and outer experiences of the world. And perhaps most important to the process of self-knowing is the willingness to observe our stories with compassion and awareness, granting ourselves the permission to abandon with love the old stories that no longer serve us, and the soul-space to craft the warrior courage within to write ourselves anew.


Writing is first and foremost a conversation with the self, a place for sitting with our truth, expressing unexpressed selves, unearthing realities that live in our consciousness, and transforming thought, experience and emotion into story, art and, inevitably, life. Writing is the thinking, the doing, the knowing and the being. The creativity and the creation. Flow, style, and expression in connection with oneself, in subtle yet profound union with divine. The space where the boundary between the thinking-perceiving self and the higher spiritual self becomes blurred into words, prose, poetry, and memoir. In that sense, writing is a lot like yoga, if you think about it. Which is exactly why developing a regular writing practice provides a beautiful complement to living your yoga both on and off the mat.

So where might we begin? New rituals start as a process of commitment, acknowledging that the benefits may not become visible without days, weeks or months of practice. Am I willing to commit to a 21, 30 or 40-day sadhana of daily journaling? Will I write in the morning, or perhaps in the evening? Will I give myself a set amount of time, a number of pages objective, or allow for more flexibility in my ritual? Am I writing for myself or for an audience? These questions can help determine the specific commitment you choose to create with yourself, honoring the unique, personal nature of any writing practice.

Next, I encourage you to experiment with the bounds of your own creativity. Do you feel called to write in the early hours of the day, in the blissful moments between dream time and waking life? Or do you receive energetic downloads of creative thought in the evenings just before bed? Do words come to you in full sentences and organized trains of thought, or are you a free-form creative with a habit for snap-shots of words and poetic phrases? Do you need to write and write until you get it all out, in order to make any sense of yourself, your thoughts, your dreams and your life? Do you feel inspired after a long walk, a seated meditation or lively asana practice? We all have different moments and means of accessing our creativity, and regular writing practice allows us to explore the sources and sensations of thoughts and perceptions as they materialize into art in the form of words on the page. Mix it up and allow yourself the flexibility to discover the moments of the day you feel most inspired in your creative flow.

Finally, I invite you to approach your writing practice as a profound act of self-empowerment, an integral part of your self-care regimen. Honoring our more introverted, yin aspects of the self, we tap into the vital potential within us to express, heal and evolve. Writing offers a means of channeling our energies and transforming deep-seated stories as a fluid process of catharsis and self-healing. Once you’ve scratched the surface of certain subjects that speak to you – be they personal, political or planetary – you can deepen into the more obscure pieces that give your writing its own authentic artistry as distinctly yours, while honoring your mind’s spiritual connection to the collective consciousness being channeled through you in your words and stories.

Who am I when nobody’s watching? And what do I have to say when nobody’s listening? These are the questions at the heart of developing your personal writing practice. And as you deepen into your daily writing rituals, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that writing is both the journey and the destination, all in the space of a few lines on the page.

Are you feeling particularly called to nurture your writing rituals as a complement to your yoga practice on and off the mat? Join Tara on retreat in Costa Rica for an intimate experience cultivating your inner artist while developing the courage and confidence you need to write yourself anew.

Cover and flyer photo by Jennifer Harter

Revive Retreats presents: Power of Story: Surf + Yoga + Writing Retreat for Women / March 10-18, 2018 / Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Full retreat details: www.tarantulasurf.com/surf-trips-retreats

 

 

 

Tara Ruttenberg is a writer, surfer, and yogini based in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Tara created Tarantula Surf (www.tarantulasurf.com / @tarantulasurf) as a space for authentic story sharing and engaging with new social living paradigms.

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